Thursday, November 16, 2017

Release Day Review ~ Scandalous Beat ~ Michelle Mankin (@MichelleMankin) #2017NewRelease

Scandalous Beat (Tempest, #6; Black Cat Records, #9)Scandalous Beat by Michelle Mankin
Tempest #6
Release Date: November 16, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased on Kindle but I also had the pleasure of being a beta reader as well. This in no way affected my rating and my review is voluntarily provided.
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewRelease
Goodreads ~ Amazon

Synopsis
A rock star. A stripper. Can a hookup lead to a happily ever after?

Juaquin Acenado.
A drummer. A rapper. A rock king.
My brother's best friend.
Arrogant. Forbidden.. Do-not-go-there-trouble.
The sexy Latino was too old for me when we first met and I was in high school. But he was my first love. I've never gotten over him.

Miriam Jackson
Stripper. Exotic dancer. Her stage name is Queen.
My bandmate's little sister.
Spicy and sweet. The spark that fires my inspiration. The rhythm to my beat.
She's the one I imagine when I settle for the others. My ultimate fantasy. Only I can never have her.
Until I arrive in Vegas to record my solo rap album, visit a strip club, and there she is. Miriam was supposed to be in college, but she's not. She is so not.
Sin City, a place where anything can happen, and I'm the only one in the band who knows her secret.
So why resist anymore?
Who could possibly stop me?


Ah the Tempting Men of Tempest...I'm so sad to see this series come to an end but I'm been eager to finally get King's story, to see who stole his heart. Scandalous Beat was the perfect way to round out one of my favorite Rock Star series.

Highlights

  • Characters
    In Miriam, we have a young woman who had a difficult childhood suffering from dyslexia and verbal abuse. She found solace in acting. She's such a sweetheart. Selfless, loyal, and caring...she puts others' needs and feelings before her own.
    In Juaquin, we have a talented young man who also grew up in hardship. He lost his brother to gang violence and has dealt with anger management issues for most of his life. He's loyal and caring but finds it difficult to deal with his emotions.
    These two together were always magic. They met when Miriam was too young but they shared a special connection, were kindred souls. But even once Miriam was of age, Juaquin felt himself unworthy of her attention, plus being the little sister of his bandmate automatically put her on the "off-limits" list.
  • Forbidden Romance
    This was a trope that really worked in this case. Not only was there the age difference and the bandmate connection, but Miriam served as Beauty to Juaquin's Beast. There were all the reasons in the world for them to be apart but fate seemed to bring them together.
  • The Journey
    Yes, there were obstacles against them...age, etc., but the biggest obstacle was not knowing themselves. Juaquin, in his desire for Miriam to have better than him, unwittingly hurt her over and over again. Miriam, in her desire to have him, lost herself. When they are thrown into each other's paths once again, without the reminder of the original obstacles, they both journey towards finding themselves, realizing their true worth as well as their feelings for each other. As Miriam said, "[Love is] about becoming something better because you're together. Transforming each other's weaknesses into strengths. Making something beautiful together."
  • Relevant Issues
    This is a specialty of Mankin's, bringing awareness to social issues. Scandalous Beat was no exception. There were a couple of topics touched on including abuse and dyslexia but the main point I felt Mankin was trying to make was having the courage to ask for help when you need it. The way in which she conveyed Miriam's courage in getting the help she needed was brilliant as well as how she parlayed it into a way to help others.
  • Emotion
    Mankin is adept at evoking strong emotions. The push and pull between Miriam and Juaquin kept me on edge, alternately cheering, steaming, or crying. The depth of feeling between these two was something special.
  • Secondary Cast
    The secondary cast was a strength - not only because I got to spend time with some of the other Tempest couples but I also got to know Miriam's best friend, Mike. Mike is well developed and added complexity and depth to Miriam as well as the story. Mankin also skillfully tied in people and plot lines from earlier stories.

Scandalous Beat delivered characters that are genuine, a compelling story, and the full range of emotions as well as some smoking smexy scenes. It was the perfect way to "crown" this series.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Audio Review ~ American Prince ~ Sierra Simone #2017NewRelease #AudioChallenge

American Prince (New Camelot Trilogy, #2)American Prince by Sierra Simone
New Camelot Trilogy #2
Narrated byStephanie Rose and Guy Locke
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Audio. This did not affect my rating and my review is voluntarily provided. 
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewReleasee, #AudioChallenge
Goodreads

Synopsis
I've been many things.

I've been a son and a stepbrother. An Army captain and a Vice President.

But only with Him and I a prince. His little prince.

Only with Maxen and Greer does my world make sense, only between them can I find peace from the demons that haunt me. But men like me aren't made to be happy. We don't deserve it. And I should have known a love as sharp as ours could cut both ways.

My name is Embry Moore and I serve at the pleasure of the President of the United States...for now.

This is the story of an American Prince.



I started listening to American Prince immediately after finishing American Queen and found myself swallowed by Greer, Ash, and Embry once again.

American Prince is told mostly from Embry's POV and once again, Simone delivered the story via past and present timelines. This format was an excellent way to get Embry and Ash's backstory and their history was gut-wrenching, heartwarming, and riveting. The present timeline was also suspense-filled with Ash, Embry, and Greer dealing with the fallout over the consequences from the event that ended American Queen. The way Simone handled that was so well done and felt authentic. The feelings and emotions of Embry, Ash, and Greer as well as the public backlash over what was leaked - it all felt so real. The political intrigue and conniving and plotting against the trio kept me tied in knots as well. Especially considering who was behind most of it. Once again, I was shocked at how much emotion - HATRED - Simone made me feel towards a certain character.

And then...and then...AND THEN! I absolutely could not believe the choices Embry made and the repercussions from those choices. These choices and their repercussions impacted the rest of the book and even with all the revelations made at the end of the book, I'm still reeling. STILL. Seriously.

Needless to say, I pre-ordered American King in ebook format because I couldn't wait for audio...BECAUSE I HAVE TO KNOW HOW IT ALL ENDS!!! (I'm currently reading it)

The narrators, Stephanie Rose and Guy Locke, did well for the most part. Locke's range seemed limited and he did have some inconsistencies with pronunciations which bothered me but I enjoyed Rose's delivery once again.



Monday, November 13, 2017

Review ~ Master of the Mountain ~ Cherise Sinclair

Master of the Mountain (Mountain Masters & Dark Haven, #1)Master of the Mountain by Cherise Sinclair
Mountain Masters and Dark Haven #1
Release Date: August 8, 2014
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, D/s
Source: Gift
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #COYER
Goodreads

Synopsis
When Rebecca's lover talks her into a mountain lodge vacation with his swing club, she soon learns she's not cut out for playing musical beds. But with her boyfriend "entertaining" in their cabin, she has nowhere to sleep. Logan, the lodge owner, finds her freezing on the porch. After hauling her inside, he warms her in his own bed, and there the experienced Dominant discovers that Rebecca might not be a swinger...but she is definitely a submissive.

Rebecca knows that no one can love her plump, scarred body. But, to her surprise, Logan disagrees and is quite happy to show her just how much he enjoys her curves. Under his skilled hands, Rebecca loses not only her inhibitions, but also her heart.

Damaged from the war, Logan considers himself too dangerous to be around the enticing little sub. He sends her away for her own safety, not realizing she thinks she's been rejected because of her size. When Logan's mountains echo with her voice long after she's gone, he knows she's left behind part of herself--and taken his heart. But when he arrives in the city to reclaim her, Rebecca's phone has been disconnected and her apartment is empty...


Rebecca finds herself at a lodge in the mountains with her lover, Matt. He talked her into accompanying him on this getaway - introducing her to his swinging lifestyle - because both he and she realize there's something missing in their sex life. While Matt's lifestyle isn't the "thing" Rebecca is looking for, she definitely finds that "thing" and then some on this retreat.

Logan is a veteran and he suffers excruciating nightmares from his experiences. Therefore, he spends his time running the lodge with his brother - not daring to attempt a relationship with anyone much less a woman. But Rebecca intrigues him. He can't figure out why she came on the swinging retreat and the more he gets to know her the more he starts rethinking his ban on commitment.

This is the second book from Sinclair I've read and I admit to enjoying this one even more than the first. I related to Rebecca on a deeper level - her self-image issues and the hurt left by cutting remarks from those who are supposed to love you. Seeing her blossom not only under Logan's care, but also out in nature as it kindled and rekindled her artist's heart, was inspiring and heartwarming. Watching Logan's carefully constructed walls crumble was rather fun, too. Rebecca brought out the nurturing part of his personality. Yes, a Dominant can be - is probably always - nurturing. He was such a compassionate and gentle man. I fell for him right along with Rebecca.

The thing was, both Logan and Rebecca had built fortresses around themselves. They both had fears about being hurt or hurting someone. So it was a beautiful thing to witness these two souls - who were perfect for each other - come together, overcome those fears, heal the hurts, learn more about themselves, and find true happiness.

I'm eager to continue this series! 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

My TBR List ~ November ~ And the Winner is... #MyTBRList

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. ;)


And the Winner is...

Fair Game (Alpha & Omega, #3)
Fair Game
Alpha and Omega #3

Synopsis
It is said that opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son-and enforcer-of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant Alpha, while Anna, an Omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind.

When the FBI requests the pack's help on a local serial-killer case, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston to join the investigation. It soon becomes clear that someone is targeting the preternatural. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer's sights...



This one won hands down, y'all! Thanks so much for voting! :)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Review ~ Forsaken ~ Lisa Renee Jones #COYER #TravelingtotheTerminus

Forsaken (The Secret Life of Amy Bensen, #3)Forsaken by Lisa Renee Jones
The Secret Life of Amy Benson #3
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Source: Library
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #COYER
Goodreads

Synopsis
In this third book in the sexy, suspenseful "The Secret Life of Amy Bensen" series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones, we meet Amy's brother Chad--and the woman who either loves him or wants him dead.

Six years ago, Chad's hunt for a dangerous treasure turned deadly when his family home was set on fire, his parents killed. Faking his and his sister Amy's death to protect her from further retaliation, he set her up in a new life with a friend's help, letting her believe he'd died.

But now the men who hired Chad to find the treasure have found him, imprisoning and torturing him to learn where it's hidden. A dark-haired beauty named Gia helps him escape, promising him access to his worst enemy. And as he tries to unravel the deep secrets of the past, he starts falling for her...only to discover she's not what she seems.

Unable to trust anyone, Chad focuses on only two things: protecting his sister Amy and getting revenge. Is love even possible in the midst of heartache?


I admit I was worried going into this installment because of the POV change. I needn't have worried though. LRJ pulled me right into the story with a tight grip on my throat.

Forsaken stars Chad, Amy's brother, whom Amy believed was dead. When we meet him, he's being held captive by the very people who've been hunting Amy. Chad may or may not have something these bad people want very badly. He's resigned himself to dying when help arrives in the form of one gorgeous woman.

I quite enjoyed the action and suspense of Forsaken. It was a thrill ride not knowing whom Chad could trust, the revelations of all that'd happened to lead up to Amy's having to be on the run, what'd happened since, and how Gia, Chad's savior, fit into it all.

That LRJ could make me root for Chad after the things he'd gotten into was something but I realized at some point that he'd been just a kid really and had gotten in over his head. Gia, I adored. She's smart, witty, and it was exciting to watch her, as well as Chad, put pieces of the puzzle together and find a way to keep everyone safe.

Forsaken was a thrilling ending to the The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series. I know there's still a novella to read though and I'll make haste in getting to it. :)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Audio Review ~ American Queen ~ Sierra Simone #2017NewRelease #AudioChallenge

American Queen (American Queen Trilogy, #1)American Queen by Sierra Simone
New Camelot Trilogy #1
Narrated byStephanie Rose
Release Date: April 30, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Audio. This did not affect my rating and my review is voluntarily provided. 
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewReleasee, #AudioChallenge
Goodreads

Synopsis
It starts with a stolen kiss under an English sky, and it ends with a walk down the aisle. It starts with the President sending his best friend to woo me on his behalf, and it ends with my heart split in two. It starts with buried secrets and dangerous desires...and ends with the three of us bound together with a hateful love sharper than any barbed wire.

My name is Greer Galloway, and I serve at the pleasure of the President of the United States.

This is the story of an American Queen.


First thing, I want to give a BIG thank you to an author who shall go unnamed (*cough* Jana Aston *cough*) for waxing poetic about this book to the point where I almost immediately went and dug it out of the pile of audiobooks I have hiding. Jana, you were so right!

Oh my! What to say about this book. Captivating. Stunning. Compelling. I started this book after Ms. Aston discussed, on her Facebook page, how affected she was by it. I don't typically listen to audiobooks very quickly but American Queen? I finished it in two days! Yeah.

Highlights

  • Political Drama
    Greer Galloway is the granddaughter of a former Vice President. She grew up around politics, even being used by her grandpa as a spy of sorts. She's beautiful, intelligent, reserved, and reads people well. All qualities that serve nicely in politics.
    Maxen "Ash" Colchester grew up to become a war hero and eventually the President. He's compassionate yet demanding, brave, skilled on a battlefield and a congressional floor.
    Greer and Ash met when Greer was only sixteen. The meeting made quite an impression and neither forgot the other. Ten years later, Ash re-enters Greer's life and what follows is one effed up fairytale.
  • Characters
    The main characters, Greer, Ash, and Embry, are all so well drawn and charismatic. I rather hung on every word any of them said. Greer is a strong, independent, and very intelligent woman who has shunned romantic entanglements after essentially having her heart broken twice. Ash is a widower, having lost his wife very young. He's a force to reckon with in his position and he's set his sights on Greer. Embry was a fellow officer in the military and fought alongside Ash, is Ash's best friend, and is the Vice President. Both men are handsome but Embry is a bit softer than Ash. The secondary cast is well developed as well. What would a political drama be without conniving, calculating cousins, sisters, and political advisors as well as heads of state conspiring against you?
  • Format
    The way Simone doled out information about the past and present kept me riveted as I learned more about the characters, who they could and couldn't trust, what they wanted from each other, and how they'd all become involved in each others' lives.
  • Layers
    Not only is this a political drama, it's also a romance - an erotic romance at that - plus it incorporates suspense via political intrigue. Simone adeptly wove it all together to create a story I was loathe to press "stop" on.
The narration was also well done. Stephanie Rose has a nice range and did well with both male and female voices as well as creating accents for certain characters. She's a new-to-me narrator but one I won't hesitate to listen to again.

I started American Prince, the second installment, immediately. :)



Tuesday, November 7, 2017

New Release Review ~ Right Where We Belong ~ Brenda Novak (@BrendaNovak) #2017NewRelease

Right Where We Belong (Silver Springs, #4)Right Where We Belong by Brenda Novak
Silver Springs #4
Release Date: October 31, 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 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewRelease
Goodreads

Synopsis
New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak returns to Silver Springs with a moving story about rebuilding your life when you've got nothing left to lose.

Savanna Gray needs a do-over. Her "perfect" life unraveled when, to her absolute shock, her husband was arrested for attacking three women. With her divorce settled, she takes her two children home to Silver Springs to seek refuge between the walls of the farmhouse where she was born. It needs a little TLC, but she's eager to take control of something.

Gavin Turner understands the struggle of starting over. Abandoned at a gas station when he was five, it wasn't until he landed at New Horizons Boys Ranch as a teen that he finally found some peace. He steps up when Savanna needs help fixing things--even when those things go beyond the farmhouse.

Despite an escalating attraction to Gavin, Savanna resolves to keep her distance. She trusted her ex, who had a similarly tragic background, and is unwilling to repeat her past mistakes. But it's hard to resist a man whose heart is as capable as his hands.



It was so nice to sit down with my friends in Silver Springs. Not only did I get better acquainted with Gavin, I was introduced to a new neighbor in Savanna as well as getting to spend a little time with Eli and Aiyana. A treat all around. 

Gavin came to New Horizons via a wretched childhood where his father allowed his stepmother to abandon and beat him. His foster family wasn't much of an improvement. But Aiyana Turner gave him the love he needed to overcome all that and find some peace. So it was disheartening that someone he was somewhat involved with would take advantage of his past to affect his future. Especially when he'd only just met Savanna.

Savanna came to Silver Springs to escape a very ugly and public set of circumstances. She's closed the door on that part of her life but meeting Gavin wasn't part of her plan.

Both Gavin and Savanna have every reason to be commitment-phobic, particularly Savanna. Imagine finding out the person you've shared your life with, had children with, was capable of such violence. But there was something between them that immediately clicked. They tried to talk themselves out of starting anything but it seemed fated. All they had going on individually though would have made most mortals run in the opposite direction so it was testament to their strong connection that they "stuck".

I loved watching Gavin and Savanna together. They had some great moments of fun banter as well as some serious romance. Gavin's honesty was refreshing as was Savanna's actually. Neither seemed averse to telling the other how they felt even if they did, on occasion, leave out a few details for the other's protection. The villainous supporting cast was very well done. I honestly couldn't stand any of them and that Novak developed them well enough to evoke such strong negative emotion says a lot. On the flip side, watching Eli and Aiyana conspire together in matchmaking efforts was fun and seeing Savanna and Gavin with Savanna's kids was heartwarming.

The only drawbacks were due to a few places where my suspension of disbelief was stretched a bit. Otherwise, Novak delivered a well-crafted story with characters so well drawn I both loved some and hated some. I'll be looking forward to my next visit in Silver Springs.


Saturday, November 4, 2017

My TBR List ~ November ~ 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:

Fair Game (Alpha & Omega, #3)
Fair Game
Alpha and Omega #3

Synopsis
It is said that opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son-and enforcer-of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant Alpha, while Anna, an Omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind.

When the FBI requests the pack's help on a local serial-killer case, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston to join the investigation. It soon becomes clear that someone is targeting the preternatural. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer's sights...





Epilogue (The Dark Duet, #3)Epilogue
The Dark Duet #3

Synopsis

I'm writing this because you begged. You know how I love the begging. In fact, you probably know too many things and know them far too well. Who am I? Well, that's what I'm trying to figure out. I was a whore in my youth, a killer since my adolescence, and a monster as a man. I am the man who kidnapped Livvie. I am the man who held her in a dark room for weeks. But, most importantly, I am the man she loves. She loves me. It's quite sick, isn't it? Of course, there's more to our story than can be surmised in a few short sentences, but I'm at a loss for justifying my behavior back then. I assume if you're reading this, I don't need to make those justifications. You've already made your own. You're reading this because you want to know about the rest of the story. You want to know what happened that warm summer night in September of 2010, the night I met Livvie at The Paseo. It was the night my life changed all over again. It didn't happen exactly as Livvie said. She's been very kind to me in the retelling of our story. The truth is far more...complicated.




Master of the Abyss (Mountain Masters & Dark Haven, #3)Master of the Abyss
Mountain Masters #2

Synopsis
On the mountain, the watcher seeks out evil women. And then they die.

Two years ago, when Jake Hunt uncollared his slave, she committed suicide. Guilt-ridden, he will commit to a woman for one night only, devoting his energy to a mountain lodge that caters to a BDSM crowd.

Kallie Masterson is tough. Unwanted as a child, she worked hard to become a wilderness guide. She's proud of who she is, and hurt that Jake frowns on her for acting like a man.

After rescuing the macho guide from a bar fight, Jake is stunned that the ugly men's clothing hides a warm, responsive woman. A submissive woman. When guide business brings her to the lodge on BDSM night, and she is obviously aroused by the play, Jake takes the little sub right into his world of pain and pleasure. He warns her: one-night-only. But she responds so beautifully--so joyously--under his command, that one night soon becomes two, then three...

Meanwhile, the watcher on the mountain has rendered his verdict: Kallie Masterson is evil. The sentence: Death.




Okay, now vote! And thanks! :D


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