Tag Archives: ARC

Catching Callie

By Claire Woods

Synopsis

The Press labeled me campuses “DIRTY PLAYER.”

The scandal I’m caught in just made the national news, ESPN, & Sports Illustrated.

Forced to hide out in a small beach town until I can clear my name, the last thing I expected was to run into her.

Literally.

First she stole my breath, then my heart. But she wants nothing to do with me.

Even my killer smile, panty-melting grin, and cut abs aren’t reeling her in.

She ran.

Twice.

I have six weeks to find my mystery girl, get my reputation back, and prove to her I’m not a dirty player: I’m her prince. The football field is the domain I where I rule, but her heart is the next thing I’m going to capture.

Something tells me Catching Callie is going to be the biggest win of all.

GAME ON.

This is a standalone new adult romance. No cliffhanger, No cheating, HEA.

Review

Catching Callie is a sweet New Adult romance but with some extra heat thrown in to keep you wanting these two lovers to find their HEA.

Both Gabe and Callie have heartache and family dramas to deal with along with trying to give their new romance a true chance.  Many obstacles come their way and the author is true to their situation with the way this story winds up and the Epilogue, which I loved.

There are some great supporting characters, my favourite is Callie’s uncle who was simply such a great guy.

Surprising me was the emotion of both Gabe and Callie but considering what they are dealing with, the author gave them integrity and it felt so real.  The last quarter of this book will have you tearing up and struggling with emotions, especially for Callie.

This story is told randomly from their POV and it even has a couple thrown in from an evil character trying to manipulate their relationship.

Finally, I loved how the author allowed these two characters to follow their individual dreams to eventually find their happy ever after.

Quote:  “I don’t want to be that girl anymore – the one who gets left behind”

Catching Callie

My Rating:  

Buy Links:  Amazon

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The Accidentals

By Sarina Bowen

Synopsis

Never ask a question unless you’re sure you want the truth.

I’ve been listening to my father sing for my whole life. I carry him in my pocket on my mp3 player. It’s just that we’ve never met face to face.

My mother would never tell me how I came to be, or why my rock star father and I have never met. I thought it was her only secret. I was wrong.

When she dies, he finally appears. Suddenly I have a first class ticket into my father’s exclusive world. A world I don’t want any part of – not at this cost.

Only three things keep me going: my a cappella singing group, a swoony blue-eyed boy named Jake, and the burning questions in my soul.


There’s a secret shame that comes from being an unwanted child. It drags me down, and puts distance between me and the boy I love.

My father is the only one alive who knows my history. I need the truth, even if it scares me.

Review

THE ACCIDENTALS is the first young adult novel by Sarina Bowen, and while I don’t usually read young adult, I’ll read anything written by Ms Bowen. Told only in Rachel’s POV, we follow her as she mourns the death of her mother, moves to a different state, goes to a new school, makes new friends, loses old friends, and struggles with intimacy, all while she navigates a relationship with her father, who she knew about but had never met prior to her mother’s death.

Going by the blurb, I thought the relationship between Rachel and her father, Frederick, would be the primary focus of the story, but it wasn’t. There was a lot of other stuff going on, which for me was too much and detracted from what I was really hoping to read: a story about a teen-aged girl and her previously absent father. Rachel and Frederick barely spent any time together, and when they finally had their heart-to-heart, it was done so at the 93% mark and only lasted seven pages. This was where I was expecting to have my heart broken for Rachel. Instead I felt nothing for a scene that felt incomplete and left me wanting.

Overall, I did enjoy this story, but I didn’t love it, and I think that’s because I had expectations that this would be an emotional read, and for me, it wasn’t one. I also felt that some threads were left hanging and when the book ended, it was very sudden and again, felt incomplete.

I’m a huge fan of Sarina Bowen, so it pains me when I (very rarely) give her a not-so-glowing review. I think a lot of readers out there will enjoy THE ACCIDENTALS, but sadly it just wasn’t for me.

The Accidentals

My Rating:  

Buy Links:  Amazon | iBooks

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Rescuing Rayne (Delta Force Heroes #1)

By Susan Stoker

Synopsis

As a flight attendant, Rayne Jackson is used to cancellations, but she never dreamed her latest would lead to a whirlwind tour of London with a handsome stranger…or a life-altering night in his bed. One evening is all the enigmatic man can give her, and Rayne greedily takes it, despite suspecting it will never be enough.

Heading home after another extreme mission, Keane “Ghost” Bryson hadn’t planned to seduce someone during his layover, but Rayne is too sweet to resist. Being a Delta Force member means lying to protect his identity, which is unfortunate, considering Rayne seems made for Ghost, right down to the tattoo on her back. For the first time in his life, regret fills him as he slips away the following morning.

Both are shocked when, months later, they meet again—under the worst possible circumstances. Seems fate has given them a second chance…if they can survive the terrorist situation they’re in. If Rayne can forgive Ghost his lies. And if Ghost can trust Rayne to be strong enough to endure the secrets and uncertainty that come with loving a Delta Force soldier.

** Rescuing Rayne is the 1st book in the Delta Force Heroes Series. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.

Review

I actually read and loved Rescuing Emily (Book 2 of the Delta Force Heroes) first and it was great to see that story overlap with this one.  Emily and Fletch were wonderful characters and I loved their story.

Ghost and Rayne’s story takes place over a long period of time, they first meet and then reconnect months later.  The initial meeting I really enjoyed, there were no expectations, they had fun and enjoyed their moment in time.  Their one night stand was passionate and when he leaves broke my heart.

Fast forward and Rayne’s life being in danger, that was harrowing and I was begging for Ghost and his team to rescue her. Whilst she recuperated, their relationship deepens and we also meet more of the Delta Force team, they are all definitely alpha.

Rescuing Rayne is a very easy story, has great flow, moments of tension and in the end a great romantic journey with a HEA, all the elements to make you happy.

Rescuing Rayne (Delta Force Heroes #1)

My Rating:  

Buy Links:  Amazon

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Series Link:  Click Here

 

Hell Upside Down

By Mia Villano

Synopsis

Scarlett Ferguson wanted out of her dreary life in Cutler, Maine. Every day was only an existence living in poverty in a run down trailer with her dad and his girlfriend. Working a dead end job in a restaurant, Scarlett’s life changes the day Hugh Cruz walks into her world.


He is gorgeous, rich and charming, sweeping Scarlett off her feet after a few dates. When he wants to marry her in a rush, she thinks nothing of it, other than it is true love. That changes on the night of her honeymoon. The night Scarlett realizes, things are not what they seem. It doesn’t take long for Scarlett to become someone she swore she never would be, in a life she swore she never would want.

Heartbroken and confused, Scarlett realizes that the life she ran away from is the life she truly wants.  Secrets unravel as Scarlett discovers the real reason Hugh came into her life. No one is who she thought they were and the people she trusted are soon revealing their true identity. Hell Upside Down is a dark, emotional standalone novel filled with suspense. Each page has you wanting more. 

Review

Hell Upside Down I literally finished in a just a few days, I could not put this mystery romance down.  The author begins her novel perfectly, we are given a taste of Scarlett’s life, we then go back to where it begins.  The first half of the story we are heading to that pivotal moment in her future.  I was simply on the edge of my seat knowing this and the hell she was going to endure.  The pacing was perfect to me, giving me enough to keep turning the pages.  The second half of the story is forging a new life for herself and this is where she simply shines.

Scarlett is such a strong and resilient character, she was my purpose to continue this often dark and dangerous tale.  Her marriage and will to survive in an abusive environment was simply heartbreaking.

Durango did not disappoint, I had hopes for him in the beginning and he plays his part to perfection.

The most surprising of this whole story was all the mystery and players in the second half, this story is no way finished when Scarlett gets rescued.  The story literally begins and we learn so much about all the people in her life.  I never picked all the knights in shining armor that were silently there in the background nor the hidden dark players.

Hell Upside Down

My Rating:  

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Survival of the Richest (Survival of the Richest #1)

By Skye Warren

Synopsis

An heiress without a cause.
Two billionaires determined to claim her.
And a war fought on the most dangerous battlefield–the heart.

“What an incredible book! Survival of the Richest has everything — Skye Warren’s beautiful writing, a sexy, compelling story; intricate characters, and a provocative love triangle that will captivate you until the very end.” ~ New York Times bestselling author Nina Lane

My story starts with a plunge into the cold water of Manhattan’s harbor.

A strong hand hauls me back onto the deck of the luxury yacht. Christopher was supposed to be my enemy. Instead, he protects me with fierce determination.

That should have been my happily ever after, but then Sutton appeared–ruthless and seductive. He doesn’t care that my heart belongs to someone else, because he’s determined to win. No matter the cost.

It’s an impossible choice, but I can’t have them both.

Review

Normally I do not like love triangles but Christopher, Sutton and in particular Harper weave together through their own darkness.  It was an interesting story and at no time did I become agitated with the indecision and confusion by Harper.

At times I was as indecisive as Harper as to who I thought would feed her heart and soul.

Towards the end I admit I probably always wanted Christopher to choose Harper.  Their beginning which is told in the Trust Fund (Prologue) probably cemented my love for Christopher.

My most favourite part of this story was the relationship between Harper and her parents .  How that affected Harper’s life was really interesting.  Then throw in Christopher’s part and the tale is woven with manipulation from her father.

Sutton was dark and dangerous and there are some great erotic moments.  His friendship with Christopher and his own personal demons gave another layer to this story.

We meet the Thieves club and also other characters from the Endgame and Masterpiece Series which I loved.  It was great to see Avery, Penny and Damon Scott.

This is going to be another great duet series by Skye Warren that I am going to devour.

Quote:  It doesn’t feel like a loss.  It feels like being free.

Survival of the Richest (Survival of the Richest #1)

My Rating:  

Buy Links:  Amazon

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Atticus: A Woman’s Journey with the World’s Worst Behaved Dog

By Sawyer Bennett

Synopsis

A heart-warming and deliciously funny story about the world’s worst behaved dog and how he trained his human how to love herself again.

Through the haze of vodka and self-loathing, Hazel Roundtree saw the poor creature lying in a ditch.

One brown eye. One blue.
Covered in mud and crying from pain, the puppy was desperately trying to free itself from a hopeless situation.

She almost kept walking by. She had her own problems and besides… no one had ever stopped to help her.

Who we’re ultimately meant to be is a journey without end, but there’s always a defined start…

Hazel had no idea the dog would be her beginning, her second chance, the miracle she never saw coming. She named him Atticus. He grew up to be a very bad–and completely awesome–dog. He took Hazel on a life-changing journey filled with mischievous adventure and painful heartbreak. In the end, Hazel grew up to be completely awesome, too.

Review

Wow!
Seriously…just WOW!
Beautiful.
Emotional.
Heartwarming.
Gratifying.
An absolute must read.

ATTICUS is a story about love, friendship and forgiveness, but is it a love story? I’d say yes, but not in the way you might be expecting. Told in the POV of Hazel and Atticus, it’s about the unconditional love that forms between a dog and his human. It’s about Hazel learning to love herself and that she is someone worthy of being loved. There is a sliver of romance towards the end, but romance is not the focus of this story, and the story is beyond amazing without it.

I want to say so much more about ATTICUS, but I’m really struggling with words because I feel as though no matter what I say, I just can’t do this book justice. So I will simply say this:

I could not put this book down.
I laughed.
I cried.
I was deeply moved.
This is the best book I have read this year, and I strongly recommend you read it.

Atticus: A Woman’s Journey with the World’s Worst Behaved Dog

My Rating:  

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Knocked Up (Crazy Love # 2)

By Stacey Lynn

Synopsis

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes baby in a baby carriage. Just not necessarily in that order. . . .

Braxton: I should probably be dead or in jail right now. Instead, thanks to some tough love, I worked my ass off and now I own a string of tattoo parlors throughout the Pacific Northwest. And yet the one thing I’ve always wanted—a family—still seems out of reach. When my best friend gets married, I’m just hoping to blow off some steam with the super-hot maid of honor. But after Cara Thompson tracks me down to tell me she’s pregnant, she’s more surprised than I am when I tell her I’m all in.

Cara: For the first time in my life, I’m living for myself—not for my parents and their ridiculous expectations. I gave up on my MBA, dropped out of the Ivy League, and moved to Portland to pursue my dream of becoming an artist. And what’s the first thing I do? Get knocked up. For a tatted-up sex god, Braxton Henley seems way too eager to “be there for me.” Is this guy serious? Maybe. He sure is patient. Because he won’t back down until I admit what I know in my heart: that our one night stand might’ve led me to the one.

Review

If you’re looking for a sweet and easy read, one that flows well and has just the right amount tension, then KNOCKED UP is for you. It has an enjoyable story, likable and honest main characters, a believable conflict, a sweet resolution and finally, a HEA for Braxton and Cara.

However, I do feel it’s important to point out that the man on the cover looks nothing like Braxton should, who is described as having tattoos that cover his entire torso and arms, from his neck to his knuckles. It’s probably something the author can’t control, but the couple on the cover should look somewhat similar to how they’re described on the inside.

KNOCKED UP is told in dual POVs and while it is part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone. From memory, this is an entirely new set of characters that are in no way connected to the first book.

Knocked Up (Crazy Love # 2)

My Rating:  

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Crazy Love Series

Speakeasy (True North # 5)

By Sarina Bowen

Synopsis

Sometimes you fall for Mr. Right. And sometimes for Mr. Right Now…

May

Did you hear the one about the girl who walks into a bar and catches her live-in lover kissing someone else? No? You’re the only one in town who missed it.
Luckily Alec is there to wrap me up in strong arms and carry me out the door before things get too ugly. And that’s not all Alec is good at. Our unexpected chemistry makes him the perfect rebound guy.

Alec

I should know better than to hook up with my rival’s little sister, but the fiery look in May’s eyes really turns my crank. She needs cheering up, and I’m just the guy for the job.
It’s not like I’ll fall in love. Not even after a string of scorching hot trysts, and the realization that we’re good at the same things: wild nights and familial disappointment. I don’t do love, never have, never will. So this is the perfect arrangement, for both of us.

Nobody would approve, but nobody has to know…

Review

SPEAKEASY is the fifth book in the True North series, and I’m sorry to say it was my least enjoyable read from this series.

I liked Alec, who was fun to be around and who treated May like she hung the moon. I liked May, who battled her alcoholic demons every day, and while the struggle at times was immense, she won that battle every day too. I think Sarina did a great job of getting her readers inside the mind of a recovering alcoholic. Not only did I like them as individuals, I liked them as a couple as well. I also liked that we got to see how three of the previous four couples were doing in their lives and how their relationships were progressing.

While I liked the characters and their story, there were two things I wasn’t a fan of. I didn’t like the lesbian fantasy scenes that I felt Alec pushed May into talking about, which he did so purely to satisfy his own sexual curiosity. I also didn’t like how down on themselves Alec and May were throughout the story. I got to a point where I just could not handle their “I’m not good enough” thoughts anymore.

SPEAKEASY is told in dual POVs and comes with a HEA for Alec and May. While it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone. As per Goodreads, there will be at least one more book in the True North series, but at the time of writing this review, book 6 is currently untitled, makes no mention of a release date and doesn’t mention who it’s about. I’m thinking it might be about one of Alec’s brothers.

Speakeasy (True North # 5)

My Rating:  

Buy Links:  Amazon | iBooks

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True North Series

I Flipping Love You (Shacking Up # 3)

By Helena Hunting

Synopsis

Rian Sutter doesn’t usually get hit on in the grocery store, but when she notices a sexy man in a suit checking her out, she thinks maybe it’s her lucky day. Either that or the suit has a thing for sweaty, yoga-pant wearing women with excellent price matching skills.

Turns out it’s neither.

Pierce Whitfield can’t believe his luck when he’s able to track down the woman who scratched up the paint job on his car at the scene of the crime. But when he confronts the hit and run hottie, he discovers there’s not just one, but two of them, and he’s been throwing accusations at the wrong twin.

As repair costs are negotiated, and the chemistry between them flares, Rian and Pierce find out they have more than mutual attraction in common. They’re both vying for the same pieces of prime real estate in The Hamptons and neither one plans to give up without a fight.

Can these passionate rivals turn up the heat on their budding romance—without burning down the house?

Review

When a book has me laughing out loud on page three, I know I’m in for a good read…and I FLIPPING LOVE YOU did not disappoint.

My tank is still dewy, post-exertion, I have terrible under-boob sweat, and my thong is all wonky. If I were alone in this aisle, I’d for sure fix the last issue, but suit guy is here so I must leave the thong where it is for now, wedged uncomfortably between my vagina lips.

I LOVED PIERCE. Absolutely loved him. I loved his confidence and his sense of humor, and he’s probably the best book boyfriend I’ve read in a while. I liked Rian too, but Pierce was definitely the standout character in my opinion. My favorite scene was right at the beginning, where Pierce and Rian first meet in the grocery store, because it was fiery, feisty, exciting and a whole lot of fun. Coming a close second were all the scenes where Pierce was flirting with Rian and trying to win her over with his charm. Oh, and the epilogue. The epilogue was really good too.

“You think it’s sexy that I can do math in my head?”
“Yes. You’re gorgeous, outspoken, and intelligent. It’s a hard-on-inducing trifecta.”

There were a couple of minor things that bothered me throughout the story, like a few repetitive thoughts and scenes, and time jumps that were not identified by breaks within the chapters, which affected the flow of the story at times. But as I said, these were minor and didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the story.

I FLIPPING LOVE YOU is told in dual POVs and while it’s part of a series—and characters from the previous book do make an appearance or two—it can be read as a stand-alone as it comes with a HEA for Pierce and Rian.

I Flipping Love You (Shacking Up # 3)

My Rating:  

Buy Links:  Amazon | iBooks

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The Shacking Up Series

Marek (Cold Fury Hockey # 11)

By Sawyer Bennett

Synopsis

Marek Fabritis is used to delivering blows, not receiving them. But when he gets tipped off by an anonymous email about his ex-girlfriend, the news leaves him ice cold—and it’s not because Gracen Moore is getting married to a total jerk. It’s the fact that Marek has a three-year-old daughter he never knew about. Now he’s going back home, not to play knight in shining armor but to make damn sure that no man takes what’s his. For the first time, there might be something more important than hockey.

Gracen Moore has always loved Marek. That’s why she let him go, so he could pursue a career in the NHL. And that’s why she never told him about Lilly. Only now does Gracen realize that she made an unforgivable mistake. But is that any reason for Marek to crash her wedding and make an epic scene? If the spark that still smolders between them is to be trusted, maybe. Still, Gracen’s not getting her hopes up. Because she knows better than anyone that appearances aren’t always what they seem. . . .

Review

MAREK is a second chance, secret child romance, which for the most part was a very enjoyable read and a good addition to the Cold Fury Hockey series. The story was entertaining, kept me turning the pages and brought out a wide range of emotions from me.

I loved Gracen, who apologized several times for keeping her daughter a secret and she meant each and every one of those apologies. She was willing to accept Marek’s anger towards her, but she was not afraid to stand up for herself and put him in his place when he went too far. Given how their breakup went down, I don’t blame Gracen one bit for what she did, especially when she believed she was simply honoring Marek’s wishes.

I also loved her daughter, Lilly, who was a gorgeous and sweet little girl.

I wish I could say I liked Marek, but I just can’t. While he became a good father to Lilly, I didn’t like how he kept playing the victim or how badly he treated Gracen throughout most of the book. From memory, he never apologized to Gracen for the cruel way he broke up with her, or take into account her feelings or try to understand why she kept Lilly a secret.

While MAREK can technically be read as a stand-alone, the scene where Marek rushes to stop Gracen from getting married⏤and learns about his daughter⏤only appears in the previous book. So if you haven’t read REED, you will miss that particular heated and emotional scene that sets up this story.

I also have to say that the synopsis does not match the story at all, and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a glaring disparity between the two. The synopsis says that Gracen let Marek go so he could pursue his NHL dreams, and that Marek rushes to stop her from getting married after learning he has a daughter. That is not even close to what happened. Instead, Marek dumped Gracen when he reached the NHL because he didn’t want to be tied down to her, and only learned of his daughter after he turned up to stop Gracen from getting married.

There’s not a great deal of hockey in this book, as the story mostly takes place during the off-season. But despite that, and as I said above, the story is a page turner and I devoured it quickly. MAREK is told in dual POVs and comes with a HEA for Marek and Gracen.

Marek (Cold Fury Hockey # 11)

My Rating:  

Buy Links:  Amazon | iBooks

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Cold Fury Hockey Series