March 29, 2018

REVIEW: Angels Fall (Original Sin #2)

Angels Fall (Original Sin #2), by JA Huss and Johnathan McClain
Publish Date:
March 27, 2018
Publisher: self-published
Format: e-ARC, provided by the authors
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4.5 STARS

(Synopsis) Sometimes angels fall. 

Maddie doesn’t really owe drug lord, Carlos Castillo, money. So she hadn’t taken his threats seriously. Until now. He wants it, whether she owes it or not. And if she doesn’t have it in six weeks he’s gonna take her as payment instead.

Tyler would save the world if he could. That’s a fight that lasts forever. And if there’s one thing he’s good at, it’s fighting. So if Maddie thinks she’s gonna deal with an insane drug lord on her own, she’s crazier than he is.

She’s got a debt she can’t pay. He’s got more money than he needs.She’s not gonna fall for his charm. He’s gonna make sure that happens.

They’re destined to be together. Even if Maddie doesn’t know it yet.

Sometimes your soul mate isn’t who you’d choose, it’s who you need.

Good thing you don’t get to choose.

Two books in to the Original Sin series, I'm totally on board with this brand new writing duo. I've been a big fan of Julie Huss' for years now, but this series is her first foray into co-authoring, so I didn't know how it would go. You know? I think I can safely say at this point that I love the work that she's putting out in partnership with actor and audiobook narrator Johnathan McClain. It feels like a JA Huss book, but yet it has a slightly different flavor and voice, which, I think, really is enhancing this reading experience. 

Since this is the second book in a four-book series, and a lot of the events in book two are a continuation of things that started in book one, I can't go into a lot of detail about what happened. However, here's what I CAN say...

In the beginning of Angels Fall, Maddie and Tyler had an insurmountable gulf to overcome if they were to have any sort of relationship. They were also in two very different places as to their future goals - Tyler was all in. He was going after Maddie full boar and was not going to take no for an answer. Maddie, however, wanted nothing to do with Tyler and was sure she could never get over her anger and disappointment in him. However, Tyler's persistence and Maddie's acceptance of things that can't be changed made huge strides, and toward the end of this book, we saw them finally moving in the right direction, which made my heart so freaking happy.

Angry Sex (... and Make-up Sex... and Kinky Sex... and Tunnel Sex... and...)
Maddie hating Tyler for a period of time during this book didn't put any damper on their sex. Like, AT ALL. I was cool with that, because it proved that, even though they were not in a good place, there was still all this passion between them, and that's a start. Even the super angry sex signified hope to me, because if Maddie truly didn't want anything to do with Tyler, I have every confidence, she would've put him in his place and moved on. Instead, they took out their frustrations and their sadness and their love and their anger on each other, and it made for some incredibly awesome reading.

Revisiting the Past
The big focal point of Angels Fall is rehashing what happened to Scotty and how it affected Maddie and Tyler, both individually, and now as a couple. We heard Tyler's account of the events in book 1, and in book 2, we get Maddie's perspective. We get to see the healing affect it has on both of them. Even before Maddie talks to Tyler about it all, we see her taking steps to get past the tragedy - steps she should've taken a long time ago. But, it's in these actions that we can see that, even though she's still incredibly mad at Tyler, his influence in her life now is a positive one. The character growth that the authors have injected into Maddie and Tyler is incredibly satisfying and very well done.

Hope in the Face of Tragedy
Despite Maddie and Tyler getting to a hesitantly good place together by the end of Angels Fall, there's no doubt that there's still plenty of bad stuff swirling around them - particularly Maddie. Drug lord Carlos Castillo still wants his money, and his henchman Logan is wanting a little extra punishment on the side. Both Maddie and Tyler have been so despondent in their lives lately, to the point of each of them contemplating suicide. But, the reconnecting that Maddie starts and the healing that Tyler starts gives them the desire to finally start fighting back. There are some events at the end of Angels Fall that dramatically affect them, and now there is a fire lit beneath them that will carry into book 3. Carlos and Logan better watch out...

March 20, 2018

RELEASE DAY REVIEW: Tempting Little Tease (Forbidden Desires #4)

Tempting Little Tease (Forbidden Desires #4), by Kendall Ryan
Publish Date:
March 20, 2018
Publisher: self-published
Format: e-ARC, provided by the author
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS

(Synopsis) She's the tutor I hired to teach me Italian.

She's way too young for me, but she's also gorgeous, bright and filled with a curiosity about life that I find incredibly refreshing.

It's fucking adorable.

I’m old enough to know better, but this pretty young thing tempts me beyond belief. And for the first time in my life, I can see myself falling.

Is this what it's like to be pursued by an older man? The complete confidence, the lack of expectations, the sincerity?

My God, it's exhilarating.

Quinn Kinglsey is totally unexpected. I'm moving to Italy in three weeks to teach English, and while I never expected something so real to develop between us so quickly, our chemistry is explosive.

There's something so sexy about this back and forth he and I share. Flirting with this man is like playing with fire, and I'm bound to get burned.

Io sono attratto da te I'm attracted to you, he tells me.

But is our attraction enough to get us through the complications of a massive age gap and an international love affair? Only one way to find out…

Tempting Little Tease spells the end of the Forbidden Desires series... or is it? Each of the books has followed one of the three Kingsley brothers (books 1 and 2 were both about middle brother Gavin), but Kendall Ryan threw us a delightful twist in this book that opens the door just a bit for at least one more book in this sexy series. I'm TOTALLY down for that. 

While the first three books in the series were angsty and emotional and very much a roller coaster ride of highs and lows, Tempting Little Tease was much more steady and sure. It's really only right that it's like that, since oldest brother Quinn has always been the calm in the Kingsley storm. He's been Switzerland while Gavin and Cooper went through their problems with each other, never picking sides, and always trying to play the peacemaker. 

Quinn has stood by and watched Gavin and Cooper find the loves of their lives. He's seen them settled and his business taken into a good place after a bit of scandal. It's now his time to find love, and it just so happens to be with a woman who is quite a bit younger than him. I wouldn't exactly classify this relationship as a true May/December, but there's definitely enough of a gap to give both Quinn and Alessandra pause. 

To be fair, they didn't pause long. They knew immediately when she walked into his office to help continue his Italian lessons that there was a big connection there. I was so glad they didn't make their ages a big deal. Quinn is 38 and Alessandra is 22 - both are completely legal and able to decide who they want. 

The biggest roadblock to them being together is the fact that Alessandra has a one-way ticket to Rome that leaves in three weeks. She intends to move there permanently to live and teach in a new country. Again - there wasn't a ton of over-amplified drama around her impending move, which I also appreciated. There was more of a quiet determination on Quinn's part to squeeze as much substance out of their time together as possible, and maybe she will fall so hard for him, she'll decide to stay. It's a solid plan - much better than any games or hyped up angst that you see in some books. 

The only thing I felt was missing from Tempting Little Tease was Forbidden Desires. While Gavin and Cooper's romances developed at work, and as such, we saw a lot of the inner workings of the company, Quinn and Alessandra fell in love outside of work. I missed the workplace banter between the brothers and I missed some of the drama a business like theirs comes with.

Although there is a door that was opened to a possible fifth book in this series, but even if there isn't one, the ending of Tempting Little Tease - and the Forbidden Desires series - was completely satisfying. I really loved Quinn and Alessandra as a couple, and I loved the catch-ups with Gavin and Emma and Cooper and Corinne. It was a sexy, sweet romance from the amazing Kendall Ryan.

March 19, 2018

RELEASE WEEK REVIEW: The Prophecy (Titans #4)

The Prophecy (Titans #4), by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publish Date:
March 20, 2018
Publisher: self-published
Format: e-ARC, provided by the author
Genre: new adult paranormal romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) History is on repeat…

Seth never thought he’d have a future. But now he’s on the brink of having it all with Josie: A tomorrow. A family. A forever. And all that's standing between him and that forever is the Titans. If he helps Josie entomb them -- without killing them, a nearly impossible task for him -- everything he could ever want will be in reach. But he soon realizes that as a god, every little choice he makes can reshape the world for the better… or worse. And in meddling with the Titans, Seth may have just set into motion catastrophic consequences that will force the Olympians to enter the mortal realm and reshape the delicate balance of power that keeps the world from total collapse.

A price must be paid…

Entombing the Titans is Josie’s top priority. After all, it was what she was born to do. But the plans her father put into play to help her are no longer an option, and the odds she and Seth face in forging their own path are grim. The escalating violence between halfs and pures only increases the danger closing in on them and their friends. Josie knows their chances of succeeding in their task are slim at best -- and if they fail, they might lose everything. But she also knows she's not fighting just for herself -- she's fighting for the man she loves, for their future, for the world. Together with the Army of Awesome, Josie and Seth will face the unthinkable. And to win this war, the ultimate sacrifice must be made.

For the end is here and the Prophecy will be fulfilled….

The end of this series - and these characters - has been a long time coming. Nearly seven years ago, Jennifer Armentrout introduced us all to The Covenant world, which is full of the best heroes, the worst villains, and the most shocking events. And now, nine full-length books and a hand full of novellas later, we have to say goodbye. But, Jen Armentrout has given us the perfect send-off to these beloved characters in The Prophecy. 

I can't tell you a lot about what happens in The Prophecy without giving away major spoilers from the first three books in The Titans series. I can tell you that revelations at the end of the third book have definitely changed Josie's frame of mind. She's a different person in The Prophecy - more confident, more determined and definitely more careful and calculating. She still wants to help save the world, but she isn't going to be going in guns blazing anymore. 

"I could never give up on you. Not just because I love you, but because you're worth fighting for, Seth. You're worth loving, and if it takes a hundred years to prove that to you, I will."

Seth, too, is different, although not in the same way. He's still headstrong and foul-tempered most of the time. But, he's also now looking ahead to the future, and learning that his actions have consequences. He's trying to protect the woman he loves and save the world alongside her, without too many irreparable repercussions. That shows a ton of maturity in this character that has never been known for being a grown-up. 

Truth was, I still wasn't worthy of her, but I was working on it.

If you like a lot of emotion in your books, then this one is definitely going to rank high on your list. I expected some feels - it IS the end of a series, after all. The heroes need to work and suffer a bit for their HEA. But, peoples... I needed SEVEN TISSUES to get me through the end of this five-star book. There's a lot of angst leading up to the events at the end of the book, and most of it centers around Josie's intense need for her dad. Things look so hopeless for her future, that, at one point, she cries out desperately for her father to come to her and help her. Or maybe just talk to her and give her his shoulder to cry on. She needs a father figure so badly, and yet, he continues to hide himself from her. My heart broke over and over for Josie in that regard. 

Since this is the end of the series, we see all of our favorite characters from the original Covenant series, as well as our new favorites from The Titans. Alex, Aiden, Luke, Deacon, Alexander, Laadan, Marcus, Erin and Colin all make appearances. I am amazed at Jen Armentrout's ability to bring things full circle. Events from The Covenant series came into play in remarkable ways in The Prophecy, and the result was a perfect feeling of satisfaction and closure at the end. 

"What I feel for you increases every waking moment and sometimes that scares the hell out of me, but I love you. Yesterday. Today. A thousand tomorrows from now, I will be in love with you."

Over the years, I've read about so many epic romances, but none equal the two from this world. First Jen gave us Aiden and Alex and then she gave us Seth and Josie. She created flawed, but brave men of integrity and passion. She wrote about badass women who love fiercely, fight courageously and screw up... well, quite a bit, actually. They might be fictional characters with crazy powers that can't possibly exist in our world, but they have never seemed more real. I appreciate that so much. I'll miss this amazing world, but The Prophecy has ensured that I will most definitely remember it fondly. 

March 6, 2018

RELEASE DAY REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Sin With Me (Original Sin #1)

SIN WITH ME is a crazy awesome start to a series I can't wait to continue. Check out my review and enter the giveaway...

Sin With Me (Original Sin #1), by J.A. Huss and Johnathan McClain
Publish Date:
March 6, 2018
Publisher: Science Future Press
Format: e-ARC, provided by the authors
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4.5 STARS

(Synopsis) Two broken people in a city fueled by sin.

Maddie isn’t looking to be saved. She knows the only person you can count on is yourself. Her moral compass might not point true North these days—but at least she’s still standing.

The Military taught Tyler about loyalty. Being there for your brothers is the only thing that matters—but when it mattered most, he wasn’t.

She’s got a ticket straight to Hell. He’s already been there and back.

She needs to win. He just needs to stop fighting.

Some sins scar your soul so deeply, you'll never be the same.

But this Devil in disguise might just be the angel he needs to forgive himself.

One of my favorite authors, Julie Huss, has teamed up with audiobook narrator and actor Johnathan McClain to write a series of romance books. Between a best-selling romance author and a romance audiobook narrator, I'd say they have the credentials to give us something good. 

And, based on book 1 in their Original Sin series, it's not just going to be good - it's going to be great. 

Maddie's and Tyler's lives have taken two different paths to the same place - rock bottom. When Sin With Me begins, that's where both of them are, even though rock bottom looks slightly different for each of them. 

Maddie is more than broke. After a string of failed business ventures, she's not only in debt, but she owes a very bad man a big sum of money. With a college degree and yet no professional prospects on the horizon, Maddie is forced to strip to pay her bills, and every time she does it, it sucks a little more of her soul away.

" eighteen, bad things, one after another, just kept delivering themselves to me, and now, seven years later, here we both sit. It makes me want to cry. Or scream, or run away. Or all three. But I can't. It's not who I am. I can't quit, I can't lose it and give in to weakness. I have to just knuckle down and keep going. Sometimes... sometimes I wish I was a quitter. It would be easier."

Tyler has more money than he can spend, but he hates how it came into his possession. His time as an explosives expert in the military is over, and now that he's home in Las Vegas, he doesn't know what to do next. His experiences while deployed and the fates that have befallen his friends are haunting him, and no amount of women or booze is helping him to move on. 

Both Maddie and Tyler need something to live for, because neither of them have that now. At various times in the book, both of them contemplate ending things for good. Truthfully, these two are some of the saddest and most despondent people I've ever read about. And yet...

When they are together, despite them both being total and complete hot messes, I actually have some hope that they could be okay eventually. It's this underlying hope that keeps the book from being utterly depressing. They are good for each other, even though I don't think they know that yet. They certainly are hot together, and they both definitely know that, even though Maddie continues to fight it every step of the way.

I just... want to listen to him. Hear his voice and see his smile. I want to feel his bare chest under my fingertips and know that we're in this night together. Whatever pain we have. Whatever regrets and bullshit are haunting us. We're in this night together.

There's something that ties Tyler and Maddie together, and while the reader is clued into this thing pretty early on, our main characters don't find out until the very end. And, that big reveal provides the backdrop for a jaw dropping ending. 

There's a lot of stuff for Maddie and Tyler to work out over the next three books. Maddie's still being chased by very bad, murderous men. Tyler is also in a bit of hot water by the very end. And they are definitely not at a good place in their relationship. I promise, you're going to want to read the next book in the series right away - I know I do. But, most of all, I just can't wait for Maddie and Tyler to find some freaking happiness. I have faith in Julie and Johnathan that eventually they'll get there. But, the journey looks like it's going to be quite a bit bumpy. 

Two accomplished writers come together to create unforgettable sexy romance. JA Huss is the New York Times bestselling author of 321 and has been on the USA Today bestsellers list eighteen times. Johnathan McClain is a veteran actor and writer whose work, either performed or written, is probably airing on at least one of the channels on your television right now. You can contact them on their website or find them at their social links below.




Enter below to win one of five $50 Amazon gift cards or one of 25 copies of Sin With Me signed by both authors (INTL).

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