Saturday, June 18, 2016

Nine New Adult Free/Cheap E-book Mini-Reviews

So at the end of my Kindle Unlimited trial subscription, I had a series that I wanted to get through very quickly before they expired and I would have to buy them.  That is why there are nine books I'm going to talk about. Although a few of them are from the same series.  Once again I'll give a short review, followed by the blurb from Goodreads. Also, each book can be read alone, or in any order.  You just get a little bit of a spoiler for the books before I guess by reading the books out of order because you know which people get together.

Sinful Serenade series by Crystal Kaswell:
So I honestly never really thought I would be quite so into the rock star romance, but in these ebooks, they are quick and easy reads.  Often very good!  Now, I actually started with the second book in this series, possibly because that one was free and the others cost?  Not sure.  But since I did, I'm going to review them in the order I read them.  Each book in the series tells the story of one of the guys in the alternative rock band called Sinful Serenade.  I was introduced to the band with Kara and Drew's story.

Strum Your Heart Out (Sinful Serenade #2):
I liked the best friend turned boyfriend/girlfriend story.  As usual in one of these stories, at first the hookup goes okay, until something happens that it doesn't.  With Drew being in a band, the lead guitarist of the band, it makes it harder for him to settle down. It was as I read that we got a little bit of a picture of her friend Meg and the lead singer of the band Miles, and their very sexy relationship, and that is how I learned it was a series, and that I'd skipped the first one. I really enjoyed the story, it was fun and sexy.  Only problem I had with it, and the others in the series, were editing issues with grammar, etc.  Here's the blurb:
Moving in with your sexy, tattooed rock star best friend? No problem. Not if you're ready to give up eating, breathing, and sleeping...

College senior Kara Kendrick is not about to let lust ruin a good friendship. Yes, her rock star guitarist best friend Drew Denton is stubborn, guarded, and quick to threaten violence on anyone who hurts her. He's also trustworthy, protective, and several degrees hotter than the sun.

When Kara gets kicked out of her apartment, Drew insists she move in with him. But her crush isn't quite so manageable with him sweating through his push-ups. Or stepping out of the shower clad in only a towel. Or tackling her on the bed, tickling her to make her confess.

There's no way they can be together. Not if she wants to keep her secrets. No matter how much her body begs her to throw herself on his bed, no matter how desperately she wants to rip off his v-neck and rake her hands over his defined torso, Kara is staying just friends with Drew.

Until she's not. Until they're kissing and touching and about to do something that will change their friendship forever.

Sing Your Heart Out (Sinful Serenade #1):
It was actually nice to go back and start with this first book in the series.  This is the story of Meg and Miles, the lead singer of the band.  Of course since I'd already read the first book, I knew that Kara was going to get with Drew.  Meg actually ended up meeting Miles because of her roommate Kara, who was best friends with one of the guys in the band.  And their first meeting was a total "meet-cute" or maybe that should be called a "meet-sexy/awkward" in this case.  Meg walked in on Miles having sex with another girl at a party.  Meg is a virgin, and so Miles has a lot of fun embarrassing her.  Miles kind of becomes Meg's sexual teacher, reminds me of Nate in Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young.  Here's the blurb for it:
Good girls don't date rock stars.
They certainly don't have rock star friends with benefits.

Still a virgin at 21, Meg Smart walks a straight and narrow path. She aces her classes, excels at her part time job, and carefully avoids trouble--no drinks, no drugs, and especially, no boyfriends.

Rock star Miles Webb doesn't do "boyfriend." He skips over intimacy and love in favor of easy distraction--a beautiful woman under him, screaming his name.

Meg is drawn to the pain in his gorgeous, tortured voice. But the man she hears on the radio is nothing like the player she meets at a mutual friend's house party. When she walks in on one of his trysts, she's embarrassed enough to die. His merciless teasing leaves her blushed and frustrated, but she's intrigued by his wit, his confidence, his casual offer to give her a night she'll never forget.

Neither of them wants a relationship, so they strike up an arrangement: They'll be friends with benefits, nothing more, nothing less. There are only three rules: no secrets, no feelings, no falling in love.

Only neither one of them can quite abide by the terms.

Rock Your Heart Out (Sinful Serenade #3):
In this book we get Willow and Tom's story.  So, Willow is Drew's sister.  She's needing somewhere to go if the job she's applied for doesn't work out, and so when she meets up with her brother, she ends up going on the tour with him.  Willow is a photographer, and so she is lucky enough to get hooked up with the official tour photographer as kind of an understudy/assistant.  Tom is the drummer in the band, and he's pretty much a man-whore.  Except he's just gotten a new piercing, and is unable to have sex for awhile until it heals.  He's hot, of course, and he knows it.  He can tell that Willow gets steamy thoughts about him when she looks at him, but he's not going to do anything besides be her friend and help her brother take care of her on the trip.  Partly because her brother is a bit of a hothead and would be pissed if he thought someone was taking advantage of his younger sister, especially a player like Tom.  Here's the blurb:
There's a naked rockstar in my hotel room.
And he's pierced.

Willow Denton needs to get out of town fast. Her only option is joining her brother's band on tour. Ten weeks with misbehaved men doesn't sound so bad. Until she walks in on the drummer naked and sporting a spanking new piercing. There's no way the player rock star will ever think of her as more than his BFF's little sister. Better to focus on her photography. As soon as she stops thinking about him in her bed, against the wall, in the backseat of his car...

Sinful Serenade drummer Tom Steele is a wrecking ball. Bossy. Pushy. Hot as the molten center of the Earth. He's not afraid to use his body or his fame to get what he wants-- a different girl every night of the week (and three on Sunday). The man may be a whore but he can control himself. He's going to keep an eye on Willow, be her friend. That's it.

Their sizzling sexual chemistry makes this whole platonic things hard.

But there's no way he'll cross the line with the girl he's supposed to protect.

Play Your Heart Out (Sinful Serenade #4):
The final book in the series is the story of Jess and the band's bassist Pete.  We know about Pete from all the other stories.  And you kind of want him to get a good woman.  But their relationship is going to be one of convenience.  The band's manager, a slime by the way, wants Pete to get a good girl for his image.  Jess is needing the money to get into law school, and Pete offers to help her out if she will pose as his girlfriend.  Of course, the relationship will get physical, because why not have all the good stuff along with the pretend!  Both Pete and Jess have past relationship issues, and that will keep them from being able to transition easily from pretend to real relationship.  It's fun though, because you get to see what is going on with all the other band members and their relationships in this book too.  But again, you can read this alone.  Here is the blurb:
He parties like a rockstar.
She's there to make sure no one finds out...

Jess James has her eye on the prize. She is finding the money to pay for law school. Period. It doesn't matter how lonely she feels three thousand miles from home, how exhausted she is from working overtime as a cocktail waitress, or how deep the knife wound in her back cuts. She is going to be a lawyer, whatever it takes.

Only she doesn't have what it takes. She can barely afford to pay her rent.

Sinful Serenade bassist Pete Steele has enough to pay Jess's rent and buy her a small island in the Caribbean. The famous, talented rock star has everything... except the one thing his manager wants. Pete rose to fame as a devoted boyfriend. Doesn't matter that his ex slept with his best friend. He needs to stop screwing his way through Los Angeles to keep the record company happy. The sweet blond waitress is exactly the girl he needs on his arm if he wants to clean up his dirty reputation.

Their arrangement is simple: he pays her tuition, she plays his girlfriend. They'll lie to the world but not to each other. Especially not when they're alone, in his bed, him figuring out exactly which buttons to push to get her moaning his name.

Jess is good at keeping up appearances. She can play the enigmatic rock star's girlfriend. But Pete shouldn't play games with a girl who's been broken before...

Only for You (Forever and Always #1) by E.L. Todd:
This is a story where the woman, Scarlet, and the guy, Sean, are best friends.  They sleep together, but then Sean gets weird, and of course then they have issues. Scarlet works with a jerk of a boss, and Sean might have a bit of an anger problem, or maybe he just likes to fight.  He's obviously into Scarlet, but he thinks it is more casual than Scarlet feels it is.  We get the story from both of their points of view.  Overall though, the writing wasn't that great.  One of my pet peeves, the dialogue doesn't sound like how people actually talk.  Not to mention that the sex scenes have really awkward dialogue as well.  Now at the end of this book was part of another story, so that is how I ended up reading the next couple of ebooks I review in this post.  Here's the blurb for this one though:

Scarlet has been my best friend for ten years.

Sure, I'm attracted to her.

Sure, I really care about her.

But it's never been more than that.

On one stupid night we have too much to drink. Shots are downed and the liquor is flowing. And before I know it, I'm going for it. It sounds like a great idea, at least in the moment.

But what will happen when we wake up tomorrow?

Timeless series by E.L. Todd:
I've only read the first two, and I had to read that far because of how book one ended up.  Book three I guess does continue the story, but since book two ended on a happy enough place, I was able to step back and move on to other books.  So here are my reviews for the first two, which I must say I liked much better than the book above by this same author.  Oh one thing, I don't know that I picture Hawke with tattoos like the cover shows.  Maybe I missed something in reading it as quickly as I did. But I do like the guy on the cover, so it's okay!  I guess at some point I'll go on in the series to find out what happens to Hawke and Francesca in the 3rd book. Then I think the next two are the actual story of her brother and best friend. And the last two are another guy that we meet in book 2 and who he will be with.

Monday (Timeless #1):
The bad thing was that this was just the first half of the book on the end of the last book I talked about, Only for You, and so I ended up giving in and buying the e-book because I had to know what was going to happen after how this part left off halfway through.  The main characters are Francesca, or Frankie as she prefers to go buy, and Hawke.  We get the story from both of their viewpoints.  Frankie meets Hawke at the coffee shop where she works. They flirt a little until she gets brave and asks him out on a date.  But it turns out that Hawke assumes she just is in it for a one night stand, and when she makes him see that's not true, the date is over.  Hawke comes from a messed up life, and so he knows he's not good enough for her because of that.  Turns out, though, that Hawke is Frankie's brother Axel's friend. And when Axel brings him home for Thanksgiving, things get weird.  Frankie tries to just be friends with Hawke, but of course that is hard to do with their attraction.  When things go wrong, it all blows up in their faces.  And that is kind of how it ended!  Here's the very vague blurb for this one: 

I don’t believe in destiny.

In fate.

Or in soul mates.

But I believe in Hawke.

My life has never been whole since my parents left forever. I have my brother, someone I can barely tolerate most of the time, and I have my best friend, Marie.

And I have myself.

But when Hawke walks into my life, there’s an immediate connection. Our eyes lock and an unspoken conversation is exchanged. For the first time in my life, I actually feel something.

But he doesn’t.

He keeps me at arm’s length and pretends there’s nothing between us when there clearly is. I’m not the kind of girl to wait around for any guy, so I don’t.

But that doesn’t mean he isn’t in the back of my mind.

Our paths cross again in a way neither one of us expect and it changes everything. Was it destiny that made it happen? Was it fate?

Or was something else?

Tuesday (Timeless #2):
We pick up with Frankie heartbroken, but finally having moved on from Hawke.  Her brother, who in the first book was pretty much a manwhore, is now a serious boyfriend to Frankie's best friend Marie.  Frankie is living in NYC with her own very successful bakery.  But now that her brother Axel and Marie are getting married, Hawke is going to be back in Frankie's life.  At first she thinks she's okay with it, that she's over him and can deal with it. But when he comes back and acts all concerned and friendly, like he can pick right back up where they left off, it hits her that she's not quite as over him as she thought.  She soon figures out that they can be friends, and how to deal with him, and soon things get closer to where they should be.  Not only that, Hawke will go out of his way to prove to her that he only loves  her, and wants to be what she needs.  Here's the blurb, again, kinda vague.

Getting over Hawke is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

I couldn’t breathe, sleep, or eat. Every day was more agonizing than the one that followed. But somehow, after two years of suffering, I finally got back on my feet.

And I moved on.

Now I’m living in the city and running my own bakery. Life is good again. I’m surrounded by good friends that I love, and every day is even better than the last.

Until everything changes.

Now I have to face him after two years of silence. I have to look him in the eye and act like he has no effect on me. I have to hold my head high and pretend he didn’t shatter me into a million pieces.

I have to act like he doesn’t mean a damn thing to me.

Can I fool him? Can I fool myself?

Wilder by Vivian Lux:
This book was pretty good, and the lucky thing was that another book by the author was included at the end of the ebook!  Both were pretty good, although not perfect.  This one is the story of Scarlett and Keir, who is a rock star. And we get the story from both of their viewpoints.  They were childhood sweethearts, Scarlett almost running away with him to get married. But something happened, and the day he went to get her, she was gone.  Now Scarlett is working for a magazine in the same town where Keir lives in California.  Scarlett is running from an abusive boyfriend, trying to stay safe.  The magazine where she works with her best friend gets bought out, and when she has to sell a story to try to keep her job, she pulls in the ace in the hole she doesn't want to use, her friendship with Keir, and says she can get an interview with him. While Keir's brother Rane is usually the public one of the band, an interview with Keir, the more private one, gets Scarlett her job.  She goes to see him, but he's so mad that he almost cancels the interview.  He gives in though, and gives it to her. But then he decides he wants her back in his life, that he doesn't want her to just walk away, and so he calls her new bosses and asks to have her go on their tour with them to do a book.  She's mad, but also realizes this is a way to try to keep away from her abusive ex.  She doesn't tell Keir about him, and is a little irritated that he's forced her into this.  But soon he kind of wears her down. Although she doesn't want to tell him what the real reason she left him all those years ago was.  Wow, this has turned into a pretty long mini-review.  This was a good book though!  Here's the blurb:

The whole world thinks they know him, but no one knows him like I do. Keir Wilder may be the lead singer of the biggest rock band on the planet, but he was once the boy next door. He was my first love. He put a ring on my finger. But I couldn't stay with him.

That was a long, long time ago.

Now I need help, and he's the only one who can save me. I know he will...

If he can forgive me.


Five years ago I waited for her but she never showed up. I tried to find her, but she disappeared.

If she thinks she can just walk back into my life with no explanation, she is mistaken.

Sure I'll help her. I'll fix it. That's what I do. I'm a problem solver and I don't let go until things are the way they should be.

Like me and Scarlett, together again.

Now that I have her back in my life, I'm not letting her run away from me again. We're about to leave on tour and I don't care what the rest of the band thinks. Or even what she thinks.

She's coming with me.

Jax by Vivian Lux:
So, I was a little unsure about this one because it is billed as a "step-brother" romance, and it seems that is a whole genre?  Not that there is anything wrong, step-siblings are not blood-related, so it's okay. But, the fact that people are calling it out enough to make it a whole genre?  That weirds me out.  However, this was a good book.  The main characters are Jax, who is a rock star, and Liliana, who is an author, and her dad is a roadie getting ready to marry Jax's mom, who is also a music star.  Liliana and Jax were best friends, and kind of together back when they were younger, and right as Jax began his career as a rock star.  But when he told the press that he  had no one special in his life, and didn't even act like he was sorry about saying it when she confronted him, she left and never talked to him again. But now she has to go back and be with him while their parents are getting married. And she has to try to deny her feelings for him.  Not only that, but Jax really did like her a lot, in fact his first big hit was a song he wrote about her, for her.  But she hates it, thinking he wrote it to humiliate her.  The two will have to come to terms with their past issues, and then come to terms with becoming step-siblings and how that will affect any relationship they might be able to have.  I liked this one a lot.  I felt Liliana was very realistic.  I liked how she was a writer, and I kinda see myself and how I write, and why I write the way I do, the same reasons she did.  Here's the blurb:
He's JAX.

He's a rockstar. He's a screw-up. He broke my heart.

He's my new stepbrother

Jaxson Blue is rock royalty: the son of one of the biggest names on the planet. He was my first...everything.

Then he broke my heart in the most public way possible.

I never want to think about Jax again.

Too bad his music seems to follow me wherever I go.
Now my hard-living roadie of a father is marrying Jax's rock star mother and the four of us have to co-exist in the same house for two weeks. Jax is still the same sexy, arrogant jerk I fell in love with, and I'm too weak to resist him for long.

So I make a deal with myself.

It's only until the wedding.

It's only a fling.

It doesn't mean anything.

I'm not doing anything wrong...right?

Those are the free/cheap/Kindle Unlimited books I read over the past two weeks.