New Release Review! THE THING ABOUT LOVE by Julie James


The Thing About Love

by Julie James

Synopsis:

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. . .

 

Review:

OMG, absolutely loved. Julie James hasn’t written anything I haven’t liked, but this one? Blew all of the others out of the water! The dynamic between Jessica and John was fantastic, whether they were in their earlier antagonistic phase (or was it antagonistic? Poor John, LOL) or their reluctant let’s-make-the-best-of-this-for-the-op phase, or their OMG these two are setting the pages on fire phase, they are absolutely fantastic together. This time they’re both FBI, and the case they’re working on is “just work” instead of one of them being personally involved, but that doesn’t make the suspense any less or involve the readers to a lesser degree. At one point, I actually gasped out loud when Jessica and John’s covers were threatened, and when Jessica does in her attempt to get home to see John one last time? O. M. F-ing G. It was almost too much. But soooooo good.

If you like romantic suspense that’s high on the romance and snark and does a darn good job with the suspense too, you can’t go wrong with Julie James!

(I got a NetGalley copy, but actually listened to the audio from Audible because I love the narrator. She does a fantastic job every time–definitely worth the expense!)

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

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Audiobook Review and Giveaway! GOLD RUSH by Jennifer Comeaux

Gold Rush
by Jennifer Comeaux
Genre: YA Romance
Release Date: January 9th 2017

Summary:

Liza Petrov’s entire life has been about skating and winning her sport’s top prize – Olympic gold. She’s stayed sheltered inside her bubble, not daring to stray from her destined path.

Until she meets Braden Patrick.

He makes her heart flutter with possibility, and for the first time she gets a taste of a normal teenage life. She longs to have both the boy and the gold, but stepping outside her bubble comes with a price. As Liza begins to question both her future and her past, can she stay focused on the present and realize her ultimate dream?

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Excerpt:

“Hey, Liza.”

I looked up directly into the smiling face of Braden. He was holding the raffle bucket, and a Sox player stood beside him. I was so unprepared to see him that I couldn’t even get a “hello” to come out of my mouth.

“Would you like to buy a raffle ticket?” he asked.

I felt weird having him talk down to me while I sat, so I sprang to my feet. “Hi. Umm… yeah, I’ll take a couple.”

“Cool. How many?”

I bent to get my wallet and pulled out a five dollar bill. “As many as this will get me?”

The player tore a strip of tickets from the big roll and gave them to Braden before moving on to solicit Em and Dad, who were watching Braden and me with rapt attention. Braden set the bucket down and slowly separated my part of the tickets. Now that there wasn’t a counter between us, I could see his full physique better. The top of my head only reached his chin, so he had to be more than half a foot taller than me. He had a slender build, but he wasn’t scrawny. The short sleeves of his polo showed nicely-defined biceps.

“I remember you,” Quinn said.

Braden laughed. “I remember you, too.”

Quinn might also remember Holly and me discussing Braden’s date potential. I quickly stepped between them so Quinn couldn’t see him.

“I thought you worked concessions,” I said.

“I’m an intern, so I go wherever they tell me. I like doing the raffle better because I get to see more people.”

His eyes held steady on mine in the I’m-only-looking-at-you way they’d done at the concession stand. How was I supposed to come up with witty conversation when my heart was pitter-pattering so loudly I couldn’t even think?

“Were you going to visit me at the concession stand? I’m still waiting for my autograph.” He cocked his head with a sly grin.

“Oh… yeah. I’m sorry. I wasn’t sure if you were really serious.”

“I definitely was. I’ve never met anyone as talented as you. I watched a video of you at the world championships, and you were incredible.”

“You Googled me?”

“What kind of twenty-first century guy would I be if I didn’t?”

I had to break away from his gaze because I felt redness taking over my face. If only I could be incredible and confident right now.

Review:

Such a fun and sweet story!

Even though I can barely stop on skates without an assist from the wall around the rink (this is normal, yes?), for as long as I can remember (every 4 years during the Olympics, at a minimum ;)) I’ ve dreamed of being an ice skater. (Also normal, yes? Everyone plans out skating routines while listening to instrumental music, right? Right??)

So the chance to read a book from the POV of a slightly socially-awkward ice skating Olympic (hopefully) superstar? Sign me up!

I loved both Liza and Braden. Whether it was the beginning, when she practically ran from his flirtiness at the baseball game, when they were going on their first dates, or when they were trying to be just friends (because of her parents and her need to give everything to her skating during the Olympic season), they were just great together. Plus, how many guys will back off immediately when the girl they like tells them they have to devote themselves to their sport instead of dating and be willing to hang out indefinitely in the friend zone in the hopes of someday? (I’m hoping that there are actual guys who will fit that description out there, and not just (darn–is he really just) fictional Braden…)

It was fun seeing the behind-the-scenes life of a top level figure skater–their day-to-day life, training, and competitions–and the fact that Liza reads and writes romantic fiction in her spare time just made me love her even more 🙂

I know I’ll definitely have this book and its characters on my mind the next Winter Olympics…and not just those of The Cutting Edge as per usual… 😉

The audiobook version was nicely done–the narrator has a pleasant voice, and does a great job narrating the story. I’d definitely listen to something else performed by her in the future, even if no figure skating is involved.

Though, hopefully, figure skating will be involved…

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

About the Author:

Jennifer Comeaux is a tax accountant by day, writer by night. There aren’t any ice rinks near her home in south Louisiana, but she’s a diehard figure skating fan and loves to write stories of romance set in the world of competitive skating. One of her favorite pastimes is travelling to competitions, where she can experience all the glitz and drama that inspire her writing. Jennifer loves to hear from readers! Visit jennifercomeaux.blogspot.com for contact information and to learn more about her books.

 

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Audiobook Review! HOME ICE by Catherine Gayle (A Portland Storm novella)

Home Ice
by Catherine Gayle

Synopsis:

Tough-as-nails Portland Storm head coach Mattias Bergstrom is hard on his players, molding them into heroes on the ice. He’d never let them see his warm, soft side—something he saves only for his younger sister, who has special needs. But when a hockey event brings a sexy, single mother and her four rambunctious daughters into his life, that icy exterior quickly melts away for her youngest, who reminds him of his dear sister.

Paige Calhoun has her hands full with four teenage daughters who are beyond boy crazy. Throw crushes on hockey players into the mix, and they’re almost too much to handle. But when Paige meets the Storm’s all-business but irresistible coach, she finds herself as smitten as her girls, and Mattias couldn’t be happier. With a Home Ice advantage, Mattias lets his icy exterior melt away to prove to Paige how hot they can be together.

 

Review:

Such a sweet story!

This is actually the first in the series that I’ve read–I picked up the audio version recently, and when I needed a quick read to fill some spare time I decided to give it a try. I’ll definitely be backing up and reading some of the earlier ones now…and undoubtedly later ones too 🙂

Realistic characters, sweet romance, fantastic portrayal and treatment of a special needs child and hockey. What more do you need?

(Okay, so she had me at “hockey” and “romance”. Really, the rest was just icing on the cake. ;))

The narrator did an adequate job–she’ll probably never make my top ten list, but she did a nice job of changing her voice just enough depending on whether it was Mattias or Paige’s POV that it was easy to keep track of, even if I had to stop listening mid-section and come back to it later.

Rating: 4 stars / B+

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Audiobook Release Blitz and Giveaways! Sheltered in His Arms by Tara Taylor Quinn (Shelter Valley Stories #4)

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Welcome to the Audiobook Release Blitz for
Sheltered in His Arms
By Tara Taylor Quinn

About the Audiobook Release

I’m an avid reader. And with my 75th book publishing in a few days, I’m an avid writer, too. And yet there was one aspect of storytelling to which I was completely ignorant. Absent. I didn’t get it. The world of audiobooks.

And then, a few years ago, I was given a free audiobook from one of my favorite authors. I put it on iPod more to be polite than anything else. The book was a gift, I’d listen out of respect. Then, I figured, I’d go buy the book and read it so that I could get my full enjoyment out of the story.

That didn’t happen. Instead, as happens so many times in my life, my ignorance turned to understanding. And an entire new world opened up to me. I’d planned to listen to a few words on my daily commute and then switch to the music that always saw me safely down the road. Imagine my conundrum when, for that whole week, all I wanted to do was commute! I couldn’t wait to get in the car and get back to my friends.

And now, this week, I have the honor of bringing you one of my own books in audio format! Sheltered In His Arms is a unique story. It’s about a man who made a huge mistake. It’s about the people he loves. The people who once loved him. And it’s about healing. I hope you’ll give it a listen! I personally chose the narrator based on audition recordings and she does a great job. I promise friends to sit in the car with you as you get to where you need to be!

—TTQ

Sheltered in His Arms
(Shelter Valley Stories #4)
by Tara Taylor Quinn
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 299 pages
April 1st 2001 by Harlequin

Sam Montford left Shelter Valley ten years ago. He’s a direct descendant of the town’s founder, the first Samuel Montford, and for him, Shelter Valley’s expectations had become oppressive. Home had become smothering instead of sheltering.

Sam returns to the town–and to his ex-wife, Cassie Tate–with a seven-year-old child. This is a complete shock to Cassie. When Sam left, he hadn’t known she was pregnant. Or that she had lost their baby.

Sam’s back in Shelter Valley now, back to stay. But he refuses to become the man people expected him to be ten years ago. Can he be the man Cassie needs now?

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Other Books in the Series:

About the Author:

The author of more than 70 original novels, in twenty languages, Tara Taylor Quinn is a USA Today bestseller with over six million copies sold. A 2015 RITA finalist Tara appears frequently on bestseller lists, including #1 placement on Amazon lists, and multiple showings on the Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller list. She has appeared on national and local TV across the country, including CBS Sunday Morning.

Tara is a supporter of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you or someone you know might be a victim of domestic violence in the United States, please contact 1-800-799-7233.

Check out Tara’s Tour with Heather Graham for the Bestselling Author Collection!

Check out all of TTQ’s ongoing tours HERE!

Heart Stopping Tara Taylor Quinn Giveaways

SHELTERED IN HIS ARMS AUDIOBOOK RELEASE GIVEAWAY

1 Winner: $10 Amazon eGift Card
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To Enter: Submit your receipt online for your pre-order or purchase of any of Tara Taylor Quinn’s six releases being promoted on her Heart Stopping Tour (Love By Association, His First Choice, The Promise He Made Her, Strangers in Paradise: Sheltered In His Arms, Sheltered In His Arms Audiobook, and For Love Or Money). Enter as many times as you purchase. One book purchase equals one entry (one receipt per entry and must be uploaded at time of entry).

TTQ HARLEQUIN MY REWARDS POINTS GIVEAWAY

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New Release (Audiobook) Review! ELIGIBLE by Curtis Sittenfeld (The Austen Project #4–a P&P retelling)

Eligible
by Curtis Sittenfeld

 

Synopsis:

A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice

This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.

Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .

And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.

Review:

I know, I know–I’m a total sucker for Jane Austen remakes. It’s like a compulsion. Even though P&P isn’t my favorite of hers (hello, Persuasion!) I do love it, and I seem to be particularly drawn to its modern interpretations (Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, Epic Fail; I could go on and on and on, but that’s not the point of this review.) It was pretty much a forgone conclusion that I was going to read Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld, even if the publisher wouldn’t approve my request on Edelweiss. (They didn’t say no, for the record–they just ignored my request.)

Anyway. I waited until it came out and picked up the audiobook instead with an Audible credit.

There were things I liked a lot in this one–that Darcy is a brain surgeon, for one, and the way in which the reality TV dating show “Eligible” was used to move the plot along (and LOL to Lydia’s observation–“It’s called reality TV. It’s not called true TV.” True that, sister.) It made sense to me that if the threat of “spinsterdom” was going to be played up, that the sisters would need to be older than in the original (Jane turns 40, Liz is 38). Even though her role is absolutely nothing like the one in any other P&P version anywhere–including (especially?) the original, I did like this version of Catherine De Bourgh the character. (Though why does she have absolutely no connection to Darcy at all in this rendition? It was like the author just wanted to get her name in there somewhere and that’s how she did it. Odd.) Ms. Sittenfeld did a nice job of showing Bingley’s chronic indecisiveness, and the ending of Lizzie and Darcy’s part of the story was absolutely delightful.

Then there were the things that bothered me–Lydia’s crisis, for one, did not at all have the urgency or impact of the original version. It pretty much left me with a “that’s it?” impression. Ditto the event that put Darcy and the Wickham-type character at odds with each other. Don’t get me wrong, what Jasper does isn’t nice, and he definitely deserved the consequences he received, but the oomph of the original transgression? It’s not there at all. (And why is he called Jasper Wick when pretty much everybody else keeps their whole names from the original–even poor Fitzwilliam? And don’t get me started on Bingley’s first name–Chip. Chip.) A text from Darcy’s sister Georgiana causes Liz some heartache at one point, and I’m still not sure what Georgie meant by one part of it (the bit about feeling awkward about their conversation)–I get what the text’s role in the plot was, but what Georgie really was trying to say there? I have no idea.

Plus. I’m still not sure how I feel about Lizzie and Darcy engaging in “hate sex”.

A whole lot of issues were thrown at us throughout the book–interracial dating, transgender issues, feminism, bigotry, antisemitism, racism (and whatever the proper label would be for Mary’s sexual identity; I think I know what it is, but don’t want to spoil anything here)–that felt more as if they were there just for the sake of being trendy and modern than because they were needed for the sake of the plot and story. And the incredibly short chapters as the book went on? I felt like I was reading a James Patterson novel.

Although the vocabulary definitely wasn’t JP-worthy. There were many TingoEd vocabulary video alums (“supercilious” is one that sticks out, probably because I used that video in my classes. A lot. Check it out, it’s entertaining), and quite a few other words that probably should have videos on that channel. At times it kind of felt like I was reading a book that wanted to advertise itself as a SAT or GRE vocabulary-prep text.

Sometimes it’s really okay to use the simpler words, even when you have an impressive vocabulary.

So…was it worth the read? Yes, I think so. Overall I did enjoy it. It *is* P&P, after all. And Charlotte did not get turned into a zombie, which can’t be seen as anything but a plus in my book. Will I read another book by the author? Maybe. The jury’s still out on that one.

The narrator did a good job with the audio–she has a pleasing voice, did a decent differentiation for male vs female characters, and the flow was good. I don’t think I’ve listened to anything else by the narrator, but I definitely would in the future.

I struggled with rating this one–at times it was am absolute 3 stars, occasionally it veered into 4 territory, and some things that bothered me initially did so less as time went on, so…I think we’re left with a solid 3 1/2 stars.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / C+

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Audiobook Review! BETWEEN US box set by Christina Bell (Reid/Lola #1-3; McDaniels Brothers #3)

Between Us, Book 1-3, The Complete Box Set: Reid and Lola’s Story
by Christine Bell

Synopsis:

It was supposed to be a fresh start…

Boston is in the rearview mirror, and the McDaniels boys thought they’d left the ugliness behind along with it. But Reid’s got a secret that could tear the brothers apart, and now, to top it off, there’s this girl…Big, sad eyes, chip on her shoulder the size of a Buick. She’s in trouble. Hell, she is trouble. But he just can’t seem to stop thinking about her.

Former ballerina-turned Vegas showgirl Lola Taylor is used to dealing with jerks at her job, but when a handsome stranger saves her from a near-tragedy, she can’t help but wonder if he’s one of the fabled good guys. If so, the last thing he needs is to get caught up with the likes of her, but no matter how hard she tries to drive him away, he keeps coming back. If she finally breaks down and let’s him in, it could destroy her, but with every touch and every smile, her resolve is weakening…

Could Reid McDaniels be that one guy worth risking it all for?

Review:

Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl… (yep, it comes up once or twice ;))

It’s official–Reid’s definitely my favorite of the brothers. As the youngest, he was (only slightly) a little more sheltered from the whacked-out evil witchiness that was their mother, and he’s still got enough of that people-are-good-inside vibe going on in him that Lola refers to him as “Boy Scout” (almost a taunt at first, but later with affection). Sigh…he’s just so swoon-worthy.

But Lola’s got issues. Boy, does she ever. I have to admit, at first I kind of could get where she was coming from, but she held on to the I-can’t-ever-get-involved-with-a-man thing way longer than she should have. I mean, really–it’s Reid. Obviously the guy’s gonna do you right to the absolute best of his ability. Just give in already!

In addition to the Reid-Lola storyline, the McDaniels boys are also gearing up for Bash’s big fight that could possibly make or break him, and the major drama that reared its fugly head at the end of book two (Trust Me: The Complete Box Set: Matty and Kayla’s Story – Books 1-3) comes back with a vengeance. There’s a lot going on here, but Ms. Bell manages to bring it all together and wraps the series up on a good note.

Sigh. I’m going to miss those guys.

Even though this one’s the third in the series, I think it could probably work well on its own. Pretty much everything you need to know from the other books (including the shocker at the end of #2) is summarized at some point. Just be warned, though, the glimpses you get of the other brothers and their fiancee/girlfriends will most likely inspire you to increase your TBR by another two books 🙂

Once again the dual narrators did a great job reading the story in the audiobook version. They really made the first person narrative style of the story come alive, and I have zero complaints for the way they did their jobs.

All together it was an entertaining 7 1/2 hours, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Ms. Bell has in store for us next.

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Audiobook Review! TRUST ME box set by Christine Bell (McDaniels Brothers #2)

Trust Me: The Complete Box Set: Matty and Kayla’s Story – Books 1-3
by Christine Bell

Trust Me, the complete box set! All three books in Matty and Kayla’s story…

Book One:
As the oldest McDaniels boy, it’s always been Matty’s job to take care of his brothers, but lately, he’s been doing a crappy job of it. After a rough couple months, his brother Bash is finally back on track to make a big name for himself in the boxing world, but when his golden opportunity gets taken away, there’s nothing Matty won’t do to fix it. Even if it means making a deal with the devil…and his bossy, red-headed protégé.

Kayla James wasn’t always notorious Boston mobster Mickey Flynn’s right hand. Before that, she was nobody. He might not be perfect, but he took her in when she had no one else, and she’ll be forever in his debt. If he wants her to manage his cocky new MMA fighter and turn him into a money-making machine, she’ll do it…but she doesn’t have to like it.

Once she takes the job, though, she finds herself curiously attracted to Matthias McDaniels. He understands her better than anyone ever has and she doesn’t want to give him up, but it’s only a matter of time before he discovers the truth about her…

Book Two:
Kayla James has finally found a guy who understands her. Matty McDaniels might seem like just another guy looking to get laid and fight his way out of Southie, but he’s so much more than that. In fact, he’s starting to become her everything. Which makes it even harder to accept that, when he finds out she’s keeping another secret from him, he’s going to hate her guts…

Matty can’t get Kayla out of his mind. She’s the only girl he’s ever been with that made him want to be a better man. Too bad her mobster father hates him and will do whatever it takes to keep them apart.

Book Three:
Kayla’s world has fallen apart and only Matty knows what she’s going through. Only, she can’t turn to him anymore, because secrets and lies have torn them apart. Can they find their way back to one another and take down the man who has ruined so many lives? Or will their love be yet another victim of the formidable Mickey Flynn?

 

Review:

Once again, thank goodness for box sets! I’m just not good with the whole waiting for the next book thing…

I really enjoyed Matty and Kayla’s story–though I knew I would from the teaser at the end of  Fix You: The Complete Box Set: Bash and Olivia’s Story – Books 1-3, of course. Ms Bell really knows how to throw obstacles in between her hero and heroine–Kayla’s the only daughter of the man who’s been making the McDaniels brothers’ lives hell, just for starters–fortunately, she also knows how to (finally, eventually) help them find their way around (or in some cases straight through!) those relationship road blocks. Trust Me is no exception to that rule.

Matty often came off as more than a little gruff in book one–as the guy who gave up everything in order to get his brothers back after their mother left them alone, he certainly had his reasons–but in his book, we see his more human side. Family is still everything to him, but now he’s got another focus–Kayla.

Kayla’s torn–she knows that her father isn’t one to walk the straight and narrow, and nor does he treat others fairly. But she also knows that here rescued her from a horrific situation years ago, and she feels like she’ll always owe him for that. She knows her father will never agree to let her see Matty on a personal level, and she also knows that when Matty finds out what Mick plans to force him to do, he’ll never want to see her again anyway. But still, she can’t stay away…

The dual narrators for this one did a great job–I love it when dual POVs are narrated by separate artists. The whole “box set” concept meant that we moved seamlessly from one book to the next, no waiting required. And the teaser for Reid’s book? Don’t get me started! Let’s just say there’s a major surprise in that tiny teaser that has me itching to get my hands on his book (Between Us, Book 1-3, The Complete Box Set: Reid and Lola’s Story ASAP 🙂

Trust Me is the second book in the series, and though it would probably work fine as a standalone it does help to know the background of the McDaniels brothers/Mickey Flynn involvement going in. Plus, getting to see Olivia and Bash again in this part of the series will make you smile.

And then you get to that teaser…book three! I must have it…

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Audiobook Review: FIX YOU (Box Set, Books 1-3) by Christine Bell (McDaniels Brothers #1)

Fix You: The Complete Box Set: Bash and Olivia’s Story – Books 1-3
by Christine Bell

Synopsis:

Fix You complete box set. All three books in Bash and Olivia’s story!

Book One: She’s worth the fight…

Olivia Beckett’s once-charmed life is falling apart. Her family is about to lose everything, and she has almost no chance of going back to college next semester. She can’t even seek solace from her high school sweetheart. He’s changed. She doesn’t recognize the boy she used to know–his violent behavior is escalating and it scares the hell out of her. Her whole world is crumbling, and she has no one to turn to…

Sebastian “Bash” McDaniels is an up and comer in the boxing world working nights at the local college bar until he can land the fight of his dreams that will get him the hell out of Boston and away from his family’s tragic past. He’s weeks from his goal when Olivia Beckett comes tumbling into his life in a flash of silky dark hair and haunted eyes. When he saves her from a potentially brutal beating, they begin to grow close, but Olivia’s ex isn’t ready to let her go so easily.

Bash can’t bring himself to walk away, but fixing Olivia just might leave him broken…

Book Two: Everything she believed in was a lie…

After facing the fact that her boyfriend was an abusive sociopath and their entire relationship was a sham, Olivia Beckett is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. If she was the only one suffering for her mistakes, she might be able to handle it. But when she went down, she dragged the one person she never wanted to see hurt down with her…

Bash McDaniels was just weeks away from finally blowing out of his hometown to make it as a boxer and never coming back. Saving Olivia Beckett from her violent boyfriend should’ve been a speed bump at most, but love stopped him in his tracks. Now, instead viewing Boston in his rearview mirror, he’s viewing it through prison bars…

Bash was her savior when she needed him most. Now, Olivia has to find a way to repay the favor, knowing all the while that freeing him might mean losing him forever…

Book Three: If he’s going down, he’s going down swinging…

Now that Bash has a second chance with Olivia, he doesn’t want to blow it, but if he tells her the truth about his nighttime activities, he could lose her forever.

Olivia loves that Bash is willing to stick his neck out for those he loves, but not when it might ruin his career…or worse. When she finds out he’s left her bed in the middle of the night to compete in an illegal, bare-knuckled fight run by a notorious Boston mobster, Mickey Flynn, in order to get his brother out of debt, she’s furious.

How can she trust Bash if he keeps lying to her? And how many more times can he put himself at risk before it finally catches up with him?

 

Review:

I “read” Fix You as the box set audio edition, and am very glad that I didn’t have to wait between books for the rest of the story! Cliffhangers and I do not get along very well 😉

Overall, I enjoyed Bash and Olivia’s story. Book one was especially tense, when Olivia was still dating her future ex (ugh, what a slimeball he turns out to be!) and both she and Bash were trying to resist each other–lots of angsty drama. Pretty much any time her ex was on the page drama was guaranteed–he was an excellent foil for Bash and Olivia’s steamy-yet-sweet relationship. We see just enough of Bash’s two brothers to make me anxious to read their stories as well, which I’m sure was the plan all along…

I did think that Olivia jumped pretty quickly into her brand new relationship with Bash after just getting out of her previous (disastrous) one, though. She was willing to jump in and help him, even considering selling her car to do so, when he still barely knew him. It felt a bit too soon, all things considered.

I always enjoy when audio versions of dual-POV stories are read by two different narrators, which is what was done in this case. Unfortunately I didn’t find the male narrator to be quite up to par with his female counterpart–he was adequate, but not great. (Fortunately there was a teaser sample at the end of the book for Matty’s story, and his narrator is both different and much better.) Still, it was an enjoyable listen, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.

Rating: 4 stars / B

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

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New Release Review: ROYAL CHASE by Sariah Wilson (The Royals of Monterra #2)

Royal Chase
by Sariah Wilson

Synopsis:

Booking her client, Prince Dante of Monterra, on reality show Marry Me is a royal coup for PR agent Lemon Beauchamp. But thanks to a last-minute glitch, Lemon must pretend to be one of the contestants vying to win the playboy prince’s love and then live happily ever after—at least until the publicity tour ends.

Prince Dante agreed to go on the show to find a wife, even though he already has the perfect candidate in mind. She’s smart, funny, sexy, and completely uninterested in wealth and fame. She’s also absolutely determined to keep him at arm’s length.

Even if Lemon weren’t already engaged, she can’t trust a notorious flirt like Dante. So she ignores the lingering looks. Those subtle, thrilling touches. That pulse-quickening kiss. Until suddenly, Lemon isn’t playing for the cameras. She’s lovestruck for real, and just maybe, the man behind the title is the one who’s always been in her heart.…

 

Review:

Absolutely adorable!

I’m not at all a reality TV type person, and in the past I’ve tried to enjoy novels set in reality TV shows with little success. I was willing to give this one a chance, though, because I liked the premise–and I’m so glad I did! Lemon’s a great narrator, and even when the reader’s practically shouting at her to dump her loser fiance and give Dante a chance already, it’s impossible not to love her. Her uniquely southern voice (especially with all of her laugh out loud sayings, like “I had imagined I’d feel happier than a tick on a fat dog when I got engaged”) really gave the book flavor. Throw in Prince Dante’s text messages at the beginning of each chapter (the only time we hear directly from him; the story’s all from Lemon’s POV), and I was completely charmed.

I haven’t read book one yet (Royal Date), but it’s absolutely made it onto the short version of my TBR, because Lemon gives us enough teasers that I really want to find out Kat and Nico’s story. Plus, the opportunity to see Lemon and Dante’s from the very beginning is just too good to pass up. I must know all!

Since we’re only privy to what Lemon knows in the book, there’s a whopper of a secret being kept from both of us concerning what’s going on with Dante and the bachlorettes, which leads us right into book three in the series, Rafe’s book. I absolutely cannot wait! Is it July yet? 😉

(The audiobook version absolutely makes this story, BTW. The narrator nails Lemon’s accent, and gives her voice that little bit extra. I’d love to see books one and three also be released on audio; hint, hint! :))

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I received a complimentary copy for an honest review, but went out and bought the audio version because I couldn’t resist the sale price!

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New Release Audiobook Review! CAROLINA DREAMING by Virginia Kantra (Dare Island #5)

Carolina Dreaming
by Virginia Kantra

Synopsis:

When it comes to love, anything can happen on Dare Island—especially in this latest novel from New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra. 

After escaping a disastrous marriage, bakery owner Jane Clark has convinced herself that she has everything she needs—her precious son, a thriving business, and a roof over her head. But the arrival of a handsome stranger on the island shows her exactly what she’s been missing…

The only home Gabe Murphy ever had was the Marine Corps. He’s working hard to rebuild his life. It will take a special place, and a special woman, to make him want to stay.

Now Gabe is determined to prove that he’s worthy of Jane’s trust—and her love. But when her past reappears, that trust will be tested, and Jane and Gabe will have to fight hard to hold onto their love and make their dreams a reality…
Review:

Such a good book!

I loved both Gabe and Jane, not to mention Jane’s son Aiden and Gabe’s dog Lucky. This one might possibly be my favorite of the series so far–and it’s not even about a member of the Fletcher family! (Though they do all make an appearance, even Fezzik.) It’s a story all about second chances–Gabe’s trying to start over and finally find a place where he can belong; his “people”, as he tells Aiden in an absolutely heartrending scene. Jane’s working to move past the events from the last series book (Carolina Blues) and is shoring up her bakery with a new extension to counteract the new coffeeshop that will be opening soon.

Somehow their romance manages to feel like a slow buildup, even though the bulk of the story takes place in just three weeks. It never felt rushed, though. Gabe is attracted to her from the beginning, but doesn’t feel as if he’s good enough for her, as if he has enough to offer. Her dad’s attitude (he’s a deputy at the police department) doesn’t help things either. Jane’s hesitant to trust the new guy in town–he reminds her an awful lot of her last mistake, Aiden’s dad, who’s currently in jail for the events of the last book–and of course she’s got Aiden to think of. But Gabe does everything he can to prove he’s nothing like her ex, and soon their attraction bubbles over.

In the bakery’s kitchen. A couple of times 😉

Not only does Gabe do dishes (!), he also has fond memories of the prison’s library. Where he took out books–to read. Be still my beating heart! He didn’t just take out the biggest ones he could find, stuff them in a laundry bag, and use them for weights! (Sorry, it’s been a rough week at work.) Plus, he read and enjoyed Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series–can he get more perfect than that? I think not.

Of course that did make it all the more aggravating when Jane puts the brakes on their relationship–it’s hard to blame her: it’s just been three weeks, Aiden, her ex is due to get out of prison soon, yada yada yada–but still, I kept thinking, but it’s GABE! She made it up to both of us soon, though, and we eventually got our HEA, so it’s all good in the end. 😉

Jane’s dad even got his own side story in this one, which was nice because it made him seem more human than the hard-a$$ he was constantly acting toward Gabe. Plus, I really liked his new lady friend when we met her a book or so ago, and was very glad to see her get her own part in a storyline.

Fingers crossed that the series is going to continue–not only do I love visiting Dare Island, but I’m looking forward to catching glimpses of Gabe and Jane in future books 🙂

It was totally worth the wait for it to come out on audio–Sophie Eastlake did a great job with the narration, as always. Even though it’s the fifth book in the series, it worked just fine as a standalone. Many of the previous books’ stars make appearances, but the only one that had events that really mattered to this one were in book 4; even that was explained enough so that if you hadn’t read it you wouldn’t be lost. (But seriously, read the other books in the series. You won’t be sorry, I promise!)

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

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