Thursday, 24 July 2014

Who is your favourite Dirty Talking Hero? Visit Under the Covers to vote for your favourite book boyfriends in their Burning Up July event!

The fabulous Under the Covers Book Blog is currently celebrating summer by hosting BURNING UP JULY where they're showcasing some of their favourite book boyfriends and asking readers to vote for their favourites in several different categories.

They asked lots of different bloggers to take part so in case you missed it yesterday I thought I'd write a quick post directing you to my guest appearance where I was raving about one of my favourite dirty talking heroes Matt from Staking His Claim by Tessa Bailey.

Tessa always writes such fabulous heroes and they are some of the best dirty talkers I've come across but Matt is my absolute favourite of her characters and he is one super hot dominant alpha both in and out of the bedroom!

Have a look at my fantasy casting for Matt and see if it encourages you to head on over to Under the Covers and find out a little more about him!

My Fantasy Casting for Matt
(Sorry but I don't know who this model is, if anyone can help me out with that please
leave a comment because I'd love to be able to google more pics of him LOL)

The Under the Covers team will be posting about a few more of their favourite heroes for the Best Dirty Talker category over the next couple of days so make sure you keep checking back to meet Matt's competition! Once all of the heroes have been posted they'll be opening up a giveaway where you'll be all given the chance to vote for your favourite.

Two other categories are already complete and the giveaways are already open and waiting for your votes so don't miss out on your chance to win prizes.

Ultimate Dom Nominees:
Alexander Devries from Edge of the Enforcer by Cherise Sinclair
Ronin Black from The Mastered Series by Lorelei James
Soren from The Original Sinners Series by Tiffany Reisz

Soren is getting my vote in this category!

Ultimate Book Boyfriend Nominees:
Sevastyan from The Professional by Kresley Cole
Dex Foray from The Experiment in Terror Series by Karina Hale
Landon Lucas Maxfield from Breakable by Tammara Webber

I haven't had a chance to read Breakable yet but I LOVED Lucas in Easy so he definitely gets my vote (even though I'm rather partial to Sevastyan too LOL).

Best Dirty Talker Nominees:
Matt Donovan from Staking His Claim by Tessa Bailey
Other nominees to be added over the next couple of days

Of course Matt will be getting my vote in this category - I am his champion after all!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Review: Just for Now - Abbi Glines

Preston Drake is one bad boy. He has a different girl in his bed every night, which is just how he likes it - no strings, no issues, just fun. The problem is, he keeps finding himself thinking about the one girl he shouldn't . . . his best friend's little sister, who's suddenly all grown up.

Amanda Hardy has had a crush on Preston forever, but his reputation always kept her away. Now that it seems the attraction might be mutual, it's getting harder to ignore her feelings . . .

No one wants them to be together - but their attraction is too strong to keep them apart.

The Sea Breeze Series:
Because of Low
While it Lasts
Just for Now
Sometimes it Lasts
Bad for You
Hold on Tight

Visit Abbi Glines' website for more information.

I've really enjoyed the previous books in Abbi Glines' Sea Breeze series and I was looking forward to getting to know bad boy Preston a little better in Just for Now. We've seen quite a lot of him in the previous books but while he's a good friend to Marcus he's also always been a player and a ladies man and I wasn't sure how Amanda was going to get him to change his ways.

What we didn't know before was quite how much pressure is on Preston from his waste of space mother who she relies on Preston for everything. He pays her rent, buys her food and even puts petrol in her car for her and he does it all to protect his younger siblings Jimmy, Brent and Daisy. Preston is in college full time trying to get a decent education but he needs to earn money and he doesn't have enough free time to work a full time job as well. He's resorted to desperate measures but while the income means he can look after his family the work makes him feel dirty and cheap. He doesn't feel worthy of love and he's so ashamed of his situation that he doesn't feel that he can ask his friends for help or even tell them what is happening in his life. Because of that his friends just think of him as a party boy who doesn't have a care in the world when in reality that couldn't be further from the truth.

Amanda is Preston's best friend Marcus's little sister and completely off limits. Preston knows she is special but she is far too pure and innocent for the likes of him, besides Marcus would kill him if he ever found out about Preston's feelings. Amanda may be innocent but she knows what she wants and once she realises that Preston is attracted to her she deliberately sets out to get her man. Amanda sees Preston for who he really is and once she starts to get under his skin she realises how much he does to protect his siblings. I loved Amanda for the way she was so caring towards Jimmy, Brent and Daisy and I really enjoyed every scene with the younger kids in. They had such a tough upbringing but were really sweet kids and that was down to Preston and the way he had cared for them.

One thing that I found really noticeable in this story was the double standards and slut shaming though. All of the girls that Preston had been with were called names and considered whores by Amanda and the rest of Preston's friends but the fact that Preston slept with a different girl every night was completely fine. At one point Amanda actually thought "So he slept around. A lot of guys did. He was sowing his wild oats. It was okay to do that." about Preston but she'd earlier introduced one of her supposed friends to readers by thinking "Jess, Rock's cousin and the town slut". I'm not going to get into the whole issue of sleeping around and whether it's right or wrong but what I really HATE is that people seem to think it's OK for guys to do it but not for girls. Double standards irritate me and it did stop me enjoying this book quite as much as I would have done otherwise. If you want to get on your high horse about sleeping around you should call out the boys for their behaviour just as much as the girls! Or you can just take the opinion that they're all consenting adults and they have every right to do whatever the hell they want. Either way would be better than what happens here.

I did like Preston, he was in an impossible situation and he was doing the only thing he could think of to make sure his family survived. I'll admit I got a little irritated with him for not confiding in his friends sooner and asking for help but I could understand why he hadn't. In general I liked Amanda but her double standards kept making me want to shake some sense into her. I have really enjoyed the sea breeze series though so even though Just for Now wasn't my favourite instalment I'm still looking forward to reading more about this group of friends.

Source: Received from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Review: Reaper's Legacy - Joanna Wylde

Reaper's Legacy is a raw and intensely erotic tale in Joanna Wylde's Reapers Motorcycle Club series.

Eight years ago, Sophie gave her heart-and her virginity-to Zach Barrett on a night that couldn't have been less romantic or more embarrassing. Zach's step-brother, a steely-muscled, tattooed biker named Ruger, caught them in the act, getting a peep show of Sophie he's never forgotten.

She may have lost her dignity that fateful night, but Sophie also gained something precious-her son Noah. Unfortunately, Zach's a deadbeat dad, leaving Ruger to be Noah's only male role model. When he discovers Sophie and his nephew living in near poverty, Ruger takes matters into his own hands-with the help of the Reapers Motorcycle Club-to give them a better life.

Living with outlaw bikers wasn't Sophie's plan for her son, but Ruger isn't giving her a choice. He'll be there for Noah, whether she wants him or not. But Sophie does want him, has always wanted him. Now she'll learn that taking a biker to bed can get a girl dirty in every way.

Reapers MC Series:
Reaper's Property
Reaper's Legacy
Devil's Game
Reaper's Stand (October 2014)

Visit Joanna Wylde's website for more information

I have a confession to make, MC (Motorcycle Club) stories are a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine and I love Joanna Wylde's Reapers MC series. These stories aren't traditional hearts and flowers romances, they're dark, gritty and often disturbing. The men are alphas to the extreme and live outside the normal rules of society. Women fall into two categories - sweet butts who are hangers on who are basically fair game for any of the club members to do what they want with or old ladies who are pretty much the property of one of the MC members. The men have no respect for the sweet butts but the old ladies are well protected and cared for and any of the guys will put their lives on the line to keep them safe. It's a misogynistic society and one that I REALLY wouldn't want to live in but I find it incredibly fascinating to read about.

Sophie knows very little about MC life, the only connection she has to the Reapers is that one of the members, Ruger, is the uncle of her eight year old son, Noah. Sophie always had the biggest crush on Ruger but it was his step-brother, Zach, that she met first and foolishly gave her heart to. Zach was an abusive partner and a deadbeat dad who has had no contact with Noah in years. Sophie struggles to support herself and her son financially but although Ruger has offered to help her in the past he had no idea just how bad things were for her until one night when she finds herself in over her head. It is Noah who calls Ruger for help and now he's realised exactly what is going on he is determined to get his nephew to safety.

I love that Sophie was more willing to stand up for herself than Marie was in the previous book. Sophie has had enough of men walking all over her and she isn't about to let Ruger take control of her life no matter how hot she finds him. Ruger wants Sophie and Noah in his life, he wants to take care of them both and he wants to be able to act on the attraction that sizzles between him and Sophie but he isn't prepared to make her any promises and feels like he should be allowed to see other women too. Sophie knows she deserves better than that, she is wary of the MC lifestyle for a start but she's definitely not prepared to sit back and let Ruger sleep around on her. She'd rather be on her own than let that happen and I was so pleased to see her stand her ground on that issue. I also enjoyed seeing her get to know the other old ladies and realising how strong the friendship was between them. The old ladies rally around and offer her advice on how to get what she wants from Ruger and I really enjoyed the camaraderie between them all.

Ruger is out of his depth when it comes to Sophie. He is used to being in control and for women falling over backwards just to be with him. He's never really had to fight for what he wants before but Sophie and Noah are worth it and he is forced to reassess his own life to decide what is really important. I loved the interactions between Rugar and Noah, he is so patient and caring towards his nephew and a great father figure for him. You know without a doubt that Ruger would do anything to protect his family and Sophie and Noah are the centre of his world. Of course it doesn't hurt that Ruger is hot as hell and he's definitely a skilled dirty talker.

Reaper's Legacy isn't just about their romance though, trouble was brewing between the Reapers and rival gang the Devil's Jacks in the first book and it escalates even further in this book. There is plenty of action to keep you on the edge of your seat and Joanna Wylde has really set things up to get even more interesting in the third book Devil's Game. I can't wait to read Em's story!

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.


Fight Night: Championship Round (Last chance to win fantastic prizes!)

I have to confess I'm a little sad today - my favourite Ace was knocked out of Fight Night in the second round and I'm a bit gutted that means Kit Rocha won't be writing a short story about him at the end of the championship. However if Ace was going to be knocked out by anyone then I'm glad it was by Dallas, the undisputed King of Sector Four.

Final Round: Bren vs Dallas:

My Vote:

I mentioned in the last post that I felt a bit guilty voting for voting against Dallas even if it was for my man Ace so I'm definitely back to rooting for him in the final! He's tough enough to keep a whole sector in line so it's pretty obvious he has skills and as much as I love Bren I don't think he's going to be able to knock Dallas off the top spot. It's a matter of pride for Dallas and I don't think Lexi would ever let him live it down if he didn't win!

Read Bren's story in Beyond Pain (my review is here) or Dallas's story in Beyond Control (my review is here).

As per the previous rounds you can vote using the Rafflecopter form below and you'll be in with the chance of winning some fantastic prizes (including eARCs of book 5 in the series Beyond Addiction - I AM DYING TO WIN THAT PRIZE!!!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Review: Tiger Eyes - Judy Blume

"You have sad eyes, Tiger", he says. "A bright smile but sad eyes." He waits for me to say something. I don't.

Davey's life has been ripped apart by her father's murder. Uprooted and taken to stay in New Mexico with her uptight aunt and uncle, she feels trapped - by their fearfulness, by her mother's grief, by her own anger and pain. Then she meets Wolf - intense, brooding, mysterious Wolf. Without asking questions, somehow he's the only one who understands what she's feeling . . .

A powerful, raw and brilliant novel about love, grief and learning to live again.

Visit Judy Blume's website for more information

I was a massive fan of Judy Blume as a teenager, at the time there weren't the huge range of YA books that we have now and she was one of the few writers that I could turn to when I wanted to read a book about teenagers with real problems, ones that I could relate to. Recently Judy Blume visited the UK and I got the chance to attend an event with her and I can't tell you how excited I was to meet the author who wrote some of my favourite childhood books. It had been a long time since I'd read any of her work though so I decided to re-read a couple of her books before the event.

The first one I re-read was Forever and while I did still really enjoy it I have to admit in a lot of ways it was quite dated and I'm not sure if teens today would love it as much as I did when I was younger. Tiger Eyes has a different feel to it, although it lacks modern conveniences such as mobile phones and the internet (no those things really didn't exist when I was a child and doesn't that make me feel old LOL), it didn't feel quite so out of touch as Forever did. I'm not quite sure why that is but it doesn't really matter, it just meant that I enjoyed Tiger Eyes as much as I always used to.

Davey is just fifteen years old when her father is murdered during a robbery of their family store. She is completely devastated by his loss and since her mother has completely fallen apart she is feeling lost and alone. Her aunt and uncle offer to take the whole family in so that they can get away from the memories of what happened and Davey finds her life completely uprooted. She's living across the country away from all of her friends and forced to attend a new school where everyone has grown up together and she is the outsider. Her mother and young brother, Jason, seem to be thriving under the care of her aunt and uncle but she is suffocating with their strict rules and more lonely than she's ever been in her life. Can Davey find a way to put the pieces back together and be happy again?

Tiger Eyes is a coming of age story but most of all it's a story of loss and grief, it's about coping with the aftermath of something horrific and realising that life does go on even when you really don't want it to. It's about losing someone you love but it's also about realising how important the people left behind are to you, it's about family bonds and making new friends. There are just so many lessons to be learnt from this book and Davey's story is a heartfelt and emotional one. I grieved with her and I felt her loneliness but I also smiled when she started to move forward in her life and I enjoyed seeing her family learn how to lean on each other in their grief. Although there is a hint of romance it is by no means the main focus of the story but that doesn't matter because this book is so much more.

Whether you're an old Judy Blume fan, like me, looking to recapture childhood memories or someone who has never read one of her books before I would definitely recommend giving Tiger Eyes a try. It's a beautiful story and one that I'm sure will still be relevant in another 30 years.

Source: Received from Macmillan in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Friday, 18 July 2014

Review: Cracks in the Armour - Helena Hunting

UK Cover
Chris, a sexy tattoo artist, tries to win the heart of Sarah, a grad student with little interest in him, in this second e-short and follow-up to Helena Hunting’s gripping love story, Clipped Wings—“twisted, dark, incredibly erotic…a love story like no other” (USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton).

Part owner of the Chicago tattoo shop Inked Armor, Chris Zelter is a talented artist who decorates skin with gorgeous designs. He might look the part of the typical jacked-up, inked-up bad-boy, but underneath is a fiercely loyal, complicated man. Kicked out at sixteen, Chris has had to fend for himself for the last twelve years, making his Inked Armor crew as much family as they are business partners. For him, it’s enough—until he meets Sarah Adamson.

A grad student waitressing at the local strip club, Sarah is used to propositions and crude comments. The job is a means to an end—finish her MBA, pay off the tuition loans, and get a good job. Then she won’t have to rely on anyone to take care of her. So when brawny, tatted up Chris begins hanging out at the club, she rebuffs his advances. At first. But Chris isn’t like her usual clientele: despite his hard exterior, he’s almost…sweet.

Sometimes, the people with the roughest edges have the biggest hearts.

Clipped Wings Series:
Cupcakes and Ink (Short Story)
Clipped Wings
Between the Cracks (Free Short Story)
Inked Armour
Cracks in the Armour (Short Story)

Visit Helena Hunting's website for more information

I've really enjoyed reading this series but as much as I've loved Hayden and Tenley I've also become quite attached to the side characters so I was really excited to find out that Helena Hunting had written a short story about Chris and Sarah. We've seen their relationship starting to develop in the previous books but I was looking forward to getting to know them both better through this story.

Although I liked Cracks in the Armour I have to admit I was a little disappointed that so much of the focus was still on Hayden and Tenley. The first half of this short story (which is only around 60 pages long) is told from Chris's point of view but rather than focusing on his thoughts and feelings about Sarah he takes us on a guided tour of Hayden and Tenley's new house and talks about how the two of them are getting on now they're living together. Yes, it was nice to have a bit of an update on them but to be honest we didn't learn anything particularly new or exciting about them and I didn't pick up this story expecting an extended epilogue of Inked Armour.

We do get to learn a little more about Chris's background but not in as much detail as I was hoping for. When the point of view switches to Sarah the focus does move away from Hayden and Tenley which I appreciated but we don't get to see Sarah and Chris's HEA which was disappointing. This story actually reads more like a prequel so I can only assume that Helena Hunting is planning on writing a full length novel about Chris and Sarah. I have no confirmation of that at the moment though so I can't help feeling a little cheated. I hate to say it but I think you can easily skip this story and I'm not convinced it's worth paying for. I received this for free from the publisher for review but I'd have been very disappointed if I'd paid for it. If the author does decide to write a novel about Chris and Sarah then I'll probably read it but I'm beginning to think that I'm done with this world now and I'm not convinced there is much story left to tell.

Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

US Cover

Review: Inked Armour - Helena Hunting

UK Cover
Scorching, addictive and seductive, this is a love story like no other.

Tenley has gone.

And in the wake of her leaving, Hayden's carefully ordered world threatens to spiral out of control. Balanced on the brink of self-destruction, he realises he needs to face the truth about his past if he has any hope of a future.

Back in her hometown, Tenley lays her ghosts to rest. And despite her grief, her feelings for Hayden remain as intense and all-consuming as ever.

Desperate to repair the damage she has done to their relationship, Tenley returns to Chicago and the man she loves. But there are still so many obstacles in their path. Will their love conquer all? Or will it tear them apart?

Clipped Wings Series:
Cupcakes and Ink (Short Story)
Clipped Wings
Between the Cracks (Free Short Story)
Inked Armour
Cracks in the Armour (Short Story)

Visit Helena Hunting's website for more information

After really enjoying Clipped Wings I was excited to pick up Inked Armour and find out how things turned out for Tenley and Hayden. The last book left us on quite a cliffhanger when Tenley left Hayden to return to her old life with her brother-in-law Trey and I was desperate to know what would happen next.

Tenley has no intention of returning to her old life permanently, in fact she just wants to sell her old home so that she can put the past behind her forever and move forward in her new life at Hayden's side. I loved seeing her stand up to Trey, he was obviously trying to control her and only looking out for his best interests and Tenley has come such a long way to be able to go against him like that. What really irritated me was her complete refusal to have any kind of contact with Hayden, she knew he must be hurting and feeling that she'd abandoned him and she was even hurting herself but she couldn't even send him a quick message to tell him that she needed to sort things out but would be back as soon as she could be. I kind of lost respect for her because of that which was disappointing.

Hayden on the other hand has fallen apart completely because he thought she had left him forever. We saw him chase after her in the free short story Between the Cracks (I'd highly recommend reading that before you start this book if you haven't already) but since that unsuccessful trip he's lost all faith in their relationship. It was completely understandable considering she refused to answer his calls or reply to his messages but I did find myself rolling my eyes at just how hopeless he was without her there. I guess I wanted to see him have a bit more backbone and I really would have liked for him to have made her work a bit harder to get him back once she returned.

When Tenley does get back I appreciated the fact that they were both willing to talk about their issues rather than jumping straight back into bed together though. They both have very traumatic pasts and it was good to see Hayden starting to make some headway in processing what had happened to him. I do love as a couple and I've been rooting for them since the beginning so it was nice to see them get some kind of closure there but as much as I liked the book I'm disappointed to say that I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped I would.

I think I mentioned in my previous review that there were a few other story lines thrown in that felt like they'd just been inserted to cause extra drama. I still feel that this whole series could have been so much better without the over the top feel of these situations (I'm talking about the police harassment and the whole mess with Tenley's tutor here). I just think that I'd have enjoyed it more if the focus had stayed on their relationship and the way events from their pasts were effecting them both. Didn't they both have enough to deal with without that added on top?

I may not have loved Inked Armour but it was still a likeable read and overall I have really enjoyed this series. I love the main characters but I also feel invested in the whole group of friends and I'm very much looking forward to reading the final novella (Cracks in the Armour) to see the resolution to Chris and Sarah's story.

Source: Received from Orion in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

US Cover
Paperback / Kindle


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