Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Review ~ Blindfolded Innocence ~ Alessandra Torre #ShelfLove

Blindfolded Innocence (Innocence, #1)Blindfolded Innocence by Alessandra Torre
Innocence #1
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
Source: Kindle Freebie
Rating: 4 Bookworms

"I'm not sure what you have been told about me, but I'm not nearly as bad as they make me out to be." His deliciously deep voice carried a little bit of ego.

I'm sure you are exactly as bad as they make you out to be...

Brad De Luca is used to getting whatever and whomever he wants. The premier divorce attorney in town, he's a playboy who's bedded half the city--including his own clients. And when the newest intern at his firm poses a challenge, his seductive prowess goes into overdrive.

Pre-law student Julia Campbell is fresh off a failed engagement and happy with her new independence. Even if she weren't warned away from Brad at every turn, she'd know he was bad news. The last thing she needs is a man who could destroy her job prospects, not to mention her innocence. But before she knows it, the incorrigible charmer has her under his spell. His deviant tastes plunge her deep into a forbidden world of sexual exploration...but her heart may not survive the fall.

Okay, I admit to knowing almost nothing going into this book except that I'd heard good things about it. I'd only read a novella by Torre prior to this one - which I loved - but she's an author I seem to collect. :) Anyway, I enjoyed Blindfolded Innocence. Here's what worked for me and what could have worked better:

What Worked:

  • Premise - Blindfolded Innocence has a very interesting premise. Young pre-law student/intern, despite warnings and her better judgement, gets involved with an attorney in the firm.
  • Character development - Julie and Brad are well-defined and we witness their emotional growth - how they change, or begin to - once they become involved.
  • Sexual exploration - we're along for the ride as Julia explores her sexuality with Brad - her safety net. The journey is interesting, provocative, and we get to see it changing Brad as well.
What Could Have Worked Better:
  • First novel hiccups - Torre's writing wasn't quite as fluid as it becomes later. (I can say this with certainty having read the entire Innocence trilogy as well as another novella from Torre) There were editing issues - mostly the use of wrong words - that stuck out for me.
Overall, meeting Brad De Luca was as exciting as promised and I like the changes I'm seeing in him affected by his interest in Julia.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

My TBR List ~ August ~ And the Winner is...


My To-Be Read List is a meme hosted by Michelle @Because Reading. You're more than welcome to join in the fun! Click on the graphic above to hop over to Michelle's site where you can find all the details. 


Thanks so much for voting, y'all!!

And the Winner is:

Faking It (Losing It, #2)Faking It
Losing It #2

Mackenzie "Max" Miller has a problem. Her parents have arrived in town for a surprise visit, and if they see her dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings, they just might disown her. Even worse, they're expecting to meet a nice, wholesome boyfriend, not a guy named Mace who has a neck tattoo and plays in a band. All her lies are about to come crashing down around her, but then she meets Cade.

Cade moved to Philadelphia to act and to leave his problems behind in Texas. So far though, he's kept the problems and had very little opportunity to take the stage. When Max approaches him in a coffee ship with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But when Cade plays the role a little too well, they're forced to keep the ruse going. And the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel.

Check back on August 26 for my review!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Review ~ Where the Four Winds Collide ~ Hildie McQueen #ShelfLove

Where the Four Winds CollideWhere the Four Winds Collide by Hildie McQueen
Six Pack Ranch #1
Release Date: January 1, 2013
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance, Western
Source: Contest Win 
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms

Adeline Buckley escapes her abusive father only to find herself in a brothel, on a stagecoach to the untamed west and married to a stranger, all in that order. Plotting another escape becomes harder, the more she gets to know her new husband.

Jackson Pruitt didn't expect a secretive mail order bride to show up the same week cattle wrestlers absconded with a large part of his herd. The bigger surprise was the loveliness of the woman. Why would a beauty like her need to travel so far to marry?

Jackson and Adeline learn that secrets and marriage do not go hand-in-hand when both of their pasts comes knocking and both have to come to grips with the reality, that sometimes trust comes only after you lose it all.

I was drawn to this book for its historical element and that it's set in West Texas - for the most part - where I'm originally from. This served as my introduction to McQueen and I'm not a fan. I'll certainly seek out more from her.

What Worked:

  • Character development. I quite enjoyed the characters. Adeline was well drawn as this young woman who's been mistreated by the men in her life - one who's been seen as property and insignificant. I liked watching her blossom under Jackson's treatment. Jackson is a good man. He's fair, hard-working, loyal, and he shows all these attributes once Adeline comes into his life. Secondary characters were well-drawn too, overall. There were a few that seemed more one-dimensional but they weren't all that important to the plot.
  • Mail-order bride trope. I liked McQueen using this element. There was definitely a lack of women in the territories as the U.S. expanded west and this theme was well used in the story.
  • The drama. The elements of the story used to create drama and tension felt genuine and realistic.
  • The detail of daily life. I liked seeing Jackson work the cattle and Adeline go about daily chores.
What Could Have Worked Better:
  • The detail of daily life. While I liked seeing Jackson work the cattle and Adeline go about daily chores, a bit more detail would have been welcomed.
  • Speech. This story is set in West Texas where there is a definite pattern of speech and an accent. This is nit-picky of me but being from the area, I'd have liked to have had the accent conveyed.
  • The resolutions. There were 3-4 plot points where the resolutions were a bit too easily come by.
Despite my "issues" with Where the Four Winds Collide, this story was inherently readable. I looked forward to picking it up and finished it rather quickly. My introduction to McQueen was pleasurable and I'll be reading more from her.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

New Release Review ~ Until You Loved Me ~ Brenda Novak (@BrendaNovak) #2017NewRelease

Until You Loved Me (Silver Springs, #3)Until You Loved Me by Brenda Novak
Silver Springs #3
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author. This did not affect my rating and my review is provided voluntarily.
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewRelease

Sometimes starting over means finding everything you've been missing...

After catching her fiance cheating - with another man - usually straight-laced, workaholic scientist Ellie Fisher liberates her wild side  just long enough to indulge in a passionate one-night-stand with a tall, dark stranger she meets at a trendy Miami bar. Embarrassed by her recklessness, she ducks out the following morning without learning the guy's full name, something that shouldn't have been a problem...until a pregnancy test turns positive.

Being a professional football player, Hudson King has always been cautious around women. But this one had been different - so disinterested in his celebrity, so convincingly into him. When Ellie tracks him down, claiming she's carrying his baby, he's stunned. And more than a little betrayed.

But after growing up as an orphan, he'll do anything to stay involved in his child's life, so he urges Ellie to move to Silver Springs where they can co-parent. Hudson has a lot of love to give - certainly enough for his child, and when their initial spark reignites, perhaps for Ellie too...

This third installment in the Silver Springs series had a little different feel in that it didn't all take place in Silver Springs, and we didn't spend much time in town or with the locals. But I certainly didn't love it any less!

Hudson King is a graduate of New Horizons, the school for troubled boys located in Silver Springs. Being a starting quarterback for a professional football team, he's a success story for the school and he spends a lot of time and money mentoring the boys there. But Hudson's life prior to New Horizons wasn't smooth. He was abandoned and passed in and out of foster homes so much he has a difficult time trusting anyone...especially women.

Ellie Fisher is doing post-doctoral work in immunology - specifically diabetes. She's always been more likely to spend time with a book or in the lab than out with people. Recently, she's been dealing with a broken engagement having found her fiance with another man...both of whom she works with.

Hudson and Ellie meeting seems serendipitous. He appreciates the fact she doesn't seem to know who he is and he can, therefore, relax and be himself. She appreciates that he doesn't seem to mind discussing philosophy, science, politics, and religion over making small talk. When they both throw caution to the wind and spend the night together, things seem perfect. But Ellie runs the next morning, mortified over her reckless behavior. Unfortunately, 7 weeks later she's dealing with the consequences of that night...alone.

The circumstances of Ellie and Hudson reuniting were entertaining, and then kinda scary. Watching as they move past feelings of betrayal and recriminations was endearing. Seeing them learn to trust one another and make an attempt at building a life together, for the sake of their child, was as well. Novak once again delivered a riveting story with such well developed characters. Hudson's issues and actions and reactions were all so true to who he was and the man, and father, he wanted to be. Ellie was the most genuine person you could ever meet. I couldn't imagine not liking her. Being witness to them building on their chemistry, turning it into so much more while dealing with difficult life changes...well, it's something I've come to expect from Novak, something she does well. And she didn't let me down.

Once again, I'm clamoring for my next visit to Silver Springs.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

My TBR List ~ August ~ Polling is Open!


My To-Be Read List is a meme hosted by Michelle @Because Reading. I think it's a fabulous idea because it gets y'all in the game and it helps me knock off some of the many, many books on my TBR list. You're more than welcome to join in the fun! I've included the basic rules below but you can click on the graphic above to hop over to Michelle's site where you can find all the details. 

Here's how it works:
On the first Saturday of each month, I will make a post with three books from my TBR List (these books can be already on your ereader or bookshelf OR books you might want to purchase) and add your link on the linky that will be provided on Michelle's post. Y'ALL will help me choose which book I will read next. The following Saturday, I will announce which book won. Then the last Saturday of the month, I'll post my review.

Fun, right?!?


I'm continuing my quest, and working at one of my Bookish Resolutions to catch up on series (since I'm behind in 148 series) I'm once again having y'all decide which series I'm going to work at catching up on this month! :D

FYI, this will be my theme all year. And since I'm letting choose from the list of series I'm behind in, you might see books show up more than once. ;)

Your Choices Are:

Avoiding Alpha (Alpha Girl #2)
Avoiding Alpha
Alpha Girl #2

Seventeen-year-old Tessa McCaide has come a long way since her abrupt entrance into the world of werewolves, but she still has just as far to go before she's comfortable with turning full wolf. In the meantime, she's avoiding the topic of shifting to four legs any way she can. Thankfully her mate, Dastien Laurent, is quite the distraction.

When she finds her best friend, Meredith, getting sick in the bathroom, Tessa knows something's majorly wrong. Meredith was cursed years ago, and the dark magic kept her wolf dormant--only now the wolf is awake, and that same spell is killing her.

Tessa has no intention of sitting around while Meredith wastes away. Even if it means playing with magic she doesn't understand, she'll do anything to save Meredith's life. Including bargaining with the local coven of witches and is crazed leader, whose only goal is getting Tessa to join the witchy ranks.

Can Tessa save her friend without losing herself?

Edge of Oblivion (Night Prowler, #2)Edge of Oblivion
Night Prowler #2


There exists a world beyond our own. It is a world of ancient magic and well-guarded secrets, a world of strict laws and harsh punishments for those who betray them, a world inhabited by the Ikati, a race of gifted people who are so much more than they first appear. Brought together by fate in this world of danger and beauty, two people with dark pasts will meet.

Morgan is beautiful, smart, sexy...and about to die. Convicted of treason against her shape-shifting kin, she is given one last chance at redemption; discover the hidden lair of the enemy intent on destroying every one of her kind, or forfeit her life.

Xander is ruthless, heartless, cold-blooded...and assigned to kill her if she fails in her task. Expecting to feel nothing but contempt for the traitor under his watch, the assassin accompanies Morgan on her search, but as the two race through the heart of Italy while the clock winds down to zero hour, he finds himself drawn into a dangerous web of desire as powerful as it is forbidden. Their passion will test everything they believe in, and endanger the future of the tribe itself.

Sensual, edgy, and action-packed, Edge of Oblivion is a must-read for lovers of dark paranormal romance.

Faking It (Losing It, #2)Faking It
Losing It #2

Mackenzie "Max" Miller has a problem. Her parents have arrived in town for a surprise visit, and if they see her dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings, they just might disown her. Even worse, they're expecting to meet a nice, wholesome boyfriend, not a guy named Mace who has a neck tattoo and plays in a band. All her lies are about to come crashing down around her, but then she meets Cade.

Cade moved to Philadelphia to act and to leave his problems behind in Texas. So far though, he's kept the problems and had very little opportunity to take the stage. When Max approaches him in a coffee ship with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But when Cade plays the role a little too well, they're forced to keep the ruse going. And the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel.

Okay, now vote! And thanks! :D

Create your own user feedback survey

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Triple Review ~ Remember When Trilogy ~ T. Torrest (@TTorrest) #ShelfLove

Remember When (Remember Trilogy, #1)Remember When by T. Torrest
Remember Trilogy #1
Release Date: January 1, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Kindle Freebie
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms

Years before Trip Wiley could be seen on movie screens all over the world, he could be seen sitting in the desk behind me in my high school English class.

This was back in 1990, and I cite the year only to avoid dumbfounding you when references to big hair or stretch pants are mentioned. Although, come to think of it, I am from New Jersey, which may serve as explanation enough. We were teenagers then, way back in a time before anyone could even dream he'd turn into the Hollywood commodity that he is today.

In case you live under a rock and don't know who Trip Wiley is, just know that these days, he's the actor found at the top of every casting director's wish list. He's incredibly talented and insanely gorgeous, the combination of which has made him very rich, very famous and very desirable.

And not just to casting directors, either.

I can't confirm any of the gossip from his early years out in Tinseltown, but based on what I knew of his life before he was famous, I can tell you that the idea of Girls-Throwing-Themselves-At-Trip is not a concept.

I should know. I was one of the.

And my life hasn't been the same since.

**Remember When is the first book in an NA romantic comedy trilogy, but there is NO CLIFFHANGER. It is intended for mature teen readers and immature adult ones due to some high school sex scenes, underage drinking, questionable language and 1980s flashbacks.**

I've had Remember When hanging around on my Kindle for quite awhile. (sound familiar?!? ;) But meeting T. Torrest at RT was the kick in the butt I needed to actually crack it open. And then I was kicking myself for not having read it sooner. So, lest I get behind in yet another series, I binged! That's right. I read the entire trilogy back-to-back and I loved every minute!

Before I talk about the actual book I want to say a few things about the series as a whole:

  • I love Torrest's voice. It's very readable and relatable. It's like sitting down with a good friend while she relates a story to you - full of pop culture references from the 80s and 90s.
  • Remember When was fun. Thanks to all those pop culture references. I enjoyed the nostalgia created via Layla and Trip's story - a walk down memory lane seeing as it starts with their senior year in high school.
  • I adored the format - that being that we got to "grow up" right alongside Layla and Trip. We meet them as high schoolers, meet up with them again in their late twenties, and reunite once again in their early 30s.
  • I'm a sucker for second chance romances - truly may be my favorite romance trope - so despite it being difficult at times, I enjoyed being along for the ride as Layla and Trip tried to get their timing just right.
Remember When...ahh...high school. It was so fun watching Layla and Trip navigate their senior year - assignments, parties, friendships, cliques, and dating. I liked what Torrest had to say about cliques and popularity. And I floved how spot on was with conveying the angst and emotions that teens deal with at this age - trying to figure out what happens next.

FYI - Remember When is permafree!

Remember When 2: The Sequel (Remember Trilogy, #2)Remember When Two: The Sequel by T. Torrest
Remember Trilogy #2
Release Date: June 20, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased on Kindle
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms

You know how sometimes, your high school crush grows up to be an insanely famous movie star? Okay, probably not. But I do. ~Layla Warren

Back in high school, Trip Wiley's fanbase only encompassed the denizens of the nothing little suburb of Norman, New Jersey.

Ten years later, all that is about to change.

In the summer of 2000, Layla Warren is enjoying her career as a journalist in New York City (well, sort of), while Trip spends most of his time grabbing Hollywood by the balls. In the days before what will turn out to be his skyrocketing fame, they'll find themselves confronted with some life-altering choices.

Remember When 2 is the second story in an NA romance trilogy. It will bring you back to that exuberant and riotous time of life in your twenties when you struggled to figure out your place in the world and the person you were meant to be...

...and the person you were meant to be with.

Remember When Two sees Layla and Trip having lost contact over the years. Layla is working as a copyeditor while Trip has broken into acting. They reunite for an interview and feel that same crackling chemistry they've always had. However, neither is single.

Again, this was a lot of fun with pop culture references to music and movies. It was also realistic - genuine feeling - watching these two navigate around the relationship they want and the one they can have. There's angst in there too - not gonna lie. And at times I just wanted to smack them both. But I never stopped pulling for these two!

Warning: ending is a cliffie.

Remember When 3: The Finale (Remember Trilogy, #3)Remember When Three: The Finale by T. Torrest
Remember Trilogy #3
Release Date: November 21, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased on Kindle
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms

"I'd spent too long in limbo.
It was time to put The California Plan back into effect."
~Layla Warren

I've been in love with Trip Wiley since I was sixteen years old.
Yep. That Trip Wiley.
Academy award-winning actor, known philanthropist, People's Sexiest Man Alive two years running...
It's not like I'm some delusional stalker-fan. It just so happens that he was my high school sweetheart back in 1991.
In the years since, he's simply been The One That Got Away.
We just can't seem to get on the same page at the same time.
Our timing may have sucked, but the feelings had already been confirmed. Years ago.
At least his were.
He doesn't know that I had chosen to love him back.
I need to fix that.
And I need to do it now.

Remember When 3 is the third and final book in the Remember Trilogy. It's a story about taking chances and following your heart...and knowing that sometimes, you just have to learn when to let go.

A major life event brings Layla and Trip together again. And it seems maybe this time their timing is right. But there's still much to navigate around.

I have to admit that at first I was the slightest bit worried that things were too easy for them. Ha! I know! They've been through so much. But of course, it wasn't all smooth sailing and again, Torrest kept it all genuine feeling. I honestly can't imagine trying to date a celebrity of any kind - there's a boatload of conflict, baggage, and trouble. But Layla and Trip, man...they weren't going down - letting go of the chance they'd been given at a life together - without a fight.

Layla and Trip are going in the books as one of my favorite couples ever. I've also found a new favorite author and I'm excited to read the other two books of Torrest's that I snagged at RT!

Monday, July 31, 2017

My TBR List Review + Bonus Review ~ Just One Lie & Just Once More by Kyra Davis


My To-Be Read List is a meme hosted by Michelle @Because Reading.

I apologize for not having my review up on Saturday, y'all, but my travel schedule prevented me from being able to get the post done. 


Just Once More (Just One Night, #1.5)
Just Once More by Kyra Davis
Just One Night #1.5
Release Date: June 22, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased on Nook
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #ShelfLove, #TravelingtotheTerminus

Robert Dade is a man who konws what he wants and never hesitates to go after it. Money, power, and - at long last - the woman he loves, Kasie Fitzgerald, are now his. But after so many years of living by his own rules will he really make the compromises necessary to keep Kasie by his side? And when a man even richer and more ruthless than he is takes an interest in Kasie, will Dade be able to protect her? Or will his controlling nature drive her toward the very danger he seeks to shield her from?

I adore this series and I thoroughly enjoyed getting this glimpse inside Robert's head. The way Davis tied together Robert's thoughts about how parents impact how children see themselves with Robert's vulnerabilities where Kasie is concerned as well as how Kasie has always lived her life...until Robert came along...was brilliant. I liked the thread Davis wove in that posed a threat to Robert and Kasie's happily-ever-after and I really liked the twist thrown in!

This was more of a short story but it was compelling, well-written, and the perfect segue into the next in the series, Just One Lie

Just One Lie (Just One Night, #2)
Just One Lie by Kyra Davis
Just One Night #2
Release Date: July 28, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased paperback
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #COYER, #MyTBRList, #ShelfLove, #TravelingtotheTerminus

In the instant international sensation Just One Night, sensible Kasie Fitzgerald unleashed her passions--and found herself--through an explosive affair. In Just One Lie, we meet Kasie's wild and tortured sister, whose impulsivity and lack of self-control has set off a chain of events that changes her family forever.

Melody Fitzgerald is the opposite of the "perfect" daughter. The lead singer of an indie rock band, she is impulsive and creative, with a rebellious streak that both defines her and becomes her greatest enemy. Her lover, the enticing and unpredictable Ash, shares her free spirit and penchant for trouble. On the face of it, he seems to be her perfect match.

So why is she so drawn to her soft spoken, reliable drummer, Brad Witmer? How can a man who wears polo shirts and reads the financial section of the paper be of any interest to her at all? And why on earth does someone like that appear to be so captivated by her?

Before she knows it, Melody finds herself on a path of self-discovery, passion, and affairs of the heart. But will a dark secret from her past derail it all? Or will its exposure be the very thing that unburdens her heart and allows her to seek a future with the one man who loves her completely?

After reading Just Once More back in May, I was eager to read Just One Lie so I was more the thrilled when it won the vote. ;) Getting Kasie's sister's story - the sister behind so much that shaped Kasie's life - well, I was anxious to get to know Melody. And Melody's story - Mercy, as she's come to be known - I don't know but I think I found it even more compelling than Kasie's. That either of the Fitzgerald girls became productive human beings after growing up with the parents they were's miraculous and proves the power of inner spirit and a strong love.

It's been awhile since I read Just One Night but I think one thing I thoroughly delighted in with Just One Lie was getting to know Brad, the hero, so well. I liked how he looked at life, how he was so much more than he seemed - and he seemed like quite a lot - and I loved how he treated Mercy. He's an intelligent guy, talented, and a giving, loving man. He has his flaws but would give the shirt off his back to a damsel in distress - Mercy being on the top of that list. I also loved that even if it took time to get there, he was self-aware enough and smart enough to see the wisdom in Mercy's advice as well as to give her what she needed despite the hurt it caused him.

Mercy was one messed up young woman - but one that, like Brad said, was also one of the most together women as well. She knew her strengths, her flaws, and her limitations. She was self-aware enough to think through things and make tough decisions - ones that hurt her terribly. Oh, she made her share of mistakes and bad decisions but she learned from them and carried on. She was incredibly strong and resilient. I mean, to endure what she did at the hands of her parents - her dad specifically - yeah. I couldn't help but admire her. Her spirit refused to be crushed.

The way Davis structured the story - the expanse of time, how the details were revealed and revelations made - made for a riveting story. If I hadn't been on a road trip and only able to read in small chunks every day, I'd have probably finished Just One Lie in a day! That's how good it is. I'm still ruminating about it and wish I had the time to read it all over again. Character growth - maturity-wise and emotional - is something I admire in a story and with Mercy and Brad I got it in spades. I did have my doubts at times. There were times I wanted to shake Mercy. But in the end, she didn't let me down.

I think this is the end for the series and I like where it ended so I'm happy. And I'm excited at the prospect of reading more from Davis!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts ~ Just One Lie by Kyra Davis

This week's quote is from Just One Lie and I had to share it because I'm thinking I may have found a neat drink to try on New Year's...or anytime I feel like it! ;)


The ocean looks like a giant black shadow, roaring for us as we find a little corner of beach to sit on, the champagne and brown bag held in Ash's hand. He reaches inside and pulls out two plastic flutes and a small bottle of vodka.
"Vodka?" I ask as he pours a shot into each glass.
"Not quite as cold as I'd like," he admits as he expertly loosens the cage around the cork of the champagne and then opens the bottle with only the slightest pop so he doesn't spill a drop. "The champagne will take care of the temperature." In a moment he's filled the rest of our glasses with bubbly. "It's called an Arctic Kiss," he says with a little smile before lifting his flute and handing me mine. "What should be drink to? New beginnings?"
"To new discoveries," I counter.
"To passion!" he rallies, making a game of it.
"Umm..." I struggle to come up with something new. And then I look out at the dark sea. How can something be so ominous and so enticing at the same time? My lips curl into a sad little smile as I clink my plastic glass against his. "To the end of the world."

Monday, July 24, 2017

Review ~ Before I Ever Met You ~ Karina Halle #2017NewRelease

Before I Ever Met YouBefore I Ever Met You by Karina Halle
Release Date: April 25, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Instagram Contest Win (contest hosted by the author)
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms

I first met William McAlister when I was just a teenager.

He was handsome, had a beautiful wife and was on the verge of success, having just joined my father as his business partner. Mr. McAlister was full of smooth charm, but back then he was barely a blip on my radar. Just a family friend.

Fast forward ten years. I'm 25 years old and a single mom trying to make things right for her seven-year old son. I've made some mistakes, grappled with my demons and now I'm back in the city of Vancouver, getting a second chance at a better life.

I've started by working for my father's production company as an executive assistant. My first day on the job and I already know I could have a promising career there. That is until I see Will McAlister for the first time in a decade.

Now recently divorced and as sophisticated as always, Will has gone from being my father's friend and business partner to something so much more.

We're both older, for one thing, and he just oozes this worldly confidence and stark sexuality. Combined with his tall, muscular build and sharp suits, strong jaw and bedroom eyes, Will has turned into one hell of a distraction.

A distraction I'm having a hard time staying away from, considering his office is right across from my desk and I work with him in such close proximity.

But it's just a harmless crush, right?

It's just an innocent fantasy of screwing him on his desk, right?

It can't ever be more because he's my father's best friend, business partner, and my boss.



Before I Ever Met You is a contemporary standalone romance, a light-hearted swoony read that will make you believe in love again.

Two tropes I'm fond of: office romances and May-December romances. Before I Ever Met You combines both these with a few bonus features. *wink* That this is written by Karina Halle only made it better. She's quickly becoming an author I can rely on for satisfying romances.

Jackie, former wild child and prodigal daughter of a wealthy couple has now returned home as a mom to a little boy and a woman with quite a bit of baggage. Her father has given her a job in the family company - assistant to Will - partner and long-time family friend. Jackie knew Will when she was a surly teen but seeing him now - she sees him in a whole new light.

Will has recently returned to Vancouver as a divorced man. He's been settling in nicely with the change of pace from the L.A. office. He doesn't think he needs an assistant but he's getting one. And when he sets eyes on Jackie, he couldn't be happier about the prospect.

As Jackie and Will get better acquainted, they find they can't eny the mutual attraction they feel - despite how they try - or the growing feelings between them. But Jackie's past, her son, her desire to mend things with her parents, all conspire against her...them.

I quite enjoyed Jackie and Will's story. Watching as they got to know one another, the fun banter between them, and Will's interactions with Jackie's son, Ty, all made for a compelling read. I did get frustrated with Jackie's inability to recognize or deal with her feelings. However, I also understood the reasons behind it. What she'd endured in her past and how it made her question herself was entirely realistic.

I really would have liked more page time with Ty. The interactions between him, Jackie, and Will were fun and endearing so I would have enjoyed more development in the dynamics there - especially between him and Will. That there wasn't that development took away from the depth that could have been created.

I'm thrilled Lexxie and I won ARCs of Before I Ever Met You to buddy read. It was a heartwarming story with engaging characters. I'm eager to read and listen to more of Halle's backlist.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Review ~ The Art of Sinning ~ Sabrina Jeffries #ReadAlltheBooks #ShelfLove

The Art of Sinning (Sinful Suitors, #1)The Art of Sinning by Sabrina Jeffries
Sinful Suitors #1
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance
Source: Purchased on Nook
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #ReadAlltheBooks, #ShelfLove

American artist Jeremy Keane refuses to return home and take over his father's business. He'd much rather sample bevviews of beauties abroad, in search of a model for the provocative masterpiece he's driven to paint. When he meets lady Yvette Barlow at a London wedding, he realizes she's perfect for his work--and determines to capture the young heiress's defiant spirit and breathtaking sensuality on canvas.

No stranger to scandal, Yvette agrees to be Keane's subject--in exchange for his help gaining entry to the city's brothels he knows intimately, so she can track a missing woman and solve a family mystery. But when their practical partnership leads to lessons in the art of sinning, can they find a bold and lasting love?

So I started this series out-of-order - which was no big deal - and now in reading this installment, I realize I should have finished another series (The Duke's Men) first. But only because there are character crossovers. It didn't affect my enjoyment of The Art of Sinning at all - only ruffled my OCD in reading series in order. LOL

Anyway, Jeffries is adept at creating heroines who don't fit the mold, so to speak, and Yvette didn't let me down in any respect. She's tall and strong - not small and dainty - she speaks her mind, and, and, and...she contributes slang words to a sort of urban dictionary of the day. Words she uses occasionally in public, much to her brother's dismay. Needless to say, her marriage prospects are few. 

Enter Jeremy Keane. He's an artist and when he first sets eyes upon Yvette, he knows he's found his muse. Then he meets her brother. With some finagling he manages to get what he wants...access to Yvette for painting.

These two were quite fun. Their banter was spirited and their chemistry was electric. They were both, however, harboring secrets that threatened their budding romance.

The secondary cast added much to the dept of the story, introducing the characters who inhabit this series. I quite enjoyed them all - getting to know better the few I met already, having read book 3.

My only issue was with the guilt Jeremy carried over an incident from his past. I felt he made a little more of his perceived part in it then there actually was. Overall though, The Art of Sinning was exactly what I've come to expect from Jeffries and I'm eager to finish this series as well as The Duke's Men.

Oh, I must mention the art. I'm not very knowledgeable about art, but I enjoyed it as an element in this story - especially the thought that went into a particular piece of Jeremy's.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Audio Review ~ For 100 Nights ~ Lara Adrian #AudioChallenge #2017NewRelease

For 100 NightsFor 100 Nights by Lara Adrian
100 Series #2
Narrated bySummer Morton
Release Date: January 16, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Audio. This did not affect my rating and my review is voluntarily provided. 
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #AudioChallenge, #2017NewRelease

Avery Ross is living a dream. After struggling all of her life to make ends meet, a chance meeting with a powerful, darkly handsome man has catapulted her into a dazzling new world of penthouse luxury, elegant parties, and a wild, consuming passion with her billionaire lover, Dominic Baine. Nothing is out of his reach in business or in pleasure, yet the only woman he wants is her. Nick sweeps her to sensual heights she has never dared explore, commanding her body the same way he commands her heart. Yet Avery knows the fantasy she's living cannot last. With dark secrets and a dangerous enemy haunting her past, Avery must find a way to trust Nick with the truth before it destroys everything they share. But Nick is harboring secrets of his own as well. And when they come to light, Avery will be forced to decide if the love she feels for Nick is strong enough to endure a betrayal she may never be able to forgive. Contains mature themes.

So For 100 Nights picks up where For 100 Days ended, continuing Nick and Avery's story. While I'm still invested in the outcome, there was something missing in this installment for me.

Nick made a deal with Avery - for every day they'd been together on her terms, he got a night on his terms. Since Avery's housesitting gig is up, this means she's essentially living with and being supported by Nick. This was something that was hard for me to swallow since Avery's a strong, independent woman who's been taking care of herself for awhile. But whatever.

Things seem to be going well for them as individuals as well as a couple. Nick has a pet project that's gotten approval and Avery's art seems to be reaching new heights. As a couple they're getting closer and seemingly stronger. But there are still so many secrets and something from Avery's past is haunting her - literally.

Okay, there were a lot of things I liked about For 100 Nights. With the exception of them keeping things from each other, I really like Nick and Avery together. Their chemistry is explosive and For 100 Nights has lots of steamy good times. I liked Avery's friend, Tasha, and her new artist friends. I liked seeing a compassionate side of Nick. But there were things I didn't like - mostly that I felt Nick used sex where words would have been better. And the past - things were too easily resolved.

And then that ending! Wowza!! I honestly didn't see that coming. I had inklings but nothing to this magnitude. I'm eager to see where these two land.

This is only a 3.5 star read because while I like my steam, I like it as a side dish to the story. And while For 100 Nights had story, it seemed to arrive late. In my opinion.

Summer Morton once again impressed me with her delivery, voices, and pacing. And the steam, y'all! The steam!! *fans self* I'll be checking out her other work. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Review ~ Escaping Reality ~ Lisa Renee Jones #BloggerShame #COYER #ShelfLove

Escaping Reality (The Secret Life of Amy Bensen, #1)Escaping Reality by Lisa Renee Jones
The Secret Life of Amy Benson #1
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Gallery Books via Netgalley. This did not affect my rating and my review is provided voluntarily.
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #BloggerShame, #COYER, #ShelfLove

Infinite possibilities...
Infinite passion...
Infinite danger...

His touch spirals through me, warm and sweet, wicked and hot. I shouldn't trust him. I shouldn't tell him my secrets. But how do I not when he is the reason I breathe? He is what I need.

At the young age of eighteen, tragedy and a dark secret force Lara to flee all she has known and loves to start a new life. Now years later, with a new identity as Amy, she's finally dared to believe she is forgotten--even if she cannot forget. But just when she lets down her guard, the ghosts of her past are quick to punish her, forcing her back on the run.

On a plane, struggling to face the devastation of losing everything again and starting over, Amy meets Liam Stone, a darkly entrancing recluse billionaire, who is also a brilliant, and famous, prodigy architect. A man who knows what he wants and goes after it. And what he wants is Amy. Refusing to take "no" as an answer, he sweeps her into a passionate affair, pushing her to her erotic limits. He wants to possess her. He makes her want to be possessed. Liam demands everything from her, accepting nothing less. But what if she is too devastated by tragedy to know when he wants more than she should give? And what if there is more to Liam that meets the eyes?

Why have I not read all of LRJ? Seriously!! She gives good romantic suspense - or however you want to classify her - and believe me when I tell you, I will be procuring the rest of this Amy Benson series. SOON! *wink*

The title is ironic for Amy since she's not always certain what her reality is...who she is. But I suppose that *is* her reality. She's a strong, capable young woman who's been running and hiding most of her life. She has someone helping her but she doesn't know or doesn't remember who. This latest run, that we witness, brings her into contact with someone she doesn't want to leave. It also has her asking questions and looking for answers.

Liam seems a good guy - genuine and compassionate. But I can't help but wonder about him and his motives. I want to believe in him though. 

I have so many questions - even now as I write this review several days after finishing, I'm wondering did this scene have more significance that I originally though. Is this character someone Amy should consider dangerous? Who is Amy really? And is she going to figure out what's been going on in her life? Who's been pulling her strings?

Escaping Reality was riveting. I couldn't read fast enough. LRJ kept me guessing all the while developing these characters that I'm completely invested in. I can't wait to find out what happens next!