Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year!

Wishing you 12 months of success, 52 weeks of laughter, 365 days of fun, 8760 hours of joy, 525600 minutes of good luck and 31536000 seconds of happiness.

Lauren, Nikki, and B

Lauren's Top 5 Reads of 2017

Lauren’s Top 5 Reads of 2017

#1 Black Swan Affair by KL Kreig

Where do I even begin with this book?  As a long time KL Kreig fan, I have to admit I’m ashamed that it took me this long to read this book because it is simply amazing.  Right off the bat, I knew that the twists and turns of this book would be keeping me on my toes and guessing what was going to happen next with each page turn.  I wasn’t wrong, and I am so happy for it.  I read this in a less than two hours at work so that should speak for itself right there.

Black Swan Affair isn’t the typical romance story nor it is the typical dark romance.  It’s something completely unique on its own pages.  It’s hard to explain a book like this and I think as  a reader that it would make it all the more appealing to those looking for something different. While this book might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I’m talking to the cheater/love triangle haters of the world, it wasn’t as bad as most would think.  Kreig doesn’t hide the plot line, but tells it as it is from the very beginning.  This romance story is not hearts and flowers, but a blood, sweat, and tears kind of romance.  It’s about corruption, betrayal, and the innocents that are in the cross-hairs of the bad intentions of others.  The only work that I could even think to some of this story is transcending.  It takes what we as readers know in a good/bad romance and makes it something else.  This is by far one of the best books that I have read in my many years of reading, and it’s no wonder that Black Swan Affair landed this marvelously talented author on the bestseller’s list. 

#2 Bossed by Sloane Howell

Dear Mr. Howell,
Yes, that’s right. I am writing a letter to you instead of a more traditional review. It’s unorthodox, but hey, it’s mine and I’ll write what I want to. *cue 80’s dance party music* I have been following your hilarious posts on Facebook for quite some time yet I had never picked up one of your books. I am currently kicking myself for this oversight. Like hard enough that my grandkids will feel it someday.
Color me surprised when I saw Bossed on Netgalley a few weeks back.  I thought, “Now is my chance to give your books a try.”  I requested and shortly had it in my hands. The suspense of what its digital pages killed me enough that I snuck off into a quiet place at work and devoured every fucking word.  Your characters were charming and exhausting, but the humor is what hooked me. Well, that is until the ending broke my “non-emotional” flood gates.

Jenny became my spirit animal.

Like her, I struggled with my father’s illness and balancing my work life.  Reading her fictional plight took me back to those long days of work and going to my parent’s house or the hospital to relive whoever had the day shift with Dad.  That part. That amazingly emotional part of this story is what made me love this book.  The humor, the angst, and the romance were all side boos to Jenny and her dad.  Her story is so similar to countless others in real life right now.  

Bossed is by far one of the best books I have ever read even if part of the plot line revolved around baseball. Sorry, but I’m a football girl at heart.  My next letter will be a two-part apology for that and my love of pineapple on pizza. 

To summarize this long-winded semi-review. Buy this book. You will not regret it.  Just like I don’t regret ordering that Hawaiian pizza right now. 

#3 Sexy Six by Ahren Sanders

An another story in the Bennett Brothers world? YES, PLEASE!

After falling in love and heart ache with Hotshot that Ms. Sanders had me at ARC even as much as I cried while reading it.  It gave me a rare case of the feels. 


Sexy Six is just that. I devoured this second chance romance book.  Where Hotshot had angst, Sexy Six had action. Well, it honestly had everything except Sasha, but I digress.  Nick and Grace’s story is filled with ups, downs, and in-betweens.  The chemistry between these two characters are off the charts and you can’t help, but fall in love with them.  Grace’s grandfather is a hoot, and the humor between the characters just sucked me in more.  I will say Shaw and Bizzy fans will get their lips wet on seeing their favorite couple again.

Sanders has a gift for writing complex characters in an even more complex world.  She sucks you in from the first page and leaves you with such a book hangover that you want to re-read it immediately. That being said, when do I get Mathis and Claire,  because, well, I need it now. 

#4 Bound by Family by Ryan Michele



Okay… now that I have that out of the way.

Cooper Cruz as grown up and hot diggity daffodil is he just like his alpha male brooding father.  Cruz and Princess raised a fine man of Ravage MC stock.  Cooper is tough as nails, and loyal to the end when it comes to his club and his brothers.  He was built for  being a member of the club from the day he was born.  It’s so funny seeing him from such a young age in Cruz and Princess’ story to now.  He’s no longer a child, but a man seeking to make his mark on the Ravage world while making his dad and grandfather proud.  The one downside to Cooper?  He doesn’t care one lick about claiming an ol’ lady. That is… until one flooded laundromat puts the perfect woman right in front of him.

Bristyl is a spit-fire of a woman.  Having been raised inside of her father’s MC, she’s tough on the inside and the outside.   Never really belonging to the club as a woman, she faces the most scrutiny from her father and brothers. She takes her chance at striking out for a bit of freedom, but even that lands her in hot water… with Cooper. As she struggles to find her own footing in the male dominated MC world, she can’t shake him from her head.  With her father and brothers, she lives the life of a bird in a gilded cage. With Cooper, she feels her first since of freedom. That is until the status quo changes, and she is shoved into the middle of a multi-club controversy. 

Things are never easy in the MC world, but Michele makes us love each and every one of her characters more than the book before it.  With seeing Cooper as an adult, I fell in love with him so much more than I did when he was little.  I am stoked beyond belief to get to read about the next generation of Ravage MC-ers in this new series.  Let’s ride into the next book soon!

#5 Lost Rider by Harper Sloan

Have you ever picked up a book and just known you were going to love it?  No? Yes?  Well, Lost Rider was just that type of book for me.  I’ve been a fan of Ms. Harper’s work for quite a while now so this was an instant one-click for me.  From the moment a pie flew into Maverick’s face, I was hooked.  Sloan as this ability to weave in humor to heartfelt and emotional scenes in her books.  Lost Rider is no different.  It’s underlying dark tones of the Davis Family closet of skeletons is perfectly balanced with the light humor throughout the book. 

Just like Leighton, I was head over boots for Maverick. Even though he made a misguided young man move before getting out of dodge, his heart was always back in Texas with her.  No matter how hard he tried to ride away his feelings for her.  And, the same went for Leighton. Love has a funny way of enduring the most painful words and long distances when it’s real, true love.  It’s stories like these that give anyone hope that someday lost love will come back to us. 

Lost Rider is a heartfelt, emotional ride on the back of the world’s largest and meanest bull.  Sure the bumps and bucks are hard to get through, but at the end of that eight seconds ride, it’s all worth the pain.  Perfect start to an amazing series to come. 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Review: Dirty Together (Dirty Billionaire #3) by Meghan March

Publication Date:
Series: 3
Rating: 5 stars

Official Blurb:
My wife.
I love saying those words.
She’s mine, and if she thinks I’m going to let her run without tracking her down and bringing her back to where she belongs—with me—then she’s about to be introduced to a new reality.
Because I’ll fight dirty to give her the happily ever after she deserves.

Dirty Together by Meghan March was a great book for the ending of the Dirty Billionaire Trilogy. I enjoyed this book so much, and I didn’t want it to end. From start to finish, I was sucked in the world of Holly and Creighton. Trust me when I say I swooned so much and Creighton just made me fall in love with him over and over again. I will like to point out that I was so happy Holly changed in this one. Seeing where she started from book one to the last book made the story so much better, and I’m so sad to see the end of this couple. I would recommend checking this one out, and I can’t wait to see what Meghan March writes next.

Review: Dirty Pleasures (Dirty Billionaire #2) by Meghan March

Publication Date: December 29th, 2015
Series: 2
Rating: 4 stars

Official Blurb:
I did it. I married a billionaire.
My reasons are my own, but the last thing I expected was to feel owned.
I may have taken vows, but I’m still determined to be me.
Now his rules are taking over my world, but I’m not the kind of girl to just obey.
There’s only one problem: I might actually be falling for him…
I have no idea how this marriage is going to go, but holding onto a piece of myself while succumbing to his dirty pleasures is shaping up to be the ride of a lifetime.

I have to admit, after reading Dirty Billionaire, I couldn’t wait to jump into Dirty Pleasures. I thought this one would be another five star for me since I enjoyed the first book so much. However…Dirty Pleasures was such a disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a good book, but so many times the lead heroine, Holly, just really frustrated me. Her background made things complicated when it didn’t need to be, and I just wanted her to stop living in the past. Creighton was still my favorite and I really admired his drive to keep going after what he wanted.
Overall Dirty Pleasures was good, and I’m looking forward to seeing what will happen next in the third book.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Release Blitz: Bad Dad by Sloane Howell

My son is my life. Nothing on earth matters but him.

Soon, I’ll have to send him out into society. The cruel machine that gnashes innocence and spits out the hollowed remains of a child’s imagination. It’s a place I know all too well, considering my past. I’ve worked hard to separate myself from it, but it looms in the back of my mind—waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

My son, Logan, wants to have birthday parties, make friends, play at the park—all the normal things that seven-year olds want to do. All the things I want to do with him.

I’ve put up walls around our life to shield us from danger. Giant barriers to ward off possible threats.

Cora Chapman crashes through them like a wrecking ball. She’s intelligent and hilarious with soft curves and a spark that ignites a flame deep inside of me.

There’s only one problem—she’s Logan’s teacher.

When my past wraps its tentacles around my throat and threatens to strangle the breath from my lungs, I’m given an option—fight for my family’s freedom, or die as they’re stripped away from me.

I can’t lose. I won’t lose.

My name is Landon Lane and I am a warrior. 

4 Stars

I have to admit right off the bat that I didn't LOVE this book as much as I did with Sloane's other books, and after a few days of reflection, I think that I finally figured out why.  I think a lot of Sloane's humor was missing from this book.  But it's understandable because the underlying tone of this story is much darker than his other books.  Bad Dad teeters on the thin line of a science fiction thriller romance story, but it does work. Howell balanced the scientifically explained background of Landon's past in a way that it doesn't feel unbelievable.  

That being said, the romance between Landon and Cora is the glue that holds this story to together. It's not the typical romance story, but it works on a new level.  All in all, this is a good read, but just wasn't what I was expecting.  

The door at the entrance to the school, down at the end of the hallway, slammed shut like a shotgun had fired. I jolted and tried to catch my breath. Logan grinned a little wider, which still wasn’t much.
“This place is so loud.” I inhaled a deep breath and brushed off my own embarrassment. Anything was worth it to set him at ease a little.
Footsteps pounded in my ears as whoever came through the door approached in a hurry.
Logan’s head tilted up and he leaped from his seat. I barely leaned out of his way in time. He took off in a dead sprint. My head craned around to the man’s shoes first—ordinary Nike cross trainers. Nothing special.
But the way they traversed the ground—Montague soles pounded the Capulet tiles.
My gaze roamed to the jeans—Levi’s, boot-cut, regular denim, frayed at the seams—worked in and worn.
My stare tilted up and drank the scenery. A charcoal-gray hood dipped down and cast a shadow over his eyes.
A breath cut too short and some sound I’d never made in my life escaped my lungs and dissolved into the tension saturating the room.
Logan’s father (I assumed) dropped to a knee, and Logan sprinted straight into his massive arms. His hoodie remained pulled up over his head. It’d probably been to shield him from the rain outside. I’d never seen Logan move so fast. He disappeared into the giant thunderhead biceps that engulfed him in a hug.
“I didn’t do anything wrong.” Logan sobbed into the man’s shoulder.
A giant hand wrapped around the back of his head and pulled him in tight. The hood dipped down and nuzzled up next to his cheek then turned and whispered in his ear.
I stood up about twenty feet away and noticed myself leaning toward them, trying to get a better view or hear what was said. I’d only met an older woman named Janet who usually brought Logan to and from school. She rarely spoke to anyone, but she was always polite.
“How long are they going to make us wait in here? Jesus Christ!” Charles Hastings’ voice roared once again from the office. Principal Williams was still nowhere to be found.
The hood-covered head popped up and turned in the direction of the words, but I still couldn’t make out his eyes.
God, what I would have given for a peek at his face.
The dark shadow under the hood turned to me. My heart threatened to explode out of my chest and my lungs stopped functioning. I still couldn’t see his eyes, couldn’t see his stare. Somehow, he managed to make my palms sweat. My palms never sweat.
Why’s he staring at me?
“Fucking ridiculous!”
My head whipped to the door.
I inhaled a deep breath and stomped toward the office. I’d learned long ago that if I didn’t set a certain tone with unruly parents they’d walk all over me.
Throwing the door open, I glared at the short balding man of maybe fifty. “It will be a few more minutes. Watch your language, please. This is a school. Not your living room.”
I slammed the door shut before he could get out another word.
Where the hell is Principal Williams?
I wasn’t one to shirk duties or get out of responsibility, but I really could use some back up. Parents had fought over pettier things than the words Hastings was slinging left and right, in front of his son no less. Maybe if I’d been at this school longer I’d have a better idea of how they handled these situations.
I froze in front of the door for a quick second and schooled my features. Could I go back out and face the enigma comforting his son in the hall? I had to. It was my job.
I walked back out to make sure Logan was okay, each step with a pair of concrete bricks attached to my feet.
“My son didn’t hit that little shit out there! We shouldn’t even be here!”
I paused and gritted my teeth. The moment now took a firm seat at the top of the podium as the number one awkward situation of my career, and I’d taught at a low-income New York City elementary school.
Other teachers had warned me about Hastings. The general consensus was that the guy was a raging jerk with little-man syndrome. I had no choice but to concur.
The man in the hood squeezed Logan once more into a bear hug, seemed to whisper something else, and then released him.
Hastings railed off even more expletives and threats from the office.
Logan’s father didn’t take off his hood, just advanced straight toward me. Logan stood in the hallway behind him.
He was not a small man by any means. The closer he came, the tighter my stomach twisted into a knot. The walls closed in on me and the thunder seemed to rumble with each of his footsteps. I gulped when he was about five feet away.
His shoes squeaked against the tile when he stopped and crossed his arms over his chest. It stretched the fabric across his shoulders and I realized just how large he was. It was one hundred percent muscle. I tried to keep my thighs from squeezing together and nearly failed.
Compose yourself.
My father named me Courage—even though I went by Cora—when I was born, but I was not living up to it at that moment.
I stretched out a hand toward him. “Hi, I’m sorry we’re meeting under these circumstances. I’m Cora—”
I barely made out two eyes in the shadow of his hood. He sized me up and down, and gestured like he might actually reach out for my hand. Hastings belted out more empty threats from inside the office. The hood turned in that direction and left my hand abandoned mid-air.
I’d never had trouble speaking in front of a parent before, but something about Logan’s dad was just—I didn’t know what it was, to be honest—scary, exciting, mysterious.
I lowered my hand to my side. My mouth was drier than the Sahara. “I, umm, there was an incident, on the playground.”
I tried to keep my voice down. If Hastings knew Logan’s father had shown up there was no telling what might happen. Looking at the man in front of me, it wouldn’t be much of a fight, and I was definitely in no position to stop him if things escalated beyond a discussion.
My eyes strayed to the Levi’s again for a split-second before I caught myself. I had certainly missed Montana men and their jeans. Some might’ve called it a weakness of mine.
He turned back to me, slowly. I watched every move. He took in every piece of information the scene had to offer and actually listened before speaking. People didn’t do that anymore, and I silently appreciated it.
“What happened?” His baritone voice vibrated through me like the encroaching thunder outside.
I stood there, blood pounding through my veins, heart racing down a quarter mile track with no parachute or brakes. His voice demanded an answer, but it didn’t seem coercive. There was a hint of concern laced in it.
“Logan didn’t do anything wrong. Like I said before, there was an incident. We just called both—”
The sound of a chair shuffling and footsteps from the office cut me off. I froze. Hastings must’ve heard me talking.
A tingling sensation radiated through my limbs and goosebumps pebbled down my arms. I had to force a slight smile from my face and mashed my lips into a thin line.
Logan’s father took a few commanding steps toward the door and made sure he’d be the first thing Hastings would see. He put himself right between us and his shoulders were so broad I couldn’t see around him. My thighs tried to squeeze together again. I cursed them silently and stepped out to the side so I could at least see Hastings’ face.
“I’m not waiting for this bullshit any—” The door to Williams’ office burst open. Hastings froze right along with his sentence when he saw Logan’s dad.
His voice went down an octave, barely noticeable. His chest deflated a little too and he tried to recover. “You the dad of the little shit making up stories about my kid?” His words were shaky, and he nodded up the hall toward Logan.
Uh oh.
The hood turned to Logan and looked right through me. “Wait in the car.”
I glanced back. Logan didn’t dare question him. Hell, I don’t think anyone would’ve. I nearly took a step toward the parking lot and caught myself. Logan turned on a dime and took off.
I wasn’t about to stand by and let a dick measuring contest happen on my watch. Both of my hands found my hips and I side-stepped farther so that Hastings could see more than just my face. “Mr. Hastings, get back in the office. Now!”
He ignored me, as expected. I wasn’t a threat to him. The ballsy bastard took a couple of steps toward Logan’s dad until he was a few feet away from him.
Where is Williams? Probably peeking around a corner somewhere, watching.
“Mister Hastings, that is enough.” I started toward him.
Hastings sneered at Logan as he walked toward the door, then he turned to me and his chest puffed out a little more. “You fucking people have—”
Where the hell are you, Williams? Help!
A single finger.
I stopped in my tracks.
He held it up. The man in the hood.
One powerful index finger in the air.
It was just a finger.
That index finger stole the words from Hastings’ mouth and the breath from my lungs.
One gorgeous, forceful finger commanded everything in the room and even the storm outside seemed to shut the hell up.
His left hand balled into a fist at his side.
And we’ve now reached the ‘Oh shit’ portion of the night’s show.
Complete silence fell on the school.
I swear I couldn’t have made it up if I tried. The door closed behind Logan and he walked to the car. Lightning cracked overhead, and the immediate thunder seemed to pick up the building and shake it at the same time the man in the hood dropped his finger.
I shuddered. Freaking thunderstorms.
Logan’s father closed the small gap between him and Hastings. Hastings’ eyes widened like saucers, then his brows narrowed into a V.
Then he did possibly the dumbest thing I’d ever seen a man do. He poked Goliath in the chest. “Listen here—”
The hood tilted down to the finger, and then back up to Hastings’ face. Hastings tried to look tough, but his face was pale as a ghost, and sweat beads formed along his hairline.
The hood glared lasers at Hastings. “Don’t touch me.”
Hastings’ hand dropped like it might fall through the floor.
“D-dad?” Cory Hastings eased open the office door.
The hood shot to Cory for a quick second. He glanced at Hastings and then back to me and then back to Cory. His voice softened a hint while he looked at the boy. “Sorry.”
He turned and headed toward the exit, but stopped at my side. He looked straight ahead. Straight where his son sat in the car, waiting. “Logan won’t be back.” He paced down the hallway.
I turned and watched him leave. I stood there, mouth wide open, catatonic, brain short circuiting all over the place. Logan’s father disappeared through the double doors, and I blew out a breath I didn’t realize I’d been holding.
Oh my God.
Maybe Desire, Montana wouldn’t be so bad after all.
“Okay, we ready?” Principal Williams strolled up from the other end of the hallway.
You’ve got to be shitting me.

Enter HERE

Sloane Howell lives in the Midwest United States and writes dirty stories. When not reading or writing he enjoys hanging out with his family, watching sports, playing with the dogs, traveling, and engaging his readers on social media. You can almost always catch him on Twitter posting something goofy.

Visit his web page to sign up for his mailing list to get updates on new releases, promos, and giveaways. Thanks for reading.