NEW RELEASE!! Such Dark Things by Courtney Evan Tate ~ Sarah A’s Review

I thought I knew him. He thought he knew me. We were both wrong…

Dr. Corinne Cabot is living the American dream. She’s a successful ER physician in Chicago who’s married to a handsome husband. Together they live in a charming house in the suburbs. But appearances can be deceiving—and what no one can see is Corinne’s dark past. Troubling gaps in her memory mean she recalls little about a haunting event in her life years ago that changed everything.

She remembers only being in the house the night two people were found murdered. Her father was there, too. Now her father is in prison; she hasn’t been in contact in years. Repressing that terrifying memory has caused Corinne moments of paranoia and panic. Sometimes she thinks she sees things that aren’t there, hears words that haven’t been spoken. Or have they? She fears she may be losing her mind, unable to determine what’s real and what’s not.

So when she senses her husband’s growing distance, she thinks she’s imagining things. She writes her suspicions off to fatigue, overwork, anything to explain what she can’t accept—that her life really isn’t what it seems.

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Two stars as a psychological thriller
Four stars as a romantic thriller

Such Dark Things is touted as a psychological thriller, and it is.  Kind of.  While the genre isn’t what I primarily read in, I do read a fair few psychological thrillers, and this book just didn’t quite fit in with them.  There was a little too much concentration on the interpersonal relationships for it to be completely out of the realm of romance, which is fine for me, but if you’re looking for a true thriller, Such Dark Things just doesn’t quite meet the mark.

Such Dark Things is a standalone romantic thriller, in my opinion.  There are plenty of psychological elements to it, but they tend to take on more of a supporting role to the other themes in the book.  It is written in dual first-person perspective, with dueling timelines, narrated by Jude and Corinne.

The plot of this book had amazing potential.  It had more secrets than I could imagine, more violence and fear than I would want to deal with in real life.  Corinne’s cracks were so large you could feel all the soft gooey parts of her desperately trying to escape from her from the beginning of the book.  In those first few chapters I had great hope for this book and, while it didn’t meet the expectations I had for it, I still quite enjoyed it; just for different reasons.  Instead of appreciating how Ms. Tate got into my head and made me question every single thing I read, I loved watching how Corinne and Jude and their relationship deteriorated throughout the novel.

I had so looked forward to really getting into Corinne’s head and feeling the kind of crazy she was feeling.  It’s that desperation I enjoy most about psychological thrillers, and I just didn’t quite get it in Such Dark Things.  I would have loved the focus to be more Corinne’s devolution into supposed madness; I think it would have gone miles to sell this book as something beyond romance.

I’m of two minds when it comes to this book.  It was an intriguing romance about fighting the pitfalls of neglecting your relationship and avoiding the traumas of your past.  It excellently highlighted how easy it is for an outside entity to manipulate the dynamics of a marriage when that marriage isn’t well tended.  And for all of that, I absolutely loved the book.  However, it missed the mark for me as a psychological thriller.  I just really would have loved to have seen more of Corinne’s descent without the added insight from Jude, as I think it made her point of view feel more sane since he also felt things weren’t completely normal all the time.

I wish this book had been a little more psychological and a little less about the interpersonal relationships.  I think in highlighting how the people related to each other there were too many clues as to the ultimate reveal of the book and I had figured out what was going on by about a third of the way through the book.  Had there been a little less focus on just one of the relationships in the book would have completely changed the tone of the novel and likely have prevented me from putting the pieces together as to what was really at play under the surface.

Courtney Evan Tate is a pen name for an author who originated in the world of romance.  Those roots were evident in this novel.  Between the detailed sex scenes and the focus on how the characters related to one another, the romance devices came through.  The idea of this book was quite fascinating, and I do believe, with some focus and study of the world of psychological thrillers, Ms. Tate could have success in this genre, I’m just not sure if this book will resonate well with people who don’t read in both romance and thriller genres.

I count the ceiling tiles in the night.

The light from the moon illuminates the dark just enough to see them.

From down the hall, I hear screaming, but that’s normal here. I’m under no illusions about what this place is.

I hear the nurses’ shoes as they scurry toward the noise, and I look again at the ceiling. There are over five-hundred tiles. I’m not sure of the exact number because every time I count, I get distracted.

I’m so lonely, and I know for a fact that I shouldn’t be in this room. I’m a physician. I should be medicating whomever is screaming.

But I’m not a doctor in this building. I have no credentials here. I’m a patient, like everyone else. It’s a difficult pill to swallow. It’s a fact that lodges in my throat and won’t go down.

With a sigh, I roll to my side, and stare at the wall. It’s white and stark, and the sheets beneath me are cold and thin. My bedding at home is luxurious and thick, spun Egyptian cotton, one-thousand thread count. It’s funny how accustomed I’ve gotten to nice things over the past few years.

During my childhood and med school, I didn’t have anything. Now, I pretty much have everything. And in this place, it’s a stark reminder of the differences between home and here.

The biggest difference of all is that I’m here, and Jude is not.

It’s hard to sleep without my husband. In all the years that we’ve been married, we’ve never been apart. We always sleep curled up together, our limbs intertwined. No matter how little we’re able to see each other during the day, we always wear each other like a second skin in the night.

I wonder if he’s struggling with this as much as I am?

I’ll ask him on Saturday.

God, I don’t get to see him until Saturday?

What day is it now?

With a start, amid my rambling thoughts, I realize I don’t know.

I don’t know what fucking day is it.

How long have I been in here?

One day?

Two days?



The walls close in on me, getting tighter and tighter, until I squeeze my eyes shut so that I don’t have to see them. The only way to survive this is to just plow right through it. I’ll do what they want me to do, and I’ll breathe, and I’ll talk to them, and I’ll remember, and I’ll get better.

I count, whispering, the monotony lulling me into sleep.

One one thousand.

Two one thousand.

Three one thousand.

The last number I remember is one hundred before I drift into the abyss of sleep.


The hissing whisper wakes me, and my eyes open wide, and I don’t know how long I’ve been sleeping. Minutes? Hours?

At first, I think I’m dreaming, but then I see the outline of a girl…a woman…in the chair next to my bed.

It’s dark so I can’t see her face, but her nail polish glints in the moonlight. It’s chipped around the edges. She chews her nails, and she seems so so familiar.

“Who are you?” I ask, a pit forming in the base of my stomach.

“Your worst nightmare.”

I sit straight up in bed, trying like hell to adjust my eyes to the dark, and in that one split second, she’s gone.

I scramble out of bed, turn on the lights, and the nurses find me moments later crawling on my hands and knees, searching beneath my bed.

“What are you looking for?” they ask curiously as they help me up.

“There was a girl in here…” I tell them, and they look at each other strangely because we’re definitely alone now.

“What did she look like?” one asks me as I crawl back into bed.

“I couldn’t see her,” I have to admit. “It was too dark. And her face…it seemed blurry.”

“Maybe you were dreaming,” one suggests.

“I wasn’t,” I insist. “I wasn’t alone.”

But they don’t listen. They turn off my light, and maybe I really am crazy.

I’m on edge for the rest of the night, watching and waiting for someone to appear, but they never do. My muscles are tight and coiled, ready to lunge out of bed again.

But I don’t need to.

She doesn’t come back.

I’ve got to relax. I’ve got to breathe.

I count my breaths until I finally fall asleep again.

The last breath I remember is number five hundred and four.

Courtney Cole is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist who would eat mythology for breakfast if she could.

She has a degree in Business, but has since discovered that corporate America is not nearly as fun to live in as fictional worlds.

Courtney was born and raised in rural Kansas, but has since migrated south. She now lives in Florida and writes beneath palm trees.

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The Scars I Bare by JL Berg ~ Sarah A’s Review

Every scar tells a story…
Some are etched on the skin, for the whole world to see.
Others are buried deep, so deep, only the heart can truly find them.

Dean Sutherland was the quintessential guy next door. Strong and dependable, with a heart of gold, he knew exactly where his life was headed. Until one fateful night at sea ripped away everything. Now he’s adrift, a man without a purpose.

Cora Carpenter thought she had the perfect life. A successful career, an affectionate husband and a daughter who adores her. But soon that perfect world is crashing down around her, and she’s in need of a fresh start. Moving to a remote town on the coast of North Carolina seems like the perfect plan. That is, until she finds herself face to face with a kindred soul from her past.

Dean and Cora have more in common than either are willing to admit. Both deeply rooted in their pain, they can’t help but find hope in each other’s eyes and passion entwined with every touch. But can two broken hearts make a whole?
Will the scars they bare haunt them forever, or can love truly heal all?

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The Scars I Bare wasn’t what I expected.  I’d hoped for a hugely emotional saga about two people healing and learning how to live again, and that’s not what I got.  It was still a fun story, especially with the addition of Lizzie, but just not as poignant as I’d hoped for.

The Scars I Bare is the second book in JL Berg’s By the Bay series.  Each novel in the series focuses on a different couple so that they could be read as standalones, but Dean had a large part in the first book, The Choices I’ve Made, so reading it would help in the overall understanding of this book.  The Scars I Bare is written in dual first-person perspective, narrated by Cora and Dean.

Lizzie, Cora’s daughter, was hands down the best part of this book.  She was precocious and quick-witted and did not allow anyone to let their guard down for a second.  I appreciated her thirst for knowledge was endearing.  The way she orchestrated so many things to result in the outcome she wanted was impressive.

I liked how Dean was with Cora, how he let her guide their relationship, how he respected what her past had done to her, how he anticipated her needs and did his best to provide for them.  However, I’m not sure I felt their chemistry.  It seemed to me, the story was so focused on Cora and Dean respecting one another’s past traumas, it didn’t develop the overwhelming desire for one another I’ve come to expect in a romance novel.

My wish for the Scars I Bare is the same as it was for its predecessor, I wish we could have seen more of the healing the characters experienced on page.  It felt like they were both struggling deeply then, all of a sudden, after one interaction they were all whole and healed.  It lacked the emotional depth I was hoping for.  I also wish Ms. Berg would have really gone there in regards to Cora’s ex, sure he got his ass kicked, but since she went halfway there, I would have loved to have seen her go all in with that situation.

I’ve read a few JL Berg novels, and I always find myself appreciating her ability to write about characters with uncommon struggles.  While this isn’t the first book I’ve read about an amputee, it is the first about someone who lost an arm; which does affect everyday life in an entirely different and seemingly more consuming way than losing a leg.  She also does it in a way that makes those struggles part of their story and not their entire story, which is wonderful.  I hope she continues to choose these interesting and varied character traits; they make her books unique.

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I’m a California native, who lives in the South – Virginia to be exact. I still prefer sushi to fried chicken, avocados to okra, and I absolutely loathe humidity. I do love watching the seasons change though. My husband and I have been here for over a decade, and I still get giddy like a school girl every time it snows. It’s magical!

I’m married to my high school sweetheart, and we’ve been blessed with two beautiful daughters and two rescue pups I like to call my “coworkers”. I’m obsessed with chocolate, minions, anything Harry Potter and I love to watch re-runs of Friends and Gilmore Girls!

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Confessions: Robbie by Ella Frank ~ Sarah A’s Review

Confessions: Robbie, an all-new tantalizing contemporary MMM Romance by Ella Frank is NOW AVAILABLE!  

Relationships are complex.
Love ever-changing.
And when it comes to rules of the heart,
they were made to be broken…

That’s what Robert Antonio Bianchi was telling himself, anyway.
Otherwise, he really had no excuse for what—or who—he’d done.

No excuse, except for his lonely heart, a pitcher of margaritas, four Bitter Bitches, and the apparent need to confess all his weaknesses to the two men he knew would bring him nothing but trouble.

But trouble was nothing new.
Just ask his crazy sisters or any of his friends, and they’d be the first to tell you:
If there was a bad decision to be made, Robbie always had a knack for making it.

And thus begins the story of the priest, the princess, and the prick.

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Confessions: Robbie was an interesting concept.  I wasn’t expecting what I got, but I enjoyed the ride it took me on, and I’m looking forward to continuing this crazy journey with Robbie, Julien, and Priest.

Confessions: Robbie is the first book in Ella Frank’s Confessions series.  The series is a spinoff from her Temptation series.  I haven’t read that series and didn’t know this was an offshoot of it until I’d began reading Robbie.  Once I realized this was an established world and I was missing important information about past events I checked to see what was going on and found the info about Confessions being a derivation of the Temptations world.  For the most part, I had no problems understanding exactly what was going on, but there were several references to things I assume had happened in the other series, and I think reading that series first would greatly help with understanding exactly who the men – Robbie, in particular – were.  Confessions: Robbie is written in third-person limited perspective, alternatively following Robbie, Julien, and Priest.

Those moments of ignorance of the past notwithstanding, I really enjoyed the experience of Robbie.  It was a twist on threesomes I haven’t experienced yet, but I could feel how the three of them needed one another clearly.  Julien, specifically, was in need of the strength of Priest and the levity of Robbie.  And Robbie needed to know there was someone who would appreciate all of him and not try to make him into something he wasn’t.  Priest just needed someone to depend on him, fully, with no questions as to him having their best interests in mind.

I’m happy there wasn’t a ton of outside action in this book.  There was just enough to show Robbie the things he needed to know about how Priest and Julien felt about him, without overshadowing the primary purpose of this book: to build a foundation for their threesome.  Taking the time to establish their dynamic was vitally important in this first book of the series and Ella Frank did a lovely job of keeping it the focus of the story.

I wish Confessions: Robbie was more independent from the series it originated from.  Had I known it was part of another series, because it really is, I would have made the time to read those books before this one.  Robbie’s past is discussed throughout this book, without fully expounding on what happened in it and I feel like knowing that past would have helped a lot in knowing exactly the motivations behind his thought processes.

Ella Frank has long been on my TBR list, especially her Temptation series, and after reading this book, I know I need to get around to those books.  Her writing was intense and even writing in third person she was able to convey the different personalities of her characters easily through the tone of their passages.  I can’t wait to see more from Robbie, Julien, and Priest and hope I’m able to visit Robbie’s past in the Temptation series before I get too far into this series.



If there’s a bad decision to make, I will make it.

DRUNK-DIALING IS never a smart move. But drunk-dialing a married man? That is a monumentally stupid move.

That was the thought rolling around Robbie’s muddled brain as he stood with his best friend Elliot at the bar of CRUSH and tossed back his fourth Bitter Bitch. The conversation he was having with himself wasn’t a new one—or a welcome one, he thought as he swayed on his feet and kind of stumbled into the stool beside him. But forgetting his lonely life with alcohol and men who were all wrong for him seemed like an increasingly good way to cope tonight.

The hum and throb of the bass beat was rattling through him, but instead of feeling the pull he usually did to head out to the dance floor and have fun, tonight it seemed to be having the opposite effect. It was making him think really stupid thoughts.

“You’re so wasted, Bianchi,” Elliot said as he grabbed Robbie’s arm and guided him to the barstool. “What’s that? Your third shot? And how many margaritas did you have at dinner?”

Robbie held up two, then three fingers, and shrugged. “Who cares? Everyone had their New Year’s on Sunday. Tonight’s mine, and I want to celebrate.”

“If you celebrate any more, you aren’t gonna remember your first night out of the New Year.”

“Don’t care,” Robbie said, as he waved his hand through the air with flourish and leaned a little too much into the action. Luckily, Elliot was there to prop him up. “I wanna have fun tonight. Do something I shouldn’t.”

Elliot leaned his elbows back on the bar so he was facing the dance floor and said, “Why don’t you get out there and let someone do you instead? You look gorgeous tonight, darling.”

He’s right, I do look cute, Robbie thought.

In his skinny jeans and purple V-neck tee that was practically a second skin, Robbie had gone all out with smoky eyes and a new pink shade of gloss he’d bought a couple of days ago that tasted like—mmm, strawberries. He could totally hit the dance floor, find a willing man, and let him do all kinds of things. But that seemed so boring tonight, so normal, and so not what he wanted.

He wanted wild. He wanted adventure. He wanted danger. And when the two men he knew were both those things entered his mind, Robbie quickly shook his head, trying to shake them free.

Stop thinking about them, he ordered himself, but that was easier said than done. One of them was one of the sexiest men he’d ever seen, and the other the most frustrating—and what was worse was that he couldn’t have either of them even if he wanted to. What was with everyone being fucking married all of a sudden? And to each other?

But oh the dreams he’d been having lately. The three of them, all sweaty and naked; they were enough to make him want to

No, no, no. That is the worst idea you could have, Robbie told himself. Drunk or sober.




Plus, you don’t even like one of them. So stop obsessing over it.

“Earth to Robbie…” Elliot said, waving a hand, and Robbie shrugged.

“I don’t know. I’m just not in the mood.”

You’re not in the mood to grind all over a naked man? Okay, where the hell is my best friend and what did you do with him?” Elliot asked as he swept his black bangs out of his eyes.

“I don’t know.” Robbie slumped forward on the bar, dramatic as ever, and looked up at Elliot from under his lashes. “I think I’m in a state of mourning, El, and I don’t know how to get out of it.”

Elliot frowned. “Is this about Logan? I thought you were happy for him and Tate?”

“I am, but— Ugh. They just got engaged, and now all of a sudden, he’s married. Married.”

“I know, babe. But you knew it was coming.”

“Doesn’t make it any easier. Knowing there are two more beautiful men off the market forever due to a ring and a piece of paper is just depressing.”

“Two more men?” Elliot said, regarding him with a suspicious eye. “Who else do you know who’s hitched?”

Julien, Robbie instantly thought, as an image of the famous chef came to mind.

Julien “the Prick” Thornton. And this time, as Julien’s name ran through Robbie’s head, he made a point to roll the Jul over his tongue the way Julien had when he’d introduced himself that night at the bar. That’s right…Julien “I’m gay, gorgeous, and, oh yeah, married to your worst enemy” Thornton. He was hitched.

“No one,” Robbie said, and pouted. Then he swiveled on the stool to look out at the men gyrating all over one another. “You go and play for the both of us. I’m going to sit here and—”


“Okay that word is too big for my brain right now,” Robbie said, and winced. “Go and feel up the muscles and men for me. Someone should get some enjoyment out of them.”

Elliot pursed his lips. “I don’t know…”

“I’m just gonna sit here. Not going anywhere,” Robbie promised, crossing a finger over his chest.

“Your heart is on the other side, genius.”

Robbie switched sides and did it again. “I’m just gonna drown my sorrows so my body hurts tomorrow and will take my mind off my broken heart.”

“Aww, cheer up, Buttercup. Your Prince Charming will come to you one day soon.”

“Well, until then”—Robbie gestured for the bartender—“I’m going to drink myself into a deep slumber in the hopes that maybe he’ll come on me, or, you know, at least kiss me back to life.”

Elliot placed a hand on Robbie’s arm. “Do not go anywhere. I’ll be back for you.”

“I can’t feel my legs to move, so… I’ll stay. Like a good little boy.”

“Don’t know how good you are, but…” Elliot chuckled, then before he headed out to the dance floor, said, “Where’s your phone?”

Robbie dug into his pants pocket and pulled it free.

Elliot opened the contacts and scrolled down to his name, and then set it on the bar in front of Robbie. “You need me, call. Do not leave this seat.”

Robbie touched his fingertips to his temple in a sloppy salute and then hiccupped. “Yes, sir.”

“Okay. Be back for you soon.” Elliot then turned to the bartender and said, “No more after this for him.”

When the bartender nodded, Robbie’s mouth fell open. “Hello, you’re not my mother.”

“Lucky for you. She’d be spanking your ass right now, not to mention your sisters, and I’m sure you’d much rather have that done by a man who would then pound it afterward. I’ll be back.”

Robbie dismissed Elliot with a wave of his hand, and then took great interest in scrolling up and down his list of contacts, searching for someone to occupy his time. It wasn’t until he saw Julien’s number that he realized how drunk he was, because that was the only excuse he could think of as to why he hit call.

Well that, and: If there’s a bad decision to make, I will make it.

Ella Frank is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Temptation series, including Try, Take, and Trust and is the co-author of the fan-favorite contemporary romance, Sex Addict. Her Exquisite series has been praised as “scorching hot!” and “enticingly sexy!”

Some of her favorite authors include Tiffany Reisz, Kresley Cole, Riley Hart, J.R. Ward, Erika Wilde, Gena Showalter, and Carly Phillips.

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NOW LIVE! Possessive by Willow Winters ~ Sarah A’s Review

From USA Today bestselling author Willow Winters, comes a provocative, standalone, contemporary romance.

Some men are born with a black heart and a tainted soul.
I never liked to admit it back then; I thought I could outrun who I am and lie to myself.
But I accept the truth now.

It’s in my blood and in my bones. In every impure thought and desire.
I tried to leave. To do the right thing and walk away from my past.
But then she came back into my life.

Stumbling towards me and looking up at me as if I’m the one she’s been looking for all this time.
As if I could be her savior and take her pain away.
If only she knew.

She turns me into what I hate most about myself.
Selfish, ruthless, possessive.
I tried to be a good man. To be cold and distant and warn her away.

She should have taken the hint and run.
She didn’t…
And now she’s mine.

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After reading She Asked for It, I was desperate to get my hands on Daniel’s story.  He was an intriguing side character in that book, and I longed to find out more about his history and motivations throughout the book.  There was no way I could anticipate just how complex his life was or exactly where his story would lead.

Possessive is a standalone novel, though it has ties to other books Willow Winters has written and is the jumping off point for an upcoming novel the crossover with the She Asked for It is negligible, and that book is not necessary for the understanding of this novel.  I have a feeling I’m going to be glad to have read Possessive before reading Merciless.  Possessive is written in dual first-person perspective, narrated by Addison and Daniel.  There are also a couple of surprise narrators toward the end.  There are a number of flashbacks that help put Addison and Daniel’s relationship into perspective.

The way time passed in Possessive was deceptive.  Everything happened over the course of only a few weeks, yet there were years of hurt pain and secrets between Addison and Daniel.  And I felt each of those years of loss, loneliness, and love while I was reading.  It felt like a slow-burn romance while having the present timeline of a much quicker love story.  That push and pull of the past and present made their story feel even more desperate and unique that it already was.

The history, the loved ones, the guilt Addison and Daniel shared made this book.  Their backstory and their shared loss, had it been any different – any less momentous – it would have made this into something I may have hated.  Their interactions in the present weren’t always kind, often bordering on cruel, but with the knowledge of what they’d experienced, those moments felt very intimate and apropos to the development of their love.  They needed those moments to hate one another to heal the wounds they’d suffered with for so long.

I wish the end of this book, of Daniel and Addison’s story, in particular, had been more fleshed out.  I felt like their story was ended rather abruptly in favor of putting the pieces in motion for Daniel’s brother’s book.  I have no doubts about the state of their relationship, but it still seemed unfinished.

Willow Winters is a powerful writer.  She’s able to wring out emotions and make her readers live in her books.  With each book I read of hers I feel a deeper connection with who she is as a writer.  The way she always makes me feel slightly uncomfortable, a little off kilter when I’m reading her books is – gah – it’s enthralling.  I know every time I pick up a new Willow Winters novel I’m going to be in for a ride, and it won’t be easy or predictable.

Willow Winters is so happy to be a USA Today, Wall Street Journal and #1 Contemporary Bestselling Romance Author. She likes her action hot and her bad boys hotter. She certainly doesn’t hold back on either one in her writing!

Willow started writing after having her little girl, Evie, December 2015. All during her pregnancy with Evie she continued to read and she only wanted to read romance. She was reading a book a day — sometimes two.

In January 2016 Willow was staying up late with Evie and just thinking of all these stories. They came to her constantly so she finally sat down and just started writing. She always wanted to do it so she figured, why not? Today Willow cannot be happier for making that decision!

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One Last Time by Corinne Michaels ~ Sarah A’s Review

From New York Times bestselling author, Corinne Michaels, comes a new heartwarming standalone romance.

I’m getting really good at cutting my losses.

First, the husband. Divorcing him was the best decision I ever made. But between single-parenting and job-hunting, I can’t catch my breath. When a celebrity blogging position falls into my lap, I’m determined to succeed.

That is, until I get my first assignment and actually see Noah Frazier for the first time . . . practically naked and dripping wet. My heart races and I forget how to form complete sentences. His chiseled abs, irresistible smirk, and crystal blue eyes are too perfect to be real. So, what do I do? Get drunk and humiliate myself, of course.

I’m ready to forget the awkward night, yet Noah has no intention of allowing me to move on. Instead, he arranges for me to write a feature on him, ensuring a lot more time together. One embarrassing moment after another, one kiss after another, and before I can stop myself, I realize—I’m falling in love with him.

But when the unthinkable happens, can I even blame him for cutting his losses?

What I wouldn’t give for just one last time . . .

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review here

Before I can make a move either way, the glass door slides open and Noah walks through the threshold.

My legs start to quiver as his eyes meet mine. All I can think about is how I’d like to climb him like a tree and shake his coconuts. I thought he was hot in the photo, then he was better through the window, but up close, he’s otherworldly.

“Hi.” Noah’s throaty voice floats around me. “You must be Kristin.”

Instead of speaking, I stand here with my mouth hanging open. Some small sounds that could be words escape, but they aren’t coherent.

Kill me now.

“Noah, this is my best friend, Kristin. Who we told you about.” Heather elbows me.

“Yes. Me. Hi. Kristin. I. You. Hi.”

Smooth. Someone should video this because I’m sure it’s highly entertaining.

“Right.” Noah flashes a blinding smile. “I hear you’re a reporter?”

Okay, Kristin, you have to speak in more than one-word increments or grunting noises.

I grab Heather’s glass she just poured and hope it’ll act as a talisman. “Yes, for a small blog, but I’m that. A reporter. For a blog. I write.”

And a bumbling idiot.

Noah’s green eyes are filled with humor. He moves a little closer and places his hand on top of mine. “Eli filled me in a little. I’m happy I came.”

I’m pretty sure I just came. At least we’re all coming.

“Me, too.”

His lips turn up as his eyes rake my body. “See you out there.” He winks and walks back out.

My ovaries have officially disintegrated.

I turn back to Heather, who bursts out into a fit of laughter. “Oh, that was epic. You all said I was starstruck when I met Eli? You should’ve seen that!” Heather continues to laugh at my expense. “Yes. Me. Um. Blog. Er—” She mocks.

“Shut up.” I laugh—because, really, what else can I do—and bump her hip before moving around the bar and grabbing a glass. “Now, pour me a shot before I drink straight from the bottle.”

There’s only one way to get through tonight.


Lots of Alcohol.

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Corinne Michaels is the author of nine romance novels. She’s an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun loving mom of two beautiful children. Corinne is happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife.

After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing was her escape from the loneliness. She enjoys putting her characters through intense heartbreak and finding a way to heal them through their struggles. Her stories are chock full of emotion, humor, and unrelenting love.

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NEW RELEASE!! Forgetting You, Remembering Me by Monica James ~ Sarah A’s Review

The stunning conclusion to this epic love story that began with Forgetting You, Forgetting Me from International Bestselling author, Monica James.

The truth sets you free…but what happens when everything you believe in changes in the blink of an eye?

All I ever wanted was for my fiancé, Samuel Stone, to remember me. And now that he does…all I want is for him to forget. Through tragedy, I found myself and who I was destined to become. But more importantly, I found who I was destined to be with.

With a single word, Saxon Stone changed my life forever. He taught me how to live again. But now that Samuel remembers and all secrets have been revealed, I’m left to wonder which life I’m meant to lead.

Divided by my head and my heart, I’m torn between duty and desire. Samuel is my past while Saxon is my forever. The choice should be easy.

But love never is…

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Though it only took me a little over a day and a half to read his book and its predecessor, I feel like I spent a year dealing with everything they went through. It was intense and all-consuming. More than that, it was an excellent conclusion to Lucy, Sam, and Saxon’s saga.

Forgetting You, Remembering Me is the second book in Monica James’ Memories From Yesterday series. These books must both be read and done so in order. This book literally picks up right in the middle of the scene that ended Forgetting You, Forgetting Me; it just drops you right into the middle of all the drama and heartbreak. Forgetting You, Remembering Me is written in first-person perspective, from Lucy’s point of view.

I always appreciate it when a book can draw a physical reaction out of me, and this book did just that. I could feel my pulse accelerate and my chest tighten throughout this book. Lucy, Sam, and Saxon had been through so much all ready, and life just kept piling so much more on them. It was a hard book to read, even as I knew I couldn’t put it down for one second because I HAD to find out if life was going to ever be fair to them. I had not anticipated how much more Monica James could put her characters through before they finally got their happy ending.

These characters – even Sam, to a point – dug their way into my heart and played my heartstrings like aficionados. From overwhelming joy to the most horrific depths of despair, this book ran my emotions through the gamut. I could feel Lucy’s confusion, Sam’s desire, and Saxon’s pure love coming off each page. The interplay of the brothers’ differences and similarities and how they affected Lucy’s feelings toward them was very well done.

The ending of this book could have gone a million different ways. It was in flux until almost the final page. While I did absolutely love how it ended, I almost wish it had ended differently. I’m a bit of an outlier when it comes to needing a specific type of happily ever after for my books, though, so I have no doubt I am mostly alone in my desires.

This duet is the marks the first time I’ve read anything from Monica James; I’m impressed. Her writing was consuming and passionate. I have no doubt she is zealous about her art. These types of emotionally taxing books are just the kind of thing I need to make me a committed reader, and I feel fully invested in Ms. James’ work after finishing Forgetting Me, Remembering You. I can only hope we get to see more of the characters from this world because I feel there is so much more story to tell beyond the end.

Monica James spent her youth devouring the works of Anne Rice, William Shakespeare, and Emily Dickinson.
When she is not writing, Monica is busy running her own business, but she always finds a balance between the two. She enjoys writing honest, heartfelt, and turbulent stories, hoping to leave an imprint on her readers. She draws her inspiration from life.

She is a bestselling author in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, and the U.K.
Monica James resides in Melbourne, Australia, with her wonderful family, and menagerie of animals. She is slightly obsessed with cats, chucks, and lip gloss, and secretly wishes she was a ninja on the weekends.

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10 paperbacks, 1 winner!
To celebrate the release of my new book, FORGETTING YOU, REMEMBERING ME, I’m giving away 10 signed paperbacks! These amazing authors are coming to the party! Look at this Rockstar Line-up!!
Signed Paperbacks from:
  • Colleen Hoover, Title TBA
  • Anna Todd, Title TBA
  • Vi Keeland- Sex, Not Love
  • Mia Sheridan- Winner’s choice (Except the Indie of Archer’s Choice)
  • Christina Lauren- Roomies
  • Lexi Ryan- The Wrong Kind of Love
  • S.C. Stephens- Furious Rush & Dangerous Rush
  • Sylvain Reynard – Gabriel’s Inferno
  • Monica James- Forgetting You, Remembering Me
To Enter:
LIKE/FOLLOW: Facebook:
Instagram: @authormonicajames
The giveaway will run from February 15th – March 5th

Giveaway open internationally.

NEW RELEASE!! At the Stroke of Midnight by Tara Sivec ~ Sarah A’s Review

Meet the Naughty Princess Club: a brand new series from USA Today bestselling author Tara Sivec that introduces readers to Fairytale Lane and the hilarity—and romance—that ensues when three women start a new business to make it rain.
Once upon a time, Cynthia was the perfect housewife. Between being the President of the PTA and keeping her home spotless without a hair (or her pearls) out of place, her life was a dream come true. Her husband was once her knight in shining armor, but now he’s run off with all their money…and the babysitter.
Dressed as a princess at the annual Halloween block party on Fairytale Lane, she meets two other “princesses” also facing money troubles: antique store owner Ariel and librarian Isabelle. When the women are invited to wear their costumes to a party where they’re mistaken for strippers, Cindy, Ariel, and Belle realize that a career change could be the best way to make their money problems go bippityboppity-boo.
But can structured Cindy approach a stripper pole without sanitizing wipes? And could the blue-eyed anti-prince that has been crossing her path become Cindy’s happily ever after? At the Stroke of Midnight is a hilarious, empowering story where princesses can save themselves while slaying in stilettos.
 Truth? I was unsure about reading this book; I don’t gravitate toward comedy in anything.  In fact, I will actively avoid anything billed as humorous, unless it’s been well vetted by people I know and trust.  Another truth?  I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN AFTER I STARTED IT.  Yes, those are shouty capitals.  Cynthia – Cindy, Cin- totally won me over.  Well, maybe that’s overstating things.  Ariel impressed me with her brash honesty, and from there I fell for Cindy, too.

At the Stroke of Midnight is the first book in Tara Sivec’s new Naughty Princess Club series.  These books are all going to focus on different women – I say couples, but let’s be honest, the ladies rule this kingdom – and could technically be read as stand-alones, but after reading this book, I can’t see how you wouldn’t want to read them all in order, since you get to know the other two princesses so well in it.  At the Stroke of Midnight is written in first person perspective, from our fabulous heroine’s point of view.

My absolutely favorite part of this book wasn’t the romance between the heroine and her Prince Charming; it was the love story between the heroine and herself.  She grew so much from the woman in the first chapter to the take-charge, brazen broad who she proved herself to be in the final chapter.  Watching her shed her Stepford wife persona was fantastic; watching the effect her transformation had on the people who cared for her was everything.  So, yes, the romance was great, but not the reason I loved this book so much.

While Cin was the shining star of this show – as well she should be – I’d be remiss to completely neglect her prince.  I loved how he was with her.  Knowing when to push her, and just how hard to do it.  Supporting her completely in all her choices.  He very much lived up to anything I could hope for a woman who’d been dealt the cards our Cindy had been playing.

While I’d always heard about how amazing Tara Sivec’s romcoms were, I’d never picked one up; I’d assumed I wouldn’t care for them because it’s not a genre I generally care for.  Wow.  If this book is in keeping with her other comedies I was sorely mistaken.  At the Stroke of Midnight was smart, empowering, and a lot deeper than I would have ever guessed.  I’d always loved her heavy, heart-wrenching books, but I think I’ll be adding her romcoms to my reading repertoire.

Closing my eyes, I take a few deep, calming breaths as I stand behind a black velvet curtain in the dimly lit backstage area. An erotic song that I don’t recognize plays through the club on the other side of the curtain, the heavy, thumping bass from the music vibrating through my body.

“You can do this. It’s just like you’ve been practicing. Close your eyes and pretend you’re just dancing in your bedroom,” I whisper to myself.

“Do you normally have over a hundred complete strangers in your bedroom watching you take your clothes off while dancing to a horrible ’80s song?”

My pep talk is interrupted and my eyes fly open to find my friend, Ariel standing next to me backstage. It still feels weird to call her my friend, considering a few months ago I had no desire to ever speak to her, let alone get to know her. But, she’s one of the reasons I’m standing here right now, getting ready to do something I never thought I’d do. Sure, it’s an unusual way to make your dreams come true, but everyone has to start somewhere.

“I took your advice and chose another song. But just so you know, ‘Eternal Flame’ by the Bangles is not a horrible eighties song. ‘Is this burning, an eternal flame’ is a beautiful and passionate lyric,” I argue with her, my voice rising to be heard over the catcalls, whistling, and clapping happening on the other side of the curtain, as the woman who went on before me finishes up her performance.

“If it’s burning eternally, it’s probably chlamydia,” Ariel deadpans.

“Is this your idea of pep talk?”

“Do you need a pep talk?” Ariel questions, with a confused look on her face.

“Have we met?!” I shout hysterically. “Do you think this is something I’m a hundred percent confident about right now? I feel sick. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea. I don’t think I’ve had enough practice.”

I start to back away from the curtain when she reaches out and grabs my arm to stop me from running as fast as I can off this stage and out of this club.

“You’ve had enough practice. You finally let your hair down, literally and figuratively,” she reminds me as I tentatively run my fingers through my long blond hair, which she recently convinced me to put caramel highlights in and which has been curled and teased and hangs around my shoulders and halfway down my back. “This is where your future begins, babe. Right here. On this stage. This is where you take back your life and give a giant fuck you to that dipshit of an ex-husband. And that hot piece of man meat out there in the audience who has no idea what’s about to hit him.”

My eyes start to burn as they fill with tears, and I quickly blink them back before they ruin the perfect cat-eye eyeliner and false lashes she applied for me in the dressing room an hour ago.

“That was the sweetest thing you’ve ever said to me,” I tell her with a sniffle.

“Just think: Instead of having that giant pole up your ass, you’ll have it in the palm of your hands and be swinging on it in about forty-five seconds,” she says with a smirk.

“And then you go and completely ruin it,” I mutter with a shake of my head, taking another deep breath and turning away from her to face the curtains again.

“You’ll be fine. It’s two minutes and thirty-five seconds of your life. It will be over before you know it,” she reassures me with a pat on the back.

“I need my Clorox wipes,” I mumble nervously, bringing one hand up to my mouth and chewing nervously on my thumbnail.

She smacks my hand away and rolls her eyes.

“You do not need your Clorox wipes. That pole is clean. Ish. You know what? Don’t think about the pole and all the vaginas that have spun on it before you tonight. Think about how freeing this will be. Think about your business. Our business. Think about being independent and paying your own bills and banging the hot-as-balls man out in the audience who will most likely lose his shit when he sees you walk out on that stage,” she says with a wag of her eyebrows.

“I’m not going to . . . do that with him,” I reply indignantly, even though just the thought of being naked in a bed with that man makes me feel all warm and tingly.

“For fuck’s sake, you can say the word bang. God will not kill a kitten if you say the word bang. And you’re totally going to bang that man like a screen door in a hurricane. Especially when he sees you in this outfit,” she states, looking me up and down. “Well, the outfit you have on underneath that thing.”

I take a second to look down at myself and smile. He told me to never, ever wear this costume again, and I did it just to irritate him. And to see the look on his face when I take it off. I’m not the prude he thinks I am. I can change. I can be sexy and outgoing and do something completely outrageous and not in my comfort zone.

“I can do this,” I state with a nod of my head.

“Hell yeah you can!” Ariel cheers, bumping her shoulder against mine. “Just don’t trip and fall on your face in those ridiculously high heels. Biting it and smacking your face onto the stage is not hot.”

I glare at her, and she holds her hands up and begins backing away.

“You’ve got this. Shake your ass and make momma some money!” she shouts before disappearing around a corner to go out into the audience and cheer me on.

“Let’s give a great big round of applause to Tiffany! We’ve got an extra-special treat for you next. Get your dollar bills ready, folks. Straight from the castle, looking for her very own Prince Charming, is the hottest princess you’ll ever meet! Put your hands together for Cinderella!”

Letting out a long, slow breath, I grab onto the velvet curtain and yank it open, pasting a smile on my face and ignoring the butterflies flapping around in my stomach as I make my way on stage.

I can do this.

I’m going to go out there and show everyone that it’s possible for a housewife to make something of herself. Even if she has to make it by being a stripper.

Tara Sivec is a USA Today best-selling author, wife, mother, chauffeur, maid, short-order cook, babysitter, and sarcasm expert. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children and looks forward to the day when all three of them become adults and move out.

After working in the brokerage business for fourteen years, Tara decided to pick up a pen and write instead of shoving it in her eye out of boredom. She writes in a wide range of genres including Romantic Comedy, Romantic Comedy/Mystery, Romantic Suspense, New Adult Drama, Contemporary Romance and Psychological Thriller. Her novel Seduction and Snacks won first place in the Indie Romance Convention Reader’s Choice Awards 2013 for Best Indie First Book and she was voted Best Indie Author in the Indie Romance Convention Reader’s Choice Awards 2014.

In her spare time, Tara loves to dream about all of the baking she’ll do and naps she’ll take when she ever gets spare time.

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NOW AVAILABLE!! Baby Daddy by Kendall Ryan ~ Sarah A’s Review

hot and hilarious new standalone from New York Times bestseller Kendall Ryan.

We met in a trapped elevator.

Emmett was on his way to work, sophisticated and handsome in his tailored suit and tie.

I was on my way to the sperm bank. Awkward, right?

At thirty-five, my life hadn’t taken the path I thought it would and I was tired of waiting—I wanted a baby. And I was ready to take matters into my own hands to make it happen.

After our ill-fated elevator encounter, Emmett insisted on taking me to dinner—he also insisted on something else—that I ditch my plan involving a turkey baster and let him do the job. He would be my baby daddy. He was a wealthy and powerful CEO with little interest in diapers or playdates. And since he didn’t want kids, I’d be on my own once his bun was in my oven, free to go my own way.

But once his baby was inside me, it was like a switch had been flipped, and I got a whole lot more than I ever bargained for.

This full-length standalone contains a hot, swoonworthy hero, lots of playful banter and some hot baby-making ! Enjoy.

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Baby Daddy is the twenty-first century ‘You’ve Got Mail.’ Seriously, I couldn’t help but picture Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks while reading this book, despite the characters being described as looking vastly different than them. That connection made this book feel like revisiting something I’d loved when I was a kid.

Baby Daddy is a stand-alone novel. It is written in dual first-person perspective, narrated by Jenna & Emmett.

Baby Daddy was amusing and light. I found myself smiling at the interactions between Jenna and Emmett frequently. They had such fun chemistry and the way they challenged each other was endearing. I enjoyed watching them fumble their way through their strict, no emotions arrangement and discover along the way there was so much more between them than either had ever experienced or expected.

This book didn’t cross any revolutionary literary boundaries, it was easy and formulaic, but sometimes that kind of story is exactly what I need. Something that is going to entertain me, make me laugh, and just allow me a few hours of getting out of my head.

The only wish I have about this book would have been that it delved more into Jenna and Emmett’s pasts, particularly their childhoods. The broad strokes were covered enough to explain their particular fears and desires, but I had so many more questions. I’m inquisitive by nature, though, so I always find myself wanting to delve into the inner workings of what makes people tick.

My favorite thing about Kendall Ryan is her ability to write across several subgenres of romance without hesitation. She can write a romcom just as easily as she writes emotional contemporary romance.

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen titles, Kendall Ryan has sold over 1.5 million books and her books have been translated into several languages in countries around the world. She’s a traditionally published author with Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins UK, as well as an independently published author. Since she first began self-publishing in 2012, she’s appeared at #1 on Barnes & Noble and iBooks charts around the world. Her books have also appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than three dozen times. Ryan has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Newsweek, and InTouch Magazine.

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NEW RELEASE!! Hate Me by LP Lovell ~ Sarah A’s Review

Hate Me is an all-new emotional mafia romance by LP Lovell is available NOW!


I am a whore. A slave. A possession. I accepted my fate long ago, but fate is not done with me yet. Freedom is so close I can almost taste it, only to have it snatched away under the guise of protection. A guilded cage is still a cage. Friend or foe? Saviour or oppressor? Rafael D’Cruze is a bad man. I hate him, so why do I feel safe with him?


She’s a favour. Collateral. A pretty slave. I have no interest in her beyond keeping her alive for the man who now owns her. And yet…I’m fascinated by the little Russian. There is no room for weakness in my world, but it appears the delicate rose has steel petals. I’m willing to bleed for a willing touch, a trusting glance…

A broken little bird. The big bad wolf. A longing that could heal or destroy.

Hate me or hold me?

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I am impressed with this book.  It was dark and gritty and told of horrific things without ever crossing a line into something gratuitous.  I was completely wrapped up in Anna and Raphael and their precarious relationship, they were both so interesting alone, and together their dynamic was completely engrossing.

Hate Me is the first book in LP Lovell’s Collateral series.  This series is a spinoff of her Kiss of Death series, though you do not have to read that series before this book.  Honestly, I didn’t know this book had ties to anything else until I read a review outlining the connection.  I did find this book interesting enough that I would love to go and read that series when I’m done with this one.  Hate Me is written in dual first-person perspective, narrated by Anna & Raphael.

Hate Me is a glimpse behind the filthy curtain of drug cartels.  It oozed violence and hatred.  It was rife with the ugliest side of the law.  It never shied away from exposing readers to the worst parts of humanity.  Each moment of violence walked a fine line between being grotesque and cathartic.  I found myself questioning my own moral compass in some moments, as I never questioned the necessity of the punishments bestowed on the offenders.

Anna was tragic.  Her history.  Her present.  Her reality.  Raphael was terrifying.  His life.  His world.  His influence.  Together they balanced each other extremes.   She should have been too broken for him. He should have been too callous for her.  She needed someone to push her beyond what she’d come to expect from men.  He needed someone to see him as more than a stone-cold cartel boss.  The push and pull they had was exactly what they both needed and allowed them to build a relationship built on more than attraction and chemistry.

The only wish I have for this book, and it’s really not even fair to ask for it until I read the next book, would be to get more of Raphael’s backstory.  We have the broad strokes, but I have a feeling there is so much more to the man than we’ve even begun to see.

LP Lovell is a new to me author.  If this book is indicative of her writing style and story building, I am sold.  There was a rawness to her writing that felt perfect for the characters and the world they lived in.  I will definitely be reading the subsequent novels in this series and checking out her backlist when I have the time.

Lauren Lovell is an indie author from England. She suffers from a total lack of brain to mouth filter and is the friend you have to explain before you introduce her to anyone, and apologize for afterwards.
She’s a self-confessed shameless pervert, who may be suffering from slight peen envy. 

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Nobody Does It Better by Lexi Blake ~ Sarah A’s Review

A spy who specializes in seduction

Kayla Summers was an elite CIA double agent, working inside China’s deadly MSS. Now, she works for McKay-Taggart London, but the Agency isn’t quite done with her. Spy master Ezra Fain needs her help on a mission that would send her into Hollywood’s glamorous and dangerous party scene. Intrigued by the mission and the movie star hunk she will be shadowing, she eagerly agrees. When she finds herself in his bed, she realizes she’s not only risking her life, but her heart.

A leading man who doesn’t do romance

Joshua Hunt is a legend of the silver screen. As Hollywood’s highest paid actor, he’s the man everyone wants to be, or be with, but something is missing. After being betrayed more than once, the only romance Josh believes in anymore is on the pages of his scripts. He keeps his relationships transactional, and that’s how he likes it, until he meets his new bodyguard. She was supposed to keep him safe, and satisfied when necessary, but now he’s realizing he may never be able to get enough of her.

An ending neither could have expected

Protecting Joshua started off as a mission, until it suddenly felt like her calling. When the true reason the CIA wanted her for this assignment is revealed, Kayla will have to choose between serving her country or saving the love of her life.

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It’s no secret I love Lexi Blake, I find her books phenomenal, and her storylines always draw me right in.  I’m not sure this book quite stands up to her others – don’t get me wrong – Nobody Does It Better was still fascinating and well-constructed, I just didn’t feel the same connection I usually do with her books.

Nobody Does It Better is the fifteenth and final book in Lexi Blake’s Masters & Mercenaries series.  There will be a spin-off series and this book set up the premise of that series wonderfully.  All the books in the Masters & Mercenaries series can be read as stand-alones, but some storylines continue throughout the series and knowledge of them is helpful.  I’ve not read all the books, and there were times I wished I had all the information from the previous books.  Nobody Does It Better is written in third person limited perspective, alternating between Kayla and Joshua’s viewpoints.

I always find arranged relationships fascinating.  The idea of committing to a relationship – and a person – without first exploring the chemistry and dynamics at play with your partner captivates me.  It’s even better when the chemistry between those people is immediate and intense like it was for Kay and Josh.  I could nearly feel the current between them myself, that’s how well Ms. Blake conveyed her characters’ attraction to one another.

Josh, while icy on the surface, was a wonderfully sympathetic character.  Between the tiny glimpse of his past, we got in the prologue and the hints of what his past had been like; his pain was palpable.  Once we got to know him, it was easy to forgive the crueler things he thought, said, and did in light of his past.  Kay surprised me; I wasn’t expecting her optimism.  I had assumed it was a persona she’d taken on, but as the story went on it became obvious she was very good at compartmentalizing her work like from her real life.  She was an engrossing creature, and I kind of loved her for her quirkiness.

Several storylines were converging in Nobody Does It Better, most of them introduced in this novel, but at least one was introduced farther back in the series.  It could have been too much, too many moving parts to keep track of, but somehow, I never felt like there was an overload, each moving part was laid out in such a way there was an ease to putting that part of the puzzle exactly where it belonged.  To the point, I had almost riddled the entire thing out before the reveal was completely laid out.

The only thing I wish for Nobody Does It Better was that it had that IT factor; the book just didn’t have the same magic that her other books do.  It’s one of those unquantifiable things, a feeling more than anything else, and I missed it.

Lexi Blake writes romantic suspense like few others.  She’s able to make you care for her characters, even while they’re doing and saying things you don’t agree with and wraps you up so tightly in her storylines you can’t help but feel each moment like you are in the middle of all the action.  I’ve loved each book in the Masters & Mercenaries series I’ve read and can’t wait to go back and fill in the blanks on the ones I’ve missed; I’m also eagerly anticipating the spinoff series.

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog int eh world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

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