REVIEW: Hudson (Fixed #4)

Hudson (Fixed #4), by Laurelin Paige
Published July 8, 2014
Publisher: self-published
Format: e-book, purchased
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
 

Rating: 5 STARS

(From Goodreads) "I can easily divide my life into two parts—before her and after."

Hudson Pierce has led a life few others could even imagine. With money and power at his fingertips, he's wanted for almost nothing. He's never experienced love, however, and he's seen few examples of it in his dysfunctional family. The ridiculous notion of romance has always intrigued him. He's studied it, controlled it, manipulated it, and has yet to understand it.

Until he meets Alayna Withers.

Now, the games he's played in his quest for comprehension can finally come to an end. Or are they just beginning?

Told from his point of view, Hudson fills the holes in his love story with Alayna Withers. His past and relationship with his long-time friend Celia is further revealed and light is shed on his actions during his courtship with Alayna. 


I freaking love companion books. Particularly from the guy's POV. I ate up Walking Disaster. Trust In Me. Unbreakable. When I learned about Hudson, I knew I had to have it. I loved the first three Fixed books, but there was a lot that I felt like I missed out on. Hudson was very much an enigma. So, the chance to get inside his head was a definite draw for me. And, I wasn't disappointed. 

The really awesome thing about Hudson was that it wasn't simply a retelling of the first three Fixed books from his POV. Hudson always claimed that he didn't have the ability to love someone. It seemed as if that was drilled into his head by his evil mother. And then there was his destructive relationship with Celia. Hudson switches from pre-Alayna to post-Alayna, and when you put the two halves together, we get a whole picture of who Hudson really is. 

Despite his destructive "games," when the reader gets Hudson's full backstory, it's hard to not feel a lot of empathy for him. It's clear that his parents were not nurturing and loving toward him. His mother tried to convince him that he was emotionless and loveless in an attempt to make herself feel better about her constant downward spiral. Although my opinion of Hudson had already risen by the end of Forever With You, by the end of Hudson, I was convinced the man could do no wrong. 

Celia, however, I didn't really think I could hate more. I was wrong. Hudson can claim all he wants that he made her who she became. It became clear when we see their history that there was always a kernel of wrongness about her that only became amplified after her failed relationship attempt with Hudson. Hudson merely encouraged what was already there. And seeing how she hatched plan after plan to drive other people - Alayna included - to the brink of despair was pretty infuriating.

On the other side of the story, though, I loved watching Hudson's and Alayna's relationship unfold through his eyes. There was a lot that was very surprising to me. When the story was told from Alayna's POV, I got the impression that Hudson was dragged along kicking and screaming for awhile before finally succumbing to the realization that he was in love with her. 

What is actually the case is a bit of instalove - crazy, right? It seems almost as if Hudson fell in love with Alayna from the moment he saw her. He seemed in it for the long haul. And, even more surprising, he admitted to himself that he loved Alayna long before he ever clued her in. It was shocking and delightful. It appeared that he only kept that nugget to himself so that he could more effectively manage Celia. Which, of course, ended up a big, fat fail. 

The epilogue was absolutely wonderful. It gave me the perfect sense of closure to this couple's story. Thank you, Laurelin Paige for giving we fans something I know I was clamoring for. This peek inside the complex and beautiful mind of Hudson Pierce was the absolute best way to finish his and Alayna's story. 

COVER REVEAL: Burying Water

I am absolutely thrilled to bring you the cover reveal for K.A. Tucker's BURYING WATER! BURYING WATER is a New Adult Romantic Suspense novel scheduled for release October 7th! This book will blow you away. Get. Ready.

Burying Water

Add BURYING WATER on Goodreads!

Burying Water, by K.A. Tucker
To Be Published October 7, 2014
Publisher:
Atria Books
Genre: 
new adult suspense
Buy Links: Amazon * Barnes and Noble * iTunes
 
(Synopsis)
The top-selling, beloved indie author of Ten Tiny Breaths returns with a new romance about a young woman who loses her memory—and the man who knows that the only way to protect her is to stay away. 


Left for dead in the fields of rural Oregon, a young woman defies all odds and survives—but she awakens with no idea who she is, or what happened to her. Refusing to answer to “Jane Doe” for another day, the woman renames herself “Water” for the tiny, hidden marking on her body—the only clue to her past. 

Taken in by old Ginny Fitzgerald, a crotchety but kind lady living on a nearby horse farm, Water slowly begins building a new life. But as she attempts to piece together the fleeting slivers of her memory, more questions emerge: Who is the next-door neighbor, quietly toiling under the hood of his Barracuda? Why won’t Ginny let him step foot on her property? And why does Water feel she recognizes him? 

Twenty-four-year-old Jesse Welles doesn’t know how long it will be before Water gets her memory back. For her sake, Jesse hopes the answer is never. He knows that she’ll stay so much safer—and happier—that way. And that’s why, as hard as it is, he needs to keep his distance. Because getting too close could flood her with realities better left buried. The trouble is, water always seems to find its way to the surface.

About the Author

Author Photo K.A. Tucker was born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.      

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook ** Novel Goodreads ** Author Goodreads ** YouTube ** Pinterest ** Instagram

REVIEW, EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: Come Back (Dirty, Dark & Deadly #2)


JA Huss is back with a new series and holy crap. It's hotter, grittier, and more dangerous than anything she's written before. Want to know more? There's lots of stuff here. Read my review, check out an excerpt and some teasers, and don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end. Oh yeah. And then go buy Come and Come Back.

Come Back (Dirty, Dark & Deadly #2), by JA Huss
Published July 21, 2014
Publisher: Science Future Press
Format: e-ARC, provided by the author
Genre: adult suspense romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
 

Rating: 4.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) “Secrets keep the darkness alive,” Harper tells me. But that’s not how I see it at all. Secrets keep me alive. The truth is overrated. Honesty is never the best policy. And everything you know absolutely can hurt you.

The contracts I fulfill are just agreements. Death is a business deal. Secrets are currency in my world. I pay my debts with them. I feed on them. They ground me in the present and they promise me a future. I’ve lived a life filled with secrets for so long—I forgot what it’s like to… feel.

Until I saw Harper. Until I saw how beautiful she’s become. How perfect, and pure, and innocent of all the ugly that goes on around her. And that dirty promise I refused the night her father turned me into a killer twelve years ago is suddenly on the table again.

Harper can be mine. No—Harper will be mine. All I have to do is complete the mission.

Death is a business deal.

And I just shook his hand.


I'm learning that the Dirty, Dark & Deadly series is like an onion. Just when you think you get it - you know what's going on and who's on who's side and what everyone's motives are - JA Huss peels back another layer of OMG, and you realize, you didn't know squat.  



We met James Fenici, a.k.a. Six, a.k.a. Tet, in Come (or perhaps we met him earlier in some other book...???!!!) when he showed up at the beach claiming to know Harper and swept her off her feet and blew her mind. Then, he skipped out and didn't come back. In Come Back, Harper seeks out to find James, and find him she does. But not before he finds 13-year-old Assassin Smurf, Sasha. The three of them have individual goals that seem to intersect at different places. The question on all their minds is, are they all on the same side, fighting for the right things?


James is a stone cold assassin - one of The Company's best. At first glance, it doesn't seem as if anything can take him down. That nothing could penetrate his tough exterior, both literally and figuratively. Through the course of Come Back, we see that there are many facets to James Fenici. Yes, he is hard enough to threaten to kill a young teenager - repeatedly - and mean it. But, he's also soft enough to make the sweet life-altering promises to Harper that girls need to hear. James is an enigma, and I found myself wanting to learn more about him. I was (and still am) curious as to whether we were seeing the real James. He wears many faces, and it's hard to tell which one is true and which ones were masks. I'd like to think that he's the realest when he's with Harper.


Harper is a tough nut to crack. But, really, who can blame her? Her father had planned to hand her over to a man in exchange for his services, like she's a commodity. When she objected to that plan in her own special way and ran away, she effectively placed a price on her head too. It's no wonder that it's hard for her to trust James. We see Harper fighting her own mind and experience throughout Come Back. What she has seen and knows about The Company tells her that she shouldn't trust James when he says he loves her and wants to protect her. But, what she is feeling is a different story entirely. She just might love him too, and that scares the crap out of her because it throws her off her game. She's looking for her twin brother, and she didn't plan on anything or anyone getting in the way. Harper waffles between vulnerable and stalwart, and honestly, I loved both sides of her. It shows that she's strong but not unaffected by what's going on around her. 



And then there's Sasha - the Smurf, as James calls her. Sasha's the toughest for me to figure out. She doesn't act like a typical 13-year-old kid. She's more ruthless and brutal than James in some ways. Which makes her creepy and deadly. Even when she shed some tears and appeared affected by what's going on around her, it was hard to believe it was genuine. This girl is TOUGH. It made it hard for me to like her in any way, although she did crack me up from time to time. She didn't fear James at all, which is insane. And, her role in whatever it is she has going on was the most confusing and shrouded in the most amount of mystery. 

There's a lot going on in Come Back. A lot of secrets and lies and plots within plots - stories within stories. It's exciting and keeps you on the edge of your seat pretty much constantly. It may make your head explode as you try to decipher everyone's true motives. This isn't your typical love story. But, when so many stories are so very similar, that's okay. It's a welcome change. There might not be as many pretty words in Come Back, but it's still super hot. And, it's told in dual POV, so we get both James' and Harper's views on what's going on around them.

It would be best if you read Slack, Taut and Guns before starting the Dirty, Dark & Deadly series, although it's not essential. Those books will give you a lot of extrapolation on Sasha's back story, especially, and a little bit of James' too. It's an incredible story - what are you waiting for?

Excerpt


Merc picks up on the second ring too. I love consistency. “Jasus fucking Christ, where the hell have you been?”

“Traveling. You think I have hidden wormholes I can pop in and out of to get places or what?”

“Yeah, well, Twifter is not happy, asshole.”

“Twifter can kiss my ass. None of that shit this morning was me. But anyway, we’re here. Thanks for the beer.” I take a swig and let out a long, “Ahhh,” trying to piss off Merc, but that’s when I see the Smurf watching me from the jail cell up on the foyer terrace. “Call you later,” I say, and then I press end on the phone. “What the fuck you doing up there?”

“Who the hell were you talking to?” she snarls back.

“Merc.” I hold up my beer and give her a pretend cheers.

“Obviously that phone call was Merc. Before Merc, who the hell were you talking to?”

“My secretary.” She stares at me and then gets up and walks to the jail cell door. That little shit was sleeping up in that jail cell. What a freak. “Why? I ask her. “You got a problem with me making calls?”

She walks towards the steps and stops at the top. She’s all sweaty and flushed from the heat, and her hair is still wet from her earlier shower. The scratches from the thorn run-in this morning are still there, but now that the dried blood has been properly washed away, they are not so bad. She looks better and worse all at the same time. She looks unstable.

“When you make a call to an associate from a phone that’s supposedly not secure, a phone that had some cryptic message you tried to blame on me, then yeah. I have a big fucking problem.”

“Watch your fucking mouth around me, kid. Or I’ll smack the shit out of it.”

She reaches behind her and pulls out a gun and points it at me. “Is that right?”

“You better shoot me right the fuck now. Because if you don’t, I’ll kill you just for pointing that weapon at me.”

She reevaluates her target and decides on a spot above my head. Smurfette is clever. “Who were you talking to?”

I eye the diameter of the chamber on her weapon and guesstimate .40. “You sure you can handle that thing? It’s got a nice kick to it. And if you miss me, I won’t miss you.”

“I don’t miss. And I’ve been shooting this Glock for a while now. So I’ll happily take my chances. Now, who were you talking to?”

“I already told you. My secretary, checking for messages. And Merc, returning a call.”

“You were checking in. Who’s running this operation?”

“I thought you knew?”

She thinks about this for a few seconds. Gives it some consideration before she answers. “I know who I’m working for. I know who sent you to get me. And I don’t think we’re on the same side anymore.”

“That’s too bad then,” I tell her with a shrug of my shoulders. “I was just beginning to like you. I was starting to hope I wouldn’t have to kill you.”

“Funny,” she says with a coolness that sends a chill up my arm. “I was thinking the same thing.”

About the Author

JA Huss is the USA Today best-selling author of the Rook and Ronin series, the epic science fiction I Am Just Junco series, and hundreds of kid-friendly science books in subjects such as biology, physics, anatomy and physiology, astronomy, and forensics. She has an undergraduate degree in equine science and a master's degree in forensic toxicology. She has never taken a creative writing class and she hopes she never will.



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


Giveaway


(2) $50 gift cards plus signed copy of COME BACK and swag
(3) $25 gift cards plus signed copy of COME and swag
(5) $5 gift cards plus signed limited edition character cards

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Top Ten Tuesday


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This is one meme I can get on board with - I LOVE lists! I'll show you mine if you show me yours!

Top Ten Characters I Would Want With Me 
On A Deserted Island

1. Guy from Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott - Guy is a survival man. He's spent years learning how to stay alive in all types of climates and conditions. This is definitely a guy I would want on my team.

2. Sydney Sage from The Bloodlines Series by Richelle Mead - Sydney is freakishly smart. No doubt her intellect, powers of deduction, and of course, her witchy abilities would definitely come in handy.

3. Ruger from Reaper's Legacy by Joanna Wylde - I would imagine if I was stuck on an island somewhere that there might be some heavy lifting to do. And Ruger would be perfect for the job. And, he would, of course, do it without a shirt on. I would insist.

4. Cole Holland from the White Rabbit Chronicles by Gena Showalter - Cole knows how to fight all types of big bad things. And those violet eyes are just an added bonus.

5. Cinder from the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer - If I happened to retain anything from the ship I was on before I crashed on the island, I'd definitely want Cinder there to help fix it any time it broke. And this super cyborg queen can fix ANYTHING.

6. All the Merrick brothers from The Elementals series by Brigid Kemmerer - On a deserted island, these four cuties would come in very handy. Michael can make things grow. Gabe can start fires. Nick could blow some wind in the sails of a makeshift raft. Chris can find clean water. I definitely want them on my team.

7. Percy Jackson from the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan - When stuck on a deserted island, who better to help you out than the son of Poseidon?  His kind of divine intervention would be kind of perfect in this situation, don't you think?

8. Harry Potter from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling - If all other attempts at escape fail, you could always have Harry bewitch a few pieces of driftwood and have them carry you out of there.

9. Jamie and Claire Fraser from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon - Jamie is like the 18th century equivalent of MacGyver and his wife Claire has wicked awesome medical training. They'd be a good pair to have if you got stuck somewhere.

10. Charley Davidson from the Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones - I would want Charley around purely for comic relief. Sure she has some interesting powers and a super duper smokin' hot boyfriend. But this chick cracks me up. I'll need her around to lighten the mood.

RELEASE DAY & GIVEAWAY: Uninhibited (The Callahans #1)


I'm so excited to help Melody Grace and Book Enthusiast Promotions and Mark My Works Publicity celebrate the release of Melody's new  Beachwood Bay spin-off series, The Callahans! The first book in the series, UNINHIBITED, is out today, so what are you waiting for? If you're still on the fence, check out the FREE prequel to Uninhibited, UNREQUITED, which gives you an enticing peek at the beginning of Dex's and Alicia's story.

Uninhibited (Beachwood Bay #4, The Callahans #1), by Melody Grace
Published July 21, 2014
Publisher:
self-published
Genre: 
new adult contemporary romance
Buy the Book: Amazon * iBooks
 
(Synopsis) 
He’ll teach her a pleasure beyond her wildest dreams…

Alicia Wright isn’t the kind of girl to make out with a stranger in a dark alley. She’s spent years playing it safe, pining after the perfect man – who’s about to marry someone else. She doesn’t know how to move on, until a sexy stranger turns her world upside down with a wickedly tempting proposition…

She’ll rescue him from the edge of oblivion…

Rock star Dex Callahan swore his days of fame and debauchery were behind him, but the spotlight keeps calling his name. Determined not to fall into his old life, he goes looking for distraction -- and finds an intoxicating red-head with a mouth made for sin. One kiss could never be enough, so Dex offers her a deal: spend one week with him, and she’ll forget her old flame ever existed.

Together, they’ll ignite a passion that will change them forever…

No rules. No limits. As the whirlwind week of pleasure unfolds, Alicia discovers a desire she never knew existed – and the tortured heart Dex hides behind his charming smile. But can old loves so easily be replaced? And when the week is over, will their bond be strong enough to weather the storm?




Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author
  
Book-lover and author of USA Today & international bestselling Beachwood Bay series. I'm 28, a SoCal transplant and sexy new adult romance junkie. ;)

Learn more about Melody --> Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

Books By Name

Can you take the books on your shelf and spell your name with the first letter of the titles? My friend Amber at Grown Up Fangirl told me about the #BooksByName meme, and I had to try it. I thought it would be impossible. I didn't think there were any 'K' books on my shelf, and I thought it would be impossible to pick one of my many, MANY 'S' books.

Turns out I had a few cool 'K' books after all. But my 'S' book really was hard to pick. But, here it is - my Books By Name.


Killer Frost, by Jennifer Estep
Reaper's Legacy, by Joanna Wylde
Into the Still Blue, by Veronica Rossi
Sentinel, by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas
All Lined Up, by Cora Carmack

So, how about you? What books would you pick off your shelf to spell your name?

REVIEW: Winter's Heat (Titan #1)

Winter's Heat (Titan #1), by Cristin Harber
Published September 25, 2013 (audio released June 6, 2014)
Publisher: Mill Creek Press
Format: audiobook, provided by Inkslinger PR for review
Genre: adult suspense/military romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
 

Rating: 3 STARS

(From Goodreads) A WOMAN ON A MISSION
After putting her life on the line to protect classified intelligence, military psychologist Mia Kensington is on a cross-country road trip from hell with an intrusive save-the-day hero. Uninterested in his white knight act, she’d rather take her chances without the ruggedly handsome, cold-blooded operative who boasts an alpha complex and too many guns.

AND THE MAN SENT TO STOP HER
Colby Winters, an elite member of The Titan Group, has a single objective on his black ops mission: recover a document important to national security. It was supposed to be an easy in-and-out operation. But now, by any means necessary becomes a survival mantra when he faces off with a stunning woman he can’t leave behind.

MUST PARTNER TO SURVIVE
When Titan’s safe houses are compromised, Colby stashes Mia at his home, exposing his secret—he’s the adoptive father of an orphaned baby girl. Too soon, danger arrives and Mia lands in the hands of a sadistic cartel king with a taste for torture. As hours bleed into fear-drenched days, Colby races across the globe and through a firestorm of bullets to save the woman he can’t live without.


Reviews like this are hard for me to write. I listened to Winter's Heat on a business trip out to Pittsburgh last month. It was an audiobook, and I do find sometimes that it's hard for me to separate my feeling about the book from my feeling about the narration. If you're an audiobook fan, do you have the same problem? If the narrator doesn't do it for me, it sort of taints the whole thing a bit. 

In Winter's Heat, we meet Colby Winters who is a member of The Titan Group, a bunch of beefy military-esque secret operatives who go out on dangerous and near-impossible missions. Colby's mission is an easy one - take possession of an envelope before the bad guys get it. Except Mia Kensington gets it first. So, Colby takes both Mia and the envelope, and now he has to protect them both. As they are holed up in his house, they connect on many levels, and when Mia is taken, Colby enlists the help of his whole team to get her back. 

The narration of Winter's Heat was performed by Jeffery Kafer. I don't listen to many books read by male narrators. It's not done on purpose - it just seems like, since most of the books I read have a female MC, the narrators of the audiobooks are usually female. Mr. Kafer's voice is deep. I'm talking Barry White deep. It's extremely manly and sexy and perfect for how I picture Colby. 

The problem is, when you have a very deep voice, it's got to be difficult to inflect enough to tell the different characters apart. All the guys in the Titan group sounded exactly the same, so when they were all in a room together talking, it was confusing and hard for me to tell who was speaking. And, a guy with such a deep voice trying to sound like a female... honestly, it made me giggle more than once. Not the desired effect, I'm sure. Especially during the super sexy parts. 

Overall, I found the narration rather flat. 

As far as the actual plot went, the first 75% of the book was great. It was exciting, and I enjoyed learning more about what was in that envelope and how Mia came to have it in her possession. I liked Colby's alpha protectiveness toward Mia. Although I think the love and sex between them came on really fast - it was very instalovey - the sexual tension between them was really good. 

The last 25% of the book was just a little far-fetched for me. Admittedly, military type romances like this are not books that I read a lot. Perhaps they are all like this? But, the parts that took place in Colombia just had me scratching my head a bit. It felt like, it was pathetically easy for Mia to be taken from this supposedly impenetrable home, then equally as easy for her to be rescued. 

My dislike of the audio version seems to be affecting my ability to objectively review the book. I'm wondering if I would have a different opinion if I read the PB version instead. Perhaps for book #2...
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