Friday, April 29, 2016

Blog Tour Review & #Giveaway ~ Debauched ~ Jennifer Dawson



I'm so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Jennifer Dawson's Debauched. I'm a big fan of this series. Below you'll find the details for the book, my review, and a giveaway. Enjoy!


Debauched by Jennifer Dawson
Undone #3
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
Source: I received an ARC as part of the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease
Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ B&N

Synopsis
One night in a moment of sheer madness I confessed my secrets to him. All my life I’ve been pretending. Pretending to be the woman I thought I should be instead of the woman I really am. I’ve been faking it and I am good. No one has ever guessed. Except him. He just looked at me and knew.  

Chad Fellows is not the man I want, but he’s fast becoming the man I need.  

One night in a moment of sheer madness I held her in my arms and let her cry. I did the right thing, letting her walk away, no matter how much she calls to the part of me that wants to rescue her. We are nothing alike, and she’s a mess of complications in a life I’m trying to keep simple. But then I touched her and made her tremble and now I can’t turn away.   

Ruby Stiles is not the woman I want, but she’s fast becoming the woman I need.






If you've been following me for the last six months or so, you know I'm a fan of this series. JDawson sucked me into these characters' lives and into the scene with aplomb. And while I know D/s stories aren't for everyone, I'm going to try to explain why Debauched is my favorite in the series so far and why this series is worth a look. 

I have no experience with this lifestyle outside of books but what I think JDawson does so well, and I mentioned this in my review of Unraveled, is explain the psychology behind the relationship dynamics and all the elements required for it to be successful. This was even more acute in Debauched as Ruby was vehemently against the D/s relationship. The ways in which JDawson had Chad and Ruby explore her perceptions and feelings was brilliant and enlightening. It also demonstrated the depth of feeling, honesty, commitment and trust a D/s relationship requires.

It'd always liked Ruby but getting a deeper glimpse of her in Unraveled had me eager to get to know her better. Because on many levels I identify with Ruby so the thoughts she had, the way she was stifling herself professionally and personally by trying to be what she thought others wanted/expected her to be without realizing it, was something I can relate to. She had certain ideas about what she thought her life should look like but those ideas/beliefs were coloring her perception of things - things that could unlock, for lack of a better word, all her potential. Meeting Chad, realizing he was a Dominant, knowing he was stable, staid...those things all flew in the face of what she envisioned for herself. And yet she couldn't deny the magnetic pull between them.

Chad, for his part, couldn't stay away from Ruby. She truly was a complication he didn't feel he needed in his life but there was something about her that spoke to him. Watching as he slowing, patiently broke through all the barriers Ruby placed between them was awing. It showed so much about his character that he took the time to help Ruby understand and accept something so elemental in her makeup. I fell for him just as hard as Ruby did. Maybe it's because he's not as alpha as Michael or Leo (the other men of this series)...I'm not sure. Maybe it's just because Chad is more my idea of the perfect guy. Whatever it is, I connected with him on a deeper level.

I wanted to say something about the smexy scenes as well. Debauched doesn't have any bondage or voyeurism scenes. Not one of the scenes is gratuitous. They each show Ruby working through something with Chad's help. And this is one of the hottest books I've read!

If you don't like stories with a D/s foundation, there's probably not much I can say that will convince you to give the Undone series a try. But I hope you do. Debauched made me thing without my realizing it was making me think. It resonated deep with me because I'm completely invested in these characters. And it's a story that's going to stay with me for quite some time.





Previous Books in the Undone Series


Crave Undone #1
Buy Links: Amazon|Barnes&Noble|Kobo|iTunes

Sinful Undone #2
Buy Links: Amazon|Barnes&Noble|Kobo|iTunes

Unraveled Undone #2.5
Buy Links: Amazon|Barnes&Noble|Kobo|iTunes









Jennifer Dawson is the author of the popular Something New series; spicy, small town romance released with Kensington, and pens the dark and edgy contemporary romance series Undone.   Jennifer grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and graduated from DePaul University with a degree in psychology. She met her husband at the public library while they were studying. To this day, she still maintains she was NOT checking him out. Now, over twenty years later, they are married and living in a suburb right outside of Chicago with two awesome kids and a crazy dog. These days Jennifer can be found sitting behind her computer, writing her next novel, chasing after her kids, keeping an ever-watchful eye on her ever-growing to-do list, and NOT checking out her husband. Jennifer loves connecting with her readers and invites you to check out her website, Facebook page, and join Dawson’s Darlings, her private Facebook Fan group. Sign up for her monthly Newsletter for exclusive insider peeks, new release information and more.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Release Day Review ~ Mr. Perfect ~ JA Huss

Mr. Perfect (Mister, #1)Mr. Perfect by JA Huss
Mister #1
Release Date: April 27, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease
Goodreads ~ Amazon

Synopsis
Wanting the perfect man doesn't make me crazy. I just know what I like.

A powerful billionaire in a suit wasn't even my first choice. McAllister Stonewall was never on my radar, I didn't even know he existed.

But I do now.

His hands are all over me at work. The heat of his chest pressing against my bare back as he bends me over the desk is the only thing on my mind.

He is my most forbidden desires unleashed. He is my new secret obsession. He is my Mr. Perfect.

Until the moment I realize... There's no such thing as perfect.



Mr. Perfect is not typical Huss - a sexy story served up with a nice side of mind-twisting suspense. No, Mr. Perfect is more straight-up sexy and fun. And for the most part, I quite enjoyed it.

Ellie can admit she is wasting her talent as the celebrity concierge for Stonewall Entertainment, but the day she has the worst day of her career, she decides maybe she's had enough. Not only did she almost kill her rock star client, she had an interesting run-in with her new boss who happens to be H.O.T. But is also clearly an ass. Ellie, though...she has dreams. She just needs the confidence to reach for them.

McAllister didn't mean for his first meeting with Ellie to go so wrong. He's actually kinda smitten with this adorable girl - whose texts of her dream life he inadvertently received. Ellie sparks his interest - in more ways than one. She makes him think and re-evaluate. She also fogs his brain with lust. If only he can get her to see his side of things...

Thus begins this crazy office romance. And like I said, it was fun. I had several giggle moments. I had several gasping moments. I even had some fan myself moments. The interactions and banter between Ellie and Mac were at times light and at times cringe-worthy. I could see things progressing between them. But I felt there was that little something missing. And it really hit me once that something was delivered. That something was what made the story meaty. There were revelations that made both Mac and Ellie more complex - even more interesting. There were discoveries made - realizations - that showed their entire character as well as how their relationship affected who they are and where they were going - both individually and as a couple. There were questions raised about taking risks, the value of dreams, and blazing your own path. And while I enjoyed their story up to that point because it was sexy and a good time, I couldn't help but wish these events had happened a little sooner since they gave Mac and Ellie so much more depth.

I can't deny that I had a good time with Mr. Perfect. This couple was entertaining and their chemistry was combustible. There were interesting secondary characters introduced and I enjoyed them. Huss, as usual, was stellar at painting the backdrop of a unique office building in the Denver Tech Center juxtaposed with rolling pine covered hills dotted with cows. The only thing that was missing was that little bit extra early on - that meat. With that, Mr. Perfect would have been fabulous rather than just great. However, as this is the first in a new series where there are 5 guys, the Misters, with a connected past, I'm expecting things will just get better from here.



Tuesday, April 26, 2016

New Release Review ~ Possessed by a Dark Warrior ~ Felicity Heaton

Possessed by a Dark Warrior (Eternal Mates, #9)Possessed by a Dark Warrior by Felicity Heaton
Eternal Mates #9
Release Date: April 9, 2016
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease
Goodreads ~ Amazon

Synopsis
A powerful warrior and commancer of the dark elf legions, Bleu is a loyal and devoted male, and one who has never failed in anything--except one thing. Love. When an elusive female dragon shifter surfaces in Hell again, giving him a mission to hurl himself into, he gladly returns to his hunt for her and the deadly blade she stole from his prince seven centuries ago, but as he closes in on his prey, fate reveals she is far more than his enemy.

Having escaped from the black market arena and her life as a slave, Taryn sets her sights back on the task she began seven hundred years ago when her brother stole a precious sword, but in the three centuries she's been captive, everything has changed. Corrupted by a craving for power, her brother has become dangerously obsessed with finding the blade and using it to claim the ultimate treasure--the position of King of Hell.

Faced with having to end her beloved twin brother to stop him from bringing all of Hell to its knees before him, will Taryn be strong enough to use the very blade he seeks against him? And when Bleu finally catches his elusive prey, will he listen to his head as it demands he complete his mission or his heart as it demands he claim his eternal mate?



Finally, finally we got Bleu's story. It's been a long time coming and it's a story I was eagerly anticipating. One I must say was worth the wait.

Possessed by a Dark Warrior is the 9th in the series, and I've reviewed the previous 8, I'm finding it difficult to create new ways to express my appreciation of elements I feel Heaton excels in. She never disappoints me in:
  • characterization
  • setting
  • choreography of action scenes
I was thrilled to get to spend time with some of my favorite characters from previous installments - even if only briefly. I liked how Vail's plot line was further developed as well as the advancement of what I see as the over-arching plot line. The camaraderie between Bleu, Loren, and Vail (yes, Vail) further developed the characters of these males. They are strong warriors but are first and foremost loyal friends. The romance, while maybe not quite as exciting as I was hoping for, was satisfying nonetheless. And the battle was pretty epic. The pacing of Bleu's story was a bit smoother - it kept me eagerly flipping through the pages.

As anxious as I'd been for Bleu's story, I had no idea what direction Heaton would go. It was the ultimate irony that the thing Bleu most long for - love and his mate - had been in his life for a long while. The circumstances of his acquaintance with Taryn were unfortunate. Had those circumstances not arisen, they'd both been spared much pain. However, they might not have crossed paths either, so...


I admired Taryn's strength - both physical and mental. She'd survived so much and knew she still had a major undertaking ahead of her. That she took it upon herself to save all of Hell was admirable - especially since it meant facing off with her twin.


The romance between Bleu and Taryn, despite the fact they were mates - felt almost slow-burning as they both had thick walls surrounding their hearts. And maybe it's cliche - each of them afraid to love and lose - but it felt genuine in their case. I do think they would have a bit more to overcome with regards to the apparent PTSD Taryn suffers but I liked where they ended up and appreciated being along on the journey.



Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday Post #12

Sunday Post

As y'all probably all know, the Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba @Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share my news from the week whether it be book, blog, or just life news. Since I read so many of your Sunday Posts and I wanted to add something new in 2016, I've decided to join in the fun!

***

As y'all know, hubs and I took Sky to Portland for Admit Day at Reed College. We had a bumpy start as a huge snowstorm moved into Colorado and affected air travel. Our original flight was canceled and we had to re-book a flight for 11 hours later in the day. This was funny because although we had 3 feet of snow at our house, the airport only had about 5 inches. This was not funny because it meant we lost an entire day in Portland. We also had some rental car issues and hotel issues but it all worked out and with the exception of Sky coming down with a cold, our time in Portland and the event we attended at Reed were excellent! If y'all can believe it, it was sunny and in the 80's there!!

I've continued to work at my Spring Cleaning list and am getting things accomplished. That's left me feeling pretty good. I'm working on a couple of projects that I've been doing for the music department for the past several years that have to be done in the next few weeks, working on projects for Sky's graduation, and working at getting ready for BEA!

Reading-wise, I'm still listening to Like Gravity by Julie Johnson. I finished The Gamble by Kristen Ashley (I incorrectly stated I was re-reading Rock Chick Reckoning by Kristen Ashley - got ahead of myself! *haha*). I've started Possessed by a Dark Warrior by Felicity Heaton, and will also be starting Debauched by Jennifer Dawson. I had to return Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake before I finished it, so I'll have to request it again from the library. :D It's really good, y'all, I just didn't have time for reading last week!

How was y'all's week?!? I hope this upcoming one fantastic! :D

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Bookworm BrandeeBlogger ShameNew Release Challenge 2016 - (un)Conventional Bookviews2016HWLogoButton

Challenge Updates
I made very little progress in a few of my challenges this week. 

#ShelfLove - 32
Blogger Shame - 5
New Release - 12
Goodreads - 51
#2016HW - 6

How are y'all doing with your challenges?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged #87 ~ Small Haul


Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged is a weekly meme, hosted by TalkSupe, where I share with you the books I have bought, borrowed, or bagged (gifted or won) plus a recap of the previous week's reviews, upcoming reviews, and any other bookishness I want to share. :)


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This is the one where despite it being two weeks since I last posted, I didn't add *that* many books to my shelves. ;)

Bought
Second DeathSaven Deception (Saven #1)#1 Crush (Loose Ends, #1)Bon Bons to Yoga Pants
I one-clicked Second Death and Saven Deception after seeing a character interview @TalkSupe and a review @Lola's Reviews respectively. Second Death was only 99 cents and Saven Deception was *free*. I also picked up #1 Crush and Bon Bons to Yoga Pants as freebies!



Bagged
One SecondOne RideThe Lie

I received One SecondOne Ride, and The Lie for review. Thanks to Tantor Media!



Last Two Weeks' Reviews
Upcoming Reviews
Debauched by Jennifer Dawson
Possessed by a Dark Warrior by Felicity Heaton
Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs
The Siren by Tiffany Reisz
Legal Ease by Lori Ryan

Friday, April 22, 2016

Historical Romance Review ~ The Guardian ~ Margaret Mallory

The Guardian (Return of the Highlanders #1)The Guardian by Margaret Mallory
Return of the Highlanders #1
Release Date: May 1, 2011
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Purchased on nook
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: Historical Romance Challenge 2015
Goodreads

Synopsis
Four fearless warriors return to the Highlands to claim their lands and legacies. But all their trials on the battlefield can't prepare them for their greatest challenge yet: winning the hearts of four willful Scottish beauties.

After years of fighting abroad. Ian MacDonald comes home to find his clan in peril. To save his kin, he must right the wrongs from his past...and claim the bride he's long resisted.

As a young lass, Sileas depended on Ian to play her knight in shining armor. But when his rescue attempt compromised her virtue, Ian was forced to marry against his wishes. Five years later, Sileas has grown from awkward girl into an independent beauty who knows she deserves better than the reluctant husband who preferred war to his wife. Now this devilishly handsome Highlander is finally falling in love. He wants a second chance with Sileas--and he won't take no for an answer.



Oh, but Highlanders are a bloodthirsty bunch!

The introduction to Ian, Connor, Duncan, Alex, and Sileas was cleverly done. Seeing how close they were as children solidified their bond and my connection to them as adults. And knowing their futures as told to them by the village seer grew my anticipation for the story.

Ian and Sileas were forced to marry for several reasons. Ian, no wanting to have his bride forced upon him, leaves the day after the wedding and doesn't return for five long years. Five years in which Sileas has to endure the gossip and taunting from their clan over the fact that Ian didn't want to be with his wife. Now Ian and his cousins have returned to see to it the rightful heir to the Chieftanship takes his place.

The Guardian was an exciting read with much intrigue. There are some wily Highlanders who would stop at nothing to get what they want. Ian and his cousins face danger from all directions. And while trying to do right by his clan, Ian finds himself wanting to do right by his wife.

Mallory did well in creating fascinating characters. Sileas was fiery-tempered, head-strong, and brave - just as a Highlander woman should be. Ian, while pig-headed at times, was a good man and a courageous warrior. I'm eager to get Connor's, Duncan's, and Alex's stories as well, as they all have very distinct personalities.

I wouldn't have wanted to live during this tumultuous time in history though. It was very bloody and I'm certain you could never quite be sure whom to trust. Mallory does inject humor into the story. And it was welcome. With a well-constructed historical setting and robust characters, I look forward to continuing this series.



Thursday, April 21, 2016

That's What HE Said #60 ~ Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts #41



That's What He Said is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies @Chapter Break. Here's the deal: every Thursday, post a line from your book boyfriend to his heroine. Keep in mind, these are direct quotes from dialog in the books. The quote doesn't have to be romantic - just something our hunky hero said to his lucky lady. Be sure to link up over at Chapter Break as well.


My pick this week for That's What He Said is from:

The Gamble by Kristen Ashley

Yep, a repeat performance of The Gamble because Max...he's just that good with words. ;)

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"It kills me to say this, babe, the guilt burns so bad, but this week I couldn't help but think about what life would be like with you and the ways it would be better than what I had with Anna. And knowin' you throw beer bottles and give back as good as you get, I like it, Duchess, that passion. It's in everything you do and, swear to Christ, I don't think I've ever seen anything that beautiful. Anna loved life but, honey, when you forget to let those little fears you got cobble you, fuck, you devour it. It's unbelievably amazing, awesome to witness."


*~*~*~*~*~*

Nina, despite living in England for a lot of her life, *knows* how to whip up awesome American fare!

...I'd just slid into the oven my world-famous nachos (this wasn't strictly true; I hadn't won a competition or anything, but I called them that anyway because they were really good). They were smothered in kidney beans and hamburger meat spiced with taco seasoning and a mixture of three cheeses (cheddar, Colby, and Monterey Jack, the latter two they didn't have in England). After the desired cheese melting, I would load salsa, sour cream, and fresh jalepenos with tomatoes for Max, which he told me he loved but I hated. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Books & Crafts #3 ~ #BookBlogger #CraftCircle



Welcome to Books & Crafts, a craft circle composed of book bloggers, a sporadic meme where we share our other creative pursuits aside from reading and blogging. Everyone is welcome to join, just add yout tag/label links below and you're good to go!


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I thought I'd share a pretty yet utilitarian craft this month. I made these decorated lunch pails using lunch pails (of course ;) that I got at either Michael's or Hobby Lobby, paper, ribbon, ModPodge, and embellishments. 

I cut the paper to size, typically using 2 different patterns for the 'body' and a coordinating pattern for the top, inside the top, and on the bottom of the pail. The paper doesn't always make it all the way around the pail, so I use 2 pieces per pattern and put the seam on the side. I cut out a place for the latch in front and on the top, I cut out around the handle parts and have a seam in between them. I use ModPodge and a 1 inch foam brush to adhere the paper to the pail. (I use the glossy kind but you can use matte if you prefer.) Once that is dry, I put a ribbon around the middle to cover the seam between the paper. I also tie ribbons on the handles. And lastly, I adhere an embellishment of some sort. Here's how it turns out:






I mentioned they're not only pretty but also utilitarian...I use them to store bookmarks I've made, like the one below, as well as for cards I've made.




Do you craft too? Wanna get in on the fun? Just add your link below. And don't forget to check out the other hosts' crafts! :D
(I had problems with the linky - I've included it below. BUT if it doesn't appear correctly or doesn't work, head over to Talk Supe and link up there. Thanks!)