Beating the DNF blues AKA Red River Series by Victoria James

I had 2 books I started this past weekend that I DNF’d at about 55%.  They just did not work for me.  I got an email from Entangled with some of their new releases and lo and behold, The Best Man’s Baby (A Red River Book)  by Victoria James jumped right out at me.  I grabbed it, knowing that it was the second book in the series. Now, normally I am absolutely anal about reading books in their intended order. Apparently, I was so desperate for a good book that I threw out all of my “reading rules” and went for it.

Let me tell you, I was not one bit sorry I did it.  I fell in love with Jake and Claire and their story.  But let me backtrack a bit here.  I went back and read the the first book in the series, A Risk Worth Taking: A Red River Series Book.  

Riskworthedit.jpg Blurb:

 Interior designer Holly Carrington worked hard for her success. Then tragedy struck, leaving Holly the sole guardian of her infant niece. Now she’s swapped her designer purse for a diaper bag, and is going ahead with plans to renovate—and sell—her childhood home in Red River. But facing her past also means coming face-to-face with Quinn Manning all over again…Quinn was the object of her girlhood crush—and heartbreak— and is more gorgeous than ever. He’s also the only person qualified to oversee the renovation. Now they’re butting heads every step of the way… and their attraction is more electrifying than ever! But once the house is sold, Holly needs to return to her real life. And falling for Quinn all over again is one risk she can’t take…

Quinn is absolutely delicious. I loved the history he and Holly had between them. The first two books the H/hs have a long history with each other and everyone grew up with each other.  Teenage crushes everywhere!   It’s nice to have the relationships/friendships already established and it really deepened the connection that they had with each other.  Quinn had a special connection with baby Ella from the very beginning and it was nice to see how that helped Quinn move on from some past experiences.  Loved these two and I’m kicking myself for not reading this first because I would’ve enjoyed Quinn and Holly more in the second book.

Speaking of the second book… The Best Man’s Baby (A Red River Book)

bestmanbabyedit The Blurb:

Florist Claire Holbrook has always played by the rules her entire life, but breaks them to spend one night with sexy lone wolf Jake Manning, a man she’s adored since she was a teenager. Six weeks later things get complicated when she discovers they created a bond that will last a lifetime…Jake has never played by the rules. Getting Minister Holbrook’s daughter pregnant wasn’t part of any life plan, but he won’t run from his responsibilities. He’ll step up and be the best man he can, even if he doesn’t have a clue where to begin. The more time he spends with Claire, though, the more he wants her, and the harder it is to get close because that would mean sharing the one thing he hasn’t with anyone–the truth and his heart. 

Oh Jake…you big stud.  Jake certainly lives up to his bad boy reputation in the beginning of this one!  But, you gotta love Claire, she truly left him speechless when she told him that she was pregnant with his baby.  Seriously, that scene… I would love to tell you about it but it’s worth you reading for yourself.  Despite her upbringing, Claire is no shrinking violet!  She is a strong and confident woman and she owns her own floral design business.  I really liked her and I loved how she didn’t back down from Jake.  Now, to Jake’s credit, once he found out he was going to be a Daddy, he pulled his head from his ass and began working towards making Claire his.  The one thing that really struck me with both of these books was that our H/h’s all had some issues to deal with.  I mean, these weren’t crazy issues, they were real life issues.  The way Ms. James presents them, it creates a wonderful texture and layers to the characters.  It just sucked me in and endeared me to Quinn and Jake, especially.

Both books are 5 stars.  These are contemporary romances with some sexytimes!  I would not call them erotic but they are sexy and steamy nonetheless!!

So yeah.  Got get this series!  Next up is the 3rd brother, Evan.  Ummm, I need Evan’s story, like, NOW!!!  There is an excerpt from it in Jake and Claire’s book. Please, please, please Ms. James… I want Evan’s story.  PRONTO, STAT, ASAP!!! 😉

Buy it: 

Book 1: A Risk Worth Taking

Amazon / Nook / iTunes

Book 2 : The Best Man’s Baby

Amazon / Nook / iTunes

More about Victoria James:

Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

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Review: Rock Chick Revolution by Kristen Ashley

RC8.jpgRock Chick Revolution by Kristen Ashley

Self Purchase

Blurb:

Ally Nightingale has secrets. Secrets she doesn’t even share with the Rock Chicks. But two men know what she’s up to. One has her back. The other has her heart, but he doesn’t know it.

As Ally rewinds the last year of her life, she knows two things. One, she’s never going to get what every Rock Chick should have—her own Hot Bunch guy. And two, she’s a Nightingale through and through. She just isn’t sure what to do about that.

But as her secrets are revealed, the men in her life react. Darius Tucker, a lifelong friend, as usual takes her back. Ren Zano, the man she loves, isn’t quite so sure. The Rock Chicks, Hot Bunch and the entire gang at Fortnum’s weigh in, and a Rock Chick Revolution starts brewing.

 It’s up to Ally to control it and prove what she knows down to her bones.  She’s a Rock Chick, she deserves her hot guy and she’s going to keep the one she wants… Because she’s a Nightingale.

Frankly, I’m a bit verklempt.  I’ve been thinking about this review for the last 24 hours.  What the heck could I say?  I’ve also been in a funk since I finished it.  Let’s face it, reviews on this book are EVERYWHERE and so I’m not reinventing the wheel.  I’m just going to tell you how this one made me FEEL.  That’s the super cool thing about this blogging thing.  (and it will be spoiler free to boot)

Ahem.  Oh Hell… it was awesome.  Better than I expected.  I had pretty much thought I was at peace with everything after Hector and Sadie, even though I knew Ally’s book was still to come.  I was… emotionally unprepared for the depth of what I felt at the end.  But somewhere between the beginning and the end… I laughed and I cried.  It was a beautiful thing.

This was 110% Ally’s journey.  Her journey to love and her journey to finding her true self and making sure EVERYONE else knew who she intended on being.  She didn’t compromise on any of it.  God Bless, Lee, Hank and Ren.  It takes a strong man to love a strong woman and Ally was surrounded by strong men.  Might’ve taken some longer than others to get on the Ally train but they all had their own good reasons.

Ren was so frickfrackin’ sexy:

Tomorrow, You’re in a nice dress.  My pick is the one you wore to Club, unless you’ve got another one that makes my dick harder faster, which, babe, just sayin’, will be a feat.  Then I’m taking you to a nice dinner, and you’re gonna share with me all of your hopes and dreams.

And frankly, I could fill up this page with my highlights from Ren.  But, again, I don’t want to give anything away.  Oh but Daisy… Daisy is quote-worthy for sure:

You got a choice spot here.  You don’t move some old desk into it, slap a computer on the top and say ‘I’m in business.’  You gotta send the right message.  And that message is you ain’t Rockford.  You’re Allyson Nightingale, a fine piece of badass ass with class who can take care of biznezz.

Amen Daisy.  Amen.

For me, reading Kristen Ashley books is like eating comfort food.  Or watching “comfort movies” like:  Sleepless in Seattle, Runaway Bride, You’ve Got Mail, and It’s Complicated.  I have “comfort tv” shows:  Beverly Hills, 90210, Golden Girls, Friends, Cosby Show and Big Bang Theory.  KA is total and complete comfort food for my brain and soul.  Read a bad book?  Re read Games of the Heart.  Read a heavy duty, intense book?  Re read Sweet Dreams.  I have a confession to make, I had never read a book more than once before KA came into my life.  And now, I can’t imagine not reading Motorcycle Man for the 4th (maybe 5th at this point) time.

So yeah.  RC 8 was fantastic.  It was all that and a bag of chips.  In fact, it was the cherry on top of one big, badass cake.

5 STARS.

Buy it : AMAZON / iBOOKS / NOOK / KOBO

More Kristen Ashley:  WEBSITE / GOODREADS / TWITTER / FACEBOOK

Review: Unforgettable by Alison Kent

unforgettableUnforgettable by Alison Kent

Self Purchase

Blurb:

When a walk on the wild side turned into a nightmare for Everly Grant, she escaped her abusive ex by taking a job with Crow Hill’s small newspaper. Now she’s assigned to write a human interest story on the return of the Dalton Gang, and she soon discovers that Boone Mitchell could give her plenty more than a good interview. As much as she craves safety, she finds herself irresistibly drawn to Boone’s dangerous streak. Before she takes the cowboy to bed, she lays down the law: There are no strings attached, and she’s the one in charge.

That’s fine for Boone. In fact, Everly teaches him things no other woman ever dared. Soon they find themselves wanting more than their simple arrangement will allow. But to get there, Everly will have to open up in ways she thought she never could…

I discovered Ms. Kent’s Dalton Gang series about 3 weeks ago.  I read the first two books, Undeniable and Unbreakable in about 2-3 days.  So, I was quite relieved that I wouldn’t have to wait very long for the third book in the series.  I was also looking forward to Boone’s story because he was kind of a mystery to me.  Dax and Casper’s books were, for me, very intense.

Since returning to Crow Hill, the Dalton Gang (Dax, Casper and Boone) have had an uphill battle running a ranch that was barely viable.  One thing I really value about this series is the harsh reality of ranching life.  Ms. Kent doesn’t pull any punches.  These guys are struggling, daily, to keep the ranch running, not knowing if all the blood, sweat, money and tears, they are pouring into it will make a difference.  To top it all off, they are in the middle of a drought.  Not good.  It’s stressful and gut busting and yet they keep going.

At this point in the series, Dax and Casper are happily paired off with Arwen and Faith, respectively.  Both have left the ranch house and Boone has the whole place to himself and he is starting really feel the heaviness of being alone.

Our girl, Everly (lovely name, by the way) is living a quiet life in Crow Hill.  She likes it that way due to her past and it’s hold on her, she hasn’t really branched out into the community other than what her job as a reporter requires her to do.

Enter Boone:

“Up close, he was intimidating. His size, his bearing, his swagger and attitude, and all the things that made him male. She watched his throat work as he swallowed, the sheen on his chin and jaw, watched him backhand his wrist across his mouth when done, his gaze catching hers and burning.”

Oh yeah, baby.  That right there had me.  I won’t go into specifics but Boone and Everly begin their own journey with each other. Trying to figure out what they both want out of this coupling.  Every wants to keep it to sex only and Boone is only too happy to oblige her.  But soon he realizes he is ready to have a woman and a family to come home to.  *Sigh* I just loved Boone, he was my favorite of the Dalton Gang boys.  He certainly had some issues he struggled with but I loved that he knew what he wanted from Everly and knew that she did need to be handled with care at times due to issues she had trouble telling him about.  And as for Everly,  she was faced with wanting something she didn’t even realize she wanted in the first place!

The sexytimes in this one are as hot if not hotter than the first two.  There is one scene where clothing is literally cut off of a body. SERIOUSLY!!!  It was awesome.

If you haven’t picked up this series, please do!  The guys are a bit frustrating at first but I enjoyed all of them (Arwen, Faith and Everly, too) coming into their own and learning who they are now is much more important than who they were.

Excellent.  5 Stars.

Want to know more about Alison? Author Website / Goodreads

Buy it!! Kindle / Nook / iBook

Review: Unteachable by Leah Raeder

unteachablecover

Unteachable by Leah Raeder

Self Purchase

The Blurb:
I met him at a carnival, of all corny places. The summer I turned eighteen, in that chaos of neon lights and cheap thrills, I met a man so sweet, so beautiful, he seemed to come from another world. We had one night: intense, scary, real. Then I ran, like I always do. Because I didn’t want to be abandoned again.

But I couldn’t run far enough.

I knew him as Evan that night. When I walked into his classroom, he became Mr. Wilke.

My teacher.

I don’t know if what we’re doing is wrong. The rules say one thing; my heart says screw the rules. I can’t let him lose his job. And I can’t lose him.

In the movies, this would have a happy ending. I grow up. I love, I lose, I learn. And I move on. But this is life, and there’s no script. You make it up as you go along.

And you don’t pray for a happy ending. You pray for it to never end.

—————-

That blurb really doesn’t do this book justice.  But that’s totally ok.  I have to admit that I read the blurb and some early reviews last week when the book came out.  Guess what happened?  I decided to read something else.  Big mistake. Big. Huge.  (Thank you Pretty Woman for that one).  I kept seeing it turn up on blogs I read and really liked and then one of my Goodreads friends read it and gave it extremely high praise.  So, here I am.

At 11% I was done for.  I was highlighting already and trying to catch my breath because of writing like this:

unteachfalltext

So yeah.  I had a family to feed and kids to bathe and I felt like I had entered some kind fugue state but a good kind.  I wondered if what I felt was like being in “subspace” and yet the world around me kept moving.  I just sat in the chair in my little bubble and kept reading.

The subject is taboo and forbidden… an 18 yr old girl (Maise) meets a 33 year old teacher(Evan) at a carnival before school starts. They get involved.  My feelings about the subject?  If one of my girls were to take part in this kind of relationship, I’d have a problem.  But the rich and textured writing style of Ms. Raeder really made me not give a damn.

unteachkiss.jpg

Maise was a badass chick.  I read some criticism of her early on that I just didn’t agree with once I got into the book.  The criticism was that Maise was cocky and full of herself, she knew she was beautiful.  Well yeah… she did.  For me, it was a great relief.  One of my hangups with NA is the younger girls are full of insecurities and hangups.  Maise had her own issues and they totally stemmed from her not having a father in her life.  But you know what?  She totally owned that shit and she wielded it as a weapon. She knew how to use her beauty to manipulate men.  But those manipulations really didn’t work with Evan.

Both parties were in this relationship with their eyes wide open and I appreciated that.  Both wondered if they cared for each other because of true and genuine feelings or was it because it was wrong and forbidden?

allwehave.jpg

I gobbled this book up.  And when I was done last night, I felt deflated.  I went out with friend to dinner and had a margarita.  I needed it!  This book turned me inside out.

And as I’m writing this review, I’m listening to The Civil Wars .  “Poison and Wine”

Seriously, this song could be the soundtrack for this book.

“You only know what I want you to
I know everything you don’t want me to
Your mouth is poison, your mouth is wine
You think your dreams are the same as mine

Oh, I don’t love you, but I always will
Oh, I don’t love you, but I always will
I don’t love you but I always will
I always will”

Wow.  So yeah.  Give this book a chance.  Yes, the subject matter can be uncomfortable at times.  But the writing is not to be missed.  I do wish the end was fleshed out a bit more.  But, I always like to know what happens after “The End” anyway.  Maybe an epilogue is in the future?  Maybe?  Please?

heartsheared.jpg

5 STARS

Buy it!  Amazon / Nook

Want to know more about Leah?  Author website / Goodreads

On a housekeeping note… I’m tweaking the look of the blog and cutting my teeth on graphics.  So, the look will be changing and I’ll make better graphics than the last three… I thought they would look differently than do.  But hey- live and learn!!!