Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Out of Focus (Chosen Paths, #2) written by L.B. Simmons (291 pgs) – finished reading 3/22/16 – 5 stars - Contemporary Romance


I have to give myself some time to think about what I want to say. This just totally blew me away! The writing is phenomenal! It had me in tears as I just was so affected by the author’s words. I hope that I can do this author justice as far as how this book really made me appreciate the support of friends and an everlasting love. Not much I can say at this time...


“I’m lost. I feel lost, I guess I should say. Out of control, out of focus, like I can’t get my bearings.” ~ Cassie (Chap. 29)

That is how young Cassie Cooper feels. And, it’s heartbreaking to read about. When Cassie was eight years-old, she was a young victim of abuse. An abuse that no child should be a victim of. It broke her spirit and the payfulness of her young youth that should have been questioned by her parents, but never was. From that moment on, she has been lost and damaged. Such a sad story, but yet one that is unlifting during the most resilient epilogue I’ve ever read. It talks about hope. It talks about love. But, it mostly talks about having a voice to tell your story that could somehow have an impact on others. I’m telling you it was powerfully said! And, how Cassie gets to this most courageous point in her life is actually her story.

The author pulls you into the story with one painful prologue. The reader is introduced to Cassie and her feelings of how dark and unfeeling her life has now become. She hides it well from friends, but when she meets Grady Bennett, he can already see in her eyes that she’s not “with him”. It’s the isolation from people that she’s good at guarding. A personal touch. Someone in her private space. It’s all so suffocating. Grady tells her that she has time to tell her story. Whenever she’s ready. But, she just can’t. He’ll judge her. Find her dirty.

Oh, wow! I was just so sad for Cassie. She’s always the life of the party. The girl always with a smile. Her past was so heartbreaking. And, she totally blames herself and thinks she’s unworthy of being loved. Grady is one hunky dude! And, not only is he a good looker, but he’s sweet and kind, and is totally in it for the long haul. Their relationship is on fire! The intimacy is off-the-charts HOT!!! But, how can she move on when she’s so broken?? And, that’s when Dr. Aubrey Miller makes her appearance. She’s the catalyst to Cassie’s healing.

I loved this book! It was passionate and tender. The writing is beautiful and poignant. The author puts feelings into her words as shows the reader that it’s okay to be damaged, but it’s the work that goes into healing that is the most important. And, it always helps to have the love and support of your family and friends to plod through the darkest of days. Ms. Simmons agains “wows” me with her courageous characters and powerful storyline. I can’t tell you how much I was affected by Cassie’s story. And, while Cassie was indeed a remarkable woman, Grady was equally a fascinating man. One novel not to be missed!!!

“I read obsessively to escape my own world. To live the dreams of others when, for so long, the reoccurrence of my nightmares has been my reality. I read to fall in love and find a happily ever after, even if it is purely imagined. With each story I read, I’m able to live and love vicariously through the characters in my books. It’s the only plausible way for me to survive.” ~ Cassie (Chap. Prologue)

“Why would he bother? Because he is kind. He is so many things. Deliciously cooked breakfasts. Throughtful. Warm arms wrapped around me when I felt sad or had an awful client. Kind. Sharing his memories of his sister with me. Funny taking me to my favorite ice cream shop just because. Generous. Teaching me self-defense tirelessly. Selfless. Why would he bother? Because he is Grady Bennett.” ~ Cassie (Chap. 27)

“Sometimes, if you’re lucky enough, there comes a point in your life when you stop cowering and somehow muster the courage to raise your head to take a good, hard look at your reflection, and in turn, at your life. A point in time when you finally rise above your manufactured walls to observe exactly where the road you’ve chosen has landed you. And when you see everything at once, all the missed opportunities and numerous broken relationships, the sight is enough to shatter an already broken heart.” ~ Cassie (Chap. 28)

“In avoiding my past, I’ve cut off any chance I’ve ever had to really live. Because the truth is, the past is an extension of one’s self. It’s an integral part of who you are, and if you refuse to acknowledge it, if you refuse to nurture and heal its wounds, that part will eventually dwindle to nothing and its death will spread like a frenzied virus. Before you know it, any remnants of the person you were no longer exists. One day, you’ll wake up and take a long look in the mirror, with absoluately no recognition of the person standing in front of you. Even worse, you will loathe them.” ~ Cassie (Chap. 28)

 “But then I met Grady and everything slowed, bringing everything back into focus and forcing me to see what I had been missing. I just started wanting more. Wanting to be happy. Wanting to find love. Wanting things I never thought I could have. And then six weeks ago, I was reminded of why I should never have hoped for those things. My world sped up, and everything became distorted and unclear. I lost my focus. And with it, I lost that hope. I lost him. And lost myself. Again.” ~ Cassie (Chap. 29)

“COURAGE CAN BE SUCH a fleeting emotion. One moment, you feel it rising in your blood, strengthening your resolve as it prepares you to face your greatest fears. The next, it recedes like the tide of the ocean, leaving you bereft, uncertain of its existence in the first place.” ~ Cassie (Chap. 30)

“Love isn’t an obligation. In fact, it’s when you find it so willingly offered in the most unexpected places that you should hold on to it and never let go, because that love is real, unconditional.” ~ Cassie (Chap. 32)

“Thank you, Grady Bennett, for waiting for me to land strong. Thank you for believing in me and guiding me to safety. And thank you, most of all, for showing me what love is. For teaching me the meaning, the unadulterated beauty of the emotion, as it exists between the two of us...The way it was meant to be experienced. Home.” ~ Cassie (Chap. 33)

“Everyone has a story. I can only pray mine has helped someone come to terms with their own. Are you that person? And if so, what do you plan to do with your story? If you hear me, if I’ve spoken to you, then I leave with you the same four words that changed my life. The choice is yours.” ~ Cassie (Epilogue)


Review Written, 3/29/16

Monday, March 28, 2016

Undone, Volume 1 (Undone, #1) written by Callie Harper (106 pgs) – finished reading 3/28/16 – 3.5 stars - Contemporary Romance (Rockstar)

This was a good start to this 3-volume rockstar romance. It just was so short that I couldn’t help but rate it more than 3.5 stars. The main characters, though, were funny and passionate. So, I’m hoping that these two come together with a raw sensual romance. The relationship is based under false pretenses, but the attraction and spark is there underneath it all. Love me some rock romance, and this one has the potential to hit it out of the ballpark. Ash Black is the epitomy of a rockstar God! He’s one hot-mess of a male, though, who seems to get himself into all types of compromising situations. But, he’s a guitar genius and has that growling voice that sets the stage on fire. He’s muscular. And, sexy. And, is just plain perfection. He says all the right things that has Ana, the kind and hard-working librarian, drooling over his smoldering tattooed body. But, he needs a big-time favor, and Ana’s not sure of exactly what she’s getting herself into. This sets the stage for the beginning of their sham-of-a-love-affair. Looking forward to seeing where the author takes their relationship!!

Review Written, 3/28/16

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Shane (Damage Control, #4) written by Jo Raven - 5 stars

Forget (Changing Colors, #1) written by N.A. Alcorn - 5 stars

Blur (Changing Colors, #2) written by N.A. Alcorn - 5 stars

Fearless (Black Brothers Trilogy, #1) written by Brynley Bush - 3.5 stars

The Education of Sebastian (The Education of..., #1) written by Jane Harvey-Berrick - 4.5 stars

The Education of Caroline (The Education of..., #2) written by Jane Harvey-Berrick - 5 stars

Still Surviving (Forever Still, #3) written by A.M. Johnson - 5 stars

End of Day (Jack & Jill, #1) written by Jewel E. Ann - 4 stars

Middle of Knight (Jack & Jill, #2) written by Jewel E. Ann - 4 stars

Dawn of Forever (Jack & Jill, #3) written by Jewel E. Ann - 5 stars

Slip of the Tongue written by Jessica Hawkins - 4.5 stars

One Day Soon (One Day Soon, #1) written by A. Meredith Walters - 5 stars

Lev (Shot Callers, #1) written by Belle Aurora - 3 stars 


Focused & Driven written by Savana Jade – 4 stars

Haze written by Deborah Bladon – 3.5 stars

FU Cancer written by Hilaria Alexander – 5 stars

When the Chips Are Down (Three of a Kind, #1)  written by Beth Rinyu – 3.5 stars

Finding Focus written by Jiffy Kate – 3 stars

Gable (The Powers That Be, #1) written by Harper Bentley – 3 stars

Evanescent Ink (Copperline, #4) written by Sibylla Matilde – 5 stars

Zeke (The Powers That Be, #2) written by Harper Bentley – 4 stars

Loch (The Powers That Be, #3) written by Harper Bentley – 3.5 stars

Ryker (The Powers That Be, #4) written by Harper Bentley – 4 stars

Ricochet (Rise & Fall, #1) written by Jessica Wilde – 4 stars

Inked on Paper written by Nicole Edwards – 3 stars

Retribution written by Natasha Knight – 4 stars

The Night’s Were Young written by Calvin Wedgefield – 4 stars

Give Me Yesterday written by K. Webster & Elle Christensen – 4 stars

Shatter Me (The Jaded, #1) written by Alex Grayson – 5 stars

Reclaim Me (The Jaded, #2) written by Alex Grayson – 4 stars

Unveil Me (The Jaded, #3) written by Alex Grayson – 4.5 stars

Darkness Lurks (Darkness, #1) written by J.L. Drake – 3 stars

Slave to the Rhythm written by Jane Harvey-Berrick (291 pgs) – finished reading 3/9/16 – 5 stars - Contemporary Romance

I was waiting for this book to come out because I’m a huge Jane Harvey-Berrick fan, and it did not disappoint! This author has another winner on her hands! The writing was exquisite and the characters were amazing. And, that ending – totally EPIC!!! Holy crap! This was one amazing story! I loved it! I was definitely swept away by the passion of the dance. Two characters that are intensely portrayed while helping each other without any ulterior motive. I wouldn’t say that this is a dark read, but it was pretty graphic with some of the abuse portrayed. As much as the two main characters are compassionate and kind, the villains were depicted equally as realistic. They were vicious and showed no mercy. I cringed numerous times as they destroyed the hero’s spirit. Aljaz (Ash) Novak is a very sensual man. He’s a Slovenian born ballroom dancer that’s just newly arrived in America. Las Vegas to be exact. When arriving in a van at the hotel in which the theater is housed where he’ll be working amongst other dancers, he realizes that something just is not right here. He eventually finds out that it is run and owned by the Russian Bratva, which do not want their motives questioned. Poor Ash! He just wanted to live and dance in America, and what he stumbles into is horrifyingly tragic. The man is damaged beyond belief, and the one person who is a witness to it all is Laney Hennessey. She decides to help him to her disbelief, and together they leave Las Vegas behind. Laney was such a sweet and caring young woman who, unfortunately, suffered from a debilitating medical condition that was not always the easiest to deal with. She lives a pretty simple life, and when Ash barrels into it, she can’t help but standby him as he tries to help his friends when he knows their lives are in danger. The couple’s relationship starts out as just friends, but as they spend more time together it becomes more romantic and sexual.

I can’t say enough of how much I loved both main characters. Ash being so exciting and erotic with that sexy dancer’s body. And, Laney being so beautiful and confident as she commits to helping Ash wholeheartedly. She believes in him, and he genuinely protects her as none other could. And, when they come together it’s beautiful and sensuous. HOT and STEAMY!! Totally arousing! Their love story is moving and tender. And, like I said, I loved that ending! It was perfect! It just showcased the “slave to the rhythm” concept completely. This was one entertaining read which I would highly recommend!

And, that gorgeous cover just lures you in to read this book!! AMAZING!!

Review Written, 3/15/16

Friday, March 11, 2016

Fight For You (Broken Souls, #1) written by Charisse Spiers (340 pgs) – finished reading 3/8/16 – 5 stars - Contemporary Romance (Dark)

I’m so impressed with this author’s ability to suck me into her stories from page one. This one is a little bit more darker and grittier than the previous book that I had read of hers. It starts off actually pretty sad and a bit graphic. It’s always hard for me to read about child abuse. There’s nothing more upsetting and horrific than a young victim’s cry for help. They’re supposed to trust adults. But, that’s not always the case. Haddox Hayes’ story is one of darkness. One of pain. Unfortunately, Haddox feels that his soul is dark and hideous, and that he could only bring disappointment and sadness to the ones he loves. So he pretty much keeps everyone on a short leash. And, women? He just can’t let them in. That is until he meets Piper Morgan. When they first meet she gives it back to him as good as it gets. She’s no stranger to viciousness and deceit. So, when Haddox makes a crude comment, she doesn’t hold back her verbal retailiation. Piper just happens to be one of Haddox’s best friend’s roommate, and she’s going to be seeing more of the cocky bastard. Poor Piper, though! She’s been through some emotional trauma herself. With a narcissistic mother from hell and a douchebag-of-an-ex-boyfriend who comes and goes for just a romp in the sack whenever he wants, she’s emotionally challenged when it comes to those she can trust. Her life is not all sunshine and rainbows neither. And, Alyvia, Piper’s roommate, begs Haddox not to f**k her. Haddox, though, can’t get the woman out of his mind and he just has to have her. As their relationship grows, both main characters know that there is something more than just the sex. But, neither one of them wants to get hurt, and Haddox just can’t let Piper see how black his soul really is.

Wow!! This one is a real roller coaster of a ride! The feelings are there from both main characters, but so is the fear that neither person will like what they see and leave. To put their hearts out there is taking a major major chance of getting hurt. But, they have to trust. The author drags the reader through some hard to read trauma. I was so saddened by the amount of abuse, and it was really hard to read. But, I did love both characters. They were kind and loyal to their friends and each other. And, the intimacy between the two, was so steamy and passionate. You WILL be fanning yourself!!

Some of the things that were expressed in writing were beautiful...

“The difference in first love and true love is that true love isn’t one sided, and you can always recognize the difference. He may not say it, but he shows it, and that speaks louder than the words from his mouth.” ~ Piper (Chap. 20)

“Babe, that’s the beauty of love. It’s an imperfectly perfect act. You accept the bad with the good. You don’t leave someone in the dark to try and protect them. You share it to stay in the light. It’s like a balancing beam. You even out the weight so the other doesn’t sink. When you love someone, nothing they could say or do would change that, but a relationship can’t work if you don’t fight to keep it afloat.” ~ Alyvia (Chap. 21)

“Anyone that believes there is no hope for true love is wrong. They just need an example to spark that hope to continue on. It takes faith that it will come. True love is not something that we can find. It’s something that is in the background all along, waiting for the right moment to fall into your lap, but when it does it will alter your universe one heartbeat at a time.” ~ Piper (Chap. 29)

Ms. Spiers shows her passion for writing when she somewhat transforms Haddox to be more of a tender and romantic man. He’s still quiet and watchful, but he’s not so raw and intense. And, Piper, she’s just so much more confident and independent. Both characters grew as a result of their trust in each other. What a great book! This is one that will keep you turning the pages well into the early morning hours...

Review Written, 3/11/16

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Corrupt written by Penelope Douglas (460 pgs) – finished reading 3/1/16 – 5 stars - Contemporary Romance (New Adult)

So, I guess I’m getting to the party a little late for this one, and I’m sorry for it. This was one amazing read! Loved all the characters, the drama, and the intimacy. WOW! Off-the-charts intense! Two people, Erika and Michael, have known each other since they were kids. They are drawn to each other every time they’re in the same room. The intense stares and cool presence that radiates off both of them is stifling. But, it’s the younger brother, Trevor, that the parents have plans for uniting Rika in marriage with. Rika, however, has put the kabash on that when she breaks off hers and Trevor’s romantic relationship. She elects to just remain as friends with him, which no one is taking seriously. She’s always had a thing for Michael, and Michael is starting to reciprocate those feelings as well. But, with one heinous night of pranks on Mischief Night, Michael and his friends’ lives are forever changed. Now all they can think about is revenge! And, Rika unsuspectantly, seems to be at the brunt of their focus.

Damn! This was one consuming read! I couldn’t put it down, and stayed up late into the night to finish it. There’s always something so engrossing about a Penelope Douglas book. I’ve read a few of them, and they’re always intense with so many twists and turns and unexpectant secrets revealed. And, this one definitely did not disappoint in that regard.  The intimacy factor was HOT and STEAMY with a bit of KINK. It was really panty scorching material! The author also brings her A-game with drama and power between the wealthy and ones who think that they are untouchable. It finally catches up to them, and they’re not let off lightly. The book goes back and forth between the past and present with dual POV’s expressing their feelings and how everything is being played out. Michael really isn’t the nicest guy, in fact he’s down right mean to Rika. But, it seemed like she saw that they were two of the same, and he really understood her.

“I trembled, just holding his eyes. What did I see in him? The answer was so easy, I didn’t even have to think about it. It was the same thing he saw in me all those years ago down in the catacombs. The hunger. The need to break away, the desire to find the one person on the planet that would understand me, the temptation to go after all things they tell us we can’t have...” ~ Rika (Chap. 6)

I so loved this book! My only reason for not giving this book a full 5-star rating, however, is because I though that Rika was a little too forgiving in the end when the truth is revealed. Michael had to do a little redeeming first before everything was hunky-dory between the two, especially since given the fact that he was practically the ring-leader of the group. Ms. Douglas’ books, though, are ones that I go to when need an intensive powerful read that keeps me enthralled until the bitter end. Looking forward to seeing what comes next from that brilliant pen of hers...

“He was always game. And thanks to his tutelage, now so was I. He’d corrupted me.” ~ Rika (Chap 29)

“She corrupted me.” ~ Michael (Epilogue)

Review Written, 3/3/16

Lev (Shot Callers, #1) written by Belle Aurora (370 pgs) – finished reading 2/29/16- 3 stars - Contemporary Romance

This was my first Belle Aurora read, and I loved the hero – Lev. He was just so sweet and caring. A man that “wasn’t good with words” but was so protective and loyal to the ones he loved. His family is close, and when he sees a woman taking something that doesn’t belong to her, he calls her out on it. He tells her that he is going to put her to work and also gives her a place to stay. What he doesn’t know, and either does she, is that he has connections to her past with a distant relative. Mina, oh Mina, dear Mina! Not my favorite heroine, but she’s had a tough life. One that for the past seven years has had her living on the streets. Her relationship with Lev, however, seems to grow as time goes by. Not just a friendship, but something more intimate. She cares for him immensely, but sometimes I thought that she treated him like a child. And, believe when I say that the author’s description of him is NOT one of a child!!  He’s ALL MALE!!! I wasn’t too keen on her relationship with her brother as it takes off too fast. They never even knew the other existed. So, how can they be chummy chummy all of a sudden? There was a great cast of friends and family, however. Like I say they supported and protected each other unconditionally. But, Lev’s past indiscretion has left him in the mercy of another that has a tragic outcome, which could have been a huge problem if the circumstances were different. This book had me mesmerized by the hero, and I was surprised with what the author had in store for him. He just was so innocent and sweet. Yes, he had those moments that included that he stand-up for his family. But, it was all in love, honor, and loyalty that he did it for. Looking forward to reading more from this author...

Review Written, 3/1/16

Slip of the Tongue written by Jessica Hawkins (334 pgs) – finished reading 2/25/16 – 4.5 stars - Contemporary Romance


So, the reason why I’m giving this book such a high rating is because of one man – Nathan. He carried the book with his caring and kindness towards his wife. He’s perfection on a stick with his dark hair and dark eyes.. Trusting and honest.  His wife, on the other hand, I really didn’t have any respect for. She plays the wounded wife pretty well. She’s whiny and spoiled. Almost to the point of being selfish and always thinking about herself. She gives every excuse in the world to justify for her actions, which are just bogus. Yes, there is cheating in this book, which in a book doesn’t bother me the slightest. And, it’s not pretty. It’s just plain and simple – an excuse! An excuse to not dig down into your husband’s thinking and find out what is really going on. She does repeatedly ask him for a reason why he’s so distant to her, though. So cold. I will give her that. But, she’s weak and needy, almost where it becomes desperate for her not to be alone. He never gives her an answer and tells her over and over he’ll talk about it when he’s ready. But, to just think you can find comfort in someone else’s arms, just doesn’t cut it. The neighbor across the hall is HOT! And, tall and muscular. But, he comes with some baggage also. And, when Sadie finds out what it is, she’s not happy at all. Talk about being kicked in the ass. But, did I feel sorry for her? Not really, I can’t say that I did. In the end, I really wasn’t surprised by the final decision made after all is said and done. I did feel that this book needed an epilogue, however, just to show where everyone was at about a year later. It would have been a great follow-up just to see if everyone was happy with their decisions.

The author doesn’t hold back any feelings being expressed, especially Finn’s. It’s all right out there for everyone to see. The chances that are taken are reckless. How and when would they get caught? And, it’s so unexpected the way it happens. The realism sinks into Nathan just what Sadie has done. He’s shocked and saddened.He realizes that if he doesn’t fight for his wife, he may lose her. And, then everything is let loose. All the emotions. The truths. Everything is revealed. And, it’s heartbreaking to read. The author does a great job of not holding back when it comes down to the honesty finally being expressed. It’s with a heavy heart that Sadie realizes her mistake and that her husband wasn’t going to initially leave her, he just needed time to reflect on the major decision that she had made without him. It hurt him, and he was angry. Disappointed. I was so rooting for them to get their crap together and fight for their marriage in the end after seeing just how devastated Sadie was. This is one emotional rollercoaster of a book. Not one to be missed – unless cheating is not your thing. Then this one might not be the book for you...

Review Written, 3/1/16

One Day Soon (One Day Soon, #1) written by A. Meredith Walters (379 pgs) – finished reading 2/26/16 – 5 stars - Contemporary Romance

This is one book that I highlighted and highlighted - words, paragraphs, thoughts, everything. The writing was superb. And, I was totally emotionally drained by the time the last page was turned. This was a real toughy to read about. Abuse and homelessness just gut me. And, the level to which the author went to show such emotional trauma was horrifying and painful to read about. The characters are real and damaged. Through some tragic past events we find a woman given a second chance on her life. And, when she comes in contact with a man from her past, she’s thrown right back into the desperate life she left behind her seven years ago. The story is told back and forth from the past into the present by our heroine. She now has a more meaningful life while helping patients at a hospital as a social worker. She’s proud of work and as she recognizes an old face from the past, she knows that she has to do everything to help him.

“Because right at that moment, the love of my young adult life was lying in a hospital bed, clearly still held prisoner by the choices he had made long before I had ever met him.” ~ Imogene (Chap. 3)

“He had fed me his dreams and I had given him mine. There wasn’t a piece of his soul that I didn’t recognize and claim as my own. At one time we had been two pieces of the same messed up puzzle. He learned my secrets and I discovered the ones he had guarded so fiercely.” ~ Imogene (Chap. 5) 

“We’ll walk on the beach, Imi, and we’ll dance on the sand. Because one day soon, I promise you that all this ugly will become something beautiful.” ~ Yoss (Chap 8)

After all these years, though, their relationship is strained. They’re both not the same people as they were so many years ago. And, when Yoss’s life hangs in the balance, not knowing if he will survive a possible terminal medical scare, Imi comes to the rescue just like Yoss has done for her so many times years ago. Oh, boy! This one will affect you with tears and big-time feelings of heartache. Not knowing if they will get their HEA is the big question. And, I’m not going to share if it’s good or bad. But, I will say that I was immensely impressed with Ms. Walter’s high level of drama this book entailed. The friends that tried to stick together as a “family” as one of them is taken in tragedy. It had an impact on all and it seemed to destroy their decision to remain together. Especially when Yoss had promised Imi that he would leave and go away with her, and she catches him in a most devastating act.

“No matter how horrified she had been, her love held her prisoner. It was up to me to set her free.” ~ Yoss (Chap. 31)

I’m telling you that so far this year, this is the best book that I have read. You will not be disappointed whatsoever. And, that ending??? WoW!! I was blown away!!!

Review Written, 3/1/16