Verum

Verum (The Nocte Trilogy, #2)

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4.5 Stars


Spoil Free Review

I’ve been dying to read Verum since I finished reading Nocte last year. I was ready to expect the unexpected, but still Verum left me feeling equal parts amazed and confused. The ending left me completely boggled. Ms. Cole has some serious explaining to do in the Lux which is next and final book of the Nocte Trilogy.

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Readers were felt shocked at the end of Nocte. Verum picks up with Calla heading to England to stay with her mother’s family at The Whitley Estate. Everyone agrees that Calla will find the answers she looking for here, only Calla’s not so sure. For Calla The Whitley is filled with darkness and everyone here appears to hiding whatever it is that she can’t seem to remember, including Dare.

”Where should I look for answers?”

“You should book at the Whitley…but you’re got to be careful. You won’t like what you find.”

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When I started reading, I wondered if I had forgot something important. Dare and Calla’s relationship felt different and as more characters were added into the story I had a hard time connecting the dots. BUT everything comes together at the end and once again we are left to guess what will happen next.

The Nocte Series are NOT standalones and should be read in order.


Nocte (The Nocte Trilogy, #1) by Courtney Cole

Verum (The Nocte Trilogy, #2) by Courtney Cole

Lux (The Nocte Trilogy, #3) by Courtney Cole

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Making The Cut

Making the Cut - Selected Sinners MC Erotic Romance

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3.5 Stars

Axton is the president of The Selected Sinners MC. He loves his club, he loves his brothers but he has no need for a woman in his life. For the last decade where woman are concerned Axton has lived by one rule…one and done. He finds woman who are looking for one good night with no strings. And up until now, this rule has worked perfectly.

Avery is far from her hometown and just about to graduate college with a criminal justice degree. She enjoys the guilty pleasures she can receive from a man, but she’s always wanted what she couldn’t have. If men come off as too easy, then she’s not interested.

When Axton and the other Selected Sinners end up at the bar Avery’s working at, she smiles, she flirts, and puts on her best game only to get shot down at the end of the night.

Avery’s beautiful and she made it clear what she was looking for and Axton could tell it was more than one night, so walking away was his only option. But a few days later, he finds himself in a bind and Avery is the only person he can think of that might be able to help him.

The Sinners had a huge sell to make. All Axton needed was someone that could speak Spanish. In and out, but that’s not what happens.

Avery is unlike any woman Axton’s ever met. It appears that he can trust her, but letting go of every reason why he shouldn’t isn’t going to be easy.

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The Selected Sinners are similar in many ways to many other MC books I’ve read, but two very different things stood out to me when reading Making The Cut. One-while many of the brother’s act like discussing pigs, they still had very strong morals. They don’t set out to act like criminals, but they will break the law to help serve justice when it’s needed. Two-Axton wasn’t a whore. If anything he actually turns Avery’s offers for sex down until he knows if he can handle a relationship with her.

In the beginning the story felt like it dragged out. I kept waiting for Avery and Axton to meet and start the romance part but once they did, the book really grabbed me and I ended up truly enjoy it!

*ARC kindly provided by Scott Hildreth in exchange for an honest review*

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Rise Blitz & Giveaway

Rise-KarinaBliss-1600x2400

Adult Contemporary Rockstar Romance

Release: January 28, 2015

Amazon Print | Kindle | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

“You have the ability to make controversial characters sympathetic. Maybe I just want to be understood.”

Acclaimed literary biographer Elizabeth Winston writes about long-dead heroes. So bad boy rock icon Zander Freedman couldn’t possibly tempt her to write his memoir. Except the man is a mass of fascinating contradictions – manipulative, honest, gifted, charismatic, morally ambiguous.

In short, everything she sought in a biography subject. When in her life will she get another chance to work with a living legend? But saying yes to one temptation soon leads to another.

Suddenly she’s having heated fantasies about her subject, fantasies this blue-eyed-devil is only too willing to stoke. She’d thought self-control was in her DNA, after all she grew up a minister’s daughter. She thought wrong.

Outside your comfort zone is the only place worth living…

Zander Freedman has been an outlier – many would say an outcast – for most of his life. But there’s no disaster he can’t overcome, from the break-up of his band to the fall-out on his reputation. His Resurrection Tour is shaping up to be his greatest triumph – if his golden voice holds out. Contracting a respected biographer is simply about creating more buzz; Elizabeth’s integrity the key to consolidating his legacy as one of rock’s greats.

All the damn woman has to do is write down what he tells her. Not make him think.

Or encourage the good guy struggling to get out. And certainly not to fall in love for the first time in his life.

Turns out he is scared of something – being known.

Rise – a redemption story of a rock star going straight(er) through the love of a good(ish) woman.

 

 

The rock star & the academic: Making opposites attract

By Karina Bliss

I love the opposites-attract trope, ‘You say toe-ma-toe, I say toe-mate-o’. (FYI, as a Kiwi, I say it the first way). I couldn’t have written two people more different than my egotistical, rock-star bad boy Zander Freedman and my warm-hearted, church-brat academic Elizabeth Winston.

With opposites, it’s easy to see what’s keeping your characters apart. But when you’re writing romance, what’s more important is what brings and binds these two together. What do they have in common? Both Zander and Elizabeth are smart, independent, take-charge people who share a similar sense of the ridiculous, and I made sure my plot gave them opportunities to join forces.

I found this wonderful Oscar Wilde quote, which I adopted as my theme for Rise. “Every saint has a past, and every sinner a future.” As I wrote the book, it reminded me to add dimensions to my story characters. Just because my heroine is a good person doesn’t mean she lacks a wild side, and vice versa for the hero.

Opposites or not, the hero and heroine need to appreciate each other in a way no one else does. In Zander, Elizabeth sees a caretaker hero, capable of kindness and vulnerability. In Elizabeth, Zander sees a wolf in sheep’s clothing, someone as adventurous as he is.

In a romance, the challenge for opposites is to incorporate the qualities of the other – the qualities they lack – so two halves become a perfect whole.

Can you recommend favorite romances that use this dynamic? Enter the Release Giveaway and go into the draw for an e-book of Rise.

 

About the Author

New Zealander Karina Bliss’s debut, Mr Imperfect, won a Romantic Book of the Year award in Australia, the first of eleven books published through Harlequin SuperRomance. Her most recent release, A Prior Engagement, was a Desert Island Keeper at likesbooks.com. Her next release, Rise, is a single title, self-published contemporary which continues the story of Zander Freedman, who first appeared as a villain inKarina’s bestselling title, What the Librarian Did – a book that made DearAuthor’s Best of the Year list in 2010.Two of Karina’s books have also featured in Sizzling Book Chats at SmartBitchesTrashyBooks.

Find out more at www.karinabliss.com

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Pawn

Pawn (Pawn, #1)Pawn by Maya St. James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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4 Stars

My ace in the hole. The Perfect pawn.

I love a good moody, arrogant (and hopefully) redeemable douchebag hero and that’s just what Senator Graham Delaney happens to be.

Eleanor “Elle” Courtney’s father also happens to be in the Senate and he’s just recently cut her off financially. With only one semester of college left, Elle is determined to find a way to pay for school without her family’s help.

Waiting tables might not be an easy job, but Elle is willing to whatever it takes to pay her tuition. But when she’s let go after only a week she’s not left with a lot of options.

Graham Delaney loves sex but not commitment. Working in politics he has to choose very wisely when picking a woman to sleep with to avoid any scandal, and when he meets the beautiful Elle Courtney everything he needs and wants just happens to fall right in his lap.

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Graham offers to pay Elle’s tuition in exchange for the semester with him, and only him. While technically she’s getting paid for sex, Elle decides this is an offer she can’t refuse. And really, what’s the worst that can happen? Graham is wickedly sexy and doesn’t want to expose their relationship to the public so the plan sounds perfect. Except what Elle doesn’t know is she’s really a Pawn in a much bigger game that Graham’s told her nothing about.

…she’s my pawn, and my lust for her is nothing but a game.

Wow, this was an awesome novella. Graham’s truly a douchebag but I loved it and I can’t wait to see how this story is going to play out.

Book 1 of a 3 part serial.
Volume 1 (ebook) : January 27, 2015
Volume 2 (ebook): February 14, 2015
Volume 3 (ebook): February 27, 2015
Vol 1 to 3 Paperback: February 27, 2015

*ARC kindly provided by Maya St. James in exchange for an honest review*

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Start Me Up

Start Me Up
My rating: 3.5 Stars

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3.5 Cute Stars

Mike Everett doesn’t have everything, but he has everything a twenty-nine year old bachelor needs. He owns a successful business, has lots of friends and even the occasional night out with a sexy female.

Anne runs a party planning business and a successful “how to be creative” blog. From the outside she appears perfect but on the inside she’s still a single divorced thirty-two year old mother.

Mike was asked to do a simple favor. Drop his niece off at a birthday party. What he wasn’t expecting was to be lusting after the host of the party who just happens to look like a Betty Crocker Playmate. Anne is gorgeous, and everything she does seems effortless and now Mike is starting to wonder what life might be like with Anne, her daughter and their own white-picket-fence.

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Anne can plan and host the perfect party, but that’s not how she would describe herself. She might not be fat and ugly but she still has issues with the extra curves she found over the years. Mike claims she looks perfect, but she’s seen the type of woman he’s “dated” in the past, which makes it hard for her to believe he really wants her and maybe he doesn’t. To keep her heart safe she decides to cherish her time with this sexy man before he wakes up and moves on and hopefully by then she’ll have enough memories to last her while.

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This is the first time I’ve read anything from this author so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but over all I enjoyed it. Start Me Up is truly a cute straight up love story that lacks any real angst. I would even go as far as to say it’s a very typical romance novel as nothing unique stood out to me but I will repeat…I did like it and Mike is the reason why. He’s an alpha male who’s confident and possessive with a nice touch of “dirty talker” in him, which are all the qualities I enjoy with in a book hero.

*ARC kindly provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

A Father’s Fight

A Father's Fight (Fighting, #5)A Father’s Fight by J.B. Salsbury

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amazon pre-order: http://amzn.to/1vFNkeW

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4-4.5 Stars

J.B. Salsbury is an author I truly enjoy. She blew me away almost two years ago with her debut novel Fighting for Flight and I have been a fan ever since. While a professional fighting series isn’t all that unique, the unexpected twist and turns she delivers in each story keep you guessing.

The first four books in this series can be read as a standalone. However, you should read Fighting to Forgive (book 2) to discover Blake and Layla’s journey to happiness before starting A Father’s Fight.

Blake went from a carefree bachelor with a different woman on his arm each night to a devoted father and soon to be husband to Layla and Axelle. But now with Layla pregnant with his child, there’s no limit to his possessive protective ways. Especially now that the past is threating their future.

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When an author decides to add on to a story that is already complete in the readers mind, it’s a huge risk. I know a lot of readers (including myself) feel that and once you place a couple on a HEA shelf you hate to get them back out for unnecessary drama that might taint your thoughts of the original story. But that’s not the case with A Father’s Fight. Blake and Layla struggle to put the past behind them but their love for each other remains unconditional.

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Blake is a nervous wreck while Layla’s pregnant. Keeping her safe and worrying about his abilities to be a good father are always on his mind. When he’s asked to go see his parents just days before Layla is due to deliver his child, he’s finally given the chance to face the one person who’s made him doubt himself.

Eighteen years ago, Layla future was robbed in a single night. The only good thing she walked away with was Axelle. She thinks she knows what happened that night, but she remembers nothing. But someone claims that have all the answers she needs, she just needs to stop and face the past.

Blake and Layla discover the journey they’ve traveled, both painful and beautiful was worth every moment when they are handed life’s most precious gift…their child.

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*ARC kindly provided by Give Me Books in exchange for an honest review*

 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1vFNkeW

Falling For Jillian

Falling for Jillian (Love Under the Big Sky, #3)Falling for Jillian by Kristen Proby

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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4 Stars

I’m a huge fan of Kristen Proby, not only is she a talented author, but she also consistently delivers strong alpha males which is always my cuppa when looking for my next book.

Falling For Jillian is the third book of “Love Under the Big Sky” however each book in this series can read as a standalone. While this might not be my all time favorite of Ms. Proby’s (that honor goes to Come Away with Me-Mr. Luke Williams) it’s without a doubt my favorite of this series. I have to admit, if I see a new release from Kristen Proby I know I’m going to read it, and Zach King is exactly why.

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Zach King accidentally became a father at a very young age. To ensure he could provide for his new family he enlisted in the arm. After years of services and multiple tours to Iraq, he returns home to a son who needs him more than his country.

Jillian Sullivan wanted a baby. Her desire and need to have a child pushed her through years of physical and emotional torture for just the possibility that she could get pregnant by a husband who in the end, cheats on her.

Six months ago, Zach and Jillian shared an incredible night together, one that neither of them can forget. Only a misunderstanding has kept them apart. When Jillian returns home to Montana, she knows she’s going to see Zach, but she’s not about to admit what that night meant to her.

Zach never meant for Jillian to think what they shared was just a one-night stand, but when she acts like she couldn’t care less, he decides to roll with it. Only the more he’s around her, the more he wants her and he’s not about to let anyone, including Jillian stand in the way of something he wants.

Zach comes as a packaged deal. Being with him means excepting his twelve year old son, Seth. But Jillian’s motherly instincts have kicked in and being around Seth ends up being the one the best decisions she’s ever made.

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I truly loved Zach. He’s a complete alpha male- possessive and dominate and such a strong protector that he was able to melt my panties. Jillian’s makes for a strong heroine who’s finally ready to stand up for herself. After years of being with a husband who didn’t treat her right, she’s finally ready to stand up for herself. And I can’t forget Seth. His character really added to the story and my heart completely broke at times for him. Overall, Falling for Jillian is a sweet romance that’s fairly low on the angst level, without being overly sweet. If you’re a fan of Kristen Proby, or looking a for a amazing alpha male, or just want an easy romantic read than I highly recommend this one!

*ARC kindly provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Falling For Jillian expected release date is January 27th, 2015.

Devlin Unleashed

Devlin UnLeashedDevlin UnLeashed by Bethany Bazile

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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3.5 Stars

Devlin Unleashed is a fairly gritty dark novel. Devlin is a complicated man that’s keeping a secret from the woman he loves. The layers of his deceit and betrayal have no boundaries and the monster that lives within him is always lurking in the shadows.

The story breaks down into three parts, but isn’t told in the correct timeline. The book starts off when Juliana bumps into a man while leaving a coffee shop. She’s finishing her last semester of college in Washington with plans to return home to Chicago after graduation. When Juliana sees her mystery man from the coffee shop again while out drinking with friends her body reacts differently to him than any other man she’s met. It fuels her desire and lust to the point that she purposely over-looks her own instincts that are telling her to be beware.

Devlin didn’t accidently meet Juliana, she’s unknowingly been apart of his life for years. He should walk away from her, return to the shadows but the devil inside of him wants her too much to let go. It’s not long before the two of them become addicted to each other.

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“Just so we’re clear. I’m going to fuck you, angel…in a beautiful way, and then in a dirty way. And once you let me corrupt your body, I’m going to continue to do so every single night.”

Juliana’s father and ex-boyfriend can see Devlin for the monster he is and they don’t stop searching for the truth until they ultimately shatter Juliana’s world.

The second part of the story actually happened before part one. We learn the secrets Devlin’s been keeping and the pain that Juliana lived through. The third part of the story happens a couple of years later. Good or bad, Devlin and Juliana have impacted each other lives. When Juliana left, she completely destroyed him. Juliana might not want him, but he wants her and the monster inside of him just won’t allow her to walk away.

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Over all I enjoyed this one but there were two things I didn’t care for. The first one happened Devlin and Juliana first start dating. I enjoyed them together and I got caught up in the mystery surrounding their relationship, but the next thing I know Juliana is talking about how they have been together for months already. I think I would have felt Devlin’s betrayal more if their time together didn’t get skipped over as much. And the second one is just a personal pet peeve. During the years they are apart, Devlin claims he can’t move on without Juliana but that doesn’t stop him from seeking out other woman.  I think that part was to play up the antihero part, but personally I could have done without it.

*ARC kindly provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Filthy Beautiful Forever

Filthy Beautiful Forever (Filthy Beautiful Lies, #4)Filthy Beautiful Forever by Kendall Ryan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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4 Stars

This forth book in the Filthy Beautiful Lies series is about Colton and Pace’s older brother Collins. Collins is the more serious one of the bunch. After their mother died when Collins was only fourteen, he took on more of a parental role with his two younger brothers. Collins is now thirty and his world revolves around his business and his brothers. But he gets a serious wake up call when his childhood best friend suddenly shows up at his front door after not seeing her for fifteen years.

Mia has a lot of wonderful childhood memories and they all include Collins Drake. He was her first friend, her first love, and the boy she gave her virginity to. After just turning thirty, Mia’s life takes a turn for the worst and suddenly she thinking about a pinky swear that she made with Collins over twenty years ago. With nothing to lose, Mia decides to seek out her long lost friend and see if the same spark that once set her on fire still exists.

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After fifteen years, it’s clear that Mia and Collins still have a strong connection with each other and it appears that they would make the perfect couple. There’s just one little problem standing in their way…Collins live in girlfriend of three years.

”We can’t just pinky swear and then live happily ever after.”

I think Kendall Ryan is a great author, but I’m the first to admit that I tend to have a love/hate relationship with her hero’s. I loved Colton, but didn’t like Pace so I was nervous about how I would feel about Collins and then add in the fact that he had a live in girlfriend when Mia reappears in his life, it sounded like a disaster waiting to happen. So, I’m extremely pleased at how Filthy Beautiful Forever turned out. I picked up my kindle and read the whole book in one sitting.

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Til Death, Volume Two

'Til Death, Volume Two ('Til Death, #2)‘Til Death, Volume Two by Bella Jewel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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3.5 Stars

I destroyed a soul. I created my own nightmare. There is no forgiveness for that.

Marcus was anything except honest when it came to Katia. He’s deceived her in unforgiveable ways and finally pushed her away for good. But Marcus wasn’t prepared for the emptiness he feels now that Katia has disappeared from his life and he’s desperate to find her.

Katia didn’t know what real pain felt like until she discovered that she was married to a cold-hearted monster. Almost two years later, and she’s still as bitter as the day she walked out on him. Now she only needs two things…a divorce and revenge.

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Marcus and Katia’s story didn’t turn out quite how I suspected it would. Katia’s life after leaving Marcus becomes quite complicated and how she handles her secrets and her desire for revenge makes her just as twisted as Marcus.

Once again I left her devastated and broken. Only this time she returned the favor. She took my soul, the same way I’d taken hers, and she crushed it.

Marcus and Katia learn that love isn’t always beautiful, it isn’t always easy, and sometimes you have to set it free in order to move forward.

‘Til Death, volume two completes Marcus and Katia’s story and should be read after reading ‘Til Death, Volume One.