Friday, May 31, 2013

REVIEW: BEAUTY FROM PAIN BY GEORGIA CATES


They agreed on three months...but their love knew no boundaries.

Jack McLachlan is a winemaking magnate and easily one of Australia’s most eligible bachelors. His success and wealth make him no stranger to the complications of romantic relationships and that’s why he goes to extreme measures to avoid the hassle. He prefers simplicity in the form of a beautiful female companion with no strings attached. He arranges relationships like business deals and they’re always the same. No long term relationships. No real names.

It’s his game and his rules. He’s content to play as usual, but when Laurelyn Prescott enters his life, his strategy must change because this player is like none he's ever encountered. His world is turned on its head after he begins a three month affair with the beautiful American musician. Nothing goes according to plan and as he breaks more and more of his own rules for her, she’s exceptionally close to becoming something he never thought possible. His ultimate game changer.

Not recommended for younger readers due to sexual content and language.



Kindle Edition, 326 pages

Published January 29th, 2013 

Where to find Beauty from Pain:
Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  B&N

Where to find Georgia Cates:
website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter


*** 4 Stars***

1) Laurelyn. I liked Laurelyn from the moment I met her on the plane even though the only thing I knew about her at that point was that she was capable of some witty observations about her best friend, Addison. Within pages we learn that she's a musician, she's from the south, she's not interested in a relationship with Addison's brother, and she's trying to put some distance from herself and a bad relationship. When Laurelyn receives a most unusual proposition from Lachlan (aka Jack Henry) I must admit I paused a moment to question her sanity. I mean maybe it's the mother in me, but who in their right mind agrees to have an intense 3 month relationship with a man when you don't even get to know his real name??!! He could be Jack the Ripper for heaven's sake! But since this is fiction and I know I have to suspend reality, I did. I just went with it. So advice...just go with it...don't question it, just accept and move on. So move on I will. As Laurelyn tries out this new relationship she discovers that she likes the security and boundaries that it provides. It makes her feel safe and free to say and do things she might not normally do. She finds herself enjoying her time and the routine that develops in the days, weeks, and months that pass. During this time we find that she has a poor example for a mother and a father, a real reason to have trust issues with anyone (especially a man), and powerfully strong desire to become successful without any outside help. For such a young woman, Laurelyn has a solid head on her shoulders and handles this Australian adventure with such confidence and grace--I'm not sure I could have been as cool as she was in any of the given situations she found herself in.

2) Lachlan/Jack Henry. I kinda thought this guy was a prick a first. I mean who does this? He treats women like he's ordering off a menu--I think I'll take that one over there this time...ugh. I obviously got past my disdain for his methods and while I think they were a smidge over the top, I suppose I understand why he did what he did. If I was a wealthy, single, bazillionaire with tons of people trying to use me for their gain, I would probably have to resort to some interesting methods to find companionship too. I actually started to like him more after some of his sweet gestures or surprising her with an unexpected kindness. Then Audrey arrives in the picture and Jack Henry's story becomes even more interesting when we learn that this stalker ex-girlfriend that is trying to win him over in a most unusual and destructive way. I think the way he handled her was when I was officially on Team Jack Henry...up to that point I liked him but hadn't been completely swayed by his behavior. Once I decided to like Jack Henry I found him charming and I loved the funny scenes with his family. 

3) The story. On the surface this story is about two consenting adults entering into a 'relationship' based on some messed up theory that they can avoid the pitfalls all other relationships seem to fall prey to. This story line would be meaty enough but Georgia Cates also throws in subplots about Laurelyn and her ex, Jack Henry and one of his exes, a glimpse of their families, and a hint of a story with Ben and Addison and Zac. It seems like a lot and it is, but it's not unmanageable. I think Cates gives us enough with each of these plot points to feed our hunger but not enough to satiate us. Which leads me to my final point...

4) The Mother Effing Cliffhanger. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times...Cliffhangers give me a little bit of reader rage...especially if the story is good and I've been sucked into the world of the characters. Needless to say, I was sucked into this world and when I finished reading this I felt like I need to either seek solace in my favorite alcoholic beverage or trash my Kindle in a temper tantrum. I'll let you decide which one I did.

Luckily for you by the time we post this blog, the second book in this series will be released and in the process of working its way to e-readers everywhere. Happy reading...and here's to hoping that there's NO CLIFFHANGER!!! Or I might have to die. 


**4 stars**
This is another recommendation from my co-blogger extraordinaire, and I do have to say I feel bad she has to re-read all of this stuff with me because I am codependent. And being codependent I do thoroughly enjoy reading with her. When she said "You have to read this book!" I asked no questions ! 

1) Laurelyn. So I thought this girl was absolutely nuts. I love me a good story about a youngish girl and the wealthy guy, totally cliche, I know but I like what I like. But this took that whole scenario and did a 180 on me by their entire relationship being anonymous. Yes, I guess it would take the pressure and expectation out of the equation, but I truly know nothing about this anyway since I have been with the same guy since I was 15. I thought sometimes she acted way older than her age because of her current and past experiences. This caused me a lot of feelings of dislike towards Addison. Chick needs to grow up a bit, yes? She was flighty with her treatment of her supposed BFF so I was glad (sorry!) that she wasn't as present in most of the book as I figured she would be. The set up with her sperm donor and mother, and ex-lover was consistent throughout the story, but mostly unresolved so I am thinking we are going to get a lot of information for these plots in Beauty from Surrender. Two other things we love with a passion is the setting in Australia and that this girl is a rocker. Well, country rocker, but musician all the same and I cannot wait for more of that in the next installment! 

2) Lachlan/Jack. So this successful, handsome man is on one of those "I am not looking for love complexes." Does this get old? No! Want to know why? Because they're going to fall and they're going to fall hard and I for one love reading about it. Usually it's the result of some past trauma or issue, but his biggest problem just seems to be his money and the fact that his father worked all the time. I loved the experiences with his family and one scene especially with his brother and some *ahem* photos. (Isn't that the worst thing ever when you give an inch and people take a mile and start swiping through all of you pics on your phone!) This scene made me laugh so hard. I loved seeing his interactions and his growth as their relationship evolved. Other than that, Jack Henry is the ultimate bachelor and I think he feels this is the only way he can have an intimate relationship and ensure that people don't turn into a gold digger. I have a feeling that one or more of his past relationships are also going to cause a boatload of drama coming up in book two. The end. Oh...Emmm...Gee! Heart shattered for this guy! 

3) The story. I was so crazy surprised and in love with the depth of the story that is this book. The setting in Australian sucked me in and it talks about all of these beautiful places and wineries. Then, the glam life of going to the Sydney Opera and being wined and dined by this generous man. I loved the Aussie talk and was quite satisfied with the pacing and thought the writing was great. Not to keep kicking the dog repeating stuff that has already been said, but the secondary plot kept things interesting and not all sex all the time. This is my favorite part...when they're communicating and the dialogue is strong and the characters have to deal with issues or just live. 

4) Cliffy, you suck. I had an idea that there was going to be a cliffhanger since Shelley had read the book before, like I said. I am in denial at this point I think. Thank goodness the second one is already out, because I would be sad to have to wait 6 months or whatever it has been for this one. I don't know how all of you did it, if you're following this series! Just whoa! 

Just from this one book Georgia Cates will definitely be a frequent flyer on my to be read this! Cannot wait to see what else she has in store for us, besides making us feel like dying! (And if you read the angsty books that I do, you will know that this is the ultimate compliment!) 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

REVIEW: UNTIL I BREAK BY M. LEIGHTON


"I’m intrigued. Tempted beyond what I’ve ever been before. To know her, to open her up. To break her."

In love, sometimes what you fear most is exactly what you need.

Laura Drake is an author. She writes bestselling paranormal romances that continue to top the charts. She is sharp. She is confident. She is in control. 

And she doesn’t exist.

Samantha Jansen is the woman behind the wig, the woman most of the world doesn’t know exists. She is shy. She is insecure. She is nothing like her main character or her alter ego. She is scarred—deeply scarred—by a past she can’t let go of and a present she can’t make peace with.

Samantha’s dreams are consumed by one man, the broken hero from her books. Mason Strait is both her wildest fantasy and her most terrifying nightmare. 

When Samantha meets Alec Brand, a corporate consultant, it is as though Mason has come to life. Alec is handsome to a fault, as elegant as he is arrogant, and more intense than any man has a right to be.

Samantha is soon sucked into a world that mirrors the fiction she writes. Just like her main character, Daire Kirby, Samantha finds herself unable to resist the forbidden lure of Alec. And just like Daire, she also finds that she is faced with taking a chance on a man who could either set her free or destroy her.

The scale tilts toward destruction when Samantha finds out that Alec is as much a work of fiction as Mason. And he has scars of his own, scars that could ruin them both.


Where to Find M. Leighton:

Since this title is no longer available, do look for these titles instead:


***3 Stars***

Courtney and I read that other readers were not pleased with Until I Break--so much so that the author decided to remove it from sale. Since Courtney and I aren't afraid of controversy and were intrigued by the outcry, we quickly downloaded it to see what all the hubbub was about. Maybe I'm just a jaded reader or life doesn't shock me as much as others, but I honestly didn't see why people were so up in arms with outrage about this book.

1) Samantha/Laura. She has been scarred by a horrible childhood at the hands of her mother. Because of the damage done by her mother, Samantha has created a life for herself that is divided between her fictitious public persona and an extremely private one. As these two worlds of hers collide we read about the reasons for her trust issues and how the walls she has built are begging to come tumbling down. She struggles with opening herself to a relationship because she's convinced that it will fail like all of the other ones have. When she meets Alec, she's mesmerized by him and cannot seem to resist him even though her instincts tell her to run far, far away. 

2) Alec. This man is cold and hot all wrapped up into one. He's manipulates women to his will and then leaves them when he's had enough. He's somehow convinced himself that since he's honest with the women he sleeps with before he sleeps with him, he's not doing anything wrong. Like Samantha, Alec has convinced himself that he cannot be in a relationship. You can imagine, then, that when he meets her his resistance to anything other than sex with her is running high. It is. He does his whole 'I can't do relationships but I can hot sex with you' thing ...in his own Alec way. What is interesting, though, is that he's damaged like she is and the more involved they get, the harder he finds it to resist her.

3) Damaged goods. The reason why Samantha and Alec aren't supposed to work is because they are both so deeply wounded by the damage from their pasts that they couldn't possibly be good for each. They've created barriers to hide behind and to keep people out. Their secrets are horrifying and neither of them can imagine a partner that could be accepting and patient enough to actually help them overcome their pasts. Here's the thing...aren't many of us damaged in someway? Or is that just me? Just because we've had some horrible experiences doesn't mean we don't deserve goodness and happiness. Samantha and Alec continually exclude themselves from the prospects of good and happy and it's frustrating.

4) Foster care. Finally! A story about the good works of the foster care system. I know the foster care system is rife with abuse, but it certainly is nice to read a story of good foster parents. Samantha and her sister, Chris, were taken in by amazing foster parents and were shown love and care and what healthy relationships look like. I have so much admiration for people who take in foster children and give them a healthy home environment and I love that Leighton wrote her foster care parents as she did.

I wish that we could've had more of Samantha and Alec's story. I wanted to know more about his background and how she came to be a writer and more about how they were able to work through their issues--that felt a little glossed over to me. And, obviously I'm clueless because I still don't really understand why this novel received such a backlash after it was released. I hope M. Leighton decides to re-release it and ignores the naysayers; I bet she'd find she has more cheerleaders than she'd expect.




*3 Stars* 

Shelley couldn't have said it any better. We read that one blog post about this book being taken off the market, and we couldn't one click it fast enough (I will cite Amazon One-Click as my reasons for Bankruptcy at some point). It's a lot like when they ban a book and we're the type who are basically suckers for emotionally damaged characters. Is this the worst of the worst in terms of emotional baggage and angst that we've read? NO. Was it too progressive? Not really....Maybe a little bit risque alongside the other M. Leighton book's I have read before this, but the craziest BDSM book on the market...again. NO! 

1) Samantha/Laura. I thought this plot idea was pretty cool. While we have absolutely no idea what happened in her past to make her the way she is, it is obvious by her thoughts and actions that she is pretty emotionally damaged and insecure. As a reader, it intrigued me when she meets this man who could be her leading man that she made up incarnate. Is she so attracted to him because she sees him as her Mason? Maybe. The first half of the book was slow, and without a lot of information it took me quite a while to get into her as a leading character. I didn't fall in love with her like I thought I would, and her judgmental qualities late in the game of Alec that almost ruined everything could be what might turn some off. To each their own on this one, for sure.

2) Alec. He definitely has just as many secrets as Samantha does. I was much more sympathetic to his plight, although I am still contemplating as to why. Maybe because he was accepting of himself and of Samantha and didn't see their problems as dirty or disgusting. Maybe I don't get or have the same desires for his vices, but I liked him better because he was much more honest with himself than she was. They were both teens when their problems started so she doesn't exactly have the excuse of innocence being stolen because he was young too. His dominating attitude at first made me think he was going to turn out to be this really crazy sadist, so I took a while to warm up to him at all as well. Maybe he wasn't my favorite hero ever, but I had to stick around to find out what was up! His growth was what did it for me. 

3) Damaged goods. Now isn't that just something that we enjoy reading about. I haven't figured out exactly why this is but I think it might be that we want to see that there is redemption out there for even those who think they don't deserve it. And you'd be hard pressed to meet two people who think they deserve anything less than these two. Sheesh. Happiness is apparently something that is taken for granted. 

4) Foster care. I too loved the foster care aspect of Until I Break. Usually when it is written about, the foster parents are in it only for the money and are not good parents in any way, shape, or form. It was refreshing to see that these good people used the wealth that they are given to help two kids get a better life. To see that they are mostly fully functioning adults, at least they pretend to be to their parents, was at least one happy ending to this story.  

I read something today that said "Don't like it, don't read it." I love this philosophy, and we definitely try to be objective and are hard to offend, so what I guess I'm trying to say is I also hope that this is released again at some point. M. Leighton handled everything amazingly well and made the best decision for her. Since curiosity does kill the cat, I am glad we snatched it up before it was too late! 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

WEDNESDAY...WHERE WE'VE BEEN + WHERE WE'RE GOING!

As usual we were reading fools last week and this week looks like an EPIC week of reading. There is so much to look forward to this week....


Last week was my last week of teaching for the school year and yet I managed to get more than my fair share of reads in. I finished Alice Clayton's Redhead Series and found that I enjoyed it as much the second time as I did the first (although Wallbanger is my all time favorite of the one's she's written). Not ready to get off of reading humor, I picked up and read Emma Chase's Tangled. That one was great--a male protagonist and some seriously funny lines. 


Would I be the worst co-blogger ever to say...Ditto...What she said..and say laters lovelies. Yes? Okay..fine! Haha..No really she's right, we have some EPIC reading this week. Surprised by some, meh by others but that's why I love to read so much. I never know quite what I'm going to get from the world I'm entering and I can't wait to go there every single time. The humorous stuff we read this week was amazing, because we've read some emotional heavy hitters lately and I was glad to laugh out loud and get some weird looks from my hubs and neighbors. (I live to make other people uncomfortable apparently! Hah!)




As the week moved on I felt brave enough to tackle Michelle Leighton's Until I Break. Courtney and I had read about some unpleasantness surrounding this book so we decided to check it out ourselves. I think we're both still a little perplexed about the drama that was stirred up..but you'll read more about that tomorrow.

Yes, perplexed is a good word for how I felt too. Perplexed and irritated by other's lack of etiquette for anything but that will be a soap box I will stay off of. Carrying on...



Finally, I finished out the week rereading Beauty from Pain by Georgia Cates in anticipation of the second book's release. AHHHH the cliffhanger. Sheesh.

I REALLY REALLY CAN'T WAIT TO START BOOK 2. IT IS SELF TORTURE TO READ TEASER'S SO MAKE ME STOP, SHELLEY, MAKE ME STOP! 




I'm currently finishing Lauren Blakely's Trophy Husband and I'm at the point when the sh*t hits the fan so I'm taking a little break to let my pulse slow down a little. This book is a nice mix of sweetness and funny and a little bit of girl power/girl making questionable decisions due to girl power. Blog post to come this weekend.

I'm a little bit behind her in this one, but we a ton of fun when we read the same thing and can talk about it. I am lol-ing big time, but luckily for my hubs he is working so only my dogs have to listen to my giggling. (Let's just say, some of these boys are making up for in looks what they lack in brains, harsh but true!) So FUN!



This week I'm not gonna sleep. Look at the stuff we have to look forward to: Cautious by E L Montes, Beauty from Surrender by Georgia Cates, Remake by A.J. Sand and these are just the ones I've either already downloaded or will have on my Kindle before the end of the week. 

I second that we aren't going to get a lot of sleep for the end of this week! I have also decided I went in to the wrong profession....why didn't I realize that summer's off would be the most important part of picking a career? Hello, advisor...you screwed me! (Just kidding, I love nursing) But these I know already that I won't be able to stop once I start so wish us luck! 




I'm so lucking forward to this week of reading!!!!
(Obligatory EEEP inserted here!)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

TEXTING & TALKING TUESDAYS: DOWN LONDON ROAD EDITION

Down London Road was the perfect antidote for our Aleatha Romig induced book hangover. Here's how it went down in our texts(warning, it might be a little spoiler-ish...and filled with inappropriate language, yet again):

S: Yeah!!! First hot guy alert in DLR (Down London Road)
C: Braden??!!
S: Well him..but a hot tattooed guy
C: F*ck. Now I want to stop everything and read that with you!
S: Welp. Come on then. Lol (I'm such an enabler)
C: Yep! That's what I will do because I don't like missing the fun!
S: Yay! Reading partner!
C: Here we go, joining you!

......

S: I'm liking it so far. You?
C: Yes, very much! Reads fast too.
S: Just finished chapter 11. So good. I have a feeling my heart is gonna hurt at some point down the line.
C: Yep! In a lot of ways probably.

...

S: Random fact: Adam Levine is hot. The end.
S: I took a Maroon 5 break to watch some videos because apparently every tattooed hot guy book I read about is Adam Levine.
C: ha! I thought the same thing! Lean & tattoos, yum
S: Great minds...

....

C: Wow this is getting steamy!
S: I'm at Becca's party, where are you?
C: Right ahead...get ready, your kindle will catch fire. 
S: Bathroom scene?
C: Nope...keep going..well that was good, but keep going.
S: Sheee-it
C: Yep...sheee-it.
S: Oh..okay! Now I see. Scorching!!!!!!
C: Still going...whoa! Need a fan!
S: Holy shizzzzz
C: Yep, still going....energizer bunnies those two

....

S: Love when he takes the phone and tells Joss they are coming to lunch
C: Yep! Totally hot!
S: Damn. I wanna keep reading. Must put down book and sleep...stupid work getting in the way of things...
C: Yeah, I have to too. Sleep helps, who knew?!

....

The next day....

S: At the 76% mark....ugh!!!! Sh*t.
C: No   No   NO
S: Yep. We knew it was coming. It did.
C: Can't read til lunch. Is it her and Malcom?
S: Nope and I am not telling!
C: Beotch! LOL
C: A hint of some kind?!
S: Nope
C: courney flips me off
S: Bahahaha

...

A little while later....

S: And double sh*t. Another problem arrived. SSSSHHHHH*TTTTTT
C: What
C: No
C: The old girlfriend?
S: Another blast from one of their pasts. Dammit.
S: EEEK
S: FFFF****CCCKKK. F*ck. F*ck. F*ck. F*ck me.
....
S: breathing easier now.
C: OMG. So HEA? Please say yes
S: Not quite there yet but signs point to yes.
S: Book hangover yet again this week. Sheesh. We read some good ones.
C: We did!!!!


And there you have...a good time had by all. Until next time....

Monday, May 27, 2013

GIVEAWAY: LOSING IT & TAKING CHANCES


We love getting free stuff, and we definitely have found a new love for giving away free stuff! So celebrating our TWO MONTH BLOGVERSARY (Last Friday) we thought we'd try this giveaway business again! To make things much simpler we used some of our newfound knowledge and decided to go with rafflecopter this time (hopefully that will be easier for everyone!) The books are NEW but unsigned, and as you can see it also includes a Cora Carmack signed bookmark! 

Here are the book blurbs in case you are unfamiliar! Enjoy! 



Eighteen year old Harper has grown up under her career Marine of a father's thumb. Ready to live life her own way and experience things she's only ever heard of from the jarheads in her father's unit; she's on her way to college at San Diego State University.

Thanks to her new roommate, Harper is introduced to a world of parties, gorgeous guys, family and emotions. Some she wasn't expecting yet, and others she never knew she was missing.

She finds herself being torn in two as she quickly falls in love with her boyfriend Brandon, and her roommate's brother Chase. Covered in tattoos, known for fighting in the Underground and ridiculously muscled...they're exactly what she was always warned to stay away from, but just what she needs. Despite their dangerous looks and histories, both adore and would do anything for Harper, including stepping back if it means she's happy.

Her first year away is turning out to be near perfect, but one weekend of giving in to heated passion will change everything.


Virginity.

Bliss Edwards is about to graduate from college and still has hers. Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, she decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible-- a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half-a-brain would ever believe. And as if that weren't embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theatre professor. She'd left him naked in her bed about 8 hours earlier.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

REVIEW: TANGLED BY EMMA CHASE


Drew Evans is a winner. Handsome and arrogant, he makes multimillion dollar business deals and seduces New York’s most beautiful women with just a smile. He has loyal friends and an indulgent family. So why has he been shuttered in his apartment for seven days, miserable and depressed? 

He’ll tell you he has the flu.

But we all know that’s not really true.

Katherine Brooks is brilliant, beautiful and ambitious. She refuses to let anything - or anyone - derail her path to success. When Kate is hired as the new associate at Drew’s father’s investment banking firm, every aspect of the dashing playboy’s life is thrown into a tailspin. The professional competition she brings is unnerving, his attraction to her is distracting, his failure to entice her into his bed is exasperating. 

Then, just when Drew is on the cusp of having everything he wants, his overblown confidence threatens to ruin it all. Will he be able untangle his feelings of lust and tenderness, frustration and fulfillment? Will he rise to the most important challenge of his life? 

Can Drew Evans win at love? 

Tangled is not your mother’s romance novel. It is an outrageous, passionate, witty narrative about a man who knows a lot about women…just not as much as he thinks he knows. As he tells his story, Drew learns the one thing he never wanted in life, is the only thing he can’t live without.


Kindle Edition, 254 pages

Published May 20th 2013 by Omnific Publishing

Where to Find Tangled:

Where to Find Emma Chase: 


***4 Stars***

1) Drew. For about half of this book I thought Drew was a complete douche. He's so self absorbed and egotistical and arghhhh FRUSTRATINGLY cocky that I wanted to throttle him when I wasn't laughing at him. Luckily I was laughing at him a lot and that took the edge off the douche bag vibe I was feeling towards him. Drew is a wealthy, entitled, confident, hard-working, single man. He's used to getting everything he wants, when he wants it, the way he wants it. The word "no" doesn't seem to be one he's used to hearing. He has absolutely no interest in a relationship and has a philosophy that he only rides a roller coaster once (ie he has one night with a girl and then moves on). This is all fine and good until he hits on and is promptly rejected by Kate Brooks. At first it appears that she is just a challenge and once he 'wins' this challenge he'll move on. But, of course, we all know better and once she refuses to capitulate to him, he's smitten.

2) Kate. Kate is a beautiful, smart, confident woman. She's been engaged to a struggling musician for...like ...EVER and considers herself off the dating market.  Because I imagine she felt no threat by Drew to her current relationship she is able to persistently reject Drew with clever quips and a bemused distance. We don't get much insight into her feelings about their friendship/relationship as this entire novel is seen through Drew's perspective, but having read many a novel from a female's POV I can only imagine what she was thinking and feeling. I bet she probably evolved from feeling amused to annoyed to frustrated to confused to ....well, where she ends up. She puts up a good fight and is quite resistant to his tactics but the perfect storm of events propels her to open herself up to all things Drew. Foolish or fantastic idea? Only time will tell.

3) Alexandra/Mackenzie/Dee. I love all three of these lovely ladies for a variety of reasons. I LOVE Alexandra (AKA "The Bitch") because she takes absolutely no crap from her brother, Drew, and can match his devious ways with her own, perfectly. She's also a great big sister and would protect her brother at all costs. Mackenzie, Alexandra's daughter and Drew's niece, is adorable and a great repeater of words/phrases/and stories at the most inopportune time. She's gives us a great bit of comedic relief. Finally, Dee is just a badass and what every girl needs in a best friend. She does not mess around and protects Kate with the ferocity of a mama alligator.

I think this is the first contemporary adult novel that I've read that was told from a strictly male POV. It took me a little while to get used to it but I truly enjoyed it; it was a refreshing perspective and I cannot even imagine how Emma Chase was able to write it so convincingly, but she did! 



**5 stars**

I think we decided to start reading this about the same time that it absolutely exploded online as well. I was sold the second I read a recommendation that said this was going to be funny. I think we were desperately needing some funny, and I know I was and it couldn't have came at a more perfect time. 

1) Drew. I thought his douchebaggery was cute. He was funny. Eh, it is true that I would totally hate a guy like him in real life, you know the ones who think that because they are gorgeous and have a lot of money that they are God's gift to women. But since apparently I am a glutton for punishment, I can't seem to resist a book with a bad boy. Drew, is mostly a spoiled boy so I couldn't help but laugh even harder when he got knocked down a few notches by his sister and father. He had me at his nickname for his sister, his relationship with Matt and Steven, his denial that he could ever fall in love and thought love 'em and leave 'em was a completely normal behavior. The part's I absolutely adored though, well aside from his persistence in pursuing Kate, and his flu, were his interactions with his niece Mackenzie. This is where I knew that he wasn't quite the douchebag he pretended to be. 

2) Kate. While I wish that I could've known more about what she was thinking, the strictly Drew point of view was fun. Only being able to see what her reactions to things were like through his eyes and how he dealt with it was even more fun! Kate was strong, independent, driven to find her place in her new job, and surprisingly unavailable. I was ready for the cheating plotline, and while I hate it, I knew that I would be rooting for Drew to come out on top. (Yes, I feel horrible about it...) Just an FYI, she doesn't cheat per se. Okay, enough that I would totally cut my husband's balls off and choke him with them if he did the same to me, but Billy has been with her for 10 years, and kept her as his fiance for 7. If he really wanted to be married to her he should've done it at least 8 ago...or that is my justification. 

(YES, I am psychoanalyzing the lives of fictional characters daily at this point, so do not judge me!)

3) The rest of the cast. I am going to gush a little bit more of my love for secondary characters. Mackenzie and her swear jar, that inflation has totally gotten a hold on, and her honesty that only a 4 year old can give you. Alexandra for being the best big sister. She keeps his feet planted firmly on the ground and never lets his ego get out of control, but mostly just loves and believes him for who he is anyways. She is married to one of his best friends, and I found that awesome. Drew's monologues about Steven going over to the dark side by marrying his sister were highly entertaining. Matthew and Dee were a lot fun together and complemented each other, but were amazing apart too. Matthew was a great support for Drew as another bestie, and Dee was that amazing BFF that we all dream about. She has the most reason to not be on Team Drew, so read ASAP to find out 1) why and 2) what she decides about it! 

My favorite line: 
Drew: "I'll be a perfect gentleman. Scout's honor. Then again, I never was a Boy Scout. 

So. I loved this book. Read it and have some fun. I hope you will anyways. I enjoyed it because it was definitely a light in all of the dark that I've read lately. Great book hangover remover! 


Sunday, May 26, 2013

RELEASE EVENT: LOVE IN DARKNESS BY E.M. TIPPETTS TEASER + GIVEAWAY (SHATTERED CASTLES #2)



Alex had everything when he was with Madison. But the darkness within him wouldn't go away. After two years apart, he returns to Pelican Bluffs and to the girl he never wanted to leave.

Madison wants to give their love another chance, but Alex can't fight fate. He is what he is. Ruined. Crazy like his mother. And Madison deserves so much more. When his secrets spill out into their small town, Alex has a choice to make. Hide away in the darkness forever, or let love in.





Love in Darkness (Shattered Castles, #2) 
by E.M. Tippetts
Release date: May 21, 2013
New Adult Contemporary Romance
Event organized by: AToMR Tours

Where to Find Love in Darkness

Check out the Teaser below. This looks amazing, but definitely check out book 1 first (P.S. Link for that below as well!)


“We have to break up,” I hear myself tell her. I’m standing on the rocky beach, my back to the crashing surf. In front of me is Madison, gazing up at me with pure pain in those ice blue eyes. Behind her is the rugged rock wall of the cliff face.
Her hair is pulled back in a simple ponytail and the breeze stirs the wisps that frame her face. The air is cool, but not cold. “I know myself, all right?” I explain. “The moment you move on, I won’t be able to take it. So I’ve got to let you go.”
“Don’t do this.”
“I’m sorry.”
“Take it back. Please. Alex, I don’t want to break up.” Her eyes are wide, like clear, crystal pools.
“And I need you not to write to me,” I say.
“Why?” Now she claps both her hands over her nose and mouth as if to hold back pain or tears, or whatever it is shining from her gaze.
It takes every ounce of my control not to back down. I have to stop kidding myself and finish this. “Because, I don’t want to know the moment you move on. I just… I need you to give me space.”
“You’re going to Japan. That’s not enough space for you?”
“I’m sorry, all right.” I back away, stepping carefully on the rocky beach. “But it’s not like we were ever going to last.”
“Why not?”
That, I should think, is obvious. Because the two of us together makes no sense. She’s beautiful and popular and has guys lining up around the block for a chance to be with her. I’m a high school dropout with a criminal record and no future. She should be embarrassed to be with me. Eventually we’ll both have to grow up. At least I’ll have the memories.
As I turn away, I hear her scrabble behind me, then the rapid beat of her boots against the stony ground. “Alex, wait.”  Her tone is anguished.
I set my jaw against the pain, like I’ve stitched my own heart with a silk thread and am now yanking it hard enough to tear the organ. I keep walking.
She grabs my hand, her supple fingers wrapping around my palm. “Stop.”
I stop, but I don’t turn.
It doesn’t matter because she darts around in front of me and puts one arm around my waist. The other hand she slides up my back to grasp my shoulder. Her soft curves fit against my body. It’s how she always holds me, and I can’t endure it this time. I bow my head and just let the tears fall.
“Alex,” she whispers, touching her forehead to mine, that soft breath against my lips. “Don’t, okay? You promised you’d never hurt me.”
At that I let out a sob. Forget saving face. She knows me for who I am anyway and now she’s wiping away my tears. “Listen,”  she says, “you need me not to distract you from your mission, fine. But I’ll always be here for you, and when you come back, I’ll be waiting.” She strokes my cheek with the backs of her fingers and leans up to press her lips against mine.
I don’t want to kiss back, but at the same time, I can’t resist. She runs her fingers through my hair and the kiss goes on and on until I’ve got both arms wrapped tight around her and I’m drinking in her essence, liquid fire that pools in my core. I have to stop this.
But when I do, she doesn’t let me pull back. She leans in and looks me straight in the eye. “I’ll wait for you. I don’t care if you don’t believe me. Let’s not end things with a fight, okay? Let’s end it on a good note for now.”
“Goodbye, Madison.”
“Bye, Alex. For now.”
“I love you.” I don’t mean to say it, but it slips out, my whisper barely loud enough for me to hear it myself.
Madison’s chin snaps up. “What?”
I shake my head, willing her not to press me.
“Alex-”
I start to pull away but she reels me back in, not by force, but with her gaze. Her eyes beg me not to leave. She puts one arm around my waist again and slides her other hand up my back. “It’ll be all right. Everything will be all right,” she says.



About the Author 
Emily Mah Tippetts writes romance under the name E.M. Tippetts and science fiction and fantasy under the name Emily Mah. Originally from New Mexico, she now lives in London with her family. Before she was a published author, she was an attorney who specialized in real estate, contracts, and estate planning, especially literary estate planning.

 Where to Find E.M. Tippetts:
Website | Twitter | Facebook

Here is the information for Book 1 in the series called Castles on the Sand

"A fast-paced blend of high-stakes drama and average teenage concerns (sex, appearance, friends), capped with a welcome message of hope." ~Kirkus Reviews

If there’s one thing Madison Lukas understands, it’s pain. The pain she feels when her mother ignores her completely. The pain her best friend endures as her parents starve her as punishment. The pain of a dangerous boy whose mother has to be carried away by law enforcement on a regular basis.

She gets it. She feels the pain of others as if it were her own.

But when a mysterious man claiming to be her long lost brother appears with promises of relieving her suffering, trusting him could reveal more truths than Madison is ready for. Because the truth can hurt, too.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Saturday, May 25, 2013

SUMMER READING SATURDAY: MILITARY MEN EDITION

Courtney and I decided to dedicate the next few Saturdays to summer reading suggestions. We thought we'd kick off this week with our favorite military men.


Initially I was scratching my head on this one; I honestly couldn't remember many books where the featured man is in (or was in) the military. The more Court and I chatted, though, the more it all came back to me. I had a hard time ranking these as favorite to least favorite because I found them to be equally awesome; so this week my list is not in any sort of hierarchy.

1. Hawk in Kristen Ashley's Mystery Man. He's stealth, protective, smart, loyal, and OF COURSE hot. This story isn't really about his military experiences but it IS evident that there is no way he'd be doing in his current career if he hadn't been in the military. (Could I be more vague?). His training allows him to be a bad ass in "security" which ends up being more than helpful as his 'woman', Gwen, gets mixed up with her sister's drama. This series is just as satisfyingly funny and sexy as the Rock Chick series and I highly recommend it--just be prepared for a book hanger over when you finish it.
GoodReads



2. Nix in Sawyer Bennett's Off Limits. I loved the way this character was written. He was flawed from his experiences in war but he was coping. I enjoyed that Sawyer showed the ugly side of war and how it impacts not just the soldier coming home but also the people who care about him. She also writes about Nix as someone who actively uses therapy to overcome PTSD and I just have so much respect for her willingness to write that into the novel. I think it's important that when people need help they get it and use it.
GoodReads



3. Kale in Kelsie Leverich's The Valentine Arrangement. This unconventional love story features an active duty military man. The heroine has interesting feelings for men in the military and Kale doesn't really play into how she sees her future or how she viewed military men. This book was a happy surprise and one of the only ones I've read that has an active duty military man in it. I liked how Leverich wrote about her characters handling the hardships that come along with military life.
GoodReads




4. Luke in Kristen Ashley's Rock Chick series. This former military man uses his training to help protect the Rock Chicks and is second in command on Lee Nightingale's team ...all while being sex on a stick. Man is this guy hot. And let me tell you, I'm not one for mustached men but Luke...well I could totally be for him. This is one of the last rock chick books but as with all of its predecessors it's full of comedy, crazy bad guys and, of course, our Rock Chicks and their Hot Bunch of boys.
GoodReads





5. Rome in Jay Crownover's Rule. He's one of the few other active duty military men I've had the pleasure to read about. We, unfortunately, don't get nearly enough of him in Rule as this book is more focused on his brother's love story.  What we do get glimpses of, though, are extreme loyalty and love and protectiveness of those he regards as family. While he's home he does everything he can to help mend broken family relationships and take care of those around him. When he has to return to duty, he does so with willingness and honor. 
GoodReads




It's a small miracle that I didn't use a Rock Chick man in each of my slots--it was tempting for sure--but once I really thought about it, I realized that I've met more military men (in books) than I originally thought. It also made me happy to know that authors write military characters as the honorable, upstanding men we know that they are in real life.


My picks too are in no particular order, but I can definitely say that military men are some of my favorite book guys. If they have that touch of alpha dominance, sweet side for their woman, and confidence in their looks and life, I am there. I can attest that this could have been another homage to Kristen Ashley! 


Cash McCoy from Elle Kennedy's Feeling Hot. The Out of Uniform series is about a group of young, hot navy seals/good friends when they're home from their missions. And do they love to have fun and sexy times when they are off work. Yes. Yes, they do. There are 8 books in the series, I think, at this point and this one is my favorite, but I also read it first because I wasn't paying attention to order number before I bought it and finished it. I blame this lack of awareness on the cover! Be warned, erotic romance in every sense of the word, so it will set your e-reader on fire. I enjoyed the story too, so don't worry, there is one in there.
GoodReads


Lee Nightingale from Rock Chick by Kristen Ashley. Yes, we are obsessed with her at this point...but I am so excited, because I haven't had an author with this many books out in a long time that I am obsessed with every single book she writes, each one even more than the last. Lee is the big boss of the Hot Bunch and is good at what he does. He was in the Army, and has turned private investigator. While some might think he has a foot on either side of the law, he proves throughout his story and every other Rock Chick book that he is one of the best guys around. Love him. 
GoodReads



Travis from Trish Dollar's Something Like Normal is one of my favorite military men, ever. Not only is this book about his coping on leave from the military, but it is told him his POV. He's struggling, his family is struggling, he lost his best friend in the war, and the last thing he seemingly needs is another girl in his life. Emotional + raw = I really enjoyed this one. 
GoodReads




Here we have the Black Knight, Inc being made up of ex-marine's who are each crazy skilled in their specific area of expertise, and are now in the covert contracting business. Nate "Ghost" Weller fits the bill for what a friend says is my usual MO. Military - check, Gorgeous - check, Rides a motorcycle - Check, Mysterious - Check. Okay, he has all of those things, and the love story is great...but so is the huge backstory with all of the secondary characters and what happened to Ali's brother who was also Ghost's best friend. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I fell in love with this crew.
GoodReads

Because of You is probably the most emotionally charged novels in my list. It was crazy good, and so raw. Shane meets Jen at a bar the night before they ship back out to go overseas and they share a kiss. He never dreams when he sees her again, it will be in the hospital with her taking care of his war ravaged body as his nurse. There is a lot to this book with his wounds, his healing, his mind and how upset he is that he is not still fighting and leading his men. Glimpses of how hard life can be for the wives left behind is here too, so there isn't a stone left unturned with the sacrifices that our service men and women and their families make for us every single day, at home or deployed. It's been a while since I read it, but thinking of it now makes me want to read it again!                GoodReads

Honor our service men and women this weekend, as we celebrate Memorial Day, and we hope that you recognize some of these stories above or will feel like checking them out! Join us again next Saturday for our  Summer Reading Saturday Series #2 with all things rocker

Friday, May 24, 2013

REVIEW: THE UNIDENTIFIED REDHEAD BY ALICE CLAYTON (REDHEAD #1)


The first in USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton’s Redhead series is a playful and erotic romance between an aspiring actress and Hollywood’s hottest new leading man.

When Grace Sheridan returns to Los Angeles to become a working actress, it’s a second shot at a life-long dream. With some help from her best-friend agent, will that dream become a reality—or at thirty-three, has Grace missed her chance at the big time? And when an unexpected sizzling romance with Jack Hamilton, the entertainment industry's newest “it” boy, threatens to shine an uncomfortable spotlight on her life, how will that affect her career…and his?

Funny, borderline neurotic Grace is perfect in her imperfections, and the sexual chemistry between her and charming yet blissfully unaware Jack is off the charts. With laugh-out-loud dialogue and a super-steamy romance that will get your heart racing, sneaking around in L.A. and dodging the paparazzi has never been so fun.

Where to Find The Unidentified Redhead:

Where to Find Alice Clayton: 


***4 1/2 Stars***

I first fell in love with Alice Clayton's writing with Wallbanger (you can see our review for Wallbanger here) . Once I read that one, I was hooked and inhaled both books in the Redhead series. When Courtney decided to read the series I wanted to see if I loved them as much the second time as I did the first. Turns out that I do!

1) Grace. There are so many things I adore about this character but I'm going to start with the one that makes me really happy. I love that she's in her 30's and that she falls for a man in his 20's. In my opinion, you just don't see that as often as you should...or maybe I just think that because I'm in my 30's and I like the idea of us thirty-somethings being as hot and amazing as Grace is. Besides being awesomely thirty-something, Grace is hilarious, blunt, and exudes confidence. She's worked hard to get back to L.A. and not give up her dreams of acting and she's lucky enough to get the opportunity of a lifetime. Does she think about passing on that opportunity because she's in a new and potentially fragile relationship? Well, I'm not going to say (NOT GONNA SPOIL IT!) but what I will say is that I totally respect and admire her decision. 

2) Jack AKA George. OMG, I love, love, love that Alice Clayton made him British; the idea of hearing his sexy British accent was delicious to my ears. Jack is the new up and coming HOT THING in L.A. He meets Grace before the media explodes and overtakes him and and they completely hit it off. He's funny, confident, and mature for his age--he's definitely got the old soul vibe going for him. He takes their age difference in stride..barely blinks at it and moves on. He can match her wit quip for quip and calls her on her crap all of the time. I also love that he's able to read her so well and seems to have just the right words to soothe or reassure her.

3) Their romance. They flirt. They banter. They have epic sexual escapades wherein they do everything BUT have sex. They create a Gracie and Jack bubble filled with The Golden Girls, Chex mix, awesome music mixes, long drives, and lots of no-sex, sex. There were a few little angsty speed bumps thrown in the mix but nothing too earth-shattering. Their little love bubble is filled with fun and sexy and clever but it's when they arrive in Santa Barbara that I had that deep sigh of satisfaction. What he surprised her with was just...sigh...swoony swoonfest and perfect. 

4) The ensemble cast. Holly and Nick--I want them as my best friends. Please? The rapport they have with each other and with Grace and Jack is laugh out loud funny. They give each other crap about everything and some of their lines are hilarious. Jack's cast-mates, Rebecca and Lane, round out the funny with their comments and observations on the burgeoning Jack/Grace relationship. What makes them all so great is not just their snark but also their obvious love and care they have for each other. 

I really really enjoyed this book. Grace's character addressed and confronted issues that I think many women in their thirties are working through. While she isn't perfect, I think she handled so many things with courage and honesty and humor and I found her so refreshing. 

*3.5 Stars*

So, I have to say that my expectations snowed me on this one. I blame Wallbanger. I absolutely adored Wallbanger. I still so many months later am still talking about and remembering Wallbanger. And while I liked The Unidentified Redhead, I didn't love it like I thought I would. I was stumped when I got finished. But on the other hand, I am a teeny bit excited that we don't quite agree on it! 

1) Grace. I really, really liked her. She was confident, most of the time, and funny. There is not much better than a comedy to bring us out of a book hangover, and truthfully I can imagine it being a little bit difficult to write. Not everyone will get your jokes or think you are as funny as you do (trust me, I know) so I appreciate a good comedy when I find one. (Yes, we're back to Wallbanger again, sorry). I also liked that she is following her dreams, and being independent, and making decisions for herself. But....I'm sorry....their love story was too fast for me. By any book with steam standard, yes they went really slow with some of that, but their feelings for one another, I wasn't always buying. 

2) Jack. George. Johnny Bite Down. Jack by far is my favorite part of this book. He's British, and hot, and a great actor. Mostly though he seems, so far, to be a genuinely good person. He wants honesty, and trust in his relationship with Grace, and for a guy about to explode like Robert Pattinson in the book he probably will be finding this hard to come by. He made me swoon a lot with his Brit speak. Bloody hell...yep...s-w-o-o-n. *faints* Their inside jokes were cute, but maybe I was in a mood and not fully appreciating their "nuts" nicknames. I didn't mind their age difference per se, but I did mind how much Grace focused on it sometimes, even when he reassured her that he didn't care.

3) Their Romance. I loved the romance from the beginning. Their dates, and the awkwardness that I could totally relate to because some of that would and could totally happen to me. The bird poop? Yeah, that is my kind of luck right there. Real and funny and great. Then....I was so glad when they finally went to Santa Barbara and he planned the best surprises ever, because if there was another 15+ O night in my future I was going to throw my iPad across the room. And that my friends, would be devastating, to my iPad, to me, and to the HUGE kindle library I have on there! Okay, I will stop being melodramatic, but seriously. C'mon. Really? That many orgasms described in one book...

4) Their friends. I loved their friends. Holly and Nick sitting on the stairs listening to them *ahem* while eating popcorn and keeping a commentary was too funny. Holly and Grace's relationship and openness with each other was fantastic. Good friends able to talk through anything and call you out on your crap are hard to come by and always lovely to read. No jealousy or ill intent to be found here, and more than anything just a perfect want for the other to succeed. Maybe the fact that they are 33 helped with this, but this wisdom could be appreciated by a lot more people! 

I love Alice's writing (Yep, Wallbanger again..see it won't go away) and honestly am excited to read the next book in the series. I am no quitter, okay...maybe a little bit of a quitter, but I am not giving up on this yet. This was my first experience with not completely falling for a book that all of my friends who have read it (which are 2, still being honest here, remember) absolutely adored. I am going to get back to psyching myself up for the angst that seems to await me in The Redhead Revealed now, so later lovelies.