Quick Easy Reads

Alex (Striking Back, #4)Alex by S.M. Shade

Blurb: Ninety- two days. Thirteen weeks. That’s how long it’s been since I lost my love, my best friend. It’s been everything I can do to drag myself out of bed and get back to work, but I know Cooper would want me to move on. I think he’d even be happy if he knew who I want to move on with. The target of my affection, though, may not be so thrilled about my choice.
He’s straight. Or he thinks he is.
A womanizer of the worst kind with a face and body that keeps a steady stream of willing women at his door, he seems happy to work his way through the entire female population. But there’s no mistaking the way he looks at me when he thinks I’m not paying attention.
One way or another, I’ll show him what he really wants.

This is book four of The Striking Back Series, but can also be read as a standalone novel.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars  I quite enjoyed reading Alex.


 

Unsaid (The Manhattanites, #3)Unsaid by Avery Aster                                                                                            Kindle Edition, 530 pages  Published September 1st 2015

Blurb: Chelsea’s hottie Blake Morgan III has reemerged from a nasty breakup. His marriage was a frigid disaster beyond repair, and he vows to be single—forever. Bruised, but still hot in Prada, he creates his Seven Desires wish list, his sexiest imaginings. Blake soon realizes there’s only one man he may trust to make these uninhibited intentions come to fruition: his best friend Miguel Santana.

Lower East Side multimedia artist extraordinaire Miguel Santana may be known as the cocky Latin stud in the city, but all he’s wanted since college was Blake’s hand in marriage. He was livid when Blake walked down the aisle with the wrong guy. Miguel has his own list titled the Seven Needs, which are quite contrary to Blake’s dirty-boy deeds. They involve serious commitments, which may leave his new-to-the-singles-scene buddy sprinting for the door, destroying any hopes Miguel has for happiness.

Can these two hunks conquer their intimate fears and love one another as only best friends can? Join the star-studded cast in The Manhattanites series and see for yourself!

Reading the previous books in this series is suggested. Reader might have difficulty following the story if approached as a standalone. (less)

 

Couldn’t finish this one. I had absolutely no idea what was going on and don’t even get me started on the fact that there were way too many characters to keep track of. I am not a fan of more than two or three POV’s in one book, it’s too hard to keep track to who said what.


Logan's Need (The Escort Series, Book 3)Logan’s Need by Sloane Kennedy                                                                      Kindle Edition, 320 pages  Published May 17th 2015

Blurb: “I feel like I’ve been wearing blinders for my entire life and now they’ve been ripped off and everything’s too bright – too harsh. Part of me wants them back so I only have to see what’s right in front of me.” –Logan

After Logan Bradshaw’s dreams go up in smoke, he’s left broken and haunted by a cruel betrayal from his former business partner, a man he once thought of as a friend. His life as a professional escort helped pay for his future once, so maybe a few more jobs can give him back what he’s lost. And if that means being a third for one night for a wealthy couple living out a ménage fantasy, then so be it. It might just be the final payout he needs to get his life back on track.

Dominic Barretti has everything money can buy, but it can’t save his beautiful young wife as cancer steals her away from him. He also can’t deny her one last request – a ménage encounter with another man. It’s the perfect excuse to meet the man who’s been haunting his dreams. On paper, Logan is the perfect choice to give his wife what she needs, but he doesn’t expect his own fierce desires to flare up when the young man enters their lives.

Dom and Logan don’t know it, but Sylvie Barretti has decided to play matchmaker from beyond the grave. Unfortunately, getting two broken men to find each other makes dying seem like the easy part.

Logan can’t deny his attraction to Dom, but the surprise desire for another man has left him reeling and questioning everything he’s ever known about himself. But when a threat from the past surfaces, will Logan be able to let go of the life he knew and embrace the one he needs?

***This is Book 3 in the series, but can be read as a stand-alone story – no cliffhangers. However, more enjoyment can be gained by reading the series in order:

Book 1 – Gabriel’s Rule
Book 2 – Shane’s Fall
(Note: Logan’s Need DOES contain spoilers for events first presented in Books 1 & 2)***

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Much better than I expected and I was unable to put it down for long. Definitely will be reading the spin-off series.

Bluewater Bay Series

 

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Starstruck (Bluewater Bay #1)

by L.A. Witt

ebook, 275 pages
Published November 3rd 2014 by Riptide Publishing
My rating: 3 of 5 stars 💎💎💎

 

Blurb:  Hollywood is full of dirty secrets, but Carter refuses to be Levi’s.

Retired action star Levi Pritchard has made a quiet life for himself in the sleepy logging town of Bluewater Bay, Washington. But then Hollywood comes to film the wildly popular television series Wolf’s Landing, and Bluewater Bay isn’t so sleepy anymore. His retirement doesn’t stick, either, because he’s offered a part on the show-exactly the kind of complex role he’d always wanted, one that would prove him more than a glorified stuntman. The only catch? He has to stay in the closet-no matter how attractive he finds his costar.Carter Samuels is the critically acclaimed male lead on Wolf’s Landing. And now, the man who inspired him to take up acting-and made him realize he’s gay-is joining the cast, and sparks fly between them instantly. But Carter is out and proud and determined to stay true to himself.Remaining just friends is the only thing to do, as both the studio and Levi’s disapproving, dysfunctional family keep reminding them. Except their friendship deepens by the day, tempting them with what they can’t have but both desperately need.

 

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Okay first let me start by saying that I really like the story, for the most part, there were just some things that bothered me a bit about the characters. They made me mad a few times and while I generally can get either passed or over things it took a little bit away from my enjoyment overall.

I will definitely say I’m excited to read the other books in this series and I keep my fingers crossed that I will enjoy them a little more.

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There’s Something About Ari (Bluewater Bay #2)

by L.B. Gregg

Published November 10th 2014 by Riptide Publishing

Rating4

Blurb: Buck Ellis’s future seems pretty damn bright. With a full college scholarship in hand, he’s going to ditch Bluewater Bay and pave the way for his kid brother Charlie to do the same. The only fly in Buck’s ointment is his ten-year addiction to his best friend since second grade, his true love, and his Achilles heel: Ari Valentine, Mr. Least Likely to Succeed.

But then Buck’s mother dies, changing everything, and five years later, his future is still on hold. It’s a struggle to keep food on the table, a roof over their heads, and Charlie on the straight and narrow. Buck can’t afford any temptation, especially in the form of the newly returned, super hot, super confident, super successful television star Ari Valentine.

ADHD poster-child Ari Valentine left for Hollywood and lost everything, including his bad reputation. Then the breakthrough role of his skyrocketing career lands him back in Bluewater Bay, to the stunned disbelief of, well, everyone. But there’s only one person Ari longs to impress—the only person who ever really mattered to him, the person he left behind: Buck Ellis.

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I definitely enjoyed this story but it was a bit short.  I truly loved Ari more so than Buck I think although he did grown on me. I liked the two together especially the fact that they had been such good friends as kids. It made the story feel more real to me.

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Books 3 – 10 to follow soon

View all my reviews

 

 

 

 

Let Love Live by Melissa Collins

Let Love Live

Let Love Live (The Love Series book 5)

By Melissa Collins

★★★★★

Who would you become if you lost the only person who ever mattered?

For twenty-six year old Dylan Hopkins, the answer is easy. He’s become no one. Memories of the happier times are all he has left as he finds himself meandering numbly through his now dull life. Though he cares about his work and family dearly, he’s yet to let himself find love again. Afraid of letting go of what he once had, Dylan chooses to keep his heart buried, where it belongs, having died a long time ago.

Conner Michelson is about to change everything Dylan knows. He’s every bit the bad boy persona – tatted up, ex-MMA fighter, but after an injury leaves him unable to fight, he has to rethink his goals. Having just opened his own gym, Conner can cross his first major life accomplishment off his very short list. Next up: find a man he can settle down with and build a family. Seems simple enough – a dream most people have, but when he meets Dylan, his carefree, easy-going life is thrown into a tailspin.

Determined to keep Dylan in his life, Conner vows to resurrect Dylan’s long ago buried heart and let love live once more.

Let Love Live is a full length, standalone (within a series) novel

 


 

An Absolute Must Read!

Before you came into my life, I was a completely different person. I was angry at the hand the world had dealt me and I didn’t know how to recover. Then I met you and everything changed. You brought me back to life. You woke up my heart and made me realize that all I was doing before you was existing.” – Dylan

It is hard for me to write a review of this book because in truth it isn’t very often I read a story that makes me feel so much. I actually found myself having to put down my kindle quite a few times in order to take a breather and wipe my tears. I full on cried while reading it. I didn’t read the other books in the series, in all honesty I just stumbled upon this book and thought it sounded good so I gave it a shot, maybe I would’ve been better prepared if I had read the others (however I don’t think it’s necessary to get the full impact of the story).
While this is a love story about Dylan and Conner it’s also about the love story of Dylan and Shane which we need to see to truly understand Dylan. It’s a story of discovery, discovering who you are, discovering love, strength and ultimately happiness. It’s a story of unimaginable loss and guilt and how fragile life can be. But most of all to me this was a story of finding peace and that second chance to love and be loved.

The story of their love is both inspiring and devastating. It’s one of finding out who you are by allowing yourself happiness in someone else, only to have that person, and, in turn, everything that made your life worth living, taken from you.” -Conner

It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of M/M romance or not, I still recommend this book. It’s a breathtakingly beautiful story and one I think anyone would love. 

Rev (Bayonet Scars #3)

Rev (Bayonet Scars novel #3)

Rev (A Bayonet Scars Novel #3)

By JC Emery

★★★★☆


Everyone belongs somewhere. Even the misfits. 

With the looming threat from the Mancuso Crime Family, the Forsaken Motorcycle Club is preparing for a war that could destroy them. Grady, the club’s Sergeant-at-Arms, knows that love makes you weak, and he has zero interest in adding to his liabilities– especially now. He’s already got his teenage daughter who keeps him on his toes and a beef within the club that could fracture his relationship with a fellow brother for good. 

For Holly Mercer, her life is finally getting on track and the last thing she wants is trouble from her hometown’s resident outlaws. Keeping her nose clean is easier said than done, when suddenly she finds herself embroiled in club business. Holly might like the idea of being with a real-life bad boy, but even being in the same room with tough-as-nails Grady flusters her. 

When Holly inadvertently finds herself on Mancuso’s radar, she has two choices: trust that Grady will protect her, or continue to refuse the club’s help. Both roads are dangerous, but only one has the chance to damage her beyond repair. 

Love is never more dangerous than when it can destroy you. 

Mature Content Warning: The Bayonet Scars novels are a dark romance series which features graphic sexual content, violence, and foul language that is intended for a mature audience. Each novel features a different couple, though it’s not recommended that they be read out of order due to the series story arc. 


Okay so first I have to admit, I am not sure what made me read this particular book.  I’m not sure if it was because I wanted to give this series one more try or if it was because I was so desperate for a Motorcycle Club Romance novel and I am running out of new ones.  The first book Ride, the story of Alex and Ryan was definitely not a favorite of mine.  I absolutely hated Ryan and almost didn’t finish the story because I just could not see what Alex saw in him.  The second book Thrash I did not finish.  I could not find a reason to like either main character.  It also solidified my hatred for Ryan.

I picked up Rev with apprehension but after reading the first few chapters realized I was actually enjoying it.  Thank God! Rev redeemed this series in my eyes, I actually am looking forward to seeing what comes next.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about Grady but was pleasantly surprised.  He was coarse, vulgar and insensitive but after a while he grew on me.  He was also funny, loyal and determined.  I could actually see why a woman like Holly would want to be with him.

As for Holly, I liked her.  I thought she was smart,  tough and had me laughing out loud throughout the story.  She did not put up with Grady’s BS and gave as good as she got.  Unlike a lot of female characters in these type of books Holly was not completely naive when it came to the MC and seemed to take the rules of the lifestyle in stride.

I felt the connection between Grady and Holly and enjoyed their story.  If the rest of the books in this series are more like this one I will definitely read them.  I would love to read more about Grady and Holly, Chey and Jeremy and Ian.  I only hope that in future books Ryan either has a very small part or finally redeems himself in some way.

Ruin by Rachel Van Dyken

Ruin

Ruin

By Rachel Van Dyken

★★★★★

I’m not your typical girl. I’ve been running away from the memories that haunt me for so long that depression has become my only comfort. I was content in the darkness…until Wes Michels offered to be my light.

I didn’t know that time wasn’t my ally — that every second that ticked past was one step closer to the end of something that was beginning to mean the end of myself. He tried to warn me. He promised me all he was able to offer–each moment as it came–but it would never be enough.

Sometimes when you think it’s the end, it’s only the beginning. Wes thought he could save me, but in giving me everything, he ruined me. Because after one kiss, one touch, I couldn’t–I wouldn’t ever be the same.

And from that moment on, his heartbeat became my own.

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Kiersten Rowe has convinced her Uncle JoBob that she can make it on her own away at college.  The past two years she has been barely living.  Depressed and plagued by night terrors after the death of her parents, Kiersten wants to try to start living again.  Now at the University of Washington she is about to find out how to live, how to face her fears and most importantly what it means to fall in love.

Weston Michels may be rich and hot, not to mention the star quarterback but life is definitely all sunshine and rainbows. No one knows how he became  an RA his senior year, especially after rumors of an alleged rape or why he seems to travel in an entourage.  Weston seems to be keeping secrets

Absolutely one of the best books I have read all year.  I have to admit I was started to feel a little disappointed as I searched for a book to add to the short Favorites of 2013 list I have going.  2012 seemed to be a year full of so many good books I wasn’t even able to narrow down my top 10 without a lot of deliberation and quite a few tears.  2013 has not been the same, while there have been a few books I have loved very few have actually jumped out and made me think about them long after I have finished them.

Ruin is that book.  It is an emotional book that had me not wanting it to end.  I loved the fact that unlike so many New Adult books that are out right now this book did not follow the same formula of the twenty-something guy who has vowed that he will never fall in love.  He will live a long happy life as a womanizer even though at the ripe old age of 23 or 24 I am not quite sure if he really has the maturity to decide that love is not in the cards for him.  Wait til your thirties or hell even your forties before you make the decision to live without True Love.

Ruin is not like that.  I hate to say too much because I do not want to give anything away, even if you can pretty much guess what it’s all about.  I absolutely loved Wes from the very beginning and my favorite parts of the story were definitely the parts from his POV.  This is romantic, sweet and at times bittersweet.  I laughed and I cried and at one point almost thought I wasn’t going to be able to finish it because it was so sad.

Ruin

Ruin

I am glad I finished the book and I loved it, even the sad parts.  It is definitely a story I recommend highly.  This is the second book this year by Rachel Van Dyken that I have read and loved, so she is an author I will keep coming back to.

 

SEMPRE Forever By J.M. Darhower

teardropsOnly 15% into this book and I found myself sobbing, having to put the book down and walk out of the room.  Emotionally charged doesn’t even begin to describe this story.  

Sempre Forever

SEMPRE forever

By J.M. Darhower

★★★★★

The Definition of Freedom: 1. The state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint: He won his freedom after a retrial. 2. Exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc. 3. The power to determine action without restraint. 4. Political or national independence. 5. Personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery”
– Dictionary.com

Born into slavery Haven Antonelli has never known anything other than horror and pain.  Living on a desert ranch with her mother, taking care of her “Master” and his family, unsure if she’ll live another day hard work, abuse and fear are part of her everyday life.  At seventeen she has seen a world that most can’t even imagine and the last thing she ever expects to find is hope.

Carmine DeMarco is Mafia royalty.  While overcoming a tragic past that almost tore his family apart Carmine struggles to find someone to understand him and continues to let his pain and anger fuel his actions.  He knows his future will most likely be in following in his father’s footsteps when he turns 18, moving back to Chicago to join “La Famiglia”.

But then she happened. The girl who had never been able to call her life her own taught a boy who had the world at his fingertips exactly what it meant to live. He wasn’t alone anymore.” 

Haven and Carmine may have grew up under vastly different circumstances, both yearning to break free,  but now a twist of fate causes their worlds to collide.  Entangled in a web of secrets and lies, they learn that while different on the surface, they have more in common than anyone would think.  While falling in love with each other may be easy a string of events that began before either of them were born threatens to destroy them.

Murder and betrayal are a way of life, and nothing comes without a price—especially not freedom. But how much will they have to sacrifice? Can they escape their pasts? And, most of all, what does it mean to be free?

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Wow this book rally surprised me, I wasn’t prepared for it to throw me on the emotional rollercoaster I found myself on while reading it.  While a story of love there is so much more here.

Colpo di fulmine. The thunderbolt, as Italians call it. When love strikes someone like lightning, so powerful and intense it can’t be denied. It’s beautiful and messy,
cracking a chest open and spilling their soul out for the world to see. It turns a person inside out, and there’s no going back from it. Once the thunderbolt hits, your life is
irrevocably changed.”

Sempre is a complex story that in my opinion has the right balance of  “Character Emotional Development” plotlines or “Dramatic Action” plotlines. It isn’t a feel good romance or a fluffy mobster story.  This book is dark and at times disturbing.  There were characters in the book that I had a very hard time liking and finding redeeming qualities in, even when the motivation for their actions became clearer.

Carmine and Haven are both heartbreaking characters and I found myself questioning whether or not I would have been able to survive in their world.  Haven has a strength and a way of looking at life that I admired.  Carmine is willing to risk it all for Haven and in the end he does without hesitation.

“Ti amo, mia bella ragazza. Per sempre.”
“Sempre?” she asked.
Cracking a smile, he brushed his pointer finger softly across her lips. “Always and forever.”

 With such a complicated group of characters I felt an authenticity to the story that I appreciated.  While sad and upsetting this is still a must read.  If you love books with a modern take on Romeo and Juliet, if you loved The Godfather or Boardwalk Empire this is a story I am sure you will enjoy. Fair warning though, it is a longer book, over 500 pages so be prepared to spend some time on it.

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To find out more about Author J.M. Darhower:  www.jmdarhower.com  

 

Bully by Penelope Douglas

Bully

By Penelope Douglas

★★★★

My name is Tate. He doesn’t call me that, though. He would never refer to me so informally, if he referred to me at all.

We’re neighbors, and once, we were best friends. But then, one summer, he turned on me and has made it his mission to screw up my life at every opportunity. I’ve been humiliated, shut out, and gossiped about all through high school. His pranks and rumors got more sadistic as time wore on, and I made myself sick trying to hide from him. I worried about what was around every corner and behind every door.

So I left.

I spent a year studying abroad and bathed in the freedom of life without Jared. Now I’m back to finish up high school and get the hell out of here forever. I’m hoping that after a year of breathing room, he’s moved on and forgotten all about me.

But even if he hasn’t changed, I have. I’m not interested in avoiding him or turning the other cheek anymore. We’re going to go head to head, because neither of us wants to back down.

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I am not sure how I feel about this book.  I have to be honest, I truly enjoyed reading it, it evoked so many different emotions from me I couldn’t put it down.  However I feel like I should not have found it as enjoyable as I did simply for the fact that the love story in this book is essentially between a bully and his victim.

This isn’t just a matter of miscommunication and misunderstandings between the two characters.  This isn’t the story of boy who simply teases  a girl and then they fall in love.  This is the story of a guy who comes home from spending the summer with his estranged father a completely different person.  His best friend, the girl next door has no clue why he now hates her.  They no longer spend time together or talk and if they do it’s him being a jerk to her.  Rumors are started at school, boys treat her like trash and most of the girls whisper behind her back.  She is the victim of pranks and public ridicule and has hardly any friends.

What makes it even worse is the fact that not only is he tormenting her but also his best friend Madoc, who doesn’t even know why he does it.  There are many times that Madoc goes above and beyond simple teasing and pranks and skirts into sexual harassment.  The upside of it is when Madoc does cross that line she seems to grow a backbone and makes it clear it’s not acceptable (between a broken nose and a good swift kick to his manhood) she at least is not a complete pushover.

Tate finally standing up for herself makes her feel as if she is turning into a bully herself, I am sorry but I totally disagreed with her.  I was glad she stood up for herself, even when it got a little physical because frankly it needed to be done.  People needed to see she was not some weak, pitiful, lesser individual.  I actually thought there were times when she should have been even tougher and not backed down.

As for finding out the reasons behind the bullying I am not sure that it was enough to justify or excuse it in my book.  I couldn’t really understand where Jared was coming from in that regard but it didn’t necessarily take away from the book.  I still found myself completely immersed in it and I am definitely anxious to read the next one and see it from Jared’s POV.  I think it will give me a better idea of why Jared chose to Bully Tate in the way he did.  After reading the first chapter on the authors Goodreads page I am anxious for the next book.

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To find out more about author Penelope Douglas check out her Facebook page here.

 

To purchase a copy of Bully at: ➸ Amazon