#DGRFave & Review: Buckled by @pamgodwinbooks

BUCKLED
Series: Trails of Sin #2
Genre: Dark Cowboy Romance
Author: Pam Godwin
Release Date: July 10, 2018

I protect what’s mine.
The ranch, my family, our buried secrets.

Nothing will stop me from reassembling the life that went terribly wrong.
Not the law.
Not our enemies.
Not even Maybe Quinn.

The gorgeous, quarrelsome journalist shouldn’t have meddled.
I shouldn’t have let her stay.
But she’s hiding something in those deceptive blue eyes.
Something deeper than her thirst for a news story.

I make a deal with her to buy time.
To unravel her lies. To play with her. To satisfy my darker appetites.
When she buckles beneath my belt, I’ll send her away.
Unless I buckle first.

AMAZON | Other Retailers 


Wild and molten, wet and volatile, her fight is beautiful, but her surrender is goddamn exquisite. I consume it with everything inside me, feeding on it and fueling a desire that has never felt this out of control.


Dark and sinful with story that will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to finish, Buckled was one addicting ride!

Ever since Maybe and Jarret first met in Knotted, sparks flew, and I was instantly hooked. I couldn’t wait for their book. I knew it was going to be good, but I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was. I devoured this story in one sitting. It kept me squirming on the edge of my seat, starved for each new revelation and totally captivated by the story. It was this magnetic combination of mysterious and kinky with a dark edge that Pam Godwin is oh so good at weaving into her writing.

There’s attraction. There’s sexual desire. Then there’s this. It’s curiosity and gravity and some kind of illogical magnetism that makes my heart beat with the impulse to claim and possess.

I love a good enemies to lovers trope, and this one delivered it in spades. The hate lust was strong with these two and their chemistry was electrifying. Maybe is probably one of my favorite heroines this author has written. She’s strong, sharp witted and has no problem giving as good as she gets. This is a woman that’s not afraid to stand up for herself, yet she also has this hidden vulnerable side to her that seems to come out in Jarret’s presence. She was an incredibly multi-layered character that I couldn’t get enough of. And did I mention the sass?

Where are you taking me?”
“To my office.”
“I can walk there on my own. Put me down.”
“No can do, sweetheart.”
“This is bullshit.”
“What you’re smelling is horse shit. The bulls are in the west pasture.”
She makes a frustrated sound in her throat. “How the fuck are you the sperm that won?”
“I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.”
“I really wish I had more middle fingers right now.”

Jarret delivered on the kinky cowboy promise that I was hoping for in book one. This man has a presence to him, let me tell you. He’s downright sinful. And when he sets his eyes on Maybe, he’s determined to get her beneath him even when they both know she’s hiding something for him.

Maybe comes to their ranch in search of answers. She knows about the dark past and secrets that the Holsten family has hidden and she’s convinced it somehow ties into her own. She’s determined to get to the bottom of it no matter what she has to do, but she doesn’t expect the magnetic connection she feels with Jarret or for it to suck her into his orbit as much as it does.

He’s a torrent of brutal force and sensual precision, fluctuating between violent bites and gentle kisses, rough hands and expert caresses. His passion is explosive, his touches methodical. Nothing about him is tame.

There are a lot of secrets that get unraveled here. And while we get answers to some things, we’re also left with even more questions. The blood feud between father and sons and the secrets that they have buried are all coming to a head and it’s bound to be on hell of a conclusion.

I absolutely LOVED the chemistry and banter between Jarret and Maybe. Their relationship was a sizzling slow burn full of spark and erotic undercurrents. When these two finally give into the pull between them? Holy hell! This book had one of the hottest sex scenes I have ever read. I have two words for you: rain and lightning. HOT. DAMN.

All I can do is hold on, shredding my vocal chords as I scream. I scream his name. I scream for a god. Maybe they’re one and the same. He looks like a warrior god. He fucks like a sex god. I’ll happily worship him, and I do.

We also finally get to meet the heroine of book 3 and let me just tell you, I’m practically salivating for that story.

While I enjoyed the first book, I was completely blown away by this one. I cannot wait to see how it all concludes in what’s bound to be an explosive final chapter of this trilogy.


TRAILS OF SIN Series

KNOTTED Book #1
Available Now
Amazon | Other Retailers

BUCKLED Book #2
Available Now
Amazon | Other Retailers

BOOTED Book #3
Releases Sep 18, 2018
Amazon | Other Retailers


Pam Godwin Books GrayScale

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, Pam Godwin, lives in the Midwest with her husband, their two children, and a foulmouthed parrot. When she ran away, she traveled fourteen countries across five continents, attended three universities, and married the vocalist of her favorite rock band.
.
Java, tobacco, and dark romance novels are her favorite indulgences, and might be considered more unhealthy than her aversion to sleeping, eating meat, and dolls with blinking eyes.
Join my Facebook Reader Group: here

Other Books by Pam Godwin

Tangled Lies Series
ONE IS A PROMISE (#1) – FREE
TWO IS A LIE (#2)
THREE IS A WAR (#3)

Deliver Series
DELIVER (#1) – FREE
VANQUISH (#2)
DISCLAIM (#3)
DEVASTATE (#4)

Trilogy of Eve
HEART OF EVE – FREE
DEAD OF EVE (#1)
BLOOD OF EVE (#2)
DAWN OF EVE (#3)

Stand-alones

DARK NOTES

DIRTY TIES

BENEATH THE BURN

INCENTIVE

 

New Release & #DGRFave Review: Getting Schooled by @EmmaChse

GETTING SCHOOLED
Series: Getting Schooled #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Emma Chase
Release Date: June 26, 2018

The newest novel from New York Times bestselling author Emma Chase.

Head of the class…

Garrett Daniels has this whole life thing figured out.

The cocky, charismatic former high school star quarterback is an idolized football coach and “cool” teacher in the hometown where he’s not just a golden boy — he’s platinum. He has good friends, a great house on the lake, and the best damn sidekick a man could ask for: Snoopy, the albino beagle.

Then…Callie Carpenter comes home.

And knocks him right on his tight end zone.

Back to school…

Callie has a pretty sweet life herself…on the other side of the country. But circumstances — that she’d prefer to never speak of again — have brought her back home, helping out her parents and substitute teaching at her old high school.

Now she’s facing bickering, raging hormones, constant gossip, awkward weirdness, and drama galore…and that’s just the teachers.

Just like old times…

When Garrett offers to show his former high school sweetheart the secrets of his winning teacher ways, Callie jumps at the chance – and then has to stop herself from jumping him.

Good friends are all they can ever be.

Or…these teachers just might end up getting schooled — by love.

AMAZON

She was the love of my life, before I had any idea what love was . . . and then, still, even after I did.

Oh my heart! My cold black heart! It’s so full right now. I don’t know how to even begin to describe all of the ways I loved this book! I laughed, I swooned, I cried, and I fell head over heels for Garrett and Callie’s story.

You were always my girl, Callie. Even after you weren’t any more.”

I love a second chance romance, and Getting Schooled delivered one heart felt and steamy story full of humor and plenty of feels.

Garrett and Callie were high school sweethearts and then life happened and they went their different ways in college. But now that Callie is back in her hometown following her parents’ accident, they discover that old feelings didn’t die, but with the right chance have bloomed into something much bigger.

When Callie gets a job as a teacher at the same school they once both attended and Garrett teaches at, it’s not long before they bump into each other. With their breakup being when they were still kids, it’s not difficult for them to re-start their friendship as adults. And it’s also not long before they both realize that their not so long forgotten feelings are so much more potent when they’re older and understand exactly the love that they once shared.

And that’s how we start. That’s how we begin. How we become us . . . again.

I loved the secondary characters in this story. With Callie’s quirky parents, the other teachers that they work with, the students and Callie’s friends, it was absolute perfection. I felt like I was inside their lives. They practically jumped at the pages at you and it just engrained you that much more in the story.

Beyond that, I absolutely adored the progression and pacing of Garrett and Callie’s romance. It wasn’t full of angst and miscommunication but it wasn’t perfect either. It was real, and wonderful, and oh so swoony. It brought all the feels and I couldn’t’ get enough of it.

My memories of loving Garrett are pale and flimsy compared to this. This is real and solid . . . and us. How did I breathe without this? How will I exist without it?

There were so many notable moments in this book; with one particular one that had me sobbing with emotion one minute and then crying happy tears the next. I loved everything about this book. I originally listened to the audio version of this book (which was fantastic) and then reading it just made me realize how wonderful this story really was. I was glued to the pages and completely captivated all over again. I can’t recommend it enough and can’t wait for more in this brand new series!

#DGRFave & Geri’s Review: Rainy Day Friends by Jill Shalvis

RAINY DAY FRIENDS
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Author: Jill Shalvis
Release Date: June 19, 2018

Following the USA Today bestselling author of Lost and Found Sisters comes Jill Shalvis’ moving story of heart, loss, betrayal, and friendship

Six months after Lanie Jacobs’ husband’s death, it’s hard to imagine anything could deepen her sense of pain and loss. But then Lanie discovers she isn’t the only one grieving his sudden passing. A serial adulterer, he left behind several other women who, like Lanie, each believe she was his legally wedded wife.

Rocked by the infidelity, Lanie is left to grapple with searing questions. How could she be so wrong about a man she thought she knew better than anyone? Will she ever be able to trust another person?  Can she even trust herself?

Desperate to make a fresh start, Lanie impulsively takes a job at the family-run Capriotti Winery. At first, she feels like an outsider among the boisterous Capriottis. With no real family of her own, she’s bewildered by how quickly they all take her under their wing and make her feel like she belongs. Especially Mark Capriotti, a gruffly handsome Air Force veteran turned deputy sheriff who manages to wind his way into Lanie’s cold, broken heart—along with the rest of the clan.

Everything is finally going well for her, but the arrival of River Brown changes all that. The fresh-faced twenty-one-year old seems as sweet as they come…until her dark secrets come to light—secrets that could destroy the new life Lanie’s only just begun to build.

AMAZON | B&N | iBOOKS

Jill Shalvis new Wildstone series have been all winners for me starting with Lost and Found Sisters, followed by Good Luck Sister, and now Rainy Day Friends.


I’ve learned that life is a crapshoot, and at any moment someone can walk into it and change it forever.” 

 

I loved this book. I loved it more than I expected I would. That sounds like a backhanded compliment but let me explain. This book was marketed as Women’s Fiction, a genre that I read but not exactly my go-to genre. There’s always a risk of WF to fall short on the romance aspect. Not so with this book. Yes, this book is definitely about Lanie dealing about the death of her husband and the fallout of his infidelities. But what really gave this book its emotional weight was the romance between Lanie and Mark Capriotti.

Their romance made me swoon! It was definitely a huge part of the book, and I’m so happy for that. I need a healthy dose of romance in my WF and Rainy Day Friends delivered. The romance between Lanie and Mark is mature, passionate and emotional. In other words, it has ALL THE FEELS! And you guys know I’m all about the FEELS!

And now he had her in his arms, this amazing, prickly, suspicious, hardheaded woman that he was falling for in spite of himself because she was also sweet and kind and had the biggest heart of anyone he’d ever met.”

Lanie is prickly and suspicious. She’s not there to become part of the Capriotti clan no matter how friendly and inclusive they are. She’s there to do her job and escape dealing with the mess her husband left her with. I love LOVE prickly heroines and Lanie is fits the description to a tee. She’s also hiding a very soft center underneath prickly exterior. I’ve always enjoyed Jill’s uber competent and complex heroines, but Lanie just might be my favorite Shalvis heroine yet. I LOVE HER! I related to her so much. I understood her motivations and her reaction to her husband’s betrayal and other things made sense to me.

Not only did Jill hit it out of the park with her heroine, she also hit a homerun with the hero, Mark. If you love single parent heroes, then you will love Mark! He’s a devoted family man who loves his twin daughters. And while he did the whole, “I’m not looking for love and can’t offer you anything,” shtick for a while, he changed his tune very quickly when he realized his feelings for Lanie might be deeper than he originally thought. His interactions with his twin daughters are some of the highlights in the book for me. So pure and so heart-wrenching, I shed a tear or two.

The chemistry between these two are off the charts. I realize I sound like a broken record but I love how their romance developed. Theirs enhanced Lanie’s journey and the conflict she’s facing, and honestly, it’s the perfect balance between family drama and romance.

He hadn’t seen it coming, he hadn’t seen her coming, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t recognize a good thing when he saw it.”

There’s also a secondary romance here, which I really liked but won’t get into. It’s there and it has its own charm but it didn’t overpower the main romance between Lanie and Mark.

One aspect that I loved about this book was the Capriotti family. I fell in love with the whole lot of them! They love as passionately as they fight. They’re not perfect which made them all the more interesting to read. I really hope Jill Shalvis will continue to write about their family in future books because they got me like they did Lanie. They were that irresistible.

This book also has one of the most emotionally intense confrontation I’ve read in a Jill Shalvis book. I cried for Lanie. My heart broke for her. And what I really liked about it is that it didn’t feel like I was manipulated. The conflict and the road to that confrontation was so well written that it really hits you when it happened. And it’s not just that one moment in particular, it’s the way Lanie processed her emotions when confronted with that something that got to me. That, in my opinion, is great writing.

This is one of the best I’ve read this year so far. Rainy Day Friends delivered on the romance and I’m so happy it did. I highly recommend this book. If you loved Jill Shalvis, then this is a must read. If you’re just starting out reading her books, this is a great book to start. And even though this is technically the third book in the series, it can be read as a standalone.

Her life had been a train in a dark tunnel for a very long time. But it was like she’d somehow changed course and now she could see a little bit of light.” 

 

#DGRFave & Lana’s Review: The Kiss Quotient by @HHoangWrites

THE KISS QUOTIENT
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Author: Helen Hoang
Release Date: June 5, 2018

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan.

The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel.

Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

AMAZON | B&N

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1)The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5+++++ STARS


I don’t want just a night or a week or a month with you. I want you all the time. I like you better than calculus, and math is the only thing that unites the universe.”


There’s only one way to summarize my feelings for this book, and that’s to tell you that it’s an ABSOLUTE FREAKING MUST READ. The Kiss Quotient was quite possibly the most charming, addictingly satisfying romance I’ve read all year! It was everything. ALL OF THE THINGS. And I’m on cloud 9 after finishing it! I don’t even know what I’ll do with myself now because nothing could ever compare to the ultimate perfection that was this unique and wonderful story full feels and steam. Nothing I could say could possibly do it justice, but I’ll try.

The heroine: Stella Lane
How I loved her. Here’s a female that’s the very antithesis of your typical romance heroine and she was PHENOMENAL. When I first read the blurb and saw that Stella has Asperger, I was so curious to see how the author would depict her. And I can tell you that I couldn’t be more satisfied. There’s just something so incredibly endearing and ultimately just…real, about Stella. She’s full of quirks, but she’s also vibrant in her own way. She has a fulfilling and successful career, but relationships and sex are such a foreign subject to her, that she continually suffers through terrible dates and unsatisfying sexual encounters. With her family’s constant pressure for her to finally settle down, she knows that she needs help. And so she gets that, when she hires an escort to guide her through the art of dating and relationships.

The hero: Michael Phan
Gah! JUST GAH! This man. I can’t even begin to describe all of the ways I adored him. Forced to work as an escort in order to help his family, Michael doesn’t exactly brag about being an escort. As a matter of fact, it’s more of his shameful secret. Used to women seeing him for just his looks, he’s almost jaded on relationships….until he meets beautiful and sexually clueless Stella. There’s just something about her that makes him question everything he thought he knew. Their connection is instant and so potent, I felt the energy of it sizzle on the pages. Here’s a man that’s not a playboy (escort aside), he’s not an a-hole either. There was also something so real about Michael to me. I adored his relationship with his quirky and colorful family. But I absolutely loved the way he was with Stella. He’s the perfect gentleman with a filthy mouth. God but I loved him. I loved him so freaking hard.

This book was simply amazing. It was unique and fresh and full of heart. It was unlike any other romance I’ve read and I couldn’t get enough of it. Helen Hoang has got an instant mega fan in this reader. I will blindly read ANYTHING she writes, no blurb required. She’s a talent that EVERYONE needs to discover and this book one that EVERYONE needs to fall in love with. Because that’s exactly what will happen when you meet Michael and Stella; you’ll fall head over heels for them same as I did. This romance will stay with you, it will engrain itself into your memory and make your heart feel full with it’s emotion. In a nutshell; read it, read it, JUST READ IT!!

_____________________________________________________________

ICYMI: You can check out Geri’s review of Kiss Quotient here: https://wp.me/p6sEtE-8m3

DGR Fave & Geri’s Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

THE KISS QUOTIENT
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Author: Helen Hoang
Release Date: June 5, 2018

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan.

The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel.

Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

AMAZON | B&N

All the things that make you different make you perfect.”

Oh my gosh, this book!

I’ve seen my friends gush about Helen Hoang’s debut for a month or so, and being a contrarian that I am, I tried to temper my expectations. I’ve been here before. Everyone I know loved a book and I’m like, ‘meh’. But that’s not the case here.

The Kiss Quotient not only met my expectations, IT EXCEEDED IT!

I finished this book with a huge grin on my face (always a good sign) and full heart. These characters that Hoang brought to life in the pages of her book made me laugh, cry, and fall in love with them.

You’re very good at the talking part.”
“I’ve had sex. There isn’t a talking part.”
A spark danced in his eyes. “There’s definitely a talking part.”

Stella Lane is magnificent as Hoang’s heroine. She’s beautiful, smart, and kind. Her motivations were so wonderfully written and explored by the author that there’s really nothing I can say except, WOW. I just fell in love with her character just like Michael did.

And speaking Michael? Oh man, easily one of the best romance heroes ever. And I don’t say this lightly. Michael Larsen is a cinnamon roll. Sweet and gooey and perfect for Stella! He might be the sweetest and softest hero but he also owns one of the dirtiest mouth out there. In other words, he’s perfect.

Love, he found, was a jail. It trapped, and it clipped wings. It dragged you down, forced you to places you didn’t want to go.

In all seriousness though, this book is definitely one of the best I’ve read this year. Everything about it worked for me. The romance was excellent. The characters were multi-dimensional, even the secondary ones (please give us Quan’s book, please?), were interesting and had motivations you can relate to.  And lastly, don’t let the pretty pastel cover fool you ’cause this book is super steamy in the best way possible.

So yeah, I dig everything about this book and I hope you would read it and dig it too.

 

#DGRFave & Review: Filthy Gods by R. Scarlett

 

 

 

FILTHY GODS
Series:
American Gods #0.5
Genre:
Contemporary Romance
Author:
R. Scarlett
Release Date: May 15, 2018

Prelude in the American Gods series.

Young. Wealthy. Elite. Attractive. The gentlemen’s secret society at Yale was filled with them.

And Nathaniel Radcliffe, the bane of my existence, was one of them.

As the right hand of the American Gods, he was conceited and arrogant. A dangerously handsome man in a tailored custom suit and shiny black oxford loafers.

The classroom was our battlefield. We made a sport out of arguing and debating, ready to do anything in order to win over the other.

Deadly opponents, deadlier minds.

I’d sworn I’d never give him the upper hand, until…

The secret I’ve been hiding for the last three years?

He just discovered it… and now he has all the power.

*35k Novella

AMAZON

He was a mere man, I knew that, but he and his friends were treated like gods. It didn’t help they looked like it, too. Intimidating, perfect and deadly. 

What if Paper Princess and The In Crowd had a book baby? A sexy, thrilling, and addicting book baby that will captivate you from the very first page and have you hooked on a new series of bad boys? Well, my friends, that would be this book and it would be this series. Because holy mother of book crack was this good!

There was something holy and unholy about the boys. Sacred and sinful all at once. Bastards of Grace. Fame, wealth and power poured out of them. They were the things of legends and myths.

A group of men so rich and powerful they can only be known as American Gods? Sign me up! This is a prequel to what’s set to be an amazing new series from R. Scarlett. And while it was a novella, it was wholly satisfying. Surprisingly so. I’m not usually a reader that gravitates towards novellas, because they always leave me wanting more. And don’t get me wrong, this book left me craving, but craving the rest of the series. The novella itself was a complete story, perfectly paced, and entirely satisfying.

Juliette is barely making ends meet. As the girl from the wrong side of the tracks, she’s desperately hiding her humble past while trying to make a name for herself at Yale among the wealthy and the entitled. And at the top of the food chain are the American Gods. Nathaniel Radcliffe may not be one of those bad boys, but he’s in with them. He’s wealthy, connected, powerful, and her biggest rival in school. Used to his calculated and educated debates with her in class, it’s unnerving to be on the receiving end of it outside of school. Especially when she finds out that the country club that she works at is also one that his family owes. And his silence is going to cost her. They agree to a summer fling to work their unwanted lust out of their system, but nothing is ever quite so simple.

I felt like delicate glass in his powerful hands. I fought him—thrust for thrust, kiss for kiss, nip for nip, and he met me each time, working each other to a pleasure so intense, I feared it would end us both.

The novella introduces the reader to a secret society of men. Men that are powerful, broken but deadly. I was salivating at the mere mention of the American Gods and practically shaking to get my hands on their books. Because the set up? DELICIOUS.

As for this book? It was fantastic! I loved the instant and undeniable chemistry between Nathaniel and Juliette. I loved how Juliette’s strength and perseverance shined through even when she submitted to his powerful presence. The book helped set the scene but it also gave us a deliciously filthy story. If you’re like me and love your angst with plenty of power dynamics and drama, this is an absolute must read!

#DGRFave & Review: Bane by LJ Shen

BANE
Series: Sinners of Saint #4
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: LJ Shen
Release Date: May 10, 2018

A COMPLETE standalone and a Sinners of Saint spin-off.

Bane
Naked surfer. Habitual pothead. A con, a liar, a thief and a fraud.
Last I heard, he was extorting the rich and screwing their wives for a living.
Which is why I’m more than a little surprised to find him at my threshold, looking for my friendship, my services, and most puzzling of all—looking humbled.
Thing is, I’m on a boycott. Literally—I cut boys from my life. Permanently.
Problem is, Bane is not a boy, he is all man, and I’m falling, crashing, drowning in his sweet, perfect lies.

Jesse Carter
Hot as hell, cold as ice.
I wasn’t aware of her existence until a fat, juicy deal landed in my lap.
She’s a part of it, a little plaything to kill some time.
She is collateral, a means to an end, and a side-bonus for striking a deal with her oil tycoon stepdad.
More than anything, Jesse Carter is a tough nut to crack.
Little does she know, I have the teeth for it.

AMAZON

We weren’t a boy and a girl. We were two lonely, fucked-up souls. It made wanting Bane in my life acceptable. I wanted him to fix me.

The queen of angst has done it once again. She’s given me a hero that I have fallen head over ovaries for, and I can’t stop thinking about. Bane is so different from the heroes we’re used to from LJ Shen, but he’s no less potent. He’s not the typical alpha-hole that she writes oh-so-well. But he’s also not quite a nice guy either. Bane is that somewhere in the middle, that gray zone of sex appeal and criminal. This book was EVERYTHING.

You’re poisoned. Sheltered. Yet, you’re no Snow White. Wanna know why?”
“Why?”
“Snow White waited for the prince. You’ll be the one saving yourself in this story.”

Jesse may have been one of my favorite LJ Shen heroines to date. This girl is so broken, yet her spirit shines through even through her shattered pieces. And I absolutely loved that Bane is one of the few people in her life that sees it. He sees beyond the frumpy clothes she tries to hide behind. He sees the fiery woman behind the disguise; a woman with scars but one that will fight with the ferocity of a tiger if ever cornered. Man but I loved their immediate chemistry and dynamic. This is a slow burn, and boy does Shen make you burn. She makes you crave every stolen look, every secret touch, every forbidden erotic moment. GAH. It was so freaking delicious.

He was cracking my heart with every touch, shattering it with every smile, and it didn’t make any sense, because how could he break something that was already broken?

Bane is not a nice guy, but he’s not quite a bad guy either. This is a man with many layers that are full of depth beyond what his bad boy appearance gives off. I was turning the pages well into the night, ravenous for another layer to be revealed. The tumultuous connection that he has to Jesse had me sitting at the edge of my seat just waiting for the other shoe to drop. You experience him unwillingly and unexpectedly fall for a girl that was supposed to be a tool in his arsenal. She was only supposed to be a pawn but soon began to turn into so much more.

I survived many things, but Roman Protsenko was probably not going to be one of them.

Bane was a delicious slow burn full of depth and emotion. It was a story of survival and finding love in the darkest most unexpected corner. It was angsty, sexy, and a page turner from beginning to finish.

#DGRFave & Review: Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

BIRTHDAY GIRL
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Penelope Douglas
Release Date: April 17, 2018

JORDAN

He took me in when I had nowhere else to go.

He doesn’t use me, hurt me, or forget about me. He doesn’t treat me like I’m nothing, take me for granted, or make me feel unsafe.

He remembers me, laughs with me, and looks at me. He listens to me, protects me, and sees me. I can feel his eyes on me over the breakfast table, and my heart pumps so hard when I hear him pull in the driveway after work.

I have to stop this. It can’t happen.

My sister once told me there are no good men, and if you find one, he’s probably unavailable.

Only Pike Lawson isn’t the unavailable one.

I am.

PIKE
I took her in, because I thought I was helping.

She’d cook a few meals and clean up a little. It was an easy arrangement.

As the days go by, though, it’s becoming anything but easy. I have to stop my mind from drifting to her and stop holding my breath every time I bump into her in the house. I can’t touch her, and I shouldn’t want to.

The more I find my path crossing hers, though, the more she’s becoming a part of me.

But we’re not free to give into this. She’s nineteen, and I’m thirty-eight.

And her boyfriend’s father.

Unfortunately, they both just moved into my house.

*BIRTHDAY GIRL is a stand-alone, contemporary romance suitable for ages 18+.

AMAZON

You make my heart pound so hard it hurts, Jordan. You, your mouth, and who you are, it all makes me want to touch you. It makes me not want to stop this.”

When I saw that Penelope Douglas was coming out with a surprise release, I didn’t even blink before adding the book. When I read the blurb, I think a small part of me cringed, while a bigger part of it was screaming GIMME!! See, I love a forbidden romance. But there’s something about the whole father thing that just gives me the blehs too. It takes an immensely talented author to pull off a story like this without making it torrid, pervy and cringe worthy. Luckily for me, Penelope Douglas is that rare unicorn of authors that can not only pull it off, but make you fall in love with it too.

And that’s what I am. Her boyfriend’s father. Nothing more. But deep in my heart, the small ember growing bigger and bigger every day knows that’s a lie.

Jordan is a heroine that’s impossible not to like. Mature beyond her years due to the way she grew up, this is not your typical 19 year old. With a mother that left years ago and a deadbeat trailer trash father, it’s been her and her older sister fending for themselves. With an adorable adoration of all things 80s, Jordan was easy to connect with. While her sister has no problem supporting herself and young child by being a stripper, Jordan wants more. Moving in with her boyfriend’s father rent free will allow her to save up enough to put herself on her feet and to get that more that she craves. But it also brings a whole lot more complications in the form of an interaction to her boyfriend’s young father that seems to only intensify over time.

I think what really made me connect with Jordan is how well Douglas handled this character’s development. There’s glimpses into a teenage girl; enough to make you remember her age. But at the same time, she’s not sheltered and naive. This is a woman that knows what she wants. She’s not shy and afraid to go after it. She’s solid. She’s mature beyond her years. But yet she’s still a young woman.

I simply adored the way the romance unraveled and developed between her and Pike. There was something so real and raw about it. It wasn’t torrid, even though it was forbidden. You understand their attraction. You believe in it. You yearn for it. The tantalizingly slow build makes it even better.

I know everything we’re doing is wrong, and I don’t know how I’m going to explain this to anyone, but right here—right now—I don’t want to be anywhere else. I wish I could die as happy as I am right now.

Pike is a man that was forced to grow up fast when he became a father at 19. Giving up on his dreams to support his new son was not something he ever gave a second thought about. This is clearly a man that wants a relationship with his son but due to circumstances, it’s a struggle. I don’t want to give too much away about the dynamics, but trust me when I tell you that you will understand. You’ll even root for him.

The romance and age difference is handled with tact and done incredibly well. The situation with the boyfriend is as well. There was simply nothing about this book that I didn’t love. This was clearly a book the author wanted to write and was meant to, and it came across vividly clear in the writing. I fell so hard for this story and these characters.

Birthday Girl is a story of forbidden romance, yes. But it’s so much more than that, too. It’s a story of strength and forgiveness. Of making mistakes and learning how to write them. It was raw, and sexy, and unique. I loved every single page of it and cannot recommend it enough.

#DGRFave & Review: The Real by Kate Stewart

THE REAL
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Kate Stewart
Release Date: April 12, 2018

They say it happens when you least expect it.

It did for me.

It started the moment I saw the simple message pop up on my computer screen:

Cameron’s Mac: Hi.

And when I met the eyes of the gorgeous man messaging me from across the coffee shop, I never thought my reply would lead to the most intense, sexual, and passionate relationship of my life.

We both agreed to check our bags at the door and put our future hopes and aspirations on the table.

It worked.

I fell in love with his no holds barred attitude, sexy smirk, and undeniably good heart . . . and for a while we forgot about our baggage. We happily tripped over it to get to the other, neither of us willing to show the contents of our pasts in the off chance it could ruin us.

We built our love on a foundation of gray.

It was life in black and white that threatened to tear us apart.

AMAZON

A kiss can be an introduction, statement, and a promise. I plan to make all three when you let me.

My heart. Oh my poor, cold black heart. It will never be the same again because Kate Stewart stole it with this incredible story. This is hands down, my favorite book by this author to date, and easily one of my favorite reads of the year. I still can’t stop thinking about it.

The Real was a poignant, emotional, and unforgettable romance. It was unique and beautiful. It was gripping and thought provoking. It was absolutely EVERYTHING. It tore my heart out and put it back together and I’ll never be the same again after experiencing it.

We’d spiraled from nothing into everything within a few months. It wasn’t just attraction. It was far more, both unspoken and admitted. And just as sure as I was standing on that porch, I wanted him to know.

Reeling from a terrible breakup with a man she grossly misjudged, Abbie is not eager to jump into another relationship any time soon. She’s afraid to trust again and worst of all, she’s afraid to trust her own judgement. But when a handsome stranger’s message air drops onto her Mac in a coffee shop, what begins is one of the most memorable meet cutes and wooing non-dates I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Cameron is devilishly handsome, patient, sweet and everything that Abbie wants but doesn’t trust herself to have. Their relationship isn’t rushed but the depth of it is unexpected for both of them.

There’s plenty of light hearted moments and giggles with the appearance of Abbie’s BFF who I’m fairly convinced is my spirit animal. The girl was a riot and I loved their friendship and the way she was always there for Abbie in her own quirky and super loud way.

Your resting bitch face is pretty but scary. And in the last year, it’s gotten worse. Your bitch face reads ‘Abandon all hope. You can’t stick your penis here.’ But, by the way, he just looked at you. I think it’s safe to say he gives no shits. He wants to put his penis into your vagina.”

The love between the MCs is a slow burn but it’s powerful and raw and real. It was such a pleasure to read the progression of their feelings. But of course nothing is so simple when it comes to the genius mind of Kate Stewart, and after she lulls you into a state of swoony bliss, she slams you with a two by four of feels.

But while the love between Cameron and Abbie may be real, it’s certainly not black and white. It’s a gray area of beauty and pain. Kate isn’t afraid to broach a subject matter that you don’t commonly find in romance novels and I have so much respect for her for going there. This book is so much more than a mere romance. It’s riveting and thought provoking.

My body his slave, I came apart as his name pushed out past my lips. It was his name that wrote itself across my heart; it was his eyes that spoke to my soul. It was Cameron. I lost myself, trusting him with every minute. His sex was my undoing.

I don’t have enough words to tell you all the ways I loved this book. It simply needs to be experienced. I can’t recommend it enough. This NEEDS to be on your TBR. It needs to be read. And it will surely be going on your favorites shelf right along mine.

Jenn’s Review: The End Zone by LJ Shen

THE END ZONE
Genre: New Adult Romance, Contemporary
Author: LJ Shen
Release Date: April 3, 2018

Jolie Louis is a smart girl.

She knows that her best friend, Sage Poirier, is a bad idea.

He’s a walking, talking cliché. The Adonis quarterback with the bulging biceps and harem of fangirls trailing behind him on campus like a stench you can’t get rid of.

Sadly, it is also the very reason she can’t seem to stay away from him.

No, wait. That’s not fair. They’re also roommates, at least until May, when they graduate from college.

Jolie is already straddling the line between friendship and more when Sage comes to her with an offer she cannot refuse: be his fake girlfriend and live for free for the rest of the semester.

She tells herself that she can handle it.

He’s just the boy she saved ten years ago, right?

Wrong. So very wrong.

He is a man now, and she is his captive

Heart, body, and soul…

** THE END ZONE is now available with an extended epilogue and surprise bonus content that will blow fans of L. J. Shen away! **

Download now or read today FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

AMAZON | AUDIO

Excerpt from the Vicious extended epilogue:

Emilia

Kneel.”

There’s menace in this voice, and I grew to love the man who carries it like a loaded weapon. Every word is a sharp edge of a knife, sinking into my skin.

Kneel.

Sit.

Open your mouth.

Touch yourself.

Repeat after me: Vicious, I’m yours.

Most married couples fall into a blissful, albeit drowsy domestic routine of laundry, family dinners, and Netflix.

Most married couples are not Vicious and me.

We were different from the beginning. A yin and a yang, fighting over which color took more space, black or pink. We started out as enemies, and I think that, although we are still crazy in love, we will always be rivals on some level. We will always be passionate, and angry, and desperate.

We will always be us.

I’m sorry, I don’t take orders from people who aren’t my boss,” I say coolly, dropping my funky, colorful bag at the door and erasing the distance between us in wide, confident steps. He is standing in front of me, his Armani suit impeccable, his raven hair slicked back, his icicle blue eyes devouring me in ways that make being eaten alive worth it. He scans the length of me, a slight sneer on his face. I’m still me, even so many years later. The tips of my light brown hair are still cherry-blossom pink. The soles of my shoes are yellow, for Christ’s sake.

That could be arranged, if you continue your sass.”

How is that going to work, Vicious? Are you going to re-employ me against my will?” For the past eighteen years, I’ve been managing my own gallery in L.A. A gallery he bought for me shortly before our engagement. I have a career, an income of my own. Truth is, he gave me a push, but the entire journey to where I am today was made by me, and only me, and he knows it.

He cups my cheek, yanks me by the hem of my funky powder blue blouse with little suns into his body and leans down for a kiss. Our lips brush briefly, promising scattered clothes and ragged breaths, just as the door swings open and our son walks in. He slams the door behind him, his eyes still intently glued to his phone.

Vaughn is a spitting image of his dad. So much so, that sometimes it scares me.

At sixteen, he has the walk, talk, and air of Vicious when the latter was a senior in high school. Rangy, strong body, thick-fringed blue eyes, skin so fair he looks like he defies the sun, and cheekbones you could use as a sharp weapon. More than anything, he has that uniquely-pissed facial expression that tells you that he just doesn’t care.

Not about your problems.

Not about your feelings.

And certainly not about what you think about him.

You wanna know what this book is about?

This book is about L.J. Shen making the Douchebag-Man-Whore her bitch.

This book is exactly why I love L.J. Shen. Like Sara Ney, L.J.Shen can make me hate/love the douchebag.
Sage is a Grade-A Douchebag-Man-Whore. He is the college quarterback, soon to be drafted, and can get anything he wants, including women. After a recent incident, he is lusting after his roommate, Jolie. He has never felt anything for her before now. Sage and Jolie have been best friends since they were kids. Jolie has been in lurrrrve with Sage since then as well, but OF COURSE he doesn’t know it, and OF COURSE he is a Douchebag-Man-Whore. There is no way she is going to put herself out there only to get hurt and lose her best friend in the process.

I love love love the fake relationship stories, and that is exactly what happens. Sage convinces Jo Jo to be his fake girlfriend, and it quickly escalates into something more. Were there a couple of predictable cliché moments? You betcha. Did I care? Not one bit. I read this book in one sitting and enjoyed every second.

I loved this short by L.J. Shen. I wish it was a full book, and those are the best kind of novellas.

L.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.

Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets people’s birthdays and never sends Christmas cards.

She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.

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