Wednesday, April 16, 2014

It's Always Been You (Coming Home #5) by Jessica Scott


She plays by the rules . . . 

Captain Ben Teague is many things: a tough soldier, a loyal friend, and a bona fide smart-ass. He doesn't have much tolerance for BS, which is why he's mad as hell when a trusted colleague and mentor is brought up on charges that can't possibly be true. He's even more frustrated with by-the-book lawyer Major Olivia Hale. But there's something simmering beneath her icy reserve--and Ben just can't resist turning up the heat . . .

. . . and he's determined to break them

The only thing riskier than mixing business with pleasure is enjoying it . . . and Olivia can't resist locking horns--and lips--with Ben. He's got more compassion in his little finger than any commander she's ever met, a fact that makes him a better leader than he realizes. But when the case that brought them together awakens demons from Olivia's past, she will have to choose between following orders--or her heart . . .

******************************

5 'keeping this short because words can't do it justice' stars!!

I wish I could reach through my computer, take you by the shoulders and look you in the eye in hopes you'd be able to see my passion for this series, because I just don't have the words that can explain how brilliant a writer Jessica Scott it.

I love everything about the way she tells a story:

They're exciting, thought provoking, poignant, and inspiring! The the plot, the humanity, the heartbreaking reality of all the ways war can destroy a person that have nothing to do with IEDs and rifles, and most of all I love the unwavering loyalty these men and women have to our country, to always doing the right thing no matter the cost, and to each other.

I love her honorable heroes:
This was the burden of command: to balance the needs of the army over the needs of the individual. A tightrope he had to walk alone.
I love her sassy heroines:
"Wow, you're going all caveman. I'm not sure if I should swoon or wring out my panties."
The only thing I don't love:

She doesn't write fast enough!

My sincerest 'thank you' to Grand Central Publishing and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of "It's Always Been You." In return I'm giving them an honest review.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Good Girls Don't Date Rock Stars by Codi Gary


Description...
Gemma Carlson didn't plan on waking up married.

She also didn't count on running into her old flame—and her son's father-turned-country rock star—Travis Bowers, followed by a night of drunken dares. Apparently one of those involved a ring on her finger and a vow … neither of which she intends to keep. Now with a hangover from hell, this good-girl-gone-bad knows there's just one thing to do: run.

Travis has been all over the world, but Gemma has never been far from his thoughts. So when they had the chance to catch up over a few drinks, he didn't hesitate. Of course, he didn't expect it would lead to marriage, or a runaway bride! Travis finally has a second chance and doesn't plan on losing Gemma again—or the son he didn't know he had. He proposes, albeit belatedly, a date. Or rather, a few. If they can make this marriage work by starting over, he stays. If not …

Gemma's not interested; she's got a son to protect and a heart to heal. But having Travis around could make both a little easier. Still, good girls don't date rock stars . . . right?


Maybe it's just me...

Good Girls Don’t Date Rock Stars is the second book in Codi Gary’s Rock Canyon series. I absolutely loved the first book, Things Good Girls Don’t Do, and was anxiously awaiting this book. Sadly, even though I love the way Ms. Gary tells a story, this time, I didn’t love the story she was telling.

My review…

As I said, Codi Gary wrote an awesome first installment and I couldn’t wait to read more of the Rock Canyon world, but there were major things about Good Girls Don’t Date Rock Stars that didn’t work for me, and I actually considered not finishing it.

To help explain my thoughts, I’m just going to break it down by 'what worked' and 'what didn't.'

What didn’t work…

The first and most glaring problem for me is the title, and something everyone needs to be aware of. This story isn't about a bad-boy rock star, it's about a very awesome, not at all bad boy country music star. In fact, he's so awesome, he's the kind of guy most any parent would love to see their daughter hook up with. I know I would!

Next, as with infidelity, keeping a child from its biological mother/father is a story line that has to be handled with finesse if the author hopes the parent doing the concealing (or the partner doing the cheating) has a snowball's chance in hell of becoming a character the readers will love. Granted, Gemma and Travis are young when their child is conceived, but it speaks volumes to Gemma’s maturity – or lack thereof – that in ten years time she never contacted Travis to give him the chance - his right - to make his own decision about whether or not he wants to be part of his child’s life. And her reasons aren’t even compelling. No deep dark secret or tragic past making her want to protect her child, nothing in Travis’ past to indicate he’d be abusive or just not care. Yes, she was young and immature as a teen ager, but she's just plain selfish as an adult, and I couldn't get past that.

And lastly, Travis had the potential to be an amazing character, but he never became more than just that – a character. I didn’t connect with him, didn’t feel his pain or his frustration at Gemma keeping something this huge from him. Yes, when he found out the truth there was the expected shock, the ‘I need time to process this…’ reaction, but he quickly moved on from that. Too quickly. In fact, I think I had a more visceral reaction to Gemma’s deception than Travis did!

What worked…

Everything else. Codi Gary is a great storyteller, make no mistake. I adore – and I do mean adore - the supporting cast. Gracie is one hell of a best friend and I’m looking forward to reading her story.

Books in which small kids are the foundation of the story aren't always easy to pull off, but Charlie is a sweet, fun, more-mature-than-his-mother boy, and I enjoyed his time on the pages. From the gossipy, nosy neighbors to the friends, acquaintances, and sexy law enforcements, there are actually many things to love about Good Girls Don’t Date Rock Stars.

The bottom line…

I did love parts of this story, but the main story itself – not so much, which is why I gave the book only 3 stars. Had things been reversed, had the main story been strong and the other stuff weak, this would still have easily been 4-4.5 stars.

All that said, Rock Canyon continues to be a great world and, despite my disappointment with this book, I’m looking forward to reading more!

A copy of this story was generously provided by Avon Books, and in return I gave them an honest review.

Monday, April 14, 2014

All for You (Coming Home #4) by Jessica Scott


Description:

Can a battle-scarred warrior . . .

Stay sober. Get deployed. Lead his platoon. Those are the only things that matter to Sergeant First Class Reza Iaconelli. What he wants is for everyone to stay out of his way; what he gets is Captain Emily Lindberg telling him how to deal with his men. Fort Hood's newest shrink is smart as a whip and sexy as hell. She's also full of questions—about the army, its soldiers, and the agony etched on Reza's body and soul.

. . . open his heart to love?

Emily has devoted her life to giving soldiers the care they need—and deserve. Little does she know that means facing down the fierce wall of muscle that is Sergeant Iaconelli like it's just another day at the office. When Reza agrees to help her understand what makes a soldier tick, she's thrilled. Too bad it doesn't help her unravel the sexy warrior in front of her who stokes her desire and touches a part of her she thought long dead. He's the man who thinks combat is the only escape from the demons that haunt him. The man who needs her most of all . . .  

*****

5 ‘edgy but poignant, agonizing but hopeful’ stars!

The thing I love most about Jessica Scott’s stories is the humanity of them. The behind the scenes graphic, candid look at how the survivors of war – and in this case I mean the soldiers – deal with their emotional and physical scars. And further testament to her ability to tell a tale is that she can show us all this without making statements of political correctness. Whether war is right or wrong, good or evil… 

All For You is gut wrenching, heartbreaking, and gritty. It’s romantic, poignant and sexy. It’s thought provoking, uplifting and inspiring. It’s one helluva brilliant read.

An eARC was provided by Grand Central Publishing via Netgalley and in exchange I’m giving them an honest review.

Skies of Gold (The Ether Chronicles) by Zoe Archer


Description…
Two Lonely Hearts…

Kalindi MacNeil survived the devastating enemy airship attack that obliterated Liverpool, but even her engineering skills can’t seem to repair her broken heart. Seeking to put her life back together, Kali retreats to a desolate, deserted island—only to discover she’s not alone. Captain Fletcher Adams, an elite man/machine hybrid, a Man O’ War, crashed his battle-damaged airship into this deserted island after Liverpool, never expecting to survive the wreck. But survive he did.

One Desire…

Believing he is nothing but a living weapon, Fletcher is wary of his new-found companion—a pretty, damaged, but determined young woman. Together they are stranded on the deserted island, and it is only a matter of time until desire gets the best of both of them. Soon Kali and Fletcher find they may be just what the other needed. But a danger from beyond the island puts them to the test. Will it rip them apart or bond their hearts forever?

********* 


"Sodding damn. She'd ruined his perfect loneliness."

I’m not a huge fan of science fiction, not real big on fantasy, either… but Steampunk, when done right, really turns my crank! And make no mistake about it, Zoë Archer does Steampunk right.

My review…

Skies of Gold is the fifth book in The Ether Chronicles series. I’ve had this book sitting on my Kindle for almost a year, but because of my affliction with MR BIOS – Must Read Books In Order Syndrome – I kept putting it off until another of my afflictions – MR ABE – Must Read All Books Eventually – made it so I couldn’t put it off any longer.

I’ve been a fan of Zoë Archer’s storytelling for some time now, but honestly, Skies of Gold might just be my favorite story. There’s something so compelling about this world she’s created, something so plausible even in its implausibility. And it’s not just the story she’s telling, it’s the characters who are living the story - Kali and Fletcher are both people I came to care about. Their honor and integrity, their strengths as well as their vulnerabilities – everything about them drew me in and made me love them.

The bottom line…

I really am sorry I waited so long to read this! Skies of Gold is such a fun, romantic, exciting, passionate story. It’s sexy but not toooo sexy, with the real appeal and entertainment here being found in the story itself and in the amazing Kali and Fletcher. As I said, when Steampunk is done right, it ROCKS, and I’ll definitely be reading more of The Ether Chronicles.

Note... I can, without hesitation, say that Skies of Gold can be read out of order, and even works very well as a stand-alone novel.

An eARC of this story was provided by Avon Books via Edelweiss. In return I’m providing them with an honest review.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Blithely Bookish Spotlights Author AJ Wiliams

 His Final Bounty





Title: His Final Bounty
Series: Bounty for Hire #4
Author: AJ Wiliams
Release Date: 3/24/14
Publisher: Self
Genre: Contemporary Spicy Romance









Welcome to Spotlight on AJ Wiliams

A.J. Wiliams and I have been online buddies for a few years, now. We met back when we both wrote fan-fiction as Sisters of the Black Dagger Brotherhood and she’s the first of my friends to actually write a book and publish it. I’m very excited to have her as a guest for my first Author Spotlight.

Me:  AJ, I’m thrilled to have you here with me today!  I’m dying to know – what is it like to be a published author?  What made you decide to take the plunge, and was it scary?

AJ:  Thanks for having me here....

It's fun and stressful publishing a book.

I decided to take the plunge after writing in the BDB Sisters forum. Having the freedom to write with a group of women that not only enjoyed what I wrote but also encouraged me. It was liberating. I even dedicated my first book to my BDB Sisters. I always thought about getting my love for writing out into the world but never felt that I had the courage to do it. I really owe my thanks to my BDB Sisters. Each one offered something encouraging that allowed me to take pieces of them with me on this journey.

I have my fourth book out and I have to say I am just as scared as the first time. I have a feeling this emotion will not change. It is the usual normal questions of will people like it? Will they feel the emotion of the characters?

I have several books that I am currently working on right now with the hopes to have at least one of them published by the end of the year.

Me: I enjoyed the time we spent writing fan-fiction together and the way you tell a story. And because you're my first Spotlighted Author, I have a surprise for you! You've been gifted a one-month Bookshelf ad at Affaire de Coeur Magazine: http://affairedecoeur.com/Chapter%20Previews/2014/hisfinalbounty.html

I'm so proud of what you've accomplished and I wish you all the best success!

His Final Bounty Book Blurb:

Eva Rosenberg hacks a secret file of Jefferson's and discovers the man who shattered her heart and her world has one giant secret.

Jefferson Anders’ current bounty hunting status has allowed him to hide in the shadows, never forcing him to face the secrets of his past. Having spent five years hiding the truth, he never dreamed the secrets of his past would catch up to him. Secrets which cost him both the love of his life and connection to his family. Now, he must face the mistakes of his past.

With a confrontation looming with Eva and a possible death threat, they must work as a team to find forgiveness and defeat the enemy that waits in the shadows.

Purchase Links:

Click to visit and purchase from author's website

Click to purchase at Barnes and Noble

Click to Purchase at Amazon

Click to purchase at All Romance Books: 

Click to purchase at Smashwords


Author Information:

AJ grew up in a small southern town in Missouri. It was there that she discovered her love of writing. Having the ability to create a story from nothing into something held her spellbound. She holds a bachelors degree, and will on occasion find it useful. Currently, AJ lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with her husband, their two small children and two dogs.

AJ loves learning about new things, playing games with her family, and listening to music. She loves romantic movies as well as science fiction. If truth be told, she loves fantasy and science fiction movies just a little bit more.

At given time she can be found letting her kids believe she has super powers.

Author Links: For more information about AJ Williams and upcoming books, follow her @ Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and her website where you can sign up to be a street team member and subscribe to her newsletter.

AJ at Affaire de Coeur Magazine:  http://affairedecoeur.com/Chapter%20Previews/2014/hisfinalbounty.html
Website: www.ajwiliams.com
Blog: http://ajwiliamsromanceauthor.blogspot.com/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AjWiliams
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJ_Wiliams
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/AJWiliams
Pintrest: http://www.pinterest.com/ajwiliams/

Excerpt:

Eva wasn’t sure when it happened, but her body called to her in a way that she hadn’t felt in years. After all this time, he still wore Ralph Lauren Polo Black. She loved that smell. Her reaction to him spurred her body closer to his, lightly brushing her nipples against his side. Every sensation from Jefferson rubbing her back, to her tracing circles on his chest increased her breathing. Her nipples tightened and the dampness increased between her legs.

“Jefferson.” Her voice was soft as she moved her finger to his nipple in a sensual circle.

“Eva,” his growl pressed her to continue. There was something about the way he growled her name that caused her to stop circling and started to use her fingers to rub his nipple with her thumb and finger.

“You have to stop.”

Lifting her head up from his chest, she kept rubbing his nipple as she looked into his eyes.

“Tonight, please just give me this one night. After that, we will go our separate ways. I just need to feel you.”

“There will never be ‘just one night’ with us, Eva. If we do this, it’s for keeps. Do you understand? I could never let you walk away, nor would I allow myself to walk away from you again.”

His word slammed over her. His eyes danced in the light. She could see that he too needed tonight. As much as she wanted more nights, she didn’t think she could ever give him more. Then again, maybe she could, but it all depended on him. She had the truth, but it didn’t really ease the hurt she still felt in her heart.

She didn’t respond at first, as her thoughts rolled through her mind.

“Tonight please, Jefferson. Just tonight.”

“I’ll give you tonight, but we will talk,” he declared.

She didn’t want to talk. She wanted all or nothing and tonight it was all. If she couldn’t have tonight, then she could go back to having nothing in her life. She’d had five years of practice. What was another fifty? She nodded edging closer to his body.

“I mean it, Eva.”

She didn’t trust herself to say anything, afraid she might say no talking, just fucking, because that’s all she wanted. She nodded again, placing a light kiss on his chest.

Lifting her head up she gazed into his dark eyes, waiting to see if he understood or at least accepted her response. He moved over, roaming her face and then his eyes narrow for just a second.

Please, she begged silently for him to just give her now.

She touched her lips to his. It was ecstasy. His full lips upon hers. At first, he didn’t move, so she gave his nipple a pinch, causing him to open his mouth.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Friday, April 11, 2014

How to Say Goodbye by Amber Lin

 How to say goodbye


 "Be near me so that I can be near you..."

I adore the worlds Amber Lin creates with their complex, damaged characters who often struggle with the same things I struggle with. People I'm seldom instantly drawn to, but who always win me over. How to Say Goodbye is this kind of story.

Description...
Amy has a secret: no one’s ever held her hand. She doesn’t even know how to hug. Everyone thinks she’s smart, but straight A's are way easier than making friends. Then she meets Dane, a golden-haired surfer whose easy charm and hot touch teach her what she longs to know.

Dane lives for the salty breeze and a sweet wave, because that’s all he has. He’s been on the streets since he was fourteen. A drifter. Homeless. Then he meets Amy. Smart and accomplished, she’s everything he’s not. He wants to be the sort of man who deserves her.

Except that means facing down his past—and that past might very well swallow them both.
My review...

If you've read Amber Lin's stories you already know that she has an amazing talent for showing us the very best in people, but also the very worse in people and doing it in a way that no matter their past, no matter their crimes, we can't help but end up loving them. Amy and Dane are such provocative, emotionally complicated people and I truly wasn't sure, until the very end, if I'd be able to care what was to become of them - either apart or together. From childhood, they'd both been emotionally abandoned and didn't quite know how to feel for another person in a healthy relationship. To say I enjoyed watching them grow is true, and yet, I didn't enjoy watching their pain. My heart ached at how wounded and broken they had become over time, but they found in each other what they had lost. What they needed to be whole again.

The bottom line...

If you enjoy the 'coming of age' angsty feel of the New Adult genre but want a storyline that hasn't been done to death, I'll say to you... Stop reading reviews and buy this book. Amber Lin's stories will haunt you, uplift you, and make you want more.

An eARC was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Will by Kristen Ashley


Description…
Early in her life, Josephine Malone learned the hard way that there was only one person she could love and trust: her grandmother, Lydia Malone. Out of necessity, unconsciously and very successfully, Josephine donned a disguise to keep all others at bay. She led a globetrotting lifestyle on the fringes of the fashion and music elite, but she kept herself distant.

While Josephine was trotting the globe, retired boxer Jake Spear was living in the same small town as Lydia. There was nothing disguised about Jake. Including the fact he made a habit of making very bad decisions about who to give his love.

But for Josephine and Jake, there was one person who adored them. One person who knew how to lead them to happiness. And one person who was intent on doing it.

Even if she had to do it as her final wish on this earth.

Full (spoiler free) review now posted...



“It hit him in that moment in a way he knew he’d never forget that he could take that hand and she could lead him anywhere. Just tip up her lips, turn those eyes to him and hold out her hand and he’d go straight to hell with her and do it smiling.”


Such a fun, romantic, sexy story!


It will come as no surprise to anyone that I’m a huge fan of Kristen Ashley’s writing, and it’s stories like The Will that, book after book, keep me coming back for more. This first in the new Magdalene series has that awesome small town setting we’ve come to love in her stories, and the coastal town of Magdalene introduces us to some fantastic characters with amazing stories to tell! 

My thoughts…

Gotta say, I really am excited about this series. The town with its residents who have the same hopes and dreams, the same trials and triumphs as the rest of us, is a place I would love to call home, with people I’d love to call friends. 

Josie is a woman I didn’t connect with right away. She was so aloof, so standoffish, holding herself apart from the world around her. The way she talked, the way she dressed, the way she carried herself… everything about her said, back off! But when she finally got her chance to shine, her shine was like a million bright, blinding lights, and that's when she won me over, heart and soul. This woman who stepped up and loved and, holding nothing back, loved in a way she would change lives... yes… heart and soul, she had me.

Jake. Wow. Just wow! What a great hero he is! A man who put his heart out there, time and time again, until he felt he had nothing left of his heart to give. A man devoted to his children. A man determined to take care of his own, and do it in his own way. I fell for Jake hard, and did it early on. Giving, caring, funny, accepting, and hell yeah, all kinds of sexy. Jake is a man to be respected, feared, but most of all, he’s a man to be loved.

And, as she always does, Kristen Ashley has created this world and filled it with amazing people. The supporting cast is made up of men and women whose stories need to be told, and I’ve no doubt each and every one will be amazing!


The bottom line…


What’s left to say? I love this new world filled with unending possibilities and can’t wait to see where Kristen Ashley takes us next!


My thanks to Kristen Ashley for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review. As always, it has been such a treat!


If you're already a Kristen Ashley addict, or interested in checking out her books, be sure to stop by our Kristen Ashley Addict's Support Group on Goodreads