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Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: The Game Changer by J. Sterling


The Game Changer is the second book in J. Sterling's The Perfect Game series and is the continuing story of Jack and Cassie. I would not recommend reading this book until after you have read The Perfect Game as this is not a standalone. Trust me you want to start at the beginning to see every bit of their story unfold! I have been ready for more Jack and Cassie since the moment I finished the first book, and I can honestly say that this book was everything I had been waiting for and more. I absolutely love these two, and J. Sterling continues to give the reader these flawed but beautiful characters that are so real and believable.

After everything that Jack and Cassie have been through, they have finally found their way back to one another. When Jack appeared at Cassie's door, things were just beginning for them and they have new and different struggles to deal with. While their relationship is headed in the right direction, Cassie and Jack must now deal with things that they never had to before. As Cassie adjusts to life as the girlfriend of a major league baseball player, they must also deal with how to balance their careers and personal life. While Jack and Cassie want nothing more than to be together, they soon realize that there are many others who want nothing more than to split them up.

I love Jack F'n Carter so much! He is cocky and he messes up, but yet you can't help but love him anyways. His love for Cassie is so strong and is completely one of a kind. He would do anything for her and it shows. I loved getting into his head with this one, and seeing all that we had missed out on before. It was really interesting to see what he was going through and how dedicated he was to getting his girl back. Cassie is one of those characters that you don't always understand, but that you root for anyways. I think that it is easy to judge her and say that she should do this or that, but the thing about her is that she always makes the best decision for her. While many people think that she made the wrong choice to forgive Jack and let him back in so easily, I see that she really had no other choice. She loved Jack so much, and she knew that without him her life would be broken. Jack and Cassie not only needed each other, but they were better people together. I think that they made sense together in a way that they don't on their own. These two show how real and messy relationships can get, but they also show that true love will always prevail.

Overall, I loved this book. I will never get enough of these two, and I really think that I would read anything about them that I could get my hands on. I also really love Dean and Melissa. They are such strong secondary characters, and I really feel that they are part of what makes this series so great! I love Dean and Cassie's friendship, and I am so glad that they have formed such a strong bond as well. I know that a lot of people will struggle with the events of the first book and the aftermath which is dealt with in this story. But honestly, these books are so worth the read and I would recommend them to anyone looking for a story that shows real love and how couples overcome difficult obstacles in their relationships. I think at the heart of these stories they are all about love, forgiveness, and hope for a future that most people would never truly understand unless they lived it. If you haven't read anything by J. Sterling yet, I highly recommend starting with The Perfect Game, and I think you will love Jack and Cassie just as much as I do.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository |





ARC Review: Seven Wicked Nights by Courtney Milan, Tessa Dare, Leigh LaValle, Caroline LInden, Carolyn Jewel, Erin Knightley and Sherry Thomas


Seven Wicked Nights is a collection of short stories by seven different authors. The stories are all historical romances. These authors are all well-known and some of these stories were their earlier work. I thought this was a nice collection and a great way to experience different authors in one collection.

Unlocked - Courtney Milan

I read this short story a while back. It was one of the first introductions I had to Milan. After reading this I read a lot of her other books. I loved its originality. Elaine Warren was a really great heroine. She is considered a spinster. All her season she was bullied and harassed by her peers. One of them Evan Carlton. When Evan reappears after having left society to mourn the death of his brother he is a very changed man. Honestly, he was a real jerk before. Him and his cousin Diana use to harass Elaine because she was really quirky and she has a very unique laugh. I really liked Elaine but she was definitely a special type of heroine. Evan realizes that he was a terrible persona and goes out of his way to make amends to Elaine, in the process he can’t help but fall in love with her. I enjoyed re-reading this short story and was reminded of why I like Milan. She always tells stories like no other. Her characters are never perfect but always engrossing. I liked Elaine and Evan’s chemistry, also. They really built a friendship and then a relationship and Evan does become a true gentleman.

When I Met my Duchess - Caroline Linden

This was my first time reading Caroline Linden and it was an enjoyable experience. The story quickly begins with an upcoming wedding. The Duke of Wessex’s is about to get married, fortunately or unfortunately things don’t go as planned. When Wessex meets his fiancĂ© he is more interested in her widowed sister than his intended bride. Cleo was a fun heroine. She is happy for Helen and her upcoming wedding. Cleo is the black sheep of the family. Her parents don’t approve of her because she eloped with a working man and she runs a shop. Her parents are quick to disdain her and are really brutal in their treatment of her. Their only consolation is that Helen will marry Wessex. Wessex is a proper gentleman and is ready to do his duty but Cleo is really the sister who his attention gravitates to and the woman that interests him. Even though the both deny it, they are in love with each other. Cleo and Helen’s parents are none too happy when they realize that Cleo has won Wessex’s heart. I didn’t think that Cleo and Wessex had great chemistry but they were a sweet couple and it was enjoyable to watch them fall in love.

How to Catch a Wild Viscount - Tessa Dare 

This was one of my favorite stories in the collection. I loved the characters and their unfulfilled story. Luke is a wounded solider. Years before heading to fight against Napoleon he gives Cecily Hade a kiss. Throughout the four years he was fighting that kiss kept him sane and fighting to stay alive. Luke returns a wounded man. The war has affected him and even though he still loves Cecily he does not think he deserves her. He goes out of his way to seem indifferent and nonresponsive to Cecily. When Cecily is in the forest with a hunting party she is attacked by an animal and saved by a mystery man. It was obvious who the mystery man was but Cecily lets Luke believe that she doesn’t know. Although Cecily begins the story wounded and alone she transforms into a stronger woman. She realizes that she is not going to sit back and lose Luke again. Their story was so sweet my heart ached for them. Both Luke and Cecily were incredibly sweet and loving characters. The secondary characters were also fun. Instances like these it would be better for the story to be longer because there was a lot more that could have been added. But this was my favorite story and I really enjoyed it.

One Starlit Night - Carolyn Jewel

This story was really intense. Portia and Lord Northword were a very interesting couple. They grew up together and were each other’s first love. Through a series of events Northwood ends up married and eventually widowed. Portia never married but is feeling the pressure from her sister-in-law to make a match and find her own home. Portia carries a big secret and wound inside of her. I really liked her and felt bad for her situation. Lord Northword was also an enjoyable character but he was harder to understand. Although Portia forgave him, I had a harder time feeling compassion for him. Eventually realizing that she and Northword were not meant to be Portia begins to contemplate a marriage to another person. Do Portia and Northword eventually get their happily-ever-after? It was an interesting ending.

Claiming the Duchess - Sherry Thomas

Sherry Thomas is one of my favorite authors. I really enjoy her work and “Claiming the Duchess” was no exception. This was a very short story, probably the shortest of the collection but it did not make it less enjoyable. When the story begins Clarissa is married to a man that does not make her happy. The only comfort she has is her stepson, whom she adores. She meets Mr. James Kingston at an event and feels a strong attraction to him. But because she is married she does not act on her feelings. Four years later she is a widow and is hosting a gathering at her house. She invites James under the excuse that someone else wants him there. During the years of her marriage she developed a friendship via letters with a Miss Julia Kirkland. During this gathering she will finally meet her friend. When Clarissa and James meet again their feelings have not changed and now there is nothing standing in their way. This was a great read and the characters had great chemistry.

The Misbehaving Marquess - Leigh LaValle

Catherine Raybourne, the Marchioness of Foster, was abandoned by her husband a short time after getting married. Through a series of misunderstandings Jaime, her husband believes that she had an affair. Jaime is devastated because Catherine has always been the love of his life. He leaves her and goes off to travel the world, never once sending even a letter. Catherine realizes that she made a mistake when she is caught in an unflattering situation but she is never given the chance to explain what really happened to Jaime. When his family is left without an heir, he has to return home and tell his wife that they need an heir. Catherine is ready to end their marriage and has an annulment drawn up. Overall this was a sweet story but the misunderstanding seemed a little week. I enjoyed the story and liked the main characters but found some holes in the excuse that Jaime gave for leaving.

Ruined by a Rake - Erin Knightley

Eleanor Abbington is happily a spinster. She is content with her life and more than happy on the shelf. When her uncle has other plans for her she is desperate for a solution. Nicolas Norton is back home and ready to see Eleanor. They grew up together and were tomboys and the best of friends. Throughout the years they have never seen each other as a boy and a girl but when Nick learns that Eleanor is going to be married he quickly realizes that he is not ready to lose her to another man. Nick and Eleanor were really sweet, my only complaint is that they didn’t have as much chemistry as I would have liked. But overall it was an enjoyable story.

Overall

These stories were all very sweet. Most of the hero’s and heroines grew up together and realized that their feelings changed. One of my favorite aspects of this collection is the diverse authors. All of them have a very unique way to tell a love story and all were very individual. This was a fun read.

**ARC provided by Authors**

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Fall into Romance Event with Paula Altenburg



Paula Altenburg grew up in rural Nova Scotia knowing that at some point in her life she was likely to be a fiction writer. Swapping Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey books with her father guaranteed she wasn’t going to be the next Jane Austen, much to the dismay of her English teacher mother.

A degree in Social Anthropology from the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, again meant writing was the logical (meaning only) career path for her, although it did confirm her belief that learning is a life-long experience. She’s taken business courses, writing courses, and physiology of aquatic animals courses, all at the university level and all for fun. An education makes for some great story ideas.

She reads in all genres, which isn’t surprising considering her life is all over the board.

Places to find Paula: 

ARC Review: Last Call by M.S. Brannon


Last Call is the first book that I have ever read by M.S. Brannon, but this one really drew me in with the blurb. I really thought that I was going to love this book, and while I did enjoy it for the most part it wasn't what I was expecting at all. It was good, but it just wasn't as engaging as I had hoped for, and I found it hard to connect with the characters. I was looking for more depth and character development, and I felt like we just didn't get enough of either.

Mariah Huxley is a self proclaimed reformed slut. After a drunken weekend left her pregnant and alone, she is now a single mother trying to cope seven years later. She works hard and does her best to provide for her son Royce, but Mariah hasn't been with a man in years and feels lonely. When her friends drag her out for her birthday, she meets the sexy club owner Jason Cain. The passion and attraction between them is instant, but Jason doesn't do relationships and isn't looking for anything more than a hookup. But as Jason finds it hard to think of anything but Mariah, he soon makes an agreement with her to have sex when they want with no strings attached. But the more they see each other the more their feelings begin to grow. Before long, Jason and Mariah are in deeper than they ever imagined. But when Jason finds out about Mariah's son Royce and things quickly get complicated, they both begin to wonder if it is the beginning of the end for them.

I found it hard to connect with these characters. For some reason, I felt like Jason was really hard to like. He was sexy and successful, but I felt like we never really got to know him beyond the surface. He puts up a facade, and he had a lot of pain and insecurities from his childhood. But I felt like we just never really got to see enough of what had caused him to be the way he was. He was attracted to Mariah and even acknowledged his feelings for her, but yet he feared that she would leave him and so he didn't want to allow himself to admit to her that he cared for her. I just didn't understand him, and I think a lot of that was because I felt like I didn't really know him. Mariah was so great with her son Royce, and I loved that he was her priority. She loved him so much and he didn't seem to be a mistake to her, even though she had him young and didn't know his father. But I didn't really understand her actions when it came to Jason. I felt the chemistry and attraction between them, but I didn't see why she would say that she wouldn't let things go further and then she did every time. She enjoyed the physical connection they shared, but I felt like she kind of let him walk all over her. He would make her mad, but she would quickly get over it when he used sex to distract her. I just didn't understand, and I felt like part of the problem is that I just didn't really know Jason or feel as though Mariah did either.

Overall, this was a mostly enjoyable read. It had a lot of really cute and funny moments, especially those with Royce. He was adorable, and I loved every part of this story that he was in. I felt like he really made this book, and without him I am not sure I would have wanted to finish. He was just too cute for words, and I couldn't help but want to see more of him. I feel like Jason and Mariah had a lot of potential as a couple, and I enjoyed the steamy side to their relationship. I just wish that we would have seen more of an emotional connection develop between them. It would have been nice to see them both really open up to one another about their pasts, and explain to each other what really made them into the people they were. I think that if you are looking for a cute standalone story with a happy ending then you might give this one a shot. But if you are looking for a story with a lot of depth and a strong emotional connection as well as physical, then this one might not be for you.

**ARC Provided by Between the Sheets Promotions**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |





Sunday, October 19, 2014

ARC Review: One in a Million by Jill Shalvis


One in a Million was a bittersweet ending to the Lucky Harbor series and I'm definitely not ready to say goodbye to this series at all. This is hands down one of my all-time favorites series and if you haven't read it you are seriously missing out. Jill Shalvis just has a way of not only writing about characters you will grow to love but bringing the heat and humor. Her books are sexy, witty and I dare you not to have a smile on your face while you read it.

One in a Million is no exception to this. It was sweet, sexy, humorous and just so good. I had a hard time putting this one down. I just loved Tanner and Callie and found myself rooting for them from the beginning. I thought they were cute together and there were so many sparks between them. But what I liked most with these two is that they didn't immediately fall into bed together. Their relationship was more of a slow build and I liked that they really got to know one another before all the sexiness started.

Don't get me wrong, even though they didn't jump into bed right away there were plenty of steamy scenes with these two. Like I said, the sparks from these two was there from their first encounter and just grew as the story progressed.

One thing that I really enjoyed with One in a Million is that we got a real sense of the type of characters Callie and Tanner are with each other and apart. I liked that it wasn't just about them as a couple. We were shown many bits and pieces of their lives and I liked watching them both interact with their families and friends.

One thing that Jill Shalvis excels at is writing a good bromance and that was very prevalent in One in a Million, which I loved. I loved watching Tanner, Cole and Sam hanging out and joking with one another. These three hotties are not only sexy but oh so funny. I dare you not to fall in love with them.

I really liked this book and I HIGHLY recommend it. For fans of the Lucky Harbor series it'll be bittersweet to read but I definitely wouldn't miss it. So cute, funny and let's not forget so very sexy! Go out and get this book now.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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