Review: ★Chasing Butterflies★ by Terri E. Laine

Chasing-butterflies-blog-tourCHASING BUTTERFLIES
Standalone
Genre: NA Romance, Second Chance Romance
Author: Terri E. Laine
Release Date: June 2, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

CHASING BUTTERFLIES EBOOK B&W

USA Today Bestselling Author, Terri E. Laine brings a new standalone New Adult Romance novel, Chasing Butterflies, about second chances on and off the field.

One night … one kiss … one touch … will change everything.

Kelley Moore’s tragic home life should make him a survivor. But when he’s uprooted yet again, his plans for a better future seem impossible. Being a player on and off the football field is all he knows, until Lenora Wells. The beautiful town princess makes him feel and want things he never thought he could have…

Lenora will do anything to get out of her town, even if it means dating the wrong guy. There’s one problem: she can’t stop thinking about the gorgeous, complicated boy with the unusual eyes who gives her butterflies and makes her question her choices.

When their lives collide, the world shifts and not in their favor. Four years later, the sins of their past can never be taken back and forgiveness won’t come easy.

College is a different game, a second chance for something better.

She’s not the girl he remembers and he’s the one boy she can never forget.

He’s made a name for himself as the star quarterback — the golden boy who can do no wrong. But he’s only interested in being her hero.

Despite everything, she can’t deny he still makes her heart flutter; and she’s got him chasing butterflies.

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ChasingButterflies-Teaser2Review3 starsChasing Butterflies-DGR

 

I don’t think I’ve ever felt like that with anyone else.”
“Felt what? Butterflies?”
“If that’s what they call it. You’ve got me chasing them.”

Wow. Before I get to my review, let me say this. Don’t let my rating fool you. This book had me riveted to the story from beginning to finish. Aside from a few quibbles that I had, the story itself was beautiful. It drew me in from the very first chapter and kept me glued to the pages. The author clearly has an incredible talent and I strongly believe she has great things ahead of her. While this may not have been a full four star read for me, it was a damn solid 3 and I’ll get to my reasons why shortly.

Go back to the ball, princess. You won’t find any castles or princes here.

Kelley Moore has grown up in a way that no boy should ever have to endure. From a volatile home life to numerous tragedies throughout his life, he’s never had it easy. He dreams of making it big in football and making it out on his own.

Lenora Wells may not have had the tragic life that Kelley has, but doesn’t live an ideal one either. At the instance of her parents for the good of a potential business deal, Lenora allows them to convince her to date the most popular boy in school. But the boy that gives her butterflies isn’t her seemingly too good to be true boyfriend, but the boy from the wrong side of the tracks with the beautifully unusual eyes.
What starts as stolen encounters soon turns into something more only to shatter before their eyes and leave both of them grasping at the jagged pieces.

But time didn’t heal wounds. They only dug horrible gouges in my heart as I felt pierced through my very soul.

Chasing Butterflies is told in two parts: past (high school) and present (college). The first half is almost 60% of the story and so emotionally gripping I forgot at times that I’m reading about teenagers. I’m not typically a fan of YA but yet something about these characters simply stood out for me.

Admittedly there was a few minor issues I had with the writing; odd transitions (one chapter being told in Lenny’s POV and the next chapter jumps back a day or a few hours and retold in Kelley’s). There was a lack of clear transitions between these scenes at times, that while it wasn’t confusing, it did stand out enough to take me out of the story a bit. There were also some odd phrases like …my brain shorted and some strange analogies that stuck out to me as well..

But even those few issues aside, the story was so strong that it was easy to overlook it. Ultimately what made me lower my rating was the second part of the book that’s told in present. While their high school years have strong development and spans over half the book, I had hoped that their college years would bring the same, but alas it didn’t. I wanted that sizzle of a second chance romance, and I didn’t get that. It felt almost rushed. There were also some (redundant) choices made by the characters that left me scratching my head.  And as much as I hate to use the term cliche, there were quite a few scenarios of it present in the last half. I liked Lenny in the beginning even though some of her decisions and choices frustrated me. While I can understand why she did what she did when she’s older, I still feel like she regressed a bit as a character. I wanted her to find her inner strength and that didn’t happen until pretty much the last pages. I suppose I just wanted that sooner.

But here’s the thing; even with the aforementioned, this is still a book I would definitely recommend to any lovers of NA romance. The author spins a tale that’s tragic and beautiful that even managed to bring a tear to my eye on more than one occasion. The story is well developed, the characters are multi-layered, and it’s certainly not a book I’ll be forgetting any time soon. So if that blurb intrigues you, read it. One thing guaranteed; it will keep you up all night reading. I definitely look forward to any future releases this author has in store.

ChasingButterflies-Teaser1 (1)About the AuthorTerri E. Laine, USA Today bestselling author, left a lucrative career as a CPA to pursue her love for writing. Outside of her roles as a wife and mother of three, she’s always been a dreamer and as such became an avid reader at a young age.

Many years later, she got a crazy idea to write a novel and set out to try to publish it. With over a dozen titles published under various pen names, the rest is history. Her journey has been a blessing, and a dream realized. She looks forward to many more memories to come.

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Review: ★Beautiful Liar★ by Natasha Knight

review-BLBEAUTIFUL LIAR
Standalone
Genre: Erotic Romance
Author: Natasha Knight
Release Date: May 7, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

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Slater

“Everything I believed was a lie. Everything except for her, the one person I blamed for it all.”

MacKayla Simone was beautiful. She was sexy as hell. She was also the set-up.

One night.

Sex that rocked my world.

Rocked it to its very foundations because the next thing I knew, she and I made the headlines of every paper, every news channel across the country, and it cost me everything.

But that wasn’t the worst of it. That came when I learned who was behind the set-up. That was when I understood what it meant to be destroyed absolutely.

I don’t know why I went after MacKayla. She’d been a pawn just like me. But it was all I could do, all I had left. Hell, it was the one thing keeping me from tumbling into the abyss and never coming back into the light.

Find her. Find the girl who’d fucked me. Find her and make her pay.

MacKayla

I didn’t know who Slater Vaughn was, but if I had, it wouldn’t have mattered. Not when my sister was in trouble. I would have done what I did anyway. You can judge me. You can call me a whore. But I would have done it anyway.

One night, they’d said. Make him want you, let him have you. Easiest money in the world for just one night of my life.

Only it wasn’t one night because that night obliterated Slater Vaughn, and he came after me. He told me I owed him, and truthfully, I did. Hell, maybe those years in hiding, I’d been waiting for him to find me. To punish me. To make me pay.

Maybe I sought his forgiveness all along.

But now that he had me, how far would he take this game? Slater Vaughn was a broken man. He had nothing left to lose. What was to keep him from taking me with him into his darkness?

Buy LinksAMAZONReview3 starsBeautiful Liar-DGR

In this game, this play of power, only he had control. Absolute control.

This was my first Natasha Knight book and I can already tell the woman will be my guilty pleasure read indulgence. Sometimes even when a book doesn’t quite blow you away you still click with the writing style and become an instant fan. That was definitely the case here. Beautiful Liar is a little gritty, insanely hot, and certainly one entertaining as hell read.

One night. A moment of weakness. And I’d paid. How I’d paid.”

One night three years ago cost Slater Vaughn everything. All he wants is revenge; to make those responsible for his destruction to pay.

MacKayla Simone may not have been the mastermind behind his set up, but she still had a role to play…even though he’s fairly certain she was set up same as him. It doesn’t matter because after three long years he’s finally tracked her down, and now she’ll be his one way or another. But while he may still lust for her, it’s not just about making her bend to his will, it’s about making her pay.

From the moment I’d set eyes on her, I’d wanted her. Damn her.

MacKayla escaped everything after what she did three years ago. She regrets what she cost Slater, but she had her reasons for doing what she did. Barely making ends meet working two jobs at a book store and a strip joint, the last face she expects to see during her dance is Slater. Slater isn’t going to let her escape again and he’s quite blunt in what he wants.

I own your nights, MacKayla. In the small hours, I am your master.”

Now I’m one of those readers that loves a good revenge plot. There’s something about the angst and all that hate lust that just tastes extra delicious on the tongue. Add in a little rough play and bondage, and hello ovary combustion!

While Beautiful Liar started out really strong, there were a few things here and there that I felt good do with a little smoothing out; some awkward phrasing and dialogues being the primary thing.

“I smell you, MacKayla,” he whispered…
“I smell your sex.” Before I could process his next move, his tongue licked my length.

But that did nothing to ruin the book for me.

What ultimately brought this down my rating was the quick turn around in Slater and MacKayla’s relationship. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around it. It goes from one extreme to another without a clear and smooth transition and considering the story, that transition was necessary here. I found the few other side plots to be fairly distracting as well. While some did serve to drive the plot, there was just too much focus on them at times. Almost the entire second half of the book had something to do with it and ultimately I just wanted more of the couple and less of the background noise.

But even my few quibbles aside, this was still a very solid 3 star read and one I enjoyed very much. Natasha Knight certainly has a new fan in this reader and I would gladly read any of her other books. As a matter of fact, I’m already stalking her backlist as I type this. If you’re looking for a super steamy read with a side of revenge and a splash of grit to spend your afternoon with, I’d definitely recommend it.

Review: ★Never Let You Go★ by Monica Murphy

review-NLYGNever Let You Go
Series: Never Tear Us Apart #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Monica Murphy
Release Date: May 3, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

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The second novel in this darkly sexy contemporary series from bestselling author Monica Murphy wraps up an emotionally powerful two-part tale of forbidden love.

The truth hurts, they say—and my pain cuts deep. While I was falling for Ethan, he was deceiving me the entire time. He held a huge secret, protected by his lies. When I discovered what he was hiding, the truth shook my world, threatening to ruin us forever. Ruin me. But I soon realized that what we share can’t be destroyed.

The connection between us is too strong. It always has been. I can’t deny him any longer. And I can’t deny my truth: I’m in love with Ethan.

I don’t want to let him go.

While we’re trying our best to make this relationship work, other forces are fighting against us. My family, who wants to keep me safe. The media obsessed with my tragic past. The public that feeds off of it. Even Ethan’s father—the man who nearly destroyed me all those years ago. He’s doing his best to finish the job.

Despite my love for Ethan, the doubts creep in, clouding my mind. Is he worth the pain? Will our love survive, or will we have no choice but to end it—end us—once and for all?

Buy LinksAMAZON | iBOOKS | B&NReview3 starsNever Let You Go MM-DGR

Ethan. Will. The boy of my past. The man of my future. The one I can never, ever let go.

Never Let You Go is the powerful conclusion to the emotional duet that started with Never Tear Us Apart. It begins immediately where the first book ended; both Ethan and and Katie dealing with the aftermath of the revelation of Ethan’s lie and the continuous hounding for their story by one very determined reporter.

I fell in love with this story and this couple in the first book. It was gripping and emotional, poignant and tragic love story of two people that should never be together yet make perfect sense together. The journey that the author sends them on individually as well as a couple was equal parts powerful and easy to believe. The story is equal parts emotional and devastating at times. Katie is still dealing with he afteraffects of all she’s been through. But now, she’s not only dealing with her issues after her kidnapping and rape when she was young, but the boy from her past all of a sudden being the man of her present. Who is Ethan/Will? Does he truly want her? Can she allow herself to feel for him?

Ethan was an incredible character. His unwavering love for Katie was so emotionally powerful, it’s almost heart breaking at times because all the odds are stacked against them.

The pace of the story is very slow, even more so than the first book. But whereas in the first book I found it to be a slow burn, here I just found it to be too slow. I can’t say it’s boring, because it’s more character driven than plot driven most of the time, but it didn’t have me gripped to the book and eager to turn the pages either. But even then, this was a solid 4 star read for me…up until that last 20%.

The crazy action and drama of that ending left my mind reeling. It was just too much. The pace of the book is quite slow and steady and then BAM, you get hit with all of that. I think that many people will actually enjoy the way things resolve, but for this reader it just felt out of the blue and unnecessary. I think the story was quite solid as it was and had everything just resolved quietly with some people out of the picture, it would have been best. I felt like I was watching a soap opera ending unfold. Add into this mix a somewhat cliche revelation and I was left with a lot of meh feelings.

Now all that aside, a 3 star rating means I did enjoy the book, because I did. While it didn’t wow me, it was still a satisfying conclusion. I’d gladly recommend it for readers that want something a little different in their romance because this is definitely that. It’s poignantly written and it’s certainly not a story I’ll soon be forgetting.


READ THE BOOK THAT STARTED IT ALL

NEVER TEAR US APART
GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW

Review: ★Thrown Down★ by Tessa Bailey

Review-Thrown DownTHROWN DOWN
Series: Made in Jersey #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Tessa Bailey
Release Date: April 4, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

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He has one last chance to deserve the girl of his dreams…

Overachiever River Purcell was never supposed to be a struggling single mom, working double shifts just to make ends meet. Nor was she supposed to be abandoned by her high school sweetheart, breaking her heart into a thousand jagged pieces. Now Vaughn De Matteo is back in town, his sights set on her…and River is in danger of drowning a second time.

No one believed Hook’s resident bad boy was good enough for River. Not even Vaughn himself. But he’ll fight like hell to win back the woman he never stopped loving, to keep the daughter he never expected, and convince himself he’s worth their love in the process–even if he has to rely on their fierce and undeniable sexual chemistry.

But even as River’s body arches under his hungered touch, the demons of the past lurk in the shadows. Waiting for Vaughn to repeat his mistakes one last time…

Buy LinksAMAZON | iBOOKSReview3 stars

He didn’t remember a time when River didn’t occupy his heart. His mind. All of him.

I’ve been waiting for River and Vaughn’s book since first meeting them in Crashed Out. I love a good second chance romance, and of course the complexity of River having a child that Vaughn didn’t know about when he left added to the intrigue. Now this sort of set up could either work really well or not, and in the case of this book, it worked and worked well. Vaughn and River are still very much hung up on each other even 5 years worth of separation later and Vaughn was devoted to her even when he was away. He left because he didn’t think he could give River the life she deserves being the boy from the wrong side of the tracks. But when he learns that River gave birth to his daughter, he drops everything to come back to the town that only holds painful memories to him to make things right with the only woman that will hold his heart.

But while the set up was great and I loved Vaughn’s bad boy side and dirty talking, all the dirty talking and sex began to overshadow the story for me. There’s a line between hot dirty talk and porny, and some of the lines here went from porny to making me feel like I was reading a dirty Victorian romance…

His growl of bliss was released against River’s flesh, ropes of male fluid soiling River’s bedclothes.

Male fluid? Bedclothes?
Then there were terms like …manhood stood
…damp femininity
…River gasped, feeling her loins quiver.

Then this doozy

Fuck, Riv, I couldn’t breathe around how bad I want to eat you. Still can’t. I felt that little rosebud through my pants today- up against your car- and I’m a sick man now. Am I imagining how bad it needs me?

He’s referring to her clit…as a rosebud…and inferring that he can feel it though his pants? What on earth does she have down there because I’m pretty sure that requires medical intervention!
Or this…

Can I have this pussy for myself again? Please, River? Give it back to your buck for safe keeping.”

And topped off with this

“This kitty likes when you’re on all fours, doesn’t it? You could never get that ass up in the air fast enough. Fuck, the way you used to look at me over your shoulder. Come get it, big daddy.”

and this one…

Vaughn fell over her like a fuck-hungry prison inmate

Le sigh.

This had such a strong promise, and again, if you can overlook the lines I referenced above, you’d really love it. I did really love the story. But unfortunately for me, the OTT dirty talk once again overshadowed things. I adored Tessa’s Line of Duty series. Her heroes were sexy dirty talkers, but it was perfectly balanced. It feels like it was just trying too hard to be dirty here, if that even makes sense.

On a different note, there’s a secondary character in this book that really caught my attention and I do believe there may be an MM in the making, and my pervy self is already salivating for that one. Will I read the next one? Absolutely. Can’t love them all. I still love Tessa and her writing, but sadly this one fell a bit flat. Hopefully the next one will make up for it.


THE REST OF THE SERIES


MADE IN JERSEY #125781782AMAZON | MY REVIEW

MADE IN JERSEY #1.526226522AMAZON | MY REVIEW

Review: ★Her Fantasy Husband★ by Nina Croft

Review-HFHHER FANTASY HUSBAND
Series: Things To Do Before You Die #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Nina Croft
Release Date: April 4, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

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Security Company CEO Josh Slater put his life on hold when he said “I do” to protect a stranger. While his marriage was never meant to be real—he hasn’t even seen his wife in five years—Josh can’t shake the idea that he’d be cheating if he moves on. Now he’s a man with a mission: chase down his “wife,” get an annulment, and finally indulge in a little no-strings sex.

Heiress Alexia Slater entered into a marriage of convenience straight out of high school to gain control of her inheritance before her not-so loving family squandered the whole thing. She doesn’t want the marriage to be real—she’s fought hard for her independence—but that hasn’t stopped her from spending the last five years fantasizing about her gorgeous husband.

Then he shows up.

Josh wants an annulment. Lexi needs to stay married. When the chemistry explodes between them, there’s no stopping the battle of wills only one of them can win…

She’s had the fantasy, now it’s time for the real thing…

Buy LinksAMAZON | iBOOKSReview3 stars

He was addictive. Which was a problem, because he was also bossy, and a loner, and a total commitment-phobe.


I love the premise of this series; after being stranded on a lifeboat after the cruise ship they’re one; a group of male friends make a pact to do the one thing they want. In His Fantasy Girl, for Logan it was getting in touch with the woman that he had an amazing one night stand with and never stopped thinking of.

For Security Company CEO Josh Slater, it’s not quite as….virtuous. What he wants is no-strings-attached sex, lots of it. Problem is, he needs to end his fake marriage of convenience first with a wife that he hasn’t seen since their “wedding” five years ago. But what should be a quickie annulment since they never consummated their marriage soon turns a lot more complicated when he lays his eyes on Alexia Slater.

This was a case of opposites attracting. Josh is brooding and grumpy and Alexia is the sweet and easy going, if at times overly so, woman that’s determined to save everyone. Surprisingly, I really loved Alexia. I say surprisingly because at times I felt she let people step all over her, especially her family. I only have one word for her grandmother…
But while I loved the set up, I had a hard time believing that Josh spent 5 years being celibate because he was “married”. Considering their arrangement, I just couldn’t wrap my mind around that. I connected to Alexia and her reasons, but Josh’s seemed a bit extreme.

I did love the two of them together. Josh may not like his attraction to Alexia and fights it, but I liked that he’s still protective of her though it all. And of course the steam did help…

I hope I live up to your expectation.”
“You’re better than I could have ever imagined. My fantasy husband.”

Josh was really slow to thaw, so his quickie turn around at the end just felt rushed and unbelievable. It was a little heavy on the cheese too, considering the time frame.

Overall, this was a quick and enjoyable read, albeit nothing I’d come back to. If you’re a fan of this series, I highly recommend it because it hits the spot for a nice and steamy afternoon read.

Review: ★Liquid & Ash★ by E.M. Abel

Review-Liquid&Ash

Liquid & Ash
Author: E.M. Abel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 1, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

LA Ebook Cover

Love was my weakness.

In the light of the truth, no one can hide.

Derek had ignited a spark inside of my heart, a hope for a love I never expected to find. However, our connection lacked the substance it needed to burn. Weakened with resentment, our relationship crumbled under deception, slowly dissolving into ash.

I had sacrificed myself for him and paid the price.

By the time Brandon entered into my life, the longing in my heart had turned cold. But fate was not done with me. His crystal blue eyes and fluid touch revived a wish that had been frozen in time. He gave me hope once again.

Hope is a dangerous thing, especially when you dare to dream. 

**WARNING: This book contains adult content and drug use.

Buy LinksAMAZON US | AMAZON UKReview3 starsLiquid&Ash-DGR

A woman with a dream of being loved is a danger to herself because she will see it in places it doesn’t belong and doesn’t exist.

Have you ever read a book that’s supposed to be highly emotional and touching, yet you felt…nothing? Like you knew what you were supposed to feel but it was more mechanically going through the steps of those feelings more so than actually feeling them? No? Well that basically sums up how I felt about this book.

Now here’s the thing, I’m a big fan of this author. I really loved Saving Jay, and I adore her writing style that’s somehow raw and emotional while highly sensual at the same time. When I read the blurb to this book, I knew I had to read it. And while I enjoyed the premise of it, I just never fully connected with the story or the characters.

I’d been lost somewhere along the way, and I hated this new woman I’d become.

Penelope is a woman that always put her education and career first, until a man changed everything for her. She fell in love, and now ten years after the fact, she’s lost everything including herself. She’s lost in a haze of alcohol, xanax and weed. She’s a shell of the person she once was, so much so that she doesn’t even recognize herself.

I’d lost everything- my best friend, my lover, my husband…everything. I’d risked it all for him, for love, and now, I was paying the price.

Through her struggle of dealing with the inevitable demise of her marriage, she meets an gorgeous, tatted and enigmatic bartender that stirs something in her she hasn’t felt in a long while; pure unadulterated lust. Brandon is a successful model by day, bartender and weed dealer by night. He’s everything she shouldn’t want, and yet she’s inexplicably drawn to him.

The story is the journey of a broken woman that’s trying to find herself again. A woman dealing with the pain of a failing marriage and maybe the start of something new. It’s raw, emotional, and sensual. I also feel like most people will really love this story. Unfortunately there was a number of things working against it for me, and I’ll get to that now.

1. The flashbacks
They were all over the place and I didn’t find them to be well paced. It would suddenly flash to the past and then come back to the present. I feel the story would have been more gripping if perhaps the first third of the story was told from the past and the rest focused on the present. I didn’t feel that the flashbacks added to the story but more distracted me from it. Just as soon as I was feeling more connected to the characters, it would flash to the past and I’d lose my momentum.

2. The heroine
Although I know I was supposed to truly feel for her plight, I never did. I found her to be too…bland. Not because she was, but that’s the feeling she gave me. As a matter of fact, i just found the entire book to be…bland. It was good. It was ok. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. There was nothing about it that grabbed me or made me feel. Maybe I’m just dead inside or my cold black heart was feeling even more jaded than usual? Whatever the case was, I just never fully connected to Penelope or her story.

3. The plot
Meh. You know those middle of the road books? This was simply the case for me. The entire story felt more clinical. Like I was going through the motions but I didn’t feel them. Penelope’s first “encounter” with Brandon didn’t grab me either. It was just…weird and uncomfortable to read.

4. Brandon
Meh. I think this is what ultimately sealed the deal for my rating. I just felt meh about him. I didn’t feel like I had enough of a connection to him as a character and not nearly enough development for me to truly connect to him or to his relationship with Penelope. There’s a part of the story where his POV appears for the length of a small chapter and the rest of the story is in Penelope’s POV. That just felt random to me. You either have his POV or don’t. But having it just be thrown in there for the sake of understanding his thought process at the time? Eh. Didn’t work for me.

5. The twist?
It was predictable and cliche in my opinion. I saw it coming a mile away and even remember thinking that with the way the story was going, I’m thinking there was a huge plot twist in store at 75%. I was wrong. It came before that. But it WAS there and I wasn’t a fan, sadly.

I also found the ending to be rushed and not as developed as I would have hoped.

Having said all that, I still think that E.M. Abel is an amazing author and I sincerely look forward to whatever she has planned next. I typically really enjoy her books, so I’m writing this off as a fluke of perhaps just not quite being in the right mood for a book like this. You can’t love them all, and this book just fell somewhere in the middle for me.

I do believe that most readers will truly enjoy it. It’s emotionally charged and beautifully written. Just because it didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.

I wanted us to stay in that moment, suspended in time. Just me and Brandon and our liquid love.

Review: Madame X by Jasinda Wilder

Review-Madame XMADAME X
Series: Madame X #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Jasinda Wilder
Release Date: October 6, 2015add-to-goodreads-button-2

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Madame X invites you to test the limits of control in this provocative new novel from New York Times bestselling author Jasinda Wilder.

My name is Madame X.
I’m the best at what I do.
And you’d do well to follow my rules…

Hired to transform the uncultured, inept sons of the wealthy and powerful into decisive, confident men, Madame X is a master of the art of control. With a single glance she can cut you down to nothing, or make you feel like a king.

But there is only one man who can claim her body—and her soul.

Undone time and again by his exquisite dominance, X craves and fears his desire in equal measure. And while she longs for a different path, X has never known anything or anyone else—until now…

Buy-Links10AMAZON | B&N | iBOOKS

Review3 starsMadame X_DGR

 

I belong to one man and one man alone, and he does not share.”

I’ve been sitting here for two days trying to put all my convoluted thoughts in words. Did I like this book? I don’t know. Did I DISlike it? I don’t know. I really just have no idea how I feel about the book, the characters, or the story. None. And isn’t that a bitch? The entire story is one mystery hidden behind another, and there’s quite a few things at work here that managed to leave me with more questions than answers now that I finished. Am I curious enough to read the next book to see where the story is going? I AM curious. But it’s more of a “I wish someone else would read it and tell me” sort of curiosity. It’s just that middle of the road book that I really don’t know how I even feel about. But I’ve digressed. Allow me to try to sum-up my thoughts somewhat in a semblance of a spoiler free review here…

Silence breathes truth; solitude breeds introspection.”

Madame X is a highly sought after and exclusive trainer to spoiled sons of the rich and entitled. Named after Jon Singer Sargent’s Portrait of Madame X, she whips inept and spoiled boys into men. She’s stunning, beguiling, cold, and incredibly good at her job. Her services are expensive and she has a waiting list 2 years long. She is THE person to go to for the rich to educate their sons how to be men enough to eventually take over their fathers’ empires. Her job is also all she knows and all she’s known for over six years now.

Is she a willing victim or the prey of something much more sinister? Therein lies the rub and that’s what the reader is left questioning for the entirety of the book.

So what didn’t work for me?

The writing style for one…
I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around it. Is it present tense? Past tense?

Your mouth, X.”
I sink to my knees. Unzip. Free the slide-and-hook clasp of custom-tailored trousers. Taste flesh. Smoky essence. My hands and mouth on firm, clean, masculine flesh….

Madame X refers to her clients as “you”. ‘You sit at a table and wait for me. I look at you’. But then the other main character in the story gets referred to as almost something more…almost like an entity if that even makes sense

I am pulled upright, a broad, hard palm cupping the back of my neck. Eyes bore down on me, pierce me, dark and still furious.

Caleb is an enigma in every essence of the word, so perhaps that particular descriptive writing of his scenes are the reasons behind it. To build on that perception? But if I’m being honest, it mostly just flew over my head and managed to confuse me.

The writing style and dialogue is almost ostentatious at times with the words and descriptions used. Madame X is extremely cultured, and it certainly gets across in her inner monologue, however, I just found it to be excessive. Her referring to her nether regions as “privates” didn’t help either.

So focused on the man in front of me, am I, that I’ve noticed nothing of the space around me.

Do you see what I mean though? It was just entirely too much considering I’m reading a contemporary erotic romance…

My other issue was Caleb

Caleb Indigo was created by an artist for the express purpose of ravishing women. Specifically, in this moment, this woman.
And I hate my body for it.”

Is he a bad guy? A good guy shrouded in mystery that’s simply misunderstood? Who is he? What is it he does? Do I care? The answer to all of those questions is I don’t know. I couldn’t connect to him for the life of me. I’m all for questionable characters, but I do have my limits and I do think that this man was that. I found nothing endearing or captivating about him. Perhaps this was the point and the second and third books will put things in better perspective. The problem is that my perception of him is already skewed and I don’t think it’ll be changing.

I feel shame, embarrassment, revulsion. Hatred. I fell for the sorcery again. Caleb has some way of weaving a spell over me, of making me forget all my objections and all my thoughts and everything that is logical or rational.


Now as for the story itself? I can see how people would enjoy it. It is somewhat spellbinding if you can connect to it. The mystery, the secrets, it all weaves together into quite a tale. Perhaps if I enjoyed the writing style and developed a better connection to X, that would have been the case for me as well.
I couldn’t understand X’s behavior or decisions. She’s a strong and captivating woman, but at times her naivety was a bit too much. Yes, I understand that since this is all she’s known for over 6 years that mostly rules her actions…but to a point. This is particularly true for the direction the ending of the book took. I was not at all a fan of that particular direction. While I do plan on reading the second book to see what happens, I’m not exactly anxious at a chance to jump into it either.

I suppose I’ll save my ultimate judgement of the series until I finish book 2, so we’ll just wait to see what happens.

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THE TRILOGY

MADAME X | EXPOSED | EXILED

Review: ★Dare to Run★ by Jen McLaughlin

Review-DareToRunDare to Run
Series: The Sons of Steel Row #1
Author: Jen McLaughlin
Release Date: February 2, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

dare to run comps_final.indd

The New York times bestselling author of the Out of Line Novels takes readers to Boston where one gang of criminals knows how being bad can be so good…
 
She knows what he’s like on Boston’s mean streets. Now she’s going to find out if he’s got some heart.

Lucas Donahue is not ashamed of his criminal past, but after a brief stint in prison, he’s ready to go legit and live a normal life. The problem is, no one leaves the gang without permission—even if he is one of the boss’s top men. Plus someone’s placed a hit on him. And then there’s that feisty little bartender who’s going to cause him even more trouble.

Heidi Greene knows to keep her distance from a ladies’ man like Lucas—even if she can’t keep her eyes off him. When he rescues her from an attack in the alley outside her bar, she’s forced to stay by his side for safety. But the longer she spends time with him, the greater her chances are for getting hurt in more ways than one.

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Review: ★Sin & Suffer★ by Pepper Winters

Review-Sin&SufferSin & Suffer
Series: Pure Corruption MC #2
Genre: Dark Erotic Romance
Author: Pepper Winters
Release Date: January 26, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

Winters_SinandSuffer_TP

“Some say the past is in the past. That vengeance will hurt both innocent and guilty. I never believed those lies. Once my lust for revenge is sated, I’ll say goodbye to hatred. I’ll find a new beginning.”

SIN & SUFFER

She came from a past Arthur “Kill” Killian never forgot. She made him sin and made him suffer. She tugged him from the shadows and showed him he wasn’t as dead as he thought. And with her resurrection came betrayal, deceit, and war.

But then they took her. Stole her. Imprisoned her.

Now Kill’s carefully laid plans for vengeance are complete. He craves action, retribution-the blood of his enemies. War has begun. War is all they’ll know until they’ve paid their penance. He will get her back-and rewrite their destiny . . .

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Review: ★Outside the Lines★ by Lisa Desrochers

Review-OutsideTheLinesOutside the Lines
Series: On the Run #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Lisa Desrochers
Release Date: January 19, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

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The first in an edgy new contemporary romance series that follows a family on the run, from the author of the USA Today bestselling A Little Too Far series…

As the oldest son of a Chicago crime lord, Robert Delgado always knew how dangerous life could be. With his mother dead and his father in prison, he’s taking charge of his family’s safety—putting himself and his siblings in witness protection to hide out in a backwater Florida town.

Fourth grade teacher Adri Wilson is worried about the new boy in her class. Sherm is quiet and evasive, especially when he’s around his even cagier older brother. Adri can’t help her attraction to Rob, or the urge to help them both in whatever way she can.

But the Delgados have enemies on two sides of the mob—their father’s former crew and the rival family he helped take down. It’s only a matter of time before someone finds them. And if Rob isn’t careful, Adri could end up in the crossfire…

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Review3 starsOutsideTheLines-DGR

 

You are so fucking beautiful in every way, and all I can do is ruin you…”

From the second I read the blurb to Outside The Lines I was hooked. I knew I had to read. You see, I have this obsession with mafia romances. As in, I can’t ever pass one up. And having loved Lisa’s A Little Too Far series, adding this one was a no brainer.

The premise of the book is fantastic. Robert “Rob” Delgado is the oldest son of a Chicago crime lord. When a rivalry with another mafia family finally overbuilds with a hit gone wrong against Rob and his four siblings, his father takes a plea bargain in order to get them WITSEC. Now Rob finds himself at a backwater Florida town, still plotting revenge against those that betrayed their family. The only problem is finding out who they are first.

Adri Wilson has grown up in the small little town. Her father is the sheriff (enter super delicious set up of boy on the wrong side of the law falling for the sheriff’s daughter) and a fourth grade teacher who happens to have Rob’s youngest brother in her class. Robert draws her in straight away. There’s something about him, something behind those unreadable eyes that intrigues her. She wants to help him. She wants to help his siblings. But before she does all that, she needs to find out the truth he’s hiding behind all his lies.

This book had such strong potential that got lost somewhere between all the mundane details. After the first 15%, I found my interest steadily waning until I was almost ready to give up by the halfway point. Luckily it does pick up, but not enough to really raise my rating.

There’s a lot of day to day activity, description, and just mundane detail that takes away from the story. It could have easily been cut out and not effected the book any in my opinion. The characters were in their head a little too much for my tastes and it also took much too long for Robert to come to his senses with certain things. There was a scene with Rob and another woman at one point that I truly felt the story could have gone without. Particularly since this was already past the 40% mark, the only thing it did was diminish his connection with Adri for me. I don’t mind scenes with ow so long as I feel they add to the story, and it really didn’t here.

Adri was incredible naive and pure for my tastes, too. Her constant drive to fix everyone around her with no thought to her own safety didn’t do much to endear me to her. Her being a virgin on top of everything was just another added blah.

I did like the two of them together, but the sex scenes, while hot, were almost cheesy at times.

What ultimately hooked me was the set up for the rest of the siblings. While the book ends on a romance HEA between Rob and Adri, the whole who done it of the hit is still unclear and the Delgado siblings are still in WITSEC. There was a bit of a hint at a rival family’s son and Rob’s sister that I’m hoping will be getting a book. I’m also itching to get my hands on Grant’s story as well as Ulie and Lee. That alone is enough to keep me reading. Hopefully the next book will be a little quicker paced.

Outside The Lines was one of those reads that wasn’t bad and wasn’t great. It was just ok. A middle of the road kind of read if you will. I didn’t hate it, but it’s nothing I’d come back to either. I do have my hopes set on the next book because like I said, the premise of the series is truly a fantastic one.

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