February 11, 2016

REVIEW: Wicked Sexy Liar (Wild Season #4)

Wicked Sexy Liar (Wild Seasons #4), by Christina Lauren
Publish Date:
February 2, 2016
Publisher: Gallery Books
Format: paperback, purchased
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) London Hughes is very content to surf daily, tend bar, hang out with her group of friends, and slowly orient herself in the years after college. Everything’s going great and according to the non-plan.

But when a wave knocks her for a loop one morning, then Luke Sutter’s flirtatious smile knocks her for another that evening, she veers slightly off course…and into his path. Sure, he’s a total player, but the Why not—it’s only one night is a persistent voice in her ear.

For his part, Luke’s been on hookup autopilot for so long that he rarely ever pauses to consider what he’s doing. But after an amazing time with London, he realizes that he hasn’t been moving on from a devastating heartbreak so much as he’s been drifting to wherever—and whomever—the current takes him. With London he wants more.

Every relationship involves two people…plus their pasts. And as much as she enjoys her fling with Luke, when London learns about his past—more specifically, who’s in it—everything becomes the brand of complicated she strives to avoid. It’s up to Luke then to change some things in order to try and ensure he’s not something she’ll outright avoid as well.

I have a confession to make. 

*whispers* I think I like Luke more than Ansel.

I know - I didn't think it was possible either. After reading Sweet Filthy Boy, I thought it couldn't get any better than playful French hottie Ansel. In that book, Luke was really only a sidebar - Mia's ex who wasn't there for her after her accident. And, in that book, it was hard not to paint him as a douchebag. But, in Wicked Sexy Liar, we got to SEE Luke. And, when I got the whole, pretty picture, I was all...

We've met London before this book too. While Mia, Harlow, Lola and Luke have been BFFs since they were kids, London only recently joined this eclectic group when she became Lola's roommate. Wicked Sexy Liar talks a lot about London's past and how it shaped her present-day hangups about commitment, monogamy and faithfulness in relationships. And, really, Luke is the poster-boy for the antithesis of all those qualities.

London had the potential to go either way for me, into love or hate territory. She's an incredibly strong and independent woman. She has strongly held preconceived notions about Luke, which are not altogether incorrect. She could've been a huge bitch to him because of them and become the slut shamer to beat all slut shamers. But, the incredible Christina Lauren duo kept me firmly on Team London. They made her hard, but not so hard that she didn't have real feelings and express real emotion when the situation called for it. London was never awful to Luke, and in fact formed a sweet friendship with him, in spite of his overflowing little black book.

But, really - this was Luke's book. It was all about his come-to-Jesus moment - which was the moment that London pigeon-holed him and his friends for being Heineken-drinking, womanizing, water polo playing former frat boys, and he decided he didn't like her thinking that about him. You've heard the phrase, "It's all about perception"? Luke learns that the hard way. No matter how badly he wants to change London's view of him and convince her he isn't the player she thinks he is, it's harder than he thought. Some playful banter over the bar and a few nights of smoking hot sex isn't enough.  And that's a bitter pill for Luke to swallow when he realizes that London is THE ONE.

I want someone who makes me laugh, who challenges me, who listens to me. I want that leg within reach while I drive. I want to wait until someone is done futzing around the house before we head to bed. I need to be someone a woman can respect and trust enough to spill the details of her day. 

And, that's not even taking into consideration the Mia factor. Luke and London have her in common, and Luke's former relationship with Mia is a hard limit for London for awhile - sisters before misters, and all that. So, not only has London given Luke a chance to right his manwhoring ways, but she has also given him the push he needed to get some closure with Mia, make friends with Ansel and reconnect with Lola and Harlow.

Wicked Sexy Liar was an incredibly fun book. Luke and London's banter had me laughing out loud nearly every time they were together. And, don't get me started on Luke's family. His relationship with his sister Margot is so awesome. And his Gran - seriously. Just read the book. Luke's grandmother steals the show.

There was so much to love in this book. We got lots of time with Mia, Harlow, Lola and their men. There were a lot of laughs and some serious moments too. There was hot sexy and romance and that grand gesture that makes your heart totally melt. Luke was IT for me - I bet he'll be it for you too.

February 9, 2016

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Caressed by Ice (Psy-Changeling #3)

Caressed by Ice (Psy-Changeling #3), by Nalini Singh
Publish Date:
September 4, 2007
Publisher: Berkley Publishing
Format: audiobook, purchased
Genre: adult paranormal romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) Nalini Singh explores new heights of sensuality, returning to the world of the Psy - where two people who know evil intimately must unlock the good within their icy hearts...

As an Arrow, an elite soldier in the Psy Council ranks, Judd Lauren was forced to do terrible things in the name of his people. Now he is a defector, and his dark abilities have made him the most deadly of assassins - cold, pitiless, unfeeling. Until he meets Brenna...

Brenna Shane Kincaid was an innocent before she was abducted - and had her mind violated - by a serial killer. Her sense of evil runs so deep, she fears she could become a killer herself. Then the first dead body is found, victim of a familiar madness. Judd is her only hope, yet her sensual changeling side rebels against the inhuman chill of his personality, even as desire explodes between them. Shocking and raw, their passion is a danger that threatens not only their hearts, but their very lives...

Paranormal romance doesn't get any better than this. Not only is there some awesome shifter goodness, but the Psy-Changeling series continues to be one epic Romeo and Juliet story after another, which in my opinion, makes the best ships EVER. 

We met Judd and Brenna previously in the first two books. At first glance, Judd is the typical cold, emotion-less Psy - except, he's not. He's an Arrow, which is an elite assassin Psy. Being who he is, he has a whole host of new problems when it comes to his abilities that make it nearly impossible to break from his Psy conditioning like Sasha and Faith were able to do before him. But, there's enough humanity in Judd to recognize that the things the Psy want to do to further their kind are not remotely humane, so he's willing to do what he can from outside the Net to bring them down.

Brenna is still reeling emotionally and physically from the brutal attack on her by the former Psy council member. Strangely, despite being surrounded by her pack and her brothers, it's Judd that appears to be the only one she feels comfortable talking to. But, breaking through his layers of icy self-preservation is a challenge that she might not be up for. 

Although I loved Sasha's and Faith's stories, I think Judd's may be the best yet. Mostly, because it was the most challenging. His abilities definitely complicated things in a way we haven't seen yet, and it made me wonder how Nalini Singh was going to get him out of the box in which she had put him in to begin with. 

I loved how Judd's transformation was extremely gradual. It made it much more believable. And it made those moments of progress so much sweeter. Every moment he had with Brenna was fascinating and sweet and so very swoon-worthy - and that has to do with the fact that in those moments, he's very far from the Psy we know he was and can still be at times. 

Brenna's in a precarious place. She's trying to find her way back to "normal," but everyone is coddling her, and she's not sure how to get back to where she was before. I felt so awful for her so many times. Nalini Singh did an excellent job making Brenna both vulnerable and strong, scared and brave, fearful and commanding. It was like Brenna was trying to fight who she is with only the knowledge of who she WAS as a weapon. It's an impossible battle, but with Judd there to help her, she's unbeatable. 

We get to see plenty of our favorite cat shifters in this book, as well as Sasha and Faith. The wicked Psy council also plays a major role, and new mysteries are begun that, I'm sure, will play out in future books in the series. The world building and the mythology that Singh has created continue to be phenomenal. I love this complex world and all the cool things the different races can do and how they all interact together. It's a brilliant series, and the coupling of two completely incompatible people make it even better. 

About the Audio Version
Once again, I listened to the audio version. I think I may continue doing this as I work my way through the series. Although it means it will take me much longer to get through all the books, the production makes it totally worth it. Angela Dawe is an incredible narrator, and I love what she has done with the characters. I definitely would recommend the audio version to anyone. It has enhanced the story lines for me and made the experience that much more enjoyable.

February 8, 2016

COVER REVEAL: The Rise of Genesis

Announcing a new book by M.R. Merrick!

In a world where being Supernatural means you’re in danger, Ash Lawson is front and center. After years of helping others escape ATOM—a government entity known for abusing Supernaturals—he’s captured, and saving himself will prove to be the most difficult task he’s undertaken.

Tryst Rivera is a Succubus and veteran at the Academy, a facility tasked with converting underage Supernaturals into cooperative ATOM soldiers. She’s endured her time mostly unscathed, but when Ash arrives and their lives are tethered to one another, she’s placed in immediate danger.

With escape at the forefront of his mind, Ash struggles with the idea of life under ATOM’s thumb. He’ll die before he converts, but his life isn’t the only one he’s responsible for, and he already has more blood on his hands than he can bear. When a chance for freedom arises, Ash needs to decide how much—and who—he’s willing to risk for a second chance.

Coming March 15, 2016

About the Author

M.R. Merrick is a Canadian writer and author of The Protector Series, and The Rise of Genesis. Having never traveled, he adventures to far off lands through his imagination and in between cups of coffee. As a music lover and proud breakfast enthusiast, he's usually found at the computer between a pair of headphones and a large bowl of cereal.

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