Publisher: InterMix

Guest Review: Going Nowhere Fast by Kati Wilde

Posted April 24, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Going Nowhere Fast by Kati WildeReviewer: Tracy
Going Nowhere Fast by Kati Wilde
Published by InterMix
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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three-half-stars

Two hearts.
Three rules.
Four weeks to break them all.

When Aspen Phillips’ best friend invites her on a month-long road trip, she has serious mixed feelings. Sharing their tight quarters will be Bramwell Gage, overprotective brother and all-around jerk. Bram may be ridiculously sexy, but he’s made no effort to hide how he feels about Aspen—that she’s trash who’s no good for his sister. But Aspen is determined to get along with the uptight millionaire—and to keep her promise, concealing a secret about his sister that Bram can never know.

But after a scorching kiss reveals that Bram’s feelings toward her run much hotter than she believed, Aspen's emotions swerve into a complete 180. Suddenly the girl who has nothing has everything—but only as long as the truth about his sister remains hidden. Because when all the secrets and promises unravel, she risks losing it all...

Aspen is meeting her best friend, Bethany, so that they can go on a post-college graduation trip.  Unfortunately Bethany’s brother, Bram, will be going as well and Aspen and Bram don’t get along.  The first time they met Aspen and Bethany were getting back from a rave they’d gone to and Bethany was drunk.  Since they were freshmen they were underage and Bram didn’t like the fact that Aspen was “ruining” his sister and having a bad influence on her. This continued for four years so the thought of spending a month with Bram is not something Aspen is looking forward to.

When Aspen gets to the meeting place Bram is there but Bethany is nowhere in sight.  Aspen gets a text from Bethany stating that she’s checking herself into a rehab but doesn’t want Aspen to tell her brother where she is, even though they’re close siblings.  One thing leads to another and Aspen ends up on the trip with Bram anyway.  During the time they’re traveling they discover a lot about each other and they end up creating a truce…or two…or 85.  They’re so attracted to each other that they decide to have “hate” sex, but can it really be considered hate sex when at least one of them is in love with the other?

I have to say that I love romance travel stories.  Something about moving from place to place and well, being separated from your norm just does something for me.  I think because it’s all that more exciting when they get home and they discover that it works at home as well as it does on the road.  In this case, that didn’t exactly happen but it still worked out in the end.

Aspen had once been a middle class girl but then her father got cancer and died, her mother lost her nursing job as she couldn’t take care of dying people any longer, the family lost their house because the medical bills were astronomical.  Now they scrape together what they can.  Aspen was thrilled to go on the trip as it was pretty much all expenses paid but she hated that Bram was going.  She knew that he loved his sister but he was so over-protective with Bethany it bothered Aspen.  She knew it stemmed from their parents dying in a car accident when Bram was 19 years old but Aspen felt that Bram needed to be a brother to Bethany, not a father figure.  Because of the father figure mentality, he was quite harsh with Aspen and what he felt where her bad influences on Bethany.  He was constantly telling her this and it started to get on my nerves after a while, I must say.  I knew that he was attracted to Aspen but despite their “truce” he still was harsh with her.

Aspen was a strong woman but a person can only take so much before they break.  In her case it was Bram still being angry toward her supposedly bad influences even after they were having sex and having a good time together. He kept telling her that he shouldn’t want her and shouldn’t be with her and of course she thought it was because she was poor and he was a millionaire and that he was slumming and felt bad about it. My problem came when she actually told Bram all of this and he was shocked at the revelation.  He basically told her that he had never thought badly about her because of being poor and that she was projecting her bullshit on to him.  As this is a first person POV book we had never been privy to Bram’s thoughts, only Aspen’s, and as such was led to believe that Bram was an ass but was he?  The guy that I had just spent 75% of the book kind of disliking isn’t who I thought he was and now I’m supposed to like him?  Gah!  I’m so confused!  When I then looked back at Bram, not through Aspen’s eyes, I realized he’s not a bad guy.  While he could be an ass he wasn’t as mean and judgey as I thought and made me rethink my entire take on the book.  It was exhausting.

Bram ended up being an emotionally scarred hero and by the end of the book I liked him. Yes, he could be overbearing but he did it with good intentions and he had a big heart.  I was quite happy that Bram and Aspen finally worked out their issues and got their HEA – they worked hard for it and deserved it.

Despite my issue (named above) I also liked the writing in the book and the secondary characters.  I’ve only read one set of short stories by Wilde and they were erotic romances.  This was a good full length novel and made me want to read more of her books.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Live Wire by Caisey Quinn

Posted March 22, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Live Wire by Caisey QuinnReviewer: Jen
Live Wire (Nashville's Finest, #1) by Caisey Quinn
Series: Nashville's Finest #1
Published by InterMix
Publication Date: March 7th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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three-half-stars

Caisey Quinn—author of the Neon Dreams romances—delivers the debut novel in an explosive new romantic suspense series...

HE’S NOT AFRAID OF ANYTHING…

Explosive ordinance disposal specialist Chase Fisk never breaks a sweat defusing even the most complicated of explosives. So when a homicidal maniac threatens to set off military-grade IEDs during Nashville’s largest music festival, Chase is the man to take him down. But with the reappearance of a woman he thought was long dead, everything he thought he knew is blown away.

EXCEPT LOSING HER AGAIN.

FBI operative Vivien Montgomery is an enigma to everyone around her. So when a deadly threat lands her in Nashville and paired up with the only man she’s ever loved, she isn’t looking forward to an emotional reunion. She’s only here to get the job done and get out. But when the madman behind the chaos targets her for death, the one man she left behind might be the only person she can count on to save her life...

When the book opens, Chase Fisk is simply going through the motions of his life in the Nashville PD, and that’s the way it’s been since the love of his life, Vivien, died four years ago. Only, it turns out she didn’t actually die. When FBI agent Vivien Montgomery comes to Nashville to help Chase’s department stop a terrorist attack, she obviously can’t avoid Chase finding out she’s very much alive. Despite the hurt feelings and secrets, Chase and Vivien have to work together to put the past behind them and prevent a major terrorist attack.

In case it’s not clear from that summary, Chase and Vivien have a wee bit of baggage. Chase was nearly broken after Vivien’s death, and he has been a haunted man living a shell of a life ever since. Worse, he was inadvertently injured in the staged blast that supposedly took Vivien’s life, and the injuries ended his military career and have left him with a condition that could end his work in explosive ordinance disposal. In short, her fake death severely MESSED HIM UP, physically and emotionally. He is understandably both confused and enraged when she simply shows up in Nashville unannounced. She does have valid reasons, or at least understandable reasons, for never telling Chase she was alive, and I could accept that part of the story. But to be honest, I really wasn’t thrilled with how Vivien handled the whole thing. I realize she didn’t get much advance notice that she was going to Nashville, but to simply show up without a single warning to Chase was frankly a pretty jerky move. Even if she had just arranged to meet with him privately to break the news, instead of doing it in front of all their coworkers, it would have made me a bit more sympathetic. She doesn’t seem to quite understand why he’s really angry, either, at least at first. (She does get it eventually, thank goodness.) I would have liked a little more grovel or at least sensitivity from her.

Despite how she handled her reunion with Chase, I did enjoy this story quite a bit. The terrorism plot is interesting and compelling, and the cast of secondary characters is great. I am especially excited about Luke and Annalise, who I presume will be the couple in the next book. Their chemistry was already electric and we’ve only just met them! I also really liked Chase and Vivien as a couple. For the most part, Chase respected Vivien’s skills and autonomy, even though he was completely (understandably) terrified of losing her again. He isn’t great at sharing his feelings, but he realizes that their relationship can never work without openness, and he makes a concerted effort to get over his manly emotional constipation. Once she finally got over her own hurt feelings, Vivien was a great partner for Chase, too. She was protective and concerned about his feelings, and she went all in. They had steamy chemistry, and I enjoyed reading about them.

The book did feel a bit uneven in parts. Some portions plodded a little, and there wasn’t as much of a sense of urgency as one might expect in the face of a major terrorist attack. The pace of the relationship was also kind of odd, as they moved from a seemingly insurmountable conflict to mostly smooth reuniting relatively quickly. They did it by talking openly and honestly, which was great. It was just a little hard to believe that there would be no real aftereffects of the last four years. Heck, they were both profoundly changed by the experience! While they did take time to get to know each other again, I just had some trouble accepting that they could rebuild trust that quickly. I wanted to see some of the bumps along the way.

Even with the problems, I definitely enjoyed this new story line and new-to-me voice.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Lightning Review: Alphas: Origins by Ilona Andrews

Posted February 9, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lightning Review: Alphas: Origins by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Origins (Alphas, #0.5) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Alphas #0.5
Published by InterMix
Publication Date: April 19th 2016
Pages: 157
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three-stars

From Ilona Andrews—#1 New York Times bestselling author of Magic Shifts and the Kate Daniels novels—comes a stark, seductive tale of a world torn asunder by supernatural gifts and irresistible passions...
Karina Tucker is driving a van of children home from a field trip when an unplanned detour to a seemingly ordinary rest stop changes her life. There, she witnesses a world beyond humanity’s sight, of frightful powers and chaos, where she is in death’s grip... before an irresistibly dangerous male saves her—only to take her captive.
For she is a rare commodity in the shadowy realm she’s entered.
Karina soon finds herself caught in a violent civil war where those with inhuman powers strive to destroy each other without mercy. And it becomes all too clear that she must make a choice: submit and become a pawn, or take hold of her own destiny and fight for survival against impossible odds.
Alphas: Origins originally appeared in Angels of Darkness.

Karina is on her way home from a field trip with a car full of kids when she unwittingly stumbles into a parallel universe. In order to save her daughter and the other kids she’s carpooling, she agrees to stay and be a blood donor for the Alpha Beast. The Alphas are genetically modified men who have superpowers. Some can move things with their minds, other can shapeshift. Karina is soon wrapped up in their struggles for survival and power.

Andrews has such an amazing ability to build worlds. The creativity and imagination in each novel is astounding. Alphas: Origins is no exception. The world is fantastically built. The premise was interesting, but the story suffered for being short. There was a lot crammed into a small page count, which made the story feel rushed while also suffering from info-dumps that bogged it down. If it had been longer, or a prequel to a longer story, it may have worked better.

3 out of 5

three-stars

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Guest Review: Life of the Party by Kris Fletcher

Posted January 12, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Life of the Party by Kris FletcherReviewer: Tracy
Life of the Party by Kris Fletcher
Series: Calypso Falls #1
Published by InterMix
Publication Date: January 17th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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three-half-stars

Jenna Elias was always the life of the party, coasting on her charm and beauty, hiding the shame of the scandal surrounding her absentee father, a corrupt politician. But the party ended all too soon with an injury that left her partially paralyzed and a husband who simply left her. Now, at age thirty, she’s back in Calypso Falls. She leads a simple existence working in her sister’s coffee shop, but Jenna misses the joy she once had in her life. Then Cole Dekker walks into the coffee shop.

As idealistic as he is sexy, the local lawyer is running for mayor of Calypso Falls. Drawn to Jenna’s quick wit and radiance, he asks her to volunteer for his campaign. As the two start working together, there’s no denying the powerful attraction they feel for each other. A desktop makeout session leads to much more. But when Jenna’s dad returns to Calypso Falls and wants to be a part of her life again, the association could spell political suicide for Cole—and the end of a once-in-a-lifetime chance at true love.

Jenna Elias Stirling Carpenter wants to leave her hometown and all the people in it behind.  Well, ok, there are some people, like her family, that she doesn’t want to leave behind but she feels she has no other choice.  She wants to be in the PR business but can’t catch a break with Calypso Falls because of a couple of things.  First was twenty years earlier when her father was mayor and was corrupt.  He faked his own death to avoid going to prison, which he eventually did anyway when the truth came out.  The second was that she was married and a trophy wife to a complete bastard until an accident made her not so perfect any longer and she was dumped.  She wants nothing to do with the Elias (birth name) or Stirling (married name) names any longer and has changed her name to Carpenter.  She plans on finishing her degree and then moving towns where they don’t know her and won’t recognize her previous names.

Her plans are great but she needs to beef up her resume as she doesn’t want to put any of the charity work she did while married on it.  She asks Cole Dekker, the extremely hot mayoral candidate, if she can work on his campaign but in the background.  He agrees because he doesn’t believe that she is like her father and also because he finds her incredibly attractive.  Their attraction can’t be denied so they secretly start an affair with the plan that it will only last until January which is when Jenna will move towns.  Unfortunately life doesn’t work out the way either planned and between the mayoral race, the public’s opinion of Jenna and her father returning from prison they find that despite the fact they love each other they may not get to be together.

Life of the Party was a good book that definitely kept my attention.  There were many parts to it that I liked and the romance was a good one.

Cole Dekker was a great guy.  A good hero with a good heart.  He was a lawyer turned politician but he was honest to the public (well, except for his relationship with Jenna). I really liked him a lot and thought he was the perfect guy for Jenna.

Jenna finally knew what she wanted in life but it had taken her a while to get where she was.  She had been in a car accident which made her not so perfect and her rat bastard husband divorced her.  She was on her way to see a lawyer about a divorce when the accident occurred but still – to be thrown aside like that?  I wanted to reach through the book and whack the ex-husband even though he never actually appeared on page. Lol  She was finally getting a degree but wanted out of Calypso Falls even though she really loved it there.  Her name “Elias” almost made people cringe when they heard it so I kind of understood.

My issues with the book were few but kind of big.  The book is entitled Life of the Party and Jenna was supposedly this huge party girl who drank and changed her major constantly when she was younger.  We never actually saw any of this nor did anyone ever really mention it except for mentions of Vodka.  She didn’t act like a party girl so it was hard to connect who she was now to who she was then.  Also, the accident was skimmed over and that was a huge part of her life.  The whole blurb made me believe that the partying and the accident (supposedly partially paralyzed but that was only mentioned in one sentence of the book) played huge roles in this book and Jenna’s life but that wasn’t the case.  While I liked the story I felt completely misled and that annoyed and frustrated me.

Despite my issues with the book I still enjoyed it and loved reading about Cole and Jenna getting together.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Dirty Money by Jessica Clare

Posted January 9, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Dirty Money by Jessica ClareReviewer: Tracy
Dirty Money by Jessica Clare
Series: Roughneck Billionaires #1
Published by InterMix
Publication Date: January 17th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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four-stars

Southern Texas heats up when four roughneck billionaires set their sights on love in the new series from New York Times bestselling author Jessica Clare.

Boone Price and his brothers know oil; at least, the dirty, backbreaking side of working an oil rig. But when their scrubby, worthless hunting land turns out to be sitting on top of one of the biggest oil wells in North America, they go from the rig to the boardroom and end up billionaires practically overnight.

Now with enough money to do whatever he wants, Boone is developing a taste for fine things. And the finest thing he's ever seen is Ivy Smithfield, local realtor. Boone's determined to buy her affection and show the world that he's more than just a dirty fool with a bit of money. Ivy's classy and beautiful - she'll make the perfect trophy wife. The fact that she's sexy and funny is just a bonus.

There's one tiny problem - Ivy's as dirt poor as Boone is. Her carefully crafted veneer of luxury? All an act to promote her business. What's Boone going to do when he finds out the woman he's falling for is, well, in his league?

Boone Price is a Texas cowboy.  He’s not classy nor does he dress nice despite the fact that he is a multi-billionaire.  He likes working with the guys who work the rigs and likes finding new places to drill for oil.  He gets utterly pissed off when a “friend” that Boone is trying to help out sends his employee with contracts and the guy mistakes Boone for a hand. Boone gets pissed.  He hates the fact that people treat him like dirt just because he’s not dressed in a suit.  He wants respect because he’s worked hard to get where’s he’s at now.  He doesn’t want to be looked at like a roughneck.  His brothers tell him he needs to look the part – starting with a big house.  He’s given a pamphlet for Three Jacks Realty and he loves the look of the classy woman on the front.  He decides he wants her and only her to make him look classy.

Boone heads to the real estate office and starts his assault on/courting of Ivy Smithfield.  He tells her he wants a house but he also wants to have dinner with her.  Ivy has been at Three Jacks for just a year – given a job by one of the Jacks when she first got her real estate license.  She had previously worked at a burger place and an ice cream shop trying to make ends meet for her and her sister.  The problem is that every time Ivy gets a lead on a big sale one of the Jacks comes and takes it from her – as they do with all the employees.  When Ivy realizes that Boone is looking for a big house that would sell for millions she decides to keep the info to herself.  No one else will give him the time of day because he’s covered in dirt from the oil field so it works out well. She just isn’t prepared to fend off his amorous advances.

Boone falls in love with Ivy at first sight.  The more he’s with her the more he wants to be around her.  He loves that she’s with him but she seems to hold back on a regular basis and is constantly ignoring his calls and texts.  Ivy falls in love with Boone as well but she knows that once he finds out that she’s not the classy lady he thinks she is the romance will be over so she tries to stay away from him.

Dirty Money is a really good book to what I hope will be another great series by Jessica Clare.  I loved Boone and his down home attitude as well as the attitudes of his brothers.  I had a bit of a hard time reconciling Boone’s don’t-give-a shit-what-I wear-or-live-in attitude with the fact that he wanted to be respected.  It was a bit of a paradox that I didn’t quite get.  I know that’s what took him to Ivy’s side in the first place so I had to go with it but it just seemed…off. Now when Boone finds out that Ivy isn’t the “classy” woman he thought she was he was pissed at her and that pissed me off. He thought she’d lied but really Boone was more at fault than anything.  He was the one that assumed she was classy just by the way she was dressed and nothing else.  He was in love (at first) with the idea of Ivy – not actually Ivy herself.  He did fall in love with the real her but after the big reveal he had to get past his preconceived notions.  That was hard for him but I thought he handled it well and I was quite happy with the end of the story.

Ivy was a good person and one I admired for all that she was trying to do with her life and for her sister’s life.  She wanted to keep the stress off of her sister so that she could have a normal childhood and young adulthood.  Ivy bore the brunt of the stress of overdue bills, not enough food, not enough money for college tuition, etc.  She wanted so badly to make something of herself as a real estate agent but the three Jacks just treated her like shit.  I wanted to smack those men so hard!  Ugh!  Bastards.  Despite all she’d been through she was a strong woman and I thought she was perfect for Boone and his over-the-top personality.

All I have to say is that if the rest of the Roughneck Billionaires books are like Dirty Money then I know I’m going to love the whole series.  If you haven’t picked this one – and don’t mind your heroes a little dirty – you’ll love this one.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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