The Accidental Assassin by Nichole Chase

The Accidental Assassin by Nichole Chase
Series: The Assassins #1
Published by CreateSpace on November 28, 2014
Genres: Suspense, Love, Romance
Pages: 354 : Paperback edition
Source: Purchased on Amazon
Add to Goodreads

Ava McKenzie is a creature of habit. Life is passing her by and she has nothing to show for it. She’s had the same job since she started college, she orders the same dish every time she goes to her favorite restaurant, and only reads books from authors she knows. There is nothing new or surprising in her life… until her best friend marries a man from London. When her newlywed friend asks her to house-sit while she honeymoons, Ava jumps at the chance. She thinks this could be the very thing she needs to shake up her life. Ava throws herself head first into her new lifestyle; she wants to try everything, go everywhere, and never get stuck in a rut again. Of course, offing a man in a car garage hadn’t been one of the things on her list to try.

Owen Walker spends every day in a new place with a new case. As one of the most renowned assassins in the world, he has his choice of marks—and he’s never failed in a mission. When a new hit takes him back to his hometown, he looks forward to spending time somewhere familiar. What he isn’t expecting is to help an attractive, confused American woman find out how she’s ended up on a hit man’s list.

As Ava and Owen dodge bullets, will they be able to escape their undeniable attraction to each other? Or will all of that chemistry blow up in a shower of hot and dangerous sparks?

Nichole Chase’s books always take me on such a fun ride (usually through Europe which is always a huge plus) and there’s romance along the way! Oh my! I loved her Royals series, and thought I would check this one out next and I’m so glad I did. Ava has got to be one of my new top favorite characters; she’s got so much spunk and attitude (plus loves to curse? Um hello, how can you not love her?) and she gets to run from life-threatening situations with a hot hunky British man at her side.

In all seriousness though, I did love this book. I’m not usually drawn to assassin style novels, but through a little romance in the midst of it all, and you’ve got me hooked! Owen’s character was so dark and mysterious, but once we got to know him, along with Ava, he showed his true side and that was an awesome experience as well.

The only thing I can wish for now is a sequel or spin off! I want to go exploring with these characters a little bit more and find out what’s in store for them next!

(I also appreciated the nod towards the Royals series by mentioning their country and one of its characters. Super cool!)

Advertisement

Finding Thor by Kai Strand

Finding Thor by Kai Strand
Series: N/A
Published by Whiskey Creek Press on March 12, 2015
Genres: Love, Romance
Pages: 277 : Kindle edition
Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review
Add to Goodreads

Tragedy has left Cara Cassidy broken and the only thing keeping her from giving in completely is her guilt. Until Nik Rock.

Nik stirs up feelings in degrees she has never experienced, and causes her to do things that most assuredly give him the wrong impression – like kiss him before their first date. Somehow, he breaks down the walls around her emotions until she has no choice but to forgive herself and feel again.

But a mysterious, troubled past follows Nik, and Cara may prove to be his weakest link.

When a royal princess shows up looking for Nik, and an international gang arrives looking for missing jewels, Cara lands in mortal danger. Will she be able to save herself? What will happen to her newly repaired psyche if she loses Nik?

Romance, mystery, and high stakes – just another day in high school.

I have always been drawn in by Kai Strand’s novels since they seamlessly blend together romance with tragedy and heartbreak, and Finding Thor is no exception. Cara and Nik are both such complex characters but they balance each other out through a dark and mysterious romance *swoon*

I really love finding stories where it’s more than just a romance, it’s something that’s deep and emotional. Finding Thor kept me at the edge of my seat and I kept wanting to know more and more about the backstories of both characters. What are they hiding not only from each other but from themselves? I was so intrigued that there was one point I could not put the book down one night!

I look forward to reading more of Kai Strand’s work since she always manages to blow me away. Five stars!

Dragon Her Back by Susannah Scott

Dragon Her Back by Susannah Scott
Series: Las Vegas Dragons #3
Published on December 15, 2014
Genres: Love, Romance, New Adult
Pages: 225 : Ebook edition
Source: Purchased on Amazon
Add to Goodreads

A paranormal category romance from Entangled’s Covet imprint…

How To Claim Your Dragon…

As the head of security of Vegas’s Crown Jewel casino―and its hidden dragonshifter sanctuary―ice dragon Darius Dachien commands respect. Unfortunately, that respect isn’t always reciprocated. In fact, when it comes to the stunning Mei Chen, hostility might be a better word. Which makes things even harder for Darius, since Mei is his dragon mate. Without her, his dragon form is fading fast… and once lost, will be gone forever.

Mei can’t deny the fierce chemistry that simmers between them. If Darius were ever to discover who―or rather, what―she really is, she wouldn’t just lose him, but her place with the dragonshifters. The moment Mei’s past comes crashing into her present, she realizes her time for secrets has ended. Now she must reveal her true self… and risk both her life and her heart with the one man who could destroy her.

I have to say, I’m really loving these Entangled Publishing novels/novellas. They’re short enough that I don’t get bored with the romance, but long enough to build up a connection with the characters and their situations that I don’t feel too much like I need more out of a story. And they’re oh so steamy too…

This particular novel was great! While it did feel a little rushed and confusing in the beginning (probably my own fault since I haven’t read the others in the series and I got confused with some of the dragon jargon they used) I felt that it was all wrapped up well later in the story.

It got really exciting around the 70% mark because everything started coming together and we were really hitting the high plot point of the story. I really enjoyed Mei’s character, as well as Darius’. They were both intriguing in their own ways and when they were together there was a very real electricity between the two. I often feel that sometimes the romance isn’t built up enough, but here it was just right. I didn’t want anymore because I felt it was left off at a good plot point, and I certainly didn’t want any less!

Overall, a really great novel and I’m intrigued to check out the other novels in the series! The entire concept surrounding the dragons/humans and the mating philosophy was really cool too and something I’ve never encountered in a story before, let alone a romance novel.

No Strings Attached by Nicolette Day

No Strings Attached by Nicolette Day
Series: Falling for You #1
Published on June 10, 2014
Genres: Love, Romance, New Adult
Pages: 77 : Ebook edition
Source: Purchased on Amazon
Add to Goodreads

She wants one night. He wants her forever.

Hayden Summers just landed the job of a lifetime taking pictures for Timemagazine, but she’s determined to leave with no regrets. The first thing on her list? Erase the memory of her cheating ex with a wild night of anonymous sex. The second? Figure out why her best friend, sexy bar owner Jace Jennings, stopped speaking to her the night she told him about the job.

Jace has a problem. Hayden isn’t just leaving the country, she’s risking herlife—just when he’s realized he’s in love with her. When fate traps them in the storage room of his bar together, barely contained desire simmers to surface. In one last attempt to keep her, Jace offers Hayden the one thing she wants: a night of hot sex, no strings attached. But when the night is over, will Jace be able to let her go? And will Hayden leave with her heart intact?

As promised, I had said I was going to read the first one in the series, and I’m so glad I did! I LOVED the relationship between Jace and Hayden and seeing them interact was so, so, cool. Especially in their own novella, whereas in Tempted by the Soldier, we only got to see snippets of it.

Reading this made me want to read the second novel all over again, mostly to see how their relationship has grown and developed. The only thing I wish was that this could be longer! I wanted to see MORE of their relationship and fall in love with each character more. Irregardless, I loved this short little novella, and it was so worth checking out. I hope Nicolette Day decides (or in the process of) putting out more novels either for this series or just in general, because I’ve grown to love her writing!

The Best Kind of Trouble by Lauren Dane

The Best Kind of Trouble by Lauren Dane
Series: The Hurley Boys #1
Published on August 26, 2014
Genres: Love, Romance
Pages: 384 : Paperback edition
Source: Purchased on Amazon
Add to Goodreads

She has complete control… and he’s determined to take it away

A librarian in the small town of Hood River, Natalie Clayton’s world is very nearly perfect. After a turbulent childhood and her once-wild ways, life is now under control. But trouble has a way of turning up unexpectedly—especially in the tall, charismatically sexy form of Paddy Hurley….

And Paddy is the kind of trouble that Natalie has a taste for.

Even after years of the rock and roll lifestyle, Paddy never forgot the two wickedly hot weeks he once shared with Natalie. Now he wants more… even if it means tempting Natalie and her iron-grip control. But there’s a fine line between well-behaved and misbehaved—and the only compromise is between the sheets!

Disclaimer: I did not finish this book….reasons why to come.

So I definitely think this book had tons of potential. There was an enticing plot line, a steamy romance, and there was bound to be some conflict along the way, a nice cover, but overall it just fell really flat for me.

From the very beginning I was not pulled in at all by either of the characters so when they were talking throughout the novel I found myself zoning out quite frequently, then jumping back in and it felt like they were still talking about the same darn things! I didn’t feel the chemistry between them at all either and was hoping that some conflict would come up soon so I could feel some energy be thrown into the book…but then the conflict did come and it felt SO forced. I’m pretty dramatic but I was kind of like dang girl chill.

I also felt that there was a lot of “telling” and not a lot of “showing”. Show me what the characters are doing, don’t just tell me. So that was kind of frustrating too. I think I got about 40% of the way through when I finally called it quits on this one. I’ll be sending this off to my used bookstore; hopefully someone else will find it more enticing.

And now I’m really craving a Nora Roberts romance to put me back in the mood for reading…

Tempted by the Soldier by Nicolette Day

Tempted by the Soldier by Nicolette Day
Series: Falling for You #2
Published on February 24, 2014
Genres: Love, Romance, New Adult
Pages: 206 : Ebook edition
Source: Purchased on Amazon
Add to Goodreads

A sexy category romance from Entangled’s Brazen imprint…

When one touch isn’t enough, why resist?

Road trips are supposed to be fun. Or, at least, full of hot sex. For photographer Lilly Grayson, the fifteen-hour drive to her friend’s wedding with Nate Jennings will be neither. Not that Nate isn’t sexy—the man is six-foot-three-inches of mouth-watering Marine. But Lilly’s been there, done that…and he walked away. Now it’s time for a little payback. The kind that’ll make a man desperate for a taste of what he can’t have.

And Nate wants a taste—so badly that he can barely keep his hands on the wheel. But the scars and ghosts of his last tour still haunt him. He can’t give into temptation, not this time. Lilly deserves a whole man—one who can love her the way she deserves to be loved, even if she doesn’t believe it can happen. And that can’t be Nate. Not when he’s leaving again in two weeks, and this time, he’s not sure he’ll return…

When I say I read this in a few hours, I’m not kidding. It was that good! Recently I’ve been going through somewhat of a reading slump (with finals quickly approaching and trying to balance three jobs) but this definitely brought me out of that. It was face paced, easy reading, super sexy *wink wink* and just a really fun read. I was completely invested in the characters from the get-go and I really liked that they had a deeper and more tragic side to each of them. It definitely brought some depth to them and made them seem like real people.

I did not read the novel previous to this one in the series, and while I do think they can be read apart, I also think there are a couple spoilers here and there about things that I could have read about in the second book. Not that that’s a bad thing (completely my own fault) and now I want to read the first one even more!

I would recommend this for people who like books in the new adult genre and are a bit older. There are quite a few steamy scenes here, not that I’m complaining 😉

Love & Misadventure by Lang Leav

Love & Misadventure by Lang Leav
Series: N/A
Published on April 26, 2013
Genres: Love, Romance, Poetry
Pages: 176 : Paperback edition
Source: Checked out from my local library
Add to Goodreads

Lang Leav is a poet and internationally exhibiting artist. Awarded a coveted Churchill Fellowship, her work expresses the intricacies of love and loss.

Beautifully illustrated and thoughtfully conceived, Love and Misadventure will take you on a rollercoaster ride through an ill-fated love affair- from the initial butterflies to the soaring heights- through to the devastating plunge. Lang Leav has an unnerving ability to see inside the hearts and minds of her readers. Her talent for translating complex emotions with astonishing simplicity has won her a cult following of devoted fans from all over the world.

I think this is going to be the year of poetry for me, since I’ve been getting more into it lately. What a great one to start the year off with too. Lang Leav manages to weave together the sorrow, blinding happiness, and overwhelming feelings that come with love in a beautiful set of poems and illustrations. I was enthralled with the book from start to finish and literally did not put it down until I had finished reading the entire thing.

I think Leav has such a way with connecting to readers on a deeply personal level about feelings they have either had, or are currently having, which makes her writing so flawless. It’s almost as if there’s this angelic little voice in your head whispering the poems to you while you reflect on your own love and loss (or maybe not, that was just my own experience).

I can’t wait to read more of her work (specifically Lullabies, since I’ve heard such wonderful things). An amazing piece of work overall!

Torn True Love by K.D. Ferguson

Torn True Love by K.D. Ferguson
Series: Torn
Published on May 7, 2014
Genres: Love, Romance, Dystopian
Pages: 230 : Kindle edition
Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review
Add to Goodreads

Everyone has a choice. Abide by the government’s rules and regulations and you may live the average life. Or you can become a Sweeper. Krissa Channing’s destination was clear until Braiden entered her life and clouded her future.

Krissa’s future, which once seemed so promising, is compromised when her relationship with Braiden is forced by the hands of the government. The pressure of an automatic pairing pushes them both down a path they never dreamed they’d travel.

While Krissa accepts the change, Braiden revolts against the government leaving Krissa alone, her heart torn. Should she follow the rules and regulations and continue down the road mapped out for her? Or should she go against everything she’s been taught and follow after her true love?

I’m not sure if it was the stress of the holiday’s or I just am not feeling dystopian stories as of late, but I just could not finish this book. I did like the premise of it and it sounded exciting, but I think once it was executed, it kind of felt like other dystopian tales in the genre.

I wasn’t completely taken with Krissa in the beginning, mainly because she seemed to change her mind a lot and latched onto boys extremely quickly, which is fine, but not something I can honestly relate to. I also wasn’t that taken with Braiden either, and didn’t connect with him.

Again, I think the idea is there, but the characters pulled the story back for me and I wasn’t completely invested into the story as much as I had hoped I would be. I would recommend this to people who like The Hunger Games since it sort of has the same themes of sectioned parts of the city and different “classes” per say, and to people who like romance in dystopian novels. Overall, 3/5 stars.

Love, Lucy by April Lindner

Love, Lucy by April Lindner
Series: N/A
Published on January 27, 2015
Genres: Love, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 304 : Paperback
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Add to Goodreads

While backpacking through Florence, Italy, during the summer before she heads off to college, Lucy Sommersworth finds herself falling in love with the culture, the architecture, the food…and Jesse Palladino, a handsome street musician. After a whirlwind romance, Lucy returns home, determined to move on from her “vacation flirtation.” But just because summer is over doesn’t mean Lucy and Jesse are over, too.

In this coming-of-age romance, April Lindner perfectly captures the highs and lows of a summer love that might just be meant to last beyond the season.

Before writing this review I was reading others on Goodreads and I discovered that this was a modern retelling of A Room With a View by E.M. Forester. While I was reading, that fact did not cross my mind at all (for some weird reason, since I have read the classic novel). So knowing that fact…here is my review:

I strongly liked this book. I can’t say that I loved it just because I think the beginning went in circles a lot and I really wanted to get down to the nitty gritty of the story. That being said, I did like that Ms. Lindner took the time to really explore and show the readers the sights, sounds, and smells of Italy from the very start. Writing a book where lot’s of travelling takes place sounds difficult based on that fact alone if the author is not in Italy (or wherever) so I did appreciate the amount of detail put into the setting.

Characters themselves sort of fell flat for me though. For me to really love a story, I have to get the full package and I think the weak characters let me down. There were lot’s of cliche’s in their personas, and I think I just wanted more originality overall.

It was a cute story, though, and perfect for the upcoming year, so I would check this out if you’re fans of Anna and the French Kiss and other stories of that like!

Between the Sheets by Allie Boniface

Between the Sheets by Allie Boniface
Series: Cocktail Cruise #3
Published on September 14, 2014
Genres: Love, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 108 : Paperback/ebook edition
Source: Received through Black Lion Blog Tours and the author in exchange for an honest review
Add to Goodreads

An affair with an exotic cruise line dance instructor might be just the escape this single mother needs…

Andrea is determined to merge career and motherhood, which she’s (barely) managing as a cruise line marketing manager and a single mom to six-year-old Drew. That life leaves zero time for sex or love, so when she has a chance for a no-strings fling with a sexy cruise ship dancer, she decides to go for it.

Sebastian is enjoying a low-key life as a dance instructor on a singles’ cruise ship, a welcome change from his previous life in Argentina as the star of a hugely popular dance show. Tired of women who only wanted him for his moves on and off the dance floor, he’s content to teach basic waltz and foxtrot and keep to himself. But when the lonely, enigmatic Andrea sweeps into his life, everything changes.

Can he come to terms with his past? Can she find room in her life and her heart for another man? And is the possibility of new love strong enough to make them both want to?

I was originally intrigued with Andrea’s backstory when we first heard about her in Tequila Sunrise, and now I’m so glad I was able to read about her more in depth in this final installment of the Sex on the Beach series (side note: I’m so sad this is the last one! I love Allie Boniface’s writing style, so I will definitely have to pick up some of her other novels to distract me from my sadness of no more Cocktail Cruises).

Once again, the leading male, Sebastian, in the story is hot, hot, hot! I mean come on a dance instructor who knows how to, literally, whip women off their feet? Sign me up for a man like this please! Andrea’s son, Drew, is so adorable too! If/when I have kids I want one just like him! I think both Andrea and Sebastian handle the idea of her being a single mom really well, which is nice because stories can easily get caught up in that idea without leaving time to work on the actual romance (oh and P.S. Andrea’s ex, Ron is a total dick. I hate him five-ever).

I wish I could say that I’m looking forward to the next in the series, but it doesn’t look like there is going to be any more! So sad, but I think the series really ended with a bang and I can’t wait to see what else Allie Boniface comes up with in her future works!