Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Book Blitz: When Beauty Met the Beast by Khardine Gray


Series: Vandervilles, Book 1
Publisher: Khardine Gray
Cover Artist: Erin Dameron-Hill
Release Date: June 10, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary, Suspense
Words: 60,000

About the Book


Betrayal, obsession, revenge. Can love conquer all?
Deep beneath the veneer of luxury, beauty, and wealth, lie secrets that could be used to destroy the Vanderville family. Secrets that a cold, calculating, and vengeful person has been collecting, patiently waiting for the perfect moment to exact a cruel and painful revenge…

Rejections turn to romance?

An obsession brews into a whirlwind romance that threatens to be torn apart by a bad boy’s bad habits. Will a love so passionate yet unstable be able to withstand the turmoil that’s sure to blossom from a plot for revenge?
Double betrayal, despair…
Waiting for a wedding proposal, Taylor is instead handed betrayal. Her cheating father betrays his wife and shatters his daughter’s heart at the same moment she discovers the man she loves has been lying to her. 
Careers hang in the balance…
What do the Vanderville Matriarch’s powerful position in the fashion industry, a greedy States attorney, and a budding creative director all have in common? Careers compromised by the cold hunger of a vengeful person.
Surrender yourself to the gripping story surrounding the Vanderville Family and their friends. Discover for yourself if love, both romantic and familial, can survive the frigid reality of betrayal and revenge.


Was someone watching Ben, and sending him threatening messages? Honestly, it didn't surprise her. Only God knew how many enemies the man must have had.

With her heart pounding and hands shaking she started opening the smaller envelopes. The first one gripped her, it had a drawing of Ben in his office at work. Sitting on his desk in a very seductive manner was an image of his busty secretary blowing kisses at him.

The next letter, however, brought home the seriousness of the situation to her as she read it. It was written in dark red ink and stated:

You shouldn't have so much sugar in your coffee, and your wife should wear the new lipstick she bought last week. It will match that dress she's wearing perfectly.

Taylor should take better care of her cat, and Wade needs better lighting in his room. It would be a shame for him to leave again when he's only just returned.

It was only after she read that that realization truly dawned on her and tore at her insides.

Regina gasped. This person wasn't just watching Ben. It was all of them. They were watching all of them, and this note was recent. As in a few days ago recent. Wade had only been home since Monday, and she bought that lipstick last week.

Cold terror gripped her in its icy embrace, and she could do nothing but stand there and stare at the note, paralyzed with fright. Someone was watching them, and watching so closely that they knew how much sugar Ben put in his coffee.


Were they watching her now? Could they see her?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

ARC Review: Uncomplicated Choices (Camassia Cove #5) by Cara Dee

Uncomplicated Choices (Camassia Cove, #5)Blurb:
When life gave you lemons, you learned who stayed and made lemonade with you. Or something to that effect. And the day Ellis Hayes kidnapped me—or, he borrowed a yacht and didn’t know I was on board—he'd definitely been handed too many lemons.

We faced a dilemma when I woke up hungover in the middle of the ocean. He needed to get the hell out of town to do some soul searching and decide whether or not to divorce his wife, and I needed to get back on land because humans didn't belong on the water. There was also better cell service on land, and I had my four-year-old daughter on vacation in Paris to check in with.

Then I remembered I wasn’t a complete tool. Ellis wasn’t doing all right, and we were practically family. I had to stay and make lemonade with him. Of course, me being me, seemingly un-dateable and complicated, I had to develop feelings for him, too.
Todd's rating:


Thank fuck!

This book had so much potential for becoming a complete and total melodramatical shit-show of suffering and angst, but it never ventured anywhere close to that territory, not even once.

I flat out loved Casey's sense of humor and banter in this one. Plus, if Casey had a thought, it popped right out of his big ole' mouth, completely honest and unfiltered. I *love* a good blurter and Casey reminded me a lot of Cole from Jaime Reese's "A Restored Man," my all-time favorite blurter, ever.

I also loved how level-headed and open Ellis was to his newly-discovered attraction to men. That's generally a huge point for drama (and fleeing), but I was thrilled to not have that happen this time around. For Ellis, being with Casey was truly an "Uncomplicated Choice."

The whole 'kidnapping' aspect of the story was funny, but slightly off-base, as said kidnapper (Ellis) didn't even know that Casey was aboard the yacht. It did, however, effectively put the MC's living in one another pockets during the entire time that their relationship took form and began to flourish. I'm a huge fan of that scenario. : )

I must say the one thing that did surprise me a bit, though, was after they docked back in Camassia, when Ellis was working things out, the *complete* lack of communication, after their openness and connection on the boat, was fairly shocking.

There was a huuuuuuge "WTAF??? Did I just fall into a very clich├ęd M/F plot line?" point at around 70% in the story. My jaw dropped and I even e-mailed my friends to piss and moan about it.

But nope! It was all handled with skill and with a minimum of theatrics. That plot point actually allowed the story to finish up *exactly* as I'd hoped it would. Love that!

In regards to the steamy bits, those didn't disappoint, either. There were enough sexy scenes to help convey the growing attraction, but not so many that I wanted to scream, "Jesus, Ladies! Can you put your dicks away for 2 goddamn minutes?" ;- )

I was pretty thrilled with the HEA that played out in the epilogue and also should mention that the kids were 'present', but not omnipresent. I'd actually be thrilled to find myself in a parenting arrangement much like Casey had with Lincoln and Ade.

I would like to bring up a point that my friend Dani mentioned in her review about this being a standalone book. While in theory, yes, the plot in this story does *not* require you to know anything from the previous books, I'd skipped the 3rd and 4th (M/F) books and *did* feel a bit lost at times at the mention of some characters from the books that I missed. Not to the detriment of the story, but it definitely fueled some confusion.

So between the humor, banter, and the feels, I'd have to rate this one a solid 4.25 stars and highly recommend it, especially if you've already read all (or even some) of the previous books.

My ARC copy of the book was graciously provided by the author in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

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ARC Review: Shadows On My Soul by Leigh Jarrett

Shadows On My SoulBlurb:

Beyond the shadows, his love held true for only one man

Derek Lawrence is a player. There is no other way to phrase it. He's been unstoppable since coming out in high school. Guy after guy, conquest after conquest. He isn't looking for any kind of commitment from anyone. His life is perfect the way it is.

Except for one aspect. Derek has been in love with his best friend and business partner, Justin Leary, since the first day he set eyes on him over twenty years ago.

When an implication surfaces that Justin's feelings for Derek might run far deeper than friendship, he considers approaching Justin about it. But before he can, one targeted act of violence followed by the aftermath of violation, challenges the depth of Derek's love for Justin.

My rating:

First off, trigger warning - there's is on-page male on male rape in this book. Be aware. The blurb hints, but doesn't spell it out. It's thankfully not drawn out, and done with sensitivity toward the subject matter.

This was my first book by this author. I liked the complexity of the characters in this book, but they exasperated me as well.

Supposedly best friends as well as business partners, Justin has kept a huge secret from Derek, and Derek has a secret of his own. Neither of them has the emotional maturity to discuss things honestly and openly, and their relationship was highly dysfunctional. Even at the end, which is supposedly a HFN/HEA, I didn't believe they will make it. There was a ton of unnecessary drama that could have been avoided if Derek wasn't so emotionally stunted and hadn't make such stupid assumptions, and if Justin hadn't lied for so long. Both of them needed therapy after the trauma (Justin for being violated, and Derek for having seen the violation first hand) to help them cope, but neither got that.

Their inability to read each other's facial expressions and emotions also threw a big wrench into their relationship, so much so that it made no sense considering that they had been best friends since their high school days. They just didn't really seem to know each other at all.

ARC Review: Manny Get Your Guy (The Mannies #2) by Amy Lane

Manny Get Your Guy (The Mannies, #2)Blurb:
Starting over and falling in love.

Tino Robbins’s sister, Nica, and her husband, Jacob, are expecting their fifth child. Fortunately, Nica’s best friend, Taylor Cochran, is back in town, released from PT and in need of a job.

After years in the service and recovering from grave injury, Taylor has grown a lot from the callow troublemaker he’d been in high school. Now he’s hoping for a fresh start with Nica and her family.

Jacob’s cousin Brandon lives above the garage and thinks “Taylor the manny” is a bad idea. Taylor might be great at protecting civilians from a zombie apocalypse, but is he any good with kids?

Turns out, Taylor’s a natural. As he tries to fit in, using common sense and dry wit, Brandon realizes that Taylor doesn’t just love their family—he’s desperate to be part of it. And just like that, Brandon wants Taylor to be part of his future.

Todd's rating:

Wow, *5* kids? Really??? I have to agree with Brandon when he said:
“For God’s sake, Jakey, get off of her!”
This story picked up 10 years after book 1, where Taylor had been hitting on Tino, while he was falling in love with Channing, and being manny to 7 y.o. Sammy.

Tyler had since spent 6 years in the military and, after being partially blown up, grown up a lot. But he still had tons of doubts about his self-worth and floundering as to what would make his life feel complete.

Turns out, being part of his best friend Nica's large family was just what he needed. And Jacob's cousin, Brandon.

After a short-lived initial distrust of Taylor on Brandon's part, possibly too short, Taylor gave in pretty easily to Brandon's none-too-subtle advances and decided to give "the kid" a chance for them to be together.

One thing that I truly enjoyed about this story was the power dynamic between Taylor and Brandon. At 29, Taylor was used to being forceful and in charge, and Brandon was only 22 and still trying to prove himself, on several fronts. But here, each MC stepped up to take the lead, to make sure the other got what they needed, when they needed it, whatever the situation demanded.

Both Brandon and Taylor have come from pretty crappy family situations, which we actually see in Brandon's case, but are only told about with Taylor, which I kind of wanted to be *shown* as well.

I wasn't quite as fully sold on the emotions between Brandon and Taylor as I was in the first book, between Tino and Channing, but I did still really enjoy them as a couple.

Plus, the naughty bits in book 1 were a bit steamier, if I'm remembering correctly. Still pretty decent here, just not quite *as much so*.

The one thing that I did miss a bit in this story was the actual kids. Yes, while there were spots here and there with the kids, the premise was that Taylor was a manny to 5 kids, so I expected a bit more on-page time with them and their hijinks. It was sort of like reading a shifter book, where there was very little shifting. I just wanted a bit *more* inclusion of that main premise.

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