Quit Bein' Ugly by Lani Lynn Vale // ARC Review

April 15, 2021

Quit Bein' Ugly by Lani Lynn Vale review image

Her mouth tasted like everything I'd always imagined it would. Sweet, cherry, and mine.


Quit Bein' Ugly by Lani Lynn Vale book cover

Quit Bein' Ugly by Lani Lynn Vale


Standalone - The Southern Gentleman Series #3
Release - April 20, 2021
Genre - Contemporary Romance
Dual POV - 1st person
Heat Level - 4 out of 5/a couple of scenes
Format/Source - eARC provided by the author
Length - 181 pages
Publisher - Indie

There’s a crush, and then there are the type of feelings that Croft Cruisie evokes from a person.

He’s everything that any straight woman would want: tall, handsome, charismatic, muscular, and sweet.

At least, Carmichael thought he was sweet, until he brings another woman to the gym she owns with her brother, on the night that’s to be their first date, and lets her know in a quick and painful, non-verbal way that her feelings are not reciprocated.

Fast forward six months, and she’s still trying to move on from the rejection.

It doesn’t help that the jerk moves in next door to her, and that she has to see him workout shirtless every single day.
How can a woman get over a silly crush when that silly crush won’t so much as give her room to breathe?

***

Croft doesn’t know what happened.

One day he was supposed to go on a date with the girl that wouldn’t leave his thoughts for even a second, and the next she’s avoiding him like the plague.

No matter how hard he tries—and admittedly, it isn’t all that hard due to the biggest case of his career taking over his life—he can’t get her to tell him what he did wrong. She refuses to give him a second chance.

At least, not until he’s nearly killed in front of the courthouse, that is.

The moment he sees his chance, he pounces. Or, more literally, he limps.

But the limping is what draws Carmichael in. The Southern charm that was instilled in him since birth will be what gets her to stay.

That’s his plan, anyway.

Funny thing about plans… they never seem to work out how you expect them to.

This was a slow burn type of read and these characters had my heart in palpitations. Misunderstandings and assumptions are never my cup of tea, but when Croft brought another woman to Carmichael's gym, on the night of their much anticipated first date, I got where she was coming from. I'd probably arrive at the same conclusion too. However, I wouldn't wait SIX MONTHS to get answers!!

Once these two had things sorted, their relationship evolved into something beautiful. Croft was all strength and intelligence and dominance, but Carmichael was no slouch. She gave as good as she got, she loved just as hard, and together they built something that could last.

I loved getting to see all of the other characters again and how they played a role in this romance, even a small one. I'm definitely looking forward to Shultz's story, which comes next year, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that these people will be making another appearance.

I'm a huge fan of this author's work and every story is a winner for me!

───── ❝ but... ❞ ─────


Aside from how much I enjoyed this story, it didn't get five stars because I had some issues with it, such as:
☆ Here's the thing, I practice law so when a story has a lawyer or some other legal professional in it, I can immediately spot discrepancies. I may no longer work in criminal law, however, when I did, I never went up against another criminal law firm in court or during any kind of proceedings except for instances in which they provided co-counsel or were counsel for co-defendents. So the idea that a rival firm would plant people at a high school and at another firm to get... something... sounds utterly ridiculous. So while it made for good drama, it wasn't realistic and had me giving a look of bafflement more than amusement.

Lani Lynn Vale is married to the love of her life that she met in high school. She fell in love with him because he was wearing baseball pants. Ten years later they have three perfectly crazy children and a cat named Demon who likes to wake her up at ungodly times in the night. They live in the greatest state in the world, Texas. She writes contemporary and romantic suspense, and has a love for all things romance. You can find Lani in front of her computer writing away in her fictional characters world...that is until her husband and kids demand sustenance in the form of food and drink.

You can find out more about her and her amazing books on her website: https://lanilynnvale.com/

Vampire by Rebecca Zanetti // Tour + Excerpt + Review

April 14, 2021

Vampire, an all-new steamy paranormal 1,001 Dark Nights novella in the Dark Protectors/Rebels series from New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti is available now!



From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti comes a new story in her Dark Protectors/Rebels series…

Dr. Mariana Lopez has finally stopped bailing friends out of difficult situations. Well, except for substituting as the leader for another anger management group, pitching in as a campaign strategist for a prospective sheriff, and babysitting three dogs. Even with such a full life, she can feel the danger around her—a sense that something isn’t right. Nightmares harass her, until the real thing comes to life, and only the dark and sexy male sitting in her group can save her. However, with safety comes a price she might not be willing to pay.

Raine Maxwell is one of the Maxwells out of Montana, which means he's not only one of the most deadly vampires alive, but his path is set and his mate has been chosen for him. To save him—to continue his line. Unfortunately, his mate is an enhanced human female who has no idea of her abilities, of his species, or of her future. He’d like to lead her gently into this new world, but his people aren’t the only ones who’ve found her, which puts her into more danger than she can imagine. Plus, in order to follow his laws, he only has one week to convince her that immortality with him is what she wants—and needs.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you'll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

Download your copy today!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3bttilj
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/VampireRZ

Add Vampire to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/3aKLR5o



Find my review here:



Excerpt

Mariana tried to swallow and wet her suddenly dry throat. Having him near was too much for her libido, and if the guy had any idea of the dreams he’d starred in lately, he’d probably blush. Well, maybe.
Something told her that Raine didn’t blush. “Why did you leave town?” she asked.
One of his brows arched. How could a freakin' eyebrow look sexy? “The job was done.”
Ouch. Okay. Well, then. He’d only been there for the job of watching Ivar and Noah. “Then why did you come back?” She looked away from him.
His sigh was long-suffering and didn’t tell her a thing. “That’s a long story, and I can’t go into it.”
“Seriously?” She whipped around to face him. “Are you kidding me? You show up on my porch, get kidnapped, admit you were in my group under false pretenses, take off for Montana, and then return without being able to explain why? Oh, I don’t think so. Either you start talking right now or you get the heck out of my house.” The place already seemed smaller and somehow safer with him in it, but she knew better than to start depending on him. He’d be gone again soon.
His eyes flared in a way that didn’t even look human. “I’m out of here the second we find this guy.”
Yikes. Okay. That hurt a little bit. She’d thought she’d gotten an interested vibe from him a couple of times, but maybe she’d misread him? He was the sexiest man she’d ever been this close to in real life, so maybe he went for perfection like Tabi Rusko? Mariana was fine with her curves and looks, but maybe she’d overestimated Raine’s interest when he’d thrown Johnny Baker up against the wall after the kid had insulted her. “I think you should leave.”
“No.”
Heat flashed up her spine to tingle at her nape. “No? Are you joking?”
“No.” He cocked his head, watching her.
She had the strongest urge to punch him again, but her wrist still ached from last time. The guy had abs of solid rock. “I don’t think you’re understanding me,” she gritted out.
He moved toward her without warning, pivoting and putting her back against the wall. “You’re not understanding me.” His big body loomed over her, and an unexpected heat rolled off him.


Meet Rebecca Zanetti

Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over fifty romantic suspense and dark paranormal romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. The New York Times reviews has found that in her books, “humor surfaces in even the tensest moments, giving the high-stakes drama humanity and warmth.” She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own Alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat…and a huge extended family. She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off…and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out.

Facebook: https://bit.ly/2ZdxNeO
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Unspoken by Ari Reavis // Release + Review

April 12, 2021

Unspoken by Ari Reavis release banner

Unspoken

by Ari Reavis
Publication Date: April 12, 2021
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Standalone

Unspoken by Ari Reavis book cover

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon INTL


The Unspoken One has been banished for many years, his very existence erased. Ameera must find his true name and summon him if she has any hope of saving her kingdom from war, and herself from marriage to a ruthless king.

The Kingdom of Nur has been suffering for years under Ameera’s father’s rule. She’s bid her time, carefully keeping her secret hidden and waiting to become queen so she can repair what her father has broken. Then an unwanted marriage to the brutal king of Nur’s enemy threatens everything she’s worked towards.

With her wedding drawing near and the future of her kingdom in peril, she finds the forbidden name. She knows The Unspoken One is her last chance to save Nur, but she risks much in summoning him. His magic is not understood, the crime he was banished for is unknown, and speaking his name carries an unbearable punishment.

For Nur, for herself, she must risk it all. Or lose everything she holds dear.

She speaks the name too many have paid a painful price for uttering. Nothing, not the kingdom, their lives, or her heart, will ever be the same.


Find my 5-star review here!

Unspoken by Ari Reavis review image

About Ari Reavis

Ari Reavis is a wife and mother of six. Born in New York and raised in New Jersey, she enjoys staying in, devouring books and watching movies. Her kids are running around, her husband is trying to show her martial arts moves, and she’s trying to write. Her day in a nutshell.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Amazon | Pinterest | Bookbub


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The Genome Project by Aaron Hodges // Review

April 11, 2021

The Genome Project by Aaron Hodges book review image

If the Chead came out of its trance, no one wanted to be caught in the open. While the creatures looked human, they possessed a terrifying speed, and had the strength to tear full-grown men limb from limb.


The Genome Project by Aaron Hodges book cover

The Genome Project (once known as Rebirth) by Aaron Hodges


The Evolution Gene #1 (once known as Praegressus Project #1)
Release - March 27, 2017/second edition April 25, 2019
Genre - SciFi Dystopian Fiction
Multiple POV - 3rd person/Chris, Liz, Dr. Fallow
Heat Level - 1 out of 5/kisses
Format/Source - Kindle Amazon purchase
Length - 320 pages
Publisher - The National Library of New Zealand

In 2051, the Western Allies States have risen as the new power in North America. But a terrifying plague is sweeping through the nation. Its victims do not die—they change. People call them the Chead, and where they walk, destruction follows.

Runaway teenager Liz wants nothing more than an ordinary life. But when she’s abducted off the streets, Liz learns her government has other plans. In a future ruled by a ruthless dictator, there’s no place for the weak, and she’s spirited away to a facility deep in the Californian mountains. There, Liz wakes in an iron cage – and she’s not alone.

Beside her, eighteen-year-old Chris stands wrongfully accused of treason. The two are now volunteers in the Genome Project – an experimental program to enhance the human race and fight the Chead. Stripped of their rights, they will soon learn the true depths of human cruelty. The two must work together to survive, but even then, their chances are slim. Of course, only the lucky get to die.

Find your copy of The Genome Project on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Rsaa0P
It's FREE to read with Kindle Unlimited


I don't know if it's because my mind was in the right place or if I was in the mood to be wowed, but this story, The Genome Project, it hit the right spot for me. It was intriguing and mysterious and horrific and wonderful!

So here's what it's about:
πŸ’‰ it's the year 2051, the United States is no more, and the characters live in the Western Allied States.
πŸ’‰ the world seems to be overrun by creatures known as Chead, who seem to be altered humans. I'm sure more information about them will come as the series progresses. All I know so far is that they're extremely terrifying.
πŸ’‰ right from the start, Chris became a leading star of this story. My heart broke for this character and the many obstacles he had to face. What is the government doing with his mom and all of the other moms out there???
πŸ’‰ in the beginning, Liz didn't come across as a sympathetic character. She grinned and smiled and smirked at the pain of others who happened to be in the same boat she was. Who does that??? However, by the end, she found an ally in me.
πŸ’‰ the children of so-called traitors are 'saved from death' by being forced to act as lab rats. They are injected with an experimental serum and it seems that they will be used as weapons against the cheads.
πŸ’‰ the kids are pitted against each other in a bid to see the strongest survive. I'm talking some seriously traumatic happenings here, people!
πŸ’‰ and so much more!

I enjoyed the introduction to this series so much. In fact, I'll be reading book two in just a minute. The author's writing kept me engaged, the story was fast-paced, and the characters have begun to chip away at my heart. What happened to Sam and Ashley? What truths will the next book reveal? And is there a real romance brewing between Liz and Chris or was that just isolation talking and doing? So yeah, book two in my hands is a must!

The government had extended curfews across the entire country and increased military patrols, but the measures had done little to slow the spread of attacks. Last year, in 2050, the first Chead sighting had been reported in Los Angeles, and was quickly followed by attacks in Portland and Seattle. Fortunately, they had yet to reach the streets of San Francisco. Even so, a perpetual State of Emergency had been put into effect.

On the television, the SWAT team had reached the grocery store and were now gathering outside, their rifles trained on the entrance. One lowered his rifle and stepped towards it, the others covering him from behind. Reaching the door, he stretched out an arm and began to pull it open.

The Chead did not make a sound as it tore through the store windows and barrelled into the man. A screech came through the old television speakers as the men scattered before the Chead’s ferocity. With one hand, it grabbed its victim by the throat and hurled him across the street. The thud as he struck the ground was audible over the reporter’s microphone.

Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job and explore the world. During his travels he picked up an old draft of a novel he once wrote in High School (titled The Sword of Light) and began to rewrite the story. Six months later he published his first novel, Stormwielder, and hasn't looked back since.

For more details, check out Aaron Hodges' website: https://www.aaronhodges.co.nz/

Blood to Dust by L.J. Shen // Review + Excerpt

April 10, 2021

Blood to Dust by L.J. Shen review image

I used to be a sister, a daughter, a girlfriend and a friend. A poet, a dreamer and an honor student. But now... now I'm alone, left to fend for myself, with no one to look out for me.


Blood to Dust by L.J. Shen book cover

Blood to Dust by L.J. Shen


Standalone
Release - July 17, 2016
Genre - Dark Romance
Dual POV - 1st person
Heat Level - 4 out of 5/several scenes
Format/Source - Kindle Amazon purchase
Length - 266 pages
Publisher - Indie

His name is Beat, and I should hate him.

Bound, blindfolded and bruised, I'm tied in his basement, waiting for the men who stripped me from clothes and humanity to collect his debt to them. Me.

His name is Nate and I should hate him, but I don't.

I'm not supposed to know his real name, even worse, I'm not supposed to care. He is nothing to me but means to an end. The plan is simple: break free, collect the pieces of my broken soul, kill the bastards and run away.

His name is Nathaniel Thomas Vela, and I've never seen his face, though I hear that it's beautiful.

Behind the rugged and handsome exterior, there's a quiet murderer, a killer who thinks guns are for pussies and ends people with his bare hands.

His name doesn't matter, neither does his face, but what does matter is my heart. And right now, sadly, it's his.

Blood to Dust is a standalone, full-length novel. It contains graphic violence and adult situations some may find offensive.

Find your copy of Blood to Dust on Amazon
FREE to read with Kindle Unlimited


I love her like a slave, I kneel in front of her like a subject, I crawl back to her at night like a drunk and I worship her like a believer.

While it wasn't as dark as I thought it was going to be, considering the blurb, Blood to Dust was full of the off-the-wall craziness I've come to look for in my dark reads. Prescott was a puzzle that I still haven't been able to solve. She was a woman burdened by pain, betrayal and secrets. The life of horrors that she had to live was not for the feint of heart. Good thing this girl was a survivor.

Broken people do things better; we learned how to make it in life without the missing parts other people have. Because when you're in the dark, you appreciate everything that shines. - Nate

Nate had never had it easy. He suffered through childhood, finally freed himself only to be tried and judged as a criminal. Never really fitting anywhere, this too-pretty-for-his-own-good man carved his own path. When his boss tasked him with holding onto Prescott, keeping her prisoner until his son could 'fetch' her, Nate planned to do just that. Only Prescott had other plans. And when he heard her story, when he found out why she was such a hot commodity, he realized how truly alike they were. His heart, that organ of his that knows the difference between right and wrong, switched sides.

Prescott Burlington-Smyth is everything I want to be. A storm smoving out of a shit situation at the speed of light, not looking back to spare a glance at the casualties of her actions.

And then it was utter chaos. Granted, what Prescott and Nate did defied imagination. None of it was realistic, but it was still tons of fun to read. She got her own brand of justice and through blood and more pain, these two kindred spirits found their own happily ever after.

“You don’t get a say in this shit,” Ink announces with borrowed authority. I can hear the uncertainty leaking from him. He’s what I call an easy job. If it were just him watching over me, I would have been dancing in Iowan cornfields far away from here by now, Sebastian and Godfrey’s heads tucked in that Nike bag.

“You make me uncomfortable.” I yank my arm away.

“What, and the other guy makes you warm and fuzzy?” He sounds genuinely offended.

Beat inches closer behind me, and I feel the heat of his body drifting into mine. He’s close. Hot-jock-leaning-against-your-locker close. It’s going to be hard to bypass someone his size.

“You think I’m nice?” His breath moves through the plastic of his mask, tickling my ear. I shudder down to my toes. His mouth smells like peach. How bad can a guy who smells like a peach be?

“Nice-r.” I clear my throat, my eyes still trained on Ink in front of me. Ink shakes his head, indicating that I’m dead wrong. The air becomes chilly. Why hadn’t I noticed it’s so chilly?

Because it’s not. It’s August in California, and I’m cold because I’m frightened.

“Let’s test your theory. I’m going to touch you now. Move without permission, and I’m breaking your arm.”

My busted lower lip splits open again as I scowl at his threat. He definitely looks like a guy who makes good on his threats.

“Okay.” I lick my blood, my voice tender.

Beat kicks my legs open and brings my arms up, patting me down dryly, like airport security. His rough fingers stroke the curves of my shoulders as he moves down from my skull to my outer breasts, circling them lazily. Down to my stomach…lower to my tensed inner thighs, pushing the fabric of my mini dress away to make room for his warm paws.

Every muscle in my body is ready to plow forward, to run away, to try and hurt him; the memory of every experience I’ve had that started this way demands for me to take action. But this…it doesn’t feel like a violation. The sour taste of bile has yet to explode in my mouth.

His hands move down my legs, stroking my ankles…then he stops.

“Got something inside?” He squats down, hooking one of his thumbs into my ankle boot. His masked face is eye level with my pelvis, and warmth spreads along my bones like hot wax.

“No,” I lie. There’s still a slight chance he won’t check.

But he checks.

Beat jerks my boot out and a Swiss army knife falls with a clank on the concrete pavement. I let out a sigh and drop my head. Shit.

Happy thoughts.

Frozen yoghurt with Preston down the local mall.

Curling up on the egg-swing with a Mia Sheridan book.

Water lilies blooming over the artificial pond in the Burlington-Smyth’s garden.

A genuine smile from a stranger.

Beat stands up slowly, his gleeful mask zeroing on my face. It all looks like a scene from a horror movie.

And I’m the victim.

L.J. Shen is a USA Today, Washington Post and Amazon #1 best-selling author of contemporary, New Adult and YA romance. Her books have been sold to twenty different countries.

She lives in California with her husband, son, cat and eccentric fashion choices, and enjoys good wine, bad reality TV shows and catching sun rays with her lazy cat.

Find all of her details on her website: http://www.authorljshen.com/

BOOK DEALS (FREEBIES & SALES) - 4/09/2021

April 09, 2021


Happy Weekend! It's been a while since I've scoured through Amazon looking for deals to share. I hope something here makes your reading soul smile :) All books are under $2 (at the time of this post). For more sales & freebies (because they might still be on sale or free), CLICK HERE and Happy Hunting!

Vampire by Rebecca Zanetti // ARC Book Review

Vampire by Rebecca Zanetti book review

"I watched you for four months and fell head over heels. You're perfect, and I can die knowing I found love, even if it was short. Thank you for that."


Vampire by Rebecca Zanetti book cover

Vampire by Rebecca Zanetti


Standalone - Dark Protectors #12.5
Release - April 13, 2021
Genre - Paranormal Romance
Dual POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 3 out of 5/it's there but not frequent or terribly descriptive - it's a novella so...
Format/Source - eARC provided by the author through InkSlinger PR
Length - 108 pages
Publisher - 1001 Dark Nights Press

Dr. Mariana Lopez has finally stopped bailing friends out of difficult situations. Well, except for substituting as the leader for another anger management group, pitching in as a campaign strategist for a prospective sheriff, and babysitting three dogs. Even with such a full life, she can feel the danger around her—a sense that something isn’t right. Nightmares harass her, until the real thing comes to life, and only the dark and sexy male sitting in her group can save her. However, with safety comes a price she might not be willing to pay.

Raine Maxwell is one of the Maxwells out of Montana, which means he's not only one of the most deadly vampires alive, but his path is set and his mate has been chosen for him. To save him—to continue his line. Unfortunately, his mate is an enhanced human female who has no idea of her abilities, of his species, or of her future. He’d like to lead her gently into this new world, but his people aren’t the only ones who’ve found her, which puts her into more danger than she can imagine. Plus, in order to follow his laws, he only has one week to convince her that immortality with him is what she wants—and needs.

Find your copy of Vampire here:
Amazon CA * Amazon US * Amazon UK * Amazon AU


Vampire by Rebecca Zanetti quote teaser

Any time I can get my hands on a book from the Dark Protectors series, I'm here for it. After the glimpse I got in Vixen of what would be the story of Raine and Mariana, I knew I needed to know more.

Raine Maxwell is from a long line of cursed males. After centuries, if they don't find their mate, they die. Raine has found his mate and while it's love at first sight for him, he's not mating her. He knows he's dying, but he's honorable and doesn't want to drag an innocent female, no matter that she's enhanced, into the dangers of his world. So what happens when those dangers make their way to her despite his noble intentions?

Raine was ΓΌber Alpha and a bit old fashioned and quickly won me over. I was invested in his mission to keep Mariana safe and silently pushed him to save his own life! I kept wanting to push him closer to her, to get him to accept his destiny, however, I also respected the author's reasons for him being hesitant to mate. Zanetti sure knows how to create amazing heroes.

I made a list of things I enjoyed about this story, such as:
πŸ§› Raine of course. For most of the story, I found Mariana to be rude and ignorant, incredibly abrasive, and not worth my time. However, Raine made every moment something I needed to experience, so her nonsense didn't bother me as much as it could have. Raine was just that awesome!
πŸ§› Tabi and Evan were there! I was so glad to see the spunky demoness and her sweet lover. It was fun to see him getting used to his new powers and that Raine considered him a friend.
πŸ§› BENNY!!! I freaking love this male and getting some of him here, knowing that his story is soooo close to my fingertips... such a great bonus. Oh yeah, there's also peeks from Faith and Mercy :D

The Dark Protectors series is one of my absolute favorite PNR stories of all time and I can always be counted on to buy and review. How can anyone resist hot alphas, fierce heroines, intriguing plots and twists, the danger element, the familial dynamics, the love... the everything??? If you're a fan of the series, this a neat treat to hold us over until the next book. If you're new to this series, what an amazing introduction!

Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over forty romantic suspense, dark paranormals, and contemporary romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own Alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat…and a huge extended family. She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off…and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out. Upcoming series are: The Blood Brothers, The Realm Enforcers and The Scorpius Syndrome.