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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Review: Aflame by Penelope Douglas

A bittersweet ending to a great series from Penelope Douglas. I'm not sure what it is about Jared and Tate but they are definitely my favorite couple from the Fall Away series. I was pretty much glued to my Kindle while reading this and I just couldn't put it down. I've been anxious to get my hands on this story for months and it was everything I was wanting and more.

Jared Trent is one of my all-time favorite heroes and what I love about him is that he's flawed. He's not a cookie cutter hero. He's special and I just can't get enough of him. In Aflame you can defintiely see the growth in him. Gah I just freaking love him.

As for Tate I felt like with Jared that she matured a lot. She grew into a strong and independent woman who knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go after it.

As with all of Penelope Douglas's books Aflame was chocked full of heat, tension, witty banter, sizzling chemistry and hot alphas. And let me tell you, it's hot between Jared and Tate. As with Bully, in Aflame you get a real sense of the connection between these two. There is more than heat and sexual tension between these two. You see and feel the love between these two.

Aflame for me, was bittersweet. I loved it and didn't want it to end all at the same time. Honestly, it was a winner in my book and even though the series has ended I feel okay to let these characters go. Penelope Douglas wrote it in such a way and tied things up in a way that left me perfectly happy and content. I LOVED this book.

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ARC Review: The Phoenix Campaign by Heidi Joy Tretheway

OMG I am loving this series! Heidi Joy Tretheway has done it again with The Phoenix Campaign, and I am already dying for the next book. These books have to be read in order, so make sure that you start with The Phoenix Candidate before reading Campaign. I really loved this book, though I will admit that I was also really frustrated throughout it as well. But I absolutely devoured it, and I cannot wait for more Grace and Jared. 

Grace Colton has been named the running mate for Senator Shep Conover, and her life is more complicated than ever. As they begin their campaign, Grace prepares for what it means to be the VP candidate. Her relationship with political consultant Jared Rankin is also complicated, and they find themselves on shakier ground than ever before despite their feelings from one another. As Jared and Grace try to keep their relationship secret from the public, Grace finds out that she has a secret of her own that she can't tell even Jared. Grace knows that she needs to tell Jared the truth, but she also feels like she needs to tell Shep first. Soon there are so many secrets being kept on all sides, that it is only a matter of time before they start to come out. What happens when the truth is revealed?

Grace and Jared are so hot together. These two have so much passion and chemistry. But what I love about them most is that their connection is stronger than just the physical. They understand one another. They push each other to be better. They also support one another, even when they are fighting and arguing. These two tend to run hot, but you can tell that it is because they are passionate about not only each other, but also their careers and beliefs. As much as I love these two and seeing them together, they both really frustrate me at times. Grace has a tendency to talk back and push when she shouldn't, and Jared has a tendency to run when he should stop and listen. Both of them had their issues, but they genuinely care for one another and you could tell that neither one of them really knows how to handle what they are building together. They are in unfamiliar territory and unfortunately for them they have so many more concerns than the average couple first starting a relationship. 

I will say that that I couldn't put this book down, even with how they would make me angry at times. I had to keep reading to see what would happen next, and I read this in pretty much one sitting. Jared and Grace's relationship is just one of those that draws you in and you can't help but all in love with them. I really love how this series is about their relationship and the love that they are finding, but that it is so much more than that. There were so many things happening in this book as far as the campaign and what lies ahead for each of these characters, and I am really excited to see how things play out after all the truths that came out. I cannot wait for the next book, and I just hope that Heidi Joy Tretheway doesn't make us wait long for it! If you haven't read anything by her yet, you definitely should give her a shot. I have really enjoyed everything that I have read by her, but I think this series is my absolute favorite by her and to me these books are must reads!

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

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RFTC Hall Pass Event with Layla Hagen

My name is Layla Hagen and I am a Contemporary Romance author.

I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later. I write romantic stories and can't wait to share them with the world. And I drink coffee. Lots of it :-D

Friday, April 24, 2015

ARC Review: Closer by Kaia Bennett

I have been dying to get my hands on Closer by Kaia Bennett since I finished #1 Crush. I needed more of Gabe and Nic, and couldn't wait to see what happened next for these two! If you haven't read #1 Crush, you are definitely going to need to start there since these aren't standalones. Closer picks up after where we were left with Gabe and Nic and continues their story. I will warn you that these books leave things up in the air as there are three books in this series. I am now waiting for the third book in this series, Mind Over Matter, which is tentatively scheduled for a July 2015 release. 

After spending a week exploring the passion between them, Gabe and Nic went their separate ways. Gabe was pursuing a career in music, and Nic had just graduated from college. Though the time they spent together was great, they knew they weren't in a place for anything serious with one another. But when Gabe and Nic are suddenly back in the same city, they quickly pick up where they left off. Gabe's career is starting to take off, and his band has just been signed. But with things heating up between him and Nic, he wants to give a relationship a chance. Nic agrees, and things are better than ever. But the band's popularity isn't the only new obstacle these two have to face, and suddenly Gabe's past is doing everything it can to wreck his future with Nic. 

I had loved Gabe and Nic in the first book, and that didn't change here. I will say these two frustrated me more in this one though, and there were a few times I wanted to shake both of them. I loved that these two had been able to be so open and honest about things between them. They knew they had a connection and chemistry, but they were also able to see that they weren't in a position for anything serious. While they might have been jealous that there were others, they understood and it didn't destroy their friendship. I was glad that they had remained close and didn't hold that against one another. I thought that their communication in this book was absolutely horrible though. Gabe was the worst when it came to this, and he held a ton back from Nic. I thought his reasons were flimsy at best, and I think that it was a lot of his fault for most of the problems that they encountered. That being said, towards the end of this book Nic really screwed up in my opinion. She acted really immature and handled things very poorly. Though part of the blame was on Gabe, I really felt that she was more to blame for their big blow-up. He should have talked to her, but she acted pretty ridiculous to me. 

These two still had great chemistry and I liked seeing their bond strengthen as their feelings for each other grew deeper. But I felt like they needed to learn to talk to each other. I think part of this was an age thing, but that only takes it so far. I think that they could have solved so much just by being honest. Gabe's ex Meredith was also a huge issue, and I absolutely hated her! She is such a manipulator, and you could tell that she gets off on it. I don't know why they let her have so much power over them, but a lot of that blame goes to Gabe for not talking to Nic about his past. I really hope that this is the last we see of her and that karma gets her. I am looking forward to the next book and need to know what happens next. I think that these two are made for each other, but the journey is far from over. I am a little bit scared if I am honest, having been given a preview of the third book at the end of Closer. I am trying to have faith that Kaia Bennett will get these two where they need to be, but it is going to be a long few months. I think that this series is great though, and these two have so much passion between them. If you are looking for a seriously sexy story, then you have to give this series a shot. I know I will be anxiously awaiting the next book from Kaia Bennett, and can't wait for more!

**ARC Provided by IndieSage PR**

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ARC Review: Blue Streak by Jules Barnard

Blue Streak is the newest addition to the Blue series by Jules Barnard. This story is a novella, so it is pretty short. I enjoyed it though and I thought that it was sweet and funny while also sexy. This is one of those quick and easy reads that most NA readers will be able to lose a bit of time reading. Nessa has liked her friend Zach since she moved and started working at the casino. Though they are good friends, Zach has always kept her at arms length. Nessa sees him eyeing her and at times believes that he wants more, but he always manages to shut it down and continues to sleep with other women. But Nessa is determined to change his mind and get him to act on the feelings he believes he has. Soon Zach finds it hard to continue to fight his feelings as Nessa fights to show him what they could have together. 

I liked Nessa and Zach. I didn't feel overly connected to them, but they were decent enough characters. Nessa was in love with Zach and yet she never really said anything to him. She never talked to him about what she wanted or tried to make a move. She sat back and let him continue to be with others while she pined away for him, and that was a bit irritating to me. But she also was able to show him that they had something worth taking a chance on and I liked that she wouldn't settle for being just another hookup to him. Zach should have talked to Nessa and figured things out earlier. He knew his situation needed to change and that it wasn't right, yet he didn't do anything to change it until Nessa started to really pursue him. It seemed pretty sudden for him to have a change of heart and seemed to be a reaction to something that happened with Nessa. (Can't really get into much of that without spoiling anything, but it wasn't handled the best in my opinion.) I thought that Nessa and Zach had great chemistry and I liked seeing them get to know one another. It boggled my mind a bit that they had been friends for awhile and were both attracted to each other, and yet they really didn't know each other that well. I think that was a bit weird to me, and it seemed like these two were almost acquaintances rather than friends. 

I think that this was a short and sweet read though, and I think part of my issues were because of the length of the story. If we had been given more of these two I might have felt differently. It just seemed as though with it being a novella that we never really dug deep with these two and pretty much everything was on the surface. I think I would have believed it more had I seen their friendship strengthen a bit before they decided to go the relationship route. I do like this series though, and it was good to see some familiar faces. I thought that Jules Barnard did a great job of setting up the next book in this series, and I am looking forward to reading that one.

**ARC Provided by IndieSage PR**

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