Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen (audiobook)

Title:  Rookie Move
Author: Sarina Bowen
My Rating: A
Narrator: Nicol Zanzarella and Rock Engle

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #1
Main Characters: Leo and Georgia
Release Date: September 2016 (audiobook)
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
The first novel in a sexy new series featuring the hockey players of the Brooklyn Bruisers and the women who win their hearts—from the USA Today bestselling author of the Ivy Years series.

In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold... 

Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.



Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast....

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

I am so excited about this book...mainly because it was so good and it's just the first book in this series so that means there are more books to come. YES!

This was a second chance at love story. The book starts with Georgia. She works as the PR person for the Brooklyn Bruisers, but on the first day of her handling the main job, she finds out that both her father and her high school ex are coming to work for the team. Dad as the coach. Leo as the rookie player that dad does NOT want on his team, but Leo was hired by the owner without consulting the new coach. 

For Leo, Georgia was the woman who broke him. They were seniors in high school and her world imploded in a single night taking her relationship with Leo with it. Truly, neither one of them ever recovered. 

This book has all the feels. There's heartache galore, but there are also light and funny moments. Moments that twisted my heart and made it swell with possibilities.

Seriously, this book was so good. I picked it up when someone mentioned just how good it was and it lived up to everything I hoped. Such a good, good read. It had just the perfect amount of hockey story line mixed in with the incredible romance. Then there were the friends of both the MC"s that I loved getting to know. I just loved everything about it. 

And the narrators for the audiobook nailed the voices. Absolutely fantastic!

I highly, highly recommend it and cannot wait for books #2 and #3 to come out. So excited for this new series. 


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Snowfall in Haven Point by RaeAnne Thayne

Title: Snowfall on Haven Point
Author: RaeAnne Thayne
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Haven Point #5
Main Characters: Andrea and Marshall
Release Date: September 2016
Publisher: Harlequin
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
There's no place like Haven Point for the holidays, where the snow conspires to bring two wary hearts together for a Christmas to remember  

It's been two rough years since Andrea Montgomery lost her husband, and all she wants is for her children to enjoy their first Christmas in Haven Point. But then Andie's friend asks a favor—to keep an eye on her brother, Sheriff Marshall Bailey, who's recovering from a hit and run. Andie will do anything for Wyn, even park her own misgivings to check on her grouchy, wounded bear of a brother. 

Marshall hates feeling defenseless and resents the protective impulses that Andie brings out in him. But when a blizzard forces them together for the holidays, something in Marshall begins to thaw. Andie's gentle nature is a salve, and her kids' excitement for the holidays makes him forget why he never wanted a family. If only he and Andie can admit what they really want—each other—their Christmas wishes might come true after all.


My Review:
I always love a wounded hero and this book starts out after Marshall was injured by a hit and run driver. Marshall is the town's sheriff, so he has a few enemies. But this injury just so happens when his friends/family are all out of town and he doesn't have anyone to help him adjust to life on crutches...in the middle of winter. That's where Andrea comes in. She's his neighbor and Marshall's sister calls in a favor...can Andrea check on him? 

And that's where the relationship comes in. The thing is...Andrea has been through hell over the last few years...starting when her cop husband died on the job and then ending with another cop attacking and raping her. She's pretty much through with cops...which means Marshall is off limits. But that's easy because his injury and circumstance means he's grumpy and difficult. 

I love that this relationship is such a slow build. It makes it all the more believable and I liked how it snuck up on both the characters, too. I really enjoyed the story and the book. The different story lines with the kids worked...in fact, everything about this book worked for me. I simply enjoyed reading it. There's a lot of emotion to it and it's simply a perfect read for the holidays. I need to order it in print. 

BTW, this is part of a series, but I promise you will never be lost if you haven't read the rest of the series. It works perfectly as a standalone.

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

The Trouble with Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis

Title: The Trouble with Mistletoe
Author: Jill Shalvis
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Heartbreaker Bay #2
Main Characters: Willa and Keane
Release Date: September 2016
Publisher: Avon
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
If she has her way ...

Willa Davis is wrangling puppies when Keane Winters stalks into her pet shop with frustration in his chocolate-brown eyes and a pink bedazzled cat carrier in his hand. He needs a kitty sitter, stat. But the last thing Willa needs is to rescue a guy who doesn’t even remember her ...

He’ll get nothing but coal in his stocking.

Saddled with his great-aunt’s Feline from Hell, Keane is desperate to leave her in someone else’s capable hands. But in spite of the fact that he’s sure he’s never seen the drop-dead-gorgeous pet shop owner before, she seems to be mad at him ...

Unless he tempers “naughty” with a special kind of nice ...

Willa can’t deny that Keane’s changed since high school: he’s less arrogant, for one thing—but can she trust him not to break her heart again? It’s time to throw a coin in the fountain, make a Christmas wish—and let the mistletoe do its work ...


My Review:
Happy sigh...there was so much to love about this book...Pita, Keane's house, Willa's "family", the pet shop, the Christmas season, and the MC's fantastic back story. But at the very center of this story are Willa and Keane and the fact that neither of them trust the other to the point of connecting...even when they do. Yeah, these two are both very confused. One would be all-in and then the other wouldn't be and then they would flipflop. Neither one of them had the best foundation in how to make interpersonal relationships work and that shows in every one of their confrontations...and it made me love them both more than just a little bit. 

Willa owns the local pet shop and animals aren't the only strays that she takes in. She has a huge group of people that she surrounds herself with. She's a caretaker, but she doesn't let any of those people really see "her"...even though they really do. I loved the scenes between her and Archer, because he saw so much of her below the surface. Keane also sees her. But Willa's friends also see him. I loved their reactions to him...mainly how much they transitioned throughout the book. At first, because Willa doesn't trust him, neither does anyone else. But slowly as they see more and more of him, they get behind him and his campaign to win Willa's heart. I loved that. 

Neither of these characters truly knows what it means to be in love. As a result there are some serious speedbumps in their relationship. I loved getting to watch them fall in love and learn how to deal with all the repercussions of that. There is a ton of angst and emotion to this book right alongside so many laughs and giggles. It's classic Jill Shalvis and that means it's simply excellent reading. I loved reading this one, and cannot wait for Archer and Elle's book...wow, talk about sparks. These two are going to have a fantastic story! 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.
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From New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis comes a captivating story of love, second chances and new beginnings...

THE TROUBLE WITH MISTLETOE, the second standalone novel in Jill Shalvis's Heartbreaker Bay Series, is out today! Check out the excerpt below and grab your copy of this fantastic new novel today!

   
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If she has her way…

Willa Davis is wrangling puppies when Keane Winters stalks into her pet shop with frustration in his chocolate-brown eyes and a pink bedazzled cat carrier in his hand. He needs a kitty sitter, stat. But the last thing Willa needs is to rescue a guy who doesn’t even remember her…

…He’ll get nothing but coal in his stocking.

Saddled with his great-aunt’s Feline from Hell, Keane is desperate to leave her in someone else’s capable hands. But in spite of the fact that he’s sure he’s never seen the drop-dead gorgeous pet shop owner before, she seems to be mad at him…

Unless he tempers “naughty” with a special kind of nice…

Willa can’t deny that Keane’s changed since high school: he’s less arrogant, for one thing—but he doesn’t even remember her. How can she trust him not to break her heart again? It’s time to throw a coin in the fountain, make a Christmas wish–and let the mistletoe do its work…

Order THE TROUBLE WITH MISTLETOE in ebook or paperback

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | B&N

Add to your Goodreads

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And don’t miss the first novel in Jill Shalvis’s Heartbreaker Bay Series, SWEET LITTLE LIES, now available! Grab your copy HERE!

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Willa sighed and headed to the door. Again Keane held the pink bedazzled cat carrier, which should have made him look ridiculous. Instead it somehow upped his testosterone levels. His sharp eyes were on her but they turned warm in a way that melted her right through her center as she moved toward him. She stopped with the glass door between them, hands on hips, hoping she looked irritated even if that wasn’t quite what she was feeling. His gaze lowered from her face to run over her body, which gave her another unwelcome rush of heat. Dammit. Now she was irritated and aroused—not a good combo. His mouth quirked at the saying on her apron that read Dear Santa, I Can Explain. Drawing a deep breath, she opened the door. “You’ve got Petunia again. I hope that means your great-aunt Sally isn’t still sick.” He looked surprised that she’d remembered his aunt’s name, or that she’d care. “I don’t know,” he said a little gruffly. “She left me a message saying that I was in charge for the rest of the week but for two days now Pita’s been happily destroying my jobsite. I’m throwing myself on your mercy here. Can you help?” Wow. He must be really desperate since he was actually asking and not assuming. But since Petunia was a sweetheart, she knew she’d do it. “I’ll even tell you where I went to high school,” he said, adding a smile that was shockingly charming. Wow. He hadn’t lost his touch when it came to turning it on. “Not necessary,” she said, painfully aware of their audience. Keane’s attention was suddenly directed upward, just above her head. She followed his line of sight and found a sprig of mistletoe hanging from the overhead display of small portable doggy pools. Mistletoe? What the hell? She glanced behind her and what do you know, suddenly Rory and Cara were a flurry of movement racing around looking very, very busy. “When did the mistletoe go up?” she asked them. “And why?” “FOMO,” Cara said from behind the counter. “Fear of missing out,” Rory translated. “She was hoping a hot guy would come in and the mistletoe would give her an excuse.” Willa narrowed her eyes and her two soon-to-be-dead employees scattered again. “Interesting,” Keane said, looking amused. “I’m not kissing you.” His mouth curved. “If you take Pita for the day, I’ll kiss you.” “Not necessary,” she said, gratified no one could see her heart during the two-step in her ears. “I’ll take Petunia for the day. No kiss required or wanted.” Liar, liar…  
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About Jill Shalvis: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s sexy contemporary and award-winning books wherever romances are sold and click on the blog button above for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.      
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Monday, September 26, 2016

Kinky Sprinkles by L.A. Witt

Title: Kinky Sprinkles
Author: L.A. Witt
My Rating: B+

Genre: Erotic Romance (m/m)
Series: -
Main Characters: Joel and Andre
Release Date: September 2016
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: erotic

Story Blurb:
Joel has finally walked away from his abusive ex and is ready to meet new people. But that isn’t easy for a guy who’s shy, self-conscious, and struggling with his body image.

Andre has wanted Joel since the first time he laid eyes on him, and finally Joel is single. But Andre is a Dom and a sadist, and Joel is unapologetically vanilla. There’s no happy medium—either Andre reins in the kinky side that took him years to accept, or Joel grits his teeth and subjects himself to kinks that aren’t his thing. No matter who bends, someone’s going to be unhappy.

They agree to walk away, but they keep circling back to each other. Though their kinks might not line up, the chemistry between them sizzles and the emotional connection keeps getting deeper. But none of that will get them anywhere if they can’t find some kind of middle ground in the bedroom.


My Review:
This is a fairly short book. As a result, there's not a lot of space on the page devoted to delving into the details of the heroes' lives. Overall, for me, that worked just because there are times when I want a quick and dirty read...and I did enjoy what was on the page. 

Joel had a bad relationship. The true details of how it all fell apart are a bit vague...there was more than a little abuse that everyone could see, but Joel himself. He just thought he was being a good sub and although he hated almost all of that, he'd been brainwashed to a certain extent. He never wants to go there again...in either the kink or that kind of relationship. But now that his ex is out of his life, he's floundering. All his friends and social life was through the kink. How does that work now that the kink is out of his life?

Andre is a Dom who was fascinated by Joel from first sight...three years ago. But Joel was taken so he never acted on it. Now's his chance, except their kinks do NOT match up, although their chemistry most certainly does. 

I loved these two together. It was interesting seeing how they navigated the new levels of their relationship and negotiated how things could work between them with their very differing needs. Like I said this book isn't very long, but I thought it was a pretty satisfying read. I enjoyed it quite a bit. There's a bit of kink present, but this is really more about the relationship. It was a fun little read. 

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

Single Player by Elia Winters

Title: Single Player
Author: Elia Winters
My Rating: A-

Genre: contemporary romance (m/m)
Series: Slices of Pi #3
Main Characters: Matthew and Silas
Release Date: September 2016
Publisher: Pocket Star
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
Geeky meets kinky in the third novel of the sexy Slices of Pi series by RITA-nominated author Elia Winters, where the employees of a gaming company in sultry Florida work hard—and play even harder.

Matthew Abrams finally has the life he’s always wanted—a promising career as a programmer at PI Games, a decent apartment in a nice neighborhood, and a thriving social life. And he’s perfectly content until he has a one-night stand with Silas Benson, a biomedical engineer with a charitable side to boot. Suddenly Matthew is doubting his life choices and worrying he might not be living up to his full potential.

Silas Benson doesn’t have time for much else outside of work, and that’s how he’s always liked it. As a biomedical engineer, he’s at the cutting edge of advances in the field, and he’s not going to waste his life partying when he could be doing actual good in the world. After a one-night stand at his friend’s twenty-fifth birthday party, though, Silas feels his focus shifting toward a certain tall, dark, and handsome almost-stranger.

When an emotional breakdown requires Silas to take a leave of absence from work, Matthew rushes to his aid and teaches him the merits of frivolity. Silas is an unwilling student at first, but Matthew soon has him in the groove, which makes for one steamy, wild ride. But is this a forever sort of affair, or will Silas abandon Matthew’s wanton ways in favor of a life of serious-minded solitude?
 


My Review:
I've seriously cut down my reviews this late summer/fall because of my other obligations, but this book was an exception. I've loved this series, but honestly probably would have passed on this book if it had been an m/f. But it was an m/m and I couldn't resist my curiosity about what this author would do with two guys. OMG, I was not at all disappointed. This story was excellent. 

Silas and Matthew have nothing in common. Silas is brilliant and works every day in his biomedical engineering career to make differences in people's lives. He does important work and is ALWAYS conscientious about that. As a result, he works long, long hours every single day of the week. He can't enjoy time off because that time could make a difference to a person's value of their life. That's the way his parents raised him and after they died suddenly four years ago, he's gotten even more obsessive about his work. 

On the other hand is Matthew. He's a video game programmer and he spends his life kind of skating by. He does the bare minimum at work to do his job and is always the first one out of his chair at 5:00. He likes his life because it gives him the freedom to relax and party. He does bartend on the weekends, but come on...that's fun, not work. 

But when Silas is dragged out for his friend's birthday to the club where Matthew works, things get hot and heavy between them. It was supposed to be a one-time thing, although they both thought it was incredibly hot. But then they run into one another and a pseudo-friendship/hookup relationship develops. It's pretty much an accidental thing, because these guys don't have much in common besides really hot sex. But when circumstances change, they both begin to see the possibilities. 

I really enjoyed the book. I liked how the story developed so that the reader got to see exactly why Silas is the way he is. This poor guy, but even while he's learning to chill out a bit, he brings out a better side of Matthew, too. I like how they equalized one another and they both became better people because of the other's influence on their life. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read and story. 

The entire series has been good, but all the books work perfectly well as stand-alone reads.

Note: Can we take a moment to enjoy the view on that cover? Yum-mm-my. OMG, that cover is hot. LOVE it so much. 

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

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Nothing More by Anna Todd (audiobook)

Title:  Nothing More
Author: Anna Todd
My Rating: B
Narrator: Jason Carpenter

Genre: New Adult Romance 
Series: Landon Gibson #1
Main Characters: Landon
Release Date: September 2016 (audiobook)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
New York's skyscrapers and hectic pace are a far cry from where Landon Gibson grew up, and the transition to New York University has been jarring. But he's getting the hang of things, found a job that pays (some of) the bills, enjoys school, and only occasionally runs into his ex, Dakota. You know, the one he chose NYU for...before she dumped him. 

Luckily, his best friend, Tessa, shares a (terribly small) Brooklyn apartment with him. And given the ups and downs she's had with her own ex, she's a good listener when he finds himself in something of a love triangle—a love knot? Whatever it is, it's a mess. An exciting mess. Maybe an addicting mess, because beautiful girls. 

Being young and finding your way in the world is hard. Landon's always been a positive person. But such a loud, demanding city so far away from home means you only get by with a little help from your friends. And a good pair of headphones. 

Landon's going to be okay...but the journey sure will be fun to watch.

My Review:
Overall: 3.25
Performance: 4.25
Story: 3.0

Okay, this book...I don't even really know what to say. This is the first book I've read by Anna Todd, and while I enjoyed it in audio, I honestly think that was because the narration was so well done. The book was okay...but there's just really nothing happening. 

Seriously, while the narration is somewhat interesting, I literally stopped at the 3/4 point in the book and had to wonder...just what is the point of this book? There's stuff happening...kind of, but Landon is just letting life happen to him. He's not proactive about anything. He wants his ex, Dakota, back...but then he's just kind of "meh" when she shows interest in the same thing (and note....I do not want him with her...AT ALL.) He thinks Tessa's friend, Nora, is hot, and she's showing interest, too. But he doesn't do anything to take it past friends. His life is just happening around him and he's watching it from a distance.

And then the book simply ends...no resolution to anything. In fact it didn't even feel like a stopping point for the book. It's like the author hit a certain word count, typed...The End, and considered it done.

But if you like audiobooks, this is a great narration. Just don't go into it expecting a whole lot in the way of plot. There are interesting characters and things are happening to them, but that's about it. 


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Out of Nowhere by Roan Parrish (audiobook)

Title:  Out of Nowhere
Author: Roan Parrish
My Rating: A
Narrator: Spencer Goss

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Middle of Somewhere #2
Main Characters: Colin and Rafe
Release Date: July 2016 (audiobook)
Publisher: Audible/Dreamspinner
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
10 hrs 33 mins

The only thing in Colin Mulligan’s life that makes sense is taking cars apart and putting them back together. In the auto shop where he works with his father and brothers, he tries to get through the day without having a panic attack or flying into a rage. Drinking helps. So do running and lifting weights until he can hardly stand. But none of it can change the fact that he’s gay, a secret he has kept from everyone.

Rafael Guerrera has found ways to live with the past he’s ashamed of. He’s dedicated his life to social justice work and to helping youth who, like him, had very little growing up. He has no time for love. Hell, he barely has time for himself. Somehow, everything about miserable, self-destructive Colin cries out to him. But down that path lie the troubles Rafe has worked so hard to leave behind. And as their relationship intensifies, Rafe and Colin are forced to dredge up secrets that both men would prefer stay buried.
 
My Review:
Overall: 4.5
Performance: 5.0
Story: 4.5

Straight up, Colin's story is painful and HUGE KUDOS to Robert Nieman for his narration of it, because his voice for Colin was perfection. He managed to feed so much emotion and pain into his voice for Colin and that added so much to this already powerful story. 

Colin is one of those guys who's in the closet because he doesn't know how else to be. He's so far in the corner back there that he can't even admit to himself that he might be gay. That's something that's just not a possibility for him with him and his family...no matter that he has a brother who is gay. (And it should be noted...that Colin HATES that Daniel is out and free to be himself. It makes him so angry that Daniel was brave enough to do that when Colin isn't.) Because Colin is flat out embarrassed of who he is. In fact, he pretty much hates himself and the person that he really is. 

I'll be honest...this is my one niggle with this book. Colin has deep, dark issues that really should be addressed by a trained professional. It's obvious that he has deep self-loathing as well as prolonged issues with depression. He is not in a good place and that comes out in so many aspects of his life. It's painful to read...and like I said earlier, the narrator does a brilliant job of acting that out in his voice for Colin. 

Rafe is amazing. Seriously, he's one of the best heroes I've ever read. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to deal with Colin's hang-ups, but Rafe handles him incredibly well.

There was so much to love about this story. Normally I read about one audiobook a month as I do my chores and my household stuff. I listened to this audiobook in a single day because I was so caught up in the drama of the story. I thought it was wonderfully done and I love the way that this book and the first book story lines overlap so the reader is able to see the same scene in completely different ways. It was a brilliant book and I highly, HIGHLY recommend it...especially the audiobook version of it.