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Friday, October 31, 2014

Feature and Giveaway: Unleashed by Rachel Lacey

What happens when you find the right one at the wrong time?

Cara Medlen has a serious case of animal attraction. And it's not because of all the foster dogs she's rescued. She's got it bad for her incredibly sexy neighbor. Her one rule: Don't get attached. It's served her well with the dogs she's given to good homes and the children she's nannied. Yet the temptation of Matt's sexy smile might just convince her that some rules are made to be broken.

Matt Dumont doesn't need his skills as a private investigator to detect disaster on the horizon. Cara is everything he thought he'd never find-gorgeous, funny, and caring. But there's no way he can start a relationship just as he's about to move to another state. Talk about bad timing. As their attraction sizzles too hot to deny, they'll have to make a decision: forget the consequences and let loose, or forget each other and let go...

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ARC Review: Seaside Hearts by Melissa Foster

Seaside Hearts is the second book in the Seaside Summers series by Melissa Foster which is also tied to the Love in Bloom series. These books are all tied together with interconnected characters, but each one can be read as a standalone. Melissa Foster always writes really enjoyable contemporary romance stories with different and unique characters. Her books are always a safe bet for me whenever I want a light and easy read to just sit back and enjoy. This wasn't my favorite of hers, but I did like it.

Jenna Ward has wanted Peter Lacroux for years, but whenever she gets around him she can't help how shy and quiet she gets. As much as she has wanted Peter, he has never seen her as more than a friend. But for Jenna her summers have been the best part of her year for as long as she has known him. Finally ready to move on with her life, Jenna is determined to make the most of her summer and find a guy that will notice her. But just as she starts seeing someone, Pete finally seems to see her. Pete has liked Jenna for awhile, but her shyness has kept him from making a move on her as much as his alcoholic father has. With Pete's dedication to his father, he doesn't think a relationship is possible. But Pete also isn't ready to let Jenna go, and will do whatever it takes to show her that they belong together.

I liked Pete and Jenna both. Pete was such a great guy. He was normal and kind and I loved how thoughtful he was. He had always paid attention to Jenna and knew more about her than she had ever imagined. Jenna was quirky and I loved that she dealt with her OCD issues and wasn't ashamed to be herself. She was really sweet, and she was super supportive of Pete and everything he was going through. I loved how easy these two fit together once they finally figured things out, and they were so encouraging of one another.

For me though, I felt like much of this story was about all the surrounding characters and Pete and Jenna almost seemed to get lost in the shuffle part of the time. I wanted more of those two, and all the times with their friends seemed to slow and I found myself wanting to skim to get back to those two. I also felt as though there was a bit of confusion surround Pete and Jenna's friendship before they actually got together. Pete said he didn't want to ruin their friendship as one of the reasons he never did anything about his feelings, but they didn't ever really seem to talk or interact much before. He would come over and fix things for her and they were sort of friendly when in the same place, but Jenna would barely say two words to him. I didn't see the friendship between them really start to develop until their relationship did as well. That being said, I thought that they were a great couple once they were together. They were natural and believable, and I liked them together. For me though, this one just didn't have the same emotional connection between the hero and heroine that most of Melissa Foster's other books do. I really like this series though and will definitely continue to read more from her in the future.

**ARC Provided by Tasty Book Tours**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |

Thursday, October 30, 2014

ARC Review: Black Lies by Alessandra Torre

I am a huge fan of Alessandra Torre's, and I love how different her stories are. They are always well written, unpredictable and completely fresh. When I first read the blurb for Black Lies, I wondered if this book would be similar to Sex Love Repeat. While I really loved Sex Love Repeat, I was hoping that this one wouldn't be the same but would be something completely new and it was. This book is unlike any other story I have ever read before, and honestly I thought that it was brilliant. I knew the twist going into this book. While I understand that some readers prefer to go into a story blind, I felt like I personally needed to be aware of what was happening. I am so glad that I did know, and I really think that it helped me to see this whole story for how great it really was start to finish. But I can honestly say that if I didn't know what the big twist was, I never would have guessed it. Alessandra Torre did such an excellent job of giving the reader clues all along while also keeping you guessing. It was the perfect balance of just enough clues to keep you reading and just vague enough to have no clue.

Lana has been dating Brant for three years. He is a tech billionaire devoted to his job, and he spends most of his time working. The rare instances where he isn't working he spends with Lana. Brant has asked Lana to marry him four times, and each time she has turned him down. Lana has also been pursuing Lee for two years. He is the exact opposite of Brant. He cuts grass and loves working with his hands. He is the bad boy where Brant is the good guy. Lee is rough around the edges where Brant is sweet and calm. While Lana loves Brant and sees a future married to him with kids, she also loves Lee and can't help but be drawn to him. This story is not your typical love triangle though.

I really loved the characters in this story. Lana is smart and strong. She knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go after it or stand up to others to get it. She was such a great heroine, and I can honestly say that I have never read a heroine like her before. I really loved her and how fiercely determined she was. She would literally do anything for those she loved, and I really loved seeing her stand by that. You might not understand everything that she does or her motives for doing certain things, but she absolutely had a purpose for everything and it all becomes so clear once you have all the facts. Brant and Lee were so different. You might think that you know who Lana should be with, but there is something in each of them that is exactly what Lana needed. They fulfilled different parts of her, and I think each one brought out a different side to her. While I loved Brant's goodness and how perfect he was for her, I also loved Lee's sexiness and how different he was from what Lana was used to.

I really wish that I could detail exactly how brilliant this book is and why you need to read it. But honestly this is one of those stories that you just have to trust me on and read it. It is absolutely a must read, and I am surprised how Alessandra Torre is able to surpass herself with each new book she releases. Alessandra Torre is absolutely a must read author for me and I would buy any book that she puts out at this point. She has a way of writing these brilliant stories that keep you interested and guessing the entire time, while also providing the reader with plenty of steam and sexiness. I think that this is one of those books that some will want to read blind and others will want to have the information before starting, but regardless of how you go into this one, this book is one that you will want to read more than once. I can't wait to go back and read this story all over again now that I have finished, and I can honestly say that this is the biggest book hangover I think I have ever had. I just can't stop thinking about this book or these characters, and I can't wait for Alessandra Torre's next book.

**ARC Provided by Patchwork Press**

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Audiobook Review: No In Between by Lisa Renee Jones, Narrated by Grace Grant and Jason Carpenter

I have a couple of confessions to make. First, I saw this book on Goodreads and it had such great reviews I jumped at the chance to hear it on audio. I had no idea what I was getting into. Also, I didn’t realize that the series started with three previous books, which I have not heard or read. Another confession, I could not stop listening!

When the story begins, Sarah and Mark are on a plane returning from Paris. They are obviously in love and are coming back from some dramatic event. Obviously, it makes more sense to read all the books in a series first but I think in a way it kept me more intrigued. I kept thinking, what happened? Who are they talking about? For anyone that doesn’t know the back story, Sarah finds a diary that belongs to Rebecca. In this diary she describes an erotic, pleasure clubs and dominant/submissive lifestyle. Sarah becomes intrigued with Rebecca and wants to find out what happened to her. In the process she starts to live Rebecca’s life and starts to work in an art gallery, owned by Mark and she also meets Chris-a famous artist. This apparently happened in the previous books.

A couple of things are clear. First, the mystery surrounding Rebecca’s death continues. There were not too many answers found in this book. Although there is a montage of characters from the previous book, it also becomes clear that in the mist of the storyline, this book is really just a bridge for the other books.

While I was listening to Chris and Sarah’s relationship I keep thinking it was just another 50 Shades of Grey type book. Although in some aspects it is, in other aspects it really stood out. Sarah and Chris are still working on their relationship. They are fully committed to each other but still have insecurities. I found this a little surprising since this is the fourth book in the series. Also, another aspect that stood out is that Chris’ past seems to still affect his relationship with Sarah and even though she wants to accept and love him, she still has some doubts. Sarah and Chris participate in the dominant/submissive lifestyle. Chris seems to still struggle with some aspects of his needs with his relationship.

In the mist of Chris and Sarah is Mark. He is the owner of the art gallery and he seemed to have wanted a type of relationship with Sarah. The author introduces another character that seems to be Mark’s love interest in future books. I was intrigued by Mark and I can’t wait to read more about him. Besides all these characters there is still questions surrounding Rebecca. Chris and Sarah are suspects in another girl’s death as well. There is yet another storyline with the police and detectives and also characters from previous books that want to harm Chris, Sarah and possibly even Mark.

Last confession, I was so intrigued and captivated by the characters. Hearing the book was almost addictive. I was constantly wanting to know more, understand more, and find out more. Needless to say this is a series I will be reading. I think that the author must drag out the story lines but the characters that she keeps introducing are interesting. I’m looking forward to reading about Mark and Crystal in the upcoming books!

The narrator was very good. I think at times she portrays Sarah as confident and other times as uncertain and scared, which is an accurate characterization. I will forewarn that this is a series that will grab your attention!

**Audiobook provided by Simon and Schuster**

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ARC Review: Blocked by Jennifer Lane

Blocked is the first book that I have read by Jennifer Lane, but this one had almost everything I love in the blurb so I knew I had to read it. The characters in this story are affiliated with opposite political parties as their parents run for the presidency and they are both college athletes. I really enjoy the enemies to lovers trope, so I figured this NA read would be a sure thing for me. While there were things that I really enjoyed about this story, there was a lot that I had issues with as well.

After a scandal forces her to change her college, Lucia Ramirez chooses to attend the college where Dane Monroe is a student. Lucia has had a secret crush on Dane, but with his being the son of the woman running for president against her father she has never done anything about it. When Lucia and Dane come face to face at school, he makes his hatred for her known right away. Their secret service agents force them to live together when they can't find a safe place for Lucia to stay during the election on such short notice. As Dane and Lucia adjust to college life, volleyball, and their new living arrangements they start to get to know one another beyond first impressions and assumptions. But can they get past all the obstacles that stand in their way, especially their difference in beliefs and politics?

Dane and Lucia were likable enough characters, but I honestly felt as though they didn't act their ages. They came off as immature and often acted in childish ways. Dane was self-centered and a jerk at the beginning, and threw a few too many hissy fits for my liking. He was like a child having a temper tantrum when things didn't go his way and I didn't care for it. As the story progressed I was glad to see he got over some of that and also started to see Lucia for who she was and not who he had wrongly judged her as being. Lucia was complicated and had quite a few issues. She had always done what her parents told her and believed what they believed. She had her moments where she came off as really naive and sheltered, but then other times she seemed to be more open and understanding than how she was raised. But she also was sort of weak and had a lot of anxiety issues as well as an eating disorder. She couldn't handle stress at all, and it seemed as though she crumbled over the smallest of things at times. I wanted her to buck up a bit, but she really seemed to have to lean on others in order to have any strength at all. It was hard for me to connect to her because of that.

While this book is said to be a new adult story, this one really felt like a young adult story to me. It was really clean and didn't go much beyond kissing. I was looking for more between these two, and I felt like we just weren't ever really given much when it came to the development of their relationship. This book centered far too much on everything that was going on around them for my taste, and I felt like there was so much drama thrown their way. It almost seemed unrealistic with how many obstacles and conflicts there were for these two to overcome and it really lost me along the way. I was starting to come around on the story and really enjoy these two, and then I got to the ending. I didn't care for the way that the author ended things, and it felt as though we had been lead through an entire book just to be left hanging. As far as I know this book is a standalone, so to me the ending wasn't satisfying at all. I don't need things to be perfectly wrapped with a bow, but I would like to at least be left with my questions answered and on solid ground if the book is a standalone and I just don't feel like that is what happened here. I felt like this story had a lot of promise and had some really great moments that were enjoyable, but that there were other parts that just fell flat for me. I hope that the author will give more of Dane and Lucia's story in the future to at least tie things up for these two. I would love to get some more answers and see how things turn out for them.

**ARC Provided by AToMR Tours**

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