Tag Archives: Stand Alone

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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I Just Want You

By Kaylee Ryan

Synopsis

“Go to college,” they said. “Get a good job,” they said. “It will be a piece of cake.” Well, whoever they are, they lied. Sure, college was a blast, but after college, not so much. The finding a job to go with my expensive education, that part was not so easy. At least not until I was offered a position at the new club in town.

Life is defined by the little moments that have the power to change it completely. I never thought getting a cup of coffee would change mine, but it did. She did. She’s one of those moments.

He’s my boss.

She’s my employee.

I want him.

I can’t resist her.

Review

I Just Want You is a stand alone romance that will pull at your heart.  This is a story of two young people that  are finding their way in the world.

Crew just found out that he had a grandmother and she left him a lot of money.  He wants to make sure that he builds his future.  He has a loyal friend in Zane who also keeps him from getting too serious.

Berklee has just finished college and just needs someone to give her a chance. She has a business degree but, just like many new graduates find out, every job she applies for they want experience. So she is working at a coffee shop until she finds that place that will give her a chance.  Berklee has some great friends that help her through everything.  They also help keep the story light and fun.

When Crew walks into the coffee shop where Berklee works there is an instant attraction, but he has made a promise to himself that he is going to get his bar up and going before he will consider women again.  But fate has aligned against him and has put Berklee right in his path.

I really thought that I Just Want You was an interesting, intense at times and fun.  It had an interesting interruption on a modern relationship.  I fell for Crew the moment he offered a job to his best friend.  That to me showed what kind of man he was. But I also loved the way he wasn’t perfect.  He was jealous and he didn’t always know how to deal with his feelings. Berklee really helped him get to the next level of adulthood.  She also helped him realize what he had to lose. Kaylee Ryan wrote an effective view of professional and personal relationships that had me rooting for Crew and Berklee.

I Just Want You

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

Kiss Cam

By Anie Michaels

Synopsis

Life was smooth sailing for Riley Smith. She’d earned a promotion, was living the dream as a singlegal in a big city, and treated herself to one of her favorite things – a professional basketball game. In Riley’s opinion, nothing ruined a good basketball game like the halftime gag, the Kiss Cam. When the camera lands on her and the sexy stranger in the next seat over, peer pressure from the arena forces them to kiss. It was supposed to be quick, meaningless, and comical. Instead the kiss was hot, delectable, and left her reeling.

It hadn’t been a great night for Camden Rogers, son of Portland’s mayor. On a date with a woman he didn’t care for out of obligation to his politician father, meeting the sassy and intelligent Riley was the last thing he expected. Kissing her, however, was the hottest thing he’d ever experienced. Never one to back down from a challenge, convincing his hesitant kissing partner they could be more would be his biggest accomplishment yet.

They came from two different worlds, a divide Riley was sure they couldn’t overcome, but Camden was convinced she was the one. Will Riley be able to let her guard down and let Camden in? Or will the Kiss Cam be their only sexy encounter?

Author’s Note: Kiss Cam was originally published in June of 2016 as a 19,000-word novella in the Passion in Portland anthology. I have added 55,000 new words and expanded the story into a full-length novel. If you read the original novella, you will not want to miss out on the expanded story. 18+ for mature content.

Review

I liked Riley, who is a nice woman and a hard worker, but she was often plagued by bouts of insecurity when it came to the financial gap between her and Cam.  She’s considered the help and he’s considered political royalty, so she was always worried that she was not good enough for him.

Cam was a really nice guy and I liked how open he was with Riley.  He refused to hide his feelings or excitement and he wasn’t interested in playing games with her.  He wanted a relationship with her and he wasn’t afraid for her to know it.

KISS CAM is a stand-alone romantic comedy, which I found to be a very easy, light and fun read, but ultimately a little forgettable.  There’s some humour and some sexy scenes, but there’s no real conflict, nothing that gets the heart racing.  It is told in dual POVs and it comes with a nice HEA.

Kiss Cam

My Rating:  

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The Wingman

By Natasha Anders

Synopsis

She was supposed to be his one-night distraction. But their attraction is undeniable.

Introverted Daisy McGregor is used to being a wallflower, but what she lacks in style, she makes up for with an acerbic wit, a passion for life, and a deep devotion to her family. So she’ll suffer through her sister Dahlia’s bachelorette party and accept the cloud of pity for going stag to the wedding.

Out at the pub, sexy bad boy Mason Carlisle is a reluctant wingman tasked with entertaining Daisy while his brother flirts with her oldest sister, Daffodil. When the plan fails and Mason’s true intent is revealed, he feels intense guilt—and a sensual spark of desire for the unlikeliest of women.

Daisy decides to use this unfortunate encounter to her advantage: to make it up to her, Mason will be another kind of wingman, playing the role of her boyfriend and wedding date. Will their ruse unravel completely—or will Mason and Daisy’s undeniable attraction ignite a scorching love affair that knows no rules?

Review

THE WINGMAN is the second book I’ve read from Natasha Anders, the first one being THE UNWANTED WIFE which was amazing.  This story was less intense and angsty than that one, but still enjoyable.

I liked both Mason and Daisy, who are very nice people, but they also frustrated me a little with how sensitive and how easily offended they were.  They both also lack confidence, but Daisy more so than Mason.  All her life her sisters, Dahlia & Daffodil, have been called the pretty one and the cute one respectively, while Daisy has always been referred to as the other one, so I can understand her lack of confidence.

I couldn’t figure out why Mason didn’t think he was good enough for a relationship because he was a nice guy.  Unfortunately, this belief has him pulling Daisy in, only to push her away over and over, which got tiresome.  What I liked most about him was that right from the start, he was disgusted by the things people said about Daisy and defended her at every opportunity.  My favourite scene was when he defended her against those pigs on the golf course.

THE WINGMAN is told in dual POVs, with Daff getting some chapters in her POV as well.  At the time of writing this review, this book appears to be a stand-alone, but I get the feeling that Daisy’s two sisters will also get a story of their own.  There’s not much sex to be found in this story, with the first sex scene not coming (no pun intended) until almost the 80% mark.  Until that point, Mason and Daisy spent their time getting to know each other and slowly falling in love.  Would I read the next book in the series?  Yes, I would.

The Wingman

My Rating:  

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Filthy Coach

By Amy Brent

Synopsis

What do you do when the sexiest bastard to walk on to a football field happens to need your personal services?

Sam Carson is a washed-up ex-quarterback who’s more famous for his drunken brawls and internet sex tapes than throwing touchdowns. So why did my father, the owner of the Atlanta Trojans, hire Sam to be the new head coach? And what part does he expect me to play in this dangerous game? 

ALLIE WINSTON:  I’m a tough chick playing in a tough man’s game.  I’m a sports image consultant.  It’s my job to make undisciplined football players and unfriendly coaches heroes in the public eye.  But when I’m assigned to make Sam Carson look good, I know that I have my work cut out for me.  Especially when he catches me in the shower diddling myself and moaning his name.  I can’t deny my feelings for Sam, but I can’t deny that I’m also part of a game that’s using Sam as a pawn. I can only hope that he never discovers my treachery, because I can’t imagine my life without Sam in my bed.      

SAM CARSON:  I’ll be the first to admit it.  I’m a baaaad boy.  I drink hard, play hard, and screw hard.  And when I drive my Lambo into the back of a truck, my career as one of the hottest quarterbacks in pro football comes to an end.  For the last few years I’ve been a coach.  When I get an offer to be the head coach of the Atlanta Trojans, I know something is fishy.  Then I meet Allie Winston, the smoking hot daughter of the team owner.  I want her and I know she wants me, but I get the feeling that there’s more than just sexual attraction at play.  Allie seems to be playing a dangerous game, and I won’t stop until I find out exactly what – and who – is going down. 

Review

FILTHY COACH is a very quick read, and the first I’ve read from Amy Brent.  Unfortunately, it was a read that didn’t win me over.

Sam was extremely hard to like in the beginning.  There are manwhores, and then there’s Sam, who really doesn’t seem to think very highly of women.  Here are two examples of his thoughts:
1 – Hers was not the tightest twat I’d ever stuck it in, but it did the trick.
2 – I have noticed an increase in age and a degradation of hotness of the groupies who approach me now.
He certainly does not sound like a charmer.  Women aside, he does seem to want to turn his life around, at least career wise.  Did I feel bad for how he was played by Allie’s father?  Yes, I did.

What can I say about Allie?  Not much because compared to Sam, she was pretty forgettable.

In regards to the story and writing, I noticed a few spelling mistakes, and I didn’t like some of the words used for the sexual scenes (c*nt, squirting and oozing, for example).  I wasn’t a fan of the short sentence clusters or the step-by-step descriptions of what the characters were doing.  I was also deeply disturbed that condoms were non-existent, not only because they’ve only known each other for a day, but also because Sam has been a manwhore for almost thirty years.  If these things don’t bother you, then I’m sure you’d enjoy this short story.

FILTHY COACH is told in dual POVs and appears to be a stand-alone insta-love novella.

Filthy Coach

My Rating:  

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Don’t Speak (A Modern Fairytale Book 5)

By Katy Regnery

Synopsis

In this modern retelling of The Little Mermaid, a fisherman’s daughter from an Outer Banks island untouched by time, meets the son of the North Carolina governor at a fancy party where she is working.

Laire, who wants more from life than her little island can offer, is swept away by wealthy, sophisticated Erik, who is, in turn, entranced by her naiveté and charm. The two spend a whirlwind summer together that ends on the knife-point of heartbreak and forces them to go their separate ways.

Years later, when fate finds them together once again, they will discover the terrifying depth of the secrets they kept from each other, and learn that shattered hearts can only be healed by a love that willfully refuses to die.

Review

Don’t Speak is a new adult romance in this modern retelling of The Little Mermaid. The relationship between Laire and the people around her is what pulled at my heart.  This novel is broken into two parts with an interlude.  The first part is the journey of self discovery and the second part is about a second chance at love.

Laire is a girl that is becoming a young woman.  She wants more for her life than her tiny island can provide.  Laire is caught between what is expected of her and her dreams of seeing what is beyond her home town.  Her family has outdated values and anything but settling down and starting her own family is out of the question.  I found myself hating Laire’s family more and more through the story.

Erik is a young man who has dreams of his own but his future has already been mapped out for him. Erik’s mother is determined for him to achieve the goals that she has set for him.  He is embarking on his own journey and did something he never thought he would do.  He fell for an island girl while on vacation with his family.

Don’t Speak is an emotional journey for a young woman who must choose between who she is and what her family believes in.  And for a young man whose own family provides obstacles on his way to happiness.  I found the interlude especially gut wrenching and effective to mark the passage of time.

I definitely could identify The Little Mermaid in this story between Laire and Erk.  And it made me see more complexity in The Little Mermaid.  This was am emotional journey for this two people whose families were not on board for their relationship.  And in the end they had to see past what was expected of them.  This was a very effective retelling of a classic story.

Don’t Speak

My Rating:  

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King’s Captive

By Amber Bardan

Synopsis

For three years, I’ve belonged to Julius King. 

Some people would think being stuck on a private island is heaven, but this is my hell.  

Because I’m not here as a guest. Not even close. I’m a prisoner. I’m his. 

Julius King. Powerful. Wealthy. Dangerous. 

There are parts of me he wants that I can’t give him. When he looks at me, there are times I swear he sees someone else. And the scary part is that sometimes, when he touches me, I think he may be someone else, too. 

Though my body might be tempted, and he might control everything else, I can’t let him have any piece of my heart. I won’t. But every day, the fight gets harder, and Julius manages to slip past my defenses in the most unexpected ways.  

I have to find out the truth about Julius King. Even if it destroys me. 

Review

This is going to be a fairly short review, because KING’S CAPTIVE is practically one giant plot twist in the making, and to talk about any of it could be considered a spoiler.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t get this one.  It is told mostly in the present, but also includes flashbacks to an event three years ago, aptly called Bloody Birthday.  That is the day Julius arrived at Sarah’s family home and took her for himself.  Each flashback is designed to give us a piece of the puzzle, but trying to keep track of those pieces was hard given that they were provided out of order.  By that I mean the first flashback takes place at 3.00pm, then 3.15 pm, then 1.20 pm, then 1.40 pm, then 3.30 pm, then 1.56 pm, etc.  Trying to keep track of what happened in the past, and how it related to what was happening in the present, became too much for me and ultimately affected my enjoyment of this story.

You know how you sometimes watch a movie, but when you watch it a second time and know how it ends, everything suddenly makes sense?  I think this is one of those books that would make more sense the second time around.  Maybe then I wouldn’t be left with so many questions.

KING’S CAPTIVE is told in dual POVs, but mostly in Sarah’s.  It is a stand-alone and it comes with a HEA.  While I didn’t enjoy it, I’m sure there are plenty of others who will love it.

King’s Captive

My Rating:  

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Bet Me

By Lila Monroe

Synopsis

What happens when your sex strike goes viral — and suddenly every man in town has their eye on your prize? 

All I wanted was a little old-fashioned romance. After a parade of Tinder disasters who think chivalry is giving me a pearl necklace on the first date, I made a pledge: until guys step up their game, this girl is off the market.

But one bottle of chardonnay later, and my drunken rant has gone viral. I’m the most famous person NOT having sex since the Jonas Brothers put on their purity rings. A men’s magazine has even put a bounty on my (ahem) maidenhead: fifty Gs to whoever makes me break the drought. 

Be careful what you wish for…

Now my office looks like an explosion in a Hallmark factory, I’ve got guys lining up to sweep me off my feet – and the one man I want is most definitely off-limits. Jake Weston is a player through and through. He’s also the only one who sees through the mayhem to the real me, but how can I trust he’s not just out to claim the glory? 

And how will I make it through the strike without scratching the itch – especially when that itch looks so damn good out of his suit? 

The thrill of the chaste has never been so sexy in Lila Monroe’s hilarious, hot new romantic read!

Review

After reading BET ME, I have to say that I’m damn grateful for being married and that I don’t have to wade into the dating pool of modern man and woman.  Lizzie is a young woman who is sick and tired of the lack of effort men put into their dates.  All she wants is a little romance, but the men she finds online are either totally clueless or just don’t give a crap.  After her most recent dating flop, she decides that she won’t be having sex again until the men interested in dating her learn how to treat a woman right.  Jake is her annoying co-worker and is exactly the kind of guy she needs to avoid: cocky; condescending; emotionally closed off; a playboy; and a non-believer in all things romance.  But when these two get together?  Wow!

BET ME is told in dual POVs, but mostly in Lizzie’s.  I liked both Jake and Lizzie, and their scenes together were fiery, flirty and funny.  I know she never meant her message to go public, but I would have loved to have seen her embrace the publicity surrounding her declaration, as a lot of people⎯mostly men but also some women⎯didn’t get the message she was trying to convey.  I will say that even though this book made me laugh, it also made me mad.  Not because of the writing or the story or anything the author did, but because I know this is what women have to deal with when it comes to men.  My heart broke for Lizzie when she found out about the bounty being offered by Jake’s friend, but I loved that Jake defended her and agreed it was disgusting.  I was disappointed that his friend didn’t remove the bounty despite their requests and was therefore disappointed again when Jake and Lizzie remained friends with him.  As far as I’m concerned, what he did was crude and disrespectful and went against the very point Lizzie was trying to make.

In the end though, Lizzie got her romance and a HEA with Jake.

Bet Me

My Rating:  

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Logan Kade

By Tijan

Synopsis

You think you know me?
Player. Partier. Fighter.

You know what? You’re right. I’m all those things. F*ck with mine and I’ll f*ck you ten times harder. Suspensions. Arrests. You think I care?
So yeah, I may fit the bad boy image, but there’s so much more you don’t know.
I’m loyal to a damned fault. I’ll never leave your side. The real Logan Kade isn’t a manwhore. When I love, I love hard and completely.
Taylor saw that side of me. Inside of me. She saw my darkness and pain, and the second she did, she owned me.

You may think you know me…
…but she’s the only one who sees me.

**Full-length standalone

Review

** Please read Fallen Crest High Series 1 to 5 before reading Logan’s story **

I am on team #Logan all the way, ever since I picked up Fallen Crest High, I love Mason & Sam and their love story but Logan’s humour and live life to the fullest always drew me in.  If you have not read Fallen Crest Series, please do, so many characters in here are in that series and although this is a standalone so many of his mannerisms may not make sense.

Logan’s story in this book really opened up him to the reader on a new level, you saw his hurt and learnt more about him and Mason and their younger life and those key moments that changed them.

I enjoyed the dual POV, I really liked how we had more of Taylor’s perspective as I needed to know she was the girl for him and that she deserved Logan.  As a reader you get so invested in the character and I simply needed to know she was good enough.

It is funny that both Sam and Taylor are “Coaches daughters” and their mannerisms are really quite similar in that they do not need a large posse around them, they are very strong and independent young woman who deserve two men such as Mason & Logan that would walk through fire for them.

It was interesting to see Nate in this story and I now would love to see him find the girl of his dreams.  I would have liked perhaps a chapter on Sam, Nate and Mason when Taylor and Logan had their one month break to tie in the obvious conclusions they had come to with Logan falling in love.

The ending was brilliant and I cannot wait to see the big event, which  we will obviously read about in Fallen Crest 6 or 7.

Quote: “Mama Malinda’s rules: Go big or go home”

Logan Kade

My Rating: 

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