Fractured by Sydney Landon

After the dramatic end of book one, you can’t help but be drawn into this next novel in the Lucian and Lia series.

What’s it About?

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Desire brought them together; tragedy may tear them apart…Lucian and Lia attempt to deal with the aftermath of the violent attack on her by her stepfather. As events unfold in their lives, Lia finds that she can no longer be patient with the man that she loves, because his secrets are tearing them apart. Lucian cannot deny the fact that he’s fallen in love with the brave and beautiful woman who has lived a life of horror. He wants nothing more than to protect her, but soon realizes that he may be the person who will hurt her the most. To be together, they’ll have to fight demons from their pasts that threaten to tear them apart.

First Impressions

This was a rather depressing read, but considering the subject matter you can’t be too surprised. This book opens with the immediate aftermath of Lia’s attack by her step-father. It was brutal, and although we never really witnessed anything during the attack itself, we are subject to the gruesome details as told by Lia after the fact in the hospital. It’s a heartbreaking retelling and quite difficult to stomach. What we see in the following days are Lucian’s attempts to cope with almost losing the love of his life, even if he can’t admit it out loud, all while going cold turkey on his cocaine addiction. We also see Lia’s attempts to cope with life as a survivor, and the difficulty of feeling “lucky” to just be alive.

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Surviving

This was an emotional read to be sure, as we experience how helpless Lucian feels as he just has to stand by and watch as Lia struggles to survive in her hospital bed. When Lia finally awakens we also see how her life will never be the same again. They find strength in each other, but Lucian’s continual secrets about his own past threatens to break the connection the two have.

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Setting Up

It did seem as though a large portion of this novel is setting up for some ultimate climactic reveal about everything that happened in Lucian’s past. Seeing as this was also a rather prominent feature in book one, I couldn’t help but feel that this second novel was rather repetitive and slightly boring.

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There are some interesting developments going on between other characters in the novel, which is obviously a set up for some future books. After a while it’s kind of like, quit with the build-up and just get there already! I will say though, the ending of this book was fantabulous, as Lucian’s secrets finally push Lia over the edge. Can’t wait to see how it’ll all come together in the next book!

Series: Lucian and Lia, book 2.

Should you read it? I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as book one, but I’m hoping that everything will come together in the next book for an exciting finish.

Smut Level: Lia might have a broken nose and a cast on her arm, but that just means she and Lucian have to get a tad more creative when doing the nasty.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price, or whole series for $4.99. CreateSpace Independent Publishing. 358 Pages.

Slider by Stacy Borel

A fun continuation of the Core Four romance series which highlights the importance of family.

What’s it About? 

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Dr. Turner Brooks may be the professional brother, but he’s also the adrenaline junkie. When he meets Annabelle, a girl scared to death of veering from the path she’s paved for herself, all he wants to do is push her out of that comfort zone. Annabelle has already lost too much. She wants to stay focused on her new nursing job and away from unnecessary risks. Turner Brooks is exactly that – an unnecessary risk. She’s heard the rumors about him flying around the hospital, describing him as a “womanizer” or “sex god.” Yeah, she doesn’t need that. Still, Turner tries to teach her that life is full of risks worth taking. As they grow closer and she begins to let go, the unexpected happens. Will they be able to recover from that surprising fastball or could this be the final strike out?

First Impressions

I felt the first book in this series was just ok, so I didn’t really go into this second one with a whole bunch of expectations. Although there might not have been as much hanky panky as I would’ve liked, I must say the story line in this one was much more compelling. Not only was there more depth to the story than book one, but the characters also seemed to connect on a more emotional level rather than everything being about the physical aspect of their relationship.

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Adrenaline vs. Sex

Annabelle sees Turner as a risk, so she’s initially hesitant to take things too far with him, or even start a relationship at all. Therefore, they sort of have a slow and subtle flirtation going on rather than all out burning ball of passion. Their dates are more about Turner teaching Annabelle how to let loose and seek that thrill of adrenaline instead of having sex. This does mean it takes a loooong time for them to finally get around to the hot and steamy stuff. 75% of the novel to be exact. However, this also allows them to develop a friendship and cute connection about the importance of living life to the fullest before they pursue anything physical.

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Professional Manwhore

Turner was an interesting anomaly of a character. Professional doctor on the one hand, but infamous manwhore on the other. He seems to have an endless supply of sexy nurses to entertain him, and Annabelle does use his manwhore status as an initial reason to turn down his advances. I was rather surprised though that once they do eventually get together, his many previous romps never come up as a topic of conversation, or something to divert their growing attraction for one another. If anything, Annabelle sees herself as lucky for being able to tame his formerly wandering ways.

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Series: The Core Four, book 2. I’m intrigued for the next book, as another character has an unexpected bun in the oven.

Should you read it? I will say I enjoyed this book more than the first one. The importance of family is really highlighted, and even had me on the brink of tears towards the end. In fact, I’d say that aspect of the story was better written than the tale of romance.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services LLC. 224 Pages.

Damaged by Gina Watson

This is your typical girl meets man-whore with commitment issues story line. However, there’s the added unique element in the fact that our heroine is dying. Depressing premise? Yes. Amazing story? Hell yes!

What’s it about?

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Bailey’s short life may be rendered even shorter if fortune doesn’t turn her wheel. Unfortunately, most of what she needs is out of her control. The one thing she can control is the quantity and quality of her sex life. She dreams of connecting with a dominant male, one who knows how to take what he wants, one who can deliver the kind of illicit sex that will make her feel desired and dirty and totally satisfied.

In spite of the fact that he goes home with a different girl almost every night, Parker is all too happy to give Bailey what she wants. But after he gets a taste of Bailey obsession takes hold. He wants her, and while he’s never been in an exclusive relationship, Bailey has him pondering monogamy. Problem is, Bailey’s not interested. In fact, she goes to great lengths to prevent the development of deep feelings between them. Parker senses a raging tide boiling beneath Bailey’s surface and he intends to find out what she’s hiding. When Bailey’s camouflage is removed, Parker is compelled to make the ultimate sacrifice.

First Impressions

OMG I freakin’ loved this one. Bailey is sort of fulfilling her final bucket list due to her illness. One item she wants to check off is having rough sex with a man who knows what the hell he’s doing, but who also doesn’t treat her like a fragile doll. I mean, who doesn’t have that item on their bucket list? Boy oh boy, does Parker deliver on all accounts! The sexual tension simmering between these two makes it impossible to limit their escapades to just one night. Seriously, love everything we’ve got going on in this sexy, yet emotional read.

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Can’t Say Goodbye

I have read many a book where our lead couple tries to limit their emotional connection, and just keep it all about the bumping of their nether regions. This usually has to do with the fact that one of our characters is afraid of love, or is convinced they’re not worthy of finding happiness. Well, in this particular romance read, Bailey has an added reason of trying to avoid the development of her feelings with Parker, and that’s because she doesn’t want to leave him all alone when she eventually passes on. Ugh, I’ve got all the feels going on right now!

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As for Parker, he’s always been a wham, bam, thank you ma’am kind of a guy. Establishing a long-term and loving relationship with a woman has never been on his own personal bucket list. Enter Bailey, and he thinks he’s finally found the one woman worth changing his lifestyle for. When he finally discovers the truth about her illness, and that the only woman he’s ever truly loved is dying, it’s simply heartbreaking. Parker will do anything to spend just one more moment with her; Bailey has resigned herself to dying; my eyes aren’t getting watery. I’m not reaching for a tissue. I’m just…there’s something in my eye…oh for the love of God I’m balling here ok! There I said it! You try and read this without getting emotional.

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Series: David Family Saga: Bayou Rogues, book 1. I’ll definitely be continuing with this series.

Should you read it? You’ll probably want to keep the tissues handy, just in case. I did feel there was some unnecessary drama brought in towards the end with Bailey’s sister’s ex-husband. You can tell it was intended to set up the next book, but it was kind of like, we already have a dying woman here! No other outside drama needed! Great read though that’s all about taking chances, and living life to the fullest.

Smut Level: Parker is a naughty little boy who likes to give his woman a spanking.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Whiskey Cove Publishing. 172 Pages.

 

 

Burn by Maya Banks

A good conclusion to a sexy series.

What’s it About?

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Ash, Jace, and Gabe: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Ash, it’s the woman who changes everything he’s ever known about dominance and desire…When it comes to sex, Ash McIntyre has always explored his wilder side — extreme and uncompromising. He demands control. And he prefers women who want it like that. Even the women he’s shared with his best friend, Jace.

But Jace is involved with a woman he has no intention of sharing. And now even Gabe has settled into a relationship with a woman who gives him everything he needs, leaving Ash feeling restless and unfulfilled. Then Ash meets Josie, who seems immune to his charms and his wealth. Intrigued, he begins a relentless pursuit, determined she won’t be the one who got away. He never imagined the one woman to tell him no would be the only woman who’d ever drive him to the edge of desire.

First Impressions

The characters in this series definitely encounter a lot of drama, yet I’m kind of shocked how things can come together rather conveniently for them all at the same time. Perfect example with this novel: Ash is going for a lovely little stroll in the park, and comes to the conclusion that he’d like to have a serious relationship with a woman. He looks up, and BAM! Spots a pretty lady and decides she’ll be the one to have a future with. Who knew it could be that easy?

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An Illusion of Independence

Josie is by far the most independent, not to mention free-spirited, of all the women presented in this series. She’s an artist who has actually come to make a living by selling her paintings. Or so she thinks. Turns out her independent lifestyle is just an illusion, as  Ash has secretly been the one buying up all of her artwork.

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I really liked Josie’s initial response to discovering that Ash was her anonymous benefactor. I feel like in other romance novels the heroine might fawn over the idea of her lover looking out for her, but Josie…well she gets justifiably pissed. She wasn’t afraid to stand up to Ash, and declare that while he can be a dom in the bedroom, he can’t play God with her life. Josie decides she doesn’t want to be dependent on him financially to take care of her. You go girl! Buuuuuuut…unfortunately she caves to his whims in about a day.

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The drama with Josie’s paintings does take up a large portion of the book, and silly me I thought it was going to be the main dramatic feature. I should know by now with this series that something else always happens which you’re not expecting! There’s a big twist that happens at the end with a plot element all the way back from the first book that I had totally forgotten about. I will say though the author does a good job of explaining it fully for those of us with a terrible memory.

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Series: Breathless Trilogy, book 3. A good conclusion, thought not my favorite of the series.

Should you read it? Not the best book of the series, but still an interesting read. I wish we had learned more about how Josie got into the dom/sub world. Doesn’t seem like something you just decide to explore one day on a whim!

Smut Level: They take a while to finally come about, but definitely some hot scenes. However, in my opinion no book is quite as kinky as the first.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $11.99 Kindle Price. Berkley Publishing. 365 Pages.

“Consumed by You” by Lauren Blakely

A dirty talking fireman with six-pack abs and a puppy. Heaven help my ovaries.

What’s it About?

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She’s playing with fire…Dog trainer Cara Bailey wants to find “the one,” but fantasizing about her sexy-as-hell client, firefighter Travis Jansen, is getting in the way. Her only option? Get the confirmed bachelor out of her system-in every position possible-so she can settle down with Mr. Right. Starting right now.

Travis doesn’t do relationships, so no matter how badly he wants the pretty little brunette, he keeps his distance. Until Cara goes and changes the game. She’ll fulfill all of his fantasies if he agrees to walk away when it’s over. But when the wildfire between them blazes out of control, it will consume everything-and everyone-in its path…

First Impressions

There are a large number of romance novels out there where our main characters agree to just have a short fling, and screw each other out of their systems. Nothing exactly new here. However, I must say this is the first book I’ve come across with an addendum to that verbal contract wherein they also agree to never have sex in an actual bed. Because…well that would just be too intimate. Imagine if one of them were to fall asleep afterwards and they’d actually have to like, spoon? Oh, the humanity!!

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Thinking Outside the Box

Like with all other romance flings of this nature, their attempt at a short fling doesn’t exactly go as planned, but my God they certainly do get creative with their sex locales. I’ll certainly have to take note of a few of these for my “Saturday Sexcapades” posts. They get their grind on in the back of a club, the hood of a car, the kitchen counter (a classic), the back porch (exhibitionists are we?), and they certainly give her washing machine’s spin cycle a run for it’s money. If you and your significant other are looking to spice things up a bit, you could probably get some tips and tricks from this read!

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Cheesy Sweetness

This book sort of reminded me of a good ole fashioned rom-com (albeit with a hell of a lot more sex involved), in that it has a delectably sweet, yet cheesy ending. Especially when it comes to their final declarations of love in the closing scene. Let’s just say the whole book leads up to a final Fireman’s Bachelor Charity Auction where Cara has trained Travis’ dog, Henry, to do a fancy trick, and Travis definitely uses the cute little pup to swoon Cara. Cheesy for sure, but it’s also making me want to look up where the closest Fireman’s Auction is to my current location.

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Series: Fighting Fire, book 3. Can be read as a stand-alone.

Should you read it? Definitely a sweet read, but sexy as hell. Travis is a fireman and poker player, so he’s trained himself to survey every scenario, and avoid risks. Putting his heart on the line for Cara is a risk he doesn’t want to make, but he’s just too smitten with the lady to say no. And…did I mention a freakin’ dog is involved?!

Smut Level: Cara actually has to train the dog Henry not to bark when Travis spanks her during sex. Probably comes in between lessons for “sit” and “play dead”.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Entangled: Brazen. 252 Pages.

 

Surge by Gina Watson

I was really looking forward to this last installment in the Emergency Responders series, but I must say it was probably my least favorite of the three. Definitely well-written, but kind of depressing 😦

What’s it About?

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He was twenty-eight, she was eighteen. Everyone around them opposed their love. But their love was much greater than the sum of their ages. Clara’s family took Jackson in when, at the age of seventeen, he’d lost his parents. The St. Martins were the only family he had. When his connection with Clara developed into something stronger, he couldn’t feel remorseful. What he did feel was warmth, hope, and love. Ten years later it was time to tell the family—he wouldn’t let their love be a lie any longer.

When he came to live with them, Clara knew one day she’d marry him. She just didn’t know her family wouldn’t be on board with the plans. Sure, Jackson was much older than her and yeah, they’d jumped the gun on intimacy, but she’d needed Jackson’s touch that day and he’d needed hers. They planned to marry once he finished medical school, but when Clara’s brother found out about their two-year relationship he beat the good doctor’s face until he was unrecognizable.

Jackson couldn’t see a way they could be together and she wouldn’t have to make a choice between him and her family. He knew what it was to go through life without the support of family and he wouldn’t let her choose him over the St. Martins. Will Clara and Jackson be able to have a future together, or will her family tear them apart?

First Impressions

Clara and Jackson have been dating for two years. They are madly in love, and even talking future marriage plans. There’s just one slight problem: he’s 10 years older. She’s just eighteen, which means they technically “got together” when she was just sixteen. I must say, this book took an absolutely fascinating look at society’s standards regarding age and relationships. In this instance you see how their love is so pure, and you question why anyone would ever want to prevent two amazing people from coming together. Yet the fact that they first met when she was just 8 years old and he was 18, and they hook up for the first time when she’s 16 and he’s 26, even I found myself thinking it was kind of “icky”. Kind of a mind-blowing read in that sense, as you root for them on the one hand, but also want them to take things slow for a while on the other.

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The Ball Drops

The reasoning behind why this book wasn’t my favorite of the trilogy actually has nothing to do with the age gap between our two lead characters. Instead, it has to do with the fact that it was…well, kind of depressing! Based on the synopsis above, you know going into this book that her brother will eventually find out about their relationship, and that they’ll take a break on seeing each other for a while. However, this discovery doesn’t happen right away, which means for quite some time you are just waiting for the ball to drop, and the fists to fly. Which they definitely do.

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Jackson and Clara really do complete each other, which makes their time apart even more difficult. At the beginning of the novel if the couple spent too much time apart they’d both get incredibly anxious, as though they were addicted to the other. When they’d say goodbye to each other in the morning Clara would leave him with, “If you die I die.” Good…God! I know you two are in love, but maybe take it down a notch? Their declarations and speeches of love were almost too over-the-top flowery that it didn’t seem entirely realistic. Although…maybe this is why I’m single.

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Series: St. Martin Family Saga: Emergency Responders, book 3. I can’t WAIT to read the spinoff series involving one of the characters from this book. GAAAH!

Should you read it? Overall a good read with great writing, but sooooo sad! The time that Jackson and Clara spend apart in this novel is so dark and depressing, it kind of made it hard to willingly read at times. I felt like every other page of my Kindle needed to have a picture of a puppy on it. Definitely an interesting consideration of society standards though.

Smut Level: Some sexy scenes, but the last one was kind of ill-timed in my opinion. Clara is trying to get Jackson to open up about the loss of his parents while giving him a BJ. Ummm…sure.

Book Details: Whiskey Cove Publishing. 197 Pages.

Beautifully Forgotten by L.A. Fiore

A note to all the authors out there: if you’re gonna use flashbacks, for the love of God please do so carefully. I love me a good flashback, but this book had such a plethora of 16 years earlier, 14 years earlier, 16 years earlier, 23 years earlier and 16 years earlier again that it was damn near impossible to keep them in any sense of chronological order.

What’s it About?

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Successful restaurateur Lucien Black’s blue-green eyes and unattainable attitude drive women wild. But his abandonment issues and criminal past have left him emotionally closed off. When a familiar face shows up for a job interview at his nightclub, the ache he has tried to forget tears at his heart—it’s the girl who once healed him… and then abandoned him.

Darcy MacBride still remembers Lucien’s delicate touch when they were both wildly in love teenagers. His gorgeous eyes had soothed her hurt after she’d been dumped off at the orphanage where Lucien lived. Darcy felt his jagged edges fit perfectly into her own, and she’d planned to spend the rest of her life with him—until a mysterious man warned her away. Now, fourteen years later, she’s ready to endure the torture of Lucien’s indifference and having him as her boss…just to be near him. But when it seems that they might finally take up where they left off, a devastating secret buried in their past threatens to tear them apart again.

First Impressions

This is the second novel in the Beautifully Damaged series, and apparently I read the first book back in 2013. I have read hundreds of books since then, and I mean that literally. I’ll admit that I don’t always remember the specific details of a novel, or even necessarily how it ended if it’s been a while since I read it. That being said, I can usually remember the basic premise, main characters, and whether or not I liked it. However, when it comes to this series, I shockingly remember absolutely nothing about book one. Even as I progressed further into this second book, and the characters and events from book one are brought to the forefront, I can honestly say I have zero recollection of what transpired. All I have to go on is the rating I gave it on Goodreads, which was an underwhelming 2/5 stars. So…yeah…not off to a very good start.

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Oh the Flashbacks

This romance is between two people who reconnect years after they went their separate ways as teenagers. Needless to say, you can kind of expect there to be a few flashbacks to when they first fell in love at an orphanage in their younger years. Unfortunately, there’s such a multitude of flashbacks which take place out of sequence at the start of the novel, that it’s kind of hard to connect with the characters in the present. Sure, the flashbacks do help you understand more about the history and dynamic of the characters, but I feel it could have been handled a bit differently.

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Disjointed

As a whole, I felt the novel was rather disjointed, and not just in terms of the timeline of flashbacks. There were also multiple story lines at play, and some of those really focus on the two lead characters from book one, who I couldn’t for the life of me remember. This made it kind of hard to tell at times who was the main focus of the book. It sort of seemed like it could have been two different novels taking place at the same time.

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As it stands, we basically have four different lead characters, each with their own drama, side-plots and supplemental characters. Towards the end, all of the elements started coming together in one confusing jumble. There was an attempt to intertwine all of the events from this novel, book one, and all the characters, but I think it was incredibly difficult to keep everything straight. Let’s just say at the end when there was a big reveal of who was behind all the drama and blackmail I found myself exclaiming, “Now who the hell is this?”

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Series: Beautifully Damaged, book 2. Not gonna continue on with this series.

Should you read it? There were some interesting factors at play, but in the end I felt like it was hard to really connect to the story because it was so disjointed. There were so many different cases of blackmail going on I couldn’t always remember who was blackmailing whom, or even why.

Smut Level: Pretty saucy. We even have a detailed 69 scene.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Montlake Romance. 366 Pages.