ARC Review: Unshakable

Unshakable (Wayward Fighters, #4)Unshakableby J.C. Valentine 

Publication Date: July 28, 2015

Publisher:  Malachite Publishing LLC

*Unshakable is included in the Red Hot Candy Boxed Set and it’s out today!

Synopsis:

Don Freyer lost both his wife and his fighting career to cancer. He was a bitter old man until Jami came into his life. Jami’s the son Don never had. Don knows Jami’s life was rough growing up and he wants to ensure Jami and his wife can provide stability for the baby they are about to have. Don’s about to make that happen for them when life throws another hurdle his way.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Unshakable is the epilogue to the Wayward Fighters series. It’s a short story told in Don and Jami’s POV’s. In order to understand the characters, it’s best to have read the previous novels.

I love that J.C. Valentine gave us one last glimpse into the lives of the Wayward Fighters family. It was short and sweet and really wrapped up the entire series in a great way. Fans of the series will love it.

Thank you to J.C. Valentine for the opportunity to read and review an ARC of Unshakable. 

Other books in this series:

Knockout (Wayward Fighters, #1)  Tapout (Wayward Fighters, #2)  unDefeated (Wayward Fighters, #3)

Coming In From The Cold

Coming In From the Cold (Gravity Book 1)Coming In From The Cold (Gravity #1) by Sarina Bowen

Publication Date: March 13, 2015

Publisher: Rennie Roads Book

Synopsis:

Dane “Danger” Hollister is an Olympic ski racer trying to outrun an illness that cursed both his mother and brother. He lives each day as it was his last. It’s what makes him such a good racer. It’s also what makes him avoid relationships that last longer than a night.

Willow Reade has the worst luck ever. Thanks to her ex, she’s stuck in the Vermont countryside taking care of an old house and a bunch of chickens.

When a blizzard blows in and drives them both off the road, Dane and Willow spend and unforgettable night together. Both are rocked by the passion and the consequences their time together will have.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Coming In From The Cold was a really cute sports related love story. I liked that it was centered around a winter sport (skiing). Dane was the typical jock that doesn’t do relationships — except his reason isn’t the one you normally find in romance novels. Willow’s sweet and strong. Their chemistry was hot. It was a really fun read for my latest camping trip.

Contemporary romance readers that like a romance with hot athletes will enjoy Coming In From The Cold.

Kiss Me

Kiss Me (Fool's Gold, #17) Kiss Me (Fool’s Gold #17) by Susan Mallery

Publication Date: June 30, 2015

Publisher: HQN Books

Synopsis:

Phoebe Kitzke is a fixer. She fixes things for people. Clients, friends, boyfriends. They’ve all benefited from Phoebe’s kindness.

Phoebe’s latest gift of kindness is costing her big. Not only is she suspended from her real estate job, but she’s in jeopardy of losing it all together. So, Phoebe’s come to the decision that she’s not going to be a doormat anymore. No more favors. Well, except for one last one. She’s going to join her best friend, Maya, at her family ranch in Fool’s Gold. She’s been promised there will be plenty of hunky scenery.

Zane Nicholson is not happy that he’s stuck leading a cattle drive for some tourists, but he’s determined to teach his half-brother a lesson. The last thing stubborn Zane expects to happen on the cattle drive is to fall for sweet Phoebe. He knows he should fight his longings for her, but it’s pretty hard when just seeing her makes his day brighter.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Fool’s Gold novels are always fun to read. You can read them in order or as standalone novels. There are some overlapping characters in each book, but not enough to bother you if you haven’t read one of the previous novels. I actually started the series in the middle and then caught up with the beginning books later. There are so many and they have been written for years, so it’s easy to get them from the library. My library even had the majority of them in a digital format.

So, having read all of the previous seventeen Fool’s Gold novels and all its novellas, I was a little nervous about reading Kiss Me. It pains me to admit it, but Hold Me (Fool’s Gold #16) wasn’t one of my favorite Fool’s Gold novels. It just didn’t have enough of a love story for me. The background stories of the characters were amazing; I just wanted more of the love birds together. I was worried maybe the series was going to start to fizzle for me.

I was happy to find that was not the case. Kiss Me was a fun cowboy romance. I say cowboy because the majority of it is set on the cattle drive in Fool’s Gold. Phoebe was a hoot. I loved her relationship with the animals. She was a little too sweet for me at times, but grumpy Zane definitely rounded her out. The sexual tension between them was hot.

I also enjoyed all of the supporting characters’ stories. They were unique and added a lot to the entire cattle drive experience. I do wish there would have been more of the town of Fool’s Gold in it. It always makes for cool and interesting storylines.

I’m very happy Kiss Me brought back my love for the Fool’s Gold series. It’s a series I’d highly recommend to contemporary romance readers that like a series with an interesting setting and characters.

Other books and novellas in this series (in order):

Chasing Perfect (Fool's Gold, #1) Almost Perfect (Fool's Gold, #2) Sister of the Bride (Fool's Gold, #2.5)  Finding Perfect (Fool's Gold, #3)  Only Mine (Fool's Gold #4)  Only Yours (Fool's Gold, #5)  Only His (Fool's Gold, #6)  Only Us (Fool's Gold, #6.1) Almost Summer: A Fool's Gold Novella (Fool's Gold, #6.2)   Summer Days (Fool's Gold, #7)  Summer Nights (Fool's Gold, #8)  All Summer Long (Fool's Gold, #9)  A Fool's Gold Christmas (Fool's Gold, #9.5)  Halfway There (Fool's Gold, #9.75)  Just One Kiss (Fool's Gold, #10)  Two of a Kind (Fool's Gold, #11)  Three Little Words (Fool's Gold, #12)  Christmas on 4th Street: Yours for Christmas  When We Met (Fool's Gold, #13)  Before We Kiss (Fool's Gold, #14)  Until We Touch (Fool's Gold, #15)  Yours for Christmas (Fool's Gold, #15.5)  Hold Me (Fool's Gold, #16)

Ever After

Ever After by Jude DeverauxEver After (Nantucket Brides Trilogy #3) by Jude Deveraux

Publication Date: June 23, 2015

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Synopsis:

Growing up, Hallie Hartley was forced to give up everything for her Victoria Secret model look-a-like step-sister, Shelly. Not only did she “give up” her boyfriends to Shelly, she gave up her dream college. Now Shelly is pressuring Hallie to sell her beloved childhood home and give her half the proceeds. All pampered Shelly does is take, take, take. She always gets what she wants.

Well, at least until Hallie comes home early one day to find Shelly impersonating her. Hallie learns that she has unexpectedly inherited a house on the island of Nantucket. Shelly pretended to be her in order to steal the house out from under Hallie. That’s not the worst of it, either. Shelly had planned to pretend she was a physical therapist just like Hallie is. Shelly was going to rehabilitate a ski injury for rich man staying in the house. Hallie is mortified and makes a split decision. She hops on a private jet to Nantucket to care for the injured man herself.

Halllie’s first impression of Jamie Taggert isn’t great. He’s exactly what she expected: a rich, gorgeous, pampered man. But as she works with him, her impression changes.  Maybe this rich guy isn’t just a spoiled brat after all. Maybe there’s more to his story than Hallie realizes.

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Ever After is the first novel I’ve read by Jude Deveraux. I’m kind of wishing it wasn’t right now. I wish I would have read another of her novels prior to reading Ever After so I had something to compare it to. She’s obviously a very well respected and popular author. I can see why. So, then why the 2.5 star review? Well, let me explain.

The first 30% of this book killed me. Killed me. I honestly couldn’t believe what I was reading. I hated Hallie. First, she had no big reaction to Shelly’s betrayal. I know she was shocked and was generally a doormat, but Shelly was trying steal a house from her! A house!

 Second, when Jamie meets Hallie he looks her up and down and likes what he sees. Hallie immediately jumps on him and tells him off. I know she was tired of guys using her to get to Shelly, but it still seemed out of character for her. Especially with how fast she changed her impression of Jamie. The next thing I know, she’s telling him she’ll stop putting her breasts in his face when she’s treating him if he doesn’t do something.

My biggest reason for hating the first 30% of the book, though, was Hallie’s night visits to Jamie. When Hallie hears Jamie having nightmares, she goes to his room. She sees he’s taken sleep medication and that she won’t be able to wake him up. Hallie tries to sooth him…by kissing him. (Kissing him? I thought she couldn’t stand him?) Then, when he pulls her into bed with him, she sleeps next to him. This continues nightly and she never tells him. It comes to a point where she almost has sex with him while he’s sleeping.

This was so wrong in so many ways. It made me want to put the book down and DNF. I get that she was just trying to sooth him, but it became more when she didn’t tell him and didn’t stop her actions. She was taking advantage of him while he was under the influence of drugs, whether she meant it that way or not. I just kept thinking that if the roles had been reversed and Jamie was doing that to Hallie, it wouldn’t fly. It would be equated to a guy trying to sleep with a drunk girl. I know it was probably meant to be cute or something, but all it did was anger me.

Obviously, I kept reading. Ever After did get better. The second 2/3 of the book was really good. It was almost like the first 1/3 of the book never happened. If the book had started at 2/3 I would have rated it 4 stars. I was pulled into the story. Jamie and Hallie falling for each other was cute. I loved what the ghost story added to their romance. I also absolutely adored Jamie and his entire family. There were some really good twists, too.

Would I recommend it? Well, I’ve seen a lot of 5 star reviews out there, so it’s obvious other people love the story. I’m sure Jude Deveraux fans will love it. I did really enjoy it after the creeper parts were over.

I would like to thank Ballantine Books for the opportunity read and honestly review an ARC of Ever After.

Other books in the Nantucket Brides Series:

True Love (Nantucket Brides Trilogy, #1)  For All Time (Nantucket Brides Trilogy, #2)

What a Girl Wants

What a Girl Wants (Fillmore & Greenwich, #1)What a Girl Wants (Fillmore & Greenwich) by Kate Perry

Publication Date : June 15, 2015

Publisher: Phoenix Rising Enterprises, Inc. 

Synopsis:

Ariana Warren has always felt like she didn’t quite fit in her family. Her father, mother and sister all found their talents early and quickly. Ariana has spent years searching for hers, but she’s finally found it in her natural skin care line. She loves her small business. If only that was good enough for her businessman father. But it’s not and now he’s sicking his business associate on her.

Sebastian Tate has returned to the U.S. from his extended visit to London to fulfil a debt to an old business partner. Edward Warren wants Sebastian to help his daughter, Ariana, expand her skin care line. Once he sees the skin care line, Sebastian knows he can accomplish this goal — if only Ariana was willing to accept his help…and his love.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Kate Perry never fails at delivering books that make me smile. Her stories always make me happy. They’re filled with fun, interesting and sometimes odd characters. I love how they’re always finding their happily ever after, while also finding themselves at the same time. I also really enjoy how Perry always works in a secondary love story into her novels.

As for What a Girl Wants, it was fun getting to know Sebastian from the Summerhill Series a little better. He always seemed like he might be hiding something in that series and it was finally nice to find out what that was. I liked how his business minded personality melded with Ariana’s free spirit approach to life. I would have liked to read even more of his life in the novel. The storyline mainly revolved around Ariana.

Ariana was definitely my favorite character in What a Girl Wants. I liked the storyline involving her family as much as I liked seeing her falling in love with Sebastian. It was really cool to see how her family viewed her compared to how Ariana viewed herself. I think there are a ton of people who can identify with the feelings Ariana had.

I also thought Esme the psychic was a cool addition to the story. I’m looking forward to seeing what she has in store for the characters in future Fillmore & Greenwich books. I can’t wait to read about George, the mechanic.

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with a Kate Perry contemporary romance novel. They’re filled with great relationships, laughs and some fun, steamy scenes. Not to mention, they always end with a happily ever after. I like that even though they’re part of a series with related characters, you can easily read each novel as a standalone.

I would like to say thank you to Kate Perry for the opportunity to read and honestly review an ARC of What a Girl Wants.

Amber to Ashes

Amber to Ashes (Torn Hearts, #1)Amber to Ashes (Torn Hearts #1) by Gail McHugh

Publication Date: June 9, 2015

Publisher: Atria Books

Synopsis: 

Amber Moretti made it through a tough childhood, one horrible moment defining her entire existence. Now, thanks to her amazing foster parents, Amber’s starting college and getting a chance to start her life over. No one there will know about her past. Nor will they know how she used to escape from the memories that still haunt her.

But just as one moment defined her childhood, another moment will define her life now. When Amber walked into the college dining hall, she never expected to meet and connect deeply with one man, let alone two. She’s always kept herself emotionally unavailable to men, but she can’t help but need both of them now.

Brock Cunningham and Ryder Ashcroft may be completely different in looks and attitude, but they both want Amber in the same intense way. Brock is the hunky football player that every girl wants. Amber can’t help but be attracted to his slick words and the way he wants to be everything she needs. Ryder is Brock’s opposite. He’s tough, tattooed and pierced. His every word disgusts Amber….until he kisses her. Then, she feels powerless to his touch.

Quickly, Amber finds herself falling for these two men. She knows she can’t possibly be in love with each of them, but she finds it harder and harder to fight her feelings for them. Amber knows she’ll be forced to choose to between Brock and Ryder, but she has no idea what would lead up to her decision.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Um….Wow. I’m not quite sure what my reaction should be after reading Amber to Ashes. This book was so gritty, dirty and all sorts of messed up…but I think I liked it. It’s hard to say because, while I was really disturbed by most of the story, I couldn’t put the book down. It was crazy. Every time I thought the story couldn’t get any more disturbing, it did.

I wanted to know how everything was going to play out for Amber and her need for both Brock and Ryder. Each character was so messed up with their own issues that all together they were just one gigantic disaster waiting to happen. I couldn’t see how this could end positively for any of them.

I really liked how most of the book was in Amber’s POV, but that I also got a sprinkling of Brock and Ryder’s as well. That really helped shape their relationships with each other — especially Brock and Ryder’s relationship. Which was a good thing, considering how Amber felt about both of them.

My least favorite parts of the book were the violent ones because I’m just not into violence. BUT I will admit the violent parts were a good addition to the storyline. They made this more than just a love triangle story.

The ending, though. The ending killed me! What a cliffhanger! I’ll definitely be reading the next book because I have to know what happens.

If you’re interested in reading this book, I’d just warn you ahead of time to be prepared for a lot of sexually explicit encounters (one F/M/M), violence, and drug use. The story will suck you in and then twist and turn in ways you aren’t expecting. It’s an entertaining read, but in it gets messier and messier the deeper into the book you go. It’s definitely not for someone expecting a HEA filled with sunshine, rainbows or unicorns.

Thank you to Atria Books for the opportunity to read and honestly review Amber to Ashes.

unDefeated

unDefeated (Wayward Fighters, #3)unDefeated (Wayward Fighters, #3) by J.C. Valentine

Publication Date: May 26, 2015

Publisher: J.C. Valentine

Synopsis:

Undefeated is the third book in the Wayward Fighters Series. The story continues from the end of Tapout and is in Spencer and Olivia’s POV’s.

Spencer’s trip to rehab has finally brought him to terms with the gambling addiction that ruined every good relationship he had. His goal now is to stay away from those he loves and prevent them from facing any future harm his addiction could bring. But when he has no where else to go after rehab ends, he find himself on Olivia’s doorstep.

Olivia tried to give Spencer the support he needed to face his addictions. He made it pretty obvious he didn’t want anything from her. So when Spencer shows up on Olivia’s doorstep, she hopes it will bring them closer together. But Olivia has demons of her own and her insecurities with their relationship may cause her to self-destruct. Will their relationship give them the strength they need to survive their addictions or cause them both to spiral out of control?

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

In the previous books in the Wayward Fighters Series, it was hard to find anything redeeming in Spencer. He caused so much pain for Jami, Ally and Olivia. I wondered if I was going to like reading unDefeated with him as one of the narrators. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, while I didn’t absolutely love him, I didn’t hate him so much anymore. I may have actually started to like him by the end! Reading from Spencer’s POV about his background and his struggles with his addiction made him more human and less of a monster. The way he tried to take care of Olivia in her lowest points, really helped redeem him. I could finally see what she saw in him. I loved how their relationship started bringing out the best in each of them. I also loved the way he dealt with the fall out of his actions and their impact on his relationship with his best friend, Jami.

Overall, unDefeated was a great story about love, friendship and the ongoing struggle with addiction. I think fans of the series will be extremely happy with Spencer and Olivia’s story of redemption.

Other books in the Wayward Fighters series by J.C. Valentine:

Knockout (Wayward Fighters, #1)  Tapout (Wayward Fighters, #2)

On the Fence

On the Fence

On the Fence by Kasie West

Publication Date: July 1, 2014

Publisher: Harper Teen

Synopsis:

It’s no surprise that sixteen year-old Charlotte “Charlie” Reynolds is a tomboy. She’s been competing against her three older brothers and neighbor, Braden, in every physical competition they can come up with her entire life. Her single father hasn’t been much help in all things girly either. Charlie knows nothing about clothes or makeup. She’s completely fine with that until one too many speeding tickets forces her to get a job at a boutique.

Working at the boutique opens up a whole new feminine world to Charlie. Not only is she learning about fashion, she’s making female friends. Charlie even meets a boy that’s interested in her and not just competing against her.

But Charlie isn’t completely comfortable with the changes she’s making and finds herself hiding her new found femininity from those closest to her. When hiding becomes too much for her, Charlie finds herself confiding in Braden. Their late-night talks have Charlie wondering if she wants more than friendship with Braden.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I absolutely loved On the Fence. It had me laughing from the very beginning. Charlie and her brothers were hilarious. It was so much fun to read their competitions with each other. It was also easy for me to identify with Charlie. I may not have been quite the tomboy she was, but I’ve never been big on wearing makeup. I can remember wearing it for the first time and looking into the mirror. I’m pretty sure I felt just as awkward as Charlie!

Kasie West has quickly become one of my favorite YA contemporary romance authors. I honestly couldn’t put this book down. It was cute and funny. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a nice, fun read to brighten their day. You won’t stop smiling the entire time you read it. It’s also very appropriate for any age reader. There’s no sex or even talk about it in this one.

Breathless in Love

Beathless in Love - Ebook 3000 x 4500-2Breathless in Love (The Maverick Billionaires, Book 1) by Bella Andre and Jennifer Skully

Publication Date: June 10, 2015

Publisher: Maverick Oak Press, LLC

Thank you to the authors for allowing me to read an ARC of Breathless in Love. Below is my honest review.

Synopsis:

Uptight Harper Newman has given up on finding love. She has too many responsibilities caring for her teenage brother, Jeremy. They’re a package deal and there is no way any man would want to take that on.

Billionaire Will Franconi has tried to put his rough past behind him, but never feels quite good enough. It doesn’t matter how much money he makes or how much good he does, Will still feels like he can’t completely escape his past. He fears no one will ever love him if they know who he really is.

When Will honors a request from Jeremy to see his prized car collection, Will can’t help but find Jeremy’s enthusiasm refreshing and his older sister enticing. Will wants Harper and he’ll do just about anything to prove himself to her. Harper wants to stay as far away from Will as possible. He makes her want things she shouldn’t. But Harper can’t stay away from Will. He brings out the wildness she forgot she needed.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have to admit I’m a big Bella Andre fan. I love her writing style and how she makes each series and character fresh and new. I haven’t read Jennifer Skully before, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect with the two authors writing together. I didn’t have anything to worry about. Breathless in Love was just as good as any other Bella Andre novel.

I loved the characters! Will was both strong, but sweet. It was great that he could be both without losing his manliness. How he treated Jeremy made me swoon. Harper was a strong female character and her devotion to her brother really added a lot to the story. Jeremy was my favorite, though. His enthusiasm and the way he brought everyone together made me smile a lot. I also loved getting a glimpse at all of the other Mavericks. I can’t wait to read their stories!

Overall, I really enjoyed Breathless in Love. It was fun, sexy and fast paced. Fans of Bella Andre’s will love this new series. I can’t wait to read more of it and to check out Jennifer Skully’s other writing!