Thursday, 30 October 2014

Review ~ On the Naughty List by Lori Foster, Carly Phillips, Sugar Jamison, Beth Ciotta

On the Naughty ListeARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: October 14th 2014

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Description:
Lori Foster has two co-workers plan a Christmas party side-by-side-and discover a love worth celebrating in Christmas Bonus

Carly Phillips explores a "mistletoe moment" when a no-nonsense lawyer intent on seducing her boss meets his twin instead--and gives him a scintillating kiss that leaves him begging for more inNaughty Under the Mistletoe.

In Sugar Jamison’s Have Yourself a Curvy Little Christmas, former wild child Dina Gregory returns home to New York to find the father of her young son. Instead, she finds his stuffy older brother, Ben. Ben can’t help but admire her tenacity—and her bold beauty. Could it be that Dina has reignited his Christmas spirit?

Beth Ciotta brings two friends who, after years apart, together at home for the holidays. They don’t seem to have much in common anymore, but when the two get stranded together during a blizzard, they are forced to reexamine if they are better off as "just friends"? Or could it be that true love was there all along? in Some Kind of Wonderful.

My Opinion

This was a great Christmas collection. All of the novellas are easy, feel-good reads that keep a smile on your face and would be perfect for a winter read in front of the fireplace. I think the last two were my favourite, which surprised me after reading a few reviews and the, blurbs, but all in all, I'd definitely recommend this to anyone looking to stock up on Christmas reads for December.

Here's what I thought about the individual books:

Christmas Bonus - Lori Foster

This was a quick, fun, flirty read that had a bit of humour and a Christmassy feeling. I've read a few of Lori Foster's books and this novella was a sweet, feel good read that keeps a smile on your face. Whilst I would have loved for it to be longer, it was still an enjoyable read. The characters were likable and things moved along at a good pace.

4


Naught Under the Mistletoe by Carly Phillips

This was another quick, easy read that was a feel-good, Christmas story. I liked the overall concept and for a novella it was satisfying, however I felt that the characters declared their love too quickly. Still, it was a flirty read that makes you smile.

4


Some Kind of Wonderful - Beth Ciotta

I really liked this read. It had a bit more tension and wasn't as lighthearted as the previous novella. It also felt more like  Christmas while reading it, and I thought the relationships within the family were great. I liked the progression as Maya worked her way into Zach's heart and how they came to realise what had happened with the letter. The only thing I wasn't keen on was the ending and Zach's dreams. It felt a little random to me. Anyway, still and other enjoyable read.

4

Have yourself a Curvy Christmas - Sugar Jamison

I didn't think I'd enjoy this read when I saw the title. However, it was surprisingly sweet and endearing. Although falling for your baby's farther's brother was a little weird to start with, you can't help but love Ben. He was kind, caring, and full of love. Of course he has his problems from the past but he was warm and welcoming instantly. As well as this it was clear to see Dina brought the best out in him. This read keeps a smile on your face and tugs at your heart. It's a feel good read and a perfect way to finish what has been an enjoyable collection.


4

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Review ~ Waterfall by Lauren Kate

WaterfalleARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: November 7th 2014

Publisher: Random House

Description:
Eureka's tears have flooded the earth and now Atlantis is rising, along with its evil king, Atlas. Eureka is the only one who can stop him – but first she must learn how to fight.

She travels across the ocean with Ander to try and make sense of the dark world her sorrow has created. But dark secrets are hidden in the depths – will she be strong enough to defeat Atlas, or is her broken heart just what he needs to power his rising kingdom?

Eureka has the chance to save the world. But she'll have to give up on everything – even love . . .

My Opinion

I've been reading this for at least 2 weeks now and I've only managed to read 30%. I really wanted to like this, and for it to redeem Teardrop, which only picked up towards the end but it just isn't. I loved this author's previous work, however I'm just getting more and more bored with this book. I don't know what it is about this series, but I feel really disconnected and the fact that I put it down and forgot about it (reading 7 other books before I picked it back up again) means I'm probably not going to be able to finish it. It's a shame as I like this author and the covers are beautiful, but a book this length should take me a day at most to finish. I can't continue reading at the pace I'm going so unfortunately I'm going to mark this as DNF and move on--despite my best efforts to stick with it.

DNF

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Review ~ Mistaken 2 (Mistaken, #2) by Renna Peak

Mistaken 2 (The Mistaken Series)ebook downloaded for free via Amazon.

Release Date: April 2014

Description:
Jenna Davis thought she was a grown woman, capable of making her own decisions. When her world is turned upside down, she finds herself back under the control of her father, unsure of who she can trust. She's finding it difficult to learn to trust her heart when she just finds it broken over and over again. 

Recommended for adults only audiences. 

This is part two of a multi-part romantic suspense serial, and ends with a cliffhanger. Part one should be read before this novella for maximum enjoyment of the story. The series unfolds over six episodes of approximately 100 pages each. Parts one through six (the complete first season) are available now.

My Opinion

Just like this first book, this was a short, easy read that had many twists and turns. It was an engaging read and I liked how the characters continue to evolve. The pacing was good and it keeps you turning the pages. However the only downside is that I doubt I'll find out what happens in the end because I can't bring myself to pay for reads that take me less than an hour to complete. I know that if I buy one I'll have to keep going because these end on huge cliff hangers.

4

Monday, 27 October 2014

Blog Tour Review ~ Straight from the Heart (Straight from the Heart #1) by Breigh Forstner

Straight from the Heartebook received for the tour in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: July 13th 2014
Genre: YA, Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 1500525987 
ASIN: B00LS7LVS4

Description:
This is a story about a girl discovering and experiencing life for the first time.

Bryn Schaefler grew up rich. Her parents expected the best out of her, picked her boyfriend for her, and groomed her to be the next trophy wife fresh out of High School.

But when they discover she wants to pursue music instead of following in her mothers footsteps, they wanted to hear nothing about it.

That was when Bryn left for good.

By chance, she auditioned for main stream rock band Everlasting. Never in a million years did she think she would make it.

Cale Pelton knew it was his fault for the band scrambling around to find a new guitarist. Once he saw Bryn audition, he knew he had to have her. Not just in the band, but in his mind, body and soul.

Available at Amazon US Amazon UK BN

My Opinion

I'm on the fence about Straight From the Heart. On one hand it was a quick, easy read, but on the other there was just something missing and didn't feel quite right.

I liked the overall concept of Bryn joining a rock band and breaking away from the rich kid lifestyle and her parents. I found it great that she had ambition and wasn't afraid to go for what she wanted. I was shocked by her parents' actions to begin with and admired her for having the courage to realise she didn't have to put up with it.

As well as this, I also liked the underlying tension between Cale and Bryn. Their relationship built nicely, even if it was a bit tame for me. I liked Cale, and he was a character I found easier to feel for; he seemed like an all right guy most of the time. However, saying that there were a few things that either irritated me or had me rolling my eyes. First of all despite Bryn breaking away from her parents, not once did she have to struggle for anything. She was still handed everything on a plate and got what she wanted way too easily. I mean the day she leaves she gets a job, an apartment, and a place in the band! I wish I had that kind of luck. To me it felt unrealistic and the author could have made more of her struggles as for me that's the most interesting parts of books like this.

Similarly, I never really warmed up to Bryn. She wasn't an easy character to like and I found her to be a little annoying. She went from one guy to the next and was always thinking about a different guy to the one she was with. I will say I liked that she had a relationship with Lucy, but with the guys I thought she came across as a tease and not very loyal. I think this is the main reason that has caused me to feel there wasn't something quite right as the book is written from her POV.

The only other thing I wasn't so keen on was the random mystery slotted in at the end. It just didn't work for me and the character who was behind everything's motives didn't seem to warrant the lengths they went to. It all seemed a bit rushed and random. How Bryn jumped straight to who it was with no clue is beyond me and then there's this huge cliff hanger! It seemed like the author was trying to fit too much it to such little space and it didn't work for me.

Overall I'm still on the fence about this book. I'm not sure whether I'll read the next one, but it may internet those looking for a tame, easy read.




About the Author

Breigh Forstner currently resides in her home town in south east Michigan with her two daughters. While she works full-time during the week, at night she spends time with her kids and writes until her fingers can’t type anymore. Her goal is to make it onto a best sellers list at some point in her career, and writes any chance she can get. She is a lover of all types of music and is a sucker for rock bands and tattooed bad boys.

Twitter: @BreighForstner
Facebook: www.facebook.com/breighforstnerauthor
Website/Blog: www.breighforstnerauthor.wordpress.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7450018.Breigh_Forstner

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Review ~ Between a Jock and a Hard Place by Mona Ingram

Blogging From the Heartebook downloaded for free from Amazon.

Release Date: April 14th 2013

Description:
Even though she's surrounded by hockey-crazed family and friends, Claire doesn’t follow the Vancouver Canucks. Her brother has played hockey all of his life and has a promising career in the minors, but that’s as far as her interest goes. So when she meets a large, handsome man with a broken nose she doesn’t recognize him as a key player for the Canucks.
Jack is intrigued with the notion of getting to know a woman who doesn’t know who he is; someone who isn’t attracted to him because of his fame.
When Claire’s brother Cam is injured in a hockey game, she offers to blog anonymously for a local newspaper about the hot-button topic violence in hockey, unaware that Jack will be presenting the opposing view.
Meanwhile, the attraction grows between Claire and Jack, but can they survive the inevitable clash as they discover each other’s true identity?
Between a Jock and a Hard Place is a novella-length Sweet Romance, at 26,700 words.

My Opinion

This was an okay read, but I didn't connect with it as much as I thought I would. It started off good, with an interesting set up of the false identity and secrets, however it soon became repetitive and I didn't feel there was much growth in the relationship. There were a few flirty lines here and there, but I didn't feel a connection between the characters so my attention wasn't held. By the end I wasn't bothered if they stayed together really. Similarly, towards the end things got choppy and felt rushed. It felt like the author was trying to keep under a certain word count rather than use as many as necessary to tell the story. I think things could have been delved into a bit more and fleshed out so there's more personality and chemistry because insta-love needs chemistry to work.

Overall I can only say this was okay, but at least it was free. It's a predictable, easy read that's not at all taxing, but I've read better novellas.

2

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Review ~ Mistaken (Mistaken #1) by Renna Peak

Mistaken (Mistaken, #1)ebook downloaded for free via Amazon.

Release Date: April 2014

Description:
The first episode of The MISTAKEN Series

a New Adult Romantic Suspense novella ~ about 100 pages

Jenna Davis has tortured herself over the death of her fiance. She's moved to a new city to escape not only the memories, but the shadow of her father, the senator. By meeting Brandon Richardson and succumbing to her desires, she takes a giant step forward in healing her grief-stricken heart. But Brandon has secrets that threaten to destroy her. 

Recommended for adult audiences. 

This is part one of a multi-part romantic suspense serial, and ends with a cliffhanger. The serial unfolds over six episodes of approximately 100 pages each. Parts one through six (the complete first season) are available now.

My Opinion

I really enjoyed this novella, and it surprised me. It had a good story line, and there are some secrets that keep you reading--especially the ending, which was just mean! Whilst everything isn't answered, I'm sure it will be at some point in the series. Mistaken is quite a tame read, which was a surprise as I was expecting more in the romance department, but Brandon seemed like a nice guy. For a freebie this was an enjoyable read and I'm glad I got the second book too. The only criticism I have is that the writing is quite repetitive. I felt the author needed to mix things up a lot more, especially the start of sentences that seemed to always start with a pronoun. 


Overall though, this was a good read. I'm not sure if I can bring myself to pay for all the books in the series (as there's a lot), despite wanting to find out how things unfold, but I'll definitely read book 2.

4

Friday, 24 October 2014

Review ~ Scorned (From the Inside Out #1) by S.L. Scott

Scorned (From the Inside Out, # 1)ebook downloaded for free via Amazon

Release Date: August 18th 2014

Description:
We shared a love that regulated every heartbeat and every breath we took. It was all encompassing. I thought our love could withstand time and anything thrown our way. 

I was wrong. So wrong.

I used to be happy. I used to be Juliette Weston when Dylan Somers filled my life with promises of love and a happy ever after. But when he took my heart and broke it into a million pieces, I became someone else entirely. In one afternoon, I lost my soul mate. I lost everything I knew myself to be. 

Three years later, the man who destroyed me is back. 

To assuage his guilt? To finish the job? It doesn’t matter… I won’t let him this time. I’m stronger. I’ve moved on. He won’t affect me. 

This is a story of love and betrayal. Pain and loss. Happiness and fate. It’s about finding your true destiny.

This is our story.

And it’s not for the faint of heart.

My Opinion

I really don't know what to make of this. From the blurb it sounded like an interesting read with strong characters. However, Jules was far from that; she wsas weak. I mean who decides to let a man who did what Dylan did back into their life after causing so much pain?! I can't find another way to put who Dylan was, so I'll just say he's an asshole I hated. There was not one redeeming quality and the fact Jules decides she wants to see him irritated me. As well as this the plot felt jumpy and I don't really know what went on. Austin was a random addition, but he was probably the best aspect. Anyway, it was a little to quick and I found my attention waning the more I read. I stuck with it because it's a novella, but I doubt I'll continue the series. 

2

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Review ~ Playing the Rookie by Rachelle Ayala

Playing the Rookieebook downloaded for free via Amazon

Release Date: September 4th 2014

Description:
Jessica Song is tired of being a good girl, staying in a relationship well past closing time. Fresh from a breakup, she takes a walk on the wild side as a sports events intern.

Baseball rookie Jay Pak Ahn has been burned one too many times by good girls, especially his cheating ex-fiancée. When he meets wild Jessica, he throws away all caution to enjoy her to the fullest.

Jessica and Jay agree to a week of enchanting, starry-eyed dates and wild, unrestrained sex to get their exes out of their systems.

Their pasts collide, exposing the secrets in Jessica’s heart and threatening Jay’s position on the team. Jessica must leave her disappointment behind while Jay has to decide whether Jessica comes before baseball. What will they sacrifice to turn their fling into true love?

My Opinion

I really enjoyed this read, which surprised me. I didn't read the blurb when I downloaded it on a free novella spree on Amazon, so I didn't really know anything besides it was about a sports guy.

Anyway, I found this an engaging read that was hard to put down. It's definitely one of the better free novellas I've read so I'd definitely recommend it if you're looking for a short, easy read. I liked the characters and the relationship--even if it moved a little quickly and they fell into bed way too soon. However, I thought the pacing was good and there were a few twists to keep things interesting. I'm also glad there wasn't a cliff hanger. There was a satisfying HEA that puts a smile on your face.

The only thing I wasn't keen about was that Jessica's POV was written in first person, and Jay's in third. I've only seen this done in one other book and I would have preferred both 1st person POV because I didn't understand why 3rd person was needed, it made me feel disconnected from Jay.

Overall though this was an enjoyable read though. Great for a freebie.

4

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Review ~ Tasting The Boy Next Door (The Boy Next Door #1)

Tasting The Boy Next Door (The Boy Next Door, #1)
ebook downloaded for free via Amazon.

Release Date: April 12th 2013

Description:
Melissa Smyth is enraged when her parents enlist the help of their next door neighbor to look after the house while they are away, not trusting Melissa to do it. Determined to prove she's in charge, Melissa decides to use all her feminine wiles to make her geeky neighbor regret his decision. But little does she know that Rory Thompson has ideas of his own. He's been travelling for the last three years and is geeky no longer. As these two old adversaries come together, who will come out on top? One thing is for sure - sparks will fly.
Tasting The Boy Next Door is a 3500 erotic short story. It is book 1 in The Boy Next Door erotic romance series. Contains explicit sex. For adults only.

My Opinion

I'm not sure what to make of this, but all I can say is that I'm glad it was free. I went in expecting a novella when I downloaded it, but what I ended up reading was definitely a short story (if you could call it that). Had I known that I doubt I would have downloaded it because these are not what I like. Because it's so short the plot doesn't really go anywhere, I couldn't connect with the characters and the whole thing felt rushed. Melissa was a brat and they jumped into sex way too quickly. It wasn't believable or likable so I doubt I'll read more.

2

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Review ~ Unfettered (Overwatch #.5) by Sasha White

Unfettered (Overwatch, #1)


ebook downloaded via Amazon for free

Release Date: July 2014

Description:
You never forget your first love


Mechanic Ronnie Lang is tired of being “one of the guys”. Chasing the fantasy of finding a dominant male to help her explore her sexuality she applies to Overwatch, a members-only club where her eyes are opened to a world that’s more than she ever imagined, and the man she’s never forgotten.




My Opinion

It was just by chance that I came across this on Amazon. I read Primal a few days ago after downloading it from NetGalley so because this was free I thought I'd give it a go as well. I think I enjoyed this more than book one. It was a short, feisty read and linked with book 1 well. Of course I'd like to read more about Ian and Ronnie but it was great to hear about the beginning of their journey and how they got to the point they are in Primal. This was a hot, steamy read that was a great to read for an hour.

4

Monday, 20 October 2014

ARC Review ~ The Perfect Gift by Dani-Lyn Alexander

The Perfect GifteARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: November 17th 2014

Publisher: Pocket Star (Simon & Schuster)

Description:
It’s the season of second chances in this heartwarming, contemporary holiday romance where two single parents find each other—and another chance at love—in the most unexpected of places!

’Tis the night before Christmas…and businessman and single father Jason is scrambling to find the dollhouse of the season for his seven-year-old daughter Emily. But when he finally strikes gold at an obscure toy store, he’s met with resistance—literally, as a beautiful woman named Leah is grabbing onto the dollhouse box from the other side of the aisle, determined to get the same Christmas present for her own daughter.

Desperate not to let the other win, Jason and Leah forge a pact: stay together until they find the same dollhouse at a different toy store. It sounds simple, but ten stores and many hours later, they still come up empty. They might not be finding another dollhouse, but they sure are finding a lot to talk about and, as their mutual attraction grows, the unlikely pair finds the greatest holiday gift of all—love.

My Opinion

I'm not really a fan of books about parents, but this book had a Christmas theme so I thought what the heck and requested it. I was initially saving it until December, but I needed something to lift my mood and what does that better than a Christmas romance? I've read other work by this author as well and, having enjoyed it, I couldn't wait to read it.

The Perfect Gift was a great Christmas read and one I'll have to read again in December. It was sweet, fluffy, cute, and heart-warming. I liked the characters and thought the way they connected and grew together was believable. There was no heavy drama in this novella, it was just a feel-good read bout two parents who both wanted to please their children. It was also a clean romance that finished on a HFN. Both characters clearly had a strong relationship with their child and I liked the overall concept of finding the dollhouse together. Of course, the ending is predictable, and there aren't an surprises in the book, but that's not really what I look for in these types of reads.

Overall, it was an easy, quick read that put a smile on my face and wouldn't let me put it down. It was an endearing, heart-warming read that would be a perfect fire-side read.


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Review ~ Blame It on the Mistletoe by Nicole Michaels

Blame It on the MistletoeeARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: October 14th 2014

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Description:
Sometimes all it takes is a leap of faith…

’Tis the season for small-town Missouri boutique owner Brooke Abbott to get crafty. Much as she adores making art for art’s sake—decorating windows, designing ornaments, crafting the perfect present for under the tree—this Christmas she needs the gift of good customers. Lots of them. Sweet Opal Studios will go under if she can’t do some serious business before the New Year…and she has no time to lose. What Brooke needs is an honest-to-goodness miracle. Instead, she finds a burglar lurking in the back room of her shop. And here she thought the holidays couldn’t get any worse!

For Christmas to work its own magic…

Or maybe things just got a lot better. Turns out the burglar is none other than Alex Coleman—local bad boy slash legendary heartthrob, childhood best friend to Brooke’s older brother, and…future landlord? That is the question. He’s come home for the holidays to see his grandmother, make peace with his distant mother, and settle his grandfather’s estate, an estate that includes the building that houses Sweet Opal. What he never expected was to bump into a grown-up Brooke, whose spirit, charm, and irresistible good looks give him pause. Should he go back to Oregon as planned, or give small-town life a chance? The only thing Alex knows for sure is that before he walks out that door, he’s going to get Brooke beneath the mistletoe, where anything can happen…

My Opinion

I've downloaded a lot of Christmas reads recently, but have been putting off reading them until at least November as I hate to think about the holiday season before. However, I needed a short, easy romance to brighten my day and this seemed like the perfect one.

Blame it on the Mistletoe was a lighthearted, fluffy read. It has a cute romance and that Christmassy feeling that leaves you with a smile on your face. I liked the characters; Alex was surprisingly sensitive for the reformed-bad-boy, and I liked how he didn't give up. Of course, it was predictable that his secrets were going to come out at some point and I didn't really like how that came about, but I'm glad there was a small amount of tension in the relationship. Similarly, I thought Brooke was a strong character in her own way. She was determined to succeed and make a better life for herself. 

I did feel as I was reading that the author could have done more with both characters' back stories. She set up this intriguing premise that Alex was ex-military and had a hard life  when a child, and that Brooke was in a abusive relationship, however I never felt they were fully developed. There was so much more that could have been done with it and I think it would have made me like and connect with the characters more. I also wanted a bit more of a spark between the characters. Things got better as they progressed, but it still felt a little tame like the characters weren't fully committing.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It's a cute, festive read that has a sweet romance.



Saturday, 18 October 2014

ARC Review ~ More Than Exes (Chasing the Dream 0.5) by Elizabeth Briggs

More Than Exes (Chasing the Dream, #0.5)eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: October 28th 2014

Description:
Keyboardist Kyle Cross may look like a bad boy with his tattoos and piercings, but he’s really the good guy who’s always stuck fixing his band’s problems and never gets the girl. His band is competing in a college Battle of the Bands, but when their bassist doesn't show, Kyle must track her down with the help of the person he least expects: his ex-girlfriend Alexis Monroe. 

Kyle hasn’t seen Alexis since she dumped him in high school, and she’s dropped her preppy image for fiery red hair and a bold new attitude to match. With only hours before his band goes on stage, Kyle has to be a little bad if he wants to win both the Battle and the girl he's never gotten over. But when their old problems resurface, the good guy might just get his heart broken all over again.

My Opinion

After being pleasantly surprised by book 1 (More Than Music) earlier this year, I just had to request this from NetGalley. This time I went into reading it knowing the author's style and everything about the band, because this is a prequel, so it didn't surprise me. I knew I'd enjoy it, and that's what happened.

More Than Exes is a short novella that is based around one night before 'The Sound' competition you read about in book 1. I thought it gave a nice, additional scene that explained some of the issues that arise in More Than Music and you learnt more about why the characters became who they are in it. The pacing was good and everything flowed well. It's unusual for me to read a book written solely in the guy's POV, but it worked in this because Kyle is the good guy and a likable character. 

Just like any novella, this doesn't go into huge amounts of detail about things, and it is quick. However, I think the author did a good job of including a little of everything. There was a small backstory, drama, romance, and a little tension. The characters were well developed and it leads on into book 1 well. 

Overall this was an enjoyable, easy read that was nice to relax with. I'll definitely be looking out for more in this series.


Friday, 17 October 2014

Review ~ Primal (Overwatch #1) by Sasha White

Primal (Overwatch, #2)eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: October 24th 2014

Publisher: White Hot Reads

Description:
BDSM club owner Adam Kessler is no one’s hero. He joined the army to get away from the gang-life that had taken his brother, only to come home to heartache. He doesn’t hide his dominant side, and he doesn’t hesitate in his need to protect or enforce his particular brand of retribution on those who’ve earned it. There’s no way in hell he could walk past a man hassling a woman in an empty parking lot and do nothing. Only when the confrontation is over and the voluptuous blonde turns eyes filled with desire to him, does Adam realize he’s in trouble. 

Psychologist Olivia Lang grew up with the proverbial silver spoon, and has never regretted spending more time on her career than on romance, until she meets Adam Kessler. He’s dark, he’s dangerous, and he’s deliciously dominant… and she wants him. 

Passion burns quick and hot between them and soon they’re caught up in an intensely carnal relationship that neither can deny. But when Olivia’s life is threatened and Adam shows her just how dangerous he can be, will it be too much for the civilized psychologist to handle, or will she truly accept the man and win her hero’s heart?

My Opinion

First of all, I'll start by saying this isn't my usual read. I've read erotica before, but my tastes tend to gravitate towards new adult and contemporary romances more often than not. However, how could I resist with a cover like that? It sparked my interest and I'm all for dominant, alpha males so I thought what the hell and requested it.

Primal was exactly what I was expecting. It was a hot read that had a few moments of action and a hint of past with the characters, especially Adam. The story line was interesting and it started off in a way that captured my attention instantly. The sex is of course steamy, passion filled, and as the title suggest primal. Adam is clearly a dominant male who would make any woman weak at the knees. 

This was quick, flowed well, and overall an easy read. I did find myself enjoying it, however I felt it could have been longer and ended rather abruptly, and in slightly a weird way that I felt didn't answer all questions. I also came away feeling a little dissatisfied. I know it's erotica, but I didn't really connect with the characters or feel for them. I'm not sure why, but I came away with only an "it's enjoyable but only okay" feeling.

To sum up, if you're looking for a quick, steamy read and don't mind BDSM you may want to check this out.


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Review ~ Normal by Danielle Pearl

Normalebook received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: August 11th 2014

Description:
It's the kind of situation most people would dread. Starting at a new high school, in the middle of my senior year, in a new town, in a new state. I know no one. No one knows me. That's what I'm counting on.

A year ago, Aurora "Rory" Pine was just a normal teenage girl - just as sweet and naive as the fairy tale princess she was named after.

But this isn't a year ago.

Rory is broken, and now suffering from a debilitating anxiety disorder, wrought with precarious triggers, she moves across the country to escape the source of her troubles. Her plan is anonymity, but that's easier said than achieved for the new girl having a panic episode outside of calculus. The worst part? There's a witness - and a gorgeous one at that.

Sam is a walking trigger for Rory. Incredibly handsome, built like the star athlete he obviously is, and undoubtedly popular, Sam outwardly represents everything Rory despises about high school. But as the fates keep throwing them together, a connection sparks that neither ever expected, and certainly couldn't ignore.

But Sam has issues too, and Rory's past won't just stay in the damned past. When friendship evolves into something deeper, can a girl utterly destroyed by the worst kind of betrayal and a boy battling demons of his own ever have a normal relationship? Is that even what they want? Find out in NORMAL, a gritty story of trust and abuse, heartbreak and salvation, and if they're lucky - love. This is not a flowery romance - not for the faint of heart.

My Opinion

I'm reluctant to say I enjoyed this book, because I don't think it's really the right word due to the content in Normal, but that doesn't make it a good read. Normal was a hard-hitting, dark, contemporary novel that touches upon some heavy and emotional themes. While it isn't an easy read, it's one that captures your interest and moves you.

When I first started reading Normal, I didn't expect to not be able to put it down. I did also kind of regret agreeing to read it when I saw the length on my Kindle. However, it surprised me and I found myself lost in the world the author created. By the time I stopped, I realised it was 2 a.m. and didn't know where the time had gone. The writing flowed well and each chapter made me want to read the next one, and then another after that. 

Similarly, I thought the characters were crafted well. I'm not usually one for characters who blame themselves for everything, but in this book Rory felt real. I can't imagine what's it's like to go through something like she does, but I felt her emotions and thoughts were realistic and mirrored what people go through with this type of abuse. As well as this she had a believable progression and growth in herself, with the help of Sam. He was another great character that was so unlike the normal arrogant, cocky male leads. He worked his way into Rory's heart by being a true friend; he understood what she needed, and he respected her. It was nice to watch how Rory progressed around him and how they grew closer together. I can say the same about Cam. He was a nice character to read about, even if I guessed what happened to him way before the reveal.

Normal is written from two different points in time, with chapters changing from Rory's past to the present day. I think overall this worked and it gave a very detailed account of what actually happened to her. It gives the readers a good insight to why she's so unstable in the present, and it allowed the author to tell her story without Rory have to talk before she was ready. I will warn you that the events aren't sugar-coated. There are vivid scenes of rape and abuse which is unlike other books I've read that usually use flashbacks, but it works. 

However, having said all of that, there are a few reasons I couldn't rate this book five stars. I said earlier that when I saw the length of Normal on my Kindle I did regret accepting it for review. My other thought was that I was going to find either a lot of repetitive scenes or superfluous scenes that should have been cut in editing. Although I liked this book, this was exactly what I found. 

Because you read about Rory's experiences before she's ready to tell them (in the past chapters) it means when she does finally build up the courage, the detail she goes into becomes repetitive and not necessary. There were quite a few scenes that I felt could have been shortened or, in some cases, cut totally. This was a long read and I'm glad that I asked about the ending before I agreed to review as I knew it wasn't all going to be resolved. I think I'd have been annoyed had I not known that, as after such a long read I wouldn't have wanted to get a cliff hanger. In fact, even knowing, I still wasn't keen on the ending because it was such a long book.

Similarly, I did feel the book was a bit wordy at times and there was too much description and not enough speech. Those of you who read my reviews regularly know that speech is a must for me and one of my biggest annoyance is when you get phrases like "he said xyz, and then I said xyz" because I'm like "Just write the conversation!" There were quite a few moments like this in Normal and I think this was a contributing factor to the length. I liked the speech that was there, I just wanted more.

Overall, Normal is a good read and I definitely don't regret accepting it and want to read the next book. The characters are great and the book deals with the subjects realistically, without shying away from the harsh truths. I do think it's too long and could use another round of editing to tighten the story and cut unnecessary repetition, but it's still a read that draws your in. Despite the length, it holds you attention and it's one I couldn't put down.






Sunday, 12 October 2014

Review ~ Love, Lies, and Deception by L.P. Dover

Love, Lies, and Deceptionebook downloaded from Amazon for free

Release Date: December 7th 2013

Description:
What do you do when the one person you thought you knew turns out to be the one you knew the least? 

Twenty-three year old Marissa Chase, and soon to be college graduate, has everything going for her: wonderful friends, a lucrative degree, and a chance to explore the world. What made it even better–or so she thought–was when her path crossed with the alluring Alec Holden. Unable to stay away from him, Marissa experiences a love like no other, and falls into his world of passion and intrigue. However, things begin to shift when this path takes a deadly turn. 

Her trust is put to the test when hidden dangers unfold before her, revealing secrets that have been buried for years. Secrets that were meant to stay hidden. Murder, lies, and betrayal … will Marissa figure it all out in time and escape with her life intact, or will she be too late and fall into the trap of deception?

My Opinion

Having read most of L.P's work, when I saw she was offering this free on Amazon for a little while I had to download it. I wasn't really sure what I was letting myself in for, but I've loved her other titles so I thought what the heck.

Overall I did really like Love, Lies and Deception. However, I didn't think it quite measured up to her Second Chance and Gloves off series. I liked the romance and the overall plot, it moved quickly with a good pace, and kept me hooked. I also loved Alec. He was a good hero and the relationship with Marissa was intense. The reason I rated this only three stars though was that because of the limited number of characters, I figured out who was behind everything and what was going on quite a way before the big reveal. I also would have liked an epilogue to conclude the story a little better as it did end quite abruptly.


Anyway, even though I said that, I still love this author's work and I'm glad I took a chance on this. It's a quick, easy read and one that is enjoyable and helped me through a rough day where I wasn't feeling too good.


3

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Review ~ Stars in Their Eyes (Wrapped Up in Love #2) by Lauren Blakely

Stars in Their Eyes (Wrapped Up In Love, #2)eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: October 9th 2014

Description:
A sexy and swoony new adult romance...

Celebrity photographer and college senior Jess Leighton desperately needs to crash the wedding of the year. Snapping just one pic of the A-list Hollywood couple tying the knot will pay her way through grad school. But with security tighter than the bride-to-be's corset, she'll need more than her camera and smarts, she'll need help from her biggest rival--hot, British, motorcycle-riding William Harrigan, whose sexy accent can melt the panties off any woman. He’s the last person Jess should trust, but he's her only ticket in.

William Harrigan wants one thing – to stay in L.A. past college graduation. With a student visa set to expire, the clock is ticking. When he lands a gig that pairs him with the beautiful blond spitfire Jess, he’s scored his best shot at living out the American dream. Winning her trust would be a whole lot easier, however, if he didn’t have ulterior motives...

But there’s no faking the intense attraction between them. Try as they might to resist each other, soon sparks are flying, as they devise a plan to sneak into the ceremony. But when Jess' new celebrity client raises the stakes, she starts to smell blackmail, and soon she and Will are chasing down cheating directors, staking out clandestine trysts, and making fake IDs, all while sneaking scene-stealing kisses and hot nights together.

The audience loves a happy ending, but in a town where everyone's acting and no one's playing by the rules, can Jess and William find their own ever after in time?

My Opinion

First of all, I got both the novella (book 1) and Stars in Their Eyes as a combined book from NetGalley. I reviewed A Starstruck Kiss yesterday so I'm not going to go over that again, but having read them back to back, for me it doesn't make sense to split them up. I know the author is giving the novella away for free, but for me there wasn't a definite break and these two books read perfectly as one novel.

Saying that, I'm glad the novella was included because you'll probably be lost without reading it first. It sets everything up well and Stars in Their Eyes is where all of the real drama kicks off. I didn't think I was going to enjoy the book by what I read in the novella as the pace was a bit slow, and I wasn't really keen on the celebrity side of things (I have issues with celebrities), but I was glad to find that the book picks up and the story becomes much more interesting, with more twists, and more romance.

I liked the characters and the chemistry between Jess and William. I thought it built well and the author leaves you waiting for them to always take the next step for a cruel amount of time. It built the the tension between the two of them and in the end you're just wanting the best for them. Similarly, they both had their own stories and struggles. There were a lot of plot lines over the two books, but most centred on the fact Jess needed money and William needed a visa. This led them into all of the situations they find themselves in.

Although I found some of the twists predictable, there were a few to do with the Hollywood celebs that I didn't see coming. There were many layers to what was going on and things weren't always as they appeared. I was surprised by how much was fake and how much was real in the story, even when I could see the direction the plot was heading.

My only big criticism for this book, is that I felt the ending was all too easy and rushed. You get this brilliant week-long story that details day-to-day living and then, at the end, you're suddenly thrown three months and six months into the future where everything has fallen into the characters laps. Easy are endings are not something I like, but I'm still glad the book finishes on a good note.

Overall, Stars in Their Eyes is an enjoyable read. I would advise reading the novella first so you know what's what, but other than that I enjoy this author's work.

3.5

Friday, 10 October 2014

Review ~ A Starstruck Kiss (Wrapped Up in Love #1) by Lauren Blakely

A Starstruck Kiss (Wrapped Up In Love, #1)ebook received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: September 24th 2014

Description:
There are no two ways about it — William Harrigan is a certified babe. He’s sexy, smart, and British, and he wants nothing more than to charm the pants off fellow college senior Jess Leighton. Well, he does want other things; he just can’t tell her about the job he’s working on since it maybe, possibly involves her. Jess, who moonlights as a celebrity photographer, is laser-focused on earning enough money snapping pics to pay her way through grad school, but when the criminally handsome William starts moving in on her turf, she’s got to fend off the competition from him as well as resist her desire to smother him in kisses because William makes her heart race and her skin sizzle.

Too bad this man is not to be trusted.

Right? Except if Jess wants to snag the million-dollar picture she desperately needs, she’ll have no choice but to trust Will, and he’ll have to come clean about everything he wants from Jess. Including her.

My Opinion

This was a short read that set up the plot for book two well. I did feel that it was a little slow and wasn't as engaging as the actual book, but it was still interesting. It made me begin to like the characters, and their secrets intrigued me, but I was always left thining the best is yet to come with crashing the wedding (which it was). Considering I got both books from NetGalley, I'm moved straight on to book 2 to find out what happens. I'm not sure the stories needed to be split up, but I'm glad I got them as one book. I'd definitely stick with this one as book 2 is worth it. 

3

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Review ~ Walking Disaster (Beautiful #2) by Jamie McGuire

Walking Disaster (Beautiful, #2)Release Date: April 2nd 2013

Publisher: Atria

Description:

Can you love someone too much?

Travis Maddox learned two things from his mother before she died: Love hard. Fight harder.

In Walking Disaster, the life of Travis is full of fast women, underground gambling, and violence. But just when he thinks he is invincible, Abby Abernathy brings him to his knees.

Every story has two sides. In Beautiful Disaster, Abby had her say. Now it’s time to see the story through Travis’s eyes.

My Opinion

Once again I'm glad that I didn't pay for this book but rather borrowed it from a friend. I couldn't bring myself to pay for a retelling, or the novella, and now that I have read both I pleased to say I think I made the right decision. I really don't know how the author managed to release 3 stories about the same thing, but good on her for making it a success, even if it's not for me. 

I really liked Beautiful Disaster, but I didn't need to read the exact same story from Travis' POV. Although there were a few scenes that were new, I found myself skimming  Walking Disaster a lot when the same conversations arose and we didn't really get any new information. Most of the new sections are Travis and Sheply and you see what went on when Abby wasn't around. I will admit it was nice to get inside his head, but it wasn't anything I didn't know from book 1.


Nevertheless, I did like Walking Disaster, but I think it'd be better to read it as a re-read whereby you would get the same story but a slightly different perspective so it would seem fresh after a period of time. I'm also glad the author has given Travis and Abby a rest and finally moved on to telling the other Maddox brothers' stories so for me, I'd rather read those straight after Beautiful Disaster.

3

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