Sunday, December 29, 2013


Three Broken Promises (Drew + Fable, #3)Series: Drew + Fable #3
Category/Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: 12/31/13
Format: eARC
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3 stars
Breakout New Adult sensation Monica Murphy returns with a hot new contemporary romance—a heartfelt story of second chances, forgiveness, and redemption.

Commitment. That’s what I really want from Colin. Ever since my brother, Danny, died in Iraq, Colin’s done so much to help me, including giving me a job at his popular restaurant so I can leave my crappy waitressing job at the strip joint. But lying in bed with him every night to comfort him from his horrible nightmares isn’t enough anymore. I know he feels guilty about Danny’s death, about not going to Iraq, but I can’t keep living this double life.

I love him desperately, but he’s got so many demons, and if he can’t open up to me now, then he’ll never be the real partner I need him to be. I gave him a month, and now I’m out of here. If he truly loves me like he says, he knows where to find me.

First Impression .... Colin and Jen! I don't know them very well, but I'm excited. (And I hope Drew and Fable show up!)

The Story...  Colin and Jen are tight, but no one knows the whole story. It seems Jen is in love with Colin, and after a lifetime of friendship, wants more. After her brother's death in Iraq, Jen fell on bad times. Baaaaaad times. Colin came to her rescue, but still holds her at arms length. He made promises to Jen's brother, his best friend. He's failed them all, in his eyes. Jen's ready to leave. Colin doesn't want her to go, but won't ask her to stay.

The Characters ... I went into Three Broken Promises with big expectations. Why? Because I love the Drew + Fable series. Colin and Jen both seemed to have an interesting story to tell. Their story was interesting, but I didn't feel an overwhelming attachment to either of them. Colin was a good guy, and I loved his devotion to caring for Jen. I was a bit confused over his turmoil. Not because I didn't understand his pain over losing a friend, but why he assigned so much blame to himself. Jen was a likeable girl, but wow, reeeaaally frustrating. I was the queen of irresponsible and naive when I was around her age, but Jen made me feel as if I really had my shit together in comparison.

I was really excited to have so much Fable in this story. As usual, that girl is a tiny, adorable badass. I love how she just steps in a lays the truth on the table. And yes, Drew shows up too!

 The Writing ....  Per typical for Monica Murphy's books, I enjoyed the writing. Her style always seems to suit my taste. But, as much as I enjoy the writing, I didn't feel as if I was reading anything new. What I loved about Drew + Fable was that their story, specifically Drew's, was so unique.

Three Broken Promises had a slower, introspective pace, with the story consisting of back-and-forth between Colin and Jen. I get that this was the sort of story they needed to tell, but I did get frustrated by them. The last half definitely picked up steam, and I loved the ending.

 In the End...  Three Broken Promises had big shoes to fill. The first two books in this series were books that completely blew me away and are at the top of my list of recommended New Adult books. I didn't love Three Broken Promises, but I did like it. I'm still very anxious to read Owen's book, Four Years Later.
Favorite Quote:
  A deep, dark secret part of me wishes there were strings. Plenty of strings that tie me to him, bind us together until we're so connected that we'd become one long word. Not just Jen. Not just Colin. JenandColin.   ~eARC, 4%
Drew + Fable Series
 One Week Girlfriend (Drew + Fable, #1)  Second Chance Boyfriend (Drew + Fable, #2)  Three Broken Promises (Drew + Fable, #3) Four Years Later
(covers lead to GoodReads page)
My Reviews
Purchase Three Broken Promises
 About the author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite. A wife and mother of three, she writes New Adult and contemporary romance for Bantam and Avon. She is the author of One Week Girlfriend and Second Chance Boyfriend.

Connect with Monica:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  GoodReads  |  Amazon


Anatomy of a Boyfriend (Anatomy, #1)Series: Anatomy #1
Category/Genre: Young Adult Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 9/23/08
Format: Paperback
Pages: 272
Source: Received from publisher for review
Rating: 4 - 4.5 stars

Before this all happened, the closest I'd ever come to getting physical with a guy was playing the board game Operation. Okay, so maybe that sounds pathetic, but it's not like there were any guys at my high school who I cared to share more than three words with, let alone my body.

Then I met Wes, a track star senior from across town. Maybe it was his soulful blue eyes, or maybe my hormones just started raging. Either way, I was hooked. And after a while, he was too. I couldn't believe how intense my feelings became, or the fact that I was seeing—and touching—parts of the body I'd only read about in my Gray's Anatomy textbook. You could say Wes and I experienced a lot of firsts together that spring. It was scary. It was fun. It was love.

And then came the fall.

I'm going to make this short and sweet: Anatomy of a Boyfriend is one of, if not THE most realistic portrayals of teen sexuality and the emotional aspects of falling in love, that I have ever read.

Anatomy is not a romanticized account of the pleasure and pain of falling in love for the first time. It is an unflinching honest portrayal of the physical and emotional aspects, how they affect and reflect on one another. There are questions, and doubts, joy, and happiness. This story has sex-again, not unrealistically romanticized, and it even has (gasp!) masturbation. It is about remaining true to yourself and maintaining identity.

The story entails Dominique's journey with honesty, humor, and heart. This is a story that I wish had been available to me as a teen. It is a story that I will make available to my own children as teens. It is a story that can open dialogue, or serve as a gesture. It will speak to those it represents. And that is powerful.

Favorite Quotes:

Amy will sometimes accompany us on the boat, but she's too squeamish even to handle live bait. That she won't touch a shrimp with her hands but will take a random boy's dick into her mouth has always seemed bizarre to me.    ~pg. 26
  I feel dizzy and light-headed, like every cell in my body is pushing my arm that final inch. I'm just about to rest my hand on his crotch when a thunderous bang echoes through the car.
  Did he just ejaculate?    ~pg. 105

Anatomy of a Single Girl (Anatomy, #2)Series: Anatomy #2
Category/Genre: Young Adult Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 1/08/13
Format: Paperback
Pages: 227
Source: Received from publisher for review
Rating: 4-4.5 stars

With Judy Blume-like honesty and insight, this sequel to Anatomy of a Boyfriend is about life after first love--romance, sex, friendship, family, and the ups and downs of life as a single girl.

After everything that happened—my first boyfriend, my first time, my first breakup—jumping back into the dating game seemed like the least healthy thing I could do. It’s not that I didn’t want to fall in love again, since that’s about the best feeling ever. But as a busy college premed still raw from heartbreak, which is the worst feeling ever, I figured I’d lie low for a while. Of course, as soon as I stopped looking for someone, an impossibly amazing—and devastatingly cute—guy came along, and I learned that having a new boyfriend is the quickest way to recover from losing your old one.

The moment we got together, all my preconceptions about romance and sex were turned upside down. I discovered physical and emotional firsts I never knew existed. I learned to let go of my past by living in the present. It was thrilling. It was hot. It was just what the doctor ordered.

But I couldn’t avoid my future forever.

In Daria Snadowsky’s daring follow-up to Anatomy of a Boyfriend, eighteen-year-old Dominique explores the relationship between love and lust, and the friendships that see us through.

There's really no way to review Anatomy of a Single Girl without spoiling Anatomy of a Boyfriend. So... here goes.

Dominique has survived her freshman year at Tulane, and is back in Florida for the summer. She's not quite over the pain of her first heartbreak, but determined to move on and experience a fun summer as a single. It doesn't take long for Dom to meet a potential Mr. Right (for now), which brings a new set of questions and complications. This is a summer to have fun, discover, explore.

Once again, Daria Snadowsky has delivered what I consider to be the perfect depiction of a smart, healthy coming-of-age story. Sometime I question my "expertise" on the subject, considering  the fact I met the guy I married at eighteen. But, this series is one I will undoubtedly hold onto and hand it over to my own daughter in the (waaay distant) future. Yes, it is that good.

The most important aspect to the Anatomy Series, one that will make it or break it for most readers, is to realize this is not a love story. Sure, there's romance, and sex, but the heart of the story is Dominique. Her search for love and pleasure, friendship and growing up, and most importantly, her search for self.

Anatomy is a brilliant series. I really hope we haven't seen the last of Dom.

Favorite Quote: 
  "Damn, Dom. Are you crying?"
  "Hmm? No."
  But I brush my fingers across my cheeks, and sure enough, there're tears. My hands are quivering, too. I look back at Guy.
  "I came!" I yelp.
  "No shit, Sherlock. I could feel it." 
  "It was like...time-slowing, space-curving--"
  "Now you're speaking my language."
  " many other people know about this?"     ~pg. 159
Purchase Anatomy of a Boyfriend
Purchase Anatomy of a Single Girl
About the author
Daria Snadowsky is the author of the novels "Anatomy of a Boyfriend" and "Anatomy of a Single Girl." She also contributed the essay "To Sir Anthony, With Love," to the anthology "Crush: 26 Real-life Tales of First Love." 
Website   |  Twitter  |  Facebook


Friday, December 27, 2013


Sexy Saturdays with Andrea and Autumn is a weekly meme created to spread the word about spicy reads. 

Participating blogs:
The Bookish Babe

**If you would like to participate, let us know and we will happily add you on.**

The Valentine's Arrangement (Hard Feelings, #1)Series: Hard Feelings #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Intermix
Publication Date: 12/31/13
Format: eARC
Pages: 194
Source: Publisher
Rating:  4 stars

Tattoo artist Ronnie Clark is counting the days until Valentine’s Day is over. Ronnie doesn’t do romance. She doesn’t do flowers or dates, and she sure as hell doesn’t do love—not anymore.  Love leads to heartbreak, and she’s vowed never to let herself get hurt again.

Sergeant First Class Kale Emerson is home on his midtour leave from Iraq, but he only has one thing on his mind—returning to his soldiers to finish leading their mission. He’s dedicated to his men and to his country, and he’s not interested in getting wrapped up in a distracting relationship…but casual sex, that’s a different story. From the moment he sees Ronnie, he wants her. And he agrees to her terms: no romance, no fluff—just passion.

But as their sexual chemistry ignites, the lines of their arrangement get blurry, and Ronnie starts to push Kale away. And when Kale realizes he’s found his match in this gorgeous razor-tongued woman who is hell-bent against love, winning her heart could be the toughest battle he has ever fought.

First Impression ....I love a good novella. And I wish I had that chick's eyebrows.

The Story... Home on leave, Kale Emerson wants a tattoo to honor his fallen comrades. Well, he gets that tattoo, alright, created by the badass bombshell Ronnie Clark. Kale wants to make a connection with Ronnie while he's home, Ronnie is interested but intent on avoiding commitment. A short-term arrangement-no feelings involved-is what they set out to experience, but will the fire keep burning when their time is up?

The Characters ... The Valentine's Arrangement only had two characters with significant presence. Ronnie was completely rude, abrupt, and a little vicious. I loved that. I can see how a lot of readers might not connect with or enjoy her, but I did, a lot. She was hard core, a true badass who was quick to hand out a verbal beat down if the notion struck. Ronnie had her reasons for the tough exterior, but even if she hadn't, I still would have liked her.

Kale Emerson was perfect. A dedicated soldier who's job means everything to him, Kale has never been in love or had a significant relationship. I liked that the author allowed him to be a decidedly commitment-free guy without making him a jerk. Kale doesn't dick women around or recklessly break hearts. He just is who he is.

The two characters together were sexy and practically combustible. Ronnie is a compulsive ball-buster, but instead of being annoyed or intimidated, Kale gets off on it. Her fiery temperament amuses him. And turns him on. I liked seeing these two go into their situation believing they can control their feelings, but quickly realizing logic will not trump love.

The Writing .... was really good. I appreciate dual point-of-view in my romances, allowing me to know both characters thoughts and motivations, which reduces my book rage moments significantly.

Novellas are so hard to get just right. We need enough detail to form a strong connection, but too much can drag it down. Leverich found the perfect balance in my opinion.

The only nit-picky item for me was the "bad guy" who comes looking for trouble with Kale and Ronnie. Maybe I'm naive, but I just didn't get why he went through so much effort. But, he was arrogant and stupid, so it probably does make sense. Stupid dudes...I'll never understand them.

The Heat ... The Valentine's Arrangement was sexy, but not consumed in the only in physical act. That's not to say that Ronnie and Kale didn't get down. They did, and they did it well. But the chemistry and anticipation between them was just as hot. The foreplay, the intense build-up, was so hot and totally worth the wait.

Could I Put The Valentine's Arrangement Down? ... Throughout the first half, yeah, I could. I was really enjoying it, but not overwhelmed. The second half, specifically the last twenty-five percent, really grabbed me hard. With Kale pushing Ronnie for me as he was heading back to Iraq, and what happens next, I was definitely consumed. I basically sat in the middle of Red Lobster and ignored my family so I could finish. Any story that can make me miss out on Garlic-Cheddar Biscuits is worth a read.

In the End ... The Valentine's Arrangement was a very good novella. I would recommend it to fans of very well-developed novellas, such as Laura Kaye's Hearts in Darkness.

Favorite Quotes:

  She turned around, her impassive expression turning irritated. "All right, soldier, you just gonna stand there and waste my time or do you want to get some ink?"
  Kale put his head down and smirked as he started after her. He couldn't help liking her bad attitude. It was refreshing. She was feisty and quite possibly going to be a huge pain in the ass, but it turned him on. Oh, yes, this was going to be fun.   ~eARC, 6%

  She froze, letting every nerve ending fire to life as Kale's fingers traced over the lines of her tattoo. The softness of his touch was so light, so careful, it was if she was feeling the light pressure of a needle pressing ink into her skin. It was like he was tattooing her body all over again with the tip of his finger, and the feeling was addictive. She wanted more, and she wanted it everywhere.   ~eARC, 53%
The Hard Feelings Series
The Valentine's Arrangement (Hard Feelings, #1)  Feel the Rush (Hard Feelings, #2)  Pretending She's His (Hard Feelings, #2.5)  A Beautiful Distraction (Hard Feelings, #3)

About the author
Kelsie LeverichKelsie Leverich grew up in the small town of St. Joseph Illinois before getting married and following her husband from one Army post to another. After eight years, they finally settled down in Avon, Indiana with two adorable knuckleheads that are better known as her kids. Kelsie's life revolves around her family (to include two dogs and a cat) and most of the time, actually all of the time, it’s a crazy mess—but that’s the way she loves it! When Kelsie’s not writing, you can usually find her snuggling on the couch with her kids and a good book or out on the lake with family and friends. Kelsie is not a morning person, has a soft spot for animals, loves musicals, hates seafood, and thinks laundry is the source of all evil.

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest GoodReads


Monday, December 23, 2013


Every year at Christmas to New Years, I take time off from blogging. And every year, I send out the year celebrating one of my very favorite movies ever (I'm actually watching it at this moment) and my very favorite Christmas movie, Love Actually.

Sigh...To me, Andrew Lincoln is perfect. I much prefer him looking all clean, happy (albeit heartbroken), and not running from zombies. My friend's daughter actually met Lincoln recently. I'm jealous.

Breaks my heart.

Billy. I love that old perv.

I loved these two. Striking up a friendship/romance while standing-in (naked) on a movie set? Priceless.

Don't answer the phone, Lauren Linney!

Don't be an idiot, Snape. Professor Trelawney deserves better than that.
"I am Colin Frissel, god of sex."
I had the biggest crush on Colin Firth.

Awww...Prime Minister Hugh Grant and "His" Natalie

Now, the music...

Happy Holidays!


Sunday, December 22, 2013


For You (The 'Burg, #1)Series: The 'Burg #1
Genre: Contemporary/Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Kristen Ashley
Publication Date: 3/14/11
Format: ebook
Pages: 493
Source: Purchase
Rating:  5 stars
Lieutenant Alexander Colton and February Owens were high school sweethearts. Everyone in their small town knew from the moment they met they were meant for each other. But something happened and Feb broke Colt’s heart then she turned wild and tragedy struck. Colt meted out revenge against the man who brought Feb low but even though Colt risked it all for her, Feb turned her back on him and left town.

Fifteen years later, Feb comes back to help run the family bar. But there’s so much water under the bridge separating her and Colt everyone knows they’ll never get back together.

Until someone starts hacking up people in Feb’s life. Colt is still Colt and Feb is still Feb so the town watches as Colt goes all out to find the murderer while trying to keep Feb safe.

As the bodies pile up, The Feds move in and a twisting, turning story unravels exposing a very sick man who has claimed numerous victims along the way, Feb and Colt battle their enduring attraction and the beautiful but lost history that weaves them together.

For You was such a good story. Though Kristen Ashley's style is as recognizable as always, the tone and suspense was different, darker and very suspenseful.

For You has a tragic story, about the lost love between Colt and Feb and the painful years that follow. I say lost love, but that's not the case; it is always clear that Colt and Feb have never stopped loving one another. Painful circumstances and manipulations drove them apart over twenty years before, and the years that followed were so painful to read about. My heart ached for Colt and Feb. The moment that broke the two up is not made instantly clear, Feb can't talk about it, and Colt isn't even sure what happened. What made the story so hard to put down was finding out exactly what did happened between them. The reveal was pretty shocking, and very sad. Theirs was a bittersweet story, thankfully heavier on the sweet side in the end.

For You not only had a beautiful love story, but also a suspenseful side as well. Feb's long-time admirer finally went off the rails, and on a murder spree. This aspect to the story was chilling, terrifying, and a real mind f*ck. Ashley did a great job of building and maintaining suspense until the very end.

For You, true to form for Ashley, was an excellent story, full of rich characters and tons of heart. I know I won't forget Colt and Feb anytime soon.

Favorite Quotes:

  They didn't understand, it not being directed at them, what that smile could do. The power of it. It was like every time he smiled he'd opened a chest of treasure and said, "All this is yours."  

  "Okay, is it me, or is anyone else having a problem with deciding whether to have a heart attack or an orgasm?" Meems asked.
  "Orgasm," Jessie said instantly.
  "Yep, same here," Dee put in.
  "Fuck," Al muttered."

  He kissed me, his mouth opening over mine, mine doing the same under his, his tongue spiking inside, his fingers gliding into my hair, fisting. I felt pain in my scalp but it didn't register as I pressed into him, flattening my hands on his chest, caging them between us, caught up in a wordless promise that was the most beautiful gift I'd ever experienced, the most wondrous gift I'd ever been given in my life.

  He'd been right the day before. Twenty-two years of her laughter, her smile, her body, her jewelry on his kitchen counter, he might have gotten used to it and moments like this would have been lost on him. Now he knew that he'd never miss these moments and he'd always feel that beautiful pain because he'd always understand how precious they were.

At Peace (The 'Burg, #2)Series: The 'Burg #2
Genre: Contemporary/Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Kristen Ashley
Publication Date: 4/2/11
Format: ebook
Pages: 568
Source: Purchase
Rating: 5 stars

Violet Winters once had it all but lost it when her husband was murdered by a criminal madman. During a cold winter night Violet has to leave her warm bed to tell her neighbor to turn the music down. And that’s when she meets sinister, scarred, scarily attractive security specialist, Joe Callahan.

She wants to deny it, but Violet can’t beat back the hunger she feels for Joe so she gives in again and again. Feeling it himself, Joe feeds Vi’s hunger, breaking his own rules to keep her in his bed.

Even though Violet had only one man in her life, she’s sure Joe is giving her the signals and Vi decides she’s ready to take a second chance at life and, maybe, love. But Violet doesn’t know the dark secrets in Joe’s past, secrets so soul-wrenching, they’ve drained him dry. With nothing left to give, Joe’s determined to live his life alone and he breaks Violet’s heart.

Crushed by Joe’s betrayal, Violet comes to terms with the fact that, no matter what signals he gave, Joe was not theirs to win. But Violet’s husband’s murderer is obsessed with her and heartbreak again haunts the door of the Winters home. When it does Joe is forced to face the knowledge that he can’t fight Violet’s pull, she’s under his skin and filled him full to bursting.

Joe needs to win her back and put his life on the line to keep Violet safe. But, having had it all once, can Violet endure losing Joe?


After reading For You and gaining a sense for the type of series The 'Burg would be, I went into At Peace unprepared.

Kristen Ashley took two very compelling characters -- Joe Callahan, a badass security expert who burns through the women in the 'burg like cheap paper, a nice enough man, but completely closed off emotionally; and Violet Winters -- a  widowed mother of two teens, trying to rebuild their life in a new town, she's damaged by her husband's tragic murder, but not broken, and created a story that went beyond any of my expectations. I've stated many times that Ashley is the Queen of Characterization, but even for Ashley, the depth that she gave Joe, Vi, her girls, their families, was truly remarkable. And FYI, Joe Callahan is one of KA's ultimate Alpha Men. Vi is one of her very best heroines.

Attempting to justify just how much I loved At Peace is a joke. I cannot do it anywhere near its due. At Peace made me laugh, a lot. It was also extremely sexy. It almost broke me, leading me into several of my most heart-wrenching, book-induced episodes of The Ugly Cry ever. At one point the noise I made and the way my body shook scared my husband, leading him to both hug me and offer me a beer.

At Peace was ridiculously heartbreaking, sexy, intense, and I loved every single delicious moment. It is a Kristen Ashley masterpiece.

Favorite Quotes:

  "You don't know, Cal, you have no idea. You've shut yourself up for so long in this fucking house with your tragic memories, you have no idea what's about to walk out your door. Kate, Keira and me, we could have plugged that hole. We could have filled you so full,you'd be bursting. We would have loved that chance. We'd have given it everything we had."

  He was wrong. I remembered. I remembered every second with him, even the ones we weren't having sex, and I missed them. God, so much, I had to bury it, covering it with everything I had so it wouldn't break me. But it all came back, the longing, the hurt, the hungry, everything we were, everything I wanted us to be and it was everything there was.

  "I'm gonna piss you off, honey, probably enough for you to want to leave. I've got a temper and so do you, we're gonna clash. It won't feel good, it'll feel not worth it sometimes but, you leave me, I'll wait for you to come back. And you'll come back because, something we've both learned, this, what we have is worth getting over it. Whatever it is that ticks us off of holds us back, we know it's worth fighting for."

  "Worth the wait," Joe muttered and my head tipped back.
  "Every bit of it. Every day, every week, every year, every fuckin' second, buddy," he kept muttering, his eyes intense, his face serious and my breath caught, "this. All of it. Worth the wait."

Golden Trail (The 'Burg, #3)Series: The 'Burg #3
Genre: Contemporary/Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Kristen Ashley
Publication Date: 7/5/11
Format: ebook
Pages: 611
Source: Purchase
Rating: 5 stars

Tanner Layne and Raquel Merrick fell in love young, hard and fast and both of them knew a beautiful life they thought would be forever.

Until Rocky left Layne, no explanation, no going back.

Layne escapes The ‘Burg only to come back years later because his ex-wife has hooked herself to the town jerk and Layne needs to make sure his sons get raised right. Layne manages to avoid Rocky but when Layne gets three bullets drilled into him while investigating a dirty cop, he can’t do that because Rocky stops avoiding Layne. They make a deal to work together to expose the dirty cop but they have no idea the strength of their enduring attraction or the sheer evil at work in The ‘Burg.

As Tanner Layne and Raquel Merrick play their game and dance around the pull that draws them together, Layne has to discover the dark secrets buried so deep in Rocky’s heart she doesn’t even know they’re there at the same time untangle a sinister web of crime so abhorrent it has to be stopped... at all costs.

And to do it, Layne has to enlist everyone, including his ex-CIA mentor, Rocky’s detective brother, the town’s unpredictable informant and Layne’s two teenage sons all the while stopping Rocky from doing something crazy and keeping their game secret so Layne won't get himself dead


Gawd, I don't even know what to say about The 'Burg series at this point. This series has taken all of my expectations of Kristen Ashley's books and exceeded them.

The 'Burg series is all about second chance love. Layne and Rocky's story was tragic, and I felt every single moment of pain between the two. This one was much like Colt and Feb's book, For You, in that, not only do we get a second chance story, but a story twenty plus years in the making. Layne tried to move on, married, had kids, and divorced, then moved back home to the 'Burg. Rocky faked at moving on, but never got over Tanner Layne, though she was the one that left. The mystery is...why did Rocky leave Layne? It's the cloud hanging over the pair, and the question isn't answered until nearly the end. Grab the tissues, cos that one hurt.

What makes this so heart-wrenching is the depth of emotion Ashley puts into these characters. To see two such worthy and freaking fantastic characters find their way back, was a beautiful experience. But not only is it Layne and Rocky's story, but also his kids. Jasper and Tripp Layne were important to Golden Trail, and I will also say that without them, and the relationship between the two boys, their dad, and Rocky, the story would have been lacking. It's so weird, well, not really weird, but as well as Kristen Ashley writes hot Alpha Men and kickass Ladies, she also writes the hell out of teens. This series is the better for it. The fact that Layne's kids are tied to Cal and Vi's kids (from At Peace), it does great things to my heart.

If you are a Kristen Ashley fan and you haven't read The 'Burg, do yourself a favor and pick this series up.

Favorite Quotes:

  He remembered everything. And she should know that.
  His fingers curled around her neck and he put his forehead to hers before sharing, "I remember, Rocky. I remember everything. I remember every...fucking....thing."

   He looked to his boy. "Yeah?"
  Jasper stared at him, expression hidden except a muscle ticking in his cheek. Finally, he spoke and the words seemed forced out of him. "I'm glad you're proud of me."
  Layne jerked his chin up and started to turn the handle on the door when Jasper finished.
  "'Cause I'm proud of you too."
  A new burn ignited, just in his chest, so hot, he was finding it hard to breathe.

  "Don’t let me leave you,” she whispered so quietly he almost didn’t hear her.
  But he heard her, he not only heard her, he understood what she was saying and his chest seized, his gut twisted but his arms got even tighter.
  “I won’t,” he whispered back, his voice was quiet too and thick.
  "No matter what.” She was still talking low.
   "No matter what,” he replied.
   "I promise, baby.”"

  "Christ,Rocky, I’m in love with you!” he shouted, leaning forward and putting his hands on the bar. "I’ve kissed more than two women and I’ve fucked more too, but I’ve only ever loved you. You cut me up, baby, when you left me. You cut me up bad.” She winced but he kept talking. “So, what’s it say to you I’d take this risk? What’s it tell you? You nearly destroyed me, Rocky, I loved you that much" "...I existed for eighteen years. Now I’m livin’ again. And I like it. I like it so much, it’s worth the risk. You are worth the risk. Yeah, you had to play me because I needed that statement from you, but, baby, I didn’t make you work too hard and you fuckin’ know it. You did that to me and you’re back in my life. Think about that, Roc, give that a second. What’s that say about how I feel about you?"

Games of the Heart (The 'Burg, #4)Series: The 'Burg #4
Genre: Contemporary/Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Kristen Ashley
Publication Date: 3/16/12
Format: ebook
Pages: 268
Source: Purchase
Rating: 5 stars

From the balcony of his house, Mike Haines can see the quiet, commonplace beauty of the Holliday farm. But what he remembers is the little sister of his high school girlfriend, Dusty who grew up there. As a teen, Dusty had gone off the rails but when she was a kid, she was sweet, she was funny and she had a special bond with Mike. But after high school, she took off and Mike never saw her again.

Then tragedy strikes Dusty's family, she comes back into town and Mike thinks she hasn't changed back to the sweet, funny girl he knew but instead continued to be selfish and thoughtless, leaving her family alone to deal with their mourning. So he seeks her out and confronts her in an effort to understand what went wrong and to force her to sort herself out.

He finds out quickly he's wrong about Dusty Holliday. Very wrong. And right after Mike discovers that, the bond they had years before snaps back into place in ways he would never suspect.

But Mike Haines had a bad marriage then he played games of the heart for a good woman. And lost. In order to protect himself and his kids, he's cautious, he's careful to read the signs and he's not interested in finding a woman he has to fix.

Then he learns what happened to Dusty and he thinks she needs to be fixed. He swings, he misses and in this new game of hearts, for Dusty, Mike just got strike three.


Oh Mike Haines, how my feelings have changed for you since At Peace. In that book, all I could see was Cal and Vi, and I did not care if Mike got hurt in their tug of war. I just wanted him out of the way. Happy, sure. But as long as he didn't stand between my beloved Cal and his true love, I was good.

Games of the Heart is Mike's story. And it was so damn good. This series is all about second chances, and GotH is no exception. Mike and Dusty's path is a long and twisty one. Mike dated Dusty's (bitchy) sister in high school, and as a kid she fell in love with the gorgeous, kind boy who always made time to make her feel special. Dusty slipped away, from her family, from Mike, from the 'Burg, but Mike never forgot the beautiful young woman with the voice of an angel. Once they reconnect, Mike seriously messes up with Dusty. Twice. He was so clueless, but when you take into account his history with women and love, it makes a lot of sense.

Fortunately, this story gets down to the business of the two making a solid connection, building a future amongst his ex, his kids, her (bitchy) sister who's out to destroy the family farm, her nephews, her ex, and shady developers. Mike and Dusty obviously have a lot going on, but as always, the beauty in a Kristen Ashley story is experiencing the beautiful love story. As an added bonus, we also get a beautiful young love story as well, between Mike's daughter Clarisse and Dusty's nephew, Fin. And honestly, that sweet and thoughtful story of young love is what took Games of the Heart to a remarkable new level. And the epilogue? Kristen Ashley is known and loved for her brilliant epilogues. This one is beyond a doubt one of my very favorites. I sobbed happy tears throughout. Perfection.

Games of the Heart is another beautiful addition to The 'Burg series. I would be hard-pressed to say that this isn't my favorite of all of Ashley's series. Sadly, I am current on the series and will truly miss it. Thankfully, I have another book to look forward to in the near(-ish) future.

Favorite Quotes:

  Right, I should probably not pray go God to give me great sex but, seriously, He created Mike and gave him his abilities, He had to know a woman would want more.

 "Girl next door,” Cal muttered through his grin and, getting it not to mention annoyed as fuck by it, Mike sat back in his chair. "What’d I say?” he went on to ask.
  "Are we seriously doing this?” Mike asked back.
 "What’d I say?” Cal repeated. Fuck, they were doing this. "Mine moved in right next door, man. Sounds of it, yours did too,” Cal stated.
  "Fuck me, The Lone Wolf is gossiping."

  His kiss was a once in a lifetime kiss. It was the kind of thorough, heart-melting, stomach-plummeting, mind-numbing, soul-enriching kiss that altered lives. And I swear to God, it altered two, right there, in Mike's kitchen. His and mine.

  And it hit him then, something he'd known for twenty-five years about Dusty but something he only understood right at that moment about the three people most important in his life. Dusty's voice, her pottery, her drawings, her writing. His son's drums, guitar, keyboards. His daughter's writing. He was surrounded by people who were extraordinarily gifted. Everything they did was beyond the pale. His life was touched all around by genius.  
And Mike knew what he was seeing and how it made him feel was burning itself on his brain forever. Because in that moment, watching and listening, he was profoundly moved that God had seen fit to gift him, an ordinary man, an Indiana boy through and through, with these people in his life.

The 'Burg Series

For You (The 'Burg, #1)   At Peace (The 'Burg, #2)  Golden Trail (The 'Burg, #3)  Games of the Heart (The 'Burg, #4)

Frankie and Benny (The 'Burg #5)
Purchase The 'Burg Series

About the author

Kristen AshleyKristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn't taken her first breath!). 

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

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Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: 7/31/13
Format: ebook
Pages: 227
Source: Received from author for review
Rating: 3 stars

What happens when a middle-aged woman leaves a long, unfulfilling marriage and discovers she has the sex drive of a teenage boy?

Freelance writer Susie Hamilton joins an internet dating agency, attracts a long list of admirers and begins an exhausting dating schedule – all under the guise of professional research.

When she writes a novel based on her experiences and it becomes a best seller, her dream of being a successful author is realized. But after dozens of dates and some disastrous encounters, she's still relying on Fred, her vibrator, for sexual fulfilment.

Is perfect sex an oxymoron? Will Susie meet her Mr Perfect Sex or will she have to make do with Mr-As-Good-As-It-Gets?

First Impression .... I'm not a fan of the cover, but the story sounds fun.

The Story... Susie wants a man. And write a book. In an effort to kill two birds with one stone, Susie sets up a profile on an internet dating site, and sets out to write a book about her experiences. Along the way, she must contend with the man who come and go in her life, two trying teens, and a cast of friends with big problems of their own.

The Characters ... Susie was an interesting character. As a divorcee who wants to find struggles to make her way back into the dating world, she wants companionship, love, and yeah, sex. I think a lot of women in similar circumstances would find a soul sister in Susie. Her friends Annie, Jules, and Myf each came with their own set of problems, and were all interesting characters in their own right.

The Writing .... Was fast-paced and very humorous. The humor in Perfect Sex is what I enjoyed the most. I loved how self-deprecating Susie could be, and how she just rolled with whatever came her way. I found the parallel between what authors struggle with and through in the real world, and Susie's journey to be particularly interesting. The trials of writing a book, getting word of mouth to help promote, hitting it big and all that came with it, seemed to be authentic. And I'm sure that the huge success of Susie's book is what all authors dream of.

I enjoyed Perfect Sex. I liked that the story focused on Susie's journey more than the romance. I would have liked the ending to have a bit more resolution, but it certainly seemed that Susie was headed in the right direction.

In the End... Perfect Sex was a nice story. I was surprised that the story featured very little sex, mostly of the implied variety. That was fine. What appealed to me most was the author's voice, full of charm and humor.

Favorite Quote:
  "I can't remember the last time Richard and I did it during the day," Annie says. "We're flat out finding the energy to do it at all."
  "Try phoning him at work and telling him to come home at lunchtime, and then meet him at the door in a see-through negligee," I say. "I wrote that once in an article on 'Fifty Ways to Spice Up Your Marriage'."
  "Did it work for you?" Myf asks.
  "I just wrote it; I didn't actually do it myself."   ~eARC, 4% 
  If only Cara knew that not only did I date her maths teacher but he propositioned me as well! I flirted briefly with the idea of sleeping with him in exchange for passing Cara in maths, but after noticing his rough and calloused hands, decided it was too big a sacrifice for a mother to make for her daughter.   ~ebook, 38%

Purchase Perfect Sex on Amazon

About the author
I live on the picturesque Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. I love the casual lifestyle and chilling out at the beach inspires me and kick starts my creative juices.

I’ve been a freelance writer for the print media for many years and am now concentrating on writing novels, which gives me the greatest satisfaction and challenges.

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Saturday, December 21, 2013


THE WEEKLY REWIND is a weekly post in which I recap the bookish awesomeness from the past week, and post a book haul.  

Book Haul
For Review:
Castle Hill (On Dublin Street, #2.5)Drew + Fable Forever (Drew + Fable, #3.5)Nocover-blank-133x176
Law Man (Dream Man, #3)Beautiful Stranger (Beautiful Bastard, #2)The Winning SeasonAddicted to You (Addicted, #1)
Amazon Freebies:
A Touch of Midnight (Midnight Breed, #0.5)She's Gotta Be Mine (Cottonmouth #1)

BreatheBeyond Shame (Beyond, #1)
  • Breathe by Lauren Jameson - the fabulous Lauren sent me a signed copy!
  • Beyond Shame (Beyond #1) by Kit Rocha - I won this from a giveaway from Moira Rogers. I've heard great things about this series!
For Review Consideration:
Love Water MemoryThe Spider (Elemental Assassin, #10)Clipped Wings (Clipped Wings, #1)
Thanks to:
This Week's Reviews

Next Week's Reviews:
  • Perfect Sex by Robin Storey
  • The Burg Series #1-4 by Kristen Ashley
  • The Valentine's Arrangement by Kelsie Leverich
 US Only. Must be 18+ years of age to enter.
A Hellion in Her Bed (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #2)The Spider (Elemental Assassin, #10)
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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