Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pucked Up (Pucked #2) by Helena Hunting @HelenaHunting

4.5 Sunshine Filled Stars

I think youre my orgasm soulmate.
Ill be whatever kind of soulmate you want, Sunny Sunshine
When first meeting the NHL hockey player Miller “Buck” Butterson in Pucked, I have to admit, I really didn’t think much of him. Then again, I was judging him from Violet’s point of view. All his Yeti-ness gave me a douchey, man-slut, puck-bunny banger vibe. But, falling for his teammate’s sister changed Buck and I never thought I would come to love him more than Alex, but it’s true.

The real Miller was so much more than the hairy, knucklehead party boy his stepsister Vi painted him to be. He was swoon-worthy sexy, genuinely sweet and totally sincere. Yet, Miller seemed somewhat insecure despite his cocky attitude. When his feelings for Sunshine (Alex’s sister who we briefly met in Pucked) became serious, Miller was smitten and totally committed to building their relationship. But, living the star athlete lifestyle, parties and one-night-stands with hockey groupies are all he knows. So being clueless and having virtually no experience with relationships, Miller is at a loss and manages to get himself into trouble… a shitload of trouble… and often. Severely lacking common sense and good judgment, his crazy antics – from drunken social media postings and dickpics going viral to spider bites swelling his his balls – Miller manages to hurt poor Sunny’s feelings. Nevertheless, his hijinks had me in fits of laughter; I couldn’t control myself, because he was one funny bastard. The thoughts that swirled around in his crazy mind were ridiculously comical. However, in all seriousness, I fell in love with him as his character grew and matured from a total player to a caring, loving and devoted man.

Sunshine was an adorably sweet hippie type of girl who had an aura of innocence about her. Not fully trusting Miller’s sincerity, Sunny had doubts about their relationship. I couldn’t fault her, he did have a terrible playboy reputation. Besides, he got himself involved in utterly stupid situations that put him in a bad light, regardless if most were out of his control. However, she had the tendency to listen to everyone's opinion, rather than her own heart, which caused her to make silly mistakes that added angst within the story line. Miller’s heart belonged to Sunny, and all comedy aside, he truly loved her and bent over backwards to show just how much he cared for her.

Fans of Pucked will be happy (I know I was) to see Violet, in all her sarcastic and snarky glory as well as Alex (Mr. “MC” himself), popping in and out of the story line. Vi is loonier than ever, but Alex surprisingly annoyed me. He was a little harsh and too judgmental towards poor Miller. They buck (no pun intended) heads often, which added drama to everyone’s life. After all, Sunshine is Alex’s little sister, so he was a wee bit overprotective when it comes to Miller possibly screwing her over. Regardless…I still love Alex aside from his overbearing ways.

I really liked seeing more interaction between Miller and Vi and having better insight into their relationship. They share a special bond and he adores her in a strictly sisterly kind of way. There were times they over shared, which added another layer of hysterics to the story. They are truly two insane characters. As crazy as Vi can be, she is the voice of reason and supports Miller by giving him advice, and guiding him to become the man that Sunshine needed.

Written entirely from Miller’s point of view, Helena Hunting’s Pucked Up was the funniest romantic comedy I’ve come across this year. Once I jumped in, I could tear myself away. Can't even express how funny some of the scenes were in this read. Tears were streaming from my eyes...doubled over in fits of uncontrollable laughter. It's a fan-fucking-tastic series and a must read if you’re in the mood for light-hearted sweet love stories that will bring you to the brink of sidesplitting hilarity. Looking forward to more hot and hilarious hockey players – bring on Lance and Randy’s romances!

 ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Walk Through Fire (Chaos #4) by Kristen Ashley @KristenAshley68


Once finishing my first read (Yes, I confess, I needed to savor this one several times) I had to step back, catch my breath and process all the feels. This one totally did me in above and beyond any…and I mean ANY of Kristen Ashley’s tales. I was completely destroyed throughout most of this story courtesy of Millie. For personal reasons, I connected with her character, her heartache and all that she had suffered; she just touched me more than any other heroine I’ve encountered.  There was so much to take in – the raw passion, the love, the hurt, the correlation between the beauty of this couple’s second chance and the pain endured during years of separation... I was an emotional wreck. Cried ugly tears and sniffled my way through boxes of tissues before the broken pieces of my soul were placed back together. Walk Through Fire was amazing and worth every damn tear I shed.

Walk Through Fire is the fourth installment in my absolute favorite biker series – CHAOS. This time, it’s the enigmatic Logan “High” Judd’s turn to rip off his mask and tell his story. In past novels, High struck me as both mysterious and troublesome.  I didn’t know what to expect from his character and honestly, when meeting him in Motorcycle Man I didn’t care for him. He was at odds with MY Tack, bucking heads and creating tension within the club. It left a bad taste in my mouth. So going in, I braced myself for the intensity and edginess of his character, and it took me some time to warm up to him.

I have to admit, there were parts of this story where I had a difficult time with High’s character. There were times I saw the ugliness in the callous way he treated Millie (mind you, it was when they first reunited and before they had a chance to sort their heads out). I get why he was angry, cold hearted and hurtful. Millie unexpectedly and inexplicably tossed Logan out of her life twenty years ago, but he and his brothers were beyond harsh. (Hop, you pissed me off, brother, and I am still holding a grudge).  

But then, I reached a turning point when realizing High was trapped within the confines of his own hell.  Losing Millie destroyed him, turning him into a bitter man, who’ll do anything to numb his heartache. Meeting Millie again, after all these years apart, he was desperate to guard himself from further hurt.  Seeing his pain chipped away all the resentment I held and he had my sympathies.

The story itself frequently flashes back to the past, showing their beginnings as well as the three years they were together. Their love was beyond beautiful and I absolutely adored the younger, carefree Logan that gave his heart entirely to Millie. She was his world and losing her broke him, so I totally get why he was unpleasant. Once all hell breaks loose and Millie FINALLY explains why she pushed Logan away, (excruciatingly intense scene) I saw his tender side emerged, causing me fall deeper in love with him. Beneath all the sexy ruggedness, lies a passionate man who is forgiving, loving and compassionate. 

Working through my moods swinging from raging anger to swooning over all the magnificence that was High, I have to say all along, he was one sizzling sonnavabitch. Every time he spoke Hear?”   I freaking melted. I love a sexy bad boy and just thinking about all his hotness gets me all riled up.  

Millicent Cross… her life tore me to shreds and made my heart hurt. In the flashbacks, we see a young, vivacious girl who’s head over heels in love with the quintessential biker bad boy. They worked hard to build a life together, planning their dreams and finding comfort within the club. Until one day, it all fell apart.

Here’s the thing that pains me about Millie - of her own volition, she walked away from true love, shattered Logan’s heart into smithereens, while sentencing herself to a hopeless life filled with loneliness. She suffered silently.

With out revealing any spoilers, Millie had her reasons – and when discovering them, I was a goner and sobbed. But my head and heart were conflicted. In the back of my mind I wanted to scream at Millie and knock some sense into her shouting NO! How could you do such thing? Logan’s hot, sweet and sexy, just talk to him! However, my heart understood exactly why she chose to walk through fire for her man. Millie loves Logan so completely, that when realizing she could not give him everything, she sacrificed herself to give him a chance to have it all. As foolish as it may sound to purposely break two hearts, her actions where undeniably selfless and in the end, she gave Logan the greatest gift. Her strength was immeasurable and her devotion to Logan was absolute as she carried the burden of blame for years.

Understanding aside, it was hard for me to rationalize Millie’s decision; I was crushed and decimated in seeing her anguish. Ashley penned Millie’s character in such a way that I actually felt her emptiness echoing inside me, slicing through my heart, leaving me aching. KA proved once again the power she holds over my emotions.

Once the truth came pouring out, two decades worth of anger, bitterness, resentment and pain were transformed into steamy passion. Millie and High embraced the mistakes of the past and love they share in hopes of moving on to heal one another.  It was one hell of a roller coaster ride feeling every emotion these characters experienced - from moments of laughter and levity, to gut wrenching confessions, I held on tight and enjoyed the ride.  

Of course I relished all the drama. The angst involved with Benito causing problems for club, Elvira and the Old Ladies meddling in everyone’s affairs, family issues complicating Logan and Millie’s lives…so many nail biting moments and I savored all the craziness. The epilogue was shorter than what I am used to, but it was sweet regardless and laid groundwork for what may come in the next installment (cross fingers it will be Hound’s story). What I loved most of all were the flashbacks to not only the beginning if this couples’ relationship, but the earlier days of Chaos before Tack took the helm. Seeing wee little Tabby and Rush (so adorable) and finally meeting Black, the brother Chaos tragically lost. I was all weepy eyed getting to know him briefly only to mourn him.

Another soul touching romance gifted from Kristen Ashley’s beautiful imagination.  Walk Through Fire was a story of sacrifice, forgiveness, redemption and the everlasting power of love. A story about strong heroine who walk through the fires of hell for her man, and a hero who worked tirelessly to mend the broken heart of his one true love despite his own pain.  As far as awarding stars to this read, there aren’t enough stars in the sky. Thank you, Kristen, for voicing Millie’s story so eloquently and bringing to life the heartache involved with her circumstances. This was not an easy story for me to read, but the experience was incredible.

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

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Dirty English by Ilsa Madden-Mills @ilsamaddenmills

 4 Stars
The classic tale, Pride and Prejudice, was the inspiration behind the story told in Dirty English - A modern-day, steamy romance between a sexy underground fighter and a girl whose life was shattered. The first thing to grab my attention was the outrageously delectable cover. Wow, I could stare at that all day. However, the story is more than it’s cover. It’s about surviving horrific traumas, self-preservation, the desperate struggle to achieve happiness and the healing power of love. Both main characters, Elizabeth Bennett and Declan Blay, are haunted by the demons from the past, which affect their outlook on life and relationships.

Elizabeth’s spirit is broken. A poor ‘trailer park’ girl raised by a neglectful mother learned the lesson of betrayal after being utterly destroyed by her high-school sweetheart. Left battered and devastated, Elizabeth barely survived the brutal violation suffered at the hands of her bastard scum of an ex-boyfriend.
This became a turning point for Elizabeth. Starting over, she focuses on her college education and plans every detail in her life. Vowing to never place her heart and trust into the hands of a man again, she takes drastic measures to regain the power, which was stolen from her.  Everything was going according to plan, until she meets the incredibly sexy neighbor/classmate, Declan - A hunky Brit that’s working his way into her world.
Elizabeth is a likable girl – stubborn, sassy and determined. The flashbacks to her past were difficult to get through. Although it was not overly detailed, there was the element of sexual assault, and that’s never an easy thing for me to read. Seeing that within the story line, I understood Elizabeth’s mindset. Despite the attraction to Declan, she has good reason to remain closed off emotionally. I will say that eventually, her stubbornness got to me. Declan made great efforts to be gentle and considerate of her situation. For a major part of the story, she gave the appearance that sex was merely a battle for control, without the entanglement of emotions. She fought too hard against Declan’s sincerity and feelings of love.

Declan is the super hot, tatted and muscular college student/underground fighter dealing with his own relationship issues. Getting over the betrayal of his ex, he’s focused on education, gaining independence from a judgmental and overbearing father, and opening up his own gym. His painful past affected him as well – dealing with the loss of his mother as well as infidelity. Declan is hesitant to lay his heart on the line, until he develops strong feelings for Elizabeth. Intrigued and enamored, he is determined to break through her fortress to gain her heart and trust.

I loved Declan’s tenacity, his strength and over-protectiveness when it came to dealing with Elizabeth. She was a tough nut to crack, but knowing she was guarded, he never hid his true feelings. Showered her with so much affection, especially when she fought against his efforts. Declan was way beyond patient in dealing with the push and pull angst Elizabeth created. (Which honestly, he was so sweet, she ticked me off at times). Behind all his rugged, bad-boy exterior was a gentle and sincere man. And he definitely was scorching in the bedroom.

Declan (as well as his sexy twin…Dax) made the story for me. But, I wanted more from his character. More of his back and forth banter with Dax, a deeper look into his strained relationship with his father (which was a major force in shaping the man he has become) and more time dedicated to his relationship as a couple with Elizabeth. Never the less, his character won me over quickly. He was a totally swoon-worthy bad-boy.

Dirty English was a well-written sweet read filled with heartache and joy. Told in dual points of view, Ilsa Madden-Mills has a way of creating broken characters I can’t help but adore. Looking forward to Declan’s sexy twin…Dax’s story. He’s certainly one interesting, smart ass kind of guy and I can’t wait to see inside his crazy head.

Arc received in exchange for an honest review

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Nuts (Hudson Valley #1) Alice Clayton @alice_clayton

4.5 stars

Nuts was the perfect light-hearted feel good romantic comedy and once again, Alice Clayton had me in hysterics. Reminiscent of Wallbanger, Leo and Roxie’s love story was hilarious and swoon worthy sexy. Clayton has fast become one of my ‘must read’ authors. With a unique writing style, she has the knack of luring me into each story, showcasing her insane sense of humor and scripting couples with extreme sexually charged chemistry.  

What happens when you pair a spunky, sarcastic chef who has a flare for the dramatics with a bearded and ripped hunk of a farmer who’s witty and sinfully sexy? An orgasmic explosion laced with fun, food, a heavy dose of laughter and plenty of sexual innuendos. I fell in love with farmer Leo and I devoured this read. 
“You drive me crazy, Sugar Snap,”
Roxie Callahan, a personal chef to the rich and famous in L.A., made one ill-fated mistake that caused her to loose almost all of her clients. (Fans of the Red Head series brace your selves for a Grace and Jack Hamilton cameo). Adding to her list of woes, there’s pressure from her kooky mom to return home and run the family diner for the summer. The quaint little town of Bailey Falls, Upstate New York, holds bad memories for Roxie and she rebels against putting her life on hold for her mom’s fanciful whim. Cornered, she has no choice but to give in. Soon enough she becomes reacquainted with old friends, as well as meeting the insanely hot farm-boy…Leo Maxwell. Their attraction is instantaneous as Roxie hysterically stumbles and fumbles over his nuts ;) and catching his attention. 

Feeling a little lonely and sexually frustrated, she decides that some no-strings-attached summer lovin’ with the amorous agriculturalist will lighten her mood. Besides, Roxie has no intentions of staying in the town she once escaped. As the season ends, it’s back to her quasi-life in L.A. hmmm…
Her sights are set on Leo and he’s all in, not wanting anything too serious as well.  I love the way Leo and Roxie’s passion unfolds. Sparks fly, tensions build, and sexually electricity ignites between these two as Leo is seriously one spicy, dirty talking dude. 

“That fucking honey scent that’s all over your skin, it’s driving me crazy,” he murmured, his breath hot on my skin. “I can’t keep my hands off you—it’s like they have a mind of their own.”
Roxie was interesting and highly entertaining. Feisty, comical, stubborn, yet she lacked self-confidence and had some misguided views that kept her away from home for years. I liked seeing the way she grew more confident, making friends and bonding with some real nutty characters. She blossomed and became more comfortable in her own skin without losing her funny, sarcastic edge. And hooking up with Leo strengthened her ties to her hometown. Being inside Roxie’s crazy head was amusing – she had me in stitches.

And then there was Leo…

“Are those nuts in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?”
The uber-sexy, somewhat aloof man with a hipster beard and rock-hard abs. Leo comes from big time money and despite a wealthy upbringing, he’s the most down to earth guy. I loved all things Leo. Possessing an air of mystery, I was curious as to what triggered him to walk away from such an affluent lifestyle. Behind his playfully witty banter, Leo had some relationship hang-ups that needed to be dealt with - a bit gun-shy when it came to hooking up with Roxie (with good reason). I wanted a deeper insight into his thoughts, feelings and background. I felt we just skimmed the surface of his character, leaving me wanting more. Regardless, Leo is sweet, rugged yet refined and oh so hot. I adored his flirtatious ways, which were amusing and arousing.


All in all, NUTS was a refreshingly fun, low angst read. Clayton brought to life yet another endearing couple whose chemistry detonated with some off the charts deliciously steamy scenes. Their first time together was explosive. Holy WOW! Leo is by far the sexiest farm boy I’ve ever come across. He was incredible and I loved watching their relationship blossom as trust in one another built. This author has the gift writing tales with just the right mix of laughter, romance and passion. A sweet love story chock full of clever witticisms, comically sexual innuendos and quirky characters. However, the ending did leave me wanting more insight into their lives and future together. I do hope to see Leo and Roxie in the next installment,  titled Cream, featuring Oscar (the grouchy but sexy and tatted dairy farmer) and Natalie (Roxie’s BFF).

Arc received in exchange for an honest review