A Drop of Paradise by Alex L. Michaels

Ahoy ladies and gents! In this steamy romance we have white sand beaches, crystal clear blue water, a city girl outside her comfort zone, a ruggedly handsome boat captain willing to show her a good time, and a few bullets flying past their heads. I mean, pretty much everything you need for a beach read!

What’s it About? 

She needs peace and quiet. He’s a distraction.

She wants to be left alone. He’s inevitable.

She has a writer’s block. He might be the cure.

drop of paradise

The only thing Jessica Slade wanted was some peace and quiet, and to finally finish her book. So, a place called A Drop of Paradise was supposed to do the trick. With its stunning sandy beaches, crystal clear, aquamarine waters and tropical sunsets, it was supposed to cure more than a writer’s block. But, when an unfortunate series of events leaves her stranded on a remote island with an overbearing, arrogant, roguish, but ruggedly handsome stranger, her life starts to seem much more like the romance novels that she writes about. Broad-shouldered Mike Stone is irresistible, sexy and cooler than a mojito in your hand, and maybe even a perfect, muscled ideal for the cover of her next novel, but not all the imagination in the world could prepare her for what can happen between two strangers on a spit of sand, when sparks start to fly and anger turns to lust.

First Impressions

Within the first few chapters of this novel I couldn’t help but compare it to a combination of Romancing the Stone and Six Days, Seven Nights. Our heroine is a successful romance novelist who’s seeking some peace and quiet on a beach far removed from the stresses of her life, both professionally and personally. She quickly encounters a ruggedly dashing boat captain named Mike who is determined to show her a good time, both socially and sexually.

Capture

The two proceed to get lost and stranded on a few different islands in the Caribbean. Nothing too overly dire, but definitely some adventures that put a wrench in Jessica’s plans to relax. Throughout this time our leads run into a variety of oftentimes kooky characters with their own personalities, not to mention some elements of danger as storms approach and bullets fly. Quite the engaging read!

750px-Isla_Saona

Let’s Talk About Sex…ual Tension

For the love of all that is holy these two have a sexual attraction that is hotter than the Caribbean sun. Practically from the moment they meet Mike turns on his flirtatious charms, and while Jessica tries her best to keep him away from her enticing lips, well, let’s just say she fails miserably. It’s not long before these two engage in some powerful make out sessions. I seriously lost count of the number of times Mike either stomped up to Jessica to grab her face in his hands and crush their lips together, or she would try to turn away from him only to have him grasp her arm and spin her around into his chest for a heady lip-lock.

872e516ca850e18b886a1250ec7041e9

However, something that initially adds to the overall comedic aspect of the novel is the fact that these two are always interrupted from taking things further. Oh don’t get me wrong, they definitely have their moments of grinding on each other, nipple brushes, and legs being lifted up higher for the optimal rubbing angle. Unfortunately, whether it be flying bullets, an old island man seeking help with his rusty boat, or friends walking in on them, the two never seem to have the chance to get each other completely naked. After a while I actually questioned if it would ever happen, and if it did I assumed we’d be privy to one quick scene and that’d be it. Boy was I wrong! Towards the very end of the novel we sort of switch gears from adventurous comedic romance to full on erotica. Somewhat disjointed, but I for one won’t complain.

Kitchen table

Let’s Take a Look at Them Bullets!

As I’ve mentioned a few times now, there are moments when Jessica and Mike will be locked in an intimate embrace, or perhaps even arguing with each other, when a bullet will fly overhead. There are a few other minor suspicious things that take place, but all in all I’d have to say this dramatic side to the story never really came full circle for me. I think it was introduced well enough, as we wonder why anyone would possibly have something against this well-known romance novelist.

701_1

But then this element disappears from the story for a pretty large portion of the novel, and is then quickly resolved with very little explanation at the last moment. I feel like we never truly get to understand the motive behind this hidden gunman before it’s simply brushed aside. If it had been more fully incorporated into the overall story I think this really would have had a huge, positive impact to the arch of the plot.

A Hesitant Heroine

Outside factors are often the primary inhibitors to our lead characters reaching sexual fulfillment. That being said, there were also a few moments when Jessica herself would put a stop to things. To say that this would cause Mike an exorbitant amount of frustration is quite the understatement. She had the tendency to go from burning up fever hot to frigid cold in .05 seconds with no explanation whatsoever. She’d usually just run away from him if she could. At the end of the novel Jessica sort of explains that she was just scared to feel anything too much for him after being alone for so long. I gotta say though I wasn’t really buying her explanation. It lacked any real momentum behind it to the point where, similar to our hidden gunman, I feel like we never really learned her motivation/reasoning behind constantly pushing Mike away.

f2d0ad539ebb19457146886ff608291d

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

Series: I don’t think so, but there are a few secondary characters that I would just love to see featured in their own novel.

Should you read it? This is a quick, fun read. Certain details could have been expanded on a bit more, specifically why Jessica was so hesitant to pursue an intimate relationship with Mike, as well as the motivations of our villain. There are also a few grammar mistakes that are repeated throughout, such as the misuse of “than” instead of “then, hangover/hungover, and desert/dessert. Overall though, a fun read to take to the beach. Just be sure you have a few Mai Tai’s on hand to cool off!

Smut Level: At first I questioned if we would ever get around to the good stuff. Then before you know it, BAM! We’ve got sensual scenes on beaches, dining room tables, and in showers with plenty of dirty talking description. Definitely worth the wait.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services, LLC. 285 Pages.

basic-dekuyper-banana-mai-tai

Advertisements

Way Too Deep by Andrea K. Stein, Sawyer Stone

The flirtations between our lead couple are sometimes too hot to handle! I had a ridiculous laughing smirk on my face throughout most of this read.

What’s it About? 

35052526

Captain Lindsay Fisher has committed the unthinkable in the tight little world of super yachting. She takes chances, she’s a little too abrasive, and oh yeah, she’s taken swearing like a sailor to a whole new level. Celebrity Chef Alton Maura earned the acclaimed “Kitchen God” title and basked in the international limelight for years until his affairs with his kitchen staff landed him in a poisonous stew. When Lindsay and Alton are thrown together on an uneasy cruise through the Grenadines, sparks fly. She doesn’t like his shoes, or his attitude. He can’t believe a woman who looks that good in a captain’s uniform can be such a hard ass. This is their last chance to prove themselves, but the worst thing you can do when trying to save your career is to fall in love…WAY TOO DEEP.

First Impressions

Good God this novel blasts off with a suspenseful start! We have a storm at sea, a sinking yacht, and a couple of sailors flung overboard. This is why we mere humans don’t belong out on the open ocean people! Phew, ok mini rant over. Lindsay and Alton are both at the ultimate low points in their careers. She has now lost two ships at sea, and he gave an entire room full of uppity socialites food poisoning. They see this next cruise as their one last chance to prove themselves. Problem is, they pretty much hate each other at the start. Lindsay is a strict captain who expects everyone to follow her every word, and Alton is the artistic chef who’s not used to living on a boat and working in a galley kitchen. He’s used to giving orders, not taking them. While initially at odds, they quickly come to realize they’ll need to rely on each other to make this trip a success. As well as an outlet to let off some…sexual tension.

Processed with VSCO with 5 preset

From One to the Next

If I had to summarize this book in one word it would be: fun! I was expecting the relationship between captain and chef to be the main focus of this book, but something I didn’t see coming was the plethora of supporting characters who really made this story such a comedic and fun read. With the introduction of every new character we get another crazy personality, and I just loved it. In particular I adored Lindsay’s uncle, Tommy, who starts off so rough and gruff, but also has such a sweet side to him. He provides the words of wisdom to both Lindsay and Alton regarding how they should approach a relationship with each other. He has read pretty much every issue of Cosmopolitan magazine in the Caribbean after all.

cosmothumb

In addition to our captain, chef and first mate, we have a smarmy Russian, a music mogul and his vegan-organic-gluten free girlfriend who is enthralled with herbal medical remedies. There’s the spoiled wife of the yacht owner who always has a wine glass in her hand, not to mention Alton in her sights. Lastly, the trip simply wouldn’t be complete without also having the mistress of the yacht owner on board, as well as his business partner who is a James Bond uber spy wannabe. And that’s just everyone staying on the yacht! It doesn’t include some of the other delightful people we meet on various islands and other vessels. While this motley crew of characters is slightly over-the-top, it never got to the point of being just plain ridiculous. It was just the right blend for me of silliness, sexiness, and even some suspense thrown in as well. There’s eventually an inkling of intrigue and espionage, seeing as our yacht owner is the one noticeable key player missing on this crazy cruise. The ending does sort of cross over into outlandish territory, yet considering this blend of characters and build-up of suspense it also does feel like an inevitable climactic end.

Superyacht-SWAN-95-FD-Image-courtesy-of-Nautors-Swan-665x468

Crullers and Eclairs

As I alluded to earlier, Lindsay and Alton don’t have the best first impression of each other. He thinks she’s a hard-ass bitch, and she sees him as a goody-two shoes chef who’s clearly in love with himself. That being said, they are both clearly attracted to the other, but they’re adamant that they shouldn’t make a move. For one, there’s too much at stake with this entire trip. In order for their careers to rebound, there can’t be any distractions. In addition, it’s funny how long it takes before they realize the other isn’t gay. To quote one of Alton’s thoughts, “…he had the feeling she might be more interested in thick-lipped crullers than cream-filled éclairs.” Not gonna lie, I chuckled like an idiot with every culinary sexual innuendo that Alton could think of, and believe me there were many to enjoy. As their trip through the Caribbean progresses, their sexual chemistry becomes more and more difficult to ignore. With so many small and cramped places on this yacht to get down and dirty, it’s not long before they can’t say no anymore.

Capture

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

Series: Love Overboard, book 1. I definitely want to continue with this series!

Should you read it? This pretty much checks off every point of a good beach read. It’s fun, kind of silly, but full of unique characters. The flirtatiousness of Lindsay and Alton had me giggling, yet their scenes in the bedroom had me fanning myself from all the heat. The intrigue surrounding the yacht owner was a bit much, and I wish he had been featured more throughout the novel. Also, be sure to have some appetizers on hand while you read this one, as the descriptions of Alton’s culinary creations will keep you hungry!

Smut Level: Romantic comedies aren’t always the sexiest of reads, but this one definitely stands out! We don’t just have a handful of passionate kisses which fade to black. Oh no, we get every delectable sexy detail!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Muirgen Publishing, LLC. 219 Pages.

dv629050

A Model Engagement by Charlotte O’Shay

Alright, after reading this book I have one very important question that must be answered immediately. Is Maryland actually considered to be part of the South?? Our female lead apparently has a southern accent that comes out when she lets her guard down, and she hails from Maryland. The reason I need this question answered is because as someone who lives in Washington, DC, right on the border with Maryland, I need to know if I should start implementing more “y’alls” into my daily vocabulary.

What’s It About? 

model engagement

Lacey Reed jumps at the chance for independence with a career in the big city. But her naivety and ambition blind her to the lure of a blackmailer. With her savings gone, she has nowhere to turn when she literally runs into financier Connor Devlin. Though dazzled by Lacey, Connor sees the desperation she tries to hide. His gut tells him to help, and he hires her as his fake fiancée. Now Lacey has a job, and Connor has put a bandage on a family crisis. When the blackmailer ups the ante, Lacey resolves to face him down—no matter what the consequences. Does that mean Lacey will lose the only man who’s ever seen who she truly is?

First Impressions

A passionate romance at a beach house in Montauk? Count me in! This is the second novel in the City of Dreams series, and something I really do appreciate about these tales of fake fiancées is how the author presents us with characters who truly seem to have no other option. I think it’s safe to assume that not many of us could imagine a scenario in which we would enter into a fake engagement with someone who is a near stranger. Surely there must be some other way to get over whatever hurdle is presented, right? However, I was surprised to find that in both of these novels the female leads clearly had no other choice, and in order to look out for themselves and those that they love they have to do something kind of crazy. Heck, I even found myself wanting to yell at them, “What is there to think over? The solution is right in front of you, just take it already!” Who knew I’d be so supportive of fake engagements?!

ring

A One Day Fiancée 

In this novel, Lacey agrees to become Connor’s fake fiancée in order to help him care for his mother who would otherwise refuse the help of someone hired to be there. She’s willing to enter into such an absurd arrangement because she’s desperate to pay off a blackmailer who has a video tape of her in a rather compromising situation. As I mentioned earlier, I definitely understand how Lacey’s desperation to prevent this tape from ever being released could push her into accepting this completely unorthodox position. Connor on the other hand?

kiss

Connor has known Lacey for basically just one day. In that short amount of time he can clearly identify she’s desperate for money. But to have him trust her enough to take care of his ailing mother, and also suggest they pretend to be engaged? After just one day? I guess I found it easier to believe her motivations rather than his. I did like that later on Connor admits his suggestion that they enter into this ruse so quickly was one of the dumbest ideas he’d ever had, but in that moment where he first tells Lacey she’ll be his fake fiancée I couldn’t help but think, “Woah, that was fast”.

Roadrunner

Past Deeds Impact the Present

Shockingly, I found myself more enthralled with the story of Lacey’s blackmail rather than her romance with Connor. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved ALL the sexual tension going on with her and the hunky gentleman, but it seemed that Lacey’s growth as a character was more linked to this other story going on with her ass of a blackmailer. To summarize, Lacey used to be a model, and when she started coordinating on a new ad campaign with a man who was highly regarded in the industry, he drugged her and filmed the two of them in some non-consensual sexual scenarios. This man then proceeds to blackmail her, demanding payment which reduces all of her life savings to nothing.

perfume

The absolute best part of this book was seeing Lacey transform herself from a victim into a survivor. She was able to stand up for herself on her own two feet, and face the piece of shit who abused and blackmailed her. Lacey had the courage to say, “no more”. What was even better was that she came to this decision completely on her own. Nobody had to convince her of it, or push her into it. I think her budding relationship with Connor did act as a sort of catalyst, showing her how good her life could be if she just gets rid of the dead weight dragging her down. To see a woman who was at the end of her rope decide to rely on herself to escape the torment of her past was truly admirable.

images

Mamma Devlin and Communication

There were two aspects of this novel that I felt could have been more fully accentuated. The first was the character of Connor’s mother. In a way, she is one of the primary factors that brings our main characters together. She is slowly going blind, and Connor wants to find someone who can help her through her day-to-day activities. Enter Lacey and the start of their fake engagement. While it is clear that she and Lacey get along, I simply wanted more scenes of the two of them spending time together. Towards the end of the novel we do get a glimpse of how sassy Connor’s mother can be, and if we had seen more of that side of her throughout the novel it might have added an extra layer of depth to Lacey’s interactions with Connor’s family. I think what I enjoyed so much about the first novel was the incorporation of our female lead’s younger brother into the dynamics between her and our male lead to truly cement their relationship. Connor’s mother could have acted as a similarly crucial supplemental character in this second novel, yet in the end it seemed like we never really got to know her.

image

The second aspect revolves around the communication between Lacey and Connor. Throughout the book, we are privy to a lot of inner monologues of these two characters which reveal so much about their personalities. With Lacey, we learn all about how she branched out from her small home town in Maryland, and became a model in the big city as a way to rebel against her parents. We also see how she’s going through so much mental anguish over the issue of being blackmailed. With Connor, we uncover how the discovery of his father’s secret gambling life after his death influenced Connor’s relationship with his family. He had to become the protector and the provider. I just wish that Lacey and Connor had shared more of this with each other, rather than having it seemingly reserved for us to know as the audience. So many of these stories are glimpses into the thought processes of our characters. By having more heart-to-heart conversations throughout the novel rather than saving it all for the end could have acted as a real emotional bonding experience for our main couple, and strengthened their link beyond a basic physical connection.

241251_10150269056574314_746869313_8889949_5859943_o

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

Series: City of Dreams, book 2. I have a hunch over who the male lead of book 3 will be, and if I’m right then I just can’t wait!!!

Should you read it? Overall, I think I preferred book 1, mainly due to the more cohesive link between our main couple and supplemental characters. The story arch involving Lacey’s blackmailer was heartbreaking, yet also captivating. I wish there had been more of a resolution to how Lacey’s family responded to the blackmail. Not gonna lie, I kind of want to give her mom a good talking-to. Or maybe a slap. The ending of this novel was so freakin’ adorable though! After how quick their relationship started I really appreciated the patience Connor employed to go at Lacey’s own pace, so that she didn’t feel pressured into doing anything she wasn’t comfortable with.

Smut Level: These two have some intense make-out scenes that will have you fanning yourself! The one in the barn?! Phew!! My oh me oh my!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 210 Pages.

Price_Valenzuela_Elevate_Photography_Price19

 

 

A Reason to Stay by Melissa Ellen

The male lead in this novel is named Rhett. You’ve got a lot to live up to Rhett ole’ boy when you have the same name as one of the most dashing and suave of literary characters, Mr. Rhett Butler. And now I’m thinking of Clark Gable. And now I need to re-watch Gone with the Wind for the millionth time. You wouldn’t mind waiting around for about, oh, four hours, would ya? Thanks!

What’s it About? a reason to stay

From Two Different Worlds. With Pasts that haunt them. An Undeniable love that heals them. Will one tragic night break them? Ava Conner is a smart, beautiful, independent, focused architecture student that has her life ahead of her. She knows what she wants and she is determined to let nothing stop her from getting it. She has no time for men and she is content with being alone. That was until she got knocked flat on her ass by Rhett Blackwood. Literally.

First Impressions

This is a meet cute as timeless as can be: the two literally bump into each other at a coffee shop. They exchange a heated glance, but not much else. Ava is decidedly shocked when she sees this man again at a party she’s helping to cater, and he’s accompanied by another woman no less! Our dashing lad seeks Ava out in a back hallway, insisting that he’s not actually “with” this other woman, and that he’ll find Ava later on. Let’s say the heated look in his eyes promises much more than conversation. And oh boy does he deliver.

index.jpg

First Romps and One Night Stand Discussions

I will say I found it pretty interesting that for a man with such an intense presence as Rhett, their first time in the bedroom was relatively tame. Passionate, yes, but not too raunchy. Personally, I also delighted in the rather awkward discussion afterwards on what the status of their relationship was. Ava is understandably hesitant to pursue anything too serious after her last boyfriend cheated on her. I loved that she tried to be upfront with Rhett, and say if this is just a one night type of dealio, then that’s more than fine with her. Rhett’s insistence that this will not just be a one night romp in the hay will make you gasp in an “oh my” kind of moment.

oh-my-takei.gif

Admirable Leading Lady

You know, I’ve gotta hand it to Ava, I admire this chica for her willingness to stand up to Rhett when it really mattered. She wasn’t going to cower at his oftentimes dominant personality. The perfect example of this was during their first weekend together. They spend one glorious morning beneath the sheets, and he wants her to call off work, or get someone else to fill in for her so they can spend more time in bed horizontally. However, her work is really important to her, and gives her a sense of purpose and independence, so she refuses to relent to his insistence. Even when he has her pushed up against a wall, whispering into her ear with his deep and sultry voice. That’s one strong willed woman right there!

b7c7d68b42714d6f_MCDFISH_EC011_H

Another example is with her friends. Ava actually has some close male friends who are almost like brothers. She’s pretty affectionate with them; with lots of hugs and cheek kisses involved. Now, obviously we all know this will undoubtedly cause Rhett to have an eventual coronary. That being said, Ava insists she won’t cut these men out of her life completely, and she does her best to bring Rhett and her friends together for some male bonding time.

Exes and Ohhhhs

So when it comes to this woman that Rhett took to the party, obviously it was more complicated than simply accompanying a family friend to a social gathering. The two were intimate as teenagers. Although it’s over between them now, Serena holds a tragic event from their past over Rhett’s head to keep him in her life, and manipulate his feelings of guilt. Again, I really admired Ava in that she saw right through this woman, and didn’t shy away from telling Rhett how she truly felt. Things do eventually reach a breaking point between Ava and Serena in a heated argument which takes place in a public restroom. This scene convinced me once and for all that no good can possibly come from using a public restroom in a romance novel. They might as well be called the cat-fight facilities. It’s practically a guarantee.

mbfw-bathroom-confrontation

Glossy Conversations

I will say I was slightly disappointed that what felt like some key scenes/discussions were glossed over, and I’m not just talking about the sex scenes! For example, after leaving the party where Rhett and Ava first meet, they head back to Rhett’s place. It mentions how they talk for hours getting to know each other. Next thing you know they have a deep emotional connection, and he’s uber possessive of their relationship. Now, I’m not expecting to be privy to every single thing they discussed, but I felt that their connection seemed rather abrupt and sudden by not going into detail about at least some of their conversation. What was it exactly that brought them together beyond just a heated exchange at a party?

couple

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

Series: Blackwood Series, book 1. Things do end on a cliffhanger as the situation with Serena, Rhett and Ava gets kind of out of control. It’ll be interesting to see how things come together in the next book.

Should you read it? A unique relationship with a lot of moving pieces that come together for the cliffhanger ending. Things did sort of drag a bit towards the end as preparations are outlined in detail for Ava’s sister’s wedding. However, it has an emotional ending which really demonstrates the importance of family. I’ll admit I did kind of want to smack Rhett upside the head by the end of it, considering his inability to reach out to Ava during her time of need via phone, text, email, handwritten letter, sky writer, or even a freakin’ carrier pigeon.

Smut Level: They spend a lot of time in bed doing the deed, but we usually aren’t privy to the details.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Independently Published. 423 Pages.

Headed to the Beach!

Well ladies and gents it’s that time of year once again where I need to get the hell out of dodge, and head to the sun and surf of the beach. Not gonna lie, I am in absolute desperate need of a vacation! I’m headed to Florida for a whole week, and I couldn’t be more excited.

anna-maria-island

It’s simply been too long since I’ve had a proper beach holiday, and by God I’m planning on enjoying every second of it. My Kindle is loaded, my audiobooks queued up, and my work email is ready to be ignored. Oh, I also plan on consuming more seafood and delectable desserts than any human probably should in a given week.

IMG_5879

But don’t worry, I didn’t forget about all of you! I have some reviews all lined up and ready to post in my absence. Enjoy!

pier-at-anna-maria

Lovers at Heart by Melissa Foster

I’m…confused. And frustrated.

What’s it About?

lovers-at-heart

Handsome, wealthy resort owner Treat Braden is used to getting what he wants. When Max Armstrong walked into his life six months earlier, he saw right through the efficient and capable façade she wore like a shield, to the sweet, sensual woman who lay beneath. She sparked an unfamiliar desire in him for more than a one-night stand, leaving his heart reeling and his blood boiling. But one mistake caused her to turn away, and now, after six months of longing for the one woman he cannot have, he’s going home to try to forget her all together.

Max Armstrong has a successful career, a comfortable lifestyle, and she’s never needed a man to help her find her way–until Treat Braden caught her attention at a wedding in Nassau, causing a surge of emotions too reminiscent of the painful past she’d spent years trying to forget. Max will do anything to avoid reliving that pain–including forgoing her toe-curling, heart-pounding desire for Treat.

When a chance encounter turns into a night of intense passion, Treat realizes that the mistake he made six months earlier may cause him to lose Max completely. He will do everything within his power to win her heart forever–and Max is forced to face her hurtful past head on for the man she cannot help but love.

First Impressions

This book is marked as “book 1” in the Bradens series, but this novel is obviously a continuation of events which took place in a previous book. Our two main characters met six months ago at a wedding, and it sounds like some sh*t went down there! I was so upset that we were never privy to this firsthand, as it made it almost impossible to understand the dynamic between our two characters. References are made that they were stuck in a boat together at one point?! After some further digging, it looks like although this series is marked as a stand-alone series, it’s actually part and parcel to the Love in Bloom series. My advice: read them in order!

confusion

The Frustration Continues

Our female lead, Max, is one of the most frustrating characters I’ve ever come across. Honestly, I felt like she wasn’t really worthy of Treat. Apparently, Treat thought she had a one-night stand with another dude, even though they had some chemistry of their own. So, the next day, he kind of gives her a judgmental look.

cat-judge

Every time he tries to apologize for this somewhat douchey move, she won’t give him the chance to get a word in edgewise. Therefore, he leaves her alone. Then she pursues him, but quickly comes up with some silly reason of why they can’t be together, so she runs from him. He tries to reason with her, and bring some compromise into their relationship, but she refuses to listen, and runs anyway. Her inability to listen to him at any point during the novel just seemed rather short-sighted to me.

lalala.gif

As if that wasn’t enough, Max then gets upset that Treat didn’t run after her! Dude, you’ve rejected this guy about 6 times now. How many times do you really expect him to come running, especially after you insist there’s no relationship between you two? It’s almost like this woman craves drama.

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

Series: The Bradens, book 1. Love in Bloom, book 4. I found it extremely difficult to understand what happened between these two characters in previous novels. Read in order!

Should you read it? It’s really hard to judge this one seeing as it felt like I came into the middle of the series. Perhaps if I’d read them in order I would have had a more positive experience. However, I still found Max to be a rather annoying character who consistently ran from a great man.

Smut Level: There are some steamy scenes, including one in a bathtub.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $0.00 Kindle Price. World Literary Press. 386 Pages.

Tall, Dark and Damaged by Sarah Andre

Gott im Himmel! I felt like this book was one continual rolling ball of anxiety. You never really got a chance to breathe until the last page. And even then you think back on everything that just happened, and you feel an overwhelming need for a glass of wine and a bubble bath.

What’s it About?

30282498

His Life Changed in a Heartbeat
Disinherited as a teen, Devon Ashby returns home twelve years later as a ruthless CEO, brilliant at negotiating deals, but emotionally stunted. In an instant all he’s struggled to build implodes. Amid the turmoil of saving his company from a hostile takeover, his engagement to a business partner’s high-society daughter hits the rocks. Compounding his troubles, he encounters his high school sweetheart, whose heart he smashed. The vulnerability she awakens leaves him at greater risk than all the crises he faces.

Her Dream Job May Get Her Killed
While restoring art in a billionaire’s private gallery, Hannah Moore is unwittingly drawn into the dysfunctional family’s confidences. When she discovers the rich developer behind her and her sick aunt’s eviction is the family’s black-sheep son—the lover she’s never gotten over—her desire turns to fury. Always one to avoid conflict, Hannah must stand up to Devon and the growing menace of someone who thinks she knows too much.

A Decades-Old Secret Turns Deadly
When a family member is murdered, Devon and Hannah become ensnared in sibling greed, festering jealousy, and a tragic secret that’s divided the family. Amid their reigniting passion they race to expose the killer before they become the next victims in this cat-and-mouse game of survival.

First Impressions

In a word, this book was intense. There’s a ton of intrigue, from start to finish, and a whole hell of a lot happening in between. Devon is on the verge of losing his business to his father via hostile takeover, he’s about to get married, and he just ran into his high school sweetheart. Oh, and then there’s the matter of his mother’s apparent suicide years beforehand which he assumes was murder, not to mention a new murder which takes place on his family’s estate, and he just happens to be a suspect. And that’s just what’s going on with Devon! I haven’t even gotten around to all the drama that’s happening with Hannah!

9786437

Squirming Ball of Nerves

Now, I know this is going to sound really really weird, but sometimes books like this almost make me too anxious and fidgety. Something about the fact that everything which could possibly go wrong does go wrong makes it seem like the entire world is crashing down on our characters. That being said, I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a weirdo. Although this kind of plot turns me into a squirming ball of nerves, I realize that most normal people out there like when a book is jam packed full of this many twists and turns.

full

It Comes Together Nicely!

Although the build-up pretty much had me rocking back and forth in the fetal position, the ending was fantasmically awesome! It really plays out like a movie, with every scene described in such vivid detail that you could really picture everything playing out with absolute clarity. Another unique feather of this ending is that although it ends happily, it in no way ends perfectly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Stuff goes down! Not every character meets a happy end, and not every plot twist is wrapped up in a nice, neat little bow. Normally, I’m not a huge fan when this happens, but in this case I think it actually worked! The aspects which aren’t resolved tie into the overall moral of the story of identifying what truly matters in life. If it’s not important, there’s no need to focus so much attention on resolving it now. Focus on what really counts instead.

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

Series: Dramatic stand-alone to bring to the beach.

Should you read it? This one will certainly keep you on your toes, and bouncing in your chair until the very end. Even I was surprised by how it ended! Usually I can guess our “who done it” pretty early on, but this one threw me for a loop. At times, I felt it was a tad too heavy on the business side of the plot dealing with stakeholders, shareholders, SEC stuff, trusts, and other jargon I’m not going to pretend to understand.

Smut Level: There is only one sex scene in this book, and you definitely have to wait around for it, but good God is it a good one! It’s got everything I love: a thunderstorm, a library, and some delightful dirty talk. Yummmmmy.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Beach Reads Publishing. 297 Pages.

north-lake-shore-drive