Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Now Series by Brenda Rothert

The Now Series Blog Tour Kick Off 

 
Now and Then
Now and Again
By Brenda Rothert

Now and Then

Now Emmaline Carson is a sharp, settled graphic designer who loves painting, cooking and girls’ night out with her older sister Layla. But then – in the years before she went to art school in Paris – she was a shy, awkward teenager with frizzy hair, a flat chest and a massive crush on the boy across the street, Cole Marlowe. Too bad her incredibly hot neighbor only had eyes for Layla.

Cole is now a confident, laid-back attorney who’s even hotter than he used to be. He’s planning to stay single while working his way up the corporate ladder – until he’s knocked off course by a chance run-in with Emma.

Everything is different between Cole and Emma now. He finally sees her in a way she only dreamed of, and their hot chemistry is fueled by a growing friendship.

But Emma’s deception of her sister – who wants Cole for herself – and the secret Cole’s been keeping for more than a decade threaten to tear apart what’s only just begun. Because sometimes the only thing standing in the way of now is then

 

My Review

4 Stars

I love the whole childhood crush turned to lover trope. Gets me every time. And Now and Then was no exception.
Brenda Rothert is a new to me author, but is now someone that is going straight to my auto-buy list.
Emmaline Carson was always the shy and awkward sister. How could she ever compare with her perfect, confident, and sexy sister Layla. So even though it’s not a shock to her when the object of her teenage crush seems more interested in Layla, it’s no less devastating.
But that was then. Now Emmaline is settling in good life and a job as a graphic designer, even though she’d much rather spent her time painting. She’s no longer the shy and awkward teenager she once was. It was great to get a heroine that wasn’t still the mousy and shy virgin. Emmaline was a woman that was confident in her own way, and she was not a stranger to men. Her time studying abroad in Paris changed her. But what happens when a chance run in with the crush from her childhood turns into something a little more?
Cole Marlowe is now a successful attorney. But his high school dating years and childhood were not quite what Emma always thought them to be. Although the last thing on Cole’s mind is a relationship during his climb up the corporate latter, he can’t seem to keep his mind off Emma.
Now things are different. Now Emma is receiving the type of attention she always dreamed of from Cole. There’s just one problem; she’s still convinced that she will lose his interest to Layla.
Layla  was a bitch. A huge one! Everything that came out of her mouth made me want to beat her with my kindle. Usually when I read about a character like this, the last thing I’d want to do is read a book with her as a heroine. But here’s the shocker, I cannot wait to read about her and see her fall head over platform heels. The fact that Brenda Rothert managed to do this is no small feat.
I really loved the way that the past and present were interwoven flawlessly in the story. It added a little something to the book, the writing style was one of my favorite things about it.
So what kept this from being a 5 star read for me? Unfortunately Emma drove me up the wall with her behavior and thought process throughout the book. Her constant doubting of Cole, of herself, of Cole’s feelings grated with me. It took her almost until the very end to finally get her shit together. Cole was just wonderful. His treatment of Emma made his feelings so glaringly obvious. And the fact that Emma would chose the word of her sister over his almost made me lose it.
All that aside, this was still a very solid 4 star read, and I did enjoy it. I still can’t believe how much I’m looking forward to Layla’s story. Hope the hero really gives her a run for her money. The bitch deserves it. LOL!!

Now and Again

Once again, 26-year-old Layla Carson has the attention of a man eager to satisfy her. Ben Montrose, the hot, confident cop who gets off on frustrating her, is eager to show her just how arresting he can be. But as a reforming sexaholic, Layla’s sworn off casual hookups, and doesn’t miss the days of her early 20s –much.

Ben’s caught off-guard when the sexy, outspoken attorney turns him on and then turns him down. But the confident former Marine knows he can handle the simple seduction of a beautiful woman. He finds Layla’s weak spot – competition, which he happens to share – and challenges her to a game that could make them, or destroy them.

As they compete to crown the master of seduction, Ben and Layla discover there’s more to their game than power and foreplay. But as the stakes go up, they realize the game has changed, and they both stand to lose more than they bargained for.

My Review

4.5 Redeeming Stars
I’ll admit, I’m surprised how attracted I am to your combative nature. But you’re under my skin now. I don’t want a compliant woman – I want you.
I knew just one thing going into this book; how much I absolutely HATED Layla in book 1. How do I even describe the way she came off in that book? Ahh yes!
Think I’m exaggerating here? Not even close. Then there was Layla’s penchant of sleeping with pretty much every hot guy that crossed her path. Honestly!
She was selfish, arrogant, rude, and pretty much everything I should hate in a heroine. But see here’s the thing, I have never anticipated a book more than with her. There’s nothing more I love that a good story of redemption and imagine my surprise when I ended up liking Layla more than her sister Emma, from book 1. 
After too much alcohol and a case of feeling sorry for herself lands her in the bed of yet another nameless man, Layla knows she’s finished with that part of her life. She’s done with meaningless sex and hookups. She’s sworn off bad boys, but she knows that deep down she may not be the kind of woman that the ‘nice guys’ would go for.
But of course, life never quite works out the way you plan. So when Layla meets Ben, the super sexy cop that isn’t shy about making his intentions known, she finds that resisting the bad boys is not as easy as it seems. 
Ben was just…he was so….gah! *dreamy sigh* I frigging LOVED Ben. Did I happen to mention that along with being super sexy, a cop, the man also drive a motorcycle and has tattoos? Because let me just tell you, I about orgasmed from the sexy overload that was him.
When Ben first lays eyes on the outspoken and gorgeous attorney, he knows what he wants. He’s not the type to settle down, but he wants Layla, even if it’s only for a short while. But Layla is not at all what he thought her to be.

You’re the kind of girl who makes a list about her perfect man, and it has things like ‘dreamy’ and ‘sweet’ on it, and I bet every ‘i’ is dotted with a heart.” 

Layla was only taken aback for a second. “How do you know my list doesn’t have ‘big cock’ and ‘filthy mouth’ on it?” she said, raising her brows at Ben.

His lips parted in surprise. “Does it?” he asked, his gaze darkening a shade. 
“Fuck yes.”


Knowing that the combustible attraction between them is going to be impossible to resist, Ben is determined to have Layla. So when he finds her weak spot with competition, he challenges her to a game that just might make them or destroy them.

This book was so much more than the synopsis. I did’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Layla and Ben were both such strong characters, yet both of them had their own hidden vulnerability that threatened to destroy them.
The two of them together burned up the pages
But beneath the sexy words and sexual tension, there was a fantastic story about 2 broken souls. I loved the relationship development between Layla and Ben. I am not a fan of insta anything, and I was so happy to see that didn’t happen here. Even though I thought my ovaries might explode from all the sexual tension at times, it was well worth the wait. Because when these two finally get together…
I loved that Layla was a converted bitch. It was a refreshing change from all the mousy and introverted heroines I’ve been reading about lately. She was confident, outspoken, and yet she had this layer of vulnerability to her that you couldn’t help but like.
If you enjoy steamy contemporary romances with dirty talking, sexy heroes and confident and outspoken heroines, that you really need to check this book out. A big rec from this girl!

Buy Links

Now and Then (Book 1)

Amazon I Barnes & Noble I Smashwords

Now and Again (Book 2)

Amazon I Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Brenda Rothert lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three sons. She was a daily print journalist for nine years, during which time she enjoyed writing a wide range of stories.

These days Brenda writes New Adult Romance in the Contemporary and Dystopian genres.

Where to find Brenda:

Author Website I Goodreads I Facebook I Twitter

Giveaway

Brenda Rothert is giving away:
3 ebook bundles for the Now Series (books 1 and 2)
1 ARC for Now and Forever (book 3)
5 – $5 Amazon gift cards

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ARC Tour And Giveaway: Ink my Heart by Jean Haus

Title: Ink My Heart (Luminescent Juliet, #2)
Author: Jean Haus
Release date: November 12, 2013
Publisher: Skyscape 
Age Group: New Adult 
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Tour organized by: AToMR Tours
Amazon I Barnes & Noble I Goodreads

Book Synopsis

Even if he weren’t the lead singer of the popular college band, Luminescent Juliet, Justin Noel would have his pick of women. And he does pick. Nightly. Tattooed, blonde, and green eyed, he flashes his dimples and females swoon. 
Except for one. 
Tattoo artist, Allie Landon, rarely dates, and especially not men like Justin. Though he’s hot enough to melt off permanent ink, she’s done with the bad boy type. But when the ex who broke her heart wants to reunite, desperation has Allie introducing her latest client as her boyfriend. Justin’s more than happy to play the part. He’s completely intrigued by the sexy artist and college student. 
However, Allie’s life isn’t what it seems. There’s little room in it or her shattered and confused heart for Justin. But as Justin remains persistent, ignoring the growing attraction—both physical and emotionally—between them becomes more difficult than tattoo removal.
*New Adult. Recommended for mature readers due to language, drug references, and sexual situations

My Review

Books are my first love, but my second love is music. When a book is able to combine both these things for me, it’s always a winner. Add into that mix a sexy, tattooed and dimpled hero, a great heroine, a story that sucks you in from the beginning and you got the recipe for the perfect book for me. Well, maybe not quite perfect, but it was pretty damn close. Plus any book that features some of my favorite songs is great.
A steamy and angsty New Adult novel that I loved from beginning to end.
Justin Noel is the lead singer of a college band, Luminiscent Juliet. 
He’s gorgeous, tatted, dimpled and rich. He’s also cocky womanizer who makes no qualms about the fact, but he does have some limits…

I have standards.” I raise one finger. “They have to be hot.” I raise another finger. “They can’t be wasted.” I don’t take advantage of the incoherent. “And they can’t be a bitch.”

Can’t really blame the guy for his ways. Women pretty much jump at the mere chance to wash his laundry or do his homework. He seems to very content in how his life is going, until a chance meeting at a tattoo parlor throws his life for a loop.

Charlee is not interested in dating, especially another cocky bad boy, even if he does come in a sexy as sin package. She’s content with her life the way she is, all she wants her focus on is her tattoo shop and her art. 
But life rarely goes according to plan, and when the ex that shattered her heart comes back into her life unexpectedly, Justin presents too much of a tempting opportunity. Desperate times force Allie to pretend that her latest client is her latest boyfriend. But what happens when something that’s pretend starts turning into something that’s very real?
I’m a sucker for a sexy rock star, and an even bigger sucker for an angsty rock star romance. There was no insta love (thank God), but there was a whole lot of lust. The sexual tension between Allie and Justin was so thick, you could feel it coming from the pages. I loved watching the sexy bad boy fall more and more for the reserved tattoo artist, Allie.
Allie was hesitant to jump into another relationship, and understandably so given what she’d been through.

I’d rather let my idle lady parts dry up to dust then deal with another rampage on my heart.

Her ex really did a number on her, and as sexy as Justin is and as hard as he tries to show her his different side, she can’t help but notice the harem that constantly follows him around. But little by little, Justin begins to weave his way into her heart with his music and wooing.

I really enjoyed this book. Of course there were times where I wanted to throttle Allie for the way she treated Justin. Justin pretty much wore his heart on his sleeve with her, and the dates he took her on were so incredibly sweet. But with more and more of Allie’s past being revealed, I grew to understand her reasons for being as gun shy and reserved as she was. What I liked the most was that I had a constant song list playing through my head as I was reading this. Jean Haus managed to include some of my favorite songs in the story, and they were a wonderful addition.
While all the supporting characters sparked an interest, Gabe took center stage for me. I love a broken man with a dark and turbulent past. So obviously I cannot wait to get my hands on his book.
If you’re a fan of angsty and steamy New Adult books, you definitely want to check out Ink My Heart. (It can be easily read as a standalone.)

About The Author

Jean Haus writes young adult and romance novels. She reads a lot too. Anything with a bit of romance has the possibility of being loaded on her Kindle. She even does a bit of cooking, which is actually quite good. She also golfs in the beautiful summers of Michigan with her awesome husband and son, but she cooks way, way better than she golfs.

Author Social Media Links:

To see other stops on the tour for reviews, guest posts, and excerpts click here

Giveaway

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Review: Seductive Shadows by Marni Mann

Seductive ShadowsSeductive Shadows by Marni Mann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Synopsis

Charlie is a passionate, sensually inspired art student, desperately seeking an escape from an abusive past that haunts her and a tragic accident that emptied her heart. Scarred and unable to love, her yearning for physical pleasure and contact leads her into a tantalizing, dangerous world of power and seduction. The anonymity of the deal offers security, the money provides financial freedom, and the madam’s authority is the mother figure she longs for.
But the thrill of the mansion and its arousing dominance quickly fades when she meets the renowned yet mysterious Cameron Hardy, whose intense, baby blue eyes send a nervous flutter through her core. He’s sexy, and not in a subtle way. Cameron stimulates her art, intellect and desires. Just as he begins to break through her emotional boundaries, Charlie discovers a devastating connection between her past and her scandalous work at the mansion, shattering everything she thought to be true.
Provocative, intoxicating and erotic, Seductive Shadows is the unforgettable tale of a young woman’s discovery as she learns to forgive, to love and be loved, and to find redemption amidst a memorable journey that will captivate your mind and stimulate your soul.
This book is for mature audiences. It contains explicit language and sexual content

My Review

4 Left me speechless Stars

“You always told me that I lived my life in the shadows. Well, I’m not there anymore. I’m not even reaching for them anymore. I’m running from them now.”

I don’t even know where to start with this book. Truly. I’m fucking speechless, though not in a bad way. This book was something else. It was unlike anything I have ever read before, and I have read some dark and fucked-up books. It’s not exactly what I was expecting, but fuck me sideways if I will be forgetting it any time soon. All that aside, if you’re expecting a romance novel, boy are you in for a rude awakening. I’d say this was more of an introduction. An introduction to Charlie, to Cameron, and to the catalyst to the story.

Meet Charlie. She is unlike any heroine you’ve read about before. Virgin?! HA! Forget about it! The woman has the sex drive of a cat in heat. No joke. Everything turns her on. I’m pretty sure a stiff wind would get her going.

If from my description you’re thinking that she’s some vapid, two dimensional character, you would be very wrong. There is a reason that Charlie is the way she is. She was a dark and complex heroine, though it does take a bit of time to really begin seeing below her surface. Charlie is dealing with an alcoholic and terminally ill mother and no small financial problems. Until the answer to her problems walks into the door of her work and offers her a very intriguing way out.

The Mansion
But it comes with some rules
You do not talk about The Mansion.
You DO NOT talk about The Mansion.
You’re constantly monitored.
Based on your cycle, you will get a whole week off, but get compensated during that time.

Oh and then there was the teeny tiny little detail about the audition: having to do a little something with the recruiter…who happens to be a chick.

And if you’re thinking what I think you’re thinking…

This may seem a bit extreme to most, but for Charlie it was the answer to everything.

The Mansion and everything about it is shrouded in mystery. But when that mystery begins to get unraveled. Holy.Shit. Your head will spin

It took me a while to get into the story. It was extremely descriptive, which I don’t typically mind. But in the case here it got to be almost too much. The hero doesn’t enter the picture until about 30% into the book, and their relationship takes even longer to develop. This was not a love story. It didn’t read that way, and it didn’t feel that way until pretty much the last few chapters.

Beautifully written, Seductive Shadows is a dark and provocative story about the journey of a woman struggling with hiding in the shadows and a dark and turbulent past, learning how to find her dawn, forgiveness, and redemption.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to give myself a much needed mental health break before diving into Seductive Secrets. And I thank you

**ARC courtesy of publisher in exchange for an honest review**

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Review: Race to Kill by Rachel Kall

Race to Kill (Love and Scandal, #1)Race to Kill by Rachel Kall

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Synopsis

When fiercely independent Vivian Reese is thrust onto the national stage during a heated presidential campaign, she doesn’t expect to become a media darling. She also doesn’t expect to start to fall for her sexy new bodyguard, Marcus Locke. But when threats start surfacing against the sitting President’s campaign and all evidence points to Vivian, she doesn’t know who to trust.
Delta Force Operator turned FBI agent Marcus Locke is supposed to be investigating campaign finance crimes. He’s not supposed to be checking out the sexy, eloquent campaign spokeswoman Vivian Reese, who’s one of his prime suspects! But when they are caught in the middle of a presidential race that is quickly turning deadly, he is forced to put both his heart and his job in the line of fire.
Tempers flare and passions ignite as the campaign gets dangerous, but when bullets start to fly will either of them survive?

My Review

4 stars

Nothing is ever as clear cut as it seems.

Well looks like I just found me a new Romantic Suspense author to love.

Race to Kill was a thrill ride from beginning to finish. It will keep you guessing until the very end with a mystery that draws you in from the very first chapter.

I happen to have a few triggers when it comes to reading books, “Delta Force Operator turned FBI agent” happens to be one of them. What? I happen to have a type here.

(though Navy men do it for me too) Well, you get the idea here. Moving on!

Given that I tend to like my books on the Rated R level, the fact that I devoured it and it was more PG 13 tells you something. Don’t get me wrong, while it might not have been as steamy as my pervy little self is used to, it was still fantastic. The connection and sexual tension between Marc and Viv was almost palpable.

Although I am not typically a fan of political reads, I couldn’t put this one down. I love a book that will keep me guessing and filled with twists and turns. Vivian was a fantastic heroine. She was independent but not stupid. It was so refreshing to read about a heroine without the TSTL syndrome. She was not above asking for help or seeking protection in a dire situation. She wasn’t perfect. Her previous relationship left her doubting herself and relationships. So it was easy to understand her hesitancy in getting involved with Marc.

Marc was just…*dreamy sigh*. He was fiercely protective but not unreasonable. I loved watching him fall for Viv.

It was great to see a realistically written relationship development with these two. My biggest pet peeve with RS, is the whole “oh look, we’re being shot at, let’s go at it like monkeys” scenarios. It was lovely to get a love story that was seamlessly woven within the suspense plot. The center of the story was the mystery, and the romance was the perfect icing on the cake addition.

I also liked the supporting characters. I really hope to see a book for Scott. The second I read about an ex Navy SEAL with commitment issues, I knew I’d be all over that book.

If you are a fan of fast paced Romantic Suspense, with great characters, and steamy romance, definitely give this one a shot.

**ARC courtesy of author in exchange for an honest review**

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ARC Review: The Way Home by Cindy Gerard

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Four years ago Jess Albert got the news that her husband Jeff was killed in action in Afghanistan, and a painful void entered her life. The more time passed, the more acutely she felt that emptiness. But when Tyler Brown, former military hero and all-around alpha male, shows up a year after she’d last seen him, Jess gradually begins to realize there is one thing that can make her feel whole again—love.
As they’re planning their wedding and new life together, Jess receives shocking news: her husband is alive, under the care of a young Afghani woman hiding him from the Taliban. Even as he sees their happily-ever-after slip away, Ty arranges for the One Eyed Jacks and Black Ops, Inc. teams to make a daring and dangerous rescue mission to bring Jeff home. The hardest thing Ty or Jess has ever done is to let the other go.
When Jeff returns to Jess, broken physically and emotionally and with no memory of their history, they try to heal their marriage and each other. But as time brings them together more as friends than lovers, an unexpected development helps them see the true way home, to the people they love.
“What can you do that I haven’t been able to do in three and half years?”
“I can give you a reason and enough time to get used to the idea.”

I’ve been a fan of Cindy Gerard since her Bodyguards series. Her name has become synonymous with Romantic Suspense for me. Her books have never failed to keep me at the edge of my seat with suspense, action, and just enough steam to make it even better.

This book was different. But in the case here, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. While it was not quite what I had suspected, I enjoyed it immensely. It was a little less on the action and the suspense, and a little more on romance. It was a heartwarming and poignant story about love and second chances It was, in a word, wonderful.

When Jess lost her husband four years ago, the last thing she expected was to see Tyler Brown again. Lost in a dark emptiness that has become her life’s companion, the only thing that Jess feels is empty.

I adored the way that Tyler pursued Jess. He wasn’t pushy, he respected her boundaries, but at the same time he knew just what to do to get past them. As much as I wanted to get irritated with Jess at times and the way she seemed to almost push Ty away, I could’t help but feel for her. I understood her hesitancy, but I loved watching her walls slowly crumble for Tyler.

But then the news that the husband she had thought was killed in action is actually alive, Jess and Tyler’s world comes to a crashing halt.

I wasn’t quite sure how I would like having a dual story, but Miss Gerard pulled it off seamlessly.

My heart broke for Jeff and everything that he has been through. Reading about his captivity and struggle to survive after was not easy, nor was his struggle to pick up his old life after being rescued. I’m not going to lie, I spent quite a few parts of this story a blubbering and crying mess. Nothing was glossed over. It was real, gut-wrenching, and incredibly emotional.

It was great to get some more of my favorite characters from previous books; Mike Brown, Jonny Reed and Nate Black. But this book was not about action and suspense, or even the steam that we’ve gotten in Gerard’s previous books. And I did not mind one bit.

What we did get was a wonderful and emotional story that I enjoyed from beginning to finish.

**ARC courtesy of publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

ARC review: Mine to Keep by Cynthia Eden

Mine to Keep (Mine, #2)Mine to Keep by Cynthia Eden

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Synopsis

Love is the most dangerous obsession…
Skye Sullivan is trying to put the pieces of her life back together. She survived a brutal stalker and escaped his abduction, and now she is looking to the future—a future that includes Skye’s lover, billionaire Trace Weston. Skye thinks the danger is finally over for her.
She’s dead wrong.
When Trace’s past comes back to haunt him, Skye discovers that the man she loves isn’t quite who he seems to be. Trace has been leading a double-life. An ex-special forces agent, his military training turned him into the perfect killing machine. He made more than his share of enemies during his time in the military—and as he built his security empire—and one of those enemies is striking back.
He won’t lose her.
Skye is the one weapon that can be used against Trace—his only vulnerability. But he won’t let her go—he can’t. Trace will do anything necessary to protect Skye. Anything. Yet when she discovers the secrets that he’s tried to keep hidden, Skye’s pain and rage may send her running directly into the cross-hairs of a killer…

My Review

4 I did not see that ending coming Stars

You were my dream, when I was in a nightmare.

When I read and loved Mine to Take, I wasn’t aware that the author was planning a second book for Trace and Skye. I was skeptical about reading this book since I wasn’t sure what more could possibly be told of the couple. But I gave in because I was curious to learn more about the mysterious Trace and also because I have yet to read a Cynthia Eden book I haven’t enjoyed. Mine To Keep was certainly no exception.

Mine To Keep starts off exactly where Mine to Take left off. Skye is still recovering after being held captive by her crazy ex-lover. She’s still hunted by nightmares and she is beginning to see that she is not the only one. While she may have been in love with Trace since she was a teenager, she is beginning to realize that she barely knows him. Trace hides nightmares of his own, and his past is a dark shadow that threatens to overtake their current happiness. But not all things stay in the past, and when something from his past threatens his future, Trace knows there isn’t anything that he won’t do in order to protect Skye.

If there is one thing that Cynthia Eden is good at, it’s writing one hell of a Romantic Suspense. Every time I thought I knew what was coming, she would yank the rug right out from under me. Mine to Keep was a spine tingling suspense filled with so many twists and turns, that it will keep you at the very edge of your seat until the last page. But let’s not forget the steam, because well…I like me my steam. This book was damn hot.

Trace was just as delicious as he was in book one. He’s arrogant, fiercely protective, and broody. Which is a winning combination for me.

I loved Skye and Trace’s relationship. While it wasn’t perfect, there were moments that just melted my heart.


I never understood how you could spin that fast, that much without getting              dizzy.”


“It’s easy, I just look at you. You’re my center. My focus. For every spin, a ballerina needs a focus.”

We get to find out about Trace’s past and his time in the military. Although from all the build up, I was expecting something much worse than what it turned out to be.

I also really enjoyed how Skye came into her own in this book. Even though she loves Trace, she knew her limits to what she will be able to accept, and she wasn’t scared about drawing that line.

What ultimately made this a solid 4 stars for me was the suspense. As much as I thought I knew what was coming, it caught me by complete and utter surprise. And even then there were still more twists. No it wasn’t quite a 5 star book, only because I felt that I had gotten my fill of Trace and Skye in book one, and felt that it could have been just one longer book as opposed to 2. And while I doubt it would be a book I would re-read, I still enjoyed it thoroughly.

We were also introduced to 2 men from Trace’s military past, Drake and Noah. While I am enjoying the delicious golden eyed Noah right now in Mine to Hold, I really hope that we get a book for Drake. There is just something about a broken man that gets to me, and Drake is all sorts of broken, broody and dark.

**ARC courtesy of author via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

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ARC Review: Knots by Chanse Lowell

KnotsKnots by Chanse Lowell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Synopsis

Jeanie’s life has been turned upside down. She’s lost her husband at an early age and with him, her way. An offer from a man she’s avoided, a man that was her husbands best friend, may be the only thing that can bring light back into her life. Mark isn’t like most men. His dominant nature helps him see a different side of Jeanie: a submissive woman with a deep capacity to love and please a man. But having a relationship with him so soon after her husbands death causes strife with her in-laws; the only family she knows. Can Mark set her free, or will she walk away, missing out on the chance for an all-encompassing love?
WARNING: BDSM themes, crude language, anal sex and Dom/sub arrangment involving consenting adults. Story meant for adult audience 18+ due to graphic love scenes and adult themes.

My Review


She was like a baby animal, seeking protection from an adult. And he was like a predatory animal, ready to pin her down, bite and fuck her – hard.

Whenever I read BDSM Romance my first thought always is – I really hope this isn’t another book with a hero with a spanking and light bondage penchant calling himself a Dom. I’m an avid BDSM Romance reader, so I tend to get picky. Having never read a book by Chanse Lowell before, I wasn’t really sure what I was walking into with this book. My thoughts once I finished? It was a beautiful and highly erotic story of true love.

I don’t typically enjoy reading about insecure heroines with frequent water works. Jeanie’s constant guilt, insecurities and doubts at times made me want to throttle her. The fact that at the end of the book I not only grew to like her, but to feel for her, says a great deal of the amazing job the author did with characterization.

The entirety of the book focuses on Mark and Jeanie’s relationship development. It was real, at times heart breaking, heart melting, and erotic as hell.

Mark…I don’t even know where to start with him. He was…he just…GAH! I want to lick him! The man was just perfection. He was sweet and patient when need be

God, he wanted her wrapped around him right now—to be able to embrace her and free her soul from years’ worth of guilt she never should’ve had.

But when the man got down to business…holy mother of orgasms! The things that he would say and do…my ovaries barely survived it.

Deep inside that pussy, there’s an ache for me, and I’m gonna find it…You’re gonna give me every breath as I fuck you with my fingers.

I think what I truly loved about Mark was how understanding and caring he was with Jeanie. The was no commitment issues, overly domineering caveman antics or jealousy. He simply made his feelings clear and hid nothing.

You’re a part of me, and I can’t let go of that part, because it’s the best fucking piece of my soul. Before you, I don’t know if I even had half a one. But now, I look at you, I breathe in your scent, and I know I have one because I only want what’s best for you—to see you smile, hear you laugh, watch you come undone with pleasure.”

I really loved this story. I enjoyed watching Jeanie’s character grow from an insecure, guilt-ridden woman to someone stronger. While this wasn’t quite a 5 star read for me, it was a very strong 4 stars. I will gladly pick up Chanse Lowell’s future books.

**ARC courtesy of author in exchange for an honest review**

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ARC Review: Hard To Handle by Jessica Lemmon

Hard to Handle (Love in the Balance #2)Hard to Handle by Jessica Lemmon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Synopsis:

ONCE BURNED 
Sadie Howard never dates a guy more than once-but Fate has other plans for her when it comes to Aiden Downey, the one that got away. Aiden loved her, left her, and broke her heart. Yet suddenly she’s bumping into him at every turn, driven to distraction by his wicked grin and rock-hard body. Now she can’t resist finishing what they started-as long as she doesn’t let herself fall in love . . . 
TWICE AS TEMPTING 
Aiden Downey threw away the best thing he ever had when he let Sadie go, and now he’s determined to win back the woman he’s always wanted. Sadie agrees to let him into her life-and her bed-as long as there are no strings attached. But Aiden’s not about to make the same mistake again. Can he convince her to take a second chance on a once-in-a-lifetime love?

My Review

4 Pleasant Surprise Stars

This wasn’t just lust. There was more. There’d always been more. 

Let me start out by saying I am not usually a reader of “sweet” romances. I like my romances with a kick, preferably a dirty one. But every now and then, a girl needs some sweet, and I got the perfect dose of it with this book.

I went into this with zero expectations, having never read a book by Jessica Lemmon before. After finishing, I can definitely say I will not hesitate in picking up any of her future books. I fell in like with this book. No, it wasn’t quite ‘sing the book’s praises from the rooftop’ love, but I liked it a whole hell of a lot.

So you read the book blurb, and you might be expecting Aiden to be some type of heart-breaking, womanizing, man-whore, right? No? Odd…I did. Maybe because that seems to be all I read lately. Aiden was NOT that. I LOVED Aiden. He was the perfect combination of sexy as hell, sweet and yet also endearingly vulnerable. My heart broke for everything that he went through. I really loved that the reason he left Sadie a year ago was not your typical commitment phobe issues.


When she’d first met Aiden, hot-handed, dead-sexy-smile, two-hundred-pounds-of-delicious-golden-muscle Aiden, he’d been to hell and back. Now he’d been to hell and back, and returned for one more round trip with frequent flyer miles. And he was still clawing his way out of the depths.

He recognized right away the mistake he made and now that he has another chance, he’s determined to show Sadie that she needs to take another chance on him.


He had so many things to say. Like how sorry he was, how he’d do anything to take back the day he’d lost her for good. How he wanted her with an intensity time and space hadn’t been able to erase.

Sadie was tough, quirky and sassy. I love heroines like her. When Aiden left her a year ago, he left her with a broken heart. She’s determined not to let any other man in again, especially the sex on a stick Aiden. So what happens when Aiden starts chipping away at all her hard built walls?

I loved how Aiden pursued Sadie. He wasn’t pushy, domineering, or high handed. He simply wore his heart on his sleeve and made no attempts to hide it from her.


Love wasn’t hard for him. Love was simple. Love was yes, followed by a hundred more yeses. What was so damn complicated about that?

But don’t get me wrong, while this book was sweet, it still had some steam. And Aiden definitely delivered on that end as well.

This book was just what I needed. It was sweet, with a side of steamy, and a fantastic hero.

We were also introduced to Aiden’s brothers, the broody millionaire Landon and the angry, grieving Evan. I hope that we will be getting their stories next, because the set up already has me intrigued.

This book, while part of a series, can be easily read as a standalone.

**ARC courtesy of publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

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Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Worth The Fight by Vi Keeland

 
To see other stops on the tour for reviews, guest posts, and excerpts click here or the tour button above.

Worth the Fight (MMA Fighter #1) by Vi Keeland

Book Blurb

It didn’t matter that the ref called it a clean hit. Nico Hunter would never be the same. 
Elle has a good life. A job she loves, a great apartment, and the guy she’s been dating for more than two years is a catch and a half. But it’s boring…and she strives to keep it that way. Too many emotions are dangerous. Her own past is living proof of what can happen when you lose control.
Then Nico walks into Elle’s office and everything changes…for both of them. But what can the tattooed, hard-bodied MMA fighter and the beautiful and always steady attorney have in common? A lot more than they bargained for.

My Review

4 TKO Stars!

Nico Hunter might just be my kryptonite. I’m a character in my story, going through the chapters of my life as if it was written by an imaginary person, when I should be the author. 

 
 I’m woman enough to admit that what initially drew me to this book was the cover. Shallow of me? Perhaps. But is it so wrong that I just want to lick it? I think not. Then I read this: tattooed, hard-bodied MMA fighter and my inner dirty girl was all 
 
and I knew I was sold. Luckily for me, this book lived up to the cover, unlike the many I’ve read before it.
   
Elle lives a good, albeit controlled existence. She’s a successful lawyer with a good job and boyfriend that technically should be perfect for her. Everything should be perfect, she should be happy. The controlled life is a boring one, but that’s the way that she wants it and she likes it that way.

I’ve been this way for a long time. I make responsible choices. My life is neat and organized and my heart rate stays constant. I like it that way most of the time. I should be proud of where I am in my life. But the truth of the matter is sometimes I feel like I’m suffocating in my perfunctory life.

But beneath the perfect layers lies a dark past with an even darker secret. And if controlling her environment allows her to keep it buried and wake up without nightmares, then that is what Elle will do. But then Nico Hunter walks through her office doors, and everything changes. Nico was a six-foot-three, two hundred and twenty-one pounds, green eyed sex on a stick. When he sees Elle, he knows what he wants and the man knew damn well how to go after it. I have to admit he certainly had a way with words.

Why do you want to have dinner with me?” “Aside from the obvious, that you’re gorgeous?” “When I look in your eyes I see a little light flicker…” He pauses for a second. I look at him, but still don’t speak. “And for the last twenty four hours all I could think about was what it would take for me to turn that flicker into a flame.”

 
I am not usually a fan on insta-lust, insta-relationships, well insta anything to be honest. But for some reason Nico and Elle’s almost instant relationship didn’t bother me. Nico’s nickname was Lady Killer, but he never really came off as this womanizing, cocky asshole. So that may have been why the quick relationship development made sense? I didn’t feel it was rushed or unrealistic. Nico doesn’t want to scare Elle off, so he tries to be a gentleman and doesn’t try to instantly jump her bones. Which I would have had no issues with. Really. But then again, I’m a sexual fiend that way LMAO. Nico may have played a gentleman, but beneath that was filthy deliciousness.

You’re a beautiful, smart, strong woman who is used to being treated like a lady.” I’m confused at his words and Nico sees it on my face. He pulls me to him and buries his face in my neck. His breath is so close to my ear when he speaks, I feel the words throughout my body as he speaks them. “But when I finally get you underneath me, I’m definitely not going to treat you like a lady.”

If you follow my reviews, you know I have a soft spot for the dirty talkers, and Nico did not disappoint in that department.

Ride me. You’re so tight and wet.  I’m going to fill up that sexy little pussy and make it mine. I want my smell on you. In you. So that the whole god damn world knows you’re mine.”

 My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book. There was no unnecessary angst. They didn’t play games with each other. I loved that even though Nico had a womanizing past, he doesn’t hesitate to stake a claim on Elle. He was a straight shooter and didn’t have commitment issues.

The relationship between Nico and Elle was not a perfect one since they are both characters that are trying to deal with a past that has scarred them. While Elle knows the nightmares that haunt Nico, Nico doesn’t realize the darkness that Elle hides. While we learn what haunts Nico pretty much right away, there are only hints and pieces alluding to Elle’s past. I had a feeling about what it was from the beginning, but I don’t think it was meant to be a big secret. But still, when I found out the whole story, my heart broke for her. 

My only complaint? I really wished the author gave us some sort of physical descriptions on the supporting characters. Aside from a description of what they wore, I never noticed anything mentioning what they look like: hair color, eyes, anything. When I read a book, I like to have an image in my mind of what I’m reading; to feel like the author is showing me a story as opposed to just telling it. Don’t get me wrong, the writing itself was fantastic. I suppose I just wanted a little bit more from it. It wasn’t something that bothered me so much that it took away from the story, but it was enough for me to notice it. I’m a reader that likes to have a visual in my head of every character I read, not just the main hero and heroine. The book itself was fantastic, I enjoyed the characters and the story. This is definitely a series that I will be following. If you enjoy steamy stories with sexy MMA fighters, definitely give this one a shot.

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About the Author

Vi Keeland is a native New Yorker with three children that occupy most of her free time, which she complains about often, but wouldn’t change for the world. She is a bookworm and has been known to read her kindle at stop lights, while styling her hair, cleaning, walking, during sporting events, and frequently while pretending to work.  She is a boring attorney by day, and an exciting smut author by night! 

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Review: Bared by Him by Red Garnier

Bared by Him: (The Billionaire's Club #5)Bared by Him: by Red Garnier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Blurb

Power. Possession. And red-hot passion… 
  
The Billionaire’s Club: The wealthiest, most powerful men—not only in Chicago, but in the world. They are used to having whatever they want, whenever they want it.  
Cade West may be richer than Midas but not even his vast wealth could save his young wife. Cade didn’t just grieve her loss; he was furious. What good is money if it can’t fix…everything? So when the utterly beautiful Ivy Summers boldly walks into his office asking him to donate to her cancer research foundation, he can’t decide whether to throw her out or wrap her up in his arms and never let go. All Cade knows is that he’s caught her scent and he has no intention of letting her walk out his door—even if he has to pay for the privilege. He makes Ivy an offer she can’t refuse: A game of strip poker for two million dollars. She can pretend all she wants, but Cade has awakened dark passions within her from the first time she saw him. Yes, he’s dark and tortured by his past. But if Ivy has the chance to have this man, all bets are off…

My Review

4 sexy and emotional stars

He’s as powerful as Zeus, but has the disposition of Hades

Something in her gaze snared and trapped him. There was passion in there, in those eyes. Kindness. Compassion. And something deep and wounded.

I have been addicted to this series ever since book 2, Taken by Him. And I have been looking forward to the brooding and man of few words Cade ever since. I had a feeling that his story will be a good one, and I was not wrong. While book 2 still continues to be my favorite in the series, this was the most emotionally charged one.

Cade West lost his wife to cancer 10 years ago, and continues to grieve her loss. Though it’s not as much sadness that he feels, as it is anger; anger that he wasn’t able to help her, that no amount of money and treatment was able to save her from death at such a young age.

So when the beautiful Ivy barges into his office demanding that he donate to her cancer research charity, his rage hits an all time high. He wants to throw the ballsy blonde out of his office but there’s just one problem, he wants her, and he hasn’t wanted a woman like this in as long as he can remember.

So what does he do to take care of this problem? Well he challenges her to a game of strip poker and promises his donation if she wins.
Ivy can’t help but feel an intense pull to Cade. She knows the wounds that he has, and she want to get to the man behind it, so she takes him up on the offer.

But when the game begins, all bets are off.

This novella, like all the others, was incredibly steamy and sexy. Cade may be a man of a few words but when he’s in the bedroom…well, let’s just say he says ENOUGH.

Ivy was a wonderful heroine. She was hesitant to get emotionally involved with Cade, but I can completely understand why that was given the information we find out about her in the end of the book. There was no unnecessary angst, which was refreshing as well.

Cade was dark and broody, but when he finally recognized his feelings for Ivy…I just fell even more for him.

I want you, Ivy. I want you more than I’ve wanted anything in my life – I take you in my sleep. I take you any way I can get you, any fucking time I can.”

While the sexy, womanizing, manwhore Luke continues to be my favorite in this series, Cade definitely came in in a very close second.

Each novella is told in dual POV and can easily be read as a standalone. Though I highly recommend reading them all. Red Garnier has this fantastic writing style that allows the reader to not only get a feel for the characters in 100 pages, but to fall for them as well.

And let’s be honest here, these books are friggin HAWT with a capital H.

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My reviews for:
Taken by Him (Billionaires Club #2)
Bound by Him (Billionaires Club #3)
Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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