Tuesday, July 14, 2015

All About the Books - July

Life According to Steph

OMG I have read some really great romance books this past month!! Sure a few let me down, but there are plenty of five stars!

Ride Steady by Kristen Ashley *****
Nowhere But Here by Renee Carlino *****

Five Ways to Fall by KA Tucker ****
Darker Water by Lauren Stewart *****
Miss Match by Laurelin McGee ****
Manwhore by Katy Evans ****
Incandescent (#1) by River Savage *****
Affliction (#2) by River Savage *****
Sweet Ache by K Bromberg *****
Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley ****
Wild Man by Kristen Ashley *****
Nowhere but Here by Katie McGarry *****
Under the Lights by Stacey Shannon ****
The Cowboy's Surprise Baby by Deb Kastner ****
Rock Chick by Kristen Ashley ****

Ride Steady by Kristen Ashley is by far my favorite out of this bunch. I asked all of my friends to brave the Walmart to find a Walmart/SAMs club special edition and one was found in Jacksonville!! Seriously, check out this biker book that touches the heart strings and check out my full review for MORE! *****

Synopsis: The ride of her life . . .
Once upon a time, Carissa Teodoro believed in happy endings. Money, marriage, motherhood: everything came easy---until she woke up to the ugly truth about her Prince Charming. Now a struggling, single mom and stranded by a flat tire, Carissa's pondering her mistakes when a vaguely familiar knight rides to her rescue on a ton of horsepower.

Climb on and hold tight . . .
In high school, Carson Steele was a bad boy loner who put Carissa on a pedestal where she stayed far beyond his reach. Today, he's the hard-bodied biker known only as Joker, and from the way Carissa's acting, it's clear she's falling fast. While catching her is irresistible, knowing what to do with her is a different story. A good girl like Carissa is the least likely fit with the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Too bad holding back is so damned hard. Now, as Joker's secrets are revealed and an outside threat endangers the club, Joker must decide whether to ride steady with Carissa---or ride away forever . . .

Nowhere But Here by Renee Carlino was either a happy accident or rec'd by a good book review friend. There were two books with the same name when I went to look it up from my Library and since i loved them both I'm not sure which one was which. Even though it didn't take long to figure out what was going on with the elusive billionaire, I was absolutely devastated by the time Kate's trip was over. This book brought out all the feels and I need to check out her other works. *****

Synopsis: Kate Corbin has lost her spark. From the outside, her life seems charmed. She has a handsome, long-term boyfriend and a budding journalism career at a popular Chicago newspaper. But in reality, her relationship is going nowhere, and she’s quickly losing motivation for what she once believed was her dream job. When her boyfriend dumps her unceremoniously, Kate loses all hope of finding love.

With no living family and few friends, Kate confides in her boss. Trusting that the hungry, ace reporter is buried somewhere deep inside, he gives Kate the opportunity to jumpstart her career. The assignment: to interview the famously reclusive R.J. Lawson, a wealthy tech genius who disappeared years ago but recently reemerged as a Napa Valley vintner. The week takes an unexpected turn, however, when Lawson refuses to divulge any information. Desperate for a lead, Kate turns to Jamie, a vineyard hand who shows her the romance of wine country—and stirs her aching heart. But his connection to Lawson is ambiguous, and when Jamie disappears before the end of the week, Kate is left to investigate another story: the truth behind the man who stole her heart.

USA TODAY bestselling author RenĂ©e Carlino explored love and heartbreak in her beautifully written debut Sweet Thing, and her newest novel does not disappoint. For fans of Colleen Hoover, K.A. Tucker, and Katja Millay, Nowhere But Here is a stirring and satisfying romance that you won’t want to put down.

Five Ways to Fall by KA Tucker was unfortunately a book that I had to put on hold while I got some other books out of the way before they expired from the library!! However, I absolutely loved the one-night-stand-mistake that you didn't see coming, yeah right and how Ben and Reese weathered some pretty tough things for a new relationship that is frowned upon. While it wasn't my favorite KA Tucker novel, I still enjoyed it. ****

Synopsis: Purple-haired, sharp-tongued Reese MacKay knows all about making the wrong choice; she’s made plenty of them in her twenty-odd-years. So when her impulsive, short-lived marriage ends in heartbreak, she decides it’s time for a change. She moves to Miami with the intention of hitting reset on her irresponsible life, and she does quite well…aside from an epically humiliating one-night stand in Cancun with a hot blond bouncer named Ben. Thank God she can get on a plane and leave that mistake behind her.

Football scholarship and frat parties with hot chicks? Part of charmer Ben Morris’s plan. Blown knee that kills any hope of a professional football career? So not part of the plan. Luckily Ben has brains to go with his knockout looks and magnetism. After three long years of balancing law school with his job as a bouncer at Penny’s Palace, he’s ready to lead a more mature life—until his first day of work, when he finds himself in the office of that crazy, hot chick he met in Cancun. The one he hasn’t stopped thinking about.

If Ben truly were a smart guy, he’d stay clear of Reese. She’s the boss’s stepdaughter and it’s been made very clear that office romances are grounds for dismissal. Plus, rumor has it she’s trouble. The only problem is, he likes trouble, especially when it’s so good-looking…

Manwhore by Katy Evans took me a while to get into. I've read a lot of billionaires during my romance genre tenure, and this took a while to stand out. Unfortunately it just didn't top her first series, Real that I was obsessed with BUT she did manage to keep me up toward the end only to find out it was a cliffhanger!! Luckily it came out just a month after I read it so it's on my TBR for this month. ****

Synopsis: Is it possible to expose Chicago’s hottest player—without getting played?

This is the story I've been waiting for all my life, and its name is Malcolm Kyle Preston Logan Saint. Don’t be fooled by that last name though. There’s nothing holy about the man except the hell his parties raise. The hottest entrepreneur Chicago has ever known, he’s a man’s man with too much money to spend and too many women vying for his attention.

Mysterious. Privileged. Legendary. His entire life he’s been surrounded by the press as they dig for tidbits to see if his fairytale life is for real or all mirrors and social media lies. Since he hit the scene, his secrets have been his and his alone to keep. And that’s where I come in.

Assigned to investigate Saint and reveal his elusive personality, I’m determined to make him the story that will change my career.

But I never imagined he would change my life. Bit by bit, I start to wonder if I'm the one discovering him...or if he's uncovering me.

What happens when the man they call Saint, makes you want to sin?

Darker Water by Lauren Stewart was rec'd to me through my sister. She didn't read it but in her many travels found another friend to rec stories to me through. Anyway, it was a very emotional read, I mean seeing their friendship develop throughout their sex only relationship and knowing what they agreed upon you just knew they were going to hit rocky times. The ending was well worth all the emotions Stewart put her readers through and I need to invest in more of her books. *****

Synopsis: After another painful breakup, Laney Temple finally understands that love is a fairytale and sex rarely comes with a happy ending. She's too busy for it right now anyway--she has a business to run, art to create, and candy to crush. Eventually she'll be ready to switch from her plastic-or-silicon lover to a flesh-and-blood one. But before that happens, she needs to be sure she won't feel any of those annoying emotions that make her heart do things it wasn't meant to do...

Like break

Carson Bennett is completely upfront about what he wants, and it has nothing to do with Laney's heart. Her lips? Hell yeah. Other parts of her body? You better f*cking believe it. But her heart? Nope, not even a little. Until it does... a lot. But having feelings for someone isn't allowed. It's the kind of thing you're supposed to push down deep and cover up with one-night stands, sarcasm, and booze...

Like secrets

Two people want the same thing—a commitment to nothing more than great sex in a bunch of different positions. Simple. Enjoyable. A win-win. Problem is, those two people have families and fears and pain that spill into every moment of their lives, control what they do and who they are. And if either Carson or Laney can't free themselves from the past, they'll both be pulled under by it.

Darker Water is a stand-alone contemporary romance that does not end in a cliffhanger.

Miss Match by Laurelin McGee was a cute, quick romantic story that came with some wit. Perfect for a beach read, especially if you're a fan of match making. Make sure you check out the full review here. ****

Synopsis: Welcome to the sexy, crazy, wildly unpredictable world of modern matchmaking, where fixing up strangers is part of the job—but falling in love is an occupational hazard…

He's The Perfect Catch.

Blake Donovan is tall, handsome, rich, and successful—so why would a guy like him need a matchmaker? Andrea Dawson has no idea, but a job is a job. After being blackballed from a career in marketing, Andrea agreed to use her unique profiling skills to play matchmaker out of pure desperation. But when she meets her highly eligible—and particular—first client face to face, she wonders what she’s gotten herself into…

Is She His Perfect Match?

Blake knows exactly the kind of woman he’s looking for—and it’s the total opposite of Andrea. Though smart and undeniably sexy, she is simply too headstrong for a man who’s used to being in charge. Still, Blake’s blood pressure rises whenever she’s near him. How can he explain the smoldering attraction that sizzles between them? And how can Andrea deny she’s feeling it, too? Maybe, just maybe, they’ve finally met their match…

Incandescent (#1) by River Savage was a very happy surprise. I had added it to the biker list I was assembling on Goodreads and when it was free I decided to read it right away. I'm so glad I did. River Savage knows how to write a biker book! I loved the hero, I mean he's a DILF so that's a huge weakness for me in fiction. *****

Synopsis: Phoenix ‘Nix’ Knight thought pulling his club out of the illegal shit his Pops got them into was difficult.

Until he meets Kadence.

Kadence Turner has no business lusting over a student’s father, especially the president of the Knights Rebels MC. Nix is crass, obnoxious and dangerously sexy and for some reason, Kadence can’t seem to hate him for it. The bossy biker breaks down her defenses, but unlike the old Kadence, the woman she is today won’t give in without a fight.

The tension is undeniable, the attraction fierce. A man that wants what he wants and a woman that will fight him every step of the way.

Affliction (#2) by River Savage was readily available right after I finished book #1 and I couldn't put either down. While the first was cute, sweet story about a DILF and the teacher, this second one started off fun but the couple seemed to have more difficult things to get through, it wasn't as straight forward. NOW, let me tell you the third in this series comes out TODAY so you know what I'll be reading soon!! *****

Synopsis: Three little words are all it takes to rip his world apart. Lost in his own affliction, Sy has been living in a darkness that he doesn't ever want to let go of.

Until she arrives and shines her light so bright that nothing else mattered.

She was only in it for the chase, for the thrill of capturing the unattainable.
But what happens when her world shatters around her, spiraling her into the darkness beside him?

Can his affliction be her resurrection?
Or will two lost souls living in the depths of deception let it destroy them?

Sweet Ache by K Bromberg was a rocker book and I was very nervous about her changing styles. I loved it, it centers around the sister of her debut novel and a rock star that has family problems of his own. *****

Synopsis: Hawkin Play, the bad boy rock star with a good guy heart, has lived a lifetime of cleaning up after his twin brother’s mistakes. Hunter’s most recent screw-up could land Hawke in jail and risk the band’s future. Hawke agrees to guest lecture at a local college to stay in the judge’s good graces—and a bet with his bandmate to seduce his sexy teaching assistant is icing on the cake.

Quinlan Westin is harder to bed than Hawke imagined. She knows his type and is determined to avoid the rocker at all costs—even if their attraction runs deeper than simple lust.

Just as Hawke might finally be winning over the girl, his brother has other plans. When Hunter realizes his twin finally has a weakness, he’ll stop at nothing to take advantage…

Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley starts out in a very unusual way. A man sneaks into her bed at night to sex her up. It all turns serious when Gwen gets pulled into the line of fire, her hero starts coming around during the day and she finds out he has been doing a lot more than visiting her at night. ****

Synopsis: Night time is the right time...

Gwendolyn Kidd has met the man of her dreams. He's hot, he's sexy, and what started as a no-names-exchanged night of passion has blossomed into a year and a half-long pleasure fest. Sure, it's a little strange that he only appears in her bed at night, but Gwen is so sure he's the one, she just can't turn him away...

Hawk Delgado knows more about Gwen than she could ever imagine. She's gorgeous, headstrong, and skittish about relationships. But Hawk is facing his own demons, demons that keep him from connecting with anyone. Yet when Gwen is drawn into Denver's lethal underground scene, Hawk's protective nature comes out full force. The problem is, when Gwen gets a dose of Hawk's Alpha attitude in the daylight, she's not so sure he's the one anymore....

Wild Man by Kristen Ashley is a rare second book that I liked better than the first. The heroine is unknowingly being investigated by the sweet man she's been dating. The two have quite a bumpy road since he's an undercover cop but what a great story they have. All of the supporting characters got a little out of whack, especially his ex but I could overlook that. *****

Synopsis: She's about to walk on the wild side . . .

While filling the display case in her bakery, the bell over the door sounds and Tessa O'Hara looks up to see the man of her dreams. Within thirty seconds he asks her out for a beer. But after four months of dating, she discovers he's an undercover DEA agent-and he's investigating her possible role in her ex-husband's drug business. For Tess, this means their relationship is over.

Brock disagrees. He's committed to his anti-drug mission, but he's fallen in love with the beautiful woman who's as sweet as her cupcakes-and he'll do anything to win her back. Standing between Tess and Brock are their own exes, one of them a drug lord who's determined to get what he wants. Now as danger threatens, can Brock break the rules he's lived by and let loose his wild side to protect the woman he loves?

Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry is a motorcycle book, but more of a YA or NA biker book. The heroine is the club princess, but she hasn't grown up in the life. The back story slowly plays out and the surprising end was very well written and thought out. It took me a while to get into this book, but once I was there I was hooked. *****

Synopsis: An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

Under the Lights by Stacey Shannon was a cute read. More of what I've come to love from her. Very straight to the point, contemporary romance though this one hits home a little bit more. What if the guy you crushed on in high school was, like you, still unattached...would sparks fly? Easy, beach read perfect for the Fall since it centers around Football and bringing a town together. ****

Synopsis: From the New York Times bestselling author of the Kowalski Family novels, a sweet, sexy new series about taking hits, making second chances, and finding love…

They were the golden boys of fall: Stewart Mills High School’s legendary championship winning football team. Fourteen years later, they’re back to relive their glory, save the team—and find themselves again…

Chase Sanders’s life has taken a lot of crazy turns lately. But returning to his hometown to help his old coach keep his high school football team afloat might be the craziest thing to happen to him yet. That is, until he starts falling for the last person he should—Coach’s gorgeous daughter…

Kelly McDonnell learned the hard way that cocky, charming men are nothing but trouble, so she knows Chase is bad news. Still, she can’t resist his smile—or the rest of him. But when his loyalty to her father conflicts with their growing attraction, any hope for a relationship might be blocked before it can even begin…

The Cowboy's Surprise Baby by Deb Kastner was surprisingly a inspirational romance. I didn't realize when I requested it from Netgalley that it would be a man after God's heart and talking about following God's plan. It was a DILF story, which is weird to say about an inspirational romance and the cover is one of my least favorite things about this book, but the inside was sugary sweet. It's a second chance romance book where a couple that had planned a future together, much too young gets a chance to see that they might have been right all along. **** Full review to come.

Synopsis: After years away serving his country, Cole Bishop finally returns home—with a newborn baby in tow. As a single dad, Cole needs help. But the last thing he expects to encounter at his new job is his high school sweetheart—all grown up and more beautiful than ever. Tessa Applewhite might have broken Cole's heart years before, but she's never forgotten him. And he can wrangle her heart like no one else ever has. But Tessa rejected him when the stakes weren't nearly as high. Can Cole trust her again—and in the process, form a forever family?

Rock Chick by Kristen Ashley is from my understanding what started a whole host of spin offs and while it was great to see how Lee Nightengale came to be, it just did not stand out for me. The stuff that KA has written over the last 7 years has gotten so much better. Lee really was the shining hero in this book, I love that he knew so much about her and really could show her he'd been paying attention while she was trying to avoid him over the last ten years. ****

Synopsis: Indy Savage, cop's daughter, rock chick and used bookstore owner, has been in love with Lee Nightingale, once bad boy, now the man behind Nightingale Investigations, since she was five years old. No matter what ingenious schemes Indy used to capture his attention, Lee never showed an interest and Indy finally gave up. Now Indy's employee, Rosie, has lost a bag of diamonds and bad guys are shooting at him. When Indy gets involved, Lee is forced to help. Complicating matters, Lee has decided he's interested, Indy's decided she's not. But she can't seem to keep Lee out of her life when she's repeatedly stun gunned, kidnapped and there are car bombs exploding (not to mention she's finding dead bodies).

Indy's best bet is to solve the mystery of the diamonds before Lee. Lee's challenge is to keep Indy alive and, at the same time, win back her heart.

What's next?

Caught Up In the Touch - I'm reading through the next book in the Falcon Football series, the follow up to Slow and Steady Rush that I enjoyed a few months ago.
Rock Chick Rescue and it's shaping up to be worse than the first which is so disappointing! I'm hoping it turns around and the other books in the series get better.
Spinster is a more satirical, non-fiction that I'm trying to make my way through. It's a hard back book and not as easy to read on the go. It's my pool read.
I'll also be playing catch up again with my library books, including Manwhore +1 that just came out and working my way through my Litarary Ladies Summer challenge list.

What are you reading and loving lately?


  1. I've had mismatched on my list for a while now!! After re-reading the synopsis I need to just download it! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  2. my selection of books this month wasn't on point and that makes me sad because i love getting lost in a good book! my fav book in june was The Stand by Stephen King -- SO GOOD!

  3. You got through a lot this month. i am going to check out the first three on your list. I read Miss Match too and it had some points I didn't like but overall liked it.

  4. Spinster was a book I struggled with. I WANTED to love it, but I also had completely different expectations than what the book gave me. I thought it was going to be about HER life.. not the life of actual (and not actual) spinsters. :(

  5. You always rock the reading. So many great books on the list! I have to add quite a few of these to my list ... thats a mile long.

  6. That's a lot of books you've read! Nowhere but here sounds like an interesting read.

  7. You rocked it out again! I might try Nowhere But Here.

  8. You powered through a lot of books this month! Great job!

  9. As always, you are my reading hero!

  10. You read a book called Manwhore?! That is my favorite title of a book ever.

  11. I'm always amazed about how much you're able to get done in the reading department.. awesome! Rock Chick looks like something I need to add to my Kindle :)

  12. So many books! You always read such good ones! Right now I am reading The Close You Come by Gina Showalter and am enjoying it. I had to laugh at the Manwhore title.

  13. You read so much! :) I'm going to look into Nowhere But Here and Five Ways to Fall.

  14. wow! you read so much in the past month! I might have to add Miss Match to my "to read" list on Goodreads.

  15. I don't get into the genre that you read, but I am always impressed with your reading prowess. Way to go!

  16. I have not heard of almost all of these before! Definitley need to look into them!!

  17. I was thinking I was going to read Five Ways of Fall soon and you convinced me to make it even sooner!


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