Friday, April 21, 2017

Review ~ Shame on You ~ Tara Sivec #BloggerShame #ShelfLove #TakeControlTBR

Shame on You (Fool Me Once, #1)Shame on You by Tara Sivec
Fool Me Once #1
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received an eARC from the publisher via Netgalley. This did not affect my rating and my review is voluntarily provided.
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #BloggerShame, #ShelfLove, #TakeControlTBR

War veteran Kennedy O'Brien is in the business of sticking it to the man - or at least any man who tries to cross a woman. After she returned home from Afghanistan and caught her husband in bed with the nanny, Kennedy lost her faith in men and started Fool Me Once Investigations with her two best friends. After all, there's no better bounty hunter than a woman scorned.

When Kennedy takes a case to slap cuffs on a bail jumper turned dog-napper, she figures it'll be an easy paycheck. But trouble has a way of finding Kennedy. Enter the last man on the planet she'd willingly choose as a partner: her cheating ex-husband's best friend, Griffin Crawford.

As gorgeous as he is unwelcome, Griffin has always had a thing for Kennedy, and after keeping quiet about her ex's cheating, he'll do anything to earn back her trust. Whether or not she wants to admit it, Kennedy will need help as the case of the Chihuahua thief sprials out of control. Griffin may be just her man - in more ways than one.

Shame on You was a quick, fun read! It provided a nice introduction to the three heroines of this little series, there was action, some steam, and a lot of Sivec's trademark humor! The perfect way to entertain myself while logging my time on the elliptical.

While the series centers around three women who started a PI business after being burned by men, this installment focuses on Kennedy. She's funny, tough - as far from girly-girl as you can get - and unapologetic about it. She's just taken on a case for her dad - who's a bail bondsman - and discovers he set her up with a new partner. One she would never have asked for.

Griffin has his reasons for keeping that secret from Kennedy as well as for going to work for her dad. He just needs Kennedy to listen to him. That's easier said than done. He has to advantage of having known her for a long while, so he knows hot to push her buttons. He'll get through - he's nothing if not determined.

There's not a ton of character development and the plot is a bunch of silliness but it's all completely entertaining. I'm hooked and looking forward to watching as Paige and Lorelei discover not all men are jerks. :)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Brandee's Bookish Babble #34 ~ Are We More Forgiving with Favorite Authors?

Welcome to Brandee's Bookish Babble. There are many, many similar posts to this one - but basically I wanted a place to discuss bookish and/or blogging stuff and I needed a title. :) 

Before I start, I just want to preface this with the qualification that with this post, I'm referring to indie authors. 

I recently read a book by an author that was recommended by a friend. In fact, it's a favorite author of this friend. While I was reading, I kept finding editing errors. This is just something that I'm particularly sensitive to - I don't even read the newspaper anymore because I can't handle the editing mistakes. Now I know none of us are perfect - I find editing issues in my own writing as well - but finding these mistakes got me to wondering. Are we more forgiving of such things with our favorite authors?

I'm leaning towards YES in my case. Several of my favorite authors are indie and while I know they use an editor - I've even met one's editor - I still find editing errors. But I don't mind too much even if I'm temporarily removed from the flow of the story - because the story is so good! It's compelling and emotional so I'm easily pulled right back in. The book that started my was a good story as well but I think that since it was an author I was unfamiliar with I was a little less forgiving. It took me a little longer to re-engage because I don't yet have that trust built with the author. But I could see myself getting there with this one. ;)

Anyway, what about y'all? Are you more forgiving of editing issues when it's a favorite author?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Audio Review ~ Your Captivating Love ~ Layla Hagan #AudioChallenge #ShelfLove #TakeControlTBR

Your Captivating Love (The Bennett Family, #2)Your Captivating Love by Layla Hagen
The Bennett Family #2
Narrated byCarly Robins and Nelson Hobbs
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Media
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #AudioChallenge, #ShelfLove, #TakeControlTBR

Logan Bennett knows his priorities. He's loyal to his family and his company. He has no time for love, and no desire for it - not after a disastrous engagement left him brokenhearted. But when Nadine enters his life, she turns everything upside down. She's sexy, funny, and utterly captivating. She's also more stubborn than anyone he's met...including himself. Nadine Hawthorne is finally pursuing her dream: opening her own clothing shop. After working so hard to get here, she needs to concentrate on her new business, and can't afford distractions - not even if they come in the form of Logan Bennett. He's handsome, charming, and doesn't take no for an answer. Their attraction is sizzling, their connection undeniable. Slowly, Logan wins her over. What starts out as a fling soon spirals into much more than they are prepared for. When a mistake threatens to tear them apart, will they have the strength to hold on to each other?

Your Captivating Love was, well, captivating. Already being familiar with the characters and their world enabled me to fall right into Logan and Nadine's story. Witnessing their fall was delightful.

Logan's an intelligent man - he's CFO of Bennett Enterprises after all. He's also determined, loyal, and a bit of a workaholic. He's been unlucky in love - his fiance breaking things off because he focused more on business than her. So he steers clear of romantic entanglements, not wanting to be hurt again.

Nadine, Ava's best friend, has recently relocated to San Francisco hoping to make her dream of owning a high-end dress shop - featuring original designs by her - a reality. She's creative, smart, and tenacious. She's also vivacious. But she's been hurt as well - and her confidence was shattered causing her to put her dreams on hold...until now. She also had a difficult childhood which left its mark. But when Logan and Nadine meet, their chemistry immediately sparked and all their determination to not get involved kinda went out the window.

I so much enjoyed watching as Logan and Nadine built a strong foundation for their relationship - seeing Logan support Nadine in achieving her dream and seeing Nadine learn to trust that Logan wasn't going to run. It was sweet how they each got under the other's skin, chipping away at those walls they'd built - and even sweeter when they fell.

Spending time with the Bennett clan was also fun. Getting to know them even better - how their dynamics work...well, it's easy to see why they're all so close and I'm eager to spend even more time with them.

I do want to say that the narration made my pleasure at listening more intense. Robins and Hobbs more deftly conveyed the emotions wrought in this story as well as kept the pacing smooth. They easily managed voicing the large cast, too. Even though I didn't dislike the narration in book 1, I was amazed at the difference in the level of my enjoyment with the narration here.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Review ~ Mystery Man ~ Kristen Ashley #BloggerShame, #ShelfLove

Mystery Man (Dream Man, #1)Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley
Dream Man #1
Release Date: July 11, 2011
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy via Netgalley. This did not affect my rating and my review is voluntarily provided.
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #BloggerShame, #ShelfLove

Night time is the right time...

Gwendolyn Kidd has met the man of her dreams. He's hot, he's sexy, and what started as a no-names-exchanged night of passion has blossomed into a year and a half-long pleasure fest. Sure, it's a little strange that he only appears in her bed at night, but Gwen is so sure he's the one, she just can't turn him away...

Hawk Delgado knows more about Gwen than she could ever imagine. She's gorgeous, headstrong, and skittish about relationships. But Hawk is facing his own demons, demons that keep him from connecting with anyone. Yet when Gwen is drawn into Denver's lethal underground scene, Hawk's protective nature comes out full force. The problem is, when Gwen gets a dose of Hawk's Alpha attitude in the daylight, she's not so sure he's the one anymore...

After a foray into something a little new from KA (review posting soon) it was nice to return to comfort food KA-style. Mystery Man is the first in the Dream Man series but it's set in the Rock Chick world (meaning Denver) and since I previously read a few of the Chaos books (out of order) I'd met a few of these characters. Getting to know their world though and more about them was a treat! Kinda like coffee (or wine) and chocolate...or chocolate chip cookie dough since that's more Gwen's style. ;) Here are a few of the reasons I enjoyed the indulgence:

  • Gwen. She's a great gal! She's sassy, feisty, fun. She's loyal to her friends and family - still claiming her sister despite her sister being hell on wheels. She's smart and she's tough. But having been hurt in the past she - rightfully so - has some issues with commitment. Gwen's also funny and she lives in her head a lot which I could identify with.
  • Hawk. Have I mentioned KA gives good Alpha? ;) Yeah. Hawk is mysterious, enigmatic, and too dang hot for his own good. He keeps women at arm's length - for good reason - but when Gwen gives him lip for the first time, it's all over for him. Yes, he's a bit domineering but he's... well, he's Hawk.
  • A brilliant secondary cast. From Gwen's family and besties to Hawk's team of commandos and everyone in between, I delighted in meeting more people who I'll enjoy spending my time with. A few I'd met previously because of the reading out of order thing and getting to see Tack pre-Chaos series was awesome! I'm eager to spend more time in this world.
  • A mysterious baddie and lots of suspense. KA typically weaves in a fair amount of suspense in her stories and Gwen and Hawk's story was all the more exciting because of it. It didn't hurt that a few of the Hot Bunch boys (Rock Chick) were needed and therefore made cameos. ;)
  • Female solidarity. This is almost always a main theme in KA stories and it's one I relate to and one I appreciate.
  • An HEA.
KA rocked it with Mystery Man and Wild Man (#2) is already in my queue.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts #61 ~ Mystery Man ~ Kristen Ashley

This scene is kinda long but it's just too dang funny not to share!


Elvira was in the kitchen creating what she declared were "boards" except she was creating them on Hawk's big, square, midnight blue plates. She was doing this because she came into the warehouse laden with bags from Crate and Barrel and Fresh and Wild, places, she informed me, she took off work early so she could pay a visit. These bags contained brand-new martini glasses (a set of four, long stemmed, ultra sleek), a martini shaker, a mammoth wedge of brie, a French baton, grapes, applies, assorted olives, gherkins, red onion marmalade, assorted crackers, assorted chocolates and an enormous chunk of pate.
Oh, and she brought the ingredients for cosmopolitans.
She had me at the martini glasses. The rest of it made me declare my undying love for her and I told her she'd officially been accepted into my girl posse.


"Well, I see good things but I always saw good things," Tracy declared, hitching her ass up on a stool and learning forward to grab an olive off Elvira's board.
The bread knife Elvira was using clattered to the counter and Tracy bought her hand a quick, sharp slap.
"I'm not done," Elvira declared when Tracy snatched her hand back and held it with her other one, staring at Elvira in shock. "It's about presentation. Don't mess with my presentation."


"Hurry, Elvira, if you don't, I'm breaking out the cookie dough," I told her.
"Cookie dough is for heartbreak and sister trouble, why would you break out the cookie dough?" Tracy asked.
"Cookie dough has many functions. It isn't just for heartbreak and sister trouble. It's also for when you're freaking out about your love life," I replied.
"I'll tell you this," Elvira announced, fanning out little slices of French baton on the plate next to fanned-out little slices of apple all surrounding a gleaming, clean bunch of succulent grapes in the middle, "Hawk put me on radar, watched my every move for a year and a half and activated the troops when I caught trouble, there'd be no cookie dough in sight. I'd be on my knees next to the bed prayin' to the good Lord, thankin' him 'cause he heard my words. Then I'd put on my little teddy, the purple one, looks good against my skin, and I'd get in bed and count down the minutes until he got home."

Monday, April 10, 2017

Audio Review ~ Your Irresistible Love ~ Layla Hagen #AudioChallenge #ShelfLove #TakeControlTBR

Your Irresistible LoveYour Irresistible Love by Layla Hagen
The Bennett Family #1
Narrated byAiden Snow and Kasha Kensington
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Media
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #AudioChallenge, #ShelfLove, #TakeControlTBR

Sebastian Bennett is a determined man. It's the secret behind the business empire he built from scratch. Under his rule, Bennett Enterprises dominates the jewelry industry. Despite being ruthless in his work, family comes first for Sebastian, and he'd do anything for his parents and eight siblings-even if they drive him crazy when they keep nagging him to get married already. Sebastian doesn't believe in love, until he brings in external marketing consultant Ava to oversee the next collection launch. She's beautiful, funny, and just as stubborn as he is. Not only is he obsessed with her delicious curves, but he also finds himself willing to do anything to make her smile. Ava Lindt has one job to do at Bennett Enterprises: make the next collection launch unforgettable. Daydreaming about the hot CEO is definitely not on her to-do list. Besides, the consultancy she works for has a strict policy-no fraternizing with clients. She won't risk her job. But soon their sizzling chemistry spirals into a deep connection that takes both of them by surprise...

I'm a sucker for a story or series revolving around family so the nine Bennett siblings and their parents had a leg up from the get-go. Getting to meet Sebastian, the oldest Bennett and caretaker/protector of all, and seeing him fall for Ava, the smart, sexy woman who arrives to help with his business marketing was a pleasure.

Both Ava and Sebastian have reasons for not wanting to get involved besides the clause in Ava's consultancy contract forbidding fraternization. Ah, you know what they say about forbidden fruit... The two eventually give in and agree to spend time together while Ava is in town - four months. Being along for the ride as they get to know one another and get closer was nice. Ava is independent and used to taking care of things on her own, never having relied on a Sebastian works his magic trying to convince her she doesn't have to do everything alone. Sebastian is used to women wanting the tangible things his wealth can offer them rather than wanting simply him. Ava sets about proving not all women are like that. With a little meddling and help from the Bennett family, the blossoming romance was fun.

Kasha Kensington and Andrew T. Chandler narrated and while I liked them both just fine, I did think that they weren't always able to convey all the emotion certain scenes required. Kensington's delivery at times made the pacing a bit choppy as well.

Besides the narration, my only complaint is that I would have liked more character growth over the course of the story. But overall, I enjoyed my introduction to the Bennett family and I'm already listening to book 2, Your Captivating Love.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

My TBR List ~ April ~ And the Winner Is...


My To-Be Read List is a meme hosted by Michelle @Because Reading. I think it's a fabulous idea because it gets y'all in the game and it helps me knock off some of the many, many books on my TBR list. You're more than welcome to join in the fun! I've included the basic rules below but you can click on the graphic above to hop over to Michelle's site where you can find all the details. 

Here's how it works:
On the first Saturday of each month, I will make a post with three books from my TBR List (these books can be already on your ereader or bookshelf OR books you might want to purchase) and add your link on the linky that will be provided on Michelle's post. Y'ALL will help me choose which book I will read next. The following Saturday, I will announce which book won. Then the last Saturday of the month, I'll post my review.

Fun, right?!?


Thanks to everyone for voting! I ended up having a tie. *gasp* And it was kinda late to send out a plea for a tie-breaker. So, since I REALLY want to read both the books in the tie vote, I'm gonna read them both. :D


Changing Tides (Kill Devil Hills, #2)
Changing Tides
Kill Devil Hills #2

For years Ellie Turner's had a crush on the ruggedly handsome, beast of a man, television actor, Nate West. This isn't your average 'fan-girl crush' either, it's borderline obsessive, and totally inconvenient since, other that this one exception, Ellie's always been strictly into girls. But it doesn't matter...because Nate doesn't exist in real life. In real life Ellie has her own issues to worry about, including the death of her brother, the recent suicide attempt of her sister, and then there's always her annoying roommate Rhett to contend with.

Nate West isn't looking to start a new relationship. He's still heartbroken over the last girl who ripped out his insides, still learning how to manage his new-found fame, and, frankly, not even sure what time-zone he's in. His life is so full of stress, the last thing he wants is more of it.

So when Nate and Ellie meet on an airplane, nothing life changing should have come from it. But "sometimes in life--very rarely, I might add--you meet someone and you know instantly they're going to mean something special to you."

Paradise Road (Paradise #2)Paradise Road
Paradise #2

The Road to Paradise is never easy

After a year on the coast, Lexie Atkinson can't settle back into country life. She's missing the glitzy, gritty nightlife of the big city and the group of misfit friends she'd loved to hate. She knows to move forward she has to go back - back to face the guy who stole her heart.

But when Lexie arrives in Paradise City to work out if her future includes bad-boy surfer, Luke Ballantine, he is nowhere to be found.

With no home, no money and no Luke, Lexie gets a job slinging drinks at the wild Wipe Out Bar. Soon her heartache is eased when broody bar owner, Dean Saville, starts taking an interest and stirs more than just her drinks. But nothing is ever as it seems in Paradise City and when Luke barrels back into town, Lexie has a choice to make. But who will end up with the broken heart: Luke, Dean... or Lexie?

Friday, April 7, 2017

Review ~ The Female of the Species ~ Mindy McGinnis #2017HW #ShelfLove

The Female of the SpeciesThe Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Source: Purchased hardcover
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017HW, #ShelfLove, #TakeControlTBR

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn't feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can't be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He's the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna's body was discovered hasn't let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn't want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher's kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad's job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex's protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex's darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

According to the Kipling Society, The Female of the Species describes the "moral strength and single-mindedness of women throughout history, in familial and political contexts, in contrast to the weakness and vacillation of men."
"I am a wolf that my sister kept in a cage, until her hand was removed. I have been out, curious as I wake up from a lethargic solitude, self-enforced because I know I don't belong here. It's not safe for me to be out but they rattled my cage. First Claire, and then Jack. And now I'm awake, deviating from the paths I created in order to remain stable. I'm out, and awake, and afraid I won't be easily put back in."
This book has quite a lot to say. And it did so very well. The parallels between that first quote and the three MC's...Alex, Peekay, and Jack embody those words.

We have Alex, who has defined herself as "vengeance" and despite believing she feels no guilt, has a very strong moral compass. She sees herself as defending the weak - those who can't protect themselves - whether they be human or cats and dogs. This side of her, while scary, was absolutely fascinating. And although she feels she doesn't belong, a part of her longs for that feeling - something I think she had when her sister was alive. She also got people to look at themselves differently...

Peekay, for example. She's always been called Peekay - preacher's kid - and didn't think anything of it. But Alex asks for and calls her by her given name, Claire. It never occurred to Peekay the statements she made without words by accepting that nickname, much less the reasons behind doing so. She allowed it to influence her identity. She's strong though and finds the depth of her inner strength after befriending Alex. I found it of particular interest that she had thoughts similar to those of Alex, the difference being that Peekay would never act on them.

Then there's Jack - who was inspired to be a better person because of Alex. He'd been curious about her and her thoughts about his character since the night her sister's body was found. And Jack, he's a good guy even if he is a cad. But he waffled in his loyalties and decisions - found it apparently difficult to stay on the right path.

And through all this, the interactions between Alex, Peekay, and Jack - the bonds of friendship forming and love blossoming -McGinnis incorporated social commentary on teen culture: rape culture, sexual objectification, the double standards regarding boy vs girl behavior. And it was brilliant! There were some difficult moments to read - this story is raw and gritty - but I also felt things were realistically portrayed. The Female of the Species is certainly thought-provoking. 

This is my favorite #2017HW read so far!