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Promise Me - Barbie Bohrman

PROMISE ME, for me, had the potential to be a fabulous read.  Going to your high school reunion, hoping to see the one person that made all the crap you went through fall by the wayside, was one I was totally on board with.  But Sabrina, our heroine, did this story in.

 

Sabrina hasn't been that lucky in love.  Her high school boyfriend, one she'd been with for three years, cheated on her right after she gave him her virginity with her best friend.  She was devastated, but one person rode to her rescue, local bad boy Tyler Anderson.  He made her promise to not let what happened with her ex beat her down.  She was to leave their little hometown and make something of herself.  It's a promise she's kept for ten years.  So when she gets an invitation to her high school reunion, her best friend (not the one from high school) convinces her she needs to go.  She reluctantly agrees but secretly hopes that Tyler is going to be there.  When her wishes come true, Sabrina finds herself quickly in a relationship with the man of her dreams.  But when he breaks her trust, she finds herself back in the same situation she was in high school and not sure how to get out of it.

 

I can understand why Sabrina would have hard time, say in college, with trusting guys after what her ex and best friend did to her.  But seeing as she found herself with a new best friend, I found it hard to understand just why she hadn't opened up to a man.  It almost seemed like she was punishing herself for what happened.  She'd have little flings with guys, but nothing of substance.  Even with Tyler, it seemed like she held back info or her feelings on things as a way to sabotage what they had.  Sure, Tyler screwed up....big time.  But Sabrina wasn't 100% truthful about things on her end either, giving that seed of doubt that could crush what they had.  

 

Tyler wassn't a saint and he held quite a big piece of the blame puzzle in the story, but it didn't really seem like he was fighting for Sabrina.  He made one attempt and when Sabrina said stop, he did.  I mean, for me, if the man really loves me and needs me to know he's sorry for what he did and needs me back...FIGHT DAMMIT!  You didn't wear her down and get her to understand how much you need her and she you.  She did it herself.  

 

There was a lot of potential here, but I needed Sabrina to be a little less buried in her past hurts and stand up for what she wants.  Fight for it.  Fight for the man you love or leave him and stop obsessing about him.

Source: http://www.cocktailsandbooks.com/review-promise-me-barbai-borhman
Stay with Me - J. Lynn, Jennifer L. Armentrout

Jennifer Armentrout/J. Lynn is one of my "go to" authors.  She never disappoints and this series is a must for my one click finger.  This book features Calla who is friends with all of our favorites: Cam, Avery, Jase, Teresa, Ollie and Brit. She is quiet and seems to be more of the background at school and with her friends.  She calls Cam, Jase and Ollie the "Hot Guy Brigade" and she seems to think it is strange she is friends with all of the beautiful people.  Calla has a long scar on her face and she clearly tries her best to hide it and herself from everyone around her.

 

Enter complication.  Calla tries to pay for the next semester of school and finds their is no money.  The story begins to unravel from here.  Calla must go home and confront her mother who she doesn't speak to and the only person who would have access to her college money.

 

Enter Jackson or Jax.  A former Marine who is working in Calla's family bar.  A family bar that was boarding on more than a hole in a wall but Calla notices that things have changed and she is wondering if it is due to Jax working there.  She doesn't have time to dwell on her questions because she gets into some serious trouble.  Thank goodness for Jax who is good with a gun and able to keep her safe.  Calla doesn't understand why Jax is so interested in her but she can't seem to stay away from him.

 

This book is 400 pages and it flies by.  You can't wait to find out more about both of their backstories.  You can't get enough of the attraction between the two and the plot moves along at a fantastic pace.  Bonus: the characters from the previous books are part of this story and we all love to hear from them.  Double bonus: we are introduced to new characters that I am just betting get a book too....maybe Reese and Roxy. My favorite new character was Katie.  She literally livened up each and every scene she walked into.

This series just gets better and better.  Jennifer always produces a stellar read and I eagerly wait for the next installment.  Go get this one and if you don't have the rest of the series, one click!

 

Reviewed by Candace for Cocktails and Books

Source: http://www.cocktailsandbooks.com/blog-tour-review-stay-with-me-j-lynn

Priya in Heels

Priya in Heels - Ayesha Patel There was one big reason why I jumped to read this book: the romance between Indian Priya and Caucasian Tyler. Being married to an Indian, I was interested in seeing how the author was going layout the romance between these two, given how different they were culturally.

Priya, finishing her residency in Houston, has a bit of freedom from her traditional Indian family who lives in Dallas. It's very clear Priya does not want to disappoint her parents, even if what they want for her is not what she wants for herself. She lets her mother strong arm her into meeting with a man, because his good family called hers and they would be a good match. It doesn't matter that Priya doesn't want to meet him and really doesn't want to get engaged to someone she doesn't know...she doesn't want to disappoint her parents so she followed their lead.

Tyler, the man Priya meets one night in the ER and soon discovers is her neighbor, is instantly attracted to Priya. He doesn't care that she's Indian, he just wants to get to know this woman who's sparked his interest. But Tyler soon discovers trying to do anything with Priya was going to cause a lot of hurt (on both sides) and become an exercise in extreme patience.

In my opinion, Tyler was a saint. Being married to an Indian, I'm thankful my husband's family was very open to him being married to someone who wasn't an Indian. I only wished Tyler could have had the same thing. Instead of following the normal path of a relationship: meet, get to know each other, fall in love...., poor Tyler was put through the ringer. By Priya and her inability to put her foot down and tell her parents it's Tyler she truly wants, and by her parents and their prejudice against him. I would have walked away. No matter how much I wanted the other person, I would have said enough is enough. But Tyler has so much faith in Priya, even when it seemed like he didn't, but he was still there for her. No matter what she said, who she was with or what she did, he was still there for her.

Priya was not my favorite character, mainly because she kept stringing two guys along when she knew her heart belonged to one of them. I understood why she felt she needed to follow the course her mother had set, but having been raised in America and American enough to use some pretty horrible slang regarding her friends, I would think she would be American enough to tell her parents that she was in love with Tyler and she wasn't going through with the arranged marriage.

In the end, this was a decent read with drama and angst. Despite not liking Priya, the author does a great job of giving us insight into Priya life and how difficult it can be to blend two cultures. It takes Priya a while, but she does finally figure things out.

The Hook Up

The Hook Up - Kristen Callihan There was so much more to this story than what I originally thought. I loved how Drew fell and fell hard for Anna. And as much as Anna drove me nuts with her fighting her feelings for Drew, you couldn't help but have some sympathy for the girl who wasn't used to being an "everything" to someone like Drew.

Full review to come.

Whatever Life Throws at You

Whatever Life Throws at You - Julie Cross 4.5 Stars

I adored this story. The relationship between Annie, Jason and Jim is amazing and left me wishing for more.

Full review to come.

Blame It on the Mistletoe

Blame It on the Mistletoe - Nicole Michaels What an enjoyable story. I fell in love with both Brooke and Alex and their story was one of over coming misunderstandings about each other and themselves from youth. Brooke had always dreamed about dating Alex but always felt that she was no match for him. He was so popular with the girls and Brooke felt she could never compete with them for Alex's attention. Fast forward and see where then end up if it is with each other or if they go their separate ways again. This was a sweet story with no cliff hanger at the end. I look forward to reading more books by Nicole Michaels.

Reviewed by Susan for Cocktails and Books

Lexi's Untamed Cowboys

Lexi's Untamed Cowboys - Rhea Regale I loved "Lexi's Untamed Cowboys"! Really loved it! It was simply one of the hottest, sexiest menage books I've read in a very long time...and that's saying something because I've read a LOT of menage stories.

Lexi, Travis, and Brent have amazing chemistry together. From the moment Lexi came to town, it was obvious. Travis and Brent were already involved in a relationship, but they felt like they needed a woman to complete their family, and believe me, Lexi completed them!

This book had lots going for it. There was action, suspense, humor, and panty melting sex. I'm serious. Mine hit the floor, spontaneously burst into flames, and left a hole in the carpet. My Kindle scorched my fingers, and I needed to go and get a drink of water after each sizzling scene.

This was the first book that I've read by Rhea Regale, but it is certainly not going to be my last. She's made a brand new fan out of me. If you love your menage hot, your men strong and chivalrous, and your women confident (even in the face of danger), "Lexi's Untamed Cowboys" is definitely for you.

Reviewed by Kenna for Cocktails and Books

Mason's Rule [Purgatory Master's -#3]

Mason's Rule [Purgatory Master's -#3] - Eliza Gayle Mason’s Rule is the third book in the Purgatory Masters series by Eliza Gayle. This book is best read as part of the series to best understand the ongoing story line.

Mason Sinclair is a hot and sexy Dom who is intent to have a submissive for a few days than fall for one long term. It seems Mason has his rules well thought out and truly expects everyone to follow them. He is a very complex man.

Rebecca Adams is a reporter who goes undercover to find out who killed her sister. She is bound and determined to figure out the connection between her sister and Mason’s brother. She even goes so far as to disguise her last name.

The connection between Mason and Rebecca is intense. Mason is intent to follow his preset rules rather than fall for Rebecca but he finds out that his heart does not always listen to his head. The sex scenes were hot and steamy. My only issue was it seems that there was a lot of sex scenes one after another.

I found this book very well written with an interesting plot. The main characters and secondary characters are fascinating and realistic. The ending of the book was a but predictable but the focus of the book is more the relationship between Mason and Rebecca than the ending. However the ending seemed unfinished because we did not find out who killed her sister. Overall, this was a great book that I had a hard time putting down. I can’t wait to read the next book.

Reviewed by Victoria for Cocktails and Books

Just One Wish (A Holiday Wishes Tale)

Just One Wish (A Holiday Wishes Tale) - Fran Lee Sweet romantic story. Loved the premise of making a Christmas wish and having it come true. This was a quick read for me with a HEA.

Reviewed by Susan for Cocktails and Books

After the Rain

After the Rain - Renée Carlino I don't know how Renee Carlino does it, but she manages to write these books I just absolutely fall in love with (while being emotionally challenged). Review to come closer to release date.

Pulled

Pulled - A.L. Jackson, Amy Lichtenhan I'm emotionally drained after reading this one. Full review to come.

Uncivilized

Uncivilized - Sawyer Bennett Best book of the year

This was such a fabulous read. The storyline was different, engaging and absolutely addicting. Zach was the perfect hero/anti-hero, often floating between an a absolute a-hole and the perfect man. This is definitely one to pick up.

Hard to Hold On To: A Hard Ink Novella

Hard to Hold On To: A Hard Ink Novella - Laura Kaye Let me start with I’ve loved the last two Hard Ink novels by Laura Kaye, and my only complaint with this one, is that it’s a novella and not a novel. This one picks up right after the second book, and I mean right after. Easy is carrying Jenna inside to get looked at after her kidnapping, and she doesn’t seem to be able to breathe without his presence, and she keeps his demons at bay.

Now that helps with the believability of these two falling in love because they both need each other, I do worry a small bit if a relationship can last under those circumstances with two damaged characters leaning on each other. I’m going to say that through the power of great fiction writing, I’m going to believe in them and their future.

It’s fast paced, and while they do get physical, it doesn’t feel like that’s all they have, it feels like they were two soul mates who found themselves together at the right time in the right place. Ms. Kaye really touched me with Easy and his struggles, and she really got to me further with her note at the end. This book isn’t just a love story, it draws attention to a really serious problem in our country with our returning soldiers. I will recommend this to all my friends, it’s set up that even if you haven’t read the previous books you can fall in love with Easy and Jenna, and get enough of a grasp of the situation to understand what is going on as a standalone.

I look forward to more Hard Ink from Ms. Kaye, and I hope that includes glimpses and updates on how Easy is doing.

Reviewed by Sheri for Cocktails and Books

The Chalet: The Submissive Series

The Chalet: The Submissive Series - Tara Sue Me The Chalet is the 3.5 book in The Submissive Trilogy by Tara Sue Me. This book is best read as part of the series rather than as a standalone.

Abby King is a submissive and about to be married to her Dom. She is on top of the world and sees her dreams all coming true. She is happy and comfortable with how her life is going. She is also not stress about her wedding and getting married. Abby seems ready for whatever the future holds for her.

Nathaniel West is New York City’s most eligible bachelor and a Dom. He seems ready to be married to his fiancé. While Nathaniel never thought he would marry he seems comfortable in his decision to marry Abby.

The connection between Abby and Nathaniel is intense. Abby comes up with the idea of no sex or playing for a month before the wedding. I loved that Nathaniel is willing to go along with her idea. The sex scenes were hot and steamy.

I found this book very well written with a realistic plot. The main characters and secondary characters were fascinating. The ending of the book was a bit predictable but this book seemed more about the wedding and the relationship between Abby and Nathaniel continuing. Overall, this was a great book that I had a hard time putting down. I can’t wait to read the next book.

Reviewed by Victoria for Cocktails and Books

Forever Starts Tonight (A Loving on the Edge Novella)

Forever Starts Tonight (A Loving on the Edge Novella) - Roni Loren So what happens after the story ends and the characters get their supposed happily ever after? Do they ride off into the sunset and live idyllic lives? Do they face adversity and problems like any normal couple would, meet them head on and over come them? As a triad, Jace, Evan and Andre are bound to face more complications, misunderstandings and problems than your average couple would. So it would make sense for us to see what happens after the book ends but their story continues.

Although thing s seem perfect, idyllic even for the triad, Jace can’t help but notice that something is very wrong. It seems that Evan is keeping a secret and Andre has secrets of his own. We all know how secrets work. They have a way of coming out at the most inopportune time and destroying everything if you’re not careful.

I am one of those readers that craves the confirmation that the characters I invested so much time and so many reading hours to live happily ever after. Loren did not disappoint. Although they have their issues and problems, Andre, Evan and Jace face them and deal with them together, as a family. That is what makes them so special.

If you are a fan of Melt into You, you must read Forever Starts Tonight. I wouldn’t be me if I did not look for or point out any flaws in the story. As far as I can tell, my only problem with Forever Starts Tonight was that it was over. I can’t wait to read more by this author. If this book is any indication, she’s got a new fan in me.

Reviewed by Iris for Cocktails and Books

Stormy Persuasion

Stormy Persuasion - Johanna Lindsey This book is number 11 in the Malory-Anderson family book series. I have read none of the previous books. I’m sure that the author anticipated people just like me would jump in and read this book without the benefit of reading the previous books. She spent a huge amount of time and pages reconstructing the history prior to this book. The problem with that is that she tried to tell the story of 10 books while telling a new story. I was as lost as a goose on all of the history among brothers and families. She explained the family history at the beginning and continued to bring up the family history throughout the book. It was overkill. There is just no way to catch a reader up on 10 books worth of stories. The plot to this book really had nothing to do with the family history. She could have alluded to a few things and gone on to tell this story. However, by choosing to place so much emphasis on history her storyline was lost in this book. I could not even become interested in the characters.

Jacqueline and Judith are cousins and best friends. The two girls are inseparable and hatch a plan to have their coming out together in America and England. The voyage to England becomes interesting when Judith meets a man that she believed was a ghost. She is attracted to him and the feeling is mutual. Judy and Nathan have great chemistry. They share their bodies and their souls with each other. Judy’s failure to believe in Nathan drives a wedge between them. However, when Jacqueline goes missing Nathan steps in to save the day. Nathan and Judy get their happily ever after.

As I stated earlier the plot to this book left a lot to be desired. It was very simplistic and lacked the basic elements that draw the reader into the story. I know Johanna Lindsey is a great writer. I have read many of her earlier novels, but this one is not her best effort. I struggled to finish it, and I can’t say that I would be willing to read book 12 of this series. This one wasn’t terrible, but it was a far cry from her previous titles.

Reviewed by Michelle for Cocktails and Books