In Your Corner by Sarah Castille

At one point in this novel Jake is helping Amanda correct her form and technique with push-ups. I gotta say…I don’t think I’ve ever come across a novel which has made this physical activity seem so damn sensual. What with all the grasping, pulling, pushing and rubbing. Oh good God the rubbing.

What’s it About?

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He rules in the ring

Two years ago, Jake and Amanda were going hot and heavy. But when Jake wanted more, Amanda walked away. Jake immersed himself in mixed martial arts, living life on the edge. But that didn’t dull the pain of Amanda’s rejection-until a chance encounter throws them together.

A high-powered lawyer, Amanda was a no-strings-attached kind of girl. But two years after her breakup with Jake, she still hasn’t found anyone who gets her heart pumping the way he did. And then he shows up in her boardroom, hot as sin and needing help…

But can he rule her heart?

Jake is darker, sexier, and impossible to resist. As their chemistry builds, Amanda’s not sure if she can stay in control, or if she’s finally willing to let him claim her body and soul.

First Impressions

Ok ladies and gents, first things first. I think we all need to take a moment to stop and appreciate the beauty of this cover art. I mean, my God, he’s like a sculpture! I never quite understood in romance novels when female leads expressed the desire of wanting to lick the tattoos of their male love interest, but after viewing this cover?! Yeah, ok I still don’t get the sentiment. Especially considering how sweaty this guy looks. Leaves a bad taste in the mouth if you ask me. But still! Beautiful man right there.

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Alright, now that that’s outta the way, we can begin! To give you all an idea of where my mind was at when starting this novel, I’d actually like to quote myself from something I wrote in my review of the first book in this series. Ahem, cue throat clearing noise, “If we ever have a future novel featuring Amanda as the female lead I’m gonna have some issues with it.” Lo and behold, who is the main character of book 2? Why Amanda of course! I must say, I really hated this character in the first novel. Here’s another gem of a quote from my last review, “Not gonna lie, this woman is a terrible friend, and quite possibly a terrible person in general.” Needless to say, I wasn’t quite looking forward to this read, but if I were ever to skip a book in a series I’m convinced the world would implode in on itself. Ok, I’m not that psychotic, but you get my point.

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Expectation vs. Reality

Imagine my shock and awe when I started reading this book to discover Amanda really wasn’t that bad. Now, personally I think there are three main components which contributed to the reason she didn’t get on my nerves as much in this book. First, it’s been two years since the end of book one. Who knows, maybe she’s been able to mature in that time. Second, we do finally get to hear things from her point of view, and it definitely puts things in perspective. Growing up Amanda was never one to hear “I love you” very often from her parents, who also held her to impeccably high standards. She’s always been closed off, putting a wall up in her relationships in an attempt to numb herself to the pain of when she would inevitably be dumped. Must have added to the whole “selfish” personality trait which was so persistent in book one. Points one and two considered, I think there is one main overbearing reason though why it was easier to like Amanda in this book compared to book 1.

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Honestly, it was like we were introduced to a completely different character. I feel as though more of the infuriating characteristics of Amanda’s personality were either toned down, or even changed entirely in order for us to like her more as a main character. In looking back on my review of the first book, one of the reasons I disliked her so much was in her treatment of Jake when the two briefly dated. I discussed how she decided to slowly faze him out because he didn’t bend to her every selfish whim, and when he said “to hell with this” he decided to break things off, at which point Amanda immediately jumped into bed with someone else. But then in this book their break up is presented in such a different light, as though she pulled away from Jake because she was afraid of opening up to him. Seems like either their break up was not fully discussed in a coherent way in the first book, and I totally misread the situation, or we’re getting a toned down version of events so that it’s easier to sympathize with Amanda. Sure, I like to believe the version of events we get in this book, but I couldn’t help but feel there was some disconnect here.

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Chasing the Climax

Amanda likes sex. No if’s, and’s or but’s about it. The connection of two people, where for the briefest of moments she can finally feel loved and desired by someone else. It’s a feeling which comes crashing down in the light of day, and so she continually tries to chase that connection. When her boss discovers her penchant for sex he tries to use it as a way to blackmail her. Either she gets down on her knees to please him, or he’ll reveal her entire dossier of past sexual partners (and it’s a pretty thick dossier) to her parents. Not only that, but he’ll tarnish her reputation all over town by saying that she was the one to proposition him. Rock, meet hard place. Audience, meet a jackass in a position of power who thinks he can manipulate a woman into spreading her legs for him.

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The fact that this form of sexual harassment happens so often in the real world makes us want to stand behind Amanda in any way possible to support her. Also, the fact that Amanda chooses to say no, to walk away with her reputation in tatters but her integrity intact? Well that makes us root for her all the more. After telling her boss to go to hell Amanda makes the brave decision to strike out on her own. To fight back against the man who tried to take advantage of her, and so many others before her. Honestly I think I liked this part of the story a lot more than the romantic aspect! I almost wish these two separate story lines could have been blended together more. It isn’t until the very end when Amanda is about to face her boss again that Jake makes a quick appearance to say that he is in her corner, but it seemed like a missed opportunity for them to discuss it more throughout the rest of the book as something to connect over. Instead they connect over something else.

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S…E…X

No more beating around the bush. Sex is a very important part of Amanda and Jake’s relationship. We discover that it’s the one way for Amanda to finally open about what she’s feeling. It’s important to remember that when our novel opens, Amanda and Jake haven’t seen each other in over two years. This ramps up their sexual desire about tenfold, as they’ve both been denying their sexual connection for quite some time. It makes every glance, every touch, that much more intriguing. But Jake wants so much more from Amanda than just sex. He wants a relationship, and for Amanda to open up to share what she’s thinking, feeling, and what she’s afraid of. Here’s the problem though. These two don’t know how to effectively communicate!

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In the beginning especially, Jake does a pretty poor job of telling Amanda exactly what he wants out of this relationship. They’ll be in the midst of a heavy make-out session when he’ll abruptly stop, say they both need to consider what they really want from this, and then turn around and leave. This makes Amanda mistakenly think he wants nothing from her. And then when Jake does finally communicate that he wants the whole kit and caboodle with her she suddenly pulls away because she doesn’t want to open up. My God girl do you want the guy or no?!?! I had trouble at times following her thought process.

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When she and Jake start to explore a sexual relationship again after two years apart, she seems so desperate to ensure this isn’t just another notch in her bedpost. She wants that high she’s been chasing for so long to finally stick with someone who makes her feel wanted, and Jake appears to be that guy. When he eventually admits he wants the same thing though she puts her walls back up. She can’t give up control. In a way it seems like now she just wants sex from him, and I must say it was kind of uncomfortable at times how she’d ignore Jake’s feelings to get it. At one point Jake was trying to put a stop once again to their sexplorations so that they could talk things over. He’s begging her to stop, to take things slow, saying no over and over again, but she just keeps rubbing up against him until they give in to their desires on the floor of a MMA fight cage. Remember everyone, no means no. However, ironically enough it turns out that having sex is the key to getting Amanda to finally open up and talk about herself! Something about that post-orgasmic sleepy bliss gets her to talk about her feelings. I have an inkling Jake won’t mind too much in the long run using that technique to ultimately have an honest conversation with the woman.

Series: Redemption, book 2. You might not believe it, but I think I may have actually liked this book better than book one. I am also excited to see what comes next in this series, as I genuinely enjoy all of the remaining characters. Nowhere to go but up, right?

Should you read it? So, just like the previous book I can’t say this was my favorite read ever. Jake and Amanda seem like they are caught up in a never-ending circle of getting close and then breaking away into their separate corners for introspection before eventually coming together again. It got tiring and repetitive after a while. That being said, it starts and ends strong, as this is when we see Amanda stand up for herself against her boss, and go after what she wants in a relationship with Jake. It’s just that measly middle section where she starts to doubt anything and everything about her life. Could have been tweaked a bit.

Smut Level: Vibrating panties and a penis piercing. Enough said. She’s also never been spanked before, and Jake is more than happy to introduce her to it.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Sourcebooks Casablanca. 302 Pages.

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The Beast of Aubyn Hall by Alex L. Michaels

A slightly quirky and accident prone bookworm? Check. A sexy as hell and overly confident alpha male? Check! You can definitely understand why this book would be part of the Bookworms & Alphas series!

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The man they call the beast, sworn off love, meets the bookish beauty who thinks that love exists only in books. When Bronte Beltran finds out that her next assignment is cataloging the famous Aubyn Hall library, she’s ecstatic. But when she finds out they call the owner the Beast of Aubyn Hall, not so much. A week in a dusty library should be right up her alley. But a wrong word at the wrong time and she might just find out what exactly is beastly about the Beast of Aubyn Hall.

First Impressions

Holy crap this book is the epitome of sexual tension build-up. Practically from the moment that Bronte crosses the threshold into Aubyn Hall, and hears the dark and foreboding voice of Caine, aka our Beast, you can practically feel the air get thick with desire. That being said, prepare yourself to be teased, as we don’t get a full and final…climax to this desire until the very final moments of the book. You’ll want to scream out loud, “Just ravish each other already!”

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In a way, it sort of follows the same story arch of the first novel, where we were also presented with some delayed gratification. Whereas book one presents us with a plethora of being pushed up against a wall and being whipped around for an intense close-up discussion, in this novel we get the added glory of Caine continually coming up behind Bronte in the heat of an argument. Sexy whispers in her ear, not to mention that a particularly part of his anatomy is usually…digging into her bum. I will say, although we are being teased right along with the characters, this makes for a very quick read because you just keep reading on and on so you can get to the moment when they consummate this thing.

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Sexy as Hell, buuuuuuut…

This book is sexy as all get out, but at the same time I also found the dynamic between Caine and Bronte to be somewhat worrisome. It’s clear that Caine is set and determined to have Bronte in his bed, and while she is obviously affected by his sexy whispers and passionate stares, she expends quite a bit of effort to convince both herself and him that she’s not receptive to his sexual ministrations. He’s also quick to boss her around, and while sometimes it relates to the fact that she’s working for him, in his home, cataloging his library, it also crosses the line of professionalism. Below is one quote which I found to be particularly concerning:

In fact, I don’t think he ever approached me in a kind or respectful manner. He just kept sneaking around me, provoking me, making me feel uncomfortable and sometimes he plainly insulted me. He also made me feel foolish, confused, insecure and sometimes plain afraid. But he also excited me enormously, that much I was able to admit to myself.

I mean, goodness gracious if it weren’t for that last sentence I’d be screaming at the woman to get the hell outta that house! At the same time though, whether she’s sexually excited by this man or not, I feel like the fact he sometimes made her feel “plain afraid”, can’t really be a good thing??? The last thing we want is to have an alpha male who borders the line into jackass. Although, I guess we were warned right in the title that we’re dealing with a beast here 🙂

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However, based on how the novel progresses it becomes clear that Bronte is definitely attracted to this man, and she just doesn’t want to admit it to herself, so it results in Bronte continually running away from her feelings for this man. One of my favorite quotes from the book is said by another woman who has her sights set on Caine, and during one confrontation with Bronte she declares, “and you want him to get you whether you’re willing to admit this to yourself or not”. Such an intelligent statement that can carry over into so many romance novels. I guess I just wish there weren’t those moments thrown in where Bronte admits she doesn’t feel respected by Caine. It kind of throws a damper on the sexual fire that is spreading throughout the rest of the book.

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A Library in Disarray

Bronte and her team have been brought to Aubyn Hall in order to get Caine’s library in order for eventual public view. Maybe I’m just too much of a book nerd, but I sort of wish more time had been spent talking about the details involved with this work. I mean, what exactly goes into cataloging a library? Apparently a lot of heavy lifting, but what else? Alphabetizing? Writing down all the titles? Making sure there’s a designated romance section? This sort of ties in as well to my wish that Bronte and Caine had connected a bit more over their shared love of books. They both admit to the fact that they’re book lovers, but maybe having just one or two additional moments where they connect over books in the library might have transformed their relationship beyond just the obvious sexual connection.

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A Beast with a Set Mind

Apparently Caine has a motto in life when it comes to Bronte, and that would be “I have set my mind on you.” This is his answer for everything when it comes to why he is constantly pursuing Bronte, and why he refuses to give up on her. No matter how many times she says no. Bronte is totally stumped when it comes to Caine’s pursuit, since she can’t understand why someone as gorgeous and rich as him would pursue a bookworm such as her.

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This brings us to the inevitable confrontation and blow-up between Caine and Bronte. Just when they are starting to make some progress and headway to starting a relationship, it is revealed that Caine asked for Bronte specifically when it came to the work on his library. Apparently he had seen her once before, and this provoked his mind to be set on her. Honestly, I had a bit of trouble understanding why this was seen as such an offense to Bronte. She is immediately pissed, and explains that it was a way of Caine using his money to try and exert his control into her life.

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Which, ok, I can see is kind of weird. He could have just been a normal person, walked into the library where she was working and ask her out for a cup of coffee. But then we wouldn’t have a book, would we? 🙂 I guess her reaction seemed just a bit over-the-top considering this ploy to get her in his house was essentially his version of a pick-up line. My favorite comment on this entire situation comes from Bronte’s friend who states, “…boo hoo. So what? Maybe it wasn’t the smoothest type of seduction, but it wasn’t the worst either.” Amen sister!

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

Series: Bookworms & Alphas, book 2. You really don’t need to read the first book in this series to follow the plot of this one. The female lead from book 1 does get a mention towards the end of the novel, but there’s no plot carry over, so you should be all set! I’d love to see future books in this series focus on some of the supplemental characters from this book, as they are an absolute hoot!

Should you read it? This is sort of a different take on your classic Beauty and the Beast tale, in that our beast is actually gorgeous. He’s more beastly in manner, not to mention a beast in the bedroom. When it comes to building sexual tension this book has perfected it to a damn near science, but I wish we would have seen a bit more connection between the characters over their love of books. It’s sort of the only time we see a soothing to his beastly manner, and I just wanted more of it. I also wasn’t a huge fan of their dispute over why Bronte was brought to Aubyn Hall to begin with. While it provided conflict to the plot, I couldn’t really understand why she was soooo offended at the thought of being brought there because he’d seen her before.

Smut Level: Caine just loves to make a happy hour of Bronte, in that he has the tendency to pour his alcoholic beverages over her before lapping it up. While we have to wait quite a long time before they officially have sex, we get a delightful amount of dirty talk and teasing before then.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services LLC. 153 Pages.

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Beauty and the Geek by Sidney Bristol

A man who likes Moleskin notebooks and Frixion pens?!?! Be still my beating heart!!

What’s it About?

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Professor Steven Kipper is used to the stares, the muttered insults. Monster. Disgusting. Gross. It’s all he’s ever known. Relationships suck when his date won’t even go out in public with him, which is why he hasn’t bothered. That is until her. The woman on the internet who gets his every quirk. He’s hooked on a person he’s never met. The way she gets his jokes, the uninhibited sexuality and…just talking to her. She’s everything he’s ever wanted, only she’s a stranger. Unless he can convince her they should unplug and take their virtual relationship off-line.

Tamara Roh has heard all the insults from slut to whore and they bore her. She refuses to let other people define her. Life’s tough in the gaming industry, and if she can’t handle a few insults the haters will chew her up and spit her out. Her only haven is with her friends and in one very explicit chat room. On-line she can be anyone she wants to, even the normal girl-next-door who just happens to get off on dirty talk, erotic gifs and video chats from the neck down. She might not be able to trust guys in real life to see past the Hot Asian Girlfriend stereotype, but with her internet beau anonymity is her safety net. The only problem is…she’s falling for a man who thinks she’s someone else.

First Impressions

The opening scene of this novel present us with some holy sh*t sexy robotics. At this point Steven and Tamara have a solely sexual, and internet-based relationship. While the two have yet to meet in person, this doesn’t prevent them from getting intimate. Steven is an extremely intelligent robotical engineer (if that’s even what it was called), and in this opening scene we see that he has sent Tamara a…how to put this delicately? Personal pleasuring device? A BOB if you will. But he’s done his fancy robotics work to create a glove which he can wear when she uses it to control the BOB whilst they have a voice chat at the same time. What a way to start off a book! Off the charts sexy, but I must say it leaves the reader with a pretty false first impression. This slightly over-the-top opening scene made me think that we’d be dealing with a purely erotic and sex-charged novel. While there are definitely a number of graphic scenes with a plethora of dirty talk, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the story also deals with some pretty timely and meaningful themes related to appearance, stereotypes, and harassment.

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From One Extreme to the Other

Based on the title I sort of assumed we’d be dealing with a modern adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. True, there is the basic underlying tale of a beautiful woman falling for a man whose appearance is less than perfect, but we soon discover that both of these characters face difficulties in life based on their appearance. Steven has a port-wine birthmark which takes up a rather large portion of his face, and has negatively impacted all of his previous relationships with women who were too embarrassed to spend time with him in public. However, it’s not just our male lead who faces the pressure when it comes to societal standards of beauty.

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Tamara is a gorgeous Asian-American with a rather prominent chest, and she feels the men in her industry view her as the ideal gaming stereotype. They treat her as an object, and care more about what she looks like than what she has to say. Tamara has to work her damnedest to be taken seriously as a woman in a male-dominated field. I think the author did a great job of exploring both sides of the coin when it comes to beauty, and how most everyone has their doubts and misgivings when it comes to how others view them. Our couple manages to have some deeply meaningful conversations about appearance, and I found Tamara’s quote below to be especially poignant and inspirational as she attempts to tell Steven why he shouldn’t care what other people think:

Say there’s a hundred people in here, right now…Of those one hundred people, chances are there’s really only ten who aren’t so wrapped up in what’s going on with them to even notice you. And of those ten? Five want to be you. They like what you’re wearing, they find you attractive, something. And then the other five? You’ll never make them happy. They’ll hate you, think terrible things about you, whatever. Why live your life for those five miserable people? Are they more important than your happiness? No, they aren’t. So tonight–those five people who want to stare at you or me–why do they matter more than the person sitting across the table? And if they do, why are you here with the wrong person?

I’m sure at some point in our lives, each of us has experienced a moment where we were self-conscious about how others viewed us. Whether it be our perceived beauty, our weight, the clothes we wear, hell maybe even the way we walk. And, I don’t know, I guess this one scene really spoke to me, and helped put things in perspective in a way I hadn’t considered before. Not bad for a book that opens with a dildo operated by a robotic glove, am I right?

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#MeToo/#TimesUp

Another way that this novel delves deep into some pretty serious subject matter relates to Tamara working in a primarily male-dominated field with alpha male gamers who always want to be in control. Her beautiful appearance attracts a lot of attention, and unfortunately it is often unwanted attention. Tamara is a strong bad ass trying to make her way in the gaming industry, but she has sort of developed a reputation as a bitch and a complainer. Why you might ask?

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Well, a few years before she reported to the police and a lawyer how she was drugged and raped at a con event by some rather popular gamers. Tamara isn’t afraid to stand up for herself and others…when it counts. Another aspect of this which I found to be so fascinating is when she explains to Steven why she feels she must also  tread extremely lightly when the men she interacts with cross the line of professionalism.

We live in a society that protects men from their wrongdoings by shifting the blame. Which is why, when I’m going to call someone on their shit, I want it to be something more than a slap on the wrist. When I cry wolf, I want people to listen to me, not say, well, she cries wolf about everything.

I found this sad truth to be unbelievably relevant in regards to #MeToo and #TimesUp. How this strong woman felt she had to remain silent during the less egregious moments of harassment in order to maintain credibility should something worse eventually happen. She had to save her wolf cries. Her interactions and discussions with Steven surrounding this topic were also surprisingly complex, as we see how he tries to protect Tamara by urging her to stand up for herself in every instance, no matter how big or small. While he simply wants the best for her, she views his statement as hurtful in that he must see her as weak, and he doesn’t recognize the potential risk to her career. It was such an interesting argument as both sides are presented so eloquently and passionately.

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Series: Gone Geek, book 1. I’m excited to continue on with this series, and read future novels featuring Tamara’s bad ass female friends.

Should you read it? Don’t let the opening scene fool you! While this is definitely an erotic read at times, and our lead couple explores a whole other level of dirty talk, it does deal with some pretty serious and important subjects. From self confidence to sexual harassment, these more sensitive topics were dealt with extremely well. That being said, part of the story near the end could have used some more focus, specifically surrounding the contents of Steven’s private notebook which contained lists that somehow tested Tamara’s commitment to him? I don’t know it was kind of confusing. Overall though, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed it.

Smut Level: If the robotic glove wasn’t shocking enough, these two also explore using some pretty intense dirty talk. However, it also resulted in an interesting conversation involving whether or not Steven was comfortable calling Tamara his “slut”. They have a very clear discussion about how she’s comfortable with it, but he doesn’t have to say it if he’s not comfortable. They’re just trying out something new together as a couple, and it’s kind of cute how Steven can’t even mention the word to her when they are removed from the moment of passion.

Get it on Amazon:Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Inked Press. 233 Pages.

Cocky Biker by Faleena Hopkins

For those of you looking for a definition of the word “irony” here you go: I think I published my review of this book at almost the exact same minute #cockygate started appearing on Twitter. Who knew?! This is what happens when you don’t pay attention to social media as much as you should! As you can see from my review below I did enjoy this book, but just crazy to see what was evolving on Twitter at the same moment. I’ve seen other bloggers say they’re deleting all their reviews and ratings of this series; others say reviews are sacred and to keep the honesty alive. So, I’ve decided to keep my honest review of the work itself up on my blog here.


I’ve gotta give a standing ovation to these two. They use every available surface to make the most of their coupling. They always seem to end up in a sweaty mess after a multitude of orgasms. You may also question the cleanliness of the next hotel room you stay in considering all the positions they get in!

What’s it About?

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I want her and she won’t even tell me her name.
The Ciphers, we’re the Robin Hoods of MCs.
Our latest mission is the most dangerous we’ve faced.
I thought we’d get in, get nasty, and get out.
I didn’t expect to meet a woman as wild as a feral animal.
Normal women bore the f*ck out of me.
I need this one. Crave her.
Hell, I even have the patience to make her trust me.
I’m a Cocker. We always get what we want.
This can’t be the one time I won’t.

LUNA:
Sunshine? Only a cocky man like him would call me something so ironic.
I try to pretend I don’t dampen under his smirk.
That I don’t want to climb on the back of his bike.
Forget alllllllll my problems for a night.
But I’m here for a reason, and he isn’t it.
I have to run from sexy and smooth-talking Jett Cocker.
The only thing worse…would be never having met him.

First Impressions

Man this book has you on the edge of your seat, biting your nails in anticipation with every possible twist and turn! You never quite know where the story is headed or what’s gonna happen. Just when you think the high action break-in to free women trapped in a sex trafficking house will be the high point…BAM! Here’s a coma hospital stay to keep you on your toes. And all within the first 1/4 or so of the book! Definitely not a boring read, and I found myself surprised a time or two with the direction of how the story plays out.

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When we look beyond the plot we see that the characters in this book are everything you could ever want. Luna is a bad-ass, living a life focused on revenge. There’s the constant wonder and worry of what she’ll have to live for should she ever succeed in avenging the death of her mother. Enter our bad-boy biker! Jett of course is a cocky son of a gun, but just like his brother from book one, it’s a cockiness that adds to his smoldering sexiness rather than making you hate him. I also enjoyed getting to know the other members of the motorcycle club, who are brothers to Jett when his own are so far away on the other side of the country.

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A Cipher Biker with Determination

I’ll admit that I’m not always a fan of motorcycle club focused tales, but this was definitely an exception to the rule. While Jett has a tough exterior as a member of the Ciphers motorcycle club, we see that he and the other club members are dedicated to doing the good that the police can’t always get to. They believe in doing what’s right, even when it seems impossible. Vigilante justice at its best! Like Robin Hood…or Batman. They dress in dark leather and have some amazing roaring metal rides under them, but there’s just no need for a utility belt or bat signal. And of course, in spite of their hard-ass outer appearance, it’s evident they are all a close-knit family who care deeply for each other. What’s not to love here?

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In spite of Jett’s cocky manner, he’s also the one who is most sure about the connection between him and Luna. She is fearful, and her first instinct is to run away from what she feels for this stranger. Normally this feature can be frustrating as hell in a romance, but Luna’s distrust of men is completely understandable based on her past. She grew up trapped in a house where her mom and numerous other women were trafficked for sex. Used and abused, her mother died when Luna was just a girl. She had to run away and learn to survive on her own so she didn’t end up with the same sad fate. Luna knows there’s something important linking her to Jett, but she’s not sure she can give her all to him. Initially she only wants to see him as a way to get some sexual satisfaction, but it doesn’t take long to realize that he makes her feel alive in a way she’s never felt before. He teaches her to ride. To find her freedom. But Jett starts to wonder if he’s teaching her to live, or providing her with the means to run away from him forever.

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A Sequel Unlike the Rest

This is one of those few moments where I think I may have enjoyed book two in the series more than the first! However, there’s a few clarifying points to make with this statement. First, the two are completely unique and distinct from each other. I think it signifies that as a whole I’m probably gonna really like this series, as each novel has a different focus. The first is definitely more light-hearted and comedic. This one has the drama, the action, the suspense. It has a darker side to it which completely sets it apart from the first. We still have the continuing cockiness of the Cocker brothers, and the importance they place on family, but it never felt like we were seeing the same story on repeat. Each book has its merits, and you might have to decide if you’re more in the mood for a romantic comedy or suspense, but either way you’ll probably be pleased! While I’m still early on in being introduced to the Cocker brothers, I have a feeling that it’ll be hard to get tired of the series. We’ve already seen a romance between roommates, and now a biker romance. Looking ahead we have a cowboy, a soldier, a politician, a rock star, and so much more!

SERIES 1

Series: Cocker Brothers of Atlanta, book 2. At the end of each book we get an introduction to the brother who will be featured in the following book. In the last one we saw biker Jett help out his brother Jake. In this we see the cowboy Cocker, Jaxson, host Jett on his ranch. Yeehaw for book 3!

Should you read it? This book pulled me in from the opening scene, and didn’t let me go until our final scene closes. It’s full of suspense, revenge, flirtatious back and forth, family drama, and true love. Not to mention lots and lots of sweaty sex. I’m talking dripping with sweat here. Consider yourself warned that at times Jett has some rather…ungentlemanly ways of referring to Luna when she does something to piss him off. His words can definitely make you cringe at times. Overall though we have a story that manages to mesh together a dramatically interesting plot with an intriguing romance.

Smut Level: I’d say on average these two would go at it for about four or five rounds in a row when doing the dirty. They’d be laying down, standing up, rolling every which way and in essence getting a great work out.

Get it on Amazon:Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Hop Hop Publications. 336 Pages.

Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley

I’ll admit it was kind of cute to see the domestic side of a romance novel, especially when a hard core biker is involved. Shopping for a refrigerator, arguing over who is responsible for doing the laundry. Feels so realistic!

What’s it About?

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Tabitha Allen grew up in the thick of Chaos—the Chaos Motorcycle Club, that is. Her father is Chaos’ leader, and the club has always had her back. But one rider was different from the start. When Tabby was running wild, Shy Cage was there. When tragedy tore her life apart, he helped her piece it back together. And now, Tabby’s thinking about much more than friendship…Tabby is everything Shy’s ever wanted, but everything he thinks he can’t have. She’s beautiful, smart, and as his friend’s daughter, untouchable. Shy never expected more than friendship, so when Tabby indicates she wants more—much morehe feels like the luckiest man alive. But even lucky men can crash and burn…

First Impressions

Shy is the ultimate alpha motorcycle dude with a cave man persona and everything. I’ll admit that my initial reaction to some of his comments made the inner woman in me want to cry out in protest. He’ll never do the laundry? Excuuuuuse me? You think I wanna wash your dirty underwear, I don’t think so! But what this novel does pretty well is that Shy is rather quick to then verbalize why he’s coming off as a seemingly difficult guy. For example, with the laundry we discover there’s actually a sad back story to his laundry aversion revolving around having to live with his uncle and tyrannical aunt following the death of his parents. It seems like in so many romance novels you’ll have some kind of argument like this, and our lead characters will just get all pissy about it and refuse to speak the truth about the matter for days. To Shy’s benefit, he sort of breaks the mold in that he insists Tabby listen to his explanations. True he could still probably tone things down a smidge, but you gotta give the guy some credit for not closing himself off.

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 From Repetition to Time References

I will say I wasn’t a huge fan of some of the writing elements employed here. Firstly, the book was quite repetitive when it came to the wording of a particular scene. Either the same emotion or action would be stated in a slightly different way, or it would just be blatantly repeated. Now don’t get me wrong, I realize I am also 100% guilty of doing this, and I do it often. I do it all the time. I do it in a plethora of different ways. You could even say the number of times I do it is rather numerous. See what I’m doing here? Saying the same thing three-four times over, but it builds my paragraph length and sometimes lets me look up some fun new words in a thesaurus. And even though I know I myself am guilty of this technique, it was kind of irritating to see it utilized so many times throughout a full-length book, which is already pretty long at roughly 400 pages.

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Another feature which left me kind of lost was that each chapter, and even sometimes multiple times throughout a chapter, we’d be introduced with some kind of time progression. 3 weeks later, 2 days later, 6 weeks later. I’m sorry, am I supposed to be keeping track of all this? Because I stopped paying attention about 7 months ago. Towards the beginning I think it was helpful when tracking Tabby’s relationship with another guy, and the length of time which passed after this guy’s untimely death before she and Shy became an item. Other than that, kind of unnecessary.

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One final confusing aspect was that we would have a sudden introduction of a person or event as though we were supposed to know the full back story of what was going on. But of course we don’t, so we then get multiple pages of description and background before finally getting back to the present predicament. Again, if this had happened once or twice, I would get it, but it was a recurring theme which would often make it even harder to understand the timeline of where we were in the story. To be introduced to a character for the first time, then learn about the history of the main character with this new character, then hear about some of the different events from this new character’s past even before meeting the main character which made them the person they are today, to finally getting back to why this new character had to be introduced in this particular scene in the first place. Exhaustion!

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Brushing Aside the Action

For the most part, this book is just an exploration of Tabby’s evolving relationship with Shy, as well as the two of them getting used to each other’s quirks and habits. And bodies!! We have two moments in particular which are pretty drama-filled, but I must say I was disappointed in how they were handled. In both instances, the details are kind of left feeling unfinished. Seeing as the rest of the book isn’t too action-packed, it was kind of frustrating that the few instances where we do have it we never get a full resolution to matters.

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In the first instance Shy is finally allowed to confront his parents’ murderer, and some body-beating goes on, but then we sort of switch gears entirely to him having an honest confrontation with his aunt and uncle. Um, I’m sorry but what happened to the guy you were just mercilessly beating? Did you kill him? Remove an extremity? Leave him to die somewhere?? The second instance was especially frustrating as we are introduced to an intense feud between the club and a rival gang in which Shy is even left slightly injured. I was expecting a final confrontation or battle. Showdown between key members. Something! But again it’s brushed aside and the book basically ends. There’s the implication this will continue on in future novels in the series, but I wanted more! Now!

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Series: Chaos, book 1. This book wasn’t my favorite thing ever, but I gotta say it was probably one of the most enjoyable novels I’ve read from Kristen Ashley so far. Don’t have much to go on of course, but still! I could see myself continuing with this one.

Should you read it? As it turns out, I unknowingly broke the cardinal rule of romance novel reading. I didn’t do a thorough enough background check to see if this was part of a series. I simply saw that it was book 1 of the Chaos series and assumed I was good to go. Well, you know what they say when you assume something! Turns out there’s some fine print to that, which states that this is an offshoot of the Dream Man series, and that it recommends you read Motorcycle Man first so you can follow along with some of the events which are referenced. Oops! At times I was kind of lost when they quickly referenced what must have been huge story points from this other novel. The problem is I’ve read a few of the novels from this other series and I wasn’t a huge fan, so I’m not as motivated as I should be to go back and complete that series.

Smut Level: Good Lord it was shocking how some of these chapters started! Normally with Shy’s head between Tabby’s legs. Yowza!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Forever Publishing. 405 Pages.

Personal Delivery by Ainsley Booth

This novel seriously made me consider buying large amounts of products I don’t need online in the hopes of getting a hot ass delivery man to bring me his large…package. Ok, I think I might have to hide my credit card. It’s in pretty immediate danger of taking a hit.
What’s it About?
35116165I recognize the sound of his truck turning off in front of my building. Not only do I recognize it, but my pulse picks up and I get all hot and bothered. Then I hear the low growl cutting out, followed by the clank of metal as he pulls up the back door to grab my package…Grab my package? That sounds so dirty. Which is probably appropriate given some of the fantasies I’ve had about him. My obsession with the new, mysterious delivery driver is crazy. Intense. Distracting. The last thing I need is to be crushing on a six-foot-something distraction with a dirty grin. But my friends have other plans.
First Impressions 
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Because I had the same first impression upon reading the synopsis. Have I somehow stumbled onto the set of a porn flick? We have a sexy delivery man in his tight uniform that shows off all his muscles, and a beautiful woman home all alone, just waiting to invite him in. Perhaps for a glass of lemonade? And I’m not gonna lie folks, at times this novel does read borderline porno. It’s hot, sexy, and bursting at the seams with some downright filthy dirty talk. We’ve got kitchen counter coupling, hallway stumbling foreplay, and the discovery of some new erogenous zones.
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I must say though, I just loved that Jana admits to herself how much it seems like a porno scenario, and uses this as a reason to try and keep as much of a distance from Jake as she can. Alas, he proves too enticing to resist. Although this book highlights the sexy side of a new relationship, it’s also light-hearted fun, and our male lead shows an affinity for cats and kittens for crying out loud. He’s also not afraid to admit his true feelings for Jana, even if he’s never experienced this kind of close connection with another woman before. Jake knows what they’re feeling for each other is the real thing, and will do whatever it takes to put his heart on the line. And…again…the guy likes kittens!!! What’s not to love here people?!?!
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Lack of Drama
Every once in a while, especially if you’re lounging around somewhere on a beach, it can be fun to read a sexy romance that is relatively drama free. After all, I’m sure we can all attest to the fact that we encounter enough drama in our every day lives, from work to school and even our TV viewing. Who needs more of it in their romance reading?! That being said, I was pretty shocked that for the entire novel, we are entirely drama free!
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Like, no misunderstandings or spats between our lead characters, no negative external factors. I kept waiting around for some kind of inevitable dramatic reveal or impact on the plot, but it never came. Honestly, it kind of made for a surprisingly refreshing, yet also a pretty lackluster read when all was said and done. I mean, come on, you can’t even have a typical disagreement over leaving the toilet seat up? Hogging the covers? SNORING?!?! This might be the most copacetic couple I’ve ever encountered.
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Options Galore
I think what was even more surprising than the lack of drama in this novel is that there were SOOOO many different opportunities where a bit of drama or intrigue could have been established. First and foremost, the entire premise of how Jake and Jana meet is based on a misrepresentation. Jake is actually a billionaire who recently purchased a delivery company, and he decides to play a little undercover boss scenario by making deliveries for the company with a truck and uniform. As for why he felt compelled to do this? It’s briefly mentioned that he wants to see how the company works from the ground up, but I really wish this concept had been expanded on a bit more.
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I feel like we only scratched the surface of his underlying motives, and some more depth would have been appreciated. Anywho, flirtations are flying high between Jana and delivery man Jake, and eventually they fall into bed together. It’s after this first coupling that Jana soon sees Jake’s true identity featured on the news as the billionaire that he is. Shockingly, she really isn’t that upset about it, and they never even have an intense discussion about it. If anything, she seemed more upset by the fact that she now believes this places him way out of her league rather than focusing on the fact that he was kind of deceptive about who he truly was when they first met.
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Another area I was surprised we never experienced any conflict over is that they’re both pretty busy with their respective job responsibilities. She’s constantly busy thinking and drawing up new artistic greeting cards series, and of course, he’s the billionaire with his hand in multiple cookie jar ventures. I kept waiting for one or the both of them to start feeling neglected due to their distracting time commitment. Again though, what I thought would be an inevitable confrontation never comes. If anything, Jana almost seems to get upset at one point that Jake starts to focus more attention on her rather than his work. This was another area where I think more of an exploration into what our characters were thinking would have been helpful. Perhaps Jana didn’t want Jake to feel like he had to give up an important part of his life to be with her? Maybe she was worried if she allowed Jake to give up his time at work to be with her he would soon demand the same of her? I don’t know, but just some areas thought could have used more depth.
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I will say there was one area lacking in drama that I absolutely loved, and definitely earned a chuckle or two. When Jana discovers the truth of Jake’s true identity, she is not only intimidated by his massive amount of wealth, but also about his former lovers. Glorious beauties the lot of them, and even a few models thrown in there too. Towards the end of the novel Jake surprises Jana with an invitation to accompany him to the Met Gala, and her hilarious response was, “How many supermodel ex-girlfriends do you have?…It always matters. There will be some super awkward meeting at the Met Gala. I’ve seen how it goes on TMZ.” I mean it’s such a common trope we see in romance novels, especially when a wealthy male lead is involved. The fact that this novel not only poked fun at the concept, but then avoids an eventual run-in entirely was something I actually found to be quite funny. Well done.
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Series: Billionaire Secrets, book 1. I’ll continue with this series. We are introduced to quite a number of other fun characters, and it should be fun to see them each find their own romance. Maybe even with each other in some instances!
Should you read it? This is a fun and sexy read that definitely leans heavily on the sexy side of things. I think certain parts of the story, as well as Jana and Jake’s relationship could have used some more depth. It was also pretty surprising to have a read completely lacking in drama, especially when there were so many different opportunities presented which could have resulted in an argument or two between our lovers. But if you’re looking for a fun read with an adorable couple that will help you escape the drama in your own life you just might get a kick out of this one.
Smut Level: Holy shit you guys. Honestly I think this is one of those reads that is too hot to take to the beach. It might cause you to spontaneously combust from a spike in dirty-talk temperatures. Maybe save this one when you’re stuck in a cold cabin and you need to warm up a bit.
Get it on Amazon: Click Here. FREE on Kindle (as of writing this post). Amazon Digital Services LLC. 178 Pages.

Shooter by Dahlia West

This book definitely proved one of life’s most common sayings: the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

What’s it About? 

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Chris “Shooter” Sullivan has returned to his home town of Rapid City, South Dakota to pick up the pieces of his life shattered by a roadside bomb in Iraq. He only wants to focus on holding what’s left of his old unit together, running his garage where he builds custom bikes and cars, and pretending that his murdered father’s motorcycle gang doesn’t exist. Hayley Turner is a young woman with her own traumatic past. Fresh off the bus from Nowhere, USA, all she wants is a job and a place to live, until it’s time for her to leave again. She doesn’t want to make friends, or enemies, least of all the ex-Army Ranger who obviously doesn’t like her. She bristles under his watchful eye. He’s even got her convinced she’s bad news. But circumstances force two people who don’t need anyone to need each other more and more. The more Chris gets to know Hayley, the harder it is to stay detached. And the more Hayley gets to know Chris, the more she realizes she’s been alone for so long she might never recover from it.

First Impressions

I seriously wanted this book to have a recipe section!! Consider this a friendly warning, don’t read this book on an empty stomach. You’ll definitely want some appetizers or cookies on hand to ensure you don’t salivate whilst reading it. We’ve got descriptions of succulent ribs, decadent chocolate cake, flaming baked Alaska and sweet peach cobbler.

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Upon first meeting, Chris is understandably wary of Hayley. She’s new to town, and he can easily tell she’s hiding details about herself and her troubled past. Hayley isn’t necessarily looking for friends when she arrives in Rapid City, but she doesn’t want Chris and his Army buddies to be suspicious of her either. So let the cooking begin! I will say after a while it did seem a bit over the top, what with Chris and his boys playing poker as Hayley is cooking away in the kitchen. Or this pack of alpha males working on bikes and Hayley bringing them all some home cooked lunches as they refer to her as “honey” or “darlin'”. It was nice at first, but after a while it became almost too Donna Reed for me.

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A Slowly Built Inferno

I really did enjoy the development of a friendship between Hayley and Chris, as well as with his other Army buddies. Having a friendship first means it does take a while before they enter into a sexual relationship. You definitely have to wait until after the half-way point before you get any juicy details. However, I think I preferred this scenario to them rushing into anything too quickly, especially considering Hayley’s own traumatic past. This is the first relationship Hayley has been in since going on the run five years ago.

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She’s kept her past a secret from everyone, including Chris, and we as the readers don’t discover what happened until the rest of the characters do pretty late into the story. At first, Hayley and Chris are strictly friends, but eventually they realize it’s time to take things to the next level. She’s hesitant considering how long she’s been on the run, but Chris convinces her he’ll protect her from any evil, and it’s finally time to stop running and take a chance. They start things off slowly with some kissing, rubbing, zero penetration whatsoever. But it doesn’t take long before he’s going full on dirty talk and demanding she sit on his face. Ohhh boy!

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The Life of a Biker

For the most part I liked Chris. He’s nice to Hayley, doesn’t push her to do anything before she’s ready, vows to protect her from her past, and even gets her a kitten for crying out loud! Something I didn’t appreciate though was when we ultimately discover he’s got a strained relationship with a neighboring biker gang, and that all of Hayley’s actions now reflect on him. If she makes a supposed mistake he could be the one to pay for it. Probably would have been something o share with her when you were convincing her to take a chance on you there buddy!! Then there’s a dramatic plot point with this motorcycle gang that didn’t really come full circle, and sort of fell flat for me.

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Series: Burnout, book 1. I did really enjoy the introduction of each of Chris’s Army Ranger buddies, and am excited to see each one’s eventual story.

Should you read it? It’s a sweet romance that has a strong foundation of friendship. There’s an intense climax at the end where Hayley’s past comes back to interfere with her present. I do think it could have been shortened slightly so that we not only get to the lovemaking earlier on, but also the drama of her past. Perhaps one less scene involving a mouthwatering culinary creation would have been conducive to the overall story.

Smut Level: Daaaaaamn. You have to wait about 60% until anything physical happens, but Chris has got a mouth on him, and he’s more than willing to show Hayley everything she’s been missing out on the last few years.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Self-Published. 472 Pages.