Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review: Insidious (Tales from the Dark Side #1) by Aleatha Romig

~Synopsis~
When a powerful man is willing to risk everything for his own satisfaction, only one woman can beat him at his own game: his wife. Or so she thinks…

“Let’s start with you calling me Stewart. Formalities seem unnecessary.”

Stewart Harrington is rich, gorgeous, and one of the most powerful men in Miami. He always gets what he wants. Anything is available to him for the right price.

Being the wife of a mogul comes with all the perks, but being Mrs. Stewart Harrington comes with a few special requirements. I’ve learned to keep a part of myself locked away as my husband watches me submit to his needs. But the more he demands of me, the more beguiled he becomes and that’s to my advantage. So I keep fulfilling his fantasies and following his rules because he doesn't know that what he’s playing is really my game. And winning is everything, right?

Insidious is a stand-alone novel and the first Tales from the Dark Side title. Due to the dark and explicit nature of this book, it is recommended for mature audiences only.
~My Review~
««««

This book has been on my calendar as a to-be-released book for a while.  I read all of the Consequences books, and knowing that I liked Aleatha Romig's writing style, I figured I would add this to my list.  This book is different from many of the other books that I have read, as it's a Thriller, but I still was ready to read it.  However, once it was released, I honestly didn't know if I wanted to read it or not.  Maybe because it was something totally different from what I've been reading lately - I tend to get stuck in ruts where I want to read only Biker books or only Cowboy books, so I wasn't sure if I wanted to start something new.  I initially just downloaded a sample from Amazon so I could start reading the first couple chapters and see if I liked it or not.  By about 50% of the sample, I was still unsure, but once the sample was over, I decided that I needed to read the rest and figure out what the heck was going on!

18 year old Victoria Conway gets married to a much older Stewart Harrington.  With their marriage comes a contract, and that contract completely changes her life.  Married life seems starts off well; life is adventurous and exciting, until all of a sudden, everything changes.  The fairy tale doesn't exist, and soon Victoria's life is full of lies, revenge, and deception.

Consistent with all of Romig's other writing, this book is extremely well written.  I loved her style in the Consequences series, and while this was I was actually surprised that the book was written in 1st person.  I was so used to reading Consequences in 3rd person, that I just automatically expected that this would be the same.  However, the 1st person POV in this book really only gave us Victoria's perspective, which helped to hold the suspense.  Since we only saw what Victoria saw, we could make assumptions as to what was going on as she gave us information, but we really didn't know the whole of what was going on, which definitely made things more interesting.

The story itself was really interesting.  I can't really say much without giving stuff away, but it was definitely dark, with tons of plot twists, turns, and tons of conflict.  I did feel like it moved a bit slow.  Even the sample that I initially read put me off because it just seemed to be slow.  Once I got to the end of the sample, I knew I wanted to continue reading, so I bought the full version, but it still seemed to drag quite a bit at times.  Maybe it's the nature of a suspense-thriller novel like this?  I'm not sure.

The characters were all very interesting.  There were tons of plot twists and turns, so I was seriously suspicious of everyone and often changed my mind on who was a good guy and who was a bad guy.  Even Victoria.  I couldn't figure her out.  She was very strong, but at times I couldn't figure out if it was strong in a good way or a bad way.  At the same time, I couldn't figure out if I liked her husband, or hated him.  With each new bit of information that I learned about what their contract meant, my opinion of him changed.  The same with other characters.  I found myself hating one person, and then changing my opinion a million times before making a final conclusion.

I mentioned that the story dragged at times.  Once I finally started getting answers, I felt like the book was over.  There was a ton of conflict throughout the book, and there was a lot that needed to be resolved.  However, I felt like the resolution came and went very quickly, and when the book ended, I still had questions.  Some of the questions are touched at, so I have an idea of maybe what happened, but I wished there was a concrete "this is what happened" type of description.  The ending itself leaves off on a question.  Not so much a cliff hanger, but potentially a cliff hanger.  It leaves you wondering, OK, what's going on?  Definitely a fun way to end the story!

So at the end of the day, you have a suspense-thriller romance book, that includes a Billionaire husband, a huge age difference, a manipulative wedding, a crazy contract, family secrets drama, questionable deaths, betrayal, and revenge.  While it was all very interesting, I rated the book 4 stars because of the unanswered questions and somewhat slow pace.  Other than that, it was an excellent read and I would recommend it!.


Link to Amazon
Link to Nook

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review: Mr. Beautiful (Up in the Air #4) by R.K. Lilley

~Synopsis~
It is a distinct feeling. Impossible to mistake. The very marked sensation of being unraveled and reknit into a new thing, a new person. It can be good or bad, helpful or harmful, but above all, it is unstoppable. I was remade when my parents died, went from a happy childhood, into navigating a very dark world, with endless responsibilities, surrounded by enemies, and despairingly alone.

It happened again at the hands of a cowardly predator. I’d become angrier with that one, more cynical, and it undoubtedly turned me into the kinky f**k I was today.

The third happened swiftly. One day I looked up into a pair of pale blue eyes and saw the other half of my soul. Checkmate. I went from a completely controlled existence, a life where I made every decision with cold calculation, to a man overcome with feelings and emotions that were foreign but somehow wonderful.

And all too soon after that cataclysmic change was this fourth one, this one where I begged a God I’d never entertained to spare the life of a woman that I could not live without.

The Up in the Air Series, with James's point of view.  As well as a bit of Stephan, Tristan, Jared, Frankie, and Akira.
~My Review~
«««

I have had this book on my reading list for what feels like ages.  I've wanted to read it since it was first announced and I felt like the waiting period was just painful.  I absolutely love the Up in the Air books, and my impression from the little that RK Lilley shared on her blog was that this book was going to be great.  In anticipation for this book, I reread the books leading up to this one, including the Tristan & Danika books, and Lana, since we were told that we wouldn't just get James's point of view in this book.  I blogged about these books last week.

This book is technically labeled as "Up in the Air 4" and with that in mind, my main hope was that most of the book would be from James's point of view.  We know about James and how much he loves Bianca, how protective he is of her, and how possessive he is, but since all three of the other books were from Bianca's point of view, with the exception of a couple chapters at the end of Book 3, we really didn't get much at all from his POV.  At one point in the excruciating waiting period, it was announced that we wouldn't just get POVs from James, but also Stephan, Tristan, Frankie, Jared, and Akira.  I have to admit, that when I heard that news, I wasn't all that excited.  I really just wanted to focus on James.  My reason?  Well, in the Tristan and Danika books, they're already in both points of view (Tristan & Danika), so we get a lot of what Tristan is thinking.  We get a chapter from Frankie's point of view, and Jared is a secondary character so we really don't get much at all from him.  And Akira is also a very small character - we really don't know him very well.  I felt like if I got a book with just a bunch of chapters from 6 different characters, I would have been disappointed.

Instead, most of the main book is from the Point of Views of James and Stephan.  We get a bit of the "past" (When James first met Bianca and when Stephan and Bianca were living on the streets together) and then the "present" (after the accident).  I like books that are from both Points of View, but I don't like books where the alternate POV is just a repeat of what happened in the first place.  When you read James's POV, there are some overlapping scenes, but what's repeated is minimal and there is some new information.  I love reading all of his stories from after the accident, since that's all new material for us.  I love reading Stephan's stories because they're also brand new, since they're really only hinted at by Bianca.

I have to say, though, that the story line, in my opinion, was not really there.  Really, I felt like this was just a collection of different stories from a different either James or Stephan (Mostly James.  Stephan's story is minimal).  Don't get me wrong.  I liked it.  And in a way, there was a continuation of the first 3 books.  But the chapters didn't flow.  It was more like Chapter 1 is for this scenario, Chapter 2 is for another scenario, etc.  I did really love seeing James's love for Bianca from his own perspective, as well as his crazy Alpha-Maleness but it was almost as if each chapter was an individual story in and of itself.

And yes, there were POV chapters from Tristan, Frankie, Jared, and Akira.  But it was just one chapter each.  I was happy that we got a little bit from these characters, but also happy that they weren't just thrown into the middle of the main book.  If that were the case, it wouldn't have made any sense at all.  Instead, they were just written in as "Bonus Scenes" and it worked out well.

The book, in total, was 4729 location points long (Kindle Readers).  The James/Stephan part ended around 3100 (It was really mostly .  Then there are teasers from other books by RK Lilley (The Other Man and Crossing Fire), an Epilogue for Lovely Trigger (which was hilarious), then Bonus James POV's.  These are essentially repeats of some of the things that happen in Bianca's POV, but are still entertaining.  This lasts from 3505-4444 and I honestly couldn't really figure out why these weren't part of the actual book.  I'm guessing that since they added no extra content, and they were just the same story from the alternate POV that they were kept separate.  After that, we get the Bonus Point of Views from Tristan, Jared, Frankie, and Akira.

Overall, I liked getting the extra reading from James's POV.  The scenes from Stephan were fun, and the little extras from Tristan, Jared, Frankie, and Akira were also entertaining.  I liked how there were recaps of what happened in the first three books, as well as new scenes from after Grounded, Lovely Trigger, and Lana ended.  I thought it was another very well written piece from RK Lilley that helped feed my addiction of James Cavendish.  It was entertaining, but it lacked.  The overall layout wasn't great.  I felt like the teasers for The Other Man and Crossing Fire should have been the very last thing - They really interrupted the flow.  I felt like Stephan's extras should have been a part of the end extra Bonus Scenes and the main book should have just been left for James.  And I really wished there was more of a plot instead of just a compilation of extra stories.  So likes and dislikes gives this book a 3 star rating for me....



Other books in the series:
In Flight (Up in the Air #1)
Mile High (Up in the Air #2)
Grounded (Up in the Air #3)
Bad Things (Tristan & Danika #1)
Rock Bottom (Tristan & Danika #2)
Lovely Trigger (Tristan & Danika #3)
Lana (A Novella)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Review: Lovely Trigger (Tristan & Danika #3) by R.K. Lilley

~Synopsis~
Tristan hit rock bottom, and no one felt the impact harder than Danika.  She learned the very hard lesson that love does not conquer all and she was forced to walk away, bruised, bloody, and broken.

After six years of keeping her distance, Danika is forced to spend the weekend with Tristan 
at the wedding of James and Bianca.  She strives to maintain the distance she has put between them over the years, yet she is determined to spend the weekend with Tristan and keep everything friendly between them.  However, just a small amount of time together has Danika remembering what she forced herself to forget:  There was a good reason why she went through hell with Tristan, and many of those reasons are good enough to outweigh all the bad reasons.

After everything that has happened and everything they've been through, can Tristan and Danika find themselves, let the past regrets go, and find the strength to try again?

~My Review~
«««««

I waited what feels like forever for this book.  This was the first book by RK Lilley that wasn't already published when I started the series.  And I'll tell you something:  It was totally worth waiting for!  This was my favorite book in the entire Tristan & Danika series, and I think it's because I'm a sucker for a happy ending.  This is truly a second chance romance story, and if you were on the fence about the first two books, this book will change your mind and make all the pain totally worth it.

Books 1 and 2 really lay the groundwork for all the pain and suffering that both Tristan and Danika endured to make their estrangement in the Up in the Air series make sense.  Once we read the first two books, and the Up in the Air series, we knew that something huge had happened, and that they have essentially spent the last 5-6 years avoiding each other and not talking.  So what happened in those lost years?  Well, Lovely Trigger explains it all.

Lovely Trigger has a completely different setup than all the other books.  It's still told in both Point of Views, but it gives us a little bit of each information:  One year after the accident, two years after the accident, three years after the accident, etc.  During each year of their separation, we got a glimpse of how they were coping, how they dealt with the loss of their best friend and lover, and whether or not they were moving on or if they were still hung up on each other.  Every year that they were separated, I hoped that would be the year they rekindled their relationship, knowing that it was probably going to be a long time before we finally saw them together again.  I was happy to see, however, that despite the years and everything that happened throughout the time they weren't together, they still loved each other fiercely.

When they finally did rekindle their relationship and start dating everything, it was all at a pace that made sense.  Nothing was rushed, and nothing was drawn out.  It really was perfect in every way.  They were able to rebuild what had been shattered, and come to trust one another again.  There was still pain and heartache, but there were many more happy moments than sad moments.  The games they played with each other, how they teased each other, how they loved each other:  it was all perfect.

I was most curious about how much of the accident that Tristan learned throughout the years or if he was still ignorant that he was the one to put Danika in the car with Dean.  I wondered that if he really had no clue, would Danika tell him?  And if she did, how would he react?  Also, we know from the end of Book 2 that the Doctor had told Danika that she wouldn't be able to have children.  I always wondered if there was absolutely no chance that she could have children, or if she just didn't have much of a chance but it was still possible.  And once again, how would Tristan react to this news?  I'm happy to say that Lovely Trigger answered all my questions, and I wasn't disappointed!

I am a huge sap for a love story.  I always knew that Tristan and Danika were going to end up together.  I was so happy that even through everything the experienced, they were able to have their happily ever after.

I did think that there were a few unnecessary things in there, and while I don't want to spoil the surprise, I felt like there was an old relationship of Tristan's that could have been left out and it wouldn't have affected the story at all.  It just didn't add anything to the story for me.  But other than that, I really loved everything about this book!!.


Link to Amazon
Link to Nook

Other books in the series:
Bad Things (Tristan & Danika #1)
Rock Bottom (Tristan & Danika #2)
Spinoffs: 
In Flight (Up in the Air #1)
Mile High (Up in the Air #2)
Grounded (Up in the Air #3)
Lana (A Novella)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Review: Rock Bottom (Tristan & Danika #2) by R.K. Lilley

~Synopsis~
Rock Bottom picks up where Bad Things left off.  Reeling from a profound loss, Tristan and Danika struggle to pick up the pieces and build a life together, but the hard habits of a lifetime are not so easy to escape.  Rock Bottom takes up on a dual point of view journey through addiction and desire, through love and agony, and answers the question we've been asking since these characters were introduced in Grounded:  "What happened between Tristan and Danika?"

Danika is consumed by her love for Tristan.  But is her love enough to overpower their demons?

Tristan knew that Danika was the one.  She was always on his mind, and he constantly longed for her.  He wouldn't survive without her.

Can these two save their relationship?  Or will the train wreck continue?
~My Review~
««««

Rock Bottom picks up directly where Bad things left off.  Knowing that there's going to be a book 3, and knowing what I knew of their relationship (or lack thereof) in Up in the Air, I had a feeling that things weren't going to be pretty in this book.  Also, there's a picture of Tristan on the cover, and the title is Rock Bottom...Therefore, I went into this book assuming that Tristan does, in fact, hit rock bottom, and that things aren't going to be pretty.  The question is, What else happens to come between Tristan and Danika?  And how does Danika get her limp?

I loved that the book is told to us in alternating POV's.  I think it's really important to really see what's going on in both of their heads.  I feel as though Rock Bottom is really mostly Tristan's story, with Danika feeling much of the effects of of his actions, so it was really important to hear where they were both coming from.

My heart really went out to Tristan in this book.  He's the bad boy and a true Alpha - he is constantly trying to protect Danika and is always trying to save her from something.  But unfortunately, he does that to his own detriment.  While he's trying so hard to protect other people, he's barely keeping his head above water.  He went a really long time not seeing himself for who he really is, and that in turn not only hurt himself, but it also hurt Danika and their relationship.  He wants so bad to be a rockstar, but he really just can't handle living like a rockstar.

They were so in love with each other throughout the entire book, but I won't lie:  There were times I needed to put the book down and walk away.  Certain times, it was just too painful to keep reading.  It was as if anything that could go wrong, did go wrong, and I just didn't want to have to see it written down on paper.  I wanted so bad for T&D to have their happily ever after, and I wanted it to happen in this book, and I knew.  I knew.  It just wouldn't happen.

Does the book end on a Cliffhanger?  Yes.  No.  I don't know.  Kind of.  They've both reached their breaking point.  When the book ends, it's still five years before James and Bianca's wedding, and we know from those books that Tristan is still very much in love with Danika.  But she really feels like she can't give him what she's looking for....Just their conversation during Bianca's art showing in Grounded tells us that in no way, at this point, is their story over.

I think it's clear that it's going to take a long time for for T&D to reconcile and get back together.  I've read book 3 already at the time I'm writing this, but at the time I finished (and I had to wait quite a while before Book 3 even came out), I honestly didn't know if they would actually get their happily ever after.  Did the events leading up to what gave Danika her limp leave her with any other injuries? And what happens when Tristan actually finds out what happens on that fateful night?

So yea, there's still a lot more for us to find out.  But at least we're not only reading heartache in this book.  They do really love each other, and they have some wonderful times together.  It's also fun to get a little bit of Fankie's POV, and we see James Cavendish in his Alpha Dominant glory well before Bianca even comes into the picture.  It's fantastic!

Overall, Rock Bottom doesn't disappoint.  The story flows well, and I know that even though the direction that it's going in that it may be painful, but I had faith the entire way through that the series would round out well.  I'm excited for the happy reunion that I know Book 3 will bring!.


Rock Bottom (Tristan & Danika #2)
Rock Bottom (Tristan & Danika #2)

Other books in the series:
Bad Things (Tristan & Danika #1)
Lovely Trigger (Tristan & Danika #3)
Spinoffs
In Flight (Up in the Air #1)
Mile High (Up in the Air #2)
Grounded (Up in the Air #3)
Lana (A Novella)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Review: Bad Things (Tristan & Danika #1) by R.K. Lilley

~Synopsis~
Danika hasn't had an easy life.  The fact that she is always attracted to the bad boys hasn't made it any easier.  After just one look at Tristan, all logical thought flees her mind.  Tristan is trouble.  She knew better than to start a relationship with him, but she did it anyway.

While Danika has always been focused on the future with single-minded purpose, Tristan managed to teach her everything about letting go and living for the moment.  She falls hard and fast.

This isn't a typical love story, this is a train wreck. This is Tristan and Danika.

Both Tristan and Danika have small roles in the Up in the Air Series.  However, this can be read as a standalone book.
~My Review~
««««

I bought this book right after I finished reading the Up in the Air Series.  Having been introduced to Tristan and Danika then, I honestly couldn't wait to hear their story.  I wasn't sure what to expect, whether their relationship was going to be a lot like James and Bianca's (would it have the BDSM aspect?) or if it would be totally different.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that their story was completely different.  Once again, just like the books in Up in the Air, I couldn't put this book down!!

Danika lives a very ordered and somewhat boring life.  She works as a nanny for a family in Las Vegas, she goes to school, and she dances.  Other than that, she doesn't seem to have many friends and she never goes out.  When Danika meets Tristan, he turns her world upside down.  Tristan is the complete opposite of Danika, living life for the moment, overindulging, and is just Trouble.  While Tristan has no qualms about starting a relationship with Danika, she pushes back, knowing that she's attracted to the bad boy and that Tristan is the epitome of bad boy.  They attempt to keep their relationship as uncomplicated as possible, but that really only works for a short time before they both give in to their feelings and make their relationship a real thing.

This book really defined the "opposites attract" theory.  Danika was serious about life, sometimes to the extreme, and only did relationships.  Tristan was sometimes not serious enough about life, and only did hookups.  These choices came from their pasts, where Danika came from an abusive home and craved the stability of a serious relationship, and Tristan, having fallen in love at a young age and then having his heart broken, never wanted to have his heart broken again and only wanted quick hookups.  The only thing they really had in common was trust issues and the fact that they really liked each other.  The characters were so well developed that I couldn't help but fall in love with them.

Their chemistry literally almost lit my kindle on fire.  I loved first how they created such an amazing friendship, and then how they skirted the lines of friendship, teased each other mercilessly, and eventually finally gave in.  Their relationship, once they dated, was crazy, as well.  The scenes (lots of sex!) were totally different than anything we read in Up in the Air, and they were totally original and fit into T&D's personalities.

The book flowed so well.  Never once did I feel bored, or feel like things were moving too slow, or even feel like things were moving too fast.  I loved how we got little glimpses of some of the characters from Up in the Air.  T&D's story takes place about 5 years before James and Bianca, so while we never once see Bianca, we do see a very promiscuous James, his swank pad (the pool in Vegas), and Frankie & Estella.  I also love to see the relationships.  We get to see how Tristan and Danika both meet James and how Frankie and Danika meet.

I do have to admit, that while it's easy to love Tristan (the fact that he could cook/bake, the body, the tattoos, the dimples, the rock band, and the Alpha Male possessiveness and 
protectiveness over Danika), there were a lot of times when I just wanted to strangle him.  Yes, he was charming, but he just needed to get his head in the game!  Danika brought out the good in him, the man that wanted to commit to a woman, but there were still so many times when I just wanted to shake my fist at him.  I honestly did not like his friends, at all, and while his friends help to define who Tristan is, they just had bad news and bad influence written all over them.

Once they finally gave into each other, their relationship was hard work.  At the end of the day, we are all shaped by our pasts, and Tristan and Danika are not exempt of this.  Tristan can't do commitment and Danika can do casual and when things go wrong, they really go wrong.  I could see both of their points of view, and while I was more inclined to side with Danika, I could still understand where they were both coming from.  Neither of Tristan or Danika's pasts stay in the past, and it's interesting to see how their pasts shape their current relationship.  Tristan's relationship with his brother and mother is beautiful, but it's not always happy.

The book runs about 360 pages (6008 Location Points for Kindle users), and as I mentioned before, it flows really well.  But it isn't all happy moments.  It's also intense, sometimes tragic, and difficult.  While the book doesn't end on a cliffhanger in Tristan & Danika's relationship, their story is definitely not over.  We're treated to Chapter 1 of Rock Bottom, so we get an idea of what may happen in Book 2.  And it won't be pretty.  We know, from Up in the Air, that Tristan and Danika's story, at least until we get to Bianca and James's timeline, doesn't end happily, so we can only guess that they won't find their Happily Ever After for a while, if at all.  I started reading this book once Rock Bottom had already been released, so I know that there's a book 3 for T&D....So it's going to take a while before they can work through everything..


Link to Amazon
Link to Nook

Other books in the series:
Rock Bottom (Tristan & Danika #2)
Lovely Trigger (Tristan & Danika #3)
Spinoffs: 
In Flight (Up in the Air #1)
Mile High (Up in the Air #2)
Grounded (Up int he Air #3)
Lana (A Novella)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review: Lana (A Novella) by R.K. Lilley

~Synopsis~
Lana has been in love with Akira for as long as she can remember.  Akira may have viewed her as his little sister, but even that didn't deter her feelings.  Their one night together on her 18th birthday may have made things even worse when after seducing Akira, Lana realizes that their love affair is one sided.  Heartbroken and humiliated, Lana flees her home in Hawaii and buries herself in school, and then the family business.

Eight years later, Lana is forced back to Hawaii where her plans are limited to business only.  When she is reunited with Akira, her plans are shot to hell.
~My Review~
««««

We met Lana in the Up in the Air series, when Lana helps Bianca after she is tag teamed in the bathroom at the charity event.  We know that Lana is from originally from Hawaii, and holds a love for Akira.  This book is their full story in detail, and it's a fun little read.

This novella is a fun read, and it tells the story of Lana and Akira, both when Lana was just 18, and then 8 years later when she returns to Maui.  She insists that she is going to keep the trip focused on just work, but she honestly gets about zero work done in the entire novella.

There is really not a lot of conflict in the book, other than the fact that she slept with Akira when she was 18, realized that she was the only person with feelings, and then left.  They do need to spend time resolving their feelings and trusting one another again, however.  And it's so much fun to read.

Lana has loved Akira forever, and it's so much fun to see that he has apparently harbored a love for Lana for just as long.  Their chemistry is hot hot hot and the feelings they have for each other, as well as their love adds great depth to the story.  It was great to see them come together and finally get their Happily Ever After.

The book is short, only 100 pages, but there's a lot going on in a little time, so you still get a great story.  It's a fast read, and very enjoyable!

We do get a glimpse of Bianca, James, and Stephan, and if you haven't finished reading the Up in the Air Series, you'll want to finish that first so that you don't ruin any surprises!.


Link to Amazon
Link to Nook

Other books in the series:
In Flight (Up in the Air #1)
Mile High (Up in the Air #2)
Grounded (Up in the Air #3)
Spinoffs:
Bad Things (Tristan & Danika #1)
Rock Bottom (Tristan & Danika #2)
Lovely Trigger (Tristan & Danika #3)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Review: Grounded (Up in the Air #3) by R.K. Lilley

~Synopsis~
While James and Bianca have only been dating for a short while, Bianca can finally see James's love for her is just as strong as her love for him.  She agrees to live together with James, whether it be in Las Vegas or New York (or any of James's other properties), but she still has reservations.  Will this be the start of something wonderful, or will it be the nail in the coffin of their relationship?

James and Bianca have a growing need for each other that neither can deny but circumstances beyond either of their control insist on trying to keep them apart.  While the threat of Bianca's father is constantly looming overhead as he suddenly cannot be found, and James's sordid past, James and Bianca are in a constant battle to keep their demons at bay while fighting for their own Happily Ever After.
~My Review~
«««««

After reading Book 2, Mile High, I bought this book immediately and started reading as soon as possible.  Grounded picks up literally right where Mile High ended so there was no time jump at all, which I liked.

The book is intense from Page 1.  At the end of Mile High, Bianca, Stephan, and Javier took a redeye back to New York so they could spend the week at James's place.  Bianca just found out that her step-mother had been trying to get in touch with her and that she has a half brother who is only a couple years younger than herself.  She also just found out that her step-mother was found dead the night before and had been killed in the same fashion that Bianca's mother was killed.  So we know there will be drama in this book concerning her father.  The question will be if her father killed Sharon because she reached out to Bianca, or if because he knew Bianca was trying to warn her about what happened with her mother.  Also, what will happen to Bianca?  Will the same fate await her?  Or will she be able to escape the death that her father seems to have planned for her?

With the conflict that is set up right at the beginning, as well as everything that else that happens throughout the course of the book, we're not left bored.  I was happy that all of the conflict that happened was not expected, but not thrown in out of left field, either.  I loved how James and Bianca worked together through things, and when they tried to solve problems on their own, the realized that they needed each other.  They not only battled their pasts, but they were able to work on their relationship at the same time.

Once again, Bianca and James were stellar characters.  They were both a great hero and heroine.  They continued to grow and adapt in this book, while maintaining the qualities that they had in the first two books.  Bianca is still a strong individual who has that submissive / masochistic streak in the bedroom, while James continues to be the Alpha Male Dominant / quasi-Sadist who we love.

I loved all of the sex scenes in the book.  Of course I did.  R.K. Lilley did an amazing job for inventing new and exciting scenes.  Not only were there vanilla sex scenes, but there were scenes on the 4th floor, there were scenes for enjoyment and scenes for punishment.  And all the while, the situations were perfect for whatever was happening in the book in the first place.  I absolutely loved it.  Never once did I feel like there was a sex scene written in purely to take up space.

I loved how Bianca focused a lot on her art in this book.  We already knew from Mile High that she wanted to pursue it more and get ready for a showing, and I loved hearing about it more.  I loved the scenes in her art studio, as well as everything else that centered around her art.  I love how she is still doing work for herself even though her work situation has changed.  It's still something that she can call individual that James isn't providing for her.  I loved that she always maintained her sense of self in not allowing James to solely provide for her; that she made sure she was working for herself, even though James was always right there in case she did need help.

James continues to be doting, tender, and romantic, but it never takes away from the dominant side that we love.  I love how he works through his issues in this book, and while he tries to shut Bianca out, there's no way for him to do that.  I love how he learns that Bianca will always be there for him, just like he is always support her.

I love the story-line that takes place with Stephan and Javier.  I started falling in love with Stephan from page 1 of In Flight, and I started loving Javier in Mile High.  I continue to love them in this book.  They are so good for each other, but they support each other's friendships as well.  It's really Javier who helps Stephan and Bianca grow out of their codependent relationship, and I love that he does that, but still maintains friendships everywhere.

As the book started to come to a close, I was literally biting my nails in anticipation for what would happen.  I loved how we got some other characters Point of Views (Stephan and James), and I loved the depth it added to the end scene.  I knew it had to end on a happy note, but there were still times that I doubted it, and thought that it was so well written!

The Epilogue was actually a double epilogue, and I loved everything about it!  But I'm honestly not ready for the James & Bianca journey to end.  I wish I could keep reading about them, even if it were about their boring everyday lives.  Maybe it's because I know that there's no way their lives would ever be boring.

This book was a little longer than the first two books (373 pages or 6125 location points for Kindle Users), but it needed to be longer because there were a lot of things that needed to be resolved.  But everything was done in a timely manner, nothing was rushed or drawn out.

All in all, I loved everything about Grounded, and everything about the Up in the Air series.  I loved the characters in that they were all somehow damaged but adaptable.  I loved the conflict and the resolution.  I loved the length of the books, and I loved the writing.  Yes, I was still annoyed over the "[name] and I" issue....but I think I can put it on the back burner and not really think about it because everything else about the books were amazing!

A Happy Ending to a series that really earned its 5 stars!!!.


Link to Amazon
Link to Nook

Other books in the series:
In Flight (Up in the Air #1)
Mile High (Up in the Air #2)
Spinoffs:
Bad Things (Tristan & Danika #1)
Rock Bottom (Tristan & Danika #2)
Lovely Trigger (Tristan & Danika #3)
Lana (A Novella)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Review: Mile High (Up in the Air #2) by R.K. Lilley

~Synopsis~
James has initiated Bianca into his world of dominance and submission, passion, and pain.  He brought out her submissive and masochistic nature.  Through everything, Bianca fell in love with the charming, beautiful, Alpha-dominant James Cavendish.

Due to a gross misunderstanding orchestrated by one of James's past lovers, Bianca has called a halt to their relationship.  The combination of their breakup, as well as the brutal beating that Bianca suffered at the hands of her father has a distraught James begging to be let back in.

It's been over a month since Bianca's hospitalization and while James has respected Bianca's need for space, his patience is at an end and he's ready to reconcile.  While Bianca's feelings toward James haven't changed and she still loves him fiercely, she is holding him at arms length.  It's only a matter of time before James has her under his spell once again.
~My Review~
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After finishing In Flight, I bought this book immediately.  I am one of those people who even if I'm on the fence about a book in a series, I always want to know what happens at the end.  Well, this is not one of those books.  This was a book where the first was SO GOOD that I needed to keep reading to find out what happens.

I absolutely love Bianca and James.  They are probably one of my favorite book couples, and even though Bianca shut out James at the end of Book 1, I knew that they were going to get back together.  My only hope was that it would happen as soon as possible.  Well, my wish came true.  The beginning of Book 2 fast forwards a month after what happens in Book 2, and we essentially get right back into Bianca and James's world.  They have a lot to work through: Feelings, insecurities, and trust being just a few.

What I really loved about this book was the continual development of Bianca, James, and even Stephan.  There are so many moments where the love between Bianca and James really just jumps off the page.  James continues to be his sexy Alpha Male Dominant self, but he also maintains the tender heart that he possesses for Bianca outside the bedroom.  He has the utmost respect for Bianca and is completely honest with her.  He knows that because of everything that happened with Jules, Bianca will use any excuse she can to push him away.  Therefore, he gives Bianca everything she asks for, while ensuring that it's not just a one-sided relationship.  But everything he asks for in return is completely within reason.  I loved him so much for everything that he did for Bianca.  Even though we can see the love he has for Bianca is to the moon and back, Bianca still holds back on her feelings for him, and while I understand why she holds back, I still feel bad for him at times.  She is always so cool and composed, while we know that Bianca loves James, I totally understand why he sometimes doubts her.

While there is a lot of lovey-doveyness that happens, there is still plenty of steamy scenes.  For instance, I'll never be able to see a horse riding scene on television again without having dirty thoughts (I don't care how unrealistic it was!  It was still hot!).  And there are plenty of scenes on the 4th floor, as well.

I also loved that Stephan had more of his own role in this book rather than just Bianca's BFF.  Yes, he still supports Bianca in every way possible, but his own friendship with James allows him to be more of a 3rd party rather than Bianca's extra appendage.  He seriously is probably one of the best friends anyone could ever have, and I'm so happy that he starts to find his own happiness in this book.  With the release of Mr. Beautiful coming out soon (October 15!!), I really hope that I get to read more from his point of view in regards to his own story line.

Once again, my only complaint in Book 2 is the same as Book 1, and it is not even about the story.  It's about the writing and my crazy obsession with "[name] and I" vs "[name] and me"... For example:  "Marnie called out to James and I, smiling and wiggling her eyebrows suggestively."  Perfect example.  You wouldn't say "Marnie called out to I, smiling....."  No, you would say "Marnie called out to me, smiling...."  ergo:  James and me.  But, as I said before, I think I"m just nitpicking.  But it's valid and I noticed it every time it came up.

A lot happens in this book.  Once again, the book ended with a lot of unanswered questions that will be dealt in Book 3, so another cliffhanger.  I wouldn't say it's like the cliffhanger in Book 1, as both James and Bianca are in a very good place in their relationship, but there's a lot left that is going to happen in Book 3 in order for everything to be resolved, and I'm not ashamed to say that I bought book 3 immediately in order to keep reading.  Another Five healthy stars for Mile High!!.


Link to Amazon
Link to Nook

Other books in the series:
In Flight (Up in the Air #1)
Grounded (Up in the Air #3)
Spinoffs:
Bad Things (Tristan & Danika #1)
Rock Bottom (Tristan & Danika #2)
Lovely Trigger (Tristan & Danika #3)
Lana (A Novella)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Review: In Flight (Up in the Air #1) by R.K. Lilley

~Synopsis~
This is the story of Bianca Karlsson, a reserved and guarded flight attendant and James Cavendish, a sexy billionaire hotel owner.  Their first encounter is on a flight from Las Vegas to New York while Bianca is working in First Class.  James is beautiful, and something about him makes Bianca weak at the knees.  While she has always been able to ignore the advances of other men, she cannot stay composed around James.  She knows that if anyone can break through all the walls she has put up around herself, it will be James.

When James first sees Bianca, he knows that he simply must approach her and stake his claim.  He knows that Bianca finds him both intimidating and intriguing even though she doesn't show it.  His dominance calls to her submission in a way that neither has ever experienced before.  Bianca wants to be dominated by this man and sees the promise of both pleasure and pain in the depths of his beautiful turquoise eyes.

While both James and Bianca both have scars from their pasts, they cannot ignore the connection they feel as they pursue an intense and passionate relationship.
~My Review~
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I found the Up in the Air Series through a Goodreads recommendation.  I don't always like the recommendations that are presented on Goodreads, but I have to admit I was very pleased with this recommendation.  I have actually read all of the books in this series, and plan to blog about all of them in preparation for the release of Mr. Beautiful that is coming out on October 15.

This is the first book in the Up in the Air Series.  I absolutely loved everything about this book.  This was the first book after Fifty Shades of Grey that includes any aspect of BDSM, and I really enjoyed it.  While sex played a huge role in this story (Lots of kinky, graphic, BDSM sex), the story went far beyond that.  Both Bianca and James had scarred pasts that were (partially) uncovered throughout the course of the book.  Scarred pasts and crazy BDSM moments aside, there were still plenty of tender moments shared.  There was also a strong plot and great character development.

While the story is presented solely from Bianca's point of view, I feel like I could still understand how other people were feeling at the same time.  As I mentioned, the character development is really great.  I loved Bianca because she was down to earth, reasonable in her life choices, and never annoying.  Sometimes as you're reading you want to knock some sense into the heroine's head, but I never felt like this during the entire read.  I think that if she was a real person, I would be friends with her.  I absolutely loved her relationship with Stephan (her gay best friend), despite the fact that they are totally codependent.  With everything that they have shared together, they have a deep connection that essentially makes them feel like siblings, and I love all of their interactions together.

James is, without a doubt, the ultimate Alpha Dominant.  He is a self proclaimed sadist, but he keeps any sadistic tendencies to the bedroom.  Above everything, though, he is a gentleman with the best of intentions.  While he is possessive and controlling, he matches Bianca for being completely reasonable.  Never once, in any of his Alpha demands, does he come across as unreasonable or turn into a crazy nut.  He is completely in control of himself, and knowing some of Bianca's past, he strives to maintain that at all times.

While both James and Bianca are completely reasonable and act like the perfect gentleman and lady, they still bring a ton of heat to the story.  They have such an intense connection that I found myself rapt with attention at all times.  There are steamy sex scenes (I totally want to join the mile high club after reading this book), and any and all of the BDSM scenes that are in the book are totally full of a heat that I hadn't seen before.  I mentioned that James is a self-proclaimed sadist, but never once in any of the scenes does he take anything too far, and at all times he is looking out for what is best for Bianca.  He has gentle and tender qualities that come out that made me want to clutch my heart and sigh, and I loved how he could switch from the Alpha Dominant to the tender lover like it was nothing.

There was only one thing that I didn't like about the story.  And actually, it has nothing to do with the story and everything to do with the writing.  It's a nitpick thing, but it drove me absolutely crazy.  This was the use of "[name] and I" when it should have been "[name] and me."  It's something that drives me crazy in every book I read, but for some reason, in this book, even when it's grammatically correct to use "...and me," it's written as "...and I."  It's an editing issue, but it's also a misunderstanding as to how each form is supposed to be used.  For example, this is correct: "Stephan and I always worked together in first class, we bid it that way, but our main cabin crew changed every few months." This, however, is wrong: "Her name was Sarah, and she knew Stephan and I." Why is this wrong?  Well, take the "Stephan and" part out and reread the sentence:  Her name was Sarah, and she knew I.  Now that just sounds wrong.  That's because Sarah knows ME.  ergo, it should be "Her name was Sarah, and she knew Stephan and me."  Like I said, it's a nitpick thing, but it bothered me.  And it's really the only thing in the whole book that bothered me.

There are small conflicts that take place the book that are resolved, but the main conflict happens toward the end so the book ends on a cliffhanger.  It's a great length, being neither too long or too short at 301 pages (5302 location points for Kindle users).  The story flowed really well, nothing was drawn out or too abrupt, and as soon as it ended, I bought book 2!  The cliffhanger sucked me in, and I couldn't wait to keep reading!  Five super healthy stars for In Flight!.


Link to Amazon
Link to Nook

Other books in the series:
Mile High (Up in the Air #2)
Grounded (Up in the Air #3)
Spinoffs:
Bad Things (Tristan & Danika #1)
Rock Bottom (Tristan & Danika #2)
Lovely Trigger (Tristan & Danika #3)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Review: Smart, Sexy, and Secretive (Reed Brothers #2) by Tammy Falkner

~Synopsis~
After leaving Logan and the Reed brothers, Emily is coming back to New York City.  In order to provide the treatment to Matt that he needed, Emily sacrificed her freedom and returned home.  Now, however, she's coming back to the city to attend Juilliard, despite her dyslexia and difficulty reading.

Logan has been surviving since Emily left him.  He knows she is going to return to him, but he doesn't know when.  All he knows is that he can't live without her.

As Emily and Logan rekindle their relationship, they have to fight against the challenges posed to them by her father and ex-boyfriend who are determined to keep them apart.  Can Emily and Logan overcome the attempts to keep them apart? They know they can't live without each other.  Can they make this relationship work?
~My Review~
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This is the second book in the Reed Brothers series by Tammy Falkner.  After I read the first book, which I got for free on Amazon.com, I knew I needed to download and read this book right away.

Once again, the writing in this book is just as good as the first book and the story is from both Logan and Emily's point of view.  We already know a lot about both Logan and Emily because this is the continuation of the first book, but we get to know them even better than before.  We learn a lot more about Emily's relationship with both of her parents, and how she handles her father and his lack of support and understanding of her abilities despite her dyslexia.  We are also introduced to Emily's ex-boyfriend, Trip, who is a total douchebag.  He and Emily's father go so far as to actually move Trip into Emily's apartment while he's looking for his own apartment in the City.  I absolutely love how Emily and Logan face this together.  Since Emily has gained the support and understanding of her mother, it's wonderful to see that she does have positive family relationships.

Emily and Logan continue to not only support themselves in upholding their relationship, but they also support one another's disabilities.  Emily's dyslexia is what forced her away from her parents in the first place, but with her mother's support, and Juilliard's promise to help her, she is ready to live her life.  Logan is prepared to help her as well and does whatever he can to make Emily comfortable.  Logan continues to talk with his voice, but is surprised by Emily, who used her three months apart from Logan to take sign language courses and learn how to sign.  I thought this was so sweet, and really shows the dedication that Emily has to Logan.

Before Emily left New York in book 1, she had cemented her place into the Reed Family.  She became the sister they never had, and when she returns, she is welcomed back with open arms.  Once again, I loved all of the endearing family dynamics that occur between all the Reeds.  Since Emily supported the Reed family by sacrificing her freedom to give Matt the treatment he needed, the Reed brothers will now do anything to support Emily and Logan and their relationship.

Since in this book, Emily has learned sign language, I felt like the communication between Logan and Emily was much better.  I didn't question the lip-reading as much as I did in the first book, although Logan still lip reads all other people who don't know sign language.

The conflict and resolution in this book is once again, very good.  Can Emily and Logan work past the meddling of Emily's father and ex-boyfriend?  Will Ralph Madison ever accept Emily for who she is and support her the way he should?  Will Emily and Logan be able to get past everything that is trying to keep them apart?  The resolution was also good; it wasn't as abrupt as it was in the first book, so I thought that was a great improvement.

This book is much shorter than the first book of the series.  It's only 200 pages (2583 location points on Kindle).  The story went very fast, but it was done well.  In all honesty, I feel like this book could have been combined with the first book to give Emily and Logan just one book instead of two, especially considering that book 1 ended so abruptly.  Regardless, Emily and Logan's story ends on a happy note and we're not left with a cliffhanger.  However, it's obvious that we will be seeing more of the happy couple in the other brothers' books.  The last chapter of the book is actually from Pete's point of view, so we're clued in that the next book in the series will be his story.

Just like I loved Tall, Tatted, and Tempting, I absolutely loved this Smart, Sexy, and Secretive, as well.  I honestly can't wait to read all of the other books in this series!.


Link to Amazon
Link to Nook

Other books in the series:
Tall, Tatted, and Tempting (Reed Brothers #1)
Calmly, Carefully, and Completely (Reed Brothers #3)
Reagan's Revenge (Reed Brothers #3.5)
Maybe Matt's Miracle (Reed Brothers #4)
Proving Paul's Promise (Reed Brothers #5)
Reed Brothers #6 (to be published)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Review: Heart of Light by T.K. Leigh

~Synopsis~
Jolene Bergio has spent the last twelve years in the custody of Anthony Falconi, who on a nightly basis sold her to the highest bidder.  He has been in control of Jolene's life for twelve years, since she was sixteen and her adoptive mother died and her father no longer wished to care from her.  Every night, Jolene was abused by Falconi's men, and every day, Jolene was abused by Falconi himself.  Until one night, over ten years later, she finally escapes.

Jolene gets as far away from Chicago as possible and hides out in a small beach cottage in Amelia Island, Florida, off the coast of Jacksonville.  Little does she know that she's renting the house of a one Cameron Bowen, who has been nursing a broken heart for the past couple years.  While both Jolene and Cam are trying to heal themselves, they also start to heal each other.  When Jolene tries to quietly keep her distance from everyone, Cam manages to slowly tear down the walls that she has built up.  Slowly, Cam teaches Jolene how to love and trust again.

When a man from Jolene's past finds her, will she be able to keep her identity hidden?  Or will the truth bring Jolene back to the captivity from which she was finally able to break free?  Can Jolene and Cam's love help them survive?
~My Review~
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This book is a spinoff of the A Beautiful Mess series by T.K. Leigh.  I enjoyed that series quite a bit, and knowing a little bit about Cam from that book, and I was interested to see what Heart of Light was all about, but I couldn't make up my mind on whether or not I wanted to read it.  I read the synopsis on Amazon, and while it was different from a lot of the books I've read in the past, I still couldn't make a decision.  After almost a month of deliberation, I read the first (almost) four chapters before finally deciding to buy the book since Amazon gives you the option to "Look Inside".  I enjoyed the first few chapters, so I finally bought the book so I could continue reading.

Heart of light is totally different than anything I've read.  It deals with issues of human trafficking, which is a subject that I'm sure was very difficult to write about and took a lot of research.  I give the author a lot of credit for writing about this kind of topic, because I'm sure it wasn't easy.  However, this book really wasn't for me.  Even though I knew at about 35% that I really didn't like the book, I forced myself to continue reading.  I'm the type of person who will finish a book even if I don't like it, and I really wanted to keep reading to see if the book improved.  I saw that it had many very positive reviews, so maybe I just hadn't gotten to the good part yet.

Unfortunately, the book didn't improve for me.  The story line was my first issue.  I am totally in favor of exploring new topics, and I appreciated that I was getting a story about a difficult topic (human trafficking) and the healing that needs to take place after experiencing it, but I don't agree that someone can be cured from their experiences in just a few months, not just because of what she's recovering from in Chicago, but also everything else that happens to her while she's in Florida.

Jolene has been subjected to being sold nightly since her 18th birthday.  She has been conditioned to be submissive and fearful, and the men who purchase her are 'special friends' of Falconi.  They get off on the submissive and fearful behavior.  A friend of hers who works in the hotel, Rosa, has been helping girls escape from under Falconi's thumb for years, but this escape is particularly dangerous for everyone because Jolene isn't just one of Falconi's girls; She IS Falconi's girl.  Falconi has always been able to maintain this lifestyle and keep the girls under his thumb because he has law enforcement and politicians on his payroll so he'll always be safe.  Jolene is able to escape on a bus that is headed out of Chicago toward Miami and ends up getting off the bus in Jacksonville.  It's clear that she is severely damaged from the mental and physical abuse that she has suffered from over the last ten years.  She can't even be in close proximity with a man, never mind be touched by a man, without freaking out.   I disagreed with Jolene's approach at keeping her anonymity.  She just got on a bus and escaped Chicago, but all of a sudden, she's telling people her real name and working in a popular bar.   Doesn't it sound like she's just screaming to be found?

Cameron Bowen lives on Amelia Island off the coast of Jacksonville, FL.  He is a practicing psychiatrist who happens to specialize in treating women who have been sexually abused.  He failed to save his sister from the abuse that she suffered as a child, and has taken on this profession in order to make up for that fact.  For the past two years, Cam has been very bitter and closed off, nursing a broken heart after reuniting Olivia with her love Alexander, even though he himself was in love with her.  Knowing that she could never return his love, he let her go, but has never been able to move past her (this is the story line from A Beautiful Mess).  Even though Cam's profession is that of a psychiatrist, he also has a tendency to fall for girls who need help.  My first issue here was that from the description we get of Cam's work, he's a Psychologist, not a Psychiatrist.  I know that people often times use the two terms interchangeably, but they're not the same things.  Psychiatrists are physicians who assess, diagnose, treat, and prevent mental illness.  They have an MD, but then they also complete residency training in mental health.  But from the description we're given, Cam is essentially a counselor, which means he is a Psychologist.  I'm not labeling one profession as better than the other, but they are different and should be used appropriately.  My second issue is that [if you read A Beautiful Mess Series] it's clear that Cam clearly has a thing for girls who are damaged and need help.  Olivia needed help and he helped her, and now Jolene needs help, and he has this overbearing need to help her.  And just like what happened with Olivia, he is falling in love with her.  I often found myself questioning if he actually did love Jolene, or if he just loved the fact that he was helping her and became attached.

I felt like the relationship between Jolene and Cam was unnecessarily rushed.  How is it possible for a woman who has been abused for 10+ years to all of a sudden fall in love with someone because he has sexy eyes and abs of steel?  How is it possible for a man who has been pining over someone (who he knows he never really loved) to just flip a switch and be in love with someone else so quickly?  In all seriousness, their relationship essentially starts within 24 hours of Jolene moving to the rental house, and I find it surprising that Cam would accept that she was okay with a relationship so quickly after her past (even if he doesn't know the extent of it) based on his training.

The book was actually on the long side, coming in at 420 pages (5323 location points for Kindle users), and it felt a long read and didn't seem to go by quickly.  There was so much back and forth that I often found myself getting bored.  I felt like there were a lot of scenes drawn out, unnecessarily.  I did like that Alexander did make an appearance, which I felt helped gain more focus, and help solve a lot of the conflict, but the conflict (and there was tons of conflict) was resolved much too quickly, and some of it wasn't even properly explained.  I'm happy that Jolene has her happily (and healthy) ever after, but I felt like we were just supposed to accept the fact that things worked out.  I would have liked to see a better explanation of how certain things came to a close, based on the fact that we had to wait so long for the conflict to come to a head, and the mere fact that we were dealing with so much at once.  I had a hard time understanding how Jolene now has relationships with people that she never met before when there is no explanation as to how they found each other (yes, we can logically guess how they met, but a simple conversation would have been helpful).  I also didn't like that there was no final resolution on Rosa, and what became of her at the end.  And while Jolene did have her moment and take what she felt was owed her as retribution, we never actually found out what happened to Anthony Falconi!  Is he alive or dead?  What was his final sentencing?

All in all, I feel like the attempt at this book was good, but it just wasn't executed well.  I know there were a lot of very positive reviews, and while I can see on the surface why the reviews would be good, Heart of Light just wasn't for me.  I know that there is another book coming out, another spinoff that is Marley's story.  Marley is Cam's sister who was abused as a child and ultimately decided Cam's profession.  Based on Heart of Light, and the little bit that we were given of Marley's story, I don't think I will be reading her story..


Heart of Light
Heart of Light

Other books by T.K. Leigh
A Beautiful Mess (A Beautiful Mess #1)
A Tragic Wreck (A Beautiful Mess #2)
Gorgeous Chaos (A Beautiful Mess #3)
Heart of Marley

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Review: Locke (Corps Security #5) by Harper Sloan

~Synopsis~
Maddox Locke is his own worst enemy.  He endured a terrible and verbally abusive upbringing, a monster of a mother, a selfish prick of a brother, a deviant of an ex-girlfriend, and the horrors of war.  His life is shrouded in darkness and while he is always the healer of everyone else's problems,  he keeps everyone at arm's length to keep them untainted by his past.

Emersyn (Emmy) Keeze has been in love with Maddox since their first meeting at the Corps Security office.  Besotted with grief and guilt over the death of Cooper, Emmy flees Georgia to hide away from her friends and the man she loves.  Not knowing that Maddox loves Emmy just as much as she loves him, she's caught off guard when Maddox makes it his mission to finally bring her home.

Will Maddox and Emmy rise above the darkness that has consumed them both?  Will Maddox finally accept the love that Emmy wants to give him?  Will they be able to rise above everything or will their pasts tear them apart forever?
~My Review~
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This is the last book in the Corps Security Series by Harper Sloan.  After having read all of the other books in the series (Axel, Cage, Beck, Uncaged, and Cooper), this was probably the one I was looking forward to the most.  I have had a not-so-secret crush on Maddox Locke since Axel's book, and I was incredibly disappointed to find that his book would be last.  However, I feel as though this book, out of all of them, was the most soul searching book, therefore it kind of makes sense that Locke's book would be last.

Once again, Harper Sloan writes another good book.  I have no complaints in the writing.  We've already read about Maddox and Emmy in the previous books, so while we have a little bit of background information on them from earlier reads, I feel like they are developed very well in this book.  We get a solid understanding of who they are and what makes them tick.  While we knew some of Maddox's secrets (we knew he was injured in the war and was an amputee, we knew that Ash had found a picture of his "worst nightmare" hidden in the closet), there really was so much more to learn.  Emmy's past really did surprise me, and I realized that I really didn't know anything at all about her.  I was interested to read that Emmy wasn't as clean cut as I originally thought her to be.  She definitely has her own demons to work through, and I was really surprised to find out how she actually came to work for Corps Security.  I honestly just assumed that Greg Cage, being the ultimate big-brother-protector kind of guy that he is, was the one who found Emmy.  It was a nice twist to find out that wasn't the case at all.

I absolutely loved Maddox and Emmy together.  While Maddox fought to keep Emmy away, Emmy fought to keep Maddox close.  They both had their own issues, but they were able to help each other through just about everything.  As is typical in a Harper Sloan novel, we get to see lots of sex, and I loved Emmy's sassy mouth and Maddox's ultimate Alpha hotness, the ass smacking, and the delicious piercings.  I did feel like sometimes there was a little too much drama, but it all came together in the end.  The first part of the book did make my head spin a bit.  I felt like there was so much back and forth between Maddox and Emmy:  Shared feelings, angry sex, admissions of love, lather, rise, repeat.  Once they were able to get past this, I would have liked to see a little bit more of the actual resolution to get past the conflicts.  They recognize that they have these feelings for each other and want to move forward and fight each other's demons, but we only get a small glimpse at this happening.  We get that little taste, and then there's a time lapse, and all of a sudden conflicts are resolved.  
I understand that there was a lot of conflict written into the story, so not everything can be resolved out on paper (we'd be reading forever), but maybe if there wasn't so much drama written into the beginning of the book, we could have seen the resolution better.

The book isn't too long or too short, running at 260 pages (4121 location points for the Kindle Readers).  This was about the same length as Cooper's book, and just shorter than the others.  However, I felt like it was a good length.  If there was more put into the story I think it would have just been either unnecessary drama or just fluff.

As a bonus, I loved how the song list was included.  I love books connected to music!!

All in all, I liked this book.  It was a real soul-searcher, and I felt like it was the perfect ending to a really fun series.  I'm excited to read about Dani and Cohen in Unexpected Fate, which will come out in 2015!


Link to Amazon
Link to Nook

Other books in the series:
Axel (Corps Security #1)
Cage (Corps Security #2)
Beck (Corps Security #3)
Uncaged (Corps Security #3.5)
Cooper (Corps Security #4)
Spinoffs:
Unexpected Fate (Hope Town #1)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Review: Tall, Tatted, and Tempting (Reed Brothers #1) by Tammy Falkner

~Synopsis~
Logan Reed is a sexy tattoo artist who is deaf.  Since loosing his hearing at the age of 13, Logan hasn't spoken a word.  Logan has a very close and strong relationship with his four brothers, he lives and works with them, and he is also a man-whore.  But underneath everything, he is fiercely loyal, sweet, and charming.  Logan has never been interested in a relationship, preferring only one night stands.  But when a beautiful, dark haired, dark eyed stranger comes into his tattoo shop and his usual moves of seduction leave him with a bloody nose, he finds himself thinking that he may finally be interested in something more.

Kit is a lost soul who finds herself homeless on the streets of New York City.  She's forced herself into a life of hiding due to her family pigeon-holing her into a position she doesn't want to be in.  She carries the secret of her identity with her everywhere because she's afraid of being found by her family.  When she goes to the tattoo shop with a deep and emotional tattoo design, she finds herself defensively warding off advances from the beautifully quiet, blonde haired, blue eyed artist.

This is the story of Logan and Kit, how they fall for each other, keep each other safe, and grow to love each other.  But can Kit trust Logan enough to tell him her secrets?  Can Logan prove to Kit that he's everything she needs?
~My Review~
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I found this book through an advertisement on Facebook via Smut Book Club because it is currently on Amazon for free.  When I read the Amazon synopsis, I felt like I would enjoy this book, and decided to download it to my Kindle.  I'm so glad I did.

The writing in this book is really good.  I didn't find myself criticizing any incorrect grammar (yes, I'm one of those) and it used English that I would find myself using on a daily basis.  I enjoyed that I didn't have to look up words that I didn't know.  I loved that the story is from both Logan and Kit's point of view.  I love books where I can see both of their perspectives.  At the same time, the book is chronological.  Logan's perspective is not just a reiteration of Kit's perspective.  But it's great to read both of their stories.

The characters of Logan and Kit are well developed.  We understand who they are and why they tick the way they do.  We are introduced to Logan's family almost immediately, and I fall in love with Paul, Matt, Pete, and Sam almost as quickly as I fell in love with Logan.  Their story is set up, and they are presented to us in a great way.  I love the relationship that the brothers have, and I really feel like the relationship they have is like a real-life love and friendship.  It's also great to see how the receive Kit and make her a part of their family as well.  Kit's background comes to us in pieces, but it makes sense, since she isn't telling Logan about her real name or where she's from, she doesn't tell us either.

The story progresses well, and the characters' endearing personalities really carry everything.  It was more emotional and heartfelt than I expected it to be, but I really enjoyed it.  One thing I was unsure about was the sign language / lip reading bit.  I understand Logan's disability, and I absolutely loved that his brothers immediately learned sign language so they could speak to each other.  Even Paul's 3-year old daughter is learning sign language.  But what really confused me was the lip reading.  I myself happen to be terrible at lip reading, but from what I understand, lip reading typically only results in about 35% understanding.  That means that two thirds of the time, you can't understand what someone says when you're trying to lip-read.  However, being that Logan has been deaf since he was 13, and hasn't secluded himself from the hearing world, I understand if he can understand more than just 35%.  It just seemed odd that he never questioned what someone was saying if they weren't signing to him.

The conflict in this is good.  Kit does eventually tell him what he needs to hear, but it takes quite a while.  What I did like about this is that Logan likes and respects Kit enough that he won't sleep with her until she tells him her secrets.  He wants her love and her trust, and he won't do anything to sacrifice that.  I really liked that he didn't just want to sleep with her and then leave her.  There is also conflict around Matt, Logan's brother who is suffering from cancer.  This is the conflict that really drives most of the resolution, and I do wish that the resolution hadn't been so quick and abrupt.

The book is about 320 pages long (3019 location points long for Kindle users) but went by quickly.  I know that there is a second book to continue Logan and Kit's story, but I almost wish that some of that story from Book 2 were included into the conclusion of this book since the ending was a bit abrupt.

All in all, I absolutely loved this book.  I loved the relationship between Logan and Kit and Logan's brothers.  I love the story and I plan on continuing to read all of the other books in this series!.


Tall, Tatted, and Tempting
Tall, Tatted, and Tempting


Other books in the series:
Smart, Sexy, and Secretive (Reed Brothers #2)
Calmly, Carefully, and Completely (Reed Brothers #3)
Reagan's Revenge (Reed Brothers #3.5)<
Maybe Matt's Miracle (Reed Brothers #4)
Proving Paul's Promise (Reed Brothers #5)
Reed Brothers #6 (to be published)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Review: Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades #3) by E.L. James

~Synopsis~
Now that Ana and Christian are married, they continue to learn about each other and grow as a couple.  Once Ana and Christian come home from their honeymoon, they are back to the real world, where Ana struggles to maintain her sense of self when Christian forces protection due to unseen threats against them.  The threat presented to them is something that neither of them expected, and working together sometimes proves difficult, as Christian always wants to solve Ana's problems for her.

As these threats are targeted against their careers, Ana and Christian also have personal hurdles that they need to move past, which helps them to realize that their love for each other will carry them through anything.
~My Review~
««««

I was really excited to dive into the final installment of the Fifty Shades Trilogy.  Book 2 ends with Ana and Christian getting engaged (I'm still amused that they got engaged after the 11 day timeline in Book 2, but whatever.  It's Fiction.  I get it).  The book starts off with Ana and Christian on their in Europe, and I honestly do not like the structure of the beginning of the book.  The first about 88 pages(ish) of this book focus on their honeymoon, but a lot of it is in flashback form.  I really would have preferred to have everything in order, with a notation of how much time had passed, rather than flipping back and forth from Ana sitting on the beach (and getting herself in trouble with Christian for taking her top off and giving everyone a show) and random parts of either planning the wedding or the wedding day itself and different parts of the honeymoon that have already passed.  Because there's just a separator to show that a different subject is coming up, and no teller as to whether it's past or present, and it makes reading a bit confusing.

Once Ana and Christian return home from their honeymoon, the story progresses to uncover more conflict.  With someone targeting Christian, and potentially Ana as well, the story flows with different opportunities for Christian to be a super overbearing Alpha Male and for Ana to be upset about it.  The story flows, the conflict builds and is resolved well, and it's an interesting read.  I won't lie and say that the sex scenes didn't bore me like they did in the other two books, because they did, however I did get some amusement from some of the interactions (like talking about who cleans the toys when they're done using them).  However, as this book was 579 pages (The longest of any of the Trilogy), there were definitely scenes that dragged and went on for too long. I did feel like this book had a much better timeline.  Whereas in both Books 1 and Book 2 the timelines were extremely short, this book is longer.  There are references to the date during the honeymoon as being August 17, and there are emails at the very end of the book being September 21.  So we actually have a whole month in which lapses throughout this book.  It's still very quick, especially considering everything that happens, but it's better than the 11 days of Book 2.

Ana's Inner Goddess and her Subconscious make appearances in this book, as they did in the previous two books.  However, the Inner Goddess is only referenced 17 times, which is significantly less than in the previous two books.  Her Subconscious is on par with the other two books, making 45 appearances.  Once again, these two characters (we'll call them characters for lack of better terms) really did nothing for me and were not value aded into the book at all.


At the end of Book 2, we got a snippet from the perspective of Jack Hyde, and we realize that his vendetta against Ana and Christian is far from over.  While he stalks the newly engaged couple outside his parents' house, we know that we're going to hear more about him in Fifty Shade Freed.  The conflict with Jack in this book is really done well.  I love how he makes attempts (numerous times) to go after Ana and Christian, and then how his final attempt is built up and resolved.  It's done really well, and I really enjoyed this part of the book.  I feel like a few twists were put into this part of the book with some secondary characters you wouldn't even consider, and it makes it that much more interesting.  Also, the reason why Jack is so determined to bring Christian down is very interesting.

I loved the Epilogue that is written into this book.  It takes place in May of 2014, about 2 1/2 years after the last scene, and it really shows how Christian and Ana have grown. One of the best parts, in my opinion, are the extra scenes after this, all written from Christian's point of view.  I love reading not only his clips as a child, but I love reading the first chapter of Fifty Shades of Grey from his POV.

At the end of the day, with Fifty Shades being the first books that I read in the "Contemporary Romance" genre, I really enjoyed these books.  While they really weren't the most well written books and the plots were a bit weak, they were entertaining and I am really glad I read them..


Link for Amazon
Link for Nook



Other books in the series:
Fifty Shades of Grey (Book 1)
Fifty Shades Darker (Book2)