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Monday, May 4, 2015

ARC Review: Across the Distance by Marie Meyer

I went into Across the Distance by Marie Meyer almost blind. I knew it was a friends to lovers romance, but I didn't know much more than that. I found myself sucked right into the story and read it in one sitting. I enjoyed this story a lot, and I loved the relationship between Griffin and Jillian. I will definitely be looking for more from Marie Meyer in the future. 

Jillian has been friends with Griffin since they were kids. Over the years her feelings for him changed from just friendship to wanting more. But when she made a move and kissed him, he pushed her away. Rather than lose him, she went back to just being friends and tried to bury her feelings for him. But when she heads to design school thousands of miles away, they are separated for the first time and she feels him slipping away. As his band takes off and their popularity increases as well as the distance between them, she begins to talk to him less and finds her past demons resurfacing. But when Jillian and Griffin do get to see each other and talk to one another, she finds herself wondering if maybe he is beginning to feel the same way for her. 

I really liked Jillian and Griffin. I was worried that this was just going to be another NA story that used 9/11 to garner sympathy for a main character and that the story would spend too much time on that. I was pleasantly surprised though that while that did affect Jillian, it wasn't a huge factor in this story. Jillian had struggled with losing her parents so young and how it changed her relationship with her sister. Jillian's sister was unlikable and she treated Jillian horribly. I was so glad that Jillian had Griffin and his family. They took her in and were always there for her. The friendship she developed with Griffin was so strong, and I really felt like these two were so fantastic for one another. They had so much love and support between them, and I liked that their relationship was always a positive one. They might have disagreed or had some issues with one another, but they never treated each other badly and it was so refreshing. Griffin was such a rock for Jillian, and he was always there for her no matter what. I will admit that Jillian needed Griffin far more than what I would think is necessary for most people, but I honestly didn't think that she was weak and it didn't really bother me. I thought that Griffin brought out the best in her and was a great source of encouragement for her to go after her dreams. He showed her that she could be strong and independent,  but that he would always be there for her even if it was by phone rather than in person. 

One of the best things about this book is the fact that it showed the growth and change between Jillian and Griffin. Things didn't happen overnight, and I really liked seeing them transition between friendship and being in a relationship. The slow build felt real and believable to me, and I really felt like it was the natural progression of things for these two. When Griffin had turned her down the first time she kissed him, he told her their timing wasn't right and that really felt true to me. It seemed like Jillian had needed the extra time to become stronger and deal with her past and pain before she could really be with Griffin. They were perfect together, and I could tell that things between them would be lasting because of all they had been through together. As much as I really loved Griffin and Jillian, I also really enjoyed the friends that Jillian made and was glad that she was able to open up to others as well as him. The one thing that I felt was missing in this story though was Griffin's POV. I really would have loved to see what he was thinking and feeling rather than just how he interacted with Jillian. I did see that Marie Meyer is releasing a book with Griffin's story, so I am hoping that we get to see more of what he was going through as well. I think if you are a YA or NA fan you will enjoy this book. If you aren't a fan of younger characters and the YA or NA genres though, this might not be for you. This book was sweet and entertaining, and I enjoyed it a lot.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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

ARC Review: Grave Phantoms by Jenn Bennett

Grave Phantoms is a paranormal story that takes place in San Francisco during America's prohibition era. It is a continuation of the Magnusson family history that has been told in Jenn Bennett's Roaring Twenties series. I did not read the first two in this series, so I can tell you that book 3 can be enjoyed on its own.

In Grave Phantoms, characters of several cultures mixing with bootleggers and academics add intelligence and grit to a novel that tells more than one tale.

There are really two story lines that get equal time in this book. The first is the paranormal mystery. It starts out when a yacht, that had been missing for a year, crashes in the Magnusson's dock. Astrid Magnusson gets caught up in the mystery of the yacht when she comes into contact with a mysterious talisman that was left behind. Bo Yeung, is the family employee that is there when some kind of dark magic attaches itself to Astrid when she touches the talisman. Astrid and Bo become involved in a centuries old secret, the knowledge of which will lead them into San Franciso's dark underground and into danger.

The second story line is the romance between Astrid and Bo. Before Astrid went off to college, Bo was her chauffeur and security guard. They were friends and then so much more. But, the Magnussens are Swedish. Very Northern European and very Caucasian. Though Bo is like a family member, he is of Chinese descent. In the 1920's, California state anti-miscegenation laws enforced racial segregation, making it extremely difficult for Astrid and Bo be together, if, in fact, that is what they want.

First, I will say, that both story lines were interesting. The paranormal line was unique, mysterious and very dark. And on the romance side, I really liked how Ms. Bennett brought out the racial obstacles, giving us another look into 1928 California.

But the separate stories did not blend well. I felt like I was reading two different books at the same time. I should know, because I do that on purpose all the time. Since the book is called Grave Phantoms, I was expecting it to be heavy on the paranormal side and would have liked there to be more emphasis on that part. Not that I did not like the romance, because I did, but really, it could have been a whole other non-paranormal novel. After the mystery of the talisman was resolved, there were three anti-climatic chapters and an epilogue to resolve all the romance complications.

Overall, I did like Grave Phantoms, though I am not interested in reading the first two books in this series. If you are one of those readers that enjoyed books 1 and 2, you will probably like book 3 also.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

Guest Post with Author Cynthia Eden and Giveaway

Meet Cynthia Eden, author of Twisted.

Award-winning author Cynthia Eden writes dark tales of paranormal romance and romantic suspense. She is a New York Times, USA Today, Digital Book World, and IndieReader best-seller.  Cynthia is also a two-time finalist for the RITA® award (she was a finalist both in the romantic suspense category and in the paranormal romance category). Since she began writing full-time in 2005, Cynthia has written over fifty novels and novellas.

Cynthia lives along the Alabama Gulf Coast. She loves romance novels, horror movies, and chocolate.  Her favorite hobbies including hiking in the mountains (searching for waterfalls) and spelunking.

ARC Review: Still Into You by Ryleigh Andrews

Still Into You is the second book in the Never Over You series by Ryleigh Andrews. These books have to be read in order, so if you haven't already read Bring Me You then you should start there and beware of possible spoilers in this review. I will warn you that these books do contain cliffhangers since Ethan and Mia's story continues from one book to the next. Though I hate waiting for more, Ryleigh Andrews is a great writer and her books are worth waiting for because they are so good!

Mia knew that she needed to work on herself and take care of her past before she could ever hope to have a future with Ethan. Though she knew she wanted to be with him, she knew it was unfair for him to stay with her while she worked on what she needed to. When she walked away from him, she broke not only his heart but also her own. But just because she knows what she needs to do, doesn't mean that she won't hit rock bottom before getting there. Mia has been running from her demons for years, and now that she has finally seen how low she can get she starts to begin the long and painful process of taking back her life. But after everything is dealt with and all the time apart, will Ethan still be around or will he have moved on?

I love these two together so much! There has never been a question in my mind of whether or not Ethan and Mia belonged together. They have had such an undeniable connection since they first met, and the chemistry and passion between them was never an issue. These two are beyond hot together, but they also have such strong feelings for one another that it makes them even more compatible. They work well together and they understand one another. Though they don't always agree on the best approach to things, their unwavering love and support for one another is unlike anything I have ever seen before. These two might have taken time apart and there might have been both physical and emotional distance between them, but they always knew what the end game was. They knew that they wanted to be together, and that unfortunately that sometimes means being apart for awhile to figure things out. I will say that it definitely wasn't easy for either of them, or for me as a reader to get through some parts of this book. My heart literally broke for them so many times, and I honestly was unsure of what would happen with this two. Their story is still far from over, but I am really glad that they are finally starting to get to where they need to be.

Mia and Ethan have been through so much and while I love them for one another, they have also put one another through a lot. I really hated how far apart they were for so much of this story, and it was especially hard to see them with other people knowing how perfect they are together. But I also know that these two have to end up together because there is no way that they have such a special relationship and don't wind up together. Ryleigh Andrews has written such beautiful yet flawed characters, and I love that they are so real. They struggle with things and make mistakes, and that makes their story so believable to me. Life is messy and things get complicated, and Ryleigh Andrews has done a great job of showing that sometimes just because you love someone doesn't mean that the timing is right. We as humans are constantly growing and evolving, and that is definitely the case with Mia and Ethan. I saw a lot of growth and change in Mia in this book, and I was so glad that she was finally starting to open up to those that she loved and to move forward with her life. This story is emotional and captivating, and I honestly cannot wait to get more of all these characters. I love Ethan and Mia, but I also really love the secondary characters and Mia's best friend Luke is one of my favorites. I am really enjoying seeing him start to move forward with his life also, and I can't wait to see what happens next for him as well. I highly recommend this series, and I really think that there is something that everyone can relate to with these characters. I will be anxiously awaiting the next book in this series, and hope that we don't have to wait too long to get more of these fantastic characters.

**ARC Provided by Between the Sheets Promotions**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |

Sunday, May 3, 2015

ARC Review: Master of Freedom by Cherise Sinclair

Book five in Cherise Sinclair’s Mountain Master & Dark Haven series. I have read Cherise Sinclair before and I enjoyed it this one just wasn’t doing it for me. Well let me rephrase that, the BDSM aspect did really impress me; probably because service submission isn’t my favorite. Everything else about the book was good I love rope play and enjoyed watching Virginia come to the slow realization and learning the difference between submission and her own personal neurosis. Atticus isn’t my favorite kind of alpha male but he is what he is and he knows his stuff and he knows he loves Virginia even if they both are not quite ready for that.

Virginia up and leaves to work as a social worker for one of the prison in the mountains of California. She wants a fresh start away from her ex-fiancé. He not only used her but cheated on her and she had enough even if it meant leaving a job she loves working with kids. Virginia comes off as very naïve, especially when it comes to sex and BDSM. He ex-fiancé convinced her it was just something they made up to sell books and is shocked and intrigued when she finds out that her new friends are all in on the scene and gets the chance to watch a Beginners BDSM weekend retreat. There she meets a man who sends shivers down her spine.

Atticus left his family home in Idaho when his little brother went to prison in California for aggravated manslaughter, drunken driving lead to an accident and his best friend died. Atticus quickly made friends with the members in the local dungeon and with his knowledge of ropes he ended up teaching on the weekend retreats. This latest one provides to be very interesting indeed.

Atticus is quickly taken with Virginia and they start up an almost vanilla relationship, Virginia calling it friends with benefits. But when Virginia starts to stress out she starts doing this for Atticus and when she realizes what she is doing, and not knowing his past breaks things off because she is afraid he would start to use her just like her ex did. Atticus forgetting that any good Dom needs to listen is angered by her excuse and leaves. It doesn’t take long before they mend things up and try working through both of their problems. The best part in my opinion is the end big finish, prison riot, prison break and Virginia is taken hostage; all very exciting.

Overall yeah I would recommend it if you are a fan of BDSM.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon |