Stacking the Shelves — September 23rd, 2017

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(Images link to Goodreads, Titles link to Amazon using Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Curly Carla’s Haul

(All Ebooks unless otherwise specified)

Got It On Sale:

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Lenoreo’s Haul

(All Ebooks unless otherwise specified)

NetGalley ARC Requests Approved:

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  • Cover Up (Skin Deep Inc. #3) by L.A. Witt from Swerve (St. Martin’s Press) — releases October 3rd, 2017.  I’ve read the first two books in this series and enjoyed them (read the reviews for Back Piece and Pounding Skin), and I really wanted to find out what happened with Nate and Lucas.
  • The Jingle Bell Bride (Christmas Brides #2) by Scarlet Wilson from Tule Publishing — releases October 3rd, 2017.
  • Deck the Halls (Darling, VT) by Donna Alward from Swerve (St. Martin’s Press) — releases October 3rd, 2017.
  • Take the Lead (Dance Off #1) by Alexis Daria from Swerve (St. Martin’s Press) — releases October 3rd, 2017.   Dancing and diversity?  SCORE!
  • Always You (Bachelor Brotherhood #3) by Denise Grover Swank from Forever (Grand Central Publishing) — releases November 28th, 2017.  I’ve read the first book in this series (read the review for Only You) and I have an ARC of the 2nd book that I’m overdue on, so now I can finish off the trilogy.

ARCs from Authors/PR Companies:

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  • The Princess and the Pizza Man (Destined For Love: Mansions) by Cassie Mae — releases October 3rd, 2017.  I’ve already preordered this one as well, but read it early?  Yes please!  Course if you look up, I now have like 5 books releasing on October 3rd…woops.

New Releases:

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  • Fix Me Not (The Fix #2) by Carey Heywood — released September 21st, 2017.  I read and LOVED book one in this series (read my review for Fix Her Up), and I NEEDED to read Asher’s story!!  Very excited.
  • Curveball (Barlow Sisters #1) by Jordan Ford — released September 22nd, 2017.  I’ve beta read this beauty!!  I actually just finished beta reading the final book in the trilogy, and the series is fantastic!  If you like a bit of suspense/mystery/action with your YA books, this series is great for that!  I’ll get a review written at some point, I’m just so behind on everything…

Newsletter Freebies:

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  • Bite the Hand That Bleeds (Mission #0.5) by Megan Erickson — I recently read the first book in this series (read the review for Blood Guard), and so when I saw this short story offered in Ms. Erickson’s newsletter, I said SCORE!  Title goes to the Instafreebie link.

Purchased:

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  • Cocky Bastard by Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland — So both of these authors are going to be attending the Big Apple Author Event in October, and I’d heard great things about their co-written books, so I decided to try a sample of this book.  And I was sucked right in, so I bought the book.  LOVED it, read my review here.
  • Bossman by Vi Keeland — Samesies for this one, got the sample, sucked in, bought it, finished it, loved it, read my review here.

Got It On Sale:

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  • Adapted for Film (Reel Romance #1) by Stacey Rourke — Curly Carla LOVED this book (read her review here), so I put it on my wishlist.  And earlier in September I got an eReaderIQ alert that this book was on sale for free from its usual $2.99, so I snatched it up!  No longer on sale.
  • The Trouble with Mistletoe (Heartbreaker Bay #2) by Jill Shalvis — It’s time for Christmas books!!  Especially since I joined The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge.  A lot of reviewers I follow enjoyed this little novella from last Christmas, so when I got an eReaderIQ alert that this book was on sale for $1.99 from its usual $4.99, I one-clicked!  No longer on sale.
  • The Negotiator (Harbor City #1) by Avery Flynn — I feel like I saw this one on The Rock Stars of Romance newsletter at one point and was intrigued, so it went on a wishlist (especially since this author is going to be attending Apollycon 2018 in Washington, D.C. next March).  So when I got an eReaderIQ alert that this book was on sale for 99 cents from its usual $3.99, I one-clicked!  No longer on sale.
  • His Christmas Miracle (Love in Montana #5) by Dani Collins — MOAR CHRISTMAS BOOKS!  Saw this one on BookBub for free from its usual $3.99, still on sale!
  • The next few books are part of a sale that Swerve (St. Martin’s Press) is holding on a lot of their novels (most on sale for 99 cents).  I initially got eReaderIQ alerts for a few of these books, and then I noticed it advertised on a few of my author event groups.  You can find the list of individual books here.  But there are some box sets on sale too (99 cents multiplied by the number of books in the set), so you can also just go to this list of books on Amazon with Swerve as the publisher, ordered by price.  Sale ends on the 25th.
    • One True Pairing (Fandom Hearts #2) by Cathy Yardley — I read a NetGalley ARC and loved it (see my review here), so wanted the final copy.
    • Elliott Redeemed (Preload #2) by Scarlett Cole — I got a NetGalley ARC of this one, but haven’t gotten to it yet.  But since I loved the first book in this series (see my review for Jordan Reclaimed), I took a wild stab that I will love this one too.
    • Shacking Up by Helena Hunting — Curly Carla loved this one too (see her review here), and she made it sound like something I would love too.  This author is also attending all the author events I’m attending over the next year, so if I love it, I’ll have plenty of opportunities to get a signed copy.
    • Second Circle Tattoos, The Complete Series (Second Circle Tattoos #1-4) by Scarlett Cole — I’ve read the first and the last book of this series through NetGalley (see my review for The Strongest Steel and The Darkest Link) and really enjoyed them, and I’m a series completer.  I also love collecting box sets and clearing up clutter on my Kindle.
    • All the Ways You Saved Me (Love Unplugged #1) and The Feeling of Forever (Love Unplugged #2) by Jamie Howard — Both of these books have been recommended by fellow bloggers I follow, and the second one at least has some diversity, so always a good thing to add to my TBR!
    • Off Beat: Body Rocks, Steady Stroke, Hot Licks (Off Beat #1-3) by A.M. Arthur — I’ve read the last two books in this series through NetGalley (see my review for Steady Stroke and Hot Licks) and really enjoyed them, so yet again: yay for box sets and series completions!
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St-st-stuffed (Enemies to Lovers #2) by Anyta Sunday

stuffedBlurb: Other than his most prized Lamborghini, Karl Andrews has nothing to his name. He’s down on his luck and his dollar, and his dream of becoming a professional chef is looking more and more like a pipe-dream. Even less than a pipe-dream when restaurants won’t even take him on as a waiter.
And he won’t ever, no not ever, consider selling his one possession. No matter how much he could make from it. Just wasn’t going to happen.
He’d rather . . . rather . . .
Hell, he’d rather apply for that position to be a Girl Friday.

Other than the title, the job sounds all right. Bit of cooking, cleaning—nothing he can’t handle.
Really.
Until he goes to the interview and discovers the man looking for the help is the same man he’d bullied, mocked, terrified as a boy. But Paul Hyte is obviously a better man, gracious and forgiving. And trusting—as the biggest part of the job requires looking after his son.

Despite the initial forgiveness, things are tentative between Karl and Paul, and they’ve both got to reconcile their pasts if they want any type of proper closure. As the two men learn more about each other an undeniable attraction grows between them—but can the two manage to forge a future together on such a rocky past and complicated present?
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4 stars

I really enjoyed this book. I don’t know that I could be the better person in a situation like this one, allowing an old school enemy to help take care of my son, it’s incredibly forgiving.  I thought Paul was pretty awesome for that.  It was what drew me into this story.  At first I thought that Paul was straight and this was gonna be a repeat of the first book but I’m glad that is not the case because I remember not liking that one as much. Paul has a hard time with his feelings (this happened in the last book as well so its a recurring) but the addition of a child added more to this book. Paul’s struggle with his sexuality is wonderfully written and helps Karl come to terms with his past relationship as well.  I though that was a nice parallel in the story.

The child was not a prop either.  He was an integral part of the story.  Children have a way of changing our entire view on the world and what we want from it.  I loved how Charley was the catalyst that brought such happiness into their lives.  Especially after they each had so much heartbreak.

Karl for the most part was exactly how I expected him to be.  I enjoyed his growth as a character.  He starts out a bit jaded IMO.  And I think the fact that his old enemy was willing to start over with a clean slate really helped his pettiness and/or bitterness towards other people.  And it knocked him down a peg.  The Lambo holding sentimental value was a nice touch and I could relate to that so hard.  My husband’s last parting gift from his father was to pay off his truck so he could continue working.  He will NEVER get rid of that truck.  The sentimental value is priceless.  I think I could have benefited from knowing more of Karl’s family background, we just really get a peek-a-boo into it.

All in all a great follow-up and I plan on finishing this series this year. Heck, I’ve already read the next one.

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Bossman by Vi Keeland

Blurb:
31140847The first time I met Chase Parker, I didn’t exactly make a good impression.

I was hiding in the bathroom hallway of a restaurant, leaving a message for my best friend to save me from my awful date.

He overheard and told me I was a bitch, then proceeded to offer me some dating advice.

So I told him to mind his own damn business―his own tall, gorgeous, full-of-himself damn business―and went back to my miserable date.

When he walked by my table, he smirked, and I watched his arrogant, sexy ass walk back to his date.

I couldn’t help but sneak hidden glances at the condescending jerk on the other side of the room. Of course, he caught me on more than one occasion, and winked.

When the gorgeous stranger and his equally hot date suddenly appeared at our table, I thought he was going to rat me out.

But instead, he pretended we knew each other and joined us―telling elaborate, embarrassing stories about our fake childhood.

My date suddenly went from boring to bizarrely exciting.

When it was over and we parted ways, I thought about him more than I would ever admit, even though I knew I’d never see him again.

I mean, what were the chances I’d run into him again in a city with eight million people?Then again…

What were the chances a month later he’d wind up being my new sexy boss?

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My Review:
4.5 stars — Since I’d had less success with Ms. Keeland’s solo works, but GREAT success with her first co-written work, I was curious to see how I’d enjoy this one…it came highly recommended by some bloggers I follow.  And I’m here to tell you, I floved it!!!  Can I get a woohoo??!!  Basically it was everything I loved about Cocky Bastard, so I do believe I just needed to find the right fit with Ms. Keeland’s work.

There’s just something about the chemistry of the characters, both steamy chemistry and friend chemistry, that just draws me in.  I LOVED the way they interacted with one another, the way they were drawn to one another.

Chase had me laughing almost right from the start with his elaborate made up stories.  And I found myself intrigued by him and the way you could tell he was immediately affected by Reese.  And he just burrowed further into my heart with the way he pursued his feelings for Reese, despite the roadblocks in the way.  I could feel his…almost…bewilderment at what he was feeling.  And when we finally started to get glimpses into his past, well my heart just broke for him.  I fully understood his hangups.  So many times the reasons for certain actions in these romances just doesn’t feel like enough, but I got it with him, even if I didn’t agree with him.  And while we didn’t get a lot from his POV, I still felt like I got to see inside him enough.

And Reese surprised the heck out of me too.  She was a heroine that I could get behind.  She had her own tragedies, her own hangups, but she just didn’t come across like most romantic heroines.  I felt a quiet strength in her.  And she was funny, and sassy, and I really appreciated her passion for her work, and her desire to make it on her own.  I understood her hangups, even if she broke my heart from time to time.  And she was a good balance of being caring and empathic, without being a pushover.  I really loved that.  I loved the way she often handled advances from guys with almost sweetness and humour.  I don’t know, she’s really hard to describe, and I’m probably doing a crap job of it.  But I LIKED her.  REALLY liked her.  So many times it’s easy to fall in love with the heroes, but I fell in love with her too.

And this book had a fabulous secondary cast too!  I enjoyed Reese’s BFF Jules, Ugly Kitty, and I especially loved both Sam and Anna.  They all added something.

And the best part?  Ms. Keeland knows how to give good epilogue.  Damn, I love good epilogue.  I can honestly say that I will definitely be searching out more books by this author in the future, especially those in this vein…vain?  Nope definitely vein.

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Cocky Bastard by Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland

Blurb:
26111248He was someone who belonged in my wildest fantasies instead of a rest stop in the middle of Nebraska.

A sexy, cocky, Australian named Chance was the last person I expected to run into on my cross-country drive.

When my car broke down, we made a deal. Next thing I knew, we were traveling together, spending sexually-tense nights in hotels and taking unplanned detours.

My ordinary road trip turned into the adventure of a lifetime. It was all fun and games until things got intense.

I wanted him, but Chance wouldn’t make a move. I thought he wanted me too, but something was holding him back.

I wasn’t supposed to fall for the cocky bastard, especially when I knew we’d be going our separate ways.

All good things must come to an end, right?

Except our ending was one I didn’t see coming.

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My Review:
4 stars — YAYYYYY!!!  After reading my first Vi Keeland novel and being underwhelmed, I was a bit concerned about trying more.  But I’d heard so many good things about her more recent novels, and also about these books that she and Penelope Ward have co-written.  So I tried a sample, and was absolutely hooked!!  This book was everything I was anticipating from these authors, and I was so happy that they worked for me!

This book was happiness and giggle fit inducing!  I fell in love with Chance pretty much right from the start, which honestly surprised the heck out of me!  He was nothing like I was expecting, especially with a book title of Cocky Bastard.  He was this weird mix of a bit of a dick, arrogant, a total smart-ass, cheeky, intuitive, thoughtful, vulnerable, and even sweet.  He just…there was a lot to him.  And I really loved him.  He made me laugh.  He intrigued me.  He kept me guessing.  And in the end he had me rooting for me.

And Aubrey surprised me too!!  I was expecting one thing, with her rigidity and uptightness, but there was a lot to her as well.  I LOVED the way Chance was able to bring her out of her shell.  She was funny, and sassy, and smart, and had such a big heart.

And the two of them together were just gold.  The chemistry was amazing, but what I loved is that the whole part one is them getting to know each other and developing a friendship while wanting more.  I could read part one over and over again and not get tired of it.  I honestly expected one outcome from Las Vegas, but was surprised that it didn’t end up that way.  Yay for not falling into common tropes!!

Part two shocked the crap out of me from the first page.  I DID NOT see that coming.  Like at all.  I LOVED Chance’s persistence, and you really felt how much he cared and how in love he was with Aubrey.  Unfortunately I felt like Aubrey let me down here and there in the second part, mostly just with how long it took.  I both needed it to take long, b/c it validates her feelings, and I desperately wanted things to get moving forward.  I would have appreciated it being tightened up a bit more.  I did appreciate that there were moments where we could have had long drawn out miscommunications, and the authors didn’t go that way either.  THANK YOU.  I get so tired of that.

Pixy/Esmeralda Snowflake/Mutton totally stole the show.  I loved the bonds that both Aubrey and Chance developed with her.

So yeah, I’m all aboard the fan train now.  Definitely will be checking out more of the books co-written by this duo.  It was a great mix of fun/crazy with depth/seriousness.  And a very satisfying ending.  Excuse me while I happy dance.

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Top Ten(ish) Books On Our Fall TBR

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

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 Books On My Fall TBR List.”

Curly Carla’s Top TenFive:

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  1. Cold: Essays on Love, Faith, Family and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Victoria Dougherty. This is a collection of essays that I started to read for my Read Harder challenge 2016 hosted by book riot.
  2. Scored by Sloane Howell. I got this book today from Netgalley and I can’t wait to crack this puppy open.  This will be available October 17th.
  3. Practically Imperfect (Imperfect #3) by Mary Frame.  I just got this book and plan to read it soon.
  4. Juked (Texas Mutiny #1) by M.E. Carter. This is FREE. I got this on the recommendation of Lenore, hope I like it.
  5. Win (The Atlantis Grail #3) by Vera Nazarian. A few of my book friends recommended this to me and for a while we were all reading it together, but then….I started lagging behind. Soo I hope to get back to this.

Lenoreo’s Top Ten:

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  1. Unspeakable (Beyond Human #2) by Nina Croft — releases September 25th, 2017, NetGalley ARC.
  2. Fix Me Not (The Fix #2) by Carey Heywood — releases September 22nd, 2017, no pre-order link, but I’ll be one-clicking on release day.
  3. Cover Up (Skin Deep Inc. #3) by L.A. Witt — releases October 3rd, 2017, NetGalley ARC.
  4. The Princess and the Pizza Man (Destined for Love: Mansions) by Cassie Mae — releases October 3rd, 2017, ARC.
  5. Unloved by Katy Regnery — releases October 8th, 2017, I should be getting an ARC soon.  No pre-order link for Amazon.
  6. Totally His (Opposites Attract #3) by Erin Nicholas — releases October 31st, 2017, NetGalley ARC.
  7. Made for You (The Best Mistake #2) by Lauren Layne — this author is attending the Big Apple Author Event in less than a month, and I already have this in paperback, so figured I should read it before I meet her.
  8. Cuff Me (New York’s Finest #3) by Lauren Layne — ditto for this one.  I didn’t enjoy the first two in this series quite as much, but this was the one I was most anticipating, so I’m hoping I enjoy it more.
  9. The Player and the Pixie (Rugby #2) by L.H. Cosway and Penny Reid — these authors are both attending the Big Apple Author Event as well, and since Ms. Cosway won’t be at any other events I’m attending, I want to give this series another shot (since I wasn’t blown away by book one).
  10. Fake Fiancée by Ilsa Madden-Mills — another author attending the Big Apple Author Event who won’t be at other events, so I figured maybe I should get this one read in case I LOVE it.

So what are you most looking forward to reading this fall?  Have you read any of the books on our lists?

Alphas on the Prowl Shifter Paranormal Boxed Set by Catherine Vale, Lashell Collins, Gina Kincade, Bethany Shaw , Phoenix Johnson, Annie Nicholas, Jami Brumfield, Sarah Mäkelä , Amy Lee Burgess, Anna Lowe

Alphas on the prowl

Blurb: All new stories!

Alpha shifters are on the prowl, and they’re used to getting what they want. But there’s more to claiming a destined mate than raw power, and they’ll have to prove themselves worthy – in more ways than one.

Alphas on the Prowl offers page after page of passion and pleasure in this box set featuring eleven NEW tantalizing shapeshifter tales from NY Times and USA Today best selling authors.

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NOT AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

3.5 stars

Well, I finally finished another anthology. This one took me about nine months to finish and I gotta say I wasn’t really impressed with them that much.  Obviously if I took my sweet ass time with them.

One thing that is standing out to me is the fact that there is NO FRICKING TABLE OF CONTENTS!! So if I wanted to…IDK, REVIEW EACH BOOK INDIVIDUALLY, I would have to go through the anthology page by page to find the title and author of each book.

No fucking way am I doing that.  Call me lazy,  IDC, that’s a whole lot of effort for some books I barely remember.

So I can only go based on my most recent memory of these stories, which is sad to say, mediocre.  This will be the shortest review of an anthology ever because of my laziness.

That’s…that’s about it really.  They had alphas and they were on the prowl, but none really stuck to me as super awesome.

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The Collectors’ Society (The Collectors’ Society #1) by Heather Lyons

22735431Blurb: After years in Wonderland, Alice has returned to England as an adult, desperate to reclaim sanity and control over her life. An enigmatic gentleman with an intriguing job offer too tempting to resist changes her plans for a calm existence, though. Soon, she’s whisked to New York and initiated into the Collectors’ Society, a secret organization whose members confirm that famous stories are anything but straightforward and that what she knows about the world is only a fraction of the truth.

It’s there she discovers villains are afoot—ones who want to shelve the lives of countless beings. Assigned to work with the mysterious and alluring Finn, Alice and the rest of the Collectors’ Society race against a doomsday clock in order to prevent further destruction . . . but will they make it before all their endings are erased?

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Favorite Quotes: 

“Sometimes,” he told me, “you can have something, hold it in your hands or feel it in your bones, and still never understand the working mechanisms behind it.” Isn’t that the brutal truth.

“No creature is completely selfless. Not even those whose hearts are more gold than tin.”

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5 stars

The title and the cover are what drew me in, and the fact that it was on sale for free back in November last year.  But then I just left it in my kindle queue.  Every time I scrolled past it I read the blurb but then got disinterested with it.  I would say the blurb does this book NO JUSTICE. Finally I just opened it and started reading it one day.

I was absolutely sucked in right from the very start. This story was so great! The writing was deep and the world building was fantastic!   It took a bit of a dark take on a classic re-telling.

Alice (Yes, from THAT classic) was analytical, whip-smart and practical. Her madness was contained so flawlessly but you could see how she constantly struggled with it under the surface.  I loved how the author took a pretty benign character from a classic and gave her so much depth and personality!

And she didn’t stop there, all of the characters in this book had a dark depth to them that really made me care about them.  I enjoy classics, I read them regularly I would say, but I never really thought of them as ‘real’.  Probably because the timeline they are generally in I clearly can’t relate too.  Heather Lyons made them more real to me. And as a bibliophile, that holds great value to me.

I’m absolutely going to read the rest of this series.  By the by, its only .99 pennies if you want to check it put yourself, which I highly recommend.

Curly Carla_small

Belong to You by Vi Keeland

Blurb:
17936062My honeymoon was almost everything I dreamed it would be, a tropical paradise, turquoise water, romantic walks on the beach, and loads and loads of mind shattering sex. The only thing missing was the groom.

After seven years of coasting through a relationship with Michael, my senses were numb. A week of passion with a stranger was just what I needed to clear my head and take back control of my life. But how do you move on when the man that was only supposed to be a fling somehow seeps into your soul and steals your heart?

 

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My Review:
2.5 stars — I read this book in an anthology (inTENse), and I’m thinking it wasn’t the best introduction to Ms. Keeland’s works.  From what I can vibe from reviews, it’s got a bit of a different feel, and besides that, earlier works are never the best representations.

This book was just very meh for me.  The characters were OK.  Not horrible, but not super endearing.  I kept getting glimpses of potential sweetness/vulnerability in Jack, and that intrigued me, but it was usually glossed over in favour of the stereotypical alpha behavior.  And I’ll get this out of the way right now, I’m one of those rare readers who’s not actually that big of a fan of alphas.  Weird right?  *shrugs* What are you gonna do.  It’s not that I hate them or anything, I just tend not to gravitate towards them.  There are always exceptions to that rule, but Jack wasn’t an exception for me.  Every time he practically peed on Sydney to mark her, I just kind of rolled my eyes.  It can be sexy, but it wasn’t for me in this case.

This book just felt very much like a lot of books that I’ve seen out there, and I’m not sure what I was expecting…in fact, looking back on the anthology, it states it’s 10 books about 10 alphas, so I wasn’t very bright in my choice eh?

So yeah.  Super rich hero.  Playboy who’s very experienced but has never really had a relationship.  Heroine has a LOT less experience.  Supposed to be a short fling, but of course they fall in love (ish — no words, just deep connection, neither has ever felt that way about another person).  Secrets, shameful past of hero.  He’s kind of a jerk pushing her away because of it.  Heroine feels insecure b/c of other women in his life.  You know, the usual.

Steamy scenes were pretty good.  I liked that Sydney wasn’t too much of a pushover.  Her BFF Sienna was pretty sassy and funny.

In the end it wasn’t a bad story, it just didn’t stand out.  And in fact it kind of dragged on longer than I expected, so I got a bit bored.  If you love these kinds of stories though, I think you’ll enjoy this one…they’re just not really for me.  And I have no interest in finding out what happens in the next book with Jack and Sydney.  Oh well, it was mostly my own fault for not understanding what kind of story this was going to be…

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Happily Ever Kissed by Vicky Holt

happily ever kissedBlurb: Starry-eyed Ava Simmons, co-owner of the ramshackle Heartbeat Inn, needs to steal her first kiss on the historic Heartland Cove Bridge before the Mayor has it torn down. Then she can join the ranks of her entire family tree in having her first kiss on the second longest covered bridge in North America. In a race against the Mayor’s bulldozer, she sees every hot and available guest of her B&B as First Kiss Potential.
If only she could escape the judging eyes of her omnipresent handyman, Sebastian Haddock. He’s too busy, too dusty, and too local for Ava’s tastes. She likes her heroes straight off the covers of the romance novels she devours like her guests eat her amazing baked goods. Yep, her First Kiss recipient needs to be strong yet sensitive, handsome but modest, hard-working but relaxed, and dreamy yet grounded.
Basically, she needs one of her Book Boyfriends to step out of a love story and kiss her! Because convincing her guests to visit the bridge with her turns out to be as tricky as baking the perfect cupcake in a broken oven. How do the romance novels make it look so easy? And how come Sebastian keeps catching her with her nose in a book? And when one of her guests turns out to be a kissable romance novel cover model-why isn’t she ready for her First Kiss after all?

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5 stars

Oh my gosh I loved the little details in this story!  All the romance cliché references were so dang hilarious.  And while I got a bit annoyed with Ava’s stubbornness, I was equally enamored by her naivety. She was so oblivious and it was cute as hell to see her attempt to re-create her favorite scenes from her romance novels. She just kept picking the wrong people!

I loved the little tid bits thrown in, her love of cooking and reading gave her character layers that I enjoyed learning about.  And she had a great family support system with her grandma.   This side character was such a delight! She exuded the “you are only as young as you feel” adage and I hope to be half as cool as her when I get older!

And Sebastion!  Hmmm, he was yummy.  It might have something to do with the fact that my husband is a carpenter so I’m a bit bias when it comes to those characters.  But he was just perfect for Ava! He helped to balance out her romantic side. He was stoic and practical.  I’m a bit practical myself so I was really attracted to that.  And I found his simple thoughtfulness to be romantic. He didn’t swagger or exude confidence. He let his actions speak for themselves and boy did I hear them loud and clear.

I really enjoyed the world of Heartland cove that Ms. Holt took me too. and I would highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys romance.

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Temporary by Sarina Bowen and Sarah Mayberry

Blurb:
36123044The most beautiful man I’ve ever seen is the same one who can ruin everything.

The first time I lay eyes on Callan Walker, I know he’ll be trouble. With his smug grin, hot Aussie accent and thousand dollar shoes, he’s just the kind of rich guy who always gets what he wants.

And he wants two things: a night of sin, and my cooperation as he outmaneuvers his powerful mother to take control of his uncle’s estate.

I can’t afford either one. I’m the only thing standing between my little sister and the foster care system. He may have money and charm on his side, but I have something even more powerful — pure desperation. This temp job at his mother’s company can become a full time job for me. It has to.

But when Callan’s eyes rake over my body, sometimes I forget my obligations. His piercing gaze finds the fun, optimistic girl I used to be and not the tired person I’ve become.

And it works–if only for a moment. Our night together was a mistake. I can’t afford to get sucked into his high-powered family’s treachery. But the closer I get to Callan, the more layers I find beneath those expensive clothes. Though I can’t forget this is temporary. He’s temporary. I have too much to lose.

Too bad my foolish heart didn’t get the memo…

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My Review:
4.5 stars — I won an ARC of this book through a contest, but this does not affect my honest and unbiased opinion.

I am a HUGE fan of both of these authors, and in a stroke of luck I threw out the wild guess that they were collaborating in a contest that probably didn’t expect winners, I managed to…well…win.  So I had really high hopes for this book, and can I just say that it lived up to EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM??  This book was everything I loved about both authors, so if you’re a fan of either one, you won’t be disappointed.

The thing that has always sucked me in with both authors writing was their focus on fantastic, relatable characters.  Characters that you root for, characters that you fall in love with.  And Callan and Grace were no exceptions.

I felt the desperation and struggles that Grace faced, trying to provide for her sister and give her a stable home.  I felt her wariness of starting relationships when she’d had such a bad track record of being left behind.  And OMG, she had such a smart, sassy mouth on her…what I loved is that it was kind of subtle, not in your face sassiness.  She was strong, independent, with a big heart and a beautiful soul.

And Callan surprised the crap out of me.  My heart ACHED for his grief over his beloved uncle…so much so that *I* mourned for Uncle Jack.  I wish I’d known him.  The situations he faced at the hands of his mother, both in the past and in the book, just made me want to throw down with him and punch her in the throat.  I really understood how his experiences shaped him, and I loved getting to see that there was a LOT more there than met the eye.  And his humour and his own brand of sassiness were just infectious.  I can’t even tell you how many times he made me laugh.

And Grace and Callan together made my heart happy.  I followed them from flirting to more, and their chemistry was palpable.  I desperately wanted them to work, regardless of the odds they were facing.  Even when mistakes were made, I waited patiently for them to make it better (and they did).

I even adored Olivia, despite her teenage sauciness.  I thought the balance between teenage snark, bad attitude, vulnerability, and sassiness was perfect.  I appreciated that she wasn’t forgotten about.

So yeah.  I got “stuck in” and now I want to go listen to some Aussie accents.  And dare I hope that this is the start of a series??  Please please please please please….

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