Blog tour & review: Dirty Deeds by Megan Erickson

25158460 Synopsis: Alex Dawn is saying no to men. No to bad relationships, disappointments, and smooth-talkers. Focusing on her family and her job at Payton and Sons Automotive keeps her mind occupied and her heart content. She doesn’t really miss a man’s touch, until one night, one shows up with the body of a god and a voice from her dirtiest dreams.

L.M. Spencer is only in Tory, Maryland, to scope out the town as a possible site for one of his company’s hotels. The British businessman didn’t expect his car to break down or to find the hottest little American he’s ever seen holding a tire iron, piercing him with bright blue eyes.

They agree to one hot night, one dirty deed to burn out the chemistry between them. But from their first kiss, Alex can’t stop saying yes to this man. And when Spencer’s company threatens everything she cares about, they must make the choice to stand together or apart.

I’m a fan of Megan Erickson’s books, having started with her Bowler University series and then moved onto her In Focus books – both of which I highly recommend. I really enjoyed her New Adult books and the In Focus books are m/m books, both of which deal with some very real issues but also mix in romance which is clearly important. Her Mechanics of Love series is a spin off of the Bowler University series, which I always love because when I spot a side character I find interesting I absolutely love when they get a whole book to themselves. A whole series spun off is ever better.

The heroine in Dirty Deeds, Alex, is the kind of heroine I’m always going on about loving. She’s strong and independent and pretty much thinks she needs no one. Except her friends who are like her family at this point. The guys at Payton and Sons Automotive have become her family as well. I enjoyed seeing that dynamic between all of them. While Alex thinks of herself as this fiercely strong woman – and she is – she has an incredibly vulnerable side that comes from bad relationships in the past. So to see her be surrounded by familial love and watch her realize that is one of my favorite things about this book.

Then of course there’s the romance which is the main focus of the book. Spencer and Alex have some major chemistry here and the banter between them as well as the fire – both negative and positive – brings a lot to this book. Their relationship is fun to watch develop from a one night stand to more. They’re both pretty complicated people, which in my opinion always makes a better and more interested book to read. When characters aren’t complicated they read as flat to me.

This also has a dual POV and Erickson pulls it off well. I liked being able to hear both of their thoughts throughout. Without both POVs I don’t know that I would have enjoyed this as much. I’d recommend this one and the previous books in the series as well.

4 Stars

This one releases 12/8

~Melinda

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About MEGAN ERICKSON
Megan Erickson grew up in a family that averages 5’5” on a good day and started writing to create characters who could reach the top kitchen shelf.

She’s got a couple of tattoos, has a thing for gladiators and has been called a crazy cat lady. After working as a journalist for years, she decided she liked creating her own endings better and switched back to fiction.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. And no, she still can’t reach the stupid top shelf.

Praise for MEGAN ERICKSON
“A super sweet, extra sexy second chance romance that will have you laughing out loud and needing a minute to cool off. Dirty Thoughts is right!”
— Jay Crownover, New York Times bestselling author

“Megan Erickson ratchets up the romance and sizzle in her sexy new series. The Mechanics of Love will rev readers’ hearts.”
— Jennifer Ryan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

“Megan Erickson writes hot, hot, HOT stories packed with emotion and humor. You’re going to want to read everything she’s ever written!”
— Sophie Jordan, USA Today bestselling author

Where to buy DIRTY DEEDS
HarperCollins: http://www.harpercollins.com/9780062407771/dirty-deeds
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dirty-Deeds-Mechanics-Love-Novel-ebook/dp/B00US2K4TC
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dirty-deeds-megan-erickson/1122599629
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dirty-deeds/id977352380
Google Play: https://books.google.com/books/about/Dirty_Deeds.html?id=N-1eBwAAQBAJ

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Revealed to Him by Jen Frederick

25497060 Summary: Handsome and tough Jake Tanner, a veteran and the owner of a successful security firm, never lets his past hold him back. Despite his prosthetic hand and foot, women swoon over him—and with him between the sheets. Yet Jake feels bored and restless…until he’s hired to protect a beautiful writer whose life is in terrible danger.

Self-imprisoned by the fear of the anonymous stalkers who threaten her life, video-game writer Natalie Beck now only dreams of the world outside her pink-bedecked apartment. Trusting people again is off-limits. But the more time Jake spends with her, the more his professional commitment evolves from simple duty to scorching desire. While deeply sensual sparks ignite between the two, the danger outside circles closer. Will Jake’s intense devotion be enough to save Natalie? Or will she turn away from the one man willing to do anything to save her?

This is the third Kerr Chronicles book. I wasn’t in love with the first one but I really liked the second book – both were about the same couple. This one visits a new couple and I loved them so much, both together and individually. Jake Tanner is one that we’ve seen in the past books. He runs his own security firm and was hired to protect Tiny previously. We get to know him much better here and he is freaking amazing. He’s an Army vet who is strong and I would usually write off as a normal alpha male. But he has a vulnerable side that comes out pretty often and that made me love him.

But Natalie stole the show for me from the beginning in this one. Her character and the plot revolving around her seemed to be much based on Gamer Gate. Women being threatened online, purely for being female, and having those threats come to life, is something that’s been happening over the last year or more and is a very serious issue. I thought the author dealt with it in a great way. Seeing Natalie deal with these threats and being terrified for her life made me sick for her, but she was still strong in her own way.

If a friend is sick with the flu, or God forbid, something worse like cancer, everyone is sympathetic. But depression? Fear of being in your own head? Folks just want you to get over it and if you can’t, you’re a weak-ass sadsack.

Together it seemed that Jake brought out Natalie’s inner strength and Natalie brought out Jake’s inner vulnerability, which is kind of the definition of great couple. Unlike a typical alpha male we get to see Jake fret over numerous things – from how he composes text messages to how Natalie will perceive his prosthetic. What I loved about that in particular was that I haven’t ever seen an alpha male be concerned with how a woman would deal with that. Jake had to work hard to figure out how to put Natalie at ease many times, working on making her comfortable in different situations. I loved that while Natalie was scared she never wanted to give up and was determined that she would eventually be recovered enough to live her previous life.

There should be a message retrieval. Some kind of feature that allows someone to take back a stupidly written text before the recipient reads it.

Also, there is quite a bit of texting, which in my opinion makes any book about 100% better! I really enjoyed this book from beginning to end. Both characters had aspects to them that liked seeing fleshed out. I’m not a fan of “perfect” characters and these two weren’t.

4 Stars.

ARC received in return for an honest review.

Melinda

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The Fifteenth Minute by Sarina Bowen

26720038 I’m severely behind on my reviews because life has gotten in the way once again so I’m going to get caught up with my favorite reads of the last month! First up is The Fifteenth Minute. I’ve read everything Sarina Bowen has published and I will read everything she ever publishes because I love the way she writes so much. I highly recommend you try out her stuff because I find it works so well for so many people. This is the 5th book in The Ivy Years series but it can be read as a stand alone. Personally I like this series better when you read it in order because people from earlier books make fun appearances that can only be best appreciated when you’ve read the previous books.

Summary: Freshman Lianne Challice is known to millions of fans as Princess Vindi. But sometimes a silver screen sorceress just wants to hang up her wand, tell her manager to shove it, and become a normal college student. Too bad that’s harder than it looks.

She’s never lived a normal life. She hasn’t been to school since kindergarten. And getting close to anyone is just too risky — the last boy she kissed sold the story to a British tabloid.

But she can’t resist trying to get close to Daniel “DJ” Trevi, the hot, broody guy who spins tunes for hockey games in the arena. Something’s haunting his dark eyes, and she needs to know more.

DJ’s genius is for expressing the mood of the crowd with a ten second song snippet. With just a click and a fade, he can spread hope, pathos or elation among six thousand screaming fans.

Too bad his college career is about to experience the same quick fade-out as one of his songs. He can’t get close to Lianne, and he can’t tell her why. And the fact that she seems to like him at all? Incredible.

I loved this book so much and it may be my favorite book in the series. I can’t decide but I know that Lianne is definitely my favorite character! She’s a strong female but she’s also hilarious and awkward, unaware of how to behave in certain situations. Even though she’s this amazing movie star that people expect to be able to handle all situations Lianne has been very sheltered, spending her whole life on movie sets. DJ, the hero, is having an extremely rough year and the two have an intense attraction but he’s hesitant to draw her into his complicated life right now.

One of the things I loved about Lianne is that she’s also pretty nerdy – playing video games and losing herself in them. She’s super cute with how proud she is of how adept she is at these games and some of my favorite parts of this book is when she’s showing of her skills to the guys. A big aspect of this book is music because DJ is a deejay for the hockey games and seeing Lianne get so into the music and getting to do the music herself for a game and picking which songs go with different plays is wonderful.

This is how it feels to get just what you need when you didn’t even know you needed it.

This book is sweet, funny, tugs at your heart but is also pretty hot. The romance heat between the two is great and Sarina does an amazing job at building that up throughout the book. Overall, I loved this book, loved both characters and would highly recommend it!

5 Stars

ARC received in return for an honest review.

~Melinda

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90s Playlist – a romance rewind anthology

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This review is only for The Belle vs. the BDOC

The Belle vs. the BDOC by Amy Jo Cousins
Shelby Summerfield is a gold star lesbian, even if she doesn’t look like one. Florence Truong is the only other dyke at Carlisle College in 1993 not wearing plaid flannel, and Shelby sets her sights on seduction. But instead of a delightful tumble in the sheets, Florence calls her out for being a straight girl. With seduction off the table, Shelby settles for revenge for her humiliation. But if all she wants is to show up her campus rival, how come Shelby can’t stop herself from saving Florence instead of annihilating her?

I didn’t read all of the stories in this anthology yet but I did skip to Amy Jo Cousins The Belle vs. the BDOC because I generally love this author and everything she writes. This wasn’t any different. I haven’t read many f/f stories previously so this was a bit different for me. I really liked the character of Shelby as she dressed very girly and hated when people judges her based on her looks alone. So when Florence does this I loved Shelby’s reaction of incredible anger. Over and over again Florence judges her based on stereotypes. I enjoyed Shelby’s anger turning to indignation and revenge.

Cousins’ books have all been set mainly on college campuses and this one is the same. Part of Shelby’s revenge takes place during a quiz game at a bar and then on campus itself for the majority of the book for a very fun game of Assassin. The chemistry between Florence and Shelby was palpable and to add in the tension of the game made everything, including the romance, heightened.

Shelby was a great, fun loving character. She pursues Florence relentlessly which is fun to watch. The lesbians were accepted without question and that’s always something I love to see.

ARC received in return for an honest review.

4 stars

~ Melinda

Amazon

Sacked by Jen Frederick

sacked-400x592 Knox Masters is a quarterback’s worst nightmare. Warrior. Champion. And…virgin. Knox knows what he wants–and he gets it. All American Football player? Check. NFL pros scouting him? Check. Now, he’s set his sight on two things. The national title. And Ellie Campbell. Sure, she’s the sister of his fellow teammate, but that’s not going to stop him. Especially not when he’s convinced Ellie is the one.

…but he’s never met her before.

But Ellie isn’t as sure. She’s trying to start a new life and she’s not interested in a relationship…with anyone. Beside it’s not just her cardinal rule of never dating her brother’s teammates that keeps her away, but Ellie has a dark secret that would jeopardize everything Knox is pursuing.

Knox has no intention of losing. Ellie has no intention of giving in.

I’m a big fan of Jen Frederick’s The Woodlands series. It’s a New Adult series with strong friendships and men who generally don’t treat women like crap. I just got finished listening to The Charlotte Chronicles on audio – which is a spin off from The Woodlands – recently too so it’s been a month heavy on this author for me! I was really excited to hear about this book because it’s also New Adult and kind of in the same vein as Elle Kennedy and Kristen Callihan’s sports NA books, which, in my opinion, is a really awesome comparison.

Somehow all of these authors have made me a fan of books with sports in them. I never thought that was possible since I am not a fan of them at all in real life. But in these books I’m loving them. Knox Masters is somewhat perfect in this and that is both good and bad. I really enjoyed the parts where he lost his cool for one reason or another. Whether it was with the guys or because he wasn’t able to get Ellie to fall for him immediately it just made him seem more human.

One of my favorite things with all of these books and something that this author does really well is banter. Both with the guys on the team, between Know and his twin brother and also between Ellie and Knox.

“If I was a chick, I’d date you, Masters. I’ve seen your dick. It’s good,” Hammer assures me.
“Fuck that. It’s not the size of the wand. It’s the wizard using it,” Daryl Nunn, our nose tackle, pipes up. He, like Potter, wears a pair of black glasses when not on the field.
“Not according to Voldemort.”
Hammer’s retort generates a sharp bark of laughter from me, but poor Jesse looks confused. Hammer sighs. “Voldemort wanted this certain wand, but only Harry could use it.”

I really enjoyed Ellie the most of all the characters. She was strong and didn’t want anything to do with Knox, not that that lasted long. But I appreciated the sentiment. I liked that she thought him being a virgin was bull and called him on it, out loud, and often. And, of course, I loved that she loved to read. The main issue with this book was just that the football aspect was a little too heavy for me in that I didn’t know what was going on sometimes since I’m clueless with sports. It just played a little too much of a feature in the book but I don’t think that most people would have this issue.

waiting

ARC received in return for an honest review.

4 Stars

Melinda

Level Hands by Amy Jo Cousins

25611509 Rafael Castro is so far out of his element he can’t even see it anymore. Carlisle College in Massachusetts is a long way from his Chicago home, even farther from his Dominican Republic roots.

The only thing keeping him attached to his last nerve is the prospect of seeing Denny Winslow again. The first time they met, Denny taught Rafi to fly across the water, rowing hard in a knife-like boat. Now, two years later, on the wings of a rowing scholarship, Rafi is attending Denny’s elite college.

Even before the excitement wears off, Rafi is struggling with classes and fending off rumors that Denny’s family, not Rafi’s talent, won him his spot. To quash the gossip, Rafi tries to steer clear of the man he wants. A plan that evaporates in the fire of renewed attraction.

But Carlisle’s academic pressure cooker has Rafi barely treading water. And when a family crisis hits, both Rafi and Denny must pull hard to keep their relationship from capsizing in rough waters.

I love Amy Jo Cousins’ books, just in general and this series – Bend or Break – in particular just kills it specifically. Every book of this series has included characters that have been really real, which sounds so generic to put it like that! But the characters in this series are all struggling with real life issues. It’s pretty common in the New Adult genre to either have characters dealing with issues on either end of the spectrum – real life or total angst filled unrealistic drama (not that real life is not angst filled!). So I love that Amy Jo Cousins’ characters usually are realistic as well as grounded.

Denny and Rafi, who we met in the last book, are no different. Denny, on the one hand, is a reserved kid who is used to having his parents pay for things. He’s been in love with Rafi for a few years since he met him when he ran away from home because he was afraid what his parents would say about him being gay. Denny’s been quietly waiting for Rafi for years. Rafi, on the other hand, struggles with so much when he accepts a rowing scholarship and comes to college with Denny. He’s used to having no money and dealing with issues of social class and racism but he’s not used to trying to deal with that within a potential relationship. Both of these characters seemed so genuine to me because Rafi was so freaking stubborn that at some points I wanted to smack him and say what is wrong with you!? But that is pretty accurate for a normal person I think. Denny’s patience was almost too much and I was happy to see it break so I could see he wasn’t a Saint.

I felt that the author did a wonderful job describing the overwhelming parts of coming to college. Parts of this book dealt with just not being a genius and being able to ace classes right away. It’s been a while since I was in class but she took me right back there instantly. Rafi’s struggle throughout the book with a variety of issues and his evolution just made me want to give him a hug.

This was also the first book I’ve read that had crew as the sport in it and I loved it! Oh and the cover is ridiculously hot – love the arms. I would highly recommend this series (as always) and this entry is a great one.

ARC provided in return for an honest review.

4.5 Stars

~Melinda

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Serving Pleasure by Alisha Rai

25626041 Hungry for a touch…

Rana Malik is over being her family’s resident black sheep. She’s on a mission: ditch the casual hook-ups, revamp her bad-girl image, and fall in love with a proper Mr. Right even her conservative mama can’t find fault with. Not on the menu? The beautiful, brooding Mr. Right Now who lives next door, and all the ways he whets her appetite.

Starving for love…

Artist Micah Hale had it all–women, success, friends and family–until his world changed in a single act of senseless violence. Now struggling to conceal his scars and get his life and career back on track, he knows he has nothing to offer a woman except his body. He’s not looking for love…but he can’t control his craving for the sexy bombshell voyeur he’s caught looking at him.

Just one bite.

Their attraction boils over, and their defenses are stripped off along with their clothes. They promise they’ll walk away if it gets too hot. But it’s hard to do the right thing…when being wrong feels so good.

I think we need more diversity in romance but not just diversity to have diversity, good romances with diverse characters with great stories. I requested this ARC because it was written by Alisha Rai, I didn’t read the synopsis or really do anything before I started reading so I was pleasantly surprised when I did. The first and foremost thing about this book that I liked is just the overall package. I loved that there was diversity in the characters and it didn’t feel like it was something that was added just to have diversity in the book.

This book has so much to offer, not the least of which is really hot sex scenes between the MC’s. The chemistry between Rana and Micah really seemed to leap off the page from almost their first interaction. I enjoyed that sizzling chemistry that was so hard for both of them to resist. But what I loved more than anything else about this book is Rana. I love a strong female character and Rana is one of the strongest sex positive women I can remember. She enjoys sex almost unapologetically. The small part of her that is apologetic about sex is just the cultural and familial parts tugging at her, which is not hard to understand, even in 2015.

Rana is so independently minded and tends toward laughter and light while Micah is intense and serious for good reason. The mix of these together is pretty combustible. I really loved how this book dealt with both Rana and Micah’s issues and how they dealt with each other.

ARC received in return for an honest review.

4.5 Stars.

~Melinda

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