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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Cover Reveal: Rock Redemption (bk #3) by Nalini Singh

Releasing: October 6thFrom New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh comes the next contemporary romance in the Rock Kiss series…

Kit Devigny could have loved rock guitarist Noah St. John. Their friendship burned with the promise of intense passion and searing tenderness…until the night Noah deliberately shattered her heart.

Noah knows he destroyed something precious the night he chose to betray Kit, but he’d rather she hate him than learn his darkest secret. All he has left is his music. It’s his saving grace, but it doesn’t silence the voices that keep him up at night. Chasing oblivion through endless one-night-stands, he earns a few hours’ sleep and his bad boy reputation.

When a media error sees Noah and Kit dubbed the new “it” couple, Kit discovers her chance at the role of a lifetime hinges on riding the media wave. Wanting–needing–to give Kit this, even if he can’t give her everything, Noah agrees to play the adoring boyfriend. Only the illusion is suddenly too real, too painful, too beautiful…and it may be too late for the redemption of Noah St. John.

  
Pre-order Available:

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ROCK KISS series reading order:

Rock Kiss (bk #1)

Rock Courtship (bk #1.5)

Rock Hard (bk #2)

  
Meet the Author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Psy-Changeling, Guild Hunter, and Rock Kiss series Nalini Singh usually writes about hot shapeshifters and dangerous angels. This time around, she decided to write about a beautiful, charismatic guitarist with a dark past. If you’re seeing a theme here, you’re not wrong.

Nalini lives and works in beautiful New Zealand, and is passionate about writing. If you’d like to explore her other books, you can find lots of excerpts on her websiteSlave to Sensation is the first book in the Psy-Changeling series, while Angel’s Blood is the first book in the Guild Hunter series. Also, don’t forget to swing by the site to check out the special behind-the-scenes page for the Rock Kiss series, complete with photos of many of the locations used in the books.

Find her: WebsiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads

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.

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ARC received in return for an honest review.

4 Stars

Melinda

Anything But Broken by Joelle Knox Excerpt & Giveaway 

You love them as Kit Rocha & Moira Rogers. Now meet Joelle Knox, New Adult author.

Blurb:

After five years, tragedy brings Hannah Casey back to Hurricane Creek to bury what’s left of her family. She’s flunking out of college, haunted by scandal, and the only person who cares is Sean Whitlow, an irresistible bad boy with a soft spot for her. The problem? He’s her dead sister’s ex. 


Sean doesn’t bleed red, he bleeds motor oil. During the week, he struggles to turn his auto repair shop into a profitable business. But when Saturday night rolls around, he’s the reigning stock-car king of the local race track. He doesn’t know how to lose-or how to walk away and leave Hannah alone with her grief. 


Between her grades and her wealthy family’s dark secrets, Hannah’s barely holding her life together. And the last thing Sean needs is to get tangled up with another Casey girl. As the attraction between them spins out of control, they’ll either find a love with no limits-or go up in flames.

Excerpt:

I don’t stay in bed. By the time Sean comes knocking on Evie’s front door, I’ve washed my face, brushed my teeth, and torn through my room, kicking dirty clothes into the closet and wondering how I made such a damn mess when I don’t even have all my things with me.​ 

I’m at the door before I remember I forgot to change, and it’s too late now. So I answer the door in my pajamas—cotton shorts and a tank top that feels transparent right now. 

“Hey. Come on in.”
“Good morning.” He actually did something, one of the bright blue boxes from the bakery down the street from the boutique, and he hands it to me as he walks in.
“Thank you.” I carry the box into the living room, where my quilting supplies are spread out on the floor in front of the TV. Evie helped me sort scraps last night, and I went to bed without putting anything away. “Are you thirsty? I can make coffee, or we have some Cokes.”
“The bakery thinks of everything.” He tilts his head toward the box, and I open it to find two covered cups of coffee nestled inside along with the pastries.
“You’re going to spoil me,” I tell him as I sit on the couch. The coffee table is another of those pieces that looks either cosmetically distressed or lovingly salvaged—only now I know which. Evie finds them at flea markets and yard sales, dropping ten dollars on pieces of furniture no one wants, only to turn around and make them beautiful.
Just like Sean and his car—or me with my scrap quilts, I guess. Maybe we’re all obsessed with rescuing broken things.
Sean takes one of the coffees and sprawls out beside me, one arm looped casually around my shoulders. “Got any plans for today?”
Just the hospital later, but I don’t feel like bringing it up. So I reach for one of the pastries instead, breaking off a corner to nibble. “Not really. I need to open up my laptop and actually deal with some of my email, I guess.”
“Sounds fun.” He wrinkles his nose as he leans his head back and closes his eyes. “I left Gibb alone at the garage.”
I should probably feel guilty about that, but it’s hard to when he’s here, next to me, and I get to snuggle into his side as I eat breakfast. “I’m sure he can handle it. He seems really good at his job. Evie says he is, anyway.”
“She’s right.” Sean tilts his head my way and opens one eye. “You look good.”
My cheeks aren’t the only part of me that heat at the compliment. I abandon the pastry and coffee in favor of curling closer to him, because every point of contact means another giddy spark of anticipation.
It’s easier to flirt with him in text messages, but I try to capture a hint of that mischief as 
I smile at him. “I stayed in my pajamas just for you.”
“I like it.” The back of his hand brushes my bare thigh.
An accident? I don’t want it to be. Holding my breath, I shift closer, chasing his fingers. 
But he hasn’t moved, so I wind up rubbing my leg against his hand.
Sean is watching me now. “Does Evie come home for lunch?”

I don’t think I’ve been here long enough to know for sure, and I can’t remember right now, anyway. Because that’s not what he’s really asking. This isn’t safe like the lake, with people nearby to keep us from going too far.
Whatever too far means. 
“I think she might be meeting Sawyer for lunch,” I tell him, because I know she talked about it. Was it today? God, I hope so, because I can’t think with Sean watching me.
He slides his free hand into my hair and cups my neck. He doesn’t say anything, but he’s utterly focused on my mouth, and he draws in a sharp breath when I lick my lips.
It’s the reminder I need—that I’m not the only one caught in the grip of needy hunger. I press my hand to his chest, splaying my fingers wide. Not to hold him back, but to brace myself as I lean in.
He lifts me into his lap instead, his steely grip a shocking reminder of his strength. I end up perched on his thighs, my knees riding alongside his hips. Straddling him, and it’s nothing like the lake. We might be wearing more clothing—well, he is—but there’s no darkness or water to hide behind.
He can watch my cheeks flush, and he can watch that warmth spread. My tank top is too thin to hide the tightening tips of my nipples, so I crush my chest to his and kiss him before reality can catch up with me.
But it isn’t reality that crashes into me a heartbeat later. It’s sensation, the tightness spreading into a deeper heat as his tongue slicks over mine, and his fingertips edge beneath the hem of my tank top.
I want to melt. Everything inside me is screaming for it, but I break away and pant against his cheek. “I should tell you. That I still don’t—that I’m not ready—”
“For sex?” His voice is low, hoarse. Filthy. 
I never thought anything could weaken my resolve. But I didn’t know I could feel like this—flustered and turned on and achy. Empty, and just thinking that makes me feel debauched. “Can we still do other stuff?”
His chest rumbles beneath mine, and his hands slide higher up my back. “Hell, yeah.”
Don’t you want to read this now? Comment here or on our Facebook page for a chance to win 1 of 5 Kindle copies of this book. Contest ends, Sunday, Aug. 30, midnight EST. U.S. only. 

  

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The Moment of Letting Go by J.A. Redmerski + Giveaway of print copy!

Redmerski_The Moment of Letting Go_TP Sienna Murphy never does anything without a plan. And so far her plans have been working. Right after college, she got a prestigious job and gained the stability she’d always craved-until work takes her to the sun-drenched shores of Oahu and places her in the path of sexy surfer Luke Everett. For the first time, she lets her heart take control. Drawn to his carefree charm, she makes a spontaneous and very un-Sienna-like decision to drop everything and stay in Hawaii for two more weeks.

Luke lives fast and wild. When he meets Sienna, he’s convinced that some no-strings-attached fun is just what she needs. As their nights quickly turn from playful to passionate, Luke can’t deny the deep connection he feels. But there’s a reason Luke doesn’t do long-term. He can’t promise Sienna forever, when the enormity of his past has shown him just how fragile the future can be . . .

I’m a big fan of J.A. Redmerski’s 2 previous NA-type books The Edge of Never and The Edge of Always. They both really lingered with me and I’ve re-read them as well as listened to the audio of them so I was excited to hear about her new release of The Moment of Letting Go. This one is essentially a simple story, there is some drama, but for a book that I consider to be a New Adult book it is very low drama. There isn’t any back stabbing, no love triangles, no holy crap I can’t believe he went there moments but rather a straight forward story. I, for one, really love that about this book! There’s some mystery in Luke’s past which is usually a pet peeve of mine when that’s drawn out throughout the entire book but part of that mystery was pretty apparent to me from the beginning which makes that much less of an issue for me. It worked for me in this book.

I found this book to be almost inspirational, which is not something that I really look for in my books. It may depend on where you are in your life but it made me want to embrace what I love and make the most out of that. The combination of Sienna and Luke was really powerful to me and they created that inspiration. I always like strong women and it could be easy to read Sienna as a not so strong one because she has a lot of fears here – mainly of heights – but throughout the book she embraces her fears and also is strong enough to walk into the unknown. I completely love that about her. I loved Luke as a character but Sienna stole the show for me.

I would definitely recommend this NA book – it’s not set in college, there’s low drama but it’s just a great story and there’s an HEA. What more can you ask for?

ARC provided in return for an honest review.

4 Stars

There is also a giveaway for a print copy of this book just for Happiness fans! US/Canada only. Enter here just by commenting on the post.

~Melinda

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Review + Character Interview: The Girl Next Door by Amy Jo Cousins

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I’m so excited because Cash from The Girl Next Door agreed to stop by and answer some questions for me.

Hi Cash, thanks for joining me here and answering a few questions for me!
Since we saw you last you your life changed a lot which was really surprising to see at first. One of those major changes included moving away, on your own, to Chicago. What was your favorite and least favorite thing about living in Chicago?

Chicago totally rocks. My one favorite thing? Gaaaaahhhh, I can’t pick just one! The lake is awesome and the people are super cool. I got my favorite tamale guy. Ooh, there’s a giant sculpture fountain thing downtown where you can splash around in this really shallow pool of water. It’s mostly kids who do it, but dude, taking off your shoes and stomping around in a giant puddle on a hot day? Nothing better. I got Steph so wet when we went there. *pauses, laughs at your gigglesnort* I meant I splashed her! Jeez. Mind. Gutter. But yeah, that’s awesome in the summer. Um, least favorite thing? When my window AC unit breaks down in July. I don’t know if Chicago was built on a swamp or what, but man, it gets fricking humid and hot here. You can sweat your balls off.

First your best friend came out to you a few years ago and you became really good friends with his boyfriend. Then you became friends and even friends with benefits with Steph who’s bisexual and now your rather young cousin who is newly out shows up on your doorstep in Chicago. What do you think it is about you that draws people to you?

*looks down, scratches his head* Aw, I don’t know, man. The world is full of people who are dicks sometimes, you know? I try not to be a dick. I think my friends know I got their backs and, like, there’s nothing they can tell me that’s gonna make me not like them. I mean, except if they’re, I don’t know, serial killers or something. I got limits. But being gay or bi or whatever? No biggie. People who freak out about that are scared, maybe. And I get it. It was weird at first. I mean, dudes kissing was all gross, no way, dude for me at first. But now I’m like, “Yo, get off your boyfriend. We’re playing Call of Duty here.” *shrugs* Don’t be a dick. That’s a good rule.

Speaking of Steph, she’s pretty badass, which makes me kind of love her. What did you miss the most about her when you weren’t in contact?

*turns pink* I’m maybe not gonna say the first thing I thought of here, okay? But seriously, Steph is just…awesome. She’s a badass who doesn’t take my shit. Or anyone’s shit! She’ll throw down in a heartbeat. But the thing is, she’s really a softie on the inside, so you gotta make sure to take extra care with her. Because it’s easy to think nothing can hurt her, but that’s like the opposite of true. Plus, she makes me laugh my ass off. Oh, and she totally murders songs when she sings in the shower. Don’t tell her I said that. But girl cannot sing. At all. It’s totally great. Cracks me up.

One of my favorite things about you and Steph as a couple is that you listen to each other when it comes to sex and fantasies. And even better is that you indulge them occasionally! Which leads to a ridiculously hot threesome scene with another guy. Do you have any regrets about that and would you do that again?

No regrets, man. None. Nope. That was fucking hot. The thing is, we talked so much about it and we both knew it was totally okay to call it off at any point, so we had, like, a safety net. And that made it super chill. Man, talking about sex is so hot. I’d do that all day long. Would I do a threesome again? Now that I’ve done it, I can see how that kind of thing can go way wrong, so I don’t know. I think the circumstances and the people have to be pretty damn perfect. We got hella lucky. I’m not about fucking up friendships or making my girl feel bad. And Varun moved back home! Which still sucks. I miss that guy. But if we all ended up alone together in a room again? Yeah, things might go down. *laughs* Or up. I don’t know which way sounds dirtier!

Okay, just one silly question for you – if your love story with Steph were going to be made into a movie who would you cast to play her? And who would you cast as you?

Who’s the hottest chick out there? That smoking hot, smiling girl from Game of Thrones, Natalie Dormer. Give her dark hair and shave the side of her head and yeah, she could play a mean Steph. And me? Chris Pratt. That dude’s awesome. He’s funny as hell and has a great ass. That’s me all over. *winks*

Thanks so much for stopping by, I really appreciate it! You’re one of my favorites.

Thanks! You’re totally awesome, too. This was a ton of fun. But seriously, don’t tell Steph I said that thing about her singing in the shower. She’ll kill me.

So obviously I love Cash. He’s just a great character from start to finish. Anyone who has read any review of mine knows I have a thing about covers and this cover is wonderful – featuring such a strong looking woman on it that it’s truly why I wanted to read it immediately. I actually read this completely out of order and fell in love with this book so much that I then went back and read the first two books. Since then I’ve read this another two times and my enjoyment hasn’t changed at all. The cover had almost everything to do with me reading out of order. The Girl Next Door is part of the overall series but works as a standalone. I didn’t feel lost when I read this the first time, I knew what was going on so if you jump right in here don’t worry about that. I will say that you get more enjoyment if you read book 1 though because you’re introduced to both Steph and Cash in that book.

At first I gave this 4 stars but after having this book stick with me for 2 months and recommending it to everyone I know who likes this genre- and people who don’t- I realized it was actually a 5 star read for me. Steph is a complete badass, a complex heroine, which is the kind I love. And Cash I fell in love with in Off Campus where we first met him. He’s hilarious yet tender hearted and so incredibly open minded. This couple is definitely one of my favorites in all of NA and that’s saying a lot with how much I read in this genre.

If he was going to bare his soul, he’d do it with this girl, and no one else, but he’d cop a feel at the same time, because hey, multi-tasking.

This is both a really hot book and a very touching one. Some people have questioned why the author wrote a m/f book in the middle of a m/m series but it worked so well for me. The heroine is bisexual and the hero is best friends with the gay couple from the first book. I think that more and more series having a book be m/m in the middle of a m/f series like Sarina Bowen did and Amy Jo Cousin did here can only make things better and move things along for diversity.

ARC received via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

5 Stars

~Melinda

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Review: The Shameless Hour by Sarina Bowen

23346876 Sarina Bowen is an author I was lucky enough to hear about last year and I’ve read everything she’s written so far and really enjoyed them all. The Ivy Years series is definitely my favorite of hers and this book is the most recent one in the series. This is another cover that I love – the woman on the cover seems to exemplify the heroine, Bella, perfectly.

We met Bella in the last book when her heart was broken by the guy she thought she was in love with turned out to be gay. I liked her in that book – she has a strong sensuality and sexuality both. She’s slept with quite a few men and owns that but also has a lot of guy friends and values those friendships. Bella is the manager of the hockey team on campus, so is used to being surrounded by guys. The hero in the book – Rafe – is broken up with by his long term girlfriend quite unexpectedly. Bella goes through a traumatic experience and afterwards Rafe and she get close.

Once again I loved Bowen’s book. There were a few conventions that were flipped on their heads and I thoroughly enjoyed those parts. The first and the most apparent is that Bella just flat out enjoys sex and her attitude towards it is much more like how a traditional male would act in a book. I don’t see that in many books and if I do the woman has a lot of guilt or she wants or needs sex because she’s “broken” in some way. Not Bella. She enjoys sex and is pretty unapologetic about it. She definitely has qualms here and there but not what I would expect. The other convention flipped is the typical virgin heroine and experienced hero – here the virgin is the hero. Rafe hasn’t exactly been saving himself for religious reasons or anything that specific. But as he explained to Bella he respected his previous girlfriends too much to pressure them and they weren’t ready for that. I think this kind of switching conventions reflects a much truer sign of reality than is present in some romance books.

I’m supposed to be writing a paper about female subjugation. But all I want is for someone to give me a good pounding.

Both slut shaming and bullying are addressed head on in this book and I think these are incredibly important and relevant right now. Not to scare anyone off the book and think that they’re going to read a heavy book! Like any good book it balances important issues, plot and story line very well. I really love Bella’s attitude about so much in this book, she dealt with things in a very realistic way. There are also quite a few funny parts that I loved, many involving Lianne (Bella’s roommate) who I loved and I really hope gets her own book very soon!

If you haven’t read any of Sarina Bowen’s book you really need to! And if you have but haven’t read this book you also really need to!!

4 Stars

~Melinda

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