Audiobook, Blogger Themes, Contemporary Romance, Review Books, romance, Romantic Suspense

Blog Tour & Review: The Kingmaker (All the King’s Men Duet, Book 1) by Kennedy Ryan


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“Powerful, gripping, unflinchingly honest and sensuously gorgeous writing.”

— Kristan Higgins, New York Times Bestselling Author

The Kingmaker, the first book in the addicting All The King’s Men Duet, from RITA ® Award-winning author Kennedy Ryan, is available now!

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Power. Passion. Betrayal.

Kennedy Ryan delivers the epic first installment of the All the King’s Men Duet.

Raised to rule, bred to lead and weaned on a diet of ruthless ambition.  In a world of haves and have nots, my family has it all, and I want nothing to do with it. My path takes me far from home and paints me as the black sheep. At odds with my father, I’m determined to build my own empire. I have rules, but Lennix Hunter is the exception to every one of them. From the moment we meet, something sparks between us. But my family stole from hers and my father is the man she hates most. I lied to have her, and will do anything to keep her. Though she tries to hate me, too, the inexorable pull between us will not be denied. And neither will I.

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The story was writing so well and this narrative was so authentic as it drew on current issues/events pertaining lands considered sacred to Native Americans. My only issue was that there wasn’t enough romance in this first book to balance the heaviness of the controversial themes.

What I liked: Each character was well developed. Lennix was a passionate, principled and strong willed woman. Maxim has the same drive to make the world a better place in the same way as Lennix. Their personal convictions lead them in different directions, but I loved that each character had goals that didn’t revolve around a significant other. Both main characters and their friends seemed like honorable people. It was great that each character had authentic friendships and they were brutally honest with each other. They needed friends who could tell them when they were being pig-headed.

What I did NOT like:
While I appreciate and actually support the message, it just overshadowed the romance.
Though I respected their passion for their causes, both Lennix and Maxim felt overly idealistic. I also felt that the romantic connection, although very powerful, seemed to just last for a blink of the eye. Just when the strong physical attraction started to building into something more solid, it was terminated.
Which leads to my next issue, for a strong willed man, I was surprised that Maxim waited ten years to reach out to Lennix. I guess his personal goals really did supersede everything else in his life. I think his single minded focus didn’t leave room to really pursue the woman he said he developed deeper feelings for. Ten years seemed out of character since Maxim goes hard for everything else he wants. I wanted love to help smooth out their blunt edges.

Kennedy Ryan is an awesome writer and she obviously researched these issues in depth, but the story became more political than romantic and majority of the characters interactions revolved around the societal issues. I just wanted more of their personal lives, specifically the journey as a couple because that love could have been that healing force in this book. They actually made each other stronger and more hopeful about the future. I will check out book 2 to see how Maxim’s dad will try to come between the lovers.

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Pre-order the stunning conclusion, The Rebel King!

Releasing November 17th

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Excerpt

“What do you want?”

The look he pours over me is hot oil, burning me even through serviceable layers of cotton. His heated perusal caresses my face, sluices over my breasts and hips, and then pools at my feet.

“Oh, that you won’t ever get again,” I say, my voice a soft, certain promise. “I don’t screw liars. I’m particular that way.”

“Never say never,” he drawls, tilting up my chin with his finger.

“Nev–”

He crushes the word between our mouths. It falls apart in the scorching, sweet tangle of lips and teeth. With one hand, he digs his fingers into my hair. The other splays across my lower back, his grip on me almost convulsive, urging me up and closer.I’m in stasis. I’m completely startled by the kiss, unable to respond. I send a desperate message to my brain.

Move. Pull back. Push him away.

But the urgent glide of his hand down my spine to cup my ass melts my thoughts to liquid and they swim in my head. I can’t pull back, and all hope of resistance dissolves when he presses his thumb to my chin, prying me open. He stalks my tongue, hunts down a response, licking and sucking and groaning and growling. His hands tighten on me until I strain up to seek him, yanking his hair, pulling him even closer.

“Dammit, Nix,” he mutters between kisses. His hand wanders down my neck and across my shoulder, and cups my breast, twisting the nipple through flimsy barriers of cotton and lace. He shoves up my skirt, pulling my legs wider, and pushes my panties aside, his fingers invading me. My body remembers this mad craving that claws out of my bones—that wants out. That wants him. Under his rough touch, my body blooms and my hips rock.

“That’s it,” he says, taking my earlobe between his lips.

My head falls back and I moan. It’s so damn good. His touch awakens me. His hands, his kisses bring me to life. It feels like I’m taking my first deep breath since we were last together, and it fills my lungs, seeps into my pores.

“I missed you,” he says, sucking my lips and kissing the corners, quick, hungry. “I’m sorry. Baby, I—”

“Stop talking.” I reach between us to loosen his belt, catching his zipper and dragging it down, dragging him out. “Shut up.”

About Kennedy Ryan

A RITA® Award Winner and Top 25 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy Ryan writes for women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.

She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Atlanta families living with Autism, she has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for families living with autism.

Blogger Themes, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Review Books, Romantic Suspense

Charlie (Cultivated #1) by Elin Peer


Charlie (Cultivated #1)Charlie by Elin Peer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

BLURB: Charles, the reserved, mysterious, and unattainable guy I had a major crush on in college, got tangled up with the wrong crowd. Being the heir to one of the largest business dynasties in the US made Charles a target for the narcissistic and cunning cult leader O’Brien. Now, I’m flying to Dublin to get him out. “

With degrees in both anthropology and psychology, twenty-seven-year-old Liv is convinced that she can resist being sucked into Conor O’Brien’s cult. But it’s been years since she and Charles last met; will he even remember her and will he trust her?

Charles and Liv are about to learn just how dangerous it is to go up against a possessive psychopath like Conor O’Brien.

Charlie is the first installment in Elin Peer’s contemporary romance series Cultivated, which offers suspense and drama. Like all her books, this one has a fast pace, lots of great dialogue, and it leaves you wanting more.


A fascinating story and masterful storytelling. This story had it all: action, suspense, intrigue, romance and redemption. What I love about Elin Peer’s stories is that I always feel I was treated to a story unlike the routine and cliche tropes that are so abundant in the romance genre. In this particular novel, we are treated to an insider look into the intense fear of family members when their loved ones are caught in the snare of a cult.

Charlotte Christensen aka Liv or Charlie met Charles Robertson at a coffee shop by accident. At the time they were both going by the nickname “Charlie”. There was a spark there, but nothing serious materialized from their college flirting. Five years later, Liv was contacted by Charles’ grandfather who wants a friend to help rescue Charles from a cult that was siphoning off his inheritance. This opportunity gave Liv another chance to reconnect with Charles, but he wasn’t the man she remembered. To save Charles, Liv had outmaneuver a sociopath a cult leader with Charles’ love and life as the prize.

I don’t know much about cult except what we see on the news but my nerves were jarred. I enjoyed the glimpse into a cult’s intricate layering in order to brainwashing people of various intelligence. It was a lesson on how masterminds sense esteem issues and use it to their advantage while gaining their absolute dedication and loyalty. It was a gently reminder that even the smartest person has vulnerabilities that can be exploited by devious people.

My favorite part of the story was Liv and Charles reconnecting. It felt like young love all over again and it added some pleasure and levity to this heavy situation. Liv and Charles were really nice individuals and they made a sweet couple. I was completely absorbed into this struggle for Charles. The author skillfully weaved an engrossing tale. What an excellent beginning to a new series.

*Thank you to the author for the advanced reading copy. My opinions of the book are solely my own.

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Fiction, romance, Romantic Suspense, Suspense & Thriller

Lethal Force (Brute Force, Book 3) by Lora Leigh


Lethal Nights (Brute Force, #3)Lethal Nights by Lora Leigh

BLURB:

1 bestselling author Lora Leigh turns up the heat in her latest novel of high-stakes passion and persuasion featuring the men of Brute Force. 

Ilya Dragonovich is no stranger to the dark side. As a safe-house owner for security agency Brute Force, Dragon knows that the battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man—and, sometimes, a beautiful woman…

Emma Jane Preston needs help. After her marriage crumbled, she believed she could get back to a normal, happy life. But now she needs the kind of protection that comes at a cost—one that only someone like Dragon can provide. But can Emma Jane trust this handsome, undercover operator to keep her safe when she is in danger of falling into the arms of the deeply seductive, fiery Dragon. . .and never letting go?

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this story. Ilya Dragonovich and Emma Jane Preston had skirted around their attraction for different reasons. Ilya was a dangerous man and the heir to the Dragonovich family that wielded mafia power in Romania and Emma Jane was just getting out of a marriage.

When someone threatened EJ’s life, Ilya knew it was time to claim her as his own and under his protection. But the person after her was a mystery, and that was not going to fly with the Dragon heir.

I really liked Emma Jane’s independence, loyalty and inner strength. She clearly loved Ilya but she also had a clear sense of what’s right, and she also stood up for herself against her protective family. The mystery stalker wasn’t really much of a mystery although the motive was a surprise. I enjoyed their reliance on each other for comfort and love. I also see that Emma Jane was strong enough for a boss like Ilya.
The almost mythical characteristics of the dragon tattoo gave the story a supernatural feel that gave the stories Romanian family some mystique.

I had hoped for more information on EJ’s culpability with her accident as well as his mother’s motive. Maybe in the next books, we can get a resolution on those issues. But i should are looking for a book that has a mafia like presence without being overwhelming in the violence, then this romance book is for you!

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Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, Giveaway, LGBTQ, Review Books, Romantic Suspense

Review Tour & Giveaway – A.E. Via – Embracing His Syn (Nothing Special Series Book #2)


Buy Links: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Narrated By: Aiden Snow
 
Length: 11hrs 14mins
 
Nothing Special Series


Book #1 – Nothing Special – Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #3 – Here Comes Trouble – OUT JULY 2
Book #4 – Don’t Judge – OUT JULY 24
 
Blurb


Sergeant Corbin “Syn” Sydney had dedicated his life to becoming the best detective. So when he heard there was an opening on the notorious Atlanta Narcotics Task Force, he jumped at the chance. But, what he wasn’t ready for was realizing just how lonely he’d made himself, when he observed the loving and dedicated relationship between the two men he served under: Lieutenant Cashel “God” Godfrey and Lieutenant Leonidis Day.

Syn prepared himself to accept his lonely fate until he walked into a small pub and met the long-haired, tattooed bartender, Furious Barkley. Before Syn can even understand why, he’s overcome with feelings he barely recognizes: passion, yearning, craving. And if the dark, lustful gazes are anything to go by, Furious might be feeling the same things for him.


Just two thing needs to happen before Syn and Furi can give each other what’s been missing from their lives for so long…Syn needs to find the evidence that proves Furi’s innocence of murder, as well as protect him from a past that refuses to let go.

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I enjoyed this book as much as the first installment of this series. Aiden Snow has this sexy timbre to his voice that is perfect for these characters. As the narrator, he was able to convey the various emotions in this angst-filled story.

In this book 2, a new detective Sergeant Corbin “Syn” Sydney moved from Atlanta to Philly to join Detectives Cashel Godfrey and Leonidas Day’s unorthodox yet highly effective law enforcement team. While working Syn met a skittish bartender Furious Barkley whom he found intriguing in a way he hadn’t allowed himself to consider a man in a long time. This created a tension between Sun and Furi because Furi was very comfortable with his sexuality and had been out of the closet for a long time. Then add in the fact that Furi was on the run and hiding from an abusive husband for the past couple of years. Syn and Furi had quite the obstacles to their new romance, and it gave this novel some angst.

The mystery and suspense in this novel dealing with Furi’s murdered co-workers wasn’t difficult to figure out. It got the whole task force gang involved and added danger to this story. Syn and Furi were sweet, hot and entertaining together. I really look forward to the next installment of this series.

 

A.E. Via has been a best-selling author in the beautiful gay romance genre for five years now, but she’s no stranger to MM. She’s been an avid reader of gay lit for over fifteen years before she picked up her laptop to place her own kiss on this genre. She’s also the founder and owner of Via Star Wings Books, having published a couple great new up and coming MM authors.

A.E. has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Virginia Wesleyan College that she used to start her own paralegal firm after she graduated in 2008. She spent five years preparing and filing bankruptcy petitions for struggling blue collar workers who couldn’t afford to file with a lawyer. It was a rewarding and satisfying career… but another path called to her. Writing.

A.E.’s writing embodies everything from hopelessly romantic to adventure, to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.

Now that she’s gotten over her 10 books published hump, she’s kind of known now for her hardcore, play rough and love hard, bad boy, alphas. However, she does like to push herself to step out of her comfort zone, exploring different tropes, but she won’t push herself into a whole other genre. She’s head over heels for gay romance and she has tons of more hot stories to tell.

Be sure to visit Adrienne on her social media pages and subscribe to her newsletter to never miss another release date! Go to A.E. Via’s official website http://authoraevia.com for more detailed information on how to contact her, follow her, or a sneak peak at upcoming work, free reads, VSWB submissions, and where she’ll appear next.

Audiobook, Romantic Suspense, Suspense & Thriller

Deadly Intent (I-Team, #8) by Pamela Clare


Blurb: Secrets buried in the sand…

Former US Army Captain Mia Starr has built a new life for herself in Denver, far away from camel spiders and sand—and the terrible secrets of her first deployment to Iraq. She isn’t looking for a relationship, especially not with an intrusive photojournalist. Joaquin Ramirez might be sexy, but in her experience, photojournalists only want to make a buck off other people’s suffering. Still, the universe must have a sick sense of humor because it keeps throwing her together with Joaquin, making the desire she feels for him harder and harder to resist.

An undeniable attraction…

As a Pulitzer Prize-winning news photographer, Joaquin has everything a single straight guy could want—except the right woman. When he meets Mia while shooting a crime scene, he immediately sees beyond her cold exterior to the vulnerable woman beneath. Though the police consider her a suspect, he’s sure she’s innocent. Someone is killing soldiers—and trying to pin the blame on her. Unable to resist the pull between them, Joaquin stands by her only to find himself snared in the killer’s net as well.

A twisted soul hungry for revenge…

Mia can’t help it when the heat between her and Joaquin melts away her preconceptions. As their passion explodes, danger draws ever closer. When it becomes clear that Mia is the killer’s true target, she must trust Joaquin with a secret that could ruin her … or risk losing the love of a lifetime.


This story was a really good example of a well written romantic suspense. It has romance, adventure, mystery/suspense and an HEA. This is a really entertaining series and this book was no exception.

Joaquin Ramirez really impressed me in the last book with his thoughtfulness and bravery. So I was really excited that this hard working and considerate photographer/member of the I-Team would get his chance at love.

Mia Starr seemed to be quite prickly in the beginning but I warmed up to her. She had to wear her armor all the time after what’s she had been through as a member of the US armed forces.
The now retired officer was a target of an old vendetta and Joaquin decided that he would help protect his sister’s former CO.
I like how the author paced this story. Joaquin was clearly attracted to Mia from the beginning but he never pushed and was always considerate of her needs first. He let her dictate how they proceeded. He helped her feel comfortable and confident. I loved it.
I enjoyed the narration of Kaleo Griffth except his sexy woman voice, which makes me laugh because it sounds like a man trying to sound like a woman.

I love that the author has kept the same energy, storytelling and emotional appeal throughout this series. Each couple has their own thing, their own journey but lots of support and encouragement from the fellow ITeam members. I can’t say the villain wasn’t predictable but the story was still enjoyable. I am curious to see who will be featured in the next book.

Audiobook, Review Books, Romantic Suspense

Audiobook Review & Giveaway: Captivated by Bethany-Kris


CAPTIVATED

by Bethany-Kris
Narrator: Daniel James Lewis
Audio Publication Date: October 2018
Genres: Adult, Romantic Suspense, Organized Crime. Erotic Romance

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Amazon Audible: https://amzn.to/2DOc1F6

SYNOPSIS:

A shadow meets the light …

When someone needs to disappear, the Chicago mob calls on Joe Rossi. A man who can move without a sound, and kill without a word, they don’t call him the Shadow for nothing.

This time, it’s a New York crime family in need of his skills, but it takes one glimpse of her to make him agree to the job.

Liliana Marcello is every inch a principessa della mafia. Her life has taught her to be wary of strangers, yet her ballet career contradicts everything by putting her on display.

It’s a man with a dark smile and a constantly changing demeanor that makes her feel safe again, but it’s the unknown that holds her back.

It takes one look …
One dance …
One word …
One smile to captivate a man.

And one second to kill a woman because of it, too.

Not all monsters hide in the shadows.
How are you supposed to see them coming?

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AUDIO EXCERPT – NARRATOR DANIEL JAMES LEWIS

Bethany-Kris came through on this one. It was fully of passion, mystery, suspense and lots of cameos of characters from her prior novels.

The narrator Daniel James Lewis was a really good choice for Joe Rossi because there wasn’t excessive emotion in his voice, he was rather chill/calm just like Joe was described.

Joe Rossi is the “shadow” enforcer for the Chicago Outfit (mafia) and he avoids being seen and heard. When he is called to New York to handle a problem and Joe didn’t expect to find the eldest daughter of the Boss so captivating. Liliana Marcello, a ballet dancer, wasn’t really wanting a relationship but she couldn’t help her intense attraction to the man who was working with her father. Both of them were similar in that they are private people who were clear in what they wanted. They didn’t make unnecessary demands and they just enjoyed themselves together. Joe and Liliana had that palpable chemistry that made me giddy.

They were well developed as characters and the plot was well laid. I liked the story because it was barely angst but full of feels. Definitely top notch story telling. It was a romance with suspense, family and a bit of that organized crime life. This story was truly captivating.

ABOUT BETHANY-KRIS

Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to four young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.

To keep up-to-date with new releases from Bethany-Kris, sign up to her New Release Newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bf9lzD

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Audiobook, Giveaway, Review Books, Romantic Suspense

Audiobook Review & Giveaway: COZEN by Bethany-Kris


COZEN

by Bethany-Kris
Narrator: Conner Goff
Audio Publication Date: October 2018
Genres: Adult, Audiobook, Romantic Suspense, Organized Crime. Erotic Romance

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Amazon Audible: https://amzn.to/2Pyf8Hs

SYNOPSIS:

coz-en (kuz-uhn)
verb
1. trick or deceive.
• obtain by deception.

She was named most appropriately.

Cozen Taylor has more than earned her place as one of North America’s most successful thieves. Her name is whispered amongst criminal elite as the go-to thief when someone needs a heist.

She has never failed.

A call from the Miami-based Astor family could change all that with a job that seems almost impossible to complete. The mark should be simple—a stolen family heirloom, the man who has kept it hidden for over twenty years, and six months to return the piece to its rightful owners.

Nothing is ever that easy.

Three-hundred million for a successful heist. No smart thief would turn the offer down. Cozen didn’t expect a complication like him to put a kink in her plans, though. Sargon Makri—tall, dark, gorgeous, and entirely dangerous. For her life, her heart, and for the success of the heist.

The last thing Cozen needs to be thinking about is Sargon, and how she can get him into her bed … especially when he just happens to be her mark’s bodyguard. The thrill of the job has never been more addicting to Cozen, and she will risk everything to make the heist a success.

But at what cost?

***

From author Bethany-Kris comes a whole new world. A North American network full of criminals battling to stay on top, and painting the streets red in war as they dabble in the game of betrayal. Malicious, cunning, forbidden, and violent—welcome to The Empires and Badlands.

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AUDIO EXCERPT – NARRATOR CONNOR GOFF

This is my first time listening to the narrator Connor Goff and he did a great job on this story. The plot was set up in a very intriguing manner. It had hints of a romance but it was a mystery and suspense first story.

Cozen Taylor was a renowned thief because she was basically invisible. She delivers what she promised and no one she interacted with on the heist remembered anything about her afterwards. As Cozen was considering retiring, the Astor family came with an offer that was so golden that Cozen couldn’t refuse. The job was to recover a family heirloom currently in the hands of Jett Griffin, but the Astor family wanted it back. Unfortunately for Cozen, Sargon Makri, the bodyguard to her new mark was excellent at his job as well. While getting close to Jett, Cozen was also getting close to his bodyguard Sargon and the latter one was the real deal.

Each chapter revealed a layer of the story and I found it to be a suspenseful romance. The author spent time setting up the mystery and the plot twist, but unfortunately it made the pacing slow. Cozen and Sargo’s interactions were this big game of cat and mouse and the sex scenes were quite spicy.  I would have liked more romance (not necessarily sex) in this story as well. In addition, I wish more time was spent developing the back story of the main character because it didn’t feel connect to the characters. This is a book that I would have benefitted more from listening to the last hour FIRST because my understanding and engagement would have been better.

ABOUT BETHANY-KRIS

Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to four young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.

To keep up-to-date with new releases from Bethany-Kris, sign up to her New Release Newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bf9lzD

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