Monday, August 18, 2014

"Rusty Nailed' By: Alice Clayton Review

Rusty Nailed
By: Alice Clayton

In this sequel to Wallbanger, the second book in the Cocktail series, fan favorites Caroline and Simon negotiate the rollercoaster of their new relationship while house-sitting in San Francisco.
Playing house was never so much fun—or so confusing. With her boss on her honeymoon, Caroline’s working crazy long hours to keep the interior design company running—especially since she’s also the lead designer for the renovation of a gorgeous old hotel on Sausalito. So with her hotshot photographer boyfriend gallivanting all over the world for his job, she and Simon are heavy-duty into “absence makes the heart grow fonder” mode. Neither has any complaints about the great reunion sex, though! Then Simon decides he’s tired of so much travelling, and he’s suddenly home more. A lot more. And wanting Caroline home more, too. Though their friends’ romantic lives provide plenty of welcome distraction, eventually Caroline and Simon have to sort their relationship out. Neither wants “out of sight, out of mind,” but can they create their own happy mid-ground cliché? 
USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton delivers another delicious, frothy cocktail of a book, shaking up her characters, stirring in laugh-out-loud humor, and serving sizzling romance straight up.
My Thoughts
     A fantastic follow up to Wallbanger, Caroline and Simon are living their happily ever after in Rusty Nailed. This is the story of what happens after finding your soulmate. They love one another desperately, but finding room in life for each other proves to be a bit more difficult than either anticipated.
      I adored Caroline and Simon in Wallbanger, so I was thrilled when I heard the sequel was coming out. Totally going to name drop, but I was lucky enough to meet Alice Clayton in May at a Chicago book signing. Trust me, I tried to get some hints at what was to come, and she was a steel trap. Fantastically nutty and a girl you’d totally want to have a martini with, let me assure you.
     Simon and Caroline are going through growing pains in the months following the end of Wallbanger. Simon slowly becomes disenchanted with his life as a world traveler and wants to spend more time with Caroline. After traveling for years, he’s content to be at home. Caroline begins to question if he’s truly content or if more things are really happening under his tough exterior.
     I would strongly recommend reading Wallbanger before picking up Rusty Nailed. Irreverently hilarious and ultra sexy, Rusty Nailed is utterly wonderful. Alice Clayton has another hit on her hand!

Book Details
Publisher: Gallery Books
# of Pages: 388
ISBN: 9781476766669
Date of Publication: June 24, 2014
Location: San Francisco, California
Source: Personal Purchase

Thursday, August 14, 2014

"Finding Me" By: Michelle Knight Review

Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed: A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings
Finding Me
By: Michelle Knight

Michelle was a young single mother when she was kidnapped by a local school bus driver named Ariel Castro. For more than a decade afterward, she endured unimaginable torture at the hand of her abductor. In 2003 Amanda Berry joined her in captivity, followed by Gina DeJesus in 2004. Their escape on May 6, 2013, made headlines around the world. Barely out of her own tumultuous childhood,

Michelle was estranged from her family and fighting for custody of her young son when she disappeared. Local police believed she had run away, so they removed her from the missing persons lists fifteen months after she vanished. Castro tormented her with these facts, reminding her that no one was looking for her, that the outside world had forgotten her. But Michelle would not be broken. In

Finding Me, Michelle will reveal the heartbreaking details of her story, including the thoughts and prayers that helped her find courage to endure her unimaginable circumstances and now build a life worth living. By sharing both her past and her efforts to create a future, Michelle becomes a voice for the voiceless and a powerful symbol of hope for the thousands of children and young adults who go missing every year.

My Thoughts
    I was astonished by the news reports when Michelle Knight was liberated from captivity in Cleveland. I had looked forward to hearing Michelle’s story and when I saw that she had a book coming out, I immediately made sure my library purchased the book. Reading this account through Michelle’s words was horrific, heartbreaking,  awe inspiring, and ultimately a story of survival when dealing with monsters.
     Michelle Knight was taken and held hostage by Ariel Castro for over a decade. Blockaded in a house in Cleveland, Michelle was held with two others and suffered unimaginable abuse at the hands of her captor. Sexual, mental and physical abuse was a daily occurrence.
     I felt as if the book was written in a conversational style that really worked for me. While horrific, I could feel Michelle’s spirit. While graphic in places, the book wasn’t nearly as graphic as I’m sure it could have been. In the end, Michelle seems to have accepted that bad things happen but isn’t about to let it shape her future life. Trying to better herself, Michelle is going to school, meeting new people and isn’t going to let her past effect who she is going to become.
    Not for the weak of heart, Finding Me is an amazing story of survival. A fast read, Michelle’s story touched my heart in a way that I can’t really explain. Painful to read, Michelle is now a story of hope.

Book Details
Publisher: Weinstein Books
# of Pages: 252
ISBN: 9781602862562
Date of Publication: May 6, 2014
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Source: Library Checkout

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"The Promise" By: Kristen Ashley Review

The Promise
By: Kristen Ashley

Since his brother’s death, Benny Bianchi has been nursing his grudge against the woman he thinks led to his brother’s downfall. He does this to bury the feelings he has for Francesca Concetti, his brother’s girl. But when Frankie takes a bullet while on the run with Benny’s cousin’s woman, Benny has to face those feelings.
The problem is Frankie has decided she’s paid her penance. Penance she didn’t deserve to pay. She’s done with Benny and the Bianchi family. She’s starting a new life away from Chicago and her heartbreaking history.
Benny has decided differently.
But Frankie has more demons she’s battling. Demons Benny wants to help her face. But life has landed so many hard knocks on Frankie she’s terrified of believing in the promise of Benny Bianchi and the good life he’s offering.
Frankie’s new life leads her to The ‘Burg, where Benny has ties, and she finds she not only hasn’t succeeded in getting away, she’s doesn’t want to.

My Thoughts
    Benny’s brother died in a hail of bullets several years ago, but his memory is still holds a  bitterness in Benny’s heart. Benny and his family hold his former girlfriend, Francesca Concetti responsible for his death. For years she’s walked around with this on her conscience, even though she had nothing to do with her former flame’s demise. Regardless though, she always felt tied with Benny’s family. When unforeseen events force Frankie back into the lives of Benny’s family, Benny and his family find themselves realizing things aren’t always what they seem and forgiveness is long overdue.
     We the readers first meet Frankie and Benny in one of my favorite Ashley novels, At Peace. Taking us back to Chicago, Kristen Ashley writes an absolutely unputdownable romance between these two hardheaded, irresistible characters. Even while spending a majority of the novel living in different cities, Ashley is able to keep the sexual tension at a premium.
     Full of sexy times, with great characters, fantastic secondaries,  and a fast paced but sweet story, this is classic Ashley at her finest. While reading the other books in the series is helpful, its not necessary. Another winner and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

The Burg
1. For You
3. Golden Trail
4. Games of the Heart

Book Details
Publisher: Smashwords
Date of Publication: July 8, 2014
# of Pages: 518
ISBN: 978-1310502040
Location: Indiana
Source: Personal Purchase

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

"Truly" By: Ruthie Knox Review

By: Ruthie Knox

May Fredericks hates New York. Which is fair enough, since New York seems to hate her back. After relocating to Manhattan from the Midwest to be with her long-distance boyfriend, NFL quarterback Thor Einarsson, May receives the world’s worst marriage proposal, stabs the jerk with a shrimp fork, and storms off alone—only to get mugged. Now she’s got no phone, no cash, and no friends. How’s a nice girl supposed to get back to safe, sensible Wisconsin? Frankly, Ben Hausman couldn’t care less. Sure, it’s not every day he meets a genuine, down-to-earth woman like May—especially in a dive in the Village—but he’s recovering from an ugly divorce that cost him his restaurant. He wants to be left alone to start over and become a better man. Then again, playing the white knight to May’s sexy damsel in distress would be an excellent place to start—if only he can give her one very good reason to love New York.

My Thoughts
     May finds Ben at one of the lowest points in her life. She is sitting in a bar, without a dollar to her name, after stabbing her NFL ex-boyfriend in the hand with a fork over a botched proposal. Lost and alone in New York, Mary glances at Ben in a bar and decides he just may be her saving grace.
    Ben is no hero. Fresh from a shattering divorce that ruined him career wise, he is coasting. No real job, no real passions, no home and no family to speak of, when May approaches Ben in a bar he is a little perturbed. Deciding for once to be the nice guy, he invites her to spend the night until she catches her plane home. That one night turns into a week of laughter, friendship, misunderstandings, sexytimes and love.
     Ruthie Knox is one of the best writers out there now, bar none. She writes such real characters with such honesty behind them that I simply devour her stories. Truly isn’t the easiest book to read, these two character have such sad pasts that they aren’t easy people to like. Ben from the get go seemed so condescending but as I read, I realized he was just misunderstood and circumstances had misconstrued his actions.
     As I said before, Truly isn’t an easy read. Ben is a tortured soul with no forseeable way out of his misery. May is misunderstood by all of those around her, until Ben. He really sees her, not the perfect image she portrays. As they get to know one another better, its so illuminating to who they are exactly. They don’t become themselves until they are together and it isn’t until they accept one another that they can truly accept who they are at heart.
     Knox writes people to where you know them inside and out. You clearly see them change and grow and as they find true love, you yourself fall in love. May was a mess but she was the best kind of mess. I adored her and her conflicted emotions and while Ben had to grow on me, he had to grow on May too.
    Truly is another Knox classic. Well written, heartwarming, sweet, super sexy with a dash of heartbreak and soulsearching, I devoured this fabulous story within two days. Honestly, two days of not getting dressed and spending the day in bed reading because I had to know what happened next. An absolutely fabulous read about two imperfect people, I can’t wait to see what Ruthie Knox will come up with next.

New York Series
1. Truly
2. Madly (January 2015)

Book Details
Publisher: Random House Loveswept
# of Pages: 365
Date of Publication: August 5, 2014
ISBN: 9780345545268
Source: Netgalley
Location: New York, NY

Monday, August 4, 2014

"Dark Skye" By: Kresley Cole Review

Dark Skye
By: Kresley Cole

Eternal Obsession
As a boy, Thronos, Lord of Skye Hall, loved Lanthe, a mischievous Sorceri girl who made him question everything about his Vrekener clan. But when the two got caught in the middle of their families’ war, tragedy struck, leaving Thronos and Lanthe bitter enemies. Though centuries have passed, nothing can cool his seething need for the beautiful enchantress who scarred his body - and left an even deeper impression on his soul.

Endless Yearning
Lanthe, a once-formidable sorceress struggling to reclaim her gifts, searches for love and acceptance with all the wrong immortal suitors. But she’s never forgotten Thronos, the magnificent silver-eyed boy who protected her until she was ripped from the shelter of his arms. One harrowing night changed everything between them. Now he’s a notorious warlord with a blood vendetta against Lanthe, hunting her relentlessly.

Can the heat of desire burn brighter than vengeance?
With their families locked in conflict and battles raging all around them, will Thronos and Lanthe succumb to the brutal chaos that threatens everything they cherish? Or will the fragile bond they formed so long ago spark a passion strong enough to withstand even the darkest doubts?

My Thoughts
      Thronos has loved Lanthe since he was a child. Immediately recognizing her as his one true mate, Thronos realizes he would do anything to possess Lanthe’s body and heart. When unforeseen circumstances force these two friends apart, space and time keep them apart for hundreds of years. Thronos is desperate to rekindle that flame that started all those years ago, but Lanthe fears what has happened and what the future may hold.
    Mind boggling is the first word that came to my head when I finished Dark Skye. Absolutely mind boggling, turn your insides out, wildness that was so good I had to read it again. Kresley Cole does storytelling like no other. She is able to weave intermingling story lines through several books so seamlessly it’s truly astonishing. Lanthe and Thronos’ tale has actually spanned several books but it isn’t until now we understood why the fearsome Thronos both hated and loved Lanthe equally.
     At times intense and others super sexy, Cole uses their shared histories and the upcoming ascension to set the scene of an epic adventure. Beginning by breaking out of the prison of immortals, the star crossed lovers travel through different planes before ultimately reaching the Vrekener stronghold. Throughout their escapades, they find out their shared histories may not be exactly what they thought while falling head over heels for one another.
      Another winner from Kresley Cole, Dark Skye is a fantastic addition to the saga that is the Immortals After Dark series. With glimpses into the lives of our favorite characters, a teensy bit of news on Nix, and a fantastic relationship/adventure between two of my absolute favorites in the series, Lanthe and Thronos make the wait worth it. As always, to truly appreciate the fabulousness of the series, I totally suggest reading the books before to understand the subtle genius that is Kresley Cole.

Immortals After Dark Series
2. A Hunter Like No Other
3. No Rest for the Wicked
4. Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night
5. Dark Needs on Night’s Edge
6. Dark Desires After Dusk
8. Untouchable
9. Pleasure of a Dark Prince
10. Demon from the Dark
13. MacRieve

Book Details
Publisher: Gallery Books
# of Pages: 384
ISBN:  9781451649949
Date of Publication: August 5, 2014
Source: For Review

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

"Craving Redemption" By: Nicole Jacquelyn Review

Craving Redemption
By: Nicole Jacquelyn

Asa and Callie had nothing in common. He was an Ace, raised in the club and loyal to it above all else. She was a high school student with braces on her teeth and a narrow view of the world.
They should have never crossed paths.
But when Callie decides to defy her parents, and Asa goes on an errand for the club, their lives collide. He saves her, and she mesmerizes him.
They part believing they’ll never see each other again.Neither could have predicted the chain of events they’d put in motion.
Now the two have to navigate the dark waters of a relationship built on tragedy and need without drowning in guilt for things outside their control.
How do you love someone when the worst decision of your life was the reason you met them?

My Thoughts
    Callie’s world changes in the span of a few short hours when she attends a party and gets caught in the crosshairs of a turf war between motorcycle gangs. Saved by Asa, Callie has no idea that the repercussions that will follow, for both the couple and their families. Threatened and constantly in danger, Callie and Asa embark on a journey together. While trying to keep one another safe and their newly found love strong, they deal with life in some of the worst ways possible. Caught up in the turmoil of one crazy night, Asa and Callie have to live with their decisions for the rest of their lives.
    Craving Constellations is almost a must read before this one. Not necessarily because the stories intertwine significantly, but I think to enjoy the characters and their dynamic within the motorcycle club. That said, the majority of the events in Craving Redemption actually happen before the first book..which I will admit threw me for a loop.
     I enjoyed Callie and Asa’s relationship and felt she gave as good as she got. They are both independent and strong willed, so seeing them try to adjust was pretty spectacular in places. The biggest problem I had with the book, was simply Callie’s age. In the book, she’s a teen. Due to unforeseen actions, she has to leave her home and her family, and no one thinks really twice about letting her go off with this older motorcycle guy. Just with an assurance that he’ll protect her. I probably would have been a lot more comfortable with the relationship and the sexual aspects if she had been just a teensy bit older.
     That said, I did enjoy the story and actually just pretended that Callie was older in my head. Asa was loyal to a fault which I loved and I enjoyed their at times tumultuous relationship. There is a brief period where Asa is incarcerated and the author gave an excellent description of how families deal under those circumstances. A fantastic addition to the Aces series, I can’t wait to see what Nicole comes up with next.

The Aces

Book Details
Publisher: Self Published
# of Pages: 426
Date of Publication: February 1, 2014
Location: Sacramento, CA

Monday, June 30, 2014

"Craving Constellations" By: Nicole Jacquelyn Review

Craving Constellations
By: Nicole Jacquelyn

"How is it, that someone can make decision after decision attempting to get away from their past and somehow end up right back where they started?"When Brenna decided to leave the only life she'd ever known, she never thought she'd ever be back. Now, five years later she's running from her clean cut husband straight back to the motorcycle club that raised her... and the man she left behind. She left with a secret, and as soon as she returns the truth will break her carefully constructed life wide open.

My Thoughts
Brenna returns to her father's home after five years away, bring back with her bruises from her soon to be ex-husband and a daughter. Fighting to stay away from her abusive ex, Brenna knows returning to her father means returning to the motorcycle club that was once her family and the man who had fathered her daughter. Dragon, Brenna's one time love and daughter's father, is shocked to see Brenna back but that quickly turns to unbelievable anger when he discovers the daughter he never knew existed. Filled with angst, drama, and unrequited love, Brenna and Dragon's love story takes years to come to fruition but the ride is worth it.
Motorcycle club romances are kind of the “in” thing right now but Nicole Jacquelyn has distinguished herself from the pack. Her characters are faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles that are unique in this new wave of romances. Brenna left her father's club with every intention of making it on her own, until she just couldn't anymore. Faced with extraordinary abuses, she returns to the people she has always known, the motorcycle club. I enjoyed how the MC were never framed as particularly law abiding and upstanding people. They have a choice and even when that choice may be illegal, it doesn't make them good or bad, it just makes them people.
Well written and fast paced, Craving Constellations begins a new series featuring the Aces Motorcycle Club. With a wide variety of secondary characters, I can see a long future for this series. I enjoyed Brenna's strength when she returned, but I think I enjoyed the simple pleasures of family she found with Dragon more. Sweet but the right kind of naughty, I'm looking forward to what comes next.

The Aces Series

Book Details
Publisher: Author Self-Published
# of Pages: 212
Date of Publication: August 27, 2013
Source: Personal Purchase

Location: Eugene, Oregon

Friday, June 27, 2014

"Cowboy Take Me Away" By: Lorelei James Review

Cowboy Take Me Away
By: Lorelei James

The moment Carson McKay saw the sexy blonde at the dance hall, he wanted to throw her over his saddle and gallop hell-bent toward the closest church. Given his reputation as a lover and a fighter-not necessarily in that order-it wasn't surprising she gave him the cold shoulder. But he hadn't expected the mean right hook when he tried to steal a kiss.

Carolyn West might look sweet and innocent, but she's no fool. The good-looking cowboy with the heart-stopping smile didn't really want to marry her; he just wanted to take her for a test ride. But when he kisses her a second time, she doesn't fight her burning attraction to him...until she learns he's one of the McKay cowboys she's been warned about.

Carson doesn't care about the long-standing feud between their families; he knows that Carolyn was meant to be his. And the more intimate they become, the more Carolyn sees the real man behind the wild cowboy reputation-a man who wants the same forever kind of love she does...and who will lead her into a love story that spans fifty years.

My Thoughts
     Carson and Carolyn McKay have long been the backbone of the McKay family. Through fifteen books the family has dealt with love, heartbreak, death and birth. Now in the sixteenth book, Lorelei James delves into the most unforgettable couple in the entire series, where it all started, fifty years ago with Carolyn West and Carson McKay.
      Carson found Carolyn in a bar decades ago in the wilds of Wyoming. After over fifty years together, they have a lifetime of memories together...both good and bad. As Carson and Carolyn reminisce, they share their life stories with one another and other family members.
      Lorelei James has written one of the most perfect books I have ever read. A stunning conclusion to the Rough Riders series. I adored how she approached Carson and Carolyn’s relationship. Beginning like your traditional McKay romance, we see their initial meeting and watch as they fall in love. However, what sets this book apart, we follow their marriage, the births of their children, and the sometimes desperation of ranching.
     The reader sees some of the most pivotal points in the McKay history. You’ve seen it or heard it from the point of view of their children, but we live it with them as they recount their times together. I loved seeing Carolyn’s relationships with her children grow and change as they aged. My absolute favorite scene is the birth of Keely, the only girl after five boys born.
      The emotional intensity of Cowboy Take Me Away is awe inspiring. The bonds between the characters and the relationships created and maintained are what truly make this series special. With the trademark James sexytimes, I found myself laughing out loud, and couldn’t help but sniffle back a tear in a few places. A perfect ending to a wonderful series, I’ll be honest, the book was bittersweet but perfect for me.

Book Details
Date of Publication: June 17, 2014
# of Pages: 505
ISBN: 9781619223974
Location: Wyoming

Rough Riders Series
1. Long Hard Ride
2. Rode Hard, Put Up Wet
3. Cowgirl Up and Ride
4. Tied Up, Tied Down
5. Rough, Raw and Ready
6. Branded as Trouble
6.5 Strong, Silent Type
7. Shoulda Been a Cowboy
8. All Jacked Up
10. Cowgirls Don't Cry
14. Gone Country
15. Redneck Romeo