Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Review: Unexpected Fate (Hope Town #1) by Harper Sloan

Have you ever felt like you were living your life for a future that was predetermined? Like there was some bigger picture you just prayed you would someday see clearly? That picture has been crystal clear to me since I was old enough to recognize it for just what it was.

Or I should say recognize him for who he was.

I’ve loved Cohen Cage since I was a small child. He’s been my everything for the last twenty-two years. I’ve loved him through every girlfriend he’s ever brought home. Through his college years and then mine. I’ve loved him through two deployments. And ever since the day I told him how I felt, he’s acted like I’m a stranger.

My name is Danielle Reid, and it’s time for me to get my man.

Our future is an unexpected fate, and no matter what our parents, siblings, and friends say…it’s going to be worth every second of the fight to make it happen.
~My Review~

I absolutely LOVED this book.  When Harper Sloan first announced that she was going to be releasing a book that was a spinoff of the Corps Security series, I was like, pshhht, that's silly.  It's just going to get old and unenjoyable.  Um, I was totally wrong.  This book was so good, and I may say that it was one of my favorites.

Cohen Cage has been one of my favorite characters from the Corps Security series since I first read Cage.  Seriously, he was such an amazing kid with his cape and superpowers.  He is all grown up now in Unexpected Fate, and I loved every single minute I got of him. He is now the perfect mix of sweet, protective alpha male, and sexy. We never really met Dani in the previous books. I remember when Izzy was pregnant with her, but I'm pretty sure that we only knew that she was born and that she was Axel's baby girl, but I really don't remember anything else about her. She is now sweet, sassy, and funny and I absolutely love her. Both Cohen and Dani are well developed and great characters in this book and carry the story really well.

There was the buildup to the the relationship, so it didn't get thrown in our faces right away. We know that they've been friends forever since Axel, Izzy, Greg, and Melissa have been friends for so long. We learn that Dani has been harboring feelings towards Cohen forever (or what seem like forever) but there's the question as to Cohen's feelings for her. It too a little while for Dani and Cohen to admit to themselves and each other that they loved one another, but once they did, the story really took off. There is definitely conflict and drama throughout the book. I do feel that there is a recurring theme amongst all of the Corps Security books, so I was expecting something to happen in Unexpected Fate, as well. I felt like what happened was built up nicely, and even though it was resolved a bit quickly (I was a little disappointed when I read that it was over), but there was more explanation after the fact that I felt made up for the quick resolution. I did have a couple questions at the end that weren't answered, but I'm hoping that we get those answers in subsequent books of this series. And as always, the sex was steamy and swoon worthy... >

The book wasn't super long (about 3449 long for Kindle Users), but it didn't go by too fast, nor did it drag by. I felt like a really good job was done to move the story along, all the while giving us a clue in as to the other characters - I loved the relationships that are in place between Dani and her parents (I cracked up every time Axel referred to Dani as his little princess and went into super Alpha Male Overprotective Daddy mode), and Cohen and his parents, as well as the friendships they have with Nate, Lila, Lyn, Liam (Dee & Becks's son), and Maddie (Emmy & Locke's daughter). These relationships really helped to develop Dani and Cohen, as well as added to the story.

One of the things I was really afraid of with this new series is that it would just be a continuation of the Corps Security books - that we would be inundated with the original crew who are now older with adult children, and that they (the children) would take a backseat to their parents. This totally didn't happen. Yes, all of the original cast had somewhat of a role in this book, but they were just auxiliary characters. At the end of the day, Unexpected Fate was an amazing story about Friendship, Love, Family, & Fate. I loved every minute of this book and I totally recommend this, as well as the previous Corps Security books, to everyone!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day - Happy FSOG Day!!

I have never been a big proponent of Valentine's Day.  It's origins are pretty bloody and while I suppose they could be viewed as romantic, a man being beheaded isn't necessarily a lovely thought.

From my research, there are potentially 3 different St. Valentines, all of whom are from Rome in the 3rd-5th Century (AD).  They all met very ugly deaths due to performing some type of love act....The most well known story (the story I know, at least) is that Emperor Claudius II was having a tough time getting men to join his military, and sited the reason to be because men didn't want to leave their wives and children at home.  He therefore banned all marriages, but little did he know that St. Valentine started performing marriages for young couples in love in secret.  When Claudius found out what Valentine was doing, he ordered Valentine to be killed.  And he wasn't just shot.  Oh no, that would be too easy.  No, Valentine was arrested, dragged through Rome, beaten to death with clubs, and beheaded on or around February 14, 270AD.  How lovely!

There is a legend to go along with this story that says while Valentine was in jail, he left a note for the jailer's daughter that read, "From Your Valentine".....Maybe that's where we get the saying today?  Who knows....

So now that we have the history lesson out of the way, we can thank Valentine for performing all of those marriages in secret and getting his head chopped off.  Without that, we wouldn't have today's annual feast of love notes, chocolates, expensive (and sometimes unnecessary) gifts, and Fifty Shades of Grey.

Ahh yes, Fifty Shades of Grey...

Yes, I read the book...(You can read my review here)

Last night, I saw the movie (my husband must REALLY love me, because he took me to see the movie, and there were only maybe a half a dozen men in the theater.  He sat in that theater full of women, some of whom were too immature to handle sex on the big screen and giggled every time a boob got flashed (which was pretty often, actually), and he said that he agreed that it was a pretty good movie.

So I'm going to tell you my thoughts of the movie....

I thought that Dakota Johnson played a really good Anastasia Steele.  She was the perfect blend of naive and romantic that the book described her to be.  I loved her quirkiness, along with her wit, and her approach to the character.  I also thought that Jamie Dornan did a good job portraying a damaged man.  I be perfectly honest and say that I really wasn't sure about him.  While I accepted him as Christian, in the back of my head I really didn't know how he would turn out.  But I was pleased.  I felt that he was the right mix of seriousness and conflict with the fact that he really wasn't in control.  The chemistry  between the two of the lead actors was good.  I didn't feel like anything was lacking and thought they made a good pair.

The movie was about 2 hours long, and it absolutely flew by.  The story never dragged, and I appreciated that.  While the movie flew by, I felt like there were characters that weren't represented well like Jose, Ray (Ana's father), Christian's family, and Taylor.  Yes, they were all in the movie, but their scenes were so short, that it was almost disappointing.  However, I understand that if their scenes were as long as I wanted them to be, the movie would have been 4 hours long and then it probably would have dragged.  So given how much they had to cut out of the books, I think they did a good job with the auxiliary characters.

Yes, they cut a lot out of the books but I was happy with what was cut.  There was no Inner Goddess and there was no subconscious.  Thank goodness.  They also cut some scenes down, and considering how long the book is, I thought they did a decent job.  On the same token, I felt like the movie jumped a lot.  Almost like one scene didn't flow into the next at times.  However, it followed the flow of the book, and with a few artistic changes (all of which I approved of), it pretty much felt like I was watching the book (so I guess since the book jumped from chapter to chapter at times, the movie pretty much followed suit).

The sex.  Yes, there was a lot of sex.  I felt like Christian's reaction to Ana still being a virgin was much more realistic in the movie than the tantrum he threw in the book.  I also liked that the Playroom scenes weren't turned into porn.  No, we didn't get a sneak peak at the peen, and we saw a lot more of Ana than I was expecting, but it was still, in the end, as tasteful as it could be.  Yes, there was "ramming from behind" (my husband's words, not mine), but given how crazy descriptive the book was, I think everything was done tastefully.  And no - nothing came across as abusive.

The music.  So music played a huge part of the book.  Wasn't there a soundtrack released specifically for the books?  Well, the music in the movie didn't necessarily match the music from the books, but at the same time I thought it was good (I did love that they still danced to Witchcraft, though).  If you had just handed me the soundtrack, I wouldn't be overly impressed.  Yes, all the songs are great, but they're not all my taste (I suppose the movie wouldn't be as good if it was all rock and punk music, though, right?).  I was honestly surprised that the order of the CD was pretty much the order of the music in the movie.  But I still liked it.  I felt that the music matched all of the scenes well and there wasn't anything that really didn't fit.  Oh, and Annie Lennox, you're amazing.  

I will admit that I was surprised as to how some of the women in the theater reacted to the sex scenes - I wasn't expecting to hear so many people giggling....If you can't handle the subject matter (i.e., if you're not mature enough to watch sex on the big screen), then don't go see the movie.  (end rant).

So all in all, I think they did a good job bringing the book to the big screen!!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Revew: Matched by S.E. Hall & Angela Graham

Thorough compatibility testing says everyone’s soul mate is here, in the house with them…but would you know “the one” if you saw them.

One thing a computer can’t do is manufacture love. But in this house, anything’s possible.

Rated NC-17 for foul language, heavy drinking, and graphic sex . 

*Full length stand alone novel with no cliffhanger.*
~My Review~

I don't think I can actually tell you how much I loved this book.  I have read the other books that were published by S.E. Hall and Angela Graham (Stirred Up, Packaged, and Handled), and I loved all of them.  I have also read Angela Graham's Harmony Series (which I L.O.V.E.D), so I knew that when they announced Matched, I was totally going to read it.

I have to admit, that when they first released the synopsis for this book, I was a bit confused.  I got the idea that this was obviously going to be set on a Reality TV show, but I was still totally confused.  Once I started reading, it all came together.  Essentially, 8 famous people (Actors, Models, Athletes, even a Porn Star) were brought to this island, and they were able to bring one additional person.  This additional person could be a boyfriend/girlfriend, roommate, friend, whatever. Upon getting to the set, they all had to take a test with a series of questions about their likes and dislikes in a relationship, etc.  Then, they were essentially Matched Up with whomever the computer said they were most compatible (totally based on the test answers) - But no one knows who is matched with who!!  Everyone gets put into a house together, assigned rooms and beds (with no switching allowed) and they essentially have to figure out who each of the Matched Up pairs are.  Once a pair has been matched up, they are sent off the island on a trip together and the last pair left on the island are the winners.  There's money involved (everything is for charity), and activities that earn dates and more money, but that's the overall gist of the game that's being played.

The main character, Harlow, has been introduced to us before!  She works at the Truck Stop that Paige works at, where Vaughn stops all the time (Handled).  And we've heard her talk about Oakley before.  Oakley is her high school boyfriend and also a Football player (a linebacker, I think) for the Ravens, and he is on the show as one of the celebrities.  He and Harlow are back together and dating, and Harlow is on the show as his plus one.

It was an awesome read.  Harlow and Oakley are on the show, believing that they are Matches, but are essentially working against the odds because there are so many other people there who they may or may not be matched with - people they are attracted to, people who may be better suited for them.  There is drama among all of the other participants, and everything is just awesome.  There are overbearing Alpha males, crazy Actors and Models, and some really cool chicks who find a bond and keep together no matter what.  The real question that needs answering is, do Harlow and Oakley leave the show together?  Or do they realize that they're really better as friends and other people are better matches for them?  At the end, all of the contestants are brought back together to see if their matches had been successful (are they still in love with each other?  Do they get along at all?  Or can they not stand each other?), and there are little twists and turns to make the whole thing even juicier.

I really loved this book.  I was actually on the edge of my seat quite often because I was trying to figure out who was matched with who, curious about people and whether they were serious or just playing the game, and ready to smash certain people for acting like crazies.  There's nothing else I can really say without giving away the story, but all I can say is that Hall and Graham have come together again to produce and awesome story, and I highly recommend this one!!!  5 stars for an absolutely awesome book!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Review: Satisfy Me: A Ravage MC Valentine Collection (Ravage MC #3.5) by Ryan Michele

Valentine’s Day is hot.
Bikers make it hotter.

Cruz & Princess
What happens when your son has to remind you that it's Valentine’s Day?
What does a man do for a woman that's not into the roses and chocolate bull they put on television?
Cruz may have forgotten, but he still has a few surprises up his tattooed sleeve.
Princess has some tricks of her own, ones that will guarantee, Cruz enjoys one hot, rough and wet ride.

Tug & Blaze
Fire, passion and peacock feathers?
Tug knows what he wants and exactly how to get it.
Tug and Blaze’s flame might be brand new, but it’s true and red hot.

GT & Casey
Despite a bumpy road, GT and Casey have pulled through.
Their connection, memories, and past have brought them to this point in their lives.
GT comes off hard, but underneath he loves his Angel to the core.
He may not celebrate Valentine’s, but this one will be a day that’ll change him forever.

~My Review~

This novella totally hits the spot on Valentine's Day.  (See what I did there??)...

Anyway, I loved this little short novella.  It was so much fun, and divided up into three parts.  You really can't read this book unless you've read the other Three Books in the Ravage MC Series.  You need to know who the characters are, and their back stories, before you dive into this little gem.

We get to revisit Cruz, Princess, and Cooper (I love Cooper beyond anything, btw).  We get to see how they're living as a little family of three, and how they get to celebrate Valentine's Day as a family, and then how Cruz and Princess celebrate by themselves.

We get to revisit Tug and Blaze.  This part was fun, but since we just read Consume Me not too long ago, I felt like this was a little repetitive.  But entertaining and fun none the less!

Then, we got a visit at GT and Casey (Angel).  For me, this was the couple I had forgotten about the most.  I read their book, Seduce Me, so long ago (whereas I had reread Ravage Me and just read Consume Me last month), so it was fun to get back into their story.

I would say that about 83% of the book is steamy sex scenes.  Yes, there is a little mini plot for each section and we definitely get a couple of fun surprises.  We still get to visit with Ma and Pops, and a few of the other guys, too.  I read the book in one sitting, and it probably only took a couple hours to get through it.  But it was fun, exciting, and super sexy.

Five stars for a fun and Satisfying Valentine's Day special!!

Link to Amazon

Link to Nook

Other books in the Ravage MC Series:
Ravage Me (Ravage MC #1) (Cruz and Harlow)
Seduce Me (Ravage MC #2) (GT & Casey)
Consume Me (Ravage MC #3) (Tug & Blaze)
Rattle Me (Ravage MC #3.75) (GT & Casey, To Be Released)