Category Archives: Sent

True – Erin McCarthy – 4 stars

17332551

 

The Blurb:

When Rory Macintosh’s roommates find out that their studious and shy friend has never been with a guy, they decide that, as an act of kindness they’ll help her lose her virginity by hiring confident, tattooed bad boy Tyler Mann to do the job…unbeknownst to Rory.

Tyler knows he’s not good enough for Rory. She’s smart, doctor smart, while he’s barely scraping by at his EMT program, hoping to pull his younger brothers out of the hell their druggy mother has left them in. But he can’t resist taking up her roommates on an opportunity to get to know her better. There’s something about her honesty that keeps him coming back when he knows he shouldn’t…

Torn between common sense and desire, the two find themselves caught up in a passionate relationship. But when Tyler’s broken family threatens to destroy his future, and hers, Rory will need to decide whether to cut her ties to his risky world or follow her heart, no matter what the cost…

My Thoughts:

I was very lucky to meet Erin Galloway at an RT Convention unofficial Blogger event sponsored by Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and Dear Author.  We had a great time and as a part of this event Erin was nice enough to offer us a chance to read this title with no pressure for review.  I have to say I am looking forward to the next one as even though I didn’t like most of the “friends” that surround the main characters I did love his family and the next one is about his brother plus one of the “friends”.

Rory has always been an outsider when it comes to being a normal young woman.  She’s very smart and driven but when it comes to social interaction she’s lost.  An introvert by nature and shaped by life with her introverted father she skipped out on having dates, boyfriends and all the other drama that comes with getting older but in college she ends up being roommates with two women that are much wilder and willing to live life for fun than she has ever been.  When they find out she’s a virgin they decide pairing her up with someone her complete opposite from the outside would do the trick.  She finds out that love, sex and passion are not as easy as she would have hoped but that what people see on the outside is not necessarily the true version that exists if you look behind the facade. She grows up a lot during this story and I have to say I liked how much she was willing to push her family and the man who ended up stealing her heart.  She isn’t perfect and at times is overly dramatic but it never made me roll my eyes as the author does a good job making you see why the reactions fit Rory.

Tyler…  sigh… I have to say I adored Tyler once we got around his tough exterior.  He does things not because he wants to but out of a huge sense of honor that even though they are not always smooth or appropriate are truly heartfelt and moving.  He starts hanging out with Rory to get to know her better and as they start to develop a real relationship also tries to let her go knowing in his heart he is beneath her.  She’s smart, sweet and according to him worthy of someone that is more than the son of a druggie that is going to be lucky to get his EMT certification and then work to build a new life for his two younger brothers.  He’s very stoic about what he deals with from his mom but when the worst happens his only real thought is to protect Rory from being taken down with him.  I adored this tattooed, pierced bad boy with a heart of gold and do want to see more of him.  My hope is we will get to see him managing to get out from under the hole he is in when we see his brother’s story.

This was a wonderful read other than the secondary characters who managed to piss me off because of their behavior.  Neither set of them seemed worthy of the loyalty Rory and Tyler show them other than maybe Nathan but I just felt like slapping them all at times and saying grow the hell up!

Thanks again to Erin at Penguin/Berkeley Publishing for giving me the chance to read this one as I greatly enjoyed it.  Please keep me in mind if you want to send me the next one… 😉

Rocky Mountain Rebel – Vivian Arend – 4.5 stars

16199739

 

The Blurb:

The best type of growing up involves getting down and dirty

Vicki Hansol made different choices than her less-than-reputable mom and sister, yet her fiery temper has left her branded with the same town-bad-girl label. When she desperately needs a change of scenery, her get-out-of-town-free ticket arrives—and requires she face down one of her deepest fears.

Easygoing Joel Coleman has nothing to complain about, but he’s never really done anything to brag about either. The youngest member of the Six Pack Ranch is looking to make some changes in his life that include stepping out from under his twin brother’s shadow.

So when the bold beauty with the smart mouth approaches him with a proposition, Joel is intrigued. Her request for him to teach her to ridesoon takes on a whole new meaning. All that passion in his arms, his bed, in the barn…hell, anywhere he can get it? Bring it on.

But tangling the sheets leads to unanticipated complications, and by the time the dust settles, everything family means is going to be challenged.

Caution: Saddle up for some youthful vigor applied with great enthusiasm. Ropes, rails and raunchy sex—there’s more places to get dirty around the ranch than first meets the eye.

My Thoughts:

As always I adore Vivian Arend’s writing, she has a way of making you love the characters even when they behave in ways you don’t expect.  In this case she not only gives us a lovely story of two misunderstood people finding one another but she gives us great stories that are giving us the building blocks of future books.

Joel has always been the willing partner in his twin brother’s games but as he gets a bit older he finds himself not wanting to live the party lifestyle although he isn’t in any huge hurry to be in a serious relationship.  When he sees Vicki Hansol at the local cafe he is intrigued by her spunk and her looks.  He’s shocked when she comes out to the ranch to ask him for help but sees this as a chance to not only help a woman he’s attracted to but also a chance to finally get seen as something other than one of the wild Coleman twins.  He goes through a lot as he and VIcki connect but even though he loses his brother a bit he gains self-pride and a future he never saw coming.

Vicki has lived her life being yet another one of the Hansol whores.  The sad thing is she isn’t what people have made her out to be but with her mom and sister sleeping their way through the area she hasn’t had a chance to prove her own worth outside that misconception.  After she loses another job due to being unable to tolerate the maltreatment she finds a savior in Joel.  He sees her real personality and doesn’t seem to paint her with the reputation of her family.  She gets another job but also an offer on an amazing job that won’t be available until late the next spring but it means she would have to face a huge phobia- horses.  This job means the world to her as it could get her away from the reputation she’s been given just because of her last name but she has to learn how to be near the scary beasts.  As she gets to know more about Joel and as they pretend to be in a relationship things begin to spiral out of her control and she finds herself wondering….  what do I really want and need?

I loved this story and even though Jesse (Joel’s twin) is a royal asshole in this story I can’t wait until he grows up to become an amazing man.  I also am looking forward to Travis’ story as he seems to be struggling with exactly what he wants and needs so it will be fun to watch him get kicked in the ass to move forward.

Great story and I cannot thank Vivian enough for letting Fatin send this one to me!  Give me more Colemans any day and I will be a happy girl. Viv didn’t require me to write a review but I am doing so with no input from her or Fatin.

For those heading to the Lori Foster Reader and Author Get Together in June 2013 please find me there as I have some goodies that Viv gave me at RT and will be giving them away to people that ask as long as I have them.

Kindle

 

A Tale from RT- Covet Thy Neighbor – L.A.Witt – 5 stars

The story of how I got the title & met a wonderful lady:

I could start this story in a really cheesy way…  There I was getting on an elevator at RT…

I’m going to just dive in and tell how this wonderful book ended up in my possession.  I might not have the exact conversation correct but the gist is there.

So the RT convention was an insane time but I met quite a few wonderful people and got asked the following question a ton of times – “What genres do you read?”  My answer was typically “Um…  all of them but I don’t do overly preachy inspirational romances.”  Well on one such elevator ride a woman turns around at my answer and tells me she has a book for me then.  I wasn’t certain who she was but I’m always happy to check out new titles.  She then proceeds to tell me that it has an atheist and a pastor.  Well…  how can one turn a title pitched like that down?  She proceeded to give me her card and tell me to send her an email so she could send me a copy if I wanted to check it out.  Well I can’t remember if it was that night or the next night (early morning) I finally got a chance to check out the blurb for it and saw…  Tattooed atheist???  *THUNK* Also I noted that not only was her comment that no one was magically saved during the story correct but that a few reviews I looked at said the same.  I sent her an email and the rest as we shall say…  was history.

The woman on the elevator – the amazing Sarah Frantz from Riptide Publishing.  I cannot thank her enough for telling me about the title and then being awesome enough to send me a copy of it just to read.  She didn’t require a review or tell me to gush over it but here I am doing just that.

17305027

The Blurb:

Tattoo artist Seth Wheeler thinks he’s struck gold when Darren Romero rents the apartment across the hall. The new guy is gorgeous, witty, and single, plus he’s just the right blend of bold and flirtatious. Perfect.

Except then Darren reveals that he moved to Tucker Springs to take a job as the youth pastor at the New Light Church. Seth is not only an atheist, but was thrown out by his ultra-religious family when he came out. He tends to avoid believers, not out of judgment but out of self-preservation.

But Darren doesn’t give up easily, and he steadily chips away at Seth’s defenses. Darren is everything Seth wants in a man . . . except for that one massive detail he just can’t overlook. Is Darren’s religion the real problem, or is it just a convenient smokescreen to keep him from facing deeper fears? It’s either see the light, or risk pushing Darren away forever.

My thoughts:

I’m keeping this review short and sweet.  You don’t get a true HEA in this story but you do get a more realistic ending than most stories I’ve read recently.  Do I think they are going to be an HEA?  Oh heck yes but I liked the way this ended.

Seth is an incredible man who in most respects seems happy and healthy but he’s missing someone to share this with.  He’s convinced that he is only a love ’em and leave ’em type but he’s really a huge softie underneath the tattoos.  He finds himself immediately attracted to the new neighbor but when he finds out the man is a pastor it puts him off-limits.  Seth has a major problem with organized religion and this amazing connection he feels just can’t be right.  I loved watching his interaction with his friends and it was amazing to see how much he helped a character in this story at the church.

Darren is an amazing man who just happens to be a pastor.  He finds himself incredibly attracted to Seth and when he sees something he wants he goes after it.  He’s a bit gun-shy in some respects but as you find out more about why he has moved to Tucker Springs it will make you mad at how much people buy in to stereotypes and misinformation.  I loved how much he was willing to do to help people and understand that not everyone will be willing to see the person behind the label.  He was just an amazing person and I hope that we will get to see him in future stories.

Now to them as a pair, they have a ton of stuff to work through but when they combust multiple times through the book you’ll have to fan yourself and maybe even get some ice.  They have an amazing connection that jumps off the page and how realistically L.A. Witt puts them through the wringer deciding what is best was just incredible to read.  While they do have problems you get a great sense of what both characters are thinking and feeling so the decisions they make are reasonable plus there really is none of the stupid big misunderstanding that pulls them apart.  I adored this story and really hope you will as well.  I cannot thank Sarah enough!!

Second Chance at Forever – Heather Lire – 5 stars

16148832

 

The Blurb:

When Morgan Sanderson left her grandparents’ anniversary party, she had no idea how much the previous week would impact her life. Four years later she’s living a content life, teaching literature and being the best mom she can be, even if she knows something is missing. That thing being the one person she can’t forgive and yet can’t get over.

The week Ryan Cartwright spent with Morgan was the best week of his life until tragedy struck, one that changed his life completely. Four years later he discovers he has three year old twins with Morgan, the one woman he’s never been able to forget and let go. Can he forgive her from keeping the knowledge of his sons from him?

As they uncover the truth behind their separation, they discover the love they’ve always felt for each other is still there, but can they ever trust each other again?

My Thoughts:

How would you feel if you met the love of your life when you weren’t looking for it?  What if you found them, spent the best week of your life with them and had them have to leave unexpectedly?  What if you didn’t have their contact information and found out you were pregnant?  Imagine all this and mistaken identity that causes a ton of heartache to get this story.

Morgan is content being on the outside away from all the crowd at her grandparent’s house when she runs in to a man who not only brings her out of her exile but makes her feel things that she doesn’t quite know what to do with.  They have an incredible week when he is called out of town unexpectedly.  After he leaves she realizes they don’t have each others contact information plus he has the wrong last name for her.  You see her family has been burned before with the whole gold-digger thing so she used a false last name with him out of habit.  After she finds out that their one time together has left her pregnant she wants to find him but at a fundraising party later that same day she sees a man that seems to be her prince wooing another woman and acting like he’s never met her before in her life.  Devastated she decides to not try to tell him and move on with her life in small town, Holiday, Vermont.  A few years pass before she gets a message that he knows about his sons and is probably on his way to confront her plus meet them.

Ryan was stunned to find the woman he has been unable to forget since their one week together but has never been able to track her down until his twin (identical) brother informs him that he not only knows where she is but that he is a father.  You see he only left on such short notice because of a tragedy that has resulted in he and Evan raising two little girls.  He’s shocked to find out that he’s a father and honestly even though he isn’t happy about missing out on so much he’s excited to see the woman he never forgot.  When he sees her again he knows that she is it for him and the feelings that he had from that one week together were real and worth pursuing.  He’s also at a bit of a crossroads in his life as he’s not sure that he can put himself in the dangerous situations he does every day in his job as a big city cop.  He works very hard to earn Morgan’s trust back and be patient as she works to let him back in.

 

I have to say I loved both of them as they struggled to reconnect at decide to take a chance on something amazingly rare.  They really did connect in that single week and being back together after so much time apart but feeling like the time had never happened showed them it was real.  It was believable when Morgan struggled to commit fully and take that jump to trust in her heart but I loved it.  I loved how Ryan was so strong in his conviction that she was everything to him and that he let her take the time she needed to make up her mind even though it did hurt him.  He’s such a good man and the fact that he really understood where she was coming from was beautiful to see.  This is a heartwarming story even with the initial heartbreak.  I mean I wanted to strangle the man we thought was Ryan early in the story.  I’ll definitely keep my eye out for more from Heather and cannot thank her enough for taking a chance on me.  She was daring enough to send me an email to see if I would like to read this for review with no expectations that I would like it let alone love it.  I adored it and would gladly recommend it to anyone who likes reunion stories or true love stories.

Famously Engaged – Robyn Thomas – 3.5 stars

17834342

The Blurb:

A chef and a rock star. They couldn’t be from more different worlds…

Rock star royalty’s favorite son, Jake Olsen, couldn’t help but interfere after listening to his future brother-in-law talk non-stop about his ex-wife, Beth Carlisle. Jake decides that the only way to get the groom’s mind off his ex-wife is to give her a fake fiancé.

Before Jake can convince Beth of his plan, he’s forced to move in with her to avoid the paparazzi. Their instant attraction makes for a sizzling “first date”, but soon Jake’s fame gets in the way and Beth wants out. Too bad Jake’s figured out just why her ex is so obsessed with her, and he’s afraid he’s not going to be able to give her up either.

Now it’s up to Jake to convince this chef together they make the perfect recipe.(

 

My Thoughts:

This was a cute book with a bit of a rush to the whole love thing but Jake and Beth as a couple do make sense even with the quick ILY.

Jake is worried about his half-sister who is marrying a man that appears to be hung up on his ex-wife so he decides to take matters in to his own hands.  Of course being a rock-star what better way to get this handled but to create a fake fiancee.  I mean sure he could just show up and try talking to her plus get to know her but hey why not?  Let’s create this fake story so he can move in with her and put himself in the way of the soon-to-be groom.  What he gets when he meets her is a woman at a very low point in her life that makes him feel much more than he ever expected.  She’s genuine and in his life he doesn’t do that sort of thing…  no permanence and to be honest it is an incredibly lonely life that he has created but doesn’t know how to live outside the public eye.  He opens up and shows her more of himself in their few days together but knows in his heart that all he will do is crush what he loves so much about her if he stays.  I liked him even when he was being the rock god as you did get a good feel for how hollow it all is to him.

Beth was something else.  She lets a man in to her home that she doesn’t know but as she gets to know him shows him more of herself than she has ever shown another soul.  She’s reeling from a loss in her life and uses her kitchen as an outlet for this grief.  She’s very grounded so having Jake come in and tear apart her haven makes her feel vulnerable but when she sees the real him it is it for her.  She’s not in love with her ex nor is he with her but they are incredibly close due to basically being raised together.  I liked seeing that she really was over her ex and that he really was over her but felt that he needed to make sure she found her own soul mate even though someone outside their little circle wouldn’t get it at all.  She pushes all the right buttons with the entourage that surrounds Jake’s life but wants something real from him and isn’t sure it would ever work between her plain Jane self and his Rock God image.

As I said originally this was a nice read even with the hurried ILY and I will gladly go check out more by this author.  Special thanks to the publicity team at Entangled Publishing for giving me a chance to read this early in exchange for my honest review.

Diana’s Hound – Moira Rogers – 4.5 stars

15771216

 

The Blurb:

The female of the species is more deadly…

Bloodhounds, Book 4

Nate Powell lived one full life as a world-class inventor before a disaster born of magic and science returned him to his prime—and turned him into a half-vampire, half-bloodhound abomination.

He’s finally stopped yearning for death, but he’s a long way from being excited about life—even if his newly virile body is very excited by the latest arrival to Iron Creek.

Diana is another creature that shouldn’t exist—a female bloodhound. While the males of Iron Creek accept her as a fellow warrior, Nate seems torn between a desire to study her and a need to protect her. Diana’s urges are a lot more carnal.

When they learn that a rogue hound is selling women across the border, Diana and Nate are chosen to infiltrate the vampires’ capital city. Before long, their inner bloodhounds feel the mating pull—and a hound never outlives their mate for long. In a fight to keep each other alive, they could both end up worse than dead.

Warning: Contains a badass vampire-hunting heroine who isn’t afraid to fight dirty and a broody half-vampire hero about to discover a reason to live again. Also beware of: bloodhound-on-bloodhound violence, airship heists and some furniture-endangering sex with lots of biting, all in an alternate Wild West

My Thoughts:

Well what can I say other than “GIMME MORE MORE MORE MORE!!!”  I know the authors know I adore their stuff under this pen name as well as under their Kit Rocha persona (coughACEcough) but this series has proven to be one of the most intriguing from the standpoint of the characters and time period they’ve introduced.  I find myself wanting to know more about how the Guild came in to being let alone what exactly is so special about Hunter and Diana.

Diana has been handling her status as the only known female bloodhound very well and knows that even though this isn’t what she originally thought her life would be she is still happy to be living it.  She’s strongly attracted to Nate but also knows that she shouldn’t be as how could he want her.  She’s done her time having assignations with men who meant nothing more than a way to survive the moon’s call on her as a bloodhound but Nate calls to her in a way that she didn’t expect.  She’s trying to learn her place in the world of Bloodhounds by learning how to fight and not only serve her purpose of killing vampires but helping uncover the secrets her mentor kept from her.  She agrees to go on a mission to find out more about the rogue hound that created her even though it could result in her death at the hands of demons and vampires.  The one wrinkle in this plan is Nate has decided he will be the one leading her in to this hell which in itself creates a new hell.

Nate is still coming to terms with this new hybrid life he has been saddled with.  I mean being half-vampire/bloodhound is hard enough without his new attraction to Diana.  She calls to his primal soul more than any other woman but he is convinced that she deserves so much better than he can ever give her plus I mean he’s so much older than the vibrant younger bloodhound.  He admires her and struggles with his instincts to keep her from harm even as he knows she needs to fight as it is her nature as a hound.  When he finally gives in to his yearning we get some incredibly hot scenes with such a great balance of heart/love behind it.  He’s aware for the first time in his long life that things are best when you can find someone to truly share yourself with and for that alone the book shone bright.

 

Special thanks to the authors for once again letting me get my hands on their work early.  I cannot thank the ladies enough (although coughmoreACEcough would make me an extremely happy person) for being willing to let me have it early in hopes that I would review it and sing their praises… 🙂

 

If you haven’t read this series yet go out and grab it because this is an interesting world and from things revealed in this story it is only going to get much much better.

To buy and learn more visit their site:

Moira Rogers Website

Hurricane Lily – Rebecca Rogers Maher – 3.5 stars

17560349

 

The Blurb:

Lily Sawyer flees her controlling, wealthy family in New York City for a solitary existence on Cape Cod. Three months later, a mounting anxiety binds her to the house she can no longer leave.

With hurricane season approaching, Lily hires Cliff Buckley—an angry carpenter with an immediate disgust for his elitist employer—to storm-proof her house.

Cliff soon discovers they have more in common than he thinks, as well as a raging spark between them could either destroy—or save—everything they care about. The question is, can either of them survive Hurricane Lily?

My Thoughts:

This is my second read from Rebecca and like the first one, Fault Lines, it made me think but in this case it didn’t hit me as hard as the first story.  We have a good story of two people who are very quick to judge based on surface appearances but I enjoyed the war that plays out between them as I felt both of them had things to learn about life in general.  It is another story that makes you think about things that are often uncomfortable but is brought out in such a way you are interested even if you disagree with the positions the characters take.

Lily has always been uncomfortable in her own skin and paranoid in such extremes that she is now a prisoner in a home that is falling down around her.  She is extremely worried about a major storm coming in and blowing everything away so she decides to make the home a fortress that can withstand this doomsday scenario.  She hires a contractor to do the work but wants the house to be redone not torn down.  As she is forced to accept strangers in her sanctuary we get to see her slowly come out of her shell and allow this angry yet compelling man in.  She pushes back at him even when all she wants to do is curl up and hide from the outside world.  She’s also a bit of a puzzle as we get to see this picture of a lonely child who only ever wanted to be loved by her rich, overbearing father.  She’s not crazy but others see her as such since she seems to disappear off the face of the earth and in to her own head.

Cliff was a bit of a puzzle.  He’s so angry about class and wealth that it colors his views of the outside world.  He is like Lily in his tendency to think the worst of everything.  As he gets to know more about Lily he’s intrigued by her seeming aloofness but senses vulnerability about her he really doesn’t want to see.  He ends up responding to her from a purely sexual standpoint but then starts to wonder what if she isn’t the horrible person he assumed just because she’s wealthy.  Sure he was around elitists when he was in school and working his tail off to afford school and living expenses while his fellow students were spending money like water… But something about her doesn’t feel the same and as he spends more time around her he finds his protective instincts coming out more and more as he studies the puzzle that is her behavior.

 

I found myself struggling at times with both characters as I don’t completely understand the doomsday mentality but I enjoyed watching them both overcome extreme anger and anxiety to find a middle ground that works for both of them.  We get to see two people heal deep-seated wounds and heal each other even though at times they truly hurt one another to the quick with their comments.

 

Thanks to Rebecca for giving me the chance to read this in hopes of a review.  I enjoyed this very much even though it made me scratch my head at times.  I’ve enjoyed both reads I’ve had of yours.  I will definitely keep my eye out for more.

Amazon

 

Ducks in a Row – Michelle Garren Flye – 4.5 stars

17342354

 

The Blurb:

Cady Summers thinks she has all her ducks in a row: great house, beautiful family. Then her estranged twin sister Cam shows up…pregnant. Envious of her sister’s condition and lonely with a teenage daughter and a workaholic husband, Cady’s life no longer seems to have the perfect order she has always cherished.

A recovering drug addict and absentee mother of two, Cam Taylor has never had any order in her life. Afraid of his reaction to her pregnancy, Cam flees the man she loves, seeking refuge in the only home she still knows.

Can the love between the two sisters provide a healing balm for the wounds of her scarred marriage or will Cady seek solace in the arms of another man? Can the reunion with her sister give Cam the courage she needs to face the man she loves or will she let her past mistakes come between them?

My Thoughts:

This is a very beautiful but painful story that shows a family at a breaking point, a woman finally facing her fears to become a real adult, and the wreckage that gets left behind as you try to avoid facing facts to do the hard things such as make a marriage work.

Cady is shocked when her estranged sister shows up on her doorstep pregnant and running from the father of her baby.  She’s also at a major crisis point in a marriage that seems to be more about the motions than being real.  She latches on to her sister in an attempt to replace her work-a-holic husband and teenage daughter but soon this isn’t enough as her sister starts to stand on her own feet.  She then jumps at the chance to take a part-time job with a man that could mean the death of her marriage as they have a strong attraction for one another but she’d never cross that line, would she, and he would never ask her to, or wouldn’t he?  She’s a good woman who makes some bad choices in this story but they do come from a painfully honest place that even though I can’t condone those decisions I can’t condemn her for them either.

Cam is struggling.  She’s already had three husbands and two kids who she has nothing to do with but this latest pregnancy has her scared in more than one way.  She runs to her sister believing that the perfect family life will give her the chance to figure things out and make a better decision.  When she sees that things aren’t perfect with her sister’s marriage she really steps up to try to help Cady before a horrible mistake can be made.  She also finds out that maybe just maybe a real love is in her life to stay if she can just let him in.  She grows up a lot in this book and watching her finally embrace being present in her own life was wonderful to see.  I liked that even when her life was falling apart she really did want to help her sister and even learned a few things in the process that should mean a wonderful future for her and her baby.

 

I’m going to leave this review short and not mention the men that play a major role in this story but between them and the drama that having a teenager brings to life it really ultimately is a story of two sisters finally finding true happiness with the family they love.  Please do not read this if you have a fundamental issue with cheating as I’m not going to whitewash Cady’s relationship although I can say that a certain line isn’t crossed but for some people this idea of even emotionally cheating or fooling around with someone outside their marriage would be an extreme hard limit so if it is one of yours please don’t read.  I would recommend it to anyone else but I do want to emphasize there is a major betrayal that happens and I wouldn’t want you to be unhappy to read something that is unforgivable to your sensibilities.  I found it to be a tragic story in some ways with a glimmer of hope that even at our bleakest moments real love can conquer all.

 

Thanks to Michelle Garren Flye for asking me if I would be willing to review this.  She did not ask for anything other than my honest opinion and I can gladly say that this was a wonderful read.  I’m just sorry it took me so long to pull it out of my TBR pile.

 

Amazon

Hard Way – Katie Porter – 5 stars

17047012

The Blurb:

“No holds barred. No mercy. No going back ”

Warning: Time to put the kidding aside. Although 100% consensual between a husband and wife, this book contains violent sex that, in some scenes, will appear forced. Readers sensitive to rape scenarios should proceed with caution…

Throughout their eight-year marriage, U.S. Air Force Captain Liam Dash Christiansen and his wife, Sunita, stayed strong through long separations. However Sunny’s new job as a high-profile legal advisor puts a severe strain on their enduring bond.

Her abrupt announcement that she wants a divorce is like a missile to Dash’s gut but her confession that she’s met another man is what unleashes his shocking passion. Sunny is surprised and nearly repulsed by her body’s reaction to Dash’s animalistic attempt at complete possession. That doesn’t stop her from craving more.

With Sunny’s whispered approval, their sex life explodes. Not only does Dash’s aggression tap into dark fantasies, she’s hopeful that now, “at last,” she’ll get what she s always wanted from her devil-may-care, don t-give-a-damn husband. Something honest and candid. Something real.

Yet fiery, carnal encounters won’t heal two long-broken hearts. Their bodies are finally speaking the same forbidden language, but it will take more than taboo desires to learn each other for the first time and to save a marriage that s only just begun.

My Thoughts:

If you think me highlighting, bolding, underlining and making the warning up above in red font is overkill trust me…  it is NOT.  Please read the warning before you consider picking up this book.  It really is accurate and I don’t want this wonderful read to suffer because people won’t take the warning seriously.  While the sex in this is consensual it is brutal in nature but suits the characters very well.  I found it uncomfortable at times but loved watching two people come to terms with both their sexual needs and their emotional ones.  It is also a brutally honest look at how it takes work to make a marriage sustainable and neither party can be entirely blameless when things fall apart.

Sunita has just come home from her job in Washington DC as part of the staff for a congressman.  The first thing she says to her husband when they get home is that she wants a divorce and admits that she is interested in another man.  This unleashes a side of him that neither of them expected but also shocks them both that this animalistic primal side makes both of them feel more alive than they have in years.  We get to see how she feels during each encounter as they become more brutal in nature but also we get to see what it is she loves about these moments.  She loves the fact that her husband is completely honest in these moments and isn’t keeping himself behind a mask.  As they work through their issues she also begins to see that the issue isn’t entirely his fault.  She’s been so scared of losing him that she’s been building a wall between them to the point where both of them have been dishonest with themselves and each other.

Liam (I can’t call him Dash after finishing the book) is blindsided when she drops the bombshell that she wants to throw their marriage away.  He’s still not 100% honest with himself as to why this is happening until close to the end of the book.  What we do get to see is a man who is desperately in love with his wife but is so unsure of what she needs and wants he just shuts down.  He’s pushed his way in to getting a month to have her any way, any time he wants to but that only speaks for them sexually.  What he doesn’t have from her is an indication of if they can save their marriage.  We get to see him work through a lot of internal issues in his career as a fighter pilot, his wants outside of the cockpit and the walls he has built around his true self which has brought this to a head.  He’s such a great man under all these issues that you do want him to succeed even if it means losing her.

I mean I wanted them together but I think I would have accepted the end of the relationship if that meant both of them were truly healed and happy but then I would wish the same for two friends who were in a hell like these two were.  Yeah I know I’m odd but I can’t really say why I loved the fact that once again Katie Porter pushed the envelope with this pair but man oh man they did.  I swear I was so invested in this raw picture of a marriage in crisis that even though the sex scenes are not all lovey-dovey you still felt every ounce of love these two have for one another and the ending is so worth the read.  I can’t say it enough but read this provided you can handle the brutal sexual games these two discover they love because the fact that they really do love one another shines through even as they hurt each other physically and emotionally.

I would class this as an unflinching look at a marriage in crisis with some very hot sex added to it even with the sex being so raw.  It felt honest and worked for the characters they wove with their words.  I cannot thank them enough for giving me the chance to read this in hopes I would review it.  They always come through with incredible characters and never put expectations on what my thoughts or reactions will be to their words other than hoping that I, like other readers, will adore it.

Which by the way ladies I did..  I really did…  *MUAH*

 

To check out more by the fabulous Katie Porter writing team check out their site which also has handy dandy buy links- Katie Porter Books

Strangers on a Train – Ticket Home – Serena Bell – 5 stars

TicketHome72lg

 

The Blurb:

Is that a cell phone in his pocket…or is he just happy to see her?

Strangers on a Train Story
When Amy Moreland left Seattle, she never expected to see her workaholic ex-boyfriend again. Encountering him on her Connecticut-to-New-York-City commute is the surprise of her life. He seems hell-bent on winning her back, but every time his cell phone rings, it’s a painful reminder of how he failed to put her first.
Jeff Havers can’t help that his phone keeps interrupting his carefully composed apology speech, but having Amy sic the Metro North security team on him is a bit much. Once he talks his way out of handcuffs, he focuses on coaxing Amy to talk about the fears that drove her away.
As the train ride takes them through the landscape of their lost life together, sparks fly and remembered heat reignites. But if they’re not brave enough to overcome the still-fresh pain of old wounds, it could be too late to pursue what really matters–their ticket home.

Warning: This book contains steamy train-car action, sex on the stairs, and a hero determined to give his velvet-and-heels-clad woman exactly what she’s looking for.

My Thoughts:

This is the fifth of the Strangers On A Train set of stories that I am going to review.  The full set releases on April 2, 2013 so go out and grab them.  If you are reading this before April 1 at 11:59 pm CT then go check out my stop on the blog tour for a chance to win all of the stories in this set by clicking here.

I have to say this was my favorite story of the five.  I adored it as it felt like a full length story rather than a novella.  You get a good feel for who they were in Seattle and honestly where they needed to go in the future.  This takes talent to accomplish in this shorter format and Serena succeeds completely.  I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for more from her in the future.

Amy left Seattle to try to make a life away from the man she loved with all her heart.  She felt that he always put business in front of their relationship and that he didn’t really value her for her but saw her more as the accessory he needed.  She moves to Connecticut and starts working a job she loves to try to become her own person.  She’s understandably shocked when she runs in to her ex on the train and what follows is a painful yet needed confrontation of what they were and what she needs to feel like she matters to him.  She wants his attention and for him to invest time in them versus always dropping plans and things with her to take care of his business.   Does she want him to quit his dream completely?  No.  She just wants to feel like she is as important to him as the money his business brings in.  I liked that she didn’t back down but I also liked that she owned up to her part in the failure of their relationship.  He can’t be a mind reader and know she’s hurting if she won’t speak up and let him know.  She needed to force the issue as much as he needed to pay closer attention to the signs.

Jeff is not a bad guy.  He’s just wrapped up in making his business a success and his personality doesn’t take to giving up a bit of control easily.  He honestly doesn’t understand what the issue was or that she was so unhappy.  He’s very clueless but as the story progresses you learn it isn’t out of meanness or general asshole behavior.  He was trying to make a life for them that would make sure her every need was taken care of without realizing that she wasn’t in it for the money or security that brings but she just wanted him.  Time with him, life with him and a chance to take trips like other couples do.  She didn’t want to be this corporate wife where she only saw him during those brief periods he wasn’t working she wanted a partner.  I loved how he really did try to understand even though it took something extreme for him to finally wake up but that he also didn’t try to push back everything on her.  They both made mistakes and all he wants is the woman who owns his heart and soul.

This was a lovely story of two people who really do love one another finally getting the courage to speak up for what they want and to voice those things they never were capable of telling one another while they were together.  I loved them both and would love a chance to see them happy later in their lives maybe as side characters in another story (hint hint).

I have to thank Ruthie Knox for giving me the chance to be a part of the fun surrounding this release and giving me the chance to read all of the wonderful stories…  Stay tuned for more between now and April 2nd.  To get buy links for all the stories click the link in the first paragraph of this section to go to the main tour post.

%d bloggers like this: