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 From New York Times bestselling author Jay Crownover comes CHARGED, the latest in her sexy The Saints of Denver Series, releasing May 24th! Known for her strong heroines and alpha males, you won’t know what hit you as you read Avett and Quaid’s story. Keep reading for more about the Leagle Eagle and Avett and order your copy today. 

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From the New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men books comes the second installment in the Saints of Denver series featuring a bad girl and a by the book attorney who could be her salvation…or her ruin.

Avett Walker and Quaid Jackson’s worlds have no reason to collide. Ever. Quaid is a high powered criminal attorney as slick as he is handsome. Avett is a pink-haired troublemaker with a bad attitude and a history of picking the wrong men.

When Avett lands in a sea of hot water because of one terrible mistake, the only person who can get her out of it is the insanely sexy lawyer. The last thing on earth she wants to do is rely on the no-nonsense attorney who thinks of her as nothing more than a nuisance. He literally has her fate in his hands. Yet there is something about him that makes her want to convince him to loosen his tie and have a little fun…with her.

Quaid never takes on clients like the impulsive young woman with a Technicolor dye job. She could stand to learn a hard lesson or two, but something about her guileless hazel eyes intrigues him. Still, he’s determined to keep their relationship strictly business. But doing so is becoming more impossible with each day he spends with her.

As they work side-by-side, they’ll have to figure out a way to get along and keep their hands off each other—because the chemistry between them is beyond charged.

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 EXCERPT

Avett

I blew out a breath and felt that bottom I had careened onto reach up to embrace me even tighter. “It is what it is. I’ve let both my folks down a lot over the last few years but getting caught up with a guy that would rob the bar, a guy who could threaten my dad’s people.” I shook my head. “I deserve to rot.”

I was being overly dramatic but that’s how I felt. I deserved to sit in jail and so much worse than that. Self-pity was good company down here at rock bottom and I wasn’t ready to let go of the warmth it provided just yet.

He gave me a look I couldn’t read and headed for the door. “I’ll call your parents for you and see if we can have something in place before tomorrow. Working on your case will be a lot easier for both of us if you aren’t incarcerated. Remember, you need to listen to me, Ms. Walker. That’s the first rule in all of this.”

Panic hit me like a truck. What if he called my dad and my dad told him he’d had enough of his problematic daughter and her endless nonsense? What if he couldn’t love me anymore? Jail I could survive; losing my father for good, well, it would be the end of me.

Without thinking I jumped to my feet, which had the chains on both my hands and my legs rattling loudly, and two uniformed officers hurried into the room. I was about to make maybe the worst decision to date but I couldn’t stop the words from sliding off my tongue.

“Don’t call my dad!” Recklessness, thy name was Avett Walker.

The attorney turned around and looked at me like I had grown a second head. He didn’t say anything as the officers moved to either side of me and told me to calm down.

“You can’t call my dad.” The words sounded as panicked and as desperate as I felt on the inside.

His broad shoulders lifted and fell in a shrug like he really couldn’t give a shit that he was about to ruin my life…which was saying a hell of a lot considering where I was.

“I have to.” He sounded bored and impatient with my outburst.

I narrowed my eyes at him, and that vortex of awful, which I always seemed to be smack dab in the center of, started to spin faster and faster around me.

“Then you’re fired.” I saw the cops exchange a look and my rushed words had the blond man turning fully back around to look at me. “I don’t want your help. I don’t want anything from you.”

Finally, there was something other than indifference in his gaze. There was surprise, maybe a hint of admiration colliding with a huge splash of humor in the pale depths.

“Sorry, Ms. Walker, but you didn’t hire me, so that means you don’t get to fire me.” That grin of his, which should be registered as a deadly weapon, flashed across his face again as he watched me, and then he was gone.

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REVIEW

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Jay Crownover really has a knack for taking the most unlikely characters, and making you fall in love with them. We have slick, powerhouse lawyer Quaid, and misguided, life wrecker Avett. Two people who at first glance couldn’t be more opposite, though you know there is always more than meets the eye.

Avett is in the habit of making bad choices, though I have to admit she takes full responsibility for the consequences of her actions. It’s just a downwards spiral she can’t seem to get out off. Being arrested, and possible going to jail, might be the wake up call she needs. Though the temptation that is Quaid Jackson is hard to resist, and can probably be the worst mistake Avett makes.

Normally Quaid likes to keep a good distance between him and his clients. But little miss bubble gum pink hair wasn’t what he was expecting. Drawn to her in a way Quaid can’t seem to justify, he knows that getting close to her might not end well. Though he’s never been one to deny himself of things he want, quite the contrary.

As time passes by these two grow closer together, we get to know their deep, dark secrets and find out they are a lot alike. Quaid and Avett balance each other out. He loves her jump first attitude, and she likes the steadiness he brings to her life. Enter some major drama coming from the left, a little bit of danger, and their story takes you on an unexpected ride, which I loved every second of.

4 stars

SAINTS OF DENVER – Reading order and purchase links

*All books can be read as a standalone*

Leveled (Saints of Denver #0.5) by Jay Crownover  Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: Built (Saints of Denver #1) by Jay Crownover  charged_jay_crownover

Leveled: Amazon USAmazon UK

Built: Amazon USAmazon UK – Review

Charged: Amazon USAmazon UK

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TOO HOT TO HANDLE - Tour banner

 From New York Times Bestselling author Tessa Bailey comes the first novel in her hot, new Romancing the Clarksons Series.

When Rita Clarkson’s Suburban takes its last breath on a New Mexico roadside, rescue roars up on a Harley in the form of smooth-talking honkey tonk owner, Jasper Ellis, a man as mysterious as he is charming. Rita’s cross-country journey to New York City–with her three estranged siblings in tow–is only beginning, but now that Jasper has found Rita, his plans do not include her leaving.

TOO HOT TO HANDLE - cover

When rescue looks like a whole lot of trouble . . .

The road trip was definitely a bad idea. Having already flambéed her culinary career beyond recognition, Rita Clarkson is now stranded in God-Knows-Where, New Mexico, with a busted-ass car and her three temperamental siblings, who she hasn’t seen in years. When rescue shows up—six-feet-plus of hot, charming sex on a motorcycle—Rita’s pretty certain she’s gone from the frying pan right into the fire . . .

Jasper Ellis has a bad boy reputation in this town, and he loathes it. The moment he sees Rita, though, Jasper knows he’s about to be sorely tempted. There’s something real between them. Something raw. And Jasper has only a few days to show Rita that he isn’t just for tonight—he’s forever.

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EXCERPT

He dipped down until they were nose to nose, saw the rush of thought going on behind her eyes. It was pretty damn breathtaking up close. “Mind cluing me in as to what’s going on in there?”

“If—if—we need to stay overnight—”

“You will.”

“—then I might see you at the bar.” She wedged a hand between them and separated their bodies. “I’d rather see someone’s worst than their best. Saves time.”

Jasper heard the tow truck pulling into the garage parking lot and cursed. Not even remotely confident that his first attempt at polite conversation with an available woman had been successful, Jasper walked her backward until they were hidden behind a rusted pay phone. She’d broken away from his touch, so he was careful to respect that. He dropped his mouth to an inch above hers and said, low, “I didn’t get near enough time with you, Rita. If you don’t show up tonight, don’t be surprised if I come looking.” He laid his palms against the warm building, above her head, watched her gaze dip to his stomach. His lap. “And if I have to come looking, I’ll be twice as determined to get that kiss.”

Her head came up. “W-what kiss?”

Jasper lowered his mouth until their lips brushed. He listened to her breath accelerate, watched her wet her lips. “The one I want to give you right now.” He allowed himself to linger another few seconds, then, with the effort of ten oxen, Jasper stepped back. “Tonight, beautiful.”

On his way to his bike, Jasper tipped his hat at Rita’s gaping siblings.

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REVIEW

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Rita, and her siblings aren’t the most conventional family. The four of them couldn’t be more opposites, though that doesn’t mean they don’t care about each other. After their mother died, and Rita accidentally burned down their legacy, they decide to fulfill their mother’s last wish a.k.a. road trip to New York for some skinny dipping (don’t ask).

But what is a road trip without a few bumps along the way. Stranded what feels like the middle of nowhere, rescue comes in the form of reformed bad boy Jasper Ellis. The connection is instant, but Rita isn’t here to stay, and siblings kind of cramp your style.

Jasper was not expecting Rita, and he’s not ready to let her go that easily. With a bit of help from the locals, Jasper is set out to convince Rita to give him a real chance. I do have to admit that he has a certain charm about him, that makes him pretty irresistible. Not to mention the mouth on this guy, so hot.

While maybe not the most original story line, and plot, I did enjoy the characters a lot. Mostly the dynamic between the siblings I found the most interesting, so I’m very looking forward to each getting their own story. As for Rita, and Jasper, you really do have to ask yourself if you can handle all that hotness?

3 stars

 

 

Tessa Bailey - headshotAbout Tessa Bailey:

Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days.

Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.

She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of eight years and four-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Goodreads

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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout comes THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER – a young adult title about friendship, survival, and finding your voice. This incredible book is available today! Read more about this stunning new novel below and be sure to order your copy today to receive an amazing FREE fan pack while supplies last!

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 About THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout comes a riveting new story about friendship, survival, and finding your voice.

For some people, silence is a weapon.

For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield.

Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory must make a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

Register your preorder of THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER by May 20th to receive a FREE fan pack! Includes inspirational wall art, a colorful poster, and flag-as-you-read stickers. You will also get immediate access to an extended excerpt from the book.

JUST FILL OUT THE FORM HERE

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EXCERPT

Dusty, empty shoe boxes, stacked taller and wider than her slim body, wobbled as she pressed her back against them, tucking her bony knees into her chest.

              Breathe. Just Breathe. Breathe.

              Wedged in the back of the dingy closet, she didn’t dare make a sound as she sucked her lower lip between her teeth. Focusing on forcing every grimy breath into her lungs, she felt tears well in her eyes.

              Oh gosh, she’d made such a big mistake, and Miss Becky was right. She was a bad girl.

              She’d reached for the dirty and stained cookie jar earlier, the one shaped like a teddy bear that hid cookies that tasted funny. She wasn’t supposed to get cookies or any food by herself, but she’d just been so hungry that her tummy hurt, and Miss Becky was sick again, napping on the couch. She hadn’t meant to knock the ashtray off the counter, shattering it into tiny pieces. Some were shaped like icicles that clung to the roof during the winter. Others were no bigger than chips.

              All she’d wanted was a cookie.

              Her slender shoulders jerked at the sound of the all cracking on the other side of the closet. She bit down harder on her lip. A metallic taste burst into her mouth. Tomorrow there would be a hold the size of Mr. Henry’s big hand in the plaster, and Miss Becky would cry and she’d get sick again.

              The soft creak of the closet door was like a crack of thunder to her ears.

              Oh no, no, no…

              He wasn’t supposed to find her in here. This was her safe place whenever Mr. Henry was angry or when he—

              She tensed, eyes peeling wide as a body taller and broader than hers slipped inside and then knelt in front of her. In the dark, she couldn’t make out much of his features, but she knew in her belly and her chest who it was.

              “I’m sorry,” she gasped.

              “I know.” A hand settled on her shoulder, the weight reassuring. He was the only person she felt okay with when he touched her. “I need you to stay in here, ‘kay?”

              Miss Becky had said once that he was only six months older than her six years, but he always seemed so much bigger, older than her, because in her eyes, he took up her entire world.

              She nodded.

              “Don’t come out,” he said, and then he pressed into her hands the redheaded doll she’d dropped in the kitchen after she broke the ashtray and rushed into the closet. Too frightened to retrieve her, she’d left Velvet where she had fallen, and she’d been so upset because the doll had been a gift from him many, many months before. She had no idea how he’d gotten Velvet, but one day he’d simply shown up with her, and she was hers, only hers.

              “You stay in here. No matter what.”

              Holding the doll close, clenched between her knees and chest, she nodded again.

              He shifted, stiffening as an angry shout rattled the walls around them. It was her name that dripped ice down her spine; her name that was shouted so furiously.

              A small whimper parted her lips and she whispered, “I just wanted a cookie.”

              “It’s okay. Remember? I promised I’d keep you safe forever. Just don’t make a sound.” He squeezed her shoulder. “Just stay quiet, and when I…when I get back, I’ll read to you, ‘kay? All about the stupid rabbit.”

              All she could do was nod again, because there had been times when she hadn’t stayed quiet and she’d never forgotten those consequences. But if she stayed quiet, she knew what was coming. He wouldn’t be able to read to her tonight. Tomorrow he would miss school and he wouldn’t be okay even though he would tell her he was.

              He lingered for a moment and then he eased out of the closet. The bedroom door shut with a smack, and she lifted the doll, pressing her tearstained face into it. A button on Velvet’s chest poked at her cheek.

              Don’t make a sound.

              Mr. Henry started to yell.

              Don’t make a sound.

              Footsteps punched down the hall.

              Don’t make a sound.

              Flesh smacked. Something hit the floor, and Miss Becky must have been feeling better, because she was suddenly shouting, but in the closet the only sound that mattered was the fleshy whack that came over and over. She opened her mouth, screaming silently into the doll.

              Don’t make a sound.

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dirty kylie scott

The last thing Vaughan Hewson expects to find when he returns to his childhood home is a broken hearted bride in his shower, let alone the drama and chaos that comes with her.

Lydia Green doesn’t know whether to burn down the church or sit and cry in a corner. Discovering the love of your life is having an affair on your wedding day is bad enough. Finding out it’s with his best man is another thing all together. She narrowly escapes tying the knot and meets Vaughan only hours later.

Vaughan is the exact opposite of the picture perfect, respected businessman she thought she’d marry. This former musician-turned-bartender is rough around the edges and unsettled. But she already tried Mr. Right and discovered he’s all wrong-maybe it’s time to give Mr. Right Now a chance.

After all, what’s wrong with getting dirty?

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EXCERPT

“Once upon a time,” he began, voice low and measured. “There was a princess. A beautiful, occasionally annoying princess.”

“What was her name?”

“Ah, Notlydia.”

I frowned. “Her name is Notlydia?”

“You wanted a story, I’m giving you one. Shut up.”

“Whatever.”

An even heavier sigh from the man. “Anyhoo, Notlydia was all set up to marry this prince. We’ll call him Prince Bag of Dicks.”

“Works for me.”

“But on the day of her wedding, when she was wearing this sweet dress that served her tits up like they were a fucking platter—”

“Is this an R-rated story?”

“Please,” he said, sliding an arm around my bare waist. And I let him. “R is for rubbish. If you don’t get to see any penetration then you’re wasting your time. This is XXX.”

I laughed.

“So on the day of her wedding to Prince Bag of Dicks, Notlydia kisses him and he turns into a big slimy two-headed toad with terrible breath and even worse foot odor.”

“Whoa.” I rested my head back against his shoulder. “Poor Notlydia.”

“Hell of a plot twist, right?”

“Never saw that one coming.”

“Mm.” He rested his cheek against the top of my head.

“What happens next?”

“Well, she’s completely freaked out, of course.”

“Of course.”

“And she takes off into the woods. She’s running through bushes, jumping fences, climbing trees, you name it. Nothing’s going to stop her from getting the hell away from that toad, Prince Bag of

Dicks.” He took a sip of beer. “Unfortunately, she loses her fancy dress along the way. She’s just down to some skimpy underwear and a corset and with all that jogging through the forest, it’s barely holding her in. One decent breath and there’s going to be nipple out there for all the world to see.

Did I happen to mention she’d been voted Best Rack in the kingdom four years running? Anyway, eventually she finds this small cottage. Now, what you don’t know about Notlydia is that she has a shady past.”I tried to look up at him. But with the angle, all I got was stubble and cheekbone. “That doesn’t sound like Notlydia.”

“Be quiet.” A hand covered my mouth. “Notlydia’s a dirty, dirty girl. Got a bad side like you wouldn’t believe. A little breaking and entering is nothing to her. So into the house she goes. But she’s all muddy from running through the woods, see? She can’t let people see her like this, she’s a princess, for fuck’s sake.”

The hand remained over my mouth. Which was fine, I had nothing to add to his pornographic fairy tale.

“Notlydia gets in the shower and starts soaping herself. There’s lots of bubbles and steam, and she’s a modern woman so there’s a bit of self-love. She even finds time to wash her hair, shave under her pits. Things like that. But then the owner of the cottage wakes up and hears the water running. He stomps into the bathroom saying, someone’s using up my hot water. Notlydia cries out, not me, not me.”

He craned his neck, meeting my gaze. “See, babe, what did I tell you? That Notlydia is a filthy little liar.”

I looked up to heaven. No help was forthcoming.

“Someone’s using up all my soap, says the owner. Not me, not me, cries Notlydia.” He put his lips next to my ear. “She should be ashamed of herself, shouldn’t she? If ever a busty princess deserved a spanking.”

I bit at the palm of his hand, teeth catching at the fleshy mound beneath his thumb.

“Ow.” He laughed, pulling his hand free. “Then the owner said, someone’s been fingering herself in my shower.”

“Stop!” I put my hands over my ears, trying desperately to hold in my laughter. “This is the worst story ever. The Brothers Grimm are rolling over in their graves.”

“Notlydia throws back the shower curtain and says, oh yeah, big boy, that was me. Come and get it. And they have wild sex all over the cottage.” Vaughan’s body jerked beneath mine as he laughed his ass off. “The end.”

“No way. Notlydia is virtuous and pure. She’d never pull that sort of shit.”

“Nah.” He chuckled. “It all happened exactly as I said. Dirtiest princess in all the land.”

“Like hell. The owner of that cottage was a pervert and a deviant. Why, he would have picked the lock on a chastity belt. She never stood a chance.” Difficult to maintain my pious stance, given I’d started laughing so hard tears were pouring down my cheeks. The funny bastard. “I want to know more about this cottage owner. What’s his name?”

“I don’t know. Let me think . . .” He rested his chin back on top of my head. “He definitely isn’t Prince Charming.”

“He could be!”

Silence.

“If he wanted to. Or not. Whatever,” I added weakly. Crap. “Let’s go back to not talking.”

I was a moron.

We’d been all relaxed and laughing. Me and my idiot mouth. Way to go, Lydia. Just shout out any old impossible daydream to the dude who’s made it clear there was no future “we.” If someone could just direct me to the nearest brick wall, I’d knock a little sense into myself.On the other hand, it was two stupid words. Surely he could have ignored the last hundred years of Disney perpetuating slick-haired young royals gallivanting around the countryside saving hot babes in distress. For the sake of getting along. God knows, Chris never had any problems ignoring or placating me. I’d seen his thoughtless gorgeous smile aimed my way a hundred times. No, a thousand. If only I’d recognized it for what it was.

Ugh. Just the thought of it made me want to punch the douche all over again.

Maybe I needed a bit more than a week to get over that catastrophe. The money would help. Substantially. I’d never imagined that compromising my morals and taking hush money from such foul woe-begotten assholes would feel so good. Maybe I should sell out more often.

“This, ah, this Prince Charming of yours,” he said haltingly.

“Yes?”

Vaughan shifted beneath me, pushing out a heavy breath. “I mean, it doesn’t make sense, does it? Why would he be in a cottage instead of a castle?”

“Well . . . his parents, the king and queen of the neighboring kingdom, died in a terrible accident.”

I stayed perfectly still, waiting to see how he’d react.

“I see.”

“And it hurt him so bad he just, he didn’t want to be a prince anymore.”

Nothing from him.

“Bad things happen in fairy tales sometimes.”

A grunt.

“It’s not fair, but it happens,” I said, feeling my way with more caution than skill. “The prince loved his parents and the castle had too many memories.”

“Hmm.”

“So he ran away into the woods too.”

“Doesn’t sound like much of a prince if he can’t handle his shit,” he said.

“Princes are just men too, human beings. I don’t think a crown or a penis gives you magical invulnerability to loss and pain.” I stared at the wall, thinking the problem through. “Life is hard.

Terrible things happen. We all have feelings. We’re all just flesh and blood, trying to do our best.”

“Running away from problems isn’t doing your best.” His voice echoed around the small room, the same as around in my head.

What with holding the Coeur d’Alene title for runaway bride of the year, I had no answer. None at all. So much for my half-assed wisdom.

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REVIEW

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*

I really dig Kylie Scott’s unique brand of humour. Part crazy, and over the top, otherwise wishing I could be part of this posse. In Dirty our new setting is Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, home of runaway bride Lydia, and lost musician Vaughan. Add in the Dive Bar, and all the characters/family that comes with it, this all is a guarantee for good fun, and hilarious drama.

With Kylie Scott’s stories I never know upfront where she is going with this. You really get taken along for the journey, and experience this crazy adventure/romance with the characters. From that first page my reaction was “WTH?!”, and it even only got better after that. Lydia and Vaughan’s story will have you grinning from cover to cover.

That overall feeling of happiness is what I enjoy most about her stories, together with the often unique background of the characters, and the way they fall in love. Certainly unconventional, and for me this makes it only more interesting. I know I’m not mentioning anything plot wise, but I find the blurb says enough. Honestly you should just dive into this story now!

3.5 stars

Dive Bar – Reading order and purchase links

dirty kylie scott  twist dive bar kylie scott

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love, lies, and spies

Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.

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REVIEW

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*

While being called Love, Lies, and Spies, most of the focus went to love or rather romance. It’s been a while since I’ve read a historical romance, so to me this was quite a refreshing read.

I loved the sweet building attraction between Juliana, and Spencer. As by society’s rules they don’t spend a lot of alone time together, but there is this feeling of conspiracy between these two that made the romance believable. Them against the rest, stolen glances, living in their own world.

As Juliana is making her debut in the beau monde, this also includes all the drama that comes along with such an event. Including, but not limited to, shopping, meddling family, unwanted suitors, tedious events, gossip, and so on. Also there is the little fact of Spencer actually being a British spy, though I believe that part of the story lacked a sense of danger or urgency.

Spencer being a spy should have brought an element of excitement to the plot, but I felt a bit of background information was missing to always fully comprehend what was going on. So I focused much more on the brewing romance, than the eighteenth century James Bond element.

Love, Lies, and Spies was a sweet, and rather delightful story. I really liked young, strongly opinionated Juliana. Such a breath of fresh air, between all the drama queens. While Spencer was definitely charming, and a serious candidate for a knight in shiny armour. I would definitely recommend this book to any young reader who wants to try a historical romance.

3 stars

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no love allowed

It’s all fun and parties until someone falls in love in this modern fairy tale from author Kate Evangelista.

Caleb desperately needs a fake girlfriend. Either he attends a series of parties for his father’s law firm with a pretty girl on his arm, or he gets shipped off to Yale to start a future he’s not ready for and isn’t sure he wants. And sadly, the last unattached girl in his social circle has just made the grievous mistake of falling in love with him. Fortunately, Didi, recently fired waitress and aspiring painter, is open to new experiences. As the summer ticks by in a whirl of lavish parties, there’s only one rule: They must not fall in love!

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REVIEW

*I received a copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

I love young adult books like No Love Allowed. A story you finish in a heartbeat, with strong, relatable characters, an overall feeling of joy, and not afraid to hit the harder subjects in an approachable way.

You can not help but immediately fall for Didi. A young girl, having some issues, but seeing every day as a new opportunity. So when pretty, rich boy asks her to be his fake girlfriend, she gladly accepts. Just going to all these swanky parties, getting to dress up, experience new things, is enough for her to dive into this adventure.

Didi is unlike any girl Caleb has met, and dated, that’s why she’s perfect for this role. Needing to please his father, he could do without all the girl drama, and Didi is a great distraction. His one number rule is not to fall in love, though this time the roles might be reversed. The more time Caleb spends with Didi, the harder it gets for him not to break his own rule.

No Love Allowed was such a sweet, breezy read. I immediately adored all the characters, even Caleb’s extravagant lifestyle wasn’t off-putting. You could see from a mile away where this story would end up, though that didn’t make me enjoy it any less. Seeing these two grow closer together, was charming. Caleb and Didi, both have some issues, thus keeping it from being too light of a story, adding some great depth. An excellent balance, and I enjoyed every second of it.

4 stars

Reading order and purchase links

no love allowed  no holding back

No Love Allowed: Amazon USAmazon UK

No Holding BackAmazon USAmazon UK (Oct. 2016)

Connect with Kate Evangelista: GoodreadsWebsiteTwitterFacebookAmazon

doing it over

Voted Most Likely to Succeed, Melanie Bartlett ended up anything but. The down-on-her-luck single mom wants a complete do-over—is that too much to ask? With her family long gone from River Bend, strong, independent Mel is as surprised as anyone to end up in the quaint small town she once called home. But with her friends, Jo and Zoe, by her side, and a comfortable room at Miss Gina’s quirky bed-and-breakfast, she just might have turned the corner on a new life.

Wyatt Gibson never liked the big city. River Bend suits the ruggedly handsome builder just fine. Wyatt knows he’s home, even if that means being charmed by the appearance of Melanie and her spunky, adorable daughter. Is Wyatt’s calm devotion—even amid a coming storm—enough to convince Mel she may have found a home to call her own, a family that never leaves, and a true love to last a lifetime?

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REVIEW

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*

This brand new series by Catherine Bybee starts right off with Doing It Over. Melanie was voted Most Likely To Succeed in high school, though now ten years later she’s back where she began. After dropping out of college, a bad relationship, and a kid, she is ready to start over, and where better to commence then where she feels most at home.

Being a single mom is not easy, though now that Melanie is back in River Bend, she has her friends close. The support, and love she gets from them, is just what she needed to get back on her feet. Not to mention the attention of the handsome handyman Wyatt.

So far so good, but it wouldn’t be a Catherine Bybee novel without some mystery. The drama comes from an unexpected angle, and quickly turns more serious than I was expecting. While Melanie may be at her wits end, Wyatt and her other friends are there to help her through this ordeal.

Doing It Over has maybe not the most original plot, though I love my small town romances. Everyone is up in each other business (in a good way), and I love every minute of that. The romance between Melanie, and Wyatt was of the sweeter kind. I really liked the way he connected with Melanie’s daughter. As for the secondary characters, they are a great addition to the overall charming feeling, and I would love to read more about them.

3 stars

Buy book: Amazon USAmazon UK

Connect with Catherine BybeeGoodreads – Website – Twitter – Facebook – Amazon

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player and the pixie

THE PIXIE
Lucy Fitzpatrick doesn’t like rugby.
As the little sister of Ireland’s most infamous rugby player, Lucy can’t seem to escape the championship-sized shadow cast by her big brother, or her mother’s frequent attempts to micromanage her future. Her rainbow hair is as free-spirited as her quest for inner peace, yet overbearing expectations keep bringing her down. And when she’s down, her compulsive little problem lands her in seriously big trouble.

THE PLAYER
Sean Cassidy is a cold-hearted brute… or so he’s been told. Frequently. By everyone.
His blonde locks, baby blues, and rock hard bod make ladies the world over drool with desire. As the rugby world’s second most infamous player, he should be basking in his success. But Sean has never been content settling for second place, and his frequent confrontations with Lucy’s big brother leave him cold. And when he’s cold, his compulsive little problem lands him in the lap of Lucy Fitzpatrick.

THE PLAN
Sean has a problem only Lucy can solve. Lucy has a problem only Sean can fix. The solution seems obvious: you scratch my back, and I’ll bail you out of jail. But when their business arrangement unexpectedly leaves Sean scorching hot and Lucy on the precipice of inner peace, can they convince the world—and Lucy’s big brother in particular—that this is the real deal?

Either way, both the Player and the Pixie are about to teach each other some pretty monumental lessons about family, life, but most importantly, love.

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EXCERPT

I didn’t know what I was doing.

Requests, things I wanted, words I would never speak or allow myself to think were now uncontainable.

It’s the sex, I reiterated. Again. I’d used this explanation, now on repeat, as a simple justification for the complex cacophony of my mind.

“Be with you?” Her long, dark lashes fluttered, beating like distressed butterfly wings against warming pink cheeks.

I licked my lips, tasting her there. “Yes.”

She stared at me, confused. I was also confused. And oddly frightened.

Because it wasn’t the sex.

Several seconds ticked on as we studied each other in breathless silence. She found her voice before I did. “What does that—”

“Lucy?” Annie’s voice was paired with a soft knock on the bathroom door. “Are you okay?”

I opened my mouth to whisper a clarification to the question Lucy hadn’t quite posed, because I was compelled to tell her it wasn’t the sex. We didn’t have to have sex. We could just . . . talk. Or play cards. Or touch. Or look at each other from across the room.

We could merely be together.

But she covered my mouth with her hand. Her features arrested with unmistakable panic.

“Yes. I’m fine! I just . . . started my period is all. Made a mess in my jeans, like a crime scene.” Lucy hollered in response then grimaced. She immediately mouthed I’m sorry to me. Her cheeks flushed red.

I lifted an eyebrow. She rolled her eyes, ducking her head with obvious embarrassment. I pressed my lips together so I wouldn’t laugh.

Issuing me a quelling look, Lucy released me and skittered out of the stall, whispering, “Stay here and count to three hundred.”

“Oh! Do you need anything?” Annie’s voice was less muffled and I surmised she’d opened the bathroom door.

“Ah, no. Have it all sorted now. Thank God Tom has these nice absorbent napkins instead of those troublesome hand driers. Although I feel like I’m wearing a nappy. They’re bad for the environment, so I should talk to him about replacing the napkins. Maybe make a few available for emergencies . . .”

Lucy’s anxiety-riddled chatter faded as the bathroom door clicked shut.

I released an audible exhale. My heart was beating as though it might leap from my chest. I needed to catch my breath. Neither had anything to do with being caught.

What the fuck were you doing?

It was the sex. She’s phenomenal in bed. You’ve never had that before. It was just sex.

I nodded, reiterating the logic of my justification for the uncharacteristic behavior. If I repeated it enough, perhaps I would believe it.

I didn’t count to three hundred as instructed. I counted to one hundred and twenty-three, then realized what I was doing.

“You’re mad, Sean,” I muttered, shaking myself and promptly leaving the ladies’ room. I checked the cufflinks on my dress shirt—a nervous habit—and strolled back to the table, eyeing the assortment of eejits gathered.

Buy book: Amazon USAmazon UK

player-pixie

REVIEW

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*

I can’t help but feel that these two authors are complete dorks, and I mean that in a good way. Who else can come up with the character of a player, who’s so totally rubbish in bed he needs tutoring. If that doesn’t catch your interest, then this book isn’t for you.

So of course this book was totally for me. I have to admit it took me a while to actually like Sean Cassidy. His personality is a complicated one, and I had caught myself going all pride and prejudice on him. Though as Lucy quickly finds out, his “charming” personality is a defence mechanism to keep people from getting close.

Lucy has a way of crawling under your skin. Before he realises it, Sean can not get her out of his mind. Whatever is happening between these two, neither was expecting it, and neither want it to end.

The Player And The Pixie was so much fun to read. I loved the constant flirtations between Lucy and Sean, though there was enough depth to these characters to make it a well developed story. Not to mention the sexy times were off the charts. I’m already looking forward to the next book, that little snippet at the end has me craving more.

3.5 stars

Rugby – Reading order and purchase links

 *All books can be read as a standalone*

hooker and the hermit  player and the pixie

The Hooker and the Hermit: Amazon USAmazon UK

The Player and the PixieAmazon USAmazon UK

Connect with Penny ReidGoodreads – Website – Twitter – Facebook – Amazon

Connect with L.H. CoswayGoodreads – Website –Twitter – Facebook – Amazon

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frozen by la casey

There’s one must-have toy this Christmas, and Neala Clarke has told her niece Charli she’ll get it for her. Never mind that she’s got less than a week and it looks like everywhere is sold out. She’s promised Charli a Fire Princess doll—and Neala is a woman of her word.

Darcy Hart is a people-pleaser. So when his adorable six-year-old nephew, Dustin, asks for a particular doll at the last minute, he says yes. Luckily for Darcy, there’s one left in stock at the local toy store. Unluckily for Darcy, he’s not the only person who wants it—and his rival is the one woman who’s immune to his charms.

Neala and Darcy have loved to hate each other since they were kids, and they’re both willing to do whatever it takes to get that doll. This can’t possibly end well for both of them…can it?

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REVIEW

*I received a copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

I’m a lover, not a fighter, and whenever I read a book by L.A. Casey I always forget how verbally aggressive her characters can be, especially the women. In Frozen, Neala, the main character, has a lot of anger issues. Though they are related to only one person, Darcy. The guy she loves to hate.

Seriously from the start it’s pretty clear that there is a very fine line between love, and hate. A fight when they were kids, got way out of hand, and now it’s too late for forgiveness. Neala and Darcy have pulled too many pranks on each other, had too many fights, invested too much time and energy in fuelling this toxic relationship to backtrack now.

Except everyone around them is so sick and tired of their childish behaviour. Even I got over it, and that was after reading only the first scene. I was all ready for these two to kiss and make up. The opportunity presents itself for a possible powwow, even though they are forced Dean and Neala do make good use of a disaster.

Neala’s constant anger was difficult to deal with. I could feel my blood pressure rise just reading from her point of view. To me she often came across as unreasonable, and therefor I had trouble connecting with her.

Darcy to me was more likeable. The guy definitely has his faults, though when we got to read from his point of view, his voice was softer. Honestly the whole love/hate thing between him and Neala is maybe good for a couple of chapters, but it quickly becomes exhausting. So I was definitely all up for them making up.

I could look over the predictability of Frozen. Everyone loves a sweet holiday romance, and I have to admit that all the secondary characters added a lot of charm to the story. As for the main characters, I felt they still had a lot of growing up to do.

2.5 stars

Buy book: Amazon USAmazon UK

frozen-la-casey

Connect with L.A. CaseyGoodreads – Website – Twitter – Facebook – Amazon

Graham and Soraya’s highly anticipated romance is finally here in Stuck-Up Suit by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward!

stuck up suit

It started out like any other morning on the train.

Until I became mesmerized by the guy sitting across the aisle.

He was barking at someone on his phone like he ruled the world.

Who did the stuck-up suit think he was…God?

Actually, he looked like a God. That was about it.

When his stop came, he got up suddenly and left. So suddenly, he dropped his phone on the way out.

I might have picked it up.

I might have gone through all of his photos and called some of the numbers.

I might have held onto the mystery man’s phone for days—until I finally conjured up the courage to return it.

When I traipsed my ass across town to his fancy company, he refused to see me.

So, I left the phone on the empty desk outside the arrogant jerk’s office.

I might have also left behind a dirty picture on it first though.

I didn’t expect him to text back.

I didn’t expect our exchanges to be hot as hell.

I didn’t expect to fall for him—all before we even met.

The two of us couldn’t have been any more different.

Yet, you know what they say about opposites.

When we finally came face to face, we found out opposites sometimes do more than attract—we consumed each other.

Nothing could have prepared me for the ride he took me on.  And I certainly wasn’t prepared for where I’d wind up when the ride was over.

All good things must come to an end, right?

Except our ending was one I didn’t see coming.

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EXCERPT

Outside of the restaurant, Graham’s black car was already curbside.  He must have had it waiting and called the driver when I went to the restroom.

“If you’re not going to come home with me, I insist on at least giving you a ride home to your place.”

“The subway is right around the corner.  I’m good.”

He shot me an annoyed glance.  “Give a little, Soraya.  It’s a ride home, not a ride on my cock.  And I think you know by now that I’m not a serial killer.”

“You’re so crass.”

He put his hand on the small of my back and steered me to the waiting open car door.  I didn’t put up a fight.  Graham was right, I was being stubborn while he had pretty much agreed to anything I demanded.  Something told me it was a rare occasion when the man was this flexible.  

When we arrived at my apartment, Graham walked me to the door.  

“When will I see you again?”

“Well, tomorrow is Saturday, so I suppose maybe Monday on the train.”

“Have dinner with me again tomorrow?”

“I have plans.”

His jaw flexed.  “With whom?”

We embarked into a lengthy stare off.  His gaze was hard.  When neither of us gave for a few minutes, he grumbled Christ under his breath, and before I realized what was happening, my back was against the door, and his mouth was on mine.

He kissed me as if he wanted to eat me alive.  Before releasing my mouth, he took my lower lip between his teeth and tugged.  Hard.  With his lips vibrating up against mine, he spoke.  “Don’t push me to my limit, Soraya.”

“Why?  What will happen?”

“I’ll push back.  And I’m trying not to do that with you.”

He was being honest, and I realized I should appreciate that.  “To my sister’s house.  It’s my niece’s birthday party.  That’s where I’m going tomorrow night.

He nodded.  “Thank you.”

It took every bit of my willpower to go inside and shut the door behind me.  I leaned my back against the door, unable to remember the last time I was so hot and bothered.  Maybe not ever.  His mouth was sinful; the thought of what he could do with that wicked tongue other places on my body kept me in a state of arousal that bordered on frenzied.  But it was more than that.  The way he was so dominating and controlling, yet exercised restraint to respect my wishes, was the sexiest thing I’d ever seen.  The man stimulated something that had been sleeping inside of me.  I needed a glass of wine and an orgasm.  Not necessarily in that order.  If I was going be firm on my stance that we get to know each other and not have sex, then taking things into my own hands was absolutely essential.

In my bedroom, I stripped out of my clothes.  I didn’t sleep naked every night, but tonight was definitely a bare evening.  As I slipped into bed, my cell rang.  

“Is phone sex on the table?”  Graham’s voice was a needy rasp.  Whatever cooling off my body had done since I left him on the other side of the door was instantly reheated.  His voice could definitely speed things up for me.  But…

“Sex is off the table.  That should probably include all types of sex.  Intercourse, oral, phone.”

He groaned.  “Oral.  God, I want to taste you.  And feel that metal tongue ring on my cock.  You have no idea how difficult it was to control myself tonight every time I caught a glimpse of that metal when you spoke.  It’s like you’re taunting me with every word.  What are you wearing, Soraya?”

That voice.  I needed to record him saying What are you wearing, Soraya?  So I could play it over and over again in a loop when I needed to satisfy my own needs.  “I’m actually not wearing anything.  I just got undressed and slipped into bed.”

“You sleep naked?”

“Sometimes.”

He actually growled.  “Touch yourself.”

“I plan to.  But I think I’m going to need both hands tonight.  So I’m going to hang up first.”

“How long do you plan on driving me crazy, Soraya?”

“Good night, Graham.”  I hung up without waiting for him to respond.  Even though my body physically ached for the man, I wasn’t ready to open that door with him just yet.  Although as I glided my hand down my body alone in my bed, the only thing I could think of was God, I wish it was his hand.

stuck up suit teaser rb

REVIEW

Where to begin? Where to begin….Let’s start off with how gorgeous the name Soraya is. I actually kept saying it out loud while reading, ’cause I loved the sound. Which I know is kind of silly, but an awesome name like that, definitely matches this character.

I really liked her sarcasm, speak before thinking, and just overall bluntness. Soraya is a character that came across as confident, though at the same time you could notice a certain vulnerability about her. While she doesn’t take any of Graham’s BS, she had trouble letting him in. Even when things to me felt like they were going really well, you could still feel that little hesitation.

As for Graham, he was exactly as the blurb described. Hot, smart, driven, arrogant, and a terrible boss. To me the personality switch from stuck-up suit, to sweet loving boyfriend felt a bit unnatural. Even though there is a side of him that most people don’t see, I was actually surprised how fast the switch was to totally opening up, and being pro relationships.

At a certain level I was expecting a rather light, and funny romance. Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland have definitely added a lot more depth in Stuck-Up Suit, with a major plot twist no one was expecting. I personally liked Cocky Bastard more, but that’s a personal preference. As characters I did like Graham and Soraya quite a lot, I just feel couldn’t completely connect with the story. Still a good collaboration, and I’m hoping these two authors will write more books together.

3 stars

Buy bookAmazon – iBooks

stuck-up-suit

Connect with Vi KeelandGoodreads – Website – Twitter – Facebook – Amazon

Connect with Penelope WardWebsite – Facebook – Twitter – Goodreads – Amazon

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matchmaker's playbook

Wingman rule number one: don’t fall for a client.

After a career-ending accident, former NFL recruit Ian Hunter is back on campus—and he’s ready to get his new game on. As one of the masterminds behind Wingmen, Inc., a successful and secretive word-of-mouth dating service, he’s putting his extensive skills with women to work for the lovelorn. But when Blake Olson requests the services of Wingmen, Inc., Ian may have landed his most hopeless client yet.

From her frumpy athletic gear to her unfortunate choice of footwear, Blake is going to need a miracle if she wants to land her crush. At least with a professional matchmaker by her side she has a fighting chance. Ian knows that his advice and a makeover can turn Blake into another successful match. But as Blake begins the transformation from hot mess to smokin’ hot, Ian realizes he’s in danger of breaking his cardinal rule.…

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EXCERPT

“What are you doing in my room?” Her voice was accusatory low, and kind of sexy—if I closed my eyes and thought of it belonging to a different body.

“You mean Gabi’s room?”

“No.” Her nostrils flared. “My room.”

“And you are?” I held out my hand, because I was a gentleman first, a certifiable man-whore second, and because my grandma used to swat my ass every time I introduced myself without a firm handshake.

Her eyes widened as she stared at my naked body.

“Fine,” I said with a half shrug and then stood. “But I literally only have three minutes before Gabi hands me my ass. You want the bed or the floor, since you’re already there?”

And Gabi said I wasn’t charitable enough? Damn, look at me, just ready to hand out orgasms for free.

“What?” New girl’s wide roaming eyes finally lifted to meet mine. Damn, some people charge for that kind of staring. “What are you talking about?”

“Okay, now we’re down to about two and a half minutes. I’m not gonna say it won’t be difficult, but I could probably do something that would at least conjure up a little panting. Maybe a scream or two.”

“Scream?” she said, her eyebrows drawing together. “What are you talking about? And why are you naked?”

“I was looking for clothes before you barged in on me.”

“In my room.”

“Look.” I glanced at my watch. “Now we’re really getting into dangerous territory. I’ve been nicknamed Superman in bed, but I’m not actually sure I can do a repeat of 2014, though I’d love to add another instance to the record books. So if we’re going to do this, you need to hurry up and take at least your shirt off.”

“Are you”—her cheeks reddened—“a stripper for the party?”

Hmm. The idea had merit. I could do a free show, which would make me a saint, considering what I typically charge each client.

“No.” I held out my hand. When she didn’t take it, I took it upon myself to lift her from the floor and onto her feet.

She kicked. She even tried to bite me.

“There we go. A little enthusiasm!”

“Put me down!” She jerked away from me.

I set her away from me and crossed my arms. “Sorry, time’s up. You have ten seconds left, and even I can’t perform a miracle of this”—I pointed at her baggy shirt, baggy shirts, and, holy shit, was she wearing tube socks?—“caliber.” I swallowed. “Just a guess, but were you homeschooled?”

Her face reddened with either embarrassment or anger. “No! And I live here. This is my room!”

“But it’s Gabi’s room.”

“We switched this morning!” She stomped her foot. The girl  was wearing old-school Adidas flip-flops.

They still made those? Huh. It was like seeing a real live T. rex.

“Why are you staring at my feet?”

“They have to be worth a mint by now.” I tapped my chin and continued staring at the ugly rubber flip-flops. “Impressive. Really impressive.”

“Are you even listening to me?” she shrieked. “Put some clothes on and get out of my room. Or don’t put clothes on and just get out of my room. Whichever.”

“Exactly.” I nodded seriously. “I was just about to do that when you tumbled in. Now,” I said slowly, “you say you switched rooms?”

She nodded.

“Which makes Gabi’s room . . . ?”

She pointed down the hall. I had a brief moment of recollection in which Gabi had mentioned something about switching to the smaller room because the two new roommates were going to share.

“Ah, you must be Serena.”

“Blake,” she growled. “Serena’s blonde.”

I’d have bet she was hot too. Serena was a hot-girl name. Blake? It was what you named a girl that you thought was going to be a boy and therefore projected all your boyhood dreams onto her. Ten bucks that her dad had made her play every sport in the book and she was either the product of divorce or single parenting.

“Why are you still standing here . . . naked?” This time she looked away, covering her face with her hands.

“What’s wrong with being naked? You do know you were born that way, right?”

“Just”—she didn’t look again, but pointed at the door—“go.”

“Your loss.” I laughed. “Could have rocked your world.”

“My world doesn’t need rocking.”

I paused midway through the door and turned back, moving in close, making sure my breath would blow across her neck as I whispered, “Now that’s where you’re wrong, Blake. Every girl needs to allow her world to be rocked, at least once. Or if said rocking is coming from me? Twice.”

Buy book: Amazon USAmazon UK

matchmaker's playbook teaser

REVIEW

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*

I admit I often judge a book by its cover, and when it came to The Matchmaker’s Playbook I was expecting a rather intense, and dramatic story. To my pleasant surprise Blake and Ian’s story was light, funny, and a breeze to read.

Seriously Ian had me cracking up. He walks a narrow line between cocky, and arrogant, though always manages to get away with it. Offering his services to the ladies, is easy money for him, but with his latest client he has trouble keeping his distance. A battle between head and heart, and other body parts, this guy’s road to love had me pretty much grinning throughout The Matchmaker’s Playbook.

Blake is a nice girl, a bit clueless when it comes to guys, and her own sexuality. There were times when this bothered me a bit, though in the end I think she’s a great girl. She’s still figuring things out, makes some stupid mistakes, but she owns up to them, and I appreciate that.

The Matchmaker’s Playbook was such a joy to read. Completely different from what I was expecting, and I mean this in a good way. Plenty of laughs, I think I highlighted almost half of this book because of Ian’s one-liners/pick up lines. I believe Ian is a wonderful character, and he has found his match in Blake. Book two in the Wingmen Inc. novels will be about Lex, and Gabi (Ian’s best friends), and after reading their interactions in this book, I just know it’s going to be another doozy.

3.5 stars

Buy book: Amazon USAmazon UK

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Connect with Rachel Van Dyken: GoodreadsWebsiteTwitterFacebookAmazon

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beast jr ward

Nothing is as it used to be for the Black Dagger Brotherhood. After avoiding war with the Shadows, alliances have shifted and lines have been drawn. The slayers of the Lessening Society are stronger than ever, preying on human weakness to acquire more money, more weapons, more power. But as the Brotherhood readies for an all-out attack on them, one of their own fights a battle within himself…

For Rhage, the Brother with the biggest appetites, but also the biggest heart, life was supposed to be perfect—or at the very least, perfectly enjoyable. Mary, his beloved shellan, is by his side and his King and his brothers are thriving. But Rhage can’t understand—or control—the panic and insecurity that plague him…

And that terrifies him—as well as distances him from his mate. After suffering mortal injury in battle, Rhage must reassess his priorities—and the answer, when it comes to him, rocks his world…and Mary’s. But Mary is on a journey of her own, one that will either bring them closer together or cause a split that neither will recover from…

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REVIEW

The plan wasn’t to finish The Beast by J.R. Ward in one sitting, it’s over five hundred pages long, and it was already past 8 pm. Then I started reading it, and I kept telling myself ‘one more chapter‘. Suddenly it was past 1 am, and I flip the last page. It’s been a while since a book kept me up that long.

I though The Beast was amazing. If I could give it an alternative title, it would be “We are family“. Which might seem quite opposite from what it’s now, though to me it represents the essence of this story. It’s actually the essence of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, and for them family isn’t defined by blood. You wouldn’t immediately associate it with these killer, vampires, but their hearts are so big, and good.

The main focus was on Rhage, and Mary. It’s been a while since they were center, and I had almost forgotten how much I loved them. Unapologetic, goofy Rhage, and sweet, caring Mary. Two people so in love, though after a couple of years there is this hurdle in their relationship. It snuck up on them, and it was creating distance between them. Though after the near death of Rhage, everything gets thrown out in the open. I loved that we got to see that happily ever after is what you make of it. It’s not a given, and any relationship requires you put in the effort.

This might all seem vague, I just don’t want to give away too much. I really liked the later scenes, when the solution presented itself, and all that followed. Besides Rhage and Mary, we also get to see some of pregnant Layla and Xcor, I can’t wait to read their story. I just know it’s going to be epic! In the background there is the ever-present glymera, stirring up trouble in their own. There were a lot of small reveals, and changes, and I feel those will have a big impact on what is to come next.

I really wished J.R. Ward could write non stop, ’cause I can not get enough of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books. Once again The Beast was amazingly written, and I love how well all the story-lines mix together. Every time I read a book in this series, there is so much to discover. I’ve lost count how often I’ve reread some of them. I love the real feel of the characters, even though it’s a paranormal series. It makes it so easy to get into their stories.

5 stars

Black Dagger Brotherhood – Reading order and purchase links

dark lover  lover eternal  lover awakened

Dark LoverAmazon – Kindle – Book Depository

Lover EternalAmazon – Kindle – Book Depository

Lover AwakenedAmazon – Kindle – Book Depository

lover revealed  lover unbound  lover enshrined  father mine

Lover RevealedAmazon – Kindle – Book Depository

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The Shadows: My review – Amazon – Kindle – Book Depository

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Are you ready to get Dirty?  

Dirty is Book One in Kylie Scott’s Dive Bar Series. Meet Vaughn & Lydia on April 19th!

dirty kylie scott

The last thing Vaughan Hewson expects to find when he returns to his childhood home is a broken hearted bride in his shower, let alone the drama and chaos that comes with her.

Lydia Green doesn’t know whether to burn down the church or sit and cry in a corner. Discovering the love of your life is having an affair on your wedding day is bad enough. Finding out it’s with his best man is another thing all together. She narrowly escapes tying the knot and meets Vaughan only hours later.

Vaughan is the exact opposite of the picture perfect, respected businessman she thought she’d marry. This former musician-turned-bartender is rough around the edges and unsettled. But she already tried Mr. Right and discovered he’s all wrong-maybe it’s time to give Mr. Right Now a chance.

After all, what’s wrong with getting dirty?

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EXCERPT

Heavy footsteps roused me from my stupor. I don’t know how long exactly I’d been sitting in the bathtub, staring off at nothing, pondering the catastrophe my life had become. Couldn’t have been too long since sunlight still lit the room.

The footsteps came closer and closer. And then they entered the room. Oh, shit. I froze, not even daring to breathe. There was a loud yawn, followed by the cracking of joints. Then a large hand reached in beside the closed shower curtain and turned on the tap. A torrent of ice cold water poured down. It was like a billion itty-bitty knives stabbing at my skin. All of the scratches and raw patches from earlier stung like shit. I gritted my teeth, shoulders hiked up to around my ears as if that would provide any protection.

Yep, I sat there, all huddled up, listening to the man take a leak.

Awesome. Just plain awesome.

Wasn’t like I could jump out and interrupt the man midflow. And say what? I knew this was not a good situation to get caught in.

  1. I’d basically broken into this guy’s house.
  2. And had then gone on making myself right at home, having a messy emotional breakdown in his bathtub.

Normal, rational people didn’t do this sort of thing. I didn’t even have a criminal record, had never particularly done anything outlandish or interesting until now. This was all Chris’s fault, the bastard. I’d just have to make the best of it and hope this guy had a sense of humor.

Just as the water began to warm, he flushed the john and freezing cold water drenched me anew. I’d been about to open my mouth and announce my presence, but that put an end to that. Needles of icy cold water pelted down on my skin. I fucking froze. Teeth gritted, I suppressed a squeal of pain and rage.

Then the shower curtain flew back.

“Shit!” The man was very tall, very naked, and very surprised. He stumbled back a step, a hand clutching at the bench behind him, eyes furious and wide. “What the hell?”

Good question.

I opened my mouth, closed it. Language skills had apparently abandoned me. In total silence, the man and I stared at each other.

Even with no clothing to take cues from, the dude was clearly the epitome of cool. He looked about my age, or maybe a little older. He had longish red-blond hair, dark blue eyes set in an angular face, a lean but muscular torso covered in tattoos, and a rather large cock. Not that I meant to check him out, it’s just kind of hard to ignore a penis and scrotum when they’re dangling right in front of your face. I tilted my head, trying to get some perspective. Every viewpoint, however, was equally shocking. There was dick as far as the eye could see.

And I should stop ogling him. Right.

“Hi.” With a calm I didn’t even vaguely feel, I reached up and turned off the tap. Much better. His monster penis had momentarily derailed me, but I was back on track now. Time to talk myself out of this mess. “Hey.”

“What the fuck are you doing in my house?” he asked flatly.

“Right. Well . . .” I neatly tucked my dripping-wet shoulder-length blond hair back behind my ears. As if that would help. My winged eyeliner and false lashes were probably halfway down my cheeks. “I, um, I . . .”

“You what?”

“I’m Lydia,” I said, the first thing to come to mind.

No reply. His handsome face, however, took on a distinctly pissy expression. Even his strawberry-blond hair seemed a fiery hue. Fine, so we weren’t swapping names and getting cozy. Fair enough. You wouldn’t believe how hard it was, keeping my eyes on his face. The struggle was real. It might have been due to my not seeing one in so long, but his dick seemed almost hypnotic. The thing had magical powers, I swear. It was so big and mobile, subtly swaying every time he moved. My gaze kept darting down despite my best efforts.

Finally he put me out of my misery, grabbing a towel off a nearby rack and wrapping it around his waist. It made for quite the hot-looking miniskirt. Not just any man could have pulled off such a look.

But back to my explanations.

“Ah, firstly, I’d just like to say sorry about this.” I waved a hand at him and his bathroom and, well everything, really. “For any inconvenience I might have caused here in your bathroom.”

The guy stood tall, looming over me with his hands on hips. Tattoos covered his arms to his wrists. Still, he had a whole lot of sinew on show. Definitely not the kind of man you’d want to mess with. Dude could probably snap me in half in a second. I bet he was a tattoo model, or a biker, or a pirate, or something. Something a lot hot and more than a little scary.

Shit. I really should have chosen another house.

“I don’t normally break into people’s places and hide out in their tub,” I babbled, on the verge of incoherency. “So I’m really sorry. Seriously. So very sorry. But you’ve got a lovely home.”

“That so?”

“Not that, I mean, that’s not why I’m here. I just . . .” Fucking hell, my mind was a disaster. I took a deep breath, letting it out nice and slow, before trying again. “I love the old Arts and Crafts bungalows, don’t you? They have such soul.”

His brows drew tight. “Are you high? What the fuck are you on?”

“Nothing!”

“You haven’t been popping any pills or snorting something?”

“No, I swear.”

“Nothing to drink?”

“I haven’t had anything,” I said, but the suspicion and anger still lined his face. Paired with the stubble on his chin and the shadows beneath his eyes, my unwilling host was one tired, cranky man. Couldn’t really blame him.

“So you’re completely sober,” he said.

“Completely.”

A pause.

“You’re thinking I’m bat-shit crazy now, aren’t you?” I asked, despite the answer sitting plain as day on his pretty face.

“Pretty much, yeah.”

Oh, god. “I’m not. I’m sane.”

“You sure about that?” He looked down the long line of his nose at me, distinctly unimpressed. “Seen a lot of weird shit in my years. Stuff like you wouldn’t believe. But I got to tell you, right now, this . . . you, are taking the cake.”

“Great.” And I was so definitely probably going to jail. Someone ought to give me a cookie. My ability to take a bad situation and make it worse today was amazing.

“You touch any of my stuff?” he asked. “Take anything?”

“Yes, your sofa is cunningly hidden down the front of my dress. You won’t believe where I fit the TV.”

Again, his eyes narrowed dangerously. “Between you and me, probably not the time to be funny, babe.”

Crap. “Sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that. You have every right to be mad.”

“Damn right, I do.”

I nodded, contrite. “I haven’t touched any of your things.”

The dude just stood there, staring. Lots going on behind his eyes. None of which I could read.

A stray tear trickled down my face. It must have saved itself up just for the occasion. Gah. How pathetic. I sniffled, brushing it off hurriedly with the back of my hand.

“Fuck’s sake,” he muttered.

“I really am sorry about this. The truth is, I just needed somewhere to hide for a little while. I didn’t mean to freak you out.”

He sighed. It wasn’t a happy sound. “Lydia?”

“Yes?” Despite my best efforts, my voice trembled slightly.

“Look at me.”

I did so. He still looked cranky and crazy cool while I remained a hot mess.

“I’m Vaughan,” he said.

“Hi.”

He tipped his chin and silence fell between us once more.

With the tip of his tongue rubbing at his upper lip, he looked at the wide open window, and then back at me. Yep, that’s how I’d gotten in. Houdini had nothing on my mad skills.

“What are you doing in my house, Lydia? The truth.”

“It’s kind of a long story, actually.” Along with being excruciatingly embarrassing. But then, what wasn’t about this day?

Vaughan crossed his arms over his wide chest and waited me out while I fussed with my ruined skirts and tried to come up with a way to spin the story to not make me look a complete fool. Christ, the holes in my stockings were huge. On one side, my entire foot stuck out. So screwed.

Vaughan crouched by the side of the tub, resting his arms on the side. Up close the shadows under his eyes seemed even bigger and darker against his pale skin. And there were bags big enough to use as carry-ons. Despite the strong lines of his lean face, the man looked done-in. Ready to sleep for a hundred years.

I knew that feeling.

“Looks like a wedding dress,” he said quietly.

“Yes, it is. I was going to get married today.” I took a deep breath, wiping my face with my hands. Just as expected, my palms came away smeared with black eye makeup. “Ah, boy. I must look a wreck.”

Without comment, Vaughan reached out and grabbed a towel, handing it to me. It was sort of threadbare, old. Dated like the rest of the house. I hadn’t seen more than one room, but real estate agents got a feel for these sort of things. Minimal upkeep for the past five or so years would have been my guess. Perhaps it’d even been left empty. Bushes out front hid the house from view, so I’d never gotten a good look at it before.

“Thank you.” I patted myself dry with the towel as best I could. What remained of my beautiful dress was a sopping wet ruin. “I’m sorry I broke into your house, Vaughan. I swear I don’t normally do this sort of thing.”

“No,” he said, his voice deep. “Figured as much. Where’d you come from?”

“The big house at the back.”

His brow wrinkled. “You climbed over the fence?”

“Yes.”

Tired, red-tinged eyes appraised me anew. “That’s a tall fence. Must have been one hell of an emergency.”

“It was a disaster.”

For a long moment he studied me, deep in thought. Then he sighed yet again, climbing to his feet.

“Are you going to call the cops on me?” I asked, my throat tight with tension. “I know you have every right to, I’m not disputing that. I’d just, I’d like to know. Mental preparation and all that.”

“No. I’m not.”

“Thank you. I appreciate that.” My whole body sagged in relief.

Then he clapped his hands together, startling the crap out of me. “Okay, Lydia. Here’s what we’re going to do.”

“Yes?”

“I arrived late this morning, have only had a few hours sleep. If I don’t get some coffee soon, things are going to get ugly. And you probably need to get dried off.” With no fuss, he held out his hand. “Let’s get shit sorted out. Then we can sit down and you can tell me the long story of how the hell you ended up in my house. Agreed?”

“Agreed,” I said, voice lightening.

He pulled me up. Then, with strong hands on my waist, lifted me out of the tub. Immediately water started dripping off of my saturated dress, pooling on the scuffed wooden flooring at my feet. Chris would have been distinctly unimpressed. Chris didn’t like messes. But as Vaughan didn’t seem to care, neither did I.

“You’re really not going to call the police?” I asked.

“No. Hold still,” he said, carefully plucking a fake eyelash from my cheek.

“Thank you.”

“Your dress is kind of fucked.” He looked me over from top to toe.

“I know,” I said sadly.

“I’ll leave you to get changed.”

“Wait. Please. I can’t get out of it on my own.”

More frowning.

“It’s vintage,” I explained with a grim face. “There’s no zip, just a line of little buttons up the back.”

“’Course there is.” Without another word, he turned me around and got started in on said buttons. As he worked, he hummed beneath his breath, the song vaguely familiar.

“Aren’t you still mad?” I asked, perplexed.

“Nuh.”

“But I broke into your house.”

“Window was open.”

“I still trespassed.”

Busy fingers kept working on undoing the dress. “You sat in the tub and cried because some dickhead fucked you over.”

That shut me up.

“Or that’s what I’m assuming, given the dress and all. I take it he’s the one that gave you that shiner on your cheek?”

“No. No one hit me. And yes, you assumed right about the being fucked over.” I tried to look back at him, but I couldn’t see a thing beyond my wild-ass hair. Impressive how it’d survived the shower. The stylist clearly knew her shit.

“You sure no one hit you?” He did not sound convinced.

“Yes. I lost my grip and hit the floor when I was climbing in the window. My home invasion skills need work.”

“I’d suggest you try a different career.” He finished with the buttons and took a step back, scratching his head. “You okay with the dress now?”

“Yes, thank you,” I told his reflection in the mirror. “For everything, I mean.”

“Sure.” He almost smiled and gave a small shake of the head as if he couldn’t quite believe what was going on. Or maybe it was disbelief that he wasn’t kicking me straight back out the window through whence I’d come.

Lord knows, it’d shocked the shit out of me.

He turned toward the door. “See you out there.”

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stuck up suit

It started out like any other morning on the train.

Until I became mesmerized by the guy sitting across the aisle.

He was barking at someone on his phone like he ruled the world.

Who did the stuck-up suit think he was…God?

Actually, he looked like a God. That was about it.

When his stop came, he got up suddenly and left. So suddenly, he dropped his phone on the way out.

I might have picked it up.

I might have gone through all of his photos and called some of the numbers.

I might have held onto the mystery man’s phone for days—until I finally conjured up the courage to return it.

When I traipsed my ass across town to his fancy company, he refused to see me.

So, I left the phone on the empty desk outside the arrogant jerk’s office.

I might have also left behind a dirty picture on it first though.

I didn’t expect him to text back.

I didn’t expect our exchanges to be hot as hell.

I didn’t expect to fall for him—all before we even met.

The two of us couldn’t have been any more different.

Yet, you know what they say about opposites.

When we finally came face to face, we found out opposites sometimes do more than attract—we consumed each other.

Nothing could have prepared me for the ride he took me on.  And I certainly wasn’t prepared for where I’d wind up when the ride was over.

All good things must come to an end, right?

Except our ending was one I didn’t see coming.

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EXCERPT

It felt like we were the only two people in the world, instead of inside a busy, posh restaurant.  

“This is beautiful.  But odd,” I said.

Graham took off his jacket and settled into his side of the table with one arm casually slung over the top of the booth.  “Fitting.”

“Are you saying I’m odd?”

“Are we going to fight about it if I say yes?”

“Probably.”

“Then, yes.”

My brow furrowed.  “You want to fight with me?”

Graham tugged at his tie, loosening it.  “I find it turns me on.”

I laughed.  “I think you need counseling.”

“After the last few days, I believe you may be right.”

The waitress returned with our drinks.  She set a highball glass down in front of him and a wine glass in front of me.

Graham had ordered Hendrick’s and tonic.  “That’s an old man’s drink, gin and tonic,” I said as I sipped my wine.

He swirled the ice around in his glass, then brought it to his lips and looked at me over the rim before drinking.  ”Remember what arguing with me does.  You might want to look under the table.”

My eyes widened.  “You aren’t.”

He smirked and cocked an eyebrow.  “Go ahead.  Put your head under.  I know you’re dying to take a peek anyway.”

After we both finished our drinks, and some of my nerves had started to calm, we finally had our first real conversation.  One that wasn’t about sex or tongue rings.  

“So how many hours do you work a day in that big fancy office of yours?”

“I usually go in by eight and try to leave by eight.”

“Twelve hours a day?  That’s sixty hours a week.”

“Not counting weekends.”

“You work weekends, too?”

“Saturdays.”

“So your only day off is Sunday?”

“I actually sometimes work in the evening on Sunday, too.”

“That’s nuts.  When do you find time to enjoy yourself?”

“I enjoy my work.”

I scoffed.  “Didn’t sound that way when I stopped in the other day.  Everyone there seems afraid of you, and you refused to open the door.”

“I was busy.”  He folded his arms over his chest.  

I did the same.  “So was I.  I took two trains to personally deliver that phone, you know.  And you didn’t have the decency to even come out and say thank you.”

“I didn’t know what was behind the door waiting for me, or I would have come out.”

“A person.  A person was behind the door.  One who went out of her way for you.  If I were a sixty-year-old married woman with blue hair, you should have come out to thank me.”

He sighed.  “I’m a busy man, Soraya.”

“Yet here you are on a weeknight at only 7PM.  Shouldn’t you be working until eight if you’re so busy?”

“I make exceptions when warranted.”

“How big of you.”

He arched an eyebrow.  “You want to look under the table, don’t you?”

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coming soon stuck up

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nobody but you

SOMETIMES YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN…

After an overseas mission goes wrong, Army Special Forces officer Jacob Kincaid knows where he must go to make things right: back home to the tiny town of Cedar Ridge, Colorado. All he needs to scrub away his painful past is fresh mountain air, a lakeside cabin, and quiet solitude. But what he discovers is a gorgeous woman living on a boat at his dock.

Sophie Marren has nowhere else to go. She’s broke, intermittently seasick, and fighting a serious attraction to the brooding, dishy, I’m-too-sexy-for-myself guy who’s now claiming her dock. Something about Jacob’s dark intensity makes her want to tease—and tempt—him beyond measure. Neither one wants to give any ground . . . until they realize the only true home they have is with each other.

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REVIEW

*I received a copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

I’ve been looking forward to Jacob’s story, ever since he was mentioned in Second Chance Summer. Even more so after My Kind Of Wonderful, I could already smell the drama. Finally Jacob is here in Nobody But You, and I have to say I was surprised at the lack of drama from his side.

I feel Jacob didn’t make a mistake in leaving Cedar Ridge behind. As an eighteen year old kid, he needed to explore the world. Though he did make the mistake of never coming back, and the longer he waited, the more difficult it became. So here we are now. Jacob is back in between deployments, and he’s lost. He’s scared of his families reaction to his return, and even fears he might be too late.

Enter Sophie, her drama is a nice distraction. Recently divorced, floating from one job to the next, her life feels a mess. The last thing she believes she needs in her life right now is men, and definitely not brooding, sexy Jacob. Still the attraction is undeniable, and as long as they don’t label it, Sophie thinks she can handle it/him.

Nobody But You was a great addition to the Cedar Ridge series. Jill Shalvis writes characters that are so easy to relate to, stories that’ll leave you with a light heart, and are a wonderful distraction from real life. I actually quite loved how they planned the release of this series. Second Chance Summer in the summer, My Kind of Wonderful in the winter, and now Nobody But You in spring. They are perfect to start each season with.

3 stars

Cedar Ridge – Reading order and purchase links

second chance summer  my kind of wonderful  nobody but you

Second Chance Summer: Amazon USAmazon UK

My Kind Of Wonderful: My review – Amazon USAmazon UK

Nobody But YouAmazon USAmazon UK

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gambit

In Earth’s battle-ridden future, humans have evolved. Those with extraordinary skills rise to power and fame. Those without live in poverty.

Sixteen-year-old Willow Kent believed she was normal. But when a genetically-advanced military officer shows up in her village and questions her identity, long-buried secrets begin to emerge. With remarkable skills and a shocking genetic code the Core and its enemies will do anything to obtain, Willow suddenly finds the freedom she craves slipping through her fingers. Greed, corruption, and genetic tampering threaten every aspect of her existence as she’s thrust, unwilling, into the sophisticated culture of the elite Core city. To ensure peace, she must leave the past behind, marry a man she’s never met, and submit to the authority of a relentless officer with a hidden agenda of his own.

Her life has become a dangerous game. How much will she sacrifice in order to win?

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REVIEW

*I received a copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

I’m conflicted about Gambit. On the one hand I feel this story is all over the place. Though on the other hand I’m intrigued enough to want to read the second book in the series.

The concept of this story was exciting enough. A young girl with special abilities, having to leave her home, travel behind enemy lines so to speak, and marry some guy she’s never met. Unfortunately some things I felt lacking in the execution of the plot and characters.

I could understand the constant mood swings of sixteen year old Willow. Handling her abilities was something new, having to leave her family and friends is frightening, and a guard constantly on your case is exhausting. Though I like my female lead characters to be strong-willed, Willow often came across as plain stubborn. This all making it difficult for me to connect with her. One moment I liked Willow, the next she was quite tiresome. A young girl not sure what she wants, trying to survive, and making things as difficult as possible, including herself.

As for Reece, her guard, there is no excuse for his mood swings. From violent brute, to compassionate friend, at one time maybe even more, and everything in between. I could not get a handle on this guy. Were we supposed to like him? Hate him? I honestly don’t know. His split personality might give you a headache.

The world C.L. Denault has built in Gambit is one of extremes. Willow is from a small town with a Middle Ages feeling to it, and the Core is the opposite with loads of technology, green energy, and genetic manipulation. This also contributed to the overall confusing feeling I got from the story.

While I do believe Gambit has potential, I felt something missing. To me the world build, characters, and plot still needs work. I could fully follow what the intentions of the author was, though something want awry while writing it all down. Like I said, I’m intrigued enough to want to read the second book in the series, though it might not be on the top of my TBR-list.

3 stars

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