August 11, 2016

RELEASE WEEK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Hard Rules (Dirty Money #1)

What a fantastic start to this new series by Lisa Renee Jones! Check out my review and enter the giveaway...

Hard Rules (Dirty Money #1), by Lisa Renee Jones
Publish Date:
August 9, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Format: e-ARC, provided by the author and Inkslinger PR
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS

(Synopsis) Wall Street meets the Sons of Anarchy in the smoldering, scorching first novel in the explosively sexy new Dirty Money series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones.

How bad do you want it?

The only man within the Brandon empire with a moral compass, Shane Brandon is ready to take his family's business dealings legitimate. His reckless and ruthless brother, Derek wants to keep Brandon Enterprises cemented in lies, deceit, and corruption. But the harder Shane fights to pull the company back into the light, the darker he has to become. Then he meets Emily Stevens, a woman who not only stirs a voracious sexual need in him, but becomes the only thing anchoring him between good and evil.

Emily is consumed by Shane, pushed sexually in ways she never dreamed of, falling deeper into the all-encompassing passion that is this man. She trusts him. He trusts her, but therein lies the danger. Emily has a secret, the very thing that brought her to him in the first place, and that secret that could that destroy them both.

Hard Rules is all about the sacrifices one is willing to make in order to do the right thing. Are you willing to compromise your morals? Your ethics? Your relationships with those you love? All for the greater good?

Brandon Enterprises is a company with lots of fingers in lots of pies, and nearly all of them are mired in criminal dealings that are sure to eventually blow up in the owners' faces. This is why Shane Brandon has abandoned his dream job in Manhattan - to come clean up his corrupt father and brother's actions and take over the family business and run it cleanly.

However, Emily is someone he didn't count on in his carefully laid out plans. They meet, and the connection is too much for either of them to ignore. Emily wasn't looking for a connection with anyone - in fact, she was looking to lay low and keep her secrets. But, Shane has made that impossible. Now, she's thrown in the middle of a family feud the likes of which you've never seen before, and that will only expose her more. 

In all the books I've read that feature dysfunctional families, the Brandon family may very well be the most dysfunctional of them all. Not only does none of the four of them (father, mother, older brother Derek, younger brother Shane) trust any of the others - like AT ALL - but, they flat out hate each other. Dad is dying and is pitting his sons against each other as they jockey for the CEO position that will soon be up for grabs. Mom is trying to manipulate all three of them, for reasons unknown, and her actions are absolutely inexcusable. It's no wonder Shane has serious trust issues.

So, needless to say, it's a really bad time for him to start a relationship with a woman, especially one keeping so many secrets like Emily is. Shane waffles back and forth between believing Emily is on his side or on his dad's side. Emily waffles back and forth between wanting to trust Shane with her secrets and wanting to run in order to keep him safe from them.

For my part, I was screaming at Emily to tell him. Because as well all know, secrets have a way of coming out whether we want them to or not, and if it's not from the secret-keeper's lips, nothing good happens. I will tell you - we don't find out what Emily is hiding in Hard Rules. And, honestly, I have no idea what it is. And that's killing me! I have to know! 

Shane and Emily are very on and off, hot and cold, in Hard Rules. One minute, Shane doesn't want her with him so that he can keep her safe. The next minute, he can't stop ripping her clothes off. This isn't the only thing Shane is conflicted about. He's determined to run a clean company, but in order to get there, he has to do some dirty things. It's hard for him to justify, and when he does, it makes him feel slimy. Like he's no better than his father and brother. This poor guy is trying to do the right thing, but the right thing is making him feel like crap. 

One thing is for certain - I'm absolutely hooked. I can't wait to find out what Emily is hiding and how Shane might take it once he finds out (IF he finds out?). I want Shane to take his awful family down so badly, and I can't wait to see that happen. And I hope Emily is by his side when he does it.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series, which is now in development for a television show to be produced by Suzanne Todd of Team Todd (Alice in Wonderland). Suzanne Todd on the INSIDE OUT series: Lisa has created a beautiful, complicated, and sensual world that is filled with intrigue and suspense. Sara’s character is strong, flawed, complex, and sexy - a modern girl we all can identify with. I’m thrilled to develop a television show that will tell Sara’s whole story - her life, her work, her friends, and her sexuality.

In addition to the success of Lisa's INSIDE OUT series, she has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is presently working on a dark, edgy new series, Dirty Money, for St. Martin's Press.

Prior to publishing Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women's Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at and she is active on Twitter and Facebook daily.

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Bube said...

So excited about this book!
Can't wait to read :)
Great review! :)

Edye Nicole said...

Great review! <3

Sherry said...

I enjoyed the excerpt and look forward to reading the book.

Unknown said...

Great review and giveaway! Thanks!

Unknown said...

Awesome! Thanks!