Behind the Bars by Brittainy C. Cherry ~ Sarah A’s Review

When I first met Jasmine Greene, she came in as raindrops.

I was the awkward musician, and she was the high school queen.
The only things we had in common were our music and our loneliness.

Something in her eyes told me her smile wasn’t always the truth.
Something in her voice gave me a hope I always wished to find.
And in a flash, she was gone.

Years later, she was standing in front of me on a street in New Orleans.
She was different, but so was I. Life made us colder. Harder. Isolated.

Caged.

Even though we were different, the broken pieces of me recognized the sadness in her.
Now she was back, and I wouldn’t make the mistake of letting her go again.

When I first met Jasmine Greene, she came in as raindrops.
When we met again, she was the darkest storm.

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It’s no secret I love books deeply emotional, make my soul weep, destroy me, and put me together books; Behind the Bars fit that bill wonderfully.  It included all the things I love most when I’m reading: horrific loss, destructive coping methods, dubious characters using the main characters for their own gain, and ultimately the thing every reader wants, hope, healing, and happiness for the characters we’ve come to know and love.  Add to that a heavy musical theme and this hit almost every bullet-point I could list for a book wishlist.

Behind the Bars is the first book in what looks to be a promising start to a new series from Brittainy C. Cherry.  Based on the series title, Music Street, I can only assume that music will be the string that holds the series together – and that makes me eternally thankful, I don’t get enough books that hit on the musical parts of my soul.  Behind the Bars is written in dual first-person perspective by Jasmine and Elliot.

Music played such an important role in this book I would be remiss to not speak about it.  I know there are music people and non-music people, and Behind the Bars may not speak to non-music people the way it spoke to me.  Music is the language of my soul, I’ve been playing for most of my life, so I deeply connected with the characters and how they related to music and let it speak for them when words were not enough to convey the depth of their emotions.  When a musician doesn’t have that outlet, it causes an essential piece of who they are to become untethered, so it hurt my heart when the music of Elliot and Jasmine’s souls wasn’t available to them.

Jasmine and Elliot both suffered unimaginable heartbreak and loss, though it was served to them in vastly different ways and I’m not sure which was more painful.  The loss of a loved one, no matter what the circumstances, causes a shift in a person, one that can make them stronger or destroy them, occasionally the destruction comes as a prelude to the strength; both Jasmine and Elliot dredged through both outcomes before they found the way back to their happiness.

I could wax on about this book for ages; there were just so many things I absolutely loved about it.  So many things that spoke directly to my heart and soul; this is a book that I’m sure I’ll come back to time and again when I need to read something that moves me in a way few things are able.

Brittainy C. Cherry won me as a loyal reader with The Air He Breathes, and she just keeps showing me new reasons to keep her on my must-read list.  She writes from the depths of her soul, and you can feel each part of her heart she lays bare in her books.  I only hope she continues to give us, her readers, the privilege of looking into her soul and seeing the world in the way she views it.

By the way, what happened to Todd’s nose?” I asked.

“I broke it,” Elliott said matter-of-factly.

“What? How? Why?”

He shrugged before turning to look out the window. “He called you a bad name.”

“What was it?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“Eli,” I started.

He turned my way and locked his hazel eyes with my browns. “Jazz…” He shook his head. “It wasn’t true.”

I swallowed hard, a big part of me certain Todd’s words held some form of truth.

Elliott saw it in me—my fear. He kept shaking his head and whispered, “I don’t feel sorry for you. Sometimes you look at me like you think I feel sorry for you, and I want you to know I don’t. I think you’re perfect the way you are.”

I quietly laughed at him repeating the words I’d told him earlier. A few tears rolled down my cheeks. “I’m a little messed up.”

“I know.” He nodded. “That’s why I like you.”

He went back to staring out the window, and I kept staring at him.

And there it was.

So small, so tiny, so real.

Love.

It wasn’t love, but it was the beginning of it.

I knew I was young, and I knew it was stupid, but in that moment, I began to fall in love with the quiet boy who quietly cared for me. The boy who was scared and still strong. The boy who stood up for me when he was surrounded by reasons not to do such a thing. I hadn’t known much about love. I hadn’t known how it looked, felt, or tasted. I hadn’t known how it moved, how it flowed, but I knew my heart was tight and currently skipping a few beats. I understood the goose bumps covering my arms. I knew this stuttering boy who was sometimes so scared was someone worth loving. He was worth being the first one I gave my heart to.

I knew Elliott Adams was love.

And I was falling into him so fast.

Hi! I’m Brittainy! Join me as we travel through my mind as a Romance Author. This includes such things as my random thoughts, tricks, tips, things I’m learning, things I’m re-learning, things I’m forgetting, and my weird ways of crafting stories.

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Torrid Little Affair by Kendall Ryan ~ Sarah A’s Review

The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. And I have the perfect candidate all picked out.

My new assistant is tempting beyond belief with her curvy body and take-no-shit attitude. All those luscious curves, and a juicy ass I’m already in love with. God, the things that I would do to that ass…

But it’s the haunted look in her eyes that speaks to me. Like she’s taken just as much shit in her past as I have—maybe more. We both deserve a little fun.

Love can’t fix everything. Mind-blowing sex and a few killer orgasms, on the other hand?

I have a feeling those might do the trick.

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I was so looking forward to Cooper’s book.  He was so sweet and lovable in the first two books; I was desperate to see him get his happy ending.  I had such high hopes for his story and had built it up so much in my mind; the actual experience didn’t quite measure up to my imagination.  The story was still fantastic; it was my own preconceived notions that spoiled it for me.

Torrid Little Affair is the third book in Kendall Ryan’s Forbidden Desires series.  It is the only book, thus far, that can be read as a standalone, but Cooper is a major player in the first two books so reading them would be beneficial to understanding the place he’s in when this book begins.  Torrid Little Affair is told in dual first person – by Corinne & Cooper.

I was a little surprised by how quickly this story moved.  Ms. Ryan hit the ground running with Cooper’s story and kept up that fast pace until the end.  I particularly enjoyed how effortlessly Cooper and Corinne’s arrangement evolved into something they both needed but didn’t think they were ready for in any way.  The way they were able to open up to one another and trust each other with most of the broken parts of themselves was lovely, as it seemed like they both needed someone to be wholly invested in them with no expectations.

The only wish I have for Torrid Little Affair is that it had delved farther into Corinne’s past and rehashed Cooper’s a little more for the readers who hadn’t read the first books and for those of us who maybe didn’t have total recall of all he’d been through.  I felt as if there was a significant build-up to a few major events that had colored Corinne’s timidity and fears, but the traumas she’d experienced didn’t seem to mesh with what was hinted at.

I’m in love with this world Kendall Ryan has constructed in her Forbidden Desires series.  All of the brothers captivate me, and I can’t wait to find out more about them.  While Cooper’s story didn’t hit me as hard as Gavin’s did, I still loved getting to see him find happiness and his own true love.  I can’t wait for Quinn’s story; he’s been a bit of an outlier in the first three books and that air of mystery that surrounds him has me fully intrigued.

DIRTY LITTLE SECRET
Forbidden Desires Book 1

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DIRTY LITTLE PROMISE
Forbidden Desires book 2

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TORRID LITTLE AFFAIR
Forbidden Desires book 3

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TEMPTING LITTLE TEASE
Forbidden Desires book
 4
RELEASE DATE: March 19, 2018

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NAUGHTY LITTLE SCANDAL
Forbidden Desires book
 5
RELEASE DATE: May 2018

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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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Noah by Cristin Harber ~ Sarah A’s Review

Navy SEAL Noah Coleman knows how to do two things well: underwater demolition and hand-to-hand combat. So renewing his enlistment is a no-brainer until he receives a message about his cousin’s aggressive terminal cancer. A quick trip home confirms the worst, which means his niece Bella will become his responsibility.

Elementary school guidance counselor Teagan Shaw has known Bella since her son announced the two were best friends. The shy little girl is also on Teagan’s radar because of Bella’s early signs of gifted aptitude. But Teagan is more concerned about the military man thrust into the role of single parent.

While Noah adjusts to civilian life and Eagle’s Ridge, he and Teagan begin forging a friendship. But Teagan has a secret, a shadowy figure from her past who is intent on returning to torment her.

Fall in love with seven sexy and irresistible soldiers who find their courage and heart tested like never before in the battle for love! This multi-author collaborative series of contemporary romance novels is brought to you by bestselling authors Barbara Freethy, Roxanne St. Claire, Christie Ridgway, Lynn Raye Harris, Julia London, Cristin Harber and Samantha Chase. You won’t want to miss a single one!

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Noah didn’t quite have the heaviness I was expecting, considering what Noah had been through, but it was still a wonderful, moving story.  It had a touch of suspense and was poignantly sweet.  The addition of the children, Bella and Will, made it that much more special.

Noah is the sixth book in the Seven Brides for Seven Soldiers series, each book from a different author.  They are all interconnected standalones, each one building on the world of the previous books.  They can all be read without having read any of the others, but I would highly suggest reading all of them, in order, to get the full experience and history of Eagle Ridge.  There are also mentions of things that have happened in other books Noah, so it makes those situations more easily understandable.

I’ve been looking forward to Noah’s story since we first saw him with Bella in Zane.  His story seems so sad, his loss so difficult, his new responsibility so great, I hoped his story would be equal parts devastating and healing.  While we did get a little of the healing, most of the devastation happened off page.  I’m surprisingly okay with it, because Noah’s love and concern for his niece, Bella, completely engulfed my heart.  For a man who was admittedly scared and unprepared for raising a child, he was an amazing guardian. I think we can all admit there is something about a big, military man tending to the needs of a bright, beautiful little girl – especially one who has just lost her mom – that melts the hardest of hearts.

Teagan added an interesting layer to Noah’s story.  Her job as a school counselor gave her unique perspective into helping Noah and Bella deal with their loss and transition into their new life together.  Add to that her son and his relationship with Bella, and it made for a delicate and significant dynamic the four of them had to figure out.  Teagan past also added to the precarious balancing act they were performing, in a way no one had expected.

The only thing I wish for Noah is that it had included more of Lainey, Noah’s cousin, and Bella’s mom.  I would have loved to see her with both Noah and Bella.  She was such a significant person in both of their lives; I think that the addition of some flashbacks with her or adding a few chapters between the prologue and chapter one would have given this the emotional punch I’d originally hoped for.

Cristin Harber delivered a sweet, somewhat emotional layer to the Seven Brides for Seven Soldiers series.  She did a great job of making me love a story about a war veteran that isn’t in keeping with the things I usually love about those kinds of books.  With only one more book in this series, I hope Ford is able to send the world of Eagle Ridge out with a bang.

Noah drew in a slow breath, searching for the right words. But they didn’t come. Who knew what those were supposed to be when they’d gone through the heartache that had pitched them together.

“Teagan.” He pressed them forward until her back met the cedar wood wall. “I have no idea what I’m doing.”

Her chin tilted up, her lips parting with tiny breaths he wanted to capture with a kiss.

“And that’s foreign to me.” He towered over her, but he gave her enough space that she could roll away, plenty of room so he could take in more than just her face. But she smelled like flowers. Not sweet but strong and wild. Noah ducked his cheek to hers, brushing his lips close to her ear.

Her palms smoothed the front of his Henley. Not pushing away, not grabbing for more.

Together they were back at the same line as in the kitchen earlier. The one they’d both eased away from. But this time they toed the line, savoring and wondering, testing whether the Do Not Cross was a figment of their imagination, a simple cautionary tale that they’d concocted for no good reason, or if hormones and arousal were calling the shots.

Teagan slid her cheek against his mouth, and he stifled a groan.

“Neither do I,” she whispered. “No clue.”

He chuckled quietly, leaning his weight against her. “It’d be easier if one of us knew.”

Pressed between them, her fingernails scratched down his stomach, and he nuzzled his nose against her neck, breathing against her skin and memorizing how she smelled. Teagan’s soft murmurs made the hairs on the back of his neck stand, and he let his lips drift to her cheek.

“I’m going to kiss you on one condition,” he whispered.

“What’s that?” Teagan’s breathlessness made his heart pound harder.

He let the rush roll through him then teased her lips with his, not making contact, keeping them a breath apart. “That neither of us will be sorry.”

“Promise.” Teagan’s fingers tightened against his chest. “I won’t be.”

Ryder (#1) – Barbara Freethy
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Adam (#2) – Roxanne St. Claire
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Zane (#3) – Christie Ridgway
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Wyatt (#4) – Lynn Raye Harris
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Jack (#5) – Julia London
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Noah (#6) – Cristin Harber
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Ford (#7) – Samantha Chase
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Cristin Harber is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author. She writes sexy, steamy romantic suspense and military romance. Readers voted her onto Amazon’s Top Picks for Debut Romance Authors in 2013, and her debut Titan series was both a #1 romantic suspense and #1 military romance bestseller.

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Nightshade by Molly McAdams ~ Sarah A’s Review

My life has never been my own. From the time I could walk, I was trained to be the mob’s hardened assassin. To be a monster. I’ve been told what to do, when to kill, and who to love. The minute I strayed, I lost everything.

Then I met Jessica.

She swept into my life like a storm of heartache, seduction, and intrigue. She’s everything I hate, but with one look, I can’t stay away. With one touch, she ignites a craving unlike anything I’ve ever known.

But her secrets threaten to destroy everything closest to me. Including her…

Together we’re poison. A destructive combination of darkness and chaos. And I want to savor every drop in my veins.

 ***The Redemption series is a series of interconnected romantic suspense standalones***

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Once again, Molly McAdams proves she is the queen of rip-your-heart-out romances. My body physically aches after reading Nightshade; it kept me so tense while reading. My heart hurts, my lungs burn, my shoulders won’t relax; it was intense and amazing. This is the epitome of what I look for in a romance novel.

Nightshade is the third book in Molly McAdams’ Redemption series. These books are all interconnected stand-alones so you can read them independently, but I would highly recommend reading them all and in order as each book – especially the final two – is built on the world of the what came before. It’s told in dual POV, by Jessica and Kieran. Experiencing both of their fears, desires, demons, and love made this book outstanding.

I loved Kieran in Firefly; he was, and is, terrifying, but just underneath that frightening shell it was obvious he was damaged, destroyed even, by a life that wasn’t his. The delineation between Kieran and Nightshade, how it was demonstrated was fascinating. His growth arc, especially when you take into account who he was in Firefly, made this book. Watching him realize he was wrong about what he was sure he’d wanted and needed his entire life was incredibly healing.

Jessica nearly broke me; her story was beyond heartbreaking. I appreciated how delicately Ms. McAdams handled her character. She was hands-down one of the strongest, fearsome heroine’s I’ve read, while also being one of the most wrecked. Jessica could have easily made a thousand different choices which would have changed every aspect of her life, but she never strayed from her purpose.

Jessica & Kieran were phenomenal together. They each fulfilled a deep need in the other and were able to soothe the aching pieces of the other’s soul. Their chemistry was explosive, but it was the moments where they simply offered each other solace from the world that completely bowled me over. These two were perfect for one another in every way. Witnessing them learn how to be together, how to heal their gaping wounds, how to read every nuance of the other’s persona was beautiful and a little heartbreaking.

This book nearly broke me at several points. The plot was wonderful and suspenseful; it was intense and intricate, it was near perfection. There were so many moving parts, so many forces working against Jessica and Kieran and the people they loved; it was a wonder they were able to unravel the web that had been woven around them and find a way out. The final chapters of Nightshade shredded my heart; I absolutely was taken aback by what happened, by how they happened, by how devastated I was when the dust cleared.

Molly McAdams is a go-to author for me, she’s yet to disappoint me and writes emotionally charged, devastatingly beautiful romance unlike anyone else. Her prose is always perfectly matched to the characters and the world in which she is writing. Ms. McAdams knows how to rip her readers’ hearts out, fillet them and send them on the path to healing in a way that is uniquely hers. I know every time I delve into a new novel she’s written I will be wholly engrossed and deeply impressed, and she did a wonderful job of proving that, yet again, in Nightshade.

The muscles in Kieran’s jaw ticked, and the anger rolling off his body suddenly felt like a living thing. But his stare never wavered from mine as I soundlessly opened the knife at my side.

“Or did I hit a little too close for comfort last night?” I asked, my voice both seductive and mocking as I took another step closer to him and then another. “Could you just not satisfy her?”

“Enough.”

My brows rose at the growl behind his demand. “Is that right?”

His eyes held so much warning as I took the last step to press my body against his.

My body trembled and begged to get closer still, but I forced myself not to move.

I hated him for the way he felt.

I hated him for the way my body craved more and betrayed me.

I hated him for everything he was and for making me want him in a way I’d never wanted a man.

I hated him.

“Who knew the mob’s feared assassin was lacking.”

One second I was in front of him, staring into those wild eyes, the next I was pressed face-first to the wall with Kieran’s hard body caging me against it. His strong hands were pinning mine to the wall. My knife was gone.

His chest moved roughly against my back, his breath made my hair dance along my cheek and lips, and I ached to push against where I could feel his hardened length in his jeans.

Oh God.

What is wrong with me?

I tried to force a wild laugh from my lungs.

I tried to taunt him.

But there was nothing.

“How long?” he demanded, his voice hoarse.

I curled my hands against the wall and shivered beneath him when his body moved closer and he pressed our hands harder to the wall.

“What?” I asked breathlessly.

“How long have you been watching us?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know?”

A huff tumbled from my lips when his mouth met my ear. The sound ended on a whimper when the movement forced my butt against his erection.

I needed the heavy, sickening feeling weighing my body down. I needed the disgust and hatred at having a man so close. I needed the reminder of who I was and why I did what I did.

But all I could smell was the subtle hint of his soap.

All I could see was his tattooed arms twisting over mine.

All I could feel was his lean muscles crowding around me in a way that felt so foreign and good.

And I wanted more . . .

Weak. So weak.

“How long?”

My body tensed.

If he had yelled the question, it might have been easier. But there was something truly terrifying in the soft tenor of his voice. And for the first time, I was afraid to be in the same room as him.

But I wasn’t scared for my life.

I was scared for my soul.

I slowly looked over my shoulder and forced myself to hold his disturbing stare. “Nearly half my life.”


Blackbird
(book 1)
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Signed Paperback

 

Firefly (book 2)
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Molly grew up in California but now lives in the oh-so-amazing state of Texas with her husband, daughter, and fur babies. When she’s not diving into the world of her characters, some of her hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, traveling, and long walks on the beach … which roughly translates to being a homebody with her hubby and dishing out movie quotes. She has a weakness for crude-humored movies and fried pickles, and loves curling up in a fluffy comforter during a thunderstorm … or under one in a bathtub if there are tornados. That way she can pretend they aren’t really happening.

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The Outliers by TM Frazier ~ Sarah A’s Review

The Outliers, the stunning conclusion to The Outskirts Duet by T.M. Frazier is available NOW!

Sensual. Heartbreaking. Passionate. Overwhelming. Maddening.

That’s the love Finn and I share.
It’s the kind you can never recover from.
The kind you never WANT to recover from. 

That’s why we’ll do everything and anything to protect it.  

When my past chases me all the way to Outskirts, we have to make a choice.
Let the lies destroy our chance at future together or…bury them deep in the swamp where they belong.

Got a shovel?

****AVAILABLE IN KINDLE UNLIMITED****
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The Outliers concludes TM Frazier’s Outskirts duet excellently. She gave her readers everything they needed after the end of The Outskirts plus some. I’m happy to have those answers, but a little sad that we’re done with Sawyer and Finn. I hope that we are able to see more of the Outskirts in the future.

The Outliers jumps in immediately where The Outskirts left off; there is no passage of time off page and for that I am thankful. I think having any of those moments happen as a flashback or a recollection to another character would have taken away from how important and life-changing those seconds were for Sawyer.

One of my favorite things about this duet as a whole is how Sawyer and Finn’s relationship was approached. There was never any doubt about their love for one another, and they didn’t let outside circumstances come between them. I loved how deeply they loved and trusted one another and strived to never keep secrets from each other. There was one instance where it seemed as if Finn may have been less than forthright with Sawyer, but once he explained his thought process, it was clear that was not the case.

My wish for The Outliers is that it be a little heavier, there was so much to work with regarding themes used it seems like a miss to have not delved into those things more. I was expecting a lot more exploration into the cult Sawyer escaped from and the abuses perpetrated against its members. There was a little of it, but I’d hoped for more. I’d also hoped the book would be less predictable, it felt very formulaic, and that was just a little disappointing after such a promising start.

My eyes went to her throat. I saw her pulse quicken beneath her smooth skin. She twisted her pouty pink lips. Her hesitation only lasted a second before she wrapped her arms around my neck and pulled me down closer so that the tips of our noses touched. Her lips feathered against mine. “Fuck me, Finn.”

“Yes,” I growled.

I may have been the one who told her to say those words but hearing them out of her mouth caused the raging inferno of lust within me to explode beyond control. I had a feeling I’d be hearing those words on repeat in my head for the rest of my life.

Fuck me, Finn.

I lifted her up onto the nearest table and pushed her onto her back. I tore her panties off in one tug and while I devoured her with my eyes, I somehow managed to concentrate enough to unbuckle my belt and push my jeans down over my ass, freeing my throbbing cock.

Sawyer moaned when I parted her legs, stepping between them. The sound was pure fucking heaven. Our tongues danced while we drank each other in. I savored the way her body felt against mine. Hard against soft. I dug my fingers into the flesh of her perfectly round ass before moving them to her pussy where I parted her warm wet folds and strummed her swollen clit because Sawyer was my instrument of choice and only I knew how to play her to perfection.

The look on Sawyer’s face when I inserted a finger inside of her was as if I’d just given her a drug. She was high on the pleasure. Her lids were heavy. Her pupils large and dark. I was dead set on making sure I wrung every bit of pleasure from her gorgeous body and I gave her exactly what she’d asked me for.

****AVAILABLE IN KINDLE UNLIMITED****
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T.M.Frazier is a USA TODAY bestselling author. She resides in sunny Southwest Florida with her husband and her young daughter.

When she’s not writing she loves talking to her readers, country music, reading and traveling. Her debut novel, The Dark Light of Day was published in September of 2013 and when she started writing it she intended for it to be a light beachy romance.

Well…it has a beach in it!

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The Other Brother by Meghan Quinn ~ Sarah A’s Review

I got the call. The dreaded call every child fears. My dad wasn’t well, and the man who had always been my everything needed me.

There was only one thing to do; pack up and head back to my hometown. I had finally made my dream life in the city with the great job and loving boyfriend. But was there really a choice not to go?

I found a wonderful job, a quaint house to rent, my boyfriend was working on joining me in Binghamton, and my favorite pizza place was only miles away. Life was good.

Until I met my neighbor.

It’s been three years since I’d seen Aaron Walters, and my God is he all kinds of sexy gorgeous. Figures. He was supposed to be my forever, the man I grew old with, but he had different plans. How can a man who ripped my heart apart still trip me up? How can he make me still want him now more than ever?

I’m tempted, I’m drawn toward him, I’m completely and utterly unaware that I’m dating his biological brother.

Now two men own my heart. The question is, which brother will I choose?

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I nearly put this book down before I was a quarter of the way into it. I wasn’t connecting with the characters, and some of the writing was feeling forced. At the advice of some of my reading buddies, I pushed through, and I’m glad I did. While The Other Brother isn’t the best book I’ve ever read, it was satisfying and interesting. The characters had compelling backstories, and this was an interesting twist on a second-chance romance.

The Other Brother is a stand-alone. However, there are two other couples in the book who have previously been written about: Racer and Georgie in Twisted Twosome and Tucker and Emma in My Best Friend’s Ex. I did not read those books before The Other Brother, but the couples intrigued me enough that I have added them to my TBR and hope to visit them soon.

Second chance romances are a favorite of mine. There is just something about reconnecting with a significant other from the past and rediscovering the passion once shared that warms my heart. Aaron and Amelia had that connection in spades. It was evident from the start what they’d lost had never disappeared, only misplaced. I enjoyed the flashbacks to their initial relationship; it put the foundation on which Aaron was trying to build their new relationship in crystal clear perspective.

The most intriguing part of the book was that of the brothers, Aaron & Tyke. While a little unreal, I loved it; I read to escape reality, so it was terrific to get that little bit of departure. In fact, all the family dynamics Aaron had to deal with were fascinating and heartbreaking.

My wish for The Other Brother is that the first few chapters be more attention-grabbing. As I said, I nearly DNF’d the book because of the first quarter, when I was finding it hard to connect with the characters or writing. The writing did improve as the novel progressed, so I felt that, perhaps, the author had difficulty connecting with the characters in the beginning as well.

Meghan Quinn, while not exactly unknown to me, is an author I’ve never read. I’ve extensively heard about how funny she is – if you follow my reviews, you know I stay away from comedy – so I’d had little reason to pick up her books. I’m unsure if this book is a departure for her, but the humor took a back seat to the emotion and intensity of The Other Brother. Keeping this fact in mind, I have every intention of trying a few titles from her backlist.

Why? Why does he have to magically appear in my life? Moving back to Binghamton, I thought about the possibility of maybe running into him, but I thought it unlikely, something that would never really happen.

Boy, was I wrong.

What a sick joke life is playing on me.

Aaron Walters, the boy who broke me into pieces is my neighbor.

I can’t fathom the impact I feel already.

Seeing him in hip-hugging jeans and a tight, plain shirt did a number on me. It kept me up all night as memories of what we used to have flooded my mind.

His voice.

His stature.

The way he used to kiss my neck.

The way I felt so protected in his arms.

Too bad his arms couldn’t protect me from his devastating, heart-breaking self.

And hell, he looked good. Too good.

He’s always been tall with handsome features and a chiseled jaw, but now he’s bulked up to the point that I could see his abs flexing under his shirt, the same shirt that stretched over his biceps.

But it wasn’t his muscles or handsome features that once again made my heart ache, it was those eyes. So bright, so blue, so kind, but still so sad. It reminded me of the first day I met him, of the day he stole my heart from every other man on the market.

Broken, unsure, yet yearning for love. It was all there, and like experiencing a moment of déjà vu, I was transported back into a time when I felt invisible like I could conquer anything with him at my side.

Once again, I was wrong.

Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped.

Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing… enter her first novel, Caught Looking.

Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four-legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh, and she loves a good boob squeeze!

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Bedroom Hymns by Morgan Reeves ~ Sarah A’s Review

They took me, broke me, remade me in their image. I am branded by their twisted ambitions; martyred by their greed. They ground me down until I was everything they wanted and more, and at the end I thanked them for it.

Jackson.

Dominic.

Cole.

They forced me to love them, and then they cast me aside like yesterday’s trash. But they taught me to be the best. So that’s exactly what they’ll get.

Because in the end…

Revenge is sweeter than love.

And they’ll never see me coming.

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I was almost completely blown away by Bedroom Hymns.  I loved every second of what I read, I just   The intense taboo was done quite well.  However, I did feel there were several storylines that were started and never fleshed out.

Bedroom Hymns passed all boundaries of polite society.  Morgan Reeves set the tone of the book from the first sentence and continued to build one that darkness throughout the entirety of the book.  Even the lighter moments, the scenes where love and understanding were the pinnacle, were shrouded in immorality.  There nary a scene that wasn’t full of wickedness and foreboding.

The character development in this book was a little lacking, for me.  Beyond knowing Sophia’s immediate motivations, it was hard to tell what drove any of the characters.  Perhaps that mystery was what Ms. Reeves was going for in this novel, something more plot than character driven, but I prefer to have a better understanding of the characters about whom I’m reading.  When I was finished I realized that I had no idea how any of the characters would have reacted outside of the intense situation they lived in during the book.

While I completely understood that this book and everything in it was designed to be secretive and full of misdirection, some of the storylines felt either unnecessary or unfinished.  I wish that I had more closure regarding most of the secondary storylines in part two.  I can appreciate what was included for how it was used to manipulate the antagonist, yet I’d have loved to have seen those threads used more effectively.  I felt as if huge parts of Sophia’s persona were forgotten entirely and discarded by the time we reached the end of the book.

Overall, I was quite impressed with Morgan Reeves writing.  She drew me into this world thoroughly and made me care about characters I knew quite little about.  This story had the potential to blow me away completely, yet ultimately left me somewhat unsatisfied.  Had the character development been a little deeper and those few storylines that seemed to have been forgotten fleshed out this could have easily been one of the best taboo books I’ve read in ages.

 


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Morgan Reeves is the author of the Never Ever After series. When she isn’t writing, Morgan chases around two energetic minions and tries to convince her loving husband that a miniature pig would make a great pet. She is also extremely fond of iced tea and hot coffee. You can find her books on all major retail sites, and she always loves to hear from readers so feel free to send her a message through Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/authormorganreeves. Morgan currently lives in Raleigh, NC.

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Gun Shy by Lili St. Germain ~ Sarah A’s Review

A stand-alone psychological thriller.

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS GIRL?

In the middle of a fierce snowstorm in Gun Creek, Nevada, seventeen-year-old Jennifer Thomas disappears without a trace.

The second girl in nine years.

Identical cases. Identical conditions. Only last time, the girl was found. Dead, stuffed in a well beside the creek that feeds the town’s water supply.

The killer was never found.

As the small town mobilizes and searches for newly vanished Jennifer Thomas, one suspect comes to the fore. But did he do it? Or is there something else at play? Something nobody could have anticipated?

For Jennifer’s friend Cassie Carlino, the worst is yet to come. As she pins MISSING posters to store windows and joins the search, she begins to suspect that Jennifer’s disappearance might be much closer to her than she could have ever imagined.

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Gun Shy is twisted and dark.  And sickening.  And I loved it.  It is absolutely not for the faint of heart, not for lovers of sweet romantic love stories, not for people with delicate sensibilities.  This is a book for the people who seek the darkest corners, who are driven by revenge and have a fascination with things good girls shouldn’t enjoy.  This book fed into the blackest, bleakest parts of my psyche and satisfied them in a way few things are able.

I said I love this book, but I think I might hate it also.  I’m not sure.  Honestly, I’m not sure of anything right now.  I don’t know if I was supposed to love any of the characters or hate them.  And I definitely feel both ways about most of them.  Every feeling I had while I was reading this book was warped and stretched and transformed into something else.  I don’t trust anything I thought I knew about Gun Creek or its residents.

Cassie’s story is not romantic, even the love she feels is not romantic.  Her love is tainted, broken, deranged.  Her life molded by some of the most horrific things a person can experience.  She took those traumas and honed them into something sharp and unfathomable.  I found her to be so intriguing, so irresistible; I wonder if a little of Cassie doesn’t live inside of me.

When I think back and ask myself if there is anything more I would have liked from this story, I’m hard-pressed to commit to anything.  Would I have loved to have seen a more complete conclusion to a couple of storylines? Yes.  Do I think that the ambiguity of those storylines was intentional? Yes.  This book isn’t a romance and shouldn’t be treated as such.  Those storylines played their parts, and when they’d moved the characters to the place they were supposed to be, they were left as they should have been.

Despite many recommendations from my friends, this is the first book I’ve read by Lili St. Germain, and she blew me away.  From stylistic formatting choices, to interesting imagery, to the intricate and demanding prose she wrote with, I appreciated the outside the box approach she took when writing Gun Shy.  Ms. St. Germain challenged me with this book, it was not an easy book to read, and I admire her for testing me with it.

After reading this entire book, I’m stunned.  Just astonished by every single part of it.  I am sure that I will keep thinking about Gun Creek and Cassie and Damon and Leo and everyone in this book for some time to come.  The experience of this book was so delightfully unsettling; I have plenty of material to ruminate on for ages.

 

Lili writes dark, delicious romance full of love, lust and revenge. Her USA Today Bestselling Gypsy Brothers series focuses on a morally bankrupt biker gang and the young woman who seeks her vengeance upon them. The Cartel series is a trilogy that explores the beginnings of the club, published through HarperCollins.

Lili quit corporate life to focus on writing and so far is loving every minute of it. Her other loves in life include her gorgeous husband and beautiful daughter, excellent coffee, Tarantino movies and spending hours on Instagram.

She loves to read almost as much as she loves to write.

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In Pieces by Danielle Pearl ~ Blog Tour & Excerpt

Three years ago she was left in pieces . . . Most college freshmen love the newfound freedom of living on campus, but none of them craves it like Beth Caplan. One ill-fated night when she was fifteen left her locked in a posh prison of private tutors. It’s for the best, everyone said, and maybe it was. But after years of hard work and healing, the one person who never thought of her as broken could be the one to break her all over again. And Beth can’t seem to stay away now any more than she could all those years ago.

As soon as David March learned his best friend’s little sister was enrolling at his school, he promised to look after her, and promised himself he’d keep a safe distance. But the sweet little girl he’d grown up with has transformed into a gorgeous young woman, and she’s attracting attention from people she shouldn’t-like the ex who nearly destroyed her and a strange new student with a disturbing habit of showing up wherever Beth goes. But for David, the most troubling discovery is realizing that he doesn’t just want Beth to be safe. He wants her to be his.

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David
Present Day

Beth slams the door of the Uber and runs barefoot into the building, her heels dangling from her hand by their straps. I give her a thirty-second head start, clenching my jaw shut to resist calling after her with something I might regret, knowing my temper and the still-potent buzz of alcohol have the potential to create the perfect storm right now.

Beth bypasses the small elevator bank and veers left toward the stairwell, heaving the door open and making sure to slam it loudly behind her.

I shake my head in disapproval, wanting to berate her for even that—taking the stairs alone at night when she knows the elevators are safer. Even if the small part of my brain that’s still somewhat rational admits that my building is relatively safe in general. But it’s her mentality that’s making me crazy. With everything going on right now, and everything she knows about this fucked- up world, why would she take risks with her safety at all?

I shove my hand through my hair and slam my foot into the doorjamb. I just can’t fucking believe her right now! And she has the balls to stomp away from me as if I’m the fucking bad guy?

I haven’t had much occasion for indignation in my life, but right now it’s making me grind my teeth into fucking dust. Because the reality is Beth could get hurt again. She could get hurt worse.

My brain gets caught on that last thought, and I can’t get past it no matter how hard I try. It rages through me until my blood boils over, the buzz of alcohol feeding the flames like gasoline as they fire me back into motion. I crush what’s left of my cigarette under my shoe, and march up the rest of the steps and down our hallway. I’m already reaching for the door with my keys when I realize it’s fucking ajar, and the sight of it incenses me even more.

Could she possibly be any more cavalier with her goddamned safety?

It’s after one in the motherfucking morning! Who the hell leaves their front door open in the middle of the night like an invitation for trouble? Especially someone who, on top of everything else, just spent the entire fucking night drinking. She once told me she thought I was trouble. She has no fucking idea what trouble even is.

I barge through the door, all out of patience and ready to tell her off, but the apartment is dark, the only light glowing from the crack beneath the bedroom door. Beth’s presence would be impossible to miss, though, what with the sound of her tramping around the room, violently yanking and slamming drawers like she wants the whole damned building to feel her wrath.

Well, at least that’s one feeling that is definitely fucking mutual.

I throw the bedroom door open with more force than I intend, and Beth jumps at the reverberating bang as it smacks against the opposite wall. But she catches herself without even glancing my way, continuing about her business like I don’t even fucking exist.

My outrage dissipates as I take her in. Her long blonde hair is haphazardly piled on top of her head, and she’s already changed into a T-shirt and yoga pants. My eyes get stuck on her ass for several seconds before I even process the fact that she’s shoving her shit into her duffle bag.

She yanks open another drawer—the one I’d cleared for her bras and underwear—and panic rolls through me. It doesn’t mix well with the indignation. Or the booze.

Somehow I manage to force enough patience to keep from unloading my every grievance on her at once, and I just stand here glowering, biting back every word I couldn’t wait to get out just moments ago—those words now lodged uncomfortably in my throat, held hostage by that fucking duffel. And suddenly I resent that, too. The fact that Beth has the nerve to vilify me for looking out for her. For taking her out to do something she fucking loves. But more than anything, I resent that I fucking care. That the sight of her packing her things affects me. Not just my feelings—my motherfucking feelings—but my actions, too.

It gives her a kind of control—power. It’s not a dynamic I’m used to with women, and it’s left me a little lost and a lot confused. And even more pissed the fuck off. It’s enough to demolish even my pretense of patience, my composure shattering in one fell swoop, and I spring into action, thrusting myself in front of her in challenge.

“’The fuck are you doing?” I demand.

Beth’s jaw locks, but she just sidesteps around me.

“Beth,” I warn.

She snatches handfuls of panties from her drawer—my drawer—with enough hostility that I worry for the integrity of the delicate lace, and my inebriated mind actually pities them until I remember it’s me she’s fucking pissed at. The appearance of her underwear doesn’t help my focus, either. But watching her shove them purposefully into her bag snaps me back to reality. Or it snaps me the fuck out of my Beth-panty-coma, at least.

“What the fucking hell are you doing?” I repeat as calmly as I can manage—which, it turns out, isn’t calm at all. But where the hell does she think she’s going in the middle of the goddamned night?

“Taking my stuff and going back to my dorm,” Beth deadpans, and it takes me a second to realize she’s not actually kidding.

I shake my head and grab her upper arms. “The fuck you are!”

Beth wrenches from my grip, and I have to release her or risk hurting her, which is not a fucking option. “The fuck I am, is right!” she shouts, skirting back around me to stuff more clothes into her bag.

And, finally, I lose it.

I grab the offending fucking duffle and flop it upside-down, shaking it violently until all of her shit falls onto my bed in an unceremonious pile of all things Beth.

“What the hell are you doing!” she hisses, climbing onto the bed to regather her clothes.

I don’t even think. I take hold of her calves and jerk her knees straight, and she squeals with surprise, falling facedown onto the bed, right atop the heap of clothing. But I don’t back off. I grab her hips and flip her onto her back in one not-so-smooth movement, bending over her and planting my palms on either side of her face in a makeshift cage. Beth’s lips part in a small o of shock, but she can’t escape my gaze, trapped beneath me like she is.

But that goes both ways, and I force myself to close my eyes, and inhale a choppy rush of air before meeting hers.
Something changes when I reopen my eyes. Beth’s temper seems to have dissipated, her dark blonde brows pulled together in helpless bemusement. Her eyes are deep blue oceans, and they draw me in like an undertow, luring me into their shallows before drowning me in their depths.

But, somehow, they calm me, and the anger is drained right out of me as something tugs inside my chest. For a moment I forget how we even got here. All I register are her sharp, shallow breaths as they whisper against my lips in soft gusts.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I know this is dangerous—her lying beneath me like this. It calls to that reckless part of me. The same part that risked dancing with her tonight…that wants to just say fuck it, again and again and again. The part that can’t remember the reasons to stay away.

Beth’s tongue darts out to lick her bottom lip, and my dick jumps in my jeans, still swollen and aching, which it has been all night on some level or another. I suck in an uneven breath, the air hissing between my teeth, and I know I need to either get off of her or inside her in the next sixty seconds.

Danielle Pearl is the Amazon and iBooks international best selling author of the Something More series. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and three children. She is a life long book enthusiast who has been writing ever since she could hold a pencil.

Danielle went to Boston University and worked in marketing before she published her first novel, Normal in 2014. She writes mature Mature Young Adult and New Adult Contemporary Romance.

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Unloved by Katy Regnery ~ Sarah A’s Review

The sins of the father. The burden of the son.

My name is Cassidy Porter…

My father, Paul Isaac Porter, was executed twenty years ago for the brutal murder of twelve innocent girls.

Though I was only eight-years-old at the time, I am aware – every day of my life – that I am his child, his only son.

To protect the world from the poison in my veins, I live a quiet life, off the grid, away from humanity.

I promised myself, and my mother, not to infect innocent lives with the darkness that swirls within me, waiting to make itself known.

It’s a promise I would have kept…if Brynn Cadogan hadn’t stumbled into my life.

Now I exist between heaven and hell: falling for a woman who wants to love me, while all along reminding myself that I must remain…

Unloved.

**NOTE: This book is intended for readers 18+**

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Unloved is easily one of the best romances I’ve read in some time.  I was drawn in from the first page and hated to have to put it down for any reason.  Brynn and Cassidy completely captivated me, and they nestled themselves deep within my heart.  Conveying just how special this book is going to be nearly impossible.

Heartbreak was a central theme in Unloved, both Brynn and Cassidy had been dealt more tragedy in their lives than either of them were equipped to deal with.  I found the way they each utilized their own heartache to find understanding in the other particularly poignant.

Unloved is told from both Brynn and Cassidy’s POVs.  Their voices were distinct, they each had unique speech patterns and word preferences.  I am a sucker for dual POV because I love having the insight into each of the character’s thought processes, this book was a perfect example of why having that information was so important.  Particularly having Cassidy’s viewpoint, I think if we didn’t have it he might have been a hard character to love.

Brynn, Cassidy, and their relationship drove this story.  Of course, there were outside factors that manipulated their journey towards one another, but Unloved is a character-driven novel.  Getting to know them and watch the spark of lust, need, and attraction blossom into something solid and lasting, all while fighting the future they knew was coming made my heart both swell and shatter simultaneously.  They were a wonderful demonstration of what truly selfless love looks like.

Katy Regnery is an author I read frequently, her books are fun and interesting, but NOTHING I’ve read by her before Unloved comes close to the book I just read.  I was completely blown away by the writing in this book.  Her prose was sublime, each word, each sentence, building to a crescendo I could have never expected.  If this is a sign of the direction her art is taking I will be a faithful worshipper of her words.

ALP AuthBio2 Owl

katy-regneryNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katy Regnery started her writing career by enrolling in a short story class in January 2012. One year later, she signed her first contract and Katy’s first novel was published in September 2013.

Twenty-five books later, Katy claims authorship of the multi-titled, New York Times and USA Today Blueberry Lane Series, which follows the English, Winslow, Rousseau, Story, and Ambler families of Philadelphia; the six-book, bestselling ~a modern fairytale~ series; and several other standalone novels and novellas.

Katy’s first modern fairytale romance, The Vixen and the Vet, was nominated for a RITA® in 2015 and won the 2015 Kindle Book Award for romance. Katy’s boxed set, The English Brothers Boxed Set, Books #1–4, hit the USA Today bestseller list in 2015, and her Christmas story, Marrying Mr. English, appeared on the list a week later. In May 2016, Katy’s Blueberry Lane collection, The Winslow Brothers Boxed Set, Books #1-4, became a New York Times E-book bestseller.

In 2016, Katy signed a print-only agreement with Spencerhill Press. As a result, her Blueberry Lane paperback books will now be distributed to brick and mortar bookstores all over the United States.

Katy lives in the relative wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, where her writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children, two dogs, and one Blue Tonkinese kitten create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories begin at home.

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