Posted in Book Reviews

REVIEW ~ BANG BY E.K. BLAIR

They say when you take revenge against another you lose a part of your innocence. 
But I’m not innocent. 
I haven’t been for a very long time. 
My innocence was stolen from me. Taken was the life I was supposed to have. The soul I was born with. The ruby heart embedded in a life full of hopes and dreams.

Gone.
Vanished.

I never even had a choice. 
I mourn that life. Mourn the what-ifs. 
Until now. 
I’m ready to take back what was always meant to be mine.

But every plan has a fatal flaw. Sometimes it’s the heart.

This is another one of those times where I honestly don’t know how to rate a book. I could be a bitch and rate it 2 stars because I didn’t really enjoy it, or I could be lazy and just rate it 5 stars because I thought it was brilliantly written and ignore the other not-so-pleasant feelings running through my head. But I’m not going to do either – I’ll just write what I thought & felt and you can decide if this is the kind of book you want to read.

This book blurb seriously is so freaking vague!! And the reviews are so freaking vague!! I can definitely see why it’s completely necessary to go in blind, but I think there are some things worth mentioning – none of these are spoilers, just general information that’ll help give you an idea of what the book is about.– I have to stress this point first – NO WAY is this a romance! The book completely revolves around Nina’s character, so there really is no “couple” or “hero.” There are three men whose lives are closely entwined with hers: Bennett (her husband), Pike (her foster brother), and Declan (someone very important she meets). I’ll explain more about each later. Any kind of love that does appear in this book isn’t meant to romanticize the story; it’s there to prove an ugly point.– When Nina was five years old, she had someone very precious taken away from her, and as a result was thrown into the foster care system. She finally ends up in Carl and Bobbie’s house (her longtime foster parents) and it’s there she meets the other foster kid, Pike. He’s the quintessential bad boy and when the going gets tough (especially with bastard guardians like Carl and Bobbie) he’s there for her. Anyways, Nina and Pike are forever fucked up because of their foster parents. That’s all I’m going to say about it.– Nina’s married to Bennett BUT she hates his guts. You’ll find out later how Bennett was indirectly responsible for why Nina had to go through the foster care system.– Nina’s out for revenge against Bennett and she meets Declan, the perfect someone to carry out her vengeance plan. Only, she doesn’t expect to actually feel something for this guy. She’s torn – revenge for her past or pursue a possible love for her future?

I didn’t enjoy this book one bit. I felt completely miserable. I will concede that it is brilliantly written and it must’ve taken a lot out of the author to write what she did – I mean how could she keep track of it all?? However, I hated the female lead – she didn’t have a single redeeming quality. Her reasoning for the revenge? It is COMPLETELY wacked up – she’s targeting the wrong guy! But I suppose part of the reason this book is considered to be such a mindfuck is because she genuinely believes that Bennett is the antagonist.Anyways, you should know that I’m not the kind of reader who thinks that if an author stirs any kind of emotion – love, hate, confusion, etc… – it’s a sign that he/she succeeded and I should rate the book 5 stars for making me feel. No. What if a book makes me feel sick to my stomach and I think there’s nothing redeeming about the character(s)? That’s not positive at all and quite frankly, a 4 or 5 star rating doesn’t reflect those thoughts. I was constantly wavering between:A) Obtain a physical copy so I can burn the bookB) Hug the book tight because you don’t come across this kind of story every dayThe only part of the book I can say that I was truly, utterly impressed with was the ending – I saw it as both a cliffhanger and closure. It ends in a way where I’m not really sure if Nina will be making an appearance in the next book, but regardless of that matter, I feel strangely liberated, like I’m glad this one giant rollercoaster ride came to an end. Much like the characters in this story, I’m constantly jumping from love to hate when it comes to my feelings for this book. Will I be on the lookout for book 2? Well…when a book ends the way it did here, you just kinda have to read the next one.

Posted in Book Reviews

BOOK REVIEW ~ UNREQUITED BY MELODY GRACE

Alicia isn’t the kind of girl to kiss a total stranger up against the wall — no matter how devastatingly sexy he is. But reeling from a broken heart, she runs straight into the arms of Dex Callahan: rock star, bad boy, and the most seductive man she’s ever known.

Dex is looking for distraction, at any price. The innocent redhead is just what he needs to keep his demons at bay — but one taste of her sweetness isn’t enough. He needs to possess her, body and soul.

Two searching hearts. One night to discover the passion of a lifetime. Dex is determined to show Alicia the pleasure she’s been denied, but can she let go of her heartache and take a risk on the unknown? Find out in the sizzling new novella from USA Today bestselling author, Melody Grace!

I’m not even exaggerating when I say this: Melody Grace’s books just get better and better with each new one that’s published! I can’t wait to meet the rest of the Callahans!!Unrequited is a short but so satisfying novella and an introduction to Dex and Alicia’s story. If you haven’t read any of this author’s books before, it’s okay to start from here but I’d really recommend reading them in order. Alicia is a side character first introduced in book 2 and this story begins where book 3 ended.

I’ve read all the books in this series and the one character that really stood out to me was Alicia. She was always on the sidelines, not really a friend to our previous main characters, but not an outsider either. She’s quiet, reclusive, keeps to herself, yet she has a very successful career. There’s always this air of mystery that surrounds her and nothing seems to be an obstacle for her – except for this unrequited love she has for another guy. I could so relate to Alicia; it’s a very bittersweet feeling to love someone yet know that the person doesn’t feel the same way. And so, she lives a pretty lonely and bland life, that is, until she meets Dex, and all her appearances and defenses just crumble.To everyone else, Dex is just a famous rockstar and everyone wants a piece of him, but what Dex really wants is to be able to play music in peace – he thrives off of his songs, his music and loathes the attention that comes with it. On top of which, something tragic happened in his past and now he craves music to take his mind out of the darkness. He’s a daredevil, he’s wild, he’s bold, and I love everything that makes up this flawed, broken man.Alicia and Dex, both people tortured by their pasts, find solace in one another. What started out as a quick, hot interlude turns into something much deeper than they both anticipated.

This is seriously one of the best novellas I’ve read! I found this to be the perfect intro to Dex and Alicia’s story – not too short but not long enough that I was bored and waiting for something to happen. It ends on a very high note; I have this super anticipatory feeling and I just know there will be more hot, wicked, & sinful times in the next book about these two. I’ve been sufficiently teased now – give me the next one!ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Book Reviews

MAY FOLLOWER APPRECIATION GIVEAWAY

It’s that time of month again!! For those that are new to my blog and Facebook page, I host a follower appreciation giveaway at the end of each month as an extra thank you for being a part of my blogging journey! As I will be packing and getting ready for my traveling in the next few days, I thought to post this monthly giveaway a little bit earlier than usual – you’ll have until the end of the month to enter! One winner will receive a paperback of choice from the list provided. How do I decide what goes on the list? Well, it is a compilation of all the books I’ve read and reviewed each month – it doesn’t matter if I loved the book, disliked the book, whatever. Every book I’ve read and reviewed that month will be on the list.

**Note: Some book titles do not have paperback options available. In the event you choose that book, I will gift you an ebook copy instead.**
Another note: The Last Good Knight serial by Tiffany Reisz is extremely short and does NOT have paperback options, period. If you choose any of the 5 parts in the series, I will be gifting you the entire series in ebook format – or in other words, a $5 Amazon gift card.

I’ve posted about this on my Facebook fan page but haven’t sent out this message to blog followers so here it is: I’m going to be traveling around in Asia for this whole summer and won’t be back until mid-August!!! Part of me is super excited but another is kinda sad: I will definitely be blogging & reading, but I can’t post as often as I do now. It’s simply not feasible due to a lack of wifi so I’m just dropping a quick letting-you-know message in case you don’t see a blog post from me for a week or two. Have a great summer y’all!And if you really want to stay in touch with me, make sure to follow me on Facebook! No matter what, I will always respond/check notifications & messages there first before tackling my emails:

Posted in Book Reviews

BOOK SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY ~ YOU MAKE ME BY ERIN MCCARTHY

Growing up on the coast of Maine with a revolving door of foster siblings, Caitlyn Michaud spent one intense and passionate year falling in love with her foster brother, Heath. Then he left without a word. The betrayal devastated Caitlyn and made her vow to forget the compelling bad boy. But forgetting his sensual touch and their deep all-consuming friendship is easier said than done.

Isn’t the guy she needs…

Determined to move on, in college Caitlyn has risen above her small town impoverished roots and has joined a sorority, reinvented her appearance, and landed the right boyfriend. Pre-law major and frat president, Ethan, is thoughtful and always laughing, and he makes her feel happy, calm. He also gives her the social acceptance she craves. 

But the perfect world she tried so hard to attain is ripped apart when Heath appears one night out of nowhere. Caitlyn remembers all the reasons why she loves him, even if they don’t make sense to anyone but her. Out of the military, Heath is as brooding and intense as ever, and he is determined not only to win her back, but to exact revenge on everyone who kept him from her…

And when one love allows her to breathe, but the other feels as essential to her life as air, how does she choose between them?

I blinked, sure I was wrong.  But I wasn’t.  It was him, with shorter hair and broader shoulders. 
“Heath!” I yelled out, overcome with shock and joy that he was there.  Alive.  Not dead in a ditch or in prison.  “Oh, my God!” 
Stepping away from Ethan, I squeezed his forearms to indicate it was okay.  Then without thought for the fact that everyone was still staring at me or that I had just gotten engaged sixty seconds earlier, I ran in my high heels the ten feet to Heath hovering in the shadows and threw myself at him. 
“Hey, Cat,” he murmured, wrapping his arms around me and pulling me tight against his chest.  His lips buried into my hair.
I sank against him, breathing in deeply.  He smelled the same, earthy and masculine.  He felt different, bigger, more muscular, but his hands were just as I remembered, strong and tender, and his voice was low, casual.  A thousand memories assaulted me all at once, running along the coast, going out on the water in a stolen boat, laughing, talking.  Kissing. 
“Oh, God,” I whispered, pulling back to study his face, to cup his cheeks and outline his bottom lip with my thumb.  I couldn’t believe it was real.  He was real.  “You’re alive.  You’re here.”
The corner of his mouth turned up.  “I am.”
“Caitlyn, who is this?” Ethan had come up behind me and his hand landed on the small of my back.
I suddenly realized how close I was to Heath and I jerked back, cheeks flushing with heat.  My hands shook and my voice sounded high­pitched and breathless.  “Ethan!  This is Heath, my…
There was no way I could explain who Heath really was to me. How much he had meant.  How I thought I wouldn’t survive when he left.  What it meant to have him punch a hole in my perfect world now and walk back into it.
“My brother,” I finished.
As Ethan’s eye’s bulged, Heath gave a soft snort of derision beside me.
“You have a brother?” Ethan asked, sounding completely astonished, as he should.  “I didn’t know you have a brother.” I did.  A biological one that I no longer spoke to and who I didn’t acknowledge, but Ethan didn’t know that, and I never wanted him to. 
“Is that what I am?” Heath asked, sounding both amused and annoyed.  “A brother from another mother, Cat?”
“He’s my foster brother,” I added.  “My family always took in foster kids and some stayed longer than others.  Heath stayed long enough that we got close.”  In a manner of speaking. 
“I didn’t know that.  You never mentioned foster siblings.” Shit.  Ethan was looking at me like he didn’t know me.  But he did. 
He knew the me I wanted to be, the me I could be.  I didn’t want to drag him through my past.  But here was Heath.  My past.  And who I had once considered my present and my future. 
Speaking of…
“Where the hell have you been?” I asked Heath, my initial excitement turning to frustration as I realized that he had just appeared out of nowhere and hadn’t even bothered to speak to me first.  Let alone any sort of text or other contact. 
He shrugged.  “Around.”
Seriously?  I went straight into pissed off.  Four fucking years.  Four years and not a word.  “That’s not an answer.  I thought you were dead!” 
“Not dead.  Though I wasn’t aware you would care either way.” Was he crazy?  Confusion made my breath shallow, my palms sweat.  I had suffered when he left.  I had cried until I threw up.  I had taken off after him, only to walk two miles and realize I had no idea when he’d left or where he was going.  I had stalked him online, never finding anything.  I had stopped eating.  Stopped showering. 
And he was going to stand there and act like I hadn’t cared? 
“How could you say that?”  My voice shook. 
But his eyes just studied me, dark and angry.  “Maybe this isn’t the time or the place to discuss it.”  He took my hand into his.
My frustration faded at his touch.  A deep, intense longing rose up in me.  God, I had missed him.  But he merely turned my hand so that my new engagement ring was visible. 
“Congratulations, Cat.”  A mocking smile crossed his face.  His jaw was tense.  He took my hand and gave it to Ethan, who laced his fingers through mine.
“I’m Heath, Cat’s foster brother, like she said,” he told Ethan, and I could hear the edgy irony in his voice.  “It’s nice to meet you.” 
“Ethan Walsh.  Nice to meet you, too.  It sounds like you and Caitlyn have a lot of catching up to do.  Maybe tomorrow we can all grab some coffee.”
“Sure.  Sounds delightful.” 
That was attitude.  Plain and simple.  My eyes narrowed at Heath and I shook my head slightly in warning.  What the hell was he doing?  Why was he even there?
“I didn’t mean to interrupt a big moment,” he added.  “I’m heading downstairs.”
A million questions were racing through my head, but there was no way to ask them.  Not where we were.  Not with who I was with listening. 
Ethan stuck his hand out, because Ethan had good manners.  For a second Heath just stared at it, but then he took it and shook briefly. 
I’d never seen him in a suit before.  He looked… dangerous.  Very James Bond.  He was even better looking than I remembered and I had spent a lot of time coaxing his image out of my memory banks.  Especially alone in my bed late at night when I was lonely and my body ached. 
“See ya,” he told me casually, before turning and leaving.

There are certain words in blurbs that set off alarms for me, and by alarms I mean the kind that make me stalk the author/publisher/PA etc…to get more info on. In the blurb for You Make Me, the words “foster brother” did it for me. I was extremely interested in seeing how this would play out and I’m really happy to say that I think this is Erin McCarthy’s best work to date: she’s written a stormy, passionate but believable second chance romance with a healthy dose of angst and relatable, level-headed characters.

The book starts off with a short but fantastic prologue! Then fast forward four years where Cat is now a well-known, all-around golden girl in college with an equally amazing and popular guy Ethan as her boyfriend. On the night of her junior year Homecoming dance where everything planned goes along accordingly, out of the blue, Heath appears and stuns Cat. Having left her when she was sixteen and never contacting her in the past four years, Cat is shocked, relieved, and angry to see him so naturally I could understand her conflicted feelings: on one hand she’s desperate to reach out to him and on the other, she’s with Ethan, a guy she knows is good for her.
“How could I explain that Heath was the past and Ethan was the future? That one I had chosen and one had chosen me? That Ethan represented everything I had always craved, but Heath was everything I needed?”
And as cliché as it sounds, there will always be a certain allure for “the one that got away,” which is why I totally sympathize, understand, and connect with Cat’s character.

Though this portion of the book was angsty and somewhat frustrating, it was realistic and completely character-driven. I loved how the author made smooth transitions from where Cat was at the beginning to how she thought and perceived everything to the end. Usually when there’s a love triangle (or any hint of one), there’s supposed to be a “decision” where one is chosen and the other is dropped, and I hate that. To me, it always feels like the chosen is second best. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel any of that in this book; all encounters are done quite tastefully and I was totally invested in the story.
I think the strongest and most compelling aspect of the book was the author’s writing. I’ve read her other work (True Believers series) and I’ll be honest, this book is different: both the writing and the approach I mean but it’s a good-different and the writing here simply appeals to me. It’s mostly in present time, but there are a few flashback scenes sprinkled throughout the story. Again, not something I usually like, but in this book it was executed quite nicely and the scenes were informative as well. And most of all, I liked how the author took a common NA premise and turned it into a somewhat unique and different read than others: a love triangle that’s seemingly not a love triangle, characters that are impossible to hate because there is no “bad guy,” and a fluent, transitional writing style.
As much as I loved the book, there were a few things that got on my nerves. One being I wanted more of Heath and Cat’s history. A couple of flashback scenes are not enough for me, and though I wholeheartedly approved of their relationship, it would’ve been better if there were more background info on them so I could be better convinced of their early bond and love. The last 25% was a bit weak on both the emotional and plot aspects. I get that with every new relationship, especially one built on a foundation of deception and heartbreak, comes with many insecurities so I was glad to see the characters address them. However, there is this one argument near the end of the book I just did not get the point of. Like, it could’ve been completely omitted and there wouldn’t have been a difference (for me at least). A little toomuch drama there and the ending was rushed, but overall, what was on my mind long after reading was that this book is one of the better NA stories I’ve read this year and though I probably won’t re-read it anytime soon, I won’t be forgetting about it anytime either.

ARC kindly provided by author in exchange for an honest review. Please note that all quotes are from an advanced copy and may be subject to change in the final edition.
**This next section contains minor spoilers and is for those that want to know if there isany cheating, a love triangle, or if there is an HEA. Please only read this section if you’re interested in those; otherwise my review ends above.**
To answer some questions that were asked: Is there a love triangle? Is there cheating? Is there an HEA? Even before I cracked open the book, I wondered if there was a triangle but my curiosity with the “foster brother” part and Heath being ex-military won me over.
Love triangle: I think most will say yes, there is a love triangle. For me, however, it wasn’t. It’s true that both Heath and Ethan love Cat, but it was always clear to me who Cat was going to end up with. This was probably the most angsty part of the book, and it’s not extremely frustrating. The characters do not bounce back and forth amongst one another. 
Cheating: I didn’t think there was any kind of cheating (physical or emotional). There are no gray areas when it comes to defining Cat’s relationship with the two guys. She’s either with one of them, or she’s not.
HEA: Yes. There’s a happy ending for Cat and Heath.

USA Today and New York Times Bestselling author Erin McCarthy sold her first book in 2002 and has since written almost fifty novels and novellas in teen fiction, new adult, and adult romance. Erin has a special weakness for New Orleans, tattoos, high-heeled boots, beaches and martinis. She lives in Ohio with her family, two grumpy cats and a socially awkward dog.

Posted in Book Reviews

BLOG TOUR ~ THE LAST GOOD KNIGHT SERIES BY TIFFANY REISZ

Tiffany Reisz is my #1 favorite author of all time – I am literally in awe of this author and her writing abilities. The Last Good Knight is an Original Sinners series novella and will be released in 5 parts over 5 days. The events in this serial occur three years before The Siren, book 1 in The Original Sinners series.
If you are new to Tiffany Reisz’s books, I would recommend The Last Good Knight serial after reading The Original Sinners series as there will be certain plot spoilers. Here’s my recommended reading order:

The Last Good Knight Series Review
The events in this serial take place three years before The Siren (book 1 in TOS series) but to better understand the characters and certain events that unfold, I HIGHLY recommend reading this serial after The Original Sinners – Red Years (see reading order above).
There are 5 parts that will be released over the course of 5 days starting May 6. In the beginning I was scratching my head wondering why it couldn’t be released as one whole novella but after reading I think I understand. Each part is just so different, and while telling one continuous story, every part represents a different stage of the plot and character development. As a whole, this serial rates 5 stars – Tiffany Reisz has once again dazzled me with her writing abilities, her depth and knowledge of BDSM and erotica, and the amazingly smart, sexy, and witty characters and story. It’s simple – whatever she writes, I will read.
Individual Book Reviews

Part I:Scars and StripesIt’s lust at first sight when Mistress Nora encounters a sexy newcomer to The 8th Circle. She’s happy for the distraction, since she left her lover, Søren, but her session with Lance is cut short when her boss, Kingsley Edge, reveals they’re all in danger….

Tiffany Reisz is my all-time favorite author and I just can’t go wrong with her. Her stories are always so high-quality, witty, thought-provoking, and absolutely out-of-the-box! I’ve been yearning for a Sinners fix ever since I finished “The Original Sinners – Red Years” series last winter and this novella was perfect.


Scars and Stripes takes place three years before The Siren. Nora has left Soren and while working in the 8th Circle, comes across a sexy Navy SEAL Lance. As always, Tiffany Reisz never disappoints with her smart, edgy, & erotic scenes and though short, I loved the witty banter and time Nora and Lance spent together here.


The novella ends with Kingsley revealing they’re all in danger. Under normal circumstances I’d definitely view this kind of ending as a cliffhanger; however Tiffany Reisz really knows how to soften the blow of such a suspenseful & abrupt ending and now all I’m ready to do is dive into the next installment…
ARC provided by Harlequin via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Part II:Sore SpotsWith a potential stalker on the loose, Kingsley hires Lance as Nora’s bodyguard, but stipulates no sex while he’s on duty. Frustrated by the ex-SEAL’s noble chivalry, Nora is driven to seek release with the one man she’s trying to forget….

A wonderful second installment following the first Scars and Stripes! This novella continues where the first left off – one of their own has been attacked and Kingsley orders a halt to everything. Worried about Nora’s safety, he assigns a bodyguard to her, who ends up being Lance, the quintessential Prince Charming from the first novella. Kingsley has his stipulations though, and it means no sex.
This novella was a little different from the first but just as enjoyable. For one, some secrets are revealed and so I got to delve into the character’s deeper emotions and psyche – as a reader who craves emotional connection with characters I absolutely loved this part! The novella ends on a very high note:
“If she couldn’t have Lance, she’d have the one and only man who she wanted more than him tonight.”
And, of course, Sinners we all know who that is 

Part III:The Games Destiny PlaysShocked to see Nora’s bruises, Lance is furious that she put herself in danger and demands to know where she got them. As Nora confesses her true nature, she’s equally shocked to learn that Lance has some secrets of his own, drawing them together despite Kingsley’s orders….

This third part was even better than the first two! Tiffany Reisz has kicked up the kink and we get a scene with Soren & Nora together – these two just never cease to amaze me. I said this before and I’ll say it again – this author has ruined me for everything else erotica related: out of all the authors I’ve read there’s no other that quite captures the essence of BDSM like Tiffany does.
Once again, the novella ends abruptly with Kingsley revealing some bad news regarding the attacker – thank goodness I have part 4!
ARC provided by Harlequin via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Part IV:Fit to Be TiedWith her feelings for Lance warring with her recent encounter with Søren, Nora returns to Lance’s bed and finds herself toying with the idea of…toying with him on a permanent basis. But after she gets a glimpse into his personal angst, Nora realizes she has the power to rescue this white knight….

The assailant has now been detained so there is no need for Lance to be Nora’s bodyguard anymore. They resume their D/s relationship and waste no time getting the kink on 

I liked that we got to see more of Nora’s feelings & emotions as opposed to her usual blunt, confident self. This was probably my least favorite out of the series yet still so, so good! Maybe it’s because this fourth part made me realize I only have one more until this series is finished.
ARC provided by Harlequin via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Part V:The Last Good Night
Now that the perpetrator has been apprehended, Nora sadly acknowledges she doesn’t need a bodyguard anymore. She adores Lance and wants to keep him but is faced with a dilemma—if she uses her connections to help Lance, she’ll have to give him up forever…

This was by far the best out of all the installments and a perfect ending that linked back to the beginning of part 1. This quote from Lance says it all:
“I have dreamed for two years about getting my daughter back. I have dreamed for sixteen years about finding the perfect woman for me. I find the perfect woman for me and find out how to get my daughter back, but…to get my daughter back, I have to give up the perfect woman.”
Nora’s always been my favorite heroine, but in this part her character truly shines – I got misty-eyed here. Though short, this series was just what I needed while patiently waiting for The Saint to be released.
ARC provided by Harlequin via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tiffany Reisz lives with her boyfriend (a reformed book reviewer) and two cats (one good, one evil). She graduated with a B.A. in English from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky and is making both her parents and her professors proud by writing BDSM erotica under her real name. She has five piercings, one tattoo, and has been arrested twice. When not under arrest, Tiffany enjoys Latin Dance, Latin Men, and Latin Verbs. She dropped out of a conservative southern seminary in order to pursue her dream of becoming a smut peddler. Johnny Depp’s aunt was her fourth grade teacher. Her first full-length novel THE SIREN was inspired by a desire to tie up actor Jason Isaacs (on paper). She hopes someday life will imitate art (in bed). If she couldn’t write, she would die.


Posted in Book Reviews

BOOK SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY ~ THE TEMPTATION OF LILA AND ETHAN BY JESSICA SORENSEN

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Ella and Micha series comes a gripping story of passion, pain, and the courage to love . . .
THE TEMPTATION OF LILA AND ETHAN

On the surface, Lila Summers is flawless: good looks, expensive clothes, and a big, beautiful smile. But a dark past and even darker secrets are threatening to bubble over her perfect façade. She’ll do anything to keep the emptiness inside hidden-which leads her into situations that always end badly. Whenever she hits bottom, there’s only one person who’s there to pull her out: Ethan Gregory.

Ethan set the rules a long time ago: he and Lila are just friends. He doesn’t do relationships. Although his tattooed, bad boy exterior is a far cry from Lila’s pretty princess image, Ethan can’t deny they have a deeper connection than he’s used to. If he’s not careful, he could be in serious danger of becoming attached-and he’s learned the hard way that attachment only leads to heartbreak.

When Lila falls farther than she ever has before, can Ethan continue to help as a friend? Or is he also getting close to falling . . . for her?

 “Why do you think it’s so hard to be alone?” Lila asks, struggling to keep her eyes open as she gazes out at the night sky through the cab window.   I’m turned sideways in the seat, with my knee up, so I’m facing her, even though she won’t look at me. I lost count of how many shots we had hours ago and I can barely comprehend how we got to a cab—stumbling, laughing, as she rubbed her hand up the front of my jeans. No, that can’t be right, can it?   “I think being alone is fan-fucking-tastic. . . well, maybe . . .sometimes . . .” I mumble, draping my arm on the back of the seat. I stare at her for a moment, taking in her bare skin in the moonlight. I want to touch it. Lick it. Even bite it.   I’m bursting with sexual energy and I channel it to my foot on the floor, bouncing my knee.    There’s something different about tonight, something out of the ordinary, this strange need to keep getting closer to Lila. It could be the alcohol. Or it could be something else, but there’s no way my tequila-soaked mind is going to reach any sort of answer.   Lila turns her head toward me, her pupils wide and shiny. “Why are you staring at me like that?”   I keep tapping my foot on the floor, trying to think of a better answer than the first one that pops into my head, but I can’t find one. “Because I’m thinking about you.”   She glances at the cab driver, a thirtyish guy wearing a baseball cap, and then her gaze lands back on me.     She sucks her lip into her teeth and I have to bounce my knee faster or I swear I’m going to fucking lose it.    “Thinking what about me?” she asks, looking wary, interested, and exhausted.   Don’t say it . . . “I was thinking about what it would be like to lick you . . . or bite you . . . either one really.” It seems like I should regret it as soon as I say it, but regret is nowhere in my reach at the moment.Her breathing quickens and her voice comes out shockingly unsteady for someone who has sex so much.         “Then do it.”   I blink, wondering if I heard her right through the massive amount of alcohol consuming my thoughts.             “What?”   She holds my gaze steadily, even though she seems really nervous, her voice trembling. “Then bite me. Or lick me…whatever you want.”

This is one of the most heartwrenching, passionate, and poignant stories I’ve read in long time. Literally every page on my iPad is highlighted with rainbow colors because, well, there were so many epic quotes to take note of!! This book has also restored some of my faith in New Adult. Prior to reading it, I was about to give up on NA for a while, as some of my recent reads were very disappointing. Not this one!! I’m kicking myself for not reading this sooner when I got it from NetGalley!!! I’m just going to venture out and say here that The Temptation of Lila and Ethan is by far Ms. Sorensen’s best work, even ahead of Callie and Kayden’s books, which have been my favorites.

– I don’t think I’ve ever been this pumped for a couple to get together. Lila and Ethan are so, so different from each other, and I was afraid that even sexual attraction wouldn’t be enough to keep them together.– I was constantly questioning the different paths this book could’ve taken: the story kept me on my toes. At one point, I actually worried if they got an HEA or not.– The book blurb doesn’t do the book justice; it’s SO much more! I went in thinking that they both had minor problems to deal with and – smack – I did not see what was coming. The prologue floored me, and the content only got darker from there (which I LOVE).So what’s this book about, hmm? I’ll let Lila and Ethan tell you their lives in ONE word.

Though she’s rich, Lila has lived under the oppressive rules of her father and suffered greatly from her experiences with her uncaring, zombie-like mother. Her parents demand perfection from her at all times, and she’s constantly put down by her father. She longs for freedom, for passion, for love from her family, knowing that she’ll never get it.“I don’t want to have to sit at a dinner table that is big enough to seat twenty when there are only three of us. I don’t want to be forced to eat food that looks like it still needs to be cooked. I don’t want to endure one more dinner where I’m told every single thing I’ve done wrong. I want them to just let me be myself and maybe, perhaps tell me that they love me.”

“I don’t want to feel like I’m always screwing up. I want to feel loved. I really do.”Unfortunately for her, a single mistake made when she was 14 changes her outlook on life, and she now numbs herself with meaningless sex and overdoses on drugs and prescription pills. She’s on a downward spiral towards self-destruction and no one is there to help her.Until Ethan.Ethan’s word: IndependenceEthan has had a rough childhood. He watched his father physically and verbally abuse his mother, and vowed to never become the monster his father was. On top of that, a decision he made regarding a certain girl led to a tragedy that plagues his thoughts ‘till this day, and he covers his pain with his bad boy exterior and string of one-night stands. He likes being alone and covets his independence, never once giving into commitment.“I’m not looking for a relationship. They’re ugly, raw, brutal, painful, life destroying. They exist only in the hearts of the needy and I don’t need anything from anyone. I’m perfectly content being alone, hiding in the desolate place inside myself.”

“What I really want is to not be thinking about anyone. I want silence. Solitude. I want my God damn thoughts to turn off.”

Until Lila.They are treading down a very thin line between friends and lovers.

“There was this strange connection between us, like we understood each other, even though we were from totally separate worlds: rich and poor.” – Lila

“This isn’t just about sex. There is so much more to it than that. We have a connection. We have since the day we met.” – EthanCan two people, so very different in personality and social status, be together?

“You wouldn’t be completely alone.” I sweep her hair to the side and rest my chin on her shoulder. “You’d be with me.”

“What would we do at this mountain place together?”“Anything we wanted.”A stunning and riveting story of love found in the most remote places.An inspirational tale about never giving up hope.A heartfelt book about one man’s fight for his girl, and one girl’s struggle against the impossible for her man.ARC provided by Forever (Grand Central Publishing) via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Please note that all quotes are from an advance copy and are subject to change in the final edition.

Jessica Sorensen is a #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who lives with her husband and three kids in Idaho. When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading and hanging out with her family.

Posted in Book Reviews

REVIEW ~ A LIFE LESS BROKEN BY MARGARET MCHEYZER

On a day like any other, Allyn Sommers went off to work, not knowing that her life was about to be irrevocably and horrifically altered.

Three years later, Allyn is still a prisoner in her own home held captive by harrowing fear. Broken and damaged, Allyn seeks help from someone that fate brought her.

Dr. Dominic Shriver is a psychiatrist who’s drawn to difficult cases. He must push past his own personal battles to help Allyn fight her monsters and nightmares.

Is Dr. Shriver the answer to her healing?

Can Allyn overcome the broken?

3 stars!I liked it but didn’t love it – reading this book literally felt like a rollercoaster ride as there were many high and low points.

First I need to mention the way the book is structured as it’s quite different, unique, and tasteful – there is a pre-prologue, a prologue, and ends with 4 epilogues (all from different POVs). This author is known for her “different” works so aside from the already intriguing premise, the book structure is also something new to behold.The story is about a young, bright, and full-of-life girl Allyn who, on a dark, gloomy day, experiences an ordeal no one should have to go through. With all the detailed descriptions and multiple flashbacks to this horrific event in Allyn’s life, I was really expecting myself to feel the raw, emotional turmoil and all of her pain and anguish; however, I didn’t. I was more depressed and ready to move on than anything – that probably says more about me than anyone else.

Another part of the book that made it seemingly compelling was the taboo aspect – Allyn, a disfigured, skittish, scarred girl in a relationship with her much older psychiatrist who’s got a few secrets of his own? Well sign me up! I definitely appreciated the parts where Dominic was there to help Allyn accept and move forward with her life – those parts were really well done. However, I couldn’t process the idea of them together, and this is coming from someone who adores anything taboo and forbidden. There is this very messed up twist added into the story and while it definitely caught my attention and made me think, wow this author is good, it killed my belief that Allyn and Dominic would be able to sustain a long-term relationship. Thus, any kind of healing done after that point I was pretty dubious about – to me, it seemed a little contrived. It was also weird that after 3 years of introverted behavior, Allyn would just suddenly take to Dominic in an instant. It really made me wonder – why now, why Dominic rather it being one nice continuous and believable transition into the story.As for the epilogues I have very mixed feelings. In terms of satisfying my personal curiosity, the epilogues are a big hit. I’ve always wanted to be in the head of Allyn’s perpetrators so I loved getting their POVs – A+ for that. However, in terms of plot and story development, the epilogues were a disaster for me. The author gave these bad guys hearts – these people who were supposedly villains to the core, monsters who committed heinous crimes. Whether or not it was the author’s intention to inspire pity and sadness for them, it nevertheless ruined the antagonist image for me.I would recommend this book if you are looking for a story with some heavy content that ultimately sends out an inspirational and uplifting message and at the same time, don’t mind a couple of topsy-turvy twists thrown your way.ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t do ‘normal’.I’ve found that the more I write, the more I like being different to other authors. I write in first person, and I love to challenge a reader.I take the normal and switch it around.For me, I really enjoy getting a reaction from a reader. So if I can evoke an emotion (regardless of if it’s the emotion the reader wants) then I figure that I’ve done my job as an author I want to be.I really quite revel in taking people out of their comfort zones and pushing them to read something different.My genre of writing is, well quite frankly, where ever my mind goes. I won’t label myself because I don’t like sticking to one genre.My goal with writing is just to take people away from whatever is going on in their lives, even if it’s only for a split second.I’m a go with the flow sort of person and don’t really take a course of action to get where I am going. I live in the moment and don’t usually worry about tomorrow because whatever life is due to bring me, I’ll be happy to accept.I love my family and friends and will help anyway I can if someone needs it. I really don’t like people that are nasty just because they can be, I don’t believe that’s necessary, I mean life’s hard enough as it is!I hope you enjoy my books, I’ve had a hoot writing them. There’s more to come…..

Posted in Book Reviews

REVIEW ~ WHISPER TO ME BY CHRISTINA LEE

A hot and consuming New Adult romance about a wayward musician and the one girl who keeps him grounded…

At college, Rachel has a reputation for being a sarcastic flirt with a thing for star athletes. No one at school knows that she’d had her heart ripped to shreds by her high school sweetheart, who’d driven them both off the side of the road on a borrowed motorcycle, and then abandoned her. No one knows the real Rachel Mattson—except one person…

Ever since he helped nurse his sister’s feisty best friend back to health, pierced bass player Kai Nakos has been head over heels in love. But the supposed bad boy can’t risk letting Rachel know the truth—especially now that the two of them are back in their hometown for the summer, together for the first time since the months following that fateful night. Never mind that Rachel’s ex is back, groveling for her forgiveness.

Shaken by her ex’s return, Rachel finds herself turning to the one guy she knows she can trust. Kai is willing to hide his feelings for her, just to have Rachel touch him again. After all, this is only a temporary fling. Until it becomes something more. But maybe it had been more all along.

NEW ADULT FTW!!!I was actually considering vlogging (video-blogging) this review but nah. You guys don’t want to see my squeeeeeing x 10 faces right?While I was reading, I had to pause several times and just sigh in contentment to how perfect this book is. At times it’s sweet, but not sickeningly so; it’s emotional, but not to the point where it’s tear-inducing, and above all, this book is the epitome of what quality New Adult literature is, fully encompassing the transition between adolescence and true adulthood. These days, so many books ride the coattails of an overused book theme: bad boy falls for virgin heroine; however, Whisper to Me doesn’t. Rather than be about a particular theme or popular idea that would certainly appeal to the masses, instead, this story is character-driven and has a very well-paced and thought-out plot. A few other aspects I had to note were:– Low angst level– Highly likable characters who are also easy to relate to (or maybe it’s just me since I’m about their age)– Conflicts in the story are very realistic – never did I feel like drama and conflict was unnecessary or contrived– Incredible writing! Syntax variety isn’t something a lot of authors can do and do it well but Christina Lee hits the nail on the head!Even though this is the third book in the Between Breaths series, it can definitely be read as a standalone – this is coming from someone who doesn’t remember much from book 1, didn’t read book 2 (which I need to rectify immediately), and was still captivated and totally invested in this story and characters. The author provides just the right amount of background info so even if you’re new to her work, you won’t feel lost at all.You don’t need to know much about the plot itself – the blurb is actually a really good summary and indication of what the book is about. Here are some brief character descriptions of the main characters:

Kai: half-Dutch, half-Native American and a pierced dirty talker – I had dreams about this fellow guys. I would give 10 stars to his character if I could. All his life he’s been perceived a certain way and was never able to shake it off. All everyone sees is a hot bad boy who messes up in life, and Rachel is the only one who’s been able to see that he’s so much more. The author really did a good job of portraying their deep connection, both on a physical level and emotional level – these two are equals.Rachel: She’s outwardly sarcastic, tough, and big flirt, yet she hides a very painful secret only a few know – including Kai. This ordeal pretty much scarred her for life, and she bears the physical scars to prove it. Rachel’s the kind of girl I want to be best friends with.This is a book I would recommend to everyone but especially to those who need a romance story that’s nostalgic, steamy, and will leave you with a big smile on your face. It’s also thought-provoking book that sheds light on the beauty of relationships & friendships. I could use multiple adjectives to describe the story: authentic, sexy, sensational, etc…but I’m going with perfect as it really is one perfect love story.ARC provided by Penguin/Intermix via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Posted in Book Reviews

$25 GIFT CARD + BEAUTIFUL BASTARD SERIES GIVEAWAY FROM CHRISTINA LAUREN

WOW guys!!! I have a huuuuuuge giveaway for you all —-> it’s from Christina Lauren to celebrate the upcoming release of Sweet Filthy Boy!!! I’m thrilled to be hosting this giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card and the entire paperback set of the Beautiful Bastard series!!! Check out more info below…BEAUTIFUL BASTARD SERIESThere are three full length novels and three novellas. Each of the full length stories can be read as standalones. 

$25 GIFT CARD + PAPERBACK SERIES GIVEAWAYThis giveaway is open to everyone. Must be over 18 to enter.2 winners – one winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card and another winner receives the paperback set of the Beautiful Bastard series.
Many thanks to Gallery Books for making this giveaway possible!

Posted in Book Reviews

BOOKS, TRAVELING, REVIEWS (SOME RANTS), A GIVEAWAY, AND OTHER FUN SHENANIGANS…

Woah sooooo…..I didn’t plan on not being able to blog or update my Facebook page for the past 3 months (definitely facepalming right now for not thinking ahead). For those that don’t know, I traveled extensively in China this summer, starting from late May all the way up to two days ago when I got back to the US. As a travel lover I can’t begin to express my joy and completely ecstatic feelings about being on the move and all the wonderful places I saw and the exotic-looking food I got to eat but as an avid reader and blogger, I’m truly bummed that I wasn’t there for you to post about book sales, freebies, reviews, etc…NOT the greatest moment there so!!! This blog post will basically give you a recap of what I’ve been doing the past 3 months along with some interesting reviews/rants, and a smashing giveaway (if I do say so myself hehe) to end this all with a bang!

Of course one of the first things I did was hop on a plane (two planes to be exact) – one from Texas to Istanbul and the next from Istanbul to Hong Kong. Prior to this trip I hadn’t been on a plane for a few years so I was pretty giddy to the see the view:

Once I arrived in Hong Kong I didn’t go anywhere in the vicinity just yet! My family and I rushed to get to Shengzhen (1 hour drive from HK) to meet up with friends and then we had to take a train ride to get to JiangXi, a big province down south so my younger siblings could start their summer school studying. It haven’t been on a train for almost 8 years so I went picture crazy once I boarded (though I’m only showing you guys the nicer-looking pic hehe):

We arrived in a smaller city within the Jiangxi province – Wanan – where my aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa on my dad’s side lived. Not many people have cars here; they either walk, take the bus, have a motorcycle or grab one of these electric-powered vehicles that I have here:

My brother stayed with two of our cousins and went to summer school for a month while my sister went to a bigger city an hour away from him – Jian – and lived there with another aunt and uncle. My siblings are both younger than me and aside from visiting all the hotspot areas in these two places, I traveled between the cities to visit my siblings. Oh and I forgot to mention I had a HUGE candy craving so I hit the largest supermarket there was in these two places – check out their candy section:

Not quite what I was looking for (no Skittles, Starbursts, or Sour Belts) but it was interesting and fun to try out new candy. OH fun fact: did you know that most Chinese candy is made from either vegetables or fruit? Hardly any artificial products.And then sometime in mid-June the entire family (I’m talking not just my parents and siblings, but two of my aunts and uncles and my cousins) went down to the countryside and we picked these rare mountain berries only found in China (they are SO GOOD!!!!) Kinda taste like strawberries and blueberries 

 I picked a whole bunch *yay* and got myself some mosquito bites in the process *boo*

Once June flew by and my siblings passed summer school (learned a lot of Chinese) our traveling reallystarted! We said goodbye to our wonderful family in Jiangxi and headed out to my aunts and uncles on my mom’s side to Beijing – TONS of great tourist locations there! First place we visited was the Great Wall. Okay let me be honest with you and say that it was not as great as rumored to be. I mean the wall itself was a beautiful relic to check out but it’s so hot and there are SO.MANY.PEOPLE. it killed most of the fun for me. Though one of the highlights of the Great Wall fiasco were the adorable mountain bears! 

Oh and this one’s my favorite! I got to feed it and the little cutie just sat there with its mouth open waiting for food:

We also hit an amusement part and that was so fun!! I barely took any pics – either I was waiting in line, eating like a glut or going on crazy rides. My dad took a pic of this water ride I went on. It’s the moment where a ton of water cascades on the boat:

There’s this art store I checked out and I lugged this lovely painting all the way from the east back to Texas:

(It’s more exotic-looking in real life hehe)And OMG the food!!! Cannot believe I haven’t touched on that one yet! Here are just a few of their scrumptious dishes:

(This is Koren style noodles. Reminded me a little of Hot Pot where you dump a bunch of veggies and select meat in a pot that’s steamy hot with peppers and eat! It’s delicious.)

(I was salivating when I saw this!!!! It’s steamed shrimp – love seafood!!)

(My sister’s birthday was in early July so we celebrated in Beijing! It’s a three layer marble cake with ice cream as the middle layer. YUM!)Oh and I visited the local bookstore! Not a whole lot to choose from (most are textbooks and Chinese stories) but I did see the entire Hunger Games series translated to Chinese:

In early August, I had time to do a few things I’ve been meaning to get to ever since I got to China. First was go rafting in the rain (very exhilarating) and then go on a zip line:

(It went down at a super fast speed – I was screaming all the way down and taking pics the entire time haha)And then take a gondola ride. Those things look cool on TV but they’re pretty scary to ride. Thank goodness there was no heavy rocking back and forth. I still screamed the whole ride down though 

OH! And this fast-speed train ride in a tunnel I went on was pretty cool. Here’s a pic of my dad and younger brother in front of me:

As late August arrived I went back to Hong Kong to get ready to fly back to Texas *YAY* but before that I went shopping for more souvenirs and visited the night lights show only available to see in Hong Kong:

And after two days, a few hours, and a nasty bed-head I arrived back in Texas. Tired, cranky but also super relieved to get back to American food, world of air conditioning, and BOOKS!

That’s me there! 

Part Two: The ReadingI was pretty busy traveling around but I was even busier with reading!!! I can’t go anywhere without my iPad and I read some pretty amazing books as well as some crummy ones this summer! I was able to post reviews on Goodreads so I’m including those links along with purchase links. I don’t think I have to say this, but all reviews contain my personal opinions and are not meant to attack the author. Some of these books hit a nerve or two so some of these may be a little ranty. Just FYI.

The giveaway will be similar to the Follower Appreciation Giveaways I had where the winner chooses a paperback of their choice from the list provided. Since this is 3 months worth of books, this giveaway will consist of 3 winners each receiving any paperback of their choice from any of the books above in Part Two. It’s a huge list so take your time choosing 

 As usual this giveaway is open internationally as long as Amazon ships to your country!**Note: If there is no paperback option available for the book you choose I will gift you an ebook copy. Some of these books haven’t been released yet so if you choose one of those, you will receive the paperback as soon as it’s released.**

Posted in Book Reviews

BOOK REVIEW ~ VIRTUE FALLS BY CHRISTINA DODD

Twenty-three years ago, Misty Banner was brutally slashed to death in her home in Virtue Falls, Washington. Her husband was convicted of the murder. Their four year old daughter Elizabeth witnessed the crime, but has no memory of the killing. Now, two decades later, Elizabeth is back in Virtue Falls. She soon discovers her father is innocent. The real killer is still out there. And her investigation has stirred dark and deadly resentments that could provoke in another bloody murder—her own—in this riveting novel from bestselling author Christina Dodd.

4.5 stars!!

I’m a big fan of this author’s historical romances so I thought to try out one of her contemporary works, especially since this one was a romantic suspense/mystery and I’m a huge sucker for those. Aside from her writing style, I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this book in particular, but let me just say that you won’t be worrying about your expectations once you start reading – the story will grab your attention from the start and though there may be a few times where there are too many details, the engaging plot quickly grabs your attention again. Overall, I liked the suspenseful storyline, the heartwarming second chance romance, and how fast-paced the book was – it kept things interesting.*********************Twenty three years ago, a 4 year old Elizabeth Banner witnessed her mother’s brutal murder and her father was convicted of the crime. Fast forward two decades and Elizabeth has become one of the most accomplished geologists of her time and an expert in studying rocks and natural disasters. Returning home to Virtue Falls to study earthquakes and tsunamis, Elizabeth encounters a series of events that eventually lead to buried secrets, secrets that expose a hole in her mother’s murder case and leave her in danger. With no one but an ex-husband and mother-in-law who actually cares about her, Elizabeth experiences de-ja-vu all over again as she struggles to reconcile her horrid past with her uncertain future.

Dedicated FBI agent and ex-husband to Elizabeth, Garik Jacobsen finds out that she’s in danger and hurries to Virtue Falls to protect her. Though consenting to their divorce, Garik still harbors strong feelings for Elizabeth and would sacrifice anything just to make sure she’s safe. He’s deeply tortured and troubled by his past and the fact that he doesn’t let Elizabeth in to that part of his life creates a wedge between them, leading to their divorce. All grudges and complaints, however, are pushed aside as this couple work to uncover the mystery and truth behind the murder case and find the real killer.*********************I honestly expected to loathe Elizabeth’s character. She was unfeeling, only passionate about her profession and it was hard in the beginning to see her brush aside Garik so easily and effortlessly. As I read, however, I think I started to understand and connect to her character on a much deeper level. You see, I LOVE smart heroines. Heroines that don’t think with their libido and aren’t simpering ninnies around the hero. I actually think it was the author’s purpose to introduce this aloof, unfeeling woman and through her experiences in the book and her deep love for her husband (though she tries to hide it), show how an emotionally scarred Elizabeth could trust and have a second chance at her marriage. Her family was shattered since her mother’s murder and her father’s conviction and she had no one left. No one except Garik, who knew and loved her for the way she was and accepted her, flaws and all. Speaking of Garik, I adore this man! He scores a 10 out of 10 for my hero rating – sexy, attentive, protective, witty. I could use so many adjectives to describe him. My heart broke when I read about the guilt he harbored because of his past actions. Together, he and Elizabeth make such a great couple. They complement each other perfectly: fire and ice, passionate and logical. They had many issues to work through, but when they tackled their fears and fully opened up to one another, I was mentally cheering them on, ecstatic that they’d be able to work out all their problems and hopeful about a more permanent future for them.

I do have to stress that the romance part is secondary to the mystery and suspense. I would estimate a good 30% of the book is solely dedicated to their relationship development: that’s pretty decent considering this plot was elaborate and detailed. There’s not a whole lot of steam but then again, emotional intensity will always trump steam for me 

 The only thing that kept me from giving this book 5 stars was Kateri’s character. I simply just didn’t see the point of having her take up a couple of chapters. Elizabeth knew her but other than that she didn’t have a substantial part in the plot so I skimmed the parts with her in it.Aside from that one complaint and a few times where there were too many details that tempted me to skim, this book was pretty perfect for me. I finished it in one sitting (about 4 hours) and closed the book feeling pretty satisfied – definitely a great book to pick up if you love the romantic suspense genre!ARC provided by St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Book Reviews

RELEASE DAY REVIEW & GIVEAWAY ~ VANQUISH BY PAM GODWIN

Her life is like a prison cell.
A self-made, to-hell-with-the-free-world existence that locks from the inside.
Stop judging. Her agoraphobia doesn’t define her. It simply keeps her safe.

He belongs in a prison cell.
The 6×8, make-me-your-bitch variety that locks from the outside.
But he’s free. To hunt. To take. To break.
And he just found a sexy new toy.

Capturing her is the easy part. Her fucked-up mind, however, makes him question everything he does next.
But he’s a determined bastard. If all goes his way, this will hurt like hell.

Pam Godwin has a knack for writing unconventional, unique romance stories and Vanquish is a terrific example. Just FYI, if you plan on reading book 1 Deliver do not read this one yet – it contains plot spoilers. Anyways, I’m a huge fan of the broody, dark, and tortured anti heroes. In book 1, the only character I can say that I fully loved was Van. Liv was pretty kickass but too aloof. Josh was endearing but too sweet. But Van…now that’s a guy who’s right up my alley! I couldn’t wait to get my greedy hands on his book and now that I’ve finished it, I can say that fans of the first book and Van-fans will be pretty pleased with his story.********************This book begins right after the events of Deliver, where Van Quiso is recovering from his wounds and the one thing that dominates his mind is getting Liv and their daughter back. Obsessed and possessed by this fervor, Van constantly stalks Liv in hopes of winning her back from Josh, along with getting visitation rights to their daughter Livana. On one of his secret trips to visit Liv, he unwittingly stumbles upon the heroine Amber and his old, buried sexual tendencies flare. For the first time in a long time, he’s tempted by Amber.

Introverted and secluded, Amber Rosenfeld suffers from extreme agoraphobia (anxiety disorder) and OCD. Her previous marriage has demolished her self-confidence and body image and any kind of intimacy repels her. It is truly a chance encounter that puts her in Van’s path and with just one look, Van is intrigued by her and her oddities.********************My biggest concern with reading this book was whether or not the author would butcher Van’s dark, multifaceted, mysterious character and I’m relieved to say I don’t think she did. When a character as complex as Van gets a romance story, there’s a certain degree of ‘dark’ that has to be given up and in turn is replaced with a much softer, vulnerable side of him. I think the author did an exemplary job of pitting his usual crude high-handedness against the vulnerability most readers didn’t think existed. Van is basically what made this book, despite it also being Amber’s story. Though I liked her character, I never fully warmed up to her. Then again, it’s not often I fall head over heels for the heroines 

 I really loved seeing Van transform from a seemingly heartless machine to a more caring and loving man. His past as a slave driver never will go away but I admire him for not letting it define his life and instead, motivate him to be with Amber and help her conquer her agoraphobia.

As much as I liked Amber and Van as a couple, I had a hard time accepting them together in the beginning. I mentioned before that it was pure luck that they bumped into each other and the fact that Van was completely obsessed with getting Liv and their daughter back didn’t help convince me of the strength of his bond with Amber. I felt like his reasons for being with Amber weren’t compelling enough in the beginning. I should feel like only the heroine is good for the hero, but sadly I didn’t feel that here. Amber could be a Leslie, a Catherine, a Grace and it wouldn’t have made a difference. Once the deep feelings were there, however, I could finally accept them together but that didn’t happen until the 60% mark so I spent most of the book feeling aloof, not loving them, but not hating them.That one main problem aside, I really enjoyed this book – it had hot, steamy scenes along with dry, crude humor and charming wit. The idea that even the most flawed and damaged people can have a happily-ever-after too is a beautiful message and one that this book sends out.ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, Pam Godwin, lives in the Midwest with her husband, their two children, and a foulmouthed parrot. When she ran away, she traveled fourteen countries across five continents, attended three universities, and married the vocalist of her favorite rock band. Java, tobacco, and dark romance novels are her favorite indulgences, and might be considered more unhealthy than her aversion to sleeping, eating meat, and dolls with blinking eyes.