Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Cross Check by Kelly Jamieson

Title: Cross Check
Author: Kelly Jamieson
My Rating: A-

Genre: New Adult Romance 
Series: Bayard Hockey #2
Main Characters: Ella and Ben
Release Date: July 2017
Publisher: Loveswept
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
A party girl and a clean-cut college hockey player discover that they’re not so different in this sexy, soulful Bayard Hockey novel from the bestselling author of Shut Out and the Heller Brothers series.

Ella Verran has three goals this semester: get off academic probation, repair her relationship with her friend Skylar, and take some responsibility for her life. All of which are hard enough without hot, snobby hockey player Ben Buckingham around to distract her. Ella can’t stand Ben, and she knows the feeling is mutual. But he’s best friends with Skylar’s boyfriend, so he’s always around—taunting and tempting Ella in ways she never thought possible.

As the star forward of the Bayard College hockey team, Ben has goals too, like playing well enough to land a spot on an NHL roster. Ben is perfectly poised on the ice, so why can’t he keep his cool around Ella? Her wild behavior rubs him in all the wrong ways—and a few of the right ones. But as they skate around each other, Ben learns that there’s more to Ella than her bad reputation. And when the line between love and hate starts to blur, he can’t resist crossing over and sweeping her off her feet.

My Review:
Oooh, this story was good. These two characters do not like one another at all, but they keep getting thrown together because they're best friends are dating. 

To Ella, Ben is a stuck up, cocky jock who's completely full of himself. 

To Ben, Ella is a party girl, more interested in drinking, partying, and sleeping around than anything else. 

They are both completely wrong, but it's not until they keep having to spend time with one another that they begin to realize that.

I liked the slow build to this romance. Even when they begin to realize that they are sexually drawn to one another, it takes a while after that for them to realize that they are drawn to the person too. It's not all hate anymore. That made the story and the romance feel more realistic. 

One of the things that's so good about this series is that there are social issues playing out in the background of them. In this one Ella is dealing with a lot of guilt after the guy she had a crush on committed suicide. She's dealing with that guilt and becoming more aware of recognizing signs of depression and mental issues. Those things that she didn't see in her friend. There's also a lot of discussion about consent when alcohol is involved. Ella used to drink a lot and then have sex when she really couldn't consent. These are really amazing themes to play out in a New Adult stories.

I really enjoy hockey themed stories...add in college...and enemies to lovers...and this book hit several of my YES tropes. 

I liked it and definitely recommend.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

All Or Nothing At All by Jennifer Probst

Title: All Or Nothing At All 
Author: Jennifer Probst
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Billionaire Builders #3
Main Characters: Tristan and Sydney
Release Date: July 2017
Publisher: Gallery
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Tristan Pierce left the family business to carve out a life of his own, but never forgot his passionate affair with the much younger, inexperienced Sydney Green, or the hurtful break-up that tore him apart. When he’s forced to return home and face his past, will he be able to carve out a future, or will lies ruin his second chance at love?

Sydney Green loved Tristan her entire life, but when he left, he took not only her heart, but her trust with him. Now that they’re together again, it’s time they both face the biggest secret of all….

My Review:
This was a book that I started reading and could not walk away from. It was so good, but I'm a sucker for a second chance at love story and this is a good one. 

Sidney and Tristan were romantically involved almost eight years before. But Tristan didn't want to stay in their hometown. Sidney didn't want to leave. They each were left with a broken heart. But Tristan didn't know all that Sidney did at the time. 

He was gone five years and the last two years, they've managed to almost completely avoid one another. But Sidney works for the company that Tristan runs with his brothers and she's demanding more responsibility since she's worked there longer than any of the three brothers. That's put them in very close proximity to one another whether they want to be or not. The thing is their chemistry is just as hot, if not hotter, than it ever was. 

There is a lot of high emotion to this book. The thing that caused their downfall before was Tristan's ability to withhold himself from Sidney. He still has that ability and it's really hurtful for their relationship. Honestly there was one point where I was so angry with him that I wanted her to be able to make him hurt. But luckily the author knew that, too, and she got him taken care of. 

I really did enjoy this book a lot. There's a lot of suspense to the romance just because it seems like their conflict is so insurmountable (mainly because Tristan is a stubborn sob...LOL...I did mention I had a few issues with him, right?). But I liked that because I never knew where the story might go and how the conflict would resolve. 

I definitely recommend this book and the entire series. I've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the Pierce brothers. Every one of these books has been great.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Get A Grip by L.A. Witt

Title: Get A Grip
Author: L.A. Witt
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Bluewater Bay #19
Main Characters: Shane and Aaron
Release Date: July 2017
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
If a tree falls in Bluewater Bay . . . could it be fate?

A year after his divorce, Shane Andrews isn’t interested in dating—not that he has time, between three kids and a demanding job as a grip. When a windstorm knocks a tree onto one of the Wolf’s Landing soundstages, Shane’s there to help with the mess . . . and so is firefighter Aaron Tucker.

A former smoke jumper, Aaron’s an adrenaline junkie and way too restless and reckless to be relationship material. As far as he’s concerned, monogamy is for penguins, and he’d rather be alone than tied down. Signing up to be a stepparent? No, thank you.

But after a scorching-hot night together, they’re hooked. Aaron is a taste of the excitement Shane’s been lacking, and Shane’s pushing buttons Aaron didn’t know he had. The more they’re together, the less Aaron craves wild nights with other men . . . but the more Shane wants to play the field like he never got to in his twenties.

This could be the love neither man knew he needed, but only if Shane gets his feet back on the ground before Aaron walks away.

My Review:
I really enjoyed this book, although I read it during a crazy week, so it took me four days to get through it. It just made me enjoy the story more because I truly got to immerse myself into the details of the story. 

I liked these guys just because they are both older, although they don't really want to accept the reality of that. Aaron has lived the life of a single, go-lucky, adrenaline junkie. Shane got a girl pregnant at the age of eighteen, so he's always had the responsibility. He's never had the chance to be the happy go lucky guy that Aaron has had. But now that his kids are older and he has his second divorce under his belt, he no longer wants serious relationships. Been there, done that, sucks at that. He's just at a point where he wants to have fun. Aaron is willing to do that with him especially since the sex is so incredibly hot. 

The book was interesting. Shane is a monogamous guy. That's just his default, no matter that he doesn't want a serious relationship. He has to fight against that almost this entire book. That isn't the type of relationship these two guys have. Aaron sure isn't going to accept to being tied down to a guy with three kids. He's not a person who would be okay stepping into a ready-made family. 

So both guys are automatically rebelling against the idea of a relationship, although they settle into that in reality pretty quickly. These guys are just really in sync. They work together and their chemistry is fantastic. They balance one another out really well. 

Overall, I thought this book was a great addition to this series. I love this series so much and love that I can jump in and out of the series depending on how much the book appeals to me. This story was a definite recommend from me.  

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Cutie and the Beast by E.J. Russell

Title: Cutie and the Beast
Author: E.J. Russell
My Rating: B+

Genre: Paranormal Romance (m/m)
Series: Fae Out of Water #1
Main Characters: David and Alun
Release Date: July 2017
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Temp worker David Evans has been dreaming of Dr. Alun Kendrick ever since that one transcription job for him, because holy cats, that voice. Swoon. So when his agency offers him a position as Dr. Kendrick’s temporary office manager, David neglects to mention that he’s been permanently banished from offices. Because, forgiveness? Way easier than permission.

Alun Kendrick, former Queen’s Champion of Faerie’s Seelie Court, takes his job as a psychologist for Portland’s supernatural population extremely seriously. Secrecy is paramount: no non-supe can know of their existence. So when a gods-bedamned human shows up to replace his office manager, he intends to send the man packing. It shouldn’t be difficult—in the two hundred years since he was cursed, no human has ever failed to run screaming from his hideous face.

But cheeky David isn’t intimidated, and despite himself, Alun is drawn to David in a way that can only spell disaster: when fae consort with humans, it never ends well. And if the human has secrets of his own? The disaster might be greater than either of them could ever imagine.

My Review:
ooh, I really enjoyed this first book in the series and am now ready for the other two. hehe, but I guess I'm supposed to talk about this one first. 

David is a mess. He seems to be a bit of a jinx. Wherever he goes, chaos follows...to the point where's he's been banned from actually working in an office by his temp service. But an awful flu virus is going around which means he gets an assignment he was never meant to have...working in therapist, Alun's office. Oh, and he's a human...something that should never work in a therapists office who deals with troubled paranormals every day.

Alun is a fae, but he's been cursed. It looks like he has some sort of birth defect that deformed his face...into the face of a beast, but instead he'd dealing with a 200 year curse. But it works well for him as a therapist. His patients, who are also paranormal beings, see that everything in his world hasn't been perfect.

Poor Alun...my heart hurt for him. He truly feels he doesn't deserve love. And David with all his naturally helpful and caring ways is totally confusing to him. He has no idea what to make of him. David is awkward, but it's done in such a sweet way, and the thing is he knows he's awkward and has just learned to accept and embrace it. He only wants to help people, so he figures as long as he isn't hurting anyone, then it's okay to be awkward.

The book was fun and incredibly creative. It takes place in our world where no humans know that the supernaturals exist. Alun actually has a support group for humans who have been traumatized by their surprising interactions with supernatural beings. But there are all these supernaturals out there...fae, vampires, druids, and shifters. And David has a natural affinity to seeing new treatments for a lot of their maladies. 

I enjoyed the book and can't wait for the next two, featuring Alun's brothers.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for honest review.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Jumping Jude by Lucy Lennox (audiobook)

Title:  Jumping Jude
Author: Lucy Lennox
My Rating: A
Narrator: Michael Pauley

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Made Marian #3
Main Characters: Jude and Derek
Release Date: February 2017 (audiobook)
Publisher: -
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Listening Length: 7 hours and 30 minutes
Jude: Reaching the top of the country music charts brings out the crazy, and there’s no one crazier than my ex. Unfortunately, his threats to out me are escalating. Enter the bodyguard of my dreams. 

I’d probably chafe under his constant presence if his attention to my body wasn’t so… ah… thorough. Now I have to worry about outing myself to millions of fans if I can’t keep my hands off him in public. 

Derek: Now I’m an ex-Marine turned babysitter. If I have to hear Jude sing his mega-hit Bluebells one more time, I might murder him myself, and after 6 years in special ops, I know my way around a weapon. Unfortunately, so does he. Except his arsenal includes washboard abs and a killer set of pipes. 

I’ve faced guns, knives, explosives and yet it’s Jude Marian who may end up bringing me to my knees. 

Fair warning: Jude and Derek's story contains frequent detailed scenes of man parts touching, little old ladies being inappropriate, and two lonely hearts coming together in perfect harmony. 

While it can also be read on its own, Jumping Jude is the third in the Made Marian series. Each book tells the story of one of the Marian brothers' search for true love. The first in the series, Borrowing Blue, is available now on Amazon. 
My Review:
Overall: 4.5
Performance: 4.5
Story: 4.5

Ooh, this entire series has been great so far, but I think this has been my favorite book of the series so far. 

Both the guys in this story are in the closet. For Jude, he's a country music star...a career with a fan base that isn't exactly known for it's lgbtqa acceptance. On the other hand, Derek is his bodyguard and comes from a very alpha military family...also not known for its acceptance. And at the beginning of the book, neither guy is aware that the other is gay. I liked that...a lot. 

This story covers several months in time as these two develop in their relationship. There is a lot of stress, both from Jude's high pressure job, the crazy fans, and keeping their growing feelings secret from one another. 

These two guys are very different. I like that Jude is artistic and a small guy. He's an introvert who simply puts on a different persona to interact with fans. But he loves sitting around and cuddling with Derek. I loved those evenings at home when the two of them were together and just snuggling on the couch. Derek is a big ex-army guy, but he also really loves snuggling in with Jude. Seriously, these were my favorites scenes in this book. 

I enjoyed this audiobook. In fact, I'm enjoying the entire series. I want to just sit around and listen to the next two books that are available right now. I love the Marian clan...and this author's writing. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Bonfires by Amy Lane (audiobook)

Title:  Bonfires
Author: Amy Lane
My Rating: A
Narrator: Nick J. Russo

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Main Characters: Aaron and Larx
Release Date: June 2017 (audiobook)
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Listening Time: 9 hrs 34 min

Ten years ago Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron George lost his wife and moved to Colton, hoping growing up in a small town would be better for his children. He’s gotten to know his community, including Mr. Larkin, the bouncy, funny science teacher. But when Larx is dragged unwillingly into administration, he stops coaching the track team and starts running alone. Aaron—who thought life began and ended with his kids—is distracted by a glistening chest and a principal running on a dangerous road.

Larx has been living for his kids too—and for his students at Colton High. He’s not ready to be charmed by Aaron, but when they start running together, he comes to appreciate the deputy’s steadiness, humor, and complete understanding of Larx’s priorities. Children first, job second, his own interests a sad last.

It only takes one kiss for two men approaching fifty to start acting like teenagers in love, even amid all the responsibilities they shoulder. Then an act of violence puts their burgeoning relationship on hold. The adult responsibilities they’ve embraced are now instrumental in keeping their town from exploding. When things come to a head, they realize their newly forged family might be what keeps the world from spinning out of control.

My Review:
Overall: 4.5
Performance: 4.5
Story: 4.75

OMG, I loved this book so, so much. This story is about two older men. Larx is the high school principal. Aaron is the deputy sheriff. Their romance begins when Aaron stops to warn Larx about running on a road with no shoulder. It would be a shame if Larx and his very distracting bare torso became road-pancake. That ends up with them becoming running partners. 

They also both have teenagers at the school and as a situation arises with a couple of the football players, they become partners in trying to make the school safe for all the kids. 

Seriously, I loved this book so much. Larx works with high schoolers everyday and they love him. He's a great guy who truly cares about his students and they know that about him. 

At issue though, for both men, is that their small town isn't all that progressive. If they come out their jobs could be in jeopardy. The entire story worked brilliantly for me. I loved the various teenagers...from the two heroes three kids to the football players, especially the one who was floundering with his family. My heart broke for him. 

The book was brilliant. The audio was amazing. I think this will probably be one of those books that I'll listen to again. I do know I need to order it in print, too, because I definitely want it on my keeper shelf. 

I loved this book and HIGHLY recommend it! 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Promo Post: Found at the Bookstore by Christi Snow

It's release day for FOUND AT THE BOOKSTORE!!

Story Description:
After suffering a traumatic brain injury the final football game his senior year in high school, Ryder Garrett’s life was never normal again. Most days he’s happy when he can remember the way home. There’s no room in his life for romance or love, which means he’s destined to die a virgin.

Stig Minton doesn’t remember what virginity felt like. Twelve years older than Ryder, he’s been around the block too many times to count and has the scars to prove it...both physically and mentally.

But as these two men come together to help with a wedding, they forge a friendship, a friendship they both desperately need. As their relationship evolves, feelings go deeper. But is it stupid to risk this new—and, yes necessary—bond in pursuit of something that’s doomed to fail?

They both think they’re too broken to make this work. But what if they’re wrong?

Two broken souls may just be able to find reparation in one another... 

Book #2 in the Found Series.

Found at the Bookstore works as a standalone. 

But if you want to check out book #1 first, Found at the Library is on sale this week for only $.99.
(This week only.)

Story Description:
His entire life, Tommy Garrett has dealt with self-doubts. He thought he’d conquered the majority of them until a chance meeting with an author brought his illiteracy to the forefront...again. Growing up with un-diagnosed dyslexia has left Tommy barely able to read, but books are his Nirvana. Now he spends his life creating art dedicated to the love of those “untouchable” items.

Robert McIntyre, Mac, is a best-selling, highly celebrated author. But his point of view has become a little bit too narrow...until Tommy opens his eyes. That chance meeting has changed everything about his world. He has no idea how to find the beautiful man he met, and offended, at the library book sale. But when he does, Tommy’s life is in crisis-mode. It’s the holidays and Mac can’t just standby when Tommy needs help, whether Tommy wants it or not.

Two artistic men. One shared passion for books.

Life is hard, and sometimes when conflict arises you have to write your own plot twist to pull yourself out of the fray.