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Review: House of Sin (Part 1) by Vince Stark

Review: House of Sin (Part 1) by Vince StarkHouse of Sin by Vince Stark
Series: House of Sin
April 18, 2015
Genres: Erotica
Pages: 118
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads

(please note: an early draft accidentally got uploaded to all preorders - please follow the email prompts to update the file on your Kindle, otherwise you'll be getting the old, unedited version, I apologize to you all for this inconvenience)

***HOUSE OF SIN is a two-part erotica series that contains extremely explicit sex told from the male POV. If you are sensitive to scenes that include unsafe sexual practices, multiple partners, dubious consent, orgies, sex clubs, bondage, violence, drugs, coarse language and cliffhangers, this isn't the book for you.***

You say you want to know what's going on in a man's head during sex? Well, Jack Willow is about to take you on a wild ride.

Hot, obsessive, and emotionally unavailable, Jack's a man who's always gotten what he wants . But when he meets a naive, young girl named Leah and pulls her into the seedy underbelly of an underground sex club, he not only gets what he wants, he gets more than he bargained for. Jack's secret world is built on darkness and depravity and the further Leah gets involved in his house of sin, the more she craves it. The more she needs it. And the more dangerous it gets.

Unfortunately, the sex that brings them together is also the sex that could tear them apart.

The male point of view is something I’ve always been fascinated by.  The male mind seems so different than the females. More simple, straight forward, less … I don’t know, flowery.  House of Sin is proof of that, but not in a bad way.
Jack Willow is a little bit adrenaline junky, a little bit sexual deviant, quite a bit more of a sexual addict and ultimately, all male.  Confident and non-committal.
 The truth is my whole life has been a battle between us, my cock and me.
The only part of him that changes when he meets Leah is the commitment part. He may have finally found a woman he want’s for more that just a quick nut. Leah is so many of the things Jack is not. She’s not experienced the city’s sexual underbelly as Jack has. She’s a little wholesome and submissive but with an inner desire to have some taboo experiences.
As Jack becomes more smitten, he also becomes more apprehensive with the idea of Leah playing out these desires. But who is he, being a manwhore of sorts, to stop her inner vixen from living a little?

 

I think what I appreciated most about Jack is that though he has some predatory urges, he does not really want to victimize women. He searches for women that are like him. Who have sexual desires that are bit off center, who have that need for sexual release just to be able to focus…he does not really want to dirty up something clean he just wants to the little stains inside those seemingly clean things to have a moment to shine without shame.
I thought, while reading House of Sin, that I had Jack figured out.  But the end has me re-thinking so much of it.  The twist has me evaluating all his actions in a new light, which I appreciate. I could go back to the start, re-read and have an entirely new experience with this new information, I think.
While the writing is a bit on the simple side, perhaps a little repetitive, it worked well enough for the story being told. I enjoyed my ride through Jack’s mind and eagerly await part two.

 

Miss Ali - Transparent

 

 


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Review: The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Review: The Duff by Kody KeplingerThe Duff by Kody Keplinger
Published by Little Brown September 7, 2010
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 280
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

 The Duff was such a fun read, much more than I had anticipated. Mostly, because of Bianca.

 
What a little firecracker, she is.  She’s cynical and snarky, a bit tom boyish and undeniably loyal.  She is also pretty upfront and brave, a rare quality in many teen girls. Especially teen girls who don’t fit the ‘beautiful people’ mold.
 
Wesley is quite the opposite of Bianca, at first glance. He’s a player and makes no argument against that title. In fact, he seems to embrace it.  He comes across as callous and cocky when he first hits the pages, chatting up Bianca (the DUFF) in an attempt to bed one of her hot best friends.
 
Like every really good book, the characters are more than they seem at first.  The DUFF is no different there.  Bianca is more than a girl with a hard shell, she’s also a little heart broken and a lot reserved with her heart.  Just as Wesley isn’t above falling in love with the girl that challenges his every move….even if she doesn’t look like she just jumped off the cover of  Seventeen Magazine.
 
My favorite moments were the verbal tennis matches these two had with each other. They are quick witted kids and I giggled a lot.
 
The Duff isn’t the deepest read out there by any means, but it also isn’t full of fluff.  It has purpose and meaning with enough humor to ensure you are a happy reader from start to stop. 
Miss Ali - Transparent

 


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Giveaway – LIFT: Authors Raising Autism Awareness Week Two

LIFT banner justifiedIt’s week two of LIFT: Authors Raising Autism Awareness!
More than 50 authors are banding together this month, donating their great work, and increasing awareness and acceptance for those living with Autism.
This Week’s LIFT Authors
The Rafflecopter is loaded with e-books, signed paperbacks, swag and gift cards from these amazing authors! Make sure you enter!

We are highlighting The Autism Society this week. With more than 50 years of service to the autism community, they are one of the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization. Please consider supporting their efforts!

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Review: Beautiful Secret by Christina Lauren

Review: Beautiful Secret by Christina LaurenBeautiful Secret by Christina Lauren
Series: Beautiful Bastard #4
Published by Berkley April 14, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 401
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also by this author: The House
Goodreads

AN UPTIGHT BRITISH EXECUTIVE. AN ADVENTUROUS AMERICAN NEWBIE. A SEXY INTERNATIONAL SCANDAL IN THE MAKING.

New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author Christina Lauren’s Beautiful and Wild Seasons series hook up in Beautiful Secret for an erotic intercontinental romp that celebrates the best of both worlds!

When Ruby Miller’s boss announces he’s sending her on an extended business trip to New York City, she’s shocked. As one of the best and brightest young engineers in London, she knows she’s professionally up to the task. The part that’s throwing her is where she’ll be spending a month up close and personal working alongside—and staying in a hotel with—Niall Stella, her firm’s top urban planning executive and The Hottest Man Alive. Despite her ongoing crush, Ruby is certain Niall barely knows she’s alive…until their flirty overnight flight makes him sit up and take notice.

Not one for letting loose and breaking rules, recently divorced Niall would describe himself as hopeless when it comes to women. But even he knows outgoing California-girl Ruby is a breath of fresh air. Once she makes it her mission to help the sexy Brit loosen his tie, there’s no turning back. Thousands of miles from London, it’s easy for the lovers to play pretend. But when the trip is over, will the relationship they’ve built up fall down?

Beautiful Secret is so my kind of romance! Give me awkward geekiness all day long, which is exactly what Christina Lauren did with Niall and Ruby.
 
This is not a conventional romance. This also isn’t a typical Christina Lauren book.  You won’t be getting a cookie cutter story line here. You still get the signature sense of humor and characters with a
certain uniqueness about them, but it is a departure from what
contemporary romance has come to be. 
 
Niall is extremely old fashioned in many ways and very closed off.  Ruby is much more sexually experienced and outgoing but still very nervous and timid at times with her long time crush. 
 
I immediately loved Ruby. Her brain is a place I would love to spend some quality time in. It’s quick and quirky and reminds me of schoolgirl days in how playful it could be.
 
Niall, gotta say…confused and frustrated the hell out of me through most of the book. But I still absolutely adored him. He’s completely oblivious to, well, most everything. He has no clue how to act around a woman and he screws that up. A lot.
 
While the beginnings of their sexual relationship gave me pause, I eventually began to find it endearing and sweet. Neither wants to push too hard or too fast, yet they can’t deny the attraction they find have with each other. I can see how some readers could be turning up their noses to how this relationship plays out, but I enjoyed the unconventional aspect of it. 
 
Beautiful Secret is a testimony to muddling your way through new relationships in the hopes that love might take hold.
 
If you are a fan of Christina Lauren, you will undoubtedly find something you love about Beautiful Secret.  I found many things!

 

About Christina Lauren

NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY AND #1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHORS
Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners/besties/soulmates/brain-twins Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The coauthor duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced eleven New York Times bestselling novels including Beautiful Bastard, Beautiful Stranger, Beautiful Player, Sweet Filthy Boy and Dirty Rowdy Thing. Their books have been translated into 25+ languages. (Some of these books have kissing. Some of these books have A LOT of kissing.)


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Review: Broken Juliet by Leisa Rayven

Review: Broken Juliet by Leisa RayvenBroken Juliet by Leisa Rayven
Series: Starcrossed #2
Published by Pan April 28, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Goodreads

How do you fix a love that’s been broken beyond repair?

For years, Cassie Taylor tried to forget about Ethan Holt. He was the one great love of her life, and when he failed to return her love, a part of her died forever. Or so she thought. Now she and Ethan are sharing a Broadway stage, and he’s determined to win her back. Claiming to be a changed man, he’s finally able to say all the things she needed to hear years ago, but can she believe him? What makes this time different from all his other broken promises?

Ethan knows he can’t change their tumultuous past, but if he’s going to have any chance of being with the woman he loves, he’ll need to convince Cassie that her future belongs with him.

Don’t miss this stunning conclusion to the unforgettable love story that captivated over two million fans online.

Broken Juliet was all the things I had hoped Bad Romeo would have been.  It isn’t that I disliked Bad Romeo, I just disliked aspects of the past portions of Bad Romeo.  I was most happy to not have those same issues with Broken Juliet.

 
BJ picks up right where BR leaves off, with Ethan professing his love for Cassie and Cassie too scared to give him yet another chance.
 
The roles are now reversed.  All the parts of Ethan that he regrets about himself are now in full force within Cassie. She’s terrified to commit, to let herself become a victim to love…again.  She’s broken and it’s Ethan’s fault.  He swears he’s in her life to stay this time but those are only words.
 
I enjoyed all the flashbacks this time around. They felt more meaningful, like there was much more purpose to them and they were not diluted by annoying sub characters that meant nothing to me other than one more person trying to impart some ridiculous wisdom. Yeah…you can see what really irked me about book one. Sorry.
 
This time around, those parts were full of the meat of their earlier relationship and gave much more insight into why the relationship falls apart and how Cassie becomes the woman she is now.
 
I truly felt for her and could finally see her as someone other than a woman who refused to head the repeated warnings of a man telling her he would fuck her over.  I also learned to love Ethan even more. The journey Ethan takes to get to the end isn’t an easy one and I respected Rayven for giving him that life lesson on his own terms, for allowing him to want to fix himself and having the courage to do it.
 
Broken Juliet is just as angst ridden and drama filled as Bad Romeo, but with a deeper, more heartfelt tone.  It was a great conclusion to a pretty epic love story.
Miss Ali - Transparent

 


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Review: Asa by Jay Crownover

Review: Asa by Jay CrownoverAsa by Jay Crownover
Series: Marked Men #6
April 21, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also by this author: Better When He's Bold
Goodreads

Jay Crownover’s New York Times and USA Today bestselling Marked Men series continues with the much anticipated story of southern charmer and certified criminal Asa Cross.

Starting over in Denver with a whole new circle of friends and family, Asa Cross struggles with being the man he knows everyone wants him to be and the man he knows he really is. A leopard doesn’t it change its spots and Asa has always been a predator. He doesn’t want to hurt those who love and rely on him, especially one luscious arresting cop who suddenly seems to be interested in him for far more than his penchant for breaking the law. But letting go of old habits is hard, and it’s easy to hit bottom when it’s the place you know best.

Royal Hastings is quickly learning what the bottom looks like after a tragic situation at work threatens not only her career but her partner’s life. As a woman who has only ever had a few real friends she’s trying to muddle through her confusion and devastation all alone. Except she can’t stop thinking about the sexy southern bartender she locked up. Crushing on Asa is the last thing she needs but his allure is too strong to resist. His long criminal record can only hurt her already shaky career and chasing after a guy who has no respect for the law or himself can only end in heartbreak.

A longtime criminal and a cop together just seems so wrong . . . but for Asa and Royal, being wrong together is the only right choice to make.

Crownover shows such artistic growth and maturity in Asa, the final installment in her Marked Men series.  The writing style, the character development and the way the problems are dealt with, were all head and shoulders above where she started with Rule.  She’s hitting her stride and Asa is proof of that.
 
Those who have been reading my reviews for some time know that my favorite characters are the broken ones.  The more messed up they are, the more I want to read their story.  Asa is beautifully, tragically broken.  Growing up with no care other than himself has left him with a past full of selfish and criminal acts.  When a second lease on life puts him in a world surrounded by people who are gracious, selfless and full of forgiveness… all those past misdeeds begin to weigh heavily on his mind.
 
Asa proves that changing who you are is hard and forgiving yourself is even harder.  His inner struggle brought me to my knees a little bit.   It was so easy to believe that someone who was such a bad person could believe they could never really change. Or believe that they never deserved anything good to happen to them.
 
Royal is in a similar mindset but for vastly different reasons.  She’s lost some confidence in herself and ironically, it’s the man with no self worth that helps her find hers again.
 
For me, Royal was the perfect match for Asa.  She’s soft to his hard but with her own edge. She won’t back down, she goes after what she wants but not to the point of bending who she is for him.  Yet, she won’t allow him to bend for her either.  She just wants him to see himself how others do, not change, not be better, just be who he is now instead of living in the shadow of who he was.
 
That is where the maturity comes in to play.  Both Asa and Royal are willing to walk away from each other for the sake of each other.  They are both ready to make hard calls, to give up personal happiness for the chance of the other person to follow the path they need to. To have ultimate trust in each other when trust doesn’t come easy to either of them.  It’s not the easiest resolution to their problems, but it’s a resolution I have immense respect for.  It’s the only choice that could have been made with unconditional love for another person. 
 
Asa is a beautiful end to the Marked Men series, showing that love is sacrifice, it’s trust, it’s selfless. 

 

 Miss Ali - Transparent

About Jay Crownover

I’m supposed to share interesting details about myself so that my readers get to know me so here we go in no particular order: I’m an natural redhead even though I haven’t seen my real hair color in years, I’m a big fan of tattoos and have a half sleeve on either arm and various other pieces all over the place, I’ve been in the bar industry since I was in college and it has always offered interesting insight into how men and women interact with each other, I have 3 dogs that are all crazy, I live in Colorado and love the snow, I love music and in all reality wish I could be a rock star not a writer or a bartender but I have zero talent so there is that.
I love to write, love to read and all I’m interested in is a good story with interesting characters that make the reader feel something.
Thanks for taking the time to check my stuff out….


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