Friday, August 30, 2013

Dirty Red ~ Tarryn Fisher

Dirty Red (Love Me With Lies, #2)Dirty Red by Tarryn Fisher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 eye-opening, drama-filled stars!

Dear Opportunist,

You thought you could take him from me, but you lost. Now, that he's mine I'll do anything to keep him. Do you doubt me? I have everything that was supposed to be yours. In case you were wondering; he doesn't ever think about you anymore. I won't let him go....ever.

Dirty Red

Once again Tarryn Fisher exceeded my expectations. The second book in her Love Me With Lies series was an angst-filled, emotionally charged journey into the mind of the ultimate anti-hero.

Unlike some readers, I didn't hate the character of Leah in The Opportunist. Truthfully, all three of the main characters were exceedingly flawed and not in any kind of way that endeared me to them. I think that is one of the main things I love about Fisher's writing; her ability to make the readers feel invested in the lives of some truly unlikable people. So, going into this book, I was excited for the chance to get a glimpse inside the mind of someone as cold and calculating as she is.

While many of the things that Leah has done...okay, most of them...are out and out selfish and self-serving, we finally get some of her backstory to enable us to understand why she is the way she is. Fisher doesn't expect the reader to forgive Leah for all of her sins because of her history. But, it definitely gives us the bigger picture.

I have done a number of things to keep this man. I have lied and cheated. I have been sexy and meek, fierce and vulnerable. I have been everything but myself.

My name is Leah, and I will do anything to keep my husband.

While for me, Dirty Red wasn't quite as good as the first book in the series, it was still an amazing piece of work. Tarryn Fisher's writing is just so solid and confidant. I love that she never once backed away from having her characters be the way she envisioned them to be. There is no watering down of the story...Leah, Caleb and Olivia are all far from the traditional romance "hero/heroine". They are all flawed, selfish and conniving. Each lying in various and repeated ways in order to get what they want. But in the end...I cared. I may not like or even understand some of the things they do, but I still care about them, despite it all. That fact...shows how incredibly talented Fisher is as an author.

I was born red: my skin, my hair and my hot, fussy attitude.

I wanted what Olivia had and threw away - someone who adores me even though my insides curl and lash like a poisonous snake.

As with The Opportunist, I found the skipping back and forth from the past to the present quite interesting and it definitely kept up the feeling of dread...knowing that the caca was going to hit the fan in a big way by the end of this book. Leah is such a complex character and I had a twisted sense of enjoyment by spending some time inside her head. Probably more so than I did with Olivia as narrator of the first book.

The ending of Dirty Red was another punch to the gut - the perfect setup for the final part of the trilogy, Thief which is told from Caleb's POV. I'm excited to see how Tarryn chose to end this wild ride on the dysfunctional side of romance.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

COVER REVEAL AND SNEAK PEAK! Loving Cara by Kristen Proby

Loving Cara (Love Under the Big Sky, #1)Loving Cara by Kristen Proby



Book Summary


In her sizzling new series, USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby sets the stage for a passionate reunion under the breathtaking Montana sky.

Cara Donovan’s summer tutoring job is turning out to be a challenge—and not just because of her troubled twelve-year-old student. It’s his uncle Josh who’s the real problem. If problem is the word for an irresistibly cocky, muscle-bound rancher with a taste for tight Levi’s and shameless flirtation. . . .

Cara is nothing like the wallflower Josh King remembers good-naturedly teasing in high school. This Cara is gorgeous, confident, fun. From the moment the fiery teacher steps foot on his family’s Lazy K Ranch, the stubborn playboy is determined to corral her. So what happens when his luscious lover takes over the reins?

The first in a steamy trilogy, Kristen Proby’s enthralling novel is filled to the brim with one hardworking family’s triumphs and challenges, all the wild adventure of the modern West, and a whole lot of titillating fun.

“Where are your jeans?” Josh asks as he meets me at my car the following morning.
“These are jeans.” I pull my tote bag out of the car and walk toward the front door of his house. “Is Seth here yet?”
“No, he’ll be a few minutes. I have him feeding the dogs at the big house.”
“Those are not jeans.” He’s scowling down at my denim shorts like they’re the devil incarnate.
“They’re denim.”
He narrows his chocolate eyes at me, but I see the humor there, and the butterflies take up residence in my belly again.
I love riling this guy up.
“Fine, they’ll have to do. Go ahead and get settled, Seth will be here in a minute. I have to ride out with a few of the guys to repair a fence, so I’ll see you at lunch time.” He pulls on some gloves and settles his green baseball cap on his head backwards again.
“You don’t wear cowboy hats?” I ask without thinking.
“Not usually. I have one, if you’d rather I wear it.” He smirks.
“No, just curious,” I mumble and head toward the house.
“Don’t leave before I get back. I have plans for you.”
He grins wide, winks, and saunters off toward the massive barn that sits between his house and the big house.
Well, isn’t that view nice? His Levi’s hug his ass perfectly and sit low on his hips, and as he walks I can see his buttocks and thighs flex.
Dear God, I’m lusting after a rancher.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Siren ~ Tiffany Reisz

The Siren (The Original Sinners, #1)The Siren by Tiffany Reisz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 Intellectually stimulating & erotic stars

Notorious Nora Sutherlin is famous for her delicious works of erotica, each one more popular with readers than the last. But her latest manuscript is different—more serious, more personal—and she's sure it'll be her breakout book...if it ever sees the light of day.

Zachary Easton holds Nora's fate in his well-manicured hands. The demanding British editor agrees to handle the book on one condition: he wants complete control. Nora must rewrite the entire novel to his exacting standards—in six weeks—or it's no deal.

Nora's grueling writing sessions with Zach are draining…and shockingly arousing. And a dangerous former lover has her wondering which is more torturous—staying away from him...or returning to his bed?

Nora thought she knew everything about being pushed to your limits. But in a world where passion is pain, nothing is ever that simple.

This is a hard book for me to review. It's unlike anything I have ever read before and truly hard to categorize. As others have said before, this is NOT a romance novel. There is no classic HEA. But, it is however beautifully written with intensely real, and tortuously flawed characters.

Words are the thread in the fabric of the universe. You write because it brings you closer to God.

Nora is hands down one of the best female characters I have come across in a very long time. She's strong, feisty, and fearless. But also at times vastly insecure and confused as to what she truly wants out of life. She not only writes erotic BDSM novels, but lives it. Nora is a Switch (a person who acts as both a Dom and sub), and her past with an enigmatic man named Soren is the driving force of her life, even 5 years after "ending" their relationship.

"If you come back to me, will you run or will you crawl?"
"I'll fly."

At the heart of The Siren is the relationship Nora has with three vastly different men.

Zach: Her prim & proper editor.
Wes: Her virginal best friend and roommate.
Soren: Her God. In every sense of the word.

The relationships are all very complicated and I have to admit, only two of them worked for me. I had a distinct dislike for Zach from the very beginning. I realize he was supposed to appear to be very a standoffish and prudish Englishman, but there was something about his attitude that I just couldn't get past. He seemed to constantly look down on Nora, and while she seemed to laugh it off, and he appears to have a change of heart towards the end of the book...that aspect of the book never rang true for me.

Wesley may seem like an OTT 'aww, shucks' kind of Southern Boy, but I loved him to pieces. I know his character isn't very popular among the fans of the series, but I have always had a soft spot for sweet, romantic men. Probably the only thing keeping me from giving this a perfect 5 star rating was...


when Nora forgot about the plans she had with Wes and instead spent the night with Zach. I can understand her being wrapped up in the excitement of finishing her book, and for finally being able to 'conquer' Zach...but my heart broke for Wes. He deserved to be treated so much better than that.

Nora & and Wes' relationship may seem doomed for failure, but I really do enjoy their dynamic.

As for Soren? Talk about a complex, multi-layered character! I was shocked when his character was introduced and we found out exactly who...and what he was. Frankly, from the build up his character received through the first half of the book, I expected to hate him with a passion. But I didn't. At all. The scenes between Soren and Nora were probably my favorites in the book. So incredibly well done. And Reisz found a way to not only make me understand their relationship, but believe in it as well. Despite everything, I know that Soren and Nora love each other. In an incredibly dysfunctional and twisted way...but they do.

One of the things i loved about this book, and loved about the writing was that this was a much more realistic portrayal of a BDSM relationship. Not watered down like so many other books in the genre. It was brutal, and honest and completely realistic.

So, while this book may not have been perfect, it was an extremely intoxicating ride that I am more than willing to continue experiencing throughout the rest of the series.

This is where we come to close our eyes.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Opportunist ~ Tarryn Fisher

The Opportunist (Love Me With Lies, #1)The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5++++ intense-beyond-belief stars!

Olivia Kaspen is a sharp tongued manipulator used to always getting what she wants. With just one exception-Caleb Drake, the one she foolishly let slip away. After a chance encounter brings Caleb back into her life, Olivia finds herself wanting a second chance with her first love, and asking herself how far she is willing to go to get him back. Her only problem is a red head named Leah, Caleb's new love. Olivia must fight for what was once hers, and in the process discover that sometimes love falls short of redemption.

It's been a long time since I came across a book that actually lived up to all of the hype surrounding it. The Opportunist is definitely one of those books.

**Yes, I realize this wasn't published in 2013. But I READ it this it counts. :P **

"I fell in love underneath a tree," I began.

This book is not a romance. In fact, I would probably classify it as an Anti-romance. The three main characters are all guilty of various things. Lying, cheating, causing intentional pain to people they supposedly care about...and that's just for starters. In fact, at about the half-way mark i realized an important fact; I was absolutely loving the story, but at the same time I did not like a single one of the characters. Not one.

Fisher has done something absolutely extraordinary...she has created a book centered on a bunch of truly unlikeable people, and made the reader...well, she made ME...still care about what happened to them.

I think that shows just how much of a badass author Ms Fisher is.

There were times when I was pissed off beyond belief at something one of the characters did, or said. And then 5 pages later, i felt like my heart was breaking. Not because that character had redeemed themselves (because honestly, none of them really do, imo), but because I still felt sympathy for them. I can't tell you how many times Olivia pissed me off, but yet...I still felt her pain... (view spoiler)[over losing Caleb. Again. And again. (hide spoiler)] even if she did totally bring it on herself.

"I am doing this, because he still calls me Duchess."

But that was a big part of Olivia and Caleb's almost seems like they fed off each other's insecurities and watching their roller coaster life together implode is gut-wrenching.

"Caleb was like a hurricane that swept through my life, stirring up things inside of me that I never knew existed. He is a longing I will never cure.

I debated on including my absolute favorite quote from the book in this review, but I've decided not to as I am trying to keep the spoilery content to a minimum. All I will say is...

The last line of the book.

It made me cry, and feel like someone hit me in the stomach with a hammer. Damn you, Tarryn Fisher. Damn you.

But, despite all the emotional turmoil, I am beyond grateful that I decided to give this book a chance. It is hands down one of the best books I've read all year, and i'm both excited and terrified to read the second book, Dirty Red.

"You are going to destroy me, you know that?"
I knew...

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Leo ~ Mia Sheridan

Leo (Sign of Love, Leo)Leo by Mia Sheridan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

2.5 stars

Evie and Leo met in foster care as children and formed a bond of friendship. As they grew, their bond turned to love, and they vowed to make a life together when they turned 18 and were no longer a part of the system.

When Leo unexpectedly gets adopted as a teen and he moves to another city, he promises Evie that he will contact her as soon as he gets there and come back for her in a few short years. She never hears from him again.

Now eight years later, in spite of the odds, Evie has made a life for herself. She has a job. She has friends. She's content. Then a man shows up out of the blue, claiming that her long lost love, Leo, sent him to check up on her. The attraction between them is undeniable. But, should she trust this sexy stranger? Or is he keeping a secret about what his connection to Leo is really all about and why Leo disappeared all those years ago?

Man, i am really having crappy luck with NA books lately.

There were aspects to this book that i enjoyed, but overall it was just 'meh for me.

I enjoyed the flashbacks, seeing Evie and Leo as children was sweet and endearing. And while I liked Evie as an adult more than I liked Jake, I still found her willingness to accept Jake's story of why he found her, not to mention how quickly she jumped into a relationship with him, a bit hard to swallow.

I had a really hard time warming up to Jake. I knew from the beginning what he was hiding and just couldn't seem to forgive him for being so secretive. Yes, in the end he had some valid reasons for doing what he did, be honest, it was all a little too heavy on the melodrama for my liking.

Perhaps I would feel differently if the story had been fleshed out a bit more. Leo is less than 200 pages long, and in many ways the story felt rushed. I would have liked more time spent on Evie and Leo's past, since I feel that was the strongest part of the story. Maybe I would feel differently if I read the companion story Leo's Chance...perhaps i would find myself warming up to his character a bit more. But to be honest I think I need to take a break from NA/YA for a while since I seem to be striking out with the majority of those books I have read over the last few months.