ARC Review: Wild Cards

Wild Cards

Wild Cards (Wild Cards #1) by Simone Elkeles
Pages: 352
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Review Source: Publisher/NetGalley
My Rating: 4 ★★★★☆

Synopsis:

After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.
Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain—people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?

My Thoughts:

This was my first Simone Elkeles book and I’ll definitely be reading more of her work. This was a thoroughly engaging read. I don’t read a lot of young adult, I would if they were more like this one. In this unique story we have two people dealing with family issues, romance, and betrayal.

Ashtyn is a complex young woman. She plays football for her high school, but has her feminine side as well. She has been raised by her father who has dealt with his wife’s (Ashtyn’s mother) abandonment. He pays little if any attention to Ash. All she feels from her father is disappointment or neglect. Ash thought being the kicker for her team would get some notice, if not love and approval, from her father. You would think that being the only girl on a High School football team is what made Ahstyn tough, but it was actually the neglect and lack of love coming from her father.

Derek is a bad boy who plays a prank at school with his friends and is expelled. Left with nowhere to go he has to move back home with his step mom. His father is in the military and deployed. Derek is basically a loner; in response to the upheaval of his life he seems to reevaluate and start to grow into the man he will become.

I felt for Derek and Ashtyn as they face challenges and the growing attraction to each other. I really don’t want to spoil this one which is making this review a bit difficult 😉 If you’re looking for a romance that offers humor, personal growth, mystery, and some angst this is for you.

Wild Cards on Amazon

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ARC Review: Mine To Keep

Mine to KeepMine To Keep (Mine #2) by Cynthia Eden
Pages: 280
Publisher: Cynthia Eden
Review Source: Author/NetGalley
Release Date: September 16, 2013
My Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis:

Love is the most dangerous obsession…

Skye Sullivan is trying to put the pieces of her life back together. She survived a brutal stalker and escaped his abduction, and now she is looking to the future—a future that includes Skye’s lover, billionaire Trace Weston. Skye thinks the danger is finally over for her.

She’s dead wrong.

When Trace’s past comes back to haunt him, Skye discovers that the man she loves isn’t quite who he seems to be. Trace has been leading a double-life. An ex-special forces agent, his military training turned him into the perfect killing machine. He made more than his share of enemies during his time in the military—and as he built his security empire—and one of those enemies is striking back.

He won’t lose her.

Skye is the one weapon that can be used against Trace—his only vulnerability. But he won’t let her go—he can’t. Trace will do anything necessary to protect Skye. Anything. Yet when she discovers the secrets that he’s tried to keep hidden, Skye’s pain and rage may send her running directly into the cross-hairs of a killer…

Author’s Note: MINE TO KEEP is a sexy romantic suspense novel. It contains violence, strong language, and hot adult situations. Please consider yourself warned. Thank you.

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the Mine series and the conclusion to the first Mine To Take. I will mention that the first does not end in a cliff hanger; it ends in a nice spot.  Mine To Keep picks up 4 weeks after the end of Mine To Take. These must be read in order, so I’ll try not to rehash book one or spoil this one.

I was glad to get more of Skye and Trace’s story. This one is a mystery full of angst. Skye is dealing with the aftermath of her abduction including nightmares and Trace’s need to protect her. She is a strong woman to have dealt with all that she has in her life. Finally Skye has the only thing she’s ever wanted, Trace, but now they have to figure out who is out to destroy him by killing her. We see a lot more of Skye’s strength and determination.

Trace is just as alpha and hot in this story. We get to know him so much more and what he’s been through during the 10 years he was away from Skye. Trace has done some bad, dangerous, good, and painful things while in and out of the military. It’s a mission from the past that comes back to haunt him and Skye. He has to eventually tell Skye the truth about his past if he’s going to protect and keep her. It’s after he opens up that their love really grows, if you thought it was intense in the first book you were wrong. I feel more for Trace than in the Mine To Take.

This has just about everything romance, HOT sex, angst, and mystery. I have to say that I figured it out sooner than I would’ve liked and that left me feeling as if it was drug out; but it was still a fantastic “who done it” to solve. Noah is also introduced and I can’t for his story.

 Mine To Keep on Amazon

Tour GiveAway & Review: Girl On Tour

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Girl on Tour

Title: Girl on Tour (Kylie Ryans #2)

Author: Caisey Quinn

Genre: Romance

Age Group: New Adult (MA 17+ Content)

Release Date: August 27, 2013

Cover Design & Format: E.M. Tippetts Book Design

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

 *Synopsis

 An up and comer trying to make a name for herself…

KYLIE never expected to be stuck on a tour bus with a pampered princess and her boyfriend’s ex.

A troubled artist struggling to hold onto his career…

TRACE thought he was finally getting to do things his way. Until the label added co-headliner Gretchen Gibson, the only person in country music with more issues than him, to his No Apologies tour.

Surrounded by tabloid rumors and people they can’t trust, Kylie and Trace need each other more than ever. But the choices they make will change everything.

 Because chasing your dreams and following your heart don’t always lead you to the same place…

My Brief Thoughts:

The story continues where Girl With Guitar left off. I couldn’t wait to get back to Kylie and Trace. This was an emotional read with distinct ups and downs. I didn’t put the book down until I finished it. It went by too quickly 😉 It’ll be difficult to wait for the next book, especially with the way this one ended. I must admit the ending is only thing I didn’t like.

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*BLOG TOUR GIVEAWAY *

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CaiseyQuinnAuthor Bio: 

Caisey Quinn lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, daughter, and other assorted animals. She is the author of several New Adult Romance novels featuring country girls finding love in unexpected places. She is currently working on Girl in Love, the third and final book in the Kylie Ryans series.

 

You can find her online at:

 www.caiseyquinnwrites.com.

www.facebook.com/AuthorCaiseyQuinn

http://www.twitter.com/CaiseyQuinn

http://www.goodreads.com/CaiseyQuinn

 

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ARC Review: Crimson Night

Crimson Night

Crimson Night (Night, #1) by Marie Hall
Pages: 300
Publisher: Marie Hall Publishing
Review Source: publisher/author
Release Date: September 5, 2013
My Rating: 5 ★★★★★

Blurb:

Welcome to Carnivale Diabolique ― or what I affection ally like to call the circus of the damned.

My name is Pandora, and though my face might not seem familiar to you, you do know me. I’m a Nephilim. What does that mean? I’m half demon, what’s my other name? Lust. I’m the dark craving that drives you mad, makes you want, makes you reckless and stupid. I’m the drug you’ll do anything to get your hands on. But I’m not all bad. I fight for light, for goodness and truth. I love my job; killing vampires and werewolves, zombies, and freaks… it’s what makes me happy.

But people are starting to disappear and lately I’ve felt a dark presence lurking around me. I think it might be a death priest, that’s not good. There isn’t much a demon like me fears, but I fear them. This should have been easy, me killing the fanged freaks, getting rid of my pesky priest problem, but I’m about to be betrayed by the one person I thought I could trust with my life and before the night is through I’ll be covered in crimson..

My Thoughts:

I usually only give 5 stars to books I know I’ll re-read and this one is no exception. This is an excellent first book to a series. The first part of the book is devoted to character introduction and world building. Not only are the MCs fully developed; I got to know and like the secondary characters and their unique personalities.  I spent a summer working for a traveling carnival when I was young (great way to see the south) and Marie Hall brings Carnivale Diabolique to life. I could see and smell the midway. I fell into the story from page one and didn’t put it down until I finished it really late at night. I loved everything about this story from the plot and characters to the fact that the writing was faultless (to my eyes anyway).  The pacing was quick and perfect for the book.

Pandora is one of the strongest paranormal heroines I’ve read in a while. Don’t get me wrong she has her issues to deal with, anyone of her age and having another to share your mind and body would. Pandora also sees herself as weak at times and she’s so far from it.

The mystery/suspense kept me turning the pages. It wasn’t so easy to figure out and it was just enough angst to keep me on the edge, but not so much that it got frustrating.  The sex was well done with the right amount of detail that it was very hot and steamy without overwhelming the rest of the book.

I’m impatiently waiting for the story to continue. I recommend this to anyone looking for a well written paranormal that will have you laughing and then tearing up at times this is the one for you.

Follow Marie Hall:
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Review: First Surrender

First SurrenderFirst Surrender (The Serafina: Sin City Series) By Katie Reus
Length: novella
Release Date: September 22, 2013 (novella only)
Review Source: Author
My Rating: 4 ★★★★☆

Blurb:

He’s dangerous, sexy, and everything she wants…

Sierra hit it off with Hayden from the moment they met. The dangerously sexy, tattooed ex-SEAL is one of the best friends she’s ever had—and the main star in her wildest fantasies. But he doesn’t see her that way. And she’d die of embarrassment if he found out she was still a virgin.

And he’s about to make his claim…

Hayden’s struggled to keep his attraction to the beautiful, dark haired casino chef a secret. He’s not good enough for her. But when an attacker targets Sierra, Hayden’s protective instincts go into overdrive. With the attraction between them burning out of control, he’ll do whatever it takes to protect her and convince her they’re meant to be together.

Author note: First Surrender is part of the Wicked Firsts anthology, releasing August 19, 2013. It can be purchased as part of the multi-author box set or individually.

My Thoughts:

I’ve said it before, but here’s another great story from Katie Reus. This is a spin off novella of the Red Stone Security Series and intro into the new series. If the rest of the series is like this I can’t wait to read them. It was refreshing to read a book with no editing issues that I could find. The characters are remarkably developed for the length of the story.

Hayden and Sierra have been friends since he first started working security at The Serafina. They got together regularly to hang out. Sierra has feelings for Hayden, but doesn’t think he could ever fall for her. It will take Hayden admitting his attraction to her for her to overcome her insecurity and Sierra being attacked pushes him over the line and he lets her know how he feels. That it was her inner strength and not taking anything from him that got his attention from their first meeting.

If you’re looking for a quick read that has a very hot Hero and strong heroine this is the one. Did I mention that the intimacy between the two is very steamy and well done? If you like the Red Stone Security series you’ll like this one as well.
Wicked Firsts on Amazon

Follow Katie Reus
Website/Goodreads/Facebook/Twitter

ARC Review: Color Me Bad

Color Me Bad

Color Me Bad by Sharon Sala
Length: Novella
Publisher: SourceBooks Landmark
Review Source: Publisher/NetGalley
Release Date: September 3, 2913
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb:

An original short story by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sharon Sala links to her full-length contemporary women’s fiction novel, The Curl Up and Dye.

The novella centers around the four women who run the Curl Up and Dye hair salon and their relationships with the quirky customers of small-town Blessings, Georgia. Their meddlesome efforts at match-making run awry, but there’s always another makeover just around the corner.

My Thoughts:

I absolutely loved this story. I was hooked from the dedication. This is one of the best introductions to a series I’ve read. It had the feel of one of my favorite movies… Steel Magnolias. I was laughing so hard at one point my DD came to check on me. Let’s just say I might me giggling every time I see red hair for a while 😉 I will not spoil any of this novella, you must read it. It doesn’t take long and will introduce you to many wonderful characters. It is a quick read and was over before I was ready. The pace is fairly fast, but flows nicely. The world building is complete and I could see the town and beauty parlor perfectly. For a novella the characters are remarkably complete and believable; I loved some and really disliked others. I’m looking forward to the next installment of the Curl Up and Dye series that’s going to be a full length novel.

Color Me Bad on Amazon

Follow Sharon Sala
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ARC Review: Stay With Me (With Me #1)

Stay With MeStay With Me (With Me #1) by Elyssa Patrick
Pages: 270
Publisher: Elyssa Patrick
Review Source: Author/NetGalley
Release Date: August 30, 2013
Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb:

New Adult/Contemporary Romance – recommended for ages 17 and up.

With one look, I’m his . . .

With one touch, he’s mine . . .

With one kiss, it changes everything between us . . .

I’ve been famous since I can remember. Singing, acting, dancing—I’ve done it all. The tabloids cover my every move, but I don’t want that anymore. I want to be normal, whatever that is.

When I leave Hollywood for college in Vermont, I’m on my own for the first time in my life. This is my chance to figure out who I am and what I want in life.

But it’s a lot harder than I expected. I can’t escape my image. Classes are difficult, and I’m struggling. And then there’s Caleb Fox.

Sexy, intriguing Caleb Fox.

Caleb is the one man who doesn’t want to use me. He breaks down my walls. He challenges me. He wants me. And I just don’t know if I can give him the same—or if he’ll stick around when he finds out my shameful secret that the tabloids haven’t managed to uncover.

Dating him is risky enough, but loving him could break me.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book. I was attracted by the cover and it just got better from there. It has a nice steady pace and the story flows nicely. There is no OTT drama or angst. The focus is on the loving relationship and the growth of the characters.

Hailey is a young woman who is escaping fame and the trappings that go with it to try for a “normal” life and college education. She has been famous all her life; starting out as the Gerber Baby and going on to singing and acting. Hailey has been pushed her entire life by her mother, who is the one who really wanted the fame and money. Hailey is trying to figure out who she really is and what she wants to do with her life. A relationship doesn’t fit into her plans, but Caleb turns out to be too hard to resist.

Caleb is sexy, loving, tender, and solid. He knows what he wants and has the patience to wait for it and the understanding of how to fight for it when needed. He sees Hailey, not THE Hailey. Caleb is there for her from the beginning, letting her come to him on her own time. Proving his love and that he can be trusted by actions as well as words. Caleb helps Hailey figure out a lot of things by simply being there and accepting her for who she is no matter what.

Daphne is one of Caleb’s little sisters and is a freshman like Hailey. Daphne is another person who accepts Hailey and they become fast friends. She is also very funny; I can’t wait for her story.

Overall, this is a great book with an ending. It is a stand-alone as the next book is about another character. I do wish there would be more for Hailey and Caleb. It feels like their story has just started and I hate to leave them. I feel I should mention that there were a few typos, but nothing that took me out of the story.

Book Trailer:

ARC Review: Gone Wild

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Gone Wild by Ever McCormick
Pages: 20
Publisher: All Night Reads
Review Source: Author/publisher
Release Date: August 15, 2013
My Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb:

Just before college graduation, Ina–star of her senior class–made a mistake that went viral. Then, when life seemed like it couldn’t get any worse, she walked in on her boyfriend cheating with her roommate. To get away, Ina ventures to a cabin on a remote mountain, intent on some solitary time.

She doesn’t count on Adam — the man who watches over the cabins — being so distractingly sexy. Adam came to the mountain to get distance from anything that could cause him pain, and Ina stirs feelings in him he thought he’d left behind.

As Adam and Ina open up about their pasts, the mountain seems like the perfect setting for a second chance at love.

Until they realize they’re not alone.

My Thoughts:

I read this one straight through before I even realized it. It was really good and grabbed my attention right away. This is a fairly relaxing read with just a bit of a mystery.

Ina is looking for a chance to think and come to terms with everything that has recently happened to her. She wasn’t prepared to run into (almost literally) the very hot man of the mountain.  She suddenly finds herself thinking about and spending time with Adam instead of doing the introspection she had planned. It actually worked for her, Adam asks some important questions that Ina has to consider and her feelings for Adam make her reevaluate what she was really feeling for her ex. That is until her ex pulls off one hell of another betrayal. I won’t spoil it, but what a first class jerk.

Adam is on his mountain due to a traumatic past event. He doesn’t want to deal with the “real world” and now he doesn’t have to. He is a very sweet, gentle man under all his abruptness, flannel, and facial hair. When Adam lets himself fall for Ina he does so with his whole heart and he is an alpha man. She is his woman and he will protect her. I would like to have my very own Adam.

The story flows nicely and I enjoy watching Adam and Ina fall for each other slowly. They spent a decent amount of time just getting to know each other and spending time together. They didn’t just jump into bed with each other. I loved their talks and walks. The mystery was good and did not overwhelm the sweet romance of the book.

ARC Review: The Hero (Thunder Point #3)

The HeroThe Hero (Thunder Point #3) by Robyn Carr
Pages: 384
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Review Source: Publisher/NetGalley
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb:

In a moment of desperation, Devon McAllister takes her daughter and flees a place where they should have been safe and secure. She has no idea what is around the next bend, but she is pretty certain it can’t be worse than what they’ve left behind. Her plan is to escape to somewhere she can be invisible. Instead, an unexpected offer of assistance leads her to Thunder Point, a tiny Oregon town with a willingness to help someone in need.

As the widowed father of a vulnerable young boy, Spencer Lawson knows something about needing friendship. But he’s not looking for anything else. Instead, he’s thrown his energy into his new role as Thunder Point’s high school football coach. Tough and demanding to his team, off the field he’s gentle and kind…just the kind of man who could heal Devon’s wounded heart.

Devon thought she wanted to hide from the world. But in Thunder Point, you find bravery where you least expect it…and sometimes, you find a hero.

My Thoughts:

I have to admit I love the Thunder Point series, but this may be my favorite yet. I’m going to make this as spoiler free as I can.

Devon is a very strong young woman who digs even deeper inside to save her daughter. She is “rescued” by Rawley and we learn so much more about him in this one. He helps Devon to adjust to society again and gain confidence in herself. Through all this she’s a good mother and grows every day, it was heartening to watch the whole town support her and care for her even though they knew her and Rawley’s “story” wasn’t exactly true.

Spencer is also new to Thunder Point as their new football coach. He’s a decent hero, I didn’t fall in love with him, but I did like and understand where his thoughts were coming from. He has his own issues and child to deal with, but he does pull some typical bone headed male moves.

My favorite character of this whole series, not just this book, is Rawley. I liked him before, but this story really helped me love him. There was so much revealed about him and it was both heartwarming and breaking.

There’s a second (or third?) story line that’s about the compound and it’s women that Devon escapes from. The leader is the reason she needs the protection the town gives her. The way the book ended I’m pretty sure we will hear more about some of these characters.

 The Hero (Thunder Point) on Amazon

Series Reading Order
1. The Wanderer
2. The Newcomer
3. The Hero

ARC Review: A Weaver Beginning

A Weaver BeginningA Weaver Beginning by Allison Leigh
Publisher: Harlequin Special Edition
Pages: 224
Review Source: Publisher/NetGalley
Release Date: September 17, 2013
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Blurb:

Small town deputy Sloan McCray was making amends for his past. They called him a hero but only he had to live with the difficult choices he’d made. And he certainly wasn’t prepared to fall in love again, not even with his beautiful—and innocent—new neighbor, whose very presence was a balm to his troubled soul.

There was no doubt in Abby Marcum’s mind that Sloan was the guy for her. Though she’d moved to Weaver, Wyoming, to make a better life for her little brother, she saw her future with Sloan. Now she had to convince the man who felt unworthy of love that she and her heart were his for the asking….

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed reading this sweet love story. It’s a refreshing break from all the angst ridden books I’ve been reading lately. I got into this one right away and it kept my attention until I finished it. It flowed nicely and is well written. I noticed only a few minor editing issues, nothing to take away from the story.

Abby is a strong young woman with a lot of responsibility on her shoulders. She handles it well and knows what she wants. I liked the fact that no matter how much she loved and wanted Sloan she never acted desperate or begged. That’s not to say she didn’t hurt at times, but Abby had enough self-respect to accept the things that happen. Abby does have some self-doubt when it comes to her little brother, in that she worries that she is doing the right things for him.

Sloan is a man with a past and issues with that past. He has to come to terms with some of the things that happened over the last few years. Sloan wanted and loved Abby, even if he wouldn’t admit that love to himself. He would be tender and caring to Abby and then push her away, just as it was starting to get annoying the story moved forward. I’m not sure I liked the way he dealt with his past, it came across a bit selfish, but it felt important to the story. Like it was the only way he knew how or could deal with it.

Overall I loved Abby and really liked Sloan. I recommend this to anyone who is looking for a good love story with a strong heroine.

 A Weaver Beginning on Amazon