Saturday, May 26, 2018

Taste of Darkness by Katie Reus (audiobook)

Title:  Taste of Darkness
Author: Katie Reus
My Rating: A
Narrator: Jeffrey Kafer

Genre: Paranormal Romance 
Series: Darkness #2
Main Characters: Drake and Victoria
Release Date: January 2016 (audiobook)
Publisher: 
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
He spent more than a thousand years imprisoned in hell…

Drake is an ancient dragon shifter, one of the most powerful beings in existence, but a millennium trapped in utter darkness has left him ill-equipped for modern society. If it wasn’t for Victoria, the sweet female brave enough to befriend him, he’d be lost. She’s smart and gorgeous and everything he never dared dream of during his years of agonizing loneliness. He may not have anything to offer her, but one thing he knows for sure: he’d die to keep her safe.

Only to fall into the heaven of her touch.

Victoria is a wolf shifter, healer of the Stavros pack. She’s seen a lot, but she’s never met anybody quite like Drake, the fiery, fascinating shifter who can blaze through the skies unseen by mere mortals. He’s lost, dangerous, and the last male she should fall in love with, but the more time she spends helping him navigate modern life, the deeper—and hotter—their connection becomes. She’s thrilled when they finally locate his family, but reuniting with his people plunges them both into unimaginable danger. It’s a race against the clock trying to figure out who wants them dead and who they can trust, especially when the threat is closer than they ever imagined.

My Review:
Overall: 4.5
Performance: 4.75
Story: 4.25

Drake's story is just one of those that's perfect for a hero that you absolutely fall head over heels in love with. Sent to hell at the age of 12, he's spent the last 1500 years there. He knows virtually nothing of the world or dragon shifters (which he is one of). He has no memory of how he got there or what happened before being sent there. It's obvious he's been traumatized by the time spent there...did you catch that...1500 years?!?!?

So, yeah, he's a little bit messed up. But from the moment he sees Victoria, he knows that she's his. It doesn't matter that she's a wolf shifter. He's connected to her. 

But the best thing about Drake is that he's this vulnerable, wounded guy at the same time he's seriously tough and alpha and so much...just sexy male. Yum! I loved him and watching him love Victoria...yeah, it just made me happy.

I'm really loving this series and love that there's so many books of it out. I need to go grab book #3 now and download it onto my iPod because I adore Katie Reus's shifters. She writes some sexy shifters and I'm quickly falling in love with all of them. 

BTW, you can read any of these books as stand-alones.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Red Fish, Dead Fish by Amy Lane (audiobook)

Title:  Red Fish Dead Fish
Author: Amy Lane
My Rating: A+
Narrator: Greg Tremblay

Genre: Romantic Suspense (m/m)
Series: Fish Out of Water #2
Main Characters: Jackson and Ellery
Release Date: March 2018 (audiobook)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
They must work together to stop a psychopath—and save each other.

Two months ago Jackson Rivers got shot while trying to save Ellery Cramer’s life. Not only is Jackson still suffering from his wounds, the triggerman remains at large—and the body count is mounting.

Jackson and Ellery have been trying to track down Tim Owens since Jackson got out of the hospital, but Owens’s time as a member of the department makes the DA reluctant to turn over any stones. When Owens starts going after people Jackson knows, Ellery’s instincts hit red alert. Hurt in a scuffle with drug-dealing squatters and trying damned hard not to grieve for a childhood spent in hell, Jackson is weak and vulnerable when Owens strikes.

Jackson gets away, but the fallout from the encounter might kill him. It’s not doing Ellery any favors either. When a police detective is abducted—and Jackson and Ellery hold the key to finding her—Ellery finds out exactly what he’s made of. He’s not the corporate shark who believes in winning at all costs; he’s the frightened lover trying to keep the man he cares for from self-destructing in his own valor.

Listening Length: 11 hrs and 48 mins
 

My Review:
Overall: 4.75
Performance: 5.0
Story: 4.5

You need to have read book #1, Fish Out of Water, before you read this one.

But you also need to know that you NEED TO READ BOTH THESE BOOKS!

OMG, this series is amazing and listening to it on audio is about as perfect as an audiobook experience gets. Greg Tremblay is brilliant on his narration of these books!!! OMG, so, so, so good.

So, this story is a continuation of Jackson and Ellery's story. And god, Jackson is still so, so broken. I think that's what makes this narration so good. Greg Tremblay is amazing at pulling the emotion out of the text and making you feel deep in your gut. My heart mourned for Jackson and then in turn for Ellery, because whatever hurts Jackson, also hurts Ellery.

And Amy Lane doesn't hold any punches in hurting either of them in this book. It's an angsty, emotion-filled, action-packed book that doesn't stop from page one through the end. Seriously, so good. So good, in fact, I listened to the audiobook all in one day which meant my house is almost spotless because I clean when I listen to audiobooks. Seriously the only way to get my house clean is to find a fantastic audio that I can't walk away from. This one definitely fit the bill. 

If you haven't heard me yet...I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK...and the audiobook version of it. BUT read book #1 first...also in audio.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Hot Asset by Lauren Layne

Title: Hot Asset
Author: Lauren Layne
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: 21 Wall Street #1
Main Characters: Ian and Lara
Release Date: May 2018
Publisher: Montlake
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
A sexy agent hounds Wall Street's hottest new wolf in an exhilarating novel from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne.

Ian Bradley is the definition of a Wall Street hotshot: seven-figure salary, designer suits, and a corner office. His drive off the floor is just as potent. Every woman who knows him has felt the rush. But now he's met his match in Lara McKenzie-a woman with the power to bring Ian to his knees.

An ambitious, whip-smart daughter of FBI agents, Lara is a rising star in fighting white-collar crime. Her latest case-the investigation of Ian Bradley for insider trading-could make her career. She knows a scoundrel when she sees one, and Ian fits the bill: a cocky, ridiculously handsome bad boy with a slick swagger.

She'll do anything to prove he's guilty. He'll do anything to prove he's not. But it's only a matter of time before their fierce battle of wits gets oh so hot and personal. Now taking down Ian has become more than business for Lara. It's become a pleasure-and there's more at risk than she ever dreamed.
My Review:
ooh, what a fabulous enemies to lovers story. I really liked the setup of this one...so unusual...an SEC investigator and the Wall Street genius that she's been charged to investigate...serious no-go for a relationship with these two. 

I really liked the initial intro to Ian...unapologetic playboy and manwhore. But as the story delves deeper, you find out some truly amazing things about how far he's come. Then there's Lara who's more of an awkward homebody (although there were times it felt like her character had a few inconsistencies...she dressed awful and came across as a real introvert, but then wanted to go out to the hottest club in town??) But overall, the story was so good, it was easy to overlook those tiny issues.

I liked them together, and thought Ian's terror about having his world turned upside down was really well-written. 

For so long, it's really unclear how/why Ian's been accused of insider trading. That part of the story line worked for me, too. As did the forbidden aspect of anything happening between Ian and Lara. It goes without saying that it screws everything up if she becomes personally involved with him...for both of them. They simply can't...and that provides a backdrop for some sizzling chemistry. But first, I loved that she simply rejects him...which honestly, he needs just to take his incredibly large ego down a few notches.

We're also introduced to the next two hero/heroines, and I'm excited about where the series is going. I'm really looking forward to both those books. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review. BUT I already owned a print copy, too, because I need this one on my keeper shelf.

Marek by Sawyer Bennett

Title: Marek
Author: Sawyer Bennett
My Rating: A-

Genre: Sports Romance
Series: Cold Fury Hockey #11
Main Characters: Marek and Gracen
Release Date: May 2018
Publisher: Loveswept
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
When the Carolina Cold Fury’s hottest young star gets blindsided by an ex with a scandalous secret, it’s game on.

“One of the best voices in contemporary romance.”—New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne

Marek Fabritis is used to delivering blows, not receiving them. But when he gets tipped off by an anonymous email about his ex-girlfriend, the news leaves him ice cold—and it’s not because Gracen Moore is getting married to a total jerk. It’s the fact that Marek has a three-year-old daughter he never knew about. Now he’s going back home, not to play knight in shining armor but to make damn sure that no man takes what’s his. For the first time, there might be something more important than hockey.

Gracen Moore has always loved Marek. That’s why she let him go, so he could pursue a career in the NHL. And that’s why she never told him about Lilly. Only now does Gracen realize that she made an unforgivable mistake. But is that any reason for Marek to crash her wedding and make an epic scene? If the spark that still smolders between them is to be trusted, maybe. Still, Gracen’s not getting her hopes up. Because she knows better than anyone that appearances aren’t always what they seem. . . .
My Review: 
I love second chance at love books, but wow...I'm not sure I could have given Marek this second chance. He really started out the book as a real jerk, and it sounds like he was that way four years ago when he dumped Gracen. Personally, I felt she owed him a little bit more pain over that. Seriously, the dude dumped her so he could live his NHL life to the fullest...i.e. bang all the puck bunnies. UGH!!

But the rest of the book was good enough that I could forgive the author for writing him so vile in the beginning, but grrr. I do feel like Gracen deserved so much more. And yes, Marek did see the error of his ways, but it didn't feel like it was quite enough. 

Gracen screwed up, too, and her remorse is obvious from day one...Marek's...not so much...and that drove me nuts. 

But moving on...this was a good book. I did enjoy the overall setup because I adored Gracen and felt so badly for her (which is why his attitude bugged me so much...I loved her character). She knows she screwed up and is willing to let Marek abuse her mentally because of that. She also knows that she can't go back and make a different decision so she just deals. Seriously, this woman is so strong and she has raised such an exceptional daughter. Loved. Her!

Marek isn't as easy to love, but he does eventually come around...thankfully. 

As you can see...my emotions were fully involved with this story, which is why I rated it as high as I did even with my personal issues with Marek. I was fully invested in these characters and loved getting to read their story.

This whole series has been phenomenal and Marek was no exception to that rule. I love this team and its group of bad-boy players and management. 

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

Monday, May 21, 2018

Promo Post: Goal Keeper by Sarah Nego

Title: Goal Keeper
Author: Sarah Nego
Genre: NA Sports Romance
Publication Date: May 21st, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb: Plan the work. Work the plan.
           
Luci Ryder is determined to make the most of her college education. Armed with a partial scholarship to play soccer at Pearson University she knows the next four years are going to be a lot of hard work. Long hours in the gym will be paired with even longer hours in the library. So when the team captain lays down a new rule: No dating the men’s soccer team, Luci couldn’t care less.
Freedom. Sweet Freedom.
Over the summer Ryan VanKamp finally realized that his long-time girlfriend was going to drive him to an early grave. So he cut her loose, along with all the connections her family could offer him after graduation. His future is up in the air, but the guys on his soccer team are ready to help him forget all about his ex.
One little rule.
Neither Luci nor Ryan are interested in settling down with a happy ever after. But as their attaction for each other moves out of bounds, they’ll have to decide if they’re willing to risk a red card for a potential big score.
Goal Keeper is a laugh-out-loud stand-alone college romance. If you like quirky heroines, alpha males, and skinny dipping, then you’ll love Sarah Nego’s New Adult sport romance debut.
Buy Goal Keeper and kick off a swoon worthy romance today!
Sarah Negovetich knows you don't know how to pronounce her name and she's okay with that.
Her first love is Young Adult novels, because at seventeen the world is your oyster. Only oysters are slimy and more than a little salty; it's accurate if not exactly motivational. We should come up with a better cliché.
Sarah divides her time between writing books that her husband won’t read and performing on stage at BE Theatre. Her goal in life is to never grow up.


Wash Out by L.A. Witt

Title: Wash Out
Author: L.A. Witt
My Rating: A-

Genre: Military Romance (m/m)
Series: Anchor Point #7
Main Characters: Casey and Logan
Release Date: May 2018
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Casey Olson has always known he was destined to be a Navy SEAL, and the best day of his life was when he was accepted into training. The worst day was when a snapping bone ended his dream.

After three combat tours in five years, Logan Carter left the Marines and self-destructed. Now he’s sober and, thanks to a forgiving ex with friends in high places, has a promising job as a civilian contractor. All he has to do is stay on the rails and out of a bottle, even when his demons won’t leave him alone.

Logan likes his job, and he really likes the gorgeous man at the next desk. Casey tries not to check Logan out, but who is he kidding? From the start, despite their best efforts, neither man can resist the other. Sizzling chemistry leads to sex so hot they can both almost forget why they’re stuck in this office to begin with.

It would be perfect, except Logan can’t stop reliving wars he’ll never forget and Casey can’t stop grieving the SEAL he’ll never be. And they’ll never have a future together until they can make peace with their pasts.

My Review:
While I've liked some of these books better than others, I really liked this one. Both of these guys are really relatable. I really enjoyed reading both their stories and really enjoyed watching the two of them growing in their relationship with one another. 

Both of them have hard backstories. Logan is a recovering alcoholic. He used alcohol to get through his PTSD after three war-zone tours. So, now he's learning how to live life with PTSD and without alcohol. Casey made it through hell week for the SEALS when he broke his lower leg (badly) in a freak accident. So, his lifelong dream of being a SEAL is over. His leg will never recover enough for that. 

They also work together, but that can be both a pro or a con...and both sides are shown throughout the story. 

I really did enjoy this story. The guys were good together, and it was so easy to see where both of them were coming with their conflict. I loved the way the author illustrated Logan's PTSD with his sketching. The visuals there were so moving...and the progression of his nightmares felt very realistic.

I've enjoyed this entire series and definitely recommend this story. All the books in the series can be read as a stand-alone.

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

Roped In by A.M. Arthur

Title: Roped In
Author: A.M. Arthur
My Rating: B

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Clean Slate Ranch, #2
Main Characters: Colt and Avery
Release Date: May 2018
Publisher: Carina
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
At Clean Slate Ranch, the men are rugged, the trails are rocky and lassos aren’t only used for roping horses 

For Colt Woods, Clean Slate Ranch is home. The dude ranch in Northern California helped him heal from a devastating breakup. So when his ex-Dom, the man who broke his heart, waltzes onto the ranch, Colt doesn’t know how to deal.

A research job at a nearby ghost town brings history PhD Avery Hendrix to Clean Slate. He’s not in town forever, but it doesn’t take long for him to feel the familiar draw to Colt. When they find out they’ll be sharing a cabin on the ranch, it’s all Avery can do to stop himself from bending Colt over a saddle right then and there.

In such close proximity, Colt’s and Avery’s old feelings come galloping back. Soon Colt is doing his master’s bidding again and loving every moment of it. And the pair may be in for the ride of their lives—if the dedicated professor and his rugged cowboy can learn to trust again.

This book is approximately 88,000 words


My Review:
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, so I was looking forward to this one, but the feel of this book is very different from the first one. 

This book is a second chance at love story. Five years before Avery and Colt were in a D/s relationship that started out as a business relationship. Avery is asexual (I think...he doesn't like labels so would never discuss the specifics), but before Colt, he's never had a sexual relationship. He worked as a Dom, but that never involved sex...until Colt. 

But they had some serious issues back then. Issues that haven't changed now...problems with distance and different standards for morality. Avery is pretty strict on his standings on things and wasn't willing to give Colt a whole lot of leeway...which in the end killed their relationship. 

The thing is...neither has fallen out of love with the other. Five years later, they can see what caused their downfall with a better 20/20 vision of it...and hopefully a better understanding of how to make that work for them now. 

Overall, the book worked for me, although I had a few little niggles that weren't resolved. Avery had problems with Colt automatically dropping into D/s mode. Sometimes Avery wanted Colt to look at him as Avery, not Sir. I was really disappointed that was never truly resolved. Even in the epilogue, Colt would automatically drop into that Sir dialogue during sex. So, I was sad that it wasn't really addressed. 

Avery also isn't the easiest character to love. He's pretty stuffy....although I adored Colt, and hurt so much for him and all his back story. He's been through a lot and I feel like he's really gotten shafted by both Avery and his friends. 

So, while not my favorite book in the series so far, I did really enjoy reading it overall. I'm ready for more stories from this ranch.

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