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.

 

Fair Game by Monica Murphy

Oh come on now people, let’s make good choices!

What’s it About?

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Bad enough Jade Frost’s boyfriend drags her to a boring poker game. Even worse that he actually threw her into the betting pot during an intense round…and lost. Talk about the perfect excuse for Jade to make him her ex-boyfriend.

Now she supposedly belongs to the ultra rich, extremely gorgeous Shep Prescott. He could have anything he wants yet he seems to be in hot pursuit of her. No matter how rude, how snarky, how impossible she acts, it doesn’t stop him. More like her horrible behavior seems to make him want her more.

When she finds herself starting to fall for him, Jade’s confused. There’s more to Shep than the carefree rich charmer he portrays. No way could he want a serious relationship with her…or could he?

First Impressions

Mkay, so full disclosure moment here: I have never done cocaine in my entire life. Now, I know the ole saying, “don’t knock it til you try it”, although I have a feeling whoever came up with that saying didn’t necessarily mean it in reference to trying cocaine. What can I say?! I just never understood the appeal. Personally, I’d rather spend my money on going to the movies and buttered popcorn. I also have the irrational fear that if I did try it I’d immediately sneeze it out in a cloud of white powder. Kind of ruins my street cred.

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In this book, our female lead claims that she’s never been swayed by peer pressure, yet in the next scene she’s accepting a mirror of coke from some dweebs she just met at a college party. She then proceeds to blame her close call of snorting cocaine on the fact that our main male lead, Shep (who wasn’t present at all during this exchange), gets her all confused. Sooo…yeah, not my favorite character.

Some Imperfect Lead Characters

I can’t help it, I thought Jade was a pretty annoying character, and Shep wasn’t exactly a peach himself. He wins her from her boyfriend in a card game, which I’ll admit, was the main intriguing factor that moved me to pick up this book in the first place. The fact that the next day Jade is somehow the one apologizing to Shep kind of made me lose respect for her. I know violence is never the answer to life’s problems, but Jade slapped Shep after he won her. Honestly, can’t say I would’ve done anything different if a guy treated me like a commodity to be bartered. And yet, Shep manages to make her feel guilty for the way she treated him, without any acknowledgement of how he treated her like an object. Dude, not cool! On either of their parts!

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An Imperfect Plot

So the characters obviously weren’t my favorite aspect of the novel, but there was actually a much bigger reason as to why I didn’t enjoy this particular read. It had to do with the plot. Mainly, there wasn’t much of one. At all. What we have here is a classic tale of boy meets girl, she pushes him away despite her obvious attraction to him, they find some alternative ways to pleasure each other when she’s on her period, he runs, she teases, and eventually they have sex. Boom, there, you’re done. The only real struggle of the novel came when Shep introduced Jade to his parents, and his mom proceeds to call her a gold digger. No resolution to that little issue. Their relationship seems to be purely physical, as they never really manage to have a meaningful conversation.

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Series: The Rules, book 1. I miiiiiiiight read the next one.

Should you read it? Although well written overall, I felt it was a pretty boring read. The whole novel sort of leads up to…well…nothing. Basically just them having sex, and her baking him cookies. Sad to say I don’t see them as a forever couple.

Smut Level: Jade goes from never having an orgasm during sex to having 3-4 a night. Lucky girl.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Self-Published. 474 Pages.

Feral Sins by Suzanne Wright

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

What’s it About?

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

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

First Impressions

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

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

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Alpha Female Indeed

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

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

Sexy Yet Uncomfortable

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beautiful by Christina Lauren

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

What’s it About?

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

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

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

First Impressions

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

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Opposites Attract

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

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Friends, Old and New

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

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

Series: Beautiful Bastard, book 5.

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

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

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

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Tall, Tatted and Tempting by Tammy Falkner

You just gotta love a novel that starts out with the male lead having to rearrange his junk because of a massive hard-on. Literally nowhere to go from there but up. And yes, pun absolutely intended.

What’s it About?

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She’s locked up tight. But he might be the key. Logan Reed is tall, tatted and tempting. Kit’s a woman with a mean right hook and a secret. Kit wants a tattoo, but Logan sees more than she intends to share in the drawing of the tat she wants. He sees her in ways no one ever has. Logan’s not disabled; but he hasn’t spoken in eight years. He hasn’t needed to. Until he meets Kit. Logan doesn’t know everything about Kit. Kit doesn’t know anything about herself, until she has to sacrifice all she ever wanted to save what’s most important to him.

First Impressions

In spite of the rather unorthodox start to this novel, it really does draw you in with some unlikely characters who fall for each other. One is a deaf tattoo artist living with his many brothers. The other is a young girl living on the streets, playing her guitar to survive. He hasn’t spoken to anyone in years, yet when it comes to the mysterious Emily, he’s willing to let the words flow if it means spending more time with her. This novel also has a powerful ending as characters sacrifice their own happiness for others, and ends on a slight cliffhanger that will leave you wanting more. As for that big middle part of the novel? That’s where I was left feeling less than impressed.

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Putting Up with Secrets

Emily is hiding something big from Logan. Something important. Her very identity. Logan quickly realizes that Emily isn’t sharing everything with him, including her real name. Yet he is so enamored of her that he puts up with her secrets if it means she won’t run away from him and return to a life on the streets. Personally, I found her continual secrets and hiding the details of her past to be rather annoying. In addition, it made a large majority of the plot seem to be slow moving and kind of boring.

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Normally with books like this I feel as though we as the audience are privy to the secret details of the characters even if others aren’t aware of them. However, when it comes to this book, by keeping us in the dark as well for so long the story just sort of dragged on. Also, the fact that Logan was so open about his own past and family troubles, yet Emily remained close lipped made it kind of hard to like her at times.

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Series: The Reed Brothers, book 1. I’ll continue with this series. Can’t wait to get to the books featuring Logan’s many brothers.

Should you read it? There’s one main reason I’ll continue with this series, and that would be Logan. He got off to a rough start in this novel, yet he quickly redeemed himself as a sweet character with a penchant for sex. Unfortunately, Emily wasn’t my fav. Hopefully things will improve in the next book, as details of her true identity are now known to all.

Smut Level: The problem living with 4 brothers? Finding privacy to woo your girl. Guess the bathroom sink will have to do!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. FREE. Night Shift Publishing. 201 Pages.

Worth the Fight by Vi Keeland

The button-up lawyer falls for the ripped MMA fighter. A girl has to fall for a bad boy at least once in her life. It’s sort of an unwritten rule after all.

What’s it About?

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It didn’t matter that the ref called it a clean hit. Nico Hunter would never be the same. Elle has a good life. A job she loves, a great apartment, and the guy she’s been dating for more than two years is a catch and a half. But it’s boring…and she strives to keep it that way. Too many emotions are dangerous. Her own past is living proof of what can happen when you lose control. Then Nico walks into Elle’s office and everything changes…for both of them. But what can the tattooed, hard-bodied MMA fighter and the beautiful and always steady attorney have in common? A lot more than they bargained for.

First Impressions

When this novel starts, you think you’ve got it all figured out. Goody two shoes chica falling for the tough fighter. The beauty of this novel though is that she’s not exactly America’s sweetheart with a warm and fuzzy upbringing, and he’s not the hard-ass you would expect him to be. They both have troubled pasts which help them connect with each other on a deeper level. His sordid past is well-known, as he tragically killed another fighter in the ring in a terrible accident. Elle’s misfortune is something she wishes to keep well under wraps, assuming Nico will think less of her if it ever becomes comes to light. Little do they know that it’s only when they both  open up that they can become strong and move towards a future together.

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Falling for the Fighter

This novel is all kinds of sexy. When Elle and Nico first meet, she is actually dating another man. But upon first meeting Elle quickly discovers what has been missing in her currently stagnant and boring relationship. Passion. Lust. Raw sexual magnetism. Oh my! It doesn’t take long for these two to put some burn marks on the sheets, but don’t you worry, she breaks things off with her former boyfriend before pursuing anything physical with Nico.

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Series: MMA fighter, book 1.

Should you read it? This book is unlike your typical fighter romance. Not only does the male lead have a sweet side in addition to the usual alpha male possessiveness, but he’s not involved with anything or anyone illegal. It seems like we always have some kind of underground circuit of shady dealings and characters in these types of novels, but in this instance we just have a troubled man and woman trying to move on from their pasts. Rather touching at times.

Smut Level: Testosterone overload needs to be worked off somehow!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services, LLC. 376 Pages.

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Saturday Sexcapades: Roof

Sorry I haven’t written a Saturday Sexcapade in quite some time, but what can I say, I’ve been busy!

Most of you know that for the majority of the sexcapades I describe here, I go into rather particular detail about how a location outside of the bedroom might seem ideal in romance novel land, but when you look at the logistics you can’t help but see the obvious downsides. However, when it comes to making whoopie on the roof, you might be surprised to discover I am almost in full 100% support of this locale! Let me explain.

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I have lived in quite a few buildings throughout my short life which have had fabulous roof access. In many different countries as a matter of fact. And let me tell you the roof is by far the most underutilized amenity in most any apartment building! I once lived in a building that had a rooftop pool, and I can’t tell you how many times I was the only person up there making use of that thing. Why that is? No freakin’ clue. How does it benefit our romantic lovers who suddenly feel the urge to get down while up on the roof? Simple. You are practically guaranteed a decent amount of privacy.

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And now for another added benefit: the view. Our lovers not only get to look out on a sweeping view of a city or countryside, but then when they finally get down to business, well…at least one of them gets to look up at a nice starry sky. Sure, one will undoubtedly get the short end of the stick by having to look down at a bunch of roof tiles/bricks, but maybe they can roll over a couple of times to share.

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The final obvious positive to this sexy locale is the fact that there’s usually a siding and/or ledge to the roof which provides the necessary amount of privacy from other people who might be star gazing on their own roof. Let’s face it, once our couple goes horizontal, they probably can’t be spotted by any peeping-tom neighbors. Unless of course the building next to them is significantly taller in height. But even then it’s probably too dark for anyone to see anything!

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And now for the one and only obvious downside, and it’s quite the doozy. You better bring some kind of yoga mat or air mattress with you, otherwise you’ll probably be quite sore for the next week or two. After all, every apartment building roof I’ve been to has some rather hard concrete flooring, and that just doesn’t seem like the ideal material to roll around on. Could definitely do some damage to the knees. Also, if you live in a really big city, such as New York, you might want to be quick about it, lest the cockroaches get curious as to why you’re invading their territory. Talk about a mood killer.

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So maybe there’s a downside here or there, but overall, I’ve got to give an enthusiastic thumbs up to this sexcapade locale!