Monday, May 14, 2018

Four Adult Contemporary Romance E-Book and Audiobook Mini-Reviews

Still catching up from last month, and trying to keep up this month.  So, enjoy these four mini-reviews!

Bad Romeo (Star-Crossed #1) by Leisa Rayven:
Published:  December 23rd, 2014
Source:  Purchased from Audible
Narrator:  Andi Arndt

 My rating:  5 stars

So, I finally decided to just use my last credit with Audible to buy this one, since I have the sequel in paperback, but didn't know when I'd get the first one.  Plus, at the time, I thought that I might be meeting the author at Book Bonanza this summer.  However she is no longer attending, which sucks because I NEED to tell her how much this book got me crying, both sad tears and happy tears.  And then the cliffhanger!  Gah!  I will compare it to the same feeling I had after one of K. Bromberg's cliffhangers.  As I listened to this, I made a lot of notes whenever I updated my status on Goodreads.  I have to point out that at first I was unsure whether I would like the book because the main character smoked.  I know, that's silly, but I am so not a smoker, and so anti-cigarette, that is hard for me to connect to a character that is a smoker.  Fortunately the way the author handled it, and didn't make it a huge part of the story, worked in her favor for me to finish.

I loved Cassie's thoughts on being a virgin.  So much of them reminded me of my younger days, when I started college, as well as what I consider my current born-again V-card status.  I have all those same feelings, just haven't been able to put them into the words quite as perfectly as this book does.  By halfway through the book I was at the point of berating myself for waiting so long to finally pick it up and read it.  I needed to know why Ethan was the way he was about relationships, and when we finally find out the basic reason why, it does make sense.  Now I need to figure out where I put my copy of book 2 so I can find out what happens next. Although the rush to burn through it is a little on hold since the author won't be there this summer.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

When Cassie Taylor met Ethan Holt at acting school, sparks flew. She was the good girl actress. He was the bad boy about campus. But one fated casting choice for Romeo and Juliet changed it all. Like the characters they were playing, Cassie and Ethan's romance seemed destined. Until he broke her heart and betrayed her trust. Now the A-list heartthrob is back in her life and turning her world around. One touch at a time. 

Cast as romantic leads once again, they're forced to confront raw memories of the heartbreaking lows and pulse-pounding highs of their secret college affair. But they'll also discover that people who rub each other the wrong way often make the best sparks

Wicked Fall (The Wicked Horse #1) by Sawyer Bennett:
Published:  July 28th, 2015
Source:  Free e-book
My rating:  4 stars

This is a book I got as a free e-book on Amazon.  I went ahead and moved it up my reading list because the author is one who will be attending Book Bonanza in July.  Now that I've read the book, I am definitely interested in meeting the author.  Honestly this was a VERY steamy, sexy book.  The club at the heart of the series, The Wicked Horse, is a sex club, so yeah, it is obvious it will be that way I guess.  I appreciated that the main characters were as open as they were.  I feel like Woolf is definitely fair in his assessment of worrying about what problems he could cause for the daughter of a high-profile politician, even though she doesn't care.  And I loved the way that Callie may have seemed sweet, but was definitely intrigued by the things she saw going on, and wanted to try some of them. The way her foray into some of the risky behavior ended up was perfect as well.  I look forward to reading more in this series.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
Never in your wildest dreams could you begin to imagine all the filthy and depraved things that go on inside The Wicked Horse. Step inside and Woolf Jennings will make every one of your dirty fantasies come true.

He's covered in a facade of deception. An enticing blend of multi-millionaire and hot-as-hell Wyoming rancher, those that think they know Woolf Jennings admire his abilities to preside as CEO of his family's cattle and oil empire. But only a privileged few truly understand what fuels the glitter of depravity in those gorgeous blue eyes. Only a few know he's opened up a sinfully erotic and private sex club named The Wicked Horse right at the base of the beautiful Teton Mountain range.

Sweet Callie Hayes has returned home to Wyoming and is looking forward to starting her life over again. After a night of impetuosity, she's managed to put herself right in Woolf's line of sight... the man who she foolishly offered up her virginity to years ago and was flatly turned down.

Now Woolf is seeing that Callie is all grown up and has a kinky side to her that leaves him as confused as it does turned on. Worse yet, both Callie's dirty desires and sweet heart are getting under his skin, and making Woolf question everything he's ever believed about himself.

Jacob's Ladder:  Gabe (Jacob's Ladder #1) by Katie Ashley:
Published:  November 7th, 2017
Source:  Free e-book from Amazon
My rating:  4 stars

Another free e-book that I bumped up on my TBR list because the author is going to be at Book Bonanza this summer.  I do love a good rock star romance, and this one was not bad!  It took place outside of the rock music world for the most part.  But I loved the banter between characters, and it definitely had some heat!  I definitely was a little irritated with Rae being so strict about her son Linc being able to get a guitar.  I understood her reasoning, but it was just a bit on the ridiculous side.  However when it came down to that moment at the end, I like that she realized just how far she'd gone, and I like how she handled it.  I feel like the author did a good job of making that realistic.  Then, let's just say there was a scene in the kitchen, and Rae was worried she hadn't quite done enough upkeep for a guy to dive in where Gabe was diving in.  Let's just say that I think Gabe is my kind of man.  I hate that she decided she was a "brazen hussy" for letting things happen at times.  For a guy to do those things, we expect it, it makes him a stud.  It is unfair that women are thought of differently for doing that same type of thing. 

There was one spot in the book where we got first person point of view from Gabe but it was Rae's chapter, that was a bit confusing, a tiny bit of an editing issue. But as it was pretty much the only one I noticed, I was okay with that.  I am definitely now interested in meeting this author, as well as reading on for the rest of the band members in this series, and I think maybe there was a series before that I need to check out?

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
As the lead songwriter for Jacob’s Ladder, the last thing Gabe Renard needs is a debilitating case of writer’s block. After years of meaningless one night stands, he's finding it hard to pen the love-filled ballads the label is requesting. In an effort to clear his mind, Gabe takes his jeep off-roading in the North Georgia Mountains. When a wrong-turn leads to him getting stuck more than just creatively, he’s forced to call for help. To his surprise, the “Ray” who has been sent by Hart Wreckers to his aid is actually “Rae”—a sexy-as-hell spitfire in a pair of tight-as-hell jeans. The combination of Rae’s sassy mouth and rocking body might be the inspiration Gabe needs. But for the first time since becoming a rock star, his advances have been shot down. 

Reagan Hart has never been a fan of musicians. In fact, just the mention of one might cause her to throw a tire tool. Her disgust for them started when she was just eight and her mother ran off with a traveling country singer, and it only worsened when at seventeen, her rocker boyfriend knocked her up before blowing out of town. As a single mother taking care of her family's collision business, Rae doesn't have time for hook ups, much less a relationship. And if she did make time, a musician would be last on her list, even one as good-looking as Gabe Renard. 

Can Gabe find the words to prove not only to Rae, but himself, that she’s the only one for him?

Down Shift (Driven #8) by K. Bromberg:
Published:  October 4th, 2016
Source:  Downloaded digital audiobook from library
Narrators:  Joe Arden and Maxine Mitchell

My rating:  5 stars 

My choosing to listen to this was at an ideal time.  They are currently working on filming the movie for the first book in this series, Driven, which you can read my review of if you click on the title in this sentence.   So between listening to this, and seeing all the photos online, I was totally in the frame of mind that I NEED this movie to hurry up and be finished!  I loved this one in that we got to see little Zander (I don't like that spelling, it should be Xander, but that's my opinion) all grown up.  It started with him being a bit of a brat with Colton, the man who adopted him, all because of some news he got.  Now, I knew that he was probably being a little over the top, because how Zander as a little boy, possibly be responsible for killing his mother, who his father had stabbed with scissors.  When it was finally spelled out for the reader/listener, it totally made sense. And I guess, to be fair, Zander did have a lot of baggage, so it's not that crazy that he might go a little nuts at finding that out.  I mean even though he was adopted into a loving family with Colton and Riley, Colton had also been adopted to a wonderful family after his horrible childhood, and still had issues as an adult.  And then there was Getty.  I loved her.  She had such a bad experience, but she took charge, got herself out of it, even if she had to run away and basically go into hiding.  There were times that Zander would say something to her or behave a certain way and it would make me angry at him, as he should have known better after his own mother suffered similarly.

I was a bit shocked when Getty's father, part of her abusive past, came back into the story before halfway through the book.  I knew that meant there were many more things to cause drama and heartache.  Which I should have expected, knowing how Bromberg's mind works.  The part with Getty's ex-husband was pretty intense at first, although once we switched to Zander's POV on that it got kind of rushed to the end I felt like I'd missed something.  The final obstacle I kind of figured was what it would be.  But I am a little ticked at Getty for not believing him, she should have known Zander better than that.  However, it totally made for a happy tears ending.  I am excited that this author will also be at Book  Bonanza this summer. Although since I have met her before, I may not wait in too big of a line to see her if there are other authors I haven't met yet.  

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

The New York Times bestselling Driven series continues with a standalone story about finding love where you least expect it…
Behind the wheel, racing champion Zander Donavan is at the top of his game. But after too much excess in his personal life, he’s forced to step away. He needs to accomplish something all on his own—outside of his famous father’s shadow.  
Getty Caster is running away from the abuse that clouds her past. She thinks she’s found the perfect escape—until she discovers a stranger in the beachside cottage she’d been promised. He’s undeniably sexy, but she’s there to heal. Alone.
Before long though, fighting with each other turns into fighting their attraction. And giving into desire sets off a chain reaction that has their pasts colliding. With an unexpected love on the line, can they overcome the fallout to build a future?