December 11, 2017

RELEASE DAY REVIEW: Brave (A Wicked Saga #3)


Brave (A Wicked Saga #3), by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publish Date:
December 11, 2017
Publisher: self-published
Format: e-ARC, provided by the author
Genre: new adult paranormal romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4.5 STARS


(Synopsis) Ivy Morgan hasn't been feeling like herself lately. Not like anyone can blame her. After all, being held captive by a psychotic fae prince hell-bent on permanently opening the gates to the Otherworld is bound to leave some mental scars.


It’s more than that, though. Something dark and insidious is spreading throughout Ivy, more powerful than she could ever imagine... and it’s coming between her and the man she’s fallen deeply in love with, elite Order member Ren Owens.


Ren would do anything to keep Ivy safe. Anything. But when he makes a life altering choice for her, the fallout of his act has far reaching consequences that threaten to tear their lives apart. If Ivy is going to have any hope of surviving this, she must put aside the hurt and betrayal she feels, and work with not only those she loves, but with an enemy she would rather kill than ever trust. War is coming, and it soon becomes clear that what Ivy and Ren thought they knew about the Order, themselves, and even their enemies, has been nothing but a cluster of dangerous, deadly lies. Ivy knows she must be more than just brave to save those she loves--and, ultimately, to save herself.


Because behind every evil fae Prince, there’s a Queen…

I knew Brave would be a crazy awesome ride. After the emotional roller coaster that was Torn, I think everyone - both the fictional characters in this awesome fae-rich world and the readers who cried and bit their nails - was ready for Ivy and Ren to finally have the HEA that has seemed so elusive for them. And knowing Jen Armentrout like I do, I knew that Brave would deliver that in some way, shape or form. She's known to give her characters the happy ending we all want for them, but they always have to go through some serious trials along the way. That has never been more true than in this series. 

Brave picks up right where Torn left off. Ivy and Ren are resting up at the hidden "Hotel Good Fae" with Tink and the rest of the good Summer Court fae that helped them escape from the evil Winter Court Prince Drake. But, after all the horrible things Ivy suffered at his hands have left a lasting impression on her. She's not the same girl that once went to college by day and slayed evil fae by night. There's a new darkness and fear within her, and it's affecting everything - her strength, her sleep, and her relationship with Ren. 

My heart was in pieces for Ivy. She's suffering so much at the beginning of Brave, and she doesn't know how to deal with it. I wanted to shake her - to tell her to lean on Ren and Tink. But, I know it's not that easy, and that's never been more apparent than it is here. 

The first 40% or so of Brave is all about Ivy once again learning to find herself - to be brave in the face of so many things to fear. The last 60% of the book is all action. It's one near-death experience after another as Ivy, Ren, Tink and their friends try to find a way to stop Drake from fulfilling the prophecy. 

Just because we're pretty deep into the story doesn't mean that there isn't room to introduce new characters. One in particular proves to be vital to Ivy's survival. In addition to new characters, we also see some from the beginning pop up again. It's almost like Ivy and Ren come full circle, which seems fitting in the final book of this trilogy. 

I guess this is a good time to mention that it's not exactly going to be a trilogy. Certain events don't wrap up quite as neatly as I would've liked. Certain characters' futures are ambiguous. At first, those things bummed me out a little bit. Until I saw that 1,001 Dark Nights will publish a novella called The Prince that will take place in this world. And I am hoping that it will effectively wrap up all those loose ends that were bugging me. 

Brave is told entirely from Ivy's POV. It's not an accident that the cover features only her this time. Ren is a very prominent figure, and I promise if you were on the fence about him before, you will adore him by the end. But Brave is very much the story of Ivy finding herself again. It was emotional, exciting and sexy. It was awesome.

December 7, 2017

BLOG TOUR EXCERPT & REVIEW: The British Knight



The British Knight, by Louise Bay
Publish Date:
December 5, 2017
Publisher: self-published
Format: e-ARC, provided by the author and Social Butterfly PR
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4.5 STARS


(Synopsis) When I’m offered the chance to leave New York to live in London for three months, I can’t pack my suitcase fast enough.


As soon as I touch down I’m obsessing over red telephone boxes, palaces and all the black cabs.


But my favorite place is the tube. It’s wall-to-wall hot British men in suits.


When I’m offered a temporary job working for a barrister, I say, sign me up.


On my first commute into work, it’s a total accident when I lose my balance and fall against the most handsome Brit alive. He’s as charming as James Bond and as suave as Mr. Darcy. I want to lick tea from his hard abs and listen to his accent all night long.


Turns out Mr. Handsome is my new boss. And his attitude isn’t as hot as his gorgeous face, broad shoulders and tight ass. He’s brooding, short-tempered and the most arrogant man I’ve ever met.


As we’re fighting, out of nowhere he kisses me. And I’m pretty sure I see fireworks over Big Ben and hear God Save the Queen.


I wasn’t looking for the fairytale but I might have found my knight in shining armor. The problem is he lives an ocean away.

In 2017 I became a big Louise Bay fan. I've read all the books in this series that came before The British Knight - King of Wall Street, Park Avenue Prince, and Duke of Manhattan - and I have loved them all. The British Knight is just as amazing as the rest, featuring a character we've met before and a new enigmatic and emotionally unavailable Brit - my favorite kind.

Violet King is the younger, flightier sister to Scarlett King who was the star of Duke of Manhattan. She has a habit of being pretty emotionally unavailable herself, never committing to anyone or anything. After losing her latest dead-end job, Violet decides a change of scenery is in order, and heads across the pond to stay in her sister-in-law Darcy's London house. Violet takes a job as an assistant to a very driven barrister - Alexander Kingsley. 

Alexander is living in his father's very large shadow and feels constant pressure to measure up. He works 100 hours/7 days a week and he has no plans to stop. He has an amazing connection with Violet, and despite not wanting her to interfere in his work life, her zest for life and her ability to not take everything so seriously start to affect him. 

Alex and Violet are on two very opposite ends of the spectrum - Alex is very serious about his job and Violet tries very hard NOT to be serious about anything at all. I loved reading about how both of them start to move toward the middle. Violet learned that being dedicated to a job - and a person - doesn't have to be a bad thing. And Alex learned that he doesn't have to be like his dad in order to be successful. 

Of course their road isn't entirely smooth. Changing your entire outlook on life doesn't happen over night or without some growing pains. 

Louise Bay is a great writer. I've never been to London before, but she made it easy to picture. Alex and Violet are so different, and yet their chemistry was perfect. The sexual tension was awesome - it was my favorite part of the book. Their efforts to resist each other were admirable, and when they failed, I cheered. 

I can't wait for Darcy to find love like her brother and now good friend Violet have. I'm hoping her story is next. If you're a fan of opposites attracting, especially when one of the people involved is a hot, grumpy Englishman, you don't want to miss The British Knight.  

Alexander

My workout this morning had been punishing. The harder I worked, the harder I worked out. I was a big believer in that if I wasn’t physically fit, I couldn’t perform as well in my job. And I was willing to do whatever I had to do to be the best barrister I could be. As a result, I’d been up since five, worked out until six thirty, and then had a conference call with Dubai at seven. I hated days when I was late into the office, but this morning couldn’t be helped. My commute had been . . . unusual. The woman I’d knocked into while getting off the tube had been beautiful, and I couldn’t keep the image of her gazing up at me in the middle of Lincoln’s Inn Fields out of my brain. I needed to focus. And perhaps get laid when I got the time. But it wouldn’t be tonight. I’d be working. I had hundreds of witness statements to go through and my opening statement to draft.

In three days, I’d be in court, and that was my sole focus. There was no time to be wasted on fantasizing about women.

As I trawled through my emails, trying to pick out the important ones from the hundreds littering my inbox, someone knocked at my door. I resisted the temptation to growl. I hated being interrupted—I needed a sign for the door.

“Come in,” I barked.

The door swung open, and I could tell by the footsteps that the head clerk had swooped in. “Mr. Knightley.”

“Craig.” I didn’t take my focus off my laptop screen. Craig was an avuncular and charming man in his mid-fifties. He’d been in the business since he was fifteen and had clerked my father. If anyone could interrupt me, he could. And he knew it. Over the years, I’d tried to get him to call me Alex, but he insisted all the clerks and admin staff call the barristers by their surnames. The bar could be a very old-fashioned place.

“I want to introduce you to your new assistant, Violet King.”

I paused, my fingers hovering over my keyboard. I knew nothing of this and would never have agreed to it—I worked alone. Slowly, I turned to find Craig in front of my desk, his eyebrows raised in expectation.

“My what?” I asked. A figure moved in beside him and I slid my gaze to the right. I found myself staring straight at the beautiful woman who’d invaded my thoughts since I’d arrived in chambers. What was going on? I looked away from her, sure that Craig would see my attraction to her if my eyes lingered over her for more than a split second.

USA Today bestselling author, Louise Bay writes sexy, contemporary romance novels - the kind she likes to read. Her books include the novels Duke of Manhattan, Hollywood Scandal, Park Avenue Prince, King of Wall Street, The Empire State Series, Indigo Nights and Hopeful.

Ruined by bonk-busters and sexy mini-series of the eighties Louise loves all things sexy and romantic. There's not enough of it in real life so she disappears into the fictional worlds in books and films.

Louise loves the rain, the West Wing, London, days when she doesn't have to wear make-up, being on her own, being with friends, elephants and champagne.

She loves to hear from readers so get in touch!

Connect with Louise:

Faceboook: https://www.facebook.com/authorlouisebay/
Twitter: www.twitter.com/louisesbay
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8056592.Louise_Bay
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1WqwGAf

November 14, 2017

RELEASE DAY REVIEW: At Your Service (Masters & Mercenaries #14.5)



At Your Service (Masters & Mercenaries #14.5), by Lexi Blake
Publish Date:
November 14, 2017
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment
Format: e-ARC, provided by the author
Genre: adult contemporary suspense romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4.5 STARS


(Synopsis) Juliana O’Neil’s promising future was burned away in the heat of battle. She had been an officer with a bright future in the military, but now she is struggling to survive. Her husband gone and her career in shambles, she finds a job at Top as a hostess and tries to put together the pieces of her life. The last thing she needs is any kind of male attention, but she can’t help but be amused at her neighbor and coworker’s lothario antics. Not that she would have anything to do with him, at least not for more than one night. 


Javier Leones doesn’t understand monogamy. No woman could ever be enough for his endless libido, but he has to admit Juliana has his attention. For reasons he doesn’t fully understand, he can’t seem to get the gorgeous redhead with the sad eyes out of his head. After one scorching night together, he realizes he’ll never be able to get her out of his system. But with his reputation, he fears she’ll never see him as more than a one-night stand.

When their passions collide, these new lovers will be forced to confront Juliana’s past and come to terms with Javier’s present. Will they find their way or will this reservation be canceled at the last minute?

Sweet, talented, manwhore Javier has been on the periphery of the McKay Taggart clan for awhile now. He's Sean Taggart's right hand chef at Top and a new Master at Sanctum. But, recent events have him wanting to become a one-woman man. Only problem is, you spend so long bouncing from one casual fling to the next, and it's hard to find anyone to take you seriously. 

And then there's Juliana. Once upon a time she had it all, and then she joined the military and lost her hand. Now, she is divorced, alienated from the only family she has and unable to do the one thing she loves the most. 

I think Javier's fall from womanizerdom came from a few places. He's seen three of his besties at Top fall in love in recent months, and he gets to see the great relationship that Sean and Grace have all the time. Javier is ready for his turn to find a woman to share his happiness and his burdens with. And taking care of his brother is a new and frustrating burden in his life. 

It was so nice to witness Javier in a vulnerable position for a change. He's always been so confident and charming every other time we've seen him. But, watching his older brother hit rock bottom and realizing he's missing out on a meaningful relationship has turned him into this contemplative guy that's a little out of character. I really liked it on him, though. His vulnerability goes through the roof when he sets his sights on his neighbor Juliana and she tries to turn him into a one-night stand.

Seeing the tables turn on Javier was fun for a minute, but it quickly became pretty frustrating. It was clear he was serious about Juliana and wanted her to take him seriously too, and when she didn't, I felt really badly for Javier and really angry at this girl who was obviously making a huge mistake. 

As Javier and Juliana navigate the choppy relationship waters, we still get some time in with some of our favorite MT and Top couples. And, of course, there's a play party or two that happen. 

Topped is such a fun spin-off addition to the MT world. I love that these relationships happen amid the backdrop of a working restaurant. It doesn't hold the same intrigue, suspense and danger as the M&M series, but there's enough of it to let you know that you're still in the same world. And, of course, the sexy times don't quit. Lexi Blake is so, SO good at writing about relationships with big hurdles, so when the couples overcome them, it's incredibly satisfying.