Friday, July 21, 2017

Review ~ The Art of Sinning ~ Sabrina Jeffries #ReadAlltheBooks #ShelfLove

The Art of Sinning (Sinful Suitors, #1)The Art of Sinning by Sabrina Jeffries
Sinful Suitors #1
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance
Source: Purchased on Nook
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #ReadAlltheBooks, #ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
American artist Jeremy Keane refuses to return home and take over his father's business. He'd much rather sample bevviews of beauties abroad, in search of a model for the provocative masterpiece he's driven to paint. When he meets lady Yvette Barlow at a London wedding, he realizes she's perfect for his work--and determines to capture the young heiress's defiant spirit and breathtaking sensuality on canvas.

No stranger to scandal, Yvette agrees to be Keane's subject--in exchange for his help gaining entry to the city's brothels he knows intimately, so she can track a missing woman and solve a family mystery. But when their practical partnership leads to lessons in the art of sinning, can they find a bold and lasting love?




So I started this series out-of-order - which was no big deal - and now in reading this installment, I realize I should have finished another series (The Duke's Men) first. But only because there are character crossovers. It didn't affect my enjoyment of The Art of Sinning at all - only ruffled my OCD in reading series in order. LOL

Anyway, Jeffries is adept at creating heroines who don't fit the mold, so to speak, and Yvette didn't let me down in any respect. She's tall and strong - not small and dainty - she speaks her mind, and, and, and...she contributes slang words to a sort of urban dictionary of the day. Words she uses occasionally in public, much to her brother's dismay. Needless to say, her marriage prospects are few. 

Enter Jeremy Keane. He's an artist and when he first sets eyes upon Yvette, he knows he's found his muse. Then he meets her brother. With some finagling he manages to get what he wants...access to Yvette for painting.

These two were quite fun. Their banter was spirited and their chemistry was electric. They were both, however, harboring secrets that threatened their budding romance.

The secondary cast added much to the dept of the story, introducing the characters who inhabit this series. I quite enjoyed them all - getting to know better the few I met already, having read book 3.

My only issue was with the guilt Jeremy carried over an incident from his past. I felt he made a little more of his perceived part in it then there actually was. Overall though, The Art of Sinning was exactly what I've come to expect from Jeffries and I'm eager to finish this series as well as The Duke's Men.

Oh, I must mention the art. I'm not very knowledgeable about art, but I enjoyed it as an element in this story - especially the thought that went into a particular piece of Jeremy's.



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Audio Review ~ For 100 Nights ~ Lara Adrian #AudioChallenge #2017NewRelease

For 100 NightsFor 100 Nights by Lara Adrian
100 Series #2
Narrated bySummer Morton
Release Date: January 16, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Audio. This did not affect my rating and my review is voluntarily provided. 
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #AudioChallenge, #2017NewRelease
Goodreads

Synopsis
Avery Ross is living a dream. After struggling all of her life to make ends meet, a chance meeting with a powerful, darkly handsome man has catapulted her into a dazzling new world of penthouse luxury, elegant parties, and a wild, consuming passion with her billionaire lover, Dominic Baine. Nothing is out of his reach in business or in pleasure, yet the only woman he wants is her. Nick sweeps her to sensual heights she has never dared explore, commanding her body the same way he commands her heart. Yet Avery knows the fantasy she's living cannot last. With dark secrets and a dangerous enemy haunting her past, Avery must find a way to trust Nick with the truth before it destroys everything they share. But Nick is harboring secrets of his own as well. And when they come to light, Avery will be forced to decide if the love she feels for Nick is strong enough to endure a betrayal she may never be able to forgive. Contains mature themes.




So For 100 Nights picks up where For 100 Days ended, continuing Nick and Avery's story. While I'm still invested in the outcome, there was something missing in this installment for me.

Nick made a deal with Avery - for every day they'd been together on her terms, he got a night on his terms. Since Avery's housesitting gig is up, this means she's essentially living with and being supported by Nick. This was something that was hard for me to swallow since Avery's a strong, independent woman who's been taking care of herself for awhile. But whatever.

Things seem to be going well for them as individuals as well as a couple. Nick has a pet project that's gotten approval and Avery's art seems to be reaching new heights. As a couple they're getting closer and seemingly stronger. But there are still so many secrets and something from Avery's past is haunting her - literally.

Okay, there were a lot of things I liked about For 100 Nights. With the exception of them keeping things from each other, I really like Nick and Avery together. Their chemistry is explosive and For 100 Nights has lots of steamy good times. I liked Avery's friend, Tasha, and her new artist friends. I liked seeing a compassionate side of Nick. But there were things I didn't like - mostly that I felt Nick used sex where words would have been better. And the past - things were too easily resolved.

And then that ending! Wowza!! I honestly didn't see that coming. I had inklings but nothing to this magnitude. I'm eager to see where these two land.

This is only a 3.5 star read because while I like my steam, I like it as a side dish to the story. And while For 100 Nights had story, it seemed to arrive late. In my opinion.

Summer Morton once again impressed me with her delivery, voices, and pacing. And the steam, y'all! The steam!! *fans self* I'll be checking out her other work. 



Monday, July 17, 2017

Review ~ Escaping Reality ~ Lisa Renee Jones #BloggerShame #COYER #ShelfLove

Escaping Reality (The Secret Life of Amy Bensen, #1)Escaping Reality by Lisa Renee Jones
The Secret Life of Amy Benson #1
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Gallery Books via Netgalley. This did not affect my rating and my review is provided voluntarily.
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #BloggerShame, #COYER, #ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
Infinite possibilities...
Infinite passion...
Infinite danger...

His touch spirals through me, warm and sweet, wicked and hot. I shouldn't trust him. I shouldn't tell him my secrets. But how do I not when he is the reason I breathe? He is what I need.

At the young age of eighteen, tragedy and a dark secret force Lara to flee all she has known and loves to start a new life. Now years later, with a new identity as Amy, she's finally dared to believe she is forgotten--even if she cannot forget. But just when she lets down her guard, the ghosts of her past are quick to punish her, forcing her back on the run.

On a plane, struggling to face the devastation of losing everything again and starting over, Amy meets Liam Stone, a darkly entrancing recluse billionaire, who is also a brilliant, and famous, prodigy architect. A man who knows what he wants and goes after it. And what he wants is Amy. Refusing to take "no" as an answer, he sweeps her into a passionate affair, pushing her to her erotic limits. He wants to possess her. He makes her want to be possessed. Liam demands everything from her, accepting nothing less. But what if she is too devastated by tragedy to know when he wants more than she should give? And what if there is more to Liam that meets the eyes?




Why have I not read all of LRJ? Seriously!! She gives good romantic suspense - or however you want to classify her - and believe me when I tell you, I will be procuring the rest of this Amy Benson series. SOON! *wink*

The title is ironic for Amy since she's not always certain what her reality is...who she is. But I suppose that *is* her reality. She's a strong, capable young woman who's been running and hiding most of her life. She has someone helping her but she doesn't know or doesn't remember who. This latest run, that we witness, brings her into contact with someone she doesn't want to leave. It also has her asking questions and looking for answers.

Liam seems a good guy - genuine and compassionate. But I can't help but wonder about him and his motives. I want to believe in him though. 

I have so many questions - even now as I write this review several days after finishing, I'm wondering did this scene have more significance that I originally though. Is this character someone Amy should consider dangerous? Who is Amy really? And is she going to figure out what's been going on in her life? Who's been pulling her strings?

Escaping Reality was riveting. I couldn't read fast enough. LRJ kept me guessing all the while developing these characters that I'm completely invested in. I can't wait to find out what happens next!



Thursday, July 13, 2017

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway ~ FAST Balls ~ Tara Lain (@taralain @viviannaizzo @dreamspinners) #2017NewRelease #COYER



Fire Balls by Tara Lain
Balls to the Wall #5
Release Date: July 12, 2017
Genre: Adult, M/M Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy as part of the blog tour. This did not affect my rating and my review is voluntarily provided.
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewRelease, #COYER
Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ B&N 

Synopsis
Can two men with skewed self-images see their true reflections in each other’s eyes?

Jerry Wallender—firefighter, surfer, and occasional nude model—knows hes no rocket scientist. So why does he keep choosing intellectual guys who make him feel dumber? He worked his buns off to overcome his reading disability and pass the firefighter’s test, and he loves everything about the job.

Well, except for Mick Cassidy, the big, blond, hunky homophobe who harasses Jerry for being gay. But Jerry is smart enough to realize it’s not hate driving Mick, but the pain of a very unhappy upbringing.

Mick Cassidy, Firefighter Assist and Search Team, fights fires, but he can’t fight his attraction to the kindest, most generous—and sexiest—guy he’s ever met. Does that make him gay? If it does, he just might get himself killed by his gay-hating preacher father—and take Jerry down with him.









FAST Balls was a satisfying read as Lain not only gave me Jerry's story - a character I met at the beginning of this series and have come to love - but she also conveyed it in a way that dealt with societal prejudice, discrimination, and ignorance. That's something I'e come to expect from her and something she does well.

When I saw Jerry was getting his own story, I was excited. Jerry is such a good guy - a good friend, fun-loving, and kind. He's a surfer but he's deeper than that having dealt with the struggle of returning to school (he's dyslexic) and becoming a firefighter. He's a character I've come to adore and one who doesn't see all that he is.

Mick Cassidy is not the guy I would have chosen to for a love interest for Jerry. He's also a firefighter - at the same station as Jerry - but he's proven to be callous in his homophobia in the past. However, after learning of Mick's upbringing and how he's lived his life, not to mention his confusion over his own feelings about what he's been taught and lived...well, I softened toward him. Quite a bit actually, especially seeing how he views himself.

Jerry and Mick have gotten to know each other while working together and while that happened off-page, I still felt their feelings toward one another were genuine. They connect because of certain situations and I liked how they were there for one another. I also liked how they helped each other see themselves through each other's eyes.

Overall, FAST Balls was fulfilling for me in that Jerry got his story. I got to spend time with the other guys from the series - even if it was only a little - and the way Lain incorporated bigotry was handled well. I'm excited for the next installment!






Giveaway





Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in gay romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 40. Her best­-selling novels have Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, Best Romantic Suspense, and more. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul­mate husband and her soul­mate dog near the sea in California she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!







Wednesday, July 12, 2017

New Release Review ~ Pregnant by the Billionaire ~ Karen Booth (@karenbbooth) #2017NewRelease #COYER

Pregnant by the Billionaire (The Locke Legacy)Pregnant by the Billionaire by Karen Booth
The Locke Legacy #1
Release Date: July 1, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author. This does not affect my opinion or rating. I voluntarily provided a review. 
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewRelease, #COYER
Goodreads

Synopsis
From playboy to papa!

Kendall Ross's latest PR assignment is the perfect jump start for her career. But her client is hotel magnate Sawyer Locke--the no-holds-barred one-night stand she had six weeks ago. Sawyer knows the feisty redhead is the key to successfully launching his new hotel, but with his meddling father sabotaging his business plans, they have to keep their arrangement strictly professional. As in, no kisses. No fondling. And certainly no mind-blowing sex! Yet when their best-laid plans end with an unexpected pregnancy, the rebel billionaire must choose between his bachelor ways or losing Kendall and his baby for good!




Karen Booth, and her Harlequin Desire titles, are fast becoming guilty pleasures of mine. Her stories are always entertaining and make for easy reading. Pregnant by the Billionaire was no different.

Kendall and Sawyer spent a night getting acquainted - dancing, laughing, and eventually heating up the sheets - at a mutual acquaintance's wedding. That was six weeks ago and although neither has made contact, neither can get the other out of their head. Then they're brought face-to-face when Sawyer hires Kendall's PR firm, where Kendall's boss assigns her to his project. Will they be able to keep things professional?

These two made for a perfectly engaging couple. Kendall's fire, always giving it straight to Sawyer, was fun. He wasn't used to that so it kept him off-balance at times. She's also intelligent and fiercely independent, as well as loyal. She doesn't believe men have staying power though so tends to steer clear. Sawyer is also intelligent and tenacious in building the life and legacy he wants. His family life, his father in particular, has shown him how he doesn't want to live his life and he's worked hard at not being like his dad. As Kendall and Sawyer work together on the reopening of his hotel, the obstacles they face, both professionally and personally, show them their feelings about relationships and love might be skewed. And maybe they just hadn't found the right person. ;)

So I have to say that the trope of the pregnancy is a little tired, but it worked for the story. I wished for more time between Sawyer and Kendall, more development with Sawyer's family, too, but since this is the first book in the Locke Legacy series, I have feeling I'll get my wish even if Sawyer and Kendall aren't the focus of the story. 

Pregnant by the Billionaire was an easy and engaging read, one that has me invested in Sawyer, Kendall, and the Locke family. I look forward to Sawyer's siblings' stories.



Monday, July 10, 2017

Audio Review ~ For 100 Days ~ Lara Adrian #AudioChallenge #BloggerShame

For 100 DaysFor 100 Days by Lara Adrian
100 Series #1
Narrated by: Summer Morton
Release Date: August 16, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Audio. This did not affect my rating and my review is voluntarily provided. 
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #AudioChallenge, #BloggerShame
Goodreads

Synopsis
Struggling artist Avery Ross is barely scraping by. Bartending at a trendy New York City restaurant for an overbearing boss and two weeks away from losing her apartment to a condo developer, she's desperate for a break. So when she's offered a temporary housesitting job, she takes it. Living in one of the poshest addresses in Manhattan is like entering a new world-one that catapults her into the orbit of billionaire Dominic Baine, the darkly handsome, arrogantly alpha resident of the building's penthouse. What begins as a powerful attraction soon explodes into a white-hot passion neither can deny. Yet as scorching as their need for each other is, Avery doesn't expect Nick's interest in her to last. Nor does she dare to dream that the desire she feels for this scarred, emotionally remote man could deepen into something real. For Avery has secrets of her own-and a past that could destroy her and shatter everything she and Nick share.
Contains mature themes.


For 100 Days was a riveting listen and I was thrilled to have a twelve hour day in my car to indulge in it!

I've read Adrian's vampires a long time ago but never finished that series nor read anymore of her work. Why? I have no idea but I intend to add more of her to my reading diet. She delivered an erotic romance with a story and y'all know I like a good story with my steam. *wink*

Avery is an artist trying to get her foot in the door. Meanwhile she's tending bar at a trendy restaurant. Unfortunately, she can't seem to catch a break...not for a long time. Just as she finds out some bad news regarding her art, she also learns she's about to lose her apartment. Then her luck changes...in very big and life-altering ways.

Enter Nick Baine. This man...well, he draws Avery in like a planet orbits the sun. And the pull is mutual. These two have chemistry and it ignites something in them both. But they both have secrets and since Avery feels it's all very temporary, she's not inclined to expose herself.

I see both Avery and Nick changing - growing emotionally - as their connection strengthens. And I'm eager to see where they go from here. I like Avery's loyalty to her best friend, Tasha, and her close relationship with her mom. She's protective of those close to her. But she's also protective of herself - with reason - and it's a show of great trust to open up to Nick.

I kinda adore Nick. Yes he's total alpha and enigmatic. But once he seems all in with Avery, I like the way he treats her - chivalrously - and the things he says... "Don't compare yourself to any other women. I don't. What's between us is just you and me." He even extends the treatment to her friends.

Revelations occurred at the end but more more questions were raised as well. Therefore, I'm stoked I have book 2 queued up in audio. Unfortunately, I don't have a long drive ahead of me so it'll take me more than one day to finish it.

Summer Morton is a new-to-me narrator and I'll be looking for more from her. Her bio says she specializes in steamy and I understand...she's good. So good I was second-thinking my decision to listen while on a road trip. *wink* She not only conveys the passion well though. She did well with all the emotion and she has a great range for both female and male voices as well as accents.


Saturday, July 8, 2017

My TBR List ~ July ~ And the Winner is...

MyTBRList

My To-Be Read List is a meme hosted by Michelle @Because Reading. I think it's a fabulous idea because it gets y'all in the game and it helps me knock off some of the many, many books on my TBR list. You're more than welcome to join in the fun! I've included the basic rules below but you can click on the graphic above to hop over to Michelle's site where you can find all the details. 

Here's how it works:
On the first Saturday of each month, I will make a post with three books from my TBR List (these books can be already on your ereader or bookshelf OR books you might want to purchase) and add your link on the linky that will be provided on Michelle's post. Y'ALL will help me choose which book I will read next. The following Saturday, I will announce which book won. Then the last Saturday of the month, I'll post my review.

Fun, right?!?


***

And the Winner is:


Just One Lie (Just One Night, #2)
Just One Lie
Just One Night #2

Synopsis
In the instant international sensation Just One Night, sensible Kasie Fitzgerald unleashed her passions--and found herself--through an explosive affair. In Just One Lie, we meet Kasie's wild and tortured sister, whose impulsivity and lack of self-control has set off a chain of events that changes her family forever.

Melody Fitzgerald is the opposite of the "perfect" daughter. The lead singer of an indie rock band, she is impulsive and creative, with a rebellious streak that both defines her and becomes her greatest enemy. Her lover, the enticing and unpredictable Ash, shares her free spirit and penchant for trouble. On the face of it, he seems to be her perfect match.

So why is she so drawn to her soft spoken, reliable drummer, Brad Witmer? How can a man who wears polo shirts and reads the financial section of the paper be of any interest to her at all? And why on earth does someone like that appear to be so captivated by her?

Before she knows it, Melody finds herself on a path of self-discovery, passion, and affairs of the heart. But will a dark secret from her past derail it all? Or will its exposure be the very thing that unburdens her heart and allows her to seek a future with the one man who loves her completely?



Thanks for voting! Be sure to check back on July 29th for my review. :)

Friday, July 7, 2017

Review ~ The Taker ~ Alma Katsu #2017HW #ShelfLove

The TakerThe Taker by Alma Katsu
The Taker Trilogy #1
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Genre: Adult, Historical/Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance
Source: Purchased paperback 
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017HW, #ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
True love can last an eternity...but immortality comes at a price...

On the midnight shift at a hospital in rural St. Andrew, Maine, Dr. Luke Findley is expecting a quiet evening--until a mysterious woman, Lanore McIlvrae, arrives in his ER, escorted by police. Lanore is a murder suspect, and Luke is inexplicably drawn to her. As Lanny tells him her story, an impassioned account of love and betrayal that transcends time and mortality, she changes his life forever. At the turn of the nineteenth century, Lanny was consumed as a child by her love for the son of St. Andrew's founder, and she will do anything to be with him forever, but the price she pays is steep--an immortal bond that chains her to a terrible fate.


My review is going to be purposely very vague. I feel like it would give away too much of the story to provide specifics - even change perceptions and feelings. So this is mostly about how this story made me feel. Here goes:

  • Katsu did a tremendous job in bringing the past and present together. The format fit the story well and the historical detail was nicely done. She brought Puritan-era Maine - which was only a territory at this time - to life. And I appreciated the comparison between past and present Maine - all the changes that had occurred.
  • The characters are so well done - well, mostly and I'll explain that in a bit. But three of the four MCs, Katsu gave them such distinct personalities and made me both like and dislike them. These characters are flawed, greatly flawed. There were times I had a hard time thinking of them as heroes and heroine. This allowed for character growth, which was imperative for me since there were characteristics such as selfishness, greed...these were eventually tempered with loyalty and compassion. I'm certainly eager to see where they go from this point.
  • About my "mostly" regarding the characters... the format bringing the past and present together was very satisfactorily done except that it kept me from really connecting with one of the characters. I have a feel for him and he's flawed but the storytelling kept me from getting to know him as deeply as I did the others. Katsu may have done this purposely as part of the story but I have a feeling I'll get that deeper connection in the next book.
  • The paranormal element was fascinating and well done.
Overall, The Taker was compelling and a wonderful introduction to the trilogy. I'm anxious to continue.