Tag: Lexi Blake

Review: Smoke and Sin by Shayla Black and Lexi Blake

Posted December 4, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Smoke and Sin by Shayla Black and Lexi BlakeReviewer: Casee
Smoke and Sin (The Perfect Gentlemen, #4) by Shayla Black, Lexi Blake
Series: The Perfect Gentlemen #4
Also in this series: Scandal Never Sleeps (The Perfect Gentlemen, #1), Seduction in Session (The Perfect Gentlemen, #2), Big Easy Temptation (The Perfect Gentlemen, #3)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 26, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 460
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

More than a decade ago, Roman Calder had a scorching affair with the sister of one of his best friends. Augustine Spencer drove him so crazy he thought of nothing but her. The only thing they did more often than heat the sheets was fight. Unprepared for the intensity of their relationship, Roman broke things off and concentrated on things that made sense to him: his career and putting his best friend, Zack Hayes, in the White House.

Gus Spencer is known to Washington insiders as the president’s secret weapon. Gorgeous and brilliant, Gus runs the press pool with the determination of a shark. No one dares to cross her, not when she’s known for having a spine of steel…but long ago one man melted her down. Despite the fact that she’ll never forgive Roman for breaking her heart, now that they work together she can’t get him off her mind.

When a dangerous investigation leads both Roman and Gus to London, the heat between them becomes unbearable. As they begin to unravel an international conspiracy, they find themselves falling all over again. But when a killer threatens their world, can they fight to stay together or will the sins of their past keep them forever apart?

This book picks up immediately where Big Easy Temptation left off (except for the Prologue). What do we know about Roman Calder and Augustine Spencer? We know that Roman is Zack Hayes Chief of Staff and best friend. He’s known in the media as the Hitman. He’s scary. When he wants things done, they get done. Gus is Dax’s sister. She likes sleeping with men and she doesn’t care if people thinks she’s a whore. She’s refreshing. I really like her. Or I did like her until I read this book.

Roman and Gus have a history and it’s not a good one. You’ll get an idea right away of what they have to overcome. It’s not just not pretty. It’s ugly. There was a day thirteen years ago that Roman should have been at Gus’ side. He wasn’t. Instead it was Maddox Crawford that was there. He was also there every year since. Mad was one of Gus’ best friends. She knows that Mad was murdered. She will do anything she has to do to prove it, even if it means point the finger at her boss. Did I mention she runs the press pool at the White House? So Zack is her boss.

The reason Roman broke it off with Gus all those years ago was because he didn’t want a relationship like his parents had while he was growing up. All his parents did was fight (spectacularly) and then make up. He saw the pattern repeating itself with Gus and wasn’t going to let that happen. He was determined to be different. To fall in love and marry someone, well, boring. He did fall in love with someone else. Zack’s wife. She may have just been his wife for political reasons, but she was still his best friend’s wife. When she was murdered two days before the election, Roman was devastated. Still, no one was more devastated than Zack.

Having Gus be so close to him, but not be with him is hell for Roman. Their situation changes when they’re in England. He knows Gus and he can tell she’s up to something. She knows a few bits and pieces of what is going on with Zack, but she doesn’t know the whole picture. And he’s not going to let her find out. He doesn’t want her in danger. He’ll do whatever he has to do to protect her. Even from herself.

Roman is the same man he’s always been. He’s someone that underestimates her. She doesn’t need him to accomplish her goals. Except then she does because he makes a public claim on her and unless she’s going to call him a liar in public, she has to go along with his plan. Though they’re now partners, they’re still not partners because Roman won’t tell her the entire truth. Which is no less than Gus expected. Even if she is disappointed she’s not surprised.

I didn’t like Roman at all. He just didn’t respect Gus. Not as a woman, not as a partner. Oh, he made all the right noises, but he didn’t. It was annoying as all hell. I didn’t like Gus either. She didn’t trust Roman at all. The fact that she had no reason to was beside the point. The only relationship I did like in this entire book was between Liz and Gus. Liz is Zack’s Press Secretary and the woman he’s secretly loved for years. Except now Zack has pushed her away because he knows the Russians are after him.

So this book was just meh. The best part happened at the end when Zack thinks he has a handle on who Liz is. Ha. Laughable, really.

At the Pleasure of the President (Zack’s book, obviously) was supposed to be out this fall. I emailed Lexi and a couple things came up. She said that she and Shayla hope to have it out next spring. Yay!

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

The Perfect Gentlemen

three-half-stars


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Review: Big Easy Temptation by Shayla Black and Lexi Blake

Posted November 30, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Big Easy Temptation by Shayla Black and Lexi BlakeReviewer: Casee
Big Easy Temptation (The Perfect Gentlemen, #3) by Shayla Black, Lexi Blake
Series: The Perfect Gentlemen #3
Also in this series: Scandal Never Sleeps (The Perfect Gentlemen, #1), Seduction in Session (The Perfect Gentlemen, #2), Smoke and Sin (The Perfect Gentlemen, #4)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 371
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

The New York Times bestselling authors of the Masters of Ménage series present the third scintillating novel featuring the privileged, wealthy, wild men of Creighton Academy—the Perfect Gentlemen.

Years ago, Naval officer Dax Spencer and NCIS agent Holland Kirk indulged in a steamy affair—until she betrayed him in the wake of his father’s death. Dax tried to put her behind him with a payback of his own. But he never forgot Holland…

Now, as Dax and his fellow Perfect Gentlemen unravel a web of lies, he discovers his family’s tragedy is part of a much larger conspiracy. Soon, all clues point him back to New Orleans…where Holland waits, protecting her deadly secret and holding a torch for the only man she’s ever loved.

Once reunited, they can’t fight the passion flaring hot and wild. But something sinister lurks around every corner, from the elegance of the Garden district to the beauty of the bayou. Dax and Holland may find their way back to each other—if they survive...

While I wouldn’t say the series started going downhill exactly, it was this book that the series started backsliding for me. I loved the first book and fucking loved the second book. Don’t series books get better with each successive book (see Hidden Legacy)? Unfortunately that wasn’t the case here. This book wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t up there with the first two.

When this book begins, all we know is that Dax and this Holland person have had a nasty falling out. Which is putting it mildly. What I mean by that is that you know it’s putting it mildly even before you find out what happened. It’s just apparent that Dax hates this woman. It could have been this:

Until he’d seen that translation, he’d never intended to set eyes on her again. She’d betrayed him in the cruelest fashion possible by closing her investigation after giving it as much thought as someone opening an umbrella on a rainy day. In the blink of an eye, she’d made a judgment call that gave the press free license to vilify his father. Hell, she’d even had him believing his father was guilty at one point. She’d torn down his family to further her career. Oh, he’d paid her back. Now nothing lay between them but anger and regret.

Yeah, it was that.

Im not a fan of books that go from past to present in general. When I’m in the middle of a series where there has been a lot of action and I want to know more about the present, like, now, I have even less patience for the jump back in time. I understand that Dax and Holland’s past had to be told. It was just such an adjustment in reading pace compared to the first two books. It was hard. Very hard. So hard that I started skimming the past until I got to the good part and understood exactly what happened.

Holland sacrificed everything to keep Dax safe. They were in love. Seriously in love. Like get married, have babies, etc. in love. After years and years of knowing each other, Holland finally took a chance on Dax. He was everything she hoped he would be and more. The problem that lay between them now is the suicide (or was it?) of his father. Holland isn’t certain it was suicide any longer and she is determined to help Dax find out the truth. That’s until the Russians come to her with a threat. Drop the investigation or Dax dies. If she doubted it, she stops when he comes home that night and tells her some crazy driver almost hit him. If that didn’t do it, the text would have.

To help Holland stop the investigation, the Russians put money into her account to make it look like she was on the take. Dax is too hurt to wonder why Holland–Holland–would do something like that to him. He has no idea how he could have been so wrong about her. He quickly beats feet and leaves New Orleans. He takes Holland’s best friend with him and elopes with her in Vegas, though. Whoops. Guys are dumb. For real.

Now we’re back to the present (If you’ve stayed with me this long, grab yourself a drink–you deserve it). Dax may be blind, but he’s not stupid. He’s finally realized what happened all those years ago and he’s seriously shaken. He abandoned the woman he loved. Still loves. He left her in danger. He married her best friend. He took everyone from her. She was good friends with his mother, friends with his sister. All gone. Dax knows he has a lot to make up for, but he’s determined to do it. He’s going to get her back. He’s going to make sure they have what they should have had years ago.

There’s still that thing with the Russians though. That and someone is taking shots at both Holland and Dax. Not to mention something is going on with Holland’s uncle, who is the captain of the New Orleans Police Dept. They have serious problems. But they still have each other. Right?

Winding down…I really enjoyed the last 35-40% of this book. The whole book was very well written, but the whole thing was about pace. It was really hard to switch gears. I don’t think I really did, even by the end. Even with that, I liked Dax and Holland a lot.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Perfect Gentlemen

four-stars


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Review: Seduction in Session by Shayla Black and Lexi Blake

Posted November 29, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Seduction in Session by Shayla Black and Lexi BlakeReviewer: Casee
Seduction in Session (The Perfect Gentlemen, #2) by Shayla Black, Lexi Blake
Series: The Perfect Gentlemen #2
Also in this series: Scandal Never Sleeps (The Perfect Gentlemen, #1), Big Easy Temptation (The Perfect Gentlemen, #3), Smoke and Sin (The Perfect Gentlemen, #4)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 379
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-half-stars

The second Perfect Gentlemen novel from the New York Times bestselling authors of the Masters of Ménage series.

Privileged, wealthy, and wild: they are the Perfect Gentlemen of Creighton Academy. But the threat of a scandal has one of them employing his most deceptive—and seductive—talents…

Recruited into the CIA at a young age, Connor Sparks knows how dirty the world can be. Only when he’s with his friends can he find some peace. So when an anonymous journalist threatens one of the Perfect Gentlemen, Connor vows to take down the person behind the computer, by whatever means necessary—even if it means posing as his target’s bodyguard.

Publishing a tabloid revealing Washington’s most subversive scandals has earned Lara Anderson the ire of the political scene—and a slew of death threats. To keep herself from ending up a headline, Lara hires a bodyguard, a man as handsome as he is lethal.

When the bullets start to fly, Lara is surprised to find herself in Connor’s arms. But as they begin to unravel a mystery that just might bring down the White House, Lara is devastated when she discovers Connor’s true identity—and finds herself at the mercy of forces who will stop at nothing to advance their deadly agenda.

If Scandal Never Sleeps was wow, this book was wow squared. This book is my favorite of the series. I loved it. I love Connor, I love Lara, I just loved everything about this book. Well, except the lying. But really, what are you going to do?

After the death of one of their own, no one understand the danger more than Connor Sparks. Connor was never naïve, not even as a young scholarship kid at Creighton Academy. He may have been innocent, but even that was questionable. When he was approached by the CIA shortly after graduating, Connor didn’t have very many options. So he said yes. Now he has the skills needed to find out who killed Maddox Crawford. But it’s not his skills as an operative that are needed. It’s the charm he’s never had that is needed in this case. Since he knows that will never work, he decides to go all in with a seduction.

Lara Anderson runs Capitol Scandals. It’s an online website which seems to publish tawdry political news. What the site truly does is pull people in with the tawdry and get them in stay with the true political scandals and news. Connor is sure that she’s involved with the Russians that killed Mad. He’s gone in undercover on the web to get to know Lara as everything she wants in a man. Everything Connor isn’t. He doesn’t much care at first, then he gets to know her. As things start progressing further, he realizes that Lara needs real protection.

Lara doesn’t know why her new friend Niall thinks she needs a bodyguard. She’s willing to listen to him because she’s falling in love with him. He believes in everything she does. He’s basically her dream man. The she meets Connor and she really questions what Niall is thinking to send such a neanderthal to protect her. Connor is everything she doesn’t like in a man. He’s big, bossy, and he eats meat. He also doesn’t listen to her. Lara tells him in no uncertain terms that she is not in danger, but he won’t listen to her. Then someone tries to kill her.

Connor is walking a very fine line here. He has to be Connor in front of Lara, but he still has to keep up the Niall persona online. If he doesn’t, Lara won’t trust Connor. In real life. Another thing is that Connor is falling for her. The problem is that Lara is falling for Niall. So there’s that. What a conundrum.

I loved watching these two fall in love. Connor was always on the outside, even with the Perfect Gentlemen. He finally found somewhere that he belonged, with someone he felt he belonged with. The problem is that he lied to get there and he doesn’t know how to get out of it. He stupidly thinks that Lara never has to know. When you’re friends with the President of the United States, you can’t really hide what you’re doing. Especially when the woman you love thinks he’s a murderer.

I loved Lara too. She was such a staunch defender of her beliefs, whether they be political or environmental. Her and Connor were such opposites, but they were absolutely perfect for each other. Just perfect. I adored them.

Oh, we also find out more about what happened with Mad’s death, why the Russians are involved and if Zack has anything to do with it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Perfect Gentlemen

four-half-stars


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Review: Scandal Never Sleeps by Shayla Black and Lexi Blake

Posted November 28, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Scandal Never Sleeps by Shayla Black and Lexi BlakeReviewer: Casee
Scandal Never Sleeps (The Perfect Gentlemen, #1) by Shayla Black, Lexi Blake
Series: The Perfect Gentlemen #1
Also in this series: Seduction in Session (The Perfect Gentlemen, #2), Big Easy Temptation (The Perfect Gentlemen, #3), Smoke and Sin (The Perfect Gentlemen, #4)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August 18, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 386
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

They are the Perfect Gentlemen of Creighton Academy: privileged, wealthy, powerful friends with a wild side. But a deadly scandal is about to tear down their seemingly ideal lives . . .

Maddox Crawford’s sudden death sends Gabriel Bond reeling. Not only is he burying his best friend, he’s cleaning up Mad’s messes, including his troubled company. Grieving and restless, Gabe escapes his worries in the arms of a beautiful stranger. But his mind-blowing one-night stand is about to come back to haunt him . . .

Mad groomed Everly Parker to be a rising star in the executive world. Now that he’s gone, she’s sure her job will be the next thing she mourns, especially after she ends up accidentally sleeping with her new boss. If only their night together hadn’t been so incendiary—or Gabe like a fantasy come true . . .

As Gabe and Everly struggle to control the heated tension between them, they discover evidence that Mad’s death was no accident. Now they must bank their smoldering passions to hunt down a murderer—because Mad had secrets that someone was willing to kill for, and Gabe or Everly could be the next target . . .

Wow. Just wow. I have been wanting to read this series for quite some time. I just never got to it. So many books, so little time, etc. I decided to start it and I am so, so glad I did. This series is ah-mazing. Just so good.

The book starts at Creighton Academy around five young boys. That’s when you start to get an idea of who The Perfect Gentlemen are. You begin to understand the bond that these six boys have formed while away from their families in boarding school. It’s no small thing to be away from families and these boys became a family of their own.

Fast forward twenty or so years and they are burying on of their own. Although the six of them are close as brothers, Gabriel Bond and Maddox Crawford were best friends. Now Gabe is burying Maddox. Gabe loved Maddox as you would love a brother, but he also hated him at the time he died. Not only did Mad leave his sister pregnant, but he broke her heart as well. Gabe is determined to find the woman who Mad threw his sister over for and he’s not giving up until he does.

Everly Parker had an unusual relationship with Maddox Crawford. As in they didn’t have any sort of sexual one. Everly was more than fine with that as she respected Mad as a businessman and mentor. When he died, she was devastated and knew that she might not have long at Crawford Industries. When she has the opportunity to go home with a stranger on the night of Mad’s funeral, Everly does something she’s never done before. She has a one night stand.

Except it turns into more than one night. It turns into a weekend. And holy hell, is it hot. Smokin’ hot. Gabe and Everly burn the pages. Everly doesn’t know it, but by the time their weekend is coming to a close, Gabe is already thinking about a way to keep Everly in his life. Little does he know that Everly is the woman he thinks he’s looking for.

Gabe is blown away when he finds out that Mad left Crawford Industries to him. He’s even more surprised when he finds out who “Eve” is. That she’s the woman that Mad left his sister for is something that he’s surprised to realize is irrelevant. He still wants her. Gabe is a total ass. Seriously. He just won’t give that up. It was so stupid.

The remaining five Perfect Gentlemen start to realize that Mad’s death was not just an accident, but murder. Not just that, but somehow the Russian mob is involved. Oh and one of the Perfect Gentlemen? Yeah, he’s the President of the United States. The whole Russian thing is about him somehow, but they haven’t quite figured it out yet. I haven’t either. This book was so good. You should read it.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

The Perfect Gentlemen

four-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Satisfaction by Lexi Blake

Posted September 14, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Satisfaction by Lexi BlakeReviewer: Holly
Satisfaction (Lawless, #2) by Lexi Blake
Series: Lawless #2
Also in this series: Ruthless, Satisfaction, Satisfaction (Lawless #2), Revenge, Revenge
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
one-half-stars

The sizzling second novel in a sexy new contemporary romance series featuring the Lawless siblings—from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake.


Brandon Lawless is a man on a mission: obtain the information that will clear his father’s name. He’s willing to do whatever it takes—even seduce his enemy’s personal assistant, the beautiful and innocent Carly Hendricks. But with her beguiling smile and captivating intelligence, Brandon soon realizes he doesn’t want to deceive Carly, he wants to win her over—both in the boardroom and the bedroom.   Then a twisted crime leaves Carly vulnerable and Brandon finds himself reeling. The stakes of his mission are now life or death—Carly’s life. And Brandon realizes he’s lost his heart to an amazing woman and his plan must succeed, because the stakes are no longer just revenge, but a once in a lifetime love.

Satisfaction is the second book in Lexi Blake’s Lawless series. The series features four siblings who are on a quest to avenge their parents’ death and clear their father’s name.

Twenty years ago their father was accused of murdering their mother, then killing himself after setting fire to the house while the kids were inside it. Drew Lawless, the eldest, was able to get his siblings out, but he couldn’t save his parents. He knows his father didn’t kill himself or their mother, and he’s spent 20 years working to get in a place to prove his father’s innocence, and exact revenge on his four partners, who Drew believes murdered him and set him up. Bran, the youngest brother, got placed into foster care. Unlike his sister, Mia, who was adopted, Bran got shuffled around from place to place. Before Drew could get to him, something tragic happened and a girl lost her life. Bran holds himself responsible and, since then, has played knight-in-shining armor to down on their luck women – mostly strippers.

Drew’s latest focus is Patricia Cain, a formidable executive who runs a home and garden type magazine and cooking show. Drew’s plan is simple – seduce Patricia’s assistant, Carly, so they can get access to her home where her private files are stored. Only Bran has other ideas. After his sister-in-law was used, Bran wants to bring Carly in on their plan instead of pretending to be interested in her. He takes Drew’s place and tells Carly the whole story, hoping she’ll be willing to help.

Carly is stuck working for Patricia. Two years ago her now ex-husband embezzled a million dollars from Patricia’s company. He also set her younger sister up as a patsy. Patricia has been blackmailing Carly ever since. Because Carly isn’t just her personal assistant, she’s also the creative genius behind all of Patricia’s recipes. Carly can’t quit without Patricia having her sister arrested, but she can help the Lawless family get the proof they need to convict her.

Unfortunately, her ex-husband ran up some debt with the mafia before he went to prison, and they’re trying to collect from her. They make a deal – Carly will help Bran get access to Patricia if he’ll help her deal with her current situation. As they try to find proof of Patricia’s culpability and clear his father’s name, while trying to keep Carly safe, they also have to battle their attraction for one another. Carly isn’t interested in another relationship after she got so royally screwed the last time and Bran knows he isn’t worthy of more than a short term affair.

The first couple chapters of the book really pulled me in. Drew had set it up so he and Carly were matched on a dating site and Bran took his place at their first date. He was upfront and honest with her about why he was there, and I really liked how quick he was to bring her into the family fold. Unfortunately, it fell apart shortly after that. The suspense plot was weak, and both Carly and Bran made so many rookie mistakes it was like watching my six-year-old investigate a twenty year old murder. That wasn’t even the worst part, though. It was how immature, insecure and emotionally stunted they both were.

Bran doesn’t feel like he belongs with the family. He isn’t worthy to be a Lawless or have a relationship with his siblings – or anyone else for that matter – because of something that happened to him in one of the foster homes he was in. Despite everyone telling him they love him and want him around, he spends the entire book feeling sorry for himself and like no one wants him.

“He would never do that and you know it.” Because he felt guilty. They all did. Bran had gotten the short end of a shitty stick, and his siblings all felt bad about it. It was why they put up with him.

The.Entire.Effing.Book.

“Don’t worry about it, Bran. It’s going to be okay.” No, it wasn’t. Eventually everyone would get sick of putting up with his shit and he would be on his own again.

He’s either lashing out at everyone, getting into fist fights to “work out his anger” or feeling sad that no one wants him. He’s not 12, y’all. He’s a grown ass, 30-something man.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Carly was just as insecure and whiny. Her go-to was how everyone took advantage of her. Every time Bran looked at her, it was because she was fat and ugly and he was just pretending. Conversely, every time he didn’t look at her (or pay attention to her), it was because she was fat and ugly and he was just pretending.

“Did you think flirting with the fat chick was a public service? Is that how you view it?”

She does things like push him away, the try to kiss him. When he rolls away she throws a massive hissy fit because he doesn’t want her anymore.

“I tried to get you to make love to me and I got hurt when you pretty much jumped away as soon as you could.”

Uh..you kissed him once after you told him to leave you alone. That isn’t exactly trying to get him to make love to you.

“You haven’t touched me in a week. I get it. The physical part isn’t something you want anymore. Maybe you never did.”

She’s an adult, ffs. Yet she keeps jumping to all these conclusions and saying all this stupid shit. I swear I wanted to karate chop her in the throat.

And let’s not even get me started on how she kept thinking about him as a puppy. “Puppy needs some affection.” “Puppy needed to be domesticated.” WTAF?!?! Like he’s not a person?

The suspense plot surrounding the parents was predictable and, as I mentioned above, very poorly handled. They thought they were being sneaky and clever, but trust me. They weren’t. The plot twist at the end came as no surprise to me. I saw it coming from a mile away.

I’m low key curious about Drew and Shelby, a reporter Carly befriended who is also trying to take down Patricia Cain. But I have a feeling their story would frustrate me even more than this one did.

I’ll be honest, if I hadn’t committed to finishing the book for our Summer Reading Challenge, I would have DNF’d it less than halfway through.

1.5 out of 5 (the .5 because I liked some of the secondary characters)

Lawless

one-half-stars


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