Tag Archives: ARC

Hold Me Down

By Sara Taylor Woods

Hold Me Down

Synopsis

Talia Benson has always been independent, unafraid to go after what she wants, regardless of setback, injury, or failure. But between her father’s conditional tuition payments and her mother’s nagging concern over her emotional state, Talia’s suffocating.

So when Talia meets doctoral student Sean Poole, she can’t figure out why she wants him to control her. Why she wants him to boss her around. Why she wants him to hurt her.

Talia learns the hard way that not all control is created equal, and sometimes submitting is the most empowering thing in the world.

From the author: Hold Me Down is a standalone romance with a HEA. It contains graphic sexual situations, language, D/s elements (including Daddy play), as well as discussion (but no depiction) of self-harm. 

Review

Hold Me Down has left me feeling so many emotions, I am raw, this was a devastatingly dark and highly emotional read, it had me gripped and I wanted to crawl into this story and stand with Talia when she was getting attacked from so many of her inner circle.

The Christmas period had me devastated, when she went on the medication, she was so alone and her semester back in college having to go to that class, she showed her strength.

One surprising story within Hold Me Down is her faith as a Jew, it was actually really incredible how the author spun Talia’s beliefs and her upbringing into her need for control and acknowledgement of good deeds.  Talia’s relationship with her parents helps you to understand how she thinks and her inner turmoils and need to affection.

Now onto Beardy McBlue Eyes ,well Dr Poole is bold and direct however towards the end I think I fell in love with that man, the showdown between Talia and Sean and their emotional outpouring of grief from their time apart gave me tingles and tears.

The passionate dominating scenes in Hold Me Down flow well, the build up of sexual tension and anticipation will have your squirming in your seat as you read.

I love the cover of this book and I would honestly read another whole story on Dr Poole and Talia.

Quote: I believe in strength through faith. I believe in compassion and freedom.

Hold Me Down

My Rating: 

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Fear the Beard (The Dixie Warden Rejects MC #2)

By Lani Lynn Vale

Synopsis

Tally is a twenty-year-old single mother struggling to finish nursing school. Has she made mistakes in life? Sure, but her daughter isn’t one of them. She works hard, she studies even harder, and she’s only a few weeks away from graduating.
She’s living her life the best she knows how when she witnesses a near miss motorcycle accident between a car and a biker. A biker that happens to be the most talked about teacher at her college.

The moment she meets those startling blue, narrowly-escaped-death eyes, she realizes quickly that life as she knows it has changed. No longer will she be content to let life pass her by, even if it puts everything she’s worked so hard for in jeopardy.

***

Tommy is a highly skilled doctor. A teacher. A veteran. A fully-patched member of The Dixie Wardens MC. He’s lonely, but also set in his ways. What will it take for this man to accept that he needs to make some changes in his life? Apparently, it’ll take a guy in a truck, who’s preoccupied with his phone rather than focused on the road, nearly plowing into him on his bike at seventy miles per hour. Oh, and a twenty-something year old nursing student witnessing the entire thing from only a few feet away.

It only takes a second, a single heartbeat in time, as he looks into her worry-filled eyes to realize that he’d give anything for a single night with her. He may lose his job in the process, but after that one incredible night turns into an amazing weekend, he knows it’s worth the risk for the promise of her forever

Review

Firstly I love the cover of Fear the Beard and also I love the Dedication.  I recommend you read it as the story will make so much more sense and it is just beautiful between Tally and Tallulah, the love this mother has for her daughter.  As soon as I realised Tally get’s Hangry I knew she was my kind of girl!

Another beautiful part of this story is the way Tommy is with Tallulah, it fits perfectly with him being a doctor, brought tears to my eyes with the way he cared for her and also Tally for that matter.  There was great humour and banter between the characters and the age difference between Tommy and Tally made sense as he provided the calm and mature comfort for her and Tally also was very mature for her age considering she had her daughter so young, it all just made sense.

Fear the Beard is paced perfectly and dual POV help connect all the stories and Hadley provided an interesting surprise and I also enjoyed Ghost.

Tommy and Tally’s sex scenes were passionate and full of fire and I really enjoyed watching their story grow including Tally’s family involvement and of course the MC and this story was ended perfectly.

Quote: “My girl gets Hangry”

Fear the Beard (The Dixie Warden Rejects MC #2)

My Rating: 

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The Hard Truth About Sunshine

By Sawyer Bennett

Synopsis

Despite having narrowly escaped death’s clutches, Christopher Barlow is grateful for nothing. His capacity to love has been crushed. He hates everyone and everything, completely unable to see past the gray stain of misery that coats his perception of the world. It’s only after he involuntarily joins a band of depressed misfits who are struggling to overcome their own problems, does Christopher start to re-evaluate his lot in life.

What could they possibly learn from one another? How could they possibly help each other to heal? And the question that Christopher asks himself over and over again… can he learn to love again?

He’s about to find out as he embarks upon a cross country trip with a beautiful woman who is going blind, a boy with terminal cancer, and an abuse victim who can’t decide whether she wants to live or die.

Four people with nothing in common but their destination. They will encounter adventure, thrills, loss and love. And within their travels they will learn the greatest lesson of all.

The hard truth about sunshine…

Warning: This book deals with some tough issues including suicide and sexual abuse.

Review

I don’t even know where to start with this review, mainly because I just don’t think I have the words that will do this book justice.

When I first received the ARC request for THE HARD TRUTH ABOUT SUNSHINE, I spent several days wavering between signing up for it because it’s a Sawyer Bennett book, and not signing up for it because it sounded too intense for my tastes.  I finally decided to request an ARC, but when it was time for me to read it, I hesitated again.  I still wasn’t sure if it was right for me and I’ll admit I regretted signing up for it.  But then I started reading it and I have never been happier to prove myself wrong.

I want to slap their sunny smiles off their faces, and I want them to come down to my level where they can wallow around in the sludge of desolation with me.  I want everyone to feel as bad as I do, because it’s unfair that I can’t seem to feel better on my own.

I won’t sugar coat it, Christopher starts out as an absolute arsehole.  He’s so bogged down hating his own life and being angry at the world over his disfigurement, that he doesn’t care about anyone else’s problems.  After being abandoned by his family and girlfriend while recovering from his injuries, he’s bitter and unwilling to let anyone else in.  But after just a few days into a road trip with the three members of his therapy group, he starts to open up and let them in, and he grows up a lot in a short amount of time because of it.

I choose to live.
I choose to love.
I choose to forge my path.
Life is my choice.

THE HARD TRUTH ABOUT SUNSHINE is told only in Christopher’s POV, so it’s his story you learn the most about.  But while Christopher is the focus, Jillian, Connor and Barb play big roles from beginning to end.  Their personal stories will break your heart at the unfairness of it all, and all three will grab your heart in their own ways.  This is a stand-alone and despite the devastating topics woven throughout, it does come with a HEA, one that is both sad and beautiful.  It was a perfect end to an emotional story.

THE HARD TRUTH ABOUT SUNSHINE is beyond amazing.  It is real, deeply emotional and it will break your heart before putting it back together again.  I smiled a little.  I laughed a little.  I cried a lot.  I think I will be hard pressed to find another book that will affect me as deeply as this one did for a very long time.

The Hard Truth About Sunshine

My Rating:  

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Bossed

By Sloane Howell

Synopsis

He’s the boss. But she’s ready to take charge.

Jenny: Job interviews are a bitch under the best of circumstances, but when your potential boss is the world’s biggest prick, that’s when you should simply walk away. It’s just that I need this job so badly—and I’m mesmerized by Ethan Mason’s piercing gaze. Men like him aren’t supposed to exist in real life. But under the tailored suits and GQ looks, Ethan simmers with barely restrained ambition. And no matter how hard I work to fight the attraction, I’m going to get burned.

Ethan: You don’t become a top agent without learning how to close a deal. I always get what—or who—I want, by staying cool and in command. Then Jenny Jackson walks into my office with her lush curves and “screw you” attitude and blows away my intentions of keeping things professional. All I can think about is exploring the perfect body hidden beneath those conservative clothes or shutting her saucy mouth with one hot kiss. Jenny’s worth breaking the rules over—if I can convince her to break the rules for me.

Review

BOSSED is the first book I’ve read from Sloane Howell and I’m sad to say that I struggled with it.  I even considered not finishing it a couple of times, but I pushed through.  It started out okay, but it quickly became boring and repetitive.  I think the biggest issue for me was that Jenny and Ethan’s behaviour was extremely childish.  They would scream, shout and storm away instead of having an actual conversation to sort the problem out.  For the first half of the book, all they wanted to do was push each other’s buttons to see what kind of reaction they would get.  Good or bad, they didn’t care; they just wanted a reaction.  The second half of the book was mostly sex mingled with break-ups and make-ups.  Ethan’s rude attitude right from the start made him hard to like, and Jenny’s over-the-top reaction to everything had me shaking my head.  BOSSED is told in dual POVs, comes with a HEA and can be read as a stand-alone.

Bossed

My Rating:  

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Series

Falling Hard (Colorado High Country # 3)

By Pamela Clare

Synopsis

A Gold Star wife alone…

Ellie Meeks promised her pilot husband that if he was killed in combat, she would live her life to the fullest. Three years later, she is still alone, raising the twins he never met. She has no interest in dating or meeting men—until one snowy night when a stranger helps her get her sick kids safely home. That stranger turns out to be a former Army Ranger and a member of the elite Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team. He’s also tall, rugged… and irresistibly sexy. 

All it takes is one kiss…

Jesse Moretti came to Colorado to get Iraq out of his head, using the adrenaline of extreme sports and high-risk mountain rescues to keep his mind off the past. But getting involved with Ellie might be the riskiest thing he’s ever done. It’s not just their explosive chemistry. There’s something about Ellie that gets inside him, opening him to feelings he’s tried hard to ignore. 

When passion ignites…

Ellie feels alive in Jesse’s arms and happier than she ever thought she’d feel again. But their relationship comes at a price for him, and soon Ellie sees that she must help Jesse fight the demons of his past to protect the love of a lifetime—and save the heart of a hero.

Review

Ellie is a single mother to soon-to-be three-year-old twins (Daniel & Daisy) after her husband died in Iraq while she was pregnant.  She has a wonderful support system not only in her family, but in the small town where she lives.  I liked her a lot and thought her hesitations about dating again were realistic, though I did feel that her reaction to Jesse’s “secret” was a little irrational.  In fact, her reaction was the only part of the entire story that I didn’t like.

Jesse is an incredibly nice guy and I really enjoyed getting to know him.  He’s been living next door to Ellie for over two years and although they have never met, he knew about her husband and helped her out anonymously whenever he could.  He has saved many lives throughout his careers, but he focuses on the ones he couldn’t save, which affects him badly.  While he willingly jumps into frozen lakes without any hesitation, he hates the spotlight and doesn’t think of himself as a hero, which of course only makes him more likeable.

I have read all three books released in this series so far, and I have to say that this is the first time I’ve really gotten a feel for the small town.  When tragedy strikes, everyone in the community comes together to do and give whatever they can to help.  I don’t remember having that feeling in the first two books, but in this book that feeling was front and centre.

FALLING HARD is told in dual POVs, and quite often the POV would switch several times within a chapter.  While I did find that slightly annoying, I was grateful that the switch was marked by a symbol which made the change easily identifiable.  While FALLING HARD is part of a series, it can most definitely be read as a stand-alone.  The HEA is beautiful and sweet, but also achingly sad.  The final chapter took me the longest to read because I had to keep stopping to wipe my eyes.  Even re-reading it while I composed this review had me tearing up again.

FALLING HARD is the third book in the Colorado High Country series and is my favourite.  Any book that can draw out my emotions like this one did deserves the highest rating.

Falling Hard (Colorado High Country # 3)

My Rating:  

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Colorado High Country Series

Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye # 1)

By Sarina Bowen

Synopsis

Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home. 

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world. 

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves. 

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires. 

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels? 

Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter. This book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone.

Review

GOODBYE PARADISE is an amazing read with plenty of heartwarming scenes and beautiful characters.

Josh is an absolute sweetheart; one with a very kind and gentle soul.  Having been treated badly at the farm, he feels worthless and like nothing he does is ever good enough and, because of their religious upbringing, he also feels ashamed of his feelings towards Caleb.  But over time, and with reassurances from Caleb and their new friends, he slowly begins to let go of everything that was drilled into his head his whole life to find peace and happiness within himself.

“They think God doesn’t like it when you curse?  But god is just fine with throwing you out by the side of the road?  Do you hear how messed up that is?”

Caleb is the more confident, skilled and dominant of the two; he wasn’t bullied like Josh was because he held some rank at the farm.  He’s also a natural protector and spent most of his days at the farm shielding Josh.  I would go so far as to say he has a slight hero complex, because his need to protect sometimes went too far and he often felt responsible for things he had no control over.

“A real man does what needs doing.  He takes care of the people he loves.  You know this instinctively, even though every man in your own life treated you like shit.”

I not only loved Josh and Caleb, but almost everyone else in this story too.  Washington was their saviour when they needed one and seemed to become a father figure of sorts.  Maggie (a farm runaway from years before) was a lovely young woman who helped them adjust to life outside the farm.  Maggie’s husband, Daniel, was a cool guy who had no problem opening up his home to strangers in need.

GOODBYE PARADISE has loose ties to the True North series, but you don’t have to read those books to understand and enjoy this one.  GOODBYE PARADISE is told in dual POVs and comes with a lovely HEA for Josh and Caleb.  I truly hope we’ll be seeing more of them in the future, and I’d also like to see a book about Maggie’s sister, Miriam, because that young woman needs some happiness in her life after what she endured at the farm.

Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye # 1)

My Rating:  

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Perfect Imperfections

By J & L Wells

Synopsis

At the age of 27, Natasha is just a few months away from marrying her long-term boyfriend, Josh. Suddenly, he is called out of the country to take over the running of his father’s business. While he’s away, Natasha arranges a surprise wedding present for him – a portrait of herself.

The handsome artist who agrees to paint the portrait is Gabriel Owens, a gifted painter who is partially sighted. He is sarcastic and brash, and Natasha finds herself always saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

It turns out that Josh isn’t the perfect fiancé that Natasha believed him to be and she is left reeling, her life in free fall. Does Gabriel have the tenacity and inner strength to pick up the pieces when he himself has so many insecurities and his own life is far from perfect?

Perfect Imperfections is the first book in the Moments series. It’s an emotional story, which can be read as a standalone novel. You won’t find a cliffhanger here, but instead a heartfelt ending that definitely won’t disappoint.

Review

My thoughts are torn on this book, the first half I found slow and dragged for me and yet the second half I loved and thank god for Gabriel as he saved this story for me.

During the first half I did not feel a connection with Tash, her sister was annoying and then her relationship with her fiancé Josh for me was very immature and lacked depth when they had been together for 10 years.  Her thoughts on marriage I did not understand until later on after her moment with her mother so for her to one minute say she felt smothered then be all sulking and missing Josh when he was away on business, I kind of found her annoying.

The story picked up for me when Gabriel enters but I think his time should have been fleshed out more and have less of Tash and her family dramatics which got annoying. Some chapters just did not flow well for me and the speed of the story was not constant it had real dips where I felt I was getting no where in the story having to deal with her sisters drama, her mothers drinking and her dad’s gardening and then we are all of a sudden going too fast and I wanted more detail of Gabriel, Josh and Michelle.  This was Tash’s story and yet all these other characters were to me highjacking the story.

Did not feel an emotional connection to Tash until Josh’s work party where his double cross was revealed and then when she meets Josh that day in her parents house and her secret is revealed. Now onto the time line for that, I was really upset it jumped so far ahead and then her whole story was lightly mentioned in her memory of what happened while she was on the cruise – again I wanted a bit more detail.

Now one section I found riveting was Michelle’s disclosure to Tash at the wedding and then the realisation by Tash of how Josh really acted during her relationship, again I felt this was really pivotal and she does not have a confrontation with Josh?

The Christmas chapter after the wedding was beautiful and very emotional and the recollection with her Nan and her moment of opening her eyes was truly beautiful and well written.  Her family bringing Christmas to her with Gabriel was lovely.

Honestly I think some chapters from Gabriel POV would have helped at significant moments in this story, when she is sitting for wedding portrait, when dad visits him and he races to find her in park, the Christmas after the wedding, I mean it was all Tash and her family drama and it wore me down in the end.  

I loved the ending and it does tie everything up for this stage of their lives. 

Perfect Imperfections

My Rating: 

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Below the Surface (Witness #5)

By Heather D’Agostino

Synopsis

Things aren’t always as they seem…

I’ve lived by that motto for most of my life. I’ve hid who I am, who I used to be, and what I’ve done from anyone who dares to get close to me. At nineteen I lost my parents. I thought nothing in the world could be more painful. I was wrong.

When I met Leo, my world seemed brighter. I felt hope for the first time in months. He promised me a life of luxury, but things aren’t always as they seem. Leo had a dark side, one that he hid from me. He pulled me under and held me captive, making death seem like the only way out.

It took me two years to escape. I ran never looking back until now. My life is finally coming together. I have people I trust, a job, and a safe place to call home, but things aren’t always as they seem.

One night, one phone call, one moment causes it to all crash down. Leo has my sister, and he wants to trade her for me. The one person I can trust is the only one who could also tear me apart… Detective Jeff Horn. He’s got secrets just like me, and seems to understand me better than I do myself.

How do I tell him my darkest secrets? How do I go back to a place that nearly broke me? How do I let him see Below the Surface?sert Synopsis Here

Review

Below the Surface was an amazing read, the leading character for me was Lena and she simply grabbed my heart from the first few pages.  As a reader I thoroughly enjoyed watching her journey from a survivor living Below the Surface of life from a horrific situation to finally breaking through and taking the amazing step of trusting another human being with her life and heart.

To watch Jeff and Lena make their way through so many obstacles, some very scary especially when she had to return to save her sister to them finally connecting on an intimate level was just beautiful story telling.

When Jeff and Lena are finally intimate I took a deep breath, it was just perfect in my eyes, the build up and emotional connection was just so worth the wait and did not disappoint.  I was with them every step of the way and Jeff’s handling of her was just so endearing but also forceful at the right moments for her recovery.

Below the Surface leads you through the story of her traumatic past however I appreciated we were not given too much detail as your own imagination can take you there to that dark place.  As soon as we were going dark the author turns and gives you light to make your way out of this part of the story, it is still sad but done really well in my opinion.

The supporting characters are very funny and help create a family of sorts and I have not read any of the other stories in the witness series, in my opinion you do not have to as this is definitely a standalone.

I could have read so many more chapters on Lena and Jeff and their love story – they were an amazing couple that had so much chemistry, passion and companionship – he was her warrior and brought her back from the darkness that she thought she would live with forever.

Below the Surface (Witness #5)

My Rating: 

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Dirty Doctor (Steamy Coffee Collection # 2)

By Whitney G.

Synopsis

“Lean back on the table and spread your legs for me …”

Being a doctor in New York City has never been easy. Especially for someone like me, who has a private practice and an incompetent staff who insists on leaving me to fill in for them. 

Over the past six months, I’ve performed one too many pap smears, three too many “breast exams,” and scrubbed in on several reconstructive surgeries. (This would be acceptable, if I was still interested in general medicine, but I’m not. I’m supposed to be a goddamn therapist …)

When my team finally came to their senses and decided to bring someone more competent into the practice last month, I was actually elated. 

Until I realized that our new “doctor” was none other than the woman I was supposed to meet for dinner two weeks ago. The same woman who stood me up with nothing more than an “I can’t meet you anymore, sorry,” after we agreed to move our online talks into reality. 

I haven’t forgotten any of the filthy fantasies she told me about, and I never deleted our dirty messages. And if she thinks that I’m going to act like a “professional” and pretend like that shit never happened, she has another thing coming …

Review

“What are you doing two Fridays from now?”
“Nothing that I know of.”
“Wrong answer.  You’ll be fucking me.”

DIRTY DOCTOR is a stand-alone novella that was a quick and entertaining read.  There’s not really any drama or conflict, unless you include Garrett trying to make Natalie’s work-life hell as punishment for standing him up on the night they were supposed to meet.  I know it’s a novella, but to be honest, I was hoping for a little more substance.  Everything moves at a very fast pace and, unless you include the oral scene in the exam room, there was only one sex scene.  For a man whose nickname is Dirty Doctor, I was expecting him to be…well…dirty.  DIRTY DOCTOR is told in dual POVs and comes with a nice HEA.

Dirty Doctor (Steamy Coffee Collection # 2)

My Rating:  

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Steamy Coffee Collection

Claiming Grace (Ace Security # 1)

By Susan Stoker

Synopsis

For Logan Anderson, moving on from a traumatic past means moving back to his hometown of Castle Rock, Colorado, to start a personal-security business with his brothers. But it’s not long before Logan runs into Grace Mason, his best friend from high school…and the woman who never answered his letters during his Army years.

Grace was pleasantly surprised to see Logan return to Castle Rock, despite their falling-out ten years ago. Everyone always assumed they would end up together, including Grace, who had eyes only for him. But as Logan eventually escaped their town, Grace got pulled further into her family’s controlling grasp—and farther away from the man she loved.

Now, united by scars both visible and not, the two must fight to free Grace from the suffocating hold of her family. But the Masons won’t let go easily—and they’ll do whatever it takes to keep the couple apart.

Review

CLAIMING GRACE is the first book in the Ace Security series and is also the first book I’ve read from Susan Stoker.  It is a second-chance romance between Logan and Grace, who had feelings for each other in high school, but never acted on them before Logan left for the Army.  Thanks to the actions of others, they both believed the other had led them on and therefore haven’t seen or spoken to each other in ten years.

Ace Security is owned and run by triplet brothers Logan, Blake and Nathan, who created the security firm after their father was killed by their abusive mother, and their primary goal is to provide help and security for abused men.  At the time of writing this review, I read this story over a week ago and I don’t remember much about Logan at all, other than I thought his idea of creating a security company for abused men was brilliant.

Grace stood out more than Logan, but in her case that’s not a good thing.  She’s a nice woman and I was rooting for her to get her HEA with Logan, but I couldn’t relate to her.  I couldn’t understand why she didn’t just tell people what had been going on and then get in her car and go far, far away from her parents.  She’s been mentally and emotionally abused her entire life and yet, at the age of thirty, is still clinging to the hope that some day soon her parents will love her and let her go to live her own life.  As much as I hate to say this, sometimes she was a little too stupid to live.  She would acknowledge that she needed to be careful around her parents, but would then meet them alone in private places.

I have to say that as much as I hated them, her parents are the most memorable characters in this story.  They are so horrible, despicable and cruel that they deserve to be skinned alive for not only how they treated Grace, but how they treated everyone in the community.

CLAIMING GRACE is told in dual POVs and comes with a HEA that I will say was a little cheesy and unrealistic.  The ending also leads us into the second book which will be about Blake and Alexis.

Claiming Grace (Ace Security # 1)

My Rating:  

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Ace Security Series