Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Perfect Ten (Forbidden Men #5) by Linda Kage @lindakage

ARC received from author in exchange for an honest review

Ten hearts for Oren and Caroline!
Every so often, a secondary character steals the show and haunts me to the point of which I crave jumping inside their story and their minds. The ornery Oren “Ten” Tenning fascinated me from the moment he was introduced in “To Professor, with Love” and I was so excited hearing he was getting his own book. Could hardly stand the wait, but it was absolutely worth it. Ten is by far the sexiest of all the ‘Forbidden’ men. He is also crowned my new favorite bad boy in this series. (Hope Mason will find it in his heart to forgive me).

He’s sexy, he’s lewd and often a crude snarky bastard (I mean that in the most loving manner). Couldn’t help myself - I adored all of his amusing and sarcastic ways. Ten was one of the wittiest book boyfriends I have come across in a long time. However, there is so much more to his persona. Lying beneath the surface, Ten masks his true pain. The more I got to know the real Oren, the deeper I fell in love.

Honestly, I was a wee bit fearful of stepping into Caroline’s story. Events in her past tread on one of my few “reading triggers”.  Nevertheless, I got over it real fast. Her character shinned brightly as she was the sweet yet brazen tough girl whose sense of humor and cleverness was the perfect match for Oren. I love a gutsy chick who’s determined to chase what she wants. Caroline was ballsy enough to take on the man-slut of her dreams, and Ten gave her a wild run for her money. When these two finally got together…BAM…fireworks exploded. From midnight rendezvous’ to stolen moments on rooftops, Caroline and Oren were an adorable couple whose passionate chemistry sizzled both in and out of the bedroom.

Aside from this couple’s hilarity and deliciously overactive sex drive, “Perfect Ten” was an endearing, tender love story of two people weathering painful pasts, trying to find their way to bliss. After battling through their individual hurdles, together they faced so many obstacles. I loved every moment of their journey as I found myself constantly rooting, hoping for their well deserved happily ever after.

In “Perfect Ten” Linda Kage is at her finest penning a romance chock full of giggles, desire, lust, sexual tension, angst and nail biting moments. It’s definitely my absolute favorite read in this series. Loved that it was told in dual POV’s, seeing love blossom through the eyes of both main characters. And best of all, revisiting some old friends from earlier installments. Kage gives me the sense that I never have to say a final goodbye to her characters – they will always find a way back into the next story. As always, looking forward to more Forbidden Men.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Soaring (Magdalene, #2) by Kristen Ashley @KristenAshley68

5 Soaring Stars
ARC received from author in exchange for an honest review

Soaring was an amazingly fantastic, ridiculously sexy, feel good read that proved once again why Kristen Ashley will forever remain my literary queen of romance. This love story embodied everything KA spoils me with - a unique and descriptive writing style, brilliant dialogue, an incredibly strong heroine, super hot dominant Alpha, a cast of secondary characters that stole my heart and passionate moments that set my kindle ablaze.  But words sometime fail me when trying to put together my review because it’s so difficult to fully describe what I experience and how truly touching her romances are. Once stepping into Amelia and Mickey’s world, I became totally overwhelmed and consumed. My emotions were constantly ebbing and flowing as their joys thrilled me, their fears filled me with worry, and their despairs flooded my heart with sorrow. And in the end, I hated leaving this couple, their friends and family behind. I needed to savor this story over and over again before gathering my thoughts.

Amelia (Amy) is a woman who has all the money in the world, yet missing everything she needs for a happy life. A bitter divorce set her life on a downward, negative spiral - leaving her shattered, miserable, lacking self-confidence and losing custody of her children. In an effort to regain their love and respect, she decides to reinvent herself and begin a new life in Magdalene, Maine.

Her character wrecked me - I ached for all her pains and cried tears over all her sorrows. Seeing her lonely life and dealing with the children’s indifference, sliced right through the very heart of me. Starting over at the age of 47 takes courage and BALLS – I just love how brave she was. Amelia’s endless struggle to find fathomless inner strength and discovering her self worth left me awestruck. She is my new all-time favorite kick-ass heroine.
Fortunately for Amelia, along with her new life comes a very handsome neighbor. A knight in shining armor of sorts…Michael Patrick Donovan. The mere mention of his name makes me quiver in all the all the right places.

Oh, Mickey you’re so fine…and you REALLY blew my mind...
I’m in love with you!

He’s the sinfully sexy, outrageously macho construction worker/volunteer fire-fighter/boxer that had my head spinning. One minute I adored his sweet and tender ways; a single dad who melted me seeing the way he loves his children. In the next, I wanted to strangle him for all his stubbornness! My feelings for Mickey yo-yoed throughout most of this read as he found difficulties dealing with Amy’s wealth. Fighting off his attraction brought out a callous side to Mickey, and boy did this couple really go toe-to-toe.

The more he battled his feelings, the more sexual tensions escalated, until it deliciously exploded in some of the most sizzling sex scenes ever. It frayed my nerves to no end, but I loved every lust filled moment of it. For me, the more ‘jerk-like’ the KA hero, the deeper I fall in love with them as they struggle to find their way to redemption. It’s crazy, but absolutely true, and Mickey fights hard to win Amy’s (and my) love and trust. Mickey has a noble heart and feels deeply for his woman. He was an emotionally driven, compelling character whose gentle and protective side had me soaring, feeling all gushy inside. I now have a new Alpha-hero to obsess and drool over.


Amy and Mickey’s romance was inspiring as well as beautiful. Soaring was a powerful love story of passion, hope, mending broken hearts, bringing together of families and self-discovery. Kristen Ashley never ceases to wow me with her flawless story telling talents, which always leaves me hungry and wanting more from her imagination. Each one of her tales claims a little piece of my soul. I love that this series focuses on main characters that are more mature in age. It’s a rarity to find steamy romances evolving around older main characters that not only I can relate to, but readers of all ages can also appreciate. Ashley has that magical touch bringing such characters to life. Soaring easily became another ‘must reread’ favorite of mine.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The 27 Club by Kim Karr @authorkimkarr

ARC received from author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

4 Stars

I am a HUGE Kim Karr fan and was thrilled when first hearing about her new suspense filled romance standalone. I love when authors take risks and gift their fans new and exciting stories. I had feeling it would be nail bitingly edgy and I needed to get my hands on it ASAP. The 27 Club is a drama filled read with countless mysteries and several plot twists. It is a departure from her norm, but no less attention grabbing.

Without giving too much away, this is a story about destiny and self-discovery. Zoey Flowers (the heroine) believes she is fated to die at the young age of 27.  These fears are not unfounded, since recently losing her brother Zach, as well as other family members, at that age. Turing 27 herself, Zoey’s obsession with death is all consuming as she still grieves his loss. During her temporary stay in Miami to collect Zack’s belongings, she soon discovers her brother led a mysterious life. Thus begins the quest to piece together his secrets and the circumstances involving his accidental death…she needs answers soon, before she become the club’s next member. 

I liked Zoey, but found she lived a little too much inside her head, shrouding her existence in so much darkness. It was sad to see her outlook on life was poisoned by the thoughts of a family curse. Here enters Nate Hanson, her brother’s best friend and a bit of an enigma himself. There’s an instant attraction and Zoey makes it clear she wants him desperately. He’s handsome, sexy and controlling; the perfect man for a quick and steamy fling, since she isn’t looking for a long-term relationship. There’s some sexual tension, which I always savor, as Nate battles their connection. But when they finally succumb to the passion, these two sizzle. This couple had chemistry, and Nate was oh-so dominating and hot.

I adored the way Nate took gentle care of Zoey in her time of need. She began to blossom as the bonds of their relationship grew stronger. Under Nate’s wing, Zoey reassesses her outlook and slowly begins to live and thrive. In her determination to unravel her brother’s and Nate’s secrets, she discovers herself and is opening her heart to love.

“Let me help you live
wild and free.”
Her road to self-discovery was inspiring. For me, this story reinforces an important message; enjoy the gifts life has to offer despite hardships. We may not have control over destiny, but like Zoey, open our hearts to love, joy and happiness.

The 27 Club was a fascinating read and quite the roller coaster ride. Buckle up for Zoey and Nate’s journey - Kim Karr is known for her deliciously descriptive and detailed writing style, which I absolutely enjoy. If you are a lover of suspense with a sexy twist, give this read a go because it had all the makings of an interesting novel…mystery, intrigue, tension, passion and an engaging cast of characters.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller by L.B. Simmons

Received from author in exchange for an honest review 

5 Sunshine filled stars
After reading the synopsis, I needed to get my hands on this book immediately. The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller was my introduction to LB Simmons’ work and now I am kicking myself for not discovering this author sooner. To say this was a poignant read is an understatement. It was a paradox – causing me to wonder how this author created such magic that was both devastatingly soul shattering, yet extraordinarily heart warming. Page after page, I felt as if I was thrown head first into a tumultuous cyclone, as I fluctuated between feeling gut wrenching despair and absolute elation. It was a wondrously profound story of friendship, grief, self-discovery and the healing power of love.

Meet Aubrey (Bree) Miller.

I'm dark, dreary, morbid.
I hate the person I've become.
A child surrounded by death whose life is consumed by guilt and grief. A scarred little girl left only to survive losing her entire family by locking up all memories of her past and reinventing herself. Aubrey is lost as ‘Raven’ emerges, her self-loathing emo-goth-like alter ego. The girl she once was has been masked, hiding behind crazy makeup, hair, contacts and body piercings. She purposefully becomes unrecognizable, disallowing all from seeing her pain or tempting to breach impenetrable walls surrounding her heart.

I am death. 
And I bring it to all who love me.

Her tragedies struck me, and I was truly saddened when seeing how Raven emotionally guards herself through her physical transformation. Her ruse works well for her up until she is off to college and encounters two loveable characters – Quinn and Kaeleb. Each burdened with sorrows, but systematically work together to dismantle tough girl Raven’s defenses in hopes to reveal the sunshine bury deep beneath her gloomy façade.

This story addresses some pretty serious issues and by no means a flowery sugar coated cutesy friends-turned-lovers romance. This trio of friends faced grim circumstances (Bree’s being the most extreme), which were so powerful and so intense, it moved me. I was totally gutted the way this author painted Bree’s pain, through childhood flashbacks and current heartaches she continues to endure, as they are slowly peeled away to reveal her inner turmoil. All the while, my emotions were stirred to the point of which I felt an overwhelming connection to her sorrows. I cried ugly tears for all those she lost, frustrated with her stubbornness, and desperately hoped for her healing. Bree was a compelling character whose journey to self-discovery touched my heart.

I can go on and on gushing over Kaeleb McMadden, Bree’s once childhood pal and adorably sexy boyfriend. He is the perfectly flawed romantic hero.

Sincere, loyal, patient and most importantly…passionate, Kaeleb is the driving force fighting to bring back his Bree from the darkness that is Raven. He captured my heart with his unwavering determination. Loved how despite his own problems he selflessly puts her welfare before all else. Seeing them fall in love was deliciously heartwarming. I so adored all things Kaeleb.

And then there’s Quinn, the stunning yet broken beauty queen who pushes her way into Bree’s life. Her character added a bit of levity and hilarity into this otherwise sober read with her perky personality and crazy antics. She was the perfect compliment to Raven’s stark persona.

The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller was truly a touching read for me. I enjoyed every laughable, sizzling and tearful moment. There were times I found the story was too emotionally difficult for me to handle, especially during Bree’s childhood flashbacks. It was during those times that I literally felt her character’s anguish. Nevertheless, the more dynamic the story, the more I tend to savor every word. It was an exquisitely written tale, whose characters and experiences will stay with me for a very long time.