Thursday, September 24, 2015

Blow (The Tainted Love Duet #1) by Kim Karr @authorkimkarr

 4.5 ~ 5 Mind blowing stars

Suspense, half-truths, lies and deceits – a tangled web of mysteries laced throughout a lust filled romance.  Kim Karr captivated me within another riveting, hot and steamy love story whose plot twisted and turned, revealing it’s secrets layer by layer. Cleverly sprinkling hints and leaving a trail of breadcrumbs waiting to be pieced together, Karr created a world where mobsters, lawyers, and drug dealers collide. Tensions run high as Logan and Elle are coincidentally brought together, instantly attracted to one another, and danger surrounds them at every turn. Blow rattled my mind as I found myself trying to unravel a knotted string of clues.

Logan McPherson fascinated me since meeting him in Toxic.

He’s a hot, sexy lawyer who stuck between a rock and a hard place courtesy of his family. Working for his highly influential, obscenely rich grandfather in New York and rooted in the underground world of the Irish Mob in Boston (grandson of a former mob kingpin) - he’s a total contradiction and I felt bad for the tough situation he’s trapped in. (I totally love the ‘mob’ element giving Logan that bad-boy-under-a-clean-cut-guy vibe). Ties to both worlds pull Logan in opposite directions, saddling him with obligations that affect his life. He has secrets and troubles of his own to contend with. Add to that, fighting off an inexplicable attraction to a woman he just met, who is knee deep in trouble. His desires and the overwhelming need to protect Elle, become too powerful for him to ignore. The chemistry ignited between these two is smokin’ hot.

Things are not what they seem when it comes to Logan. I found myself constantly trying to get inside his head to guess his motives and reasoning. Just when I thought I figured him out…bam, Karr throws in a curve ball.

Elle Sterling is lost as she’s thrown in the middle of a bad situation, with little to no information as to what the hell is going on. Her estranged sister, who’s involved with drugs and the mob is missing, leaving Elle to care for her niece Clementine; Her brother-in-law (who I think is a shady S.O.B.) is purposefully keeping her clueless; Thoughts of her sister Elizabeth dredge up horrors from the past and memories of her bastard father; Trying to piece together this riddle places Elle in a dangerous position. Her life in a total freaking chaos. Yeesh, this girl can’t catch a break. There’s still so much more to discover regarding her past and how it’s all linked to what’s going on…ugh, my brain is muddled trying to piece this all together.

Logan and Elle have a complicated relationship where so many external pressures are trying to tear them apart. Elle’s scars from her childhood, along with persistent threat from Logan’s enemies, are just some of the obstacles that stand in their way.  Despite their difficulties, they find comfort within each other’s arms. They’re magnetically drawn to one another and their sexually chemistry is sizzling.

I love getting wrapped up in all the intrigue and passion whenever reading a Kim Karr story. In Blow, Karr gives her readers both POV’s with flashbacks from Logan and Elle’s past (warning, some scenes from their childhood are pretty intense and heartbreaking). THERE IS ONE HELL OF A CLIFFHANGER, which left me dangling with so many unanswered questions. The one thing I learned from reading Karr’s prior novels is to pay close attention because the devil is in her details. The beginning started a bit slow, but picked up speed during the second half of the story where the plot thickens. Their ‘falling into love’ was a bit hurried for me. Wanted to see their connection blossom some more. Looking forward to digging deeper inside Logan and Elle’s relationship in Crush.

ARC received in exchange for an honest review

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sins of Sevin by Penelope Ward @PenelopeAuthor

 4.5 stars
When finishing Sins of Sevin, I needed to step back, reflect and regain control over all my emotions. I was a blubbering mess.

Wow… Holy freaking WOW! This was not a hearts and flowers type of romance. It was a soul crushing experience. Penelope Ward powerfully ruled my emotions while commanding me to experience all of her characters’ pain, sorrow, torment and passion. Ward is known for her intense reads, so I knew going in that I needed to brace myself for the ride. As far as wreaking havoc over all my feelings, she has out done herself. Sevin and Evangeline tied me in knots and my nerves were shot. This was definitely one of those stories that you actually feel.
My heart and sympathies belonged to Sevin. His life was so painful, it hurt seeing all his sorrows. At first, Sevin gave me the “bad boy vibe” despite that fact that he was isolated from the real world by his overly religious parents. But digging deeper, I saw a troubled, misguided guy who felt unworthy and unloved.
At one of the lowest points in his life, an opportunity presented itself, giving Sevin a chance to turn his life around and away from his oppressive stepmother. He agrees to a “business deal” - prearranged marriage to Elle and a job in her father’s company. A new start and courtship offer Sevin hope. However, all his good intentions unravel when meeting and instantly falling hard for Evangeline. (GASP! Elle’s sister) Realizing his heart and love belonged solely to Evangeline, Sevin tries to right his wrongs… His efforts led him to heartache, causing my gut to wrench.
Sevin had sinned. He had betrayed. He broke promises. I did not consider him a cheater, per se, for his heart never belonged to Elle. This is not a love triangle situation; his feelings towards Elle were never romantic, acted upon or heartfelt. Normally, I steer clear of cheaters. However, seeing that his love for Evangeline was true, I found myself adoring Sevin regardless. He was worthy of love and happiness.
I couldn’t help but feel sorry for how each agonizing blow threw his life deeper into chaos. His true sin was falling in love with the wrong sister, and he paid dearly for it. He’s beyond sweet, patient and kind. I felt Sevin was a little too forgiving of Evangeline’s misguided decisions. For all the turmoil she caused, and how he managed to survivor each one of her sins, I almost considered him saintly. He was a man who was desperate to right his wrongs. And it’s these reasons he redeemed himself in my eyes.
Evangeline… She was not an easy character for me to come to terms with. In the beginning, I found her to be a sweet, free-spirited girl. But, she quickly frustrated me. I give her credit for trying to fight off the attraction because she truly loved her sister.  I do not fault her for giving into her desires; she was destined to love Sevin. I did however blame Evangeline for lying, making really screwed up choices in her life, and hurting Sevin over and over again. Her actions created so much angst to the story line it was maddening – sending my anxiety levels sky-high. My mind tried to rationalize her choices, but my emotions were too frazzled over the way she shredded Sevin to pieces. Nonetheless, by the end of the read, I found myself pitying Evangeline for everything she lost due to fear and naivety.

It’s undeniable that the sexual tension and chemistry between Sevin and Evangeline ran incredibly high. From the moment they met, I knew they were destined for one another. I craved for Sevin to hold on tight to Evangeline, discover a way to obliterate all obstacles, and find happiness. Sevin was just as sexy as he was sweet and I loved seeing their stolen romantic moments. Once all the drama settled and lies were revealed, I wished for their healing to give them enough strength to persevere. They truly were soul mates in every way and deserved a ‘happily ever after’.
If you are a fan of highly emotional, gut wrenching ‘tear your heart out’ kind of romance, Sins of Sevin is the perfect read. Penelope Ward is an exceptional writer who has the amazing ability to grab hold of her readers, take total control of their emotions while twisting and turning them at her will. Sevin and Evangeline’s journey was by no means easy. It was painful and unbearable at times to witness. However, digging deep, I found the beauty in their love – and the ending had me in bittersweet tears. Ward certainly knows how to tell a difficult story filled with lust, drama and love.

ARC received in exchange for an honest review

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Grayson's Vow by Mia Sheridan @MSheridanAuthor

4.5 – 5 Bewitchingly Beautiful Stars

Mia Sheridan once again overwhelmed me with yet another powerfully gripping, profoundly touching love story. 

In Grayson’s Vow, Sheridan pens her characters in such a compelling way, that I was totally consumed within their love, heartache, passion and joy. I tried my best to prepare myself emotionally for Grayson and Kira’s romance, but to no avail. Once again my heart was severed open, leaving me raw, exposed and feeling completely vulnerable when seeing deep into the broken pieces of their tattered souls.

Grayson Hawthorn’s mission is to uphold a vow to preserve his family’s legacy. Kira Dallaire is a woman running away from her heartless, controlling father. Both are trapped in financial dire straits. Situations seem hopeless, until circumstances bring these two strangers together and make a deal that turn their lives around.

Grayson, you utterly shattered me.

His past was riddled with sorrow. Throughout the read, we see memories of a childhood filled with verbal abuse, abandonment, betrayal and neglect. Grayson was tormented on every level. My heart sank seeing the grief he suffered at the hands of his bastard of a father, callous stepmom, and his bitch of a mother. These experiences shaped the often stringent, overly guarded man who constantly clashed with the likes of Kira. Misery followed him throughout the story, as we discover he spent five years in prison, ignored by most of his family, only to be release and straddle with a failing vineyard in financial distress. There were times I could not take the steady stream of bad luck that plagued him. Yeesh, the poor guy couldn’t catch a break and that had my head spinning.

As much as I sympathized with his character, my feelings for him ran hot and cold. There were endearing moments when Grayson let down his guard and showed his gentle side. I wanted to coddle him, easing away all the pain in his heart. And then there were times he drove me nutty with the icy way he treated Kira. I was feeling all edgy whenever his unkind words cut her deep. However, I am a total sucker for a damaged man in desperate need of healing. Grayson’s path to overcoming his hang-ups and ‘dragon-like’ demeanor had me loving his character in the end. I will admit, I found it tough and lost patience with him from time to time, but his amorous ways touched me, especially the sexy way he called Kira his little witch…had me feeling all tingly inside.

You bring me peace, little witch, 
and you put fire in my blood.”

Kira was a very spirited, habitually whimsical, flakey-in-a-funny-way type of girl ~ Total opposite of the tightly wound Grayson.

I felt for all her troubles, dealing with her hardhearted father, trying to escape his influence. But despite her worries, she was sweet and funny. Kira had me laughing over all her crazy quirkiness and the outrageous ways she clashed with Grayson. She was generous to a fault and sympathetic to his needs. I sometimes found her to be a little too quick at forgiving whenever Grayson acted like an ass, but that’s exactly what his character needed. The girl was beyond patient, (which is a good thing) loving and kind - the perfect weapons a witch needs to face off with a dragon, teaching him how to trust.

Eloquently written, Grayson’s Vow is a beautiful fairy-tale love story. Mia Sheridan delivered another heart touching romance laced with intensity, passion and drama. I always look forward to losing myself within the worlds she created. For lovers of soul touching romances and fans of the Sign of Love Series, this is one read you don not want to miss.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ryker (Cold Fury Hockey #4) by Sawyer Bennett @BennettBooks

4 Stars

Making my way through the Cold Fury Series, I could not wait to devour Ryker Evan’s story. He was…. dreamy.

Ryker’s a scorching hot hockey player, a great dad, a passionate lover and funny. I couldn’t resist his charms and now I’m a giddy goalie groupie. But, what made this an extra delicious read for me was my muse. (The insanely sexy Henrik Lunqvist. -  the incredibly hot NY Ranger).

Ryker flooded my imagination the minute I was first introduced to his character in ZACK. This gorgeous man haunted me ever since and kicked up my anxiety to a new level waiting for his turn on the ice. 

Newly divorced single dad, majorly screwed over by an unfaithful wife, Ryker quickly became my favorite in this series.  All these heroes had major challenges, which I championed them to overcome. However, Ryker had a more lighthearted, humorous quality to his character. I loved the relationship he has with his daughters, from braiding hair to killing (and almost freaking out) spiders, he’s both a mom and dad to these adorable girls. It added to his sexy, gentle-giant persona.  Ryker’s the perfect combination of sweet tenderness and raw animal magnetism.

My poor Ryker. Starting over in his mid-thirties has him dealing with ton of complications. Aside from being a single dad, he’s in a new town and facing the pressure of upholding his position on a new team. Add to that the undeniable and sizzling attraction to the forbidden. He’s got it bad for the team’s new general manager, Gray Brannon, the first female GM who consumes his thoughts.

I liked Gray. She’s a strong willed, intelligent businesswoman and the type of female lead that did not drive me insane by being all wishy-washy. She stood her ground and went after what she wanted, regardless if it put her career in jeopardy. Gray was a smart chick that exercised caution when perusing Ryker, while dealing with her own fears of establishing a relationship with his kids. She too had challenges – a job promotion, making her way in a male dominated field, resistance from some team players – she carried the weight of the world on her shoulders and worked hard to prove herself daily. A relationship with Ryker added to the complications in her life, but he was so well worth it. This couple was fantastically steamy.  

RYKER was a good read that had it all. A hot, juicy romance filled with passion, love of friends and family (so happy to see Alex, Garrett, Zack and families pop into the storyline), touch of drama courtesy of an unsuspecting plot twist and humor. It was a lighthearted kind of love story that left me feeling all happy-happy. 

ARC courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Hold On (The 'Burg #6) by Kristen Ashley @KristenAshley68

Amazingly beautiful and poignant finale to one of my favorite series.  
5 brilliant stars
Once again, Kristen Ashley owned my heart and soul as her unique writing style and storytelling magic caused a whirlwind of emotions, I had no choice but to hold on tight, never wanting to let go of Merry, Cher and all my loves in The ‘Burgs. Reading Hold On took me to an entirely different level as the journey flooded my heart with a riotous amount of emotions. I’ve become tethered to these characters, feeling their passions, pains, heartaches and joys. This friendship turned true love story was touching, but what made this an absolute literary masterpiece was its brilliant epiloguethe best I’ve ever read. So, break out the Kleenex, you’ll need them.
Jumping into this read had me feeling both melancholy and anxious.  I was a bundle of nerves and couldn’t wait to crawl inside of Merry’s head. He fascinated me since Golden Trail (Rocky and Layne’s book).  Throughout most of this series, he was pining over his ex-wife Mia, his supposed ‘soul mate’. I thought he wanted to fight and win Mia back. Next thing I knew, Cher’s really into Merry, but there were some unanswered questions. How and why did Merry push Mia away? When did a relationship with Cher become a possibility? Can Merry shake off his man-whorish ways and convince me he wants to win Cher’s heart? In addition, Merry’s story marks the end of one of my most beloved series, I had to get myself ready to say goodbye. With all of this in mind, I savored the hell out of this read. Taking my time to absorb every heart stopping drama filled moment, each plot twist, the hilarious banter between the main characters and every steamy love scene (Merry’s all Alpha-Dominant ass-smacking sizzling hot), while discovering the beauty of their relationship.  I should never doubt the course KA lays out. Merry and Cher were perfect for each other, feeding their desires while soothing their insecurities and working through a shit ton of baggage.  
In a word, Cher “Cherie” Rivers is a survivor.

Former stripper turned bartender, Cher is a hard working single mom to the adorably witty Ethan.  At first glance, she definitely gave me the tough chick, hard-as-nails vibe, which I adore (I tend to favor strong female leads). However, there’s so much more to her persona.  She’s thick skinned, stubborn and overly cautious since dealing with so many disappointments in her life. She’s a woman whose experiences taught her the rough lesson that dreams do not come true.   Poor Cher, she had my sympathies as well as my respect. I loved her realistic views towards life. She’s not a woman who wallows in life’s misfortunes, but one who perseveres and makes the most out of her circumstances.  I admired her protective motherly ways she sacrifices greatly for her son and when digging deep, I saw her soft, ‘gooey’ side. 
Cher may be unrefined, but she is true to her family and friends. It’s her loyalty to Merry, when he was at his lowest, which led to a night of unbridled passion. After years of loving him from afar, her dream actually came true. Now she’s panicked that their one night tryst would either ruin the friendship or it could (hopefully) lead to something more…that means taking a chance on Merry. I so wanted Cher to finally find happiness and her dream man.

The extremely sexy, outrageously dominant Lieutenant Garrett “Merry” Merrick is the perfectly flawed, self-sabotaging hero. 

The horrific way he lost his mom scarred him so greatly; deep-seeded fears from the trauma led to a failed marriage and crippled future relationships.  When finding out his ex-bitch-wife Mia (oh yeah, she’s a major bitch-face) was moving on, Merry decided to have himself a pity party. The only person to have his back was Cher, which led to not only one night of hot sex and multiple orgasms, but also the possibility of more.

It took a tiny bit of time for me to warm up to Merry. He had a hard, uneasy side in the beginning of the story that had me on edge.  There were times he pissed me off and I wanted to smack some sense into him, snapping him out of his funk. Although, it didn’t take Merry long to open up and show me all his beauty. I couldn’t help but fall in love with his gentle, protective side. I adored how hard he worked to break down Cher’s impenetrable walls, while trying his best to move past his fears. Merry also had me feeling all gushy the way he took Ethan under his wing and effortlessly became part of their small family.

Merry is a controlling and dominating force in the bedroom. Their fierce sexual chemistry ignited my kindle as Merry proved repeatedly that he is one hell of a dirty-mouthed badass who likes it when his good girl’s being bad.Totally scrumptious. 
I loved them together both Cherie and Merry were powerful, dynamic characters that sometimes collided and were frequently sarcastic. They were as funny as they were passionate, and the things that came out of their mouths were hysterical.

“You grabbin’ my hand practically before I could get in your door and draggin’ me to your bedroom so you could shove me on your bed and get your mouth on my dick?” His hold on me tightened slightly. “Awesome.”
“You have a great cock,” I shared.
His hips shifted and his smile didn’t get any less cocky. “It likes you too.”

Now there’s always that one person in each KA series that I refer to as ‘The Sage’. That one special character that puts everything into perspective by imparting their wisdom, which usually leaves me a blubbering mess. For me, it was Dave Merrick, Merry’s dad. Father and son shared an enormously tender moment that was forever seared into my soul. Dave, a man burdened with his own pain and regrets, lovingly takes his son’s hand and guides him into the light. Dave lays it all out for his son, telling him to grab hold and fight against these fears with the help and love of a strong woman that woman being Cherie. It was one of the most touching moments in this read.

As I reached the 95% mark on my kindle, heart palpitations and panic set in when reading the one word that made me realize this is itthe end of an eraEPILOGUE.  Holding my breath, I pushed forward and became fully engrossed in the best ending I have ever read, bar none. Told from various points of view and spanning over a decade, Kristen Ashley gifted a phenomenal insight into the lives and loves of all The ‘Burgs characters. Weaving each saga within this series together, tying all loose ends into one spool of thread, KA magnificently spun all of the happily ever afters I craved.  It was a beautiful pain seeing all these characters one last time. I laughed, I swooned, I cried happy tears (Joe Callahan made me sobagain), and I was overjoyed with the journey this author paved.