Posted in Books

Hard As It Gets by Laura Kaye

Och, how I love this writing style. The swoons and sexy mixed in with kick-ass, tough-guy, no-nonsense lingo… in a contemporary setting. Almost makes me feel like these things, while can happen in real life – can actually happen in real life. Know what I mean?

So now I have the Hard Ink series on my growing list of favorites.

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Trouble just walked into Nicholas Rixey’s tattoo parlor. Becca Merritt is warm, sexy, wholesome–pure temptation to a very jaded Nick. He’s left his military life behind to become co-owner of Hard Ink Tattoo, but Becca is his ex-commander’s daughter. Loyalty won’t let him turn her away. Lust has plenty to do with it too.

With her brother presumed kidnapped, Becca needs Nick. She just wasn’t expecting to want him so much. As their investigation turns into all-out war with an organized crime ring, only Nick can protect her. And only Becca can heal the scars no one else sees.

Desire is the easy part. Love is as hard as it gets. Good thing Nick is always up for a challenge.

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I don’t know how to review this book without spoiling it, but I’ll try.

A mysterious message to find a man to help her is all Becca Merritt has to go by to help a loved one. So she finds him in a tattoo shop, and then Nick Rixey turns her away. But his anger and absolute devastation he feels towards Becca’s father aren’t enough to keep him from going back on his action. And he helps her.

Thus begins a whirlwind of steamy hot, action filled and mind boggling plot that is the perfect answer to the term “page turner.”

I love Becca. She’s strong and willful, sensitive and caring and she’s fiercely determined to do the right thing. I loved that she isn’t afraid to speak her mind, to demand what she deserves, or at the very least, wants. I loved that she won’t back down and will manage to push without overstepping her boundaries. Becca is definitely a great character, especially since she didn’t need to be rescued. She needed help doing the rescuing.

Nick Rixey… Yum! I think ultimately I didn’t love him as much as I expected to, and I can’t point out why. But I can’t say a bad word about an ex-special ops hot man. I just can’t. He’s tough, he’s sexy, he’s gorgeous, protective and he now does tattooing at his brother’s shop.

Those two go through a lot together in this book, and having started reading the next title in the series, I can tell you they aren’t hidden in the shadows of the story like I’m used to with character based series. The story plot is a roller-coaster of action, sexy times, fear and hold-your-breath moments and it’s an absolutely wonderful and fun read.

I love how my friend Kristin over at These Pretty Words summarized the book: “Suspenseful and fast-paced, Hard as it Gets is a phenomenal five star read filled with romance, action and hot moments sure to get your heart racing. I loved it and already have the second book in the series, Hard As You Can, tagged as a must-read for 2014.”

My rating: 4.5star

Hard Ink is shaping up to be a great contemporary series and I already feel confident enough to tell you all to pre-order book 2, Hard As You Can. 

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Laura Kaye is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. Laura’s hot, heartfelt stories are all about the universal desire for a place to belong. Laura grew up amidst family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses, cementing her life-long fascination with storytelling and the supernatural. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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Posted in Books

Take Me On (Ross Siblings #4) by Cherrie Lynn

He couldn’t take his eyes from her as he approached and turned her barstool all the way toward him. The intensity in her eyes as she watched him, the hitch of her breath as he stepped between her legs – it ignited his blood again in a way he wouldn’t have expected after she’d made him blow his top earlier.

Don’t you love it when an author knows when to conclude a series? And does it with a bang, no less? Please add Cherrie Lynn to that honorary shelf.

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The consequences of a moment can last a lifetime.

Gabriella Ross suffered every bride’s worst nightmare: a no-show groom. Now summer stretches before her with nowhere to go but home, at least until it’s time to go back to medical school.

Determined to prove she might be down but definitely not out, she chucks all her old plans in favor of having a good time—starting with giving herself a pair of wings. Tattooed wings, that is, in the form of a phoenix on her back.

When everyone else at Dermamania chickens out at the prospect of putting the gorgeous, perfect skin of the boss’s big sister under the needle, Ian Rhodes finds himself stepping up. Then unexpectedly connecting with her through tears that have nothing to do with the pain of getting inked.

Attraction flares into one hot night that was supposed to stay that way—single, and secret. But best laid plans have a way of getting blown out of the water. Now two perfect strangers must plan for a very different future…beginning with whether there’s enough common ground to spend it together.

Warning: Contains explicit sex, graphic language, Ross family drama, reuniting with beloved old friends…and a hot tattooed, Harley-riding hero who doesn’t mind being robbed from the cradle.

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Who hasn’t read this series yet and claims himself/herself an adult romance lover? Because OMG.

After Evan and Brian’s stories, and yes, Ghost’s too… comes Gabriella’s turn. We didn’t really meet Gabby before, and I liked that little surprise of her.

Gabby is abandoned at the alter by her fiancé, Douchey McDoucherson, hoity toity surgeon in Dallas. Her fairytale wedding and all her dreams crushed, she goes back home for the summer, mostly to lick her wounds. That’s when she decides to take her ink artist brother up on his long standing offer and get a tattoo. Only she goes big! But then, Brian won’t do it, not in her questionable frame of mind. This is when Ian, a new employee who’s moved there from Dallas (he makes his first appearance in Ghost’s story) jumps in.

Gabby and Ian’s meeting isn’t quite over after her first session and the meet again that evening. After a long night of passion – and let me intervene here because, well, there’s passion in this night of passion – they are sure they’ll never see each other socially again. But fate has other plans and they need to deal with the consequences.

I loved that while this was a mostly expected romance story, there were little things that made it unique, little details that instantly made me love Ian and appreciate Gabby’s tenacious characters.

She was the phoenix, but he was the one who’d brought her back from the ashes.

The development of the relationships is believable and true. There’s a nice character arc for Gabby, a great sibling chemistry between her and Brian and a beautiful progression of Gabby and Ian’s relationship. Their falling in love was both steaming hot and lovely in it swooniness. <– Yup, I like making up words using swoon. Deal with it.

And yes, the smut. Great smut. Cherrie Lynn is good with smut. Get it, get it, get it, get it, get it. So the rating on this one is a no brainer, and at least one star is awarded to Lynn just for knowing how to end a series, and end it with a lot of swoon, smut and cute. I’m looking forward to her next series project.

My rating: 5

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Cherrie Lynn has been a CPS caseworker and a juvenile probation officer, but now that she has come to her senses, she writes contemporary and paranormal romance on the steamy side. It’s *much* more fun. She’s also an unabashed rock music enthusiast, and loves letting her passion for romance and metal collide on the page.

When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, listening to music or playing with her favorite gadget of the moment. She’s also fond of hitting the road with her husband to catch their favorite bands live.

Cherrie lives in East Texas with said husband and their two kids, all of whom are the source of much merriment, mischief and mayhem. You can reach her at cherrie@cherrielynn.com, at the various social networking sites, or right here. She loves hearing from readers!

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Posted in Books

Crash Into You (Pushing the Limits #3) by Katie McGarry

And he laughs. Not the heavy laughter from before. It’s a great laugh. A deep laugh. One that makes my lips lift. Isaiah, the guy who an hour ago carried himself like a jungle predator, now has the content aura of a lazy cat bathing in the sun.

*twirls* I loooooooove this series. Admittedly, my favorite is the first, Noah and Echo’s story. But I’ll say again, this series is one of my favorite YA on the verge of NA contemporary series out there.

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The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that’s who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers…and she’s just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can’t get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they’ll go to save each other.

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I’ve been waiting for Isaiah’s story for AGES, YEARS, EONS… ok, so no, but I have been waiting since even before Beth’s story. There’s just something about Isaiah that screams GOOD and MISUNDERSTOOD and SWOONY.

For Rachel, I’d shovel coal into the furnace in hell.

Isaiah is in the thick of the street life, he has no choice. Rooming with Noah at an infested apartment in the not so exciting part of town, behind rent and scraping for money while avoiding his foster family, he is definitely not in the best of shapes. Noah planning on moving to the dorms isn’t helping things. And then to make matters worse (depending how you look at things) Isaiah’s mother, 2 years after being released from prison, is reaching out and want to renew their relationship.

Rachel Young is a blond, petite, fragile-ish girl, surrounded by 4 brothers and overprotective parents, who mostly see her as a replacement for their eldest daughter who they’ve lost to cancer before Rachel and her twin were even born

I hate Colleen. Hate her. I’ve never met her and I despise her.
How dare she be perfect and beautiful and everything everyone could have ever dreamed of in a sister and a daughter. How dare she get sick and die and leave this entire family in shambles. How dare she haunt me from her grave, taunting me with how I will never be good enough.

Rachel is rich and mostly the exact opposite of Isaiah. But they have something in common.

Both LOVE muscle cars.

Rachel suffers at the hands of her family. Not intentionally, and they do love her, but my God if there are characters more dense in literary fiction than her parents and possibly her older brothers, call me Petunia. I wanted to smash my Paperwhite against the wall several times, and possibly *cough* bitched *cough* about them on twitter a few times while reading. I did like most other characters, though there weren’t many more major-ish ones.

While Rachel makes a few innocent mistakes, trying to let loose and free of her suffocating and pressuring family, she meets Isaiah. At an illegal drag race. Welp!

Getting in trouble with Eric, the drag race-street-lord is possibly the last thing Rachel needs, and to Isaiah’s credit he does try to prevent that happening. However, things get slightly complicated and the end result is Isaiah and Rachel in bed with Eric. And no, not the fun way.

Taking into consideration everything both MCs have to deal with, throwing in Beth trying to rekindle her friendship with Isaiah and him trying to deal with his mother’s return to his life, makes for one heck of an emotional ride.

McGarry’s writing is always emotional, genuine and compelling. The relationships she creates are easy to empathize with, even if not to the letter (God, I hope few of us have to deal with this kind of crap in life).  And when a beautiful and complex character like Isaiah is the one the story revolves around, knowing she is the one to do him justice only makes wanting to read the story stronger.

So yes, while I disliked (understatement) most of the characters involved in the plot. And while there were a lot of ups and downs, many twists in the plot and yes – a lot of rage (on my part), I enjoyed this story immensely.

My rating: 4star

 

 

I am now waiting for West’s story. He’s a enough of a complex idiot (right now) that his story has the potential to be pretty awesome. Also, a novella for Ethan and Abby (hint hint) wouldn’t be rejected from my TBR list. Just FYI, Katie *wink*

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KATIE McGARRY was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie would love to hear from her readers. Contact her via her website, katielmcgarry.com, follow her on Twitter @KatieMcGarry, or become a fan on Facebook and Goodreads.

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A Touch of Midnight (Midnight Breed #0.5) by Lara Adrian

I’ve read the Midnight Breed series a while back, and then all subsequently released installments, and I love it. Mostly the way Adrian reinvented the series with the last full length novel, Edge of Dawn. My review here.

Anyhoo, Gideon and Savannah were already mated when the series began, and FINALLY we’re getting their story, as a prequel for the series.

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Savannah Dupree is halfway across the country from her Louisiana bayou hometown, a freshman studying at Boston University on a full scholarship. But academic excellence is only one of Savannah’s gifts. She possesses something even more remarkable than her quick mind and insatiable curiosity for learning. With a simple touch, Savannah can see an object’s past—a skill that puts her life in danger, when her studies bring her into contact with a centuries-old English sword and the secret hidden within the blade’s history: the vicious murders of twin boys by a group of fanged creatures borne of the worst kind of nightmare.

In all his three hundred years of living as one of the Breed, vampire warrior Gideon never dreamed he’d see the blade again that spilled his young brothers’ lives ages ago on that blood-soaked night in London. Ever since the boys’ deaths, Gideon’s been on a personal quest to rid the world of Rogue vampires, but now he can’t help wondering if the brutal slayings of his only kin was something more sinister—an act perpetrated by an unknown enemy. An enemy who is apparently living in hiding somewhere in Boston. There’s one certain way to prove Gideon’s suspicion, but it will mean using innocent, gifted Savannah to help uncover the full truth—a truth that will shatter everything she knows about herself and the world around her. And with danger closing in from all sides, the passion that ignites between Gideon and Savannah will tempt them to risk their hearts and lives for a love that might just last an eternity…

This novella, a prequel to the Midnight Breed series, was previously published in its entirety in The Midnight Breed Series Companion (May 2013).

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First, let me start by telling you the novella is now FREE on Amazon, so get it and then continue reading this post.

Got it? Good.

Savannah in this novella is an student who’s researching ancient artifacts. Her Breedmate’s gift is seeing an object’s past upon touching it. So naturally, she takes great care to not touch a gorgeous sword while trying to date and identify it. Only… that doesn’t work out and she gets a glimpse of a brutal scene. 

So you know there’s a murder that ensues, and the media is involved, and the story is outed, and Gideon sees it, which strikes up his interest in her.

Gideon is one of my favorites. He’s funny yet serious, he’s gorgeous (like they all are) yet rugged, he’s wicked smart and he’s perfect for Savannah.

Savannah is delicate and fierce. She’s passionate about her job at the archives and it matches her gift perfectly. Surprise, surprise. Then again, Adrian has the talent to make these details blend seamlessly.

I loved Gideon and Savannah’s story. I loved another little glimpse into the Breed’s stories, especially the beginning when the core of the Breed fighters were so against being mated. The ending makes it all the sweeter.

My rating: 4.5star

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