Opening Line: “This is how it starts. It’s the end of a long day, one of those craptastic ones you wish you could fast-forward past the bad parts…”
Hol...moreOpening Line: “This is how it starts. It’s the end of a long day, one of those craptastic ones you wish you could fast-forward past the bad parts…”
Holy hell this was good! Not what I was expecting and full of surprises; it's a love story and a tragedy. Its little girl lost and I wish it had been longer. Spun is (unfortunately) only a novella but jeez what a story Catherine Mackenzie weaves in the pages provided.
As a huge fan of Spin I was super excited to read this sequel which focuses on celebrity train wreck Amber Sheppard -who we first met in rehab there. This is her story 2 years later as she tries to put the mess of her life back together and OMG it's good. The tone is different from the original, missing some of the snark and humour that made that book such a fun read, but this is also a very different story.
I don't want to give away any spoilers (and Wow in that respect) but I think New Adult fans will love this. Peppered with social media references Amber reads a bit like Lindsey Lohan; a tough, confused, girl who's made some bad decisions and you can't look away from what she's doing next. Her love affair with Conner is ...epic and the final chapter "three minutes past the hour" just killed me, in an ugly cry sort of way. The chapter by chapter playlist included at the end didn't help either.
Amber Sheppard has been sober for two years. Not that you’d believe it if you read anything on social media or picked up a gossip magazine these days. The Paparazzi still always managed to catch her at her worst, and make a front page story out of it. This former It Girl has been trying to get her life back on track, trying to land a decent role but casting agents won’t touch her anymore and today she’s been coerced into being the face of some crappy new perfume called “Fabulous”. Amber is anything but fabulous these days. But it pays the bills and her career is at a standstill.
So for the past twelve hours she’s been running through an abandoned warehouse trying to look scared or devastated or pretentious or psychotic or whatever the hell vision the director had in mind for the ad campaign. During all those hours she’s been trying not to answer her phone, it’s buzzing with yet another message from him. Of course it’s him. It’s always him.
They haven’t spoken for six months and she’s never returned any of his texts but that doesn’t matter. Today is different, today he’s been using their secret language and all his texts say the same thing “meet me baby.” All twelve of them.
Conner Parks, movie star bad boy and the love of her life. Her first crush, first kiss, her reason to breathe. Her family, her everything. Her toxic ruin, her downfall. How can she resist?
“No one said no to Conner when he asked for something. He was like kryptonite to reason.”
The tabloids will of course call this the reunion of the decade if they see her getting on his private jet or anywhere near the airport.
“You’re here.” He says “I’m here.” “I knew you’d come.” I drop my bag on the floor and follow him. Like I always do. Like I’ve been doing my whole life."
“He takes a step towards me. He smells like chemicals and Crystal and the worst idea I’ve had in a long time.”
This was okay, not great but it had its moments (a great cover) and I was intrigued by the prospect of...moreOpening Line: “Yo, It’s the fuckin’ ballerina.”
This was okay, not great but it had its moments (a great cover) and I was intrigued by the prospect of a sexy MMA hero and a ballerina getting together, opposites attract and all that. I also didn’t know enough about either profession to be able to pick them apart for realisms sake so I was able to just go with it.
Logan Rettino had been prima ballerina in her former life. When her ex-boyfriend drops her during a lift on live TV, she’s left injured and without a career. To make ends meet and with the dreams of opening her own dance studio Logan’s now been reduced to circling the eight sided octagon as a ring card girl, working the crowds into frenzy in sexy little outfits before the bouts begin. Hey a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.
Keane O’Shea is a former marine and absolutely unstoppable in the ring. Filled with a silent, persistent rage, some serious PTSD and an F.U attitude about life in general he’s inexplicitly drawn to the alluring ex-ballerina.
Both of these characters are intriguing to me and I usually love me a good tortured hero but there was just something off here. I guess it started with the names; Keane and Logan. Both sound male to me so I was often confused as to whose head I was meant to be in. Logan(h) while fun to begin with, got annoying fast with her “leaping leotards” and silly quips -enough already. And Keane(H), well I just never warmed up to him; he started out as your typical grumpy, alpha jerk with issues but didn’t ever really seem to redeem himself enough to warrant “getting the girl”. I guess ultimately I never felt the love.
I also had issues with the premise, it was just silly –again I just had to go with it. Logan makes a deal with her boss and the only way she can keep her job is if she gets Keane to keep fighting and winning. If he loses she’s out. It didn’t really make any sense especially since he was done with fighting. I never understood his motivation for coming back into the octagon? And then they’re training together…seriously.
I did enjoy the MMA quotes rules/regulations/meanings at the beginning of each chapter. What a “cornerman” does what a “stalemate” is, “fight camp” etc. Very informative and helped put me better into the world.
**Thanks to NetGalley and Carina Press, who provided a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review. **(less)
Opening Line: “I wake up. My shirt crumpled on a fuzzy carpet. My shorts astray on a dresser. And I think my underwear is lost for good.”
Ok that was...moreOpening Line: “I wake up. My shirt crumpled on a fuzzy carpet. My shorts astray on a dresser. And I think my underwear is lost for good.”
Ok that was different and OMG the ending! These cliff-hangers are killing me.
Wow, what a unique, intense, all-consuming train wreck of a story this was and I just couldn’t get enough. Not at all what I was expecting to find from the New Adult category, as it was pretty eye opening -just make sure to have book #2 on standby when you begin (bangs head against the wall)
College students Lily Calloway and Loren Hale have it all; young, beautiful, in love, exceptionally wealthy, and in a great relationship together for the past 3 years. At least that’s how it appears on the outside. In reality things are a little different; nobody would suspect the truth and the unmanageable, secretive mess their lives have become. Together Lily and Loren have a system and as long as nobody teeters too far, it’s working out just fine. Together they’ve mastered the art of hiding their addiction.
Lilly is a shy, caring, somewhat introverted girl. She is also a sex addict. Completely reckless in her choices; hooking up with random guys in bathroom bars, hotel rooms, college dorms, 1 guy 2 guys, gigolos on speed dial, a pendency for porn and an absolute all-consuming need to find her next fix. It`s described in such a way that sex might as well be cocaine, Her addiction owns her in a very real sense which leads to her inability to be responsible for anything, letting her family down and constant shame. It’s a good thing her “boyfriend” Loren understands.
Loren was a little easier to relate to, he’s your standard alcoholic. Standard except for the fact that he’s only 21 and drinks all day, every day to the point of passing out, comatose. His best friend (even above Lilly) is bourbon and his addiction has reached the point of becoming life threatening.
Together Lilly and Loren keep up a united front, hiding each other’s vices from their families and picking up the pieces after especially bad nights. They support each other and have been friends forever, thrust together at the same stuffy country clubs as kids at some point they must have sensed a sameness and after graduation took on the pretense of being a couple so they could indulge in their addictions. They`ve mastered the art of lying and concealment however the real problem may be that their addiction to each other and getting sober is also going to mean having to let go.
Watching these two spiral out of control was consuming in itself and this character driven story took turns that surprised me. Unfortunately though I've lived with an alcoholic and it's not quite as pretty as portrayed here, especially at the level Loren is drinking at. I`m doubtful that he would have a six-pack or be someone you would want to (or even be able to) have sex with. On that note despite Lilly’s addiction most of the sex scenes take place off page. Now I'm off to read book #2 (Addicted for Now). Cheers.
“Promises from Lo are like bars at 2 a.m.--empty.”
“I'll always be yours. No distance or time apart will change that, Lily.”
My thanks to NetGalley and Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) who provided a copy in exchange for an honest review. 397jb4(less)
Opening Line: “Javier Corbray walked into the ICON Bar in the Radisson Blu Hotel, his gaze travelling over the dim interior taking it all in at once -...moreOpening Line: “Javier Corbray walked into the ICON Bar in the Radisson Blu Hotel, his gaze travelling over the dim interior taking it all in at once -the upscale décor, the busy wait staff, the near-to-capacity crowd of expats enjoying Happy Hour. It wasn’t his scene.”
I’m so glad I read this sexy little prequel before starting Striking Distance. A big thank you to Pamela Clare for not just leaving this extended prologue on the editing room floor but sharing 60 fantastic pages with us readers instead.
As an erotic novella First Strike stands perfectly fine on its own; you get to know the couple, it’s sexy as hell and you get a virtual vacation for a weekend in Dubai. But where it really makes a difference is once you get into the meat of their story in Striking Distance (which takes place 3 years later.) By starting here you’re left with a deeper understanding of the characters and who they were. Yeah some “stuff” goes down in the interim that changes everything, so be prepared for the cliff-hanger ending here.
First Strike spans a weekend, just 3 days between two passionate and confident equals who know what they want and go for it. Navy Seal Javier Corbay is between assignments and spending a couple days downtime in Dubai City when he meets broadcast journalist Laura Nilsson in a hotel bar. She’s confident, sexually assertive and just what he needs. Adding to the excitement of their agreed upon no-strings encounter is the fact that they can’t touch each other in public and of course it can’t be known that Javier’s visiting her hotel room every night as this would be breaking the law. I loved this forbidden love aspect as it added an edge of suspense and naughtiness to their affair.
As I said Javi and his “Baghdad Babe” know what they want and they don’t mess about. Personally I would have liked a bit of foreplay before they just started banging each other up against the hotel room wall, but they’re so into each other it’s a wonder they made it indoors let alone into the bedroom, so yeah I get it. Plus as an erotic quickie this is along the lines of what I was expecting.
In saying that though they do still manage to get in a little sightseeing (I loved the exotic location) and enough dialogue so that this ended up feeling more like a super sexy back story than real erotica. I’ll admit though there were still a couple of moments when I was like yeah, yeah get on with it because they were at it again:)
Between all the humping you really do get to know these individuals though and by the end (just like the characters) you’re left wanting more. Lots more. I liked how the intensity of their weekend fling caught them both off guard. *Sigh* the postcard.
Pamela Clare is just the best, she has managed to make this short lived relationship feel like much more than what it is in the mere 60 pages provided. Don’t skip this. Cheers.
Opening Line: “You wanted me to catch you, didn’t you?”
Shooting Scars picks up right where Sins & Needles left me hanging over the cliff; with Ell...moreOpening Line: “You wanted me to catch you, didn’t you?”
Shooting Scars picks up right where Sins & Needles left me hanging over the cliff; with Ellie taking a step backwards in her life and giving Camden a second chance at his. Ellie has of course just given herself over to her ex-boyfriend Javier, the man she’s been on the run from for 6 long years. She’s now his prisoner and her running days have officially come to a close. In her words she’s “trapped with a man who would either love me or kill me.”
Karina Halle once again drops us into the thick of things from the onset, as Camden’s little family reunion with his wife doesn’t go exactly as planned and Ellie finds herself on a yacht heading for Mexico after agreeing to assist bad boy Javier in murder. The excitement continues with car chases, gun fights, the shocking, anguished and unexpected.
One of the things I really liked about Shooting Scars (preferred actually) is that it’s been written using a dual POV. That’s right ladies we finally get into Camden’s head. Now I’m assuming she had to write it this way because Ellie and Camden actually spend most of the book apart. With Ellie slowly falling back under Javier’s spell and Camden chasing her down in a fixated rescue attempt.
I’m going to be completely honest now folks, that was the only thing I preferred about this book. Unlike Sins& Needles which I found fresh, exciting and unputdownable the magic was just missing for me here and the whole story fell flat.
Unlike tons of other reviewers I just don’t get the whole team Javier thing, I mean this is the man who cheated on her and killed her Uncle Jim in front of her plus I’m pretty sure he’s certifiably psycho. How is this suitable love triangle material? I was left stunned at the things Ellie did with him and not in a good way either. Quite honestly her whole character just confused me here and I never understood her emotions or reasoning.
Camden also lost me a bit. Gone was the mysterious, double crossing, and sexy antihero from the first book. This new Camden was living on one track (see obsessed) Must find Ellie, need more pain killers, must get to Ellie, going to Kill Javier, I love Ellie. Truthfully he began to annoy me after a while maybe that’s why I liked his travelling companion Gus so much. (Pretty sure I’m team Gus.)
I really wanted to love this as much as I did the first book and I’m in the minority with my rating so don’t take my word for it, this is super popular trilogy and it will probably work for you. Cheers.
*Thanks to NetGalley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) who provided a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Opening Line: “It wasn’t the memory he would have chosen -not when he couldn’t remember his own name.”
I’m a big Cindy Gerard fan so of course I was mo...moreOpening Line: “It wasn’t the memory he would have chosen -not when he couldn’t remember his own name.”
I’m a big Cindy Gerard fan so of course I was more than a little excited to read this mash-up connecting her Black Op Inc and One Eyed Jacks characters. Yup, Merry Christmas to me!
Simply put CG is the master of romantic suspense. Her action scenes and exotic locations always drop you right into the thick of it. With proper military jargon and weapons lingo she doesn’t stray into OTT territory either. Gerard also excels at writing the tortured hero (I’ve lost track of how many literary boyfriends this woman has given me) yet still manages to provide comic relief with some serious male bonding and a bromance or two.
The Way Home was no different; it hit all my happy buttons even though I will admit to being slightly put off by the small-town-romancy feel we had going in the beginning. Jess and Tyler’s romance was just a little too sweet for me (although lots of people like those Virgin River-ey type reads) However when you pair that aspect up with the events taking place with her presumed dead husband in Afghanistan you’ve got something special.
I found these two divulging storylines very clever, because as the reader you’re watching Jess and Tyler fall in love, healing and learning to love again but you’ve also got the knowledge that Jess’s husband J.T is getting closer and closer to rescue. And with that the whole story flips and becomes more poignant, taking on a level of suspense and heartache, because you know that this just can’t end well for anyone.
I loved all of Jeff (J.T’s) scenes in Afghanistan, now this is the epitome in a tortured hero, (however more in the literal sense here.) His story is absolutely heartbreaking on so many levels and I give kudos to the amount of research that must have gone into not only head trauma and PTSD but the realistic view we also get of an Afghani woman’s life. Rabia was an excellent, well fleshed out heroine and I appreciated learning the little things about her life; regarding her religion, what she’s allowed to do (drive), say, how to dress as well as her fear of the Taliban and Americans. Her love scenes were written differently too, more respectful, fade to black. Very much in character.
Ultimately this book was everything I had hoped for; romantic, angst filled and passionate. I seriously didn’t know how CG was going to bring these two romances together and make them work. Oh and there’s also one hell of an action scene for the big extraction which goes from bad to worse to FUBAR and includes cameos from Mike and all the BOI’s (we even get a couple Reed-isms Yay!) Just a great read. Cheers
*My thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Books, who provided a copy in exchange for an honest review. 393jb45
"Just as they’re planning their wedding and new life together, Jess receives shocking news: her husband is alive, and under the care of a young Afghani woman hiding him from the Taliban. Even as he sees their happily-ever-after slip away, Ty arranges for the One Eyed Jacks and Black Ops, Inc. teams to make a daring and dangerous rescue mission to bring Jeff home. The hardest thing Ty or Jess has ever done is to let the other go."(less)
Um Wow. So this was not what I was expecting and I couldn’t be happier. For some reason I put off reading...more“Bite the apple Evie, it’ll blow your mind.”
Um Wow. So this was not what I was expecting and I couldn’t be happier. For some reason I put off reading this book for ages (I think it’s because the cover is just not good) which is unfortunate because Beyond Eden turned out to be one of the better kinky books (BDSM) I’ve ever read. Even now, a week later as I plug along trying to get my review done the characters, story (yes there is one) magic of true love and web of emotions linger. There were just so many things I liked about this story, which I’ll be honest, took me out of my comfort zone more than once but that’s a good thing right?
This whole book is one long drawn out, extended and delicious sex scene. No I mean it, page after page after page of it, but it works because it’s not the same. It’s always different, always changing, revealing itself as layers are peeled away. With each action in the bedroom some kind of emotion or revelation is exposed, nothing is wasted here. I usually find with the erotica when there’s this much bangin the plot suffers but Kele Moon has managed a captivating storyline too. Honestly I can’t stop thinking about this book.
Since there’s already a ton of great reviews out there I won’t go into a synopsis here, I’ll just give you some of my feelings. Ha, now where to start there?
Beyond Eden is a love story, although obviously not in the typical sense; first off there are three people involved, and then of course there’s the whole BDSM scene and the fact that one of our characters has an extreme pain fetish. So yeah, it tends to go to some darker places.
Ultimately this wasn’t an easy read, (which is crazy because I couldn’t stop reading it either) but there were times when I absolutely hated one of the heroes. I couldn’t believe what he was doing to someone he supposedly loved. I mean granted I don’t “get” the whole Dom/sub relationship but this; this “Master” who was also his best friend and lover was too much. As I said earlier though Moon peels the layers away and suddenly you come to understand why he’s doing what he’s doing and you see the love.
Yeah I’m talking about Danny, what a complex character. He did redeem himself to me in the end though and became one of the most intriguing people in the book (which I guess is why I’m still thinking about him.) Evie was another of my favourites. She was the lightness here, all free spirited and quirky, our guide if you will, because it’s through her ”vanilla” eyes that we get to learn and experience the BDSM lifestyle. And Paul, what can I say about him? He sorta broke my heart.
This was a story that surprised me, tested me and haunted me. It’s complicated, tangled, intense, obsessive, violent, forbidden, shameless and beautiful. And oh it’s good. Cheers
**Thanks to NetGalley and Ellora's cave who provided a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review. 364jb45(less)
I’ll be honest (based on the blurb) this wasn’t quite what I was expecting; yes there’s punk rock, her...moreOpening Line: “I am torturing my father, Colin.”
I’ll be honest (based on the blurb) this wasn’t quite what I was expecting; yes there’s punk rock, heroin abuse and dysfunctional parents. But there’s also you Adam Sharp, and your life story is so much more than that.
Daddy Was a Punk Rocker is an inspiring, funny, horrific, surprisingly relatable and often sad memoir that at the core is a story about the child-parent relationship. This is little boy lost while he waits for his parents to get their shit together.
Adam takes us back to the very beginning with a mother who didn’t want him, refused to touch him or show him any form of kindness. His father Colin was a junkie, but more than that he was a disappointment, swearing that he wouldn’t abandon him yet continually doing just that. Subsequently raised by his grandfather and “Andrew” in Manchester England Adam grows up trying to be the bravest, smartest boy in the whole world so that his father will return and his mother Martine will visit more often and maybe not hit him as much. He tries not to cry, to lift the most weight in gym class, to never let a soccer ball into his net. Adam continually tries to prove himself while growing up. Eventually he comes to a sort of placidity about who his parents are and then it becomes all about escaping Manchester and who he is.
“His house smelled of cigarette smoke and violence.”
Throughout this Adam is always trying to escape; geographically from Manchester but mostly from himself. He relocates a lot; in Sydney, Melbourne, The Channel Islands, Spain, he recreates himself becoming funny and charming and successful and confident. It was kind of heartbreaking actually watching Adam try so hard to be someone else because he felt who he was wasn’t good enough.
I liked that this book followed Adam out of his childhood, I liked watching him attend college for a law degree he doesn’t want, meet girls, travel the world, be a stilt walker. I liked seeing him immigrate to Australia and live in a shed with spiders, be a “sexual experimenter” and then meet his wife Lee. I suffered with you while you bartended and served sandwiches in a casino. And attempted suicide. I watched you eventually find a relationship with your father and allow punk rock into your life. And the epilogue… the epilogue had me choking back tears. Oh No!
My only criticism would be that the beginning felt sort of repetitive, by putting us into the story in short form and then starting all over again with more detail. On the flip side there were certain sections of dialogue that were hilarious (like the nonsensical banter between Adam and his mates or when he first meets Lee at the wedding) I can only hope to read something along these lines in the future.
Thank you Adam Sharp for allowing me this intimate look into your life, what a brilliantly entertaining memoir you’ve put out there into the world.~4.5~
** A copy was generously provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. 366jb45(less)
Opening Line: “God help him if he didn’t make it to the airport by seven.”
Well hello lick-worthy cover! Romantic suspense lovers (and fans of Cindy G...moreOpening Line: “God help him if he didn’t make it to the airport by seven.”
Well hello lick-worthy cover! Romantic suspense lovers (and fans of Cindy Gerard) may want to check out Tonya Burrows' new HORNET series. Featuring a rag-tag band of (yummy) former military men who once they get the kinks worked out might actually be able to do the job. Unruly, unorganised, unprepared and underequipped, these misfits make up the newly formed hostage rescue and negation team of "Hornet". They’re all experts in their assorted military fields fields’ but they’re also just a little off, hence being available on a moment’s notice.
Within hours of being put together the guys find themselves on a plane bound for Bogotá Columbia. Led by our hero de jour Gabriel Bristow; a former Navy SEAL on involuntary early retirement after a foot injury sidelined him. Rather than park his ass behind a desk in Washington Gabe takes his best friend Quinn up on his offer to command a privately funded merc-for-hire group which keeps him in the adrenaline charged soldier game he loves. A minute to consider his new life would have been nice but, they already have their first mission; finding and extracting a wealthy businessman from Columbian rebels. This thrown together unit is of course nowhere near ready to go, never mind working together, they’re a mess and that’s what makes them awesome.
This is an action filled read that gets going almost immediately, introducing flighty artist Audrey Van Amee as the sister of the hostage whose invaluable Spanish skills see her becoming a somewhat distracting member of the team. We spend a bit of time getting the introductions out of the way of course (as this is a first book in the series) so there’s some info dumping. But I have to say Burrows did a great job of giving us just enough page time on each of the team members (and their troubled pasts) that I’m intrigued enough to anticipate the next book.
Burrows uses a fair bit of military jargon here, which I loved as it put me more into the story and I also appreciated the often hilarious f-bomb filled banter between the guys. Gabe and Quinn in particular have a very sweet bromance going. Where I had a problem was the melodramatic internal dialogue (mostly spouted on Gabe’s part) which seemed out of sync with the whole tone.
“Her pleading all but shattered his heart. He couldn’t deny her, even though every instinct screamed to get far, far away.”
The ending wraps things up very nicely, leaving us anticipating the next Hornet to have his story told and as Gabe seemed the least screwed up it seems sure we’ll get a tortured hero.
*Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing who provided a copy in exchange for an honest review.(less)
Opening line: "One humid night at the beginning of summer, while jetliners rambled overhead and fireflies winked green along the far off row of brambl...moreOpening line: "One humid night at the beginning of summer, while jetliners rambled overhead and fireflies winked green along the far off row of brambles, my best friend and I sat by the fire pit along the far-off row of brambles behind my house.”
~4.5~ Wow what a fantastic find Jon Harrison’s debut novel turned out to be. Just an all-round great read that I was sorry to finish as by the end I’d grown so attached to all the characters, I felt like I knew them, like they were friends of mine and I wasn’t ready to let them go.
The Banks Of Certain Rivers is one of those books that I kept picturing as a movie while I was reading, it’s just such a great story. Slow burning, full of surprises, encompassing humor, drama, suspense, tragedy, love and life. Yup this has it all, along with some very good writing.
I’ll admit that initially this was slow going (after the nail biting prologue) as the author just sort of drops you into it and you’re left trying to figure out who all these characters are and why their detailed back stories are so important. But as it all comes together, wow, I couldn’t read fast enough. So many twists and turns, and a very clever plot as even the smallest; most mundane of details becomes very important by the end. I personally never did figure out “who done it” and was left surprised many times.
I don’t want to give away any plot details here, as this is SO worth discovering on your own, but I need to mention the e-mails. What a freakin genius idea. I am left wondering what happened to them though?
High school teacher Neil Kazenzakis is hanging on by a thread. Of course he thinks everything is fine but with his wife permanently disabled, a girlfriend who wants a commitment and a teenage son he’s been keeping at arm’s length (so he doesn’t find out about the girlfriend) it’s not going to take much to topple his house of cards. And that’s exactly what happens.
When dubious and career ending video footage of Neil surfaces online, and is picked up by the media, it looks like Neil will lose everything. Now he’s questioning his own memories of the event which in turn is making it difficult to prove his innocence let alone repair the damage. It’s also forced Neil to re-examine a few other issues he thought he’d dealt with. And then there’s his son Chris, probably not the best time for him to come clean about Lauren but there’s even more to come there as well.
This was an excellent read that I highly recommend. I’ll be on the lookout for Jon Harrison’s next book. Cheers 355jb45(less)
Opening line: ”Oh God.” Thump. “Oh God.” Thump, thump. What the….”Oh God, that’s so good!”
Wallbanger, Ha, I freakin loved this book. Just awesome. A g...moreOpening line: ”Oh God.” Thump. “Oh God.” Thump, thump. What the….”Oh God, that’s so good!”
Wallbanger, Ha, I freakin loved this book. Just awesome. A great story (that made me laugh) an addictive romance (are they ever going to make it into bed?) and a very fresh voice in chick lit (reminding me of a updated and naughtier Jennifer Crusie)
I’ll admit this wasn’t as sexy as I was expecting. What I mean is that with a title like “Wallbanger” I was anticipating a story more on the erotic side. Not that I was disappointed here, the sexual tension more than makes up for it, as well as the fact that when they finally do get it on… Damn it’s one of the better love scenes I’ve ever read. Hello kitchen counter. Let’s just say Simon lives up to the expectations and how!
Wallbanger also became one of those rare books that I found myself thinking about throughout the day (like at work)and I also realized that the unique and clever writing style had somehow infiltrated my brain, because for a while my own (boring)internal dialogue morphed into something resembling Caroline’s witty ongoing POV. I saw everything in a whole new way and made tons of snarky comments to myself which was fun while it lasted and a sure sign to me of a great read.
Caroline is a super relatable heroine. Down to her missing O, her neurotic cat, her confused and well-meaning BFF’s, her love affair with her mix master. This is a girl that I could be friends with. Of course I might try to steal her man because Simon, jeez. Simon… Yummy six-pack sporting, photographer, who is way more than he first appears(sounds) and just delicious in every way. A definite new literary boyfriend.
I’ll be honest; this did try too hard at times. The hot tub scene/weekend cabin adventure comes to mind and I also found that it stalled out a bit towards the end. And then ended and ended again. I felt like I read about 5 different closings. Of course then we get Clive’s epilogue and all is forgiven. That was brilliant. Speaking of Clive, yes we have to talk about the cat….
Clive: He stole every scene he was in, in fact I would read an entire book from his POV (should Alice Clayton grant us such a thing) His closing thoughts as he stalks around, clearing the apartment of rouge Q-tips during his “night watch” was just brilliant.
A few other random things I loved…. The entire circle of misfit friends, the text messages and surprising (but hilarious) look into everyone’s heads. The ongoing nicknames; cockblocker, nightie girl, Wallbanger. The banter, the sexual tension, the love scenes!!
The fact that Caroline didn’t run herself down, like we all do. She had realistic confidence and that was refreshing. (Thanks to her Gran) Cheers 356jb5 (less)
Opening Line:“This will be the last time. I’ve said that before. I’ve said it a lot.”
Well this was different, different good, and a welcome change. An...moreOpening Line:“This will be the last time. I’ve said that before. I’ve said it a lot.”
Well this was different, different good, and a welcome change. And while I don't think I’m the age demographic this book was aiming at (not telling) I still couldn’t put it down. Right from the opening chapter that plunks you straight into the chaos that is con artist Ellie Watt’s life as a scam goes bad and she’s climbing out a seedy bar window, running to her stolen car and trying to figure out which one of her multiple fake identity’s to use next, I knew this was going to be something special. And that was even before I met Camden!
Camden McQueen, what can I say… he is the ultimate beta antihero, written in such a way that you can’t help but lust after his hot inked up bod. With ongoing descriptions of his tattoos, piercings, spikey hair, nerd glasses, muscular arms and ripped abs this former high school reject has a lot going for him these days. After a stint in LA he’s now the owner and proprietor of Sins & Ink, he also plays in a band and has girls (and I’m sure some boys) salivating after him and his talented tattoo gun.
Both main characters here are flawed, damaged and charming, so that as much as you like them there are also times where you just don’t and can’t believe the way they’re using and hurting each other. That’s also what makes this awesome though, I was constantly surprised.
Ellie Watt is on the run again. The daughter of a grifting team she grew up on the make, often used by her parents in whatever their latest scam might be. As an adult she has excelled in making this her chosen profession, changing her name and appearance on a whim while leading a life on the run. But this last close call has made her rethink her choices and why she’s going back to California and pulling out the one identity she hasn’t touched in years. Her own.
Told from a first person POV Ellie alternates between “now” and “then” slowly aging Ellie through the “then” chapters, revealing her shocking past and history with Camden. I have to say I loved how everything wasn’t exposed all at once, sure it was frustrating (what happened to your leg!?) but it also helped me gain a level of understanding and sympathy for both characters I otherwise wouldn’t have had.
So now that Ellie’s gone straight she needs a legit job, which let’s be honest, is going to suck. Luckily on one of her first days back she runs into Camden and damn the years he spent in LA have been good to him. No longer the high school freak, he’s, well he’s freakin hot. So in about a minute they’re chatting each other up and then going to a gig together and then Ellie’s back at his place and try as she might temptation rears its ugly head in the form of a cash register and safe full of cash. Is she really going to rob the one person who actually knows her?
The romance here is more cat and mouse than true love story and something about the chemistry was just off for me somehow. I’m not sure what it was exactly because their scenes together are smoking hot (the one on the hood of the car in the middle of the desert when he rips her designer dress off… Jesus!)
So in the end this was a great read however I could have done without the cliff-hanger ending. Guess I’ll be reading (Shooting Scars) next. Cheers 388jb4
A couple of my favourite quotes; “Some of the best laid plans are foiled by wine. Though perhaps in our case they were made better.”
“Good morning” he said as if we were old friends. Old friends that didn’t want to kill each other. I glared at him. “Is the gun really necessary?” “No" he admitted. "It’s just fun to have one” “Like an extra penis” I mused. He smiled unkindly. “Something like that.”(less)
Opening Line: “My handler is late. I’m on my third Chardonnay of the evening, waiting in the dimly lit bar of my two-star hotel.”
I went into Agent Of...moreOpening Line: “My handler is late. I’m on my third Chardonnay of the evening, waiting in the dimly lit bar of my two-star hotel.”
I went into Agent Of Desire completely blind after receiving an ARC from the author. Lucky me though because this sexy little spy thriller turned out to be a great read. First off I really enjoyed the writing, with its slick, fast paced storyline (containing plenty of twists and turns) and strong, self-assured heroine who goes after what she wants. I’m not usually one for the kickass females but Jessica aka “Lori” kept me smiling here with her witty inner dialogue and veracious sexual appetite.
I think my favourite thing about this novella though would have to be the setting. Ah Paris, and author Charlie Evans does it justice. Her descriptions are just fabulous, in particular the section where “Lori” walks the River Seine at night which managed to transport me back to the city of lights. In that moment I too could smell the French coffee from one of the many café’s and recalled my own reaction at seeing the Eifel tower off in the distance as the entire city reflected off the gently lapping canal.
I guess my only real complaint here would be the lack of any form of sexual tension. Our heroine just gets down to it without any preamble, buildup or even much foreplay. It’s all very alpha and liberating but because of this wham-bam aspect I never felt any real connection to her assorted lovers. Speaking of which she’s a pretty lucky girl because all the men she beds here have huge… is that gunna fit…members. LOL
Jessica Booker is a CIA agent in Paris on her second assignment. In her own words she’s “already over the whole international-woman-of-mystery thing.” After sitting a desk job for the last year in Ireland she’s realized that being a spy is nothing like what you see in the movies and subsequently has been forced to keep herself entertained however and whenever she can.
But Paris is a whole different game and this becomes apparent when her new handler turns out to be none other than the “hot teacher from training camp.” But schools out, he’s no longer her instructor, and now all bets are off.
“Sims takes a sip of his bourbon without breaking eye contact, and I can’t help but feel like he’s drinking me.”
Distractions aside, Jessica does have a job to do. What a shame (wink) that her latest assignment is going to involve seducing a gorgeous French computer genius. Before long she and the hunk are on the run and no one is who they appear to be. Come to think of it, Jessica’s not even sure what she’s protecting anymore. With rogue agents, motorcycle chases, gun play, scaling buildings, and hiding out from double crossing agents she’ll be lucky to come out of this assignment intact. Worst of all she might just be developing feelings for the hottie computer nerd.
Can’t wait to read more from the Jessica Booker series. Cheers.
Thanks Charlie **A copy was generously provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. ** (less)