Taking Shots by Toni Aleo

Blurb:
17504320In TONI ALEO‘s exhilarating Loveswept debut, the first in a series featuring the hockey hunks of the Nashville Assassins, a reformed bad boy helps a charming, willful woman face off against the demons of her past.

No matter how hard she tries, Elleanor Fisher never thinks she’s good enough, from her job to her weight to her love life. After enduring years of abuse at the hands of an ex-boyfriend, Elli has been drifting through life in a daze. Until, that is, she meets Shea Adler on a promotional shoot for the NHL’s Nashville Assassins. Before Elli knows what’s happening, the gorgeous Shea breaks the ice and shatters her world.

A brilliant athlete inside the rink, Shea Adler is tired of the life he’s living outside of it: the women, the money, the drinking. But everything changes when he meets Elli. After laying eyes on this feisty, witty, beautiful woman, he feels like he’s just taken the hardest hit of his life. No matter how skeptical she is, Shea knows they are meant to be together–if only he can convince Elli to put her insecurities aside before she misses out on a shot at love.

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(I actually am reading this from the box set of the first 5 novels in this series, b/c I got it on a great sale and it was hockey romance and some friends loved it.  Check it out on Goodreads here and Amazon here.)

My Review:
2.5 stars — Well crap.  I have a few friends that really enjoyed this book, and so I was really looking forward to it.  It started off a bit rough for me — for an Indie book being picked up by Loveswept, I guess I was a little disappointed that there were still quite a few editing mistakes (both grammar/typo-wise and timeline issue-wise), or just things that I felt should have been polished better.  I mean, for a bit at the beginning they weren’t using any contractions and it just felt uber formal or something.  So that wasn’t a good start.

And theoretically I should have really loved Elli.  I tend to fall for those heroines with self-esteem issues (bonus points if it’s a larger girl).  But can I just say that I almost hated her instead?  I mean, she had her good moments, it wasn’t all bad.  But OMG, we got to the climax and she and I were just done.  Like broken up, I was through with her, and there was nothing she could do to get back into my good books (and quite frankly she didn’t do enough to make up for things).  For one, I was really not impressed with a size 10 girl being a supposed fat chick.  But now that I write that, I’m feeling kind of disappointed in myself, b/c everyone’s allowed to have their insecurities.  But to go on and on about it so much, it was just frustrating.  So maybe that’s more my own personal flaw and not the book’s.

But it was like Elli just went through this lobotomy as the book went on.  She could be mean!!  And I know there’s insecurity, and I know she was totally screwed up by her past and her awful family, but WOW!!  Her reactions were too much for me.  If I was Shea, I would have run a long time ago, and I honestly don’t understand how he could put up with all of that without barely an apology.

Shea, on the other hand, was (for the most part) a total sweetheart.  He was almost too good to be true.  Thank goodness he occasionally flew off the handle sometimes b/c otherwise it just wasn’t believable.  But otherwise I really liked him.  Which is probably what made it so much worse!  He did NOTHING WRONG and he still almost apologized more than Elli did!  It was ridiculous!

And I did not understand his relationship with his sister Grace!!  And what is with the violent and mean women??  SHE KICKED HIM IN THE STOMACH!!!  Who does that??

And Elli’s mother and sister?  OMGosh, no.  Two dimensional evil.  Maybe I would have believed it if she didn’t have a fabulous father…then why wasn’t the father doing more to keep the mother in line?  I don’t get it!  My brain actually hurts.

And holy cow was this book long!!  And I don’t mind long books, but there was a lot of minutiae in the book that could have totally been cut out as unnecessary.  Again…I get it when Indies have a problem getting good editing, but Loveswept is owned by Random House…there’s no excuse.

So if you couldn’t tell I had a bit of an emotional reaction to this book.  *sheepish grin*  Woops.  Sorry.  Another ranty review.  Crap.  😦  But it’s like I was kind of meh at the beginning…then I started to really like Shea and even Elli…then things slowly started going downhill…then they PLUMMETED…and then it ended without Elli being redeemed.  So yeah.  That’s it.  I’ll still give another book in the series a try since maybe it was just these characters, or first book-itis.  And b/c, well, I have 4 more books in the box set.  But I need to give my heart a break first.

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Truth or Beard by Penny Reid

Truth or beardBlurb: Beards, brothers, and bikers! Oh my!

Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why Jessica James, recent college graduate and perpetual level-headed good girl, has been in naïve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life.

His friendly smiles make her tongue-tied and weak-kneed, and she’s never been able to move beyond her childhood crush. Whereas Duane and Jessica have always been adversaries. She can’t stand him, and she’s pretty sure he can’t stand the sight of her…

But after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself in a massive confusion kerfuffle. Jessica James has spent her whole life paralyzed by the fantasy of Beau and her assumptions of Duane’s disdain; therefore she’s unprepared for the reality that is Duane’s insatiable interest, as well as his hot hands and hot mouth and hotter looks. Not helping Jessica’s muddled mind and good girl sensibilities, Duane seems to have gotten himself in trouble with the local biker gang, the Iron Order.

Certainly, Beau’s magic spell is broken. Yet when Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, now more dangerous than ever, how much of her level-head heart is she willing to risk?

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5 STARS

I love this cover!  This whole book was just a joy to read, from beginning to end.  There were no slow parts, no deliberate misunderstandings, and it really jumped right into the story with no info dump either.  But it wasn’t confusing going in with no back story though. It was delightful.  Of course, I didn’t really expect anything less from this author.

FYI: Cletus is mine!  I’ll eat his sausage any day!   (TMI?  Read the book, you’ll understand.)

I loved Duane.  His passion.  Ugh, so much passion!  His honor and want to do it the ‘right’ way.  Seriously, he is in the running for best book boyfriend.  Beau was a bit harder to read, and I wish we could have gotten a better depth from him.  But this isn’t his story,  I’m definitely interested in the other brothers stories.  I also loved Duane and Jessica’s banter.  The way they had deep talks peppered with passion and fire was just so…..::sigh::  Miss Reid kept the stomach swirling feelings constant.  I don’t know how she was able to do that, you’d have thought I would’ve got tired of it.  But, honestly, I didn’t.  I kept getting surprised when my heart would flutter so often.

Oh and location 5040 just about stopped my heart.  Of course after that I was able to predict the rest of the story but it didn’t make it less enjoyable. Ha, hows that for a non-spoiler!

Just, go read this book.

Favorite Quotes:

I wondered at the unfairness of his eyes.  He had such pretty eyes, blue and glittering, mesmerizing…it was a shame they belonged to Satan. 

There’s a reason we eat popcorn during a movie.  If I want to zone out, be brainless and entertained, then I watch TV, got to a movie.  If I want a good story, then I read a book.    

But work up an appetite, woman.  Because you’ve never tasted fine meat until you‘ve eaten my sausage. 

I’d been an idiot. Jessica wasn’t going to break my heart.  I was going to break hers. 

What I want to know is, why didn’t you come to me in the first place?  And also, how do you get these to be so darn fluffy?  It’s like eating a blueberry flavored cloud of awesome. 

“You can’t rush a duct tape purchase.” In my rearview mirror I saw Cletus clutching the shopping bag to his chest.  “Duct tape is man’s answer to electrons and proton’s.  It’s how we keep matter together. 

Pie is always the answer.

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SuperNova by Liz Long

Blurb:
29473487The streets of Arcania are overrun with crime, deteriorating as a madman named Fortune makes himself at home. He shows no mercy, striking down anyone in his path – including Nova Benson’s little sister. Devastated, Nova vows to seek justice for her family, but aside from her freak strength and impenetrable skin, how is she supposed to stop a monster like Fortune?

Cole Warner wants to help people. Entrusted to keep his family’s secret, he’s also frustrated at having to hide his gift. He knows he could do more to help in the fight against Fortune. If he could convince his sister Penelope to join him, they might even have a chance at beating him. When Cole meets Nova, he realizes his whole world is about to change. And he’s going to welcome it with open arms.

Falling for each other wasn’t part of the plan.

Then again, neither was becoming a superhero.

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My Review:
3 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

Honestly, I could even go lower to 2.5 stars with this book, but I’m trying to shake off the negativity.  This book just wasn’t a match for me, and practically right from the start.  I can honestly say that I didn’t feel any emotion at Starling’s death (the little sister from the blurb, not a spoiler).  And right there that’s not a great sign.  I mean, if I’m not tapping into an author’s writing enough to feel emotion from a murder of a loved one, then it’s probably not a good match.  But I hate DNFing ARCs without giving it a fair shake, so I kept going.  And quite frankly it didn’t pick up for me until around the time Cole appeared in the story and we got his POV.  And not because he was necessarily book boyfriend material for me personally, but I thought he was a sweet and genuine person, and there was a bit more intriguing stuff coming into play with more gifted individuals.

So, basically, Nova was a dud for me.  On the surface we’re told she’s going through a lot, and sometimes I definitely felt her despair, but just not as I’d hoped I would I guess.  I didn’t really appreciate her habit of talking to herself, but that’s a Lenore taste thing, not necessarily a bad thing in general.  And on a side note, her friendship with Amber confused me.  I know she supposedly wasn’t as close to her but still liked her and whatnot, but she could be a bit superior in her own head with so much of the high school stuff.

My biggest problem with this story is that it constantly had me furrowing my brow in confusion and disbelief.  I do NOT understand the choices that the characters made.  I was constantly thinking “Seriously?  No one’s going to call the police, you’re just going to leave?”  “Seriously?  They have a major encounter with the bad guy, and they just easily run away and then it’s like a date and they don’t even really look at the news or anything to find out what happened?”  Sorry, I’m trying to be somewhat vague so as not to give spoilers, but the sequence of events in the plot just baffled me.

And the PARENTS!!!  Yet another story where they exist on the peripheral and just do not come into play basically ever.  Her father is a freaking lawyer, and she never updates him on her activities, or asks him how things are going on his end?  Cole and Pen’s father seems to be in the know on all things gifted, but we NEVER meet him?  I mean, I sort of get it, but it was too frustrating to me.

And crap, I’ve started getting ranty, so I’m going to stop.  Because that’s so unfair.  Basically this one just didn’t have enough good stuff sucking me in to want to continue with the series.  It was definitely not a match to my reading personality.  I will say that I’m glad I continued on and didn’t DNF b/c we did get some good stuff (particularly in Cole’s POV), and I enjoyed the sweet romance, even if it was a bit slow for my taste.  I just wish that someone was there to answer all my questions.  😛

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Deadly Secrets by Kat Nichols

deadly secretsBlurb: Sophia Morganthal is in over her head. Her struggles with trying to run a corporation and lead her coven cause havoc in Sophia’s personal life — mostly with her boyfriend, Connor.

Amidst the chaos, a neighboring coven is attacked, pushing Sophia to assume her place on the local council. On the brink of a supernatural war, Sophia must take action as some of the coven leaders seem to have their own agenda.

Running out of options, Sophia seeks help from the last group the council wants to involve. Will the risk be worth the reward or will she lose everything she fought so hard to attain?

 

 

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4 stars

First off, let me apologize to KN for taking sooooo long in reviewing this book.  Secondly,  doesn’t this cover just exude attitude?!  I love it so much.

Sophia is still so young but her life has had so many obstacles she’s had to deal with.  I admire her perserverence and the fact that she doesn’t allow others to try and discount her because of her age.  This chic is a fighter!  I’m shocked this only has 10 reviews!  Seriously?

This book flowed really well for me.  There was no complex plots I needed to figure out, cause as we all know, sometimes I’m a bit of a dense reader.  I really enjoyed Sophia’s stubborness and her self-awareness.  She took the steps she felt were needed to get to where she needed to be.  She seems so confident from the outside looking in, but reading about how stressed she is and how she doesn’t know if she can succeed as the newest and youngest matriarch is very realistic to me.  Miss Nichols can write internal emotions really well.

Sophia uses her resources and shows incredible courage while doing it.  Coupled with her humbleness of her success makes her all the more attractive as an MC to me.  I will say this.  I was upset about Connor not having a more prominent role in the story.  Connor was a great character, but I didn’t get to see as much of him as I wanted too.

This book went deeper into the whole supernatural world than I expected and I was pleasantly surprised that it encompassed more than just witches in this one.  I would recommend this book to anyone who likes strong, independant heriones in a great fantasy setting.

final2b22blargeThis is the third series I have finished this year.  Completing my self imposed goal on the Finishing the Series challenge over ot Bea’s Book Nook.

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Hallowed Ground by Rebecca Yarros

Blurb:
26201118There are some debts you can’t repay.

Josh Walker is loyal, reckless, and every girl’s dream. But he only has eyes for December Howard, the girl he’s craved since his high school hockey days. Together they have survived grief, the military, distance, and time as they’ve fought for stolen weekends between his post at Ft. Rucker and her college at Vanderbilt. Now that Josh is a medevac pilot and Ember is headed toward graduation, they’re moving on—and in—together.

Ember never wanted the Army life, but loving Josh means accepting whatever the army dictates—even when that means saying goodbye as Josh heads to Afghanistan, a country that nearly killed him once before and that took her father. But filling their last days together with love, passion, and plans for their future doesn’t temper Ember’s fear, and if there’s one thing she’s learned from her father’s death, it’s that there are some obstacles even love can’t conquer.

Flight school is over.
This is war.

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My Review:
4 stars — I will preface this review by saying that I think my enjoyment was marred slightly by having to set this book aside for a few days while I went on a roadtrip, and then since I was already out of the story, I also fulfilled an ARC read that I had on my plate.  I hate doing stopping a book partway, but I just had no choice in this case.  I’m not sure if it affects my opinion of the book on a whole, but I wouldn’t doubt I would feel better about my rating if I’d been able to read straight through.

Now, with that personal crap out of the way, on to the actual review!!  I absolutely loved Josh and Ember’s love story from Full Measures, and so I wasn’t sure how I’d feel knowing that they were going to likely be going through more crap.  And oh boy howdy, did they.  It was definitely an emotional journey that had me crying on multiple occasions (heck almost right at the prologue).  Ms. Yarros knows how to get you right in the feels and really see what the life of a military family can be like.  I can’t imagine it, and I can wholeheartedly say that I would not be strong enough to endure it, so I admire them all the more.

I loved all the good moments that we did get in this novel (Jagger and Paisley on the side, Will being a part of the group, the final weekend before deployment for Josh, and obviously the ending).  But this was not a book full of a lot of sweet moments.  This was a book featuring a couple truly struggling to keep it together.  And that was almost a bit more heartbreak than I could take.  And while it was epically realistic in so many ways, my literary heart had a hard time watching them have the same argument over and over again…watching Josh not learn anything over and over again.  It’s hard to be a reader and see people making obviously bad choices and yet they don’t see the same thing.  And I just wanted something to finally take, for something to finally get through to the two of them.  And like I said, this is honestly how it happens in real life with many couples, but as a reader it was hard to read about over and over with little reward.  Not to say there wasn’t a great reward, but it was starting to be too much.  Hence the 4 stars instead of the 4.5 stars I could see this book getting from me if that hadn’t been the case. (which tells you that this story was still amazing, just a bit harder for me than the first 2 books)

So definitely a strong conclusion to the series.  A tiny part of me wanted a bit more Jagger time, but that’s just because I’m drawn to that character and I’m greedy.  If you like emotionally impactful romances with complex characters, then I highly recommend you check out this series and fall in love.  Can’t wait to see what Ms. Yarros has in store for us next.

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Bet on Me by Rachel Higginson

Blurb:
29285233.jpgOne night. One big mistake. One boy that changes everything.

Britte Nichols has a plan.

And it’s a good one. College. Med School. Illustrious career. Then maybe a husband. Possibly children, but she doesn’t want to get ahead of herself.

Britte decided at a young age that she wasn’t going to let love get in the way of her future. She has things to do. Places to go and all that.

Until the night she has one too many drinks and lets lust override logic.

Beckett Harris is gorgeous, talented and completely bad for her. But she wasn’t the only one feeling fireworks that night. Now Beckett wants to explore their chemistry and his timing couldn’t be more inconvenient.

Her heart wants what her head knows she can’t have. But a girl has needs. So when Beckett bets her a few weeks of harmless fun, she wants to say yes.

She’ll just have to bet that Beckett doesn’t fall for her too.

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My Review:
4.5 stars — I received a free advanced copy from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

Oh yeah, this one was worth waiting for!!  I actually didn’t end up rereading Bet on Us before diving into this one, and now I kind of want to go back and refresh my memory on Ellie and Fin.  But it was definitely not necessary to enjoy this story, just if you want to get more out of it.  It feels like its been awhile since I had some Rachel Higginson goodness, b/c I haven’t been keeping up with Love & Decay (I know, for shame…and I call myself a fangirl).  But this book was quintessential Higginson.  It was everything I love about her writing.

And the number one thing I love?  The interactions of her characters.  Beckett and Britte were fantastic — I honest to goodness had butterflies right from chapter one.  Their chemistry just oozed off the pages.  I don’t even know how all to describe it, but I could just feel their attraction for one another.  And Ms. Higginson NAILS snark and sassiness like you wouldn’t believe.  Both Beckett and Britte had me grinning with their bantering back and forth.  I just wanted them to succeed as a couple so badly.

Britte was an interesting book girl — I couldn’t always vibe with her personality, but I still really cared for her, despite her closed off nature.  And she had some baggage in her family department that broke my heart.  I thought that little side story played out quite nicely.

Beckett is where I fell in love.  That boy…he even had a bit of imposter syndrome.  On the surface he may not have had quite the issues that Britte was facing, but I still felt for what he was going through.  And so many of us assume we’re going to let our family down and work so hard for what we think they want for us.  But yeah.  He was sexy, and sweet, and unsure, and cocky, and just so hilarious sometimes…in little ways.

And now I have to try to figure out who the next books are going to be about.  I know they’re probably Grayson and Lennox books, but is it bad of me that I kind of want them to be about Jameson and Charlie??  Jameson needs an HEA Rachel!!  Please!

Ahem.  So anyways, if you’re already a fan of Ms. Higginson’s, then you are in for a treat.  And if you’re new to her, prepare for a fabulous rom-com NA.

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Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2016

Top Ten Tuesday
(Images link to Goodreads, Titles link to Amazon)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in which you make a list of ten to do with a certain topic.  This week’s topic is “Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For The Second Half Of The Year (since we did a topic about the releases we were excited about for the first half of 2016 back in the beginning of the year) Feel free to tweak it how you want to — like most anticipated fantasy for the second half of 2016 or debut authors. Whatever you want!”

Lenoreo’s Top Ten:

OK, so this was a hard topic for me b/c I read mostly Indie or small-press authors, and often they don’t know exact dates for upcoming releases, only what they are working on and a general timeframe.  So I have a few with dates, a few with projected months, and a few that I just genuinely hope are coming before 2016 is over.  🙂  (Also, some without covers — so sometimes the titles will link to Amazon, but if no cover, then the title will link to Goodreads instead).

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  1. To Have and to Hold and For Better or Worse by Lauren Layne — releases July 26th and August 30th respectively.  I read the prequel novella for the Wedding Belles series recently (From This Day Forward) and while it didn’t hit all my buttons, I am excited for this series still.  I preordered these first two books, and will see how I like them before deciding on the 3rd and final book (that’s out in October I believe).
  2. Awaken by P.T. Michelle — releases sometime in August and is the 5th and final book in the Brightest Kind of Darkness series that I have been waiting on FOREVER it feels like!!  So excited to see how it all ends, and will definitely need to reread the series this summer to prepare.
  3. The Goal by Elle Kennedy — (Goodreads link here) releases September 26th, and this is the 4th book in the Off-Campus series.  In truth, I still haven’t read the 3rd book yet, but I can still look forward to a book even if I’m not caught up right?  🙂
  4. Bedmates by Nichole Chase — releases October 4th, and I will definitely have to wait for a sale or figure out if my library will have a copy (sometimes I’m embarrassed by how cheap I am, but now you know why I don’t read many major publisher books).  I’ve really enjoyed other books I’ve read by Ms. Chase, though I still have to finish her Royal series, I’m so behind.
  5. From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon — releases October 25th, and this one is on here simply because I love what little I’ve read of this author.  This is a historical book, and I am generally not a fan of those, but I would give it a try in this case.
  6. Addicted to You by Renita Pizzitola — this book’s release date was pushed back and is now November 1st according to Amazon.  I definitely preordered this bad boy, it’s a spinoff with some characters that were in Just a Little Kiss.  Definitely looking forward to Isla and Colby’s story!
  7. Someone Like You by Lauren Layne — releases December 6th, this is Lincoln’s story, the final book in the Oxford series!!!!  So excited for this one, along with the rest of Ms. Layne’s fandom.
  8. Flirty Thirty by Cassie Mae — I heard a rumour (from the source) that we might get this one in October!!!  But don’t hold me to that, it was just a rumour.  (and it doesn’t even have a Goodreads page yet…heck, neither does Broken Records that she’s writing with Tessa Marie, but I’ve at least seen that cover, and I’m also looking forward to that).
  9. Heir of Empyrial Fire by Rachel Higginson — Dude, I would die if this book actually made it by the end of 2016, but I have a feeling it might be 2017 before it comes out.  SETH!!!  (book 4 in the Starbright series)
  10. Finding Me by Caylie Marcoe — ok, I’m being mean and putting pressure on my fave authors, but I can’t help it.  I’m intrigued for Nicki’s story (she was the biotch from Choose Us), and I just saw this cover get posted and I’m so excited!!  Let’s all chant together: 2016! 2016! 2016!  😉

All right!  Those are the books that I’m looking forward to in the 2nd half of 2016!  What about you, what tops your list??  Please feel free to share your links, and I will try to pop by and check them out!  🙂

Crazy About Love by Cassie Mae

So I meant to reread this book before posting my review, but since the book comes out tomorrow, that’s not going to happen!!  But I can honestly say that I doubt my feelings have changed one iota since then.  So happy almost release day Cassie Mae!!

Blurb:
51LFpQGxntL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_Single again on Valentine’s Day, struggling actor Alec Tucker agrees to help out his longtime friend—and unrequited love—Theresa Jones by filling in as one of the bachelors for her company’s charity auction. Alec figures it couldn’t hurt to meet someone new. Still, working with Theresa reminds him of all the reasons he never got over her. So it feels a little bittersweet when, out of nowhere, a beautiful young street artist buys a date with him for a whopping four grand.

Little does he know, Theresa’s had a major change of heart. She’s crushed when someone else wins a date with Alec—but she isn’t going down without a fight. After a pep talk from her best friend, Theresa makes a desperate move that goes against her better judgment . . . and things only get crazier from there. But with Alec ready to move on and Theresa afraid she’s pushed him away for good, maybe a little crazy is exactly what they need—before they both miss their shot.

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My Review:
5 stars — Who’s the luckiest beta reader in the whole world? Oh yeah, it’s this girl….

I went into this book with absolutely no clue how this story was going to play out, but with high expectations after the teaser of Theresa and Alec in Doing It For Love. And I can honestly say that their love story blew me out of the water!! And a great deal of the credit for that goes to the way the story unfolded onto the pages, it was a stroke of genius! But I kind of loved having that be a surprise to me, so much to (I’m sure) your consternation, I’m not going to explain what I mean by that. Just know that I felt the format for the story was absolute perfection.

I can’t get around saying that the story is told in both the present and a series of past flashbacks…it would just be too hard, so I’ll let that cat out of the bag. And this was a key to making this story pure gold. While you’re following the action in the present, you get to learn about their history as you go along…you get to see feelings develop and change, and it makes what’s happening in the present feel more real and dire in some cases. I LOVED the story that’s told in the present, but my heart was truly captured and forever enslaved to this couple in the past.

The romance is almost a little slowburning, but you really feel their feelings with them. And when we do get intimate scenes, holy wow…just seriously, holy wow. B/C you’ve been invited into their intimate bubble, you end up feeling every *single* moment with them. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Cassie Mae writes the most amazing kissing scenes, and that has extended into the steamy scenes. It only added to my unhealthy crush on Alec, b/c I felt as if he was kissing me…and more…*SIGH*

So now we get to the character portion — and no one was more surprised than I to learn I have a new number one book boyfriend. I am in total and complete love! Alec is just EVERYTHING. He’s shy and nervous and a bit insecure, but just GORGEOUS inside and out. I mean, I knew that he was someone special from his moments in Doing It, but I honestly had no idea how much he was going to capture my heart (and break it on occasion). I don’t even think I could do him justice by describing him, but the way Cassie Mae portrays him is just GAH!!! I just want him for myself. I want to be his Theresa.

And so you would think I would hate Theresa for snagging my guy right?? But I LOVE HER!! How did that happen?? How in the world did Ms. Mae write a girl that just fits him so perfectly? Watching the two of them together…well I’ll get back to that. Theresa was just everything I had loved from Doing It — with this bold personality that hides a vulnerability I wasn’t expecting. The things that make up her past and have shaped her into who she is — I just wasn’t expecting it. You really feel for the choices she’s had to make in her life. And her best friendship with Liz is story telling gold. They feel so real, like I can imagine them together — and it’s not all sunshine and roses. But they made me laugh so much in this story, I can’t even tell you…

So back to Alec and Theresa as a couple…I LOVED the playful nature of their friendship — I could vividly imagine these two gorgeous individuals playing and laughing together. While there was some major heartbreak in the flashbacks, there was also a lot of lighthearted fun and closeness and understanding.

You’re thrown right into the deep end from the start of the book, and I was immediately gripped from the first sentence. This book made me tear up, it made my heart clench, it made me laugh out loud, and it made me sigh in extreme giddiness. I’d have to go back and read them all again, but I’m feeling like this may be my new fave of the series. Though, truthfully they all have something completely different to offer. I’m going to miss these friends. Maybe I should start a petition for a surprise novella with all of them together….hey, it could happen!

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Dark, Sexy Knight by Katy Regnery

dark sexy nightBlurb: Loosely inspired by the legend of Camelot, Dark Sexy Knight tells the story of dinner theater knight Colt Lane, who meets down-on-her-luck Verity Gwynn on the worst day of her life. Evicted from their home, Verity and her special-needs brother, Ryan, must find jobs or risk being separated. Colt, who is the furthest-possible thing from a white knight in real life, comes to their unlikely rescue, quickly cementing his place in Verity’s heart.

Colt has dark, deeply buried secrets that keep his smile hidden and his eyes down, which has kept people away . . . until he meets Verity, who seems immune to his gruff manners and taciturn ways. The more time Colt spends with her, the more he longs for her sweetness in his life and yearns to be the knight in shining armor she so desperately needs. Certain he will lose her if she learns the truth about his past, he must decide if he can trust her with his yesterday in order to build a beautiful tomorrow.

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2.5 Stars 4557797_orig

This book is loosely based off the legend Camelot. And I don’t really know the legend of Camelot very well.  The only thing I remember is the queen fell in love with the knight and the king found out.  At any rate, this book had a lot of great steamy sex scenes.

I don’t know for some reason the story line for me jumped the shark when they had unprotected sex.  A lot of the things were exaggerated, like his size and her innocence. I just, I mean I liked the sex scenes.  Honestly that’s all I liked was the sex scenes.

Wait, no that’s not true.

I was intrigued with Colt’s chronic impulse control disorder and how he dealt with it, or didn’t deal with it I should say.  And how they both cared for their mentally disabled family members.  I got to see into a different lifestyle that I am unfamiliar with so that was an educating experience for me.

But other than that, the story itself just wasn’t that good for me.  Verity relied on the kindness of others a lot.  It was almost as if she equated someone being kind to her meaning that they loved her.  At least that’s how it came across to me.  Maybe I’m wrong, Maybe I’m just too much of a hard-ass to see the real love story in this book. I just found Verity to be too innocent for my tastes.

Especially with regards to her being a guardian.  As a guardian, I felt that she have been more responsible.  Especially after that first act of harassment at the workplace.  She should have reported him right away and had the appropriate disciplinary action taken.  She should never have allowed him to keep working there.  Her ignorance was just fricking annoying.

And the reasoning behind his falling in love with her just seemed too easy for me.  He seemed to  like the fact that she was vulnerable and that she needed him.  Two things that to me shouldn’t be a reason to be attracted to someone.  It would definitely be a reason you would want to help them.  But it kinda seemed a bit predatory to me.  I just don’t see that attraction.

It didn’t make sense to me at all. He is an asshole to everyone else but you.  that really doesn’t change the fact that he is an asshole. Other than that, the story was kinda one dimensional and flat for me.

The only saving grace of this story are the sex scenes. I’m really disappointed actually. The villian’s were great, the miscommunication was lame.  Her reaction and not trusting him, I thought was incredibly childish and immature. Then her not leaving when she was told to leave was stubborn and irresponsible for a guardian.  Again, she was just too immature for me.  She just wasn’t adult enough to be in relationship where they lived together and she was the responsible for the well being of someone who couldn’t take care of themself.

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Doing it for Love by Cassie Mae

Doing ot for loveBlurb: Elizabeth Fanning’s life looks pretty perfect, judging by the diamond ring on her finger. Her fiancé, Landon, is sweet, handsome, and hilarious. The trouble is, before they’ve even tied the knot, their sex life has gone from mind-blowing to “meh”—and Liz isn’t ready to be part of an old married couple. After a cathartic call to her best friend, Liz comes up with a brilliant idea. She and Landon may never be able to re-create the magic of their first time, but how amazing would their wedding night be if everything below the neck was off-limits until then?

Liz thinks it’ll bring them closer together. Landon’s convinced she’ll cave first. So they raise the stakes: Whoever lasts longer gets to pick their honeymoon destination. With her heart set on the Bahamas and Landon fighting for snowbound Utah, Liz simply has to win. But pretty soon, her body is screaming for attention, and Landon’s never seemed so far away. Has Liz’s experiment backfired? Losing their little competition would be frustrating—but the one thing she can’t afford to lose is him.

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4 Stars

This is the first book in this quasi-series. They are all kinda stand-alone but the characters all know each other. I actually read the second book first and didn’t know.  They are both really good books.  I am on this Cassie Mae kick where I am trying to read all her books, which is very difficult because I read so voraciously, I’m reading like four books at a time.

But this one was like the most realist literally fiction I have ever read. (laughs)  It was like looking into my life. The whole peas and carrots thing, oh my gosh!  I don’t know any married couple that hasn’t had this happen to them before. It’s kinda funny how she did it before they were married. Which was never really a problem for us.  For us, it was more after the kid was born.  Which may be a little bit TMI for you, but eff it, I don’t care.  🙂

Favorite quotes: 

I turn to him, and he’s concentrating on the ceiling as well. My eyes skate down his body and I watch as his hard drive morphs into a floppy disc.  

It’s funny, for so long I’ve wanted to know the story after the happy ending.  What happens to the couple once they find each other, consummate their relationship, and get past their demons? Now that I’m in that story, I get why no one talks about this.  I’m in love, so that pretty much trumps all the other crap.  

Cassie Mae is just so quotable.  She has this way of making an awkward moment endearing.  I just love how she weaves her stories to mimic real life.  At least in my case.  I don’t know how she taps into that emotion but she is phenomenal at it.

Just go read all her books.  Like, right now. And if you can’t afford them. (I don’t see how since they are all moderately priced.)  Come see me, I may be able to loan them to you.

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