Saturday, December 27, 2014

Virginia (Secret Confessions: Sydney Housewives #1) by Rhian Cahill

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Reviewed by Tabatha

 

I think that this was a unique spin on the idea of a serial anthology. With this first round we are being introduced to each in a group of wealthy Sydney housewives that meet twice a month. The catch with each of these friends, is that each harbors a secret. For Virgina, the first of the group, she is secretly divorced and none of her friends or family know anything about it. It's almost like she leads a double life.  I think this shows just what kind of friends she has, but it also shows how deeply private of a person Virgina is too. She goes each week to a bar seeking out no-strings attached sex to release all the tension that builds up from her real life that she knows is completely fake. The bartender, Carter, has watched her for years, but he finally works up the courage to go after what he wants. And what he wants is Virgina in every possible way.

These two were explosive in the bedroom, but I also have to say that I loved their tender moments as well.  Carter seemed to know just how to handle Virgina, and he really showed how much he cared about her because that was something sorely lacking in her life.  He doesn't push her, but allows her to slowly warm up to their new relationship to the point where she is ready to open up more.  We are left with a happy for now ending, but I'm definitely looking forward to reading more with these two.  I've loved every short story I've read from Cahill, so I can't wait for more.

*I received a review copy from the publisher/author via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.*

For more information on this series and Rhian's other books, please check out her website.

 

Rumor (Renegades #3.5) by Skye Jordan

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Reviewed by Tabatha

 

I can't contain my excitement for how very happy I was to get Josh's story, even though he was a bit of a douche bag in the previous book. I just never really felt that he was actually in love with Rachel, and I knew something was up with him so he was easy to forgive. After reading Rumor, it was no shock that it ended up being a woman, but not just any woman...his friend's ex-wife no less. I just really can't blame the guy for being a confused mess, because he was definitely having his loyalty pulled both ways. You just can't fault him for running away from that the first time, but I'm glad he stepped up to the plate in this one. His loyalty to his friend was admirable, but Josh and Grace were a force that couldn't be denied any longer.

These two characters have a powerful and undeniable chemistry that you just can't help but feel the heat steaming off the pages when they are together. But it wasn't only those parts sexy parts that made this book so great, because I honestly think that it was the tender more intimate moments that made it, and this series as a whole, so very special. Because of this, Jordan has definitely cemented her place as an auto-buy author for me, and I'm looking forward to what she has in store for us with the Renegades series from here. I love it and I can't get enough, so keep up the great work! 

For more information on this series and Skye's other books, please check out her website.


Take Me to Paradise (Sinners on Tour #6.1) by Olivia Cunning

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Reviewed by Tabatha

 

Backstage Pass is one of my favorite books and the Sinners will always be one of my favorite series, but I just didn't feel like much was accomplished in this book. It's a very sexy and short honeymoon story with Brian and Myrna where we get more of their insatiable appetite for one another, but nothing seemed to progress their story further in this one either. They are on the quest to make a baby and, given all the sex these two have, I was kind of shocked it hadn't happened already. That being said though, I love Master Sinclair and I can never get enough of him either. And on a side note, can I just say again how baffled I am that Brian just cannot see that Trey was in love with him? Anyhoo, I digress. Overall it was sexy and fun, and I loved that Myrna was trying to be romantic for him since that is something she has struggled with previously. I think that Brian has enough of a romantic side for the two of them though. :) I'm glad they finally got the honeymoon they deserved (minus the crazy fan), but I have to admit that the whole thing about her ex just didn't feel right. Overall I did enjoy the story, but I just wasn't blown over by it like I was with them in Backstage Pass. 

For more information on this series and Olivia's other books, please check out her website.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Rocky Mountain Romance (Six Pack Ranch #7) by Vivian Arend

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Reviewed by Tabatha

 

Rocky Mountain Romance was a sweet and very sexy second chance love story. It wasn't filled with a lot of lot of angst or suspense, but it really did have overall feel good vibe going for it. Steve was a bit dense and self-absorbed in his previous attempt at a relationship with Melody (although from the sounds of it, they were more just friends with benefits than in an actual relationship). He was careless and Melody decided to leave for a year while doing some training for her career. Once she returns, fate throws her right into the arms of none other than Steve Coleman.

I liked that we got to revisit with all the Coleman's, but I must confess that it was getting a bit confusing as to who everyone is anymore. I think I just need to go back and re-read the series again. I liked some of the struggles Melody faced with the different ranchers with not only being a woman, but also with trying to bring in new ways of doing things as well. An area of the story that didn't work for me was the conflict with her co-worker. He'd worked well with her the year before, but now all of a sudden just because she is placed in charge he is trying to basically sabotage her? Ehh it just didn't jive well with me I guess as far as the plot went. Moving on though, Melody and Steve definitely packed some heat in the bedroom department. I liked that she challenged him to not treat her like glass, and that she took charge of what she wanted by asking for it.

Overall, this was a good read but just didn't "wow" me. It was a nice addition to the Six Pack Ranch fold, but I'm more eager to get back to some of the other characters. I'm looking forward to more in this series, and I'm definitely going to do a full re-read before the next one is released.

*I received a review copy from the publisher/author via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review*

For more information on this series and Vivian's other books, please check out her website.

http://vivianarend.com/  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Simply Pleasure (House of Pleasure #0.5) by Kate Pearce

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Reviewed by Tabatha

 

Val and Peter were captured and enslaved in a Turkish brothel together from the time that they were just young boys being forced into sexual slavery. I was thankful that we didn't have to revisit their past, but instead begin at the point of their rescue when they are eighteen. Through their shared experiences, these two have formed a special bond that is unbreakable. Although neither of them is getting what they desire from their relationship (or lack there of), the dynamics change when one of them embarks on a path of sheer self destruction.

I think that these two had an unquestionable connection. Yes, aspects of the story were disturbing for me to think about, but I also understood that if had they not shared this similar past they would have never ended up together in a romantic sense either.  I did have the distinct feeling that something was missing as I read, and I still can't quite put my finger on what exactly what that was.  I didn't end up with powerful feelings one way or another on about their relationship, so that could have been the issue. Val was very push and pull about it all right up until the very end, and I just felt like that could have been explained more from his point of view.  Overall, I liked the story but I didn't love it.  I do know that Val has his own story in the next book in this series, and that this was just a prequel to a bigger picture where these characters reappear. I know that I enjoyed that one immensely, so I will definitely continue reading this series.

*I received a review copy from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review*

If you'd like to check out more about this or other books by Kate, please head over to her website.

  

 

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble 


My Two Cents on Reviewing

I know that I normally just post reviews on here, but I definitely have something I'd like to discuss with you guys given that this is my platform for connecting with all of you out there.

In the past few years, the literary world has been chalked full of author/reviewer feuds, and I just cannot wrap my head around it at all.  As a reviewer myself, even if I'm fairly new to the blogging community, I've found myself the target of a few such emails from authors in response to a handful of my reviews.  Now I'm not saying that this drama is all author initiated, so don't get me wrong first of all.  I'm not saying that all of the emails I've received have been negative response emails.  A few have been great thanking me for being helpful, but I've also had a few of them that made me question whether or not I wanted to continue being a reviewer. So this brings me to what I'd like to discuss with you guys.

Snarky vs. Constructive Reviewing


Let me first start by telling you that I am not a fan of the flame war.  It's childish...plain and simple and it is never acceptable.

GoodReads has gotten a really bad rep with authors because of all the snarky reviews that a few bad apple reviewers have been posting.  I really find this to be sad, because I always try to be helpful when reviewing a book.  I've seen so many authors that I admire trying to turn readers away from GoodReads.  Yes, I think that like with all systems it does have its flaws, but for the most part it is  genuinely a great tool for readers and authors alike to utilize and come together as a reading community. I hate that a few bad apples are ruining the whole bunch, but isn't that how the old phrase goes?

Now I'm going to throw it out there and say that I just don't get snarky reviewing of books. In fact, I refuse to post a review for a book on my blog that I deem less than a 3 star read.  Now that doesn't mean that I won't post a 1 or 2 star review on my GoodReads account though, because I feel like it is my duty as a reader to provide my constructive review in order to help out authors with feedback.  On the flip side of the coin though, I also don't understand authors who try to engage reviewers to "explain" themselves either.  I don't mind receiving an email from an author saying thank you, but I also don't like to receive one outlining their reasoning behind their decisions with their book meanwhile missing the point of what I had said in what I had hoped to be helpful review.
 
I am never, nor will I ever be snarky in reviews.  I would just never do that to an author who I know put so much hard work into their book.  I would also never belittle it with gifs that are clearly meant to be antagonistic even when some are just trying to come across as funny in their reviews. This just isn't my style. Period.  My goal when reviewing is for an author to see one of my reviews and consider it the constructive criticism that it is intended. Hey, I've given lower star reviews to authors that I absolutely adore (both on a personal and professional level), because first and foremost I am always honest about how I feel about a book.  It solely about the book they produced in my review.  I always weigh out my words carefully, and try to be as clear as possible about what I did and did not enjoy when reading a book.  I even go so far as to offer up helpful suggestions where I see a story could be improved, or mention that it had good bones and could use some fleshing out.  To me, this is constructive reviewing.  This is also the type of reviewing that I think all authors should take into consideration when reading reviews and forget about the others.

Will reviewers all be like me? *shaking head*

Hell no, but you just have to weed through to find those of us out there who are trying to help you. And reviewers, I hope you consider what I'm saying about being constructive because that is the best way you can help authors out.  Writing is a craft that gets honed over the years, so they need helpful feedback in order to grow and develop their talent.

I think the important thing to remember both as an author and a reviewer, is that reading is subjective and everyone has their own opinions. I say this all the time, but you have to just roll with it.  This is what you have to do to survive in this business as both an author and a reviewer too.  We do it because THIS is what we love to do. Be grateful for feedback authors, and be constructive reviewers.  But I think above all for both it is important most of all to not go at each others throats no matter what is said.  

I have a different level of appreciation for the work that goes into a book, because I have several friends that are authors and I see how much effort it takes to put yourself and, more importantly, your work out there.  But I also have a deep appreciation for good quality reviewers, because I also have several valued friends that provide invaluable, constructive reviews as well. We aren't going to always praise your work as being the wonderful works of art you hope, but definitely take into consideration when  a reviewer is trying to help you out as well. 

So that's all I have to say and I'll likely get a few displeased people, but *shrug* I'm okay with that.

Kisses Sweeter Than Wine (Tastes of Seduction #3) by Jess Dee

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Reviewed by Tabatha

 

I've sang her praises many times before, but I think I need to do it again. What can I say, I am just really able to connect with her books, and I think that Jess Dee has hit it out of the ballpark again with this one. I feel like I am forever giving her glowing reviews, but trust me when I say that she more than deserves them. She is an amazingly talented writer that can craft a story with so much intense emotion into it, that it will leave you breathless. Who else can take a man who jilted his bride in the previous book with the help of his buddy Noah, and not only make you understand him but actually make you fall in love him too!

Kisses Sweeter Than Wine is so much more than just your typical ménage romance. It's about the strength and courage of three people to go after what their hearts desired. To reach out and grab what they want with their whole heart and damn the consequences, because in the end nothing matters more than their own happiness.

"Violet and Noah had given him that. The strength to face himself and, maybe, finally embrace who he was."

So first of all, I want to address anyone who may think that this story was too short and incomplete. To each their own and all that, but I'm sure some will think that things were left unresolved between Dec and his parents. I just want you to keep in mind that he decided their opinions no longer mattered to him anymore, and that's what the story is ultimately about. Casting away that need for approval and finally being happy, because Dec decided that his parent's approval no longer mattered above his own happiness.

"Those expectations never made me happy. Noah tried to tell me as much, but I'm only just accepting it. It's time to turn my back on those expectations."

I think Noah is the one who had the most amount of courage and strength though. He is the one who stood by Declan through the years as he tried to reconcile what he wanted most, and then Noah is the one who had the strength push them all by taking a chance on a romantic weekend for the three of them when it could have so easily blown up in his face. Violet also demonstrated not only strength and courage, but also an incredible amount of loyalty as well in her concern for her friend Tori. She is truly the type of heroine that I love to read.

"The urges swirling through her blood were basic: lust, hunger desire-all three drive to extremes by the two men with her.

But the emotions swirling through her heart? A different matter altogether. While need and longing featured right up there, so did a deep-rooted sense of contentment, the likes of which she'd never experienced before. Here, with Noah and Declan, everything felt right in her world, as if the stars had aligned perfectly in her favor. It wasn't just contentment though. It was happiness. Satisfaction. And mixed in with those emotions were images of forever."


What it all boils down to is that these three were entirely too easy to fall in love with, and I can definitely see why it took so long for all of their pieces to finally fall together. Jess Dee did a masterful job with this book, and it definitely gets my glowing seal of approval. This whole series was definitely sweeter than wine, and I can't highly suggest it enough to you all.  

If you'd like to check out more about this or other books by Jess, please head over to her website. 


Special Note 

You can also get book one in this series, Summer Wine, for free right now!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Hillbilly Rockstar (Blacktop Cowboys #6) by Lorelei James

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Reviewed by Slick Reads

 

As a huge fan of this author, it is hard to write a review for a book that I didn't love with all my heart and that is where I'm at with Hillbilly Rockstar.  I still loved this book, but it isn't a favorite and I'm still not sure I really love these two characters together, although I do love them separately. That being said, Hillbilly Rockstar is still heads and shoulders above so many other books out there.


We met Devin McClain in early Blacktop Cowboy books, and we know that from a young age he was a charmer and he is an extremely talented songwriter and singer.  He is also quite cocky and while he is a great friend to those he's known all his life, he embraces the perks of being a star especially the buffet of women always available.  When it appears a fan has gone a bit off the deep end, his record company and his management decide he needs some protection.  This doesn't set well with a man who feels he can defend himself, and he especially doesn't need the woman body guard they want to hire for him.  A woman with ties to his hometown and one he obviously can't charm.  While I learned to love Devin as this book went on, there were many things he said and some truly crappy actions towards the beginning of this book that made me want to hurt him bad.  There was one incident in particular that made me hate him a little, and I can guarantee if I'd been Liberty I wouldn't have been so professional (guess that's why I'm not a romance book heroine).


There is no doubt Liberty Masterson can hold her own against anyone and she isn't about to let an arrogant country western star get the better of her.  The bad thing is she's attracted to him and he's a client so it's not going to happen no matter how much she wants it to.  I love that she's strong, sure of herself but a little bit vulnerable.  At times her stubbornness drove me up the wall and I'm pretty sure Devin felt the same way.


I'll admit I had someone else in mind for Devin from the start and I wasn't so sure how I'd like him with Liberty but as their relationship grew, it became apparent to me these two belonged together because they complimented each other's strengths and didn't exploit their weaknesses.  Their sexy times were off the charts and it is always refreshing when a couple isn't afraid to explore their sexuality and enjoy each other fully and this author always makes sure everyone is satisfied including the reader.


I loved seeing all the different sides of Liberty and especially loved how she opens up and shared so much of her life with Devin.  She was a surprise to me mainly because we'd seen so very little of her previously and she is so different from her sister, Harper.  I loved learning more about Devin, what motivated him and the fact that he was way more down to earth than his public persona let on.  It became very obvious when he realized he wanted things in his life he never imagined and with good reason.


A little bit of suspense, intrigue, and a few secondary characters that I could see spinning off into a whole other series (hint, hint) added a lot of interest to an already satisfying love story between Devin and Liberty. I missed the atmosphere and craziness of Muddy Gap but on the other hand I appreciated the entertaining new characters that were introduced.  Ms. James has a way of planting little seeds of interest that make her fans start dreaming of possible new series for her to write!    While I understand the necessity of this book taking place on the road, I will also admit that some of my favorite scenes were when they returned home to Muddy Gap and spend time with Bran and Harper, my favorite Blacktop couple.


Hillbilly Rockstar is another fine addition to The Blacktop Cowboy series and it proves once again that author Lorelei James is a powerful storyteller who has the ability to draw readers in with her vibrant characters, entertaining plot, exquisite dialog, and emotional yet sexy love stories.  

If you'd like to check out more about this and Lorelei's other books, please head over to her website. 



Dirty Deeds by Lorelei James

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Reviewed by Tabatha

 

What I saw reading Dirty Deeds was just how much Lorelei James has grown into the author that we all love today. Her characters, Nathan and Tate, were very well developed in her signature style, and I also found them very easy to relate to as well. Now although I would classify this as more of a sweet romance than the erotic ones we are all used to from James, I really did find myself enjoying that it all the more because it fit in well with the characters and the storyline. On the flip side, the plot was rather predictable and I did think that the push and pull going on between Nate and Tate got a little bit old after awhile. In the end though, this really does show the beginnings what a fantastic writer James turned out to be with her unique heroes and the heroines that push their limits of control. If you are looking for a sweet read that is heavy on the romance, then this one would be a great one for you.

*I received a review copy from the publisher/author via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.*

If you'd like to check out more about this series or other books by Lorelei, please head over to her website.


 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Blackthorne (Heart of Fame #8) by Lexxie Couper

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Reviewed by Tabatha

 

Not very often do you come across an author that just speaks to you in the same way that Lexxie Couper has with me.  Saying that I love her work could possibly be the biggest of understatements.  Let’s just put it this way.  When I received my ARC of Blackthorne, I totally did a very unladylike happy dance…really, it was quite the sight to see guys.  lol So anyway, back to the subject at hand.  I’ve reviewed a lot of Lexxie’s books in the past, but I can honestly say that I’m beyond excited to share with you my review for Blackthorne!  So with no further ado…

Absolutely amazing… that is definitely the adjective that I’d use to describe Blackthorne.   Lex really outdid herself with this final book in her Heart of Fame series.  Talk about going out with a bang, Lex!  I’m in such a state of utter bliss and I have a total book hangover in the best way possible right now.  She made me laugh and cry all while overwhelming my heart with both sadness and pure joy.   As the Heart of Fame series comes to a close, it really is a bittersweet ending to a series that I have become so attached to.  Each and every one of the characters is so very special to me, but I think that Lex ended the series better than it even started (and that is quite a statement given my feelings for Josh’s dad Nick in the first book Love’s Rhythm).  Blackthorne was a roller coaster of emotions for me, and I couldn’t help but ball my eyes out several times while reading.  In my honest opinion, Caitlin and Josh were two of the best characters that Lex has ever written.  The sexual tension between them and the heated moments all combined to an emotionally charged read that will leave you craving more from this supremely talented author.

If you haven’t read the Heart of Fame series, you will still enjoy this book and not be lost at all.  But on the other hand, I definitely encourage you to start from the beginning to get that same feeling overwhelming joy that I did and to truly understand the characters.  As I said before, it is a bittersweet closure to characters that I hold so very dear.  Maybe Lexxie will treat us with a novella or two down the road since she is known for the way she ties in her characters from her books. *winks*  Looking forward to what you have in store for us in the future for sure, and I can’t wait to get my hands on what you have out next!

*I received a review copy from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.*

If you'd like to check out more about this series or other books by Lexxie, please head over to her website.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tattoos and Tatas (Chocoholics #2.5) by Tara Sivec

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Reviewed by Tabatha

 

First off, let me just say that I'm a huge Tara Sivec fan.  I think that Tara has this amazing and quite unique ability to make you laugh no matter the situation, and I think that Tattoos and Tatas was a perfect example of her remarkable talent.  T&T was an emotionally heavy look back at the close friendship that Liz and Claire's have shared through the years, and the heartbreaking situation that they now face when one of them gets sick. I loved the spirit and message that Tara brought across in this book.  Not only did she make me laugh, but she made me cry and overall warmed my heart with this story. To put it quite simply...I loved it!

If you'd like to check out more about this series or other books by Tara, please head over to her website.


 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Shattered Bonds (Wicked Play #7) by Lynda Aicher

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Reviewed by Tabatha

 

 Shattered Bonds is the seventh and final book of the Wicked Play series by Lynda Aicher, and I want to start my review by telling you that this series has been one of my favorites that I’ve read so far. It really is so much more to me than just another BDSM series, and I love how it focuses on the developing relationship between the characters and the emotional ties that lie between them. The BDSM aspects are in the background as something that just enhances the intimate connection between the characters, and this is done exactly the way I think it should be. Not only are each one of these books deliciously sexy, but they are also so very passionate as well. These are romantic stories that will leave you with a warm feeling in your heart all while leaving you hot and bothered as well. *winks* So with that said, let’s get on to the review, shall we?

I have to say that Aicher outdid herself with Shattered Bonds, and it will forever remain my favorite in this series. My gut was clenching and I had tears in my eyes by 6% of the way through (that was still in the first chapter guys), and honestly it was an emotional roller coaster that I just couldn’t put down. Seriously, I can’t stress enough my opinion that Aicher is such an amazingly talented writer, and I really appreciate how she is able to keep the focus on the budding relationship of her characters all while allowing the BDSM elements to enhance that connection between them. With some of the books I’ve seen coming out lately; Aicher is definitely the exception in the very best possible way. I think that her characters in Shattered Bonds, Noah and Vivian, were both amazing examples of her exceptional talent.

Noah has endured something I don’t think any of us could ever imagine, and Vivian is the healing balm to those deep seeded wounds that he harbors. Liv’s compassion and giving is unsurpassed by anyone in this series, and I definitely can see how she was able to break through the steel shell encasing Noah’s heart since Beth’s death. Although Liv gives herself freely to all those around her with no expectations of anything in return, Noah was able to also be there for her as well to bridge that important gap of give and take that all relationships need to have to survive.

Shattered Bonds was an emotional, sweet romance and a wonderful conclusion to a series I adore so much. I must admit that it is a bittersweet end though too, because I am also sad to let them all go. On the other hand, I am absolutely looking forward to what Aicher has in store for us in the future, because I just know that it will be something equally as special as the Wicked Play series has been.

*I was given a review copy from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.*

If you'd like to check out more about this series or other books by Lynda, please head over to her website.

 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ultimate Sins (The Callahans #4) by Lora Leigh

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Reviewed by Tabatha

 

Ultimate Sins is the fourth book in the Callahan’s series from Lora Leigh and first of all, I must stress the importance of reading these books in order because otherwise you are going to be completely lost. Leigh specializes in convoluted plots with plenty of sexual tension and angst, so I will tell you that this series is quite complex in its framework from start to finish. With that caution in mind, let’s move onto the subject at hand, shall we?

Ultimate Sins had some unexpected surprises revealed as Leigh brings the story of the Callahans full circle. Now although I did think that some aspects were entirely predictable, some weren’t so the story was still fun to read. There were plenty of heated moments between Crowe and Amelia, but I was sad to see Crowe display some very unheroic like behavior. I get that Amelia liked his dirty talk, but sometimes I thought that he was just beyond crass at the most inappropriate of times. Because these two have kept their relationship secret for so long, they tended to use sex instead of communication more often than not. It was also Crowe’s modus operandi when faced with a disagreeable Amelia. *insert eye roll* Moving on from that though, these two did have an intensity that was pretty explosive, so I really enjoyed that. Now what did manage to surprise me in the book was just how deep Amelia’s secrets ran, but I dare not spoil it or anyone by going any further. Just know that she has some deep secrets that no one was able to figure out until she felt like showing her hand.

Unfortunately, I do have to admit that the thing that bothered me the most about this book were its inconsistencies. I honestly found far too many to list. I understand that since this was an unedited copy that errors are to be expected, but it went beyond just your average errors and was in the content itself. I just hope the release copy is cleaner, and that those issues get fixed because it pulled me out of the story every single time I came across one. In the end, we had a great build up to the conclusion of this series. So much in fact, that I ended up feeling cheated that things with Wayne didn’t come to head until I was 94% of the way into the book. I honestly think that more time should have been spent on that considering his evil deeds have spanned the course of this four book series. It was just kind of anti-climatic for me personally.

Overall though, I still think that Ultimate Sins was an entertaining read, and I’m definitely glad to finally put this storyline of the Slasher and the Callahans to rest. I think that Crowe and Amelia belong together, and I was happy to see that it all worked out for them in the end. I was thrilled to also note that we may even have a possible lead in with a follow up story for Rory Malone and Resnova’s daughter. I do so hope that Leigh does continue with that, because I’ve always thought that Rory should have his own story since finishing the Elite Ops books. I'm definitely crossing my fingers for that one. :)

*I received a review copy from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.*

 If you'd like to check out more about this series or other books by Lora, please head over to her website.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Jewel (Malloy Family #11) by Beth Williamson

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Reviewed by Tabatha

 

This was my first read of Beth Williamson, and it certainly will not be the last. I was captivated from page one with The Jewel, and I think that Williamson is a very talented writer. I felt like I was taken back to the past with the focus on the details and historical facts that Williamson was able to creatively weave into a romantic story full of hardship and determination. The story is led with a great cast of characters with Isabelle, Charlie, and Mason. I actually read this in one sitting, because I just couldn’t put it down. This is the type of romance that I just love to read!

The story opens with Isabelle and Charlotte Chastain dealing with the loss of their parents along the Oregon Trail. When they decide to turn back and seek out the sisters that they have parted ways with along the way, they come across a battered man and save his life. Mason, having been left for dead, is grateful for the Chastain sister’s generosity in saving him, but he also develops intense feelings for the ever stoic Isabelle. Together these two fight the immense odds that are set against them in their journey to reunite her with her other sisters.

As I said before, this is the best type of romance to read. It was full of suspense, mystery, and above all...sweet romance. I admired Isabelle so much for her strength, Charlie for her foul mouth, and Mason because he was discovering a side of himself that he never knew existed. They each were wonderful and strong characters that I could read about over and over again. I’m eager to read more from Williamson, so I will definitely be going back to the previous books in this series. I will say that I wasn’t really lost with this being number eleven in the series despite my having not read any of them previously. It definitely stood on its own, but I want to know about the other sisters now too. So overall, this was a delightful read and I definitely suggest it.

*I received a review copy from the author in exchange for my honest review*

 If you'd like to check out more about this series or other books by Beth, please head over to her website.

 

No Limits (Ultimate #1) by Lori Foster

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Reviewed by Tabatha

 

I love that Foster is bringing back her world of Alpha male MMA fighters with hearts of gold that are undoubtedly sexy as sin!  We met Cannon and Yvette in her Love Undercover series, and needless to say I was very excited for them to have their own book.  I just saw something special between them that I really couldn’t wait to be explored.  Now although I think this was a decent read, the secondary characters stole the show for me, and I’m really interested in where Foster takes the series from here.

I do kind of wish that my expectations weren’t so high for this one, because I must confess that I was a bit disappointed.  Although I thought that Cannon was a great character and exactly the type of stand-up sexy guy that he had demonstrated in the previous series, Yvette fell short of my expectations in a big way.   Foster took a different approach with the couple’s intimacy than she had in previous books, and I did admire Cannon’s restraint given Yvette’s hang-ups because of her past.  I think what bothered me most about Yvette was that she wasn’t nearly as open with Cannon as she should have been, which was rather irritating, and her issues just didn’t seem genuine for me either.

Overall, it wasn’t the couple that I had the biggest issue with however; it was the weak plot of the book as a whole, which was surprising for me given that I always love Foster’s powerful stories. I don’t know if she was rushed to get this one out, but it just didn’t hold the same magic that I’ve seen from her in the past. The last 20% of the book held all the action with not only the two main characters, but the suspense elements were all packed in there too.  It had a lot of buildup to that point, and then it was all so rushed that it didn’t feel like things were brought to resolution for me in a satisfactory way.  Too much was not expressed between Cannon and Yvette with their relationship, so yeah it just seemed rather rushed.

So although this was a decent read, it wasn’t my favorite from Foster. I will not, however, be giving up on this series though. Far from it actually, because what I really loved the most about this book was its secondary characters.  I liked the connection that Cannon had with all the guys, especially Armie, and I feel like Foster is going to create another fantastic series just like her previous MMA series that I adored.  Seriously, I cannot wait for Armie to have his own book, and I know that the rest of the guys are going to be a lot of fun too. And let’s not forget the female side of the secondary cast, because I think that Cannon’s sister, her roommate, and Yvette’s best friend are all also going to prove to be great as well.

*I received a review copy from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review*


 If you'd like to check out more about this series or other books by Lori, please head over to her website.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Return to Glory (Home to Glory #1) by Sara Arden

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Reviewed by Kim

 

It's hard to put into words how feel after reading this book. Sara Arden has crafted an amazing masterpiece that will rip you to shreds and the put you back together piece by little tiny piece. There are so many things that stand out in this book that it's going to be hard to identify them. Let me start with the realism. This book, while not shoving your face in it, delivers a realistic view of what some of our returning soldiers endure on a daily basis. This is not the fairy tale of the returning hero even if the town wants it to be that way. Jack comes back damaged, emotionally, mentally and of course physically. We walk through a small part of the nightmare that he has to live with each day. We get a glimpse of what our soldiers come home with and how some of them deal with it. I loved that a session at the VA was included in this story and I hope we get to see more as the series progresses. It's so important to be reminded that just because they come home doesn't mean they leave the desert behind, some bring back more than they bargained for. I think it's also important that we get to see what the people around him see so we get a full circle view of Jack. He's good at hiding from most. The depiction of him not being able to taste....that's brilliant....that's truth and it was delivered to us in beautiful, heart-wrenching prose. If you are not affected by this then you just aren't human.

Now to the love....it's all there, every kind of love you can think of and experience is contained between the covers of this amazing tome. We are also assured that no matter the wounds love can maybe not "fix" it but it can give you the strength and courage to at least want to move forward. But...it also shows that accepting that love through all the pain isn't always the easiest thing to do but true love for each other can and does win, if we give it a chance.

Of course, the book would be nothing without Betsy. Sweet, wonderful, damaged Betsy. She suffers from what many of us do. We all believe that the fairy tale will make everything alright, will fix everything but she learns that the tapes that run on repeat in our heads can't be silenced by anyone else, that we have to silence them. She shows what I've always felt, it's so easy to be strong for someone else, it's easy to ignore our own pain and try to make everyone else's pain better, that way we don't have to look at ourselves. She was successful at that with all the people in her life but then we see her growth, her move to wanting to help herself.

There are so many ups and downs, 2 boxes of Kleenex worth for me but they were so worth it. I feel better and stronger for having met these characters and I can't wait to see what's next in Glory. 

 If you'd like to check out more about this series or other books by Sara, please head over to her website.




Monday, September 8, 2014

Hers To Claim (Verdantia #4) by Patricia A. Knight

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Reviewed by Kim

 

I can't say strongly enough how incredible this book and this series is. If you are a fan of sci-fi, paranormal hotness, then this is the right place for you! I have thoroughly enjoyed this entire series. The world of Verdantia is different but similar enough that it doesn't take too much imagination to put yourself there. In this installment of the series we learn of another area of Verdantia called Nyth Uchel. To me, it felt like we were getting a feel for the beginning of the world of Verdantia, like Her early days. 

We get to see a character from another book in the series, Adonia, the healer. She was great in the previous book but now she shines! We also get to meet DeHelios. I totally got a "Grizzly Adams" feel from him. What a great character! There were so many sides to Hel and we got to see them all. It amazed me that Patricia Knight was able to explore all of the different sides of him without losing the essence of the story, and without getting lost or sidetracked from the story. Many times when you read a book with a character as complex as Hel, you get taken on so many twists and turns that you forget where you began in this character exploration but not here. Even though Hel was such a dominant character (and not just in bed), we didn't lose our love for Nia. I can't say how much I enjoyed the purity and love that Nia had for all things.

I do have one recommendation, even though it's not necessary to enjoy the book, I do recommend that you read the series in order. You will gain a better understanding of the relationships between the characters, especially Ramsey (so glad we got more Ram!) and Steffania. I think understanding their relationship will enhance the enjoyment of reading of Hel and Nia's burgeoning love. Consider this just a suggestion though as you will still enjoy this book without having gone through those.

*I received a review copy from the author in exchange for my honest review*

 If you'd like to check out more about this series or other books by Patricia, please head over to her website.

 
Amazon  ~

 

 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Winning Love (Love to the Extreme #3) by Abby Niles

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Reviewed by Tabatha

 

I was really excited to receive an ARC of Winning Love, because after reading Fighting Love a few months ago I was super eager to read Mac’s book. He was just one of those characters that I knew would have a great story, and let me just tell you Abby didn’t disappoint in the least! In the previous book, we catch a tiny glimpses that Mac was haunted by his past, but what I didn’t anticipate was just how truly damaged he was inside. I honestly couldn’t imagine the type of pain he was dealing with, but I have to say that being paired with Gayle was the perfect combination for them both. They each share a similar past that is affecting their everyday lives in two completely different ways. Mac has closed himself off from getting close to anyone, and has totally closed himself off from his past. Whereas Gayle has decided to live each moment of her life to the fullest, and she tries to help those that she can through her chosen profession. Now although these two have a bit of a rough start, I loved how they couldn’t help but challenge one another and how this led them to finding a common ground. But just when they reach it, they have the rug ripped out from beneath them once again.

Guys, parts of this book were just so achingly sad, and my heart hurt for all that Gayle and Mac have endured. If I were in their shoes, I’d find it hard to choose which one of them took the better route to handling that type of loss. I liked that Abby didn’t shy away from the type of conflict that Gayle’s job would present for Mac, but I also loved that Gayle stood her ground and tried to show him the reasons behind what she does, too. I think that it was handled in a fitting way for both of the characters, and I admired Mac’s ability to face his deepest fears. It was also touching how they each helped one another face down what they feared the most from their pasts. The romance aspect between these two was off the charts good, and you could just feel the intensity of their connection despite all the differences that they had. They really were a wonderful couple, and I was so happy they were able to work everything out in the end. Winning love was a thrilling, and oh so very emotional ride that had me on the edge of my seat too many times to count! I enjoyed every moment of it, and I’m definitely looking forward to where Abby takes this series in the future.

*I received a review copy from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.*

If you'd like to check out more about this series or other books by Abby, please head over to her website.

 

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble