Seize by Gina Watson

A good and sexy sequel, but I couldn’t help but feel like something was missing.

What’s it About?

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Mia was in trouble. She was alone and she was scared. She prayed for a miracle, and then she met Augustine. A marine, turned sheriff, named after a saint. Augustine Roy liked his job as Sheriff of East Baton Rouge Parish. He liked the town and the town’s women, some said too much, but he’d never heard any of them complain. He wasn’t interested in monogamy, a fact most single women in town had come to understand. He loved his family and friends and when his best friend, Clay, needed his help, he jumped at the chance to use his skills as a former Marine Corps field extraction expert.

While Augie thrived when life ran calm and controlled, his current situation was anything but. Mia had entered his life and dumped it on its head. To top it off, she was so not his type. He preferred large breasted Southern blondes with experience in the sack. Mia was slim, Canadian, and to his utter disbelief, a twenty five year old virgin. But then he’d gone and married her . . .and then she’d passed out. When Mia woke, she had a new name, and a new ring. She just hoped like hell she’d not missed the wedding consummation.

First Impressions

Overall this was a pretty enjoyable read, but I think the main characters were missing the special connection that the lovers from the first novel had. There just wasn’t as much chemistry as I would have liked. Rather than having a spark, it felt more like a flicker. This is also one of those romance novels where technically our couple doesn’t have intercourse for a long time, but good God they do pretty much everything else you could possibly think of in the bedroom! Mia’s a virgin, and Augie’s convinced he’s not good enough for her, so they don’t fully consummate until pretty late in the game. Again though, doesn’t mean it’s not a sexy read!

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A Dick, but Not the Good Kind

Augie might be a Sheriff trying to save Mia’s life, but I gotta say the dude was also kind of a dick at times! The two of them have several arguments throughout the span of the novel, and he could just be downright mean. He even insults her intelligence. Sure, she may have done something stupid, but give the girl a break for crying out loud. She’s running for her life! I have a feeling I’d make a few mistakes here and there too. Augie’s also a rather moody fella. He’ll be flirtatious as hell one minute, and try to instigate some intimacy with Mia, but then ultimately deny her sex the next. Not sure I could have the patience for this guy in real life.

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Series: St. Martin Family Saga: Emergency Responders, book 2. I must say, I enjoyed book 1 a whole lot more.

Should you read it? These two characters have a complicated relationship to be sure. There’s teasing, flirtations, and quite a few verbal sparring matches. The ending was kind of bizarre in my opinion, as the drama with Mia’s sister’s ex is kind of resolved, yet at the same time it felt kind of unfinished to me.

Smut Level: Augie is a member of a sex club. He engages in some dirty talk with Mia, but for the most part it was pretty vanilla. Fast forward to the end of this novel and he wants her to wear a collar. Um…ok. We go from vanilla to rocky road with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, sprinkles, and freakin’ sriracha pretty damn fast if you ask me!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $10.99 Paperback. Whiskey-Cove Publishing. 238 Pages.

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Worth the Chance by Vi Keeland

Ok, here we go! Here’s all the illegal activity and suspense that was missing from book one!

What’s it About?

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Meet Liv Michaels
It may have been seven years, but I’d know him anywhere. Sure, he’s grown, filled out in all the right places, but his captivating blue eyes and cocky grin are exactly the way I remember. Even though I’d much rather forget. Liv Michaels is almost there. She’s smart, determined and weeks away from landing the job she’s dreamed about for years. Time healed old wounds, even her broken heart from the devastation of being crushed by her first love.

Meet Vince Stone
Women love a fighter, especially a good one. Lucky for me, I’m damn good. But there’s one woman that isn’t interested. Not again, anyway. Vince ‘The Invincible’ Stone is every woman’s fantasy…strong, sexy, confident and completely in control. Growing up surrounded by chaos, he’s learned never to get too attached. Love will drag you down. He adores women, treats them well, puts their own needs before his own…for the night anyway. With the biggest fight of his life coming up, his focus should be on training.

When fate brings Vince & Liv back together again, there’s no denying the chemistry is still there. But can Vince erase the old scars their past left behind? Or will Liv hurt him instead?

First Impressions

I don’t know what it is about fighter romance novels, but some kind of underlying illegal activity resulting in at least one death threat is basically a requirement. The first book in this series didn’t have any of that, which almost felt like a shocking episode of the Twilight Zone, but book two has all the drugs, blackmail and illegal gambling that you could ever want. I’ll admit that at times things did go a tad overboard as far as suspenseful plot lines. After a while you sort of had to ask yourself what else could possibly go wrong, but it certainly keeps you on your toes.

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Continuation and Distinction

What I really enjoyed about this novel was that although we still have the same fighting theme which was present in book one, for the most part the two novels are completely distinct. From the blossoming romance between our lead characters to the plot lines, it was nice that it didn’t feel as though the story was on repeat.

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Whereas in book one our couple meets through a chance encounter at work, in this instance our lead characters actually have a history. They were high school classmates, and their connection as adults seemed even strong because of their shared history. They had an undeniable chemistry back then, which has only gotten stronger since. In a way, they are making up for lost time, and boy do they  make up for it!

A Story Line Too Far

The story presented in this novel was also night and day compared to book one. In that novel, we saw the male lead struggling with getting back into the fighting ring after a fluke accident years before resulted in the death of his opponent. In this novel, Liv faces a bitter rivalry at work over a coveted position at the newspaper, and she’s tasked with uncovering Vince’s true father who just so happens to be a Senator.

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Vince has problems of his own as he prepares for his first championship fight, while his drugged out mom is being held responsible for $200,000 to some threatening dealers. Not gonna lie, there was about one story line too many going on here, and both were pretty far-fetched. I personally think it would have been better to choose just one and run with it.

Series: MMA Fighter, book 2.

Should you read it? An entertaining read which really stood apart from book one in many ways. A suspenseful read as well, although kind of unbelievable at times. Another fierce fighter with a hidden soft-side.

Smut Level: He’s a fighter with plenty of stamina to go all night long.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services LLC. 301 Pages.

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Rush too Far by Abbi Glines

I travel a LOT for work, and I meet a multitude of different people all over the world. However, I must say that in all of my travels I have never encountered a man or woman named “Rush”. Am I alone in this?! Is it more common than I think? This book is set in the South, so maybe it’s a Southern thing?

What’s it About?

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Fallen Too Far was Blaire’s story. Now it’s time for Rush to share his side. Everyone in Rosemary Beach thinks they know how Rush Finlay and Blaire Wynn fell in love. But Rush is back to tell his side of the story…Rush has earned every bit of his bad-boy reputation. The three-story beach house, luxury car, and line of girls begging for time between his sheets are the envy of every guy in Rosemary Beach, and Rush handles it all with the laid-back cool of a rock star’s son. All he needs are his best friend, Grant, and his sister, Nan.

Until Blaire Wynn drives into town in her beat-up pickup truck with a pistol under her seat. The Alabama farm girl instantly captures Rush’s attention once he discovers that the angelic beauty is his new stepsister, but he vows to keep his distance. Even if she needs his help. Even if he craves her. Because Rush knows why Blaire is all alone in the world, forced to ask for help from the father who abandoned her three years ago. And he knows if he gets too close it will destroy Nan, who has a secret connection to Blaire. He has every reason in the world to stay away from her. Find out why he doesn’t.

First Impressions

As you all know by this point, I’m not a huge fan of a novel which comes later on in a series that simply retells an earlier novel from the man’s point of view. It’s usually extremely repetitive, and we don’t necessarily learn a whole lot of new information. I’m sure you’re wondering why the hell I keep bothering with them. I can’t help it! I have an obsessive need to read every single novel in a series, assuming I like the series of course. Otherwise my Goodreads list will mock me by having every other novel labeled as “read”, and the one male POV book with nothing! Ohhh, the mockery!! Man…I’m a total weirdo.

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Not Too Bad

So even though these male point of view stories aren’t usually my favorite, I actually didn’t mind this one so much. I think the primary reason was because it’s been years since I read the first three novels in this series, so the details of the story weren’t as fresh in my mind. If anything, it was kind of nice to get an abbreviated version of events from a slightly different perspective. I will say though, as the story progressed I did start remembering how the plot comes together. Therefore, if you were to tackle this closely behind the others I could see it being quite repetitive.

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Too Many Secrets

As for seeing things play out from Rush’s point of view, it was interesting to see how much he truly cared for Blaire, and how protective/possessive he was of her. One thing I really didn’t care for though was that he was keeping this huge secret from her which linked their pasts together. Rush feels that as long as he can make Blaire fall in love with him, she’ll simply have to forgive him for his past transgressions. It just seemed kind of deceptive to me, like he was trying to trap her into loving him.

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Series: Rosemary Beach, Book 4.

Should you read it? It ends the same way as book one, meaning on an incredible low note. Not a must read, but overall a good one. If you choose to skip it you really don’t miss out on anything for future books in the series.

Smut Level: Oh Rush, what a dirty little mouth you have.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $7.99 Kindle Price. Atria Books. 256 Pages.

 

A Taming Season by Claire Gem

This stunning romance takes place at a calming lakeside summer town in upstate New York. Bright sunshine, cool breezes off the lake, and a gorgeous man with a sexy, deep baritone. Sounds like my kind of place.

What’s it About?

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Manhattan domestic violence counselor Zoe Anderson is going on the most important vacation of her life. Before she can move on, help other women, Zoe needs to heal herself. Her Cinderella life shattered three years ago one fateful night, leaving her a young widow, scarred inside and out. In an attempt to reclaim her life, bury her demons, and save her job, Zoe sets out for picturesque Lake George to claim the treasured family cottage she recently inherited. The place where she found happiness—before. Reboot, restore to an earlier time. What she finds is a rundown shack.

The neighboring resort mogul, Jason Rolland, whisks in to her rescue, insisting Zoe stay at his upscale Lakeview Lodge. The wealthy, handsome, star of his own radio show, Jason’s Lair, he’s a terminal bachelor. But Jason figures he might use the gifts God gave him to convince the sexy redheaded stranger to give up the crumbling eye-sore next door. A challenge he’s definitely up for. He’s been trying to buy the cabin—and demolish it—for years: the last reminder of his own tragic, childhood memories.

Zoe can’t deny her attraction to the tall, dark-haired Jason with his pool-water blue eyes. Definitely fling material—if she can just get past those flashbacks from the night everything changed. And the knowledge that when it comes to happy-ever-after, you usually don’t get a second chance. Hardly possible with the Tiger of Jason’s Lair. What Jason doesn’t figure on is Zoe’s charms melting his emotional armor. But with his reputation, can he ever win her heart? Can a tiger really change his stripes? Or will their pasts come back to bite them both?

First Impressions

Good God I can’t tell you how many times this novel reminded me that I am in desperate need of my own solo, lakeside, mountainous vacation. I also wouldn’t mind some accompaniment from the gorgeous Jason either! Despite the serene backdrop, this novel isn’t exactly a calming read with no drama. Zoe is looking for a place where she can unwind and perhaps remember a time before her life was turned upside-down. But when she arrives in Lake George to discover the cottage she inherited is in a shambles, and the sexy real-estate mogul next door wants to demolish the eye-sore, her relaxing getaway just got a lot more complicated. Throw in some steamy sex with said real-estate mogul, and well, you’ve got yourself a complicated little romance.

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An Admirable Lead

The first thing that draws you into this novel is Zoe. She might appear broken, what with a jagged scar running down her face, not to mention her frequent panic attacks. That being said, you can’t deny her strength. She’s not willing to give up, and will try any crazy scheme to try and get her life back on track, even if it means engaging in a summer fling with no feelings involved. Something completely out of character for her, but she won’t shy away from a challenge.

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Personally I maybe would have liked if Zoe really got into fixing up her family cottage. It could have been an intense form of therapy! Her lazy days of sunbathing and romance novel reading were probably more realistic in what she needed (not to mention something I would have done myself!), but it did kind of drag the story at times. Especially as Jason did business in Albany four days of the week. In a way, they had a summer fling reserved for weekends.

A Fling, or Something More?

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The second thing which totally mesmerized me in this novel was the development of Zoe and Jason’s relationship, as the two had such differing views on what this fling meant. For Zoe, that’s all she wants. A fling. Something purely physical. Upon meeting Jason it’s the first time since her husband’s death that her lady bits have started to pay attention, but she’s not ready for anything serious. She needs to focus on healing herself first. Jason seems like the perfect ladies man playboy to fulfill her needs.

On the surface, Jason is just that, the ladies man always up for a good time. However, he’s starting to tire of that lifestyle. He starts to wonder if perhaps he wants something more. When Zoe comes along, she is the first woman who’s ever made him consider possibly pursuing a serious relationship. He decides to give it his all. But what will happen when Zoe thinks Jason’s attentions are all part of his game, or when their conflicting opinions of what this really means comes to the forefront?

Look to the Seasons

Something else I found rather interesting about this novel was the apparent symbolism of the seasons, and how they correspond to Zoe and Jason’s relationship. As summer progresses, their relationship definitely starts to heat up, but as summer comes to a close we all just know the story is building for something to go wrong.

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Don’t even get me started on fall and winter. Cheese and monkeys it’s downright depressing as our leads break off communication due to a typical romance novel misunderstanding, and Zoe returns to New York. It’s a dark and dreary part of the story, and you can’t help but wonder if perhaps the New Year can bring our lovebirds back together, or if their summer fling will remain a distant memory.

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

Series: Love at Lake George, book 1. I’d be interested to see what might come next. A tale involving Jason’s sister would intrigue me.

Should you read it? I was loving the summer fling moments. The winter depression kind of got me down, especially as those close to Jason never relayed to Zoe how completely lost he was without her. Or even stressed the fact that his interactions with her were different than those with his former flames. Definitely an intriguing tale though about taking a chance on love.

Smut Level: Sexy lingerie, romantic tumbles in the shadows of the lawn, and one very eager playboy.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Erato Publishing. 340 Pages

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Talking Dirty with the Boss by Jackie Ashenden

Oh the irony that Mr. OCD hunky man Luke, who always needs to make sure that everything is in order, would have an expired condom in his wallet. Tsk tsk.

What’s it About?

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Marisa Clair wants to get her artist dreams back on track after a life detour. That means no partying, no shopping…and definitely no men to distract her. Should be easy, but there’s something about her hot and exceedingly uptight boss and she can’t seem to stop herself from ruffling Mr. Tall, Dark and Irritating.

Financial consultant Luke McNamara lives his life strictly by schedule – his OCD simply won’t allow him to do anything else. And the very last thing he needs is a sassy blonde putting lipstick on his collar and messing with his routine. She annoys the hell out of him so why can’t he stop thinking about the color of her panties…and how free he feels when he’s with her?

Marisa and Luke’s plans to steer clear of one another are shot to hell after a hot office encounter. Now the two of them will have to learn to get along as they face a much more permanent reminder of their lack of self-control – a pregnancy.

First Impressions

What we have here is basically Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, but with a six pack smokin’ hot body. The sexual chemistry between Marisa and Luke has been building for the last two novels, and it finally reaches its peak in this final book. Actually, they both do! In an office storage supply closet! And oh my, well hello unexpected pregnancy.

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Going, Going, Going…Ugh

I would say that for about 90% of this book it was shaping up to be my favorite in the entire series. The underlying story of Luke’s OCD was amazingly well-written to a point where we as the audience can feel his anxiety building. However, the whole story leads up to one final big reveal that unfortunately kind of ruined everything that this book could have been for me.

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Luke has managed to keep the true intensity of his OCD under wraps from Marisa, but when he finally reveals how severe it is he pretty much tells her to leave him behind, even though their relationship has been building throughout the book. And what does she do? She leaves! Come on girl, fight for him just a little bit. I was really hoping that Marisa would stand by him, but instead Luke is the one who has to come back for her. Definitely a let down that when it came time for Marisa to show her true colors she ran from him.

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Series: Talking Dirty, book 3. Pretty sure this is the last one!

Should you read it? Overall, I did enjoy this one, even though the end was pretty frustrating. Also, Marisa’s pregnancy is sort of brushed aside to the point where we kind of forget that she’s even with child. I wish we could have focused a bit more attention on the fact she was pregnant. Maybe they could have gone to some doctor’s appointments together?

Smut Level: These two are unable to fight their attraction. Luke breaks all his self-imposed rules for her, and they even have sex on the bonnet/hood of his car. Definitely leaves more than a few fingerprints!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Entangled: Indulgence. 195 Pages.

Feral Sins by Suzanne Wright

A sassy alpha female wolf with lots of spunk? Check. A dirty talking alpha male with possessive tendencies? Check. A final wolf battle between bitter enemies? Check. You’ve got all the makings of a great paranormal romance read with this one!

What’s it About?

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When female wolf shifter Taryn Warner first encounters Trey Coleman, an alpha male wolf shifter with a dangerous reputation, she’s determined to resist his charms. After all, Trey—who was only fourteen when he defeated his own father in a duel, winning the right to be alpha of his pack—can’t have anything to offer the talented healer besides trouble, or so she thinks. Taryn finds herself drawn in by Trey’s forceful demeanor and arctic-blue eyes, and she eventually agrees to enter an uneasy alliance with him. If the two succeed in convincing their respective packs that they’ve chosen each other as mates, Trey will win valuable political allies, while Taryn will escape an odious arranged mating.

But there are a lot of potential pitfalls to this plan—including the very real possibility that the wolf shifters, overwhelmed by their growing attraction to each other, will be unable to maintain the clear heads needed to pull off the deception.

First Impressions

I’m not a huge fan of paranormal romances, especially those involving wolves, but I gotta say even I enjoyed this one. It carries the unique aspect in the fact that Taryn is latent, meaning she is unable to shift into her wolf form. This results in her pack, and even her own father, treating her like crap. When her dad tries to marry her off to a sadistic creep for the benefit of a powerful alliance, Taryn’s decided she’s had enough, and that she must abandon her pack. Enter the sexy alpha, Trey, with an offer to mate to fix both their problems for the time being. Although their mating initially seems convenient, it’s quite difficult for them to accept internally, as both of their true mates died when they were younger.

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Taryn especially doesn’t want to offend the memory of her deceased mate and childhood friend by entering into a false mating with a wolf known to go feral. However, as they spend more time together, especially in the bedroom, they start to realize that they have a deeper connection than either expected. An intriguing start to the novel which culminates in a powerful ending involving an unexpected traitor in Trey’s own pack, and a final battle between wolves. Unfortunately, I will say the middle part of the novel was somewhat disappointing, as the final conflict is barely mentioned at all. Instead, the main focus is Taryn’s integration into Trey’s pack as alpha female.

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Alpha Female Indeed

Hands down I must say my favorite feature of this novel was Taryn. Such a refreshing character with enough sass and sarcasm to hold her own in any situation. The sarcasm in particular was something I thoroughly enjoyed, as it was just the perfect amount to provide some comedic relief in stressful situations, yet not too much where you can feel like the character can’t take anything seriously. Sort of reminded me of myself I guess!

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I also loved how strong Taryn’s character was. True, she initially relies on Trey to help her out of a bind, but after that she can really stand up for herself. From verbal sparring matches with Trey’s grandma, to refusing to act all jealous and intimidated by one of Trey’s former flings. Taryn doesn’t let the negative opinions surrounding her latency bring her down when trying to prove her worth and status in this new pack. Quite admirable!

Sexy Yet Uncomfortable

Another rather interesting feature of this novel revolved around Taryn and Trey’s sexual relationship. No question, off the charts sexy, with plenty of dirty talk to make even the most seasoned romance novel enthusiast blush. However, I must say at times I thought it was kind of…uncomfortable. Taryn is an alpha female, and Trey is an alpha male, meaning that their inner wolves were constantly battling for dominance in the bedroom. As for who came out on top? Well, it was always Trey.

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At one point he tries to explain it away by saying that just because she submits to him it doesn’t mean she has to be submissive. Ok, I kind of get it, but at the same time when their sexual relationship first started there was a lot of Taryn struggling, saying “no” during sex, and fighting against him. Although we are told that technically it’s just her wolf fighting him, it was still kind of disturbing to read at times. I mean, if you were to approach it without the paranormal element involved, you’d be concerned for this woman’s safety. Just goes to show how context can have such an impact on how we view their physical relationship in the beginning!

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Series: The Phoenix Pack, book 1. I’ll be continuing with this series.

Should you read it? I feel like this novel could have been condensed a bit more, specifically in the middle when not much was going on, and there was practically no mention of the upcoming battle with Trey’s uncle. Still a unique and exciting paranormal read with a female lead I really enjoyed.

Smut Level: We’ve got enough dirty talk and explicit sexual detail to fill a whole book. Although, I was slightly confused due to the menage warning on Goodreads, and unless I totally dazed out, or had a different version of the novel, there was no menage. Therefore, I guess I was expecting more! Trey is still downright filthy though, especially when Taryn offers herself over to him to do with as he pleases for his birthday. Quite the present!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Montlake Romance. 428 Pages

Beautiful by Christina Lauren

Going on a wine tour road trip with good friends, and a hottie tottie to roll around in the sheets with all night long? Yeah, um, where exactly do I sign up for one of those?

What’s it About?

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After walking in on her boyfriend shagging another girl in their place, Pippa Bay Cox ditches London for the States to go on a drunken road trip with Ruby Miller and some of her Beautiful friends.

Scaling the career ladder is the default way to deal with heartbreak—and to just deal—for Jensen Bergstrom. Absolutely buried by his drive and workload, he rarely takes time for himself. But when his sister Hanna convinces him to join the gang on a two-week wine tour, he has a rare moment of cutting loose. Of course, it’s only once he’s committed that he realizes the strange girl he met briefly on the plane is coming along, too. She might be too much for him…or he might realize his life has become too small and needs her to make it bigger, crazier.

With this circle of friends there’s always something going on: from Chloe and Sara’s unexpected personality swaps to Will’s new domestic side to Bennett’s text message barrage and George’s own happily-ever-after. In short, their adventures in love, friendship, and hilarity are nothing short of Beautiful.

First Impressions

At first, the idea of playing fifth wheel to a bunch of couples going on a romantic wine tour seems like it would kind of suck. Especially considering there’s only one other single person going along, and our main female lead sort of made a huge fool of herself in front of him on an eight hour plane ride across the ocean by getting drunk and lamenting over a recent breakup. However, Jensen is a handsome muscled man in desperate need of a vacation, and Pippa is more than willing to help him relax. During the day anyway. At night? They engage in some intense workout sessions.

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Opposites Attract

Pippa and Jensen are total opposites. She’s colorful, carefree and not afraid to speak her mind. Jensen is a straight-laced, button-up workaholic, and he really needs someone like Pippa to help him open up. We’re all familiar with the phrase “opposites attract”, and in this novel it’s definitely true in the physical sense. And although Pippa helps Jensen relax during their two week road trip, I’m not sure that was long enough for Jensen to have a real impact on Pippa. In addition, Jensen sort of reverts to his old ways once the trip is over. I’d like to think they’ll be forever, but in the same vein their time together was so short, and they were both sort of acting as rebounds for the other. Sure, it’s fiction, but I can’t say I’m totally convinced it would last.

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Friends, Old and New

I must say I absolutely loved Pippa’s live and let live attitude. Jealous of it really! The bravery to make a fool of yourself in front of others, sing terrible karaoke at the top of one’s lungs, yet still be able to brush it off and move on? Inspirational! You can tell Jensen has trouble at first dealing with someone like her, but after a while it comes to be something he loves most about her.

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Although I can’t say this couple was my favorite ever in the Beautiful Bastard series, I can’t begin to describe my utter delight at the fact that we get to see all of the couples from the previous novels come together for this final book. Add in the beauty that each one gets their own happily ever after epilogue, including George, and I’m practically bouncing with glee. That being said, considering this is also the last novel in the Beautiful series, and I’m on the verge of tears here! I might just have to start re-reading this series from the start!

Series: Beautiful Bastard, book 5.

Should you read it? An unbelievably sexy series. Not my fav book in the series, or my fav couple for that matter, but it’s a good read overall. It’s about taking chances, doing things outside your comfort zone, yet still remaining true to who you are.

Smut Level: Considering all that this series is, I was kind of hoping for more in terms of smut. I sort of feel like Jensen has a secret naughty side to him, but unfortunately we don’t really get to see it all come out to play.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $7.99 Kindle Price. Gallery Books. 416 Pages.

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