Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Review: The Gamble (Colorado Mountain #1) by Kristen Ashley

The Gamble (Colorado Mountain, #1)The Gamble by Kristen Ashley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How do I even start this review? I don't know. This book swept me off my feet. Several people had recommended Kristen Ashley to me so I decided to take a gamble on one of her books and I lucked out because THE GAMBLE was amazing.

It's no joke when people call Kristen Ashley one of the queens of romance because 'The Gamble' had it all. An outstanding heroine in search of herself. A tough mountain man with a mouth on him and sex appeal by the bucket loads. A full cast of charming characters with it's hidden villains in the mix. And the best part of this book is that the characters are incredibly layered and there was suspense and not a boring moment. So even though 'The Gamble' is a long read, it doesn't ever worn you out because there is never a dull moment.

My favorite aspect of this book is that both Nina and Max, the main characters in this story, kinda thought they had seen the best to offer in life without realizing that the best was yet to come when they met each other. Their relationship went from being rocky, to funny, to sweet and then to intense, it seems like in no time. They went through all the phases that a couple could face until they realized that they had to be together or else life wouldn't be the same.

I think what makes this book special is how drastically different Nina and Max are from each other yet how their differences balance them out and create magic. Nina comes from England to a small town in Colorado to get away and get her thoughts sorted out. She is sophisticated, classy, strong willed and thoughtful and then meets Max. Max, is a alpha macho mountain man in Colorado who is a full out guys guy who likes beer, cussing, his land, and secretly was the biggest softie ever. I don't think Max ever thought he could fall for someone like Nina but he does and it was great to read about.

Not only is Nina hiding a lot of vulnerability, but as tough as mountain man Max is, he too, has been through so much, and takes a huge gamble on Nina when he falls for her. But what's awesome is that there are moments that Nina tries to walk away from him because of the newness and fear of this relationship with Max, but he never lets her get away. He knows what he wants and he makes her see it too and face the reality of what they have.

Max and Nina now take a place in my reading heart as one of my all time fave couples. I can't wait to read the rest of the books in this series and read about the rest of Kristen Ashley's famous alpha men. Ladies who told me to read this book, you were right, they are the best!

My rating: 5/5

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Review: Point of No Return by Olivia Luck

Point of No ReturnPoint of No Return by Olivia Luck
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Favorite quote from this book:
"That's what falling in love is, I guess. Hurling yourself at the unknown, unsure if a safety net will catch your fall. The thing is, if you don't fall, you're souring. The chance to soar with Violet is way worth the risk of the unknown."

Let me start this review by saying that this is my first book that I have read set in the hockey world and I was not disappointed. On the surface, this book looks like the classic, player type of guy who finds a really sweet girl to finally make him a 'one woman' type of man. And it is that in a sense, but it also is so much more. This book is about finding your voice in the world, finding meaning and overcoming grief.

The character development in this book is amazing. The two main characters, Violet and Cam, go through SO much growth. Violet has the challenge of overcoming the death of her husband and her strict religious upbringing. Cam, the male lead, has the challenge of learning to overcome his 'love and leave them' type of attitude with women to become the type of man who is devoted to one type of woman, in this case, Violet. The fact that Cameron is a famous hockey player who looks like a male model, doesn't help him in his quest so much because women are always flocking to him because of his fame and athletic status.

My favorite aspect of this book is that there is no insta love here. Cam does spot out Violet early on but at the time she is with someone else and goes through this whole ordeal with her husband who passes away. Because of that Violet has, like, a wall up, it takes her a long time to open herself up to the thought of love. Widow's guilt is what she suffers through and I have never read a book about a young woman becoming a widow and the grieving process and this book did it well. I could feel Violet's trepidation to say yes to Cameron. And though Cameron is an alpha male, he becomes the most patient, caring and sweetest guy with Violet. He respects her SO much and that was great to read about. A man that has pure admiration for a woman who is trying her best to survive the tragedies of life.

I loved that this book had great secondary characters. From Violet's straightforward gay best friend, Felix, to her other bestie, Stella, they were all such well developed characters in their own right. I loved Ben, who was the cousin of Violet's deceased husband, who had down syndrome but was such a fully fleshed out character rather than a caricature of someone with disability. Even down to the characters who were not the greatest of people, this book had great characterization.

My favorite character in this book was Cameron. Totally new book boyfriend material. So protective, so sexy, so everything. Seeing his process of growth was awesome. He really learned with Violet that he could find Miss Right. I also thought it was so funny how he had to fight his sexual thoughts with Violet. This poor man, suffered. He was SO into her in always, but because she was a widow, trying to find her own place in the world, he had to be patient. But when they finally do hook up, HELLO. Cam drops the sweet side and becomes the purest of Alpha males and let's his inner desires flow to the surface. He definitely became the type of man who take the wheel.

Lastly, a really great aspect of this book is that it shows the reader that they must have patience in life and that even when they do fall in love, they can't forget to pursue their dreams and goals. Because YES Violet and Cameron develop feelings for one another and had a rocky journey to find their way back to eachother, but they don't get lost in that. Violet pursues her goals as an event planner, while Cameron stays focused on his career as a goalie on a hockey team.

Overall, this was a really great read. I think there will be a book about Violet's sister, who also has the challenge of overcoming her strict upbringing and facing love, sexuality and life in the big city of Chicago.

My rating: 4.5/5

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Review: Beautiful Entourage by E.L. Todd (Beautiful Entourage #1)

Beautiful Entourage (Beautiful Entourage #1)Beautiful Entourage by E.L. Todd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first book I have ever read about an escort service and it was nothing like I expected. In a good way, of course. This book is about misconceptions and two damaged souls coming together to become each others support system.

The main characters, Aspen and Rhett, don't have the best of lives, though on the surface it may be appear to be so. Though Aspen is a successful business woman, she works under her father, who is a complete disaster of a human being and undermines everything she does. Rhett on the other hand is an escort in a escort company he built with friends. He is a handsome and smart guy but because of his profession people tend to misjudge him and think that he is a sort of prostitute which is not the case.

Rhett's escort service has very strict rules to keep the people who hire them from doing anything romantic or sexual with them. All they do is accompany people to events who need them either because they are lonely and need someone to talk to or need a handsome man to keep appearances with friends, family, or work people and not look like they are alone. So the escorts are kinda like boyfriends or friends for hire. And the escorts do make good money. Sadly though, their personal lives do suffer because of the misconceptions that people have with a person being an escort.

My favorite aspect of this book is the characterization. Rhett and Aspen are an amazing leading couple. Aspen does suffer a lot because of her father and goes through a betrayal with her boyfriend and cousin. In comes Rhett who she hires and the rest is history. A beautiful relationship blossoms between the two that starts as a friendship and grows into something more with time. Part in due to the rules of the escort service, these two have to struggle to get together. Rhett helps Aspen learn that not all men are bad and that she's not alone in the world. While Rhett learns that not all women will objectify him and misjudge him and that he doesnt have to suffer with his family problems alone (he has a brother with a strange phobia who requires a lot of his help).

The romance in this book is so sweet which you wouldn't expect with an escort and his client, since that is how Aspen meets Rhett. They also get really hot and heavy. Rhett is such a swoon worthy guy. He is sexy, smart, caring. Aspen is a bit skeptical about herself because of her past relationship but Rhett lets her overcome that by just letting her be herself and loving her for who she is. Their relationship is so healthy and comes so natural.

There are also some tough villains in this book. Aspen's father and cousin are the worst people but I liked how Aspen always stayed strong and overcame that.

I love the best friends in this book. Harper is so fun and loyal and straightforward. She is a huge support system for Aspen. While Troy is a bit foul mouthed and might come off as a meat-head but is actually quite a good and supportive friend for Rhett. I think he and Harper might be the subject of one of the following books in this series. Both character seem confident but I think that below the surface, their is a bit of loneliness with them and phobia of relationships.

This is a great start to this series. I can bet each book in this series is about each of the five escorts in the Beautiful Entourage company and I think they will all be awesome guys, like Rhett in book 1 has been.

My Rating: 4/5

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Review: The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski

The Edge of Never (The Edge of Never, #1)The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I like the style of writing in this book. It is very contemporary in the sense that the references to pop culture are very current and clever. I like how the author often described a character and in the same breath compared them to a famous actor. It really brought a lot of the characters to life.

The highlight of this book for me is the first half of it. Camryn, the female lead, had a really unique voice in the first half of this book. She wanted to break free from the monotony of life and look for something more. She quits her jobs, buys a ticket on a bus to nowhere, no real destination and it was one of the coolest decisions I've seen a character make because it was brave. People tend to get tied down by life, daily life responsibilities, but this girl follows her gut and makes a run for it, a run towards freedom.

Camryn meets this very cool and gorgeous looking guy on the bus and the rest is history. Andrew, the male lead of the story, also doesn't want to be tied to societal conventions and finds himself intrigued by Camryn on this bus alone, which for a young woman can be dangerous with all the creepers out there nowadays.

Camryn and Andrew eventually find themselves on a road trip together, going from city to city with nothing but what they have in their pockets. What's cool about Andrew is that he also had really cool views in life. He essentially didn't want to live by anyone's rules and do what makes him happy.

Overall, this book would've been a perfect read if it wasnt for the second half of the book. Andrew comes in the story and for someone who wants to break free, Camryn surely becomes a bit submissive and cliche as a girl. Andrew definitely takes authority in this book and Camryn loses the powerful voice she had in the first half. Almost doesnt seem like the same girl. You see glimpses of it, but it doesnt follow through with what she wanted in the first half of the book.

I do love that Camryn and Andrew want to create their own life for themselves without caring what people think. They encounter everything: creepers, bars, illness, death, their own insecurities, you name it. On their road trip together they go through it all. They do have a tenderness to their love story, but it also gets really steamy. Like, be warned, the sex scenes are descriptive, nothing was held back. NOTHING. It got 50 shades of grey real quick in some moments. This book has it all.

There is a lot of surprises towards the end. Good and bad. But my only quirk was that I felt Camryn lost a bit of what made her a unique female lead, her strong voice and willfullness. Overall, this is a good start to this series, I do know there is a sequel. I do wonder how their story continues.

My rating: 4/5

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Review: Unforgettable (Forehead Kisses #5) by Abby Reynolds

Unforgettable (Forehead Kisses #5)Unforgettable by Abby Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book 5 in the Forehead Kisses series was a really quick and good read. This book was the conclusion to the Scotty and Livia storyline. In Book 4 we learned that Livia was hiding a traumatic event in her past and that Scotty had fallen for her after years of just hooking up with random girls and essentially being a man whore. In Unforgettable we find them learning to trust one another and being truthful about their lives.

What was great in this book is that Livia who was really closed off from people finally tells the truth about what happened to her in her life that changed her. She opens up to Scotty, her boyfriend, and Ash, her brother. It felt like it helped them understand her and her closed off nature a lot better.

This book was intense in the sense it covers heavy topics. Especially that of abusing a person in the worst way. I don't want to say to not be spoilery, but this book had a powerful message, of how important it is to not let traumatic events define you and to rise above them to appreciate the little things in life that make it great.

Scotty and Livia did get really hot and heavy in this book. It gets steamy. But overall, what I love about this couple is how sweet and considerate they are of each others feelings.

I'm looking forward to reading Ash's story in book 6 and 7 in this series. He is a really good brother to Livia but he does act recklessly in his personal life. With that being said, I look forward to seeing him mature and trying to be a better man. He seems to think very badly of all people even though he parties and drinks a lot and sleeps around. I wonder what is lying underneath. And for those fans of the Vampire Academy and Bloodline series by Richelle Mead, Ash reminds me of a non supernatural Adrian Ivashkov.

Rating: 4/5

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Review: Unstoppable (Forehead Kisses #4) by Abby Reynolds

Unstoppable (Forehead Kisses #4)Unstoppable by Abby Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

By far, Unstoppable, book # 4 in the Forehead Kisses series has been my favorite.

The story centers on Scotty and Livia. Both are very layered characters. Scotty is a history major who wants to be a fighter. Livia is a painter who is very analytical. They have sworn off relationships until they meet one another. Together they are very sweet. Both are broken souls who need to learn how to trust.

Scotty is just the sweetest guy. I thought he was good from the first books in this series and how supportive he was with his cousin, Keira. But with Livia it's what he was, times ten. Scotty may look tough on the outside but his soul is pure good.

Livia seems to have had something very traumatic happen to her so she is closed off. Im guessing that in Book #5 we will get to learn in detail what that is. And see how she and Scotty finally learn to love and trust one another completely because they didnt end on the highest of notes in this book and that makes my heart ache because they are soooo amazing together.

Besides, Scotty and Livia, this book introduces us to Ash, Livia's brother, who will be the focus of the last two books in this series. I think there is more to him than a pretty boy rich guy who likes to sleep around. I think there is a very good heart underneath it all because he is a very good brother to Livia.

My rating: 4.5/5
This book was a quick read and ended on a huge cliffhanger. I need more!

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