Monday, December 8, 2014

Review: Beautiful Outlaw (Savage Outlaw MC #1) by Emily Minton

After ten years of surviving as a walking, talking, living doll, Laura feels dead inside. 

She has sacrificed everything for her family, marrying a man she could never love. Her husband doesn’t beat her, doesn’t berate her. He transforms her, forcing her to live as a stand-in for his long dead wife. She stays silent as piece after piece of herself disappears, willing to do anything to protect the people she loves.

When his demands go too far, she finally tells her brother the ugly truth.

Wanting to protect her without putting the rest of their family at risk, he sends her to the one place he knows she’ll be safe. He places her into the hands of his best friend, Vice President of the Savage Outlaws MC.

Once again, she is transformed into someone new; Shay.

Bowie has spent many nights dreaming about his best friend’s little sister. The reality is so much sweeter than his dreams. He wants to be more for Shay, needs to protect her, but he’s not sure if he knows how.

Can an Outlaw show her how beautiful life should be?
~My Review~

I knew just about nothing about this book when I decided to read it.  I found it because I "like" Emily Minton on Facebook.  Since I read the Renegade MC books, I've been following her, and when I started seeing her posts about this book, I decided to read the Synopsis and buy the book.  I was honestly a little confused (Laura / Shay?), but once I started reading, I totally understood what was going on.  Buying and reading this book was totally worth it.  I loved just about every single minute of it!

I've recently really gotten into these MC books, and this one seriously didn't disappoint.  I felt like both characters were really well developed.  We learned about why Laura/Shay needed protection right away.  Sometimes, there is a level of suspense where we don't know what the main character is running from for a while - not here!  We learn right up front, and I really like that.  At the same time, we immediately get a good understanding of who Bowie is.  Not only is he Laura's brother's buddy from the Army days, but he's a member of the Savage Outlaw MC club, and he has some family issues of his own.

The other characters involved in the story, Laura's brother (Jeremy, aka Lock) and her parents, Bowie's brother (Tin-Man), sister (Rachel), mother (Nina), father (Cash), their new friend Tag, as well as everyone else who plays support roles in the book are awesome.  I love how we get just enough information about them all so that they fit into the story perfectly, but they're not just there to take up space.  They all really help to build up the story and make it complete.

The story was great.  I was hooked from the very beginning.  Laura has been living a miserable existence for the past 10 years with a whack job of a husband.  She married him in order to help the rest of her family, and while they don't know that, they think that she has just been pulling away from them.  When she finally decides that she's had enough, everyone comes together to help her.  Everything about how this happens, and how her life changes really flows well.  They story is told from both Laura/Shay's point of view and Bowie's point of view, so we're not left thinking what Bowie might be thinking.  I really love it when the authors decide to give us both perspectives.  It really gives the reading that much more depth.  I felt like I really understood what Laura was going through when she was all of a sudden forced to become Shay, a new person, but at the same time try to rediscover who she used to be.  In finding herself, she finds others who she can count on to help her, and it really made for a wonderful story.

There is obviously a lot of conflict in the story.  There is the conflict with Laura fleeing from her crazy husband, and all the aftermath of that, and then there are Bowie's own conflicts.  I really enjoyed how the conflict was resolved.  I didn't feel like anything was thrown out of left field.  Nor did I feel like the conflict was resolved too quickly.  Finding out how everything happened led to a pretty sweet twist at the end, and at one point I thought that we would actually never find out what brought everything together, but everything was explained, everything was resolved - and it totally made sense.

The book kind of ends on a cliffhanger.  Actually, a huge cliff hanger.  So the main story ended with a wondering HEA, and I found myself smiling at the end.  Of course, I would love to read more, but where it ended was a logical end to the story.  Then comes the epilogue.  It is set 6 months later, and is set in Bowie's POV.  It gives us an overview of everyone and how they're all doing, and a bit of a surprise with Tin Man.  OK, a big surprise.  It doesn't go into any kind of depth, but totally sets up a story for his own book.  Then comes a second "bonus" epilogue.  This one is in Shay's POV and is set 5 years later.  We get another overview of where everyone is in life, and then a HUGE curve ball is thrown in at the end and I was like....WHAT?????  Oh my goodness.  It was awesome.  I can only hope that the next book to come, Tin Man's story (which comes out in February 2015) not only clears up the surprise at the end of the first epilogue - it has to!!! - but also explains the end of that second epilogue.  Because man, do I want to understand what's going on!

I would totally recommend this story.  I absolutely loved it and I am so happy that I decided to read it.  When I saw Emily Minton's name as the author, I remembered how much I loved the Renegade MC series, and I wasn't disappointed with this new series.  Five well earned stars!!!

Link to Amazon
Link to Nook

Friday, December 5, 2014

Review: You Were Mine (Rosemary Beach #9) by Abbi Glines

Gossip is the ultimate currency in Rosemary Beach, but Bethy and Tripp have managed to keep one big secret to themselves.

Eight years ago, Tripp Newark was dating a rich girl he didn’t like and was on his way to Yale—and a future he didn’t want. The only way he could escape his predictable life would be to give up the money and power that came with his family’s name. And that’s exactly what he planned to do. At the end of the summer, he was going to ride off on his Harley and never look back.

That was before he met Beth Lowry.

It was only supposed to be a summer fling. She was a sixteen-year-old trailer-park girl who served drinks to his friends at Kerrington Country Club. They didn’t run in the same social circles. No one even knew they were friends, let alone lovers. Yet, for one summer, Bethy became his entire world.

But he couldn’t give up on his plan. He needed to leave Rosemary Beach, but he vowed he would come back for her.

Problem was, by the time he came back—years later than promised—it was too late. His cousin, Jace, had already claimed the woman he loved…

~My Review~

Wow.  OK.  This is the ninth (number 9!!) of the Rosemary Beach series.  A friend of mine suggested this series to me, and when I first started reading, I was able to read about Rush and Blaire, Woods and Della, and the first book for Grant and Harlow.  With each new couple that was introduced, I fell in love with the series a little bit more.  This book is specifically about Bethy and Tripp, and while we know who Tripp is, we never really got to know him in any of the previous books.  We met Bethy in the first book of the series, and I always have had a special place in my heart for her.

Tripp is Jace's cousin, and what we never really knew is that Tripp and Bethy used to date, before Tripp left town and well before Bethy started sleeping around or dating Jace.  Not only did we get to read from both of their POV's in this book, but we also got a glimpse of the past (8 years ago) as well as present day.  I felt that it really helped set the story up so we could really understand exactly why Bethy and Tripp are in the positions that they're currently in.

I've always admired Abbi Glines' writing, and she continues to do a great job in this book.  There was a lot of expansion and explanations that needed to happen in this book.  We know that Bethy hasn't been living her life well since Jace died, and with Tripp back in town, she really holds something against him; but no one can figure out what actually happened between the two of them.  This book really turned into a soul searcher, and I felt like both Bethy and Tripp learned a lot about themselves and each other by the end of the book.

There is obviously a huge conflict in the story.  Bethy and Tripp are the main conflict.  I felt like it moved and progressed well.  Quite a few things happen to resolve the conflict and move things along, and I was thrilled with the HEA that came at the end.  Bethy always had a certain depressed-like quality to her, and I was so happy to finally see her happy.  Tripp too.  They both deserved to start living again.  The best part was that not only did they need to work through the conflict of their past, but they also needed to work through the conflict of the present, the conflict that arose when Tripp came back to town, when Jace died, and the aftermath of everything.  I was really happy with how things worked out here.

There were a couple things that I didn't like, but honestly, they did help the story -- I guess I just didn't like the character.  I don't want to give anything away.  But ultimately, Some things that helped create some conflict and bring out jealousy that were essential to moving the story along were good for that, I was just rooting for Bethy and Tripp and didn't want to see them get hurt by someone....So I guess I was just pulling for B&T instead of others.  But it didn't take a way from the story at all - it was just me saying, "oh, go away!"

I did absolutely love how Blaire, Rush, Woods, Della, Grant, and Harlow were still a part of the story.  Even Nate and Lila Kate had roles in the story, and just the fact that Rush taught Nate (who is now 2 years old) how to fist bump make me squeal with excitement - I mean, how cute?!?  All of these characters played roles in helping to move Bethy and Tripp along in their relationship, and I loved the friendship that jumped off the pages!

This book actually rang in at about 256 pages (But only 2872 location points on Kindle).  The book seemed to go by really fast, and I really enjoyed it.  It was pretty much on par with the length of the other books in the Rosemary Beach series.  It ends on a very happy note (Yay Bethy and Tripp!!), and there is no cliffhanger.  The ending was a bit abrupt, but everything came together well.  I would assume, that since we're still going to get a book about Mase as a part of the Rosemary Beach series that we'll still hear from Bethy and Tripp.  There is a bonus bit at the end of the book for When I'm Gone, and I'm excited about it!  Also, upon inspection of Goodreads, I noticed that there will actually be 2 books for Mase, a book (it says characters and title TBA), and then a book for Nan.  We also can't forget the Christmas Release of the FREE Novella for Kiro!!  I can't wait!!!

Other books in the series:
Fallen Too Far (Rosemary Beach #1) (Rush & Blaire) 

Never Too Far (Rosemary Beach #2) (Rush & Blaire) 
Forever Too Far (Rosemary Beach #3) (Rush & Blaire) 
Rush Too Far (Rosemary Beach #4) (Rush & Blaire) 
Twisted Perfection (Rosemary Beach #5) (Woods & Della) 
Simple Perfection (Rosemary Beach #6) (Woods & Della) 
Take a Chance (Rosemary Beach #7) (Grant & Harlow) 
One More Chance (Rosemary Beach #8) (Grant & Harlow) 
You Were Mine (Rosemary Beach #9) (Tripp & Bethy) 
Kiro's Emily (Rosemary Beach #10) (Free Novella for Kiro!) 
When I'm Gone (Rosemary Beach #11) (Mase - To Be Released) 
When You're Back (Rosemary Beach #12) (Mase - To Be Released) 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Review: Zip, Zero, Zilch (Reed Brothers #6) by Tammy Falkner

The last one to fall…

Sam Reed is the only brother in the Reed family who hasn’t fallen head over heels in love. He has a promising contract to play professional football, but something is missing. Sam likes to watch cooking shows, snuggle on the couch, and he wants someone to do it with him. But with his go-getter lifestyle, it’s almost impossible to find the time to get to know one woman. That is, until he meets the one who makes him want to change his whole life.

A fake name and a world of hurt...

When Peck was twelve, she was called by a different name, lived with a different family, and had no prospects whatsoever. But now she finds herself the drummer in an all-girl band, makes more money than she ever dreamed possible, and she’s content. Until the day her birth mother shows back up.

Fame. Fortune. Stardom. Adolation.

Neither of them wants it.

They both have it. But can they have more?

~My Review~

This is the sixth book in the Reed Brothers series by Tammy Falkner.  I became a tad obsessed with this series after reading Tall, Tatted, and Tempting...My love for Logan and the Reed Brothers apparently knows no bounds.

This book expands on the new relationship between Sam Reed and Peck, the drummer of the band Fallen from Zero.  They originally met in Paul's book, and I think it was love at first sight for both of them, they just don't realize how the other feels.

Once again, the writing in this book is just as good as the other books and the story is from both Sam and Peck's point of view.  We know a bit about Sam since he's been mentioned in all of the previous books, and we learn a lot about Peck in the book.  I feel like both characters are well set up.  We already knew about Sam playing Pro Football, as well as his love for cooking, but it is expanded upon.  All we knew about Peck going into this book really was that she was the drummer for Fallen from Zero, and that she knows sign language.  We had a clue from a previous book that she has a severe speech impediment, and that is expanded upon greatly.  All of the Reeds are involved in this book, and we get more about Peck's other bandmates and sisters who were mentioned in previous books.  Both characters have a ton of family support, and I love how Tammy Falkner writes about such close knit families.

Sam and Peck really support each other in this book.  They have to get over their insecurities with each other, especially Peck's stammer.  I really liked how as the book progressed, not only did their relationship strengthen, but they also strengthened as individuals.  Sam helped Peck to look past her stammer and not be embarrassed by it, and Peck allowed Sam to be who he wanted to be (A football player who liked to cook) without making fun of him.  I absolutely loved how Sam called Peck 'cupcake' throughout most of the book - a name that he gave to her in Paul's book when Peck was over at the apartment and wouldn't eat one of Sam's cupcakes.

Since sign language has such a presence in this series, I liked that Peck and all of her sisters know it as well.  Not only does it tie the two families together, but it also gives them some commonality.  While Sam and Peck have no problems communicating, I like that Sam works with Peck to not use sign language as a crutch around him.  At the same time, he doesn't push her and make her feel uncomfortable, but recognizes when she talks to him and doesn't stammer at all.

As in the other books of the series, the conflict and resolution in this book is good.  Can Peck get past her insecurities (not only her stammer but her physical insecurities) and love Sam the way he loves her?  Will a surprise visit from Peck's birth mother ruin things, or will Sam help Peck get through everything?  Will they be able to work around Band touring schedules and Football schedules?  And will they trust each other while on the road?  There was a lot to get over in this book, but I felt that the resolution was also good; it wasn't abrupt and things seemed to flow well.

One thing that I really did love was the continued relationship between Sam and his brothers.  There's a storyline that pertains directly to Logan, and I loved how this played out.  Paul still takes on the role of dad, but he plays it so well.  Pete and Sam are close, but not as close as they were in TTT and SSS.  Matt is great, but we don't have too much of him in this book.  There are also storylines that come in with Peck's birth mother and Bone, and while they both make for some interesting conflict, all of the brothers get pulled in, and the resolution seems to be a bit lacking in this area (for me at least - I would have liked to know more details!).

This book is on the shorter side compared to the other books in the series.  It's about 230 pages (3255 location points on Kindle).  The story moved fast, but it was done well.  Sam and Peck's story ends on a happy note and we're not left with a cliffhanger.  I did have a couple of questions at the ending with a few things that I would have liked answers to.  But Tammy Falkner did say that she will be writing books for all of the Zero sisters (Lark, Fin, Star, and Wren, as well as Seth, Edward, and Gonzo, so it's possible that we get answers there.  With all of the other books, there was a chapter from one of the other sibling's POV, but we don't get there here.  So I feel like the Reed Brother's story is actually at an end, but we'll get snippets of them in the other books.  I could be wrong, but who knows!

Link to Amazon
Link to Nook

Other books in the series: 
Tall, Tatted, and Tempting (Reed Brothers #1) 
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) 
Zip, Zero, Zilch (Reed Brothers #6) 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Review: Forever With Me (With Me in Seattle #8) by Kristen Proby

Dominic Salvatore seemingly has everything a man could want. He’s found a new relationship with his father and the entire Montgomery family. His vineyard, Coppa di Vita, is a success. There’s only one thing that eludes him: a certain driven, intelligent, sexy as hell blonde named Alecia.

Alecia works tirelessly building her event planning business. It’s the most important part of her life. Despite the beautiful, lavish weddings she organizes, Alecia is convinced that the idea of true love is a myth. While Dominic is a sexy, intriguing man, welcoming the handsome Italian into her bed, and her life, is a risk she’s not so sure she’s willing to take.

However Dominic isn’t used to taking no for an answer, and it’s not long before these two are burning up the sheets and discovering a connection that neither can deny. But will it be strong enough to last forever?
~My Review~

I have been waiting patiently for the release of this book.  I read the others in the series, having found Come Away with Me last year at some point.  When I started the series, I was able to read quite a few of the books, including Come Away with Me, Under the Mistletoe with Me, Fight with Me, Play with Me, Rock with Me, and Safe with Me.  As Tied with Me and Breathe with Me were released, I read those as well.  I absolutely love the Montgomery Family (and the Williams Family), and have loved all the books in the series.  I was actually looking forward to Forever with Me; we really don't know a ton about Dominic, other than that he is Steven's son who connected with the family as a grownup.  But we do know that he has meshed into the fold quite easily.  I knew that his story would be about him and Alecia, but I wasn't sure how the book was going to play out.  I really enjoyed the book, but it wasn't my favorite in the series.

We already knew a bit about the characters coming into this book, as Alecia has been around since Natalie's baby shower in Fight with Me, and Dominic has been around since Safe with me.  However, I felt like a good job was done building up these characters and giving them more of a back story.  We understand a lot more about Alecia, and who she is as a person, not just a party planner.  We also get to know Dominic more, and realize how much he values the family that he is now a part of.  I really liked reading those parts of the story.

Being Italian myself, I was really interested to read Dom's story.  We've obviously been in Dom's company in the past, and I remembered that in Safe with Me, when he first meets the family at the bar/pool hall, he says some things in Italian to the family.  I was surprised that the Italian was incorrect.  Well, it was correct, but the tenses were wrong and the translation was literal.  You only get those kinds of translations when you use a tool like Google translate.  My friend who knows some French said the same thing about that scene when Brynna speaks in French.  It's technically correct, but not actually correct.  While there was an improvement in this book, I still saw a lot of the same, and I was disappointed by that.  I feel that when you're writing a character that speaks a different language, you really need to go out of your way to make sure that the language is correct.

I think there were two major things that really stuck out to me in the incorrect translations in this book:  The first being when Dom is at lunch with Nat and Jules.  Dom calls Jules "sorellina," which does mean little sister.  But when they ask how to say big brother, Dom replies with "grande fratello."  Italian is one of those languages where the adjective (big in this case) often comes after the noun (brother).  So the translation of big brother ends up turning into brother big.  So the first mistake is putting the adjective before the noun.  The second mistake is that grande means big. As in large.  The correct translation should be "fratello maggiore," where maggiore means older, which is what is intended here, I believe.

The second major translation that stuck out to me was at Will and Meg's rehearsal dinner, when Dom calls Stella bella (which is correct, since Stella is a girl), but then he says, "il mio dolce bambino."  What he should have said was, "la mia dolce bambina" ... If you're talking about the same person (and in this case we're talking about Stella) you need to keep the femininity throughout.  It's an easy mistake to make since in English we don't have a gender determination, but it's a careless mistake and should have been picked up.  A man who was raised in Italy never would have made this kind of mistake.

There are some other phrases that Dom uses, and while they are a literal translation (you can put them into Google Translator and get the exact translation), they do make sense.  While i feel like my Italian is good, there are some words that I don't know, so I would assume that the translations are, for the most part, correct.  I mean, google translate is a good tool to use, but I feel like you should always consult someone who really knows the language before you publish something like that.

Other than my obsession with the language in this book, I did enjoy the story.  I do have to admit that at some times, I wished it would move in a bit of a different direction.  Almost everything for the first 60% of the book revolves around Will and Meg's wedding.  I understand that a scene was trying to be set up to put Alecia and Dom in the same locations, while giving information about how they work in their jobs, but it just got a bit boring.  None of the other books revolved around one subject so much like that, and I found it odd.  However, I loved the continuation of the family dynamic with all of the siblings.  I liked how it showed Dom really enjoying the time he spends with his other siblings, and how the girls (Nat and Jules) help give him advice on how to get Alecia to go out with him.  I also loved how the other sibling's stories got completed (I can't expand on this without giving things away).

I was a little confused as to the timing of this book.  At first I couldn't figure out if this timeline was running concurrent with another story or if it was coming after Breathe with Me.  As it turned out, it was kind of running concurrent since Jax and Logan get married toward the end of the book.  I was having trouble figuring out certain things....Like were Mark and Meredith already engaged?  Or were they still dating?  etc.

There is conflict in the book.  There are past lovers and Alecia's backstory of her crazy parents, and while there was resolution, I did feel like a couple of the conflicts were thrown in just to make more of a story.  The resolution was fairly quick with all of the conflict, so it wasn't drawn out unnecessarily, but it was still a little to fast paced.  Since we did get to understand Alecia's parents a little bit better, I would have loved to see some better conflict resolution with them, and I would have loved to actually see what happened with Dom and his cousins in Italy, rather than just a passing comment about how everything was fixed.

All in all, I felt like it was a good book.  I do, however, feel like the characters from the previous book really helped me to like this book more.  In a way, I felt like this not only was a story about Dom and Alecia, but also a massive epilogue to tie together some of the other stories that weren't totally finished in their own books.  I really do wish that we had been able to get more material about Dom and Alecia and how their story really came to a close, but it still ended well.  The final epilogue was actually written in Steven Montgomery's point of view, and as the patriarch of the family, it was nice to close a lot of things out and see where the whole family was.

Overall, a fun read and a nice closeout to the series!!

Other books in the series:
Come Away with Me (With Me in Seattle #1) (Natalie and Luke)
Under the Mistletoe with Me (With Me in Seattle #1.5) (Stacy and Issac)
Fight with Me (With Me in Seattle #2) (Jules and Nate)
Play with Me (With Me in Seattle #3) (Meg and Will)
Rock with Me (With Me in Seattle #4) (Leo and Sam)
Safe with Me (With Me in Seattle #5) (Brynna and Caleb)
Tied with Me (With Me in Seattle #6) (Nic and Matt)
Breathe with Me (With Me in Seattle #7) (Meredith and Mark)
Forever with Me (With Me in Seattle #8) (Alecia and Dom)