Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren

Luke is a wild and sexy beast in my opinion. However, he is far from perfect. Not only does he just eat a single Pop-Tart in one sitting, but his favorite flavor is blueberry. What kind of a monster are we dealing with here?! Everyone knows the superior flavor is strawberry!!

What’s it About?

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London Hughes is very content to surf daily, tend bar, hang out with her group of friends, and slowly orient herself in the years after college. Everything’s going great and according to the non-plan. But when a wave knocks her for a loop one morning, then Luke Sutter’s flirtatious smile knocks her for another that evening, she veers slightly off course…and into his path. Sure, he’s a total player, but the Why not—it’s only one night is a persistent voice in her ear.

For his part, Luke’s been on hookup autopilot for so long that he rarely ever pauses to consider what he’s doing. But after an amazing time with London, he realizes that he hasn’t been moving on from a devastating heartbreak so much as he’s been drifting to wherever—and whomever—the current takes him. With London he wants more. Every relationship involves two people…plus their pasts. And as much as she enjoys her fling with Luke, when London learns about his past—more specifically, who’s in it—everything becomes the brand of complicated she strives to avoid. It’s up to Luke then to change some things in order to try and ensure he’s not something she’ll outright avoid as well.

First Impressions

In this fourth novel of the Wild Seasons series, we find ourselves veering away from our original three couples who met and hooked up in Vegas, and instead focusing on some friends of theirs. First thought: who the hell are these outsiders?!?! Mkay, so originally I was kind of wary that after the previous 3 novels we’d be introduced to two new characters who were only briefly mentioned beforehand.

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Although we still get a glimpse of the fabulous ladies from the first novels, the sexy gents were quite obviously absent from this book. Overall, it was still a fun read, and Luke and London were quite the delight, not to mention sexy as hell! They can get pretty creative with the limited space available on Luke’s couch.

Moving on from the Past

This novel tackles a very interesting topic of trusting someone based on their past indiscretions. When Luke and London first meet, they hook up for a one-night stand; something that is a rather common aspect of Luke’s lifestyle. Hell, he doesn’t even get her name right and calls her Logan instead of London. But then fate keeps bringing them together. Their one night hook-up turns into two, and so on.

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All of Luke’s attention is solely focused on London. He feels something for her, he wants to explore it, and possibly even start a serious relationship with her. Since deciding to make a go of things with London he has never given her any reason to doubt or question his intentions. And yet, Luke’s friends, family, and even London herself still see him as a playboy, even though he’s desperately trying to move on from his philandering ways.

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

How exactly can one move on towards a new future when everyone else continues to view them based on their past? Luke also faces an additional obstacle when it comes to London, as she can’t help but compare him to her ex, who secretly cheated on her for over two years during their seemingly serious relationship. This raises an additional question in how to separate a bad past experience from influencing all of your current choices and decisions? As with any rom-com, a grand gesture is required.

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Series: Wild Seasons, book 4. I don’t know if there are any other novels planned after this one, but I personally would love to read a romance featuring the group’s stoner friend, not-Joe, as the male lead. He’s freakin’ hilarious!

Should you read it? Although it was sad to move away from the original three Vegas couples, it was still a fun and sexy read.

Smut Level: These two have some hot and wild sex pretty early on. But it takes a few times before London allows him to get truly intimate with her. Let’s just say it involves his head in her lap.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $7.99 Kindle Price. Gallery Books. 384 Pages.

One with You by Sylvia Day

This is supposedly the last book in the Crossfire series. Or so they say! You can never really know for sure, can you?

What’s it About?

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Gideon Cross. Falling in love with him was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. It happened instantly. Completely. Irrevocably. Marrying him was a dream come true. Staying married to him is the fight of my life. Love transforms. Ours is both a refuge from the storm and the most violent of tempests. Two damaged souls entwined as one.

We have bared our deepest, ugliest secrets to one another. Gideon is the mirror that reflects all my flaws … and all the beauty I couldn’t see. He has given me everything. Now, I must prove I can be the rock, the shelter for him that he is for me. Together, we could stand against those who work so viciously to come between us. But our greatest battle may lie within the very vows that give us strength. Committing to love was only the beginning. Fighting for it will either set us free … or break us apart.

First Impressions

I can’t really say for sure why this series was dragged out to incorporate five whole books. Well, as a matter of fact, I think we can all guess at the real reason behind that decision ($$$). In my very humble opinion, there was no real need for the last two books in this series. I think the overall story would have fared much better as a trilogy, as was initially intended. Even if there was the need to expand beyond a trilogy, I think books four and five could have easily been condensed into one. It seemed to create an unnecessary drag of the story line.

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Welcome to Adulthood

That being said, I feel like we have seen some actual growth for our two main characters. And by growth I mean they’re finally starting to act like adults. Gideon is finally opening up more with Eva, and she isn’t as quick to shun him when he undoubtedly does something stupid. Like hide the fact that someone close to Eva has been seriously injured.

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Hands down, my favorite character in this novel was their therapist. Finally, FINALLY! We have someone who asks Eva and Gideon the all important question: “What’s the rush?”. Sure, it’s fantabulous they met, fell in love, and got married in about the span of a month. But why can’t they just live together for a while? Or date?

Surprise!

Towards the end of this novel we see what other readers warned me was a delayed “plot twist”. I mean, I guess it was a twist? But I felt it wasn’t all that interesting of a twist. Maybe I was just ready for the series to be over, or others really built up this surprise, but instead of it being an “Oh, sh*t and crackers” moment, it was more of a “Meh, ok” moment for me.

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Series: Crossfire, book 5.

Should you read it? It was nice to finally see a bit of growth and maturity from both Eva and Gideon, although you can’t deny that they both still have their issues. I wouldn’t really say this is a “must-read” series, but there are some hot and sexy moments.

Smut Level: No sex swings in this one! They attempt to stay abstinent until their vow renewal, but we all knew that wouldn’t last.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $9.99 Kindle Price. St. Martin’s Griffin. 482 Pages.

Commercial Break

Whenever I tell a friend of mine that I’ve finished reading another book, I always brace myself for one inevitable question. Sure, they’ll want to know if it was good, and maybe what I plan on reading next. But there’s another question that is always bound to come up: how do I find the time to read?

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I have a pretty average 9-5 job, manage to socialize at many a happy hour with friends, watch more TV than I should, and even practice a little piano every now and then. People always seem surprised when I mention that I can find some time to read in there too, and they often express sadness over the fact that they don’t read as much as they’d like to. Believe me you guys, it’s not as hard as you think to find a little time every day to open a book. You just have to keep your eye out for the perfect opportunity.

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It might sound strange, but one of my favorite times to read is during the commercial breaks when I watch TV. It’s the perfect example of “killing two birds with one stone”. My family always likes to record TV shows so that they can fast forward through the commercials later, but you can actually get a lot done during those commercial breaks! Whereas some people complain about how long commercials can last, in my opinion, the longer the better! Every night I love to watch Conan O’Brien on TBS, and when the commercial break comes around I boot up my Kindle and get some reading done. You’ll be surprised at how much you can actually read in an hour-long TV show that airs four nights a week.

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In addition to that, I’m a huge fan of listening to audio books whenever I walk to work, do my nightly meal prep for dinner, or when I clean the dishes. Yeah, not having a dishwasher sucks ass, but you just gotta find a way to turn that negative into a positive. So for all of you who think you don’t have the time to read, just try to find some creative ways to open a book a little bit each day. You don’t always have to sit down for hours at a time. Believe me, all those little moments can definitely add up, and you’ll be finishing a book in no time!

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Headed Down Under

Well everyone! Once again I get to spend a lot of time catching up on my romance novel reading while on a long-ass flight across the Pacific. Last time I was headed to China. This time I’m going to Australia!!

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I’ll be gone for a two-week business trip to the land down under, spending time in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane before taking another plane on over to New Zealand for the weekend. Woot hoot hoot!

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Seeing as it takes about 24 hours of straight travel time to get there, I imagine I’ll be spending quite a bit of that time with my nose in my Kindle. Then I have the whole flight back to look forward to. If only I had thought ahead and picked out some books with a few hunky Aussie lead male characters! Dammit Lauren, use your head!!

Unfortunately I’m heading to Australia during their winter, so I’m coming to terms with the fact that I probably won’t get to spend all day admiring Chris and Liam Hemsworth surfing in nothing but their swim trunks. But alas, that’s ok! My new goal is to see a kangaroo fight. Catch ya on the flip side!!

Life Story

 

Hardwired by Meredith Wild

First of all, this guy’s name is Blake. You just know he’ll be amazing in bed and an alpha male, through and through.

What’s it About? 

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Determined to overcome a difficult past, Erica Hathaway learns early on how to make it on her own. Days after her college graduation she finds herself face to face with a panel of investors who will make or break her fledgling startup. The only thing she didn’t prepare for was going weak in the knees over an arrogant and gorgeous investor who’s seemingly determined to derail her presentation.

Billionaire and rumored hacker Blake Landon has already made his fortune in software, and he’s used to getting what he wants with very little resistance. Captivated by Erica’s drive and unassuming beauty, he’s wanted nothing more since she stepped into his boardroom. Determined to win her over, he breaks down her defenses and fights for her trust, even if that means sacrificing a level of control he’s grown accustomed to. But when Blake uncovers a dark secret from Erica’s past, he threatens not just her trust, but the life she’s fought so hard to create.

First Impressions

Although a lot did happen story-wise in this novel, it sort of felt like the majority of the book was setting up for a sequel. Don’t get me wrong, overall it was an interesting story, but almost every single aspect of the plot was left unfinished. Kind of frustrating! It’s like baking a beautiful apple pie and not eating it. Or stripping a handsome cover model of all of his clothes to just walk out of the room. I mean, come on already!

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Romance Themes Galore

There are multiple aspects at play in this novel, all of which are interesting in their own right. It’s almost like every romance theme was rolled into one book. We’ve got a d/s relationship, trying to find a long lost father, a bitchy ex, Blake’s secret past as a hacker, Erica was raped in college, and now she’s starting an internet start up. Each element could be the main focus of the book, but when you have so many different stories going on at once it’s kind of overwhelming.

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In addition to the whole book being one big build-up, their sexual relationship was also a build-up. It’s not that they waited very long to have sex, but throughout the novel we start to see the hints of a few BDSM tendencies. There’s some spanking and light restraint, but you can’t help but wonder if there will be even more kink in the next novel.

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Series: Hacker, book 1. I’ll probably give this series a go.

Should you read it? There was so much going on in regards to the various plot points at play that the majority of the relationship we see appears to revolve around sex. There’s a lack of depth to their relationship, and at times Blake is almost too overbearing outside of the bedroom. Although, I am intrigued to see if they are able to make a deeper connection in the subsequent novels.

Smut Level: The man has a way with words. Dirty ones that is.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $7.99 Kindle Price. Forever Publishing. 281 Pages.

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Saturday Sexcapades: Alleyway

I was recently reading a romance novel wherein the lead couple got it on in an alleyway, and it made me realize that I haven’t featured a Saturday Sexcapade in quite a while. So…let’s get down to the nitty gritty details!

In Romance Novel Land

Hot damn! Can I get a hell yes up in here?! There is something about a sex scene in an alleyway between two consenting romance novel adults that is just busting at the seams with lustful passion. And I’m not just referring to the seams in the male lead’s jeans, if you know what I mean!

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Think about it. The couple is so unbelievably horny that they can’t even bother waiting to find an enclosed area with a roof overhead before lowering their zippers, or unbuttoning their buttons to get at each other. It’s quick, hurried, and full of enough thrusting and neck/ear lobe biting to make even the most reserved reader blush from seemingly intruding on such an intimate scene.

In Real Life

Dude, are you freaking kidding me?! Nothing like an alleyway stinking of garbage, urine and God knows what else to get you in the loving mood. And what joy! Now I have enough scratches up and down my back to make it look like a cat played tic-tac-toe with my flesh. You better believe you’ll be the one applying aloe vera to it every night. Mark my words!!

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Ok, so I’ve never actually gotten it on in an alleyway, but I have a feeling it wouldn’t really be my cup of tea. First of all, I have an unbelievably and irritatingly sensitive sense of smell. Have any of you ever come across a sweet smelling alley? I suppose if it was behind a dry cleaners, or laundromat it might be a different story. Nine times out of ten though you’re probably dealing with rotting food and enough rodent droppings to make you breathe through you mouth for the whole experience.

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Second: who the hell knows what you’re stepping in. It could be gum, week-old moo goo gai pan, a homeless person’s most prized possessions, or the puke from a drunken reveler behind a bar. Rule of thumb, if your foot starts to glide in something slick or sticky, use it as an excuse to wrap your legs around your man’s waist.

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So for all of you alley lovers out there, be safe and hold your breath. Or, you know, maybe just table your sexual urges until you get back home. Nothing wrong with your foyer.

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A Leap of Faith by Nell Castle

Goooooing to the chapel and I’m, gonnna find a good looking minister to fall in love with. Ok, definitely not as catchy a tune as “Going to the Chapel of Love” by the Dixie Cups, but it’ll have to do!

What’s it About?

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Desperate times call for desperate measures. At her core, merchandising maven Sophia Anton is an old-fashioned girl. To start a family by age 30, she’ll do what’s needed to make sparks fly with an old friend—including a crash diet. But when Sophia meets Jackson Thomas, the handsome new minister in town, she quickly finds she’s playing with fire. Sophia’s new look is working like a charm to snag the man of her dreams, so why is it Jackson’s face she sees when she closes her eyes?

Jackson, whose troubled past has led him to adopt a life of celibacy, never expects to feel hot under the collar for a woman of his own parish. How can Jackson dream of a future with Sophia after he’s shut the door on love?

First Impressions

Mkay, so technically I don’t know if Sophie found her handsome minister in a chapel, church, priory, rectory, or monastery, but boy did she find a good one! For those of you who may not be familiar with church terms and titles, don’t worry! One thing I do know is that ministers are allowed to get married. No rules being broken here! Jackson may have taken a personal vow of abstinence after the failure of his first marriage, but when he meets the selfless and caring Sophia, he starts to question if she might be the one for him. Which will win out? His vow, or his growing love and appreciation for one of the members of his church?

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Ballet Dancer vs. Minister

Sophia is facing a dilemma of her own. For years, she’s been in love with Christopher, a man who has always treated her as more of a friend than anything else. But Sophia is determined to attract his attention in any way possible, even if it means starving herself to lose weight. This was definitely one of the most fascinating, yet depressing aspects of the novel.

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It shows the lengths one person can go to when desperately searching to make a connection with someone else. She doesn’t realize that there’s a minister who already appreciates her for who she is on the inside. Sophia can’t deny her growing attraction for the new minister, but what will she do when Christopher starts to actually take notice of her new appearance?

Unexpected Twist

The first half of this novel really focuses on Sophia attempting to get involved in some new church volunteer opportunities, all the while also trying to balance her efforts to woo Christopher, and her growing attraction for Jackson. The second half of the book takes a totally unexpected twist that was so unbelievably sudden, I had trouble believing it actually happened at first. Although it was definitely a unique feature, I also felt it kind of interrupted the overall flow of the book.

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Additionally, even though this book is supposed to feature a budding romance between Jackson and Sophia, I felt like they never really spent a whole lot of time together. They have one really deep, emotional conversation, but it sort of seemed like throughout the majority of the book they were mainly thinking about each other rather than interacting with each other one-on-one.

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Stand-alone

Should you read it? I’d categorize this as a sweet read. It’s not an overly religious novel, but rather really shows the importance of having faith/trust in others, as well as yourself. It highlights caring for others, the close relationships we can make in life, and even the mistakes we can make too.

Smut Level: This is an extremely clean read. It’s a minister for crying out loud! Don’t tell me you were expecting any kink! All they do is exchange a kiss or two.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 201 Pages