BLOG TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: All Broke Down (Rusk University #2)


It's my turn to tell you all about ALL BROKE DOWN, the second book in Cora Carmack's football-themed Rusk University series. Can I get a happy dance? Check out my review, then enter the giveaway!

All Broke Down (Rusk University #2), by Cora Carmack
Published October 28, 2013
Publisher: William Morrow
Format: e-ARC, obtained from the author
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble * iTunes
 

Rating: 5 STARS

(From Goodreads) In this second book in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack's New Adult, Texas-set Rusk University series, which began with All Lined Up, a young woman discovers that you can't only fight for what you believe in... sometimes you have to fight for what you love.

Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one.

Environmental issues, civil rights, corrupt corporations, and politicians you name it, she's probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail overnight, she meets Silas Moore. He's in for a different kind of fighting. And though he's arrogant and infuriating, she can't help being fascinated with him. Yet another lost cause.

Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it's trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He's met girls like her before fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn't think he's broken, and he definitely doesn't need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about: his spot on the Rusk University football team. Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help.

Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all.



Cora Carmack has never written the quintessential bad boy before. There was studious Garrick, sensitive Cade, mysterious Jackson, and most recently, dedicated Carson. I would never have used the term "bad boy" to describe any of them. And then, along came Silas Moore. 

Silas is angry. Like, all the time. His relationship with his mom is terrible (and so is she), his BFF is in jail for dealing, and Coach Cole has had it with all the fights that Silas keeps getting in, so he benches him. It's during his darkest moments that a ray of light by the name of Dylan enters his life. Initially, she's just a means to an end, but somewhere along the way, Silas gains something he thought was lost forever - hope. 

Okay - Cora, you can do a bad boy anytime you want to. Silas is full of all the best bad boy things. He is conflicted and troubled and angry and cocky. But, the best part of the best bad boys is his redeemability. If there wasn't some good stuff in there, he would just be... well, bad. And, Silas is full of lots of good stuff. 

From the beginning, he's inexplicably helping Dylan. Sure, he tells himself it's because she's hot and he really wants to tap that, but the reader can tell that there's more to it than that (although, there IS that too). Silas may have been beaten down by his trashy mother, and his best friend may be trying to suck him into a world he has no business being in, but, Silas is fighting all that negativity with everything in him, and Dylan is the key to success. He recognizes the hope she represents, and he wants a piece of it. So, although it chaps his hide a bit, he asks Dylan for her help to get him back on the straight and narrow, and subsequently, back on the football team.


Dylan's granting of Silas' request is a little self-serving. She is looking for exactly the opposite. Where Silas is the typical bad boy, Dylan is your typical good girl. She comes from a well-off family, she gets good grades and is a community activist. And, she's as unhappy and unfulfilled as Silas is. She has this yearning for the grit of life to seep into her pores a little bit, and along with it, maybe she will figure out what really makes her happy. When she meets Silas in jail, she knows that he's just the guy to help her with that. 

I really loved Dylan. She was, at times a bit too eager when it came to Silas, but hell. Who wouldn't be when faced with all that hotness and his talented hands? But, she also had a spine - that's very important. Those girls who fall all over themselves to please the object of their desire make me want to throw my book. Dylan was woman enough to admit that she wanted some things from Silas, but strong enough to walk away when she had to. 


I remember in college, I was in charge of orientation activities for the incoming freshmen. I was taught that one of the best ways to bring a group of strangers together was through pain and misery - namely, physical labor. Never was there a finer example of this than with Dylan and Silas. They bonded in jail and fell in love while toiling away for Habitat for Humanity. It was cool watching Dylan and the satisfaction of a job well done smooth over Silas' rough edges. And, it was also nice to know that once Silas got in touch with his inner good guy that there wasn't enough bad left in him to be interesting. His and Dylan's relationship was hot and sexy and dirty and absolutely perfect.

So, Cora, you can do a sexy bad boy any day of the week and twice on Sundays. In fact - please do. 

 
About the Author

Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.





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REVIEW: Stone Cold Touch (Dark Elements #2)

Stone Cold Touch (Dark Elements #2), by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published October 21, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: ARC, obtained from the publisher
Genre: young adult paranormal romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
 

Rating: 3.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life—no easy task for a seventeen-year-old who’s pretty sure things can’t get worse. Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to the mysterious powers of her soul-stealing kiss. The Warden clan that has always protected her is suddenly keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the wickedly hot demon prince who understood her in ways no one else could.

But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning. Because suddenly Layla’s powers begin to evolve, and she’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden. Then, when she least expects it, Roth returns, bringing news that could change her world forever. She’s finally getting what she always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count adding up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing to pay…


 I waited awhile before writing this review. I actually read my ARC of Stone Cold Touch before it came out, and had to take some time to process my thoughts about the book and about the contest that is still going on to determine which guy Layla will pick in the end – Zayne or Roth. I address my personal choice later on in my review, in case you’re curious. I have very mixed feelings about everything surrounding this book and, I guess, the series as a whole.

Although bad guys were defeated in White Hot Kiss, it appears that they were just the tip of the iceberg. A Scarier, badder guy is here, but Layla has lost her ability to see auras, which means, she can’t tell who it is. On top of the short-circuiting of her powers, she’s trying to come to terms with her feelings for both Roth, who she thought was gone forever, and Zayne, the boy who she has loved forever and now appears to reciprocate those feelings. And, all the Wardens in her clan now look at her with wariness and outright disdain. It’s a lot for Layla to process, especially when Roth comes back unexpectedly.

I LOVE this world. Like, draw-hearts-around-it-in-the-margin-of-my-notebook love. Jen Armentrout has come up with some pretty incredible characters in her books, but I personally think that the Wardens take the cake. Their abilities and purpose for being here are so awesome, but beyond that, they’re not wholly good or bad like you would think. Like humans, the Wardens are shades of both. Some like Zayne, Dez, Jasmine and Nicoli are inherently good. Others, like Petr and Maddox seem inherently bad. And then there are those that straddle the line like Abbot – his actions are horrible sometime, but you know they come from a place that you can maybe understand a little (like, the desire to protect your child).

I love the different demons that are in this world too. We get to see even more of them in Stone Cold Touch. Some are sexy, some are scary, and some are downright evil. Again, Jen Armentrout has the reader questioning what is really “bad,” and what is the appropriate way to deal with the bad in the world. One solution (eradication) doesn’t always fit, yet that’s the assumption the Wardens have operated under forever. When Layla begins to question that, she’s put on the outs with the rest of her clan. It’s understandable, and yet frustrating.

I guess it’s time to address the elephant in the room. The love triangle.

Sadly, I feel like the awesomeness of the world and the characters in it are being completely overshadowed by The Love Triangle. All three characters involved – Layla, Roth and Zayne – don’t seem to have much substance on their own anymore. They have become defined entirely by their role in the triangle, which upsets me so much. All three of them are incredibly dynamic in their own right, but we never had a chance to see them shine by themselves. The main plot point – finding out who the Lilin is – was buried under the ongoing drama of which guy is the one for Layla. There was a lot of:

Roth: “Let’s go check out the scary basement for clues.”
Layla: I shouldn’t say yes because Zayne would be upset, but I still care about Roth even though I don’t want to, but Zayne is trusting me, but Roth is so hot and I shouldn’t be thinking about Zayne when I’m with Roth… oh right. There’s evil afoot. “Okay.”

And

Zayne: “What do you mean you can’t see auras now?”
Layla: Roth was wondering the same thing earlier. No. Don’t think about Roth right now. Ohmygoodness, Zayne’s eyes are beautiful and I might actually have a real chance with him now, but only if I can kick Roth out of my brain. Roth – DAMMIT there I go again. Crap. Hunky, gorgeous Zayne who I think I still love is waiting for an answer. What was the question again?

It honestly made me want to scream more than once. Layla being with either boy is fraught with problems. Roth is the Prince of Hell and Layla has been trained to hate and kill demons like him. That’s a big problem. Zayne has a pure soul, and if Layla isn’t careful, she can suck it out of him and kill him. That, too, is a big problem. I SO wish that Jen had never created one of them so that the story could stand on its own feet, and Layla could have the side challenge of figuring out how to be with the boy she loves. Instead, you have these two impossible relationships on top of this cool mystery, and it just seems now like way too much.

So, the main story is now on the periphery and The Love Triangle has taken center stage. I wanted a story about gargoyles fighting evil. I didn’t get much of that here. Layla never fully changes form, which was so disappointing. I wanted to see that so badly after she discovered that ability at the end of White Hot Kiss. Roth and Zayne only change forms once each, and both times, only for a very short time. There’s not a ton of evil-fighting that takes place in Stone Cold Touch. I wish Roth hadn’t come back so early in the story. Perhaps then it would’ve given Zayne and Layla a chance to kick some butt together before The Love Triangle happened.

To cast an even bigger spotlight on the relationship drama, the choice of which guy should Layla choose has been left up to the masses. It’s being reduced to a popularity contest – a challenge of which camp cares enough to clear their cache enough times in the span of three weeks to ensure a win for their “team.” I don’t know about you all, but I think Jen Armentrout has done a pretty spectacular job so far writing endings to series that have blown my mind. I’d rather the ending of this one sprang completely from her brain too. I want to know who JEN would pick for Layla (although, after reading Stone Cold Touch, I’m pretty sure I can guess who she voted for).

Me? Although swearing I wouldn’t vote, of course I did end up casting my ballot. Hypocritical of me, I know. But, I did vote for Zayne. Let’s face it – Roth will win. No doubt. He’s the quintessential bad boy with a heart, and people really go for that. I voted for Zayne because he’s got staying power. He’s been there for Layla since she was little, always protecting her and loving her from afar. They’ve discovered a way for them to be together – like TOGETHER together – and he’s willing to forsake his clan, his family – his very life – for her. That gets my blood racing.

Jen Armentrout is an incredible writer, and that’s evident in Stone Cold Touch. I had many feels while reading it – happy, sad, mad, frustrated… they ran the gamut. I will still read anything this woman writes. And, this world is amazing. Maybe we can get a spin-off for the losing guy?

COVER REVEAL & GIVEAWAY: Coming For You (Dirty, Dark & Deadly #3)

It's time for the final chapter in the weird trio of James, Harper and Sasha. You ready to see the cover of Coming For You by JA Huss?


Coming For You (Dirty, Dark and Deadly #3), by JA Huss
To Be Published November 19, 2014
Publisher: Science Future Press
Genre: adult erotic thriller
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

(Synopsis) JAMES
Who am I?
What am I doing?
Why am I doing it?
Questions are as dangerous in my world as secrets are valuable.
Answers, however, never come easy.

HARPER
Who am I?
what am I doing?
Why am I doing it?
I’ve never asked myself a single question about my life. Not even once. I follow orders. I keep my head down. I do as I’m told. But now the choices are everywhere.

SASHA
I don’t ask questions and I don’t need answers.
I know exactly what I’m doing.
Last Christmas Eve, my life fell apart.
This summer, I’m about to get even.




About the Author

J. A. Huss likes to write new adult books that make you think and keep you guessing. Her favorite genre to read is space opera, but since practically no one reads those books, she writes new adult science fiction, paranormal romance, contemporary romance, urban fantasy, and books about Junco (who refuses to be saddled with a label).

She has an undergraduate degree in horses, (yes, really–Thank you, Colorado State University) and a master’s degree in forensic toxicology from the University of Florida. She used to have a job driving around Colorado doing pretty much nothing but shooting the breeze with farmers, but now she just writes, runs the New Adult Addiction and Clean Teen Reads Book Blogs, and runs an online science classroom for homeschoolers.

Learn more about JA Huss --> Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

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RELEASE DAY EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: All Broke Down (Rusk University #2)


OMG! It's finally here! I can't wait for you to meet Silas and Dylan. Check out the excerpt, enter the giveaway and then go order it already!

All Broke Down (Rusk University #2), by Cora Carmack
Published October 28, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble


(Synopsis) In this second book in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack's New Adult, Texas-set Rusk University series, which began with All Lined Up, a young woman discovers that you can't only fight for what you believe in... sometimes you have to fight for what you love.

Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one.

Environmental issues, civil rights, corrupt corporations, and politicians you name it, she's probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail overnight, she meets Silas Moore. He's in for a different kind of fighting. And though he's arrogant and infuriating, she can't help being fascinated with him. Yet another lost cause.

Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it's trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He's met girls like her before fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn't think he's broken, and he definitely doesn't need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about: his spot on the Rusk University football team. Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help.

Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all.



Excerpt

She keeps her eyes down as she picks up the gauze and begins winding it snugly around the knuckles of one hand, and then the other.

“He said the wrong thing.”

“Which was?”

“Dylan.” Now it’s her that’s pushing too hard. I didn’t want to talk about things with my friends, and I won’t talk about them with her, either, no matter how gorgeous she is.

“I’ll guess. You were mad about what he did, and he wasn’t sorry.”

“This isn’t middle school, Pickle. He didn’t hurt my feelings. He said some shit he had no business saying, and it pissed me off. The end.”

“But you don’t think some of that anger stems from what you feel is a betrayal of your friendship?”

She finishes taping down the last of the gauze, but doesn’t let go of my hand.

“I think you’re analyzing me again. Making things more complicated than they are.”

“And I think you’re just a guy who doesn’t like to admit he has feelings.” She drags out the word, teasing me with some goofy smile on her face. I turn my hand over so I can clutch her wrist. I curlmy other bandaged hand around her waist and pull her closer.

“I feel plenty of things.”

The teasing stops. She swallows.

“I wasn’t talking about that kind of feeling.”

With her standing and me sitting, I’m eye level with her chest. I see the sharp rise and fall as she sucks in a breath. I want her in my lap again, straddling me this time.

“Doesn’t mean we can’t talk about that kind of feeling. Or experiment with it.”

“Is that Stella girl an ex?”

I cough, surprised. My throat twists uncomfortably, and it takes me a couple of solid breaths to get a hold on myself.

“Ah, no. Stella and I have never dated.”

“Have you—”

“Do you ever run out of questions?”

“Not ever.” She turns playful again, and I’m done doing this the careful way. If she wants a rebellion, I’ll be the one to give it to her. I want her against me, and I’m tired of waiting.

I pull her forward, insinuating my knees between hers, and her body naturally follows, settling across my thighs. Her lips part, but she catches herself before she gasps this time. I keep her steady with my hands at her waist and say, “I’ll make you a deal. A question for a kiss.”

Tentatively, she lays her palms against my shoulders. They rest there, her grip light and casual. She ponders my offer for a moment, and it drives me mad that she can do that while our hips are inches away from alignment.

“Okay then. Are you—”

I cut her off. “Not so fast, Dylan Brenner. I’ve already answered one question. We’ve got to settle up first.”

I wrap her braid around my hand like I’ve been waiting to do all night, and I use it to pull her head back just enough that I can crush my mouth against hers.


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About the Author

Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

 

NEW ADULT MONDAYS: Sweet (True Believers #2)

The New Adult genre - their bad boys and big problems and epic loves make them engrossing tales that are so easy to lose yourself in. What's not to love about that? And, now, thanks to the cool chicks at Bewitched Bookworms, we can show these books the love they deserve in a weekly feature - New Adult Mondays.

Sweet (True Believers #2), by Erin McCarthy
Published October 15, 2013
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Format: paperback, obtained from the publisher
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
 

Rating: 4 STARS

(From Goodreads) Jessica Sweet thought going away to college would finally make her free of her parents’ constant judgments and insistence she play chastity club role model for their church events, but if anything, the freedom has made her realize she can’t go home and be a hypocrite anymore. Tired of dodging their questions, she stays at school over the summer and lands in an unexpected crash pad: Riley Mann’s house.

Sarcastic, cocky, and full of opinions, Riley is also sexy personified with tattoos and biceps earned from working as a roofer all day. Not the right guy for her even if Jessica was looking for a relationship, which she is definitely not. But Jessica knows that Riley hides the burden of having to raise his younger brothers behind that grin and as she helps him get his house in order for a custody hearing, they begin to fall hard for each other, and she is forced to question what she’s hiding herself.

Jessica has never had a problem getting naked with a guy, but when it comes to showing Riley how she truly feels inside, her fear of rejection may just ruin the best thing—the best guy—to ever happen to her…


It's been awhile since I read the first book in Erin McCarthy's True Believer's series, True. Nine months, actually. I've meant to get caught up on the series, and recently, my good blogger friend, Hannah, was talking about the fourth book in the series, Shatter, and it inspired me to pick it back up. I read through SWEET in about a day - it was difficult to put down. And, it didn't take me long to remember everything that had happened in the first book, so once I started, I was good to go. 

Jessica Sweet is anything but sweet. The product of a strict, religious upbringing, being in college has given her a chance to let loose and get wild. Going home for the summer is just not an option. Lying to her parents and sticking around with her friends - that's more like it. But, Jessica needs a place to stay for a week until the apartment she's subletting is available. Enter Riley Mann, Jessica's arch nemesis. Riley offers to let her stay in his house for the week, and although it's rough at first, before the week is out, both Jessica and Riley are changed forever.

Above all, my favorite thing about Sweet is the banter between Riley and Jessica. I loved that there was this crazy amount of animosity always simmering right at the surface between them. They pick on each other about everything. They are completely different people - Riley was raised in a broken home with his brothers and junky mother and now is a blue collar worker. Jessica had a very privileged upbringing in a beautiful but cold home. She's never had to work a day in her life. So, thankfully, that makes for plenty of fodder for them to bitch at each other about. 

But, as we see so many times in books with this type of relationship, the intense dislike it seems that these two have for each other is really just foreplay. Passion is passion, whether you're fighting or loving, and Jessica and Riley are two seriously passionate people. 

Both Jess and Riley each have their own side stories. For Riley, it's his fight for custody of his youngest brother, 11-year-old Easton. His house is in terrible shape in a terrible neighborhood. I love how Jessica took charge of the situation without asking, and I love that Riley grudgingly let her. It was something that brought the two of them together and set them on common ground for once. 

For Jess, her story involved her rigid upbringing and her strained relationship with her parents and brother. Jess has been lying to them about her summer plans, and she knows they will eventually find out. I was a little disappointed with the resolution of this situation. Or, should we say, lack of resolution. There is definitely a point where things come to a head between Jess and her parents, but things weren't completely taken care of. There were still bad feelings. I kept hoping that we'd come back to it at some point at the end of the book. But, that was it, and I was left feeling a little unfulfilled. 

But, the relationship building between Jess and Riley are really what the book is all about, and that part was stellar. The chemistry between them was ridiculous, and Erin McCarthy kept us hanging on for what seemed like FOREVER for the physical part of their relationship. In the context of the story, it made sense, and I did love that about it. It was told entirely from Jess's POV, which was a bit of a bummer. With their relationship, there were definitely times that I would've loved to know what was going through Riley's head. 

The best part is, after reading Sweet, I was ready to move right along to the next book in the series, Believe. There's a bit of set up for that book in Sweet, so it was perfect. The True Believers series really is fantastic, and Sweet sealed the deal for me. 

SERIES REVIEW: Play Me



Play Me Wild (Play Me #1), by Tracy Wolff
Play Me Hot (Play Me #2), by Tracy Wolff
Play Me Hard (Play Me #3), by Tracy Wolff
Play Me Real (Play Me #4), by Tracy Wolff
Play Me Right (Play Me #5), by Tracy Wolff  
To Be Published December 2, 2014
Publisher: Loveswept
Format: e-book, obtained from Netgalley
Genre: adult erotic romance
 

Rating: 3.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) My name is Aria Winston. I’ve fought desperately to escape the seedy underbelly of Las Vegas. Now I’m on my own, in control of my own life and my own destiny . . . just the way I like it. Until Sebastian Caine changes everything.

Working as a cocktail waitress at one of Vegas’s hottest five-star casinos means putting up with a ton of bad behavior from the big spenders. But it pays the bills—and that’s all that matters to Aria, who needs every last dollar to escape from her father’s destructive grasp and the brutal man he expects her to marry. But when she lashes out against a billionaire who won’t take no for an answer, she nearly loses everything—until Sebastian steps in. The owner’s son and handpicked successor, Sebastian is dark, sexy, and kinder than any rich man should be. And when he apologizes and offers to keep her job safe, Aria can’t help the way her body reacts to his. Suddenly her job, and the security it brings her, isn’t the only thing Aria wants.


**This review is for all five PLAY ME novellas as a whole**

Tracy Wolff's PLAY ME series was not exactly what I thought it would be. Some elements were exactly what I expected, but as a whole, the feeling I got at the end of the final Play Me novella was one of... confusion, maybe? As you can tell, I'm still trying to wrap my head around everything that happened. Writing reviews helps with that sometimes, you know?

Aria has been working as a cocktail waitress in a Las Vegas casino for a little more than a year when she gets the opportunity to meet the son of the casino's owner. Sebastian Caine is captured by both Aria's beauty and her firey spirit. He thinks that she may just be perfect for him. He persues her, not knowing where she came from, and she reciprocates because she can't seem to deny him anything. As they discover sides of each other that are surprising and captivating, their pasts start to catch up with them and threaten the budding relationship they're building together.

The Play Me series has a lot of BDSM elements. I'm not a huge fan of BDSM books - I always have a hard time reconciling the desire to be submissive with the type of female MCs I prefer - strong, capable, commanding. I approached the Play Me series with a measure of trepidation, but it didn't take me long to relax. Aria is most definitely strong, capable and commanding. We slowly learn throughout the book that she took some huge risks to escape a near impossible situation. She took control of her life without leaving responsibilities behind. THAT is a woman I can absolutely rally behind.

And, perhaps this is where my aforementioned confusion comes in. She didn't seem to be a woman to fall in instalove. She didn't seem like someone who would willingly submit to a man at all, much less one she knew for less than 24 hours. Yet, as soon as Sebastian makes his way onto the scene, that's exactly what happens. It was a little disappointing. I wanted so much more from Aria. I wanted her to rail against her lust and to make Sebastian work for it a whole lot more than what he did.

I know it doesn't sound like it, but I actually really liked Sebastian. If I have to read a book with a Dom in it, he's the best kind - one who truly cares about his sub and wants to TAKE care of her. One who is tender with her, even as he's getting roughly kinky. Tracy Wolff does an excellent job painting Sebastian Caine with very broad strokes. He had a very troubled childhood, which has resulted in a troubled man. But, I loved who he was once he met Aria. I loved that he wasn't afraid to fall in love with her. And, I also loved that he didn't always do the right thing and that he actively sought out chances to make it right again.

There was a lot of BDSM speak in the Play Me series. Sebastian frequently talks about things like "subspace" and "subdrop" and other things that, if you participate in the lifestyle would probably be well-known terms, but to most people, you kind of have to define them by the context of the story. Admittedly, it wasn't too hard to do, but there was a lot of time taken up describing Aria while she was "going under" and Aria spent a lot of time in this "subspace" state. It was a little weird for me. It was like, she wasn't Aria, at least, the Aria we were introduced to in the beginning of the book. She was this zoned out nymphomaniac, and it was just so hard for me to reconcile the two parts to this character. I realize this is my own issue, and it in no way calls into question the skills of the author. But, there it is, anyway.

Like in any romantic love story, there are high points and low points. I live for those peaks and valleys. They make the story so much more rich and colorful and anticipatory as I read. When Sebastian and Aria are together (and not totally sex-drunk yet), they made a great couple. He was protective and she was supportive. It was sweet. The Play Me series is told in dual POV, which is my favorite kind, so that was definitely a check in the plus column.

I'm a big fan of Tracy Wolff's Shaken Dirty series and have had her Ethan Frost series on my TBR forever. Even knowing ahead of time that the Play Me series is a spin-off of sorts from the Ethan Frost series didn't deter me from reading it right away. And, although the Play Me series wasn't my favorite thing I've ever read of hers, it hasn't changed my desire to read the Ethan Frost series. In fact, I think I'm even more intrigued now. I loved the glimpses we caught of Ethan and Chloe. And, to be honest, the Play Me series didn't tie up many of the loose ends at the end. The situations that arose between Sebastian and Aria as a couple were taken care of, but most of the peripheral story elements were left flapping in the breeze. I assume these loose ends will be tied up in the final Ethan Frost book, which is definitely good, but at the same time, it's a little frustrating because that means the focus will be removed from Sebastian and Aria as the situations work themselves out. Sebastian and Aria will become the side characters, and I wish I could see these elements resolve from their POVs, as well as Ethan's and Chloe's.

It's all good, though. I trust Tracy Wolff to see all four of these characters through to a very satisfying and happy ending. In the meantime, while I wait for the last book in this saga to relese, I now have time to pick up the first two Ethan Frost books and get caught up. Hello silver lining.

COVER REVEALS: Dirty Dancing Series


Are you kidding me? A brand new series by Melody Grace? About dancers? Do you even need to think about this for a hot second to know that this is a thing of awesomeness? Learn all about her new Dirty Dancing series here, and then go pre-order them!

Prologue to First Position

A woman dances the same way she fucks.
 

Soft and self-conscious; lithe and graceful. Or wild. Passionate.
 

Unleashed.
 

It’s not just women either. If you want to know how a man will perform between the sheets, just take him to the nearest dance floor. You’ll learn everything you need to know. His stamina, his rhythm, the slow grind of his hips. Some people are born to it, others learn through years of careful study.
 

And dancers? We fuck best of all.
 

Our bodies are our instruments, and we use them in a symphony of pure pleasure. We know just how far to push you, the breathless pacing of true art. The rise and fall that will make you beg for mercy; the ache of satisfaction when we give it to you hard and strong.
 

Dancing is the ultimate in sensual pleasure, a timeless erotic ritual that needs no words.
 

I thought I knew what it was like to dance with a skilled partner, a woman who could match my every step. My drive.

My passion.
 

Then I met her.
 

Every step she takes conjures wild, dark fantasies in my mind. Every sway of those hips demands satisfaction. My hands on her body. Her lips parted in the sweet gasp of release. Easing those sweet thighs apart and sinking inside deep her, inch by ravenous inch.
 

Her innocence is intoxicating. My lust is fierce. Primal.
 

To watch her dance is to know the torment of true temptation.

She will be mine.


 Did you see those covers? Want to see them again? 


THE DIRTY DANCING SERIES RELEASE DATES:

FIRST POSITION -- 11/5

SECOND POSITION -- 11/12

THIRD POSITION -- 12/1

Add First Position on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1t3aChr

Pre-Order on iBooks: http://bit.ly/1rZasBZ

About the Author

Melody Grace is the New York Times bestselling author of the Beachwood Bay series. A small-town girl turned SoCal beach lover, after spending her life with her nose in a book, she decided it was time she wrote one herself. She loves steamy romance novels, happily-ever-afters, and lusting after fictional menfolk. She is author of USA Today & international bestselling Beachwood Bay series.

Learn more about Melody --> Website * Facebook * Twitter

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