Book Review Double Header: Bang and Echo by E.K. Blair

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Title: Bang (Black Lotus #1)
Author: E.K. Blair
Genre: Erotic Thriller, Suspense
Length: 420 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis
They say when you take revenge against another you lose a part of your innocence.
But I’m not innocent.
I haven’t been for a very long time.
My innocence was stolen from me. Taken was the life I was supposed to have. The soul I was born with. The ruby heart embedded in a life full of hopes and dreams.

Gone.
Vanished.

I never even had a choice.
I mourn that life. Mourn the what-ifs.
Until now.
I’m ready to take back what was always meant to be mine.

But every plan has a fatal flaw. Sometimes it’s the heart.

**Due to the dark and explicit nature of this book, it is recommended for mature audiences only as some scenes may be particularly disturbing.**

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Title: Echo (Black Lotus #2)
Author: E.K. Blair
Genre: Erotic Thriller, Suspense
Length: 335 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis
It’s been said the longest echo ever measured lasted 75 seconds, but I can assure you, this will last much longer. The bang deafened the world around me, muting everything into nullity, allowing the reflection of its destruction to live far beyond its intended life.

It will follow me forever, destroying me—destroying you.

You want answers?

So do I.

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YaYa's Review

There is not much you can say without intentionally giving away a spoiler, but I’ll try my hardest as this is 2 reviews in 1.

Yes you need to read both books starting with Bang. The first book is where it’s all plotted out. Don’t try and guess what’s happening. It’s far beyond what you may be imagining. Just let it sink in and go with the flow.

What happens when you find out the truth of why you were handed such a shitty card in life? Or what if you find out the person behind all these life events? Do you seek revenge or hope Karma plays a better card for them? These are some of the questions you may want to think about before you read this series. There are some very strong, disturbing context, warning is out there if this is not an easy type of read for you. There is also some great mind-fuckery as I mentioned earlier about not tying to guess what goes on.

This is not a fairy tale. (Maybe?) Where someone gets to live happily ever after. (I hope there is some kind of H or E or A). But what I know is one particular person drags another into such a web full of receipt and lies, no one will be allowed to crawl out. At least not alive.

Some say the past is the past, but when it comes to haunt you out of the pits of hell that not even Jesus can save you, what do you do? Getting into the second book Echo you get some answers but yet are left with more. The demons from the past are now in the present and may even continue on the future. Because right when you thought life was finally easing its choke hold on you, now the rope gets tighter and tighter. And what, all in the name of love? Can you love someone so much will do anything for? Even if it costs you your sanity?

I’m telling you, I can’t even answer my own questions. I also went back and re-read Bang because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. Here comes EK Blair and fucks with my head again. Did it make me pissed enough to not read or want the next book? Isn’t that the point of you wanting to read it? It messed you up so bad you probably cursed your kindle and the author. But yes I want to read a next one. Who is coming back now? Are you giving us a redemption, because quite frankly, is there anyone who deserves one here? All these characters are crazy and need therapy. Lifers.

Hope it’s not too long before the next installment because I will forget all the good juicy stuff you need in order to understand what the hell is going on. Happy Readings Dark Read Lovers1f48b

– Yaya
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New Release: Altered State by Ella Dominguez

Ella Dominguez's Altered State RDL BannerAltered State Title 2Altered State Front CoverTagline 2Altered State BOOK INFO Title: Altered State
Author: Ella Dominguez
Genre: Erotic Psychological Thriller
Cover Design: Judi Perkins of Concierge Literary Promotions
Release Date: May 29th, 2015

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add-to-goodreads-buttonAltered State Cover JacketAltered State Dividers Synopsis

Beauty lies in the truth.

A wife with a thirst for revenge desperately trying to save her marriage while hiding in the shadows of her memories… A woman with questionable intentions, a sketchy past and a taste for unavailable men… A husband in love with his wife, a man mesmerized by his mistress, a willing hostage caught between two obsessive women.

A murderer, a liar and a cheater. You think you know which one is which, but nothing is as it seems. After all, everyone wears a mask. Some are just better at hiding the truth than others.

Lies will be exposed. Truths revealed. Blood shed. All in the name of something far more potent than love and much more toxic.Altered State BOOK TRAILERAltered State TEASERSAltered State Teaser #3Altered State Teaser #1Altered State Teaser #2Altered State AUTHOR BIOElla Dominguez

A full-time mom and healthcare worker, Ella was born and raised in a sexually repressed, strict Christian household in the bible belt of the USA. This upbringing and repression contributed to her wicked imagination and writing has been her only outlet for her sexual fantasies. Finally at the ripe and sexually primed age of forty, she mustered up enough courage to share her naughty thoughts and put pen to paper. I sincerely hope to find her niche in writing erotica in all forms, be it romance or paranormal.

“I don’t consider myself an author. I consider myself an avid reader above all else, and someone who simply writes the stories that the characters in my head tell me to.” – Ella DominguezAltered State STALK HERE
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Book Review: Back-Up by A.M. Madden

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Title: Back-Up (Back-Up #1)
Author: A.M. Madden
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 392 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis

THERE’S A NEW ROCK STAR IN TOWN AND HIS NAME IS JACK LAIR…

Leila Marino’s biggest dream is to become a rock star. A lucky opportunity has her auditioning with an up & coming rock band named Devil’s Lair. The band hires Leila as their back-up singer, signing her up for months in the studio and touring on the road with the sexy bunch.

Jack is the quintessential rock star…gorgeous…sexy…a walking orgasm. Jack Lair is the lead singer of Devil’s Lair and his dreams are becoming reality as his band climbs the ladder of success. He’s living the perfect life, and enjoying every minute of it. With a steady stream of sexual conquests that satisfies his raging libido, he thinks he has all he needs in life…until Leila enters it.

Jack is not prepared for the sudden pull he feels towards Leila, and struggles daily to deny his attraction is anything more. Leila finds falling for her new boss is constant torment. Both convince themselves friendship is their only option.

An intimate moment causes their willpower to collapse, and their erotic love affair to begin. Finding love was a bonus that neither Jack nor Leila anticipated. As they begin their tour together professionally and personally, life couldn’t be any better for the couple. Until a mistake from Jack’s past threatens their new relationship, and their perfect future together.

Warning: This book is meant for mature readers who are 18+. It contains explicit language, and graphic sexual content.

Grace Review

I have heard A LOT about this guy Jack Lair, mostly from my crazy Brit, Jodi.  So this book has been on my radar awhile.  When I realized that the author would be at a signing I’m attending at the end of the month, I decide now was the time to find out what the deal was with this sexy rocker.

My first impression, not great.  Here’s the deal, I get that most male rock stars in books are manwhores, and that’s not great on its own.  But what I really don’t want to read about is said rocker with other women than the intended heroine.  And in this book, Jack is with several women and we get all the details.  While a certain other woman comes into his thoughts, it doesn’t help me that he is with someone else, while thinking about her.  I personally find that very upsetting.  Given Jack’s popularity in the romance community, I’m guessing I’m the minority, it was just my first impression.  That first impression, however, does change along the way, it just takes some time.

As for our heroine, Leila, I liked her A LOT more than other heroines from rock themed romances.  Sure, she has some self-confidence issues when it comes to anything involving Jack.  She is literally a basket case around him, even nicknaming his smile: Crotch Clench Dimple Showing smile, or CCDS, or short.  Somehow, despite acting like a teenager in his presence, she manages to wow him and his band with her singing ability, landing a spot in their band, Devil’s Lair.

As I try to convince myself that Jack is indeed a jackass, a tiny voice in the back of my demented brain says, “You’d better hope so.”

The attraction between Jack and Leila is immediate, but they both work to keep things on the friend side.  It’s when they get more intimate, with a few shared kisses that the tension between them builds.  Feelings are denied for a long time, but their path together seems inevitable.

It’s when they finally do come together, and this takes some time, to be clear, that I began to like Jack more.  He is totally invested in Leila and can’t get enough of her.

The way the story is laid out, I found the big twist at the end to be predictable.  And while I saw it coming a mile away, it didn’t lessen the impact it had on my feelings for the couple.  Despite the predictable story-line, I’m invested in this couple and the series, and will absolutely continue with book 2, once some ARC obligations are out of the way.

– Grace

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Book Review: The Billionaire Game by Lila Monroe

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Title: The Billionaire Game (The Billionaire Game #1)
Author: Lila Monroe
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Length: 81 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis

Sexy playboy billionaire Asher Young goes through girlfriends like he goes through bottles of Moët. I would know — he brings them all to get fitted for my luxury lingerie designs. I guess that’s one way to avoid awkward conversations when they find another girl’s panties in his Maserati.

Now he has a proposition for me: he’ll invest in my design business, and I’ll finally open the boutique of my dreams.

There’s just one problem: I can’t stop kissing him. And he looks REALLY good naked.

Make that two problems….

Michelle's Review

Lila has done it again with the funny and sexy! I adored Kate from the Billionaire Bargain and I was so excited that Lila was going to write her story. Like her fiery red hair, Kate has a fiery temper with the best one liners ever. If you thought Lacey and her inner monologues was funny, Kate’s is downright hysterical. Kate is still a receptionist at Devlin Media while trying to get her lingerie business to fruition. She meets the very sexy playboy billionaire Asher Young, but she doesn’t know he’s a billionaire since all she see is a hot guy with a hot girl trying on her lingerie.

If you’ve read the Billionaire Bargain, and if you haven’t, what the heck are you waiting for, Lacey and Devlin makes an appearance. Lacey is Kate’s BFF and her number fan and user of all of Kate’s sexy lingerie. I freaking adore Kate and her fiery temper with her internal monologues. Here’s a funny line or two when trying to decide if she would even consider dating someone like Asher, “He’s off limits, and also, he’s a jerk! You have instituted a strict no jerk policy! All jerks must be put in checked luggage; if you attempt to board this relationship with a jerk, Security will ask you to step from the line.”

Kate’s family are just plain mean. Instead of encouraging her with her endeavor, they critic, not until Asher saves the day regarding her business and saves Kate from her idiotic family members. Little did Kate know that Asher was an investor, in her mind she just saw him as a full-time playboy with all his blondes. God I love Kate’s wit.

The attraction between these two, is very hot, yet Kate’s is very apprehensive. “Going into business with him would mean having to give up fucking him against a wall, but hey, we all have to make sacrifices.” Things got very interesting between these two. One minute Asher is telling Kate that he sees her lingerie globally but wants to outsource the work to say China. Kate is aghast to say the least! Let’s just say how she went on to explain the intricacies of her lingerie was one hot scene! Finally, Asher gets it!

So you smutty readers, like I mentioned before, lots of sexual chemistry going on with Kate and Asher, but no penetrations (I crack myself up). Kate concedes letting Asher help in her endeavor, but at what cost? I cannot wait to jump into book 2 because it seems it’s going to be just as good.

– Michelle

*An ARC was provided by the author for an honest review.

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New Release (Excerpt & Giveaway): Catch & Release by Ella Fox

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Is it too late for Darby and Trace to have their Happily Ever After?

Find out in Catch and Release!

AVAILABLE NOW!

ONLY $0.99

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1HCr2Wa
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1JLuHAw

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Synopsis

Love endures all things.

Darby McKenzie’s heart started beating funny the day that she met Trace Chamberlain. She was four, he was five, and that meeting altered the course of both their lives forever.

Trace was born into a nightmare. Before meeting Darby and her family, the only love he ever knew was that of his twin brother. The two of them endured years of abuse that left scars. The permanent kind.

For Trace, meeting Darby was like catching a rainbow. She exploded into his life in a pop of Technicolor that awakened his senses. She wasn’t just his best friend—she was his life. His touchstone, his safety, his heart—she was everything.

Darby had been through it all with Trace and her love for him never wavered for a second. But no amount of love could make Trace believe that he was worthy of her. Knowing that she deserved better, Trace pushed her away, when what he really wanted was to pull her closer. Emotionally destroyed and bitter from the back and forth, Darby finally let go and decided to move on.

Sometimes hitting rock bottom is the only way to understand that you need to change. Realizing that losing Darby means losing everything, Trace sets out to fight for the love of his life.

Is it too late for Darby and Trace to have a happily ever after?

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Excerpt

“We can talk every day on the phone or by text and Skype, right?” he asked anxiously.

I knew if I said yes, he’d call every day.  Distance would be useless if I didn’t put my foot down.

“Once a week,” I told him.  “Pick a day and we’ll talk then. This is our time to redefine our relationship.”

“I don’t want anything to change,” he complained.  “I don’t want to see less of you or spend six fucking days a week not hearing your voice. Even thinking about doing it makes me feel sick.”

I understood how he felt because I was experiencing all the same anxiety, but I stood my ground.

“This is the way it needs to be for a while,” I answered.  “You can like it or lump it, but I’m not backing down. Call me next Friday.”

When I went to leave, I let him hug me because friends hugged.  I counted off five seconds and then pulled away.  He tried to hold tighter, but I wiggled away.  The benefits of being strong meant that he couldn’t keep me where I didn’t want to be.

“We can’t hug?” he asked in a panicked tone.

“We can,” I said calmly.  “When I hug Tristan, it’s probably a two or three second process.  I gave you five.  Friends don’t hug for minutes at a time unless there’s a crisis.”

“This is a crisis! You’re fucking leaving me.”

I knew then that drawing it out any more was only going to make things worse.  There were times when cutting something short was the way to go, and that moment was one of them.

“This isn’t a crisis,” I refuted calmly.  “This is a reality.  I’ll talk to you next week.  Take care of yourself.”

I kept my chin up as I walked away, and I ignored him when he called out my name three separate times.

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Catch My Fall (Book One)

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Amazon: http://amzn.to/1KcahyF
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1BirhOJ
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1KqNx0U
iBooks: http://apple.co/1FKubCU
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1PD4h8N

Synopsis

Mia Reeves faith, trust and sense of security were all taken away in the blink of an eye. In need of a fresh start, she settles into a new town and begins to make a new life.

Tristan Chamberlain has always kept girls at arm’s length and he has no intention of changing. He’s caring, smart, handsome, but he’s also dealing with a lifetime of guilt that’s slowly but surely destroying him.

Sometimes what you run from is the one thing that will save you.

Separately, they’re both free-falling. Together, they’re about to find that love can create the strongest safety net of all.

About

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Ella Fox  writes like a woman possessed whenever she gets the chance!  She is the author of The Hart Family Series, The Renegade Saints Series and The Catch Series.

When she’s not writing, Ella indulges the gypsy in her blood and travels the country.  Ella loves reading, movies, music, buying make-up, reading Tmz, Twitter and pedicures… not necessarily in that order. She has a wild sense of humor and loves to laugh.  Her favorite thing in the world is hanging out with her family and watching comedy movies.

Stalk Her: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Email | Website |

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Book Review: Back in Play by Lynda Aicher

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Title: Back in Play (Power Play #2)
Author: Lynda Aicher
Genre: Sports Romance
Length: 256 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis

For Minnesota Glaciers captain Scott Walters, skating on a bum knee—and self-medicating to keep skating on it—is all part of the game. That the painkillers he’s eating prevent him from having meaningful relationships is just one more sacrifice in a lifetime of them. He’s worked too hard to let his image be ruined by injury or dependency, so he hides the pain and fakes the rest—a girlfriend would only complicate matters.

High school teacher Rachel Fielding never needed a man in her life, but she also never intended to grow old alone. When she meets Scott while visiting her brother, she’s intrigued to find herself wanting him in her bed. For hours at a time, as often as possible. Scott is a giver, and just the memory of his attentions is enough to drive her crazy. Anything long-term is out of the question, though—the pills she finds in Scott’s house indicate he’s struggling with a lot more than growing older in a young man’s game.

When what starts out as a what-the-hell weeklong fling turns into Scott and Rachel exploring each other outside the bedroom, Rachel hesitates. But Scott asks for her support to break his addiction, and hearing him admit his secrets has her ignoring her own rules—until he breaks her heart. With the Glaciers refusing to renew his contract and his future with Rachel uncertain, Scott has some big decisions to make and a lot to prove—especially to himself.  

Ivy

Scott Walters has been headed straight for a crossroads in his life and career, one that every professional athlete faces, but it’s never easy. He’s at his friend’s wedding when he meets Rachel Fielding, a high school teacher on vacation visiting her brother. Romance, and so much more happens.

The Good, The Bad and Everything In Between

A more serious premise than expected : So much of the hockey romance you’ll find is new adult and focused on the wonder and excitement at the beginning of a player’s career and the choices that come with that. It is fluffy and fun, and entertaining. This, is not that book. The hero and heroine are in their thirties, and they are pondering questions of what to do with the rest of your life? What will you sacrifice for that dream you’ve had since you were a child? And what happens when the reality is your body cannot fulfill the dreams of your youth? I love that this book explores this topic.

This is hockey, warts and all : Ms. Aicher has crafted a very different, and very compelling, take on hockey romance and I am beyond fascinated with it. The first book in the series, Game Play, shone a light on female hockey players, as well as the stress and strain of a contract year for a young male player. In this book, it is about the flip side of it all, when the lights begin to fade and that career that was everything they lived and breathe, is fading fast. There’s a clear love of the game, but it doesn’t gloss over the toll it takes on a body and mind, the sheer physical abuse players suffer for the love of the game. Much like Scott….

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Scott broke my heart : One. More. Year. That’s the heartbreaking mantra Scott has. You can feel his pain, see the heartache in giving up the dream he’s spent a lifetime working towards, to get his name on that cup. His body is failing him and his knee can’t hold on, but he is doing his damnedest to make it happen. I think the depiction of a serious dependency on prescription painkillers is very realistic. The denial, the excuses, and rationalizations that Scott makes to justify his use all ring true. I admired his strength in admitting his problem, and doing something about it. But it’s his eventual acceptance that the dream isn’t meant to be that’s bittersweet and pulled at my heartstrings.

Rachel’s a strong heroine : Scott’s struggle is compelling on its own, but Rachel’s strength and support really add alot to this story. She’s dealt with the fallout of her brother coming out of the closet and the family NOT singing kumbaya and accepting it. She also struggles with the relationship with Scott for many reasons, all of them very reasonable. A big one is her career in another city. So often it’s just blindly expected for the heroine to drop what she’s doing to be with the hero, and I liked that Rachel wouldn’t blindly drop everything. While she’s drawn to, and begins this relationship with Scott, she will not simply allow him to dictate the way their relationship will go on either.

So little time for something so serious : About the only issue I have is the timeline for their romance. Considering where Scott is with his addiction, I struggled to reconcile them actually getting into a long term relationship. The story is very realistic and that one note felt juuuuust a bit off because of it. I would have bought their HEA had their relationship played out over a longer period of time. But I let it go because it is a romance, and sometimes, condensed timelines are the price paid for a HEA.

The Bottom Line
I really liked it. I’ve been so impressed with Ms. Aicher’s writing and this is no exception. I’d recommend it for those who love hockey, and appreciate a more realistic, bittersweet type of romance. I’m interested in what’s next in this series.

– Ivy

*ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Audio Review: Scoring Wilder by R.S. Grey

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Title: Scoring Wilder
Author: R.S. Grey
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Sports
Narrator: Jessica Almasy
Length: 9 hours 53 mins, 315 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis

What started out as a joke— seduce Coach Wilder—soon became a goal she had to score.

With Olympic tryouts on the horizon, the last thing nineteen-year-old Kinsley Bryant needs to add to her plate is Liam Wilder. He’s a professional soccer player, America’s favorite bad-boy, and has all the qualities of a skilled panty-dropper.

• A face that makes girls weep – check.
• Abs that can shred Parmesan cheese (the expensive kind) – check.
• Enough confidence to shift the earth’s gravitational pull – double check.

Not to mention Liam is strictly off limits . Forbidden. Her coaches have made that perfectly clear. (i.e. “Score with Coach Wilder anywhere other than the field and you’ll be cut from the team faster than you can count his tattoos.”) But that just makes him all the more enticing…Besides, Kinsley’s already counted the visible ones, and she is not one to leave a project unfinished.

Kinsley tries to play the game her way as they navigate through forbidden territory, but Liam is determined to teach her a whole new definition for the term “team bonding.”

Grace Review

Story: 5 stars
This book has been sitting on my TBR list for a looooong time, but I never even considered it on audio.  So seeing it on audible, along with the high ratings on narration (which is VERY important), I 1-clicked this book faster than a knife fight in a phone booth.

This book came at the perfect time.  First, I’m a bit obsessed with sports themed romances, and there have been so many good ones lately, that I am stuck on the trend, and loving every minute.  Second, I’ve been down in the dumps personally (cry me a river, right?), so I needed something that wouldn’t bring my mood down even further.  Not only did this book help me stay out of the woe-is-me phase, but I became so invested in the story, I wouldn’t just listen to it on my daily commute, but I listened, while making dinner, cleaning, and while doing blog posts.  True story.  I couldn’t get enough of Liam and Kinsley.

This book tackles the teacher/student theme from a different angle, with Liam being Kinsley’s new Assistant Coach.  It is laid out early on that any relationship with Assistant Coach Wilder is forbidden.  Does that make him all the more tempting?  Of course.  But there are some things at stake the slow the couple’s relationship, more than the warning.  For Liam, he’s lived the bad boy lifestyle for longer than his sponsors care for, and they want him to clean up his act.  For Kinsley, her life goal is to make the Olympic soccer team, and with her current Head Coach being part of the selection committee, a tryst with Liam could cost her a spot on her college team, and destroy her Olympic chances.

But the temptation and attraction between these two runs deep.  Of the two, Liam tries the hardest to resist Kinsley, by ignoring her, but Kinsley plays dirty, making her impossible to ignore.

From the first word, I adored Kinsley’s spirit.  She gets cheated on, and makes jokes.  She gets hazed by her teammates, led by the Queen Bitch Tara, and still manages to take it without complaints.  And she fights for what she feels she deserves, a spot on the team and a spot on Liam’s lap.

Liam is perfection, no doubt about it.  He easily jumped onto my BBF list.  He’s dedicated both to his sport and a place in Kinsley’s heart.  A match made in heaven.  Sure, I had my doubts that he would screw up, and either follow the path of Kinsley’s previous boyfriends, or have the media portray something along those lines.  And while the moment almost comes to be, he is so quick to easy Kinsley’s fears, that the drama never really takes form.

Although this book is relatively light on the angst as compared to my other reads, Tara attempts to bring it in spades.  She has an immediate dislike for Kinsley, for reasons beyond normal.  Is Kinsley prettier, better at soccer, or is it that she got the guy?  Probably all of the above.  But Tara’s anger goes to the extreme, trying to take down Kinsley at every turn.  Luckily, Kinsley doesn’t stoop to her level, and smartly finds a way to end it, which I had to applaud.

Aside from loving Kinsley and Liam, this story has a great cast of supporting characters:

Becca and Emily – Kinsley’s teammates who support her from day one, even though the unnecessary hazing they faced.
Head Coach (sadly, her name escapes me) – She was great at giving Kinsley guidance and while she pushed her for success, I didn’t see it as favoritism.  She does what is right for the team.
Kinsley and Liam’s Moms – Yes they both rock!

Performance: 5 stars
My immediate thought when this audio started: this narrator sure is spunky.  Her enthusiasm poured from my speakers, and immediately made me smile.  Her casting was perfect for this story, capturing the youthful energy of a 19 year old.

The energy of her performance not only is entertaining, but made me that more invested in the story.  I felt that she totally embraced the story and could sense she enjoyed performing it.

I know some people don’t like when a female does a male voice (but trust me, it is worse in the reverse).  I personally think that if the narrator is good, and able to use different voices for the characters, it works out better than having female and male narrators.  That’s how I felt with this audio performance. Her voice for Liam was downright sexy.  She also nails Tara’s uppity bitchiness, and Liam’s Mom’s British accent.

Overall: 5 stars
Is there any doubt at this point how much I loved this story and audio?!  Then let me make it clear, I loved, loved, loved, everything about this story.  It is exactly what I needed: something light, fun and sexy.  I wouldn’t have changed a thing about it.  This story made me forget all about that guy Beckham.  Now it all about Wilder!  (great last name, btw)

– Grace

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Book Review: Black Balled by Andrea Smith and Eva LeNoir

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Title: Black Balled
Author: Andrea Smith and Eva LeNoir
Genre: M/M Romance
Length: 282 pages
Rating: 5 *Alpha-dominant male* stars

Synopsis

Two dominant males, two worthy adversaries, in a business that takes no prisoners, will soon learn that fate refuses to be ignored . . .

My name is Troy Babilonia, but I’m best known as Babu, a renowned literary critic with my own online column. I’m followed by thousands! I’m a living god in the literary world. I have no filter, and for that, my flock of humble followers are forever grateful. If it weren’t for me, they wouldn’t know what to read. I have zero tolerance for the weak-minded attention seekers, nor do I have respect for the self-proclaimed geniuses of the Indie world. My advice to all Indie authors is to never break the cardinal rule in this cut-throat business. Ever.

My name is L. Blackburn and I’m an Indie author. My extraordinary genius was loved and worshiped throughout the literary world, until one egocentric critic tried to obliterate my career. It seems I broke some “cardinal rule,” and now I’m paying the price for it. But I don’t plan on going down without a fight.  

Michelle's Review

I have been wanting to read this book since it came out back in March, but due to other ARC obligations, I said to myself, whenever I get downtime in reviewing, I’m going to read book. I did not even know there was “controversy” surrounding this book, whether the rumors were true or not, it wasn’t going to stop me from reading the book, I read the blurb and wanted to read it regardless. This is my first time reading any of Ms. Smith and Ms. LeNoir’s books.

This book was all kinds of funny and sarcastic, my kind of book! So I will start off describing these two alpha men ala Michael Buffer because I swear I was watching a boxing match of words and wit between these two men. In the red corner, you have Troy “Babu” Babilonia, blogger, literary critic or asshole if you prefer. In the blue corner you have L. (“Larson”) Blackburn, indie author, conceited, arrogant much? lol. Going into this book, you’re not going to necessarily like either of these two characters at first. These are two very strong, opinionated, cocky, self-absorbed men.

Troy or Babu in the literary world, has received Larson’s book for an honest review and instead tore his book to shreds or rather DNF’d. Larson, instead of letting it go, goes on a major cyber tangent with Babu. Then add Larson’s ex-wife Noelle to the mix (nothing like a woman scorned) and you are going to get major drama.

Between the email exchanges these two were having, you also get an insight into their lives. You know that there is more to Troy’s story and why he is so “critical” with indie authors. My heart also went out to Larson. But when these two “meet” each other, that scene in the elevator, HOT! When Troy has his “aha” moment, was just wow. When these two men come to literal blows, holy crap! You get the picture?

I have read my share of alpha male characters, but never two extremely alpha yet stubborn men. A lot of the back and forth could have ended sooner, but then the book would not have given us the funny internal monologues these two had. The Noelle situation, also could have been solved quicker, but I loved what happened when she got called for her bullshit. The sex scenes were extremely hot. Ms. Smith and Ms. LeNoir managed to write two very strong male POVs in my opinion. I really felt I was in a boxing match with these two men.

Overall, I am so glad that I read this book and formed my own opinion. Having said that, on a personal note and this is my own opinion, not necessarily of After Dark Book Lovers: if you are a blogger or just a reader in general and leave a review, whether good, bad, or indifferent, there is no reason to be nasty or downright rude. Just don’t leave a review, period. As an author, if you don’t agree with someone’s review, there should be no reason for backlash either. Again, I don’t know nor do I care about the “controversy”. I went into this book with open eyes and really enjoyed the book. M/M may not be for everyone and that’s fine with me. Just because there is a she said, he said situation, shouldn’t deter anyone from reading someone’s work.

– Michelle

*A gifted copy was received for an honest review.

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New Release (Book Review, Excerpt & Giveaway): Shuttergirl by CD Reiss

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Are you ready for a different kind of love story?

Meet Michael & Laine in this Hollywood themed second chance romance by CD Reiss!

NOW AVAILABLE!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1RXBv1n

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1FlYvSs

Barnes & Noble – http://bit.ly/1d3hzub

iBooks – http://apple.co/1KS8bUC

Kobo – http://bit.ly/1bBO020

ShutterGirl Book Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_u2QJM0key0&feature=youtu.be

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Synopsis

I am not hurt.

I don’t need a second chance with him, or a life I thought I had.

While he was out forgetting me to become a movie star, I was building a career out of nothing. A career as a paparazzi, but a career. For a foster kid who bounced around every home in Los Angeles, that wasn’t easy.

This camera is all I have.

He’s nothing to me. Every time I take his picture and sell it, I remind myself that I did it all without him or his approval, his cinnamon smell or his clear green eyes. He lights up the screen like a celestial body, but he’s nothing but a paycheck to me.

He can throw my camera off a balcony, and nothing has to change. We can stay king and queen of the same city, and different worlds.

Except this is Hollywood, and here, anything can happen.

Grace Review

When I first discovered CD Reiss’ Songs of Submission series, I was blown away, with its addictive storyline that was raw, fresh, and highly erotic.  Since then, with Songs of Perdition and Songs of Corruption, she showed depth to her rawness.  Exposing characters that were mentally or morally flawed, yet convincing you that they were worth of more.

In this genre turn, the author steps away from her erotic roots and shows her skills as a writer, holds no bounds.  This story takes us to Hollywood were talent and determination win awards, with everyone around is loudly cheering for one’s success, while at the same time, quietly cheering for one’s downfall.  And there to capture that downfall, are the dreaded paparazzi.  Everyone hates them.  Yet, it’s sad to admit, each magazine we buy, each time we click their pictures, we keep them employed.  But they are scum.  They have no respect for privacy or feelings.

So what does our edgy author do?  Well, she makes that paparazzi scum, the heroine of the story.  Am I supposed to hate Laine?  On principle, I should.  Yet, the author paints her story, an empty loveless childhood with no true home, with horrific acts caught on someone else’s film.  So despite her profession, I liked Laine throughout this story.  How she makes something of her life, seemed plausible.  It’s not really a rags to riches turn, but she finds success her own way and is good at doing what she does.

I totally bought into the storyline. with a pap, crossing the line of their profession, and making a connection with a celebrity.  It’s not insta-lust.  No, the story between Laine and Michael, is more of a second chance romance.  As casual acquaintances in high school, there was always attraction.  But they were from different worlds, and their time together, simply ran out.  Fast forward years later, when they are still from different worlds, but their time together is what they make of it.  And this is when you will fall for Michael.  He is downright persistent, never walking away, no matter how much Laine tries to push him.

This story also hits on that one thing every celebrity probably thinks about the paparazzi: what if this was you, what if your flaws, heartbreak, downfalls, were caught on camera.

How can you fear what you own?
How can you be intimidated by what’s inside yourself?  By a city that nursed you to adulthood?

As I read Laine’s secrets unfold and become exposed, I kept hoping it would all blow over.  But this author doesn’t make it easy for the reader or her characters.  While my heart hurt for Laine and Michael, I also understood their reactions.  It all felt so real.

With strong character development and a well plotted storyline, the author exposes a new side of herself.  The shock and explicit moments are gone, with the bones of a story carefully laid out.  Each piece carefully comes together to an ending worthy of the front page.

The author’s secret is out, and if you weren’t paying attention before, it’s time you do so now.

SIDE NOTE: Claire Contreras gets a shout-out in the book as one of Michael’s co-actors, which I just loved!

– Grace

*An ARC was received for an honest review.

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Excerpt

I stroked his hair, waist deep in peace, all worry gone for the moment, and floating in no more than an ocean of gratitude. I must have been more vulnerable than I realized, or he’d reopened some wound with his kindness, because though my sweet reverie stayed, as the minutes passed, a layer of need fitted itself on top of it.

I needed to tell him, if not the details, the outlines of who I was.

“I want you to know,” I whispered, starting somewhere small, then everything I didn’t want to say spilled out. “I have stuff. I’ve never been to jail, but you know, it’s stuff, and it’s ugly, and it scares me. Because, I mean, you’re so perfect, and I’m… I’m just a mess. I’m not whole. I’m a bunch of pieces of a person I cobbled together.” My eyes got wet when I thought of the comparisons between us and that picture in my silverware drawer. “So if you have to move on when you realize that, I’ll understand. You have an image, and if anyone understands protecting a career, it’s me. I mean, I’ll be mad, don’t get that wrong, but also.” I swallowed and blinked, shifting my head so he wouldn’t feel the tear on his forehead. “I won’t blame you.”

I waited for an answer. Anything. A change in position or a word on any subject. The weather. Sports. Something. But all he did was breathe.

I smiled so wide, tears fell into my mouth. He was sleeping.

About

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CD Reiss is a USA Today and Amazon bestseller. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn’t pick up, she’s at the well, hauling buckets.

Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master’s degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere, but it did embed TV story structure in her head well enough for her to take a big risk on a TV series structured erotic series called Songs of Submission. It’s about a kinky billionaire hung up on his ex-wife, an ingenue singer with a wisecracking mouth; art, music and sin in the city of Los Angeles.

Critics have dubbed the books “poetic,” “literary,” and “hauntingly atmospheric,” which is flattering enough for her to put it in a bio, but embarrassing enough for her not to tell her husband, or he might think she’s some sort of braggart who’s too good to give the toilets a once-over every couple of weeks or chop a cord of wood.

If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine.

Stalk Her: Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads | Pinterest | Intagram

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GIVEAWAY & NOTE FROM AUTHOR

    • I am so happy with the response to Shuttergirl, and I cannot wait to send Michael and Laine out into the world, because who doesn’t swoon over a second chance at love?
    • It’s a new genre for me, and I’m exploding with excitement, so I’ve dropped some fantastic reasons for readers to get the book right away.
    • TREAT YOURSELF LIKE A MOVIE STAR!
    • $500 Spa Gift Card
    • If you could get an hour, or ten away from the daily grind of paparazzi and interviews (or the job and kids), what would you do?
    • Get a foot rub/slash/pedicure? A massage? Maybe something called a Sleep Treatment that right now sounds better than sex?
    • Maybe you’d bring a friend or two, or maybe you’d just get a manipedi when you wanted one. Because the life of a megastar ain’t for the weak-willed or lazy, and running from paparazzi can really wear down a girl’s nails.
    • Woodhouse Spas are no joke. They’re all over the country and they’re….sigh. Fabulous. But if you don’t live near one, we can do Burke Williams, Halcyon Days or Red Door.
  • HOW TO ENTER
  • Take the fun SHUTTERGIRL READER QUIZ!
  • The link to the quiz is in the back of the book, and yes, that’s the ONLY place to find it! There are bonus questions relating to Jonathan and Antonio for extra prizes. You have until June 3rd to enter! That gives you a solid two weeks to read the book and get your chance at a $500 movie star spa treatment!
  • If you are a paperback reader, email me and we’ll work it out .

TRSOR

Cover Reveal: Song of David by Amy Harmon

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By: Amy Harmon
Available: June 15, 2015
Cover by: Hang Le

Synopsis

She said I was like a song. Her favorite song. A song isn’t something you can see. It’s
something you feel, something you move to, something that disappears after the last note is
played.

I won my first fight when I was eleven years old, and I’ve been throwing punches ever since.
Fighting is the purest, truest, most elemental thing there is. Some people describe heaven as
a sea of unending white. Where choirs sing and loved ones await. But for me, heaven was
something else. It sounded like the bell at the beginning of a round, it tasted like adrenaline,
it burned like sweat in my eyes and fire in my belly. It looked like the blur of screaming
crowds and an opponent who wanted my blood.

For me, heaven was the octagon.

Until I met Millie, and heaven became something different. I became something different. I
knew I loved her when I watched her stand perfectly still in the middle of a crowded room,
people swarming, buzzing, slipping around her, her straight dancer’s posture unyielding, her
chin high, her hands loose at her sides. No one seemed to see her at all, except for the few
who squeezed past her, tossing exasperated looks at her unsmiling face. When they realized
she wasn’t normal, they hurried away. Why was it that no one saw her, yet she was the first
thing I saw?

If heaven was the octagon, then she was my angel at the center of it all, the girl with the
power to take me down and lift me up again. The girl I wanted to fight for, the girl I wanted
to claim. The girl who taught me that sometimes the biggest heroes go unsung and the most
important battles are the ones we don’t think we can win.

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Giveaway text

(6) $25 Amazon Gift Cards

Rafflecopter code:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Links:

Goodreads

Amazon

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About

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Amy Harmon is a USA Today and New York Times Bestselling author. Amy knew at
an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and she divided her time
between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of
wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain
her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story. Her books are now
being published in several countries, truly a dream come true for a little country girl
from Levan, Utah.

Amy Harmon has written seven novels – the USA Today Bestsellers, Making Faces
and Running Barefoot, as well as Slow Dance in Purgatory, Prom Night in Purgatory,
Infinity + One and the New York Times Bestseller, A Different Blue. Her newest
release, The Law of Moses, is now available. For updates on upcoming book releases,
author posts and more, join Amy at

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