Review: Full Throttle by Erin McCarthy

Easing into the turns…

As one of only two girls on the tween racing circuit, Shawn Hamby has always run with a fast crowd. But now at thirty-two, she doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone. And she definitely doesn’t need a man bossing her around off of the track…

Putting the pedal to the metal…

But after a silly girls’ night at a fetish club, Shawn can’t get Rhett Ford out of her mind. He’s younger than her, and he’s her best friend’s brother-in-law, which should be red flags. Rhett is looking for someone to lead in bed, but he can’t imagine that Shawn would ever submit to him. Boldly surrendering is more her style. And with Rhett behind the wheel, it’s going to be one wild ride…

Shawn Hamby and Rhett Ford have a very short meeting at a a bdsm club one night and share a dance. Rhett is interested in knowing more about Shawn and when he finds out that she's one of his sister-in-laws friends he heads to Shawn's place of business – Hamby Track.

Shawn isn't in the best mood when Rhett finds her. She had just had a conversation with her lawyer and found up that she's kind of up shit creek without a paddle. You see the grandfather that raised her had owned Hamby Track and she ran it with him for years. Now that he had died she assumed that it had been left to her but her lawyer told her that she would only own it if she got married and stayed married for a year – a stipulation that her grandfather had put into his will. She needs to get married right away or she doesn't get the track. Shawn is more than shell-shocked but agrees to go out for a drink with Rhett to calm her nerves.

When they get to the bar Shawn gets the brilliant idea to ask Rhett to marry her. She says that after the year she'll pay him $100,000.00. Rhett thinks about it but agrees before they leave the bar. Five days later they're married but Shawn's not sure she's going to be able to pull the farce off with her friends who know her so well.

Rhett knows that he and Shawn will be good together. He wants to be in charge in the bedroom but he doesn't want to be in charge out of the bedroom. Shawn loves their bedroom play but is worried that with that and the marriage she'll lose herself and her independence.

Rhett and Shawn's story is one of a struggle between two very strong people. On the one hand they're so very good together. They get along very well, have a lot of fun together and enjoying being with each other. In the bedroom Shawn is cautious at first because she doesn't know exactly how kinky Rhett is. She soon realizes that everything that he does for her and to her is wonderful and she almost feels as if she's never had sex before. Out of the bedroom she's NOT submissive but in the bedroom it works for her.

Shawn's worries over losing herself to Rhett are valid. As a woman who's taken care of herself for years it's hard for her to grasp her submissive nature in bed. She's worried that it will translate into her every day life and I got that. I thought, however, that she took that a little too far at times. Maybe if I was in that situation I would have had the same feelings but I just wanted her to trust Rhett consistently instead of turning her trust off and on.

Rhett was nothing but wonderful to Shawn from minute one. Yes, he could be a bit manipulative to get what he wanted but nothing that was hurtful. He treated Shawn with kindness and even when he was incredibly frustrated with her he was still patient. He was definitely intense and wasn't the charming type (well he was, but in his own intense way) but he was pretty damned fabulous as a hero. I think he really made this book for me – even when he was screwing up a bit. ;)

Overall I think I had a bit of a love/kind of like relationship with this book. I really wanted to love it but I just couldn't get into the angst the way I think I should have. The resolution was really good though and I loved ending it on a high note. So...a book that had it's highs and lows but one I think was worth reading in the ending.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Erin McCarthy

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm a little behind today because I've been spending the day with my family and friends.  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and that you got to spend time with loved one and ate lots of great food!

Here's a lovely Thanksgiving Day cookie from

Review: Rodeo Queen by TJ Kline

Sydney Thomas may be the newest Rodeo Queen on the circuit, but she's more than just a pretty face and fabulous horseback rider. If only her new boss could see it! But the frustrating, bossy, drop-dead gorgeous man seems bent on pushing her away every chance he gets.

Scott Chandler learned at an early age that he needed to "cowboy up" and take care of his family. The one time he let his guard down, his heart got trampled, and he's not about to let that happen again. He knows Sydney's type: rodeo queens who hide their manipulative ways behind good looks, tight jeans, and glittery tiaras.

But just as Scott and Sydney are finally realizing there might be more to their fiery relationship than scorching kisses and passionate nights, secrets from their pasts come back to haunt them. Will the cowboy and the Rodeo Queen ever be able to ride off into the sunset together?

Sydney Thomas finally has gotten her dream job. She’s training horses on a great ranch and still attending rodeos. Unfortunately she had a bad run in with one of her bosses (before he was her boss) and the sparks flew in more ways than one. They frustrate each other as much as they are attracted to each other but Sydney’s just not sure what Scott is thinking half the time. He seems like he’s on again off again with his feelings but she keeps trying.

Scott was hurt by his ranch co-owners daughter who played him. She was a rodeo queen so he’s lumped all rodeo queens into one category – manipulative bitches. He keeps trying to tell himself that Sydney’s like that but even the first day he meets her he realizes that she’s not like his ex girlfriend, Liz.

Scott and Sydney start a relationship and Sydney falls hard. She thinks that Scott is feeling the same but he refuses to believe/admit that he loves her. When Liz shows up at the ranch and makes her move on Scott he wants nothing to do with her but Liz manipulates the couple and Sydney feels betrayed and takes off. Scott finally has to see what’s right in front of his face and then fix things with Sydney if he’s ever to be happy again.

This was a good story by new author TJ Kline. I liked it on the whole but there were definitely parts that I didn’t care for.

Scott but really a bastard to Sydney at times. He would do and say things that he knows would hurt her and though I knew that he was trying to prove a point or something to that effect, I just don’t care for people who do purposely hurtful things to others. That really brought him down a notch or two in the hero department for me. Also, not standing up to Liz and asking her straight out what she wanted when he knew she was there for something kind of annoyed me. He finally did do that but it was almost too little too late.

I really liked Sydney – she was smart and hard working. She knew what she wanted and wasn’t really afraid to go after it – until Scott hurt her. That really brought her confidence down – especially when he flat out tells her he doesn’t love her. Ouch, that’s gotta sting – when you’re carrying someone’s child or not. I thought Sydney was actually older in the book as she acted older for the most part. I found out later that she was only 20 so when she started acting 20 towards the end it wasn’t such a shock. I still liked her but age was definitely showing.

I did like the sweet times between Sydney and Scott. They were very romantic and for a man who said that he didn’t love a woman and never would he treated her like a queen at times. He really had a great heart that’s why his other actions were disheartening. I really liked the supporting cast in the story and loved how they all supported both characters in their own way. They were definitely well written.

Overall I liked the story and the writing and will read more from this author in the future.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

TJ Kline

Review: Hard As It Gets by Laura Kaye

Tall, dark, and lethal...

Trouble just walked into Nicholas Rixey's tattoo parlor. Becca Merritt is warm, sexy, wholesome--pure temptation to a very jaded Nick. He's left his military life behind to become co-owner of Hard Ink Tattoo, but Becca is his ex-commander's daughter. Loyalty won't let him turn her away. Lust has plenty to do with it too.

With her brother presumed kidnapped, Becca needs Nick. She just wasn't expecting to want him so much. As their investigation turns into all-out war with an organized crime ring, only Nick can protect her. And only Becca can heal the scars no one else sees.

Desire is the easy part. Love is as hard as it gets. Good thing Nick is always up for a challenge...

Becca Merritt is trying to find her brother Charlie who has gone missing. She has no idea if he left on his own or was taken by someone. She knows that he sent her a message letting her know that she needed to seek out a man from her deceased father’s Special Forces team. She follows his advice and heads over to talk to Nick Rixey. Nick however, isn’t interested in even talking to Becca much less helping her in any way. He sends her away but can’t help thinking he needs to check up on her.

Nick wasn’t pleased to see Becca at all when she walked in the door of her brother’s tattoo shop, Hard Ink. Her father had screwed Nick and the other members of the Special Forces team and the surviving members of the team had their honor questioned and stepped on by the army. He’s still a good person, however, and can’t just let Becca go without making sure she’s safe – even if he wants nothing to do with her. Unfortunately when he heads to her house he discovers that someone’s inside and saves Becca. He then takes her to his house and agrees to help her.

When Nick realizes that Charlie’s been kidnapped he calls in the surviving members of his Special Forces team and they work together to try and find out who took Charlie and why. They discover that Charlie was taken by the Church organization which is a gang and major drug runners and they go on a mission to get him back. While this is going down Becca and Nick are falling in love but Becca still doesn’t know the details of her father’s past and when she finds out she may just kick Nick to the curb.

I’ll admit I love tattoos and the whole act of tattooing. I’m such a bad artist and stick figures are about my speed so seeing the amazing things that a tattoo artist can produce on someone’s skin blows my mind. I love it. When I saw that this story had to do with a tattoo studio I snapped it right up – I’m glad I did.

This was not what I expected – it was better. I thought that Kaye did a great job of incorporating the artistry of the tattoo business with the artistry of a special forces mission, cuz that’s what it really was – a SF mission that was just off the books. Nick and his team, Shane, Beckett, Marz and Easy (along with Nick’s brother Jeremy and Nick’s friend Miguel) turned the gathering of information and the execution of getting Charlie back into an amazingly beautiful well oiled machine. I really enjoyed the whole operation practically from start to start to finish. I’m invested in the story arc now and am anxious to see these incredible men get their honor restored.

As far as the romance went it was fast. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing in this case as the heightened adrenaline made everything get done in a hurry – this was true for the love between Nick and Becca. They met and fell in love within days but they went through so much together in those few days that it worked for me.

The characters, the action and the mystery made for an exciting read and I’m looking forward to picking up the next book, Hard as You Can.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Laura Kaye 


What I Read Last Week

Well it was a pretty quiet week for me as I’m still playing the role of gimpy girl. :)
Yes, still on the crutches but I’m optimistic that when I get re-x-ray’d on Friday the docs will set me free! *crosses fingers* Since I couldn’t get around much and the crutching exhausts me I wasn’t very active this week. This made for a lot of down time, therefore a bit of reading was done.

What I read:

First up was Dragos Takes a Holiday by Thea Harrison. This was a novella in the Elder Races series and it centered around Dragos Cuelebre and his mate/wife Pia. They head down, with their son Liam, to the Caribbean for a holiday and some treasure hunting. A really good story. You can read my full review here 4 out of 5

Next was How I Met Your Father by LB Gregg. I thought this was gonna be about telling a kid how their fathers met but it was really about a guy who meets someone’s father (don’t worry, the dad’s only 44!) Really great story. You can read my full review here. 4.5 out of 5

Hard As It Gets by Laura Kaye is about an ex-Special Forces team who was discharged from the Army after an ambush that was caused by the CO. The CO was crooked but they were blamed for the FUBAR. When the daughter of the CO looks up one of the SF guys, Nick, he wants nothing to do with Becca and helping her find her brother but he finally agrees. Not only that but he gets the remaining SF guys and what starts out as a search and rescue turns in to a possible way for the men to get their honor back. This was a great story and I really enjoyed it. I’ll post my review this week. 4 out of 5

A Dance in Moonlight by Sherry Thomas was a novella in the Fitzhugh trilogy. In book 2 of the trilogy, Ravishing the Heiress, we see Isabelle Inglewood who was Fitz’s love who he had to reject in order to marry an heiress to save his family’s estate. This story is how Isabelle meets a man who looks just like Fitz which is the initial attraction but she soon finds that Fitzhugh and Fitzwilliam are nothing alike. This was a very romantic novella and I just love the way Thomas brings her characters together. So good. 4 out of 5 (This was originally in the Midnight Scandals anthology)

Rodeo Queen by TJ Kline has rodeo queen and horse trainer, Sydney, getting her dream job. Unfortunately one of the co-owners of the ranch has a love/hate relationship with her. Scott’s not thrilled with Sydney being there but he can’t seem to keep his hands off of her. Unfortunately a past lover might mess up everything that’s between them. This was a good contemp. western. I’ll post my review of this one this week. 3.5 out of 5 

Desperately Seeking Heaven by Jill Steeples has Alice falling in love with Jimmy and vice versa but there’s one hitch…Jimmy’s dead. Yep, Jimmy’s a ghost. The story was very sweet but I couldn’t get over the fact that I was seeing this lovely romance between two people who could never be together. Very frustrating. 3.5 out of 5 (read for Book Binge) 

Last for the week was Kisses, She Wrote by Katharine Ashe and it was really great. Cam is a beautiful man and a rake. Jacqueline is the quiet and plain princess whose family wants to see her married – to the man of their choosing. He reads her diary and falls in love with her. It’s very romantic and I loved it. I’ll post my review for this one next week. 4 out of 5


My Book Binge reviews that posted:
The Virgin: Revenge by J. Dallas
The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas

Happy Reading! 

Review: Dragos Takes a Holiday by Thea Harrison

The Bermuda Triangle. Pirates. The Peanut. What could possibly go wrong?

Dragos Cuelebre needs a vacation. So does Pia, his mate. When the First Family of the Wyr head to Bermuda for some much needed R&R, it's no ordinary undertaking - and no ordinary weekend in the sun. Between hunting for ancient treasure buried beneath the waves and keeping track of their son, Liam—a.k.a. Peanut, whose Wyr abilities are manifesting far ahead of schedule—it’s a miracle that Pia and Dragos can get any time together.

They're determined to make the most of each moment, no matter who tries to get in their way.

And did we mention pirates?

Pia Cuelebre knows that her mate, Dragos, needs a break. He’s constantly working and not only is the man/dragon exhausted but he’s missing out on some great family time with Pia and Liam, their 3 month old. He’s also missing some huge milestones in Liam’s development so Pia does a tad bit of manipulating and gets Dragos to take a holiday.

The three of them, plus Hugh and Eva, all head down to the Caribbean to rest, relax and look for some sunken treasure. Unfortunately when they get there they find a group of men who are already looking for the same treasure and will stop at nothing to get the Cuelebre’s to stop looking and head back home.

This was just an adorable story. I loved reading about Pia and Dragos again. I love Dragos so much. He’s such a killer but he’s also got a soft gooey center when it comes to Pia and Liam. Reading about this hero again was pretty cool but imho just too short of a story. I wanted more! Of course I always love Pia and this story showed me more of her and her love for Dragos and her son. Very cool.

Liam who is only 3 months old, but is on the fast track when it comes to growing, looks like he’s about 6 or 7 months old. He also understands people better than they think. When he shifts and starts to try to fly like dear old dad he’s just the cutest stinking thing ever. I want a baby dragon just like him to wrap around my body when he naps! (I know, it’s never the same when thy grow up and get bigger than the house - whatever.)

This was a wonderful novella and a fab glimpse into the lives of a couple that I’ve loved from book one. Hopefully we’ll get more about Pia and Dragos – up close and personal – in the future.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Thea Harrison

Review: I'll Be Home for Christmas by Jessica Scott

There's nothing in the world Army Sergeant Vic Carponti loves more than his wife and his country. Smart-mouthed and easy tempered, he takes everything as a joke...except his promise to come home to his wife, Nicole, for Christmas. As he prepares to leave for his latest deployment into Iraq, Vic will do everything he can to shield his beautiful, supportive wife from the realities of war...and from his own darkest fears.

As a career army wife, Nicole Carponti knows just what to expect from her husband's tour of duty: loneliness, relentless worry, and a seemingly endless countdown until the moment Vic walks through the door again. But when the unthinkable happens, Nicole and Vic's bond is tested like never before and changes everything they believe to be true about the power of love and the simple beauty of being home for the holidays.

Vic Carponti has been deployed before but something about his current deployment makes him stand up and take notice. It just feels more intense. Not only for him but for his wife, Nicole.

When Vic is deployed he goes through a boatload of emotions. The stress of dealing with getting shot at daily, his relationship with his friends and fellow soldiers – one he always forces to keep light even during tragedy, he intense dislike for his commanding officers and the fact that he misses his wife desperately. He runs the gamut but comes out on top because of the love of his wife.

Nicole is a rock. Yes, she has the moments during Vic's deployment's when she just breaks down but she loves him with all of her heart and tries to be a great support to him – even writing him dirty letters and at one point sending him a dirty video. When Vic is hurt in action she is immediately there for him and lets him know that she loves him and will stand by him no matter what.

I really liked this novella a lot. It took us back in time in the series and while it didn't further the stories along it gave us a glimpse into the lives and love of a couple that was strong, loyal and never-ending. I'm not normally a huge fan of stories that involve already married couples, (I love the whole meeting and getting to know you aspect of the romance), but this one touched my heart and I definitely recommend it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Jessica Scott

Guest Author (+ a giveaway!): L.B. Gregg - How I Met Your Father Blog Tour

Hi! My name is LB Gregg and I write m/m romantic comedies. Thanks for stopping by on the How I Met Your Father blog tour. I’m thrilled to be part of the Home for the Holidays collection and want to encourage you to purchase my book—as Riptide will donate 20% of the proceeds of the sale of this book, and the collection, to the Ali Forney Center in New York. The centers mission “is to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) youth from the harm of homelessness, and to support them in becoming safe and independent as they move from adolescence to adulthood.


A quick Q&A with LB Gregg:

 Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Connecticut, and consider myself a New Englander. I love clam chowder (the Rhode Island kind with the clear broth) and clam fritters and a good Yankee pot roast and Sam Adams. I love autumn and small towns and the New England Patriots.

What’s your favorite place to visit?

The British Virgin Islands. The snorkeling is wonderful, the rum is plentiful, and the scenery is beautiful. My husband and I spent our honeymoon there almost 25 years ago and have been back over and over again to sail and to reconnect with each other and to bleach our bones in the sun. Each trip is better than the last.

What do you love about being an author?

The people I’ve met—editors, writers, fans, bloggers, publishers, actors, artists—it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to meet a new world full of interesting people. It’s been such a blessing.

What do you hate about being an author?

The sedentary life style.

What inspires you?

Family. Community. New England. Travel. Wine. Books. Magazines. Popular culture. My dog. Yoga. And an assortment of playlists from musicians and bands from Dubstep to Folk— Simple Gifts was inspired by the Counting Crows song Colorblind.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

Totally from my imagination.

What was the most surprising thing you learned about yourself while writing How I Met Your Father?

How much of my time on Nevis translated into a short story. The flora and fauna, the visitors as well as the locals, the bars, the Christmas carols, the mast lights on the boats, and the double rainbow that appears over the Narrows between Nevis and St. Kitts—those details come from my experience. This novella is very special to me because we were fortunate enough to spend our holiday on the island last year.

Favorite Song: Today? Pride by Manchester Orchestra or Grace Kelly, by Mika

Favorite Movie: Silver Linings Playbook

Favorite TV Show: Breaking Bad/Modern Family

Leather or Latex? Leather

Naughty or Nice? Nice

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

I was in Southern California visiting friends. A group of us went to Victoria Gardens to the PF Chang’s where I stuffed myself on lettuce wraps and gossip and heard the most outrageous story about a tiny fairy princess making love to a full grown man and his, uhm, rather large manhood (thank you Holly, from Book Binge).

After lunch, there was a book swap in the parking lot. I’d never experienced an outing with fellow readers before—just a bunch of fun, local women who loved romance novels and blogging and would get together to eat and chat about books. Blogging introduced me to a community of other romance readers. It was incredibly special to spend the afternoon my first book was published with those women.

Do you have any special writing rituals?

Coffee and my cat-eye rhinestone glasses. In the winter, I add a cashmere sweater and sweat socks.

What’s next for LB Gregg?

Simple Gifts audio and, if I meet my deadline, the next Men of Smithfield: Sam and Aaron, coming next spring from Carina!

Under the influence of one too many lattes, LB Gregg writes m/m contemporary romantic comedies for a variety of publishers including Riptide, Carina Press, Samhain and Musa. For information about LB’s books, visit her on the web at or say hello to her on Facebook.


The man of your dreams could be sitting right next to you.

Former boy band member Justin Hayes isn't looking for a man. He just wants a quiet, scandal-free Christmas at home in Chicago, out of the public eye. But his best friend and bandmate is subjecting everyone to his destination wedding, and Justin can't dodge the "best man" bullet. All he has to do is get to the island on time, survive the reunion, and get Chuck to the altar with as little drama as possible. What could possibly go wrong?

Jack Basinger's own plans for a quiet Christmas have been dashed by the summons to his daughter's hasty wedding with a man Jack has hardly met. On the bumpy flight to the island, he finds himself comforting a nervous -- and extremely attractive -- young man. One hasty sexual encounter in an airport bathroom later, they both feel much better. No one ever has to know, after all.

Now Justin and Jack must find a way to explore their attraction, despite the distractions of disapproving family members, unexpected announcements, an impromptu concert, and an island paradise that proves there’s no place like home. 

Giveaway:  Enter your details in the Rafflecopter below and leave a blog post comment to gain entry into the "Home for the Holidays" giveaway!  This week of the tour closes at midnight, EST on 11/23/13.  One grand prize winner will be contacted at the end of the tour on December 15th.  Contest is valid worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: How I Met Your Father by LB Gregg

The man of your dreams could be sitting right next to you.

Former boy band member Justin Hayes isn’t looking for a man. He just wants a quiet, scandal-free Christmas at home in Chicago, out of the public eye. But his best friend and bandmate is subjecting everyone to his destination wedding, and Justin can’t dodge the “best man” bullet. All he has to do is get to the island on time, survive the reunion, and get Chuck to the altar with as little drama as possible. What could possibly go wrong?

Jack Bassinger’s own plans for a quiet Christmas have been dashed by the summons to his daughter’s hasty wedding with a man Jack has hardly met. On the bumpy flight to the island, he finds himself comforting a nervous—and extremely attractive—young man. One hasty sexual encounter in an airport bathroom later, they both feel much better. No one ever has to know, after all.

Now Justin and Jack must find a way to explore their attraction, despite the distractions of disapproving family members, unexpected announcements, an impromptu concert, and an island paradise that proves there’s no place like home.

Justin is on his way to his friend Chuck’s wedding in Puerto Rico. Justin doesn’t like heights so flying isn’t his favorite thing. When the plane encounters extreme turbulence he’s more than a bit freaked out. He losing it when the man in the next seat over calms him by holding his hand. Justin is definitely gay but his worldwide persona is that of a straight man. He freaks even more after the plane lands and practically runs from the golden man who had his heart beating faster. He can’t get away that quick though and the man corners him in a restroom and they have a bit of fun.

When Justin finally gets to Puerto Rico he’s excited to see his old band mates (they were a very famous boy band at one time) but he’s not excited to see the father of the bride, Jack, who ends up being the man he had his oh so exciting encounter with at the airport. Jack’s only 44 years old to Justin’s 29 and that’s fine with Justin. Once he gets over his initial shock he can’t wait to taste more of what Jack has to offer. Of course once his band mates and Jack’s son find out about the two of them things aren’t so easy to deal with.

This was just a great story. I loved Justin and his sense of humor. I loved Jack and his confidence and the sensual pull he had on Justin. They were just perfect for each other and watching them overcome Justin’s mental obstacles was a joy to read.

The secondary characters in the story were awesome as well. The friendly and family-like banter that the band mates shared throughout the book just showed how much they loved each other. They stood by each other even when they wanted to slap one another. That’s how friends should be – no matter what happens they love you and stand by your side. Gregg did a wonderful job of creating a non-blood related family with Chuck, Justin, TJ and Matt. In fact so much so that I’d love to see more from these guys in the future.

Overall an excellent read and one I definitely recommend.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

LB Gregg

Review: Jagged by Kristen Ashley

An old flame rekindled . . .

Zara Cinders always knew Ham Reece was the one, but he wasn't interested in settling down. When she found someone who was, Ham walked out of her life. Three years later, Zara's lost her business, her marriage, and she's barely getting by in a tiny apartment on the wrong side of the tracks. As soon as Ham hears about Zara's plight, he's on her doorstep offering her a lifeline. Now, it will take every ounce of will power she possesses to resist all that he offers.

Ham was always a traveling man, never one to settle down in one town, with one woman, for more time than absolutely necessary. But Ham's faced his own demons, and he's learned a lot. About himself, and about the life he knows he's meant to live. So when he hears that Zara's having a rough time, he wants to be the one to help. In fact, he wants to do more than that for Zara. A lot more. But first, he must prove to Zara that he's a changed man.

For many years after Zara and Ham first met and got together Ham was on the road moving from bar to bar and state to state just living and doing his thing. He's always come back to Zara to visit and they'd pick up where they left off until Ham had to leave again. Now it's been 5 years that they've been seeing each other off and on and Zara has met someone else. She's been dating him for 4 months and tells Ham that she can't see him any longer. He takes it pretty well and makes sure that no matter what Zara won't lose touch with him.

Cut to 3 years later and Zara has been married and divorced and is not in a nice place in her life. She has a house but she's about penniless. Strange circumstances bring Ham back to her but she's not in a place to have him in her life again. They fight and he leaves. Not long after she's in a studio apartment when Ham shows up again and forces her to move from the incredibly unsafe apartment to his very safe condo – stating that they're just friends.

The friends gig doesn't last long and soon they're rekindling their relationship but Zara has her doubts about Ham, as well as finding out that her abusive and mean parents have hidden major information about her and her sister from her for years. Ham helps Zara deal with the info dump and promises to be there for her forever.

This was a decent read. I've only read a couple of books in this series so far but didn't feel that I needed to read them all in order to read this one. Yes, the author gives us a bunch of information about the previous books but it's more confusing (for those of us who aren't caught up in the series) than informative.

My issues with this book really lie with Zara. I understood that she'd had a crap childhood and had dealt with life as best she could. She had prospered with her own business for a while until the economic downturn forced her to close down. She initially seemed to be pretty stable and level-headed. As the book went on I found her to be childish and immature and it really grated on me. Several times in the book it was said how mature she was for her age and I just had to roll my eyes as I found her to be the exact opposite.

Ham was an interesting character. He was big and mean looking but could be kind, gentle and loving as well. He was very possessive of those he cared for and he cared deeply. He was really a rock to Zara as there was so much shit in this book that hit the fan. I found him to be quite stable despite his previous rolling stone lifestyle. 

The friend support system in this book was phenomenal.  I loved all of the secondary characters (except the bad ones) and adored how they supported Zara and Ham.

Overall the book was good but not great, imho. I'll still be picking up Ashley's books but hoping that the heroine has a better head on her shoulders.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Kristen Ashley

Review: The Seduction of Lady Phoebe by Ella Quinn

Phoebe Stanhope is not a typical Lady. As feisty as she is quick witted, no one can catch her, especially astride a horse. And unlike her peers, experience has guarded her against a growing list of would-be suitors. But when she encounters Marcus Finley, what she fears most burns deep within in his blue-eyed gaze…

For Lord Finley, the spark of recognition is but a moment in the love he has held these many years. Now that he’s returned to England, all the happiness he desires rests on Lady Phoebe never finding out that he was the one who turned her heart so cold and distant. He must work fast to gain the advantage—to convince her what she wants is exactly what she denies—but in order to seduce her into his arms, he must be willing to give up more than he can control…

When Phoebe was just 15 she was at a house party with her family when she is accosted by the hosts second son. Marcus believes himself in love with Phoebe and wants her to know – especially as he is being banished by his father to the West Indies in a matter of days. He is drunk and miserable but believes that if he tells her of his love that she will hie off to Gretna Green with him. Um, no, she won’t. She is more than disgusted with Marcus when he tries to block her path and grabs her – touching the side of her breast. She isn’t afraid to show him her fist (which gives him a well deserved bloody nose) and her sharp tongue.

Cut to life eight years later and we see Marcus who has been called home by his father because his brother Arthur is dying. Marcus took Phoebe’s words that one day to heart and became a changed man. He is still in love with her and wants nothing more than to court and marry her. Of course Phoebe is a political activist and a much sought after woman and she wants nothing to do with Marcus as his actions that day have haunted her and given her nightmares.

When in London Marcus see’s Phoebe again and they stand transfixed by each other. He is entranced by her and she him but she doesn’t recognize him. After yet another meeting and a few kisses she believes him to be her knight-errant - until she finds out who he is. Marcus tells Phoebe of his love and his desire to wed her and as she sees in him a somewhat changed man she agrees to let him court her. The courting finally comes to a culmination in marriage but there’s another man who wants Phoebe for himself and will stop at nothing to get her – no matter what the cost.

This was a pleasant read. I really liked reading about both Marcus’s and Phoebe’s family.

I found Phoebe to be a little wishy-washy. I know that she had been plagued by her nightmares of Marcus for years - fifteen year olds are definitely impressionable and I’m sure that the events 8 years prior were upsetting but to have nightmares about it for 8 years? Wow, seems a little overboard. She was fearful that he would revert back to his old self but she really dragged things out way too long for my liking. Once she committed though she was all in and I liked that she didn’t hold things against him. She was a pretty good character overall and I did enjoy her for the most part.

Marcus was a good hero but obviously a romantic at heart. He wasn’t a fop but he was really whipped by Phoebe – she kind of walked on him and he allowed it for the most part. Sure she was supposed to be an independent woman but still…IDK, it didn’t really sit well with me. He was devoted, that’s for sure, and he did want to keep his woman safe so that was a plus. He was attentive and committed and I loved that about him.

I’m not sure how I felt about the villain in this book. He was a right bastard and obviously written to be a cruel, heartless man but his part in the book, imho, was unnecessary. The book was drawn out, it seemed, to include his part when it really didn’t further the story along. It almost appeared to be thrown in to add some action. I thought there was enough going on with the romance, their families, the families machinations in getting Phoebe and Marcus together and Arthur’s illness to make a perfectly respectable novel. I’m hoping in subsequent novels we don’t have the villain issue.

Overall a nice read that was entertaining. I’ll be reading more in this series and I’ll let you know about those books as well.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Ella Quinn

What I Read Last Week

Hey there!

Another week has passed and it was not a boring one around Tracyland this time.

First my oldest got sick on Veteran’s Day (last Monday) with a stomach virus and continued to be sick all week long. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone throw up that much in my life. I took her to the doc on Monday (she got sick over the weekend) but had to take her back yet again on Thursday because she was so dehydrated, etc. She’s finally back to her old self – it’s amazing how fast kids bounce back!

Second, on Wednesday night I wasn’t paying attention and ran into the end of a door. No big – sore toe, put ice on it, went to bed. I woke up the next morning with half my foot bruised looking like I had elephantitis. After a visit to the doc (we went to the doc a lot last week!) I found I had a broken toe. Not only that but one that’s in a really odd place and now I’m on crutches for two weeks. When I go back to get an x-ray if it’s not healed properly I’ll have to have a pin put in it. OMG! All this just cuz I was stupid and didn’t pay attention to where I was going! Ug. I have to laugh but it still pisses me off. LOL

Don’t forget I’ve got the Fall in Love With Forever Giveaway going. You can enter the rafflecopter here if you haven’t already. It’s a prize pack of 6 books so check it out.

Alright, on to what I read last week: 

My first read was The Seduction of Lady Phoebe by Ella Quinn. This story was about Marcus who drunkenly makes a move on Phoebe who he thinks he’s in love with, but she gives him a bloody nose and a piece of her mind. Cut to 8 years later and Marcus is back in England and still wants Phoebe. She wants nothing to do with him but she can’t deny her attraction to him. The story is about their courtship and includes a villain, of course. ;) 3.25 out of 5 

Next was a freebie called An Intrepid Trip to Love by Charlie Cochet. The story revolves around Trip. Trip knows that Boone is his mate and has known for 20 years but it’s forbidden to mate with any Enforcer – Boone’s an enforcer. They can’t keep away from each other any longer and soon mate...and the shit hits the fan. This was just an adorable story. I thought it was sweet and funny and I really liked it. 4 out of 5 

Jagged by Kristen Ashley is the 5th book in the Colorado Mountain series. Zara and Ham have an on again off again relationship until Zara calls it quits. Three years later they start up again and this is their story. I’ll post my review of this one on Thursday. 3 out of 5 

Her Wolf by Rebecca Royce has Ashlee who thinks she’s crazy – literally – and Tristan who is a wolf shifter who has a spell put on him and put into a zoo. He starts talking to Ashlee telepathically and she thinks she’s really gone off the deep end. She is really just his mate and rescues him from the zoo. Turns out she’s a shifter too and is introduced to his family but a curse that his family thought was eradicated came back and now Tristan wants to kill Ashlee. This was a good story. It was the first in the Westervelt Wolves series and was a decent read. 3 out of 5 

I’ll Be Home For Christmas by Jessica Scott is a novella about Vic Carponti and his wife Nicole. They are a couple that was introduced in the first book of the Coming Home series. This takes us back in time to 2007 when Vic is getting deployed. He’s been deployed before but this one is different as not only are his friends getting hurt but he is too. The story centers around the deep love that Vic and Nicole have for each other and it was great. 4 out of 5 I’ll post my review this week.

Fall For Me by Sydney Landon starts with Beth announcing to her sister that she’s pregnant. She’s slept with Nick but expects nothing from him as she sees him as a player. She plans to raise the baby by herself. Nick is having none of it and plans to marry Beth. Beth also has severe eating issues. She lost 100 pounds – not the healthy way – and now that she’s pregnant she fears gaining it all back. I understood Beth and her eating disorder but I really didn’t like her and that brought the rating on this book waaaay down even though Nick was pretty darned great. 3 out of 5 (read for Book Binge) 

Next was A Duchess in the Dark by Kate McKinley. This was a short story about Daphne who is determined to sleep with the man she thinks she’s in love with so that her brother-in-law can’t naysay the engagement. She gets in the wrong bed though and when the duke finds out it’s Daphne he slept with he can’t marry her fast enough - she protests. This was very cute but didn’t have a whole lot of meat to it, being so short. 3 out of 5 

Last for the week was Taming a Wild Scot by Rowan Keats. The story has Ana being saved by Niall from certain death as she’s in a dungeon accused of murder. Months later Niall uses her to try and clear his family name and get their lands back. I thought it was a good medieval story and will post my review of this one soon. This is Keats's first novel. 4 out of 5


My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:

Happy Reading!

Saturday (ok, it's actually Sunday - whatever!) Song

Here's Adrenaline by Shinedown for your listening pleasure.


Review: Pretending She's His by Kelsie Leverich

Eva Riley is the maid of honor at her best friend’s wedding and it just so happens that her ex is the best man. Eva’s a straight shooter and definitely not the damsel-in-distress type. But with her pride on the line and her ex’s heart on his sleeve, there might not be enough champagne in the world to get her through this weekend…

Trevor Owens may be one hell of a good friend to Eva, but he’s always wanted to get the fiery redhead between the sheets. So he swoops in and offers a solution to her ex problem: they can pretend to be together—just for the weekend. But when their little game of make-believe is over, will they be able to tell what’s real and what’s only pretend?

Eva is at her friend Meagan's cabin for the weekend. She's there for Megan's wedding and is so excited for her. Unfortunately her ex-boyfriend Luke is also there as he's Meagan's fiance's best friend. Almost a year ago Luke and Eva were a happy couple but when Luke told Eva he loved her and Eva didn't say it back Luke got a little bent out of shape (to say the least). Things didn't end well and Luke ended up storming out and ending the relationship. She'd never had a guy break up with her before and it was an odd feeling. She is not the type of woman that stays with a man for long. She gets bored or realizes that the man is feeling more for her than she for him and she breaks it off before it goes too far. Luke breaking it off made her feel things that she'd never felt before. When she sees him at the wedding and he tells her he wants to try again she feels horrible but she really has no feelings for the guy. She likes him a lot but she knows that it would never go farther than that. 

Trevor is Meagan's best friend and also a good friend to Eva. They are snarky to each other and aren't afraid to tell the other one to fuck off. They're close and are even sharing a bed (but not “sleeping together”) at the cabin as there were no other beds. When Trevor realizes that Luke is there and things are incredibly awkward for Eva he offers to act like her boyfriend to get Luke away from her. She just laughs at him until Luke makes his speech about getting back together. She's feeling guilty about the way she treated Luke and ends up blurting out that she's with Trevor.

Trevor is damned happy to act the attentive boyfriend as he's always wanted Eva. She doesn't see him as boyfriend material as he a bit of a man-whore but the longer they put on the act the more she feels she wants it to be real – especially after they end up sleeping together. When the weekend ends neither plans on extending their pretend relationship but they both realize that they don't want it to end.

This was a sweet and sexy novella. I loved Trevor and Eva together as they were almost two peas in a pod. They were so alike in their temperaments and they way they looked at life. They each finally realized that the pretending was something they wanted to make reality but this was foreign ground for both of them. 

Trevor was a kick. I loved his personality and the way he treated his friends. He was kind, devoted and protective. There was also a part of the book that had to do with Trevor's family and that made me love him even more. His love for them and the way he treated them was an insight as to how he would treat someone he loved. Yes, he had wanted Eva sexually since he had met her so in their pretend relationship he wasn't really pretending. He knew almost immediately that she meant more to him than just a sex partner.

Eva was completely confused about her feelings for Trevor. She knew that she loved him as a friend but when he first kissed her she felt more than just friendship. I was actually extremely happy for her because it seemed that she had completely closed herself off from feeling more than “like” with any man so when she fell hard and fast for Trevor I loved it. 

The story was fast moving and it seemed like Trevor and Eva found insta-love but after knowing each other for 4 years I believe that the feelings were there all along they just needed water to make them grow. The novella was a bit heart-wrenching as well as fun and funny. It was also pretty darned hot in the sex department and had a great ending. This was my first read by this author but I'll definitely be reading more soon.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Kelsie Leverich

The Fall in Love with Forever Giveaway

Have you read any books released by Forever Publishing lately? I have and I gotta tell ya that I've liked all of them!  Forever is putting out some great stories.  

Thanks to the extremely generous folks at Forever I have a big ole ebook prize pack of books to give away to one lucky winner!

The prize pack includes:
Redemption by C.J. Barry
Along Came Trouble by Erin Kern
All Fired Up by Kate Meader
Entwined by Kristen Callihan
Unstoppable by Shannon Richard
Delicious by Adrianne Lee

Enter through the Rafflecopter (below) to enter to win.  The giveaway will remain open until 11:59pm on November 25th.

About the books:


October 1, 2013

As a Redeemer, Reya Sinclair offers the soon-to-be-departed one last chance to atone for their sins. It's a painful job, but it's her only shot to secure her own salvation. After his father's murderer got away, Detective Thane Driscoll began carrying out his own brand of justice, even if it means compromising his soul. Fate brings them together as they fight to uncover an evil plot. But when the time comes, can Reya sacrifice her own redemption to save Thane?

ENTWINED by Kristen Callihan

November 5, 2013

Eamon Evernight has always lived in his older brother's shadow. But when his brother has the good fortune to be betrothed to a beautiful stranger, it's Eamon's help that he needs. Eamon agrees to write the noble lady...a generous offer that will forever leave him a changed man. Lady Luella has no interest in an arranged marriage, but the words her husband-to-be writes leave her aching for his touch. Will her desire run cold when she discovers the true author?

ALL FIRED UP by Kate Meader

November 5, 2013

After one crazy night in Vegas leaves her hitched to a sexy Irish pastry chef, Cara DeLuca wants nothing more than a way out of her sham marriage. But she soon finds there's much more to Shane Doyle beneath his farm boy demeanor. Shane's one goal has been to connect with the family that doesn't know he exists, but melting Cara's icy exterior is a worthy distraction. As the annulment date nears and long-buried secrets are revealed, Shane will have to fight for the one thing guaranteeing the perfect life he craves...the current Mrs. Shane Doyle.


November 19, 2013

When Elisa Cardoso's next photography assignment brings her face to face with sexy restaurant owner Brody McDermott, she can't deny the delicious effect he has on her. Getting the sophisticated shutterbug into his bed is on Brody's menu, but when she starts making her way into his heart-big problem. Can Brody find the courage to grab on to love before it slips away and Elisa leaves Trouble for good?

DELICIOUS by Adrianne Lee

December 3, 2013

Workaholic Nick Taziano wasn't too thrilled to be reunited with promising chef Jane Wilson, but after one taste of her lips, nothing-not even her famous blueberry pie-compares. Now Nick's company has been hired to do Big Sky Pie's marketing. How's a girl supposed to bake the best pastries in town when he's a constant reminder of their steamy chemistry? Jane has no room for a man in her life, yet sometimes the most delicious dishes don't follow the recipes...

UNSTOPPABLE by Shannon Richard

December 3, 2013

Melanie O'Bryan knows former Air Force sergeant Bennett Hart is worth taking a chance on. Despite his heated glances and teasing touches, Mel senses there's something holding him back. Bennett's just looking for peaceful and uncomplicated-until the spunky, sexy teacher turns his life upside down. With memories of his past threatening to resurface, he'll have to decide whether to keep playing it safe, or take the biggest risk of all.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Good Boy by Anne Tenino

Brad “Frat Boy” Feller and Sebastian “Toppy” DeWitt have been together for nine months, and their relationship is as hot as ever. The only cloud Brad sees on their horizon is Sebastian’s stress over his thesis. And their uncertain future together after graduation. And how Sebastian sometimes takes Brad for granted. And Sebastian’s unwillingness to introduce Brad to his father.

Other than that, everything’s awesome.

All of Sebastian’s energy is currently devoted to his thesis, and getting into a top-notch PhD program. Fortunately, his boyfriend takes care of all the domestic stuff and Sebastian’s needs. Any minor strain between them will disappear and they’ll return to the status quo after Sebastian graduates. As long as nothing upsets their delicate balance in the meantime.

Then a friend Brad once had a small fling with is forced to take refuge with them, and Frat Boy and Toppy’s delicate balance topples like an elephant on a waterski. Now Sebastian has to face some truths about how he’s been treating Brad, what he wants for their future, and what he has to do to get it.

Brad is not a happy guy. He loves Sebastian more than anything but since he came back from Christmas break with his family Sebastian's been distant, cranky , inattentive and not a very nice guy. When there's a fire at the frat house and Brad's friend Collin needs a place to stay for the night Brad invites him over. Sebastian doesn't react well to Collin. He knows that Collin is Brad's friend and that they're frat brothers but he also knows that Collin is the only other guy that ever had anything to do with Brad sexually (he once gave Brad a blow job in the shower). When they sit down to dinner with Collin Sebastian doesn't hold back the snark, is rude to Collin and ends up leaving the table.
Brad goes after him and finally tells him how he feels about the way that Sebastian has been acting and how that makes him feel. Brad is much more verbal, in general, about his feelings and Sebastian sees how his actions have been hurting the man he loves. Sebastian then sets out to prove to Brad that he is wanted and to show him that he couldn't live his life without him.

This was a great follow up to Frat Boy and Toppy. I loved seeing Brad and Sebastian again – even though they were having issues. We all know that in real life people have those problems from time to time and the slice of life that we were shown from these two just made their relationship that much more real.

I loved the way that Brad came out and told Sebastian how he was feeling. Yes, he didn't come out and tell him when it first started happening but in his defense he thought that it would change and they would go back to the way they were. His insecurities were real and his thoughts about Sebastian not needing him or questioning what Sebastian got out of the relationship were justified and I was happy that he felt comfortable enough to tell him exactly what he thought. 

Sebastian had been living in his own little world and hadn't realized that he was acting like such an ass. On the other hand he had never been the share-your-feelings type of guy. He was crushed when Brad talked to him and made him realize how much he truly did love Brad and didn't ever want to lose him. I admired him for admitting to being an ass but just wish that he hadn't done it in the first place as Brad was such a wonderful guy. He did come through in the end for me, though, and I loved the ending.

Overall this novella was another great story in the Theta Alpha Gamma series and a wonderful revisit into Brad and Sebastian's lives. If you haven't read Frat Boy and Toppy yet you should.  That book and this whole series is definitely recommended.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Anne Tenino

What I Read Last Week

Happy Veteran's Day! I thank all the men and women who have fought for the country that I love. 

So last week I didn't have time to post anything (I've since updated that post) and two of the things that didn't get posted were my kids' Halloween pictures. My youngest was a little football players sans pads, etc. and my oldest was a boxer (of sorts). They were cute! At least imho. :)

Alright, on to what I read last week:

I started off the week with Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley. I actually started this on Friday and it took me like 4 freaking days to finish it it was so damned long. Lol The story is about Lauren who divorced her husband after she found out he'd been cheating on her for 2 years and then drove around for 4 months trying to find a place that felt like home. She finds that place when she drives into Carnal, Colorado. She applies for and gets a job as a cocktail waitress in a bar where she meets Tate, one of the owners. Tate says some damn mean things about Lauren which she overhears and this creates a ton of tension. They eventually become lovers and while they have their issues all is good in the end. Add in Tate's crazy ex, Lauren's stuffy ex, Tate's 10 year old son, a murderer on the loose and Tate as a bounty hunter and you have a lot of things going on. There were parts of this book that drove me nuts – like Tate cutting Lauren off while she's trying to talk (and he did this often) and some other things. But other than those issues I really enjoyed the book. 4 out of 5

Next up was The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas. I just love Thomas's books! This one was no different. The story had to do with a man who was thought to be The Ideal Gentleman and a woman who had come out and was pretending to be what every man wanted so that she could marry and save her family from poverty. Their story was wonderful and I loved reading about their romance. 4 out of 5 (read for Book Binge)

Wolf's Haven by Ambrielle Kirk was a free read recently on All Romance eBooks. The story is about Tamara who escapes from her abusive boyfriend and is saved by a werewolf. They soon become lovers but she's not exactly welcomed into the pack that he takes over. They have to deal with that as well as the guy that Devin has to fight to take over the pack. This was a decent read. I liked the first part of the book better than the second but it was still good. 3 out of 5

Wolf's Promise by Ambrielle Kirk is the second book in the Caedmon Wolves series. This book has Tamara's counselor, Selene driving to Tamara to check on her as Tamara kind of fell off the map. Selene's worried about her but Selene ends up captured by the bad wolf from book 1, Darius. He wants to rape her and have her birth his pups as his mate is infertile. She manages to stop him and gets thrown in a cell with Nick who has also been captured. He escapes with Selene and while he tries to send her home for her safety she can't seem to go. They fall in love but Nick is cut off from love as he was betrayed before. This book wasn't as good as book 1. There were serious, serious editing issues that made me a bit batty. That brought down the quality of the book and the story wasn't great enough to let that slide. 2 out of 5

The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins is the story of Honor who thinks herself in love with her best friend. When she's told she better start thinking about kids as she's 35 and her eggs start to shrivel she proposes to him. Unfortunately he refuses – and not necessarily in a nice way. This makes her start online dating and even accepts a blind date with a man who ends up being an ass. Tom is a Brit about to be deported as his work can't renew his work visa. Honor ends up engaged to Tom and falls in love but Tom's feelings are cut off and when things go wrong in his life he gives up on everything. You can read my thoughts on the book here. 4 out of 5

Frat Boy and Toppy by Anne Tenino was a re-read for me. The story is about Brad who is finally admitting to himself that he's gay and his desire to date his history teacher's TA, Sebastian. This is a great story and I loved it as much the second time around as I did the first. You can read my review from 2012 here. 4 out of 5

Good Boy by Anne Tenino is the 4th book in the Theta Alpha Gamma series and is a novella about Brad and Sebastian. It covers a situation that happens 9 months after they've been together. I'll be posting my review of this book on Wednesday so check back in. I will say it was a good one. 4 out of 5

Pretending She's His by Kelsie Leverich was a novella about a woman who wants nothing to do with love. Eva is the love em and leave em type but when her ex boyfriend, the only man who ever broke up with her (rather than vice versa) is at her best friends wedding she pretends that her friend Trevor is her new boyfriend. What starts out as pretend soon turns into reality for both. I'll post my review for this one on Friday. Great novella and definitely worth reading. 4 out 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted:

Happy Reading!