March Books

Here’s a look of what we are reading and reviewing in March. 

CRASH:

Out March 1. Goodreads Info

  Out March 15. Goodreads

  Out March 15. Goodreads
  Out March 31. Amazon

VI:

  

 Out March 1. Goodreads

  Out (hahaha) March 8. Goodreads
  Out March 17. Goodreads
   
 Out March 7 & March 28 (2-part serial). Goodreads

Other Books of Interest:

  Out March 1. Goodreads

  Out March 8. Goodreads
  Out March 8. Goodreads 
 Out March 22. It’s a standalone.  Goodreads
  Out March 29. Goodreads

  Out March 29. Goodreads
Tell us what book(s) you are excited to read. 
 

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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

Amazon

B&N

Review: Him by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

25686927 Summary: They don’t play for the same team. Or do they?

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend…and a big one to learn about himself.

Review: When I found out that two of my more recent favorite authors were going to be co-authoring a book together I may have squee-ed out loud. A lot. Sarina Bowen writes The Ivy Years series which I love and Elle Kennedy writes the Off Campus series which I also love and many other books as well. Then I realized it was going to be m/m – which is one of my newest genres that I’ve been reading more and more. So to say I was excited was an understatement and I’m so happy that I wasn’t disappointed at all!

I don’t really get how co-authoring works because it sounds hard to me but these two pulled it off really well. I didn’t get overwhelmed by either of their voices at all – not that that would have been a bad thing since I like both of their writing styles, but instead I found that this read as one cohesive voice. I found that there was a fluidity to the book so much so that I would never have suspected there were two authors if I hadn’t known. Recently the authors shared that they didn’t even switch POV’s or write one particular person which blows my mind. Even funnier to me is that they can’t particularly point out which parts of the book which one of them wrote – and I can definitely tell!

I can’t pick out which hero I loved more – Wes or Jamie. Wes knew exactly who he was. He was sure of his sexuality, knew he was gay and didn’t want to have to hide that from almost anyone. Wes has been in love with Jamie since he was 13 years old, but Jamie is straight. Watching Wes struggle with his feelings was heart breaking. He had felt so incredibly guilty over the years because he felt that he almost forced Jamie into a hookup with him and that loss of their friendship had kind of broken Wes. He had a balance of such confidence and vulnerability that it tugged at my heart strings!

Jamie was just as wonderful – he was so incredibly hurt that Wes has cut off their friendship after their drunken hookup and he could never figure out why. I loved that about him, he never assumed it was because of the hookup, he just missed his best friend. He’s so self assured in a different way that when Wes tells him he’s gay Jamie doesn’t even blink, just accepts it. And when Jamie starts to question his own sexuality he becomes more vulnerable and realizes he is definitely attracted to Wes.

Why hadn’t anyone ever told me the prostate was some kind of magical pleasure zone? Are there unicorns and orgasm fairies dancing around in there?

Jamie and Wes kind of evolve together over the book with their relationship becoming deeper. I love romance books because I love watching two people falling in love and these two falling in love slowly was both hilarious and romantic.

His laughter sends my heart soaring. Which is the most confusing thing of all, because it adds an element to the sex I didn’t expect. I’m comfortable with him. I have fun with him. I’m not trying to impress anyone. It’s…easy. Like splashing in the lake. But with orgasms.

Oh and honorable mention goes to Jamie’s amazing family! They were a hidden gem in this book, they cracked me up and I loved them so much. Everyone deserves a family like that!

Everything about this book is what I’ve come to love about m/m books in general – the incredible sweetness of this relationship combined with how hot it was completely worked for me. If you haven’t read any m/m before but love either of these authors and are hesitating because of the genre, it’s a great entry point for anyone.

ARC provided by the authors in return for an honest review.

5 Stars.

Melinda

Amazon

B&N

Cover Reveal – Him by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

We don’t do a lot of cover reveals here because in general I don’t care about cover reveals. But in this case I totally care because I’m really excited about this book! Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy is a book that’s coming out on July 28th and I am not patiently waiting at all. I’m a big fan of both of their books so I can’t wait to read it.  So here’s the wonderful cover! I can’t wait for actual release day!!

Profile portrait of businessman working on laptop  in black suit at studio

 

HIM1

 

 

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

Amazon

B&N

My Top 10 of 2014 + Giveaway!

Here is my Top 10 List for the year! All of these books below were released in 2014 and got 5 stars from me. If you’d like a chance to win any one of these books please leave a comment either here or on Facebook and let me know. I will pick one winner this Friday the 26th and gift the kindle version at that time.

10. Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran

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This is just a really great romance book and my first by this author that I’ve read.  I had to read her backlist after this one since I loved it so much. The cover is gorgeous and pulled me in but I stayed and finished it due to the wonderful banter between the hero and heroine. The hero seems to be a rare breed – an alpha male who isn’t too overbearing. Both of the main character were intense as was their romance but the comedy balanced that nicely. I’d highly recommend this one!

 

9. Sun Kissed by Laura Florand

I have to include this book on my top 10 of the year. A) It’s dedicated to me (WOW!) because I had asked the author about these characters and that led her to tell their story. B) The main characters are older and have been friends for 20 years. It’s rare to see romances not in certain demographics and I love when a book isn’t super common. C) The friends-to-lovers trope is one of my favorites. D) Laura Florand writes such beautiful and emotionally intense books that they stay with me for quite a while. If you haven’t read any of hers before and you enjoy romance you NEED to check her books out!

8. Sweet Disorder by Rose Lerner

This unusual Regency romance came to my attention late in the year but I’m so glad it did.  It had a not often seen setting of politics in that time. The Whigs and Tories have an upcoming election and both sides are desperate for votes. So desperate they are trying to get the heroine to marry someone who will cast their votes for whichever side. An injured Veteran is chosen for the task on the Whig side and eventually romance blooms, but for the wrong people. I enjoyed the banter between the two main characters as well as the unexpected references and quotes from various books – I love book references within books. The hero and heroine are both kind of broken and to see them put each other back together was beautiful.

7. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

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I love, love, love the All Souls trilogy. I wasn’t disappointed in any of the books and this conclusion to the series was wonderful. The suspense of the previous books combined with the love among Matthew and Diana’s pieced together family made for a great book. I got the answers I was looking for and was left wanting more about the secondary characters.

 

6. Blonde Date by Sarina Bowen

I assume novellas must be difficult to write – to get enough of a story to make us care about the characters and still leave room for plot has to be hard. Sarina Bowen nailed it with this one. She has a knack for getting me to care about people I normally wouldn’t – the basketball player and the sorority girl being the case here. Witty yet emotional, this one definitely had everything I want from a novella.

5. Archangel’s Shadow by Nalini Singh

Finally the book with Ashwini and Janvier came out this year! I’ve been highly anticipating seeing their story be told and not surprisingly Nalini Singh delivered. More banter between the sarcastic heroine and the sensitive hero made me fall more in love with this couple even more so before. She is definitely one of my favorite authors so I couldn’t do the list without one of hers.

4. The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan

This one came out of nowhere for me. I got a recommendation from Vi to read it and like always she was right that I would love it. Soon after I saw may people raving about this sweet and sexy New Adult romance. This book had the right mix of sassy heroine and in lust-turned-to-love hero. The dialogue is sharp and hilarious and I loved Anna’s take no crap attitude. Light on the drama compared to many NA books which in my opinion was a good thing. Also has a nice HEA whereas that can be hard to find in this genre as well.

3. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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I found this book to be hard to put down. Told in a different kind of way, with snippets of police interviews and knowing the outcome at the beginning, Big Little Lies was able to surprise me. I thought it was going to be a light heart murder mystery but it evolves into something more by the end. All of the characters seemed as if I had met them in real life at one point or another, including the many children in the book.

 

2. A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

So I obviously see a pattern emerging here – I fell in love with multiple new to me authors and Sonali Dev was no exception. I loved this book’s integration of Indian traditions into the plot in a way that felt unobtrusive. It opened up a new area for me and made me more interested in learning about the culture and exploring Bollywood films and other books. It seemed to be authentic with the Indian touches and brought a very sweet and complicated romance with it. The chemistry builds between the two main characters slowly and develops beautifully and in a believable way.

1. The King by Tiffany Reisz

I love Tiffany Reisz’s books. They are not for everyone, with their very frank exploration of BDSM but I would recommend them to anyone who enjoys romances. This story tells the early years of Kingsley Edge, a character anyone familiar with the Original Sinners books knows well. But apparently not that well because this explores how King began his club and reveals even more of his relationship with Soren, not to mention new characters to us. I loved every bit of this one from the beginning to the end.

 

I hope you’ve all had a great reading year! Don’t forget to leave a comment with which of these books you’d like to win a kindle version either here or on Facebook.

~Melinda