Cover Reveal: MAN HANDS by Sarina Bowen & Tonya Eby

BLURB:

BRYNN

At thirty-four, I’m reeling from a divorce. I don’t want to party or try to move on. I just want to stay home, post a new recipe on my blog: Brynn’s Dips and Balls.

But my friends aren’t having it. Get out there again, they say. It will be fun, they say. I’m still taking a hard pass.

Free designer cocktails, they say. And that’s a game-changer.

Too bad my ex shows up with his new arm candy. That’s when I lose my mind. But when my besties dare me to leap on the first single man I see, they don’t expect me to actually go through with it. Literally.

TOM

All I need right now is some peace and quiet while my home renovation TV show is on hiatus. But when a curvy woman in a red wrap dress charges me like she’s a gymnast about to mount my high bar, all I can do is brace myself and catch her. What follows is the hottest experience of my adult life.

I want a repeat, but my flying Cinderella disappears immediately afterward. She doesn’t leave a glass slipper, either—just a pair of panties with chocolate bunnies printed on them.

But I will find her.

LINKS
www.tanyaeby.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TanyaEbyNarrator/
https://twitter.com/Blunder_Woman

https://www.sarinabowen.com/
https://www.facebook.com/authorsarinabowen
https://twitter.com/SarinaBowen

Audiobook Review: Drawn That Way by Bronwyn Green

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Drawn That Way by Bronwyn Green
Series: Bound #2
Release Date: April 9th, 2015
Format: Kindle edition (168 pages)
Genre: Contemporary romance, BDSM
Published By: Bronwyn Green
When video games evolve into sex games, she has no idea what she’s risking

Tristan Weaver, accountant for a successful video game company, is in way over her head. Honestly answering a company-wide survey and criticizing the sexist stereotypes used in the company’s games was enough to catch her boss’ attention. But speculating on his sex life within his earshot has unexpected consequences when her hot, but nerdy, boss invites her to model for him.

Owner, artist and lead developer of Brecken Games, Rory Brecken, has a strict no fraternizing with employees rule. However, when he overhears Tristan’s conversation with her friend about his rumored kinks and begins to suspect her curiosity in the submissive side of sex, he’s more than a little tempted. When her interest is undeniably confirmed, he suggests a onetime only, colleagues with benefits hook-up.

Though neither want a relationship, once isn’t enough for either one of them. As their encounters become more intense, Rory makes a huge mistake that may cost him the woman he’s coming to love.

three-half-stars

I enjoyed this audiobook more than I expected. The narrator, Tatiana Sokolov, did an impressive job with this office romance. It was light and fluffy with a very surface emphasis on BDSM. The story flowed very well and entertained from beginning to the end.

Rory Brecken, CEO of a videon gaming company named Brecken Games, sent out an office survey in hopes of improving employee relations as well as find out new ways to improve the video games he offers. When he overhears his accountant Tristan Weavers discussing the one dimensional characterization in the video games as well as the rumors about the CEO’s sex life, Rory decides to indulge Tristan’s curiosity. The rest is a journey of mutual exploration and personal growth as Rory and Tristan have to deal with their perceptions about sex and relationships.

The author did a great job in telling the story in a snapshot of moment style. There wasn’t a lot of character building or development as to who they were. Instead, the narrative is a present accounting of the Tristan and Rory in the workplace and who they are right now. I enjoyed their banter, their trysts, and their discovering of their own personal desires in and out of bed.

This author is new to me, but I will be reading this author again because I found the writing style kept me interested and engaged. The narrator did a great job with the various voices and I listened to the entire audiobook within two days. I docked it half a star because of the very little character development. I had wanted a little more information to truly understand why the characters were unfulfilled and hesitant in asking for what they truly wanted. Still, it was a good read.

Ezi

Release Blitz: In Over Our Heads (Stories from the Shore #2) by CJane Elliott


Title: In Over Our Heads
Series: Stories from the Shore
Author: CJane Elliott
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 16, 2017
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 67,000
Genre: Romance, Second Chances, Vacation

Synopsis

Anthony Vallen is the life of any party. Full of energy and fun, Anthony adores romance and enjoys playing matchmaker for his friends while dancing the night away with a series of Mr. Right Nows. But he’s given up on his own happy ending. A bad breakup years ago made him a secret cynic about love… until he runs into Walter Elkins—the boy who broke his teenaged heart—on a scuba-diving vacation in Key West. Suddenly, Anthony’s reasons for shunning romance no longer hold much water. Being with Walter again forces Anthony to get serious—about himself, his worth, and his heart’s desires.

Brilliant and self-contained, scientist Walter Elkins prefers deep thoughts to other people. He’s a good boss and a model citizen, but Walter doesn’t let anyone get close. After a tragedy drove him out of his science career, Walter landed in Key West and became owner of a dive shop and a bar. Things are fine until Anthony Vallen—the only person who ever penetrated his defenses—shows up, and Walter’s calm, controlled life capsizes. He and Anthony have a second chance for love, but Walter must confront the old fears that threaten to torpedo their happiness.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

The door burst open, and Sophia sailed in with my morning cappuccino. She was humming under her breath and had that telltale postsex glow about her. I tried not to hate her too much.

“What’re you doing in here with me, doll? Don’t you have a sexy dive instructor to entertain?”

“She had to leave early.” Sophia handed me the mug. “She’s taking her group out on the ocean dive too, and she had to go to Back Bay to get the boat ready.”

I took a restorative sip of cappuccino. “Ahh. Well, I hope you didn’t tire her out too much last night. Or vice versa.” I winked at her, even though I didn’t feel very winky.

“Guilty on both our parts, I’m afraid.” Sophia smirked, then perched on the side of my bed. “Can we talk more about what’s going on with you and Walter?”

“Going on?” I blinked and buried my nose in the cup. “I mean, I told you guys last night. What more do you need to know?”

“Whatever it’ll take to help you and him figure yourselves out, because second chances like this don’t come around often.”

“God, not you too. You and Jonny need to start a group for incurable romantics.”

She straightened, her dark eyes snapping with intensity. “Caro! You’re the one who talks about destiny. This is your destiny!”

I sighed. She was so over the top sometimes. Must be her Italian blood. “Maybe my destiny is to be reminded to never let a guy walk over me the way Walter did.”

“I…. Look, Marco has a good point, and I agree with him that Walter needs to apologize. It was awful of him to drop out of sight. You so don’t deserve to be treated that way.”

“Right.” I put down my cup, having lost my taste for the cappuccino.

“But you two were barely out of high school. So young! People change. It certainly doesn’t seem in character with how he is now.”

“Doesn’t it?”

“Well, I mean, Walter seems so conscientious and thoughtful. Yes, a little gruff, but not someone who would knowingly hurt you. But maybe… safety seems to be a huge concern to him. And maybe he couldn’t stand that you almost drowned, and he couldn’t face you after that? Did he ever explain it to you?”

“No. I begged him to tell me why, and all he would say is ‘I’m not good for you. I don’t want to hurt you anymore.’ I guess the safety thing is the most plausible explanation. Because other than that, it’s bizarre that he would walk away and throw away a great thing. We were….” I paused, hit by an unexpected wave of grief. “Damn it, Soph, we were really good together. Yes, we were young, but we complemented each other so well. Like, I brought him out of his shell, and he calmed me down. And he took me seriously. He listened to me in a way no one but Jonny ever had before.” My eyes betrayed me by welling up.

“Oh, Anthony. That’s lovely. I can tell he still does. Take you seriously, I mean. He hasn’t been able to stop staring at you the whole time we’ve been around him. It’s obvious he still cares.”

Sophia’s words threw little daggers at my silly heart. Jonathan had said essentially the same thing. If they both thought Walter still cared for me, maybe it was true. And God, if it was true, I was in deep waters. I knew I should stiffen my backbone and armor myself with outrage. But I couldn’t. Still hung up on Walter Elkins? Guilty as charged. Convicted. Lock me up and throw away the key, because I had no hope of rehabilitation. I put my face in my hands for a moment. What a hopeless sentimental fool!

Luckily for my humiliation factor, Marco came barging in with a brilliant grin. “All right, darlings! Today’s the day! Scuba diving or bust! Get ready for the adventure of your lives.” He stopped short and peered at me. “You okay?”

Pulling myself together, I returned his smile. “Fabulous, doll! Off to the reefs we go to swim with the fishies!”

Purchase

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Hi, everyone! I’m thrilled to be here at Oh My Shelves celebrating In Over Our Heads, my new release. In Over Our Heads is a second chance romance for Anthony and Walter—two guys who seem total opposites but truly complete each other.

I thought I’d share a deleted scene with you. In both versions of the story, Anthony and Walter get back together while Anthony is in Key West, and then are parted when Anthony returns to Boston. But in my first take, Walter isn’t so adamant about not being the one for Anthony and they have a sweet parting scene (instead of the angsty one that made it into the book).

Deleted Scene

Walter kissed Anthony like a drowning man. This was their last night, their last time together. He kissed Anthony over and over, wanting to brand himself on Anthony’s wide smiling mouth forever. The taste of salt on Anthony’s lips told Walter one of them had started crying again.

Why was love so hard?

Being this upset should have rendered Walter impotent (if one were to put stock in the science regarding mind-body connection). But his prick was as eager as it had been ever since Walter had seen Anthony in the bar for the first time in 12 years. Walter had gone home and beaten off that night for the first time in a long time. He’d always assumed he had a low sex drive, but that wasn’t the case. His sex drive was directed at one person, and one person alone, and that one person was here with him.

“I’m sorry to cry so much, but I can’t stop.” Anthony’s voice was tear-clogged. “I want you inside me and I’m just gonna cry my way through it. Because you know I’m an overemotional mess and this is tearing me apart.”

Walter closed his eyes like that would somehow help him soothe his own conflicting mass of feelings: sadness, horniness, fear… he couldn’t distinguish all of them. He’d been adept at repressing his emotions, not at understanding them, and even less at owning them the way Anthony did his.

“Make love to me.”

Anthony’s whisper jolted Walter out of the morass he’d sunken into. He opened his eyes and did the mental equivalent of squaring his shoulders. Willing himself to stay present, Walter touched Anthony’s face, wiping away the tears with a gentle thumb. “How do you want it?” he asked.

“I want to see you.”

They ended up with Anthony sinking down on Walter’s rock-hard cock as they clasped hands. Inch by slow inch, Anthony claimed him. He already had. He always would.

Afterward, they lay holding each other and Walter watched the shadows on the ceiling, cast by the flickering candle Anthony had lit earlier.

“I wish you wouldn’t leave.” He hadn’t planned to say it. But it was true.

“I wish I didn’t have to. But if you come to my birthday party, we’ll be seeing each other in a few weeks.”

“I… uh….” How could Walter explain his aversion to ever setting foot again in Boston? “Maybe you can come back here soon. For Christmas?”

Silence. He cast an uneasy glance at Anthony. His unease grew at the grim expression on Anthony’s face. “Is there some reason you can’t come to Boston?”

Yes! Walter wanted to shout. “I… there’re a lot of bad memories.”

The light went out of Anthony’s eyes. “I see. And you and me—that’s one of the bad memories you’re running from?”

“No. Not any more. But the rest of it… I botched everything. My parents and I aren’t speaking any more. I didn’t tell you that part yet.”

“Oh babe.” Anthony stroked the back of Walter’s neck. It felt good. “So, I’m guessing—without us getting into the ‘talk’ about our future—that you coming to Boston to live with me is a no go.”

“Yeah.” But then he registered what Anthony was saying. “Wait. Are you sure you want us to live together? At all?”

Anthony’s smile was startling in the middle of this conversation. “Oh, yes. We’re meant to be, doll! Destiny didn’t bring us together like this just to have us screw it up. But I know you might not be there yet. And I’m going to wait until you are.”

“Oh.” Walter’s head started to spin with “how about’s” and “what if’s” and damn Anthony for his completely illogical insistence on… on fairy tale endings! Walter was no prince. Why couldn’t Anthony see that?

As if he could read Walter’s mind, Anthony kissed him and said, “You’re the right one for me. I trust you. You would never ever willingly or knowingly hurt me. But I can’t make you see this. It’s something you’ll have to do for yourself. Trust yourself and not that nasty voice in your head. And if you can’t do that, then trust me.”

Walter stowed those words away. He couldn’t deal with them yet but he intended to examine every last one again and again. Whatever it took to… trust? Trust was such a vague concept. But he was determined to study it, analyze it, and master it. Anthony was worth it.

Celebrate the release of In Over Our Heads with a special sale: All the Way to Shore is on sale for 99 cents at Amazon through October 24 with that price matched at the Dreamspinner Press store October 16-24.

Meet the Author

After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.

CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories. In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.

CJane is the author of the award-winning Serpentine Series, New Adult contemporary novels set at the University of Virginia. Serpentine Walls was a 2014 Rainbow Awards finalist, Aidan’s Journey was a 2015 EPIC Awards finalist, and Sex, Love, and Videogames won first place in the New Adult category in the 2016 Swirl Awards and first place in Contemporary Fiction in the 2017 EPIC eBook Awards.

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Cover Reveal: Bountiful (True North, Book 4) by Sarina Bowen

⭐ Amazon http://geni.us/BflAmazon

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⭐ Kobo http://geni.us/BFkobo

No last names. No life stories. Those were the rules.

Once upon a time a cocky, copper-haired tourist sauntered into Zara’s bar. And even though she knew better, Zara indulged in a cure for the small-town blues. It was supposed to be an uncomplicated fling—a few sizzling weeks before he went back to his life, and she moved on.

Until an accidental pregnancy changed her life.

Two years later, she’s made peace with the notion that Dave No-Last-Name will never be found. Until one summer day when he walks into her coffee shop, leveling her with the same hot smile that always renders her defenseless.

Dave Beringer has never forgotten the intense month he spent with prickly Zara. Their nights together were the first true intimacy he’d ever experienced. But the discovery of his child is the shock of a lifetime, and his ugly past puts relationships and family out of reach.

Or does it? Vermont’s countryside has a way of nurturing even tortured souls. The fields and the orchards—and hard won love—are Bountiful.

The Long and Winding Road by TJ Klune

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Long and Winding Road: by T.J. Klune
Series: Bear, Otter and the Kid #4
Release Date: August 11th, 2017
Pages: 346 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Family is not always defined by blood. It’s defined by those who make us whole—those who make us who we are.

And here, at the end, Bear and Otter will be tested like they’ve never been before.

There’s a knock at the door from a little girl who has nowhere else to go.

There’s a phone ringing, bringing news they do not expect.

There’s a brother returning home after learning how to stand on his own.

As these moments converge, all of their lives will change forever.

Beginning in Bear, Otter, and the Kid, and continuing in Who We Are and The Art of Breathing, TJ Klune has told a saga of family and brotherhood, of love and sacrifice. In this final chapter, the events of the past pave the long and winding road toward a future no one could have imagined.

five-stars

 

 

Its been 2 days since finishing this book, and I’m trying to figure out how to conjure Otter out of this alternate universe. With no luck, or help it isn’t happening. I’m a huge fan of Klune, and everyone knows I like his more serious books without the comedy. I enjoy the comedy don’t get me wrong, but the realistic fiction calls to my soul more. When I first laid eyes on this series, I stayed away! Yikes the cover was HIDEOUS for book one. I don’t even recall what I first thought about it. My very first read was Into This River I Drowned and it destroyed me. It broke me into a billions pieces, and I had to reconsider on what covers mean to me. At this point, 2 books in the series were out and three was a few months out. I decided to give it a chance, and its the best thing I’ve ever had to do. Falling in love with this family felt so right. Falling in love with Otter felt so normal Crying, and laughing felt like home. I just re-read the first 3 books leading up to me reading this. Its a series that I know I can’t re-read often for fear of losing that spark that I felt the very first time. I won’t go on and long with poetry about how amazing Klune is. After all he gave me Otter, Gus & Ox. His characters are real, flawed, amazing, and seep so deep down inside you, that you can’t help but to love them.

Reading this book was hard because as much as I loved it, seeing me get close to the 100% was way harder. It was emotional, it was funny, and it made me feel melancholy for a while. Unlike most, I’m happy with the end of this series. I love where they are at. I feel like Bear & Kid have finally found peace and I’m happy with everything they’ve had to go through to get where they are. No part of this journey has been easy. If I could have had any of the support in my life that these two have had, then I’d be happy and content.

The Long and Winding Road is broken up into 3 different parts. Each part literally tears me down. I might love the future part, but the past part definitely affected me more. Seeing the Kid’s situation was so devastating, but it was brilliantly done. It was honest, and truthful. No easy fix, no rainbows or sprinkles. Really gritty, and something that needed to be approached. Love that the overall message is about family. Whether it comes from blood relatives, or people you’ve woven together it only matters that you love one another and look out for the people who’ve always mattered.

Its bittersweet saying goodbye, but I thank T.J. for welcoming these people in my life for the betterment of it. I can peacefully say goodbye to Bear, Otter, Kid, Dominic, Mrs. Paquinn, Creed, Anna and the Rents! I can say goodbye to the future Thompson’s and Millers. I can say goodbye to the earthquakes, laughter, and that little patch of beach. It might not be really goodbye for me, but I’m happy with the ending. So thank you T.J. I totally loved this book and Otter ever more!

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About TJ Klune

When TJ Klune was eight, he picked up a pen and paper and began to write his first story (which turned out to be his own sweeping epic version of the video game Super Metroid—he didn’t think the game ended very well and wanted to offer his own take on it. He never heard back from the video game company, much to his chagrin). Now, two decades later, the cast of characters in his head have only gotten louder, wondering why he has to go to work as a claims examiner for an insurance company during the day when he could just stay home and write.

He lives with a neurotic cat in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. It’s hot there, but he doesn’t mind. He dreams about one day standing at Stonehenge, just so he can say he did.

Standalone Sunday (8/6/17): Lingus by Mariana Zapata

Standalone Sunday is a fun feature created by Megan at Bookslayerreads where each Sunday you feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend. There’s so much focus on books that are part of a series… she thought it’d be nice to focus on some standalone novels, too!

Feel free to join in on this weekly feature by creating your own Standalone Sunday post! And be sure to check out Megan’s very creative blog and leave a link in her Standalone Sunday comments section so she can add your blog to the list

My Standalone Pick this week is: Lingus by Mariana Zapata

Blurb
Most people would describe Katherine Berger as a responsible girl with a big heart, a loyal friend who takes care of those close to her, and the possessor of a wicked sense of humor. There was something about her that most people didn't know. "My name is Kat Berger, and I love porn."

When twenty-five-year-old Kat is dragged to a porn convention by her best friend, she's both embarrassed and nervous. The last thing she ever expected was to meet someone who makes her laugh like no other. This is a story about acceptance and friendship, and a love born out of the most unexpected of places.

ADD TO GOODREADS

I have enjoyed every book since trying The Wall of Winnipeg earlier this summer. This is the only remaining audiobook by Mariana Zapata that I haven't tried. I'm looking forward to beginning it shortly. What's your favorite book by this author?

Trust With A Chaser by Annabeth Albert

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Trust with a Chaser: by Annabeth Albert
Series: Rainbow Cove #1
Release Date: August 1st, 2017
Pages: 255 • Format: eARC
Published By: Annabeth Albert
Purchase Links:
Amazon

One hot cop. One bar owner out for redemption. One smoking-hot summer fling destined to leave scorch marks…

Mason Hanks has returned to Rainbow Cove, Oregon with one goal in mind: turn the struggling coastal community into a thriving LGBTQ tourism destination. Step one is transforming an old bar and grill into a gay-friendly eatery. Step two? Don’t piss off Nash Flint, the very hot, very stern chief of police who’s not so sure he’s on board with Mason’s big plans.

Nash Flint just wants to keep his community safe and enjoy the occasional burger in peace. He’s not big on change nor is he a fan of Mason’s troublemaking family, especially his rowdy older brothers. But Mason slowly wins him over with fantastic cooking and the sort of friendship Nash has been starving for.

When their unlikely friendship takes a turn for the sexy, both men try to steer clear of trouble. Nash believes he’s too set in his ways for Mason, and Mason worries that his family’s reputation will ruin any future with Nash. Burning up the sheets in secret is a surefire way to crash and burn, and discovery forces a heart-wrenching decision—is love worth the risk of losing everything?

four-stars

This book! ZOMG!!! It brightened up my day big time. I read this in one sitting, and couldn’t move or put it down. I need Albert to push this series out big time! Rainbow Cove is so my comfort read. I really enjoyed everything about this book, my only downfall is that I never wanted it to end! Guh!!!! Why??? I needed to see Mason, Lilac and Nash after that statement. Annabeth, you had to know we would want to see them, and read about them for at least another 100 pages. Is that so hard to ask?

Probably so. LOL. Don’t worry folks, this doesn’t end in a cliffhanger. Its more a HFN until I get a finale from these two. It has a lot of my favorite tropes, the age-gap, out for you, small quaint town settings, children. Its a definite winner. Mason Hanks comes from a family of people whom representation isn’t that upstanding. They are kinda known as criminals, and people who don’t up-stand the law. Not that Mason things he’s better then his family, but he just wants different in life. Coming back to Rainbow Cove isn’t something he planned but with 2 of his friends having the opportunity to open a tavern in his home town is a dream come true. Being closer to his niece who he adores, and a wayward brother and okay father. Never in Mason’s wildest dreams did he think Police Chief Nash Flint would be somebody he falls in love with. Flint isn’t easy to deal with at all. He’s so far in the closet, he’s practically in Narnia. Not really for fear of what others thing, but the fear of not living up to the job title and perception of folks all around him. Falling in Love with Flint isn’t easy. He’s grumpy, monosyllabic at times, and stubborn. Think that’s a common trait in the y chromosome folks. I liked the they were able to trade off on compromising for each others wants and desires. They didn’t have the best of communication but definitely made it for best for them.

One of my favorite things is when the writing feels real. This is a really good realistic fiction. With everyday problems and every day people. I enjoyed the other characters a lot. Can’t wait for Curtis & Logan’s book, I can only dream of where it goes. No idea on who Adam will end up with, kinda don’t want it to be Brock because I want him to end up with this burly lumberjack guy in my head. Proper Brock and Lumberjack dude is so hot. ARGH!!! Focus Tamika! I can’t wait for more, and loved the pacing of the story. There were some really steamy scenes, and I found the pillow talk to be truly endearing. I think fans will really appreciate and enjoy this series a lot. Annabeth, totally rocked this! Definite recommend from me!

 

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About Annabeth Albert

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Audiobook Review: Under Locke by Mariana Zapata

Narrator: Callie Dalton
Source: Tantor Audio

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Under Locke by Mariana Zapata
Release Date: January 19th, 2014
Format: Audiobook (16 hrs and 5 mins)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published By: Tantor Audio

He was my boss, my brother’s friend, a Widower, an ex-felon, and a man I’d seen casually with a handful of women. But he was everything that gripped me, both the good and the bad. Worst case scenario if things turned awkward between us, I could go somewhere else. I’d gotten over epic heartbreak before, one more wouldn’t kill me.

After moving to Austin following six months of unemployment back home, Iris Taylor knows she should be glad to have landed a job so quickly… even if the business is owned by a member of the same motorcycle club her estranged father used to belong to. Except Dex Locke might just be the biggest jerk she’s ever met. He’s rude, impatient and doesn’t know how to tell time.

And the last thing they ever expected was each other. But it was either the strip club or the tattoo shop… she should have chosen the strip club.

four-half-stars

If you have read Mariana Zapata, then you know you are in for a slow yet well developed romance. I haven’t read one that I didn’t enjoy and this book was no exception.

Iris “Ritz” Taylor lost her mom, and having no way to take care of herself, moved to Austin, Texas to live with her half brother Sonny. They shared a deadbeat dad who seemed to prefer getting in trouble than taking care of the kids he kept creating. Sonny worked a garage, but arranged for Ritz to work at a tattoo parlor owned by his friend named Declan “Dex” Locke. When Iris showed up, she met this Dex and it wasn’t love at first sight at all. Dex was definitely a douche and a naive Iris was the recipient of his constant venom.

This book detailed the journey as Iris and worked hard to rebuild her life and protect herself from the loan sharks her father But slowly, Iris showed her grit as she and Sonny tried to handle the loan sharks who decided to target them since they can’t find Iris’s dad. This required help from Dex and soon Sonny found herself living with Dex for protection. The two got to know each other and sparks flew.

Callie Dalton did a great job narrating this story. Her voice for Ritz had a youthful and hopeful note and her voice for Dex was gruffy, rude and bossy. The chemistry and angst was palpable that I was on pins and needles waiting for Dex to declare his feelings to Ritz.

Mariana Zapata has become one of my new favorites for a meaningful adult-ish romance (not overly sexy) with characters that are entertaining. I think this is my second favorite book from her so far.

The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

Title: The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia
Release Date:October 4th 2016
Format (Pages): Paperback (384 pages)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Published By: Imprint

I’ve become an expert at avoiding things that could hurt me—which means I will figure out how to stay away from Marco Leone.

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

five-stars

This book featured one of my favorite romance tropes: good girl falls for bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks. But what made it so enjoyable was the visceral writing of Kami Garcia. I felt like I actually knew these kids and I couldn’t help but hope they had what it took to overcome their obstacles.

Frankie Devereux was a seventeen year old forced to move in with her police officer dad due to some bad choices and actions on her part. While at her new school, she met Marco Leone, the resident bad boy that everyone warned her to stay away from. As fate often does, situations kept bring them together and revealing that each character was more than the image the exuded to the world.

The author did a great job of developing the characters and the story was so captivating. It had just the right amount of angst, suspense, cuteness and hope that I fell in love with this book. I hope the author will consider doing a sequel on the supporting characters because the friends all had things going worth exploring.

This book was just what I need to remind me what I loved about new adult romances.

About Kami Garcia

Kami Garcia is the #1 New York Times, USA Today & international bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures and Dangerous Creatures novels. BEAUTIFUL CREATURES has been published in 50 countries and translated in 39 languages, and the film Beautiful Creatures released in theaters in 2013, from Warner Brothers. Kami’s solo series, The Legion, includes the instant New York Times bestseller UNBREAKABLE, and the sequel UNMARKED, both of which were nominated for Bram Stoker Awards. Her forthcoming YA contemporary romance THE LOVELY RECKLESS releases on October 4, 2016, followed by THE X-FILES ORIGINS: AGENT OF CHAOS, a novel about a teenage Fox Mulder, in January 2017, both from Imprint (Macmillan).

Kami was a teacher for seventeen years before co-authoring her first novel on a dare from seven of her students. If she isn’t busy watching Supernatural, Kami can teach you how to escape from a pair of handcuffs or bake a Coca-Cola cake. She lives in Maryland with her family, and their dogs Spike and Oz (named after characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

Review: The Hard Truth About Sunshine by Sawyer Bennett

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: The Hard Truth About Sunshine by Sawyer Bennett
Release Date: March 28th, 2017
Format:  Kindle Edition (348 pages)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Purchase Links: Amazon | Paperback | B&N | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo

An angry, bitter amputee.
An optimist losing her eyesight.
A dying kid.
A suicidal thief.

Four people with nothing in common but their destination.
Despite having narrowly escaped death’s clutches, Christopher Barlow is grateful for nothing. His capacity to love has been crushed. He hates everyone and everything, completely unable to see past the gray stain of misery that coats his perception of the world. It’s only after he involuntarily joins a band of depressed misfits who are struggling to overcome their own problems, does Christopher start to re-evaluate his lot in life.
What could they possibly learn from one another? How could they possibly help each other to heal? And the question that Christopher asks himself over and over again… can he learn to love again?
He’s about to find out as he embarks upon a cross country trip with a beautiful woman who is going blind, a boy with terminal cancer, and an abuse victim who can’t decide whether she wants to live or die.
They will encounter adventure, thrills, loss and love.
And within their travels they will learn the greatest lesson of all.
The hard truth about sunshine…

Warning: This book deals with some tough issues including suicide and sexual abuse.

four-stars

This book was an emotional roller coaster that kind of ended well, but the subject matter was HEAVY. I am glad that I read it though I probably will never read it again.

Christopher Barlow was a former marine floundering after he was maimed by an IED. He was forced to get counseling after a suicide attempt as well as his continuing PTSD battle. During his group therapy, he met several people including: Jillian Martel, a woman going blind, Barbara Stiles, a woman who had attempted suicide a few times due to sexual abuse trauma and Connor McCann, a young guy who had less than a year to live. To help Connor tick off items on his bucket list, the therapy group went on a road trip.

This trip began the bonding that allowed each character to make themselves vulnerable to the other members of their group. Most of the stories were sad but I was also in awe at the strength that each of them exhibited as they tried to deal with their depression.

I haven’t read anything like this from Sawyer Bennett and I am surprised that she tried this. I will give her kudos because the story shows bravery, real life issues and the uncomfortable reality of many people struggling with being less than “society perfect”. I put it down a few times to decompress but I am glad that I finished it. There was light at the end of the tunnel and it was worth it to finish this book.