Say You’ll Remember Me by Katie McGarry ~ Sarah A’s Review

From critically acclaimed author Katie McGarry, comes SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME—a story of two people from different worlds pushing themselves, and each other, to get what they deserve!

SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME is now available at all fine book retailers. Grab your copy today!

“Doesn’t matter who did it. Not anymore. I did the time. It’s over.”

When Drix was convicted of a crime–one he didn’t commit–he thought his life was over. But opportunity came with the Second Chance Program, the governor’s newest pet project to get delinquents off the streets, rehabilitated and back into society. Drix knows this is his chance to get his life back on track, even if it means being paraded in front of reporters for a while.

Elle knows she lives a life of privilege. As the governor’s daughter, she can open doors with her name alone. But the expectations and pressure to be someone she isn’t may be too much to handle. She wants to follow her own path, whatever that means.

When Drix and Elle meet, their connection is immediate, but so are their problems. Drix is not the type of boy Elle’s parents have in mind for her, and Elle is not the kind of girl who can understand Drix’s messy life.

But sometimes love can breach all barriers.

Fighting against a society that can’t imagine them together, Drix and Elle must push themselves–Drix to confront the truth of the robbery, and Elle to assert her independence–and each other to finally get what they deserve.

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This book started out SLOW; I felt like I was moving backward at times during the first half of the book.  Fortunately, the second half completely redeemed the book.  After I finished the book and looked back at the beginning, I don’t think it could have moved any quicker or the poignancy of what happened throughout the rest of the book.

Say You’ll Remember Me is a standalone novel.  It is written in dual first-person perspective, narrated by Elle and Drix.

I loved the characters from the beginning.  I found them both to be surprisingly relatable, considering they were teenagers. The secondary characters – particularly Drix’ brother, Axle – were wonderful.  They were just as well-developed and sympathetic as Elle and Drix, and I would love to read more about all of them.

This book broke my heart a lot more than I expected.  From what Drix had been through, to Elle’s parents, the different types of neglect and ways they’d been used tore at my heart.  I didn’t expect to feel so deeply invested in them and the way people kept failing them, whether those failures were intentional or not.  Katie McGarry did a great job of juxtaposing Elle and Drix, on the surface they seemed diametrically opposed, but the more we learned about each of them, it was evident they were both struggling with the need to be more than what people saw on the surface.

Initially, I would have said I wished the beginning had not been as drawn out as it was.  After completing the book and reflecting on the book in its entirety, I know the book wouldn’t have been as impactful without it being exactly as it was.  There was one event I REALLY wish hadn’t happened, but that horrific heartbreak heightened the emotional fallout of the other events in the novel and pushed the book into being more than your typical young adult novel.

Katie McGarry won me over, as a reader, years ago with Pushing the Limits.  While Say You’ll Remember Me wasn’t quite the emotional powerhouse that book was, for me.  It still highlighted important issues and made me think of things I’d never considered before.  That is one of my favorite things about this author and YA books, that attention to social issues that aren’t always touched on in other genres.

~Ellison~

The two of us are different. Complete sliding scale different. The only thing we have in common, as far as I can tell, is that he appears about my age and that we are both wearing shoes. My sandals to his scuffed combat boots. His sagging jeans with rips and white T-shirt to my ironed khaki shorts and fitted blue top. My diamond earrings and gold bracelet with a heart charm to his black belt that has metal studs and silver chain that hangs from his belt loop to his wallet.

By looks, I should have more in common with the loser college boys, but it’s this guy I’m comfortable with. “What’s your name?”

He throws the ball, and he’s right, he sucks at it. While he has unbelievable power, his aim’s completely off. The ball hits the back curtain with a loud thud, then drops to the floor. “Drix.”

“Drix?” I repeat to make sure I heard him correctly.

“Drix. It’s short for Hendrix. Like Jimi Hendrix.”

“That’s cool.” Because it is.

I wait for him to ask for my name, but he doesn’t. Instead he says, “Are you here alone?”

He throws the second ball, and this time he hits the top of the three bottles, sending that one to the ground.

“No. My parents are here. I’m supposed to meet them at the convention center. What about you? What happened to the people you were with? Or are you here alone now?”

“Yes, but no.” Drix pulls his arm back, releases the ball, and when the ball hits the bottom bottles, my heart lifts with the idea that he won, but only one of the bottles goes flying. The other stays completely untouched.

He turns in my direction, but his gaze roams over my shoulder, then flickers to the left. Drix then glances behind him, and when he returns his attention to me he raises his eyebrows. “They appear to be gone.”

That’s awesome news, but I’m still stuck on his answer of “yes but no.” Honestly, I’m stuck on him. He’s a million questions without a single answer, and he makes me incredibly curious.

“My parents weren’t thrilled about me hanging out alone at the midway, but I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal. It’s just Whack-A-Mole, you know?”

“And a ball toss.”

“And a ball toss. None of it should have been complicated.”

“Shouldn’t have been.”

“Elle!” Part of me is relieved to see Andrew craning his neck over the crowd. Another part of me is majorly disappointed. There aren’t many times in my life I’m left alone. Not many times I’m able to explore new places and people without someone hovering and not many opportunities when I would meet someone like Drix.

“Elle,” Andrew calls again. I wave at him, hoping it will buy me a few seconds, and he waves back in a way that tells me he needs me to walk in his direction. That works well for me.

“Is that a friend of yours?” Drix asks.

“Yes, but no.” I borrow his answer because it’s apropos. Andrew’s a few years older. More friend of our family than a personal friend of mine, and I don’t like the idea of explaining that my parents think I need a babysitter.

Drix’s mouth twitches at my words, and my lips also edge upwards. “I just made you smile a third time. Is this a Guinness Book of World Records thing?”

“I liked your answer.”

“I’m just creative like that.”

Order your copy of SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME, register and you will receive AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER, a novella that features your favorite Pushing the Limits and Thunder Road characters!

From the Pushing the Limits series, Noah, Beth, Isaiah, West and Logan are all grown up. Catch up with your favorite characters as one of them finally says, I do.

Pigpen, Eli and Addison from the Thunder Road series: Three separate personalities who still needed to find love…and still had someone important to meet.

This is a limited time offer! So hurry! Registration ends on February 3, 2018! You must register your order to receive AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

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Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON,  BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine’s 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

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Combust by K. Bromberg ~ Sarah A’s Review

From New York Times Bestselling author, K. Bromberg, comes the second standalone book in the Everyday Heroes series. Just how hot will firefighter Grady Malone turn up the heat?

Songwriter Dylan McCoy has been burned.

By her boyfriend she found in her bed . . . with someone else.

By the contract she signed that obligates her to work with him until the songs for his new album are complete.

By her agent when she asked Dylan to keep their breakup on the down-low.

When she finds herself in Sunnyville, she refuses to let her new roommate burn her too. Still . . . a rebound has never looked so good.

That’s her first thought when she sees firefighter Grady Malone.
Sexy. Charismatic. Unapologetic. He’s a man who carries his own scars—the ones on his back, the survivor’s guilt on his soul, and the fear in his heart.

When an unexpected visitor puts their roommate status to the test, will their undeniable attraction burn out, or will they both take a chance and play with fire?

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A little humor, a dash of angst, a sprinkle of heartbreak, and a lot of healing; that’s what went into making this book such a great read.  Combust was heavy enough to keep me wholly invested in the characters, their histories, and their healing, while still having enough levity to keep it from feeling like the subject matter was as heavy as it actually was.

Combust is the second book in K. Bromberg’s Everyday Heroes series.  It can be read as a standalone, as each book deals with a different couple, but the men in these stories are brothers, so there are cameos from the other couple in this book.  If you are going to read all of them, I suggest reading in order, just to get the experience as intended.  Combust is written in dual first-person perspective, in Dylan and Grady’s voices.

Dylan was such a relatable character.  She was so strong in some areas and in others, so insecure.  The things she struggled with, in particular, her looks, is something almost every woman I know has dealt with.  It was good to see that not be her primary storyline, however.  My favorite thing about Dylan was her ability to admit her shortcomings and use them to support those around her and help them come to terms with the things they weren’t happy with themselves.

Grady, oh Grady.  He broke my heart in so many ways.  I can’t begin to relate to the kind of grief and fear he lived with day in and day out, and that is what made him so human.  Often book boyfriends are this unattainable demi-god of perfection – and I’m not saying Grady didn’t fit that mold in some ways – but the pain of existing, most days, for him grounded him.  Knowing that he bore the scars of his past and felt them every moment made my heart yearn for him to forgive himself.

Combust was a highly emotional book, from the highs of Dylan getting to prove she was more than her ex thought, to the lows of reliving what were the worst moments of Grady’s life, it was quite a rollercoaster.  From Dylan’s lyrics to Petunia to Grady’s resolution to never put someone in the position to lose him, K. Bromberg delivered a fascinating story of healing and learning to love yourself.

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New York Times Bestselling author K. Bromberg writes contemporary novels that contain a mixture of sweet, emotional, a whole lot of sexy, and a little bit of real. She likes to write strong heroines, and damaged heroes who we love to hate and hate to love.

A mom of three, she plots her novels in between school runs and soccer practices, more often than not with her laptop in tow.

Since publishing her first book in 2013, K. has sold over one million copies of her books and has landed on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestsellers lists over twenty-five times.

In April, she’ll release The Player, the first in a two-book sports romance series (The Catch, book 2, will be released late June), with many more already outlined and ready to be written.

She loves to hear from her readers so make sure you check her out on social media or sign up for her newsletter to stay up to date on all her latest releases and sales: http://bit.ly/254MWtI

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Escape by Jay Crownover ~ Sarah A’s Review

Everything inside of him is screaming that he needs to run, he needs to go, he needs to escape.

Lane Warner is used to being overshadowed and overlooked.

After all, he’s the youngest brother and the most laid back one in the family. He’s the one known for going with the flow and not making waves, even when things seem to be at their worst.

Very few things in life have had the ability to rile Lane up and get under his skin. At the top of that list is his childhood friend Brynn Fox…no…Brynn Warner. The fact that they share a last name was the one thing that has the power to light him up and spin him out of control like no other. There was no calm, cool and collected when it comes to all the reasons why Brynn had to become part of his family.

It’s slowly killing him to keep wanting what he can’t have, so Lane sees only one way to stop himself from doing something they’ll both regret…he has to leave.

Everything inside of her is calling out to find him, to follow, to bring him home.

Brynn Warner is used to being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

After all, she’s the daughter of an unrepentant gold-digger who never once blinked at being the cause of her daughter’s pain and suffering.

Very few things in her life have ever brought happiness and a sense of security. At the very top of that list is Lane Warner. She has unwaveringly loved the youngest Warner since the first minute she laid eyes on him. He was everything Brynn ever wanted and everything she knew she could never have.

Sometimes the right choice is the one that hurts the most and Brynn’s had to make a few that felt like they might be the end of her.

When Lane takes off, one thing is clear, the only choice Brynn has is to go after him.

She’s going to bring her wayward cowboy home….whatever it takes.

Escape is a standalone novel, the third book in the Getaway series, which features the hardheaded and brokenhearted Warner brothers and the women who dare to love them. These boys are very good at putting the wild in wilderness.

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Escape was a story about going home, but it was also a lesson in knowing that home isn’t a place but the people in it. It was also a tale about family being more than the people you share DNA with; your family is made of the people who love and care for you regardless of what you can offer or the things you’ve done in the past. As happy as I am to have finally seen the final Warner find his forever, I’m also a little bit sad that they’re all paired up, I can only hope that we get to see more of this world through the stories of the secondary characters.

Escape is the third book in Jay Crownover’s Getaway series. It can be read as a standalone, but the first two books set up a lot of the tension and world that Brynn and Lane are living in. Escape is told in dual first-person perspective – with the exception of the prologue, which is told in third-person – by Lane and Brynn.

I am ecstatic that Escape was not what I expected. I was certain it was going to be full of Brynn and Lane fighting against what they both wanted because they were sure they didn’t deserve it. I loved getting a book that focused on them figuring out what they had. The tension that had been brewing between them through the first two books had given me enough anticipation for the resolution of their issues. If there was ever a couple, who had been dealt enough of a shitty hand before their story even started it was them, so seeing them start to figure out how to shovel out from under the past and look to the future warmed my heart.

I was a little surprised by the suspense in Escape. Considering how much suspense was in the first two books in the series, it shouldn’t have, but I was not expecting the turn it took while they were headed home from California. I was happy to see them have something to work together on, and think it helped immensely with their relationship to have something to focus on outside of themselves. Bauer’s story was heartbreaking, and I am happy baby Warner and Brynn stumbled upon him and took him under their wings. No doubt, his story, and many others, would have ended quite differently without their intervention. And maybe the intervention of a certain sexy cop from Denver.

Jay Crownover is a long-time favorite of mine. I love the grittiness of her characters and how she makes their flaws turn into assets. Her writing style is raw and visceral, and I always feel so many things when I read her books. I can’t wait to see what all she has in store for her readers and hope she revisits the Getaway crew so we can find out the stories of some of the secondary characters.

Brynn

For the first time in days, it felt like my world was set back to rights.

Everything was crooked and off center the minute Lane walked out of the house in Wyoming and disappeared. I couldn’t think straight. Every step I took was wobbly and unsteady. From the moment I opened my eyes, to the second I fell into a fitful sleep at night, it was like I saw things through a grainy black and white filter. There was no color in any of my days when Lane was gone. There was no joy or light. There was only a massive void where I knew I should be able to feel my heart hurting and my soul suffering, the way they always did when it came to the youngest Warner, but when he left there was nothing.

I thought I knew what it felt like to have everything inside of me freeze and shatter. When word came that Lane had been shot while trying to protect his niece from a madman hell-bent on destroying everything that was important to Sutton, I was sure I would never be able to breathe or feel again. That icy pain, that frigid fear had nothing on the numbness that followed when Lane walked out the door seconds after Jack dropped to his knee. At that moment, I knew I was supposed to focus on the man asking me to share his life with him, the one who wanted me for me, and not because he was driven by some chivalrous need to save me from my messed up family and tumultuous home life.

But I hadn’t been focused on Jack. All I could see was the resignation and regret flashing through Lane’s pale blue eyes. We were both reliving the moment another man had asked me to marry him. Only that time, Lane hadn’t been able to escape the outcome. He’d been reminded of it for years, every waking moment when I’d technically held the title of his stepmom. I was something neither one of us could get away from no matter how hard we tried. It was amazing how much one little yes could change everything.

Now that he was standing in front of me, looking much thinner and more haggard than he had even when he came home from the hospital, I finally felt like I could inhale again. Everything that was fuzzy and blurred around the edges pulled back into sharp focus. I could look at the sky behind his tousled head and see that it was the same stormy blue as his eyes. I could also focus on the lines of tension and stress radiating out of the corners of those eyes and the bruised, dark hollows underneath them. Without him, nothing felt like it mattered. There was no home. There was no peace of mind. There was no safety and security.

When he was close, the littlest things felt hugely important and essential. The twitch of his lips into a wry grin spread warmth that chased away the emptiness for the first time in what felt like forever. The heat radiating off of his long, lean body made my heart kick back to life. When his arms wrapped around me for a seriously overdue hug, I finally felt alive. Finally felt something other than the echoing loneliness and hollowness that consumed me the minute he turned his back on me. Even with Daye trapped between us, I still felt a tingle at every single spot where his body touched mine.

“It’s so good to see you.” I meant it with every fiber of my being. Looking at him, even as worn and as drawn as he appeared, settled something deep inside of me.

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Jay Crownover is the international and multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men Series, The Saints of Denver Series, the Point Series, the Breaking Point Series, and the Getaway Series. Her books can be found translated in many different languages all around the world. She is a tattooed, crazy haired Colorado native who lives at the base of the Rockies with her awesome dogs. This is where she can frequently be found enjoying a cold beer and Taco Tuesdays. Jay is a self-declared music snob and outspoken book lover who is always looking for her next adventure, between the pages and on the road.

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GIVEAWAY!! Whore by Willow Aster ~ Excerpt

“I need a reason to exist.”

Beautiful, intelligent, independent, strong-willed, wealthy—Lilith Fontenot seems by all appearances, to have it all. But that’s not how the highest paid prostitute in New Orleans sees herself.

A stain on society. A scourge. A waste. Outsider. Prisoner…

Any idyllic dream of the normal life she may have once imagined, Lilith buried long ago. Her only plan now is survival.

But mob boss Nico Santelli and community center owner Soti Christos have not given up on Lilith. Each has his own very specific, very opposing, plans for her, and neither will rest until it becomes a reality.

WHORE is a singularly bracing take on an ancient tale of tireless love, betrayal, and the possibility of redemption.

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It’s all about her.

I give her a shaky smile and she returns a faint one. I kneel down and sit in front of where her arms are resting on the tile. The water splashes as I put a leg on either side of her.

Her hands drag leisurely up my legs until they reach my waist, and then she pulls hard, until I slip in the water with her. Her smile is full of mischief. My chest might cave in, it’s pounding so hard.

“There. Doesn’t it feel good in here?” She puts her arms around my neck and wraps her legs around my waist.

I grip her thighs, drawing her closer. “Like heaven,” I mutter.

Her hands dig into my hair, as she leans in and gives me the barest whisper of a kiss. Her eyes seem shy, but then she traces my bottom lip with her tongue. She smiles when it becomes obvious just how much her touch controls me.

“I like you, husband,” she whispers.

“I like you, too, my wife,” I whisper against her lips.

Our kiss deepens and I can’t tell if she’s trembling or if it’s me. Our hands are everywhere at once. My tongue twists with hers like it has finally found its favorite place. Our bodies leave no room for doubt. She engraves her name on my heart; I know exactly when it happens. She leans back just long enough to look in my eyes, as if checking to see if this is real. What she sees there reassures her, and we both shake with the knowledge of it. Two lost souls, found.

Whore by Willow Aster from Bibliophile Productions on Vimeo.

Willow Aster is the author of True Love Story, In the Fields, Maybe Maby, Fade to Red, and the upcoming release, Whore. Willow loves nothing more than writing the day away—anywhere will do. Her husband and two children graciously put up with her endless daydreaming and make fun of her for reading while cooking.

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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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CUFFED by K. Bromberg ~ Sarah A Review

From the New York Times bestselling author, K. Bromberg, comes a new series about three brothers, the job that calls them, and the women who challenge them.

“I hate you. I never want to see you again.”

Grant Malone is not the reason I moved back to Sunnyville—at least that’s what I tell myself. Yet, those parting words I said to him back in third grade, ring in my ears every time a townsperson brings up one of the Malone boys. I thought time had healed my wounds. I was wrong. Nothing could have prepared me for how I felt when I finally saw him again.

Twenty years does a lot to turn a boy into a man. One who hits all my buttons—sexy, funny, attractive, and a police officer. But Grant is off limits because he knows too much about my past.

But I’m drawn to him. That damn uniform of his doesn’t hurt either. It’ll be my downfall. I know it.

What’s one night of sex going to hurt . . . right?

*** 

I’ve always loved Emmy Reeves.

That’s why I’m shocked to see her all these years later. The shy girl I once knew is all grown up.

Adventurous and full of life, she owns my heart now, just as much as she did back then. Convincing her of that is a whole different story.

I’ll give her the one night she asks for—like that’s a hardship—but when it comes to letting her walk away after, she has another thing coming. There’s no way in hell I’m letting her go this time without a fight.

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Occasionally I read a book that completely belies my expectations; this is one of them. Neither the blurb nor the cover begins to hint at just how heavy Cuffed is. I had expected an angsty friends-to-lovers romance, but this was so much more. It dealt with incredibly heavy themes and the fall-out from the choices that are made in an effort to help others.

After finishing the book, I found that I was unsure of my feelings regarding Emerson. Her past garners my full sympathies and motherly love, but her prickly, flighty, standoffish personality in the present makes it hard for me to understand her appeal as an adult. I know a lot of her behavior was a defense mechanism and perhaps part of her appeal is her refusal to commit to anything permanent, I just found her frustrating.

The Grant we got to know in the book seemed nothing like the Grant his brothers and partner talked about in reference to his past behavior with women. I’m glad we didn’t see that aspect of his behavior because it would have been off-putting. As he was in the book Grant was amazing. I loved how caring he was in relation to both the people he loved and the people he was entrusted to serve and protect. It was immediately apparent he was the type of person who would do anything it took to make sure innocent people are safe. He is the quintessential good cop.

Broken promises and rules were an essential plot point in Cuffed. Almost every significant development in both Emerson and Grant’s lives was caused by breaking a rule or promise. All of those broken things resulted in momentous life changes and new outlooks for both of them. I also appreciated how heavily the idea of trust and how people can manipulate it was used in Cuffed. It was interesting to see how all of these things that are easily broken were tied together in a story about taking the broken pieces of a person and knitting them back together into a whole and happy person.

I wish I had a better grasp on where this story was taking place, usually I can place myself inside of the world of a book but the locations in Cuffed seemed very disconnected to me. Perhaps a better handle on where Sunnyville is and where the primary locations are in relation to one another will come as the series progresses. I also felt like there were some storylines that seemed specific to this book but were never fully fleshed out; particularly the situation with the other person vying for the promotion Grant wanted with and their fathers. I hope to find out more about what went on there because it seemed to be a significant event in the Malones history.

While I had not read a K. Bromberg book before this one, it felt familiar, comfortable. Her writing was fluid and straightforward. It wasn’t a book that pushed my limits but one that kept me fully invested in the story. I’m sure I’ll continue to return to her books when I want to read something that makes me feel like I’m catching up with an old friend.

New York Times Bestselling author K. Bromberg writes contemporary novels that contain a mixture of sweet, emotional, a whole lot of sexy, and a little bit of real. She likes to write strong heroines, and damaged heroes who we love to hate and hate to love.

A mom of three, she plots her novels in between school runs and soccer practices, more often than not with her laptop in tow.

Since publishing her first book in 2013, K. has sold over one million copies of her books and has landed on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestsellers lists over twenty-five times.

In April, she’ll release The Player, the first in a two-book sports romance series (The Catch, book 2, will be released late June), with many more already outlined and ready to be written.

She loves to hear from her readers so make sure you check her out on social media or sign up for her newsletter to stay up to date on all her latest releases and sales: http://bit.ly/254MWtI

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Dirty Little Promise by Kendall Ryan ~ Sarah A’s Review

DIRTY LITTLE PROMISE

Forbidden Desires Book 2

Conflicted in the depth of her feelings for bad boy Gavin Kingsley, lonely librarian Emma Bell knows he’s all wrong for her—yet the heart wants what it wants.

But if she gives into his dark, erotic desires will she lose herself completely?

Passion, drama and suspense combine in the highly-anticipated conclusion to Emma Bell’s love affair with the alpha and enigmatic Kingsley brothers. Secrets will be exposed, sides will be chosen, and nothing will ever be the same.

This is book two in the series, following Dirty Little Secret.

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After I finished Dirty Little Secret, I was DYING to get my hands on this book.  I had to know what happened to Emma, Cooper, & Gavin.  Kendall Ryan did not disappoint with Dirty Little Promise.  I left the book feeling content and fulfilled, yet still eager to find out about the next brother in Torrid Little Affair.

Dirty Little Secret left us with far more questions than answers, it was a great cliffhanger and had left me both satisfied with the story I had read and begging for more.  Dirty Little Promise did not disappoint in fleshing out all of those secrets and questions that were left in the air.  At least, regarding the primary Kingsley brother in this book.  The other brothers are still full of secrets, and I have so many questions about them.

I loved how easily Emma and the brother of her choosing were able to open up to one another.  How, once they decided to not keep secrets from one another and lay it all on the line, they easily trusted one another and didn’t let misleading situations to destroy the trust they had built.  There were times when it would have been far easier to jump to the easiest – and worst – conclusion but the strength of their relationship was in allowing each other the chance to explain everything.  Too often in romance books jumping to conclusions lends to heartbreak and pain, when a simple explanation would clear everything up.  It was nice to see this trope bucked in favor of a loving and trusting relationship.

A lot was happening in this book.  At times it seemed a concerted effort was orchestrated to keep Emma and her Kingsley brother from being together.  Each time it looked like things were calming down for them another thing popped up, the amount of action in this book served well to keep me on my toes and turning those pages as fast as I could.  Since the relationship was figured out and settled relatively quickly, it was all those forces against it that served to really cement their love.  How they dealt with those awful things showed how much they truly belonged together.  I also appreciated neither Emma or the brother in question let other people’s opinions of their relationship taint what they knew was right.  It was a breath of fresh air to see two people so confident in their love.

My only wish for this book would be that the resolutions to the conflicts would have been more fleshed out.  I like to really dig in deep on those types of things, and I felt like the solutions to the problem vexing their relationship were just wrapped up too quickly for my preferences.  It wasn’t that they weren’t wrapped up well, just that I would have loved to see more of the intricacies of the motivations of people behind the problems.

Kendall Ryan’s writing was perfect for this story.  It was a perfect balance between showing the love and affection the couple had for one another and the outside forces working for and against them.  There was a roughness to the Kingsley brother’s chapters and a confident softness to Emma’s.  Ms. Ryan also left enough breadcrumbs about the other brothers throughout the book to make me need to know their stories, to make me want to see them find their happiness.

DIRTY LITTLE SECRET
Forbidden Desires Book 1

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TORRID LITTLE AFFAIR
Forbidden Desires book
 3
December 11, 2017

iBooks

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

iBooks

NAUGHTY LITTLE SCANDAL
Forbidden Desires book
 5
RELEASE DATE: May 11, 2018

iBooks

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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Perilous Trust by Barbara Freethy ~ Sarah A’s Review

In PERILOUS TRUST, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy brings you the first book in a new romantic suspense series! OFF THE GRID: An FBI Trilogy offers three breath-stealing books filled with action-packed plot, heart-stopping romance, and page-turning suspense.

It was one dark night that brought Damon Wolfe and Sophie Parker together. They were two tortured souls, looking for escape, and they weren’t supposed to see each other ever again…

Four years later, Sophie’s FBI father, who is also Damon’s mentor, is killed in a suspicious car crash after leaving Sophie a cryptic message to trust no one from the agency. When Damon shows up looking for her, she isn’t sure if he’s friend or enemy, but she knows he could easily rip apart what is left of her heart.

The last thing Damon wants is to get involved with Sophie again. It was hard enough to walk away the first time. But she’s in trouble, her father’s reputation is under attack, and the lives of his fellow agents are at stake if there’s a traitor in their midst.

When someone starts shooting at them, they have no choice but to go on the run and off the grid. Everyone in their world becomes a suspect. They want to uncover the truth, but will it turn out to be the last thing they expect? Proving her father’s innocence might just cost them their hearts…and their lives…

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This was a great suspense novel.  If I were to give percentages on what made this book up it would be 90% suspense, 10% romance and the romance could have easily been left out and not made too much of a difference to the novel as a whole.  In fact, there were times when I felt like the romance should have been left out in favor of everything else going on.

I did enjoy the chemistry between Sophie and Damon, while they were working together, trying to figure out their next step in staying safe, it was the moments that were just about their relationship that were lacking.  They felt strange and forced, and, honestly, it seemed as if the author wasn’t completely comfortable writing about a relationship with no other outside forces affecting it.  Ms. Freethy was much more in touch with her characters when they were dealing with traumatic situations than she was when they were safe.

The suspense in this novel was definitely the thing that kept me reading.  While I was able to figure out most of twists and turns, the motives behind what was going on were lost on me until the very end.  It was obvious that Ms. Freethy’s talents lay far more in the realm of secrets, lies, and action than in romance.  Her suspense writing in this book will keep me coming back for the rest of the books in this trilogy.

Had I not gone into Perilous Trust expecting the type of romantic suspense I’m used to reading – relatively equal parts romance and suspense – I would likely have rated it higher.  My rating of this novel was primarily based on my preconceived notions and, had I not gone into it with them, I probably would have enjoyed the book much more for what it was than been let down by what I felt was missing.

“Why did you run away from your apartment, your friends, your father’s coworkers? Why did you just disappear, Sophie?” Damon asked.

“Because someone killed my dad.”

“It’s possible it was an accident.”

“You don’t believe that any more than I do.”

“Maybe not, but I think something specific spooked you.”

“You mean like the two men I saw going into my apartment building?”

“You saw the men who broke into your apartment?” he asked in surprise.

“I don’t know if they were the ones, but they could have been.”

“What did they look like?”

“Law enforcement, maybe—I don’t know.”

Damon stared back at her, and she could see him running through her words in his head. “Why would you be afraid of law enforcement when your father is FBI?”

“Gut instinct,” she lied, knowing she wouldn’t have been afraid at all if her father hadn’t told her to be. “And it looks like I was right to run. If I’d gone to my apartment, who knows what would have happened?”

His lips drew into a hard line. “Look, Sophie, I want to help you.”

“Why? Why on earth would you want to help me?”

His gaze darkened, and the air sizzled between them as they found themselves back in a place probably neither of them wanted to revisit, but they were there all the same.

“We’re not friends,” she said quickly, needing to break the tension. “We’re not anything. We haven’t seen each other in four years. Why do you care where I am, what I’m doing? Is it because of loyalty to my dad? That has to be it, right? Nothing else could have made you drive all the way up here.”

“I should have called you after that night,” he said.

“I’m not looking for an apology.”

“Aren’t you?”

“No. Maybe. No,” she said, hating to sound so uncertain. “None of that is important now. I have bigger problems.”

“Then let’s talk about now,” he said, relief in his eyes as he changed the subject. “I respected your father. He was a mentor to me. I owe him for that, and I know that he would want me to help you. He trusted me, and I hope you can trust me, too.”

“I don’t know if my father trusted you,” she said, shaking her head.

Surprise and anger flared in his eyes. “Why would you say that?”

“Because he told me not to trust anyone from the bureau, and since you’re an agent, that includes you. Please, just go. Just leave me alone,” she pleaded, desperate to get him out of the cabin before she did something even more stupid—like start to trust him. “I’ll disappear. I’ll go somewhere no one else knows about. You don’t have to worry about me. You’ve done your duty. You came after me. You did that for my dad. Now do something for me—leave me alone. You’ve managed it for four years. You can keep going.”

His mouth tightened. “I’m not leaving you alone. You won’t be safe. You can’t get help from a friend, because you’ll put them in danger, and even if you are very careful, you’ll make a mistake. You don’t know how to stay off the radar, but I do. You’re going to have to trust someone at some point. You’re going to have to put your anger aside and let it be me.”

Before she could answer, she was suddenly hit with a shower of glass from the nearby window.

What the hell had just happened?

Another pane blew out, and something whizzed by her ear.

Damon grabbed her arm and pulled down as a third window exploded.

Someone was shooting at her!

 

Barbara Freethy is a #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of 60 novels ranging from contemporary romance to romantic suspense and women’s fiction. Traditionally published for many years, Barbara opened Fog City Publishing in 2011 and has since sold over 7 million books! Twenty-three of her titles have appeared on the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller Lists, including one title, SUMMER SECRETS, which hit #1 on the NYT. In 2014 Barbara was named the Amazon KDP Bestselling Author of all time! She was also the first Indie writer to sell over a million books on Barnes and Noble.

Known for her emotional and compelling stories of love, family, romance and suspense, Barbara is a six-time finalist and two-time winner in the Romance Writers of America acclaimed RITA contest for her novels DANIEL’S GIFT and THE WAY BACK HOME.

For more information, visit her website at www.barbarafreethy.com

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The Brightest Sunset by Aly Martinez ~ Sarah A’s Review

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.

Bullshit.

Words destroyed me.

“I’m sorry. She didn’t make it.”

“Daddy, he can’t breathe!”

“There’s nothing more we can do for your son.”

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.

Lies.

Those syllables and letters became my executioner. I told myself that, if I didn’t acknowledge the pain and the fear, they would have no power over me. But, as the years passed, the hate and the anger left behind began to control me.

Two words—that was all it took to plunge my life into darkness.

“He’s gone.”

In the end, it was four soft, silky words that gave me hope of another sunrise.

“Hi. I’m Charlotte Mills.”

Available on Kindle Unlimited

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Screw Brady.  Seriously, that guy is a jerk.  I get that he was in pain, but there was no excuse for how inhumanely he treated everyone else involved with the horrific situation they’d all found themselves in at the hands of a severely mentally disturbed woman.  Whew. I feel better having got that off my chest.

The Brightest Sunset was the perfect counterpoint to The Darkest Sunrise.  While Sunrise was based primarily on the destruction of the lives of Charlotte and Porter, Sunset was about them rising from the ashes of the hellfire that had consumed them.  It was about them learning to step into the light while still allowing the darkness to exist as it needed to.  It was about healing and becoming whole people who deserved so much more than what they’d learned to live with.  It was the perfect way to end this story that was built on all the worst fears a parent can have.

I loved watching Charlotte come into her own in this book.  As strong and amazing as she was in The Darkest Sunrise, she was still only a shell of a person.  Seeing her stand up for herself and her family against the people who had guided every moment of her life, regardless of their intentions, for ten years, was marvelous.  Seeing Charlotte in the light was staggering.  Equally awe-inducing was watching the journey that Porter went on in tasting an iota of the pain Charlotte had feasted on for ten years, then fighting to get back the family they both deserved with reckless abandon.

I love this duet, I have often found that duets struggle to retain the intensity of the first book all the way through the second.  That was not the case with these books.  While the tenor of The Brightest Sunset changed and morphed into something softer around the edges than the jagged beauty of The Darkest Sunrise, it was equally impactful in its message.

The Darkest Sunrise (The Darkest Sunrise Duet, #1)
Available on Kindle Unlimited

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Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her four young children.

Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and baked feta. It should be known, however, that she hates pizza and ice cream, almost as much as writing her bio in the third person.

She passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a super-sized tumbler of wine by her side.

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Trust by Kylie Scott ~ Sarah A’s Review

Being young is all about the experiences: the first time you skip school, the first time you fall in love…the first time someone holds a gun to your head.

After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen-year-old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.

While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight—getting to class on time and thinking about the future.

An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first—losing her virginity—their friendship gets complicated.

Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose—each other.

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Trust did not hit the mark, for me.  It wasn’t bad, far from it, but it was lacking the ‘it’ factor that makes me need to continue reading the story.  There were moments that were wonderful, but there were also a lot of things that just didn’t quite deliver.  The first few chapters of the book hooked me enough to read the entire thing, if it had started a scene or two later I may have written it off and missed some of those truly great moments.

One of my favorite things about this book was how both John and Edie reacted to living through a hostage situation that others didn’t live through.  It was lovely to see how severe trauma can affect two people in such different ways, while still having the same underlying desire.  Both simply wanted to live to their full potential, even if they took vastly different approaches to expressing that desire.

My greatest wish for this book would have been to have John’s POV for some of the chapters.  Since we only see what Edie observes it was hard for me to understand how their relationship evolved.  I could easily believe their friendship, but John’s apparent disinterest made it hard for me to understand how it developed into more than that without seeing what was going on in his head.  Maybe that was the point and I missed it, that we don’t always know what a person is thinking until they act on it.  Once they moved beyond the bounds of platonic friendship it was easy to see that he cared for her in that way, it was just his journey to that point that seemed to be missing.

Edie was pretty great, it was nice to see a girl who wasn’t the typical Barbie doll type as the heroine in a romance.  I loved seeing her stand up for herself and her friends against people who didn’t even deserve one second of her attention.  It was also nice to see her internal turmoil about the things she didn’t appreciate about herself, how she combatted those feelings, and slowly learned to love herself.  Her character arc was important and interesting.  Her growth made the book worth reading.

“You were going to give it up to Duncan Dickerson?” he sneered. “Are you serious?”

I halted, staring at him. This was not good. “How do you know about that?”

“Anders overheard you and Hang talking.”

“Bastard.”

“Well?” he demanded, acting all authoritarian. Idiot.

“To be fair, I didn’t know his last name was Dickerson,” I said. “That’s unfortunate. Though, I wasn’t actually planning on marrying him, so . . .”

“Not funny.”

I shrugged.

“You barely know the guy.”

“Um, yeah. None of your concern. We’re not talking about this.” How mortifying! My face burned bright. People should just gather around and cook s’mores. “I appreciate that we’re friends. You mean a lot to me. But this is going to have to fall under definitely none of your damn business, so go away please.”

“We’re talking about it.” He advanced a step.

“No we are not.” And I retreated.

“You were going to let a complete stranger touch you.” Advance.

Retreat. “People do it all the time. You do it all the time.”

“But you don’t,” he said, taking the final step, backing me up against the side of his car and getting all in my face. “Edie, this is your first time we’re talking about. Isn’t it?”

“Yes, and it’s going to be messy and painful and probably horribly embarrassing and I just want it over and done with.” I tried to meet his eyes but failed, settling for a spot on his right shoulder. “You’re not a girl; you wouldn’t understand. Also, last time I checked, you’re not the gatekeeper of my hymen, John Cole. So back the fuck off.”

He said nothing.

Deep, calming breaths. “Look, someday I’ll meet someone I really like and we’ll have a deep and meaningful relationship and go at it like bunnies. But I don’t want to be the dumb virgin in that scenario.”

He slowly shook his head.

“Also, I do not want to die a virgin.”

“What? What the hell are you talking about?”

“Hey, you and I both know death can occur at any time.”

“This is crazy.”

“I’m seeing a therapist!” I told his shoulder. “I don’t know if you noticed, but I’m a little bit messed up these days. It’s hard for me to trust people. That’s not going to change anytime soon.”

He screwed up his face at me. “Wha—”

“I’m just trying to be practical.”

“Well, you’re being ridiculous. None of this makes sense.”

“It does to me.”

Again, he said nothing.

In fact, he said nothing for so long that I finally looked him in the eye. The anger had left him, replaced by an emotion I didn’t recognize. Worst of all, he still smelled like summer. A little sweat and the open night air, everything I loved. Liked. I meant liked.

“What?” I said, finally.

He let loose a breath. “I’ll do it.”

 

TRUST by Kylie Scott (Official Book Trailer) from FILM 14 on Vimeo.

Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet. You can learn more about Kylie from http://www.kylie-scott.com/

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