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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

ARC Review: Ink & Lies by S.L. Jennings

I have to admit that when I read the blurb for Ink & Lies by S.L. Jennings, I knew I had to read this book. It just instantly drew me in, and I knew the story would be unlike anything I have ever read before. I definitely wasn't disappointed, and this book was truly unique. It almost felt like two separate stories, as the first half had a completely different feel than the second half did. While the first half was light and funny and had me laughing out loud, the second half was emotional and angsty and brought out all the feels. 

August and Fiona have been best friends for years. They have been each other's everything, yet they have never crossed the friendship line. August is an author, and he writes under the pen name Hope Hughes. He sells romance though he doesn't believe in it. But when he is forced to face some truths about his life, he quickly begins to realize that maybe he hasn't just been lying to everyone else all his life, but also to himself. 

I really struggled at times with both Fiona and August. Don't get me wrong, these two were absolutely perfect for one another. I loved their friendship, and it was clear that it went much deeper even if neither of them acknowledged it. But I really wanted to shake these two at times. I couldn't figure out how they couldn't get their acts together, and sometimes they were so hurtful to one another. I hated seeing them go through everything that they were, and it really broke my heart at times. But I also never gave up hope that these two could figure it all out, even if it wasn't happening as fast as I would have liked. 

Overall, this book was such an emotional read. It was definitely a roller coaster, and I couldn't put it down. I think that there was so much happening for these two and while they didn't always handle things the best, it did feel real and believable. While I didn't absolutely love what was happening, it did bring all the feels and was the kind of book that had me invested right from the start. I loved that this was told from the male POV though, and I think that just added to the unique experience here. I think that fans of Jennings will really enjoy this story, and those unfamiliar with her work will enjoy it as well. I am a huge fan of friends to lovers books, and this was unlike any that I have ever read before. This book is worth the read, and I look forward to more from Jennings in the future.

**ARC Provided by TRSOR Promotions**

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

Sealed With a Kiss Event with Elizabeth Michels

Elizabeth Michels is an award-winning author of Regency Romance, including the Tricks of the Ton series and the Spare Heirs series. Elizabeth was raised in South Carolina and attended Park University in Missouri. After graduating Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Interior Design, she settled in a lake-side town in North Carolina and began writing romance novels. When she is not creating plots and concocting characters, she is caring for her husband and little boy. Elizabeth Michels is a lover of happily-ever-afters in real life and in books. She invites you to read her stories, get lost, and enjoy.

ARC Review: Betting On The Wrong Brother by Cathryn Fox

This is a cute, easy, quick, fun read with some good humorous moments sprinkled throughout. For all you hardcore contemporary romance readers, this is the book for you. If you're like me and you're more of a erotic romance fan, this is going to be a little too sweet and too light weight for you but its nice to mix that in to your reading diet every now and again.

The premise of the book was sort of unique and interesting. Andi thinks that Ryan is his brother. Andi had a really really bad experience with the brother, Nolan, so of course she sets out to punish Ryan...because she thinks he's Nolan. Andi hatches one plan which is cute and funny but doesn't really punish Ryan because he's such a good sport. She then comes up with another plan that is totally ill advised and which completely backfires. The backfiring, however, is a good thing for both Andi and Ryan. It starts them on the path to what is supposed to be a one week strictly after dark agreement but quickly becomes a really sweet romance. Andi thinks there's no way the week s going anywhere because she is still holding a grudge against the person she thinks Ryan is. Ryan thinks it can't go anywhere because he doesn't believe in HEA. Also, Ryan figures out that Andi thinks he's his brother but keeps failing to mention it and you just know that isn't going to end well. Toss in some really cute/creative dates, a little bit of steam and the intrigue of Andi being a romance writer in the book, and you have the story here.

I don't have that much to say in the way of commentary. The book was predictable but not in a bad way, it was just very a good friend. There is great development of the feelings between Ryan and Andi. I guarantee you will be rooting for their romance before it's over. The book moves at a good pace, despite being able to guess the end from the beginning, I never felt bored. I like Andi as a character and I really liked the fact that she used to be chunky. I thought that was an interesting twist. The only thing that I found kind of annoying was Ryan's failure to tell Andi who he really was. I just couldn't make any sense out of it. Still, I recommend this book for those of you who like your sweet romances with a side of sex.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

Monday, February 8, 2016

ARC Review: The Deepest Well by Juliette Cross

The Deepest Well is supernatural tale that starts in historical London about 200 years ago. The action travels to several places, including an alternate plane of existence, possibly hell, skips forward in time, and even includes a stop in New Orleans. I was expecting a paranormal/historical novel, but I got a bit more.

Lady Katherine Blakely and Lord George Draconis meet at a party. It was one of those intense attraction-at-first-sight meetings. There are two problems. Katherine is married and George is a demon slayer. Katherine's husband is a monster, figuratively only, so George can't slay him. In a time when husbands control everything, women have no rights and divorce is practically unheard of, there is little Katherine can do. But George plans to do everything he can to get Katherine into his arms.

When everything George can do entails going up against some of the most powerful demons to save Katherine, desperation and hope are constantly battling each other. Both Katherine and George experience these extremes. One will succumb to desperation and the other will force hope to win out.

Katherine is not a well developed character. She is beautiful and rich. So what. I could not empathize with her despite the fact that her husband was less than ideal. So when she got into real trouble, I had a hard time feeling her pain. I think my main issue with Katherine is that she seem to have no real purpose in life. Other than to be George's love interest.

On the other hand, George is the great dragon slayer (really). His life has purpose. To protect the world from demons is a noble cause. Saving Katherine is just another task in his daily routine. Okay, maybe she is a bit more than just another task. What I am getting at is, George is a nicely developed character that I could root for. So when his love was in trouble I ached for him.

The first two thirds of this book seemed to drag for me. I blame that on my lack of interest in Katherine. But the last part of the book was just the opposite. It felt extremely rushed. In that time, Katherine goes through some key psychological changes and she gets some purpose in her life. In short, she becomes a more interesting character. However, the path to those changes is very short. You don't get much detail. It felt like a few chapters got left out. This could have been the best part of the book, but it fell short.

Despite my complaints, The Deepest Well is a good story. I see The Age of Gray series as having a good deal of potential, what with all the fighting of demons leading up to an apocalyptic battle at the end of The Deepest Well. With any luck, subsequent books in the series will have many characters with depth and purpose.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

ARC Review: Bait & Switch by Kendall Ryan

Bait & Switch is the first book in Kendall Ryan's new Alphas Undone series. This book is a standalone story, as book two will feature a different couple. I will tell you that this book will not be for everyone, and while I wish I could really go into detail here it would be impossible to do so without spoiling anything. So what I will tell you is that this book does feature one guy and two girls, though it is not what I would call a love triangle and technically there is no cheating. While that is the case, I know that there are some readers who will still be hesitant to read this book. I have to say that to me though, it is definitely worth taking the chance on and I think if you go in blind with an open mind that most will enjoy this story a lot. 

Former Navy SEAL Nolan doesn't do love. He only does casual and makes it known from the start that he is incapable of anything more and that he isn't exclusive. But things begin to get complicated for him when he has two women in his life that start to mean something to him. One is the girl that he has known for awhile. She fulfills a side of himself that he hasn't found with anyone else. She likes things rough and on the wicked side, and she knows the score better than anyone. The other is sweet and innocent and brings Nolan light in a world that hasn't seen much of that. But when he finds himself feeling things he never has before, he knows that things are about to change and that terrifies him more than anything.

I really liked Nolan and his heroine. I won't name any names here, as I really don't want readers to know much. (trust me it is better that way!) Nolan had seen a lot, and he had been coping by keeping himself locked down. He had been unable to really open himself up, and because of that he found himself lost in two different girls. Much of this story is really about him coming to terms with several things, both internal and external, and I really enjoyed seeing the progress he made. It was clear that he had a lot going on in his mind, and I liked that we got his POV as well as the heroine's. While it was hard to see the two sides of his life at times, it wasn't what I would really consider a love triangle since things were clear from the start. 

Overall this was a really good story. I liked the characters and the story was definitely different. This isn't your typical romance and it was refreshing to experience something so unique. There were a few times that I had some issues with things happening, but that is all that kept this one from being a five star read for me. Those were more personal things though, and I think that I was having a hard time with the situation being what it was. Again totally up front here, but I felt so invested in the characters and such a connection with the heroine that it was hard at times for me to separate my feelings even knowing that she knew the situation. But I think that just shows how much I felt here, because I was that invested in the story that it was able to affect me as much as it did. I really liked the story and this is definitely one of my favorites from Kendall Ryan to date. I honestly can't wait for the next book in the series which will feature Nolan's friend Grey. I think that there is a ton beneath the surface with him, and I am so looking forward to reading it!

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

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