Tag: Self-Published

Review: Free by Kristen Ashley

Posted February 15, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Free by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Holly
Free by Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos MC #6
Also in this series: Own the Wind (Chaos, #1), Own the Wind, Ride Steady, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 570
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Through good times, bad times and times of war, Cole “Rush” Allen grew up in the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Along this journey, he watched his father, Tack, and his MC brothers fight, sweat, bleed and die to steer the Club to legitimacy.

And they’ve got one more battle on their hands.

A battle they have to win.

But when Rush meets the woman who put herself right in the thick of it, he knows he has to stop at nothing to get her out.

Rebel Stapleton has lost someone she loves to murder and she’s the kind of woman who’s going to do something about it. She puts her career on the line, and her life, to bring the man who did it to justice.

That is, she does this until Rush Allen intervenes.

Chaos is at war and they’re about to face the ultimate showdown. They’ll have to negotiate skeletons from the past, enemies becoming allies, and loved ones in the line of fire on their ride to be…

Free.

Free is the 6th and final book in the Chaos MC series by Kristen Ashley. I’ve been anxiously awaiting Rush’s book, since 1) I wanted to see how things were cleared up with their long-time rivals and 2) I loved Rush in earlier books and wanted to see where he was going to take things. We hadn’t met his heroine prior to this book, so she was an unknown.

Cole “Rush” Allen is a member of the Chaos MC. His dad, Tack, is the current president. Tack really cleaned the club up and mostly brought them into the light, but Rush wants to finish the job and get them completely away from anything even remotely illegal. With several old enemies and a couple new ones making themselves known, that’s harder than it seems. Especially since bodies keep piling up – and literal skeletons are floating around. When he meets Rebel Singleton, he knows immediately that he wants her. But Rebel is playing a dangerous game – going undercover in a porn op to find dirt on a mobster – and Rush doesn’t want her wrapped up in that mess. Convincing her to walk away and keeping her safe may be more than he can handle…

It took me forever to read this book. There were so many point-of-view changes and unnecessary content, it didn’t hold my attention. I don’t know why we needed to see so much from so many different characters. We had chapters from 3 villains, 2 extra characters who ended up dying, several characters from previous books and a couple surprise ones at the end. At 570 pages, this novel was already a beast. If half of that had been cut back, it would have been better for it.

I haven’t cared much for Benito Valenzuela’s (the mobster guy) storyline throughout this series. He’s a pretty ridiculous villain and I had little interest in seeing how things played out with him. Nothing we saw about him or from him in this book changed my mind. I don’t even know why the final bit from his POV was included in the epilogue. It was ridiculous.

I enjoyed Rush and Rebel as a couple, and I actually really liked the secondary storyline with Beck, but the rest was pretty ridiculous. I’m not going to lie, I’m disappointed this is how the series ended.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Chaos


two-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: From Lukov, with Love by Mariana Zapata

Posted February 14, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: From Lukov, with Love by Mariana ZapataReviewer: Rowena
From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata
Narrator: Callie Dalton, Teddy Hamilton
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 1, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 524
Length: 14 hours, 55 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars

If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one.

After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close.

But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything.

Including Ivan Lukov.

I had a really quiet weekend at home so I listened to a couple of audiobooks and this was the first of them. I have enjoyed pretty much all of the Mariana Zapata books that I’ve read so far and that didn’t change with this one. I adored Ivan Lukov and loved getting to know Jasmine Santos, or as Ivan referred to her, “Meatball”. I really enjoyed their banter back and forth and the way that they bickered with each other over everything under the sun. They had that hate vibe going pretty strong for a good chunk of this book and I was so here for it.

We hear this book through Jasmine’s POV so early on, we are not fans of Ivan Lukov. He’s arrogant and an asshole and he gives not one shit that he pisses Jasmine off. In fact, he seems to enjoy pissing her off. Jasmine and Ivan are professional ice skaters who skate doubles but at the moment, they don’t have partners so when Ivan approaches Jasmine to skate with him for a year, she balks because, hell no. She doesn’t even like this punk ass…but holy cow, Ivan presents an opportunity for Jasmine to go after the dream that has been out of her reach since her last partner left her in the most humiliating way possible. He is giving her a chance to win with him, a decorated Olympian in her corner and even though she doesn’t trust him, she’s in. OMG, she’s in.

A huge chunk of this story is told while Jasmine and Ivan are practicing. They have a lot of work to do in not a lot of time so immediately, they get to work. They practice and practice and practice and when they’re not practicing, they hang out and they become friends. They still bicker back and forth but there isn’t the edge of hate surrounding it so it’s easier for the two of them to be around each other. Jasmine doesn’t have a lot of friends but one of her best friends is Ivan’s sister and while Jasmine’s family knew and loved the sister, they didn’t know Ivan but Ivan becomes more than Jasmine’s partner in the short time that they’ve become partners. He’s become her best friend and what a ride it was, seeing them come full circle with each other.

This was such a fun romance. I thought Mariana Zapata did such a fine job of bringing Jasmine and Ivan together. They came so far with each other and when they finally get together, it was so satisfying and I absolutely loved that their bickering didn’t end when they both realized that they loved each other. They kept right on bickering over every little thing because they could. Because that was their way.

There were times when I thought Jasmine was really stubborn and shouldn’t have been but when all was said and done, I really liked her. I liked her smart mouth and prickly personality. I loved the way that she was with Ivan, with her siblings and with her Mom. My heart hurt for her where things were concerned with her father but I thought Zapata did well in making us understand her way of thinking and I loved that she wanted to be better for her family. Everything that she went through in her life humbled her and I loved that she knew that she was going to get it right this time around when she makes the decision to partner up with Ivan.

Then there was Ivan. swoon I wanted to kick him in the nuts for a good chunk of the beginning of the book but when he wins me over, he completely won me over. Getting to know him was such a treat and seeing him with all of his pets and then seeing him with Jasmine and coming to realize how much Jasmine meant to him? Gah, I was a sucker for all of it. I was a sucker for him. Gah, he was a great hero and this was a great romance. I’m not the biggest fan of professional ice skating but I’ll be watching the next Winter Olympics just so that I can picture Ivan and Jasmine skating around and winning shit.

Mariana Zapata delivers another fabulous contemporary romance featuring two ice skating champs that I really enjoyed. I should also mention that I really loved the narrators for this audiobook. Kudos to Callie Dalton and Teddy Hamilton. I loved that Teddy Hamilton read for the parts of Ivan and that Callie Dalton read for most of the book since the book was in Jasmine’s POV. The entire story flowed so well with the two of them narrating and it made for a very enjoyable reading experience. I definitely recommend this one to everyone.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , ,

Review: Thirty Day Boyfriend by Whitney G

Posted February 14, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Thirty Day Boyfriend by Whitney GReviewer: Rowena
Thirty Day Boyfriend by Whitney G.
Narrator: Erin Mallon, Zachary Webber
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 2, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 119
Length: 2 hours, 40 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars

I should've never agreed to this arrangement...

Thirty days ago, my boss—Mr. Wolf of Wall Street, came to me with an offer I couldn’t refuse: Sign my name on the dotted line and pretend to be his fiancée for one month. If I agreed, he would let me out of my employment contract with a “very generous” severance package.

The rules were pretty simple: No intimate kissing, no actual sex. Just pretend to love each other for the press, even though I’ve secretly wanted to knock that sexy smirk off his face since the first day we met.

I definitely didn’t need to think twice about this. I signed my name and started counting down the seconds to when I would never have to deal with his special brand of ass-holery again.

I only made it to one minute...

We argued the entire four-hour flight to his hometown, failed to make a convincing impression with the welcoming press, and right when I was about to knock that arrogant look off his face in real life? He purposely dropped his bath towel in front of me, distracting me with his nine-inch cock to "show me who the bigger person was" in our relationship. Then he gave me his trademark smirk once again and asked if I wanted to consummate our marriage.

Tragically, this is only day one. We still have 29 more days to go...

Thirty Day Boyfriend was the second audiobook that I listened to last month and it didn’t take me any time at all to get this one read. The book itself is pretty short but I thought Whitney G did a solid job of packing the punch short stories need to keep me interested, and satisfied. I wish I could say that I enjoyed this one more than I did but well…

So, Thirty Day Boyfriend is an office romance where the boss falls in love with his administrative assistant and then proceeds to be a dickhead when he thinks she doesn’t want him back. He’s a Billionaire CEO who is richer than every damn body and is it like a requirement for all billionaires to be complete assholes because there were far too many times when I wanted to kick Nicholas in the dick over the course of this book. If it’s not a requirement of billionaire characters than it’s definitely a requirement for a Whitney G hero because more often than not, I want to punch her heroes in the ballsack and that wasn’t any different with this one.

Emily was a strong character that I enjoyed and was cheering on from the very beginning. I loved that she was a normal woman trying to live her normal life and solve her normal problems. Seeing her deal with Nick’s strong personality and hold her own against him was great even though Nick’s god complex got on my hot damn nerves but still, it was nice to see Emily stand up for herself and put Nick in his place whenever she felt he needed the smackdown.

I will say that Whitney G’s redeem game is strong because by the end of this book, Nick was out of the dog house and I actually really liked him and Emily together. When we find out the real deal about everything and seeing everything fall into place made the story pick right up so that was good but all of the shenanigans that Nick plays when Emily is trying to find another job, the shit that he made her do, the way that he talked to her while she was employed for him pissed me off so I can’t give this book more than 3 stars. So it’s a problematic but still solid read.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan

Posted February 13, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Long Shot by Kennedy RyanReviewer: Casee
Long Shot (Hoops, #1) by Kennedy Ryan
Series: Hoops #1
Also in this series: Hoops Holiday
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 22, 2018
Format: eBook
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 451
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

A Standalone FORBIDDEN LOVE SET IN THE EXPLOSIVE WORLD OF THE NBA...

Think you know what it's like being a baller's girl?You don't.My fairy tale is upside down.A happily never after.I kissed the prince and he turned into a fraud.I was a fool, and his love - fool's gold.

Now there's a new player in the game, August West. One of the NBA's brightest stars.Fine. Forbidden. He wants me. I want him.But my past, my fraudulent prince, just won't let me go.

*Some aspects of this story may be sensitive for some readers.

Wowza. This book. It has all the feels. It gave me all the feels. I wanted to sit down and read it from cover-to-cover, but it was such an emotional read that I had to take breaks. One of my favorite things about this book was that it spanned over years. As did Iris and August’ relationship. This book was real because there was no easy fix to the situation they were both in.

When Iris and August first met, August was the shining star of college basketball. They connected that night in a way that most people don’t. They share their dreams with each other, their fears, and their hopes. It was likely the fact that they thought they would never see each other again. When they go to part ways, August decides he can’t just let her go. That’s when Iris tells him she has a boyfriend. He soon finds out that it’s not just any man she’s with, but his biggest enemy on and off the court.

The next few years pass. August is building up his NBA career as is Iris’ boyfriend, Caleb. What he doesn’t know is the sheer hell that Iris is living in. After meeting August, Iris realizes that she doesn’t want the future that Caleb wants and she intends to break up with him. Then she finds out she’s pregnant. While it’s certainly not in her plans, she’s not going to let it deter her from being independent. That all changes when she is put on bedrest and becomes completely dependent on Caleb.

It’s after their daughter is born that she learns of the monster that lives behind the boy-next-door persona that Caleb presents to the world. Holy hell, the parts of the book where Caleb abuses Iris is fucking hard to read. Kennedy Ryan doesn’t sugar coat Iris’ abuse nor does she shy away from the affect that it has on a woman. I really applaud her for putting this out there is such a spectacular fashion. She also touched on an important issue in professional sports: domestic abuse and the protection of athletes. It’s inexcusable whether it is a male of female dishing out the abuse.

Moving on…it takes years, but August and Iris eventually find their way back to each other. Their love is one that doesn’t disappear. It was just a matter of the right time and the right place. They question that remains is if Iris can find it in herself to trust again. Does she realize the epic love she has with August West or is she going to let Caleb ruin the life she could have with the man she loves but may never trust?

Wowza.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Hoops

four-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Lightning Review: Ghosts of Boyfriends Past by Vivi Andrews

Posted February 12, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lightning Review: Ghosts of Boyfriends Past by Vivi AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Ghosts of Boyfriends Past by Vivi Andrews
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 12, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 141
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

Letting him in could mean losing him forever.

Elizabeth “Biz” Marks has the magic touch when it comes to matters of the heart—except her own. In a slightly tipsy fit of loneliness, she once tried to harness a little love mojo to work in her favor. Instead the spell mutated into a nightmarish curse that kills off her boyfriends on her favorite holiday: Valentine’s Day.

With three permanently ex-boyfriends on her conscience and another hearts-and-flowers holiday approaching, the last thing she needs is a too-gorgeous-to-be-true reporter snooping around.

Biz just has extraordinarily bad luck, or she’s a bona-fide Black Widow who bumps off her boyfriends for a chunk of the inheritance money. Either way, Mark Ellison is sure there’s a story here. Especially when his attempts to charm her send her into a panic.

The harder Biz tries to keep Mark and his beguiling dimples as far away as possible, the harder he digs to get at the truth. Now she’s beginning to wonder if his is the love that will finally break the curse...or if she’ll be burying her heart along with him.

Product WarningsThis book contains curses, meddling ghosts, nosy neighbors and enough peppermint Schnapps to drown the inhibitions of even the most cautious witch.

Ghosts of Boyfriends Past is a cute story about a witch who cursed herself, causing her boyfriends to die on Valentines day. The premise sounded a bit weird, but also intriguing. It’s currently $2.99 at Amazon.

Biz Marks is a matchmaking witch who accidentally cursed herself so all her boyfriends die on Valentines Day. Mark Ellison is a reporter who’s determined to find the dirt to prove Biz is a black widow who kills off her men.

I liked both main characters. I also like that Mark was the more romantic of the two. This was a light read, with plenty of humor and a couple sigh worthy moments. I am glad I gave it a chance.

3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,