Review- One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManu

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

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REVIEW

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

I was hooked. Kid dies during detention, four witnesses, and a whole lot of secrets. What a page turner.

Once again I’m so glad I went to high school before smartphones were invented, and most social media didn’t exist yet. Teenagers are brutal.

While most kids admit they didn’t like Simon, killing him is obvious a step too far. Author of the school’s gossip app, Simon has plenty of enemies. Though it’s the last four whose secrets he hadn’t revealed yet, who stood to lose the most.

Each has his or her secret. Some more shocking than others, though all equally life changing.

The police is relentless, and the suspects keep claiming their innocence. The media is on their case as well, though none are as harsh as their peers.

Bronwyn, Nate, Cooper, and Addy set out to find the real culprit. Honestly it’s sad when teens can do a better job than the professionals.

I loved how we’re kept guessing ’till the end. False leads, suspicious secondary characters, and the final reveal is awesome. I mean tragic, ’cause a kid died, but masterfully set up.

On Of Us Is Lying is a thrill ride, taking teenage drama, and angst to a whole new level. I loved every second of it. Impossible to put down!

4.5 stars

Grab your copy of ONE OF US IS LYING

Connect with Karen M. McManu: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterAmazon

Roommates with Benefits by Nicole Williams

Soren Decker. He’s the epitome of the “bad boy, good man” persona. The best of both worlds. The worst of them too. He’s the type of guy most girls wouldn’t mind sharing a confined space with, except my new roommate isn’t all swagger and chiseled abs.

He’s bossy. Messy. Cocky. Infuriating. Doesn’t believe in personal space. Has no qualms about roaming the apartment with a loincloth-sized towel cinched around his waist. Seems under the delusion he’s my personal protector (refer back to infuriating). He plays college baseball and holds down a part-time job—I don’t know where he finds the time to get on my nerves.

We have nothing in common . . . except our attraction to one another. And in six hundred square feet of shared space, the tension only has so much room to grow before one of us gives in to temptation. But really, what chance do a couple of young kids chasing their dreams in the big city have of making it?

Since Soren claims I know squat about sports (he might have a semi-point), here’s a stat for him—one in a million. That’s our odds.

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REVIEW

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

If Hayden and Soren weren’t so down to earth, and awesome, I could totally hate them. Hayden is an upcoming supermodel, quickly becoming a big name. While Soren is one game away from being a professional baseball player.

Though currently still living in a crappy studio apartment. The attraction is there from the beginning, but still I loved the gradual pace between them. From roommates to friends, to…

Honestly Soren is a hoot. His humor is on point, and I love his romantic streak. He’s a hard worker, a family man, and has a natural charm about him that’s irresistible.

Hayden’s life is going exactly as she wants, and as they say “she’s going places.” Though she never gets a big ego, and has a joy for life that’s likeable.

The natural flow between Hayden and Soren makes you almost miss what is going on. There is no high drama, but realistic issues, and believable love.

I recommend Roommates With Benefits to anyone looking for a swooning romance, with likeable characters, and wanting a HAE in New York.

3.5 stars

Grab your copy of ROOMMATES WITH BENEFITS

Connect with Nicole WilliamsGoodreads – Website – Facebook – Twitter – Amazon

Review- Twenty-Two (Assassins #11.5) by Toni Aleo

When Lucas Brooks was traded to the Nashville Assassins over a decade ago, he was a brash, brawling hothead without an anchor.

Well, four kids and a smokin’ hot wife will weigh you down real fast, but Lucas wouldn’t change a minute of his happily ever after.

During an epic, end-of-season quest for the Cup, changes appear on the horizon, and suddenly, there’s a plot twist in Lucas’s fairy tale.

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EXCERPT

Fallon held a half-eaten snow cone in one hand and her phone in the other with one earbud in as she watched Aiden rush down the ice, the puck under his control. He caught the defense on a change, somewhat of a breakaway, before he shot the puck hard toward the net, hitting the back of it with ease.

“Woot!” Audrey called from beside her.

“Yes!” Fallon fist-pumped as the girls stood by the glass, bouncing up and down in their way too big Brooks jerseys. Looking over to Asher, who was on his computer, she said, “Your brother scored.”

“Attaboy!” he called out, but he didn’t look up, which only made Fallon shake her head as she watched Aiden hug his teammates. “What’s the score on Daddy’s game?”

“Two-zip, Assassins,” she said as she waved her hand in the air when Aiden looked up at her, like he always did. Like he always had, and a part of her was excited about his future. But the other part just made her heart ache. When he was in college, would he be able to see her?

And in the NHL? Crap, she knew he wouldn’t be able to see her then.

“This is game four, right? They win, they go to round three?”

“Yes, baby. Emery! Get off there! Come eat this snow cone. It’s melting.”

Emery continued to climb on the rail of the bleachers as she looked up. “I don’t want it.”

“Then come get it and throw it away.”

She pouted. “I don’t want to.”

“Emery Elaine,” Fallon warned. “Get over here. Right now.”

“I want my daddy!”

“That’s new,” Audrey commented as Emery stomped up the stairs, her little brow

furrowed.

“That’s Emery, who has stayed close to her dad every moment he’s been home,” she muttered as Emery stopped in front of her. “Do you want that tail wore out?”

“No, ma’am.”

“Then what do you need to do?”

“Throw away the snow cone and watch my mouth?”

“Exactly,” she said, handing the snow cone to her trying child before looking down at her phone to see that the Assassins were on the penalty kill. They were probably playing the best hockey she had seen them play in her many years of supporting and loving the team. She was excited, but her gut was in a knot, not only for the Assassins but also for Aiden. Because across the rink, she could see the Bellevue representatives, watching her little boy with intent.

“Aiden is playing great,” Audrey said then, and Fallon nodded.

“I know, the best he’s ever played. Just like the Assassins.”

Audrey beamed. “We’ll close out tonight and then get a nice break before round three.

They need it.”

“They do.” Looking down at her phone, Fallon watched as the second period ended, and she let out a long sigh. One more period. Twenty more minutes, and if the Assassins could hold the Hawks, they’d move on to round three. She couldn’t believe it. This would be the first time the Assassins had swept anyone in the play-offs, and according to Facebook, Elli was coming out of her skin.

twenty two blog tour

REVIEW

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

It seems ages since we’ve read anything about Lucas and Fallon, so I’m pleasantly surprised with this novella. Lucas has become the oldie of the Assassins. While still an excellent player, he’s getting up there in age (relatively), and he doesn’t remember the last his body didn’t ache.

Still, hockey is his life, and the Cup is so close he can pretty much taste it. Meanwhile life around is not standing still. I don’t know when it happened, but Aiden has become a young man, ready to explore his college, and more professional hockey options. Let’s just say, I’m really looking forward to his story.

The one person who might have the most trouble with all the changes is Fallon. Aiden growing up so fast, the insecurity around Lucas, and the other hellions keeping her on her toes. Though she supports them to her best abilities, and I love that about her.

Twenty-Two is definitely a novella for the Assassins fans. A quick check in, in the lives of the Brooks family, and filled with little hints, I feel, for the next generations books. I thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with Lucas, Fallon, and Aiden.

3.5 stars

Assassins – Reading order and purchase links

*All books can be read as a standalone, but have interconnecting characters*

taking shots  trying to score  empty net  falling for the backup

Taking ShotsAmazon US – Amazon UK – Book Depository

Trying To ScoreAmazon US – Amazon UK – Book Depository

Empty NetAmazon US – Amazon UK – Book Depository

Falling For The BackupAmazon US – Amazon UK

4 & counting  blue lines  breaking away   laces

4 & Counting (FREE)

Blue LinesMy review – Amazon US – Amazon UK – Book Depository

Breaking AwayMy review – Amazon US – Amazon UK

Laces & LaceMy review – Amazon US – Amazon UK

  Very-2BMerry-2BHockey-2BHoliday-2Bhigh  wanting to forget  overtime  rushing the goal

A Very Merry Hockey HolidayMy review – Amazon US ($0.99) – Amazon UK (£0.99)

Wanting To ForgetAmazon US ($0.99) – Amazon UK (£0.99)

OvertimeMy review – Amazon US – Amazon UK

Rushing The Goal: My review – Amazon US – Amazon UK

pucks-sticks-and-diapers-assassins-8-5-by-toni-aleo  review-excerpt-face-off-at-the-altar-assassins-9-by-toni-aleo  Delayed Call (Assassins #11) by Toni Aleo  Review- Twenty-Two (Assassins #11.5) by Toni Aleo

Puck, Sticks, and Diapers: Amazon US ($0.99) – Amazon UK (£0.99)

Face-Off At The Altar: My review – Amazon USAmazon UK

Delayed Call: My review – Amazon USAmazon UK

Twenty-Two: Amazon USAmazon UK

Connect with Toni AleoGoodreads – Website – Twitter – Facebook – Amazon – Signed Books

pipe-dreams-brooklyn-bruisers-3-by-sarina-bowen

A goalie has to trust his instincts, even when taking a shot to the heart…

Mike Beacon is a champion at defending the net, but off the ice, he’s not so lucky. A widower and a single father, he’s never forgotten Lauren Williams, the ex who gave him the best year of his life. When Lauren reappears in the Bruisers office during the playoffs, Beacon sees his chance to make things right.

Lauren hates that she’s forced to travel with the team she used to work for and the man who broke her heart. There’s still undeniable sexual tension running between her and Mike, but she won’t go down that road again. She’s focused on her plans for the future—she doesn’t need a man to make her dreams of motherhood come true.

Lauren plays her best defensive game, but she’s no match for the dark-eyed goalie. When the field of play moves to Florida, things heat up on the beach.

One of Mike’s biggest fans doesn’t approve—his teenage daughter. But a true competitor knows not to waste the perfect shot at love.

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REVIEW

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

Finally we get to see behind the ice queen’s walls, and understand why Lauren is so standoffish when it comes to these hockey players. Turns out, once upon a time she was rather close with them, one in particular.

Mike and Lauren, it seemed meant to be. Until Mike screwed it all up. I can understand, for the most part, why he did what he did. Though I do not agree with the way he did it. Now that these two are running into each other a lot more, Mike sees it as his chance for redemption.

I love how Lauren makes him grovel. Mike needs to put in the work, to get back into Lauren’s good graces. Honestly he’s good at that. He truly wants things to work out between them, and isn’t afraid to do go for it. It’s not an easy road, as the emotions still run high, not the mention a tween daughter to consider.

Pipe Dreams was a great addition to the Brooklyn Bruisers series. I’m glad we got to know Lauren, and Mike better. A nice sports romance novel, that was funny, sweet, sexy, and low on drama llamas (except for the tween, tween drama doesn’t count.)

3.5 stars

Brooklyn Bruisers – Reading order and purchase links

*All books can be read as a standalone*

rookie move  hard hitter  pipe-dreams-brooklyn-bruisers-3-by-sarina-bowen

Rookie Move: My review – Amazon US – Amazon UK

Hard Hitter: My review – Amazon US – Amazon UK

Pipe Dreams: Amazon USAmazon UK

Connect with Sarina BowenGoodreads – Website – Twitter – Facebook – Amazon

Too Hard to Forget (Romancing the Clarksons #3) by Tessa Bailey

This time, she’s calling the shots.

Peggy Clarkson is returning to her alma mater with one goal in mind: confront Elliott Brooks, the man who ruined her for all others, and remind him of what he’s been missing. Even after three years, seeing him again is like a punch in the gut, but Peggy’s determined to stick to her plan. Maybe then, once she has the upper hand, she’ll finally be able to move on.

In the years since Peggy left Cincinnati, Elliott has kept his focus on football. No distractions and no complications. But when Peggy walks back onto his practice field and into his life, he knows she could unravel everything in his carefully controlled world. Because the girl who was hard to forget is now a woman impossible to resist.

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EXCERPT

“I don’t know, Peggy.” He whirled on her, closing in until she was forced back onto the desk. “I had an All-American on my squad this morning and now I don’t. That’s all I know.” He pointed a finger toward the window. “I solve problems down on the field. Saving people isn’t my job.”

Saving people. God, there was such a wealth of regret and pain in those two words. But he couldn’t hear it and she couldn’t address it. Letting him know she saw right through his façade to the hurt beneath might force Elliott to close himself off. “You didn’t always limit yourself. Why are you doing it now?”

“Accepting things that can’t be changed isn’t a limitation. It’s realistic.”

“But how will you know if something can’t be changed unless you try?”

“When it comes to certain things, Peggy, trying leads to losing.” He was in her face now, the mint from his toothpaste familiar and inviting where it slid over her lips. “And I don’t lose.”

No one ever stood up this man but her, and she wouldn’t be cowed now. “No? You’re out a receiver.” She hitched herself up on his desk. “I’d call that a loss.”

The tips of his shoes met Peggy’s, his hands gripping the furniture on either side of her hips. “Who do you think you are, little girl? Coming into my office and telling me what I’ve done wrong?” His eyes were brilliant in their vexation, the attraction he was trying so hard to fight. “Where do you get the goddamn bravery?”

“The bravery is what you liked best about me,” she breathed, heat sizzling in a downward V toward her thighs. “Isn’t it?”

“No. That bravery is what almost led to my downfall.” His hands found her bottom, jerking her to the edge of the desk. “I resented it. Still do.”

“Liar,” Peggy whispered, easing her thighs wider. “You’re dying for an excuse to head for another downfall.” When her legs were as open as she could spread them, she leaned up to Elliott’s ear and let her breath shake loose. “One thrust.”

Elliott’s right hand came up out of nowhere, molding over Peggy’s mouth as his hips crowded into the notch of her legs. With a quick maneuver to recline her halfway back, Elliott’s erection found the apex of her thighs, delivering an aggressive pump against her underwear that sent a scream climbing up Peggy’s throat, only to be trapped by his hand. Knees jerking up out of reflex over the rush of sensation, an orgasm almost—almost— broke past the surface, sending her waters rippling out on all sides. Her legs wanted to hug Elliott’s waist, her voice wanted to beg for one more, one more, one more, but he shook his head, denying her, even though his gaze was hot, a low groan issuing from his harshly masculine mouth.

He leaned in and nipped the lobe of her ear. “Next time, ask for two.”

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REVIEW

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

Yes, I have found my favourite book in this series. I was very curious about the woman with the four broken engagements. What type of guy would hold her back from committing.

Then you meet Elliott, and it all makes sense. While a forbidden romance, because she was a student back then, it has always been more. Though things were complicated.

Elliott is a complex man. A legend on campus, outside the stadium he sees himself as a failure. Intend on punishing himself, he shies away from happiness.

Peggy was heartbroken, and now she’s back for vengeance. Believing she has the upper hand this time, she wants closure. Though soon she’s back dragged by the enigmatic man. Old wounds are reopened, emotions come to the surface, and Peggy is more lost than before.

Elliott truly is a special man. I absolutely did not like the effect of his behaviour towards Peggy. Though I do like how he finally tries to redeem himself. He needs to find some inner peace, and let people back in.

Peggy needed that confrontation with Elliott. She too has been running from her emotions. Reconnecting with Elliott might be exactly what she needs to be happy again.

Too Hard Too Forget will take you on quite a roller coaster ride. Two complex, though fascinating characters, will drag you into their world, and not let go ’till the last page. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves a second chance romance, women who fight for what they want, and men who don’t give up.

4 stars

Romancing The Clarksons – Reading order and purchase links

too hot to handle tessa bailey  too wild to tame

Too Hot To Handle (My review)

Too Wild To Tame (My review)

Too Hard to Forget (Romancing the Clarksons #3) by Tessa Bailey  Too Beautiful to Break (Romancing the Clarksons #4) by Tessa Bailey

Too Hard To Forget

Too Beautiful To Break (September 26, 2017)

Connect with Tessa BaileyWebsite – Facebook – Twitter – Goodreads – Amazon

GIVEAWAY

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Lost Rider (Coming Home #1) by Harper Sloan

In Lost Rider, the first Western romance in New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Harper Sloan’s Coming Home series, an injured rodeo star encounters an old flame but will she be just what he needs to get back in the saddle?

Maverick Austin Davis is forced to return home after a ten-year career as a rodeo star. After one too many head injuries, he’s off the circuit and in the horse farming business, something he’s never taken much of a shine to, but now that it’s his late father’s legacy, familial duty calls. How will Maverick find his way after the only dream he ever had for himself is over?

Enter Leighton Elizabeth James, an ugly duckling turned beauty from Maverick’s childhood—his younger sister’s best friend, to be exact, and someone whose heart he stomped all over when she confessed her crush to him ten years back. Now Leighton is back in Maverick’s life, no longer the insecure, love-stricken teen—and Maverick can’t help but take notice. Sparks fly between them, but will Leighton be able to open her heart to the one man who broke it all those years ago?

Written in the vein of Diana Palmer and Lindsay McKenna, this Texas-set series is filled with sizzle, heart, and plenty of cowboys!

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EXCERPT

I should tell Quinn and Clay that he’s here. But one look at him and it’s like the last ten years have never passed and I’m back at the bonfire, the awkward high schooler uncomfortable in her own skin. Marching away from him in the woods. It was the last time I saw him. How is it possible that he can affect me this much after all this time?

He hasn’t noticed me, not with his head bowed, so I quickly turn around and focus on Pastor John as he finishes up his prayer. Him being here means nothing. I should be happy that I remember the pain from that night so well, it will make keeping my walls up around him so much easier.

“On behalf of the Davis family, I want to thank everyone for coming today. At this time, the family has asked for some time alone as they say their good-byes. They wanted me to remind everyone that the PieHole will be opening up for a few hours tonight starting at five for anyone that wishes to join them.”

I keep my arm around Quinn, not looking back to where I saw Maverick. I can hear the church slowly emptying and I feel a frown pull at my lips. I had hoped that when everyone started to leave that he would have come up front to be with his family, but so far, the pew we’re in is still empty save for the three of us. We sit and wait for everyone to leave, something that Clay had asked Pastor John to make arrangements for in place of the customary recessional, knowing that no one in this town would really mean a word of it anyway. Plus, I know Quinn is having a hard time. Regardless of the fact that she wasn’t the closest with her father, she was really counting on this—Maverick home. She’s still shaking in my arms, but when I look over at Clay I realize his silence isn’t because of the heaviness of Buford’s death, but instead anger over his brother’s absence that has started to build to a boil. I fear that he’s seconds away from tipping over the edge.

I stand when Clay and Quinn do, but hang back at the edge of the row we had been sitting in as they meet Pastor John and gather their father’s ashes. I can’t wait to get out of these heels. If it would have been acceptable to wear my boots, I would have, but Quinn would have killed me. As it is, I feel like I can’t take a deep breath with how tight my dress is against my chest. I never wear tight shirts. I haven’t since my boobs became beasts of their own right. I’m too busy fiddling with the straps of my dress, trying desperately to get some of the pressure against my chest to ease up so I could take a deep breath, when I heard Quinn gasp.

“Mav!” Next thing I know she’s running past where I’m standing, her black hair streaming in the air behind her as she speeds forward right into her brother’s arms. Clay moves to stand next to me and I look up to meet his green eyes, the questions he isn’t vocalizing dancing in their emerald depths. He’s not stupid and I’m doing a crappy job at hiding the memories haunting me right now. He gives me a small smile, shifting his hold on the urn to wrap his free arm around me and pulls me into a strong hold.

“You’re shakin’,” he says against my temple and I just nod.

“I’m good, Clay. Go see your brother.”

“I’m fine right where I am, sugar.”

I keep my eyes to the ground, focusing on his worn boots instead of looking up, hating myself for making this moment about me when I should be focused on them. Like it or not, I can’t fight the feelings that being near him bring me. I’m that stupid, naive sixteen-year-old all over again. “Let’s get out of here,” he says after a few silent seconds. I look up and give him a smile, hoping that it looks a hell of a lot braver than I feel. Inside I feel like I might puke.

“You think I could have a second with my family?”

My head shoots up at the coldness I hadn’t anticipated in Maverick’s voice. He’s not focused on me, though, instead looking at his brother with a hard expression and one brow raised upward.

“Mav!” Quinn gasps and he moves his attention from his brother to her.

“Sorry, Quinn, but I’m thinkin’ that Clay’s lady friend would understand that this should be a moment for our family and give us time alone.”

“I’ll just—”

“Don’t you dare finish that sentence, sugar,” Clay all but spits through clenched teeth and drops his arm to take a step forward. “You’ve got something to say, Mav, then say it.”

“Nothing to say, Clayton, I just think it would be nice for your girlfriend to give us some space.”

“My girlfriend,” he parrots sarcastically, his deep voice vibrating in anger.

“Mav.” Quinn attempts to butt in, but stops when Maverick leaves her side and turns to stalk out of the church. I should find it comical that he obviously didn’t recognize me, or hell, maybe he did and he’s just picking up where he left off ten years ago in the middle of the dark woods. I take a deep breath. “It’s okay. He’s right. Y’all need some time as a family. I’ll head over to the PieHole and start settin’ up for tonight.”

Quinn brushes a tear from her cheek and just shakes her head. I look at Clay to see him staring in the direction that his brother just left.

“You’re family,” he finally says, not looking in my direction.

“Clay, really, it’s okay. It’s been a long time since y’all were back together and I don’t need to be there for that reunion. It sucks that it takes all of this to finally bring him home, but he’s here and y’all need to make up for a lot of time lost.”

“Shut up, Leighton.”

“Don’t, Clay.”

“Don’t what? You’ve got every right to be here. You’re just as much a part of our family as he is. Hell, maybe even more so than he is at this point. So just shut up, come with us, and ignore him.”

I shake my head, the fight instantly leaving my sails, knowing I would be arguing until the end of time if I

pressed this issue.

“I can’t believe he doesn’t even recognize you,” Quinn whispers.

Grab your copy of LOST RIDER

Banner Lost Rider

REVIEW

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

One word: Cowboys! My ideas about cowboys are probably completely wrong, but I sure like the ones Harper Sloan writes about. A broken rodeo star, with a big heart, and a hopeful future, not to mention the hat, and mostly the nicely filled out jeans. Prepare to swoon with Maverick Davis.

He left town fast, and never looked back. ‘Cause he knew if he gave Leighton a chance, he would never leave. Now that he’s back for good, she is his number one priority. Fix what he broke ten years ago, and convince her to give this lost rider a chance.

Luckily Leighton never really got over her crush, and things heat up pretty fast. There is no lack of passion, inside and outside the barn. Two strong-willed characters, pent-up emotions, and hurt feelings, yes, it gets intense.

I mostly liked how the drama isn’t dragged out. Once all secrets are revealed, apologies are made, Leighton and Maverick don’t waste time. They already lost out on ten years, and they don’t want to waste any more.

Lost Rider was a solid start for a new series. A must read for anyone who likes cowboys, broken men who try to redeem themselves, and the strong women there to guide them. It was, at times, sticky sweet, passionate, and mostly good fun. 

3.5 stars

Coming Home – Reading order and purchase links

Lost Rider (Coming Home #1) by Harper Sloan  Kiss My Boots (Coming Home #2) by Harper Sloan

Lost Rider

Kiss My Boots (July 18, 2017)

Connect with Harper SloanGoodreads – Website – Twitter – Facebook – Amazon

Review: 180 Seconds by Jessica Park

Some people live their entire lives without changing their perspective. For Allison Dennis, all it takes is 180 seconds…

After a life spent bouncing from one foster home to the next, Allison is determined to keep others at arm’s length. Adopted at sixteen, she knows better than to believe in the permanence of anything. But as she begins her third year in college, she finds it increasingly difficult to disappear into the white noise pouring from her earbuds.

One unsuspecting afternoon, Allison is roped into a social experiment just off campus. Suddenly, she finds herself in front of a crowd, forced to interact with a complete stranger for 180 seconds. Neither she, nor Esben Baylor, the dreamy social media star seated opposite her, is prepared for the outcome.

When time is called, the intensity of the experience overwhelms Allison and Esben in a way that unnerves and electrifies them both. With a push from her oldest friend, Allison embarks on a journey to find out if what she and Esben shared is the real thing—and if she can finally trust in herself, in others, and in love.

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REVIEW

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

Have you ever tried holding eye contact with someone for three minutes straight? Not as in a staring contest, but actually looking someone in the eyes. Suddenly three minutes seems more like three hours. For shy, asocial Allison, it’s what nightmares are made of. Three minutes interacting with a stranger, and everything changed.

Esben is the complete opposite of Allison, and therefore really easy to like. He’s one of those super social guys, who people just gravitate towards, and above that he’s just the nicest. Thanks to his social media presence he also leads a public life, though he uses it to do all these amazing, wonderful things. Falling, and swooning for him is effortless.

For Allison it is not though. She grew up in foster care, and while there were some good families, and some less good families, it did leave their damage. Even adopted at the age of sixteen, Allison is still extremely wary of people, and does everything in her power to keep everyone at a distance. Even her dad. From the moment that we get to know her, your heart just breaks. You know that if she would dare to bring those walls down, she could be so much happier. That there is no need to shut herself off.

Upon meeting Esben, for the first time in her life she dares. Allison takes a chance, and slowly she lets her walls down. Esben shows her a whole new world, she lets people in, and all seems to be going so well, and happy. Until suddenly it’s 1AM, and you’re crying your eyes out. 180 Seconds will definitely give you all the feels.

Superb writing, idealistic book boyfriend, heartfelt friendships, new families, and first love, I adored every second of 180 Seconds. 

4.5 stars

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180 seconds teaser

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Review- The Thing About Love by Julie James

Two undercover FBI agents can hide who they are from everyone but each other in the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Suddenly One Summer.

FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army ranger clashed during their training at Quantico, gladly going their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to run into each other again–assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.

For both of them, being paired with a former rival couldn’t come at a worse time. Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work as a team–a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic, beachfront resort as part of the investigation. Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a whole lot more complicated. . .

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REVIEW

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

I love Julie James’ writing, and with her latest book The Thing About Love, it’s no different. A story of two Chicago FBI agents who hate each other, though now having to work together discover there is a fine line between hate, and love.

Jessica and John were in the same class in the academy. Him with a military background, and she a former lawyer. From day one it is on between them. A classic case of miscommunication between them, leads to a bitter rivalry. After graduation they never saw each other again, until now.

It’s John’s last case as an undercover agent, and Jessica’s first as a new transfer. I do have to applaud them on their professionalism, they really manage to set their differences aside for the job. Though the longer the banter goes on between them, the more they venture into flirting territory.

I always feel there is a certain level of intelligence when it comes to Julie James’ stories. I’m certainly no professional when it comes to FBI cases, and federal procedure, but she makes it feel authentic, and thus making the story more believable. Add the witty ribbing, smart heroines, and qualified heroes, and The Thing About Love becomes one wonderful romantic story.

4.5 stars

EXCERPT

Steeling himself, John turned around and smiled as Jessica approached. “Yes, Agent Harlow. How can I be of service?”

In response to his dry tone, she threw him a glare so cold it could’ve frozen all nine circles of Dante’s Hell. Fittingly, just nine of the many places he would rather be than stuck working with her on this investigation.

“Look, I’m not thrilled about this, either.” Keeping her voice low, she came to a stop next to him at the elevator bank. “I thought you were supposed to be on the Hostage Rescue Team already.”

“And I thought you were supposed to be in L.A.”

There was a quick flash in her eyes before she shrugged off his question. “Change of plans.”

The elevator arrived at their floor, and they both stepped inside. She hit the button for the seventh floor, where the public corruption squad was located. Standing on the opposite side, he pressed the button for floor five.

They faced off as the doors shut. She folded her arms across her chest and studied him with those crystalline blue eyes that could so cleverly mask her emotions.

As he knew well.

“We’re going to have to figure this out,” she said. “We’re supposed to be business partners in this.”

Thank you, yes, being a professional, he was aware of that. He took a step closer. “It’s called “undercover” work, Harlow. If I can pretend to be a gun-buying, murder-for-hire thug, I think I can handle playing some rich investor-type who wants to skirt a few measly zoning laws.” Even a rich investor-type who was apparently masochistic enough to get in bed with the likes of her.

Professionally-speaking.

“Measly zoning laws?” she repeated.

Ooh, now he’d gone and pissed her off. How nice it was, really, that they could pick up like this, right where they’d left off.

She drew in closer, tilting her head back to meet his gaze. He was over a foot taller than her, although he noticed that she was heightening a bit with those expensive-looking three-inch heels she wore.

“Our target in this investigation is the mayor of the thirteenth largest city in the United States. That’s a pretty big deal in my book.” She gestured to his facial scruff and hair. “And while I appreciate that this . . . Sons of Anarchy motif you’ve got going might ingratiate yourself with the gun-buying, murder-for-hire, organized-crime thugs of the world, that’s not quite going to fly with this sting operation.”

“’Thirteenth largest city in the United States?’” he scoffed. “Just how many hours did you spend reviewing the case files last night?”

She smiled sweetly as the elevator arrived at her floor. “Enough to get the jump on you.”

Then the doors sprang open, and she gave him a friendly wave, once again stepping into the role of Ms. Congeniality. “So glad we got to catch up like this, Agent Shepherd. We’ll talk again soon.”

He watched her stride confidently down the hallway as the elevator doors closed between them.

Enough to get the jump on you.

Not for long, sweetheart.

Time for him to get cracking on that case file.

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Review- The Hot Shot (Game On #4) by Kristen Callihan

First we were friends. Then we were roommates. Now I want more…

What can I say about Chess Copper? The woman is capable of bringing me to my knees. I know this about five minutes after getting naked for her.

No one is more surprised than me. The prickly photographer my team hired to shoot our annual charity calendar isn’t my usual type. She’s defense to my offense, a challenge at every turn. But when I’m with her, all the regrets and darkness goes away. She makes life fun.

I want to know Chess, be close to her. Which is a bad idea.

Chess is looking for a relationship. I’ve never given a woman more than one night. But when fate leaves Chess without a home, I step up and offer her mine. We’re roommates now. Friends without benefits. But it’s getting harder to keep our hands off each other. And the longer we live together the more I realize she’s becoming my everything.

Trick is… Now that I’ve made her believe I’m a bad bet, how do I convince her to give this player a true shot at forever?

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EXCERPT

Grumbling, I toss on some black lounge pants and my oversized Tulane t-shirt and head to the drugstore.

My head throbs by the time I get there, and my insides are writhing. I rest my hand against my lower stomach and grab a basket before calling James to complain.

“I swear,” I tell him as I grab a bottle of painkillers. “It’s like this entire day has been cursed.”

He snickers. “Curse. Get it? Curse?”

I roll my eyes, even though he can’t see me. “Laugh it up. Meanwhile, it feels as if someone is playing Battleship in my uterus.”

“Poor Chessie bear. At least we know why you were in such a foul mood.”

A flush washes over my cheeks. “Yeah.” Lie. Lie. Lie. A tub of salted caramel gelato makes its way into the basket.

“Tell me you’re getting some gelato,” James says.

I smile. “Just grabbed it.”

“Salted caramel?”

“You know it.”

I find the feminine products aisle and search for my brand. “I’m going to go home, take a long bath with my gelato, and forget this fucking day.” Forget Finn. “And then I’m going to go on Amazon and buying a freaking year’s supply of tampons so I don’t have to make these kinds of emergency runs anymore.”

A low, deep chuckle rumbles from behind me, and all the tiny hairs lift on my arms.

“But you’ll still need your gelato,” a familiar—fuck me, seriously?—voice points out.

My insides swoop even as my cheeks burn.

“Who is that?” James asks in my ear.

I slowly turn on one heel. “The plague,” I say, glaring up at Finn Mannus’s smiling face.

“From asshat to plague.” Finn scrunches up his brow. “I’m not sure if that’s a step down or a tie.”

“Who is that?” James nearly yells now.

I don’t take my eyes off Finn. “I’ll call you back.”

James’s squawks of protest cut off as I hit the end button.

“Are you stalking me, Mannus?”

Finn a rests his hands low on his lean hips. “Having a healthy amount of conceit myself, I have to admire yours, but no, buttercup. My buddy Woodson lives a few blocks away. It’s poker night. I’m stocking up on beer.”

It’s only then I notice a twelve pack tucked under his other arm.

“And tampons?” I ask, with a pointed look around the aisle we’re standing in.

“Not tonight,” he says easily. “Though we used to keep a pack of them back in college. Light flows were perfect for stopping up bloody noses.”

A snort escapes me. “Now there’s a visual.” Somehow, I’ve taken a step closer to him. He’s freshly showered, the golden brown strands of his hair still damp at his temples. And I wonder if he’s just come from the gym or practice. “So back in college you went and bought these tampons?”

“Nah,” he says with a cheeky smile. “I’d ask one of the girls hanging around to get me some.”

“Of course you did.” My nose wrinkles with annoyance.

“Give me a little credit, Chess. I’d buy them now if I had to.”

“Hmm…” I eye him, trying not to return his smile. If only because it’s more fun when he teases. “So why are you in this aisle now, if not for potential nosebleed needs?”

“That’s easy.” He steps closer, a warm wall of muscle and clean scent. “I heard your voice.”

For a second I just blink. “You recognized my voice?”

His gaze darts over my face as if he’s trying to get a read on why I’m gaping at him. “Not to be…ah…rude, but you’re loud when you talk on the phone.”

“Yeah, but… You recognized it.” We’d only just met. It occurs to me that I’d recognized his both times he’d snuck up on me. Then again, his voice is distinctive, flowing like hot honey when he’s relaxed or hammering down like iron to rock when he’s taking command of a situation.

A soft flush of pink tints the tips of his ears. If I wasn’t staring at him, I might have missed it. He shifts his weight. “Was I not supposed to?”

“No. Yes.” I shake my head and laugh. “I don’t know.”

He grins then. “You’re cute when you’re flustered.”

“I’m not flustered.” I am.

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REVIEW

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

Who would have thought that the QB would be scared to take off his clothes for a photographer? The man who gives pretty much naked locker room interviews, is unsettled by little Miss Chess Copper. This making those first interactions between them were adorable.

Finn is used to women fawning over him, so Chess’ complete lack of interest is almost unsettling to him. Though also intriguing, making her a mystery to figure out. Before they both realise it, they’ve become BFF. It’s a first for Finn, and if he’s truly honest with himself, he wants to be more than friends.

Chess is used to seeing handsome men on a daily, but she has to admit that Finn is one fine specimen. Though totally not her type. Finn is a bit too clean, while she prefers scruff, long hair, and tattoos. Still this weird friendship thing is making her see him in a different light. And, oh no, she even starts liking the guy, looking forward to his text messages. Eek, maybe even falling for him.

I loved seeing this relationship bloom from a small seed to a gorgeous sunflower. From mild dislike, and teasing insults, to smoldering texts and fierce kisses. What is going on between them is more than the physical, making it believable. The Hot Shot was a fun, and sexy friends to lovers story. Finn and Chess were highly likeable, made me laugh on occasion and overall I had a good time reading their tale.

3.5 stars

Game On – Reading order and purchase links

*All books can be read as a standalone*

the hook up  friend zone

The Hook Up (My review)

The Friend Zone (My review)

  Review- The Hot Shot (Game On #4) by Kristen Callihan

The Game Plan

The Hot Shot

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Damnable Grace (Hades Hangmen #5) by Tillie Cole

EVEN THE BROKEN, THROUGH LOVE, CAN FIND GRACE…

Secrets never stay hidden.

The burden of guilt never lifts from the heart.

Born and raised in The Order of David, Sister Phebe knows nothing but cult life. Head of the Sacred Sisters of New Zion, Phebe was groomed from childhood for one purpose: to seduce. Prized as a harlot, as a New Zion whore, Phebe is taken from the doomed cult by Meister, the notorious leader of the Aryan Brotherhood. Taken as his possession. Taken to be the woman who will obey his every sexual demand. Under his heavy hand, Phebe finds herself in a place much worse than she could ever have imagined… with absolutely no one to help. And no glimpse of hope.

Xavier ‘AK’ Deyes is content with his life as Sergeant-At-Arms of the Hades Hangmen. Leader of the infamous ‘Psycho Trio’ and ex-special ops sniper, AK knows how to fight. Experienced in warfare and schooled in military operations, AK is vital to the Hangmen. When his Vice President needs help retrieving his missing sister-in-law, Phebe, from a Klan-funded trafficking ring, AK volunteers to go in. AK remembers the redhead from New Zion. Remembers everything about her from the single time they met—her red hair, blue eyes and freckled face. But when he finds her, heavily drugged and under Meister’s control, her sorry condition causes him to remember more than the beautiful woman he once tied to a tree. Saving Phebe forces hidden demons from his past to return. A past he can never move on from, no matter how hard he tries.

As AK fights to help Phebe, and in turn she strives to help him, they realize their secret sins will never leave them alone. Kindred broken souls, they realize the only way they can be rid of their ghosts is to face them together and try to find peace.

Despair soon turns to hope, and damaged hearts soon start to heal. But when their deep, painful scars resurface, becoming too much to bear, the time comes when they must make a heavy choice: stay forever damned; or together, find grace.

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REVIEW

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

Tillie Cole always asks us nicely to review without spoilers, and I gladly oblige, though it’s damn hard to do. Here we go:

I’m glad that with Damnable Grace we get to back into the Hades Hangmen group, and get to know the other members better. Ky, Styx make appearances, and we get a lot of Flame, as he is AK’s bestie. Also we get to see more of Lil’Ash, who bumped Flame from the number one spot of favourite Hangmen. I know it will be a while ’till we get to read his story, but every mention of him so far is a highlight for me.

As for AK, he always seemed the most level-headed out of the Psycho Trio, though the hell he has been through makes it even more admirable that he’s not more effed up. His story starts out as most who sign up to fight, though war is never a good place, and leaves its marks. AK found his home with the Hangmen, brothers in arms. Though what he mostly needs again, is love, and forgiveness.

Phebe is an example that even when they favoured you at the cult, it didn’t mean you were treated well. After fallen from disgrace, then handed over to Meister’s control, hell really is a place on earth. Multiple times her story will break your heart. What they took from her, what she endured, I do not blame for one second how she wanted to escape it all.

Together they will have to face their demons. AK can finally lean on someone, who will accept him, and still love him no matter what. Phebe needs his strong, and gentle soul. Someone who will help her fight, help her see the good in the world, and who can love a broken woman.

Damnable Grace was…I always have trouble describing Tillie Cole’s novels…heart-wrenching, hopeful, mesmerising, addictive

As always I recommend this series to anyone who likes their romances dark, any MC lovers, and broken women who bring broken men to their knees.

4.5 stars

Hades Hangmen – Reading order and purchase links

It Ain't Me Babe  heart recaptured

It Ain’t Me, Babe (My review)

Heart Recaptured

souls unfractured  deep redemption  Damnable Grace (Hades Hangmen #5) by Tillie Cole

Souls Unfractured (My review)

Deep Redemption (My review)

Damnable Grace

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The Playboy Bachelor (The Bachelors of Arizona #2) by Rachel Van Dyken

She’s no Sleeping Beauty. And he’s definitely no prince . . .

Margot McCleery could have lived her whole life without seeing Bentley Wellington again-her ex-best friend and the poster boy for Hot, Rich Man-Whores everywhere. But Margot’s whiskey-augmented grandmother “buys” Bentley at a charity bachelor auction, and now suddenly he’s at her door.

Impossibly charming. Impossibly sexy. And still a complete and utter jackass. Bentley’s just been coerced by his grandfather to spend the next thirty days charming and romancing the reclusive red-haired beauty who hates him. The woman he abandoned when she needed him the most. Bentley knows just as much about romance as he knows about love-nothing. But the more time he spends with Margot, the more he realizes that “just friends” will never be enough. Now all he has to do is convince her to trust him with her heart . . .

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REVIEW

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

I love it when there is a lot of humor in a story. Though in this case Bentley uses his humor to deflect. With a playboy bachelor reputation, he plays into the image people have of him. Under the surface there is so much more going on. He’s the one who keeps the family together, craves the respect of his grandfather, and fears losing those who he loves most.

Now forced together with his ex-best friend, it would be so easy to fall back into old patterns. Except Margot sees through his facade. Having to face his issues, and possibly have his heart broken, again, might be more than he can handle. This whole deeper side of Bentley was a pleasant surprise.

Meanwhile Margot has become a recluse over the years. She never fully recovered of losing her parents, and at the same time losing her best friend. Hiding behind her books has suit her just fine so far. Though there is a difference between being alive, and living. Now that Bentley is back in her life, he gives her a taste of what true happiness feels like, all Margot now has to do is dare to jump.

The Playboy Bachelor was a fun, and fast read with enough surprises and twists to keep things interesting. Plenty of humor, and I love Bentley’s tenacity. The witty conversation was a welcome counteract towards the fighting. There were a lot of issues between Margot and Bentley that needed be resolved. Not an easy path to get there, but remember that truth, and love always prevail.

3 stars

The Bachelors Of Arizona – Reading order and purchase links

  The Playboy Bachelor (The Bachelors of Arizona #2) by Rachel Van Dyken

The Bachelor Auction

The Playboy Bachelor

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Twist (Dive Bar #2) by Kylie Scott

When his younger brother loses interest in online dating, hot, bearded, bartender extraordinaire, Joe Collins, only intends to log into his account and shut it down. Until he reads about her.

Alex Parks is funny, friendly, and pretty much everything he’s been looking for in a woman. And in no time at all they’re emailing up a storm, telling each other their deepest darkest secrets… apart from the one that really matters.

And when it comes to love, serving it straight up works better than with a twist.

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REVIEW

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

I love it when there is no love at first sight. Alex pretty much loathes Joe the first time she meets him. Which I was not expecting, ’cause Joe is just such a nice guy in general.

Though to be fair, he screwed up big time here. Now pushed together by circumstances, Joe has the chance to redeem himself.

I loved how that connection between Joe and Alex grew gradually. Seeing their lives intertwine, meddling friends, it’s all very entertaining.

Both have some issues, but them coming together forces them to address those, and work through them.

Twist is a great addition to the Dive Bar series. It was awesome getting to know all the characters better. Joe was a guy that was not really on my radar, but he nicely surprised me. Alex is interesting. She’ll keep you on your toes.

Twist was fun, hot, and entertaining, and exactly what I needed to relax after a trying week.

4 stars

Dive Bar – Reading order and purchase links

dirty kylie scott  twist dive bar kylie scott  Chaser by Kylie Scott Dive Bar

Dirty (My review)

Twist

Chaser (2018)

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Happily ​Ever After (Cinder & Ella #2) by Kelly Oram

The end of one story is often the beginning of another.

Hollywood heartthrob Brian Oliver and his Cinderella princess Ellamara Rodriguez have finally found love outside the digital world. But leaving their anonymity behind creates a whole new set of obstacles for the nation’s new favorite sweethearts.

With the stress of Brian’s fame and the pressures of a new relationship weighing down on them, the It Couple quickly begins to wonder if they can hold on to their newfound joy, or if maybe happily ever after is only a fairy tale.

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EXCERPT

Scott closed his laptop, which was a sign that he was really serious now. “Like it or not, Brian, she is in this. Up to her eyeballs in it, in fact. She won’t be able to avoid it forever, and when it catches up to her, she’s going to have some real choices to make. If you don’t bring her in with you, then your management team—along with everyone else in town—will bypass you and go straight to her. Do you really want her to meet with people and make decisions without you?”

My jaw clenched. Hollywood people could be nice enough, but they were all sharks in sheep’s clothing. Ella was a strong, smart woman, but she wasn’t used to playing their game. No way did I want her having to navigate this business on her own.

“You’re absolutely right that your team will try to use her as much as possible. That’s why you should be there when they do. At least if you’re together, you can tell her when they’re trying to work her over.”

Damn him again. Why did he always have to be right? Letting out a breath of defeat, I scrubbed my hands over my face and then raked them through my hair. “All right, all right, fine. Let’s schedule a meeting with Ella. But not yet. After the holidays. After New Year’s.”

Scott’s posture eased up a little, and he gave me an apologetic smile. “I don’t think they want to wait that long. You guys are in the headlines now. You’re the biggest story of the year. With the movie releasing in two days, they want to take advantage of all this free publicity.”

I huffed in exasperation. “The Druid Prince is the biggest release of the holiday. The studio has put millions of dollars into advertising. How much more publicity does it need?”

“Not the film, Brian; you.”

“I don’t care about the publicity. I don’t want the attention.”

I shot to my feet with a groan and headed for my coffee again. It wasn’t as hot now, so I chugged it as if it held the answers to all my problems.

“You do want it this time. And so does Ella.”

I was still frowning, but I leaned against the counter again and gave him my full attention. He jumped on the window of opportunity but spoke cautiously, as if he was afraid I might explode if I didn’t like what he said. “How you and Ella deal with this attention will affect your future, and you know it. The world loves you guys right now. You’re a real-life fairy tale. People are dying to see the two of you living out the happily-ever-after you promised them.”

“Forget the world. I want that. But if the freaking media doesn’t leave us alone, no one will get that happily-ever-after, because Ella will dump my famous ass.”

Scott’s snort of disbelief was only mildly reassuring.

“She’s not like everyone else, Scott. She doesn’t care about the money, and my fame is a problem in her eyes, not a fun perk. She’s fragile. If this gets too crazy, she’ll throw in the towel. She’ll have to. And I’ll have to let her.”

“If you would just make a couple of appearances together, do an interview or two and a photo shoot, that would satiate the public, and things would die down.”

“Tell that to Kim and Kanye.”

Again, Scott spoke right over my cynical mutterings. “It would help you both in other ways, too.  Ella is exactly what you need for your career. This relationship will completely erase your last year or so of debauchery.”

I cocked an eyebrow at Scott, trying my hardest not to smile. It wasn’t easy. “Debauchery?”

His cheeks turned a little pink, but he stood his ground. “Do you have a better word for all the partying and womanizing?”

I held his gaze a moment longer but then cracked. “Fine. Debauchery.”

“Right. And after a few appearances with Ella, as in love as you guys are, not even Kyle Hamilton will remember your previous reputation as an arrogant, immature playboy.”

My eyebrow went up again, and this time it was Scott who relented. “Okay, Kyle might. But no one else will; I guarantee it. You’ll be the mature down-to-earth A-list actor who chose to be with a physically-disabled woman when he could have anyone. You’ll be admired by all of Hollywood. And a man like that might just win himself an Oscar, whether he earned it onscreen or not—that’s simple Academy politics. Not that you haven’t earned it, but no one in the Academy would hesitate to vote for you. And no director will hesitate to consider you for a role in the future. Play your cards correctly right now, and you’ll be earning thirty million a picture for the Cinder Chronicles sequels and turning down roles you’d beg for right now.”

A year ago, that would have been a persuasive argument. “It’s not me I’m worried about. I’ll earn my A-list status eventually; I don’t need to use Ella to get there.”

“She might want to use this opportunity, though. You should at least explain to her what is going on and what it means for her. From what you’ve told me, she’s an extremely independent woman and isn’t going to want to live off of her father’s money forever, or yours. This could be a very lucrative time for her. It could help her with her future and even give her something to focus on. It could give her positive reasons for living with the fame and maybe help her make sense of how much her life has just changed.”

I shot Scott a glare, hating that last accusation, and got his Super-Assistant-Stare-Down again. “Like it or not, Brian, the moment you gave that Cinderella interview on The Kenneth Long Show, you changed her life. There’s no going back for her, so help her move forward. Help her make the best of a hard situation. Ease this transition for her by being straight with her. You know no one else will.”

I rubbed my head. All this thinking about the future first thing in the morning was giving me a headache.

“Sorry, boss, I know it’s not what you want to do, but it is what you need to do. I’d let you keep ignoring them and turn off my phone over the holiday if it wasn’t.”

My hands dropped to my sides as all the fight left me, and I met Scott’s gaze again, frowning. “Do you ever get tired of being right?”

The corners of Scott’s mouth twitched. “Not really, no.”

Cinder & Ella – Reading order and purchase links

Cinder & Ella (Cinder & Ella #1) by Kelly Oram  Happily ​Ever After (Cinder & Ella #2) by Kelly Oram

Cinder & Ella ($0.99)

Happily Ever After

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Review- Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye #1) by Sarina Bowen

Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home.

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?

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REVIEW

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

The first two words that come to mind after finishing Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen is sweet, and innocence. Considering it contains explicit male on male sex scenes, not what you immediately might think.

It’s mostly the characters. Josh and Caleb grew up in a cult, where they had to follow some harsh rules. Definitely no falling in love with your best friend.

While both are great guys, even after leaving/kicked out of that place, there is still a certain sweetness about them. Both are discovering this whole new world, and it’s filled with wonder. I loved seeing it through their eyes, the things we might take for granted.

Goodbye Paradise was a sweet romance story. Far less intense than I was expecting. Josh and Caleb are likeable characters, and seeing them finally being able to be themselves feels liberating.

3 stars

Hello Goodbye – Reading order and purchase links

Review- Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye #1) by Sarina Bowen  Hello Forever sarina bowen

Goodbye Paradise

Hello Forever

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After I Fall (Falling #3) by Jessica Scott

Her entire life has been a lie. Being with Eli is the most honest thing she’s ever done.

Parker Hauser lives the perfect life and knows exactly where she’s been and where she’s going. Parker has to be perfect. Perfect grades, perfect body, perfect life.

Until she meets Eli Winter.

Eli throws her entire life into chaos when he denies her the one thing she wants from him.

One chance encounter stokes her desire for the man who refused to touch her and left her questioning everything.

When Parker tries to help his new business, the spotlight turns on Eli’s military record. And sins from the war he’s tried to forget may come back to destroy them both.

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EXCERPT

I needed to get out of my apartment and away from the creeping sadness that threatened to drown me if I stayed alone one more minute.

Tomorrow, I will find the owner of The Pint. Tomorrow I will figure out how to unfuck my life.

But right now, I’m standing in a closed-in space with a man who looks like a real-life rendition of Jason Momoa, and my panties are currently hosting their own episode of Celebration at the idea of standing just a little bit closer. I should be at the Baywater Country Club drinking top-shelf martinis and celebrating with Kylie and Bethany and Meaghan. But I can’t see them tonight. For more than the obvious reasons.

I was planning on drinking myself stupid and forgetting everything about the last twenty-four hours in the human garbage fire that my life has become. It hurts and goddamn it, I’m tired of it hurting. I’m tired of being there for everyone else while I have to smile and look pretty.

Tonight? I thought I wanted the raw pulsing music and the bodies crushed together. I thought I wanted the contact. The distraction.

Don’t make a fuss, Parker. Don’t say anything to embarrass me, Parker. 

What did you do to deserve it, Parker? Why didn’t you just do what he asked? Why do you always have to argue? 

Anger crawls up my spine and squeezes my throat once more.

For once in my fucking life, I want someone to look at me and see me. Not my father’s car, or my not-allowed-to-be-ex-boyfriend’s tailored suits.

I want someone to see me. All of me.

I don’t know what I wanted when I left the apartment, but I think I may have just found it.

And the man standing next to me with the dark beard and dark eyes and terrifying tattoos seems like just the guy to take care of everything for a night.

Except that he might be a little too perceptive. I didn’t plan on him seeing the bruises on my arm. Guess I need to rethink that career as a makeup artist if my graduate school plans don’t work out.

He’s still watching me, a dark intensity in his eyes. An intensity that feels like a brushstroke over my skin.

I wonder what it would feel like to wake up wrapped in those massive arms, to feel those hands run over my skin while I sleep. What it feels like to be really touched instead of just positioned to receive.

My eyes burn, and I blink rapidly. I will not cry about the dumpster fire of my life and the garbage that surrounds me. I didn’t set out to solve anything tonight. I came out to escape. To try and find some release from the trapped air in my apartment.

Instead I think I’ve found a solution in search of a problem.

The Solution is a big man. Rough, too. The kind of man I would expect my father would call to lead the construction on a new project.

It’s his hands, though, that capture my attention. Big and flat and broad. They’re a working man’s hands. Not polished. Not cupped in anger.

Just matter-of-fact hands. Hands that would be honest.

Hands that would feel like heaven on my skin.

I look up to find him watching me. I’ve never physically felt a look before this moment, this lazy caress of a man’s gaze moving inch by inch over my skin.

I part my lips. Just enough that he notices. His nostrils flare.

“Careful, little girl.” His voice is thick and deep and smooth. Like the gaze still trailing over my body.

“Or what?” I whisper. Kelsey’s voice slides through my brain.

This is foolish. Utterly stupid.

This is power.

And it is exactly what I need tonight. I need to feel needed. Wanted.

Tonight isn’t about rational thought. It’s about the opposite. About going in blind, completely on instinct.

“I’m not sure you want to find out.”

But he has not moved away. He hasn’t turned his back on me, and he hasn’t dismissed me as some childish twat playing grownup.

God, but those words burn in my ears.

“Maybe I do.”

The muscles in his neck bunch beneath the thick beard. “Do you always hit on random men at bars?”

I press my lips together and dare to take a single step closer. “Nope. You’d be my first.”

He lifts one brow. “Oh yeah? What’s the occasion?” He jerks his chin toward me. “It doesn’t have to do with the bruises, does it?”

I lift my glass to my lips. Slowly I part them, letting the ice cube bounce off the tip of my tongue. When I lower it, his eyes are locked on my mouth. “No,” I whisper. “It’s got nothing to do with them.”

Nothing and everything. But he doesn’t need to know that. He only needs to take me some place and touch me.

Parker.

Me. I need him to see me.

He moves in then with a quickness that catches me off guard. In an instant, he is right there, right in my space. I can smell the faint, smoky scent of him. Something woodsy and spicy and smoky.

It’s all I can do to stay still. To not back down from the challenge he presents in that single breath of space.

“What do you want?” His is a murmured question that feels like a demand.

The single word I need is lodged in my throat. It’s thick and heavy, filled with potential and promise.

“You,” I finally say.

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REVIEW

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

Living your life in a way to make everyone around you happy often means you’re not happy. And Parker’s life has hit that turning point where she has to decide who she is living for; herself or her family.

Partly in an act of defiance she accepts an internship at Eli’s bar. The people there are opposite of what she knows, but exactly what she needs.

There is an instant attraction between her and Eli. Though it might start as a bit of a rebel phase, it very quickly becomes clear it’s more than that.

Eli has the tendency to take care of other people, it’s the commander in him. While others might think Parker doesn’t belong in the bar, Eli sees a girl who is hurting.Though it soon becomes more than helping her out.

After I Fall is a pretty fast read. The connection between Parker and Eli is pretty instant, but there is so much more at play here. This kind of family drama kills me. A good girl being smothered by a life she doesn’t want.

Seeing Parker trying to break free is amazing. Definitely not an easy situation to handle, and I love that she makes mistakes.

I still would have liked to get to know Eli better. Even after finishing this story I feel I don’t have a real handle on him. He’s a good guy, and I love what he does with the bar.

After I Fall was a good story, though it didn’t blow me away, or dragged me in like other stories by Jessica Scott. A good read for the fans.

3 stars

Falling – Reading order and purchase links

*All books can be read as a standalone*

before I fall ebook final2  break my fall  After I Fall (Falling #3) by Jessica Scott

Before I Fall: My reviewAmazon USAmazon UK

Break My Fall: My review – Amazon USAmazon UK

After I Fall: Amazon USAmazon UK

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