#DGRFave & Review: Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey

LOVE HER OR LOSE HER 
Series: Hot & Hammered 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Tessa Bailey
Release Date: January 14, 2020

New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey returns with a unique, sexy romantic comedy about a young married couple whose rocky relationship needs a serious renovation.

Rosie and Dominic Vega are the perfect couple: high school sweethearts, best friends, madly in love. Well, they used to be anyway. Now Rosie’s lucky to get a caveman grunt from the ex-soldier every time she walks in the door. Dom is faithful and a great provider, but the man she fell in love with ten years ago is nowhere to be found. When her girlfriends encourage Rosie to demand more out of life and pursue her dream of opening a restaurant, she decides to demand more out of love, too. Three words: marriage boot camp.

Never in a million years did Rosie believe her stoic, too-manly-to-emote husband would actually agree to relationship rehab with a weed-smoking hippy. Dom talking about feelings? Sitting on pillows? Communing with nature? Learning love languages? Nope. But to her surprise, he’s all in, and it forces her to admit her own role in their cracked foundation. As they complete one ridiculous—yet surprisingly helpful—assignment after another, their remodeled relationship gets stronger than ever. Except just as they’re getting back on track, Rosie discovers Dom has a secret… and it could demolish everything.

AMAZON

I’ll do anything you ask me to do,” he said in a gravelly voice. “Except walk away.”

*Flails happily*
Y’all. This book. I can’t even right now.
I think this may be my favorite Tessa Bailey book to date. And that’s something something considering I’ve devoured the woman’s entire backlist.

The second Rosie and Dom appeared on the pages of Fix Her Up as secondary characters, I could practically taste the tension between them. I was dying to get my hands on their book, so the very second this landed in my grabby little hands, I devoured it in one delicious sitting. I couldn’t bear to put it down for even a second.

This was…I don’t even have words. Perfection! Swoony, sexy, and brimming with feels. It was everything I wanted in their story and yet so much more.

Rosie and Dominic are high school sweethearts. They fell in love fast and hard when they were teenagers. But as adults, that love is no longer enough to hold the pieces of their marriage together. Lack of communication, too many things left unsaid, too many assumption have all come together to leave Rosie feeling empty. She misses the man her husband used to be. Their marriage is crumbling around them and she has no idea how to hold it together.

All Dom ever wanted was Rosie. This is an inevitable fact and something that’s a constant in his life that will never change. So when his beloved wife tells him he’s leaving, he knows that he’ll do absolutely anything to save their marriage, and he’s not above fighting dirty. Withhold their physical connection until she agrees to come back to him? Check! Agree to see a quirky and borderline crazy marriage counselor? Check! Take every opportunity to remind her just why the fell in love? Check and CHECK.

GOD. You guys. I don’t even know how to begin to describe this to you. Dom was easily one of my favorite Bailey heroes. He’s a little troubled and a lot obsessed with his wife. He’s a dirty talking god, even if he doesn’t have much to say in his day to day. He’s quite, broody and intense. But the man is captivating and practically sizzling with sexual chemistry.

Rosie was perfection, too. This is not a woman that blames their crumbling marriage on her husband only. She takes full accountability for her faults as they fight to work through their issues. Add into this a kooky counselor, favorites from the previous book, and a brand new hero introduced to drive Bethany insane and I was HOOKED. Line and sinker. I was glued to the pages. Riveted. Captivated. And utterly charmed. I loved this story from beginning to finish. With the glimpses of the hate lust between Wes and Bethany, I’m already gagging for the next book. But if you’re looking for a swoony, sexy, and totally charming second chance romance, look no further. SO GOOD.

DGR’s 2019 Favorites: My top 12 reads of the year!

Welp, it’s that time again. 2019 is almost over and it was time for me to buckle down and pick my top reads of the year. This year was a strange one for me. Usually, I struggle over these lists for weeks, attempting to narrow down my list. This year, all I had to do was just search my top faves and I realized my list wasn’t that big. The crazy thing is that I read over 150 books this year, but I think I’ve simply been getting pickier and pickier each year. I’ve become incredibly stingy with my 5 stars. So when I tell you that these are my creme of the crop, my best of the best, my shout it from the rooftops amazing, nothing beats them sort of reads…I mean it. Out of the 153 books this year, I had 12 that just rocked my socks. And without further ado, here they are in no particular order.


FAVORITE ROMCOMS


MOTI ON THE WATER by Leylah Attar

I would’ve resented the dimple that formed on his cheek. When I was little, I prayed for dimples. And now I had them. On my ass. Naturally, people with properly-placed dimples irritated me.

Oh. Em. Gee. This book. Y’all!!! Think My Big Fat Greek Wedding but with one side being a crazy and quirky Indian family and all of it set on the stunning and vivid backdrop of Greeke isles. Intrigued yet? Add into all that Leylah Attar’s colorful and magical story telling skill and what you’ve got is one unforgettable romance. Seriously. This was not just a romance, it was an experience. One where the story unravels like a stunning movie reel before your eyes and leaves you incapable of setting it down for even a setting.

Moti on the Water was sheer magic set on a stunning backdrop and wrapped around a swoony romance; all of it told in Leylah’s unique voice made for one incredible read. This book is not to be missed and one I recommend for every romance reader out there.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


THE FRIEND ZONE by Abby Jiminez

“I’ll orbit around you and be your universe, because you’ve always been my sun.”

Have you ever started a book and knew, you just knew, from the first few pages that it’s THE book. One of those books that you’ll never want to end. A book that you’ll be thinking about all year. A book that you’ll want to be shouting about from the rooftops. Well, my friends, this was THAT book for me. This was everything. It was romcom perfection unlike any I’ve read. And it is an absolute must read. It’s a book that I can’t recommend enough, whether romcom is your thing or not. It’s simply not to be missed and a story that will stay in my heart for a long while. I loved it from beginning to finish!

I’m still reeling over the fact that this was Abby’s debut. I’ve been stalking the woman ever since I devoured this read and she’s just as hilarious on her social media. I live for her updates. And I’m also absolutely dying for the second book in this series.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


FAVORITE HISTORICAL ROMANCE


THE WALLFLOWER WAGER by Tessa Dare

“Every time I speak three words, you look as though you’re going to swoon into my arms.”
“I do not,” Penny objected, knowing very well that she probably did.
“You sigh like a fool, blush like a beet. Your eyes are the worst of it. They turn into these . . . these pools. Glassy blue pools with man-eating sharks beneath the surface.”
“I hope you’re not planning a career in poetry.”
“For the good of us both, you have to cease gazing at me.”

It’s funny, because Tessa Dare graces each of my lists going back to 2017 with her Girl Meets Duke Series. Without fail. This series just does something for me. Every time I finish a book, I think that no way Tessa can outdo what she just did, and she does. Every. Single. Time. The Wallflower Wager had all of my favorite things; Dare’s signature witty banter and humor, amazing characters, and an unforgettable romance, all with a quirky twist.

This book was everything I love about a swoony historical romance and so much more!

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


KINGDOM OF DREAMS by Judith McNaught

“You are mad!” she snapped, her chest heaving. “And you are a devil!”
“And you, my dear,” Royce imperturbably replied, “are a bitch.”
With that, he turned to the horrified friar and unhesitatingly announced, “The lady and I wish to be wed.”

In case you missed my social media raving, I went on a Judith McNaught binge this year. Yes, you read this right. This was THE year that I finally read the queen of angsty historical romance. I’m equally ashamed of myself for waiting this long and ecstatic that I got the chance to binge on the woman’s entire backlist. I have to say that I loved every single one of her historical romances, but there was just…something about this one. Something that just…hit me right in the feels. I hated and loved Royce. I wanted to rip my hair out and rage at the ceiling. I wanted to cry and swoon. And I loved every single second of it. GOD. This book. Y’all. I’m probably the last person on earth that hasn’t read it, but if you’ve been living under the same rock as I have, I recommend you come to the light, friend. And READ THIS BOOK!!!

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


FAVORITE DARK ROMANCE


TAKE by Pam Godwin

 

His love for her resembled a blade, a source of pain, but vital. He would always protect her, however she needed him, even when he was the cause of her suffering.

Truth be told, Pam released two books this year that are in my top faves. This one, obviously, and MANIPULATE, which was the next book in the same series. It was torture to pick one, but there was something about this book that just stuck with me. If there’s one thing that Pam has a knack for, it’s taking the ultimate villain and redeeming him into someone that you root for. And Tiago was the ultimate villain.

I never thought I’d love an anti-hero more than Van from Vanquish, but Tiago captured my heart with every heart wrenching page.To put it shortly: I loved this book! Dark romance lovers, this is an absolute must read! You don’t want to miss this incredibly written, jaw dropping, and edge-of-your seat book! Trust me!

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


FAVORITE APOCOLYPTIC ROMANCE


KINGS OF CARRION by Keri Lake

In many ways, we’re the same, though. He’s still the scarred boy who touched my heart. And I’m the wounded little bird, whose wings he made fly again.

When was the last time a book ruined you? I’m talking utterly gutted you. Like wrung every single emotion out of you until you were an inconsolable mess only to stitch you back together piece by devastating piece? Because THIS BOOK. Y’all. I worship at the evil genius feet of Keri Lake. If you’re looking for an utterly unforgettable read, you NEED this in your life.

I was questioning putting this under my top dark romance, because it’s also that. But really, it’s so much more. Even if apocalyptic isn’t your thing, you’ll want to read this one. TRUST ME.

Kings of Carrion was darkly captivating, emotionally devastating, and positively unforgettable. It owned me from beginning to end and I still can’t get over it. I’m RUINED. Completely ruined.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


FAVORITE CONTEMPORARY WITH A TWIST


THE KISS THIEF by LJ Shen

Our hearts were tarnished. Stained. And guilty. Unpredictable to a fault. And bound to break.

I got two words for you here: Must. Read.

I know I say this each time I finish a book of hers, but this was my favorite LJ Shen book to date.

If you like a modern day arranged marriage trope, welcome to your next addiction. This book? GAH! It had an anti-hero that only Shen can write; brutal and hard but completely redeemable. This is someone you won’t be able to help rooting for! This was like if Vicious and Sparrow had a baby, and that baby threw down the gauntlet of delicious angst and grit. A clashing of a ruthless politician and the mafia, and a young beauty used as a pawn that gets caught in the crosshairs of political agendas and blackmail. DELICIOUS!!!!!

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


FAVORITE EMOTIONAL ROMANCE


WRITTEN WITH YOU DUET by Aly Martinez

 

Our entire lives were one impossibility after another.

Is it any wonder that Aly Martinez graces my top favorites list every year? The woman is an evil genius when it comes to feels.

If there’s one thing Aly Martinez can do, it’s write one unpredictable story that will grip you by the heart and keep you at the very edge of your seat. And this book? MY GOD! It was EVERYTHING. Seriously all of the things. An emotional powerhouse of love and secrets, pain and regret, and second chances. Written With You owned me. Absolutely owned me. Beginning to finish. I never wanted it to end.

This is obviously not a standalone, and you need to read the first book, but trust me, you’ll be devouring both in one sitting.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


ANOTHER SKY by Jayne Frost

“Tell me something no one else knows about you,” she said, her voice a soft whisper.
I thought of all the things I kept hidden. Dark thoughts. And darker intentions. The lure of nothingness. And the fear that one day the clouds would return and block the sun forever.
Tightening my grip, I let her warmth seep through me. “I like ballet.”

MY. WHOLE. HEART. I have no words for the experience that was this book. NONE. It was magical, heart wrenching, emotional and completely unforgettable.

If you think this is just another rockstar book, think again. Miles is also not your stereotypical damaged rockstar. The depth of his character is unlike anything I’ve read in a really long time. This is a man that experienced the ultimate heart break and never really recovered. He’s broken and he doesn’t want to be fixed. His scars run so deep that not even those closest to him know the depth of his pain.

This book broke me in the best of ways and then weaved my heart back together, word by magical word.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


FAVORITE SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE


SMOKE AND SIN by Shayla Black & Lexi Blake

“Nothing has ever made me feel as alive as you.”
“And no one has ever broken me the way you did, Roman.”

This book. THIS BOOK was everything!!! My favorite book in the series, Smoke and Sin absolutely blew me away. I was glued to the pages well into the night, completely incapable of setting it down for even a second.

Gus is one of my favorite heroines. If you like strong willed and sharp witted women, you’ll love her as much as I did. There is nothing I love more than a sex positive heroine. And Gus owned her sexuality. This is a woman that finds no shame in her beauty and sexuality and has no issues flaunting it. She wasn’t pining away for the hero without notches on her own bedpost, and I love that. I’m so sick of these heroines that basically go on a sex hiatus in the years that they spend apart from the hero. It’s completely unrealistic and I loved that Gus didn’t stop living her life after hot and brief affair with Roman went up in fiery flames.

But as far as their reunion back to lovers? HAWT.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


PIECES OF US by A.L. Jackson

“There’s never been a single day in my life when I didn’t want you. We are endless.”

Deeply romantic, heartbreakingly emotional, and achingly beautiful. Pieces of Us is easily one of my favorite AL Jackson books to date. I fell head over heels for Mack and Izzy’s story and I still can’t stop thinking about them.

It’s no secret that I love a good punch to the feels that a second chance romance always brings. But there was something so special about Mack and Izzy’s story. I don’t even know how to begin to describe it, but it felt almost electric.

If you’re looking for a beautiful romance that will break you and then put you back together in the best of ways, you seriously can’t go wrong with this book. I can’t recommend it enough!

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


FAVORITE ROMANTIC SUSPENSE


WICKED SEXY by J.T. Geissinger 

“Should I jump to the ending? Spoiler alert: the hero saves her.”
Tabby looks over at me, her eyes shining like gems in the dark. “A real hero would teach the princess how to save herself.”

GAH. This series, you guys. This series was amazing! I’ve loved every single book in the Wicked Games series, but something about Tabby and Connor just hit all the right spots for me. I’ve reread it 3 times already, and it will continue to be my re-read staple.

The amount of love I had for this completely unputdownable story is so ridiculous, I lost count. It had everything. And I do mean EVERYTHING. A badass, take no prisoners, sharp witted and sassy heroine. Banter that will make your life. Sexual tension that will make you shiver. And a total badass, dirty talking hero that’s a doppelgänger for Dwayne Johnson. I mean C’MON!!!

Chock full of passion, emotion, with fascinating multi-layered characters and a story that you never want to end, Wicked Sexy was absolutely everything I love about romance.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW

#DGRFave & Review: Kings of Carrion by Keri Lake

KINGS OF CARRION
Series: Juniper Unraveling #3
Genre: Dystopian Romance
Author: Keri Lake
Release Date: December 3, 2019

Decades have passed since our world was decimated by the Dredge. Some say it was an act of God. Others believe the devil himself breached the gates of hell and turned the masses into the mindless infected with an appetite for carnage.

Those of us who’ve survived the Calico experiments know the only thing more terrifying than the monsters that seek to ravage what’s left of us, are the men who created them. Ones too capable of hiding their true form, and burying their darkest secrets.

Somewhere beneath the facility lies the answers, a cure for our suffering. To reach it, we’ll have to open the haunting tomb, where man’s deadliest mistakes, the most violent mutations, lie trapped within its tunnels, waiting to be set free.

Our only hope in surviving them are the very Alphas who were designed to hunt us down. The titans forged by cruelty and pain.

Kings of carrion.

We taught them to love, and in turn, they vow to protect us. To deliver the cure for humanity’s sake. Except this world doesn’t give without taking, and any chance of saving us will require the greatest sacrifice of all.

SERIES ORDER:
Juniper Unraveling (Book 1)
Calico Descending (Book 2)
Kings of Carrion (Book 3)

AMAZON

In many ways, we’re the same, though. He’s still the scarred boy who touched my heart. And I’m the wounded little bird, whose wings he made fly again.

When was the last time a book ruined you? I’m talking utterly gutted you. Like wrung every single emotion out of you until you were an inconsolable mess only to stitch you back together piece by devastating piece? Because THIS BOOK. Y’all. I was lucky enough to beta read Kings of Carrion a few months back and I STILL can’t stop thinking about it. I worship at the evil genius feet of Keri Lake. If you’re looking for an utterly unforgettable read, you NEED this in your life.

Kings of Carrion was darkly captivating, emotionally devastating, and positively unforgettable. It owned me from beginning to end and I still can’t get over it. I’m RUINED. Completely ruined.

Full disclosure here, this story emotional eviscerated me. I spent the latter part of the book a hysterically blubbering mess. There was no consoling me. If there’s one thing that Keri Lake knows how to do, it’s to reach into the pits of her readers souls and rip their damn hearts out. This was no exception. This is not a standalone and you need to read Calico Descending first. This is the conclusion of the story that starts there. If you’ve also read Juniper Unraveling, then you’ll be thrilled to get more Six and Wren here.

If you loved Cali and Vladys in the first book, you will fall even harder for them here. I loved Cali’s fierceness and the way she fought for her beloved. I loved Valdys’s undying love for Cali. And everything that happens in between? Unforgettable.

#DGRFave & Excerpt & Review: Outmatched by Kristen Callahan & Samantha Young

OUTMATCHED
Genre: Contemporary
Author: Kristen Callihan & Samantha Young
Release Date: November 19, 2019

What happens when a boxer finds chemistry with a geek?

Parker Brown can’t believe she needs to hire a fake boyfriend. When she landed her dream job in renewable energy, she thought she’d be entering a world at the forefront of progressive thinking. But the head boss prefers to promote employees who are “settled.” Thankfully, she’s found the perfect candidate, a fellow intellectual looking for some quick cash. What Parker gets is his protective big brother—Rhys Morgan. The tall, muscled ex-boxer with a foul mouth shows up just as her boss does, and now she’s stuck with the manipulative jerk.

Responsibility weighs heavily on Rhys. Now permanently out of the ring, he’s trying to hold together his late father’s gym and keep his younger brother, Dean, on the straight and narrow. To save Dean from himself, Rhys takes his place, ready to give this society girl a piece of his mind. Instead, he finds an opportunity. Even though they can hardly stand each other, posing as Parker’s boyfriend is a win-win deal. She gets to keep her job, and he’ll charm her star-struck boss into sponsoring his gym.

Problem is, they can barely keep their hands off each other. And what started as an easy deal isn’t so easy anymore. Because what future can a rough ex-boxer, afraid to open his heart, and a polished society geek, who has sworn off real relationships, possibly have?

They say opposites attract. These opposites are about to combust on impact.

AMAZON | KOBO | iBOOKS | B&N

AngryTink: Hey. This is Parker. Parker Brown.

My phone dinged loudly. I fumbled around my bed, finally finding the damn thing under a pillow. Wiping the sleep off my face, I rolled onto my back and read the text that had pulled me out of a pleasant sleep. I smiled. It was just so … Parker. Settling in, I answered her.

RhysThis: Don’t have to tell me who you are. Your number is programmed on my phone. What do you want?

AngryTink: Well, good morning to you too, Happy Pants.

My smile turned into an evil grin. The girl was always going to punch back and make it count.

RhysThis: That’s Mr. Happy Pants. Though, TBH, my pants aren’t too happy at the moment. Want to help me out with that?

AngryTink: Tempting. Truly. But, no.

RhysThis: RU sure? ‘Cuz Happy Pants Rhys is much more agreeable than Sad That He Had to Self-Satisfy Rhys.

AngryTink: Would you please behave?

RhysThis: I’m not the one who mentioned the emotional state of my pants.

AngryTink: ARGH!

A chuckle rumbled in my chest as my thumbs tapped out a response I knew would piss her off more.

RhysThis: Was that even English? Honestly, Ms. Brown, I thought you were educated.

She took a moment to answer. I could picture her, phone in hand, grinding her teeth.

AngryTink: You’re deliberately trying to annoy me, aren’t you?

RhysThis: You’re quick. I’ll give you that.

AngryTink: Mr. Morgan, I’m about ten seconds away from finding an alternate fake boyfriend. A goat on a rope would be a better candidate at this point.

It was cute she thought that was threatening.

RhysThis: Yeah, probably. But the goat doesn’t have a signed contract. I do, Tinker Bell.

AngryTink: ARGH@!!

RhysThis: You’re kind of cute when you talk pirate.

If we made it through this ruse with me going to prison for assault instead of murder, I’d call it a win. The guy really pushed my buttons. And I hadn’t even known I had any.

I. AM. SO. HAPPY. RIGHT. NOW.

Seriously. I don’t even know what to do with myself? What do you do when two of your favorite authors co-write a book together and not only does it live up to your RIDICULOUSLY BIG expectations but actually EXCEEDS it?!! You flail like the happy fangirl that you are and offer up an ovary on the chance that this will mark the first book in a series. What? It’s a totally normal reaction. Stop judging me. GOD.

If you love enemies to lovers and fake relationship tropes, this is your next obsession. Guys, I’m not even kidding. This book was everything. All of the things. Witty banter, humor, and all of the steam. And the characters? My god! Talk about opposites attract.

Parker Brown is a girl after my own heart. She comes from privilege but it certainly doesn’t define who she is. She’s a lot smart and with just the right amount of quirky. Desperate to make an impression on her boss’s misogynistic a-hole boss in order to secure the job of her dreams. Sounds easy right? Too bad it’s not her knowledge at work that matters, but the having a boyfriend. So what’s a girl to do? Hire one, of course!

Rhys Morgan is a retired boxer desperate to keep his gym afloat after the passing of his father. So when he learns that his brother got a job pimping himself out to some pretentious rich chick, he’s all too eager to put a kibosh on it. But when he stomps to meet her and put her in her place, he somehow ends up making an impression on her boss and offering to take his brother’s place. PLOT TWIST!!

The banter between these two was off the charts hot. SWEET BABY JEBUS! The banter was everything. Rhys and and Parker absolutely burn up the pages together. Their chemistry is incendiary. The slow building romance is packed with so much sexual tension that you feel like your fingers singe just turning the pages. The pages are full of witty banter and sizzling chemistry that I just couldn’t get enough of. Parker may have grown up privileged but she’s determined to make her own way. I just loved her. Then there’s the mouthy Boston boxer with a heart of gold. Together they set the book on fire. And that’s not even mentioning the incredible secondary characters that I’m desperately hoping will be getting their own books.

Basically, this book was freaking fantastic!! An absolute must read full of heart, humor, and steam!

About Kristen:

Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather be. She is a RITA winner and three-time nominee and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

Connect with Kristen:

Facebook | Twitter | WebsiteAmazonGoodreads  

About Samantha:

Samantha Young is a New York Times and #1 International bestselling author from Stirlingshire, Scotland. On Dublin Street was Samantha’s first adult contemporary romance series and has sold in thirty countries. She has since published over thirteen romance titles including the New York Times Bestsellers Into the Deep, Hero, and her most recent contemporary romance Play On. When writing Adult Paranormal romance she writes under the pen name S. Young.

Connect with Samantha:

FacebookWebsite | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Amazon | Goodreads | Bookbub 

DGRFave & Review: Calico Descending by Keri Lake

CALICO DESCENDING
Series: Juniper Unraveling #2
Genre: Dystopian Romance
Author:
Keri Lake
Release Date:
October 29, 2019

Sequel to Juniper Unraveling.

I was fourteen when I was sold to the men in black uniforms. Too young to understand I served a purpose beyond that of the other girls they’d taken.

For the greater good.

Now, after four years in Calico, I’ve seen more death and suffering than during my days of surviving out in the Deadlands against the threat of Ragers and famine. I didn’t think this world could get any bleaker. Didn’t think it could take any more from me than it already had.

Not until I finally learned my purpose.

That same day, I walked the dark halls in the bowels of this hell, where the suffering is in silence, and ghosts of the dead whisper through the walls. A place where nightmares are real.

A place where I met my Champion—the most revered Alpha in S-Block—locked away in his dark cell.

For the greater good.

He’s their weapon, their only line of defense against the mistakes of the past: the mutations that could wipe out all of what’s left of us.

Me, I’m his whipping girl. His reward for good behavior.
And his punishment for acts of defiance.

AMAZON 

He is pain and agony wrapped in fire, but his lips are sheer bliss.
He’s the flame that burns inside of me, the single spark that ignites my soul.

I simply cannot describe to you the sheer brilliance that is this book. It’s not your run of the mill romance, it’s so much beyond that. It’s a gripping and vivid tale of pain and survival in a brutal world the likes of which only the evil genius mind of Keri Lake can create. Think Resident Evil meets romance.

Keri Lake created a dangerous, violent and desolate world that’s so vivid, the entire book is like a movie reel unfolding behind your eyes. I thought I loved Juniper Unraveling but Calico Descending absolutely blew me away. The romance that blossoms in the very pits of hell is one of the most stunning stories I’ve read to date. It was torturously beautiful and heart breakingly emotional. Even if you’ve never read Dystopian Romance before, Calico Descending will make a new fan out of you. It’s an absolute must read.

If you’ve read Juniper, then you’ve already been introduced to this dark and evil world that shows the worst of human ambition, survival and depravity. And if you didn’t, I’m not sure what you’re waiting for. But also, you wouldn’t be entirely lost starting with this book. The timeline of the books runs parallel. But where Juniper shows the world outside of Calico, this takes you into the very pits of its darkness.

We get introduced to Cali, a woman that’s been surviving her situation day by day while enduring one terrifying experience after another. Then you also get taken deep into the heart of the Alpha project and meet Valdys, Cadmus and Titus. I don’t want to tell you too much about this story, but prepare yourself for a gut wrenching read. Much like Juniper, this starts as an ember and soon ignites to a fiery conclusion. It’s a slow building, character driven story with plenty of action and a sizzling romance to boot. It was everything I could have hoped from a sequel to one of my all time favorite books and so SO much more!


PRE-ORDER KINGS OF CARRION

#DGRFave & Review: Absolution by Keri Lake

ABSOLUTION
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Keri Lake
Release Date: August 27, 2019

 

According to canon law, it is forbidden for a priest to betray the penitent for any reason. Even murder.

The consequences?

Excommunication.

For years, I’ve listened to your confessions. I know your darkest secrets, and have swallowed your sins in silence. In return, I’ve offered you forgiveness in His name. But behind the partition that separates us, I’m nothing more than a man who has long questioned his own faith.

Your contrition is my invitation: to mete out the kind of justice you pray will never come. I’m neither pious, nor merciful, despite what you see. I’m an imposter, an abomination to all I represent. A quiet executioner who’s kept below the radar.

Until her.

She’s seen what I’ve done. She knows the man beneath the cloth and my every mortal sin. She has witnessed the uncontrollable vices she hopes to use against me in order to get what she covets most.

Yet, I know her sins, too. Ones she doesn’t bother to confess. The kind, for which, there is no absolution.

*The short story first appeared in the Wanted: An Outlaw Anthology. This is the full-sized novel, which includes the conclusion to Damon and Ivy’s story.

AMAZON

C’mon, pécheresse, let me hear you scream.”
“Oh, God!”
“There is no God here, Ivy. Only me.”

Bless me, father, for I have sinned. Oh how I’ve sinned! I’ve sinned So. Freaking. Hard. And I’m not even a little sorry. Absolution was a deliciously thrilling ride that skirts the edge of propriety and was so good, it was downright sinful!

Moans muffle into the pillows, while she rolls her head and claws at the bedding as if possessed by demons. Maybe she is. Surely, God isn’t present here, while I f*ck her with the kind of reckless abandon that’ll land my soul in hell.

If you’ve never read anything by the immensely talented Keri Lake, then this is the story you need to start with to get a good taste of her addicting story telling. And if you’re a fan of taboo romance, that you definitely need this book in your life!

This was originally published as a novella in a limited time anthology and it’s now been expanded to be a full length novel and it packs an even bigger punch. If you’ve read the novella, then you’ll definitely want to get your grabby little hands on this because it delivers on the satisfying conclusion that was missing in the novella. There has been an entire second half added that takes the reader beyond Ivy’s revenge and deep into the dark bowels of Damon’s.

Father Damon is not all that he seems. There’s a dark undercurrent to this man of the cloth and a history riddled with demons that have followed him into his present. When a man steps into his confessional to describe a crime that’s horrific beyond words, it sends Damon into a tailspin of repressed anger and vengeance. Then a a beautiful woman with her own dark secrets puts his faith to a true test.

Absolution is a sizzling story full of grit and a dash of darkness with a heavy layer of taboo. It was a page turner from beginning to finish. A high paced thrill ride of vengeance with a deliciously sizzling romance.

Ivy is a character that I wasn’t sure I’d like at first but boy did she grow on me as the story progressed. Even more so in the second half. Her reasons for getting to Damon aren’t exactly altruistic. This is a woman with a hidden agenda, but one made out of utter and complete helplessness. She’s desperate to get away from a demon of her own past and she’ll do anything to escape him. Even make a sinner out of Damon…

In her signature gritty style with an undercurrent of darkness, Keri delivers on the side of Damon we barely got a taste for in the novella. Here you get to know the man he used to be and the man he becomes along with the sacrifices he makes along the way. There’s so many twists and turns, it will leave your head reeling.

With plenty of mind-blowing twists and turns that I’ve come to love and expect from this author, Absolution was one unputdownable read that I recommend for any fans of gritty taboo romance. Trust me, people, if there’s one book you need to read right now, it’s THIS ONE!!!

#DGRFave & Review: Moti On The Water by @LEYLAHATTAR

MOTI ON THE WATER
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Leylah Attar
Release Date: August 13, 2019

A Greek family. An Indian family. A summer wedding on the Aegean coast…

Meet Moti Ferreira—spectacularly jinxed from the day she’s born.

Saddled with an eccentric mother, she stumbles upon the one man who holds the key to her freedom—the best man at her cousin’s upcoming wedding.

All Moti has to do is overcome her fear of water, board a yacht to the Greek Isles, seduce the dreamy Nikos Manolas, and survive two weeks at sea with her oddball family.

The only obstacle Moti doesn’t see coming is Alexandros Veronis, the onboard chef and star witness to her awkward mishaps. He transforms onions into chocolate and aroma into nostalgia. Day by day, his alchemy works its magic on Moti. But she’s not the only one falling under his spell. Everyone has a secret, growing round and ripe at Chef Alex’s table. When the masks fall off, they spill out one by one, and everything blows up in their faces.

Now Moti’s truth is exposed, and worse, she’s hooked on more than Alex’s midnight snacks. But this time, screwing up could be the best thing she’s ever done…

AMAZON | B&N | KOBO | iBOOKS

 

It was the strangest feeling—free-falling into someone else.

Are you looking for the perfect light-hearted summer read? Well look no further, friends, because it seriously doesn’t get any better then this book. Think My Big Fat Greek Wedding but with one side being a crazy and quirky Indian family and all of it set on the stunning and vivid backdrop of Greeke isles. Intrigued yet? Add into all that Leylah Attar’s colorful and magical story telling skill and what you’ve got is one unforgettable romance. Seriously. This was not just a romance, it was an experience. One where the story unravels like a stunning movie reel before your eyes and leaves you incapable of setting it down for even a setting.

There’s a magic formula between making your characters downright crazy and the perfect brand of eccentric. And Leylah Attar has found the secret sauce, because Moti and her family are something else. And oh my word, I loved it.

Some people will tell you that hunger is a sensation. Lies. Hunger is the mother of all emotions. Angry? Check how long it’s been since you last ate. Tired? You probably didn’t have enough to eat. Bored? You’re eating the same thing—same place, same time. Pretty much every disaster in human history can be traced back to the lack of a burrito.

Moti has spent almost all of her life trying to live up to her mother’s expectations of her. And the woman has some…interesting quirks to say the least. And when Moti finally meets a unicorn of a man at her cousin’s wedding, she thinks she’s finally got the key to freedom. Unfortunately for Moti, not everything goes according to plans.

Beyond the crazy families being stuck on a chartered yacht and Moti’s own eccentricities, there’s a bigger problem on board; her attraction to the chef, Alexandros.

I would’ve resented the dimple that formed on his cheek. When I was little, I prayed for dimples. And now I had them. On my ass. Naturally, people with properly-placed dimples irritated me.

I cannot tell you all just how much I adored everything about Moti. It wasn’t just her usual knack for catastrophes when she so much as breathes. Or her fear of water and disappointing her mother. Or her incredibly endearing inner monologue that I couldn’t get enough of. It was simply Moti. This imperfectly perfect character that had a smile on my face whenever she graced the pages. This is a woman that you can’t help but connect with because I think all of us have a little Moti in us.

Then there was Alex. Oh my swoon, this man. Can he BE any better? I think not. Between their sunset swimming lessons and his surprise midnight snacks with notes for Moti, I fell hard and fast for him. He was perfect. OH MY GOD he was perfect.

Moti on the Water was sheer magic set on a stunning backdrop and wrapped around a swoony romance; all of it told in Leylah’s unique voice made for one incredible read. This book is not to be missed and one I recommend for every romance reader out there. It’s easily one of my favorite reads this year!

Somewhere between the quest for a three-thumbed man, a cabin with no window, and a cloudless day on a rocky island, I fell for the chef.

Leylah Attar is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Best Selling author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She is the recipient of the 2017 Indie Reader Discovery Award for fiction. Her books, which include Mists of The Serengeti, The Paper Swan, 53 Letters for My Lover (#1) and From His Lips (a 53 Letters novella #1.5), have been published in nine languages.

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#DGRFave & Review: The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare

THE WALLFLOWER WAGER
Series:
Girl Meets Duke #3
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Tessa Dare
Release Date: August 13, 2019

They call him the Duke of Ruin.

To an undaunted wallflower, he’s just the beast next door.

Wealthy and ruthless, Gabriel Duke clawed his way from the lowliest slums to the pinnacle of high society—and now he wants to get even.

Loyal and passionate, Lady Penelope Campion never met a lost or wounded creature she wouldn’t take into her home and her heart.

When her imposing—and attractive—new neighbor demands she clear out the rescued animals, Penny sets him a challenge. She will part with her precious charges, if he can find them loving homes.

Done, Gabriel says. How hard can it be to find homes for a few kittens?

And a two-legged dog.

And a foul-mouthed parrot.

And a goat, an otter, a hedgehog . . .

Easier said than done, for a cold-blooded bastard who wouldn’t know a loving home from a workhouse. Soon he’s covered in cat hair, knee-deep in adorable, and bewitched by a shyly pretty spinster who defies his every attempt to resist. Now she’s set her mind and heart on saving him.

Not if he ruins her first.

AMAZON

She was a fool. A naïve, trusting, sheltered fool. And Gabe wanted to corrupt her so damned badly, his bones ached.

See that pile of satisfied reader goo in the corner? The one clutching her kindle to her chest and making moon eyes at the sky? That, my friends, is this girl after downright binging on the absolute perfection that was this story.

I don’t know how it’s possible for Tessa Dare to outdo herself with each book in this series, but my GOD does she. I loved the first book and thought nothing can top it, then I felt the same about the second book. And now reading the third, I’m convinced that this author is a mythical unicorn that farts rainbows and creates pure swoony magic with her stories. Yes, I realize most likely it’s immense skill and talent, but just go with me here. I’m still on cloud nine after finishing this phenomenal romance.

Now let’s talk about this story and everything that it had.

First, the third wallflower that gives the word eccentric a whole new meaning. A spinster by choice and an animal lover by nature, Penelope has an innate ability to find the weak and wounded and nurse them back to health. And over the years, she’s developed quite the collection of animals.

Dear Mr. Duke,
As requested, here is an inventory of the animals in my care: Bixby, a two-legged terrier. Marigold, a nanny goat of unimpeachable character, who is definitely not breeding. Angus, a three-year-old Highland steer. Regan, Goneril, and Cordelia—laying hens. Delilah, a parrot. Hubert, an otter. Freya, a hedgehog. Thirteen kittens of varying colors and dispositions.

But Penny’s skill of attracting the wounded and lost doesn’t just stop with animals. Enter Gabriel Duke, or the Duke of Ruin as he’s known to the lot.

Three things, however, never altered. He always woke with the dawn. He always woke hungry. And he always woke up alone. He had a set of rules when it came to sexual congress—he didn’t pay for it, he wouldn’t beg for it, and he damned well wasn’t going to wed for it.

I say this every time I read a book from this series, but I swear Gabe was my favorite hero to date. Broody, tortured, and hiding a heart of gold, this man absolutely stole mine. There’s something so vulnerable to his intensity. Beyond the ruthless and cold demeanor there’s a boyish charm to him that you can’t help but gravitate towards.

Then there’s Tessa’s signature brand of banter that will leave a goofy smile on your face and completely incapable to set the book down.

Every time I speak three words, you look as though you’re going to swoon into my arms.”
“I do not,” Penny objected, knowing very well that she probably did.
“You sigh like a fool, blush like a beet. Your eyes are the worst of it. They turn into these . . . these pools. Glassy blue pools with man-eating sharks beneath the surface.”
“I hope you’re not planning a career in poetry.”
“For the good of us both, you have to cease gazing at me.”

Penelope has made a deal with the devil when she agrees to allow the Duke of Ruin to help her meet the terms she’s promised to her aunt in order to not be forced to go back to her brother and eventually be forced to marry. Those terms? Finding a loving home for her beloved animals while letting the Duke introduce her back to the ton as something more than the quirky spinster.

The story is full of lovable secondary characters, including past favorites, and some of the most memorable and funny animals to grace the pages of a book. I couldn’t get enough of this!

Did I also mention the cameos?

I’ll look. I’m not afraid. I intend to be there for every moment of the miracle of my own child’s birth.” He crouched and squinted. “And . . . I’ve changed my mind.” Chase retreated to the far corner of the stall and sat on a crate, his pallor having turned a pale, sickly green.
“Fine,” Ashbury said. “I’ll do it. If I could stomach my own injuries from that rocket blast, I can stomach this.” He went to look, then reeled a step backward. “Oh, God. Something’s coming out.”
“Of course something’s coming out,” Gabe said. “A baby goat.”
“No,” Ash said grimly. “No.”
“If it’s not a goat, then what is it?”
“It’s a punishment for all my earthly sins, is what it is.”

This book was everything I’ve come to expect from the amazing Tessa Dare and so much more. It was romantic and heart warming. It had a tortured and protective hero. It had a quirky heroine with an understated inner strength that you can’t help but connect to. And it had the most swoony romance full of laughs that you never want to end. In a word? PERFECTION. An absolute must read for any historical romance fans out there!

#DGRFave & Review: Manipulate by Pam Godwin

MANIPULATE
Series: Deliver #6
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Pam Godwin
Release Date: June 25, 2019

Tula Gomez is in the most ruthless prison in Latin America.

She only drove to Mexico to help her sister. She did nothing wrong.
But her quiet life changed in an instant.

To survive the violent, cartel-controlled prison where men blend with women, she pledges her loyalty to the notorious leader in exchange for the one thing she needs most.
Protection.

When she agrees to seduce the suspicious new inmates, Martin Lockwood and Ricky Saldivar, she doesn’t expect to enjoy it. Sure, they’re gorgeous, irresistibly alpha, and insanely talented with their hands and mouths. But they’re the enemy. She can’t fall for them.

Torn between her cartel loyalties and two men who want her as deeply as they want each other, she questions who is manipulating whom. Her search for answers leads to a passionate ménage, a soul-crushing secret, and an impossible choice.

BOOK 6 in the DELIVER series.

DELIVER series (HEAs with no cliffhangers – must be read in order):
Deliver #1
Vanquish #2
Disclaim #3
Devastate #4
Take #5
Manipulate #6
Unshackle #7
Dominate #8
Complicate #9

AMAZON

They owned her. No matter what happened, she would always be theirs.

Devastatingly gritty, emotionally gripping, and stunningly dark, Manipulate was everything I’ve come to expect from the brilliant mind of Pam Godwin and SO. MUCH. MORE. This was an edge of your seat and keep you up well into the night sort of read.

Three hearts without walls fused into a single soul without bars. Lost and found. Locked up and freed. Together.

I’ve been waiting for Martin and Ricky’s book for what feels like forever. And man, was their book worth the wait. It was even better than my expectations. And that NEVER happens.

The book starts with the introduction of the heroine, a woman that we haven’t met yet in the series. Her story is full of twists and turns, and devastating experiences that mold her into the woman that she is today; someone locked up in one of the most violent prisons and completely on her own.

Martin and Ricky get put into the prison in order to gather information on a brutal cartel boss that runs one of the worst human trafficking and slave rings. The stunning beauty is not someone they saw coming when they entered the prison full of murders and the worst sort of human scum. But she may also be the one that has all of the answers that they seek.

On a squeaky rusted cot, in the most violent prison in South America, he experienced the best orgasm of his life.

The sexual tension in this book was EVERYTHING. As much as I was dying for more glimpses into Martin and Ricky together and exactly what makes Martin tick, I couldn’t get enough of they dynamic with Tula. She seemed to complete a puzzle piece that neither one of them thought was missing.

Holy fuck.” She moaned against his mouth…
“That’s right, baby. What’s my name?”
“Oh, God.” She clawed at his back.
“God is good, aren’t I?”
“So good.” She made him feel like a god. In her arms, under Martin’s heated gaze, he caught fire.

Martin was a beautifully broken enigma for a long time in this series. I was salivating for just a little more of a peek into what made him who he is today; a man that’s on a hair trigger when it comes to anything sexual. And let me tell you, when his whole history comes to light, I wanted to throw up. It was gut wrenchingly dark. Ricky was the light to his dark, even though he doesn’t exactly have an easy past himself after the painful tutelage of Van during his slave training years.

There’s so much that happens in this book that made it completely impossible to set it down for even a second. I love that Pam NEVER writes heroines that need rescuing. She writes these incredibly broken, yet strong and persevering women that you can’t help but connect with and root for. Tula was certainly not an exception to this. Her story was dark and painful and oh so twisty. I loved every page of it. I loved her and Martin and Ricky together. I was addicted to every page of this book and was dying for more when I finished. I can’t wait for the next installment after the revelation in the end.

Every touch was a sacrament, every caress a solicitation for more. Through it all, they held an impenetrable stare, eating each other with their eyes, wanting, panting, the need in their bodies growing voracious.

#DGRFave & Review: Written With You by @AlyMartinezAuth

WRITTEN WITH YOU
Series:
The Regret Duet #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Aly Martinez
Release Date: June 13, 2019

When I was fifteen, a single bullet changed my life. I spent the next decade trying to outrun the devastation of my past, building an empire that would shield me from whatever life could throw at me.

But all the money in the world couldn’t help me when I found a screaming newborn abandoned on my doorstep.

I’d never wanted to be a father. Passing the sludge that ran through my veins down to an innocent child seemed like a tragedy. But there she was—pink cheeks, red hair, and mine.

Somehow, against all logic, that little girl became the best thing that ever happened to me. It was impossible to stay lost in the past when I was the only one who could protect her future.

Which is exactly why, when her mother came back four years later, I was ready for battle.

If only I could stop myself from falling in love with her during the war.

AMAZON

I lived in the seconds. One emotion. One tick of the clock.

If there’s one thing Aly Martinez can do, it’s write one unpredictable story that will grip you by the heart and keep you at the very edge of your seat. And this book? MY GOD! It was EVERYTHING. Seriously all of the things. An emotional powerhouse of love and secrets, pain and regret, and second chances. Written With You owned me. Absolutely owned me. Beginning to finish. I never wanted it to end.

Admittedly, I struggled a bit with the heroine in the first book. Alright, so I was judging the hell out of her, okay?! So sue me. But if you’ve read the book, than you’ll know exactly why I had problems fully connecting to her. But this book was a total game changer. After the cliffhanger that leaves you reeling in book one, book two finishes you off with a one two punch straight to the feels. Holy mother of everything!!!

I don’t want to give anything away, because to be honest, the entire thing is a dang spoiler of book one. And I wouldn’t want to take that experience away from anyone. I typically struggle with duets and trilogies, but never with Aly’s books. Somehow her second book is always even more powerful than the first. And let me tell you, the first was no walk in the park. It was gut wrenching.

Our entire lives were one impossibility after another.

This was filled with so many twists and turns, it will leave your stomach in knots and your head reeling. I devoured it in one breathless sitting and I cannot recommend it enough. It’s different. It’s gripping. It’s addictive. And it will own you, heart and soul, from one devastating page to the other.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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