Image Slider

4.5 Country Stars

| On
Saturday, April 30, 2016
Good Girl
(Love Unexpectedly #2)
by Lauren Lane






Noah, Noah, Noah. My notes about you read like this:

- jerk
- grumpy bastard
- wow, what an asshole
- prick

I found more colorful words for him but let's not get carried away. 

Before I started this I thought it would be connected to Blurred Lines, the first installment of the Love Unexpectedly series. It is not. You can read it as a standalone, it is not connected in any way. This story is told in dual-POV which makes the experience always more multi-layered, I find. 

Jenny Dawson is a good girl. She is also a singer and songwriter and the darling of the country music scene. She tries to stay out of the tabloids - the worst that has been written about her up until now is that she has a baby belly, courtesy of a burrito, unbeknownst to the author of the article. When a fellow singer claims that he and Jenny had an affair outside of his marriage and she is painted as a homewrecker she loses it and takes a break from LA. She seeks out the loneliness of the Louisiana Bayous. 

Noah Maxwell is a Southern boy with the sexy drawl to go with. He is also the illegitimate spare because the heir to his father died when Noah was fourteen. Dirt-poor and living in a trailer until then he all of a sudden was a rich kid, bending his will to his father's. Noah owns a fixer-upper in the Bayous he didn't know of until a short while ago. When a famous country singer wants to rent it he starts to reconstruct, renovate and fixing it. He finds he is good at it, working with his hands gives him peace.

"...there's something about it that calms me. It's one of those places where you hear your thoughts louder and more clearly than anywhere else."


Jenny arrives a day early and Noah, not wanting to reveal that he is famous in his own right claims to be the caretaker. Noah hates everything Jenny stands for and knowing she is a homewrecker doesn't really endear her to him. But damn, she is hot and makes him feel all kinds of things he has no business feeling.

"Playing dumb won't change the fact that you'll be thinking about me all night, princess. Your fingers will be a poor stand-in for my tongue, I can promise you that." 

Jenny is a sweet heroine with spunk. She can't hold a grudge for long - not once while reading did I think it was because she was weak. I think she doesn't because she is inherently nice and sweet. She has that fresh-faced spirit of a down-to-earth country girl. I loved that.

"You know, we've done this a couple times now You're a jerk - and I mean real, grade A asshole stuff - and then you apologize. And I say OK. But then you do it again, and I think..."

Noah, what a complicated guy. A grade A asshole who I can only forgive because he has an appendage I don't have. Yeeeaaaah, I'm cheap like that and love a-holes in books. He doesn't pull any punches and becomes outright mean when he feels cornered. It took a while for him to get his sh*t together but when he did it was amazingly sweet.

"The hope in his eyes gets to me.
Please, his eyes say. Stay.
And damn it, now I feel like crying again, only for a different reason. No matter how much this complicated guy thinks he doesn't need anyone or anything, there's a coarse vulnerability there that nearly undoes me. 

The side characters were awesome too. Finn and Vaughn are Noah's most loyal and best friends and they are hilarious! I hope we get to see their story too.

Lauren Layne has a talent. She made me love someone who I started out hating in the span of 220 pages. There is little angst which is a Lauren Layne trademark. Not a surprise that she is my go-to author when I need to shake up things. If you dig a-holes like I do and a sweet heroine who can take it and gives it back as good, this definitely is for you. 


3 Sorceri Stars

| On
Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Shadow's Claim  

Dacians #1/Immortals After Dark #13

 by Kresley Cole





This'll be quick and I'll forgo recounting the plot in length and will dive right into my thoughts. It will also be somewhat spoiler-ish.

With this installment I'm all caught up with the Immortal After Dark Series. Not sure why I didn't read Shadow's Claim when it was its turn but I think it had something to do with the fact that it strayed from the original series and I figured I could just start it as an independent one. Not sure if this helped to see it in a clear light or just threw me out of the loop. Anyhoo, I digress. 

Bettina is forced to marry. To determine who the (un)lucky guy will be a tournament is being held. She agreed to this archaic practice despite her feelings for her childhood friend Caspion. Why the hell would she do this?

Enter Trehan who happens upon her by following a hunch. She bloods him, making her his eternal mate, the poor sod. Trehan is an assassin, a loyal servant of a secret and hidden kingdom. He is also a contender for the crown. He is a strategic planer and leaves nothing to coincidence. That's also how he woos his bride. A minor nuisance comes up when he realizes that he has to assassinate her bride's best friend as a duty to his kingdom.

Many times while reading Bettina's and Trehan's story I found myself rolling my eyes and being annoyed. Whenever Bettina said how much she loved her childhood friend Caspion I wanted to slap her. And I suppose if I could have she'd have ended up with bruises in her face because, swear to God, I wanted to slap her most of the book. This heroine did nothing to endear her to me. She was stupid, made dumb and rash decisions at one turn and the next she was too cautious and fearful. 

Trehan was swoon-worthy and he pretty much saved this book from being one of the few DNFs in my book history. He was strong and devoted to win over his fated bride despite the obstacles. And Bettina's stupidity. When he suspects her of poisoning him I was wondering what made him think that - she wasn't smart enough to think of something so devious. 

The last couple of chapters reminded me of why I love Kresley Cole's books. When Lothaire and Sabine made an appearance I whooped cheerfully and oh those pages were so good but they couldn't safe this story for me. All together the  Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrott-Moments were too many and my dislike for the heroine really spoiled it for me. The 3-star-rating stems from Kresley Cole's quality writing, Lothaire's and Sabine's appearance and Trehan being a delicious hero. Sorry :(




3,75 Cello Stars

| On
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Blurred Lines
by Lauren Layne



Lauren Layne is another one of those go-to authors I choose if I need an enjoyable feel-good story. I finished last night and had to sleep over the rating for this one. I love the promise a friends-to-lovers setting holds. I love the initial intimacy they have from the beginning. It's not much different with Blurred Lines.

Ben and Parker have been friends for years. No, not just friends, best friends. They have gone through good times and bad. They live as room mates by a set of rules and they are in tune with each other. The easy way of their friendship is something they both cherish and don't want to let go.

Ben is a manwhore. And we all know how delicious they are. Ben is also a fantastic friend to Parker and has his own code of honor. Sex is to him a fun past time, the more diverse the girls, the better. So he doesn't really want to commit to a relationship, at least not now. 

When Parker's boyfriend breaks up with her Ben is there to catch her and to give her a shoulder she can sob on. Once the hurt eases she has the glorious idea of hooking up with her roommate, because, well, she misses sex and she doesn't want the anonymous sex Ben so celebrates. She approaches her best friend and after setting some rules they go at it. And when I say "go at it" I mean they set the bed on fire. This no-strings sex works perfectly for a while. But have they really thought this through? After several weeks of mind-blowing sex they both feel other emotions bubbling up to the surface. 

Ben and my no strings attached relationship?
Yeah. Turns out that there are suddenly strings after all.
And I'm completely tangled in them.

They still hold on fast to their friendship and try to navigate the complications arising from the change in their relationship.


What if the guy right guy to scratch my sexual itch is the one who makes me laugh? The one I can talk to. What if the right guy...Has been right in front of me?

I loved the dialogues and inner monologues of these two. They had an ease to their friendship that was refreshing and funny - I adored their witty banter. I did have an issue with how they both stopped communicating after the first emotions surfaced. The problems they had, dealing with their respective feelings, shouldn't have been this huge if they had actually talked without leaving this gigantic elephant in the room. However, I get that there had to be a little bit angst for the plot development. 

I have been debating (with myself) whether the way Parker handled her ex-boyfriend's return was relatable. And I couldn't find an answer. I wouldn't have given in but I'm sure there are people who would probably choose a false sense of security over scary feelings.

Ben on the other hand was a revelation. He was HOT as hell, hilarious and adorable. The way he just was THERE for his best friend whenever Parker needed him was sweet. 

That’s one rather crucial detail we’ve each learned about the other person. 
That we’ll put their needs first. Always.

There were a lot of aspects I loved about this story, a few things I had issues with and around the 60% mark it seemed to drag slightly but that might have been me, because it did pick up again right after that. Altogether I'd totally recommend this for the dialogues alone.



4 Musical Stars

| On
Sunday, April 17, 2016


Manhandled

Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliott




I love Taryn Elliott's and Cari Quinn's writing style. It's lighthearted, sexy and entertaining. What we have here is a sexed up version of the 90s movie Bodyguard. And I mean that in the best possible way.

Quinn loves order. When his best friend Noah talks him into security detail for a member of his brother's band Quinn is close to refusing. Bands are trouble. Famous bands even more so. Too bad he can't say no as he owes Noah big time. When he finally meets Keys/Faith he KNOWS that she will upset is life.




Keys is chaos. She loves everything Quinn doesn't. At her band's front man Hunter's wedding to Kennedy she is being drugged and almost kidnapped by a stalker. Hunter's brother Noah is a badass extraordinaire and would love to take the bodyguard job for Keys - he has a soft spot for her after all. Alas, he has already committed to another position so the next best guy is his best friend Quinn.

Quinn gives Keys a set of rules and soon he learns that his charge doesn't care much for them.

There are twenty-four rules on his list. I have to schedule a shit, for God's sake.
As time passes without another incident their attraction grows and Quinn fights it with everything he has. He knows he has to keep his distance and objectivity, otherwise he won't be any good in case the stalker strikes again.

"So you can't come in here, because I need those boundaries to keep you safe"

Once he gives in though, he goes all in and hell, that's beautiful and hot. Together they burn up the sheets!

I fell in love with Keys and Quinn right from the beginning. Keys is a lighthearted, beautiful firecracker with an easy smile. Quinn a serious guy who shines once he gets his snark on and loosens up a bit. I can't blame him for being a bit reserved though, he does have a serious job and a fuck-up in his line of work usually equals dead people. Keys upsets everything he believes in.

The story itself is a slower and sweeter burn than its predecessor Manaconda. It's still a fast-paced story with great banter and lovable side characters. The words flow effortlessly. One scene that has stuck with me in particular is when we see  Hunter's wedding through Keys' eyes. The description is lyrical and sweet and the way our heroine is moved by the emotions is gorgeous.

If you love low-angst yet captivating stories with snarky characters I can highly recommend these two authors. They never fail to light up my day. The next in the series will be Owen and he has made me really curious about him. I think I will love him just as much!



Cyber-Bullying is not OK

| On
Thursday, April 14, 2016

 

Cyber-Bullying is not OK



Today I want to put the spotlight on a serious topic and on an author who is not a good example of how to deal with bad reviews. In fact, she might be a publisher's nightmare. But let's start at the beginning, shall we?

A popular reviewer on Goodreads, known for her well-balanced, humorous and fleshed-out book reviews posted her thoughts on J.C. Cliff's book Quinn in the Undaunted Men series. She didn't like a lot of aspects of the book and explained why it didn't work for her. What did J.C. Cliff do?



She told her minions to go do the dirty work and bully our lovely reviewer. The collective of bloggers and reviewers down-rated the book as a consequence pointing out that cyber-bullying is not a trivial offense but actually pretty serious. The ratings went from 4.12 stars down to 3.44 in the time span of 24 hours. As the day progressed new evidence of the author's failings to deal with bad reviews appeared.



and






What happened in the aftermath can only be described as big pile of steaming donkey poop. Apparently the author went ahead and whined to Goodreads' authorities that she was being treated poorly. All the ratings and reviews disappeared overnight and it doesn't seem like J.C. Cliff realizes her wrong-doings. One good thing about blogs is that you are your own boss. You can express your opinion without being censored so this post will go on my Goodreads profile to make a point.

Writing a review is tough work. You have to take notes, gather your thoughts and eventually get them in order to write what you liked and disliked. And because you WANT to like the books you read you look for the good things you can point out. Our lovely reviewer did a fantastic job, while still staying respectful, yet she was bashed for it.

Some reviewers do an amazing job and I can only hope to be as good one day - although I think that's an illusion ;) So sending out fans to bully a reviewer is not just frowned upon, it is what would be unsportsmanlike conduct in sports. To the  author J.C. Cliff I have only one thing to say: I'll NEVER read a book written by you.





Edited to Add: 
- In the last 24 hours the ratings went from 3.81 to 2.76 stars on Goodreads.

- The author posted something that is supposed to be an apology - make of it what you will...the snippet below is just another example of how the author lays the blame on Lana and doesn't see her own fault in this muddle 




And she's digging her grave even deeper....so much for her apology






4 Sexy Stars

| On
Wednesday, April 13, 2016






This is a re-release which has been slightly edited since the original release. Before this I'd never read a book by this author although I'd had her on my TBR forever. I'll definitely read more of her works.

This story is a classic story of natural born enemies becoming lovers. Typical Romeo and Juliet style. Although this was a very short story there was a lot of information to get a feel for the world our two main characters were living in.

Kieran is a vampire and one night of hot sex with Melina tilted his world on its axis. Why can't he get the wolf shifter out of his mind when they are supposed to hate each other? And Melina feels pretty much the same way. Kieran is a protective and possessive alpha male with a sweet side to him and Melina is the female version of him. She goes against her families wish to see Kieran and he in return does everything to justify her faith in him.

Enemy Mine was a quick sexy read with adorable characters. I really hope that Katie Reus expands this universe and gives us more stories set in it. 

4 #TrewLove Stars

| On
Monday, April 11, 2016




Hi there, Trent and Drew. I have been waiting patiently for your return!

When the first part of this Trent's and Drew's story ended on a cliffy I couldn't wait to get the second one in my hands. Thankfully, the waiting time wasn't too long.

We are back where we left off when Trent backed out of their relationship after being beaten by frat brothers. Trent doesn't want this for Drew so the only way to protect his love is by breaking up.

"I fell in love with my best friend. It's a good damn thing I was a fighter. I'd fight for him. I'd fight for me. I'd fight for us.
This installment deals with how they solve this problem, a little bit of Drew's career, figuring out how to get rid of the secrecy of their relationship, the reaction of their respective families and also the cowards who attacked Trent and beat him to a pulp.

I have to say this was a little bit slower, it took a while for the story to take off. The first fifth of the book handles the break-up and it felt a little too long for my taste. There wasn't as much racing here either and I would have liked to see more of that. Still, it was an enjoyable read and it was heartwarming to see how Drew and Trent just held on fast to their love and made it bloom. They were incredibly sweet with each other. The way Drew handled Trent's vulnerability gave me a toothache, it was so freaking sweet.

I miss you like a fry misses Ketchup.

The revenge they dished out was delicious and my vicious little heart rejoiced in how Trent was playing with his food. We also saw tiny bit of Joey, Lorhaven and Arrow. The two brothers really surprised me.

On to Lorhaven and hopefully Joey. I think I'll love them just as much as these two!

3.5 stars

| On
Saturday, April 09, 2016






I was really torn how to rate this (damn you, GR, for not giving us half stars) There were aspects which I liked a lot. Others not so much...so I'll dive right in and hope this won't be too rant-ey.

Grady is a whitewater rafter. If you have been on a river whitewater kayaking or rafting you know that it takes a lot of skill to ride the rapids. I went kayaking on a category II two years ago and hell that was tough (fun, too though!). Anyway, Grady works for an outfitter as a whitewater guide. One day on the water he, his cousin Finn and a guy (also both rafters) from the outfitter company  he works for are involved in an accident that cost his co-worker his life and his cousin falls into a coma. The guilt he lives with, combined with a tragic past with his family and relationship make his life hard and he tries to stay out of relationships.

Micah is volunteering at the hospital Finn is a patient at. He reads to comatoese patients - having been in the situation too he knows that people in a coma react to their surroundings. This is how he meets Grady. Their first encounter is everything but smooth but Grady is curious and his aversion to relationships notwithstanding he meets with Micah to learn more about the guy who he can't get out of his mind. Both of them have secrets. Will they let those secrets drive them apart?

I absolutely loved the concept of Micah's secret and how, once he opened up about it, Grady dealt with it. It was  touching and sweet. Micah longs for love but he is convinced that he can't impose his problems on anyone. I loved Micah, he was the sunshine where Grady was all shadows.

Grady...God...it took me until the last couple of pages to warm up to him. He was guilt-ridden and and wallowed in self pity quite a bit. Micah tried to help him but whenever he did so, Grady would start throwing barbs. I wasn't a fan as you can tell. This guy had mood swings like a woman on her period. Part of Grady's problem is that while he doesn't let his sexuality define him, he did so with his sexual proclivities. It annoyed the hell out of me that despite Micah showing him that he was safe with him Grady just hid behind the wall he'd built. Micah challenged him at every corner. It took most of the book for Grady to see the light and when he did it was like flipping a switch.

Despite it all, this was a deep story about two men finding love despite a lot of obstacles - sometimes the pacing was a bit overwhelming but altogether I did like the story. And eventually Grady.

***ARC provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

4.5. Wicked Stars

| On
Monday, April 04, 2016






This installment of the Wicked Horse series makes me all kinds of happy. Leave it to Sawyer Bennett to drag me out of a MAJOR book hangover. As always there is low angst and a sweet love story with endearing characters.

She gives us Rand who has been introduced in the previous books as part of a fantasy. He is loyal to the bone, a nurturer and inherently nice while intensely sensual and dirty.

Cat, our heroine, is sweet and strong with a backbone. We have met her as well as the wife of a rich guy who let her play in The Silo seemingly doing it on her own free will. Far from it. When we meet her she is without a roof over her head and Rand, being the white knight in shiny armor that  he has always been, takes her in and offers her to stay until she can get back on her own two feet. As the story develops we learn more about Cat and why she ended up being married to an old guy who got his rocks off while she was being gang-banged by strangers. Said old man has passed away and cut her out of his will and that's how she ends up sleeping in her car when Rand finds her.

Cat thinks she's used goods, broken. Life has dealt her a bad hand and when she married the old f*ck she thought she had a chance at a good life. The old Samuel, her late husband, however shared her with his family, friends and business partners in exchange for favors. The kindness Rand shows her is alien to her but welcome. Rand doesn't want to accept sex for his kindness, he just want to help Cat. One night at The Silo all bets are off though and they give in to their explosive chemistry which slowly morphs into something more.

Cat is a lovely, likable heroine who was living a nightmare and made the best out of it. She is a survivor and so worthy of the feelings Rand offers her. Rand is a total sweetheart, he gets Cat, understands why she had to do what she did.

Loved the side characters again just as much - Bridger the enigmatic and wise owner of The Silo. I'm so looking forward to his story. Love how he is there being all mysterious but doesn't steal the main character's thunder. Callie, who we met in the first book of the series, kicks major butt when she knocks some sense into Cat. Kevin, the old guy's oldest son, who is such a slimy douchebag you only can hate him. Logan - holy crap...that scene with Cat and Rand - get a pair of fresh panties ready.

This was another winner by Sawyer Bennett and I can't wait to see what else she has in store for us!

***ARC provided via NetGalley in exchange for honest review***

5 Farewell Stars

| On
Sunday, April 03, 2016




"I'll never see you that way again.Because before this, I didn't know you were essential for me to feel alive"

I'm nursing the mother of all book hangovers. This is the first time in a long time that I just wanted to start a re-read of a series right away after finishing it. Tate and Logan have my heart still in a tight grip and won't let go all that soon. I jokingly said to a friend that it feels a bit like falling in love with somebody and then having to break up with them despite your feelings. 

In the conclusion to the series we get a kick to the sternum with a brutal force that, honestly, left me shedding tears and with a bruised heart. Holy sh*t. I won't be elaborating on the plot as it would be a major spoiler. 

We also get to see Finley who has his own story and I'm absolutely excited that I'll be reading this very soon. Can't say I was a big fan of him in Logan's and Tate's story but that's exactly the reason why I need to know what happened to him. 

There is a lot of sexy times again. Before I started reading MM I was wondering how I would feel about reading about two men getting at it. I was scared that while I am a big fan of the gay pride movement it would be a bit TMI for my taste. I am still incredibly surprised how much I enjoy the erotic scenes between two guys. And these two...their desire is intense and burning brightly and well...hell...panties = soaked. 

Finally...how are Tate and Logan settling into their relationship? With Logan only Tate gets to see his fragile side. The one that has the ability to shatter in an instant when it comes to the love of his life. The feelings he transports through the pages are as beautiful and pure as his mind is dirty.


"See the corner of the mattress over there? Feel free to bite it when I'm fucking you so hard your throat is hoarse from shouting."

Tate on the other hand knows how to push Logan's buttons and he does that a lot. Tate is such a reliable, steady, loyal guy. I think if these two were real I'd totally assimilate them forcibly into my life as friends.

They get along very well and there are only minor insecurities when it comes to their relationship. Logan and Tate have come a long way and are now building a life together. I would love to read more about them and maybe Ella Frank will give us little glimpses into their life.

“I love you,” he said, and as Logan looked at him, he reached for his hands. “I had no idea when you first sat down across from me that night—no idea what I’d been missing,” Tate whispered. “It was you.

I will definitely re-read this series but for now I have to let them go. Gonna miss the boys.