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review 2017-05-30 01:11
The Wicked Cousin by Stella Riley
The Wicked Cousin (Rockliffe Book 4) - Stella Riley

After his twin brother died and his father smothered him trying to keep him from any danger, Sebastian broke the chains to live a wild and carefree life. Now that he is a little older and wiser, he just wishes all the fervor from his younger exploits would die down.

Cassandra is less than impressed with all the stories about their wicked "cousin" but when she actually meets the man, she finds herself singing a different tune.

 

Fourth in the Rockliffe series, The Wicked Cousin focuses on Sebastian and Cassandra. I'm a newbie to this series and while it is entirely possible to start here, the extended family and friends secondary characters (heroes and heroines from the previous books) will make you wish you had read their stories. If you've read Grace Burrowes and her Windham series, the incorporation of past characters and world building is in the same vein here. I did think Riley did a slightly better job of unobtrusively weaving them in, not as much a feeling of off tangent if you're not previously acquainted with them.

 

And with the utmost reluctance, she saw what she had been unconsciously determined not to see. She saw what all the fuss was about.

 

Cassandra was our wondrously level-headed heroine, who does get a bit outshined by the hero, but always likeable. A heroine from a loving family with no horrible trauma almost seems like a novelty these days. However, the angst that was replaced with loving family dynamics, a sweet father and mother paired with an overly precocious little sister, provided heartwarming nuances and emotions more modern trends have been leaving out. I would have liked more scenes with Cassandra interacting with her sister, mother, and friends, as Riley did a tremendous job showcasing the male relationships.

 

It occurred to Sebastian that, in only a handful of meetings, he had come to like Cassandra Delahaye much more than was probably wise.

 

Our hero Sebastian is one that you won't help but fall in love with. The pain and sense of loss (both brother and sense of self) when his twin brother dies is heartbreaking. The way that Riley took this instance and constructed how it affected Sebastian, his family, and therefore their relationships added immense depth, you'll feel this story. Before we are introduced to Sebastian we learn of his persona but just like Cassandra learns, the true man is much more. His character make-up was so rich, confident, and teasing but yet vulnerable and shy at times. He was no one-trick pony or cardboard cutout, if you're a hero-centric reader, you don't want to miss Sebastian and his gorgeous garnet hair.

 

This was very much a character driven story, in which there was such an ease and flow to the writing that it envelopes you into the story. There was dramatic flair added with a scorned mistress causing problems for our couple. This provided some of the drama we all secretly love in romance but did stretch out for an unneeded extra scene; it turned around to feel like the deranged villain needed serious help instead of the truth spoke a bit harshly to her, even if it also felt justified. The story tempo is more leisurely, which with the richness of characters and story I didn't mind, but there were a few times I thought it was too slow following a bit long on offshoots. I also thought the climax of the story hit around the 80% mark and created a bit of a deflated balloon ending, however, people who like extended epilogues will probably enjoy the continuation.

 

All in all, I was a big fan of this story with its rich depth in characters and world. I've been complaining lately of story structure, definitely not a probably here, it feels like this was edited with a fine tooth comb. I'll be going back and reading the rest of the books in this series, I have a strong desire to grow more acquainted with the Duke of Rockliffe after his appearances here. There was also glimpses of a secondary romance featured and with the set-up of a duke's brother and woman who feels she couldn't be good enough for him, you can bet I'll be first in line when it gets published. We read romance to get lost in another world for some time, this is one you'll not want to come back from.

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text 2017-05-29 23:30
Reading progress update: I've read 18 out of 358 pages.
Loyalty in Death (In Death Series #9) - J. D. Robb,Nora Roberts
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review 2017-05-29 18:45
A Kind of Honesty was definitely more than....
A Kind of Honesty: - Lane Hayes,Seth Clayton

...kind of good.

 

I'm pretty sure that I've already mentioned this but just to refresh things. Rock star stories really are not at the top of my list to read. I don't know why they just never seem to appeal to me...however, as we all know one should 'never say never' because there are exceptions to every rule and the 'A Kind of stories' by Lane Hayes are among those exceptions for me.

 

Not only are the stories contained in this series beyond good but for me Seth Clayton is the perfect narrator for them.

 

Tim is the drummer for the rock band Spiral, which this series centers around. While he's been in each book we've really learned very little about him until now. We know he's the drummer and we know he's bisexual and  really that's about all we've learned until now. But 'A Kind of Honesty' changes all that we learn all Tim's secrets with this story and there are a few. 

 

Carter Hamilton-Temple is a successful financial consultant and a very rich man in his own right. He's also Zeke Gulden's best friend. We met Zeke in previous stories and learned all about Zeke in 'A Kind of Romance'. Carter may have money and the smarts to make money for his clients but what he doesn't seem to have is much luck when it comes to men.  He's had his heart and his trust broken more than once and as luck would have it the men who have done this turned out to be bi, so needless to say when Carter and Tim get together, Tim's already got one strike against him.

 

When Tim finally ends his relationship with his super-model from hell girlfriend. He decides it's time to explore the other side of his bisexuality and takes himself to a less than glamours gay bar with the intentions of getting laid and as fortune would have it, just about the time he's decided he picked the wrong place to put his plan into action in walks one of the hottest men Tim's set eyes on in a while. Luckily for him that man likes what the sees when he sets eyes on Tim. Mission accomplished after a couple of drinks they head out to a dive hotel and get their groove on. These two men are seriously hot together. They like their sex down and dirty...maybe not quite as dirty as their present surroundings though...

 

The real surprise comes for both of these men when they are once again brought face to face at a birthday party for a mutual friend. But it's no surprise when both men decide that they want to continue what started in that seedy L.A. hotel room...more down and dirty sex without the strings and hopefully cleaner surroundings.

 

As they explore their mutual attraction those strings just seem to add themselves. Both Tim and Carter start to find their happiness getting tied to one another and things become complicated pushing each man to his limits, until things explode and Tim is left alone with the realization that if he wants to keep what he's found with Carter, he needs to make some changes sooner than he thinks he's ready to.

 

I would have to say that when it comes to 'rock star' books this series is definitely at the top of my favorites list. Quite often if I read books that involve the music industry the MCs tend to be country & western performers, which is pretty ironic considering that I'm not really a C&W fan. I've read a couple other rock star series and one or two standalones that I enjoyed but honestly along with the 'Sinners' series by Rhys Ford, this is definitely my other top choice.  

 

My point being simply put Lane Hayes has done what only a very few authors have accomplished and that's to get me to not only read but thoroughly enjoy and look forward to a rock star series. In the scheme of things not really a big deal to anyone other than me. But from my perspective ...well, quite honestly I'm more than a little impressed.

 

Add to this the fact that somebody somewhere had the wisdom or just plain good luck to utilize the talents of Seth Clayton for the audio books and  this series for me has been a huge success. 

 

Listening to Seth Clayton narrate an audio book is a bit of a different experience than  I've come to expect from most narrators. I'm not sure that he really ticks my 'basic audio book' checklist. Although I have no problem in terms of knowing who's speaking and his voices are definitely expressive and consistent...ok, let's just say he hits the mark on these things for me and move on to what really appeals to me...which seems to be his voice in general. There's a comfortable tone to it no matter what character he's portraying. It feels like I'm curled up with a cup of coffee and a good friend who's telling me their story...it's comfortable and inviting.  I just really like his voice and no, it's not in that 'ohmygod, he sounds so hot' way although he does the sexy thing just fine as well.

 

One of my biggest issues with audiobooks was the fear that my inner 12 year old would run amuck during those intimate moments in a story and spoil things for me and while it has happened on occasion not once during any of these books did that little brat make an appearance and if it was going to happen this would have been the story...because hello!...dirty talk here, in abundance. But if it's done right it's howt!!! hella', hella' hot!!! and if not well...it's just a giggle fest waiting to happen...trust me there were no giggles to be found here, at least not from me. I was too busy fanning myself.

 

If you're like me and rock star stories aren't really your thing all I can say is check this series out, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised and if you like rock star stories you seriously need these books. These guys are all awesome and hot or maybe they're just awesomely hot...whatever, it works.

 

Sadly for now I'm 'kind of' out of audio books from this series but book 4 is coming soon and with any luck the audio book will follow without too much delay and Seth Clayton will still be the narrator...sorry, I don't want much...I just want it all. 

 

********************

An audiobook for 'A Kind of Honesty' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-05-29 18:03
Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses) - Sarah J. Maas

 

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

 

*First off. If you have not read the previous books you should not read this review, because it will contain spoilers from the first two books.*

 

OMG. I loved this book so much. I didn’t think I could love it more than A

court Of Mist and Fury, but I did. I loved everything about this book. The writing, the characters, and the journey it takes us on.  It started out a tad slow but that could have been because she was back in the Spring Court. Also we get knee deep into and war is upon the people we learned to love and even maybe hate throughout the previous books.  

This book was a complete rollercoaster ride of emotions. I laughed one minute and cried the next. Or went from swooning to wanting to stab someone in the eyes. Plus it was action packed and had so many twist and turns I was thought I would get whiplash.

To of course not spoil anything about this book I will not go too much into detail about all the characters or of course what is happening to them, I will just make a quick overview and thoughts about them.

Feyre, loved her, while last book was all about her PDST this book is about healing and moving on for her, but also helping her sisters transition into the fay world.

I really liked that she was not just fine from one second to the next that she still had her moments and panic and not all was just forgotten. But I think what I loved most was her journey and how much she really has grown since book one. It is clear early on, how much she has grown and how far she is willing to go.

Rhysand .….My man Rhysand………. What is not to love about him. Again we saw how much he is willing to give to protect those he loves. But also how much he already went through to protect them. The more we know about him the more I love him, I didn't even know if it is possible to love him more. His speech before the final battle may or may not have left me in tears.

Lucien, as I mentioned about the other two books I always had a soft spot for him. I really like him but we still need to learn so much more about him. Even though we learn some really surprising things about him. As it ended in last book with his mating bond he deals with it in this book.  I’m not sure if it has been said yet but I have a feeling we see more of him in the next books. I have a feeling there is much more about him to tell.

Speaking about the next books and Lucien, I think we will also see and learn more about Elain. I really didn’t care for her in this book. She was a little left out of everything or so it felt like. We learned very little about her and her new Fae powers. She seemed more of a burden most of the time than anything else. I think or maybe even hope that we get more of her also in the next books.

Tamlin, yup he is still around and kicking. We also learn some new things about him. But overall I do not know if I ever can trust him. Though he does has his good moments in this book as well.

Mor. I loved Mor in this book and we also learn more about her and her past and what she would like for her future. I felt so much for her at times.

Amren, wow overall just wow. I always enjoyed her but this book toped it all. Again we learn much more about her as with most of the other players in the book. She also kind of take Nesta under her wing.

Now to Nesta, I figured she would be a power house but I had no idea how much or how much I would end up loving her and her growth. I really wpould ot mind a whole book about her, oh and Cassian of course.

Cassian and Azriel both of course play a big part in this book. I loved both of them and their journey and how much they would lay down for Rhys and the others in order to protect them all.

We met of course some new and old faces again. Some surprised me and I was shocked, thought I knew it all but boom we get a new twist.

 Overall, epic book and it left me wanting more. We get it all... love, hate, betrayal, humor, action .Some big sacrifices we made that left me in tears.

But the ending still seemed peaceful and just right for this epic journey throughout this and the other books.

I give it full 5 ★

 

 

Some of my favorite Quotes:

 

“It's a rare person to face who they are and not run from it - not be broken by it.”

 

***

 

What we think to be our greatest weakness can sometimes be our biggest strength

 

***

 

Why should I be scared of an oversized bat who likes to throw temper tantrums?

 

***

 

Words had become as forge in and hard to reach as the stars.

 

***

 

And in the distance, so faint I thought I might have imagined it, a beast’s roar cleaved the land

 

***

 

A hand brushed my back. Then Rhys groaned, "If we're all here, either things went very, very wrong or very right." Cassian's broken laugh cracked out of him.

 

***

 

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Available NOW 

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Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series (Queen of Shadows, Book 4, will be out in September 2015), as well as the A Court of Thorns and Roses series (out 5/5/15).

Sarah lives in Bucks County, PA, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much tea, and watches an ungodly amount of TV. When she's not busy writing, she can be found exploring the historic and beautiful Pennsylvania countryside with her husband and canine companion.

 

Links

Website *** Facebook *** Twitter *** Amazon

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Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/review-court-wings-ruin-court-thorns-roses-3-sarah-j-maas
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text 2017-05-29 08:05
Virtual Tour - Black Tie Optional
  
 
 The Proposal meets Two Weeks Notice in Ann Marie Walker's 
new standalone romantic comedy, Black Tie Optional!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
BLACK TIE OPTIONAL
Wild Wedding #1
Ann Marie Walker
Releasing May 30, 2017
St. Martin's Press
 

 

The Proposal meets Two Weeks Notice in Ann Marie Walker's new standalone romantic comedy, Black Tie Optional, which New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst calls, "a fun, sexy romp that will keep every reader entertained!"

Everything about Coleman Grant III oozes power and sex. And not the perfunctory kind either, but the sheet clawing, heart stopping, gasping for air after you’ve screamed so loud you can’t breathe kind. From his dark wavy hair that stands in an artfully rumpled mess, to the blue eyes that sear your skin, to his full, sensual lips - on the surface he’s pure perfection.
 
Too bad he's an asshole. An arrogant, uptight corporate raider hell bent on destroying the environment one species at a time.
 
Everything about Olivia Ramsey screams hippie humanitarian. From her blond hair tied in a sloppy bun, to her faded jeans with the Bonnaroo patch sewn on the thigh, to her combat boots still splattered with mud from the previous day’s site visit.
 
So it makes perfect sense that they would get married. In Vegas. Stone-cold sober.Cole needs a wife. Olivia needs to save an endangered species. But what starts as a marriage of convenience soon turns into a battle of wills and sexual tension. Love is a game, and Olivia and Cole are ready to win.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Chapter One

 

 

Just like clockwork, Olivia thought. She watched the gas-guzzling SUV roll to a stop alongside the curb, its hazard lights blinking as if some sort of justification for bringing a full lane of Chicago’s morning rush hour to a grinding halt. Every day the sleek black car stopped in exactly the same location so the almighty Coleman Grant III could get the same extra hot, double shot Americano from the same big-chain coffee shop, bypassing the smaller, neighborhood establishments trying to stay afloat as corporate America runs them into the ground.

 

 

A mountain of a man in mirrored aviator shades jumped out of the front seat to open the rear door, giving Olivia a clear view of the luxury vehicle’s interior. Two leather captain’s chairs with fold down keyboards and armrest tablet holders sat facing several television monitors mounted above what appeared to be a full-service bar. Forget running a business, it looked as though Coleman Grant ran NASA from his back seat. Honestly, what could possibly be so important that it couldn’t keep until he got to the office? The commute from his Gold Coast penthouse to his Loop headquarters was less than two miles. Hadn’t the guy ever heard of just chilling out with some tunes?

 

 

Olivia approached the car just as Grant climbed out of the back seat. He paused to button the jacket of his navy blue Tom Ford and for a moment she forgot he was an arrogant, self-righteous prick hell bent on destroying the environment one species at a time. For a moment, she allowed herself to take in the physical perfection standing in front of her. From his dark wavy hair that stood in an artfully rumpled mess, to the blue eyes that seared her skin, to his full, sensual lips - everything about Coleman Grant oozed power and sex. And not the perfunctory kind either, but the sheet clawing, heart-stopping, gasping-for-air-after-you’ve-screamed-so-loud-you-can’t-breathe kind. But then his eyes narrowed and his lips curved into a knowing smirk and Olivia remembered exactly who she was dealing with.

 

 

“Mr. Grant,” she began.

 

 

The bodyguard moved to step between them but Grant waved him off. “Ms. Ramsey, what a surprise,” he said, not at all surprised since this was the eighty-third day in a row she had approached him. Not that it mattered. She had no plans to stop these sidewalk sessions until he either agreed to her demands or filed for a restraining order.

 

 

He made his way toward the coffee shop with Olivia tight on his heels. “You know, most people simply make an appointment with my assistant.”

 

 

“I’ve tried that, Mr. Grant. But for some reason your schedule is always full.”

 

 

“Pity,” he said, his voice void of all emotion. When he reached the glass doors, he yanked one open. “Please, after you.”

 

 

Bastard. Normally he charged in like he owned the place, never mind if she or anyone else got a face full of door. How dare he try to throw her off her game by acting chivalrous. As if the man had a courteous bone in his body. Olivia stood frozen in place, debating how best to handle this latest twist in their balance of power. As she did, Cole’s gaze raked her from head to toe, from her blond hair tied in a sloppy bun, to her faded jeans with the Bonaroo patch sewn on the thigh, to her combat boots splattered with mud from the previous day’s site visit.

 

 

She hated to admit it, but the scrutiny of his gaze was unnerving. And it wasn’t just the laser like focus. There was something about his expression, as if he wasn’t looking at her fully clothed in a shop brimming with customers, but rather undressing her with his eyes. She shifted in place, debating if she should call him out for his piggish behavior or simply stick to the topic at hand.

 

 

“Suit yourself,” he finally said, stepping through the doors and leaving her alone on the sidewalk.

 

 

Not so fast. She took a deep breath and joined him at the service counter. “Mr. Grant, as I’m sure you’re aware, the northern long-eared bat was recently granted protection as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.”

 

 

“Rather difficult to forget given your daily reminders. Although I must say, Ms. Ramsey, you disappoint me. No visual aids today?” He turned away from the counter with his extra hot, double shot Americano to find Olivia standing behind him with an 8 x 10 glossy in her hand. “Ah, it seems I spoke too soon.”

 

 

“This particular species of bat has been the most impacted by white-nose syndrome and the resulting decline in their numbers is what—”

 

 

“Those really are the most vile creatures,” Grant interrupted. “Have you ever considered taking up the cause of a more appealing animal, say a manatee?”

 

 

“There aren’t any manatees in Lake Michigan.”

 

 

“Precisely.” He smirked. “Perhaps you could move? I’m sure you could find some poor, unsuspecting Floridians worthy of your attention.” He raised his left hand and for the first time Olivia realized he was holding a second cup. He thrust it in her direction and without thinking she took it, dropping the photograph as she did. “You seem like the type who would order your latte with a hundred and one specifications, but hopefully skinny vanilla will do.”

 

 

Olivia blinked. He bought her a coffee? What the actual fuck? Did he really think he could charm his way out of the hot seat? She had spent her entire adult life and most of her teens speaking on behalf of those who couldn’t. It was going to take a lot more than a few random acts of fabricated kindness to get her off his back.

 

 

She was about to tell him not only where he could stick his latte but how in her twenty-eight years on earth she’d never ordered a “skinny” anything, when he turned toward the door. She bent to scoop up the photo then hurried after him, fast talking her case all the way to the curb where his bodyguard stood waiting with the door already open. As usual, Grant didn’t say a word, much less defend his stance. Instead he simply flashed a grin that would have made her drop her latte, not to mention her panties, if she didn’t find him to be lacking in not only morals and ethics but quite possibly a soul.

 

 

He gave her a quick nod before ducking into the car. “Until tomorrow, Ms. Ramsey.”

 

 

With that, the door slammed shut and the SUV pulled into traffic to the sound of protesting horns.

 

 

“Asshole,” Olivia muttered under her breath. “Gorgeous asshole, but still.” She turned on her heel and started down the street with her head held high. Coleman Grant III might have been trying to make a mockery of her attempts to persuade him, but their standoff was far from over. A slow grin curved her lips as an idea began to take shape. She’d just pulled her smartphone out to send herself a reminder when it began to vibrate in her hand.

 

 

“Are you bringing your swimsuit?” her best friend asked before Olivia had even managed a hello.

 

 

“To the desert? You’re joking, right?”

 

 

“I wasn’t sure.”

 

 

“Cassie, I know you’ve had your head buried in cookbooks for the past few years but surely you can remember how a vacation works…lounge chairs, suntan oil, blended drinks with tiny umbrellas that make you say ridiculously inappropriate things to cabana boys.”

 

 

“I have never said anything inappropriate to a cabana boy. And that’s sexist by the way.”

 

 

“Cabana person?” Olivia laughed at her own joke. “I’m playing. But you’ve got to lighten up a bit. We’re headed to Vegas, Sin City, what happens there stays there and all that.”

 

 

“You sound like a tourism ad.”

 

 

“All I’m saying is you better be ready to party Hangover style.”

 

 

Cassie snorted. “Yeah, cause that worked out so well for them.”

 

 

“I promise I won’t leave you stranded on a hotel roof.”

 

 

“This is a bad idea. I should be staying here and looking for a job.”

 

 

“You’re the sister of the groom. You can’t very well ditch out on the bachelor/bachelorette festivities. Besides, if I can break my ‘Harass Coleman Grant’ streak for a few days, then you can certainly give the stand mixer a rest.”

 

 

“How’s that going by the way?”

 

 

Olivia groaned. “New day, same story. ”

 

 

“Maybe it’s time to—”

 

 

“Move on? No way.” While it was true that working freelance allowed Olivia a certain amount of latitude, she prided herself on never giving up. There was no way Coleman Grant was going to blemish her perfect record. “I’ll just have to double my efforts.”

 

 

Cassie laughed. “I’m actually starting to feel sorry for the guy.”

 

 

“Don’t be fooled by the looks. He might be hotter than Ryan Reynolds and Ian Somerhalder combined, but underneath that perfect exterior beats the heart of an ogre.”

 

 

“Sounds like someone has wet panties.”

 

 

“Why Cassandra Miller, is that smutty talk I hear coming out of your mouth? There may be hope for you yet.”

 

 

“Don’t change the subject. You’ve got the hots for this guy.”

 

“Hardly. He’s eye candy all right, but he’s also a spoiled, self-centered asshole who think it’s his way or the highway. Not this time though.” Olivia nodded to herself. One way or another he was going to give in to her demands. Coleman Grant III had finally met his match. He just didn’t know it yet.

 

 

 
 
 
 
Ann Marie Walker writes steamy books about sexy boys. She's a fan of fancy cocktails, anything chocolate, and 80s rom-coms. Her super power is connecting any situation to an episode of Friends and she thinks all coffee cups should be the size of a bowl. If it's December she can be found watching Love Actually but the rest of the year you can find her at AnnMarieWalker.com where she would be happy to talk to you about alpha males, lemon drop martinis or supermodel David Gandy. Ann Marie attended the University of Notre Dame and currently lives in Chicago.
 
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