Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best of 2014 Blog Hop + Giveaway: Day 10 - Favorite Overall Reads

We have read some great books in 2014 but here is the list of books that topped the rest. 

Ali's Favorite Reads:


1 - Bang by E.K. Blair
2 - The Replacement by Rachael Wade
3 - Better When He's Bad by Jay Crownover
4 - The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa
5 - Love, In English by Karina Halle

Debbie's Favorite Reads:


1 - Archer's Voice by Mia Sheridan
2 - Love, in English by Karina Halle
3 - The King by J.R. Ward
4 - Missionary Position by Daisy Prescott
5 - Dragon Actually by G.A. Aiken

 Hop through to the other blogs to see their lists too!


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Check back everyday for a new list!

What was your overall favorite book of 2014?

Review: Better When He's Bold by Jay Crownover

Series: Welcome to The Point #2
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Publisher: William Marrow
Genre: New Adult
Source: Galley provided for honest review
Rating: ★★★★ ½

Some men are just better when they're bold.

Welcome to the Point...

In a dark and broken kingdom, a ruler has to be fearless to control the streets and the ruthless people who run them.

Race Hartman is just bold enough, just smart enough, and just lost enough to wear the crown. Places like the Point will always have bad things and bad people, but the man in control of all that badness can minimize the devastation. Race has a plan, but can he prevent total annihilation without destroying himself?

Brysen Carter has always seen her best friend's brother for what he is--too pretty, too smooth, and way too dangerous to touch. Basking in Race's golden glow is very tempting, but Brysen knows she'd eventually get burned.

When she starts receiving threatening texts and someone tries to take her out in parking lot, the only person interested in keeping her safe is the one man she can't allow herself to have.

Sometimes being bold is the only way to stay alive. But can she let Race save her life . . . if it means losing herself to him?

I've officially been injected with the Crownover Love Virus and I don't want a cure.

The Marked Men series may be where she started, where many fans fell in love with her, but Welcome to The Point is just... So. Much. More.  It has her same signature style, quirky names, lovably flawed characters.  What The Point brings is an element of dirty, raw, exciting vulnerability.

And Race Hartman is the current ruler of it all.  For now.

Race is very much like the city he wants to keep in a tenuous balance.  He's brave, he's strong, but he's not all together good.  He'll do what is necessary to take what he needs and what he wants.  Crownover writes him with a delicate balance.  It could be quite easy to dislike him but as you learn more and more of him, it's next to impossible to not fall hard for the guy that just wants to keep everyone safe.  By any means necessary.

His quiet moments with Brysen really bring out a tenderness in him that I loved.  Brysen herself has those similar moments.  She starts off as such a little firecracker, and while that never really goes away, she does show a softer, broken side to herself.  One that she hides from others but Race really breaks down her walls.

It was placing these two characters, each with problems and secrets, in a place like the Point where secrets and lies are like currency - that created reading magic for me.  You have two seemingly very pretty, polished people in such a dark and dangerous atmosphere.  That shit just makes me tingle.

I loved the drama, the twists, the suspense.

I swear, this series is like a drug for me and I'm ready for another hit.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Best of 2014 Blog Hop + Giveaway: Day 9 - Favorite Covers


Hop through to the other blogs to see their lists too!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check back everyday for a new list!

What were your favorite book covers of 2014?

Review ~ The Phoenix Candidate: The Pawn by Heidi Joy Trethaway

Series: Grace Colton #1
Release Date:  January 12, 2015
Genre:  Adult Erotica
Source:  Copy provided for honest review
Rating: ★★★★

Fans of Scandal, House of Cards, and The Good Wife will love Grace Colton...

U.S. Congresswoman Grace Colton is the most famous woman in politics—and the loneliest—until a drawling, sexy stranger offers her one night: no strings and no regrets. And it rocks her world.

Grace wakes to an empty hotel room and a phone call. The dark horse for the 2016 presidential election, Senator Shep Conover, is considering her as his vice presidential running mate.

Before she can be selected, Grace must be vetted and coached by Shep’s political consultant, Jared Rankin, who already knows too many intimate details about her. He’s Mr. One-Night Stand.

Grace is torn: play nice with Jared to join the senator’s ticket, or play hardball and back the slick frontrunner? As the Democratic National Convention approaches, Grace must decide where her loyalties lie and if she can trust Jared with her future—and her heart.

The Phoenix Candidate is an adult erotic romance recommended for mature readers.
If you asked me to give you one word for The Phoenix Candidate: The Pawn, it would be Supersexysmart!  That's a word right?  Okay, smart. The word would be smart. Final answer.

It puts erotica in a whole new light. If you need a real substantial story with your dose hot sex, look no further. Trethaway packs quite a political punch into The Phoenix Candidate.

When an anonymous one night stand ends up being the campaign manager for the president hopeful who is looking at you as a running mate...things get pretty muddy, pretty quickly.

That's only a bit of the trouble though, this is D.C. where sabotage and intrigue rule the games.  Grace is thrown in the deep end with Jared as her only lifeline...a guy she barely knows and isn't sure she can trust.  A man that pushes her buttons, challenges her every way, and makes her heart stutter more than she could have ever expected.

I loved the political plot of this story.  It's so different than most romance and erotica titles flooding the market right now. It kept the story happening outside of the bedroom very exciting.  I also really liked that Grace really struggled to stay true to herself in a life that is all about gaining the upper hand.  Shit...if only we had more politicians like her in Washington.

Where the story lost a little luster, for me, was with Jared.  Through most of the book, I didn't trust him, which is probably the point.  Not knowing if you should like and trust him adds to the drama of the story.  But, even when he did show some relationship stamina, I still didn't find myself on board with him.  I couldn't bring myself to believe his interest in Grace. I can't put my finger on it, it's just a feeling that is there.  Maybe I'm just a really distrusting person.  However, it only makes me want to read the next book even see if he's really a bit shady or if I just need more time with him and Grace.

Regardless of my leeriness towards Jared, this is a great start to what I think will prove to be a very intelligent sexy tale of desire, conspiracy, loyalty and love.

Review: The Pact by Karina Halle

Series: Standalone
Release Date: December 28, 2014
Publisher: Metal Blonde Books
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Source: From Author for Review
Rating: ★★★★ ½

It all started with a pinky swear…

Linden McGregor is tall, rugged, and gunslinger handsome; a helicopter pilot with a Scottish brogue and charm to spare. He’s also one of Stephanie Robson’s best friends and has fit into that box for as long as she’s known him.

Beautiful, funny and an ambitious businesswoman (with one hell of an ass), Stephanie Robson is one of Linden McGregor’s best friends and has fit into that box for as long as he’s known her.

But some relationships can’t be boxed, can’t be classified, can’t be tamed.

Back in their mid-twenties and tired of the competitive hit-or-miss dating scene of San Francisco, Steph and Linden made a pact to marry each other if neither one of them are in a serious relationship by the time they hit thirty.

It sounds like fun and games but as the years to thirty tick past and lovers come and go out of their lives, the pact becomes larger than life.

Sex is inevitable. Friendships are tested. Hearts are on the line.

The pact is about to change everything.

There's something about friends to lovers romances that always grabs my attention. Stories that center around this romance trope not only focuses on the budding love story, but the strong ties of friendship that exists between two people. Karina Halle exhibits this perfectly in THE PACT, where two best friends make a promise to marry each other if they both aren't in serious relationships by the time they turn thirty. At the time the pact is made, neither really takes the pact all too seriously; but as the years go by, and the idea of it coming true, their story becomes more intense and turns into a page-turning romance that I could not put down. 

“If neither of us are in a serious relationship by the time we are both thirty,” he says, looking at me so dead in the eye that I can’t help but hold my breath, “then we agree to marry each other. Agree?”

I find my voice. “Agree."

Told in dual POV, Halle takes us through the duration of Stephanie Robson and Linden McGregor's friendship. The book starts off with the night Linden proposes the pact to Stephanie when they are both twenty-five years old, and then moves us along through the years until they turn thirty. Nothing really changes between Stephanie and Linden after they make the pact. They continue with their lives, pursue their dreams and stay the best of friends like they've always been. Linden eventually gets his pilots license and Stephanie fulfills her dream of owning her own clothing store. But even with all of the professional goals they had accomplished Stephanie and Linden each failed to fulfill one aspect of their lives - their love lives. As the two get older and closer to their thirty year landmark, Stephanie and Linden both start to think more about the pact they had made all those years ago, and wonder if it would be possible to be in a relationship with your best friend. 

Sometimes, when he looks at me, I can swear something in him has changed. The glances are more intense, his eyes seem molten and charged. Sexual.

And I like it. I love it. I want it. I want there to be this change, for this to be a thing because then maybe, maybe I would act on it. Maybe I would take that chance and turn him into something more than a friend.

One of the things that I loved about THE PACT is that Halle lets Stephanie and Linden go on with their lives like how it was naturally supposed to go even without the pact. It never felt like they were being forced to be this couple in a time of their lives when they weren't supposed to. They each needed to grow up a little more and learn how how to make relationships work. They needed this time to figure out that the thing they had been searching for had always been around but they were too scared to take the chance. Even though they might have been in different relationships throughout the years, Stephanie and Linden's friendship stood the test of time. They had some rough moments with cheating boyfriends or bitchy girlfriends, but they continued to be there for each other, like how friends should be. 

The romance between Stephanie and Linden was really palpable and realistic. The banter between these two was so much fun to read. Linden always had something quick witted to day and Stephanie always had  The little crushes here and there, and the shared glances really made for some great sexual tension throughout the book. Halle does a great job of building up the tension between these two that by the time they actually get together, a dam was about ready to burst out of my chest. The first time these two kissed, I was ready to start singing hallelujah and praise the lord. When Linden lets his sexual prowess loose on Stephanie, my panties self-destructed. The filthy mouth on that Scottie is so damn hot. Every dirty word that came out of his mouth had my face burning up. Seriously, this hot Scottie can talk dirty to me any time he wants. 

Karina Halle shows us a new dimension to her writing talent in THE PACT, and demonstrates that she can do the light and "fluffy" romance without compromising her integrity. For a writer that's well-known for darker and grittier stories, Halle does exceptionally well with the fun and light hearted contemporary romance. The chemistry between Linden and Stephanie crackles with pure energy and intensity that it was impossible for me to put this page-turning romance down. Like with all Karina Halle books, Stephanie and Linden's story hits you hard but also leaves you feeling fulfilled and giddy with every bit of goodness that it comes with. The book was filled with lots of great moments where you witness the strong bond between Stephanie and Linden, and also the moments where you just wanted to bash their heads in. Their journey to love wasn't easy or stress free, it was filled with lots of highs, lows, and lots of emotions. Halle doesn't just let them reach their HEA overnight, she makes them work for it and puts them through some tests before they get to the point where you want to skip and prance with glee. THE PACT is an electrifying sweet, fun, and sizzling romance that no new or seasoned romance reader should miss. I highly suggest that you pick this book up today and end your year on a high note.

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