Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Review ~ Blindfolded Innocence ~ Alessandra Torre #ShelfLove

Blindfolded Innocence (Innocence, #1)Blindfolded Innocence by Alessandra Torre
Innocence #1
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
Source: Kindle Freebie
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges#ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
"I'm not sure what you have been told about me, but I'm not nearly as bad as they make me out to be." His deliciously deep voice carried a little bit of ego.

I'm sure you are exactly as bad as they make you out to be...

Brad De Luca is used to getting whatever and whomever he wants. The premier divorce attorney in town, he's a playboy who's bedded half the city--including his own clients. And when the newest intern at his firm poses a challenge, his seductive prowess goes into overdrive.

Pre-law student Julia Campbell is fresh off a failed engagement and happy with her new independence. Even if she weren't warned away from Brad at every turn, she'd know he was bad news. The last thing she needs is a man who could destroy her job prospects, not to mention her innocence. But before she knows it, the incorrigible charmer has her under his spell. His deviant tastes plunge her deep into a forbidden world of sexual exploration...but her heart may not survive the fall.



Okay, I admit to knowing almost nothing going into this book except that I'd heard good things about it. I'd only read a novella by Torre prior to this one - which I loved - but she's an author I seem to collect. :) Anyway, I enjoyed Blindfolded Innocence. Here's what worked for me and what could have worked better:

What Worked:

  • Premise - Blindfolded Innocence has a very interesting premise. Young pre-law student/intern, despite warnings and her better judgement, gets involved with an attorney in the firm.
  • Character development - Julie and Brad are well-defined and we witness their emotional growth - how they change, or begin to - once they become involved.
  • Sexual exploration - we're along for the ride as Julia explores her sexuality with Brad - her safety net. The journey is interesting, provocative, and we get to see it changing Brad as well.
What Could Have Worked Better:
  • First novel hiccups - Torre's writing wasn't quite as fluid as it becomes later. (I can say this with certainty having read the entire Innocence trilogy as well as another novella from Torre) There were editing issues - mostly the use of wrong words - that stuck out for me.
Overall, meeting Brad De Luca was as exciting as promised and I like the changes I'm seeing in him affected by his interest in Julia.




Saturday, August 12, 2017

My TBR List ~ August ~ And the Winner is...

MyTBRList

My To-Be Read List is a meme hosted by Michelle @Because Reading. You're more than welcome to join in the fun! Click on the graphic above to hop over to Michelle's site where you can find all the details. 


***

Thanks so much for voting, y'all!!



And the Winner is:

Faking It (Losing It, #2)Faking It
Losing It #2

Synopsis
Mackenzie "Max" Miller has a problem. Her parents have arrived in town for a surprise visit, and if they see her dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings, they just might disown her. Even worse, they're expecting to meet a nice, wholesome boyfriend, not a guy named Mace who has a neck tattoo and plays in a band. All her lies are about to come crashing down around her, but then she meets Cade.

Cade moved to Philadelphia to act and to leave his problems behind in Texas. So far though, he's kept the problems and had very little opportunity to take the stage. When Max approaches him in a coffee ship with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But when Cade plays the role a little too well, they're forced to keep the ruse going. And the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel.




Check back on August 26 for my review!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Review ~ Where the Four Winds Collide ~ Hildie McQueen #ShelfLove

Where the Four Winds CollideWhere the Four Winds Collide by Hildie McQueen
Six Pack Ranch #1
Release Date: January 1, 2013
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance, Western
Source: Contest Win 
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms
Challenges#ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
Adeline Buckley escapes her abusive father only to find herself in a brothel, on a stagecoach to the untamed west and married to a stranger, all in that order. Plotting another escape becomes harder, the more she gets to know her new husband.

Jackson Pruitt didn't expect a secretive mail order bride to show up the same week cattle wrestlers absconded with a large part of his herd. The bigger surprise was the loveliness of the woman. Why would a beauty like her need to travel so far to marry?

Jackson and Adeline learn that secrets and marriage do not go hand-in-hand when both of their pasts comes knocking and both have to come to grips with the reality, that sometimes trust comes only after you lose it all.




I was drawn to this book for its historical element and that it's set in West Texas - for the most part - where I'm originally from. This served as my introduction to McQueen and I'm not a fan. I'll certainly seek out more from her.

What Worked:

  • Character development. I quite enjoyed the characters. Adeline was well drawn as this young woman who's been mistreated by the men in her life - one who's been seen as property and insignificant. I liked watching her blossom under Jackson's treatment. Jackson is a good man. He's fair, hard-working, loyal, and he shows all these attributes once Adeline comes into his life. Secondary characters were well-drawn too, overall. There were a few that seemed more one-dimensional but they weren't all that important to the plot.
  • Mail-order bride trope. I liked McQueen using this element. There was definitely a lack of women in the territories as the U.S. expanded west and this theme was well used in the story.
  • The drama. The elements of the story used to create drama and tension felt genuine and realistic.
  • The detail of daily life. I liked seeing Jackson work the cattle and Adeline go about daily chores.
What Could Have Worked Better:
  • The detail of daily life. While I liked seeing Jackson work the cattle and Adeline go about daily chores, a bit more detail would have been welcomed.
  • Speech. This story is set in West Texas where there is a definite pattern of speech and an accent. This is nit-picky of me but being from the area, I'd have liked to have had the accent conveyed.
  • The resolutions. There were 3-4 plot points where the resolutions were a bit too easily come by.
Despite my "issues" with Where the Four Winds Collide, this story was inherently readable. I looked forward to picking it up and finished it rather quickly. My introduction to McQueen was pleasurable and I'll be reading more from her.






Wednesday, August 9, 2017

New Release Review ~ Until You Loved Me ~ Brenda Novak (@BrendaNovak) #2017NewRelease

Until You Loved Me (Silver Springs, #3)Until You Loved Me by Brenda Novak
Silver Springs #3
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author. This did not affect my rating and my review is provided voluntarily.
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewRelease
Goodreads

Synopsis
Sometimes starting over means finding everything you've been missing...

After catching her fiance cheating - with another man - usually straight-laced, workaholic scientist Ellie Fisher liberates her wild side  just long enough to indulge in a passionate one-night-stand with a tall, dark stranger she meets at a trendy Miami bar. Embarrassed by her recklessness, she ducks out the following morning without learning the guy's full name, something that shouldn't have been a problem...until a pregnancy test turns positive.

Being a professional football player, Hudson King has always been cautious around women. But this one had been different - so disinterested in his celebrity, so convincingly into him. When Ellie tracks him down, claiming she's carrying his baby, he's stunned. And more than a little betrayed.

But after growing up as an orphan, he'll do anything to stay involved in his child's life, so he urges Ellie to move to Silver Springs where they can co-parent. Hudson has a lot of love to give - certainly enough for his child, and when their initial spark reignites, perhaps for Ellie too...



This third installment in the Silver Springs series had a little different feel in that it didn't all take place in Silver Springs, and we didn't spend much time in town or with the locals. But I certainly didn't love it any less!

Hudson King is a graduate of New Horizons, the school for troubled boys located in Silver Springs. Being a starting quarterback for a professional football team, he's a success story for the school and he spends a lot of time and money mentoring the boys there. But Hudson's life prior to New Horizons wasn't smooth. He was abandoned and passed in and out of foster homes so much he has a difficult time trusting anyone...especially women.

Ellie Fisher is doing post-doctoral work in immunology - specifically diabetes. She's always been more likely to spend time with a book or in the lab than out with people. Recently, she's been dealing with a broken engagement having found her fiance with another man...both of whom she works with.

Hudson and Ellie meeting seems serendipitous. He appreciates the fact she doesn't seem to know who he is and he can, therefore, relax and be himself. She appreciates that he doesn't seem to mind discussing philosophy, science, politics, and religion over making small talk. When they both throw caution to the wind and spend the night together, things seem perfect. But Ellie runs the next morning, mortified over her reckless behavior. Unfortunately, 7 weeks later she's dealing with the consequences of that night...alone.

The circumstances of Ellie and Hudson reuniting were entertaining, and then kinda scary. Watching as they move past feelings of betrayal and recriminations was endearing. Seeing them learn to trust one another and make an attempt at building a life together, for the sake of their child, was as well. Novak once again delivered a riveting story with such well developed characters. Hudson's issues and actions and reactions were all so true to who he was and the man, and father, he wanted to be. Ellie was the most genuine person you could ever meet. I couldn't imagine not liking her. Being witness to them building on their chemistry, turning it into so much more while dealing with difficult life changes...well, it's something I've come to expect from Novak, something she does well. And she didn't let me down.

Once again, I'm clamoring for my next visit to Silver Springs.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

My TBR List ~ August ~ Polling is Open!

MyTBRList

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?!?


***

I'm continuing my quest, and working at one of my Bookish Resolutions to catch up on series (since I'm behind in 148 series) I'm once again having y'all decide which series I'm going to work at catching up on this month! :D

FYI, this will be my theme all year. And since I'm letting random.org choose from the list of series I'm behind in, you might see books show up more than once. ;)


Your Choices Are:

Avoiding Alpha (Alpha Girl #2)
Avoiding Alpha
Alpha Girl #2

Synopsis
Seventeen-year-old Tessa McCaide has come a long way since her abrupt entrance into the world of werewolves, but she still has just as far to go before she's comfortable with turning full wolf. In the meantime, she's avoiding the topic of shifting to four legs any way she can. Thankfully her mate, Dastien Laurent, is quite the distraction.

When she finds her best friend, Meredith, getting sick in the bathroom, Tessa knows something's majorly wrong. Meredith was cursed years ago, and the dark magic kept her wolf dormant--only now the wolf is awake, and that same spell is killing her.

Tessa has no intention of sitting around while Meredith wastes away. Even if it means playing with magic she doesn't understand, she'll do anything to save Meredith's life. Including bargaining with the local coven of witches and is crazed leader, whose only goal is getting Tessa to join the witchy ranks.

Can Tessa save her friend without losing herself?



Edge of Oblivion (Night Prowler, #2)Edge of Oblivion
Night Prowler #2

Synopsis

There exists a world beyond our own. It is a world of ancient magic and well-guarded secrets, a world of strict laws and harsh punishments for those who betray them, a world inhabited by the Ikati, a race of gifted people who are so much more than they first appear. Brought together by fate in this world of danger and beauty, two people with dark pasts will meet.

Morgan is beautiful, smart, sexy...and about to die. Convicted of treason against her shape-shifting kin, she is given one last chance at redemption; discover the hidden lair of the enemy intent on destroying every one of her kind, or forfeit her life.

Xander is ruthless, heartless, cold-blooded...and assigned to kill her if she fails in her task. Expecting to feel nothing but contempt for the traitor under his watch, the assassin accompanies Morgan on her search, but as the two race through the heart of Italy while the clock winds down to zero hour, he finds himself drawn into a dangerous web of desire as powerful as it is forbidden. Their passion will test everything they believe in, and endanger the future of the tribe itself.

Sensual, edgy, and action-packed, Edge of Oblivion is a must-read for lovers of dark paranormal romance.




Faking It (Losing It, #2)Faking It
Losing It #2

Synopsis
Mackenzie "Max" Miller has a problem. Her parents have arrived in town for a surprise visit, and if they see her dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings, they just might disown her. Even worse, they're expecting to meet a nice, wholesome boyfriend, not a guy named Mace who has a neck tattoo and plays in a band. All her lies are about to come crashing down around her, but then she meets Cade.

Cade moved to Philadelphia to act and to leave his problems behind in Texas. So far though, he's kept the problems and had very little opportunity to take the stage. When Max approaches him in a coffee ship with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But when Cade plays the role a little too well, they're forced to keep the ruse going. And the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel.



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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Triple Review ~ Remember When Trilogy ~ T. Torrest (@TTorrest) #ShelfLove

Remember When (Remember Trilogy, #1)Remember When by T. Torrest
Remember Trilogy #1
Release Date: January 1, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Kindle Freebie
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges#ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
Years before Trip Wiley could be seen on movie screens all over the world, he could be seen sitting in the desk behind me in my high school English class.

This was back in 1990, and I cite the year only to avoid dumbfounding you when references to big hair or stretch pants are mentioned. Although, come to think of it, I am from New Jersey, which may serve as explanation enough. We were teenagers then, way back in a time before anyone could even dream he'd turn into the Hollywood commodity that he is today.

In case you live under a rock and don't know who Trip Wiley is, just know that these days, he's the actor found at the top of every casting director's wish list. He's incredibly talented and insanely gorgeous, the combination of which has made him very rich, very famous and very desirable.

And not just to casting directors, either.

I can't confirm any of the gossip from his early years out in Tinseltown, but based on what I knew of his life before he was famous, I can tell you that the idea of Girls-Throwing-Themselves-At-Trip is not a concept.

I should know. I was one of the.

And my life hasn't been the same since.


**Remember When is the first book in an NA romantic comedy trilogy, but there is NO CLIFFHANGER. It is intended for mature teen readers and immature adult ones due to some high school sex scenes, underage drinking, questionable language and 1980s flashbacks.**




I've had Remember When hanging around on my Kindle for quite awhile. (sound familiar?!? ;) But meeting T. Torrest at RT was the kick in the butt I needed to actually crack it open. And then I was kicking myself for not having read it sooner. So, lest I get behind in yet another series, I binged! That's right. I read the entire trilogy back-to-back and I loved every minute!

Before I talk about the actual book I want to say a few things about the series as a whole:

  • I love Torrest's voice. It's very readable and relatable. It's like sitting down with a good friend while she relates a story to you - full of pop culture references from the 80s and 90s.
  • Remember When was fun. Thanks to all those pop culture references. I enjoyed the nostalgia created via Layla and Trip's story - a walk down memory lane seeing as it starts with their senior year in high school.
  • I adored the format - that being that we got to "grow up" right alongside Layla and Trip. We meet them as high schoolers, meet up with them again in their late twenties, and reunite once again in their early 30s.
  • I'm a sucker for second chance romances - truly may be my favorite romance trope - so despite it being difficult at times, I enjoyed being along for the ride as Layla and Trip tried to get their timing just right.
Remember When...ahh...high school. It was so fun watching Layla and Trip navigate their senior year - assignments, parties, friendships, cliques, and dating. I liked what Torrest had to say about cliques and popularity. And I floved how spot on was with conveying the angst and emotions that teens deal with at this age - trying to figure out what happens next.

FYI - Remember When is permafree!








Remember When 2: The Sequel (Remember Trilogy, #2)Remember When Two: The Sequel by T. Torrest
Remember Trilogy #2
Release Date: June 20, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased on Kindle
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges#ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
You know how sometimes, your high school crush grows up to be an insanely famous movie star? Okay, probably not. But I do. ~Layla Warren

Back in high school, Trip Wiley's fanbase only encompassed the denizens of the nothing little suburb of Norman, New Jersey.

Ten years later, all that is about to change.

In the summer of 2000, Layla Warren is enjoying her career as a journalist in New York City (well, sort of), while Trip spends most of his time grabbing Hollywood by the balls. In the days before what will turn out to be his skyrocketing fame, they'll find themselves confronted with some life-altering choices.

Remember When 2 is the second story in an NA romance trilogy. It will bring you back to that exuberant and riotous time of life in your twenties when you struggled to figure out your place in the world and the person you were meant to be...

...and the person you were meant to be with.




Remember When Two sees Layla and Trip having lost contact over the years. Layla is working as a copyeditor while Trip has broken into acting. They reunite for an interview and feel that same crackling chemistry they've always had. However, neither is single.

Again, this was a lot of fun with pop culture references to music and movies. It was also realistic - genuine feeling - watching these two navigate around the relationship they want and the one they can have. There's angst in there too - not gonna lie. And at times I just wanted to smack them both. But I never stopped pulling for these two!

Warning: ending is a cliffie.







Remember When 3: The Finale (Remember Trilogy, #3)Remember When Three: The Finale by T. Torrest
Remember Trilogy #3
Release Date: November 21, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased on Kindle
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges#ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
"I'd spent too long in limbo.
It was time to put The California Plan back into effect."
~Layla Warren

I've been in love with Trip Wiley since I was sixteen years old.
Yep. That Trip Wiley.
Academy award-winning actor, known philanthropist, People's Sexiest Man Alive two years running...
Yeah.
It's not like I'm some delusional stalker-fan. It just so happens that he was my high school sweetheart back in 1991.
In the years since, he's simply been The One That Got Away.
We just can't seem to get on the same page at the same time.
Our timing may have sucked, but the feelings had already been confirmed. Years ago.
At least his were.
He doesn't know that I had chosen to love him back.
I need to fix that.
And I need to do it now.

Remember When 3 is the third and final book in the Remember Trilogy. It's a story about taking chances and following your heart...and knowing that sometimes, you just have to learn when to let go.




A major life event brings Layla and Trip together again. And it seems maybe this time their timing is right. But there's still much to navigate around.

I have to admit that at first I was the slightest bit worried that things were too easy for them. Ha! I know! They've been through so much. But of course, it wasn't all smooth sailing and again, Torrest kept it all genuine feeling. I honestly can't imagine trying to date a celebrity of any kind - there's a boatload of conflict, baggage, and trouble. But Layla and Trip, man...they weren't going down - letting go of the chance they'd been given at a life together - without a fight.

Layla and Trip are going in the books as one of my favorite couples ever. I've also found a new favorite author and I'm excited to read the other two books of Torrest's that I snagged at RT!