REVIEW – Breathe by Abbi Glines

Breathe

Title – Breathe
Author – Abbi Glines
Series – Sea Breeze, #1

Breathe

Synopsis

In the shore town of Sea Breeze, Sadie discovers that fame is nothing in the face of passion. A steamy read from bestselling author Abbi Glines.

Sadie White’s summer job is at the beach, but she won’t be working as a lifeguard. Since her mom is pregnant and refuses to work, Sadie will be taking over as a domestic servant for a wealthy family on a nearby island.

When the family arrives at their summer getaway, Sadie is surprised to learn that the owner of the house is Jax Stone, one of the hottest teen rockers in the world. If Sadie were normal—if she hadn’t spent her life raising her mother and taking care of the house—maybe she’d be excited about working for a rock star. But she’s not.

Even though Sadie isn’t impressed by Jax’s fame, he is drawn to her. Everything about Sadie fascinates Jax, but he fights his attraction: Relationships never work in his world, and as badly as he wants Sadie, he believes she deserves more. Yet as the summer stretches on, Jax’s passion leaves him breathless—and Sadie feels like the only source of oxygen.

Can their love overcome the disparity in their lifestyles? One breath at a time, they’re going to find out…

Breathe 1

Review

The best part of a reading challenge has to be the fact that it gives you an excuse to read books that may have been on your Kindle forever but just kept getting pushed to the bottom of your TBR. For me, Breathe by Abbi Glines was one of these novels and I’m ecstatic that I decided to partake in this challenge and read the debut novel by a popular author. I loved getting a glimpse into where this author came from and how far she has grown from the first characters she brought to readers.

“Your eyes hold the key to my soul. Your hands heal all my pain, and you’re everything that makes this boy whole.”

I really appreciated being able to see Abbi Glines’ quintessential style throughout Breathe. It showed me that while she has grown and finessed her talent, the raw pieces that make up her writing have always been present. She has expanded on and learned to hone her gift, but from the ideas, to the characters, to the swoon worthy factor, I could pretty easily guess it was an Abbi Glines novel if it were handed to me as a mystery. Breathe was so interesting because it was slightly more raw than the Rosemary Beach novels, which I read religiously; I didn’t feel like there was an abundance of character development, but Glines surely has a knack for her storytelling. She is able to suck you into the story and forget the real world for a few hours, and I love that about her writing.

“Don’t cry. I’m not that strong. I can’t stand here when your heart is broken. How I long to be all you need. But instead, I’m everything that’s wrong.”

Glines very clearly likes telling stories about a big wig hero with a heroine who is feisty and fierce, but not without her complications. Jax was a character I instantly took a liking to. He was level-headed, down to earth, and in a world filled with players and greed, it was refreshing to see some normalcy. He fought his conscience, and those little bits of his point of view were perfection. However, Sadie is the character who stole the show for me. I understand all too well about having a mom who acts more like the child, so as we got more into her background and history, I couldn’t not form an instant bond with her. I wanted to be her friend, her shoulder to lean on, and the mother to pull her out of that. However, I loved that Glines built each of these things into characters in the book. It made me relate to it on a deeper level and gripped me that much harder.

“The day you walked into my life, I knew it was no sacrifice to let you in. I wanted nothing more than to win your heart.”

Abbi Glines is a go-to author for me, and Breathe only reaffirmed why that is. She writes these beautiful, fun love stories that you can’t help but want more from. As soon as I closed the book, I was already so excited to dive into the rest of the Sea Breeze series. I just love the non-angsty drama that provides for a lighter read, but never feeling like it’s flat. Plus, I look forward to seeing where this clan ends up down the road. I only wish that I hadn’t waited so long to read them because I was so clearly missing out!

Rating

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Breathe 3

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Because of Low (Sea Breeze, #2)

Because of Low

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While It Lasts (Sea Breeze, #3)

While It Lasts

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Just For Now (Sea Breeze, #4)

Just For Now

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Sometimes It Lasts (Sea Breeze, #5)

Sometimes It Lasts

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Misbehaving (Sea Breeze, #6)

Misbehaving

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Bad For You (Sea Breeze, #7)

Bad For You

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Hold on Tight (Sea Breeze, #8)

Hold on Tight

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Until the End (Sea Breeze, #9)

Until the End

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Author Bio

Abbi Glines

Abbi Glines is the New York Times, USA TODAY, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Rosemary Beach, Field Party, Sea Breeze, Vincent Boys, and Existence series. A devoted book lover, Abbi lives with her family in Alabama. She maintains a Twitter addiction at @AbbiGlines and can also be found at Facebook.com/AbbiGlinesAuthor and AbbiGlines.com.

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REVIEW – Finding Laila by TK Rapp

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Title – Finding Laila
Author – TK Rapp
Publication Date – January 13, 2015

Finding Laila Cover

Synopsis

 Joey, Cole, Haden and Braxton have been a constant in my life since I was five, and I have loved being one of the guys.

I’ve been cheerleader.

I’ve been study partner.

I’ve been listener.

When we’re young, we don’t realize the profound impact certain people will have on our lives. I had no idea twelve years ago I’d meet four boys who would turn out to be my best friends, my soul mates – my barmy.

Now school is almost done, our last summer together is drawing closer, and I’m trying to hold on to what we have while I still can. After this, we’ll have to say goodbye to each other as our choices will take our lives in different directions. But I don’t know if our friendship can survive once secrets and surprises begin revealing themselves to us at every turn.

When it’s all said and done, will our friendships remain unbreakable? Or will our once strong bond prove to be weaker than we anticipated?

Letting go is harder than I thought, but some changes are necessary.

And finding Laila…finding myself…may be the greatest journey of all.

Finding Laila 1

Review

I’m not quite sure where I want to go with this review, to be honest. This is probably one of the more complicated ones I’ve had to write in some time. Finding Laila by TK Rapp is a sweet coming of age novel that chronicles that important final year of high school. The story focuses on a girl and her four best friends, who happen to all be guys, and explores the changes that the ending of such a monumental chapter brings with it.

“So be with me, here and now. We’ll worry about everything else later.”

Laila was, without a doubt, a fun, lovable character. She took a lot from people but knew that with her boys by her side, she could conquer anything. I admired that quality in her, because if it were me, I don’t think I could be even nearly as strong as she was. Through everything, she remained a rock but I felt like she got a little softer as the book progressed. It was like she was growing and allowing her walls to come down, even just slightly. As much of the driving force is Laila, this novel wouldn’t be what it was without the shining personalities of her barmy. Each friend gave something equally important to the story, as well as brought out different aspects of Laila’s personality. As a reader, their relationships fascinated me and I found myself often wishing I had a group like that to depend on.

“No matter how often he says those three words to me, or how long I’ve known him as one of the guys on my street – my best friend – he still has this way of making my heart flip.”

I was smiling to myself and remembering first love and all those milestones that come with high school as I was turning the pages. These five had something rare and beautiful and it was a joy to watch them grow. However, I also didn’t feel like much happened over the course of the book. It felt very one level at times and I wanted to pull more from the author during certain moments. I was also left utterly confused and derailed by the Epilogue. It didn’t feel like there was conviction or a real purpose to it, which ended the book on a slightly lower note than I would have liked.

“Please let me get over him. I can’t have my heart broken by one of my best friends. It will ruin everything.”

This was my first TK Rapp novel, but I highly doubt it will be my last. She has a fun, quirky writing style that sucks you in to keep turning those pages. Finding Laila was about discovering the brave we all hold within us and it was nice to be back in that young adult mind set once again. I definitely look forward to seeing what else Rapp can deliver in future novels.

Rating

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REVIEW – My Time in the Affair by Stylo Fantome

My Time in the Affair

Title – My Time in the Affair
Author – Stylo Fantome
Publication Date – May 2, 2015

My Time in the Affair cover

Synopsis

~Mischa~

I made a conscious decision to cheat on my husband.

Now, before you judge me, hear my story. Hear how much I’m like you, how similar my thoughts are to your own. Yes, I’m a horrible person. Yes, I’ve done horrible things. Yes, I don’t deserve forgiveness. Yes, bad things happened because of my actions.

But I’m willing to bet I’ve done things that maybe, just maybe, you have thought of doing.

Maybe, just maybe, you’re not as innocent as you’d like to think.

Or maybe I’m not so guilty …

My Time in the Affair 1

Review

With all the buzz that was occurring with this book, I really wanted to dive in and see why it was being talked about so much. Unfortunately with my schedule, it took months to get to. Now I’m sitting here kicking myself for not delving into the pages sooner, because holy heck. I haven’t had a book grip me the way Stylo Fantome’s My Time in the Affair did in quite some time. I quite literally made excuses for just “one more chapter” time and time again.

“How does a person choose between what they know, and what they love?”

I’ll admit that I was simultaneously intrigued and nervous given the premise of the book. People don’t tend to love a cheater so I fully expected to have a full out hate fest for a majority of the novel. However, Fantome writes in this fascinating fashion that allowed me to appreciate the story for what it was, despite the taboo of it. I loved that there were both scenes in the third person, as well as the first person. It’s not often I see this switching back and forth but it allowed me to read the story and watch it unfold unbiasedly. Then there would be a chapter from Mischa’s point of view and I was sucked into her inner thoughts and feelings. It was a quite compelling style, especially for someone who tends to prefer the first person.

“Tal paid no attention to plans. Plans didn’t exist in his world. He colored outside the lines, and he dragged me with him. Handed me a brush and said, ‘here, paint me as you like.’”

There was something about Mischa’s character that drew me in so deeply. I found my heart beating in rhythm to the words on the page because at times, I could so strongly relate to them. While I have made different choices, resulting in a completely different outcome, I understood all too well the sentiments and deep rooted things she was feeling. I hate to admit that, but I guess I’m just as flawed as the characters in the books I read. Tal was this mysterious, broody personality that I thought was questionable initially. We knew he was hiding something and I yearned to really get to the big reveal. His actions made me soften to him though. From that initial encounter to every whispered word afterword, there was something so delicious about him. He was observant and intuitive and what girl doesn’t want those traits in a man? It was easy to see how Mischa could feel desire for him.

“Something about this woman. She makes me want more. All of her. All the time.”

I will say that I was afraid to enjoy this novel, because after all, what would that then say about my character? But after finishing it, I can honestly say I fell in love. I know some readers are hesitant because of the affair and that’s just a hard limit for them. However, Fantome handles the portrayal of emotions and actions in a very realistic and sensitive nature. I appreciated that so very much and I think that realism is what made me love the book so much. I sure hope that people give this one a chance because it’s certainly a five star for me!

Rating

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My Time in the Affair 2

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REVIEW – Love Unscripted by Tina Reber

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Title – Love Unscripted
Author – Tina Reber
Series – Love Series, #1

Love Unscripted

Synopsis

An A-List Movie Star. . .
Ryan Christensen just wanted to be an actor. Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine a life where fans would chase him, paparazzi would stalk him, and Hollywood studios would want to own him. While filming in Seaport, Rhode Island, Ryan ducks into a neighborhood bar for a quick escape from legions of screaming fans . . . and finds much more than he expected.

A Small-Town Girl. . .
Nursing a recent heartbreak, Taryn Mitchell believes men are best kept at a safe distance. But when Ryan Christensen unexpectedly bursts through the front door of her pub, she can’t help but be drawn in by his humor, charm, and undeniable good looks. At six foot two, with dirty blond hair, blue eyes, and an incredible body, Ryan has every girl in Seaport swooning. But Taryn isn’t every other girl.

A Relationship That Doesn’t Follow the Script. . .
Despite her better judgment, Taryn soon finds herself falling hard for Ryan. But is their bond strong enough to survive the tabloid headlines, the relentless paparazzi, and the jealous fans who seem determined to tear them apart?

Love Unscripted 1

Review

I know that I am way, way late to the Ryan Christensen train, but hot dang, Love Unscripted was awesome! Tina Reber has created a character that I fell in love with, pretty easily, while creating awareness for a larger societal problem at the same time. Love Unscripted is the fantastic up and down romance of Taryn and Ryan, and about what can happen when society idolizes those who are put on a pedestal.

“’You never know which way the wind blows’ was one of my father’s favorite expressions.”

Ryan is a big actor who can’t get away from the fans or the paparazzi, which ends up leading him straight into the arms of the beautiful, Taryn. The heroine of this novel was someone truly special because she was independent and strong, but not without her insecurities. Her vulnerabilities made her a hard match for Ryan, but it was nothing that communication and trust couldn’t overcome, and I loved that about their story. Reber writes this couple in a way that emphasizes the important qualities in a relationship. I really adored how dedicated and down to earth that Ryan was. His character could attain anything material-wise, but what he desired the most was what people tend to take advantage of every day. He yearned for quiet, for peace, and for love…the little things people don’t often think about. However, he never came across as whiny or ungrateful for his position or what he had. I appreciated that readers could get a sense of his priorities through the way that Taryn described and saw him.

“I used to think it was silly; just one of those sayings that we tell ourselves when we don’t think we have control over our own destiny.”

These two are from opposite ends, but there was something that really jives well about them being together. Each could sense what the other needed, therefore providing a perfect balance for the other. As a reader, I thought that Reber did this very well. The struggle and up and down of how to make it work kept me intrigued, especially in the terms of trust on both parts.

“But I’ve since come to realize that sometimes when those winds of change blow, they’re strong enough to toss you into a whole new world, and you really have no control over where you fly or how you land.”

What I enjoyed most about this book was found just in the way Tina Reber wrote it. Though it was longer than the average read these days, it wasn’t filled with fluff or unnecessary angst. Love Unscripted follows the journey of a couple who are determined to overcome the odds. However, it can only be done when working together. I loved the overall message of not giving up and overcoming obstacles; fighting through something rather than throwing it away. I’m really curious to see what else she has in store for these two because I actually thought it was a perfect ending!

Rating

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Love Unrehearsed (Love Series, #2)

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BOOK BLITZ – Happily Ever After by JA Huss

Title – Happily Ever After
Author – J.A. Huss
Publication Date – December 16, 2015
Series – Rook & Ronin

Synopsis

Life in Rook & Ronin’s world has been bliss for fifteen years. Rook, Veronica, and Ashleigh are still BFF’s raising their kids together. Ronin, Spencer, and Ford have managed to go legit and stay out of trouble. And they have a pack of kids running around the eight thousand square foot Vail mansion they all share for the holidays—begging for gifts, and fun, and love.

But every HEA has problems.

Five is fifteen and getting ready to go off to college. He’s put it off as long as he could in order to stay close to Princess Shrike, but his stay of execution is over and in three weeks he’s off to Oxford. But Five can’t leave until he gets the only thing he’s ever wanted. The heart of his Princess.

Ford and Ashleigh never had any more children after Five. And now that Kate is sixteen, Ashleigh is out of her head with desire for just one more chance to have a baby in the house.

Rook and Ronin have two beautiful daughters, but Sparrow is growing up too. And she just got a job offer that has Ronin crazed with paternal worry.

And Spencer is the father of a fifteen-year-old princess who looks way too much like her Bombshell mother for his comfort level.

Join the whole Rook & Ronin gang for a Team Christmas you will never forget.

Happily Ever After 1

Review

Christmas came early this year for this J.A. Huss lover – and it was delivered in the form of my favorite crew of hers! Happily Ever After is this perfect taste of characters that still have a place in my heart, as well as glimpses of where their love has taken them. For fans of the series, this is a sure to be hit that you won’t want to miss.

“My sweet little princess has turned into my Bombshell.”

Life is a little chaotic for the Team, their wives, and their gaggle of children. I loved that over a decade later, and these three men are still very much the same people I fell in love with, yet so different as well. They’ve matured and grown, but still dominating and fiercely protective – especially over those princesses of theirs. The most special part was seeing their children all grown up. I can’t put into words how much I adored seeing the dynamics played out and who inherited what traits. And of course – those insanely amazing heroines that Huss always writes! Eeek! While I always appreciate how strong and independent her characters are, there was something that so profoundly struck me in Happily Ever After. These three beautiful, wonderful women became real in such a different sense. They grappled with insecurities and painful realities – ones that mimicked things I have felt from time to time. It just reminded me why I related to them in the first place.

“Because I’m going to make sure, no matter what happens, there will always be an us.”

Happily Ever After is a short novella that certainly brought a smile to my face. I loved revisiting old friends and living in this world, even if only for an hour. If you haven’t started the Rook + Ronin series, I highly suggest doing so. It’s easily one of my top favorites. And if you’re already a fan of the Team, what the heck are you waiting for?! Do yourself a favor and dive in because it’s a story you won’t want to miss. Your heart will warm, you’ll laugh and giggle, and you’ll certainly love every single second of it!

Rating
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Excerpt

SPENCER



I ease out of the room quietly and take the baby downstairs. The house is big and the kitchen is far, but I can hear the bustle of kids and dogs before I even make it downstairs. When I walk in, it’s a madhouse.

I love this fucking madhouse. My girls are all laughing and talking a mile a minute. Belle is stuffing her face with pancakes, Jasmine and Ariel are clinking their OJ glasses together like they are having a secret toast, and Rory is…

I squint my eyes at Rory. She’s talking to Five, but that’s not what makes me squint my eyes. She’s wearing a Shrike Trikes t-shirt and sweat pants, but it’s the way… it’s the shape of her…

“Daddy,” Rory squeals, getting up from her stool at the breakfast bar and coming towards me. “Five wants to know—”

“Absolutely not.”

She stops short. “What?” Her smile falters.

Cindy smacks her little fist into my eyeball, and I have to take a deep breath. “I’m sorry, what were you going to ask?” I eye Five suspiciously. I know he’s always liked her, but he’s so weird. Like Ford, just weird. Always wearing those suits. Always on that computer. And he’s been in and out of different college programs since he was ten or eleven. He’s gone a lot and that’s the way I like it.

But today he looks… different. Different in the same way that Rory looks different in her innocent nightclothes. He almost looks normal in his flannel pajama pants and Shrike t-shirt. Add in the fact that his normally perfectly coiffed hair is messed up a little like he just rolled out of bed, and I get flushed with anger.

In fact, Rory’s long blonde hair is all messed up too. Flowing over her shoulders like an unruly waterfall. And Five is looking at her the way I look at the Bomb.

“But Daddy,” Rory pleads. “I need to go shopping.”

“Shopping?” I ask, ratcheting down my suspicions and getting a hold of my paranoia as the seconds tick off.

“Yeah, we don’t want to ski today. We want to go shopping in the Village.”

Shopping. I mull it over in my head. Lots of people there. Crowds of people, actually. Not private, in other words. “Maybe,” I say. “But I’m pretty sure Ford is counting on you to help him, Five.”

“Mr. Shrike,” Five starts. “I’ve already cleared it with my father. Kate’s helping him today. Right, Kate?” He looks over at his sister and there’s… there’s some kind of secret look going on between the two of them.

“Yup,” Kate says. She is as normal as Five is strange. And she’s been Ford’s little sidekick since day one. But she’s smarter than people give her credit for. I think she secretly likes it that way. Like being underestimated is the best gift she ever got out of being Ford’s adopted daughter. “Ford and I are skiing a double black once the kids are finished.”

“Well,” I say, eyeing my brood. Rory needs a chaperone. Belle, Jas and Ariel won’t go shopping. They love Ford too much to skip out on a whole day with him on the slopes. And there’s no chance in hell that Rook and Ronin will have time to shop today. Sparrow has ballet rehearsal before The Nutcracker tonight. “Oliver,” I say, smiling. “Ollie, my boy. You don’t want to ski today, do you? You hate skiing.” He does too, he can’t ski worth a shit. “Will you go with Rory and finds something extra-special pretty for Mommy today? She’s tired and needs a pick-me-up present before Santa comes.”

“Yay!” Oliver says. “Yes, yes, yes! I want to go shopping with Five. He’s the best, Daddy.”

I roll my eyes. “OK, good. You can go, Princess, but…” I look at Five. “But…”

“But what, Daddy?” Rory asks.

But what am I going to say to Five? You touch my girl, I’ll break your fingers? I’ll grab that shotgun I’m hiding under my bed and—“Just be home in time for dinner. Your mom is making something special tonight.”

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Tragic (Rook & Ronin #1)

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Manic (Rook & Ronin #2)

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Panic (Rook & Ronin #3)

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Slack (Ford Aston Spin-Off)

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Taut (Ford Aston Spin-Off)

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Bomb (Spencer Shrike Spin-Off)

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Guns (Spencer Shrike Spin-Off)

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Author Bio

JA Huss is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty romances. She likes stories about family, loyalty, and extraordinary characters who struggle with basic human emotions while dealing with bigger than life problems. JA loves writing heroes who make you swoon, heroines who makes you jealous, and the perfect Happily Ever After ending.

You can chat with her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AuthorJAHuss), Twitter (@jahuss), and her kick-ass romance blog, New Adult Addiction (www.newadultaddiction.com).

If you’re interested in getting your hands on an advanced release copy of her upcoming books, sneak peek teasers, or information on her upcoming personal appearances, you can join her newsletter list (http://eepurl.com/JVhAr) and get those details delivered right to your inbox.

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COVER RE-REVEAL, REVIEW & GIVEAWAY – Undeniable by Micalea Smeltzer

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Title: Undeniable
Author: Micalea Smeltzer
Series: Second Chances #2

Undeniable

Synopsis

Karlie Reed has been crushing on Holden Marks for as long as she can remember. The problem? He’s eight years older than her and her brother’s best friend.

One night, when things get out of hand, they make a pact. They’ll spend the summer together and when Karlie goes to Joffrey Ballet School, their affair will end.

No emotions, no hearts broken.

But nothing is that easy.

When the unexpected happens, Karlie and Holden are rocked to the core.

Karlie will run.

But will Holden fight for her?

Review

Undeniable was everything I’d hoped Karlie and Holden’s story would be and then some. Having first met them in Katy and Jared’s story, I knew this book would be an adventure and Micalea Smeltzer did not disappoint. Having known each other practically their whole lives, Karlie and Holden have a connection that runs deep, deeper than either would like to admit. Their obvious attraction and strong feelings for one another built a tension that practically busted from the pages of this book. It was all too easy to invest myself in this couple’s happily ever after. Micalea Smeltzer wrote a chemistry that was electric and undeniable, making it impossible not to feel for these two. Karlie and Holden share an easy friendship, palpable lust, and witty banter that made their story absolutely shine. From start to finish I felt every moment of Undeniable, reveling in the laugher, heartache, and overwhelming emotion of Karlie and Holden’s journey.

“Holden, was Mr. Playboy, and Jared would kill me if he found out about this. Correction: He’s kill Holden. And Holden was far too beautiful to be killed.”

Karlie is just as feisty as I knew she’d be, keeping Jared on his toes and pushing Holden’s buttons. It was fun to watch her grow and spread her wings in this book. Jared has always been so protective of his sister, so I really enjoyed seeing her taking a stand and establishing herself as her own person. As much as I adored the strength she exhibited, I found myself relating just as much to her vulnerabilities and insecurities. Micalea Smeltzer really gave Karlie depth in this book and I loved experiencing the growth of this character. Holden, on the other hand, surprised me with his angst and hidden scars. In Unraveling he always seemed so cocky and arrogant, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover the true complexity of Holden’s character. As Micalea revealed Holden’s past to us, I found myself feeling for him in a way I never expected. His darkness gave him an edge that seemed to validate the personality and emotional void he publically displayed. Both of these characters really came into their own in Undeniable, imprinting themselves on me totally.

“You should spend less time worrying about messing everything up and spend it living in the moment instead, because every minute we spend together is something to treasure.”

The direction this storyline took was full of surprises. While I enjoyed seeing Karlie and Holden finally give into their feelings of lust, I absolutely adored watching their worlds being irrevocably altered as they began to recognize the truth beneath the lust. The additional moments with Katy and Jared felt like icing on the cake for me as I easily lost myself in the emotional rollercoaster that was Undeniable. Seeing more of their happily ever after juxtaposed with Karlie and Holden’s struggle to find their own gave Undeniable a poignancy that simply felt right. Micalea Smeltzer continues to blow me away, her writing getting better and better with time. Her words seemed to effortlessly capture the tone of the storyline and build the world of Undeniable in a way that was entirely tangible for the readers. Once again, Micalea has swept me away in her beautiful prose and vibrant imagery, consuming me with her heartfelt and emotionally charged story of love, loss, and self-discovery.

Rating
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Don’t miss the other novel in the Second Chances series:

Unraveling (Second Chances #1)

Unraveling

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Author Bio

Micalea Smeltzer

Micalea Smeltzer is a bestselling Young and New Adult author from Winchester, Virginia. She’s always working on her next book, and when she has spare time she loves to read and spend time with her family.

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A RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

AUDIOBOOK RELEASE & GIVEAWAY – Restless Waters by Jessica Park

RestlessWaters-AudioEvent

Title: Restless Waters
Author: Jessica Park
Series: Left Drowning #2

Restless Waters

Synopsis

A storm is coming, and with storms come restless waters.

Pulled from the depths of catastrophe and depression, Blythe McGuire has learned to escape from her past while embracing the future. A future now entwined with the Shepherd siblings.

With Chris, she shares a staggering romance that kicks heartbreak’s ass.

With Sabin, she shares an intense friendship, one that’s becoming more complicated than either had expected. A friendship now being put to the test because Sabin’s brutal past still haunts him. Because trauma is the gift that keeps on giving without mercy.

Now Sabin is the one left drowning and struggling to breathe, and his turmoil threatens to send all three into dark currents they cannot escape. Even after going through her own hell, saving Sabin will take much more than Blythe had anticipated. Their connection and their love could help, but getting him to reach for her hand could be Blythe’s biggest challenge ever.

Review

Wow…Jessica Park sure knows how to write a pull at your heartstrings, emotionally charged, banging story. If you’ve ever read something by this wonderful author, you will know that you should always expect the unexpected. I’m not sure if I could put into words what I thought I would get in Restless Waters, but I can guarantee that what is contained within the pages isn’t something I could have dreamt of myself. It was raw, painstakingly heartbreaking and emotional, yet somehow a journey that will leave readers better for absorbing the words on the pages.

“I see perfection in things that are likely considered imperfections by others.”

Similar to Left Drowning, this novel is told from Blythe’s point of view. At first I was hesitant because based on the synopsis, I thought it would be a similar storyline but with a new character. I’ll admit that I was initially disappointed we wouldn’t be getting Sabin’s thoughts and inner turmoil. However, I actually think that having it from her feelings and vantage point made the story that much more impactful. She’s such an empathic character so rather than feeling the numbness we experienced in the first book, as readers, we got to feel so much deeper. I loved feeling the pain, anguish, and confusion through her because it put a fresh twist on them. It wasn’t always accurate, but it was her interpretation, which made it all the more interesting.

“Love doesn’t fix everything, but it helps.”

Blythe’s character is still one that has stayed with me from reading Left Drowning a year ago. The journey to the woman she became in Restless Waters was tumultuous and rough, but so relatable in some ways. I appreciated seeing her strength shine through here, but also knowing that she has her vulnerabilities and triggers. To me, she isn’t a character in a book; she was often the me I see in the mirror. Sabin has been a favorite of mine since the moment he was introduced. He has a presence about him that commands attention, even through the printed words. It made my heart heavy with hurt to see him struggling and experiencing the difficulty to stay afloat. I so badly wanted to hug him and rock him, and give him everything that he needed to know he’d be okay. The relationship he has with Blythe and their unspoken communication was so so special. All I kept thinking was “may we all have a Blythe or Sabin in our life”. It’s real and beautiful and such an experience to read. It’s so hard to describe because I could simply never do Jessica Park justice.

“We were going to come out damaged in one way or another, no matter what, and we were all in an impossible situation.”

This insanely talented author has a clear knack for pulling at readers’ heartstrings and forcing them to feel something. There were so many moments that I felt like she was singing to the depths of my soul and describing my deepest, inner most feelings. Sabin’s path is so different than Blythe’s was, yet haunted by a past he couldn’t escape. I just simply love these characters and the mix of emotional turmoil Park puts me through. I can’t sing enough praise for Restless Waters, and if you were a fan of Left Drowning, I highly suggest you pick it up. The storyline, the emotions, the transformations and back story all come together in one beautiful package that is not to be missed!

Rating
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Audio Links

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Listen to a sample from the audiobook with a scene that features Blythe and Sabin… and also an exclusive first listen to Sabin (well, Troy) singing “City Lights.” Enjoy!

***
Buy Left Drowning on Audible

Restless Waters 1

Authors Note

from author Jessica Park

Gah! I am so excited for the release of the Restless Waters audiobook! It’s always exciting when a book I’ve written comes to life in a new form, but this project snowballed into something more beautiful than I could have imagined. I wasn’t sure I was even going to do an audiobook, but then I reconnected with my fabulous Left Drowning narrator, Arielle DeLisle. Once she was on board, my enthusiasm for creating this version of my book soared. She understands my characters as well as I do, and she’s the only person in the world I would entrust to deliver their voices.

So, as thrilled as I was to have her attached to this project, there was one idea I had to present, and I wasn’t sure how it would go over with her…

Restless Waters includes lyrics from my friend and phenomenally talented musician, Troy. Beyond that, he actually wrote a song for me! Er, well, for the book. “Coward” is the powerful single he created, and everything about it reaches into my heart. More music from the book is available on his recently released EP, When The Lights Came, and he’ll also be releasing more music from the book soon!

So, I couldn’t imagine having these lyrics narrated… I mean, it’s one thing to read the lyrics in the context of the book, because it’s sort of the equivalent of poetry, but I felt sure something would really be lost if they were read aloud. More than that, we had an opportunity to do something incredibly unique and dynamic.

Because Arielle is a sassy rule breaker and a rebel, like I am, she agreed: We would ask Troy to record acoustic versions of his music to incorporate into the audiobook.

And then Troy agreed.

And then suddenly the three of us were working together seamlessly on this production! An indie trifecta, each of us bringing something different to this work, and all of us supporting and cheering on the other. It was an extraordinary experience.

Troy and I have been trying to work together for years (his former band, In Like Lions, is mentioned in Flat-Out Love!), and we finally got our chance. Troy is, without a doubt, the voice of Sabin. Nobody sings with Troy’s level of passion, emotion, depth, soul, and beauty. It was an honor to use his lyrics in the text of the book, but hearing his voice as Sabin’s in the audiobook is phenomenally moving, and I am so grateful for all the work he put in. Troy also narrates the chapter titles and opening lyrics, and I think it’s just perfect having him as Sabin doing those introductory pieces.

As far as the three of us know, an audiobook that incorporates music as the Restless Waters one does hasn’t been done before, so that’s another thrill for us! Listeners not only get to savor Arielle’s perfect narration (Man, does she capture these characters and all the ups and downs of the story!), but they get to hear what it would be like to be right there with Sabin as he sings and plays guitar.

We are so proud of this audiobook and terribly excited for fans of the Left Drowning series to take a listen!

from narrator Arielle DeLisle

Restless Waters was a project I held very close to my heart. The timing of how it came together for me — as a narrator and collaborator and fan of the prequel I’d recorded 2 years ago — was truly a beautiful experience for me. It’s one of my favorite projects I’ve worked on, ever. To say this was an intense recording experience would be an understatement! Not only was this thick with emotion and depth, which required a lot from me as a narrator, a challenge I absolutely loved, but it also is an exceptionally unique multimedia audiobook. I could not imagine a better suited team, all of us with our own personal connections to the work, and all driven toward the end-product being as great as we could make it.

Working with Troy and his producer, Dante, to get just the right feel and timing to allow the story to unfold around and on top of the music was a beautiful enhancement to this already moving story. I have a background in commercial production and was able to facilitate this collaboration, and Jessica and I were on the same page — if we break the rules of how audiobooks are produced, it has to have meaning and it has to be perfect. The script informs the narration, introducing the music adds dimension to the tone, and the blend of narration and music work together to create an atmosphere that you just don’t get when it’s only one piece or the other. I love what we’ve done and couldn’t be happier with how it all came together.

Restless Waters 2

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Read Chapters 1 & 2 HERE

Don’t miss the first novel in the series:

Left Drowning (Left Drowning #1)

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Read our review HERE
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Author Bio

Jessica Park

Jessica is the author of LEFT DROWNING, the New York Times bestselling FLAT-OUT LOVE (and the companion piece FLAT-OUT MATT), and RELATIVELY FAMOUS. She lives in New Hampshire where she spends an obscene amount time thinking about rocker boys and their guitars, complex caffeinated beverages, and tropical vacations. On the rare occasions that she is able to focus on other things, she writes.

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A RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

RELEASE DAY REVIEW – Forgetting August by J.L. Berg

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Title: Forgetting August
Author: J.L. Berg
Series: Lost & Found #1
Release Date: December 1, 2015

Forgetting August

Synopsis

She can forgive, but can she forget?

Some days, Everly still thinks she sees him. In the food court at the mall, or in a car speeding past as the light changes. It only lasts a second, but when it happens, she slips back to a time when she was ruled-and nearly ruined-by August Kincaid. And it doesn’t matter that she’s moved on, that she’s about to marry another man. In those moments the only thing she can do to regain control is take a deep breath and remind herself that August can’t hurt her-because he’s in a coma. Except that he’s not anymore.

August is awake. With no memories, he sets out to solve the mystery of his lost life. He unearths a photograph of a beautiful redhead named Everly and knows instinctively that she’s the key. But when he finds her, the August she describes is more monster than man.

Tortured by the thought of having hurt her, August wants only to become the man Everly deserves. As the new August emerges, Everly glimpses the person she first fell in love with. But can she trust that this August is real? When the final secret of their shared past is revealed, one of them will make a choice that changes their future forever . . .

Forgetting August_3

Review

J.L. Berg has written something incredibly beautiful with Forgetting August. While August and Everly’s story is certainly unconventional, there is something about them that is unexpectedly familiar. Their problems and lifestyle may have been far more dramatic than my own, but their emotional turmoil was an unquestionably basic human experience. How do you reconcile the worst and best parts of the people we love? How do we accept the darkness and light in ourselves? After two years of bandaging up her past, Everly’s wounds are exposed and broken wide open when August re-enters her life. The incredible upheaval and unavoidable self-reflection that follows was haunting, leaving me feeling as if J.L. Berg had physically torn my heart in two. This talented author has certainly outdone herself, her growth as a writer pouring off the pages of this heart-wrenching story. J.L. Berg’s vibrant characters and lyrical prose paint a stunning tale of love, forgiveness, and the secrets that we keep.

“If I gave my heart over to a man who then turned into my worst nightmare…? Who would be there to pick up the broken pieces? No one, because there would be nothing left to find.”

The characters in this story consumed me completely. Both so beautifully broken and scarred by the pain they’d inflicted upon one another, August and Everly were more than a little complicated. August’s inability to remember his former life has him experiencing life all over again under the dark cloud of who he was before. The emotional turbulence this dichotomous existence ensured had me feeling deeply for him. I hurt for this character, overwhelmed by the sheer weight of everything he’d lost and anxious at the possibility of his memory returning. J.L. Berg has written this character so carefully, balancing the aspects of his personality that were innate and those he would need to rediscover. Everything about him from his appearance, behavior, and lifestyle to his favorite flavor of ice cream was meticulously pieced together to create this conflicted man. I loved him and hated him, caught between the old August and the new and obviously deeply invested in his journey. I found myself simultaneously rooting for him and wanting to slap him, concrete evidence of J.L. Berg’s exemplary craftsmanship of August Kincaid.

“Maybe sometimes love isn’t pure. Maybe something it’s toxic – so toxic it consumes a person until they would do anything to have it. Like a drug. If I loved her now, would it be the same as before? Would I consume her?”

As conflicted as I found myself about August, I was maybe even more so conflicted by Everly. There were moments where I wanted to scream at her to stop playing such a dangerous game with August and Ryan. Yet there were just as many instances where my heart absolutely broke for her. Her loss was simply devastating and the position she found herself in so unexpected that I couldn’t help but connect with the emotional uproar she was facing. Through all of the ups and downs, J.L. Berg orchestrated an impressive amount of growth with this character. Forced to face the pain she’d never really dealt with, we get to see Everly really struggle. As she moves through her fear and finds the strength to face August and eventually herself, this character comes to life in a beautiful way. Everly has a long way to go in the next book and I was still frustrated with where she was at by the end of Forgetting August, but with the secret Everly has been keeping finally revealed, I know J.L. Berg is just getting started with this character.

“You and I are the same. Both too scared to admit the cold, hard truth – moving on isn’t an option for us because we’re still stuck right damn here.”

Forgetting August is a rollercoaster from start to finish. The concept of this story has been well executed, sucking me in and holding me captive in August and Everly’s world. The plot was well paced and exciting, the perfect balance of angst, mystery, and joyful remembrance. August and Everly’s obvious connection and undeniable chemistry made for an easy acceptance of their convoluted relationship, allowing me to wholly invest myself in their happily ever after. As always, J.L. Berg has rounded out this couple’s journey with lovable secondary characters that are already proving vital to the story. Sarah, Ryan, and Brick have caught my eye and I enjoyed the way they added to my understanding of who Everly and August really are. I’m excited to see the role they’ll play in the grand scheme of things. This unforgettable story will make you feel, make you think, and make you question everything. As August and Everly’s past and present collide, J.L. Berg takes readers through a whirlwind of emotions, leaving me feeling raw, wounded, and against all odds – hopeful.

Rating
5.png
5 ++ beautiful, heart wrenching stars!

Forgetting August_1

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Don’t miss the conclusion to the Lost & Found Series:

Remembering Everly (Lost & Found #2)

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Forgetting August_2

 

RELEASE DAY BLITZ & GIVEAWAY – Command by Nina Levine

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Title: Command
Author: Nina Levine
Series: Storm MC #7
Release Date: November 18, 2015

Command

Synopsis

Betrayal. Destruction. Loss.

The Storm MC is a club in crisis and their new President, Scott Cole, has declared war on their enemy. As Scott takes command, the MC is thrust into the biggest battle in their history – a battle to not only save the club, but the lives of its members.

Harlow James stands behind her man as he takes charge. She’s determined to prove she can be the woman he needs. However, somewhere along the way, she’s lost a piece of herself, and she fights to be strong for him when she feels anything but strong.

As the club descends into chaos, Scott and Harlow are pulled in opposite directions while they try to protect everything that is important to them. Their relationship is tested in ways it never has been, but they cling to the faith they have in each other.

Is faith enough to get you through when all appears to be lost? For Scott and Harlow, it may be the only thing that, in the end, will save them and the club.

Review

Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly love the Storm MC family any more, Command comes along and makes me fall even deeper. Nina Levine has written a fantastic new addition to the series, tying up loose ends and giving some of the couples that extra push towards their happily ever afters. Scott and Harlow had a lot to work through and I loved how Nina Levine approached their situation with an emotional honesty and sensitivity that made my heart swell. Nina never dismissed Scott and Harlow’s feelings and fears in exchange for a smoother storyline. Instead, each broken piece was lovingly examined and carefully put back in its place allowing the reader to really feel this story all the way through. Their relationship evolved naturally, riding out the highs and lows until this couple found their happy medium again. Nina Levine continues to wow me with each new novel, her growth as a writer and storyteller obvious in each heartfelt emotion and unforgettable character she creates. Nina uses her words to make her readers ache and burn only to turn around and soothe with her thoughtful prose. Her ability to make me feel, to experience her characters’ journeys wholly, keeps me coming back for more.

“Her promise fell easily from her lips and all I could do was hope she kept it, because this woman standing in front of me was the woman I’d decided to spend the rest of my life with, and I needed her whole again.”

After all they’d been through in their relationship, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect in this book from Harlow and Scott. I was prepared for them to be broken and maybe a little angry, but instead I was amazed by the amount of growth we saw from them in Command. As Harlow begins to heal, we get to experience the fierce woman Scott first fell in love with, and once again, I quickly found myself totally mesmerized by this charismatic couple. I adored watching them push each other, challenging one another to open up and face their pain. Their ability to trust one another in the purest of ways laid an unshakeable foundation for their future that had my mind spinning with the endless possibilities of their happily ever after. They were, without question, a stronger couple in this book and I loved having my favorite badass MC couple back in action. In addition to seeing our favorite biker couples return, Nina introduced some new characters that had me totally intrigued, especially the incredibly feisty, Scarlett. I can’t wait to see how Nina intends to develop these new relationships, because one thing is for sure, it will be one hell of a ride.

“Harlow joined all the pieces of my soul together. She made me whole.”

So much emotion pours from the pages of this book. Harlow and Scott have been through so much in their relationship and Storm has been plagued by violence and lies in the previous books. The tension has never been higher nor has there ever been so much at stake. When I wasn’t swooning over Scott, Nina had me on the edge of my seat, anxiously waiting for the moment when someone would pull back the curtain and reveal who was responsible for all of the club’s recent trouble. Each unexpected twist and turn in the plot kept me riveted, and that final moment of truth was totally satisfying. Despite their heartache, Scott and Harlow’s connection was as undeniable as ever and their chemistry once again sizzled. Nina Levine packed a ton of heat into this book, making me blush from Scott and Harlow’s filthy mouths and insatiable lust. The inclusion of so many familiar faces in this book was just the icing on the cake. Not only did it make me giddy with excitement, but it gave Command a deeply rooted sense of family. For the first time, everyone really seemed to find their place within the Storm MC and seeing them not only fight to defend their family, but share in life’s big moments as well, had my heart soaring.

Rating
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Command_2

Excerpt

I ran my hand over her ass and up her back. When I found her hair, I took hold and pulled her head back so I could dip my mouth to her neck. Fuck she smells good. I kissed her and as she moaned again, I added my teeth to the kiss, and fuck if she didn’t arch her back and press her front to me harder.

Pulling away, I rasped, “Jesus, woman, I need to get you out of here, otherwise your ass is gonna be planted on that couch and my dick is gonna be buried so far deep in you before you can stop me.”

Her mouth turned up in a grin, but she didn’t say anything.

“What?” I demanded.

“There is no way Scott Cole is going to fuck his woman in front of his club, but I love your enthusiasm. Personally, I think these guys are so involved in their drinking that we could probably have sex on that couch and none of them would even notice.”

I raised my brows. “You wanna see just where Scott Cole would fuck his woman? ‘Cause I’m happy to show you.”

Her grin grew. “I dare you, baby.”

Fuck.

She knows me too fucking well and she’s fucking playing me.

I kept my gaze trained on her while I pulled out my phone and called Griff. When he answered, I said, “You guys right if I head home for the night?”

“Yeah, brother. We’ve got it under control. Church is scheduled for ten in the morning and then we’ve got the re-opening of Trilogy tomorrow night.”

My gaze dropped to Harlow’s lips as she licked them, and my dick begged for that tongue. I raised my finger to her lips and closed her mouth, holding my finger there as I replied, “See you in the morning.”

Shoving my phone in my pocket, I growled, “I want you outside. Now.”

Her grin disappeared and gave way to a sexy curl of her lips. Without another word, she turned and began walking outside. My eyes dropped to her ass. The way it swayed under the tight fit of her short, black dress almost made me come in my pants.

That dress is fucking perfect.

I followed her outside and as we walked past the corner of the building, I snagged her around the waist, lifted her to rest against my body and carried her around the corner. I then deposited her on the ground and pushed her up against the building. My hands went to the hem of her dress and I pulled it up to reveal her panties to me. I slid one hand inside to find her pussy while my other hand moved to take hold of her chin.

My eyes found hers and I demanded, “You good if I fuck my woman now?”

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Don’t miss the rest of the Storm MC Series:

Storm (Storm MC #1)

Storm

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Fierce (Storm MC #2)

Fierce

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Blaze (Storm MC #3)

Blaze

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Revive (Storm MC #4)

Revive

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Slay (Storm MC #5)

Slay

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Sassy Christmas (Storm MC #5.5)

Sassy Christmas

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Illusive (Storm MC #6)

Illusive

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Havoc (Storm MC #8)

Havoc

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Author Bio

USA Today Bestselling Author Nina Levine, is an Aussie author who writes stories about alpha men and the strong, independent women they love.

When she isn’t creating with words, she loves to create with paint and paper. Often though, she can be found curled up with a good book and some chocolate. 

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Command_1

REVIEW – Zandor by M.J. Fields

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Title: Zandor
Author: M.J. Fields
Series: Men of Steel #3

Zandor

Synopsis

Meet Zandor Steel. He’s spent the past year in Italy acting out just about every sexual fantasy he could dream up. But it wasn’t all fun and games. Zandor was there to oversee construction on a posh casino resort playground for the rich and famous.

But rumors of trouble with this brothers has him worried, and Zandor heads home to help out. It’s the least he can do.

Jase and Cyrus had been Zandor’s mentors. When it came to women, they taught him to avoid attachments and to know the difference between lust and love. So when word of at least one of his brothers being ready to settle down arrives, Zandor hopes he can talk some sense into him before it’s too late.

Until he runs smack into resistance.

Southern Bell, Bekah George may just be the match Zandor has been looking for in the bedroom. She’s neither intimidated by, nor afraid of his preferences. But as he starts to let his guard down, and consider the possibility of there being more to life than mind-blowing, non-committal sex, Bekah reveals a side of herself Zandor doesn’t want to see.

Was he right to avoid entanglements, or has he already fallen to hard to let her go?

Review

Holy hotness! Zandor is absolutely scorching! M.J. Fields has turned up the heat with Zandor’s story, delivering a novel that is intense and addictive! Bekah and Zandor were a great match and they fit right in with the rest of the Steel crew. Zandor is just as protective, possessive, and demanding as his brothers, with a dominant edge that made him feel a bit grittier. While she definitely had a snarky, independent side, Bekah also had a fragility that brought a lot of emotion to the story. Her good heart and need for acceptance gave her an easy relatability that made my investment in her happily ever after effortless. Zandor and Bekah’s shared stubbornness lent itself to some serious friction. Their incredible tension, passionate arguments, amusing banter, and ridiculous antics had me grinning and allowed me to lose myself in the emotional rollercoaster that was their journey.

“None of these people adhered to any rules or boundaries. They crossed lines left and right and I – loved it. I was free here.”

I absolutely adored Bekah and the evolution of her character. Initially, I enjoyed how badass and fierce she seemed to be. She was witty and sarcastic, capable of holding her own with the Steel men, but there were moments of hesitation that hinted at another side to this girl. M.J. Fields carefully unraveled Bekah, allowing readers to discover just how multifaceted this character really was. As the novel progressed, M.J. Fields orchestrated some serious character growth, delivering a heroine you couldn’t help but feel deeply for. Zandor was just as complex a character. In the beginning I seriously wanted to slap him. He was arrogant and I truly enjoyed watching Bekah take him down a notch or too. I was pleasantly surprised to see his lust for her turn into something more significant as her circumstances brought out his caring, kind, and protective side. By the end of the novel, there was an undeniable sweetness mixed in with his gritty alpha personality that made him irresistible.

“I will strip you down in every way I want and then build you back up. You’ll do as I say and you’ll like it.”

Like the previous books in the series, Zandor was more than a sexy romance. M.J. Fields writes the romance against the backdrop of a greater issue. In this case, Bekah’s personal struggle. The result was a stunning story of personal growth and self-acceptance that made Bekah and Zandor’s love story even sweeter. The Steel family contrasted so significantly with Bekah’s own family that I couldn’t help but compare the two. This dichotomy served to only further increase my appreciation for the Steel family and the values and love they share. Their dynamic is absolutely beautiful and M.J. Fields expertly captures that sense of comfort, familiarity, safety, and belonging. The Steel men are as cocky as ever in Zandor and it was so much fun watching their kickass women bring them to their knees. Put all the Steel (and soon-to-be-Steel) women in one room and things are guaranteed to get hilarious, giving this story a sense of humor to balance the more serious side. Zandor was sexy, poignant, and a ton of fun, a great addition to this addictive series!

Rating
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Book Links

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Check out the rest of the Men of Steel Series:

Forever Steel (Men of Steel #0.5) 

Forever Steel

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Jase (Men of Steel #1)

Jase

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Jase and Carly: Summer Lovin’ (Men of Steel #1.5)

Jase and Carly

Read our review HERE
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**Included in JASE (Men of Steel #1)**

Cyrus (Men of Steel #2)

Cyrus

Read our review HERE
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Xavier (Men of Steel #4)

Xavier

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Forever Family (Men of Steel #4.5)

Forever Family

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Family (Men of Steel #4.6)

Family

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Raising Steel (Men of Steel #4.7)

Raising Steel

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Steel Couples (Men of Steel #5)

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The Men of Steel Anthology

Men of Steel Box Set

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