Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Managed (VIP #2) by Kristen Callihan @Kris10Callihan

4.5 stars

“I am a cold man.”

Frigid indeed. Gabriel “Scottie” Scott, manager of the infamous rock band Kill John, is known for his controlling nature and icy demeanor. In “Idol”, book one of the VIP series, he did not give me the warm and fuzzy ‘oh so easy to fall in love with’ feeling. Regardless, his detached persona totally fascinated me. When “Managed” popped up on my kindle, I could not wait to jump into this story to see firstly, if I could warm up to his character and secondly, meet the heroine that would hopefully unravel him. As it turned out, Scottie quickly won me over. A few pages in and one bumpy airplane ride with the vivacious Sophie was all it took for Gabriel to worm his way into my heart.
"You are my warmth." 

“I wasn’t prepared to need you this much. I don’t know who I am anymore if you aren’t with me.”

Gabriel was totally swoon-worthy. Honestly, just the way he was described, I had all these deliciously handsome visuals flooding my mind’s eye. Tall, dark, gorgeous ~ a body of a Grecian god ~ looks of a runway model… Yeesh, Gabriel made my heart flutter.

“You are beautiful, Gabriel.” His expression shutters.
“It’s only veneer. Nothing of what I am on the inside.”

He proved himself wrong. There was a loving, beautiful man buried beneath that all that veneer.

Add to that goodness, Gabriel had an air of mystery. On the surface he was refined, professional, calculating and meticulous in all ways. Business being the priority, managing the band consumed his life. But hidden underneath the façade lived a man filled with secrets and fears. There were times his character was stripped bare to expose both his anxieties and his fierce, almost savage side. I loved seeing him uninhibited thanks to Sophie. Being his absolute opposite, she brought Gabriel to life. Through her love, he opened up his heart to become a lovable and passionate hero that I completely fell for. And despite his pretentious personality, Gabriel could be down right funny, especially in his back and forth banter with Sophie and his band mates. This scene in particular had me giggling out loud.

It hits me like a fist to the gut: she has been, yet again, fucking with me…
…I bite the inside of my cheek to keep from grinning. Leaning forward, I crowd her space, ignoring the scent of lemon tart that floats around her.
She tenses right up, her head jerking back, her body bolting straight. I love it.
“All right,” I murmur low in her ear, as she shivers and wiggles to get away. “You caught me. I do want oral satisfaction. Badly. Be a dear and take the edge off for me?”
She gasps, velvety skin going pale. “Are you kidding me?”
“We already went over this.” I reach beneath my seatbelt to undo my actual belt. “I’m in need, and it has to be you.”
“Whoa, wait a minute, buddy.” Her hand presses against my chest and quickly flinches back, as if the contact burns. Oddly, it was rather warm, and I still feel the imprint of her hand through the layers of my clothes. I ignore that too and give her an exaggerated brow wiggle…
…A strangled sound leaves her. “You…nasty…I don’t believe this…”
“Oh, come on, love. Give us a suck, eh? Just a little teasing lick of the tip?”
And when confessing his feelings to the guys, Gabriel managed cracked me up…

I glance around. The guys are giving me my privacy by watching the TV. But they are here. For me. They’ll never leave me behind. My mates. My family.
“I love you too,” I blurt out.
And instantly regret it. My face burns as they all turn my way with varying degrees of shock in their expressions.
Rye gurgles on a laugh.
“Fuck,” I mutter. “That’s not… You know what I mean. You’re my mates.”
“‘In Whoville they say that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day,’” Killian drawls.
They all laugh.
“Sod off,” I growl, fighting a smile. But I won’t retreat anymore. Sophie was right; it hurts both me and them when I do that. I look each of them in the eye. “I mean it.”

Aside from what he believed himself to be, Gabriel was beyond loving, truly sincere and down right sexy. He's the type of hero who could melt your heart as well as make you tingle.
“Hush now and spread those lovely thighs wider like a good, chatty girl. I’ve work to do here.”

Sophie Darling was riotous ~ a likeable bold and sassy heroine that perfectly complimented the uppity Gabriel. Beyond chatty and extremely blunt, she was a cyclonic force, leaving Gabriel no choice but to yield and break all of his rules. From their whacky first encounter on an airplane ride to London, to becoming part of the bands’ entourage, Sophie made her way into our hero’s heart, forever changing him. Her lighthearted and whimsical personality made this a super fun and sexy read.

I freaking adored everything about this book – the steaminess, the laughs, Sophie’s silliness, Gabriel’s broody sexiness, the bonds of friendship and the bands’ hijinks. It was an addictive low angst read that I devoured in just one sitting and it reminded me of all the reasons why I fell in love with this author’s writing style. Once again, Callihan penned another trademark slow burning love story, taking the time to develop her dynamic characters and their friends-to-lovers-opposites-attract relationship, while weaving in tons of sexual tension. I liked the fact that Gabriel and Sophie’s romance was unhurried. And once their sexual hunger was finally unleashed... all I can say is WOW. Gabriel was off the charts scorching HOT. As their fiery passion  ignited , I fell deeper in love with this couple. Although “Managed” is book two in the VIP Series, it can totally be read as a stand-alone. (But I highly recommend reading “Idol”. It too was a fantastic read). Can’t wait for the next sexy Kill John rocker to fall in love!

I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book


Monday, September 12, 2016

Roman Crazy by Alice Clayton and Nina Bocci @ninabocci @alice_clayton

4 Stars

Rome. The city of love and the beautiful setting for Avery and Marcello’s second chance at love romance. Roman Crazy was an amusingly funny yet incredibly steamy lust-filled tale of self-discovery, reinforcing the bonds of friendship and rekindling lost love while experiencing all the wonders of Italy.  The writing duo of Alice Clayton and Nina Bocci had me laughing and swooning as this couple struggled to overcome the heartaches of the past, in hopes of finding a future together.

Coming to terms with her failed marriage, Avery Bardot jets off to Europe to clear her mind and spend some quality time with her bestie, Daisy. The last thing she expected was seeing her old flame, Marcello Bianchi - the one who got away. (Mamma Mia! Trust me, he was as sexy as his name – totally panty melting). Long ago, she broke his heart by ending their torrid affair without explanation, which made their reunion both painfully awkward and hysterically funny. Seeing Marcello and all his fury made Avery’s situation much more complicated.

The story made many references to the past where we see Marcello and Avery’s beginnings, the intensity of their lust, and the circumstances that ended the relationship. Young and misguided, Avery made some terrible mistakes, which she needed to rectify in order to move their relationship forward. After nine long years, she finally had the chance to apologize and reveal the truth behind her actions. I will say there were times I found myself exasperated with Avery’s decisions, involving unfaithfulness on her part, which hurt Marcello. It took some time for me to warm up to her character. But seeing how this couple healed, their chemistry and the feelings they shared, I was able to move beyond and enjoy their second chance.

Although the story is told from Avery’s point of view, it was Marcello who stole the spotlight for me. The quintessential tall, dark and handsome hero - I adored his larger than life sensual character, which exuded fiery passion. He had my sympathies seeing the way Avery left him alone and heartbroken. Loved how he took control of their relationship, taking his time to rebuild trust, as the love they shared strengthened. There was a moment Marcello had me cringing with a misstep in his actions, but seeing his undying love for Avery, he managed to charm his way back into my good graces. In the end, I simply fell in love with his alluring character. Marcello è molto bello.

Roman Crazy was an enjoyable read and one of my favorite parts, aside from the insanely hot Marcello and the comedic team of Avery and Daisy (their hijinks had me in stitches) was the beautiful descriptive imagery these authors wove into the storyline.  The food, the sights and the history – The vivid Italian countryside came to life. The story flowed so seamlessly, it gave me the feeling as if I was whizzing away on the back of Marcello’s motorcycle, experiencing all the beauty first hand. All in all, Roman Crazy was a playfully fun and flirty read. Looking forward to more from the creative minds of Clayton and Bocci.
Arc provided in exchange for an honest review

Monday, August 15, 2016

Midnight Soul (Fantasyland #5) by Kristen Ashley @KristenAshley68


This quote from Broken Dove haunted me for so long. Each time I came across the highlighted passage on my kindle, I had a feeling the mysterious woman would be Franka Drakkar. Despite the fact I loathed her character, I always believed she could prove worthy of the gallant Noctorno Hawthorne’s affections. I could have done cartwheels when learning Franka was destined for Noc, finally getting the chance to tell her story in the series finale ~ Midnight Soul. 
Now if you’re a fan of the series, you might think I’m whacked, getting all excited over Franka. After all, she’s one fierce and traitorous shrew. Honestly, I loved hating her villainous, manipulative ways. Regardless, Franka fascinated me. I wanted to see what circumstances caused her to be so openly cruel. I craved to see Noc work his way through her defenses. Most importantly, no one writes a story of redemption quite like Kristen Ashley, the likes of which are my favorite type of read. In Midnight Soul, gone was the Franka I once despised and in its place, a strong heroine I’ve come to respect and adore.
Noc and his “Frannie” were truly destined for each other and perfect together.They were two broken souls in need of healing and I was an emotional wreck seeing not only the life-long horrors Franka endured, but also Noc’s insufferable pain.
All her life, Franka believed she carried darkness within her soul, But through all the beauty that was Noc ~his gentleness, patience and love ~ Franka discovered her true self while starting over in a foreign world. I admired the person that was hidden behind the mask. Her strength, her bravery, her willingness to right all the wrongs, the sacrifices she made, learning to put trust in others and the way she supported Noc during his time of need... I was amazed how her character flourished into a lovingly kind and often humorous woman. In the end, I felt absolutely guilty for despising her in the first place.
Noc was incredibly sexy and tenderhearted. A man with a heart of gold, troubled by his own darkness, yet selflessly tended to the needs of his woman before all else. I loved the way he consistently gave what Frannie needed ~ comfort, understanding the woman she needed to be in order to survive, support, time to mourn and the freedom to drop all her defenses and just be.  His gentleness and compassion were limitless. And when Franka’s circumstance came to light, I instantly fell for the way Noc stepped up to guard and protect her. He was a true noble hero in every sense of the word.
Franka and Noc’s romance was inspiring as well as beautiful. Midnight Soul was a powerful, slow burn love story of passion, forgiveness, healing and self-discovery. Low on angst in comparison to the other books within this series, the story told mainly focused on Noc and Franka’s journey from friendship to love. Kristen Ashley never ceases to overwhelm me with her magical story telling talents, which touches my soul and always leaves me wanting more from her imagination. (One character in particular ~ Valentine. I need her story). It saddens me that this great series has come to an end. But, I enjoyed seeing all the past couples heavily involved within the story line, as well as meeting new and lovable characters. And that epilogue…WOW! As I expected, Ashley brought me to tears yet again. 

ARC received in exchange for an honest review

Fantasyland Series

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