FTC Review Disclosure

Review

Friday, May 31, 2013

Bucking the Rules Contest

Tina Hammond won the contest and will be receiving a signed copy of Bucking the Rules by Jeannette Murray. Be on the look out for a new contest soon!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bedding the Wrong Brother by Virna DePaul


Publisher Description

In this sexy contemporary from Virna DePaul, the bestselling author hailed as “amazing” by Lori Foster, a small-town girl winds up in the wrong bed with the man she’s always wanted. Melina Parker prides herself on being a lady in public, but after she's dumped yet again for being a lady in the bedroom, she's ready to go back to school. Determined to find her inner sex diva, she enlists her childhood friend, Max Dalton, to tutor her after hours. Instead, she ends up in the wrong bed and gets a lesson in passion from Max's twin brother, Rhys Dalton, a man Melina's always secretly wanted but never thought she could have.

Review

Melina is as smart as they come, but when it comes to men she feels like a dunce. What's a girl to do? Ask her smoking hot childhood friend for a crash course in seduction! Max agrees to tutor Melina in all things sex, but pulls a switcheroo with his twin brother Rhys. Rhys thinks Melina has finally seen him and Melina, with no glasses, thinks she is still with Max. Crazy hijinks ensue. Rhys and Melina are adorable. Max is irritating. I would love to see him humbled by his true love.


Forbidden Fruit Rating






Author Links

Virna DePaul
Facebook 
Twitter
Goodreads
Amazon

*FTC Disclosure*
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley as part of their Professional Reader program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Seal of Honor by Tonya Burrows

Publisher Description

It’s a good thing Gabe Bristow lives and breathes the Navy SEAL credo, “the only easy day was yesterday,” because today, his life is unrecognizable. When his prestigious career comes to a crashing halt, he’s left with a bum leg and few prospects for employment that don’t include a desk. That is, until he’s offered the chance to command a private hostage rescue team and free a wealthy American businessman from Colombian paramilitary rebels. It seems like a good deal—until he meets his new team: a drunk Cajun linguist, a boy-genius CIA threat analyst, an FBI negotiator with mob ties, a cowboy medic, and an EOD expert as volatile as the bombs he defuses. Oh, and who could forget the sexy, frustratingly impulsive Audrey Van Amee? She’s determined to help rescue her brother—or drive Gabe crazy. Whichever comes first. As the death toll rises, Gabe’s team of delinquents must figure out how to work together long enough to save the day. Or, at least, not get themselves killed. Because Gabe’s finally found something worth living for, and God help him if he can’t bring her brother back alive.

Review

I love Gabe and Audrey. Audrey is a strong and assertive woman and she does it with the sweetest southern girl smile on her face. Gabe is a stickler for the rules. The rules say he cannot have Audrey. Good thing for Gabe, Audrey doesn’t care too much for rules. The hunt for Audrey’s brother is tense. The H/h are in danger most of the book. Ms. Burrows does not pull any punches. The violence you would expect to find in a book about hostages and rescues is accurate. She gets the point across without being gruesome. I do not see how anyone could read this and not root for Gabe and Audrey. Great start to a new series. Looking forward to more HORNET in my future.


Forbidden Fruit Rating






Author links

Twitter

A book in hand is better than two on the shelf.

-Seph


*FTC Disclosure*

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley as part of their Professional Reader program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Hook's Pan by Marie Hall

Publisher Description

Trishelle Page has known pain in her life, but instead of it making her weak, she's stronger. Confident. That is until the day a fairy named Danika kidnaps her during her starring role in Peter Pan's play and tells her not only do fairy tales exist, but that she's the soul mate of the pirate they call Hook, making her question everything she ever thought she knew. Captain James Hook is a man at the end of his rope. He's not the villainous bastard tales have made him out to be. So when the curvaceous blonde drops literally at his feet, he aims to prove it to her. If only to get her into his bed. What neither one knows is that fate and magic are conspiring and they can deny the attraction all they want but their happily ever after is already written, it's just a matter of getting there. 

Review

Marie Hall has taken a character that we all know as the bad guy and made him the hero. Bad boy lovers around the world unite with me and say "Thanks!" to Marie. Hook's Pan has a really cute premise but it is far from being a cute read. Ms. Hall managed to sneak in real depth with the tragedies her H/h have suffered. Both Hook and Trishelle have brutally lost a loved one. This gives them common ground, a place to build on when they are resistant to the matchmaking of a certain fairy godmother. I felt bad for Trishelle at first, I understand why she was brought to Hook, but I wanted him to love Trishelle for herself and not because of who she might have been. That will make sense once you read the book. I don't want to spoil. 

I enjoyed Hook's Pan. Readers of the books before this one will enjoy seeing old friends, but you can read it as a stand alone. I bought Betty/Gerard's story and Alice/Mad Hatter's story this morning. 

Forbidden Fruit Rating
          

Author links



A book in hand is better than two on the shelf.

-Seph

*FTC Disclosure*
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley as part of their Professional Reader program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Military Romance

First off, today is Memorial Day. We honor the fallen, for they gave all. We ask for peace and comfort to the families that remember them fondest. Above all, we are thankful for their sacrifice.

Let's talk military romance. Do you love military romance? Can you remember when you first saw a man in uniform and said, "Want!"? For me it was Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman. 


An Officer and a Gentleman. *Swoon.















Here at the book blog, we are truly thankful for our military. We are humbled by the sacrifice service men and women gift to their country every day. We are humbled by the sacrifices their families make for their service. In honor of Memorial Day, here is a list of books, mostly series, featuring military men and women.
Credit By His Boots

Cindy Dees 
Charlie Squad series
H.O.T. Watch series
Medusa Project series (kick butt women in uniform!)

Cindy Gerard 
Black Ops series

Jeanette Murray (I am partial to Jeanette, she is my Smut Club pal.)
Semper Fi series

Julie Ann Walker 
Black Knights Inc. series

Laura Kaye 
The Hero series

Lexi Blake
Masters and Mercenaries series.

Lora Leigh 
Elite Ops series
SEALS series

Lori Foster 
Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series

Maya Banks 
KGI series

Melissa Schroeder 
A Little Harmless Military Romance series.

Robyn Carr 
Virgin River series (not all the books feature military men. For sure, the first two and they are my favorites.)
The book I am reading today! 
Second Chance Pass, book 5 is especially heart wrenching as the main characters are the widow and best friend of a fallen soldier.

Shannon K. Butcher 
Delta Force series

Stephanie Tyler
Hold trilogy

Sylvia Day, et. al 
Men Out of Uniform anthology

Sherrilyn Kenyon 
B.A.D. Agency series

Seal of Honor by Tonya Burrows is on the tip top of my TBR pile.

Want to see a six page Goodreads list of men in uniform?
HERE it is. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Severed Stone by Kelly Walker



*Prequel to the Souls of the Stones series, but can be read at any time during the series without spoilers. 

Publisher Description

Immortality is my prison. I broke the bonds of brotherhood because I once loved a girl whose hand was not as available as her heart. Cursed by the gods, I watch countless generations live with the consequences of my transgression. Even with the gift of foresight, I cannot say I would be strong enough to turn away if given the opportunity. And were she cursed to watch the destruction unfold by my immortal side, I would without a doubt make the same fated choices. But Tomorrow is a cruel mistress, and the first death I witnessed as part of my damnation was that of my beloved. -Fidwen Roth

Their story should have been a fairytale, but someone is playing a dangerous game that can only end in heartbreak.When Ciorstan awakes alone in a field, far from home and more than a little confused, it won't be the strangest thing to happen that day. Ignoring both her intuition and a mysterious but handsome stranger's warning, she allows a dashing prince to take her home to his palace. Agreeing to marry the prince was her second mistake. Her next one will rip an entire kingdom apart. Sometimes, true love can be a tragedy with devastating consequences. 

Review

Having already read the Souls of the Stones series ARCs, I think I enjoyed this book more. The characters and the plot are fantastic. I am glad that Kelly decided to give this story its own book instead of just glossing over the brief history. Kelly is a talented YA author and Severed Stone is a wonderful addition to the Souls of the Stones series. 

Forbidden Fruit Rating

Author links

A book in hand is better than two on the shelf.

-Seph

*FTC Disclosure*
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley as part of their Professional Reader program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Interview with Kelly Walker




Today, I want you to meet Kelly Walker. She is the YA fantasy author of the Souls of the Stones series. I have ARC's of her series that I review and post very soon. 

*The Genesis Round*

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I think the answer to this really falls into two parts. When I was a teen, I wrote a lot. I took creative writing classes in school, and filled notebook after notebook with poetry and stories, but they were all written only for myself. Usually to express an emotion, or work through something, or even just to dream a little. I wanted a career with horses, and so I wrote about girls who got to do just that. The first thing I ever wrote for someone else, was a little book I wrote for my mom called "The Mom's Handbook," because each time I'd ask Mom something like, "but why do you have to do that!" she'd reply with, "it's in the Mom's Handbook." 
After a while, I'd say around college, I stopped writing because I stopped feeling like I needed to write. A few years ago, Riya found her way into my head, and my interest in writing again was solely driven by her story. Now, I can't imagine not writing, and only wish I hadn't stopped for so long. I think the difference is, now I write for more than just myself. I still write the stories I want to read, but each day writing is like treasure hunting. I get to make so many discoveries about the stories of fascinating characters. 
Mom's handbook, I love it. 

What books have most influenced your life most? 
I would have to say Twilight. It was recommended to me by a friend, and several friends and I read it at the same time. We were all in different parts of the country, but this was something we shared. Then my husband read it, and he and I went to see all the movies together. I think part of the reason it effected me so much is because it gave me such a sense of community. More and more of my friends read it and obsessed over it (and when I say friends, I mean adult friends, we were all in our mid twenties to mid thirties) and it was incredible to be a part of a fandom for the first time. We went to a B&N midnight release for Breaking Dawn, and it was beyond cool to see hundreds of people crowded into a store, all for the love of a book. I think it opened my eyes to how much a story can truly matter and impact people.
Any book that gets people reading, especially kids, is a great book in my opinion. The community that belongs to a fandom is pretty great. 

Do you have a specific writing style? 
I've been told that I do. I'm a member of an online critique group, and sometimes we submit things anonymously. There are a few of my crit partners who can instantly pick out my stuff. I like words that flow together nicely, I even like a bit of 'purple prose.' I tend to jumble sentences and get a bit wordy, but fortunately I have a fantastic team of crit-partners and editors who help me tone that down before anyone else sees it.
Readers, the prose turns purple when it becomes too ornate, flowery, and frou foru. 
Example of purple prose, the 17 pages it takes to describe Bella's transformation in Breaking Dawn.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Letting my characters make mistakes. I'm often following the story as I write like a reader, and I want to scream at them not to do what I know they will. I have to stay true to their paths, and their stories, and their personalities, but sometimes it breaks my heart.
Well, you are kind of like their parent. You don't want to see your kids struggle.
Aside from that, the hardest part is probably just staying disciplined, and making sure I get my writing done each day. I can be a bit distractable, and can easily waste hours in checking different forums and groups and websites, and then I realize I sat down to write but didn't. I've started blocking my net during my writing hours to make sure I stay on task. 
I could benefit from blocking the net for distraction during writing time, but I have to have it for links and research regarding the review. Then I find rabbit holes to wander down, like facebook. Boo. 

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Elle Casey. There have been times where I've been very frustrated, or confused, and she's been more than willing to give me guidance and advice. I admire her so much. 
Shout out to the amazing Elle Casey!

*The Philosophy Round*

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 
Maybe...*bats eyelashes*
I don't think it will be too apparent until Broken Stone, but Riya really does make her own path. She has things she has to do, and she doesn't always like it. She's been set on this course by forces outside of her control, and they have very definitive ideas of what they want her to do and who they want her to be. One thing I think she's learning is that it is the journey that matters, not just where you end up. The "good guys" and the "bad guys" all sort of want the same thing. They just want to do it in very different ways. 
The ends don't always justify the means.
Very true, and a gripping journey it is!
  
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 
Thank you for being my readers! There is not much cooler than hearing that your characters have touched someone else. 

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? 
That you can't please everyone. I've always been a people pleaser, but in this, it is impossible. Not everyone likes the same things. I have to just do the best I can, and then let it be what it is. 

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, Broken Stone is everything I dreamed the end of Riya's story would be. I learned so much from writing the first two, I think Broken Stone is incredibly strong, and I think it will satisfy readers. I brought in a larger team for this book, since it was the end of the trilogy. I wanted to make sure I answered as many of the lingering questions as I could. I think we accomplished that. 
Awesome

*The Shameless Display of Affection Round*

How did you come up with the idea for this book? What was the inspiration?
Riya herself. She popped into my head as nothing more than a girl standing before a stone pass in the mountains. She had an entourage behind her (though it was much bigger at first) and I knew she was making a choice. If she went through, it would change everything. I also knew there were two important men - one would be kind, and one would not. I didn't know which was which, so I didn't know what the right choice was. I tried to recreate that experience for the reader. Once I figured out why she was standing at that wall, I had to figure out all the little pieces that make her special. Why did it matter if she married Torian, or not? From there, the idea of the three families was born, as well as their gifts.
As for recreating the experience for the reader, I think you nailed it on the head. 

In the first Souls of the Stones book, every time I thought I had who is bad vs. who is good figured out you would drop a bomb on me. The characters had so many facets.  They must drive you mad running around in your head. 
They do indeed. Fortunately, my family has stopped threatening to have me committed when they hear me arguing with them. 
LOL!

How many books do you plan to write in the Souls of the Stones series?
The main trilogy (Riya's story) is three books (Cornerstone, Second Stone, Broken Stone) No matter how much I love the world and the characters, I will not deviate from that because I would be doing a disservice to the story and the characters to try and drag it out. It also fits nicely - three lands, three families, three books. 
But, while I won't do more with this section of their world and story, I hope to do a lot more related works. Gifted Stone is already out, and it tells Rink's background, and gives us a nice idea of what Christmas time would be like in The Three Corners. I have the first prequel coming out in June, and it's called Severed Stone. Severed Stone's events are briefly summarized during a scene in Broken Stone, but while writing that section I realized there was so much more. I couldn't fit it all into Broken Stone without it becoming a story within a story, so I made it a separate book. It answers the questions of how and why the lands split. Severed Stone is a novella, about half the length of Cornerstone.
I'm also writing Jaded Stone, which is Valencia's story. She's probably one of the most fascinating characters, because we know so much about her, and her life, and her choices, but I'm not sure we understand them. Hopefully Jaded Stone will do that.
I did introduce a new character toward the end of Broken Stone, and there is a distinct possibility I will pick up with their story some day, and I don't know how many books that would be.
And dear old Garith has a few things he'd like to tell us as well, so I think I may be giving him a series of short stories that may fill in some gaps. 

*The Proverbial Round*

Who are your favorite authors and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Elle Casey - I love her spunky heroines. She rocks.
S.M. Reine - I love her werewolf series. They are quick easy reads, perfect for me to take to bed with me and not be up too terribly late because they are a bit shorter. I really like Rylie as a heroine, so she's fun to read about.
Diana Gabaldon - Her Outlander series is so original. There's nothing else I've found quite like it. I love seeing the bit of history mixed with a bit of fantasy and magic and the hero is so swoon-worthy. She has a brilliant way with words, I just wish she wrote faster. 

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? 
 Elle Casey and SM Reine are both relatively new to me, they've been publishing for a year and two years respectively. I used to be a huge James Patterson fan, and while I still like his books, I just don't find them as fun as the indie stuff I've been reading lately.
Indie is fun! I have found so many new authors, my TBR pile overflows. I love reviewing them and introducing them to other readers. 

What book are you reading now? 
This answer changes just about every day or every other day. I read for 2-3 hours ever night once I go to bed, and I'm a fast reader. Right now I'm reading the ARC of CJ Archer's The Wrong Girl. 


Do you have any advice for other writers? 
Don't listen to anyone you don't agree with. It may sound very simple, but there are a lot of people with opinions about books, publishing and writing. There are no rules, only suggestions. Use -ly adverbs, or don't. Start with action, or don't. Self publish, Trade publish, or keep it to yourself. There is no wrong answer, and there is no wrong way. 
The best thing you can do is know why you  are writing. For me personally, I'm writing to tell a story. I don't care about crafting perfect words or flawless sentences. I just try to stay out of my own way while I'm delivering the story so I don't interfere with my reader's enjoyment. That may not be what matters to you, and that's ok. Just find what does matter, know your purpose, and do it.
 Best. Advice. Ever. 

*Upcoming Events*

What is next for you? Any works in progress?
Too many to count. I have three stories in various stages at the moment. Jaded Stone is one. Another I've really been wanting to write is a vampire romance with a couple cool twists. I've got some of the research and character building done for this, but none of the actual writing. And a new story has recently taken over my life, called No One's Angel. It's NA Contemporary Romance, and I am having so much fun with it. The bare bones of it is two people who used to play an online game together, and they grew very close. They lose touch for a year, then she shows up on his doorstep. She's running from her past, and he'd just finally got his head straight after her disappearance. I'm hoping for a sort of cross between Damaged from HM Ward and the movie with Jennifer Lopez - Enough.
I will keep my eyes peeled!

Thank so much for talking with me!
Thanks so much for having me!

A book in hand is better than two on the shelf.
-Seph

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tell me lies

As I was reading recently, and getting frustrated at the H/h for not being honest with each other, I began to wonder is honesty always the best policy? For the most part, yes. Being free of lies is better for you. You have two options to prevent living with lies.

1. Don't do anything you have to lie about.
2. If you mess up, fess up.

Why am I talking about this? Because lies and misunderstandings are a staple of the romance genre. Could be the H/h has a past they don't want shared, maybe they know something that will cause their lover pain, they screwed up and don't want to face the music, or my personal favorite convenient amnesia.

Convenient amnesia - either the hero or the heroine can not remember the past or certain events. Their significant other decides to keep information that might cause waves to themselves.

Example
Amnesiac: "Is there anything I should know?"

"Nope, nothing comes to mind."
As the reader, the little white lies trope is frustrating to me. I know the next several chapters are going to be spent digging a deeper hole until BOOM! Everything goes sideways and the truth comes out. Now we get chapters of  "How can I trust you?" "Let me make it up to you." Yadda, yadda, yadda. If the liar deserves the comeuppance, I say make 'em grovel. They deserve it. We all know it will be HEA in the end so make it interesting.

Made a bet and then fell in love? You deserve it. 
Kept vital information from your H/h that they needed to know ASAP? You deserve it. 
Messed around with someone else (rarely see this one)? Yeah, you deserve it.

Here is the part where I blow your mind. Sometimes, you have to lie. Let's say the hero has major issues, would the heroine be willing to deal with that before she fell in love with him? When we love someone, we are willing to put up with a lot. A. Lot. I am not taking on the airport full of emotional baggage for a guy that might be the one.

A book I recently read had a man come home to his pregnant bride after suffering memory loss. Problem is, pregnant bride is not his bride. They were going to get married but because of a fight he left for the war before the wedding. She decides not to tell him the truth. The man is stressed, has PTSD, and over the moon about the baby on the way. Who cares if they are not really married? Let's not mess with the man. Right? I think so but of course he finds out. When do they always find out? At the worst possible moment. It's a law. 

F^*%!! Why now?

Conclusion
Lies, are they okay or not? I still have no definitive answer. Do I want to be lied to? No. Hades would get in trouble for lying to me. I would get in trouble for lying to Hades. Doesn't mean we don't keep some things to our selves. What are your thoughts? I feel like I just talked myself in circles.  

A book in hand is better than two on the shelf.
-Seph

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Interview with Cherise Kelley


*The Genesis Round*

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I have a pressing, urgent need to communicate, and that motivates me to write.


What books have influenced your life most? 
The Bible. I am a born-again Christian.

Do you have a specific writing style? 
So far, the vast majority of my writing is non-fiction. I write in what my own 10th grade English teacher called "cookbook ease." I aim to explain things so that everyone will understand.


Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 
Just getting myself to do it is the toughest challenge in my writing. I am a terrible procrastinator!


If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? 
Everyone at kboards Writer's CafĂ©.



*The Philosophy Round*

Is there a message in How I Got Him to Marry Me: 50 True Stories that you want readers to grasp? 
Yes! I don't want women to settle for living together.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 
Yes! You deserve marriage. Insist on marriage.


Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
 Every one of the sixty women I interviewed for this book taught me something different. You will have to read the book to find out what! :)


If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would ask for longer stories!

*The Shameless Display of Affection Round*

How did you come up with the idea for this book? What was the inspiration?
This book idea has been nagging at me for years! It was inspired by all the women I know who have settled for just living together when they deserve marriage.



Do you have a favorite story in "How I Got Him to Marry Me"?
Yes! #9 is my favorite. I have offered to publish a novel-length version, and she is working on it! I have a mailing list you can sign up on to be notified when a novel-length version of one of these "marry me" stories is published. Sign up here!



Your bachelor's degree has allowed you to teach college, middle and high school. What is your favorite thing about teaching?

I love explaining things to people!


To have time for writing, you mostly substitute now. When I was a kid, I loved having a substitute, but some kids liked to prank them. Ever been pranked by your students?
Oh yes, more times than I can count! The funniest was when they stuck gum to the earpiece on the phone. I didn't notice it was there, and I kept saying to the office, "Hello? Hello? I can't hear you. Hello?"



*The Proverbial Round*

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? 
The late Robert Jordan springs to mind when you ask about favorites. He was great at incorporating new characters into a story and bringing them back later in surprising ways.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? 
I am reading all indie authors now, and they all amaze me! You can follow my reading adventures by friending or fanning me on Goodreads. 

What book are you reading now?
I am re-reading Sarra Cannon's Peachtree saga. 


Do you have any advice for other writers? 
 To steal a line from Nike: Just do it.



*Upcoming Events*

What is next for you? Any works in progress?
I am writing the sequel to Dog Aliens 1: Raffle's Name.


How I Got Him to Marry Me by Cherise Kelley


Publisher Description


According to the US Census Bureau's 2012 report on America's Families and Living Arrangements, less than half of marriage-aged Americans are married: 49.3%. The percentage goes up once we turn 30, but only to 53.6%. At 35, it goes up to 61.6%. Boyfriends make excuses like "Marriage is just a piece of paper," and "Living together is just as good as being married." Many women who value the commitment of marriage and/or the stability it affords for raising children have a hard time getting him to marry us in this environment. This book is written for the woman in this predicament. Her boyfriend has proposed not marriage, but living together. You don't have to interview 50 married women to find out how they managed to get that ring on their finger. The author has done that for you. All 50 were married after 1990, so this is modern information for our changing times. Read and find out how you can get him to marry you and not just live together!


Review


Marriage is not every woman's goal. If you are settling for less than marriage when it is what you want, then you shouldn't. This book contains 50 stories of women that wanted to get married. The men in their life, not so much concerned about the M word. How do you get a man to marry you? Well, you can manipulate him into it but that isn't a healthy foundation. You won't find ladies getting pregnant to trap a husband between these pages. These women got what they wanted by telling their men hard truths, eliminating obstacles such as debt, and showing him the the life they could have. 

How I Got Him to Marry Me is about the traditional, some would say Christian, institution of marriage. This won't appeal to everyone, but no book ever does. The relationships are all heterosexual. The author was conducting an experiment related to heterosexual couples. I don't think she was discriminating. I also don't think she was saying that a feminist that chooses not to marry is wrong. Wouldn't feminists tell a woman to know what she wants and go for it? 

Forbidden Fruit Rating


   



A book in hand is better than two on the shelf.

-Seph

*FTC Disclosure*
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley as part of their Professional Reader program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thunderstruck by Kendall Grace


Publisher Description

Desperate to distance herself from her previous life, and her high-powered ex, Jo Montgomery moves to a tiny slice of Georgia, an impetuous decision if there ever was one. Though not nearly as impetuous as throwing herself into an intimate relationship with her new neighbor. Hawk Stephens, a horse breeder and local celebrity, is sex personified, a man built for dark deeds in dark places. But he wants far more from Jo. Every instinct tells Silent Hawk that Jo is The One, and despite her obvious uncertainty, his Apache beliefs give him faith. The signs are unmistakable. His skittish little filly requires a strong hand, patience…and blazing, mind-bending sex that leaves no doubt to his feelings and intentions. But before their love affair has barely begun, the reemergence of Jo’s ex, coupled with a potentially tragic event, forces Jo to make decisions that not only damage Hawk’s beliefs, but could also shatter their tender romance beyond repair.

Review

Fifty pages in I was tempted to throw in the towel. I could not get into the story. The characters felt flat to me. The story did pick up some but I just never got into it. 

Forbidden Fruit Rating

   

Author links

A book in hand is better than two on the shelf.

-Seph

*FTC Disclosure*
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley as part of their Professional Reader program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Big List of Incredible Ink


All the books reviewed in this list feature a hot hero sporting ink. Some have a little, some have a lot. One man's tiny tribal on his pectoral is another man's massive back piece. If you like your men decorated, this is your list.

Rock Me by Cherrie Lynn 5/5

Brian, is not only tattooed, but pierced. BONUS! Pardon me while I fan myself. He works as a tattoo artist. Candace and Brian are friends because he used to date her cousin. They haven't seen each other since the relationship went sour. When Candace decides to get a tattoo, she goes to Brian. The way Cherrie Lynn describes Brian, well the man is seriously sexy. Candace and Brian are feeling out their relationship and it brought a smile to my face more than once as I watched it unfold.
“I want to bury myself so deep inside you, you’ll think you won’t ever get me out”  - Brian
One of my favorite reads. I liked this one so much I was about 40 pages in when I said, "Whoa, I need to go back and sloooooow down. Savor it." The chemistry between Candace and Brian ins explosive. Cherrie Lynn builds the sexual tension to a fevered pitch. This is one I moved into my personal library.

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Hot Ink by Ranae Rose 4/5

Mina is the sole guardian of her younger, wheelchair bound sister. Eric is the man inking a masterpiece on Mina's side. Eric tries to ask Mina out, but she is busy with work and her sister. She is sure that after running out on him once, he won't be back again. Fate has other plans. Fate and Mina's best friend. Mina and Eric are posed together for a photo shoot of their tattoos. It get's intimate and Eric takes his second chance to ask Mina out.

What I liked was that Ranae Rose took everyday life and turned it into a wonderful story. Mina works, cares for her sister, has a lot of responsibility. That could make for a dull book, but Ranae Rose is good at her craft. Mina and Eric were more real than some characters you read. Mina was easy to relate to. I could understand the feelings she was having and why. Eric was an all around good guy. He wasn't a knight in shining armor or hero to save the day. He was an ordinary, attractive, nice guy. He also has an awesome tattoo of a dragon. Yeow!

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Easy by Tammara Webber 4/5

Jacqueline and Lucas. What a roller coaster we rode together. A romance that covers subjects like rape, survivors guilt, and lies will either be inspiring or it will be depressing. I was far from depressed. There were heart wrenching moments but I ended it with a happy heart. I find this book to be more challenging to write about. It is hard to fit into a box. The main characters are in college, but I did not feel that it belonged in a YA or new adult category alone. The obstacles Jacqueline and Lucas had to hurdle were not ones that someone without a great deal of inner strength could survive. If not in age, they were more mature in spirit. A spectacular work by Tammara Webber. I look forward to seeing what she does next.
"Choosing to be with you, isn't a difficult decision, Jacqueline...It's easy. Incredibly easy.” 
- Lucas
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Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye 4/5

Being trapped in a dark elevator sounds awful, until you throw in a sexy man to keep you company. It's love at first sight, without any light to see. Makenna and Caden start out by talking to pass the time while they await rescue. The more they talk, the more they feel the spark between them grow. Things begin to get hot and heavy but the lights come back on. Caden worries that his extensive tattoos will turn Makenna off, but she knows there is more to Caden than meets the eye. What was easy in the dark isn't quite so simple in the light of the day. Makenna and Caden have to decide if they will listen to the instant attraction between them or walk away.

The whole sensory deprivation scenario was hot. It has been said that when one sense is denied, the others are amplified. Imagining the hyper aware sense of touch and sound makes the elevator scene intoxicating. When the lights came on I wanted to scream, "Why!?". Makenna and Caden really contemplate walking away. I knew they wouldn't because then we would have no story. This knowledge did not stop me from sweating it out. Laura Kaye ratchets up the sexual tension in Hearts in Darkness.
“He crowded right up into her space, pressed his body against hers—trapping her against the glass of the door behind her, plunged his hands into her hair until he was cupping the nape of her neck, and devoured her lips with his.” 
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Spell of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning 5/5

Cian has been trapped in a mirror for a long time. Eleven centuries to be exact. As you might expect, he is a little annoyed after all that time. Jessie is a little annoyed that a man jumped out of a mirror at her. From the moment Cian enters Jessie's life, he brings trouble. The two are thrust together until they can thwart the evil that is after them. They are attracted to each other but cannot seem to get along. They fight constantly. Cian can be an arrogant, pain in the butt, alpha male one minute and say things that make you melt the next. If they survive what is after them and each other, they might just find happiness together.
"...if Hell were the price for twenty days with you, I'd condemn myself again and again."                     -  Cian MacKeltar.  
One of two heroes on this list that has his tattoos to protect him, not just as a decoration. Book seven in KMM's Highlander series. I was impressed with Cian. I love KMM's Highlanders. They are pretty much a heavenly slice of awesome. Cian is the cherry on top of the cake. He is a very powerful man, magically. You can feel that power leap off the pages at you. Of all the Highlander books, this one sticks out in my memory the most.

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Beautiful Disaster by Jaime McGuire 3/5

Abby and Travis have been the buzz this past year. In the wake of Fifty Shades of Grey, I heard about this title. I was told it was very steamy and a great story. I was not disappointed. Even when I was thoroughly ticked off with the characters, I could not put the book down. There is a lot of angst. Angst can be good. I did worry that Abby and Travis have too much angst. With all the back and forth they had, will they really be able to make it last?
“I knew the second I met you that there was something about you I needed. Turns out it  wasn’t something about you at all. It was just you.” ―Travis
A good friend recently read the follow up to this book, Walking Disaster.  The sequel is a retelling of the original, from Travis' POV. I was skeptical that it would be any good. She assures me it was worth the read. That it had information we never got in Beautiful Disaster and gave insight into Travis. Even better, she tells me that it includes an epilogue that proves Abby and Travis will be fine.

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Coming Undone (Brown Siblings #2) by Lauren Dane 4/5
After the death of his parents, Brody had to choose between taking care of his family or pursuing his career. He chose his family. His siblings are grown. He owns his own business. It is time for Brody to look to building his life again. Elise is a single mom. Her marriage and life as a ballerina are over. Both ended tragically. All Elise wants is a quiet life with her daughter. Brody befriends both Elise and her daughter. 
From the friendship, passion grows. Elise is afraid of it. When she is forced to face her past head on, Brody becomes her rock. The bond they forge becomes so strong, denying their feelings becomes impossible. 
“You don't always choose who you love, sometimes it just happens.”  
Brody is a patient man. He is great with Elise, who is extremely wary of relationships. Brody is brilliant with Elise's daughter. Half of Elise's attraction to Brody is probably how great he handles her daughter. Elise is a wonderful mother. She would never have anything to do with a man that didn't see how great her daughter is.  She really is great. I laughed at that child so many times reading this book, I think Hades may have begun to question my sanity.

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Fever Series 1-5 by Karen Marie Moning 5/5

The second man on the list that needs his tattoos for protection. The first five books in the Fever series follow MacKayla (Mac or Ms. Lane) Lane and Jerricho Z. Barrons (JZB or Barrons). Goodness, how do you sum up this series? It is a crazy train of absolute awesome sauce. Mac goes to Ireland after her sister dies to investigate. There, she meets the mysterious Barrons. You will spend a great deal of the next few books wondering what exactly Barrons is, other than someone you do not want to trifle with. There are fairies causing problems, who are not the sweet little tinkerbells we always think they are. Some other things that go bump in the night, lurking in the shadows. They all want a taste of Mac, even Barrons. This is actually one very long story told over the course of five installments. It is epic. This is a series I recommend to everyone. 

“One day you will kiss a man you can't breathe without, and find that breath is of little consequence.”―  Bloodfever

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Seducing Cinderella by Gina L. Maxwell 4/5

Lucie is a physical therapist. Reid is a injured MMA fighter. When Reid is sent to Lucie for rehab, they are both surprised to realize they know each other. Reid is best friends with Lucie's older brother. Reid has an important fight coming up. He needs to heal fast. Lucie agrees to give him 24 hour care in exchange for his help realizing her potential. Lucie has a crush who doesn't seem to see her. Reid promises he will teach her how to make the men see her from miles away. In the process of teaching Lucie how to be seductive, he is seduced himself. Can Reid let Lucie go? Will Lucie want to be with her crush, or Reid?

Lucie doesn't see herself as attractive. This is pretty common among women, so I think most readers will relate to her. Reid is outgoing and oozes sex. Lucie mistakes his lessons as nothing more than student/teacher. She cannot fathom Reid being attracted to her. When the object of your affection gives you the time of day, sometimes you think it is just wishful thinking that he is into you. I found Lucie to be adorable. Reid needs to work on his self worth issues, but he appears to get that under control by the end. I have bought the next book, featuring Lucie's brother. I expect it will be a good read as well.
“Since when has my heart been with you?” She nodded. He stepped closer and framed her face in his large hands. “Quite possibly from the first time I heard you snort.” He placed a kiss on the tip of her nose. “Very probably when you flirted with our waiter.” A warm kiss on the freckle by her eye. “Almost certainly the first time you fell asleep in my arms.” A small kiss on the opposite cheek. “And most definitely the night we made love.” Finally, a tender kiss on the lips.” 
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Real by Katy Evans 4/5

Brooke Dumas used to be the star athlete. She was bound for the olympics until two torn ACL's crushed her dreams. Now, she has devoted her career to other star athletes. Brook attends an underground fight and meets Remington. He's the best at his sport, headed for the top. Brooke is blown away by him. Her reaction surprises her. She isn't the type to fall over guys so easily. Remington is just as taken with Brooke. He offers her a job on his team for the rest of the tour. As his employee, Brooke knows she should not cross the line with him. Remington is hard to resist. He is also a complex man with more going on than Brooke realizes.
“He's not just a star, he's the whole f*ing sky to me.” - Brooke
Sparks fly off the page between Brooke and Remington. They are an intense couple. Their courtship isn't light, it smacks you in the face. Remington does everything either 90 or nothing, so why would love be any different? I did not like Brooke's ultimatums, though I understood them. She was concerned that he was taking and not giving enough. As the reader, I could see how out of character his actions with Brooke were. Everyone around them seemed to see how serious Remington was about Brooke, but Brooke. Brooke refers to her "pussy clenching" so many times I was worried she might have a condition. Despite this, I enjoyed the book. Read it in two sitting. Katy Evans reeled me in early on and I was hooked.

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Skin Deep by J.M. Stone 4/5

Emma falls for Luke hard the first time she meets him. Literally, she falls flat on her face and busts her lip. When that is your first impression, you can only get better from there, right? Emma and Luke's love story sweet. The sex is hot. If that was all there is to the story, it wouldn't have been as good. Stone's secondary characters, Allie, Jackson, Brandon, and Emma's family give it the oomph to send it over the moon. I was not expecting the deeper story line with the antagonist but it was a nice addition. I believe this is J.M. Stone's debut novel. She entered the scene with a bang.

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