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.

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. 

Another Great Read From Nicole Edwards : Ethan (Alluring Indulgence)

Ethan

Ethan (Alluring Indulgence)

By Nicole Edwards

★★★★★

Blurb:

How long did it take you to find your place in the world? 

For Ethan Walker, going through the motions of life, keeping his distance and never getting attached has become the mantra he lives by. Success is measured by how many hours he can work and how little attention he can draw. That was until he landed on Beau Bennett’s radar. Until Beau, Ethan had never met a man who could get him to question his own logic and even consider taking a different path. 

Beau Bennett knows exactly who he is – now. It might’ve taken him some time to figure it out, but now that he has his bearings, Beau has set his sights on the mysteriously sexy Ethan Walker. Pursuing someone has never been his style, but something is telling him to keep at it because the end result is going to be worth it. 

Now that they’ve found one another, how long will it take Ethan and Beau to accept that their place in the world is… Together? 

♂♂

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I have been eagerly anticipating this book for quite awhile now, an M/M book by one of my favorite authors, I was actually counting down to the release date.  The minute I received it on my Kindle I tore into it  and refused to put it down til I finished it.  I can now say this is by far my favorite book not only in this series but by Nicole Edwards.  I absolutely loved it!

While I’ve enjoyed all of the books in the Alluring Indulgence series I think what made this one stand out the most for me was the chance to really delve into an emotional story.  There was more of a connection to the characters for me than in previous books, I actually really wanted to know what made both Ethan and Beau tick.  It wasn’t just about the H.A.W.T sex in this one (not that it was lacking, this is Nicole Edwards we’re talking about) but I really felt the attraction from both characters as well as a deeper connection.

Ethan is by far my favorite of the Walker boys and I absolutely love Beau. I want more of them, I feel as if I will have to read this one again soon just to get my Ethan/Beau fix.  Even if you are not a fan of M/M I think you’ll enjoy Ethan, and while this book can be read as a standalone I highly recommend reading the series from the beginning.

 ♂♂

Alluring Indulgence Series:

Kaleb ZaneTravisHolidaysEthan

To Purchase Ethan:  Amazon ⌇ B&N   ⌇ Kobo

To Learn More About Author Nicole Edwards Click Here.

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.

1

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?

HummingbirdFlight_xlarge

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.

Hummingbird

 

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

 

Aiden’s Luck (A Seattle Stories Novel)

Aiden’s Luck (Seattle Stories #3)

By Con Riley

★★★★☆

Aiden Daly has spent the last 5 years after his father’s suicide running his business and taking care of his brother and mother. His life is all about making sure his family is happy and has everything they need even if that means he has to settle for having nothing. When he agrees to house-sit for a friend for the chance to get away from his brother’s new boyfriend, the last thing he expects is to be sharing the home with the perfect replica of his first crush.

Marco looks so much like his older brother Ben that Aiden immediately realizes there is no way he can be around him. What makes it even worse is that Marco seems to want to keep close to Aiden. His constant chatter and teasing grate on his nerves. The way Marco seems to try to ingratiate himself in all the aspects of Aiden ‘s life drives Aiden insane. It isn’t until Aiden ‘s carefully constructed life begins to crumble that he realizes that Marco may be the only person who he can actually confide in.

Between his brother’s annoyingly meddlesome boyfriend, a potentially scamming employee, his father’s suicide and now the possible emergence of his birth father, Aiden has too much on his plate to entertain thoughts of being with Marco.

Marco helps Aiden to see that he has people who care about him, he doesn’t have to do everything alone. It’s time for Aiden to have a life and to start doing things for himself. Of course this means he’ll have to finally reach out to his family and admit a huge secret he’s been hiding about his father’s death.

Hammer

While I absolutely loved After Ben, the first book in this series, I didn’t quite feel the same way about the second book. Saving Sean didn’t resonate with me as much and I feared I would feel the same way about this book. That however was not the case. Aiden’s Luck was a great story.  I really enjoyed reading about Aiden and Marco. I really feel in love with Marco’s character, he was cute and funny yet so sweet and caring. He took great joy in taking care of Aiden who really needed it.

I was a bit torn on my feelings about Aiden at first.  His grumpy attitude bothered me because it just seemed so out of place for what I wanted him to be like if he was going to be with such a charming character as Marco.  I hated the fact that he never opened up to anyone and he pushed people away when he really shouldn’t.  I hated that he took so much on when he should have asked for help.  Half way through the story I decided I was wrong in the way I thought about Aiden, I started to feel for him and the pressure he was under.  It was sad that he felt what he felt and I wanted him to be happy.

I am anxious to see what the author has in store for those characters in the future and hope we will get to see it soon. As for the other character in the book it was good to see them as well as meet a few new ones I hope we’ll get to see more of…Drew, Jack and Levi *winks*.

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To find out more about this author and her Seattle Stories series Con Riley.
Purchase Here:
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Crossing!

There is absolutely no way I can write a review for this book and give it the true attention and praise it deserves without spoilers, it could never do it justice, so I apologize  for giving anything away.

Crossing
By Stacey Wallace Benefiel
★★★★1/2

Blurb:

He stole her lipstick…and her heart.

Twenty-year-old Dani Walker can’t believe her luck when she’s paired up with the gorgeous Liam Garrett as her Acting I scene partner – or when he ends up in her bed. Being a Plain Jane with a mouth on her hasn’t exactly served Dani well in the guy department. In fact, she’s had nothing but one night stands. Still, she lets go of her insecurities and falls for Liam, despite feeling like he’s holding something back.

When Dani finally discovers Liam’s secret, she must learn the true meaning of accepting the ones we love for who they are, or risk losing the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

lipstick

This book is really about so many things, there are quite a few messages. It’s a story about love and acceptance, it’s about self discovery and overcoming fears and for me at least, this was a book about forgetting about norms and discovering something outside of my comfort zone. And this was definitely outside of my comfort zone.

Dani is a character that I found very realistic and incredibly easy to relate to. Her insecurities are ones that so many women young and old can relate to. It’s hard living in a world surrounded by beautiful people and feeling as if you could never compare to them and its even harder when so many others purposely making you feel that way. I found Dani’s quick wit to be truly endearing. She had me laughing out loud throughout the book and her banter with Liam was great.

Liam is more of a complicated character.  While he first appears to be your everyday boy next door type, he has a pretty big secret that we don’t find out about until half way through.  This is a make or break type of secret and I have to admit at first I was not sure how to look past it. He is sweet and charming and can be incredibly funny but at the same time he always seems to be holding back slightly. I really felt for what he was going through even if I couldn’t connect fully with him.

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Being a fan of Gay Romance I have read my share of cross dressing stories. This story however was very different. I found I had a harder time dealing with a heterosexual man dressing as a woman I had to really push past my preconceived notions about people who lived this lifestyle and pay attention to the story that was being told. I am glad that I did because when all was said and done I truly loved it.

The author has An incredible voice and a great ability to enable her readers to actually visualize the events unfolding as we read them. The dialogue is both entertaining and believable. The plot is fresh and unique and the characters are real and likable.  This is a book I definitely recommend.

Purchase CrossingPurchase book at Amazon  or  Barnes and Noble

*Thank You to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book for honest review.