5 Star Book Review and #Giveaway: AN UNWILLING HUSBAND by Tera Shanley (@terashanley)

May 9, 2014 Book Review, Book Tour, Historical Romance, Past Giveaways 0

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Title: The Unwilling Husband

Author: Tera Shanley

Genre: Historical Western Romance

Release Date: May 5, 2014

Cover Art: Renee Rocco

Publisher: Lyrical Press – A Kensington Imprint

Synopsis

For adventurous Margaret Flemming, arrived from Boston to be with her father, the Old West town of her childhood is a far cry from the drawing rooms and balls of the high society life she’s used to. Her fancy gowns and proper manners have no place in the dusty, cruel land inhabited by Indians and rough cowboys.And her fiercely independent streak constantly gets her in trouble. When tragedy strikes, there’s only one person she can turn to–her childhood friend, Garret Shaw–but he’s disgusted with her Society ways.

With his ranch under attack from the land-grabbing Jennings, the last thing Garret needs is to be saddled with a high-falutin’ lady. Even if she is his friend’s daughter and her kind ways tug at his hardened heart. Duty to her father forces them to wed, but he knows sure as anything, when the chance comes along, she’ll go back to Boston. No matter how much he wants her, loving her is not a risk he can take.

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Purchase Links

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My Review

 

My Rating: 5 Stars

 

“From the disconcerting way he stared at her, she couldn’t tell if he was going to kiss or kill her.”

I feel like I need to make one of those memes and have it say “I don’t usually read historical romance, but when I do, it’s by Tera Shanley”. It’s true, I don’t generally read this genre but I’m a big fan of the author so I thought I’d give a shot; I’m glad I did. I was rewarded with a totally delightful reading experience as I was transported back to a dusty Texas cattle town and right in to Maggie and Garret’s story.

If it’s going to be historical, I want it to be western. One word… cowboys. Rugged, hard-working, sexy cowboys. Garret Shaw fits the mold perfectly. He’s chiseled and hard from long days of work, brooding and moody, but also loyal and kind in his own way. He loved Maggie once, but that was years ago… he’s not sure he can trust enough to love her again. Then there’s Maggie. She’s absolutely the kind of heroine that makes a book great for me. She has a fantastic inner strength, stubborn determination, a sense of humor, sense of self, and a dirty mouth. She’s beautiful and tough as nails, but has just the right amount of feminine vulnerability. She’s smart and brave and not afraid to do what she believes is right, others’ opinions be damned. Garret and Maggie have some serious chemistry going on. They spend a good part of the story trying to find common ground, fighting with the past and an undeniable attraction. The struggle towards their happily-ever-after is filled with emotion and quite a few exciting misadventures.

“He wanted a piece of her soul. Would wrench it from her body and hold it in her hand. Asked her to trust him with a piece of herself, and she could only think of one thing that held any meaning to her.

‘I’ve loved you since we were children.’ “

This story is not only about Garret and Maggie, though it is their romance that drives the plot line; it’s much bigger. They are surrounded by an entire cast of characters. Lenny is a particular favorite of mine but they’re all great. This cast reminds us that family is not necessarily blood, it truly is the people we choose to surround ourselves with. We can choose our family, and we can choose our home: if you try hard enough, you will find where you really belong. A wonderfully written story shaped by romance, humor, friendship, adventure, and fate; I highly recommend this book… even if you don’t usually read historicals ;).

“The rhythm of the ranch matched those of the seasons and pulled at her heart. The more she saw of this life, the more she loved it.”

*I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

 

About the Author

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Tera Shanley writes in sub-genres that stretch from Paranormal Romance, to Historic Western Romance, to Apocalyptic (zombie) Romance. The common theme? She loves love! A self-proclaimed bookworm, she was raised in small town Texas and could often be found decorating a table at the local library. She currently lives in Dallas with her husband and two young children and when she isn’t busy running around after her family, she’s writing a new story or devouring a good book.Any spare time is dedicated to chocolate licking, rifle slinging, friend hugging, and the great outdoors. For more information about Tera and her work, visit www.terashanley.com.

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Giveaway

$50.00 Amazon Gift Card

2 E-Books of An Unwilling Husband

 

 

 


5 Star Book Review and #Giveaway: NASH (Marked Men #4) by Jay Crownover (@JayCrownover)

April 30, 2014 Book Review, Book Tour, Contemporary Romance, Favorite Books, New Adult, Past Giveaways 0

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Title: Nash (Marked Men #4)

Author: Jay Crownover

Genre: New Adult/ Coming of Age

Publication Date: April 29, 2014

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks, an imprint of HarperCollins

Event Organized By: Literati Author Services, Inc.

 

About the Book

 

Will their past determine their future?

Saint Ford has worked hard to achieve her childhood dream of becoming of nurse. Focused on her work and devoted to her patients, there’s no room for love. She doesn’t need a guy making waves in her calm, serene life—especially when he’s the unforgettable hottie who nearly destroyed her in high school. Dark, brooding Nash Donovan might not remember her or the terrible pain he caused. But he turned her world upside down . . . and now he’s trying to do it again.

Saint has no idea that Nash isn’t the cocky player he once was. Uncovering a devastating family secret has rocked his world, and now he’s struggling to figure out his future. He can’t be distracted by the pretty nurse he seems to meet everywhere. Still, he can’t ignore the sparks that fly between them —or how she seems so desperate to get away from him. But the funny, sweet, and drop-dead gorgeous Saint is far too amazing to give up on—especially since she’s the only thing in his life that seems to make sense.

When Nash discovers the truth about their past, he realizes he may have lost her heart before he could even fight for it. Now, Saint has to decide: is Nash worth risking herself for all over again?

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Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books A Million | Indie Bound

 

My Review

 

My Rating: 5 Stars

“I needed my friends, loved my crew of misfits and rebels, but now I needed her more.”

Once again, Jay Crownover has given us a wonderful book. She writes super sexy, tattooed bad boys with huge hearts, and creates exceptional women to love them. Nash exceeded my expectations with engaging characters, an unputdownable romance, real emotion, steamy sex, and the author’s own flawless style and clever brand of wit and humor.

Crownover has a knack for writing colorful characters and Nash and Saint fit the bill perfectly. They have some serious history and big hang-ups that they struggle to overcome so that they can be together, like really together. Before they can find common relationship ground, the sex between the huge-hearted redhead nurse and the tattoo artist with (sexy) piercings is fantastic. I love the author’s way of writing characters and romances that feel completely real and accessible. Her characters, this family, are a group I would love to hang out with, and Crownover draws you in and makes you feel as if you are a part of their story.

Nash and Saint’s story is about love and healing, about moving forward from the past. It’s a story about finding that special person who deserves us most, and even though finding them may be easy, their journey shows us that loving someone and really being with them is difficult. They love through past hurts and quirky personalities, they love through hot sex and support each other in consuming careers, through family strife and heartbreaking loss.

This book made me laugh, made me cry, and made me want to hold my own tattooed bad-boy close; right after I fuck him silly. Nash may be the sexiest of the Marked Men so far and when Saint finds her herself, her place in the group, and taps in to her inner strength, she’s amazing. I was so pleased to be dive in to more of all the characters’ stories: complete with a baby, an incredibly romantic wedding, and a heartbreaking funeral. I am anxiously awaiting the next books in this awesome series.

“He wasn’t just making love to me, he wasn’t just trying to turn me on or wind me up. He was worshipping me. He was trying to show me in yet another way just how beautiful and perfect he saw me as being.”

*I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

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About the Author

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I’m supposed to share interesting details about myself so that my readers get to know me so here we go in no particular order: I’m an natural redhead even though I haven’t seen my real hair color in years, I’m a big fan of tattoos and have a half sleeve on either arm and various other pieces all over the place, I’ve been in the bar industry since I was in college and it has always offered interesting insight into how men and women interact with each other, I have 3 dogs that are all crazy, I live in Colorado and love the snow, I love music and in all reality wish I could be a rock star not a writer or a bartender but I have zero talent so there is that. I love to write, love to read and all I’m interested in is a good story with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. Thanks for taking the time to check my stuff out…

Connect with Jay: Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads

 

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More Marked Men from Jay Crownover

 

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5 Star Book Review and #Giveaway: THE DARK LIGHT OF DAY by T.M. Frazier (@TM_Frazier)

April 29, 2014 Book Review, Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance, New Adult, Past Giveaways 1

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Title: The Dark Light of Day

Author: T.M. Frazier

Publisher: Booktrope Publishing

Release Date: September 15, 2013

 

About the Book

This book is for mature audiences 17+. It contains explicit language and sexual content.

Abby has been through hell and has survived one of the most brutal childhoods imaginable…barely. To the outside world she is just a loner with an attitude. When her grandmother dies in a tragic explosion, Abby is left with questions-and nothing else. Homeless, sleeping in a junkyard, and on the run from a system that has failed her over and over again, she meets Jake, a tattooed blue-eyed biker with secrets that will rival her own. Two broken souls that can’t be healed. They can’t be saved. Abby & Jake must reveal to one another their most guarded secrets and discover if they can embrace the darkness those secrets hold-and the shadows within themselves. If they can accept one another for who they really are, they might be able to learn that love isn’t always found in the light.

 

My Review

 

My Rating: 5 Stars

*Warning*: This book is DARK. It contains abuse, rape, drug use and violence; not a butterfly, unicorn, or rainbow in sight.

“I fell asleep that night in the arms of a killer. I’d never slept better.”

I adore this book; even in all it’s darkness and senseless violence, and in it’s hopeful, but slightly twisted romance. Love is a small thing of beauty in the ugliest of circumstances.

Abby and Jake are broken. Past abuse and tragedy had left them unable really love, or so they thought. When they come together, it’s electric. This couple BELONGS together. Never mind that they just met and everything is all wrong; they make you believe that they can make it work. Jake is sexy, dark, violent, and even funny. He shows his soft side around Abby, but always maintains that alpha-male persona. Abby’s past has left her numb, never accepting touch or love, and afraid to show herself to anyone, inside and out. But she is strong; often beaten but never quite broken. Abby and Jake are wonderfully realized kindred spirits, and they have genuine, simmering, palpable chemistry. This couple kept me glued to the pages, wanting more of their complicated, emotional love story. It is impossible to judge these two on a scale of right and wrong. They exist in a grey area and do what they must to survive and to try and find peace, but that peace is not easily granted.

This is Jake and Abby’s story of acceptance, healing and heartbreak, but also so much more. The story as whole developed in to something I never expected and I was constantly surprised. Moments of happiness were suddenly shattered and the characters’ actions and reactions kept me guessing. When I was hopeless and lost, the characters found a way to pull me from the depths. The writing is gritty and raw, but beautiful and entirely engaging.

After all of the tears, anguish, and heartbreak, I finished the story with a smile on my face and I’m not sure how I feel about that. Jake and Abby’s (sort-of) happily ever after does not come without a price. Darkness and light, hell and heaven, violence and love, redemption and revenge fight for balance in this book. This haunting, dark romance is a fantastic read.

“We were just us. Broken and bruised. Fucked up and messy. And together we were everything we never thought we could be.”

*I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

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About the Author

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T.M. (Tracey Marie) Frazier resides in sunny Southwest Florida with her husband and three feisty fur kids. She attended Florida Gulf Coast University where she specialized in public speaking. After years working in real estate and new home construction, she decided it was finally time to stop pushing her dreams to the back burner and pursue writing seriously. In the third grade she wrote her very first story about a lost hamster. It earned rave reviews from both her teacher and her parents. It only took her twenty years to start the next one. The Dark Light of Day is her debut novel. Determined not to wait another twenty years, T.M. is hard at work on her second novel. It will not be about hamsters.

Visit her at:

@TM_Frazier

Facebook Page

www.TMFrazier.com

 

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*New Release* 5 Star Book Review: LOVE, IN ENGLISH by Karina Halle (@MetalBlonde)

April 20, 2014 Book Review, Contemporary Romance, Favorite Books 0

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Title: Love, In English

Author: Karina Halle

Release Date: April 20th, 2014

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Amazon • iTunes • Barnes and Noble

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About the Book

He’s thirty-eight. I’m twenty-three.

He speaks Spanish. I speak English.

He lives in Spain. I live in Canada.

He dresses in thousand-dollar suits. I’m covered in tattoos.

He’s married and has a five-year old daughter.

I’m single and can’t commit to anyone or anything.

Until now.Because when they say you can’t choose who you fall in love with, boy ain’t that the f*#king truth.

***

To a restless dreamer like Vera Miles, it sounded like the experience of a lifetime. Instead of spending her summer interning for her astronomy major, she would fly to Spain where she’d spend a few weeks teaching conversational English to businessmen and women, all while enjoying free room and board at an isolated resort. But while Vera expected to get a tan, meet new people and stuff herself with wine and paella, she never expected to fall in love.

Mateo Casalles is unlike anyone Vera has ever known, let alone anyone she’s usually attracted to. While Vera is a pierced and tatted free spirit with a love for music and freedom, Mateo is a successful businessman from Madrid, all sharp suits and cocky Latino charm. Yet, as the weeks go on, the two grow increasingly close and their relationship changes from purely platonic to something…more.

Something that makes Vera feel alive for the first time.

Something that can never, ever be.

Or so she thinks.

 
My Review

 

My Rating: 5+ Stars

 

“You can fall in love in a second… The heart has no regard for time.”

It took me longer to read this book than perhaps it should have. It’s fairly long, but that isn’t why. I enjoy when books keep me eagerly turning pages, when I can’t put them down. But Love, In English was something more, different. It’s not that I wanted to put it down, but forced myself to. I knew early on that this book was going to be special, was going to stand out for me, and I wanted to draw it out as long as possible.  I wanted to exist with these characters, in their world, for as long as I could.  I loved this book; from the sweeping love story that spans continents, to the easy, clever, and natural dialogue. There’s happiness and heartbreak, and characters that stole my heart and whose moments together stole my breath.

“There was only me.

And I knew I was strong. I was resilient. And I wasn’t as bad as people had told me.

I was Vera Miles.

And I might have been the villain of my own story.

But I was the hero too.”

 This story has an extremely sexy male lead: Mateo is a Spanish ex-soccer star with a perfect body, who says romantic things in an accent I could hear even as I read, and does wicked things in bed (or wherever). But for me, it was Vera who was so absolutely special. She is one of those characters I related to so completely. It was like the author had been reading journals that I have never written or has some window to my soul. Perhaps it’s that Vera is rebellious and dramatic, covered in tattoos and loves sex and well, love, or that she often feels that she doesn’t fit, or even that she doesn’t deserve that love. Or maybe it’s that she feels love and guilt equally, and wants nothing more than to do the right thing, even if it rips her soul apart. Most likely, it’s that the author has written a character and a story that many people will see a bit of themselves in; a story with emotions and experiences that we can all relate to. She shows us that love, even difficult and imperfect as most love is, is still love.

“I love you because you are you. You’re a little bit crazy, and I find that more interesting than being normal. You’re passionate and I find that more interesting than being calm. You’re curious and adventurous and sexual and you’re full of life and you make me want to be a better man, to live louder, to bend and break all of the damn rules.”

 Vera and Mateo’s journey has a satisfying, slow burn. Their attraction is immediate, but they try and temper their emotions until it becomes impossible. As it becomes obvious how strongly they feel for one another, it also becomes clear that their relationship will not be easy or simple. They will need to reconcile family, geography, an age difference, and old wounds in order to be together. But they have passion, fire, and love, and hopefully enough strength. Their story is beautifully told and expertly written. It is engrossing, sexy, and passionate, both heartbreaking and hopeful. An epic and captivating emotional romance that is still completely relatable and accessible; an absolute must read.

 “Love is like a thief, it robs you of all thought and logic and all you have left is a heart that you can only pray is strong enough to survive the rest.”

 *I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

About the Author

Karina

 

With her USA Today Bestselling The Artists Trilogy published by Grand Central Publishing, numerous foreign publication deals, and self-publishing success with her Experiment in Terror series, Vancouver-born Karina Halle is a true example of the term “Hybrid Author.” Though her books showcase her love of all things dark, sexy and edgy, she’s a closet romantic at heart and strives to give her characters a HEA…whenever possible.

Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she’s preparing for the zombie apocalypse with her fiance and rescue pup.

Facebook | Goodreads | Karina‘s Website | Twitter

 

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Excerpt

Claudia shrugged and pulled down at her yellow tee. “Not my problem. Eduardo is nice but Ricardo is really nice.”

“How did it happen?” I asked, kinda wanting the sordid details.

She was coy. “The way it usually happens.”

“Did you make the first move?”

Another shrug. “Why not?”

I swear, a shrug and a “why not?” were the Spaniards’ go-to answer for everything.

“Well, then I guess it seems safe—and a little boring now—to tell you that I have a crush on someone.”

Her brows quirked up. “Other than Mateo?”

“What?”

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5 Star Book Review: PULLED BENEATH (Bar Harbor Series #1) by Marni Mann (@MarniMann)

March 18, 2014 Book Review, Contemporary Romance, Favorite Books 0

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About the Book

 

What happens when you uncover years of secrets and find out everything you thought to be true was a lie?

Drew Stevens finds her world turned upside down when her parents are brutally murdered. Soon after, she learns she inherited a property in Bar Harbor, Maine from recently deceased grandparents who she believed had died when she was a baby.

Drew travels north to settle her grandparents’ estate, but finds more questions than answers as the truth starts unraveling. What she didn’t expect to find was Saint, whose reputation was as tumultuous as his past. But the very thing that drew them together was the same thing that kept them emotionally caged.

With Saint’s scars so deep and Drew’s so fresh, can the pair heal from their painful wounds or will they be pulled beneath the darkness of their pasts?

 

My Review

 

My Rating: 5 Stars

“This was a blinding betrayal, this was years of lies, and questioning everything I believed to be true. This was a completely new reality.”

I loved this book! Marni Mann has a unique ability: each time I read one of her books she breaks my heart, and then heals it in a new, better way. Pulled Beneath is an emotional journey; offering heartbreak in its death, lies, and betrayal, and healing in self-discovery and new beginnings.

It’s a journey of single moments, simple snapshots of time filled with intense and palpable emotion that flow easily together in to a fantastic read. It’s beautifully written and fully engrossing. So much so, that even though the story is filled with  many mysteries and unanswered questions, I wasn’t necessarily eager to find the answers, simply because I did not want the story to end. But ultimately, the questions are answered in a surprising and satisfying way.

Drew is a character I couldn’t help but feel for, and though I personally relate little to her personal life experience, I felt extremely close to her as I went with her on this journey. I have never myself lost a parent, but we all understand loss, and the author allows the reader to feel so close to all of the characters. There’s an interesting and multi-layered cast, complete with a sexy, mysterious, rugged, tattooed and seriously swoon-worthy leading man. Saint and Drew’s encounters weave a delicious thread of sexual tension through the book.

A captivating story filled with emotion, heat, loss, family drama, secrets, and ultimately answers and the healing that comes with them, Pulled Beneath is a brilliant read. Pasts are revealed and futures are put in to motion. Lives end and love begins. It has a satisfying “happy-for-now” ending that promises much more to come, and I’m eager to spend more time in Bar Harbor.

” ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen. Whether you break my heart or I break yours, that’s not really something we can say right now. But I want to be with you. And you completely own my mind. I promise you, that’s the truth.”

*I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

About the Author

 

A New Englander at heart, Marni Mann is now a Floridian inspired by the sandy beaches and hot pink sunsets of Sarasota. She taps mainstream appeal and shakes worldwide taboos, taking her readers on a dark and breathtaking journey.

Marni is preparing for the summer release of her fifth novel, Seductive Shadows, a provocative, intoxicating, erotic and unforgettable tale of a young woman’s discovery as she learns to forgive, to love and be loved, and to find redemption.

When she’s not nose deep in her laptop, she’s scouring for chocolate, traveling, reading, or walking her four-legged children. Visit her at www.marnismann.com.

 

More from Marni Mann

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Book Tour and Review: HER MASTER’S COURTESAN by Lily White (@eroticlilywhite)

March 6, 2014 Adult, Book Review, Book Tour, Dark Romance, Erotica 0

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Her Master’s Courtesan may have been banned on Amazon (F**k you Amazon!) but became a bestseller on Barnes and Noble. This is a very DARK read and comes with a warning*!

 

*Caution: This book is intended for mature audiences only. Some scenes contain graphic depiction of violence. Please read the warning included before the prologue.

 

About the Book

 

I am a Master.

You must know this fact to understand my story.

I capture women.

I break them down.

And I rebuild them.

If they are lucky, they are sold into the professional hands of another Master. If they are less fortunate, they are buried beneath the ground, never to be thought of again.

I lust for the control, I demand absolute submission and my body yearns to warp the minds of those I train.

Power is the only thing I’ll ever need and I am addicted to the feeling of ultimate control.

I am wealthy, good-looking, educated and charming.

And I am – in no way – a good man.

I do not want love.
I do not want kindness.

She thought she could change me by giving me the two things I knew I never wanted.

She was wrong.

Weakness.RachelBrownell

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My Review

 

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

 

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” ‘I don’t appreciate tears when I fuck, so if I suspect you are crying- I’ll give you a reason to cry harder.’ “

*YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED*. There is nothing nice about this book. It is not happy, there is no romance, there is no actual love. There is only violence, rape, human slavery, and all kinds of psychological and physical torment. There are scenes that will seem sexy to the reader, but only because you have been successfully trained and mind-fucked by Lily White and her beautiful Master Aiden. Enjoy! 🙂

This book walks a line between erotica and horror, crossing in to each at some point, and in my opinion, sometimes blurring the line between the two. I suppose it is debatable whether it should or could be considered erotica, but despite the terrifying circumstances, the horrific violence, and mental anguish, there is sexual connection between Aiden and Rebecca. The reader has the benefit of POVs of both main characters: allowing complete access to Aiden’s motives as a Master and witnessing Rebecca’s pain and despair as she becomes a slave. We discover that both Aiden and Rebecca possess a darkness that allows them to be what the other needs. Whether they truly understand what they are to each other or it is all a game remains a mystery, but their story is riveting, surprising, terrifying, and a thrill to read.

Her Master’s Courtesan kept me glued to the pages, even when I was desperate to look away or drown my kindle in an ice filled bath. It’s a roller-coaster of thrilling plot twists and unexpected emotions. Even at the conclusion when I suppose I should have been angry or disgusted or at least frightened, I was curiously happy, and finished the book with a smile on my face. Consider me trained. Well done, Master Aiden.

“I wish I could say I fought harder, that I forced him to kill me before I’d given up my soul, but that’s not the case. The pain was too much and I wanted it to end so badly, I would have given up my heart too if he’d demanded it.”

*I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

About the Author

 

Lily White is a dark writer who likes to dabble on the taboo side of eroticism.  Most of the time she can be found wandering around aimlessly while her mind is stuck in some twisted power play between two characters in her head. You may recognize her in public by the confused expression, random mumbling, and occasional giggle while thinking up a scene. Lily’s favorite things in life are reading, thinking about reading, buying books for reading….and writing. Her other secret pleasure is meeting with her plot editor in public to discuss her books and watching the shocked expressions of the people around her that don’t realize she’s talking about a book.  When Lily is not reading, writing, wandering or freaking out innocent bystanders, she’s sleeping.

 

Contact Lily White:

 Twitter: @eroticlilywhite

 

 

 


5+ Star Book Review: SEMPRE by J.M. Darhower

February 25, 2014 Book Review, Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance, Favorite Books, New Adult 0

About the Book

 

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Title: Sempre (Forever #1)

Author: J.M. Darhower

Release Date: January 31, 2012

 

My Rating: 5+ Stars

 

This is a story about sacrifice… death… love… freedom. This is a story about forever. Haven Antonelli and Carmine DeMarco had vastly different childhoods. Haven, a second-generation slave, grew up isolated in the middle of the desert, her days full of hard work and terrifying abuse. Carmine, born into a wealthy Mafia family, lived a life of privilege, never having to answer for anything he did.

Both now seventeen, a twist of fate causes their worlds to collide, making them question everything they ever believed. Entangled in a web of secrets and lies, they learn that while different on the surface, they have more in common than anyone would think.

In a world full of chaos, where money and power rule, Haven and Carmine yearn to break free, but a string of events that started before either were born threatens to destroy them instead. Murder and betrayal are a way of life, and nothing comes without a price– especially not freedom. How much will they have to sacrifice? Can they escape their pasts? And, most of all, what does it mean to be free? Not everything is as it seems, and no one can possibly come out unscathed, but maybe, just maybe, it’ll be worth it in the end.

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My Review

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“Colpo di fulmine. The thunderbolt, as Italians call it. When love strikes someone like lightning, so powerful and intense it can’t be denied. It’s beautiful and messy, cracking a chest open and spilling their soul out for the world to see. It turns a person inside out, and there’s no going back from it. Once the thunderbolt hits, your life is irrevocably changed.”

This book, in all its brilliance, beauty, tragedy, romance, and hope… hurt me. It broke me in to thousands of tiny pieces, put them back together, only to break me over and over again. And I loved every second of it.

An epic romance between two fantastic characters, set against a backdrop of Mafia violence and secrets, this is an unforgettable story. It is about two kids, only seventeen, who seem much older than their years because of what they have had to endure. Though their pasts are completely different, Carmine and Haven understand one another. Their love is intense, real, beautiful and hopeful. Unfortunately, even a love this great is not immune to the outside world, and circumstances outside of Carmine’s and Hope’s control threaten to destroy them. They are victims of circumstance, and though they crack occasionally, they are each so strong in their own way.

J.M. Darhower possesses that elusive quality that some authors have: the ability to show, not tell. I did not have to be told how the characters were feeling at any given time, I felt it myself. It’s a quality that makes for a story and characters that are infinitely readable, as you become a part of their world. A world that includes intense emotions, plenty of mystery, suspense, and action, and characters that touch the reader’s heart. I felt their fear,desperation, sadness, and their love.

I absolutely loved this book. A story shrouded in the dark traditions of The Mafia, yet filled with love and tentative hope. There is violence, there are secrets, and there is death, but there is light. This is must-read and I’m starting the next book in the series right away.

“He kissed her slowly, softly, pure passion emanating from him. It was an innocent kiss, yet so much more. It was a kiss of redemption, of forgiveness and pride. It was a kiss that said no matter what may have happened in the past, there was still hope for the future.”

*I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

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Book Review and HUGE #Giveaway: A TRAGIC WRECK by T.K. Leigh (@TK_Leigh)

February 24, 2014 Book Review, Book Tour, Contemporary Romance, Past Giveaways, Romantic Suspense 1

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Welcome to the A Tragic Wreck by T.K. Leigh Book Tour! Read my review and enter to win a Kindle Paperwhite, *signed paperbacks*, and gift cards!

 

About the Book

 

How can you continue living when you’re living a lie? How can you convince your body to stop feeling, your soul to stop caring, and your heart to stop beating?

Haunted by her past, Olivia Adler flees Boston for a beach in Florida, leaving everyone behind, trying to shut the world out. Remaining a relative recluse in her self-imposed prison, she tries to turn everything off, wanting to feel nothing. But a new acquaintance won’t let that happen. After being away from Alexander for a month, his voice constantly ringing in her head, reminding her that her inability to confront her demons will not only destroy her, but also him, can she really be expected to want to feel again when it brings nothing but pain?

Back in Boston, everywhere he turns, Alexander Burnham is reminded of Olivia… His Olivia… He tries to dull the ache left in his heart the only way he knows how… in the bed of a beautiful woman. But Alexander isn’t about to lose his Olivia. After a clue comes to light regarding Olivia’s whereabouts, can he convince her to return to Boston with him? When a force that has laid dormant for months resurfaces, can Alexander still protect her from the unknown danger? And when Alexander comes face to face with a shadow of both his and Olivia’s past, will he be able to tell her the secret that is threatening to tear them apart?

A Tragic Wreck is the continuation of T.K. Leigh’s heart-breakingBeautiful Mess series.

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My Review

 

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

 

I have something I have to admit, a secret to share. As hot, and dominating, and romantic, and intense, and wonderful as Mr. Alexander Burnham is, I would gladly  throw him out on his beautiful ass if it meant I could have Cameron. I get it, Alex and Olivia have all of this fire, and intense chemistry, and a mysterious shared past, but all I can think about is Cam in his wetsuit, all sexy surfer, and sweet words, and hard… you get the point 😉

Even though Cam is a big part of their story, and a potential match for Olivia, this story will always be about Alex and Olivia. Their intense connection bleeds in to everything they do, even when they are apart, even when they are with other people. It was heart-breaking to watch them struggle with their separation, watch them destroy each other. Even as they try to overcome the demons of their pasts that keep them afraid of the potential love of a lifetime that could exist, it nearly seems hopeless. There’s too many secrets and maybe they’re just too broken, but maybe their undeniable connection can save them.

This book was an emotional roller-coaster, packed with extreme highs and lows, hot sex, and palpable emotion, all with a backdrop of danger and suspense that keeps the reader on edge. Though much of the story is painful as the reader watches these two characters crumble, there’s some epically romantic moments as well. One thing I particularly enjoyed about the book is the role that music plays in the story, weaving its way perfectly through the characters’ lives. This book is the second book in the series, and I feel that reading the first is necessary to fully understand the story. Though plenty of questions are answered in this installment, more questions are raised and it’s clear that there is much more danger, suspense, romance, and hot sex to come.

“He thought how well she fit in his embrace. Just like two pieces of a tragic puzzle.” 

*I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

Excerpt

 

“Is this okay?” he asked, referring to his hand clasped around hers.

            She glanced over at him, a hopeful look in his eyes. “Yes. It’s fine.”

            He beamed, his smile reaching his eyes. He had dimples. God, he’s hot, she thought to herself.

            “Good. I like touching you,” he said quietly, gently rubbing her knuckles.

            Olivia didn’t know whether she should respond to that. She wasn’t sure she wanted to. What would she even say? Tell him that she relished his touch more than anything she could remember in recent history, but that she was ninety-nine shades of crazy at that moment, her thoughts consumed by one man she never should have let in? Her craziness was too much for Alexander, and it would surely be too much for Cam.

            “You don’t talk much, do you?” he asked as they crossed a set of railroad tracks, walking across Front Street toward a restaurant on the water.

            She shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess I do, as long as I have something to say.”

            “So you have nothing to say?” Cam asked, grinning.

            “I don’t know.”

            “Well, surely there must be something going through that brain of yours right now. You have this look on your face and I want to die, it’s so fucking cute.” He stopped walking at the edge of the water.

            Olivia’s heart began beating rapidly as he turned to face her with a hopeful look on his face, clutching both her hands in his.

            “I don’t know what it is about you, Libby, but I’m drawn to you. I noticed you way back in October. I even remember the date… October seventeenth. It was a Wednesday. You looked so fucking sad, and it killed me. I wanted to find out what made you so incredibly sad, and I swore I would do whatever I could to fix it.”

            Olivia turned her head, gazing out at all the shrimp boats docked for the evening, trying to tame the butterflies that slowly fluttered in her stomach.

            “Come on, Libby. Let me in,” he quietly pleaded.

            A tear fell down Olivia’s cheek as she continued staring at the blackness on the water. “You don’t even know me, Cam,” she whispered.

            He sighed before grabbing her chin, pulling her face toward his so they were mere inches apart. Olivia could feel the heat coming off his body. “All I know is that you love the smell of the ocean.” He smiled thinking about how beautiful she looked when he pulled up in front of her house each day. “Every morning, you sit outside, drink your coffee, and close your eyes when a gentle breeze rolls in, inhaling deeply as if the salty ocean air will fix everything.”

            Olivia stared into his eyes, not saying anything, her breathing becoming heavy.

            “All I know is that you used to take your coffee with cream, but lately you’ve been drinking it black.”

            She felt shivers as Cam brushed his hand across her forehead where her scar was.

            “All I know is that last week you couldn’t decide what color to paint your toenails so, instead of making that decision, you painted one foot green and the other foot orange.”

            She looked down at her feet and smiled.

            “And all I know is that I desperately want to get to know even more about you.” He gently cupped her cheek, staring into her deep brown eyes. “So please, Libby. I’ll take whatever you can give me. Just let me know you.”

Another tear escaped from her eye. “But what if I’m too broken for that, Cam?”

            He pulled her to his chest and she reveled in the warmth emanating from his body. “Then let me fix you,” he whispered.

 

About the Author

 

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T. K. Leigh, otherwise known as Tracy Leigh Kellam, is a producer / attorney by trade. Originally from New England, she now resides in sunny Southern California with her husband, dog and three cats, all of which she has rescued (including the husband). She always had a knack for writing, but mostly in the legal field. It wasn’t until recently that she decided to try her hand at creative writing and is now addicted to creating different characters and new and unique story lines in the Contemporary Romantic Suspense genre.

When she’s not planted in front of her computer, writing away, she can be found running and training for her next marathon (of which she has run over fifteen fulls and far too many halfs to recall). Unlike Olivia, the main character in her Beautiful Mess series, she has yet to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

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Book Review: A BEAUTIFUL MESS by T.K. Leigh (@TK_Leigh)

February 24, 2014 Adult, Book Review, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense 0

About the Book

 

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Title: A Beautiful Mess (Beautiful Mess #1)

Author: T.K. Leigh

Release Date: August 28, 2013

 

My Rating: 4 Stars

 

What happens when you lose everyone that promised they would always be there for you? How can you protect the few pieces of your shattered heart that remain?

Olivia Adler is a woman with a troubled past. After losing her parents at the young age of six and being raised by an uncle who she lost years later, she refuses to get attached to anyone, including friends. For the past decade, she has been able to remain unattached to any man, too worried about losing someone to get too close. Until Alexander Burnham walks into her life one night and changes everything. But he has issues of his own. And he’s keeping a secret that could turn Olivia’s world upside-down. Will Olivia let Alexander in enough for him to get close and protect her from a force threatening her very existence, or will she push him away, scared of letting Alexander in, in order to protect her heart?

A Beautiful Mess is the first installment of a three part series sure to captivate the heart with a story of secrets, courage, and love.

Recommended for ages 18 and up due to sexual situations, language, and mild violence.

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My Review

“Alexander didn’t care if she was the girl from all those years ago; the one who stole his heart when he was a little boy and he never really got it all back. Because the girl sitting in front of him now was filling the pieces of his torn heart. And she was worth getting to know.”

As a whole, this book intrigued me. It has a hot leading man, an (understandably) unbalanced female lead, sexual tension, relationship drama, and hot sex. I enjoyed all of those aspects of the story but that added element of suspense is what truly kept me flipping the pages. There’s a mystery behind Olivia and Alexander’s seemingly intertwined pasts, and the author slowly fills in some of the blanks, giving hints and facts, keeping the reader interested, all while  enjoying the intense chemistry and drama of a budding romance.

Any romance that involves Alexander Burnham is bound to be exciting. Gorgeous, rich, and down-to-earth ex Navy SEAL with a penchant for music, sexual domination, and a beautiful young woman with potential ties to his past.

” ‘People only have to call me Mr. Burnham in the bedroom,’ he whispered in her ear. She gasped, her eyes growing wide. He smiled, rubbing his thumb over her bottom lip. ‘Call me Alexander… For now.’ ” 

BUT, he also keeps secrets, secrets that could destroy Olivia, and the stress of having to watch him keep something so important nearly drove me to drink.

I will admit, some of Olivia’s craziness made me want to shake her. I get it, she’s damaged and it’s not her fault. I understand, even empathize with her, but it’s incredibly frustrating to watch her struggle with her emotions. The thing is, despite her issues, I like her character very much and want to see her happy. This book left me wondering if I ever will.

“And that was the one thing that scared Olivia the most. Love. It chilled her to the core. Because once you loved, then you could lose, and she didn’t know if she could deal with that pain.”

When it comes down to it, these characters frustrated me because I connected with them. The author made me care for them and the outcome of their story, both their romance and the bigger picture of their pasts and potential futures. This is one of those books that as the pages wound down and I realized there was way more story than book left, I nearly panicked until I remembered that book #2 is already out… Thank the book gods!

*I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

About the Author

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T. K. Leigh, otherwise known as Tracy Leigh Kellam, is a producer / attorney by trade. Originally from New England, she now resides in sunny Southern California with her husband, dog and three cats, all of which she has rescued (including the husband). She always had a knack for writing, but mostly in the legal field. It wasn’t until recently that she decided to try her hand at creative writing and is now addicted to creating different characters and new and unique story lines in the Contemporary Romantic Suspense genre.

When she’s not planted in front of her computer, writing away, she can be found running and training for her next marathon (of which she has run over fifteen fulls and far too many halfs to recall). Unlike Olivia, the main character in her Beautiful Mess series, she has yet to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

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5 Star Book Review: HOPE RESTRAINED (The Estate #2) by M.S. Willis (@mswillisbooks)

February 20, 2014 Adult, Book Review, Dark Romance 0

*Warning*: The Estate series by M.S. Willis is extremely dark. If you don’t like dark books, then these are not for you…

 

About the Book

 

Hope Restrained (The Estate #2) by M.S. Willis

She was meant to be his assassin
A forced player in a rivalry within The Estate
Yet her loyalty was to no person but herself
When Hope is taken captive by Xander Black
She becomes the one thing that can ensure Aaron’s reign

Raised within a rival crime network, Hope Delacroix wanted nothing to do with The Estate. A fierce warrior, Hope is given no choice but to kill Aaron Carmichael. Caught in her attempt, Hope is captured by Aaron’s top guard in an effort to discover who sent her.

Ever loyal and protective, Xander Black’s sole objective is to defend Aaron and Maddy. Willing to do whatever is necessary, Xander gives in to darkness in order to force information out of Hope.

As Xander enslaves Hope to break her down completely, he learns that in the two years since Joseph Carmichael’s death, dissension still exists within The Estate.

“I find it ironic that your name is Hope…especially considering that you have none.” ~ Xander Black

 

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My Review

 

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My Rating: 5 *very dark* stars!

“She was decadence hidden within a recalcitrant package, a force to be conquered and a predator to be tamed.”

I will warn readers again: The Estate Series is incredibly dark. There is rape, torture and unspeakable violence. I love dark books, and it takes a lot to make me squirm, but these books do. With that being said, I loved this book. My favorite of the series so far, it is a wonderful package of violence, crime, horror and sex, tied with a bow of wonderfully fucked up romance.

Hope is one of my favorite types of female characters: an assassin; an assassin who will stop at nothing to complete her mission. She’s as bad-ass as they come, as deadly as Aaron and Xander. AND, she’s a masochist, turned on by her own pain. Beautiful, deadly, damaged, and the perfect match for the sexy Xander. Surprisingly, she’s darker than even him, and it is he that must be her light. At first they battle as enemies, but their relationship morphs and they heat up the pages with both action and sex. “She was a woman designed to ache for the sadist hidden inside him.”

The story is action packed, fast-paced, sexy, and depraved. At once horrifying and beautiful, the story keeps the reader glued to the pages, even when you really want to look away. We get to see plenty of Aaron and Maddy from Madeleine, Abducted, and I loved to see more of them and their relationship as they work tirelessly to continue to dismantle the evil of The Estate. Though this book could be read without the other books in the series, I highly recommend the rest of the books. They’re awesome and your experience with the story and characters will be much deeper. I can’t wait for more from this series!

“He connected with her, like a puzzle piece finally finding its match. A man who enjoyed to grant small bits of pain and a woman who needed it to feel like she was alive.” 

*I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

About the Author

 

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M.S. Willis is a romance novelist whose debut novel, Control, was released in 2013.  Although currently writing in the romance genre, Willis has plans to expand her literary pursuits into multiple genres and has no fear conquering difficult subject matters in her writing.  Willis is a native Floridian who is also a photographer and musician.  When not absorbing herself in written, visual or musical expression, Willis is an adrenaline junkie, a ‘closet’ video game enthusiast, and an avid outdoors person and nature lover.

Visit M.S. Willis on her author page:  www.facebook.com/mswillisbooks

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