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Friday, July 31, 2015

ARC Review: Exposing Justice by Misty Evans and Adrienne Giordano

Exposing Justice is a part of a series but each part of the series is a standalone that focuses on members of the Justice Team. When the book begins, Brice/Hawk, the Hero in the story is not quite a member of the Justice Team but as the book progresses he gets sucked in. Just in case you're like me and you started the series here, from what I can glean, the Justice Team is a group of men who investigate high level conspiracies and crimes. The issues in which the Justice Team involves itself are those that our elected officials pass on because they tend to be a direct or indirect part of the wrongdoing. And now you're up to speed.

Hope is the female lead in this story. She works in the office of public information for the US Supreme Court and receives a call from Brice about what could be a conspiracy to murder the Chief Justice of the High Court. As the story progresses, Hope goes from trying to prevent Brice from running a story about the alleged conspiracy on his investigative blog to being wild attracted to Brice and his partner in hunting for the truth of what happened to the Justice.

I was intrigued by the set up for this story. The opening scene is gripping and pulls you right in. At the beginning it feels like this is going to be a high level conspiracy theory type of read. But as the book goes on, the story loses steam instead of gaining steam. The suspense drags a bit because there aren't enough revelations close enough in time. At some points it feels like the suspense side of things is just a throw in to provide context for the relationship between Hope and Brice....Which brings me to my next point.

I didn't feel the chemistry between Hope and Brice. I got that Brice wanted Hope because she was hot but I didn't get a sense of what drew him to her beyond that. In fact, Brice seemed totally cynical about Hope's entire optimistic outlook on life. Now maybe he was cynical and yet drawn to it because he needed some "hope" in his life (see what I did there?). I dunno if that's true or not, it wasn't clearly depicted in the story line.

And then there was Hope, I jusssst didn't like her. She is supposed to be smart but she does some stupid stuff. For example, the whole bridge investigation in the middle of the night. I was just staring at my Kindle going 'but why though?' And then I know this is petty but Hope's semi narcolepsy and consequent snoring was just not doing anything positive for me. Finally, Hope kept saying stuff that annoyed the sh!t out of me like "wowser." And she also referred to her attraction to Brice as her inner Hormona. Get it, like hormones...I HATED that. And that's all I have to say about that.

Also sex, there wasn't enough and it took too long to get there.

One side note: I didn't get why Toni Gerard was thrown into the investigation plot. I thought he stole some scenes that should have been just Hope and Brice.

So at the end of the day, this was a well written book that had a good premise and a strong beginning but didn't carry the day in terms of romance or suspense. I've read reviews that suggest the other books in this series are good and that this may not be the strongest representation of the series. I believe that. These authors are good enough that I would give them another chance.

**ARC provided by Authors**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes

Feature and Giveaway: Exposing Justice by Misty Evans & Adrienne Giordano

Fans of the Justice Team Series will love this action-packed third installment!

As a Public Information officer for the US Supreme Court, idealist Hope Denby knows how to spin a story. A journalist at heart, she loves being in the middle of a juicy scoop and has her sights set on future Press Secretary for the White House. When the Supreme Court Chief Justice is accidentally killed in a road rage accident, and a high-profile conspiracy blogger claims it was premeditated murder, Hope has to shut down the paranoid blogger—which should be a slam dunk until she discovers he’s not as crazy as she thought and she has more in common with the secretive, hard-hitting investigator then she’d like to admit.

Cyber resistance against government corruption isn’t just a theory for Brice Brennan on his blog, The First Amendment Patriot. As a former ATF agent who blew the whistle on his superiors, he’s no stranger to government cover-ups and scandals. An anonymous tip on the Chief Justice’s death sends him searching for answers. What he finds is a sexy, young idealist about to blow his private, behind-the-scenes world to pieces.

Brice and Hope couldn’t be more opposite, but exposing justice makes them partners—and puts them on the track of a ruthless killer. As their investigation takes them into the dark underbelly of Washington politics and murder-for-hire, it also takes them into the bedroom where passion erupts and emotional walls crumble. But when the killer makes an attempt on Hope’s life, will Brice be able to keep her safe? Or will blowing the whistle on corruption and greed mean losing the one person he’s allowed himself to love?

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Review: Cowboys Never Fold by Lexi Post

I was given a copy of Cowboys Never Fold by Lexi Post as part of the judging process for the National Excellence of Romance Fiction Award contest for the Erotica Category. This book was my first by Lexi Post, and I was looking forward to reading about some sexy cowboys. I have to say though that this wasn't what I was expecting at all, and I wouldn't actually classify this as an Erotic read at all. If I was going to pick a genre for this it would be Contemporary or Western with a few sexy scenes thrown in. 

When former professional poker player Kendra Lowe decides to open a new nudist resort, the problems seem to come one after the other. Kendra will do whatever it takes to make her dream happen though with the help of her group of misfit employees. When her fourth stable manager shows up, Kendra is only concerned with if he can get the job done in enough time to make the opening. But Kendra finds herself drawn to Wade Johnson though she knows that it's best for her to ignore the distraction that he is. But when a series of unfortunate events begin and threaten the resort, Kendra and Wade will do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of who is behind it. But can they also figure out what is going on between them and find a way to make it work, or will whoever is behind the events find a way to keep Wade and Kendra apart as well?

I had a very tough time connecting with these characters. It wasn't that they were unlikable or that there was anything wrong with them, but I just didn't ever feel invested in their story. I didn't really care what would happen to them, and I just couldn't relate to them. As much as I wanted to like Kendra and Wade, there didn't seem to be much depth to either of them and I just didn't understand them. They did have their hot moments together which I enjoyed, but otherwise I just didn't really feel anything for them as individuals or a couple. 

I also felt like there was so much going on here with all the different characters, and the focus was more on the resort and the issues surrounding it. I think that is part of what made it hard to ever really get behind Wade and Kendra as a couple. I felt like the focus wasn't on them, so I didn't really care what happened to them. Because of everything going on, my mind would wander and I found myself bored and losing interest. I wanted to skim just to find out what would happen in the end, rather than actually enjoying the entire story. For me this wasn't what I had thought it was going to be going in, and with everything going on, the characters and the few sexy scenes this one just didn't work for me. Unfortunately this one was a miss, but if you are looking for a western with a group of misfits and a side of romance this one might be one you want to check out.

**Review Copy Provided by NERFA**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes | 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

ARC Review: All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue by Sophie Jordan

All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue - Sophie Jordan
I’ve been waiting for “All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue” by Sophie Jordan since I read “A Good Debutante’s Guide to Ruin” which is the first in the “Debutante” series. I really enjoyed that book and I was instantly hooked on Lady Aurelia and on Max, Viscount Camden. I could not wait for their story. Sometimes anticipating a story is not the greatest because it can lead to disappointment but I’m glad to say that “All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue” was fantastic. I was completely engrossed in the story and loved reading Lady Aurelie and Max’s story.

Although this is part of a series it can easily be read as a standalone. I read the previous book in the story so I knew about the every present feud between Max and Aurelie, however anyone that has not read the previous book won’t have any issues (although I really enjoyed that story too).

Jordan starts off when Lady Aurelie was fifteen and she falls in love with Max. She also explains clearly how their friendship broke apart. Since that fateful day when Lady Aurelie’s heart was broken her and Max became enemies and spent their time together arguing. This causes some friction in their lives because Max is Lady Aurelie brother’s best friend and is considered part of their family. When Max and Lady Aurelie meet up at a dinner party they continue to bicker but things quickly change for Lady Aurelie when her brother, Will, and his wife (Violet) announce that they will be having a baby. Although Aurelie never worried about marrying before she realizes that she will either have to marry or move to Scotland with her aunt and mom, neither option is appealing to her. She realizes she can no longer continue to live with her brother and his wife.

Max immediately notices the change in Lady Aurelie’s attitude and he is not happy that she is looking for a husband, but he doesn’t want to fill the position. Max knows Aurelie and he knows her very well. He knows what she really likes and her deepest secrets. Max is determined to keep Aurelie in line but he is not able to keep himself in line. When she visits a notorious pleasure club he goes running after her to protect her. Max was an interesting character. He was through and through a rogue.

Once I started this book I could not put it down and was completely engrossed. I loved the tension between Max and Aurelie. Their verbal barbs were fantastic. My heart really went out to Aurelie. She was really stuck because she wanted to be free and do as she pleased but she really couldn’t because she was a women. Even when it seems that things are going badly for her she never backs down. Finally, I loved the angst between these two characters so much. I had tears in my eyes because they seemed determined to make each other miserable even though they really loved each other. I thought the dialogue was funny and witty. Not to mention that I cannot wait to see what Jordan does with Struan Mackenzie. He was a great challenger to Max for Aurelie’s hand. Book’s like this are why I love to read and why I love historical romance. I could not recommend it more!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

ARC Review: Inside Game by Collette West

Inside Game is the newest book in Collette West's New York Kings series. This book like the rest are all standalones, and it isn't necessary to read them in order though I would recommend it. I have really enjoyed this series so far, and each book seems to be better than the previous. I really thought that I might have some issues with Drake here though after reading the previous books since he was such a cocky jerk. I have to say though that I liked him instantly here, and he might even be my favorite of the series! 

When the bad boy of the New York Kings baseball team, Drake Schultz, gets suspended for taking performance enhancing drugs, the team lets him know that he has no choice but to clean up his act. In order to not lose his contract with the team, he reluctantly agrees to work with a sober companion to get and stay clean. Eva Sloane has always been a fan of Drake's, but as her first celebrity client she knows she has to tread carefully. After losing her friend to addiction, she is determined to get Drake the help he needs. But as Eva gets to know Drake, she finds herself drawn to him as more than just a client. But in order to get him to face his past, she has to find the balance between getting close to him and remaining professional all while keeping herself from becoming his newest drug of choice. 

I really liked Drake and Eva. Drake was so much more than the facade that he showed to everyone, and I knew for him to be the way he was there had to be a lot beneath the surface. I never expected for his story to be what it was though, and it was clear to see why he had become the man he was. I felt so badly for him, and yet I was so glad that he had Eva to help him. She understood where he was coming from having had some experience with coming from a similar background. Eva was able to reach Drake when no one else could, and I loved her approach to getting him to open up. She was supportive and encouraging, but she knew her limits when it came to how hard to push him. She was smart and positive, and was the perfect match for Drake. These two also had really great chemistry, and they felt so natural together. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. There were some parts that were a bit frustrating to get through, and there were times that I definitely didn't like Drake's actions. But I really thought that this story was a great one and Evan and Drake were some of my favorites from this series. I thought that these two had great communication, which is really rare to see. I loved that they could be honest with each other and were able to confide in one another. It was really refreshing to see Drake make such positive changes, and I liked seeing the progress that he made as he faced his past. I would definitely recommend this series, but especially this book. Drake and Eva were really special, and I think that their book is definitely worth the read. I look forward to reading more from Collette West.

**ARC Provided by IndieSage PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository | iTunes