Thursday, June 25, 2015

Review: Flirting with Fire

Title: Hot in Chicago #1: Flirting With Fire

Author: Kate Meader

Date of Publication: March 24, 2015

Formats Available: Paperback, E-book

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Synopsis: The first installment in Hot in Chicago, a brand-new, sizzling series from Kate Meader that follows a group of firefighting foster siblings and their blazing hot love interests!

Savvy PR guru Kinsey Taylor has always defined herself by her career, not her gender. That is, until she moved from San Francisco to Chicago to be with her fiancé who thought she wasn’t taking her “job” of supporting him in his high-powered career seriously enough—and promptly dumped her for a more supportive and “feminine” nurse. Now, as the new assistant press secretary to Chicago’s dynamic mayor, she’s determined to keep her eye on the prize: no time to feel inferior because she’s a strong, kick-ass woman, and certainly no time for men.

But that all changes when she meets Luke Almeida, a firefighter as searingly sexy as he is quick-tempered. He’s also the second oldest of the Firefightin’ Dempseys, a family of foster siblings who have committed their lives to the service—if Luke’s antics don’t get him fired first. When Luke goes one step too far and gets into a bar brawl with the Chicago Police Department, Kinsey marches into Luke’s firehouse and lays down the law on orders from the mayor. But at Engine Co. 6, Luke Almeida is the law. And he’s not about to let Kinsey make the rules.

My Review:

I honestly hadn't been expecting much from this novel, in fact based on the cover and the synopsis I was expecting this one to be pretty bad. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I found myself starting to enjoy the story. I loved how Meader created so many different intertwining plot lines and even a secondary romance with one of Luke's foster brothers; there was hardly a dull moment, and I loved that! 

Though there was nothing earth shattering about this novel it was entertaining, in mindless reality television kind of way, but entertaining nonetheless. I loved reading about Luke and Kinsey and the drama surrounding their initial meeting. Flirting with Fire was full of surprising plot twists and I was surprised by how much drama Meader was able to fit into this novel, so often with contemporary novels I find myself getting bored because reading about day to day activities never interests me. From conflicts between Kinsey and her boss to the side story about Luke's foster brother Gage, there was plenty of story lines to keep me entertained. 

As for the romance, Meader executed it astonishingly well for what it was. I've never been a fan of any kind of romance that starts with little meaning behind it, as was the case this time, but the way it was executed made me enjoy it anyway. Maybe it was because I could tell that both Luke and Kinsey were hiding their feelings, even from themselves, but I felt a connection between them that I don't usually feel in romances like this. Though I wouldn't call the romance raunchy it had plenty of perfectly placed steamy scenes and Meader was able to keep everything classy while still adding plenty of spice, something I always appreciate. 

The only thing that irritated me a little bit about this book was how Kinsey and Luke made everything difficult for themselves through poor communication. I suppose there wouldn't have been much of a story if they didn't, but I got a little frustrated with them toward the end of the novel because I wanted everything for them to work out but they were making it so difficult. However, the conflict between them didn't go on long and I was happy to see the two of them work everything out. 

In the end I would definitely recommend Flirting With Fire to those looking for something fun to read that doesn't require a whole lot of thinking. This is the perfect book to sit down with and de-stress at the end of a long day. Fans of contemporary romance have found a winner with Kate Meader. 


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review: Game On

Title: The Bod Squad #1: Game On

Author: Gabra Zackman

Date of Publication: April 6, 2015

Formats Available: E-book

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Synopsis: Part caper, part romantic comedy, this hilariously entertaining book in the Bod Squad series features a sassy and sexy undercover operative, Susannah “Legs” Carter, and her Ocean’s Eleven–style team of private investigators.

From Washington, DC, to Paris, Legs is tailing Charles Oakley Palmer III, a white-collar criminal she’s determined to bring to justice. But will romance or betrayal blossom along the way? Find out in the first in a sizzling new series about a team of highly skilled investigators who go undercover to catch criminals—while juggling romance, world travel, and danger around every corner.

My Review:

Maybe I just picked this one up at the wrong time but, though I tend to force my way through every book I take on, I just couldn't force myself to get past 45% of Game On. The cheesy characters, the lackluster plot, and the relatively uneventful story line all came together to make this novel a particularly difficult one for me to finish.

One of the main reasons I couldn't force my way through this novel, despite it's measly 152 pages, was how completely ridiculous the whole story line was. This book uses every cliche ever created and doesn't even use them well. I was cringing at  nicknames such as "Legs" and "Fingers". The second reason I had trouble with Game On was that Susannah was the absolute worst spy I've ever read about. She blows her cover within minutes, she's sleeping around with the enemy, and I just couldn't take anything about her seriously.

 However, I could have lived with everything above if it hadn't been for the writing. The writing itself was what really brought this novel down and made me give it the rating I did. Impersonal and removed the writing offered no real insight into the characters and I felt like the author was telling me what was happening rather than showing me. Even though some of the plot twists were interesting I just couldn't get pulled into the story because I felt like I was watching from the sidelines, rather than living the story with the characters.

That's not to say that the whole story was bad, there were some enjoyable moments throughout, I enjoyed the tongue in cheek dialogue and the exotic locations. Though the plot twists were pretty easy to spot I still enjoyed the idea behind the premise and Zackman had some good ideas, though they just weren't executed in way that made me fall in love with this book.

Overall Game On just wasn't my cup of tea, though I can understand how it would appeal to those looking for a lighthearted action/romance.


*I received a copy of this novel in exchange for a free and honest review. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Review: Five Ways to Fall

Title: Ten Tiny Breaths #4: Five Ways to Fall

Author: K. A. Tucker

Date of Publication: June 24, 2014

Formats Available: Paperback, E-book

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Synopsis: Purple-haired, sharp-tongued Reese MacKay knows all about making the wrong choice; she’s made plenty of them in her twenty-odd-years. So when her impulsive, short-lived marriage ends in heartbreak, she decides it’s time for a change. She moves to Miami with the intention of hitting reset on her irresponsible life, and she does quite well…aside from an epically humiliating one-night stand in Cancun with a hot blond bouncer named Ben. Thank God she can get on a plane and leave that mistake behind her.

Football scholarship and frat parties with hot chicks? Part of charmer Ben Morris’s plan. Blown knee that kills any hope of a professional football career? So not part of the plan. Luckily Ben has brains to go with his knockout looks and magnetism. After three long years of balancing law school with his job as a bouncer at Penny’s Palace, he’s ready to lead a more mature life—until his first day of work, when he finds himself in the office of that crazy, hot chick he met in Cancun. The one he hasn’t stopped thinking about.

If Ben truly were a smart guy, he’d stay clear of Reese. She’s the boss’s stepdaughter and it’s been made very clear that office romances are grounds for dismissal. Plus, rumor has it she’s trouble. The only problem is, he likes trouble, especially when it’s so good-looking…

My Review:

The Ten Tiny Breaths series has been been an interesting series for me, I've given these books everywhere from five stars to two and I never know what to expect. Each of these books is always a gamble and unfortunately Five Ways to Fall is a gamble that just didn't pay off. While I didn't exactly dislike this novel there wasn't much about it I liked either.  

Unfortunately for the most part, I was bored by the majority of Five Ways to Fall. Sure, the conflict between Reese and her ex-husband and his new wife was a little entertaining but the rest of the novel just didn't have much going for it. There wasn't a whole lot of romance, there wasn't any sort of major life changing conflict, there weren't even cameos of all the characters from the previous novels. Most of the novel was Reese floating through life on her motorcycle, fooling around with Ben, and thinking about how much she hated her ex and his new wife. While a few of her revenge tactics made me laugh the rest of the novel just didn't have any substance to it.

Even from the beginning of the series I haven't been a huge fan of Ben, he's okay but there was never anything special about him that really stood out to me. After reading this novel, I still don't see anything unique about him and maybe that's why I didn't like this one as much as I had been hoping. I was looking forward to watching Ben grow as a character, learning more about his past, and find out what makes him tick. However, he's the same womanizing man-whore he's always been for about 98% of the novel. No real character growth takes place until the very last pages of the novel and I was disappointed that we didn't get to see more of Ben after he grows up a little bit. 

However, the thing that really brought this novel down was the romance, or lack thereof. Ben and Reese spend the majority of the novel fooling around with each other but without any kind of meaning behind it. I'm not a huge fan of one night stands or any kind of romance that doesn't have any real feelings behind it and this was a classic example of the type of romances I just can't stand. Though the end was a little better I wish they had realized their feelings sooner so there would have been more romance to go on, rather than impersonal flings. 

Though Five Ways to Fall wasn't a terrible novel it definitely wasn't my favorite in the series. I would still recommend that fans of the series check this one out but don't expect it to be as good as Four Seconds to Lose or Ten Tiny Breaths


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Review: Never Seduce a Scot

Title: The Montgomerys and the Armstrongs #1: Never Seduce a Scot

Author: Maya Banks

Date of Publication: September 25, 2012

Formats Available: Hardcover, Paperback, E-book

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Synopsis: Eveline Armstrong is fiercely loved and protected by her powerful clan, but outsiders consider her “touched.” Beautiful, fey, with a level, intent gaze, she doesn’t speak. No one, not even her family, knows that she cannot hear. Content with her life of seclusion, Eveline has taught herself to read lips and allows the outside world to view her as daft. But when an arranged marriage into a rival clan makes Graeme Montgomery her husband, Eveline accepts her duty—unprepared for the delights to come. Graeme is a rugged warrior with a voice so deep and powerful that his new bride can hear it, and hands and kisses so tender and skilled that he stirs her deepest passions.

Graeme is intrigued by the mysterious Eveline, whose silent lips are ripe with temptation and whose bright, intelligent eyes can see into his soul. As intimacy deepens, he learns her secret. But when clan rivalries and dark deeds threaten the wife he has only begun to cherish, the Scottish warrior will move heaven and earth to save the woman who has awakened his heart to the beautiful song of a rare and magical love.

My Review:

Never Seduce a Scot has been a priority on my reading list for a few weeks now. Because I started with the second book in this series I'd heard a lot of references to this novel and I was eager to go back to the beginning and see where it all began. With a disabled heroine, the promise of a heartfelt romance, and hints of plenty of action there was no way this book would disappoint.  

First of all I have to start with the fact that I absolutely loved Eveline. There is a special place in my heart for disabled main characters and the more I read about Eveline and what happened to her the more I loved her. When I read about her near death experience that took her hearing I knew I was going to like her, and later when I read about everything she had to endure at the hands of the Montgomery clan, I knew I was going to love her. Banks created a villain I love to hate in Ian, and I loved seeing him in the flesh, rather than just the ghost of his actions lingering behind, like in the second book. Though he was undoubtedly evil the moments where he was around were the most exciting and I loved watching the drama unfold. 

Romances with disabled main characters are quite possibly my favorite romances in the world. So it was no surprise to me that I adored the romance between Graeme and Eveline. The loss of her hearing added a whole new dimension to their relationship and I loved watching Graeme slowly fall in love with her despite everyone telling him not to. Though I didn't feel that Graeme was as fleshed out as Eveline I still enjoyed reading about him, I just wish I had been able to learn more about him. He was an interesting character, but overall he just fell a little flat. 

Though overall I enjoyed this novel I was a little disappointed in that I thought there would be more action than there actually was. After reading so many references to events in this novel I thought Never Seduce a Scot was going to be full of action and excitement with a healthy dose of romance thrown in. However, this book moves at a more leisurely pace with the most exciting part of the novel only taking about one chapter toward the end. The pace ended up working for the story, and I enjoyed the chance to get to know Eveline during the slower beginning, but I just wish the exciting moments had been given a little more than just a chapter here and there. 

At the end of the day Never Seduce a Scot is a fun and entertaining read that fans of historical romance will no doubt devour. I really enjoyed my first series by Maya Banks and I'm excited to check out more of her work in the future! 


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Review: Archer's Voice

Title: Archer's Voice

Author: Mia Sheridan

Date of Publication: January 25, 2014

Formats Available: Paperback, E-book

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Synopsis: When Bree Prescott arrives in the sleepy, lakeside town of Pelion, Maine, she hopes against hope that this is the place where she will finally find the peace she so desperately seeks. On her first day there, her life collides with Archer Hale, an isolated man who holds a secret agony of his own. A man no one else sees.

Archer's Voice is the story of a woman chained to the memory of one horrifying night and the man whose love is the key to her freedom. It is the story of a silent man who lives with an excruciating wound and the woman who helps him find his voice. It is the story of suffering, fate, and the transformative power of love.

My Review:

After reading so many amazing reviews for this novel I just knew that I had to read it. It sounded like it had all of my favorite ingredients; a disabled hero, a cute romance, and a heroine trying to overcome her past. However, the farther I got into this novel the more I started to dislike it

The number one reason I wasn't a fan of this novel was Bree. The more I read about her, the more I couldn't stand her. She was a stalker, and not a very good one at that. I couldn't help but cringe in second hand embarrassment as she just let herself onto Archer's property and basically forced herself upon him even though he clearly wasn't interested in her. Archer was slightly more bearable than Bree, but only barely. Instead of making him endearing his naiveté drove insane and I juts couldn't stand the silly little conflicts between him and Bree over basically nothing. 

Not only was Bree annoying but the fact that everything was just so convenient and unrealistic kept me rolling my eyes throughout the whole novel. Archer can't speak? Well conveniently enough Bree's dad was deaf so she already knows sign language. Archer lived alone for the bulk of his life and never went to school? Don't worry, he taught himself sign language from a book. Bree only likes folded over potato chips? Well, good thing Archer is here to buy several bags of potato chips and pick them all out for her. I mean really,who does that? 

Finally, the writing was what really drove me insane. Sheridan tried really hard to use analogies and phrases that just didn't work. There were sentences that I had to read over again just understand what she was trying to say. The steamy scenes were especially hard to read, especially with phrases such as "the sex act" thrown in, they felt more childish than romantic. But  finally, let me share the gem that made me realize this was going to be a particularly painful and cringe worthy read:

"He had a crease in each cheek, not dimples exactly, just the way his cheek muscles moved when he smiled. I stared at those creases as if they were twin unicorns that he'd been hiding from me under his beard. Magical."

...and it was all down hill from there.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Review: Highlander Most Wanted

Title: The Montgomerys and the Armstrongs #2: Highlander Most Wanted

Author: Maya Banks

Date of Publication: March 19, 2013

Formats Available: Hardcover, Paperback, E-book

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Synopsis: In Highlander Most Wanted, a reclusive woman content to live in the shadows shows a Highland warrior the true meaning of love.

Genevieve McInnes is locked behind the fortified walls of McHugh Keep, captive of a cruel laird who takes great pleasure in ruining her for any other man. Yet when Bowen Montgomery storms the gates on a mission of clan warfare, Genevieve finds that her spirit is bent but not broken. Still, her path toward freedom remains uncertain. Unable to bear the shame of returning to a family that believes her dead or to abandon others at the keep to an imposing new laird, Genevieve opts for the peaceful life of an abbess. But Bowen’s rugged sensuality stirs something deep inside her that longs to be awakened by his patient, gentle caress—something warm, wicked, and tempting.

Bowen seizes his enemy’s keep, unprepared for the brooding and reclusive woman who captures his heart. He’s enchanted by her fierce determination, her unusual beauty, and her quiet, unfailing strength. But wooing her will take more than a seasoned seducer’s skill. For loving Genevieve, he discovers, means giving her back the freedom that was stolen from her—even if it means losing her forever.

My Review:

Yet again I find myself starting with the second book in a series, which seems to be my usual though it's never intended. Thankfully this is another series where it's not necessary to start with the first book and I had no problems understanding any of the plot. Though I wasn't expecting much from this novel it turned out to be a very enjoyable read and I ended up really enjoying the story and the great dynamic between the characters.

I didn't immediately love our heroine, Genevieve, but I came around to her distant personality and quickly gained respect for her after learning what she had gone through. Banks created the perfect monster in Ian and his father Patrick and the horrors Genevieve went through chilled me to my bones. After reading about what she went through it was impossible to believe that she would ever be able to love again but Banks created the perfect hero in Bowen and I loved watching her transformation from a distant woman with a past full of horrors into the sweet and lovable woman she was at the end of the novel.

The romance between Bowen and Genevieve was absolutely adorable. I loved watching her overcome her past and fall in love and I adored Bowen for being there for her every step of the way. Strong and protective Bowen was my favorite kind of hero and I was swooning throughout the whole novel. The perfect blend between sweet and sensual Banks created the perfect romance for Genevieve and I enjoyed watching every moment of her transformation. I'm definitely excited to see a cameo of her in future novels and see how far she's come!

My only complaint about this novel was that Bowen and Genevieve constantly made every situation harder than it needed to be. I don't want to give anything away but, toward the end especially, they were driving me up the wall with how stupid they were being. I hate watching characters do everything the hard way and, while I guess it makes for a more interesting story, it just made me frustrated with the both of them. Thankfully they figured it out in the end but honestly, this book would have been 50 pages shorter if they had been smart in the first place, instead of putting themselves in the most difficult situation possible.

At the end of the day however this was an enjoyable novel and I'll definitely be picking up the first one in the series. I definitely recommend this novel to fans of historical romance with an exciting and original plot!


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Review: Dragon's Lair

Title: Wind Dragons MC #1: Dragon's Lair

Author: Chantal Fernando

Date of Publication: May 12, 2014

Formats Available: Paperback, E-book

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Synopsis: The first in a new sexy romance series from bestselling author Chantal Fernando about the bad boys of the Wind Dragons Motorcycle Club and the women who fall in love with them.

When I found my boyfriend cheating on me, I did something stupid.

Or should I say, someone?

Because of that mistake, I’m now stuck in a world I don’t belong in.

I’m a law student. They’re criminals. He’s the vice president of a motorcycle club. I’m a good girl with a strict upbringing. He’s my ex-boyfriend’s brother.

And I’m screwed.

My Review:

Dragon's Lair is not the type of novel I'd typically pick up, I'd never really heard of the motorcycle club genre before and though I'd seen this book in passing it wasn't anything I was excited to read. However, when I was offered a copy in exchange for a review I took a second look at the synopsis and decided to give it a try, and I'm super happy I did. 

The first thing I have to do is applaud Fernando for how perfectly she executed the characters. Due to the nature of the motorcycle club, and the fact that Dex has a reputation to uphold as a bit of an alpha male, if his character had been written any differently he would have come off as abusive. However Fernando was able to write him in such a way that he came off as more concerned than anything else. Dex wasn't perfect, and he definitely had his share of jerk moments, but I ended up really liking him. He didn't always make the best decisions  but I loved watching the relationship between him and Faye develop and how protective he was toward her.

Being unfamiliar with the world of motorcycle clubs this novel was super fun to read just because I'd never read anything else like it. With wars against rival gangs, murders, and plenty of illegal activity there was hardly a dull moment. Though I would definitely say this novel was a little on the gritty side it wasn't overly dark and I really liked that. I'm not a huge fan of dark novels and this one had just enough humor and lightness to even out the darker moments. I also loved the unique cast of characters Fernando created and even though they all had a history, I ended up likeing all of them in their own way.

The most surprising thing about this novel though, was how much I loved the different dynamic between Faye and Dex because of her pregnancy. I tend to avoid novels with children or pregnancy but I was surprised about how well it worked for the story. I loved watching Faye and Dex bond over the baby and  how much it ended up changing both of them. After reading this book I feel a strong connection to both of them and I'm excited to see cameos of them in the following novel!

Overall I really enjoyed Dragon's Lair and I'm excited to continue with the rest of the series. Fernando has definitely won me over and I can't wait to get lost in the gritty world of motorcycle clubs and the women who love the men in them.