Sunday, April 30, 2017

Review: Out of Bounds by Hazel Kelly

Title: Out of Bounds
Author: Hazel Kelly
Genre/Age: Contemporary Romance/NA
Series: Soulmates Series (Book Five)
Publisher: Self-published
Format: ebook via Author
Rating: ✺✺✺
SynopsisI thought he was joking when he asked me out. 

It was only after I laughed in his face that I realized he was serious.

But what was I supposed to do? It was my first day of high school, and I was already on the verge of a breakdown. The last thing I was prepared for was attention from boys like him… Popular boys with wide smiles and sparkly eyes and hair worthy of its own magazine spread.

I’d always been invisible to guys like that.

But the moment was fleeting, and as soon as I laughed at him, I went back to being invisible... as did the debilitating crush I had on him.

Looking back, though, that split second probably altered the course of my whole life.

The inappropriate, relentless feelings I had for him gave me insight into the angst and unrequited love that featured time and time again in the books I loved most, books that always seemed to be about people who were forced to hide their deepest desires.

I loved stories and words before that moment, but when Luke Hudson looked at me like I was the only girl in the room, everything changed. It made me feel like my life was a story, a story worth telling.

Of course, like all the most interesting fantasies, mine had to be kept secret, so I distracted myself by studying and sharing the stories of others.

But I never stopped wondering what would happen if I turned the page on my own.

I didn’t dare, though, because I knew there were only two ways in which the most wonderful love stories could end: ecstatic happiness or pitiless tragedy.

And I wasn’t sure I could handle either of them. So I kept my curious feelings to myself and did my best to keep Luke in the dark.

But like all athletes, his persistence was hard to compete with, and it seemed no matter where I tried to hide, he’d always come find me…and turn the light on.

**Authors note: This standalone romantic comedy contains no cliffhanger, no cheating, and an ending that will leave you smiling so hard it hurts.

**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book.**

This could be my favorite of the Soulmates Series, yet!

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If you follow my blog, you've seen that I have reviewed and loved this series. Every. Single. One of them. Hazel Kelly was one of my top favorite authors of 2016 and I'm happy to say that she's on the fast track to winning that award this year, too.

Rosie is excited to start college even if she does have a few lingering regrets following her onto campus. And the biggest one is a handsome football player who she rejected without realizing it. The mistake has plagued her ever since. But when her professor suggests that she interview an athlete for her journalism paper, she sees an opportunity in waiting.

Luke can't agree to Rosie's request fast enough. He's been looking for a way to get closer to her ever since she laughed in his face when he asked her out. Sure, they had been kids and he should have gotten over it by now. Gotten over her. But he hasn't and he doesn't really want to. He wants to make Rosie his and demanding she go to dinner with him in exchange for the interview just might be his way in.

While Rosie knows it isn't a good idea to mix schoolwork with pleasure, it isn't long before she finds herself falling right into Luke's waiting arms. With little regret and a smile on her face, too. However, nothing is ever this easy and both Luke and Rosie have troubles they have to overcome before either of them will be in any position to turn their fling into something else. Something long-lasting. What they both really want.

Oh, how I simply loved this book. Let me count the ways...

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Rosie was adorable yet had a feisty side to her that I could admire. She knows she's different from the average girl but doesn't let that convince her that she isn't as worthy as the rest. She knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go after it. I love a strong heroine who is independent but appreciates the partnership that being with a man can bring. Strong women are even stronger with the right man.

And Luke sure was the right man. For anyone. I mean, I could have fallen in love with this guy. I just might have. Don't judge me. He was such a layered yet completely relatable character. The bearer of a lot of burden whose success could make or break the future of his family. That's a lot to take on for a young man but he does it without question. He's loyal, thoughtful, affectionate, and downright hilarious. Such a great combination.

Speaking of combos, Luke and Rosie were quite the pair. Their chemistry was undeniable. I loved every scene they were in together, including the flashbacks. And the romance between them was fiery hot. I'm glad I read this book while alone because I might have needed to fan myself a few times. But it wasn't just sex. These two characters really defined the Soulmates Series. They were perfect together and entirely complimentary of each other. I just loved them as a couple.

I also love the fact that Hazel Kelly's stories never feel forced or contrived. There isn't unnecessary or unrealistic conflict thrown at our couples like I've found in a lot of books I read. Don't worry; there are still problems for the couple to work through. But this book didn't follow the typical romance novel formula. For that, I'm so very grateful. It's always a breath of fresh air to read one of these books and Hazel Kelly has yet to prove me wrong!

In closing...
I hope this series never ends! Five absolutely-fan-fucking-tastic suns!

Related Reviews:

Monthly Wrap-Up ~ April 2017

See ya April! I will go over the books I've read, reviewed, received, and other miscellaneous tidbits related to the month! Let's do this!

 I won several prizes from The Romance Reviews anniversary event, including ebook copies and a $25 gift card! Thank you to the authors and The Romance Reviews for hosting the giveaways!
~  I won a $10 gift card from The Ghost in Exile tour with Jamie Marchant! Thank you to the author, and Goddess Fish Promotions for hosting the tour and giveaway!
~  I received my April box from Romance Reveal Book Box (link on left side of the page!). Photo of the contents below.

Romance Reveal Book Box for April:

Blue = Reviewed (with links), Black = To-Review/Upcoming/No Review

A Study in Scoundrels - Christy Carlyle
A Perfect Gentleman - Candace Camp
Banker, The - Piper Rayne
Beauty and the Book Boyfriend - K.M. Galvin
Buns - Alice Clayton
Bewitching the Vampire - Carrie Pulkinen
Claimed by Power - Zoey Ellis
Dangerous Rock - Crystal Kaswell
Daring Proposal - Jeanne St. James
Friend Zoned - Wren Michaels
Highwayman's Proposal, The - Vanessa Liebe
His Mafia Princess - April Zyon
Kiss of the Silver Wolf - Sharon Buchbinder
Lady and the Space Tramp - J.M. Page
Librarian and the Spy, The - Susan Mann
Mistakes, The - Elizabeth Brown
Nine Minutes Past Midnight - Lena de Savoie
Only A Mistress Will Do - Jenna Jaxon
Only A Viscount Will Do - Tamara Gill
One Last Risk - Nancy Stopper
Playing Dirty - Kait Gamble
Rising for Autumn - Katherine McIntyre
Sold to the Berserkers - Lee Savino
Something Borrowed - Eve Dangerfield
Spy Makes Three, The - Remi Bond
To Betray My King - Kayla Lavan
Woman of the House - Abby Angel

Total Books Read = 27
Total Reviewed = 25

Few of My Favorite Reads:

In addition to the books above, the following have been received, bought, or approved for future reviews/tours:

For Upcoming Tours


NetGalley, Edelweiss, Reading Alley & The Romance Reviews Approved


Bought, Library, Review for Author/Publisher/TourCompanies, & KindleUnlimited


Videos Added to the Site:

Video #2: Review Policies & Forms 

Video #3: Where to Find Books & Content (Part 1)
- Places to Find Free Books

Video #4: Where to Find Books & Content (Part 2)
- Blog Tours & Other Content
- Using Review Templates

Video #4: Organization
- Step-by-Step Process for Inputting/Clearing Review Books
- Database Creation & Navigation
***Sorry that the mouse clicks are so loud. I'll try to adjust that for the next video!***

How was this month for you?
How many books did you get to?
Any favorites?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Mini Reviews ~ April 2017

Sometimes, I don't have the time or inclination to do a full review for a title. This will typically apply to books that are short stories, part of a mini-series, some novellas, etc. Instead of abandoning these reviews, I will be giving mini reviews. Check them out!

Title: Sold to the Berserkers
Author: Lee Savino
Genre/Age: Paranormal/Erotica
Series: Berserker Saga (Book One)
Publisher: Silverwood Press
Format: ebook via KindleUnlimited
Rating: ✺✺✺.5
Review: This is the first part of what appears to be a continuous series featuring the same characters. Each book is novella-length from what I can tell. It is paranormal themed with shifter-type creatures. A woman, who was attacked as a child and left unable to speak, is sold to a pair of mysterious beastly men with highly erotic preferences. 

I wouldn't necessarily categorize this as a romance, however. It's a lot more erotica than anything else. There isn't enough story here, yet, for any of the characters to really form a romantic bond. It could definitely happen in future books but right now it's mostly a scared young woman being groomed by her captors. 

However, that doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy it for what it was. There was a certain level of suspense throughout the entire story and a lot of erotic moments. This particular novella was repetitive, at times, so I hope to see more variety in the storyline in future installments. 

Title: The Spy Makes Three
Author: Remi Bond
Genre/Age: Romance/Erotica
Series: None
Publisher: Octave Publishing
Format: ebook via KindleUnlimited
Rating: ✺✺✺.5
Review: This is an erotica book of the menage variety. A man and woman with relationship history come together for a night of naughty fun and run into a man from their past, who they both have desired. Trouble is, this man is on the run from some scary guys. Playtime will have to wait until the threat is over.

I breezed through this novella which was full of action and suspense. I actually think that the heavy spy theme took away from the erotica, at times, but that's just me. I prefer my romance to be the center of the action. There was an emotional angle here, as well, since the characters all had history with each other. 

The love scenes were pretty good but I do wish there had been more of them. The moment the threesome begin to interact, we're thrust into the future and everything starts to wrap up. But the ending is nice, though. I would read more from this author.

Title: Woman of the House
Author: Abby Angel
Genre/Age: Romance/Erotica
Series: None
Publisher: Naughty Angel Publishing
Format: ebook via KindleUnlimited
Rating: ✺
ReviewThis book needs to be immediately unpublished until proper editing can be performed. I read/review all sorts of books, including ARC/galley copies, and even the majority of books that have come to me in the earlier stages of the publishing process haven't had this many blunders.

It doesn't matter how great the characters are, how spicy the sex is, or how captivating the storyline. If the characters are being called the wrong names throughout the entire book, it is unacceptable for a published title. If I have to stop and go back to figure out whose POV I'm supposed to be reading from so I can decipher just whose name the author meant to use, I cannot enjoy the book. It completely ruins the story for me. And who in the world is Derek? Another name fumble who isn't even a character in the book!

As for the rest of it, it's hard to rate this one. The first few chapters made me roll my eyes so many times. I know it's fiction and I'm fine with completely unrealistic storylines. But do the characters have to brag on themselves for an entire chapter before doing or saying anything? Is this a requirement? I am interested in other titles by this author but I'm now afraid to read them. 

I hope this book gets the attention it deserves or is taken off the market until it can because the premise is actually interesting and the sex is extremely entertaining. It's a shame that this book was rushed to publish and the editing (or lack thereof) totally put a damper on my reading experience.

Title: Lady and the Space Tramp
Author: J.M. Page
Genre/Age: Sci Fi Romance/Adult
Series: Star-crossed Tales (Book Five)
Publisher: Self-published
Format: ebook via KindleUnlimited
Rating: ✺✺✺
Review: An interstellar criminal meets his match in an earthling woman.

I've been in the mood for alien romances, lately. So when I saw this one on the KU Challenge for April, I immediately sent it to my Kindle. This is a novella about a dating agency's attempt to mate a woman from earth and an alien fugitive. It's a fast-paced adventure with space traveling, betrayal, and a couple who are complete opposites yet perfect for one another.

This is a clean read and I must say that I'm not used to reading a sci-fi romance without at least one really steamy scene of alien sex. There were some pretty spicy kisses, though. So it wasn't entirely without an aspect of intimacy. I'm intrigued enough by this novella to give another one a go.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Book Blitz: Historical Romances from Lyrical Press

Title: Foolish Bride
Author: A.S. Fenichel
Genre/Age: Historical Romance/Adult
Series: Forever Brides Series (Book Two)
Publisher: Lyrical Press
SynopsisSadly ever after . . . unless some dreams really do come true?

Elinor Burkenstock never believed in fairy tales. Sure, she’s always been a fool for love—what woman isn’t? But Elinor knows the difference between fiction and truth. Daydreams and reality. True love and false promises. . . . Until the unthinkable happens, and Elinor’s engagement is suddenly terminated and no one, least of all her fiancĂ©, will tell her why.

Sir Michael Rollins’s war-hero days seem far behind him when, after one last hurrah before his wedding, he gets shot and his injuries leave him in dire shape. He wants nothing more than to marry Elinor, the woman of his wildest dreams. But Elinor’s father forbids it . . . and soon Michael is faced with a desperate choice: Spare Elinor a life with a broken man or risk everything to win her heart—until death do they part?

Title: Knight Secrets
Author: C.C. Wiley
Genre/Age: Historical Romance/Adult
Series: Knights of the Swan Series (Book One)
Publisher: Lyrical Press
SynopsisSworn to protect the crown, a Knight of the Swan must never surrender—not even to love . . .

England, 1415. Ordered never to leave the lonely tower on her family estate, Lady Clarice Margrave is suddenly set free when her home is plundered. Now she is determined to discover the truth behind her father’s alleged treason. But an act of daring only propels her into a new prison, with the very knight who destroyed her home as her keeper. Sir Ranulf, Lord of Sedgewic, is ruthless in his inquisition, though there is a searing tenderness in his touch. Is it possible her bold jailor is the Red Wolf of whom her father spoke—and the one man she might be able to trust?

As a knight, Ranulf never questions his troth, but his beautiful prisoner stirs his heart and mind like no other. Clarice is achingly vulnerable—and extremely closed-mouth about her possible ties to the plot against the king. Duty demands he keep his distance, though he yearns to take her to his bed and adore her until he discovers what lies within her heart. And he would—if he weren’t in danger of losing his own...

Knight Secrets

His skin itched, recalling the feel of her curvaceous hips as he dropped her into the bed. Memories of hidden shapes, hips, and but- tocks flashed before him. Ranulf squinted at the maiden. Correction: make that woman, you fool.

His blood sizzled with the memories of accidentally brushing against curves that should not be on one fresh from the nursery.

Thanks to the pressure in his breeches, he rose on unsteady legs. “I—ah—believe you will have to tend to the binding after all.” He moved from the bed and brushed against a tattered piece of embroi- dery. Picking it up, he smoothed out the stiffened fabric, bloodied from the wound it had staunched earlier. The bits of thread formed a design he had seen before. What were they?

Frowning, he tucked the discarded bit of satin under his belt and turned for the door. “I’ll have Erwina return with a bite of food for you.”

“Wait!” she pleaded. “You . . . you cannot mean to keep me here.”

Ranulf stopped, his hand resting on the latch. Unwilling to let go of the door, he looked over his shoulder.

In her effort to sit up, the fur had slipped to reveal the gentle slope of creamy skin. ’Twas all he could do to keep from returning to her side and press a kiss to the nape of her neck. His resolve firmly in place, he looked closely at his captive. He could not ignore the truth. No longer was the patient a mere innocent. This woman, lying so invitingly in his bed, played a game of deception. And uncovering deception was what he did best.

C.C. Wiley is a longstanding member of the Romance Writers of America, and a published author with Samhain Publishing. She lives in Salt Lake City with her high school sweetheart of over 35 years and their four wacky dogs. When given a choice, she prefers a yummy, well-written, historical or contemporary romance that is chock-full of hope, love and a Happy Ever After. She believes there are wonderful courageous characters waiting for someone to tell their story. It's her hope that each adventurous romance she writes will touch the reader and carry them away to another place and time, where hopes and dreams abound.

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A.S. Fenichel adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story. Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey. She now lives in the southwest with her real life hero, her wonderful husband. When she is not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history and puttering in her garden.

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