Review: Fall With Me (#4, Wait For You) by Jennifer L. Armetnrout

My Thoughts

Fun, humorous, sexy and suspenseful.

4halfstars

Synopsis

fall with me armentroutEleven months ago, bartender and weird-shirt-wearing extraordinaire Roxy and Officer Reece Anders had a one night stand. Well, kind of. She’s been in love with him since she was fifteen, and he wishes that night they shared never happened. She’s sworn him off forever, but the past and future collide, forcing her to rely on the one man who broke her heart not once, but twice.

Her best friend since birth has been in a long-term care facility since he became a victim of a hate crime years ago, and the person who put him in there is out of prison and wanting to make amends with him and Roxy. She’s not sure she has room for forgiveness in her and when she begins to receive frightening messages and is on the receiving end of escalating violence, she thinks she knows who is to blame. The man who already destroyed one life already.

But Reece isn’t convinced. The threats are too personal, and even if Roxy doesn’t believe him, he’s not willing to let anyone hurt her. Including himself. He’s already messed up more than once when it comes to Roxy and he’s not going to let history repeat itself.

My Review

One of the reasons that Jennifer L. Armentrout is one of my favorite authors is because she consistently delivers a book I thoroughly enjoy. I’m never disappointed, and I love relishing in the likable characters, sharp banter and engaging storylines touting a perfect balance of sexiness, heart and humor. I loved that this story had a friends-to-lovers spin, a history to draw from, as we fell in love with our two strong-willed characters, Roxy and Reece.

Roxy has had a major crush on Reece since forever it seems, or at least since she was fifteen years old. Roxy and Reece became friends, and one night, with too-many drinks fueling courage, Roxy took Reece home for a sorta-kinda-one-night-stand which went horribly wrong. With her feelings hurt and her heart broken, she swears off her long-time crush and spends her time bartending at Mona’s and visiting her best friend Charlie, who’s in a long-term facility after a tragic incident.

But suddenly, Reece is back, and all the feelings of anger and hate fade as well-known desire and heart flutters come rushing back in. As we witness every charged moment between them, we fall a little more for each character. Reece is intense, loyal, caring and Roxy is fiesty, witty, quirky and kind. Together they fit perfectly despite the constant bickering and misunderstandings.

“God, I sounded like I had a split personality. Go after him. Don’t go after him. Tell him the truth. Don’t stay anything. I was giving myself whiplash.”

When Roxy realizes someone could be after her, however, everything changes and Reece is determined to protect her come what may. Roxy needed to work on accepting his help, working past her own guilt related to her friend Charlie, and letting her own fears go so that she could really move on with her life and grab her chance at happiness.

“I’m scared, too. And there are times I question what I deserve, but we’re in this together. So fall with me?…Let yourself go and fall with me, and baby, I will catch you. I will get you through this. You just got to take that risk.”

This novel just seemed to have a little bit of everything… there were moments that were emotional, moments of levity, an edge of suspense and of course, sizzling sexiness to balance it all out wonderfully. I loved seeing messages of tolerance and forgiveness threaded through the story too. As always with JLA novels, this was a fun, engaging read, and I’ll continue to devour any story she throws my way!

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Reading Order and Purchase Links

Click on each image to purchase from Amazon U.S. Each book can be read as a standalone.

 

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VBB Weekly – 03.30.2015

VBB WEEKLY BANNER

Highlights
Recommended Series

This week, I finally read the much-loved YA series, The Selection by Kiera Cass. I started on Audible, but then I couldn’t consume them fast enough and so I picked up the books on my Kindle and finished the entire series in less than a day and a half. Think a dystopian version of The Bachelor, but for young adults. I loved these books! They are romantic, super addictive and nail-biting with a love triangle that had me on the edge of my seat. So good and so recommended! The Heir, the next book in the series, is a spin-off of the first three books, as we see what happens to America’s daughter when it’s her turn to find her happily ever after. I can’t wait to read it!

Must Pre-order of the Week

My new obsession. Penny Reid’s Elements of Chemistry serial is AMAZING. It’s so funny and swoony and romantic and sexy and I devoured all three books in a single day. I was thrilled to read early copies of these and thankfully I can tell you now that you MUST pre-order all three of these novels. I loved how fun they were to read. I loved how they made me feel. I loved how addicted and invested I became in the characters and their story.

Here’s the synopsis to Part 1: Attraction (currently 99¢!).

One week.
Private beach.
Invisible girl.
Jerk-faced bully.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Kaitlyn Parker has no problem being the invisible girl, which is why she finds herself hiding in various cabinets and closets all over her college campus. Despite her best efforts, she can’t escape the notice of Martin Sandeke—bad boy, jerkface bully, and the universe’s hottest, wealthiest, and most unobtainable bachelor—who also happens to be Kaitlyn’s chemistry lab partner.

Kaitlyn might be the only girl who isn’t interested in exploiting his stunning rower’s build, chiseled features, and family’s billionaire fortune. Kaitlyn wants Martin for his brain, specifically to tabulate findings of trace elements in surface water.
When Kaitlyn saves Martin from a nefarious plot, Martin uses the opportunity to push Kaitlyn out of her comfort zone: spring break, one week, house parties, bathing suits, and suntan lotion. Can she overcome her aversion to being noticed? Will he be able grow beyond his self-centered nature? Or, despite their obvious chemistry, will Martin be the one to drive Kaitlyn into the science cabinet of obscurity for good?

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Currently Re-Reading

Apr-07

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Releasing This Week

Jake Understood by Penelope Ward (Available Now)

Jake UnderstoodFrom the New York Times bestselling author of Jake Undone, comes a full-length standalone companion novel and sequel.

A different side to the story: Jake’s side.

“We’re getting a new roommate,” they said.

I thought nothing of it…until she walked in the door. Her hand trembled in mine as she looked at me with fearful eyes. My entire world spun on its axis.

Nina…

It was a mismatch made in heaven: innocent girl from the boonies moves in with tattooed, pierced, badboy engineer.

I came up with a bet, a plan to tutor her in math and coach her through her phobias. What I wasn’t betting on was becoming addicted to her.

But I was living a double life on weekends, and once she found out about it, she’d be gone.

I had to protect myself and that meant one thing: I couldn’t fall in love.

In Jake Understood, pivotal scenes from Jake Undone are retold from Jake’s point of view combined with ALL-NEW material from both the past and present time where Jake Undone left off. It can stand alone but if both books are read, should follow Jake Undone.

Reading Order: Jake Undone 99¢ Jake Understood

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Sweet Hope (#4, Sweet Home) by Tillie Cole (Available Now)

sweet hope coverMy name is Ally Prince and I’ve always been unlucky in love. I don’t know why, I just always… have.

When all of my best friends were falling for their soul mates in College, I was left behind. I was Ally, the pretty cousin of superstar quarterback, Romeo Prince. I was Ally, the best friend to the most amazing group of girls I’ve ever known—a title I loved, but one I became tired of ‘just’ being. And I was Ally, the one on which they could all rely.

But to me, I was Ally, the girl with the heart no one had claimed… And I was, Ally, the girl, who underneath it all, was heart-breakingly lonely.

I LOVE love; the thought of it, the nervous excitement of falling for Mr. Right, the desire of someone becoming my entire world… of me becoming theirs. I’ve always wanted passion, heart-stopping, epic, life-changing romance… I’ve always wanted the fairytale… I’ve always wanted it all.

It just never seemed like I would get it.

For the past few years I’ve thrown myself into my career as a museum curator. I’m the best of the best, the person every museum wants to hire, so when an opportunity came up to move to Seattle, I jumped at the chance. My cousin and my best friend lived in Seattle and I needed a change. I needed a new beginning.

I wasn’t expecting to meet anyone in the Emerald City. I wasn’t expecting to work closely with the reclusive new sculptor my all-important gallery design was centered around. And I certainly wasn’t expecting to fall for him… heart-stopping, epic, life-changing love…

My real life fairytale come true.

But, like in every fairytale, there’s a villain, a dark and tortured soul… I just didn’t know that the villain and the hero in my story would end up being one and the same.

Must read Sweet Fall prior to reading Sweet Hope.

Reading Order: Sweet Home | Sweet Rome | Sweet FallSweet Hope

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Crave (#11, MacKenzie Family) by Liliana Hart (Mar 31)

Mar-31

When Evangeline Lockwood witnesses the murder of a prominent politician, the killers will do everything they can to make sure she can’t testify. Since Evangeline’s father was once Deputy Director of the CIA, he knows just who to call to protect his only daughter – MacKenzie Security.

The last thing Cal Colter wants is to get stuck with a babysitting job, but Declan MacKenzie has assigned him the task and he has no choice but to accept. Cal especially doesn’t know what to do with the quirky computer nerd who covers her lush body in baggy clothes and her stunning violet eyes behind glasses. But if Cal knows anything, it’s women, and he’s just as determined to peel back the layers of this unusual woman as he is to keep her alive.

Final book in romantic suspense series.

Reading OrderDane FREE | Books 1-5 Omnibus:  Dane, Thomas, Riley, Cooper | A MacKenzie Christmas 99¢ | Cade | Books 7 – 9 Omnibus: Shadows & Silk, Secrets & Satin, Sins & Scarlet Lace | SizzleCrave | Scorch | Need

Fall With Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Mar 31)
★ VBB Recommendation ★

fall with me armentroutEleven months ago, bartender and weird-shirt-wearing extraordinaire Roxy and Officer Reece Anders had a one night stand. Well, kind of. She’s been in love with him since she was fifteen, and he wishes that night they shared never happened. She’s sworn him off forever, but the past and future collide, forcing her to rely on the one man who broke her heart not once, but twice.

Her best friend since birth has been in a long-term care facility since he became a victim of a hate crime years ago, and the person who put him in there is out of prison and wanting to make amends with him and Roxy. She’s not sure she has room for forgiveness in her and when she begins to receive frightening messages and is on the receiving end of escalating violence, she thinks she knows who is to blame. The man who already destroyed one life already.

But Reece isn’t convinced. The threats are too personal, and even if Roxy doesn’t believe him, he’s not willing to let anyone hurt her. Including himself. He’s already messed up more than once when it comes to Roxy and he’s not going to let history repeat itself.

Part of Wait For You series, but can be read as standalone.

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Sea of Stars (#2, Kricket) by Amy A. Bartol (Mar 31)
★ VBB Recommendation ★

sea of stars cover cricketEighteen-year-old Kricket Hollowell was looking for her place in the world when she discovered that the universe was bigger—and more dangerous—than she had ever dreamed. Now, whisked across space to the planet Ethar, Kricket learns that her genetic ability to see the future makes her a sought-after commodity…and the catalyst for war between her star-crossed parents’ clans. According to Alameedan prophecy, one house will rise to power and the other will be completely wiped out, and Kricket’s precognition is believed to be the weapon that will tip the scales.

A target of both the Rafe and the Alameeda houses, Kricket finds protection—and a home—in the arms of Trey, her Etharian bodyguard-turned-boyfriend. But her visions of what’s to come disturb her deeply, especially since she must discover whether the gift of foresight will allow her to rewrite the future, or if her fate is as immovable as the stars.

Second book in this urban fantasy romance series.

Reading OrderUnder Different Stars (Review) | Sea of Stars

Read my review.

Deep (#4, Stage Dive) by Kylie Scott (Mar 31)

deep coverPositive. With two little lines on a pregnancy test, everything in Lizzy Rollins’ ordinary life is about to change forever. And all because of one big mistake in Vegas with Ben Nicholson, the irresistibly sexy bass player for Stage Dive. So what if Ben’s the only man she’s ever met who can make her feel completely safe, cherished, and out of control with desire at the same time? Lizzy knows the gorgeous rock star isn’t looking for anything more permanent than a good time, no matter how much she wishes differently.

Ben knows Lizzy is off limits. Completely and utterly. She’s his best friend’s little sister now, and no matter how hot the chemistry is between them, no matter how sweet and sexy she is, he’s not going to go there. But when Ben is forced to keep the one girl he’s always had a weakness for out of trouble in Sin City, he quickly learns that what happens in Vegas, doesn’t always stay there. Now he and Lizzie are connected in the deepest way possible…but will it lead to a connection of the heart

Fourth and final novel in rock star romance Stage Dive series.

Reading Order: Lick | Play | LeadDeep

Where Sea Meets Sky by Karina Halle (Mar 31)

Mar-31

A new adult novel that perfectly captures the existential angst of your early twenties with raw wit, fresh insight, and true feeling from a critically adored USA TODAY bestselling author.

Joshua Miles has spent his early twenties spinning his wheels. Working dead-end jobs and living at home has left him exhausted and uninspired, with little energy to pursue his passion for graphic art. Until he meets Gemma Henare, a vivacious out-of-towner from New Zealand. What begins as a one-night stand soon becomes a turning point for Josh. He can’t get Gemma out of his head, even after she has left for home, and finds himself throwing caution to the wind for the first time in his life.

It’s not long before Josh is headed to New Zealand with only a backpack, some cash, and Gemma’s name to go on. But when he finally tracks her down, he finds his adventure is only just beginning. Equally infatuated, Gemma leads him on a whirlwind tour across the beautiful country, opening Josh up to life, lust, love, and all the messy heartache in between. Because, when love drags you somewhere, it might never let go—even when you know you have to say goodbye.

Spinoff of Love In English series, but can be read as standalone.

The Virgin (#3, Original Sinners – The White Years) by Tiffany Reisz (Mar 31)

Mar-31

The provocative story before the story continues in the critically acclaimed and award-winning series The Original Sinners

For years, Kingsley Edge warned Eleanor the day would come when she, the mistress of a well-respected Catholic priest, would have to run. She always imagined if that day came, she’d be running with Søren. Instead, she’s running from him.

Fearing Søren and Kingsley will use their power and influence to bring her back, Eleanor takes refuge at the one place the men in her life cannot follow. Behind the cloistered gates of the convent where her mother has taken orders, Eleanor hides from the man she loves and hates in equal measure.

With Eleanor gone, the lights have gone out in Kingsley’s kingdom. When he learns the reason she left, he, too, turns his back on Søren and runs. On a beach in Haiti, Kingsley meets Juliette, the one woman who could save him from his sorrows. But only if he can save her first.

Eleanor can hide from Søren but she can’t hide from her true nature. A virginal novice at the abbey sends Eleanor down a path of sexual awakening, but to follow this path means leaving her lover behind, a sacrifice Eleanor refuses to make.

The lure of the forbidden, the temptation to sin and the price of passion have never been higher, and Eleanor and Kingsley will have to pay it if they ever want to go home again.

Reading Order (The White Years): The Saint | The King | The Virgin | The Queen

The Shadows by J.R. Ward (Mar 31)
★ VBB Series Recommendation ★

Mar-31

Two brothers bound by more than blood fight to change a brutal destiny in the heart-wrenching new novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by #1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward.

Trez “Latimer” doesn’t really exist. And not just because the identity was created so that a Shadow could function in the underbelly of the human world. Sold by his parents to the Queen of the S’Hsibe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer in Caldwell, NY for years- all the while on the run from a destiny of sexual servitude. He’s never had anyone he could totally rely on… except for his brother, iAm.

iAm’s sole goal has always been to keep his brother from self-destructing- and he knows he’s failed. It’s not until the Chosen Serena enters Trez’s life that the male begins to turn things around… but by then it’s too late. The pledge to mate the Queen’s daughter comes due and there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no negotiating.

Trapped between his heart and a fate he never volunteered for, Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others- or forever leave behind the female he’s in love with. But then an unimaginable tragedy strikes and changes everything. Staring out over an emotional abyss, Trez must find a reason to go on or risk losing himself and his soul forever. And iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice…

Reading OrderDark Lover | Lover Eternal | Lover Awakened | Lover Revealed | Lover Unbound | Lover Enshrined | Lover Avenged | Lover Mine | Lover Unleashed | Lover Reborn | Lover at Last | The King | The Shadows

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Undeniably Chosen by Shelly Crane (Mar 31)
★ VBB Recommendation ★

undeniably chosen coverAva has watched her parents, Caleb and Maggie, live the perfect fairy tale, the perfect love story, played out in front of her eyes her entire life. Her family is love, life, and happiness. The Jacobsons are everything a family should be and Ava is loved and well taken care of. But the one thing that’s missing from her life is the one thing she’s waited for every day, the one thing her kind knows will make them complete, the one thing they thought was gone and lost forever.

Her significant.

Seth has lived with the Watsons his entire life. They’re the only family he knows, but he knows that there are things they keep from him. He knows that they lie and they do unspeakable evil, things from when he was a child that he can barely remember that cling to the edges of his memory. He barely remembers his real mother and all he knows is what he’s told. He doesn’t know what to trust. He wants to believe that the Watsons love and care for him, have his best interest at heart, but isn’t so sure of that anymore when he finally—after a lifetime of waiting for her—meets his soulmate, and the Watson’s first act is to try to take her away from him.

The Virtuoso worlds collide, hearts are exposed, humans are endangered, and the lives of Seth and Ava are changed forever. They’ll have to love without judgment or reservation, they’ll have to be wise and accepting beyond their years, they’ll have to forgive for things before they’ve even happened, they’ll have to trust without seeing, have faith without knowing, and they’ll have to light their own way in the dark when everyone else is blind to show them the way. And more than anything else…

they’ll fight like hell to keep each other.

Sixth book in the PNR Significance series.

Read an excerpt.

Broken (#1, Lost) by Cynthia Eden (Mar 31)

broken coverThe first novel in New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Eden’s sizzling LOST series introduces the Last Option Search Team, an elite unit that must protect the only surviving victim of a serial killer.

Ex-SEAL and LOST founder Gabe Spencer is accustomed to the unusual in his job. But when knockout Eve Gray steps into his office, he’s rattled. For the mysterious woman is a dead ringer for the heiress thought to be the latest prey of the serial killer who goes by the name Lady Killer.

When Eve awoke in an Atlanta hospital, her past was a blank slate. Then she recognized her own face in the newspaper and vowed to learn the truth. Determined to confront the nightmares hidden in her mind, she never expects to find a partner in Gabe.

As Gabe and Eve work together, their explosive attraction becomes irresistible. Gabe knows that his desire for Eve is growing too strong, bordering on a dangerous obsession, but nothing pulls him away from her. And when another Eve lookalike disappears, Gabe vows to protect Eve at all costs. While Eve may have forgotten the killer in her past, it’s clear he hasn’t forgotten her.

Girl Underwater by Claire Kells (Mar 31)

girl underwaterAn adventurous debut novel that cross cuts between a competitive college swimmer’s harrowing days in the Rocky Mountains after a major airline disaster and her recovery supported by the two men who love her—only one of whom knows what really happened in the wilderness. 

Nineteen-year-old Avery Delacorte loves the water. Growing up in Brookline, Massachusetts, she took swim lessons at her community pool and captained the local team; in high school, she raced across bays and sprawling North American lakes. Now a sophomore on her university’s nationally ranked team, she struggles under the weight of new expectations but life is otherwise pretty good. Perfect, really.

That all changes when Avery’s red-eye home for Thanksgiving makes a ditch landing in a mountain lake in the Colorado Rockies. She is one of only five survivors, which includes three little boys and Colin Shea, who happens to be her teammate. Colin is also the only person in Avery’s college life who challenged her to swim her own events, to be her own person—something she refused to do. Instead she’s avoided him since the first day of freshman year. But now, faced with sub-zero temperatures, minimal supplies, and the dangers of a forbidding nowhere, Avery and Colin must rely on each other in ways they never could’ve imagined.

In the wilderness, the concept of survival is clear-cut. Simple. In the real world, it’s anything but.

Holding Strong by Lori Foster (Apr 01)

Holding Strong coverAn up-and-coming MMA fighter wants more than just one night from a woman fleeing her past in New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster’s irresistible new novel

Heavyweight fighter Denver Lewis plays real nice, but he doesn’t share. That’s why he’s been avoiding top-notch flirt Cherry Peyton. But a man can only resist those lush curves for so long. Their encounter surpasses all his fantasies, bringing out protective urges that Cherry’s about to need more than she knows…

Denver’s combination of pure muscle and unexpected tenderness has been driving Cherry wild. Yet no sooner does she get what she’s been craving than old troubles show up on her doorstep. And this time, Cherry can’t hide behind a carefree facade. Because the man by her side is one who’ll fight like hell to keep her safe…if only she’ll trust him enough to let him…

Choose Me (#2, Archer Brothers) by Heidi McLaughlin (Apr 01)

choose me coverTwo brothers.

One woman.

One son.

One choice.

Lives ripped apart, shattered and rebuilt.

Evan and Nate Archer: Brothers, best friends, warriors and now enemies. Both in love with the same woman. Both determined to fight for what they want.

Nate Archer promised to protect Ryley Clarke in the event Evan didn’t make it back. It’s a promise between brothers since the early days of basic training. Nate never considered that his feelings, long buried since high school, would resurface and grow stronger.

Evan Archer wants answers. He wants someone to pay. After being gone for an unprecedented amount of time, nothing is making sense now that he’s home. Most of all, he can’t understand how his brother ended up engaged to his fiancée. Evan is determined to uncover the mystery, and win back his family.

The Archers are about to fight dirty.

Second book in the series.

Reading Order: Here With MeChoose Me

The Virgin Romance Novelist by Meghan Quinn (Apr 02)

virgin romance novelistHer bosom heaved at an alarming rate as his rough hand found its way down to her soft, yet wiry briar patch…

Can you say briar patch in a romance novel? What about meat sword? That’s what it is…a meat sword, right, all meaty and sword like, slaying through the inner dungeons of a woman’s dark desires. What about breasts? Do bosoms really heave?

God, I have no idea what happens when private parts touch.

I’m a virgin trying to write a romance novel and can’t seem to write past a sex scene thanks to my lack of experience.

My two best friends encourage me to drop the pen for a while and gain some real life practice through multiple dating facets such as blind dates, online profiles, and random hookups.

But losing my virginity is proving to be tougher than expected…

Seth and Greyson (#7, The Coincidence Series) by Jessica Sorensen (Apr 03)

seth and greyson coverAfter being betrayed by someone he thought he loved, Seth leaves for college hoping to get a new start. But leaving his past behind is more complicated than he expected, and underneath his upbeat attitude, Seth struggles with opening up to people.

Then he meets Greyson.

Seth is instantly drawn to Greyson and his sweet and charming personality. But even though he feels a strong connection with Greyson, Seth’s still hesitant to open his heart to love.

With the help of his best friend Callie, Seth realizes he needs to overcome his fear of commitment. But will he be able to finally admit how he truly feels about Greyson?

Reading Order: The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden | The Redemption of Callie and KaydenThe Destiny of Violet and Luke | The Probability of Violet and Luke  | The Certainty of Violet and Luke | The Resolution of Callie and Kayden | Unbeautiful | Seth and Grayson

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Fuel the Fire (#3, Calloway Sisters) by Krista and Becca Ritchie (Apr 03)

fuel the fire coverProtect your family. At all costs.

It’d take the impossible to hurt Connor Cobalt, even for a moment.

Protect your family. At all costs.

At twenty-six, his narcissistic tendencies have made room for the people he loves.

Protect your family. At all costs.

And he loves Rose. But when his love is threatened, when his greatest dreams with her are compromised — what is the cost then?

Protect your family. At all costs.

Love will guide his choices.
For the first time in his life.

It’s possible to only read the Calloway Sisters spin-off series without reading the Addicted series, but you MUST read Hothouse Flower (Calloway Sisters #2) before reading Fuel the Fire (Calloway Sisters #3).

Reading Order: Kiss The Sky | Hothouse FlowerFuel the Fire | Long Way Down

Black Number Four by Kandi Steiner (Apr 04)

black number four coverKnown as one of the youngest and most ambitious poker players in the country, Skyler Thorne has a reputation to uphold in Vegas this year. Her sole focus for spring semester is to perfect her game and get tournament ready – and have some fun with her sorority sisters, of course. Meeting a care-free pledge with incredible arms adds a whole new element of fun to her semester, but when a shocking discovery about his past surfaces, Skyler finds herself stuck in a game she wasn’t prepared to play.

Kip Jackson is on a mission from his father. His plan was to get in, have a little fun, and then get out – on to bigger and better things. A feisty girl with bright blue eyes wasn’t on his list of things to do, but she quickly moves her way up to the very top. When he realizes completing his dad’s mission means crushing her in the process, he must decide if his dreams are worth the risk – or if he even has the same dreams, at all.

Two secrets. Two hearts. Two hands being played in one twisted game of deceit.

When the cards are on the table, will anyone be left standing?

The perfect poker face can only hide them for so long.

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Review: Sea of Stars (#2, Kricket) by Amy A. Bartol

My Thoughts

Sea of Stars is a riveting, romantic, richly imagined fantasy.

5stars

Synopsis

Mar-31Eighteen-year-old Kricket Hollowell was looking for her place in the world when she discovered that the universe was bigger—and more dangerous—than she had ever dreamed. Now, whisked across space to the planet Ethar, Kricket learns that her genetic ability to see the future makes her a sought-after commodity…and the catalyst for war between her star-crossed parents’ clans. According to Alameedan prophecy, one house will rise to power and the other will be completely wiped out, and Kricket’s precognition is believed to be the weapon that will tip the scales.

A target of both the Rafe and the Alameeda houses, Kricket finds protection—and a home—in the arms of Trey, her Etharian bodyguard-turned-boyfriend. But her visions of what’s to come disturb her deeply, especially since she must discover whether the gift of foresight will allow her to rewrite the future, or if her fate is as immovable as the stars

My Review

As first seen on USA Today HEA blog.

If you haven’t read bestselling author Amy A. Bartol yet, you must. Her stories consume you. Her writing makes you feel. Her heroes make your heart race. And her heroines are fearless and inspiring.

Sea of Stars (her second installment in the urban fantasy Kricket series) is a riveting romance that thrums to life in the vibrant, imaginative and also perilous world of Ethar. It’s exciting, action-packed, suspenseful and immediately absorbing. 

In the first book of the series, Under Different Stars, we meet Kricket Holowell, a girl who grew up in the foster care system in Chicago. She had to be tough and independent under her childhood’s harsh circumstances. When a trio of mysterious men whisk her away to a new world, divulging the truth of her existence, Kricket embarks on an adventure where houses (lands) battle, secrets hold power, and where she wields magic that promises to either help them survive, or be the weapon some intend for her to be. In the process, she falls for the enigmatic Trey Allairis, who is intrigued by Kricket’s strength, beauty and tenacity. Sea of Stars picks up after disaster strikes, as Kricket, Trey and the other Cavars are on the run. Alameedan Kyon Ensin is determined to find Kricket and make her his … he’ll happily kill anyone in his way.

“I’ll tear your heart off your sleeve and bury it deep in my chest. Your savage heart will beat for me. Run if you think you canI’ll hunt you down.”

Sea of Stars ratchets up the action and suspense as we see Alameeda go to war with Rafe. According to a prophecy, one house will rise to rule, while the other will be demolished. Kricket’s ability to see the future is entwined with this chilling oracle and her powers promise to tip the scales one way or the other. Safety is transient, and every moment brims with nail-biting tension as we wait to see what happens next. For the first time in her life, Kricket finds herself needing—loving—someone, and she knows she’ll do anything to remain at Trey’s side, even though her very presence puts everyone at peril.

“I’ll risk everything to stay with you.”

To make matters worse, every vision Kricket has of the future is more horrible than the last… bloodier, uglier, more hopeless. She must figure out how to take control of her powers so she can change the future. So she can keep them safe.

Kricket is everything a heroine should be. Fearless. Determined. Inspiring. Intelligent. The same can be said for our one-of-a-kind hero, Trey. I love that both Kricket and Trey are fierce and strong, but at the same time, kind and loving. Their romance is epic, enlivened by words that are sure to make every romance reader melt.

“Know that I’ve loved you from the moment I held you in my arms on Ethar, and every moment in between. I will love you even after my final breath.”

Once again, Bartol leaves us begging for more at the flip of the final page. The third and concluding book in the series, Darken The Stars, is scheduled to release some time this summer.

“No matter what happens, Kricket, I’ll fight for you. Until death do us part … and then forever after that.”

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Reading Order and Links

There are three books planned in this continuing series. Click image to purchase.
The third book is called Darken The Stars.

Under Different Stars Mar-31

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Review: Deep Blue Eternity by Natasha Boyd

My Thoughts

Beautifully evocative and utterly heart wrenching.
Natasha Boyd’s best work to date.

5stars

Synopsis

deep blue eternity coverLivvy is on the run. And she’s escaped to the one place nobody will ever find her.

But the isolated cottage isn’t empty. Her refuge is home to a troubled stranger, Tom, there for reasons of his own.

In the intimacy of the abandoned cottage, and the remote wilderness of the island, the electrifying connection between them is impossible to ignore. Both running from their histories and shielding dark secrets, their pasts catch up with them and collide in an unimaginable way.

Deep emotions and powerful chemistry face a painful battle with the tangle of lies, and scars of the past. When the truth emerges, hearts will be shattered.

My Review

Natasha Boyd utterly mesmerized me with this powerful, beautifully imparted story of lies, loss and love. It’s a deeply moving story that touched me in many ways and I was so invested in the characters, so drawn in from the very beginning, that I didn’t stop from the time I picked it up, until the emotional end. The story stirs feelings of sadness and betrayal, heartlessness and brutality, secrets and suspense, and love and forgiveness.

The story begins with Olivia (Liv) Baines running away from her family, running to a safe place to start anew. She heads to her grandmother’s cottage and very quickly we realize she is heartbroken… in pain and anxious due to things that remain unrevealed. But when she arrives at the isolated island cottage, she finds the home already inhabited by a scruffy, broody and very beautiful man.

“Olivia Baines needed something and seemed unilaterally unaware of it. Her need was tangible and almost vampiric; a vast, aching, vaccuum of loneliness…”

Tom and Liv are constantly either at war or barely speaking to each other. Both hide secrets that have cut them deeply… connected secrets that will undoubtedly shatter each other’s hearts. Livvy is hiding behind her pain, behind her dark hair and makeup, behind the words she says and doesn’t say. Tom is torn by the emotions that rise inside of him, by his past transgressions and by his inability to reach this troubled girl.

“She was too tough to crack on the outside and dying for a connection on the inside.”

The dynamic between our two protagonists is so rich and charged and heartbreaking. It’s volatile and fragile all at once. There’s beauty in watching their relationship evolve, watching each individual change as a result of the other. External elements in addition to the secrets that slowly unravel add an element of suspense as we try and put all the pieces together. But before too long, real feelings consume and we see how she’s fallen for Tom even though she thinks he’s unable to love her.

“Falling in love with him had forever altered me, but to let it out of my heart might lose him forever.”

I loved both characters. They were each so beautifully complex. Liv is an eighteen year old who’s had to deal with things no one should ever face, who’s isolated herself from others to protect herself. She wants to find a happy haven and she unexpectedly finds solace with this stranger that both challenges and comforts her. However, as much as she wants to change, her dark past is always there, threatening to take her under. Tom is a tortured soul, a deeply feeling man tormented by his past decisions, by his actions and inactions. He doesn’t expect to feel anything for this girl who drudges up memories of the very things that agonize him, but he also can’t help but feel everything for her.

Natasha Boyd truly outdoes herself with this lyrically written, poignant story. I hope everyone picks this book up and finds the beauty that lies beyond the ugliness that these two people have endured. It’s easily one of my favorite reads this year.

“And that’s how I thought of love. Blue and infinite, clear but deep, where no man could truly reach. A deep blue eternity.”

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Review: Revved by Samantha Towle

My Thoughts

Sexy, angsty, volatile and addictive.
Fans of The Mighty Storm will love this story!

4halfstars

Synopsis

Revved coverRace car mechanic Andressa “Andi” Amaro has one rule—no dating drivers. With a good reason behind the rule, she has no plans on breaking it.

Carrick Ryan is the bad boy of Formula One. With a face and body that melts panties on sight, and an Irish lilt that leaves women on their knees, begging for more. He races hard and parties harder. The youngest driver to ever sign with F1, he’s still at the top of his game five years later, breaking hearts on and off the tracks.

When Andi is offered her dream job working in the glamorous world of F1, she leaves her home in Brazil, positive she can handle working for Carrick. But she’s not prepared for the off-the-chart sparks that fly the moment they meet.

Now, Andi has a crush on the one man she can’t have, and her resolve is about to be put to the test, because Carrick has decided he wants Andi, and he plans on testing her to the very limit…

My Review

Samantha Towle delivers a red-hot tale full of angst and edge. She manages to burn a fire akin to what we saw in The Mighty Storm, defined by that addictive push and pull between our two protagonists, between a bad boy and a girl troubled by her past.  It’s a touch forbidden romance with a friends-to-lovers feel, but with some role reversal and a whole lot of sexy feels.

Andressa (Andi) Amaro grew up around cars, her formative years spent in a garage and watching speeding cars rev it on the track. And now, in her mid twenties, Andi finds herself returning to the world of Formula One, with her dreams ahead and just one rule… no dating drivers. Trouble is, the moment she sees bad boy heartthrob and F1 driver extraordinaire, Carrick Ryan, her resolve immediately falters.

Carrick’s got talent. Loads of it. He’s amazing on the track… but off the track is a different story. He’s never without women and he’s widely known as a playboy. He’s hot, arrogant, talented and charming … a deadly combination.

No surprise, sparks ignite when he meets his brand new, all-woman mechanic. Andi and Carrick together are an inevitable combustion. Every moment is charged. Every word exchanged laced with desire. Andi has a reason behind her rule, but it’s one she keeps hidden and one that keeps her from yielding to her intensifying emotions.

For Carrick, Andi isn’t like any other woman he’s known before and they simply seem to fit. They settle on friendship and fun, but the pull is constant and inescapable.

There’s banter, humor, seductiveness, romance and danger, as their relationship races towards either a future or the inevitable end. I loved Carrick, loved his intensity and it was hard to see Andi push him away time and time again despite understanding her issues. I found myself rooting for Andi to let go, to release those fears that tethered her down, as I really loved their time together. In fact, I would have loved to see more Andi/Carrick happy time because it was just so fun to devour. Despite Andi’s reluctance, I loved that she was a mechanic, that she was strong and vulnerable at the same time.

Overall, Revved was just really fun to read. The tension and intensity of the story, coupled with characters I couldn’t get enough of, made the book utterly addictive.  It was fast-paced and exciting from beginning to end. I can always count on Samantha Towle to make it angsty with a slow burn that makes the happy ever after even sweeter. I’m such a huge fan of this author and I anxiously await to see what she delivers next!

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