Thursday, October 30, 2014


It Will Always Be You by Tina Ness

Publisher: Amazon Digital (10/26/2014)
Series: You, book 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Author
Buy It For Your Kindle || Goodreads
My Rating: ★1/2

After surviving four years with a commitment-phobic boyfriend, Elizabeth wants nothing more than to settle down. Too bad the man she desires, Marshall Roderick, leaves her flustered, trembling, and unable to utter a single word when he’s near. 

Assuming he’s the very definition of a womanizing bachelor, Elizabeth relegates him to fantasyland and makes no move to get to know him. That is, until a chance encounter along the shores of Lake Superior leads to drinks and a steamy romance. 

Confident, successful, and freakishly handsome, Marshall is everything Elizabeth has been looking for. But when an unthinkable act of violence shakes them both to the core, she discovers that Marshall isn’t as carefree and put-together as he led her to believe. 

Now it’s up to Marshall and Elizabeth to figure out if their love can heal the scars of the past and turn them into the people they’ve always wanted to be.

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Connect with Tina || Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

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Let me just start out with:

What a cute story.

Elizabeth is a serious introvert who is terrified of the attraction she feels toward Marshall. I completely, 100%-ly related to Elizabeth. She tries to ignore him, stutters around him, turns all sorts of shades of red around him... was very much like reading me on the page.

When she finds out that he's been harboring similar feelings toward her for the 2 years that they've been crossing paths... well, it leaves her a bit baffled. However, as most stories do, Marshall has some skeletons in his closet that make the impending relationship with Elizabeth take the back-burner. He pulls her forward, pushes her back, and confuses her to no end. When she decides she's had enough, he fights back for her. It takes him time to come forth and explain it to her, but some skeletons are harder than others to admit to.

I will say, though, that while I understand him and his ways, I was a bit irritated, to say the least, with him when he invited her to his family home, and when his family ends up in a bit of a frenzy due to said skeletons, well, he pushes her away. Excuse me, kind sir, you felt she was worthy enough to meet your family, but now you're pushing her away?

I did not expect the twist those skeletons made, of course, which means the book was really well written -- I can usually see these things from the get-go.

I really did enjoy this story. If I haven't been giving out 5s like Trick-or-Treat candy, this would have been a 5 -- I just have to be a bit more strict with such a high rating (I'm totally going to be the push-over parent someday).

Oh! And if I read the little blurb at the end correctly... the next book is Marshall's story! We get to read the book from his perspective, I believe. I'm totally ecstatic for that. I love how he notices her little quirks and calming techniques (spinning ring) and when he replaces that ring with his own... Oh, be still my heart. Such a simple gesture but I loved it. I can't wait to read into his thoughts.

review || MADE FOR YOU { blog tour }

To borrow the opening lines from my ONLY WITH YOU review...

So I haven't exactly made it a secret that I really, really heart Lauren Layne. It has been a minute since I seriously fan-girled over a contemporary author. Don't get me wrong, I love many contemporary series and many authors, wanting to get my hands on as many of the books as possible, but when it comes to Lauren...
It's more of a 'need' than a 'want'.
The newest installation to her THE BEST MISTAKE series was just as good as I was hoping it would be.
Made for You by Lauren Layne

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (10/28/2014)
Series: The Best Mistake, book 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher, NetGalley
Buy It For Your Kindle | BN & Nook | iTunes | BAM! | Indiebound|| Goodreads
My Rating:

Some mistakes are worth making...

Lauren Layne's Best Mistake series continues with MADE FOR YOU.

When the Wrong Guy is Oh-So-Right

Will Thatcher is exactly the type of sexy playboy good girls like Brynn have always avoided. And yet there was still something about him she just couldn't resist. When Will moved across the country three years ago, Brynn vowed it was time to put him behind her. She never thought Will might have other plans . . .

Back in town, Will intends to get what he's always wanted-gorgeous, unforgettable Brynn. For years, he tormented the untouchable ice princess in a desperate bid for her attention. Now he has a new plan, and he'll do anything to rewrite their stormy past. This time, he's out to show Brynn that the imperfect man might be the best mistake of her life . . .

- - -

About Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne writes contemporary romance for Grand Central Publishing (Forever) and Random House(Loveswept).

After dabbling in an e-commerce career in Seattle and Southern California, Lauren moved to New York City where she now writes full time.

Lauren graduated from Santa Clara University with B.S. in Political Science that she has yet to put to good use. She lives with her husband and plus-sized pomeranian in a tiny Manhattan studio.
- - -

Connect with Lauren Layne || Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

- - -

We first met Brynn and Will in ONLY WITH YOU (which takes place a few years prior), but by no means do you need to read that book in order to read this one. Do I recommend reading ONLY WITH YOU? Absolutely. Do you need to? No.
...but you should.
Now, there's a bit of history between Brynn and Will -- they've known one another for years and he's her sister's best friend, after all. While you learn of Brynn and Will's bickering ways in ONLY WITH YOU, you get flashbacks from over the years in MADE FOR YOU -- so reading book one isn't imperative to knowing what makes Brynn and Will tick. And what makes them tick? Why, the other person, of course.
'Will knew exactly the moment she’d seen him. He felt it like a shock to the balls, and he wanted a shot of whisky. Now.
It had taken a full fifty-seven minutes since he’d walked into the door until her ice blue eyes had locked on him, and that was including the ridiculous amount of time she’d spent in the bathroom.
She made him wait another twenty minutes before seeking him out.
But what was an extra seventy-seven minutes when you’d already waited a lifetime?
 You see, Will and Brynn have been playing this game for years. When the uptight, seeming self-assured (but really lacking in self-confidence) Brynn ignored Will and his interest in high school, well, he did what most 'children' do...

...he became her biggest enemy. And in retaliation, he decided to go for and date her little sister, Sophie (which, most of us know, turned into a really good friendship).

And because that being enemies was easier, that became what Will and Brynn were known for.

Around the Dalton dinner table every Sunday night?


At Brynn's (unwanted) birthday party (as shown below)?
Will watched her approach, her expression schooled into an expression of polite indifference. She stopped a several inches in front of him, and only the slight narrowing of gray-blue eyes giving any indication that she wanted him dead. Which of course, she did.
“Brynn,” he said, matching her prim tone.
He felt a little jolt of disappointment at her vapid smile. It was the same courteous, reveal-nothing expression she’d given everyone else in the room. He’d been kind of hoping for that special brand of bitchy that she’d always reserved just for him.
“You’re looking a little wider around the hips,” he said with an insulting glance up and down. She hadn’t, but the thought that she’d gained an ounce would keep her up at night.
Her smile slipped for a second, and for a moment he realized if he’d struck a nerve. Normally he wouldn’t dare touch the subject of a women’s weight. He wasn’t a total ass.
But Brynn had had the same perfectly slim figure as long as he’d known her — she wouldn’t tolerate anything else. Her physical appearance was flawless.
Her personality, however…
“And you’re looking…manwhorish,” she said with the usual venom.
Ah. There the old Brynn. He nearly smiled. “So. Nice party,” he said blandly.
“Yes, it was sweet of Sophie to put it together.”
“Mm hmm,” he said, taking a sip of his red wine. “And exactly how intense was the urge to strangle her when you learned that she’d planned a surprise party instead of the usual boring birthday dinner with your family?”
This time the smile faded all together. “Don’t. Don’t do that thing.”
“What thing?”
“That thing where you make it a point of thinking you know me better than anyone else.”
Don’t I? He stifled the thought. For now.'

Oh, who's Brynn's new neighbor?

Yeah, she's going to go over there and yep... Bicker.

It's annoyingly cute.
'"I've visited," he interrupted. "Not often, but I've been back to Seattle a couple times each year."
'She blinked in surprise. "Do my parents know? God, Will, you were like a son to them."
'Will leaned forward slightly. "Last time I was in town I stayed in your parents' guest room. The time before that, I slept on Sophie and Gray's couch. So you see, Princess...the only Dalton I was ignoring was you."
Some books I have a 'favorite scene'. Sometimes it's in the beginning (Matt meeting the kids in WORTH THE FALL), sometimes it's the end (the epilogue of OVER THE LINE). In ONLY WITH YOU, it was the bounce-house-castle scene (I may just have to go and re-read that tonight).

In this book, I'm pretty sure it has everything to do with when Brynn gets her tattoo. And then when she finally gets to see it and asks about it, Will's explaination... oh, it melts my heart.

Will melts my heart.
'He ignored her question. "What exactly are you so scared of Brynn? That all your friend will turn their backs on you because you didn't marry a doctor? My God, do you really think a friend would even care?"
'"No," she said in a small voice.
'"Then why? Why don't I even get a chance?"'
- - -
'"Brynny. Do you have an idea what I felt when you showed up on my front porch that night three years ago?"
'She tried for a smile to lighten the mood. "Horny?"
'He didn't smile back. "I felt like my entire life was finally about to start." 
Oh, Will, you slay me.

He may just very well be my favorite hero of Lauren's... and I really loved Sam, so that's saying something.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

shiloh walker's || YOU OWN ME { promo blitz } this post is a day late and a dollar short but.....
{ really, it's 7 days late, and $2 short, but who's counting... }

Oy vey.

It's been a bit since I've missed something that I agreed to doing. I've been on top of scheduling posts for tours and being sure that reviews are posted before release dates. If I'm not on the internet (I don't have the internet at home and rely on logging in at work or at Starbucks) and I get an important email (such as the one this promo blitz was in), I'm sure to forward it on my phone to my work email, so I can schedule the post right away.

...but occasionally I forward an email to my work email address, and it manages to get lost in cyber space. I've found this to be the case with a few InkSlinger emails or blog tour sign-ups, but I've always caught them in time.

Unfortunately, one fell through the cracks :(

So while this post was supposed to happen on 10/22 (eek, that was last week already)... I figured I could still give it to you.

And oh my gosh, the excerpt is hot. Wonderful. That 'heart clench' thing that happens in a really good book that ultimately decides how worthy a book is in my opinion? It's that entire excerpt.

I think (err, know) I'll be purchasing this one next... Now to figure out what I don't need on the grocery list to make up for the $2.99 purchase price (that's the other thing -- had I put this up on 10/22, this bad boy was only 99 cents. That's what you get when you're semi-unorganized in a busy world).

You Own Me by Shiloh Walker
Publisher: Shiloh Walker (8/4/2014)
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Buy It From Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iTunes | ARe || Goodreads

It had always been her…Ten years had passed since the doors slammed shut behind Decker Calhoun, taking away his freedom, but more importantly, locking him away from Elizabeth Waters, the only woman he’d ever loved—the woman he’d given up everything for.

The day he was sentenced, he’d looked at her and said, No regrets, Lizzie. But he lied, because he did have one. Although he’s been out of jail for three years now, he was a year too late. Lizzie never knew how he felt and just months before he was released, she found somebody else and it’s too late.

Or maybe not. It seems that Lizzie’s boyfriend wants an open relationship and two can play at that game. Now all Decker has to do is convince Lizzie that he’s the better man…and has been all along.

Snarling, he tore his mouth from hers and jerked away, sitting at the far end of the futon. With hands that shook, he rubbed at his face.
Son of a bitch.
“Lizzie…fuck. I’m sorry.”
A harsh intake of breath reached his ears and the last thing he wanted to do was face her, but that was what he made himself do.
The minute he turned his head to look at her, she surged up off the futon, moving across the small office to stand by her desk, head bowed, arms wrapped around herself. “Get out,” she said, her voice quiet.
Too quiet.
“Lizzie?” Wincing, he climbed off the couch. “Look, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have—”
“Don’t.” The word was pure steel and it caught him off-guard, for a second.
But just a second. Because while Lizzie was soft and sweet, under all of that, she was steel. She always had been—he’d figured that out when he hadn’t chased her off within the first few hours of meeting her. Now, as she turned and looked at him, tears glinted in her wide, dark brown eyes, but nothing could hide the fury, and the hurt, in those eyes.
Fuck, he thought miserably. Rising from the couch, he lifted a hand only to let it fall uselessly to his side. “Lizzie, I’m sorry. I didn’t—”
“I don’t want to hear it!” she shouted, cutting him off.
He had to duck to avoid the little potted orchid she sent flying his way. And damn, she still had a good throwing arm.
“Do you hear me?” she said, her voice starting to shake. “I don’t want to hear. I get it, okay? Nobody wants me. No fucking body. I’m fine as a doormat for Noel as long as I let him treat me like shit, but he doesn’t want me. Neither do you. I get it. Okay?”
Stunned shock rippled through him as she shoved her tumbled hair back from her flushed face. Her eyes shot sparks as their gazes clashed. “I get the point. You’re a fucking hound dog and I know that. But I’m not good en—”
He caught the rest of her words with his mouth and when she went to shove him back, he caught her wrists, too. Sinking his teeth into her lower lip, he backed her up against her desk. “Not want you?” he muttered against her mouth. “Are you blind?”
She tried to turn her head and he tangled a hand in her hair, yanked it back. Her pupils flared, her mouth falling open on a startled moan. “Give me your mouth, Lizzie,” he said and then, without waiting, he took it, thrusting his tongue deep.
She bit him and he responded by letting her wrists go and catching her hips, boosting her up with one arm while he used the other to swipe out against her desk, clearing it with one careless gesture. Lizzie worked her hands between them and although he didn’t break away from her mouth, part of him held his breath—waited.
When she reached up and tangled her hands in his hair, he snarled in savage satisfaction.
Lying her down on her desk, he broke away. Her hands clutched at him and he caught them, shifted her wrists to one hand and pushed them up over her head. Then, as he held her gaze, he reached down and freed the top button of the top she wore. With each successive button, he bared more and more skin, pale, pretty skin, lush curves, her breasts cupped by silk and lace and his brain almost exploded as he flicked a look from her face downward to study those ripe curves.
“My hands are shaking,” he said, struggling to keep his voice from doing the same as he trailed his fingers along the delicate lace design of her bra, watching as a soft blush pinked her flesh and started to climb upward. “I’ve dreamed about touching you a thousand times and now I am and my hands are shaking…”
Now he looked at her, watched her throat work as she swallowed.
“And you think I don’t want you.”

About Shiloh Walker:
Shiloh Walker is an award-winning writer…yes, really! She’s also a mom, a wife, a reader and she pretends to be an amateur photographer. She published her first book in 2003. Her newest series, Secrets and Shadows, launched in April 2014. Look for the newest bookDeeper than Need, to be followed by Sweeter than Sin and Darker than Desire.
She writes romantic suspense, contemporary and paranormal romance, and urban fantasy under the name J.C. Daniels.
Connect with Shiloh Walker || Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Website | Pinterest | Newsletter

Thursday, October 23, 2014

review || PRIMAL

Primal by Sasha White

Publisher: White Hot Books (10/24/2012)
Series: Overwatch, book 1 (follows novella UNFETTERED)
Genre: Erotica Romance
Source: Author/NetGalley
Buy It For Your Kindle | Nook || Goodreads
My Rating: ★1/2

BDSM club owner Adam Kessler is no one’s hero. He joined the army to get away from the gang-life that had taken his brother, only to come home to heartache. He doesn’t hide his dominant side, and he doesn’t hesitate in his need to protect or enforce his particular brand of retribution on those who’ve earned it. There’s no way in hell he could walk past a man hassling a woman in an empty parking lot and do nothing. Only when the confrontation is over and the voluptuous blonde turns eyes filled with desire to him, does Adam realize he’s in trouble.  

Psychologist Olivia Lang grew up with the proverbial silver spoon, and has never regretted spending more time on her career than on romance, until she meets Adam Kessler. He’s dark, he's dangerous, and he's deliciously dominant... and she wants him.     

Passion burns quick and hot between them and soon they’re caught up in an intensely carnal relationship that neither can deny. But when Olivia’s life is threatened and she learns just how dangerous he can be, will it be too much for the civilized psychologist to handle, or will she truly accept the man and win her hero’s heart?

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Connect with Sasha White || Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

- - -

I'm huge on character development. I've decided that that alone is typically what drives how I feel about a book. Sometimes it's difficult to develop characters to their true, full extent in a novella-length book, though.
I went into PRIMAL super pumped and excited. Heck, I had a social-media conversation with the author, Sasha White, beforehand and I knew, just knew, that I wanted to like her and her writing. In the few brief exchanges, I could totally tell she's personable and that makes her a good person in my book.
Now, to keep that euphoria up there for a moment... The development of Adam was Spot. On.
Right from the prologue, you knew that Adam was a darker type guy -- after all, he even states he's one who lives for and in shadows. That alone shows he's dark and mysterious.
He's dark, mysterious, deadly... And sexy. Yet he feels that Olivia is just too good for him.
'"You're too vulnerable for me to take what you're offering tonight. You're way out of my league, and in the cold light of day tomorrow, you'll realize it, and I don't want to be a regret. But if you ever feel like slumming it, you have my number."'
To which, of course, she tries to appease him:
'"I'm going to think about you," she spoke quickly, before he could hang up. "When I'm in bed tonight. And just so you know, it won't be tomorrow, but I'm going to come see you soon, and it won't be slumming when I do. It will be amazing."
'Then she hung up. She didn't want to hang up on him, but she didn't want to give him a chance to argue, either...
When it comes to Olivia, at least initially, her development was just... a bit off for me.

Maybe it was rushed and not full simply because the book needed to get to the real meat-and-potatoes of the story.... but I am a bit sad that the development of Olivia was pretty much left at 'she's a shrink in fancy clothes on her day off, who drives a fancy car, who's beautiful and wellllll out of Adam's league, who also has a bit of hero worship syndrome'. Understandably, though, most of the story is centered around Adam: his past, his company, his fears, his concerns, etc. So it makes sense that, as a reader, you understand Adam more than Olivia.
Of course, once I moved away from the development and got into the (previously stated) meat-and-potatoes.... It looked up again.
Novella-length stories are meant to be quick, easy, fun reads... However I always find myself judging them a bit harsher, as if I expect all the points of a full-length story to be met and achieved in a much, much shorter story.

All of that aside, I did still 'purchase' (it's currently FREE) the Overwatch novella, UNFETTERED. The glimpses I got of Ronnie in PRIMAL made me interested in her story. UNFETTERED is much shorter than PRIMAL, an already short story, but I'm looking forward to cracking that baby open later tonight.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

review || PROTECTOR

You know that carousel at the bottom of your or page that shows you other books you may like? That's where Gennita was sitting when I decided to add HUNTER to my sample list. And to be honest? HUNTER made it to my sample list because the cover image was also the cover image for WESTINS CHASE of Titan-land. Nothing like choosing a book because the image is on another book.

After adding it to my sample list... well, there it sat, forever (ok, so for a long time) on my Kindle carousel with a 'sample' sash. If I'm being honest, many, many, samples will remain samples. Occasionally I'll read the sample and will be drawn to paying for the book, but more often than not, I don't read the samples because I don't want to spend my little 'play' money (...because I'd so much rather spend my grocery money on books. Makes a ton of sense, I know...).

I got to a point in my NetGalley files where I had 2 months until the next book on my list was published, so I decided I would take the time and read a book that I chose, that I spent my money on (...even though WHEN DAY BREAKS and the first THE DEVANEY BROTHERS double book are still sitting on my counter begging to be read; hey, now, when my only chances to read are limited, it's super easy to pull up a book on my phone. I should probably find a system to incorporate my much-lover paperbacks back into the mix). I pulled up HUNTER and decided, what the heck, let's start at the beginning, and purchased PROTECTOR, being book one in the series, instead.

...and oh, am I glad I did.

Protector by Gennita Low

Publisher: GLOW World, 2nd edition (6/24/2012)
Series: Crossfire, book 1
Genre: Military Romance
Source: Purchased
Buy It For Your Kindle | Amazon | BN (not Nook) || Goodreads
My Rating: ★1/2

There are two things Navy SEAL Jazz Zeringue knows:
1) his black ops team will always have his back, and
2) there's nothing more enticing than a woman of mystery

When the best of intentions gets Jazz arrested overseas, he couldn't be more surprised to find Vivi Verreau ready to spring him out of jail. Obviously more than the civilian she claims to be, he's sure Vivi is hiding an agenda...and he's determined to stick by her side until he uncovers all her secrets.

A covert agent who shrouds herself in disguises, and who fearlessly jumps into dangerous situations without thoughts for her own safety, Vivi has no need for a protector. But if she is to have any hope of completing her most important mission, she'll have no choice but to recruit Jazz and his men.

And when everything explodes around them, they will need each other more than they ever imagined...

- - -

Connect with Gennita Low || Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

- - -

Right from the get-go, I knew the heroine of the story was somewhere in that smokey bar. I didn't think she was Rose, but I was certainly thrown for a loop when I found out it was little miss grandmamasan -- that is, until she walked to the back:
'She slowly got on her feet, and carrying the box and keys in her hands, she shuffled into the back, past all the cubicles with the ugly numbers painted on the plastic curtains. When she turned the corner, her steps lengthened. Her back straightened. By the time she reached the back room where the owner of the bar waited with an Interpol agent, she'd gained several inches in height, her stoop was gone, and her movements were unhurriedly assured.
I love that. I can totally picture the transformation as she's walking, moving from hunched old lady, to taller, confident woman.

I'm torn with my feelings of Vivi keeping her identity a secret, though. On one hand, I hate secrets. I get that secrets help bring huge climaxes in plot lines for stories. Big secrets are typically the fall-out point in which the relationship crumbles, and then someone realizes it was stupid to get mad over, then they kiss and make up and BAM. He puts a ring on it.

However, keeping this particular secret doesn't really take anything away from the story, and the fact that Vivi and Jazz end up laughing about it and make cute pet names out of it... well, it works in the story's favor. So points to Gennita there.

I love the unfolding of Vivi and her story. I liked how it slowly came out, even to the reader. Often times, the reader knows more about one character than the character's counterpart(s). There are times that I don't like not knowing, but it worked in PROTECTOR. Learning what makes Vivi tick, and the reason why she was semi-distrustful of Jazz and his ways helped the story move from one point to the other.

Like most stories that I just love, I really loved that Vivi is a strong heroine -- regardless of her job title. Sure, her job makes her a strong lady, but her personal battles and headstrong behaviors make her a desirable heroine in my opinion.

I enjoyed the comradery between Jazz and Hawk. I liked that while they both were heading their team, they worked well off of one another. They had much of the same thought cycle and like most good friends, being as close as brothers, they could read one another like books. I am curious, though, how exactly Hawk put all of the pieces together to the puzzle of Vivi, but Jazz didn't. Maybe because, as fast as it happened, Jazz was too mentally/emotionally close to Vivi to really look at the full picture. I love that Hawk doesn't tell Jazz his theory (...maybe Vivi and Hawk had a conversation and I didn't catch it, which makes me feel like a terrible reader, but I really don't think this conversation happened), and lets him figure it out on his own -- even with the kissing taunts and other friendly jabs about the grandmamasan.

One of my favorite scenes of the book shows Jazz's feelings toward Vivi, without him even admitting said feelings to himself.
'"She's going to walk in the kill zone with goats." He was going to kill her, if she survived.
'{...}Jazz ignored the admiration in his friend's voice. 'Our girl won't have a neck left when I'm done with her.'
So no, that doesn't really say a whole lot, but I think it speaks enough in the context of the story. While he trusts her judgement, he's scared for her -- even when not admitting it.

...and all of this was before sleeping with her, too. I love a man who has feelings for his lady before all the messy stuff.

Now, what I didn't like. I'm not a big side-story person. Many times I'll skim them, or even skip over them. That's sassy of me, yes, I know, but I'm 100% invested in the main characters. I ain't got time for the side stories (that's a joke). Really, I just love to read about the main people. I become emotionally invested in them and only want to know them. Even in books where the side story is the bad-guy's point of view -- yeah, I just don't want to read it. However, in that case, I like the surprise element when everything blows up to pieces (figuratively and literally). I like to be caught off guard with the main characters.

All of that aside, I did enjoy the story enough to immediately purchase Hawk's story. And by immediately, I mean that second I read the last word of PROTECTOR, I didn't even bother with that sample I had sitting on my carousel. I was all over my Amazon cart and purchasing, downloading, and opening HUNTER. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

review || IGNITED

My goodness gracious, do I have a number of August-read books that are just begging for their reviews. Ok, so it was just this one and DESIRED; the other 9 on my to-publish queue are less than 10 days old, with the oldest being parts of tours (so I'm allowing myself to be a bit more lax on them).

I read IGNITED on a whim. I'm not really sure how I came across it. Perhaps it was free. Maybe someone suggested Kaylea on another author's page. However I found her, though, I'm glad I did. Not only was the book phenomenal, Kaylea is pretty stellar herself and she suggested I read SINGED (which also happened to be the next book in this series), as it was her favorite to write. And while, yes, I did like SINGED (review will come soon/eventually, promise), IGNITED was my favorite (....ok, so I've only read the two so far for this series).

Ignited by Kaylea Cross

Publisher: Kaylea Cross (6/15/2013)
Series: Titanium Security, book 1
Genre: Military Romance
Source: Purchased
Buy It For Your Kindle | Amazon | BN & Nook || Goodreads
My Rating: 

When her father is murdered by a Taliban cell in the tribal regions of Pakistan, Khalia Patterson reluctantly steps into his shoes to carry on the legacy of Fair Start Foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to furthering the education of girls. There she meets Hunter Phillips, the ex-SEAL and head of her Titanium security team, and quickly learns that coming to Pakistan might prove to be a deadly decision. 

Battling demons of his own, Hunter grudgingly leads Khalia’s protective detail as a favor to his boss. From their first meeting it’s clear she’s going to be trouble, and that the cell that killed her father is hell bent on taking her out as well. Keeping her alive is one of the toughest assignments he’s ever faced, yet through one harrowing situation after another she continually impresses him with her strength and inner courage. Even though he fights his feelings for her, it’s a losing battle. And when the job is over, he doesn’t know how he’ll let her go.

Kaylea Cross Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

- - -

This story starts with Hunter, the lead male, in the middle of a fire fight, he and his buddy (who is also the team leader) trying to get from one point to another without being taken out.

And BAM.

...Hunter wakes up.

Woooah, hold the phone. That was a flashback?!

Now, most flashbacks tend to be written in italics, or they're placed in a way where the reader knows it's a flashback, but Kaylea opens this badboy like a good movie -- drawing the reader in  then waking the lead character up. I thought that was extremely well written. (Eep, sorry to ruin it, but hey, it's only the first few pages. I promise that's the deepest spoiler I'll give).

When Hunter and Khalia meet, it's under the pretense that he'll be watching over her as security as she goes back into the country which, ultimately, took her father's life. However, due to the circumstances surrounding her father's death, Khalia doesn't go into this meeting exactly... trusting.

At first it puts Hunter's back up -- until he realizes that she doesn't trust his experience, doesn't believe that he was a SEAL. And when she finally explains why... well, it all just clicks. 

I like that Hunter is upfront from the get-go : he's there for her protection. He doesn't want to be her friend. If she needs a friend, there are a number of others on the team she can talk to but under no circumstances should she talk to him.

It certainly doesn't help that he's attracted to her, and the feeling is obviously mutual. 

'The attraction was there. She was subtle about it, but he'd noticed the glimmer of of female interest in her eyes the few times he'd caught her checking him out. The interest was definitely mutual. Under different circumstances he'd be making moves on her in a big way, but not when she was a client and he was in charge of her safety over here.'
Oh, ha-ha-ha, you silly man you...It's just a matter of hours/days and he goes back on that promise.
'When he finally told her, it would probably scare her shitless no matter how he worded it. He wished there was something else he could do to shield her from all this. He hated her being in harm's way over here.
'She was kind and gentle and only trying to make a difference. Not many people would go to these lengths to step up and do something to better the lives of complete strangers halfway across the world, let alone someone who'd just lost her father in such a horrific way and now facing a lethal threat of her own. Knowing those militant fuckers wanted to kill her filled him with a deep, protective rage he had to keep locked down if he wanted to be sharp out there.
'"Sure you want to be the one to give her the heads up tonight?" Gage asked as he packed equipment in his ruck.
'"I'm sure." She was already scared, even if she tried to hide it. No, this had to come from him. He was head of her detail. And dammit, he wanted to put her mind at ease before he left...
'Glancing over, he caught the flash of Gage's knowing grin before he masked it. "That's one hell of a bedtime story for her, Hunt. Think you'd better stay with her awhile afterward, just to make sure you don't give her nightmares. Maybe tuck her in. I promise not to wait up for you."
'He shot Gage a narrow-eyed look that warned him to mind his own fucking business. "Hey. Long walk. Short pier."
'Gage only chuckled and went back to packing his gear. Hunter scowled at himself and stalked across the room to check his weapons. He already cared about her on a personal level, and if Gage could see it too, he was in serious fucking trouble here...' 
...the other part that I love about that particular passage is the relationship between Gage and Hunter. It may have been the (partial) driving force (behind the personal recommendation from Kaylea herself) to read Gage's book.

Also, as a person who pretty much strongly dislikes side stories... I rather enjoyed the few glimpses into the whole Gage/Claire saga. It really made a girl want to know a little bit more about them.

As this was my first book of Kaylea's, I could not have been happier. IGNITED is well written, with great development in both the plot and characters. You can see the war, the bombs, the dishevelment... You even feel pretty bad for the poor couple (being Khalia and Hunter) when they get, uh-hmm, interrupted again... and again...

I always love the way a well-written hero loves his heroine, and Hunter with Khalia was no different. In the beginning, when he's supposed to just be head detail but is starting to do the hanky-panky with her, he still has such respect for her and how strong she manages to hold up under all of the pressure. I love that he doesn't press and push, but also that he respects her abilities. I love that he's so fiercely protective of her, even when he's not supposed to have feelings for her.

This was the first of four books I've read by Kaylea. I am extremely excited to add the rest to my collections! Slowly but surely, they will allllllllll be read.

review || DESIRED

Quick note... I read this book in August and started drafting this at that time. Please remind me that IT IS OCTOBER!!! Oh me, oh my.... Thank goodness I've changed how I review books (I now start the draft the moment I open the book and publish within a few days of finishing).

DESIRED was a book that I absolutely, positively, would not have picked up without NetGalley. BDSM is not really my thing -- and from what I've seen on Tumblr or random (maybe not so random) Google searches... yeah, really not for me.

I don't understand the humiliation or the pain. I don't get the desire to be a mere "kitten", cowering in a corner, while a man yells and whips at you.

......but Stacey Kennedy brought a different view point to it for me. And I have to say, after reading the book, I found more Tumblr posts (1 for each.... 30 or so, maybe) that veered toward the BDSM world that Stacey writes about -- that it's about trust, and letting go, and honestly -- being loved on a different level. It's about the pleasure that comes through for both parties. Yes, you have a Dominant partner and a submissive one. Yes, the Dom can seem cold in his wordage. But the cowardice is a choice, a choice that maybe the submissive needs to get away from her (or his) daily life.

*...I really do love this cover
Club Sin: DESIRED by Stacey Kennedy
Publisher: Loveswept (7/22/2014)
Series: Club Sin, book 3
Genre: Erotic Romance
Source: NetGalley for honest review
Buy It For Your Kindle | Nook || Goodreads
My Rating:

Kyler Morgan, Master at the legendary Club Sin in Las Vegas, knows how to give women what they want—too well. He hasn’t had a real challenge in a long time. Then Ella Snow enters his life. Beautiful, inhibited, and innocent in the ways of submission and domination, Ella is the new blood he’s been lusting after. Soon, the thrill of training her to embrace his world brings forth desires Kyler cannot control.
After ending an abusive relationship, Ella makes a promise to herself to start living life to the fullest. It’s one of the reasons she seeks out Club Sin. Here, Kyler’s every touch is a lesson in liberation, stirring passions that have no bounds. But as she falls under Kyler’s command, Ella discovers that some secrets are so dark they must come to light. Submission alone may not be enough to save her, leaving her Master with only one question: How can he help Ella heal while unlocking the deep pleasures she craves?

Stacey Kennedy Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

- - -
Like I said... Not a book I normally would pick up. But the cover was hot. Really, it was sexy. I mean, look at it a little bit longer. Sexy, yes? And he's pretty delicious looking...

So I pick books off of the cover. Big whoop. Luckily, the sexy cover went with a really, really good story.

This book was my first in the realm of BDSM. I didn't get into the SHADES fandom. I skim read the book at Target one day, shrugged, and figured it for 'child's play', because hey, I read romance books for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So without SHADES, my only other peak into the lifestyle was truly gifs on Tumblr (I read and I write, therefore, I research.......) -- and what I saw? Did not impress me (like I said above).

My very first highlight/note in this book was at the wedding, where Kyler notes to himself that all the bridesmaids were beautiful in their dresses, that it was such a different look than when they were all at the club, naked or in lingerie. Right off the bat, you learn that the lifestyle has two very separate faces -- the public view, and the private (which is public in it's own way) view.

But with all the beautiful ladies that Kyler (a dragon wielding master Dom at the club) can have his share of whenever... his eye keeps wandering to Ella, who is very much not part of the lifestyle. When she shows interest in him, he does what any guy in his position would do... 

...he kinda sorta introduces her to the lifestyle by some heavy petting in public.

I'm sure people are going to get sick of my reviews when every single one says something about character development, but I just can't help myself. Without good development, the story lacks. The development here was stellar. You learn from the get-go what a strong, trustworthy, kind Dom Kyler is, and you learn what a strong-willed woman Ella is -- even when, as time goes on, Kyler holds back on her, and they get into a pretty well-written fight.

If I didn't have a to-read queue of 20 books, I'd re-read this one right now. As it is, it gets a pretty number 5 to go with it so I know when I need a book to read, this is one of my go-to's.