Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Release Me by J. Kenner

Damien Stark could have his way with any woman. He was sexy, confident, and commanding: Anything he wanted, he got. And what he wanted was me.

Our attraction was unmistakable, almost beyond control, but as much as I ached to be his, I feared the pressures of his demands. Submitting to Damien meant I had to bare the darkest truth about my past—and risk breaking us apart.

But Damien was haunted, too. And as our passion came to obsess us both, his secrets threatened to destroy him—and us—forever.

Initial Thoughts:
I was given an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book was recommended for Fifty Shades lovers, so naturally I had to read it.

The Pros:
The pageant world upbringing that Nikki had reminded me of Toddlers and Tiaras and how miserable those poor girls are. I have never read a book that contained that element.

Nikki is a flawed heroine. Her self-mutilation was a very, very real element of the book. How she struggled then, and how she struggles now were a big part of the book.

Nikki's friends Jamie and Ollie are good additions to the story line. While we don't know too much about them, Jamie brought comic relief at time, while Ollie provided us a doorway to Nikki's past.

I LOVED that Nikki was a brilliant woman. Her double major science degrees put her in a class that I have yet to read about in a romance novel. She is not your normal "too stupid to live" heroine. She fights everyday, and she's better for it.

There was plenty of witty banter back and forth to keep the reader entertained. I loved that although some of the subject matter was dark, the author was able to keep it light enough for it to not be a heavy read.

I couldn't put this book down. I HAD to know what happened next. Book crack. Definitely.

The Cons:
Not a huge fan of Damien. I feel like he wasn't described well enough physically for me to put a picture in my head. When I don't have a picture in my head of a character, I have a really hard time connecting with them. He was also so closed off, while Nikki was so forthcoming in her confessions. One sided relationships bother the crap out of me. 

The payment for the painting. It made Nikki seem like a prostitute. Yuck.

The Wrap Up: 4/5
Loved it! If there isn't going to be a sequel or this isn't turned into a series I will seriously cry. I have so many questions! If you liked Fifty and the Crossfire series, you will love Release Me.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Last Call by Jennifer Schmidt

Novalee Jensen thought what happened in Vegas would stay in Vegas, but two years later, her Vegas indiscretion shows up in her bar. Novalee’s fears come true as the sudden appearance of the stranger brings questions everyone wants answers to, and the secret she’s kept to herself for so long is exposed.

Dean Philips is on a mission to find his wife and bring her back to Nevada, all without exposing his own secrets and lies. Lies that could not only cost him his fortune, but also the woman he’s yearned to know since that fateful night two years ago.

Initial Thoughts:
I was given an ARC of this book by NetGalley. Vegas + secrets + lies = I'm in.

The Pros:
This book was heartwarming. Novalee is just so sweet. She's been handed a rough deck of cards in her life, but she's made it out on top.

Dean's progression from miserable drunk to heartthrob was a fun ride to be on. His love for someone he barely knows (even though she's his wife) was confusing yet romantic at the same time.

The fact that they stayed faithful to each other for 2 years even when they both thought the other person didn't know about the marriage = soooo cute.

I liked that even though Novalee had no biological family, she had a family in her friends and patrons.

The Cons:
The plot line was hardly original, and it was a bit predictable.

I doubt I would have taken Dean back after all his lies, but this is a romance novel. Sins are always forgiven.

The Wrap Up: 3.5
A quick, cute read. Nothing out of the ordinary, but a good choice for a book that doesn't require you to think too much.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Prince by Tiffany Reisz (Original Sinners #3)

Two worlds of wealth and passion call to Nora Sutherlin and, whichever one she chooses, it will be the hardest decision she will ever have to make. Unless someone makes it for her…

Wes Railey is the object of Nora's tamest yet most maddening fantasies, and the one man she can't forget. He's young. He's wonderful. He's also thoroughbred royalty and, reuniting with him in Kentucky, she's in his world now. But this infamous New York dominatrix is no simpering Southern belle, and Nora's dream of fitting into Wesley's world is perpetually at odds with the relentlessly seductive pull of Søren—her owner, her lover, the forever she cannot have. At least, not completely.

Meanwhile Nora's associate Kingsley Edge is only too happy to take her place at Søren's feet during her hiatus. Søren is the only man Kingsley has ever loved, and their dark, shared history has forged a bond that neither the years—nor Søren's love for Nora—can break. But a new threat from an old adversary is forcing Kingsley to confront the past, reminding him that he must keep his friends close, and his enemies closer.

Initial Thoughts:
I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley. I am a big fan of Reisz's books, the first two books in this series (The Siren and The Angel) blew me away and I was so excited to review her next.

The Pros:
Nora is the ultimate heroine. Or anti-heroine. I don't care. She's awesome. 

I loved that this book took us back and forth in time. Seeing the pasts that made these characters the way there are adds SO much to the story.

Wes. Oh Wes. I want to marry you.

I was not expecting Kingsley to be a major character when I started this series. Boy was I wrong, and I am so glad I was. The relationship between him and Soren is insane/amazing/deep. 

Classified as erotica, I was not expecting the mystery/thriller aspect of this book. It's an excellent addition to the series.

The giant WTF moment at the end. I had a hunch around the middle of the book, but I thought, "No. There's no way. There's absolutely no way." Wrong again! 

The Cons:
I'm team Kingsley. I'm not a big fan of how Soren treats him. 

At times, the book was a little slow moving. Normally I can't put Reisz's books down, but there were a few chapters that I was kind of "ehh" about.

The story line with the horse insurance thing seemed a little boring and unneeded.

The Wrap Up: 4.5/5
The mystery/thriller action bumped this from a 4 to a 4.5. I WANT MORE! I can't wait for The Mistress to come out. I was SO glad that Nora made the "right" choice. (When I say "right", I mean what I think is right, many other readers hold a different opinion!)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Reflected in You by Sylvia Day (Crossfire #2)

I'm giving away copies of Bared to You (Crossfire #1) and Reflected in You (Crossfire #2)!  See bottom of post for details.

Gideon Cross. As beautiful and flawless on the outside as he was damaged and tormented on the inside. He was a bright, scorching flame that singed me with the darkest of pleasures. I couldn't stay away. I didn't want to. He was my addiction... my every desire... mine. My past was as violent as his, and I was just as broken. We’d never work. It was too hard, too painful... except when it was perfect. Those moments when the driving hunger and desperate love were the most exquisite insanity. We were bound by our need. And our passion would take us beyond our limits to the sweetest, sharpest edge of obsession...

Initial Thoughts:
I loved Bared to You (read my review here), and the BlogHer Book Club offered me free copies of both books to review. How could I say no to that?!

The Pros:
This book is based around a concept that is really hard for a lot of people, especially me. Trust. Can Eva and Gideon trust each other through all that is happening around them?

I identified with Eva. Love can make us feel like we're going crazy. There were many parts of the book that I was like, "Oh girl, I've been there".

Bared to You was very Fifty Shades-esque. This one? Not even close. And I mean that it in the best way. This book is the older, more sophisticated cousin of Fifty.

This was what I like to call "book crack". I couldn't put it down. The drama was a little outlandish at times, but this is a romance novel, when is a romance novel not dramatic.

The introduction of rocker Brett Kline was an interesting plot turn. I may have been rooting for him for a few pages...

The Cons:
Anyone else pick up on the is she pregnant/is she not story line? It was unnecessary and didn't add to the story.

Although I understood what Gideon was doing, why did he have to do it in that way? Weren't there any other options?

Both Gideon and Eva are addicts. I think that the psychiatrist's advice was warranted. They are addicted to each other, and it's not always in a good way.

Eva "getting back" at Gideon with Brett. Her thinking he was cheating does not equate to her needing to kiss another man to prove a point. Childish much?

Eva calling Gideon "ace". It was annoying.

The Wrap Up: 4/5
Loved it. Although the book has some flaws, it is one of my favorite romances. Is it December yet? Entwined With You... I cannot wait to devour you.

Favorite Quote:
"It's my place to stand beside you, and support you, and yes, just f*cking look pretty on your arm sometimes. It's my right, my duty, and my privilege, Eva, just as it's yours in reverse."

Buy Reflected in You by Sylvia Day on Amazon.


Win copies of Bared to You (Crossfire #1) and Reflected in You (Crossfire #2)!
Winner will be chosen November 15th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 1, 2012

About Last Night by Ruthie Knox

Cath Talarico knows a mistake when she makes it, and God knows she’s made her share. So many, in fact, that this Chicago girl knows London is her last, best shot at starting over. But bad habits are hard to break, and soon Cath finds herself back where she has vowed never to go . . . in the bed of a man who is all kinds of wrong: too rich, too classy, too uptight for a free-spirited troublemaker like her.

Nev Chamberlain feels trapped and miserable in his family’s banking empire. But beneath his pinstripes is an artist and bohemian struggling to break free and lose control. Mary Catherine—even her name turns him on—with her tattoos, her secrets, and her gamine, sex-starved body, unleashes all kinds of fantasies.

When blue blood mixes with bad blood, can a couple that is definitely wrong for each other ever be perfectly right? And with a little luck and a lot of love, can they make last night last a lifetime?

Initial Thoughts:
I was given a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It had come up a few times on my recommended lists but I had hesitated on buying it. For some reason (probably my Catholic roots), I hated the name Mary Catherine and that made me not want to read it? Ridiculous, I know.

The Pros:
Holy crap was this an emotional read. I read it in one sitting. Could not put it down.

Although Cath has made mistakes, it really does appear that she has learned and grown from them. In a lot of romance novels, people's mistakes are either forgiven or forgotten. Not this one. Cath learned the hard way and she's not going to let herself make the same mistakes again.

Um, Nev is perfect. Minus his family thing, he is absolutely perfect. Patient, caring, and kind, he's what every little girl (and some boys!) dream of.

The steady progression of their romance was refreshing. And the fact that the ending doesn't go as most romance novels go. I don't want to spoil it, but I was really pleased with it.

The Cons:
The name Mary Catherine, as I already said.

I wanted to know a bit more about Cath's background. Is she still close with her aunt and uncle who took her in? I felt like it was such a big part of her that was just explained in a few pages. It wasn't enough for me.

The fact that she had zero friends was off-putting. I know she said she works a lot, and she had some sort of relationship with Judith, but it seemed strange that she had no friends.

The Wrap Up: 4.5/5
Something about this book... I just loved it. It had the right balance of emotion, romance, and intelligence.