The Wild- K. Webster

35341336

Blurb

I brought them to the wilderness because we couldn’t cope with our reality.
The plan was to make a new life that didn’t include heartache.

No people. No technology. No interference.
Just us.
A chance to piece together what was broken.

But the wilderness is untamed and harsh.
Brutal and unforgiving.
It doesn’t give a damn about your feelings.

Tragedy lives there too.
No escaping the truths that won’t let you go.

All you can do is survive where love, no matter how beastly, is the only thing you can truly count on.

Confusing. Wrong. Twisted. Beautiful. Sick.

Love is wild.
And we’re going to set it free.

Warning:
The Wild is an extremely taboo story. Most will find that the themes in this book will make you incredibly uncomfortable. This book is only for the brave, the open-minded, and the ones who crave love in even the most dismal of situations. Extreme sexual themes and violence in certain scenes, which could trigger emotional distress, are found in this story. If you are sensitive to heavy taboo themes, then this story is not for you.

Review

This book begins with a pretty strong warning and let me tell you- it’s for a very, VERY good reason. Unfortunately, the warning is long, and honestly pretty vague. This book was dark, messy and even the word “taboo” doesn’t seem strong enough.

 

I very rarely review a book on my blog that I wouldn’t give at least three stars to, but here I am.  I figured with all of the buzz about this book I needed to give it a fair shot. I went in with an open mind, having read as few spoilers as I could. I really wanted to give this book a fair shake.
At first I thought the book had promise.  Things went downhill fast.  The plot was all over the place until about half way through where it became non-existent.

 

Contrary to comments by the author, I didn’t find this to be a un unconventional love story. I didn’t find this romantic. Once the plot fell away it became nothing other than a lot of sex between people who shouldn’t be having sex in the first place.

 

I disliked both characters immensely.  Reed bemoaned being a victim of his own fate, unable to fight the pull exacerbated by extenuating circumstances. Circumstances have very little to do with his choices. Devon was supposed to be sixteen years old at the beginning of the story, which is already stretching the taboo, but she was very young and immature.  She was ignorant to how her own body should function- how you get pregnant, the basics of what to expect during childhood, that it was hard to believe she was even as old as that.

 

We’re supposed to justify these two characters’ behavior because of their situation- both because of the depression of Reed’s wife and Devon’s mother and because of their loneliness and isolation. The “twist” is predictable and supposed to validate the relationship. It still doesn’t make a difference. I didn’t buy into it and the author kills that notion even further through some pretty disturbing flashbacks. I just didn’t buy into them being victims of their situation.

 

If you love really taboo, this book might be for you. But let’s just say again this, it is NOT romance. This is shameless, gratuitous sex written for shock value. People should not go into it believing this is some sort of epic love story.

11754417_862908227077663_1561197484216779057_o

Underneath It All- Kate Canterbary

25208722

Blurb

Lauren
It’s all the little things—the action plans, the long-kept promises—that started falling apart when my life slipped into controlled chaos.

After I met Matthew Walsh.

I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to run screaming or rip his pants off, and most days I wanted a little of both. If I was being honest with myself, it was rip his pants off, ride him like a workhorse, and then run screaming.

Matthew
A rebellious streak ran through Lauren Halsted. It was fierce and unrelentingly beautiful, and woven through too many good girl layers to count, and she wasn’t letting anyone tell her what to do.

Unless, of course, she was naked.

She wasn’t looking for me and I sure as shit wasn’t looking for her, but we found each other anyway and now we were locked in a battle of wills, waiting for the other to blink.

Sometimes the universe conspires to bring people together. Other times, it throws people down a flight of stairs and leaves them in a bruised and bloodied heap

Review

I’m the mom of two small school aged kids and I’ve found the last few weeks crazy busy with beginning of summer break.  As I’ve spent more time in my car running errands and acting as chauffer I’ve been listening to more and more audiobooks.

 

There have been some great Whisper Sync sales and I loved the idea of being able to listen to a book in my car and then to pick up my Kindle and find myself automatically in the same spot I left off.  In the interest of time savings, I picked up some discounted bundle packs- of new books and of some favourites I find myself re-reading.

 

Two of those books were in the Walshes series by Kate Canterbary, Underneath It All and the Space Between are books one and two of what is so far, a seven-novel series.  I was nervous because I tend not to love series’ that are longer than three or four books. I just tend to get bored reading about the same characters and I always feel forced to read them to get a resolution.

 

Kate Canterbary and the Walsh siblings have a huge following online so I decided to ignore my usual rules and test them out using Whisper Sync sale.  I ended up listening to both books almost entirely through Audible.

 

Both books have a dual male and female POV narration with the male part read by Christian Fox and the female read by Lucy Rivers.  I cannot say enough about Christian Fox, I LOVED how he read the characters.  Lucy Rivers read a bit too slowly for me, I tried to speed her parts up to .5x see if that helped but of course it just made her sound like a chipmunk so I stuck at regular speed even though it was a slower pace than I would have read on my own.

 

I far preferred listening to the parts of Matt in book one and Patrick in book two.  Not only was the tempo closer to my reading speed, his voice was super sexy and made it easy to picture a family of large, sexy architect brothers.

 

When it came to Underneath it All, I loved Matthew.  He was instant book boyfriend material.  He knew what he wanted, realized his feelings for Lauren pretty quickly and acted like an adult, hoping to pursue a relationship with someone he connected with.  It was refreshing to read a hero who decided quickly that the heroine was “the one” and didn’t fight it.

 

“I want you and I’ve known it for a long time, and I don’t want to wait anymore. I can’t. I can’t wait anymore.”

The reason this book doesn’t have a higher rating for me is Lauren.  She had a lot of potential but ended up being the female version of the relationship hating heroes I dislike reading.

 

Lauren was a strong, educated and independent woman.  When I read the blurb I really thought she would appeal to me, I love a smart and sassy heroine.  Instead, I found Lauren very annoying and immature.  I really wanted to relate to her not wanting to let anything get in the way of her career, but it got to the point where I just couldn’t figure how she thought being with Matthew would change anything. They were already having sex (a lot) and spending all of their time together.  Her fear of a “label” disrupting her dreams of owning a school just didn’t match what was already happening.  Nothing was changing and I couldn’t see how one was connected to the other. I just felt like a little more explanation as to why she was such a commitment-phobe would have gone a long way.  The pieces just didn’t connect for me and she came off as whiny and selfish.

 

Overall this book had very little angst, great humor and a lot of dirty talk.

“Oh my God” she gasped, her hands seizing my hair.  I leaned back and aimed a hard gaze at her.  “God has nothing to do with this.  You want to thank someone, I’ll be right here, worshiping you and your outrageous body for the foreseeable future.  God isn’t involved.”

 

The banter between the Walsh siblings was amazing, I’m picking up the rest of the books in this series despite my typical three-book series limit just because I want more interactions between the Walsh’s.  Kate Canterbary’s writing was great, and so were all the other characters.  If the push and pull hadn’t lasted until 96% this would have been a 5-star read for me.

 

Even though the book itself wasn’t 5-star for me, I’ve fallen in love with audiobooks and made a major switch from reading to listening.  Expect more audio book reviews in the near future!

What about DNF?

What To Do About DNF?

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a post and today I’m going to get real. I read a lot. I’d like to say it’s my personal policy to that I review every book I read, but honestly I’m just not that dedicated a blogger. And I way prefer reading to reviewing. I’d say 80% of the time I finish a book and immediately pick up the next one.

I still consider myself a newbie to the blogging world and really there’s no rhyme or reason to what I review and what I don’t. I try to write reviews for my favourite authors and books I loved if for no other reason than to get their names out there because I think everyone should read them.

There are also books I read that just weren’t for me or even worse, that I couldn’t even make it all the way through. This doesn’t mean the book was bad, just that it wasn’t for me. Unfortunately, lately there have been a lot of these books which leaves me in a weird grey spot as a blogger. What do I do about the books I don’t finish? I don’t mean I read a chapter, wasn’t feeling it and decided to try again later. I mean the ones that had something glaringly bad, have a topic that is an automatic do not finish for me, or the ones I read to 50% off and just can’t force myself to get the rest of the way through. Should I do mini-reviews of these books? My blogs are always 100% my opinion and I’ve been thinking that I should I be leaving my thoughts and feelings about these books on the internet positive or negative. Potentially even to save someone else with similar book tastes to me from picking up something that’s inherently bad or has as had limit.

I always want to be honest and upfront about what I read and I’ve felt like lately my DNF’d are taking up more and more of shelf space which leaves me with fewer and fewer reviews if I’m not talking about them.

What are your thoughts? Is anyone else finding they have an increase in DNF’d books lately? Am I becoming more sensitive or is my book honeymoon over?

Teaser#1

Foxe & the Hound- R.S. Grey

TheFoxe&TheHoundEbookCover

Blurb

When your life is a hot mess at twenty, it’s cute. At twenty-seven…well, not so much.

It’s just that my lofty dreams—making it as a real estate agent, paying rent on time, showering daily—have stayed just that: dreams. Oh, and love? I’ve decided love might be a little ambitious for me at the moment. Instead, I’ve settled for the two guys who will never leave me: Ben & Jerry.

That is, until Dr. Adam Foxe takes up residence as the town’s new vet.

With his strong jaw, easy confidence, and form-fitting scrubs, it’s not long before every housewife in Hamilton is dragging neglected tomcats in for weekly checkups.

Like everyone else, I’m intrigued. Even after I spoil my chance at a good first impression, he still offers me a proposition I can’t refuse: play his girlfriend at a family function and he’ll hire me as his real estate agent. Welcome to love in the 21st century.

It’s too bad I underestimated Adam’s irresistible charm and the undeniable attraction that burns between us. The day he pins me to the wall and silences me with a kiss, the line between reality and ruse begins to blur. Every teasing touch brings me to my knees. Every kiss promises more.

It looks like my hot mess of a life is about to get a little hotter.

Review

The Foxe & the Hound was a great light-hearted and quick summer read.  It was a sweet story about Madeleine and Adam- the handsome new veterinarian who arrives in her small town in Texas.  It’s a standalone book but characters from Anything You Can Do make an appearance, so I would suggest reading that one first.

At 27 years old Madeleine is still struggling to figure out adulating.  She doesn’t pay her rent on time, drives a piece of crap car that’s held together with duct tape and a prayer and feels like she should be closer to figuring things out at her age.  And then along comes Adam who isn’t just handsome put seems like he’s got his life together.

I struggled a bit with Madeleine.  Sometimes she seemed like her own worst enemy and I wanted to see her get out of her way. It would have been easier to believe that she was just out of high school vs. her late twenties.  It seemed that when things weren’t going her way she was either quick to jump into “nothing good every happens to me” headspace or blame everyone else for her problems and act immaturely.

“I hate Diane. I fling her cinnamon roll out into the pasture—I will not eat the bread of my enemies, and that’s exactly what she is if she wants Adam to sit down with Olivia. He loved her for so many years. God, he probably still loves her. If they see each other, all those feelings are going to come flooding back, and the fact that she brought Molly—that underhanded bitch knew exactly what she was doing. I stomp out into the pasture and kick the cinnamon roll another ten feet. It feels good to demolish something, though I am now admittedly starving.”

The book opens with Madeleine’s dog basically mauling Adam; he berates her dog-parenting skills only to find out in the next chapter that he’s the new vet.  Their first meeting has all the ingredients to be a typical meet cute but Adam’s crusty response gives it a great twist.  I love that their immediate dislike of each other leads to a bit of an enemies to friends to lover’s plot.

Adam is finding adapting to small town life isn’t happening as quickly as he thought He’s handsome and professional although he’s a bit grumpy and easily annoyed.  Every woman in town is interested in flirting and he just wants to settle in and recover from his life in Chicago.  I really liked Adam a lot.  I have such a soft spot for a grumpy hero.

The best character in the entire book was Madeleine’s dog, Mouse.  He was just adorable.  I could picture him exactly and he and Madeleine were a perfect match.

Overall, the book drama is all very predictable, miscommunication and surprise arrivals of exes but neither drags on for an excruciating length of time.

I didn’t find this book as laugh out loud funny as R.S. Grey’s previous books but it was still cute and sweet especially if you’re a dog lover or looking for a slow-burn book that isn’t the length of a Mariana Zapata.

Goodreads/ Amazon

About R.S. Grey:

R.S. Grey is the USA Today bestselling author of thirteen novels, including THE FOXE & THE HOUND. She lives in Texas with her husband and two dogs, and can be found reading, binge-watching reality TV, or practicing yoga! Visit her at rsgrey.com

Newsletter/ Little Red’s Facebook Group/ Website/ Instagram/ Facebook/ Twitter

18765511_1728815377147825_428181423_o-1

Dating-ish- Penny Reid

20170306 Dating ish 01 (2)

Blurb

There are three things you need to know about Marie Harris:
1) She’s fed up with online dating,
2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and
3) She knows how to knit.

After the most bizarre and irritating first date in the history of human kind, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities:

Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation! Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services?
But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different—and crazier—solution to her dilemma . . .
As everyone knows (or will soon come to realize), traditional relations between humans are a thing of the past. Robots are our future. And if robots are our future, then why do we need other people at all?

Review

I love Penny Reid and her writing style.  Neanderthal Seeks Human was my first true “gateway” romance.  The first romance that I read proudly and told everyone about, the first time I didn’t read in a romance in secrecy. Beauty and the Moustache and the spin off Winston Bros series are go to rereads when I’m in a book rut.

I always wait impatiently for her newest releases my excitement growing like Christmas morning each day that I’m closer to getting my grubby little hands on a copy of whatever she’s written.

Dating-ish is Marie’s story and the 6th book in the Knitting in the City series but could be read as a standalone without too much difficulty.
Based on early buzz and comments from Penny herself online I was expecting a weird and whacky, non-traditional love story. Since Penny’s books are already so different and smart with lots of weird but endearing characters I was bracing myself for something REALLY different.  For me, the weirdness didn’t materialize.  It didn’t seem that strange at all.  All the hype made me think of this book as the person who reminds everyone how weird she is all the time, but ACTUALLY isn’t weird at all.

The book got off to a great start with Marie and Matt’s first meeting, it was funny and unique. Unfortunately for me, the first half of the book continued on way too slowly.

I liked Marie, but she was almost too perfect.  She was beautiful but didn’t know it and when she wasn’t busy being a hard-working journalist who was her bosses favourite she was looking out for everyone else and showering everyone with her kindness and generosity.

Matt is a socially-awkward, hot nerd scientist.  Normally that is my favourite type of guy (in books AND in real life) but Matt didn’t seem that socially awkward but instead came across as downright mean.  He didn’t really struggle with other relationships- he had a solid friendship with Fiona and Greg, was once married and has a great friendship with his ex and her new partner and doesn’t struggle with meeting women, he just chooses not have long-term relationships them. So, when his difficult childhood became the explanation for why he wasn’t good at letting anyone in I had a hard time buying it. It seemed like a lame excuse to explain away his wishy-washy, asshole-y behaviours.

Matt and Marie were both intellectually smart people but most of the story was dumb book drama, hiding shared feelings and “friend-zoning” each other.  This portion of the story went on far too long for me, to the point where I was getting annoyed that two such smart people couldn’t figure out basic communication.

It was when they finally got together that this book become different from a typical Penny story.  Usually they feature very little sex and have more fade to black but the sex in Dating-ish were hot.  And detailed.  And frequent. So much dirty talking and I LOVED it.

Overall, this book was just “okay” for me.  Penny Reid is still a must-read author for me, Dating-ish gave a great peak into Kat and Dan’s story and now I’m even more impatient for their book!

Goodreads/ Amazon/ iBooks/ Barnes & Noble/ Kobo/ Smashwords

PennyReid
Penny Reid is the USA Today Best Selling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

Website/ Twitter/ Facebook/ Instagram/ PinterestGoodreads

 

1

Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny- Cindi Madsen

34513248

Blurb

Confession #1: I used to be a puck bunny, but after a hockey player broke my heart, I gave up all things hockey. Now I’m just focused on finding a way to pass my math class so I can graduate college.

Confession #2: Ryder “Ox” Maddox’s deep, sexy voice sends fuzzy tingles through my entire body, and I’m powerless to stop it. Which is a big problem since the hot, surprisingly funny hockey player is my new math tutor.

Confession #3: I can’t stop thinking about how ripped Ryder is from all his hockey training, and how fun it’d be to cross lines with him.

Confession #4: I kissed a hockey player and I liked it.

Confession #5: If I’m not careful, I might relapse and fall for Ryder, and then I’ll be totally pucked.

Review

 When this book came across my radar everything about it called to me.  The description, the cover, the very high chance for a happily ever after (I really need my books to have a HEA).  Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny is an NA sports romance and #4 in the Taking Shots series by Cindi Madsen.

For some reason, I hadn’t realized that this book was a part of a series, while reading out of order is not typically something I would do I decided to persevere without pausing to read the others in the series first.  I’m so glad that I did.  This book was cute and sweet with an excellent beta hero.  While it was clear there were other couples that came first the story didn’t rely heavily on knowing this details and I was able to follow alone without any problem.

Now, the good part.  We need to talk about Ryder.  I just love a sweet, smart, caring hero and Ryder had it all going for him.  A hockey player with muscles upon muscles who’s sensitive and sweet and academically smart? Yes, please!!

Lindsay the heroine is a reformed puck bunny just trying to make it to graduation without slipping back into her puck bunny ways.  The two big obstacles are Ryder and her math grade.  Unfortunately for her, the best shot at conquering the math problem is spending more time with Ryder while he tutors her.  As she gets better at math, she starts to realize staying away from another hockey player is harder than she thought.

“If things were different . . . I could really see myself slipping.”

“Just slip.” I reached up and ran my thumb across her bottom lip, my blood pumping hotter at her sharp exhale. “I’ll catch you.”

I LOVED Ryder but I wasn’t a huge fan of Lindsay in the beginning of the story. She put up a lot of the obstacles between them. I found she was sometimes unnecessarily mean and actually fairly immature even though she was two years older than Ryder (although, can I just mention how much I love that our hero is younger?) He was thoughtful and considerate of feelings for most of the book like a true beta would be. Ryder really took his time, chased her, and always saw them as long-term even when Lindsay couldn’t.

“In the moments she laughed and fired off those quick comebacks, I was sure she felt the same spark I did, but before she let herself fully enjoy it, she’d quickly pull away.”

The story was fairly predictable but oh, so sweet and I was right about the HEA.  Overall this was a well written, very sweet NA story and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for an easy read with a guaranteed happy ending.  I’m definitely adding the other books in the series to my to be read list!

 

Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Find Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny here:

AmazonBarnes & NobleKoboiTunesGoodreads

Catch Up On the Series!

Getting Lucky Number Seven

Anatomy of a Player

Crazy Pucking Love

 

About Cindi Madsen:

Cindi Madsen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting, revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a pretty new pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music and dancing and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.

You can visit Cindi at: www.cindimadsen.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter to get all the up-to-date information on her books.

Follow her on Twitter @cindimadsen.

 

Connect with Cindi:

Website / Newsletter / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Goodreads

 

Enter Cindi’s Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Girl Rouge Woman Red Lips Lipstick Mouth

The Hating Game- Sally Thorne

25883848

Blurb

Nemesis (n.)
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome;
2) A person’s undoing;
3) Joshua Templeman.

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

Review

The Hating Game was hands down one of my top 5 favourite books of 2016.  As soon as I finished it I read it again…and again…and again. When I was debating my fourth reread I thought maybe I should give the audiobook a chance.  It was just as great listening to it on my commute and it was reading it the first three times!

Some of my favourite books are office romances and hate to love plots, but they’re also so difficult to pull off.  I’m not always a fan of rotating POV and so many enemy to lover stories feature an asshole-ish hero who becomes a reformed womanizer, not something I’m a big fan of.  You won’t find either in the Hating Game.  Told from the single POV of heroin Lucy Hutton the story is a slow burn between two co-workers who are straddling the line of passionate and competitive.  Joshua is her surly but oh-so-attractive colleague and when they made out they’re competing for the same position an already tense working situation becomes worse.

I have a theory.  Hating someone feels disturbingly similar to being in love with them.  I’ve had a lot of time to compare love, and these are my observations.  Love and hate are visceral

Joshua is absolutely everything, and he’s a strong contender to beat out my best book boyfriend of all time, Will Sumner from Beautiful Player.  I love a smart, lanky, broody hero who is self-assured and full of dirty talk, Joshua checks every single box.

…if I were your boss, I’d work you so fucking hard. So fucking hard.

Don’t let the candy coloured, cartoonish cover art and slow burn fool you, this book isn’t chick lit.  It has some steam! I’d categorize as New Adult, falling in that middle ground of not quite erotica and not quite romance.

Like every good hate to love the banter is key and Sally Thorne nails it.  Joshua was totally swoon-worthy and his one-liners were hot.

-‘I didn’t ask for you advice, Joshua. I get so mad at myself, letting you drag me down to your level all the time.’
-‘And what level are you imagining me dragging you down to? Horizontal?’

The Hating Game is the debut book by Australian author Sally Thorne, although you’d never have guessed this was a first book.  I’m sure it’s going to remain a constant on my reread list and I’m anxious to read anything else she puts out!  I highly recommend reading, and then rereading.  The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.

Goodreads/ Amazon/ Kobo/ Barnes & Noble/ iTunes

15651497

 

Sally Thorne lives in Canberra, Australia, and spends her days writing funding submissions and drafting contracts (yawn!) so it’s not surprising that after hours she climbs into colorful fictional worlds of her own creation. Sally believes that romance readers are always searching for intensity in their next favorite book—and it isn’t always so easy to find. The Hating Game is her first novel.

 

You can find more about Sally Thorne here:

Goodreads/ Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram

PLAY TO WIN PLAY TO BE THE BEST JUST DO IT

Author Spotlight: Mariana Zapata

1350075824044596206139202936795826148083

33288638

 

 

 

 

 

A few times a year a run into “reader’s block”. I struggle to pick a book and when I start reading I just can’t seem to connect with the story or the characters or both. If I pick up a few books in a row and just can’t bring myself to finish them I know I’ve hit a case of block and the best thing to do for me is to re-read an old favourite.

I have a list of books that I could just read over and over again and never get sick of. Those are the books where the heroine could be my best friend and the hero makes me swoon. Even more rarely will I find an author whose entire library makes it onto my re-read list.

One of those unicorns is Mariana Zapata. Mariana writes a slow-burning love story like nobody else. All of her books her standalone but she has this amazing ability to subtly tie together each book using the characters or plot. It becomes a little mystery to hunt out the Easter Eggs, and I’m not ashamed to say I’ve thought about building a flow chart to figure out how all the books tie to one another.

While they’re standalone I do suggest reading them in publishing order to really get the full effect of those Easter eggs.

Her books can be on the long side but if you like a slow to grow romances with strong female characters and broody men and a heaping side of humor than I can’t recommend Mariana Zapata enough.

She is an absolutely, go-to, one click author for me. Be sure to check out her website for great out-takes too!

Check out her books in the order below:

1. Lingus: Amazon/ Barnes & Noble
2. Under LockeAmazon/ Barnes & Noble
3. Kulti (this is a Mariana cult fave): Amazon/ Barnes & Noble/ Kobo
4. Rhythm, Chord and Malykhin: Amazon/ Barnes & Noble/ Kobo
5. The Wall of Winnipeg and Me: Amazon/ Barnes & Noble
6. Wait for It: Amazon/ Barnes & Noble

You can find more about Mariana Zapata and her books online here:

Website/Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads

dw_teasernew1

Dirty Work by Chelle Bliss and Brenda Rothert

dirtywork_sm

Blurb

From authors Chelle Bliss and Brenda Rothert comes a smoldering standalone enemies to lovers romance that will, ahem…check all your boxes.

Reagan

I hate him. Jude Titan is everything that’s wrong with the male sex: cocky, domineering and loaded with swagger. Oh, and did I mention he’s a Republican? Yeah, the guy’s so conservative he leans to the right when walking. And lucky me, I’m running against him for Senate. But I’ve got plenty of fight in me. A golden boy war hero opponent with a smile that leaves melted panties in its wake? Bring. It. On.

Jude

Damn, she’s sexy. Reagan Preston intrigues me from the moment I lay eyes on her. And speaking of laying…I want between those thighs. But I want to make her burn for me first. Every debate and stolen moment is foreplay for us. She claims she hates me, but her body tells a different story. I plan to win this election, but I also want to win the sharp, fiery Democrat who captures my attention like no woman ever has. Politics is filthy, just like all the things I want to do to Reagan Preston.

Review

I’ve actually been in a serious book slump lately.  I feel like I just can’t get more than a few chapters into a book before I realize it’s just not hitting the spot and I need to try something else.  That was until I was sent Dirty Work by Chelle Bliss and Brenda Rothert to review.  I’m a sucker for a romance with a politician but I was ready for a heroine who wasn’t an intimidated secretary.

 

I’m so glad I picked up this book, because I loved it!  I’d never read anything by either Chelle Bliss or Brenda Rothert before but both seem to have quite a fan following separately. I can definitely say they were a solid writing partnership and I hope to read more by them together in the future.  The writing transitioned well enough and each author gave Jude and Reagan a different tone and voice.  While I didn’t know which author wrote which part, it was fairly clear when the style changed; regular readers of both authors will likely be able to pick it out.

 

If the idea of a book about politics is making you pause, you shouldn’t.  This was simply a sweet, sexy story of two opposing candidates who should have been off limits to each other fighting their feelings while out on the campaign trail. The story seems like it’s going to start off as a classic “frenemies” to lovers but shifts gears pretty quickly to to be more like forbidden romance with a slow burn.

 

Jude is a veteran who is set on making a change and feels duty bound to run for office to fight for the rights of the regular citizen.  He’s also a bossy, semi-alpha with a romantic streak and knows his feelings for Reagan aren’t worth fighting against.  He didn’t waffle or fight his feelings for Reagan, I loved that he dove in with both feet even though being together could hurt both of their chances at election.

“Is it the thrill of the forbidden? Will you still want me once you’ve had me?”

 

He lowers his brows. “Once I’ve had you? You mean once we’ve fucked?”

 

I nod once.

 

A wolfish smile creeps across his face. “That’s not having you, Reagan. To me, having you means you’re mine, body, heart, and soul. It means we belong to each other.”

I really liked Reagan at the beginning, she was strong and feminine but in no way a push over.  She fought against the idea that her age made her inexperienced and that she was being elected on her name alone.  So much of the first half focused on her wanting to be seen as hard working and not as someone falling back on her famous political family to build her own career.  Whereas Jude was diving into a relationship with both feet Reagan was concerned about how it would work and she didn’t want to be perceived as compromising her integrity to reach her goals.  Unfortunately, I felt that some of the decisions when made in the second half of the book didn’t match the Reagan we met in the first half of the book. To me, this made Jude a much stronger and more developed character than Reagan was.

 

Overall this was a great book with a sweet story that did a fantastic job at pulling me out of reading slump.

You can find more about Chelle Bliss and her other books online here:

Website /Facebook /Twitter/ Goodreads

You can find more about Brenda Rothert and her other books online here:

Website/ Facebook / Twitter /Goodreads

Add Dirty Work to your TBR List or purchase it for your Amazon or Kobo

maxresdefault

Review- Knot by M. Mabie (Wake Family)

Knot FOR WEB

 

Blurb

He knows everything.

She has all the damn answers. I’ve always been a free spirit. It’s my nature.

I crave control, but with her it’s far more. 

He’s a power hungry climber.

Her wealth could buy and sell me. 

It’s too much pressure being the center of anyone’s focus.

She underestimates my desire for her, my need to please just her. 

When he’s vulnerable, it’s hard to deny him.

Her crooked smile cripples me. 

He hides his demons, but I’m no fool.

She thinks not committing to anyone makes her more honest. She’s wrong. 

A man like him deserves someone who can offer that kind of love.

She promises nothing, yet I feel like a king when she says my name. 

I never let anyone possess me like he did. Not before. Not after.

My greatest regret was compromising. I should have never held back. 

Still, when we’re apart I’m not myself.

I miss the days when she was just down the hall. 

He’s better off without me, and it hurts.

The ugly truth is I need her more than she needs me. 

Our relationship was born out of lust and curiosity.

The lies we told ourselves killed it. 

Together, we found Nirvana.

We learned it was all a mirage. 

I ruined him.

I broke her heart. 

I keep coming back.

I can’t let her go. 


Review

I just finished reading the last word of this book, I opened my laptop to start my review while everything was fresh, but I find I’m just staring at my screen.  I keep starting to type my thoughts before back spacing them out right away.  Nothing I write seems good enough to describe the beautiful and emotional writing in Knot.  M. Mabie has indescribable talent, I loved Bait and Sail and I never thought the turmoil I felt during Blake and Casey’s story could be replicated but here I am, at a loss for words.

 

Knot is standalone but is a spinoff of the Wake series, telling the story of Blake’s brother Reggie and Nora, who we met briefly in the Wake series.  Nothing felt manufactured about Reggie and Nora’s love story. It was emotionally charged but all of the angst was real and personal.

 

“When did we stop telling the truth?” I asked.  “When we fell in love,” she answered. “I guess when you have something worthy lying for, you’ll lie to protect it.  Even if it is just to yourself.”

 

Their romance was one of two emotionally flawed peopled who couldn’t get their timing right.  They were ultimately two different versions of the same person who were lost, lonely and afraid of trusting.

 

Knot is emotional and tense right from the beginning.

 

“Every happy minute we’d shared was solidly grounded in my mind, but each of her tears eroded bottomless canyons into these memories.  She thought it was just her body, but what she didn’t know was I knew so much more.  I knew her reasons. I knew her demons.  I even knew the truths in the lies she told herself”

 

There was a lot of push and pull- mostly Nora pushing and Reggie taking her back.  Initially I really disliked Nora, I felt the same way about Blake in the Wake series. M. Mabie has this amazing ability to write a female character that makes me so angry while still leaving me craving a happily ever after for someone I don’t think deserves one.

But Reggie I loved.  My heart hurt for him.  He knew that Nora only offered herself in pieces and he took them hoping for more but never anticipating it was a reality.

 

“I may eventually find another woman.  I may have sex with her.  I may even enjoy her company and then marry her.  Lost in my thoughts I felt bad for the poor woman who lived in my future.  She’d only get half a man; Nora was the only other human who made me whole”

 

This book is written in a dual POV, with a timeline that jumps between past and present. The present occurs primarily on one pivotal day and the past chapters are flashbacks in chronological order leading up to that day.  You can feel like you’re handed the story in fragmented pieces and often feel like you know what happens without knowing how they got there which gives you a suspenseful feeling. Due to the timeline jumps and dual perspective this is a book requires your full attention.  If you’re attempting to multi-task it may be difficult to follow and you will probably miss something.  The chapters are labelled with the character’s POV, as being past or present but also with a specific day.  I’d suggest paying attention to the dates, there were a couple times I had to flip backward to double check exactly what day I was on.

 

 

One of my favourite features of Knot was that the timing lines up with Blake and Casey’s story.  They overlap almost perfectly and we’re reintroduced to portions of their story from Reggie’s perspective.  It also gave me some fresh eyes since I was re-reading portions of Blake’s story now that I didn’t dislike her as much.  While the book is technically a standalone I would highly recommend reading Bait and Sail first, it will make following the jumping timelines way easier.

 

I absolutely loved Knot and I will be adding it to my re-read list.  It’s the kind of book where you just know you’ll discover something new or find a connection that you missed every time you read it.  M. Mabie is always a favourite of mine so I expected to love Knot, but she blew me away with this one!

 

 

 

You can find more about M. Mabie and her other books online here:

Website/Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads

Find Knot on Amazon: