Review: Low by Mary Elizabeth

Review: Low by Mary ElizabethLow (Low, #1) by Mary Elizabeth
February 1st 2016
Pages: 242
Format: ARC

It’s hard living on the wrong side of the tracks.

Lowen Seely has a criminal record to prove it. Determined not to follow in his father’s footsteps, he fights instinct and tries honesty. But hunger becomes painful, and bills are due. Forced to choose between what is right and wrong, the boy from the hood learns abiding by the rules is nearly impossible when corruption is in your blood.
Falling for an outlaw has changed everything.

Poesy Ashby is the definition of ride or die, even when it means turning her back on freedom. The girl from the suburbs gives conformity the middle finger. Bonnie and Clyde have nothing on her love story.
On the run with consequences in the rearview mirror, Lowen and Poesy accept the truth: they are the bad guys.

But can they get away with their crimes?




plural noun: thieves

a person who steals another person’s property, especially by stealth and without using force or violence. 

I thought I already knew the definition of the word thief, until I read LOW by Mary Elizabeth but since more recent times if I could replace the very term with any word it would without a doubt be LOWEN. 

I live for reading a book where I can feel the truth in every sentence, where I can be apart of a world that isn’t part of my own reality, or where I can embed my love so deep for a fictional character and know it will be left in the pages to to last for a lifetime…

Mary has given me all of the above, every time I reread passages I feel like it’s something completely brand new and the EMOTIONS that she EVOKES are completely CATASTROPHIC!

LOWEN SEELY is society’s outcast, unwanted by a greedy nation, this inmate is breed to be nothing more than a faceless criminal but I saw him for so much more than that.  He loved with such an intense fierceness that, that alone rewrote all his wrong doings into something that seemed so right.  After all, love is forsaking yourself for the forgiveness of another, or so I would like to believe. 

Guilt crushes any resemblance of comfort I felt before Poe reacquainted me with our truth: we survive on stolen time.

In this case POESY ASHBY is the other, she is the driving life force to to all of Low’s unjustified crimes, she is a love like fire.  Poe’s loyalty to her boy is awe inspiring and wholesome in the in the most unruly kind of way.  What I adored so much about her was that she accepted her life and embraced it even, there were no hints of a fragile damsel in distress here. 

“… Not many people have done what we have, Low. It means something.” “It means everything.”

These two together have been deemed the worlds most DANGEROUS, UNATTAINABLE bank robbers with an obscene reward for any information leading to their arrest but it seems to be that they were always one step ahead of things.  As time passed they are now living life on the run and to the eyes of the unknown they are just a young, carefree couple in love but never staying in one place for too long and a constant habit of looking over their shoulder is wearing them thin… 

Poe and I sling guns.  We rob banks, steal cars, and outrun an entire nation of jaded fucks.  Chaos is our marriage certificate.

LOW & POE have a love that faces their fate, but fate isn’t always kind.

From beginning, middle, and the very bitter-sweet end this book sunk talons into me ensuring I would always wear the marks of its meaning.  Everything you could possibly hope for is within these pages… Romance, fear, suspense, sadness and despair, but above all TRUTH!

“…Speak love to me, boy.”

About Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is an up and coming author who finds words in chaos, writing stories about the skeletons hanging in your closets.

Known as The Realist, Mary was born and raised in Southern California. She is a wife, mother of four beautiful children, and dog tamer to one enthusiastic Pit Bull and a prissy Chihuahua. She’s a hairstylist by day but contemporary fiction, new adult author by night. Mary can often be found finger twirling her hair and chewing on a stick of licorice while writing and rewriting a sentence over and over until it’s perfect. She discovered her talent for tale-telling accidentally, but literature is in her chokehold. And she’s not letting go until every story is told.

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I love romance novels, stories with romantic touches, all of it.  Give me a good book with some good penetration and I’m a happy girl.  That’s all I ask for, really.

Yeah, that’s a lie.  In reality I’m a finicky bitch.  And I have pet peeves when reading… lots of them.  My fellow blogmates like to make fun of me for them, think I’m crazy on a few…but hey!  Different strokes.  We’re an eclectic bunch.

So, of course I decided to make a list of things in romance novels that make me feel stabby.  Or at the very least DNF the current read.

Leah’s Please-Stop-Doing-This-Shit-In-Books List

1 –  Fingers Tingling/Zapping When Touching For the First Time
This cliche kills me.  Let’s set the scene:  Girl is in coffee shop.  Boy walks in.  Girl sees boy for the first time and gets happy vagina tingles because he’s so hot.  Girl’s blood goes straight south and she loses all motor function and becomes a hot mess and, oh no!, drops her coffee. Or purse.  Or whatever.  She kneels down to grab the fumbled object of vagina induced insanity and so does the Adonis stranger…at the same time.  Their hands accidentally touch and KAPLOW!  Electricity jolts through their hands and sharp tingles spread through their arms like they just got a vaccine from a unicorn horn.


If a man touched my fingers and a strong bolt of lightning electrocuted my hand, I’d do one of two things.
1, I’d probably react without thinking and karate chop him in the throat, because that sounds painful.   Or,
2, I’d wonder if it was me or him who dragged their feet like the living dead when they walked.

Either way… not sexy.

2 – Man Growls
This is one that my fellow bloggers disagree with.  Those ladies love a sexy man growl.  Me?  Not so much.  Let’s set this scene up, too:  Sexy Adonis man has woman against a wall.  They’re making out like rabid animals and tearing off clothes.  The man pulls on the chick’s hair and says,  ” I want inside of you so bad I’m about to blow just thinking about it, ”  he all but growls.  Grrrrr. 

Just, no.   I’ve been with my husband twelve years and the only time he growls is when he needs an antacid.

I mean, don’t get me wrong.  I love when the heroine is with the hero in a crowded room and whispers all sexily in his ear, “I’m not wearing any chonies under this dress,”  and then pats his bum and sashays away.  The guy is instantly hard and groans in an almost painful way because his dick is so hard its gonna tear through his slacks.

Groans.  Groans are sexy.  But growls?  It makes me feel like he needs a good burping.

3 – Excessive Use Of !!
There’s nothing like a giant mood-kill in a story when the author uses an excessive amount of explanation marks when the characters are chatting.  Especially the man’s verbiage.  I call it the spirit fingers of dialogue and it makes me feel stabby.   For whatever reason, when a the male character ends all of his sentences with a big, fat “!” he instantly loses his man card.   *shrugs*  Like I said, finicky.    But here’s some examples.

“You make me so happy!”
“I love that color on you!”
“You eyes are like magical moons on a starry night!”
“I miss my Mommy!”

Okay, okay, you get the picture.  Things just aren’t sexy when it’s yelled.  Or said with spirit-finger mentality.

And when the chick is droppin’ those ! like dollars for a stripper, she’s just too peppy, and ain’t nobody got time for an always super happy heroine.  Gross.

4 – Orgasms on Command
Alright.  This one.  On-command cumming.  (Or is it coming?  I never know which verb to use here, damnit, someone please enlighten me.)  Either way, this one makes me get a good chuckle out of it.   Time to scene set:  Guy is pounding into chick.  Her legs are tied up like a pretzel, they’re both glistening from their effort.  The guy starts to growl, obvs.  When he knows he’s about to finish he says, “Baby, come with me.  I’m close.”  She pants, “Yes.”  He thrusts a couple more times and then he commands, “Now.”  He might even throw in a nip pinch, which I appreciate.

But for fuck’s sake.  Tell me seriously that if a man just looked into your eyes with his dick inside you, that all he has to say is, “Come for me.”  And bam, walls start to quake.  Because I call bullshit.  If it were that easy…well, that’s a whole different story.

Stop telling her to come and make it happen.  With fingers and tongues and even vibrators, you lazy piece of shit.

5 – Feel Them Across The Room, Without Any Eye Contact Or Knowledge They’d Be There
I wish you could see my face right now, because it portrays exactly how I feel about this.  Let me get straight into setting this scene up:  Lucy is at a party.  She’s wearing a pretty red dress and dancing with a handsome bloke named Bobby.  As they’re twirling around Lucy starts to get goosebumps and a tingle on the back of her neck.  She knows, just knows that her boss that she was fucking but broke up with has showed up to this totally random party.  She can feel him without even seeing him.

Ahem.  If someone bathes in a vat of cologne, you can smell them without seeing them.
But feeling the guy, who I bet growls, too, is just a load of crap.  Or maybe it’s left over electricity from when their hands sparked when he grabbed her accidentally dropped coffee cup.

But what I really think the moral of this one is… ladies, if you can sense he’s there, it’s probably not for a sexy reason – more like you feel danger and someone has a gun pointed at you.  So my advice?  When you feel them there, DUCK.  And fast.  Or run, that should work, too.

Well, those are my top five, but there are also some runner-ups that deserve a mention.


  • When a heroine “releases the breath she didn’t realize she was holding.”  I’m snort laughing at this.  Bitch, just breathe.  Ain’t no man so sexy that you hold your breath.  And fainting stopped being cool in the 1800’s.
  • Anal without lube.  Now that’s just being an asshole, you fucker.  A wise woman once said, “anal sex without lube is the act of a douchebag.”  And I agree.
  • I read about grown ass women.  Not children.  So please don’t put on “jammies.”  Put on pajamas, or go to bed naked for fuck’s sake.  And don’t tell me that your “tummy” hurts or I’ll karate chop your jugular, too.Alright, that’s it for me.  Do you have any Romance Rants?



Miss Leah Signature



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Review: The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan

Review: The Hook Up by Kristen CallihanThe Hook Up by Kristen Callihan
Series: Game On #1
September 7, 2014
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 354
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon US

The rules: no kissing on the mouth, no staying the night, no telling anyone, and above all... No falling in love

Anna Jones just wants to finish college and figure out her life. Falling for star quarterback Drew Baylor is certainly not on her to do list. Confident and charming, he lives in the limelight and is way too gorgeous for his own good. If only she could ignore his heated stares and stop thinking about doing hot and dirty things with him. Easy right?

Too bad he's committed to making her break every rule...

Football has been good to Drew. It's given him recognition, two National Championships, and the Heisman. But what he really craves is sexy yet prickly Anna Jones. Her cutting humor and blatant disregard for his fame turns him on like nothing else. But there's one problem: she's shut him down. Completely.
That is until a chance encounter leads to the hottest sex of their lives, along with the possibility of something great. Unfortunately, Anna wants it to remain a hook up. Now it's up to Drew to tempt her with more: more sex, more satisfaction, more time with him. Until she's truly hooked. It's a good thing Drew knows all about winning.

The Hook Up has been on my TBR for a long time now. I was gifted the ebook as part of a Christmas book exchange and on my kindle it sat, waiting for me to dig in.  Then a little squirrel whispered a rumor to me and I bumped it up on my TBR. 

This is not going to be an easy review for me to write. Honestly, the review won’t be the hard part. Addressing the rumor will be. But I believe in honesty with our reviews and I never want to be the kind of reader that just reads with blinders on.  At this point, you’re probably wondering what the hell I’m talking about. So, we’ll get to the rumor first – then I’ll discuss my thoughts on The Hook Up.

I’m a big fan of Elle Kennedy and when I heard that the Off Campus series had some similarities to The Hook Up, I didn’t want to believe it. I wanted to ignore it all.  However, I just couldn’t. I’m curious (nosy) by nature. Having just re-read the first two Off Campus books, I decided to start The Hook Up. Call it fact checking. 

After the first handful of chapters, I was feeling more like this was going to be more of a case of recycled general ideas.  Star athlete falls for bookish smart ass. It’s not really an original idea, and recycled ideas have happened over and over in literature and movies.  I can overlook those, mostly.  However, the small details I have a harder time with.  Here are some examples.

  • Girl hates parties.
  • Boy has a best friend who cooks
  • Boy finds girls cell number from study roster
  • Twitter smear campaign
  • Anna in one, Hannah in another

Those aren’t huge things. Yet, it was still enough to make me pause. Maybe if I hadn’t been looking for them from the start, I wouldn’t have noticed. But I was, and I did. As I said, these aren’t huge things, it’s not like the plot is really the same and the words aren’t the same. It still leaves me perplexed. 

Take from all that whatever you will. I’m not here to tell people what to read or not to read, I’m just here to let you know what my own personal reading experience was like. Truthfully, I’m still not sure how I even feel about it all.

Anywho… Let’s talk about The Hook Up!!

I have to admit that I almost DNF’d it on page two, because of this.

That’s when I see him. The second our gazes connect, hot tingles zap through me, making my breath catch and my nipples harden.

I am not a believer in Hardened Nipples At First Sight. Unless I’m nearly naked standing in a snow drift, my nipples need to be on – at least – a first name basis. But, that’s just me. 

I continued on. Really, only because of comparison sake.  I’m glad I did though.

Anna and Drew have an instant attraction and though she really fights it, she can’t resist him.  Leading to an agreement of ‘no relationship, just hook ups’.  But Drew is attracted to her bite and to the fact that she doesn’t care who he is. He’s willing to wait her out. He has crazy patience with her and I LOVED that about him.  He really sees through her antics well. 

For a good portion of the book it’s this same push/pull relationship.  Anna keeping up walls, Drew slowly trying to break them down.  All the while, fucking like bunnies. I don’t say this often, it’s kind of strange thing to say about a book character, but I really enjoyed how Drew fucked. LOL!  He’s very deep with his fucking. Take THAT however you will, as well. 😉

Anna was a bit harder for me to warm up to. She’s got some insecurities, but I never fully got behind those. I also really did not like how she knew in her own mind what her feelings were but absolutely would not act on them.  Around the 75% mark, she absolutely turned it around for me though.  The Anna that showed up for the last quarter was fierce and I frickin’ adored her.  So often in romances, a big conflict comes along and one half of the relationship bails. Anna’s character earlier in the book, was that type of character. I expected her to bail. What she really did though, had me fist pumping the air (metaphorically) even though my heart was breaking a little over her situation. 

All in all, The Hook Up is a good new adult sports romance.  I could have done with a little less of the cheesy lines, like the example above, and it could have used another run through with an editor. But it’s far from a bad read and I’ll definitely be reaching for more of Callihan’s titles in the future.


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Behind the Cover Story: Charged by Jay Crownover

Behind the Cover Story: Charged by Jay CrownoverCharged by Jay Crownover
Series: Saints of Denver #2
May 24, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Also in this series: Built
Also by this author: Better When He's Bold
Amazon US

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men books comes the second installment in the Saints of Denver series featuring a bad girl and a by the book attorney who could be her salvation...or her ruin.

Avett Walker and Quaid Jackson’s worlds have no reason to collide. Ever. Quaid is a high powered criminal attorney as slick as he is handsome. Avett is a pink-haired troublemaker with a bad attitude and a history of picking the wrong men.

When Avett lands in a sea of hot water because of one terrible mistake, the only person who can get her out of it is the insanely sexy lawyer. The last thing on earth she wants to do is rely on the no-nonsense attorney who thinks of her as nothing more than a nuisance. He literally has her fate in his hands. Yet there is something about him that makes her want to convince him to loosen his tie and have a little fun…with her.

Quaid never takes on clients like the impulsive young woman with a Technicolor dye job. She could stand to learn a hard lesson or two, but something about her guileless hazel eyes intrigues him. Still, he’s determined to keep their relationship strictly business. But doing so is becoming more impossible with each day he spends with her.

As they work side-by-side, they’ll have to figure out a way to get along and keep their hands off each other—because the chemistry between them is beyond charged.

cover story

Behind the Cover Story is a cover reveal with an exclusive guest post from the author about said cover. Maybe, it’s an explanation of how they came up with the concept. Maybe, it’s how they found their model. Maybe, it’s more than that. Maybe, you need to check back in next time to find out! 😉


To pop our cherry on this feature, we asked Jay Crownover to tell us if she was a pain in the ass to her publisher, while coming up with the cover of Charged. We already knew the answer, but we asked anyway. Charged is the second book in her Saints of Denver series, the follow up to Built and a spin off of the Marked Men. If you have not checked out Built yet, you should! 


~ Jay’s Response ~


I’m always a pain in the ass you should know this!
My covers are always a little bit of “this is what I want” vs “this is what I get”.
It’s hard when you write men and woman with distinctive tattoos and other traits.
Most of the time we compromise and get pretty close to where I want to be…sometimes we end up on the other side of the road but the money has been spent and ultimately the publisher is paying the bill so I get left in the dust. Out of 13+ books that’s only happened twice so I consider myself pretty lucky, and for the most part I love my covers.

With CHARGED I more than love it. I think it’s perfect and sexy and everything I could ask for considering it’s my first couple cover.

I wanted to move away from the single guy(not that I won’t go back to that) on the cover for a few reasons. This series is different, it’s more about the central couple than the Marked Men was and it’s also much more contemporary. This book in particular also has a female lead that is dynamic and kind of a showstopper. I knew there was no way I couldn’t feature her and her pink hair on the cover. Everyone in production that read the book agreed. Plus she might even be sexier than Quaid!

It’s hard to find good looking blonde dude…really hard! My editor Amanda actually found this image and the guy was SO very much Quaid I told them to do whatever they had to in order to make the girl resemble Avett because I just loved him so much…he even looks a little older than the girl which is perfect. In the right hands Photoshop really is magical and amazing.

So there ya have it…all my meandering and spazzing to get the perfect cover!



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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Creature Feature

Creature Feature is a special feature here at Black Heart, dedicated to the stranger side of romance.

Clamied by the Bears

Today, Leah and Debbie will be chat reviewing CLAMIED BY THE BEARS by Lisa Cartwright. Before anyone informs us that we’ve misspelled “CLAIMED,” the book cover actually says “CLAMIED.” We would also post a synopsis for this story, but the author couldn’t even be bothered to write one! So here’s our thoughts about this little short story we stumbled upon….


Leah: I can’t stop. How did we miss Clamied?

Debbie: We were too busy being excited about being CLAIMED that we missed the cover said “Clamied”?

Debbie: How are you rating this shit?

Leah: I gave it 2 stars. The entertainment value alone was perfect.

Debbie: 2 stars? Wow. That’s a little excessive. I give it 1 for effort. Thank fuck that shit was FREE!

Leah: It is. But that book gave me a lot of laughs. And OMG moments. I had more fun reading it than 30% of other books this month.

Debbie: There was NO storyline. Not even a little. No structure. No nothing. Except for sex. And even all that wasn’t spectacular. Funny but not orgasm inducing. So many holes in the story!

Leah: Like, is her friend dead? Why do those bears hate the king? Why is she queen?

Debbie: Will she turn into a bear? The guy mentioned something about something being inside her. Inside her? Is she half bear or did he leave some bear essence inside her?

Leah: I think my favorite was when he growled and she looked around for a wild animal.

Leah: Bear essence! Hahahaha

Leah: We should have known it was a hot mess when reading it took us to 100% there was so much shit. (The book contained like 192 excerpts from other books at the beginning that you had to scroll all the way to 100% before you got to the actual story.)

Leah: Did the good bears leave a trail?

Debbie: A trail of honey. Or bear essence

Debbie: Trail of honey to the honey pot! ?

Leah: Her honey pot. Fuck, that was GENIUS

Debbie: Of course the author had to go there.

Leah: I mean, I would have been sad if she hadn’t.

Debbie: Can we talk about the threesome? Do you think bears IRL have threesomes?

Leah: …I hope so. But that would be dangerous. Jesus fuck, the images in my head.

Leah: I bet Tiffany would want the bad bears spin off if she read this.

Debbie: Hahaha. Yes! Tiffany would want to know about the bad bears.

Debbie: She’ll want something dark and gritty. Like they were former circus bears who escaped.

Leah: OMG. Escaped from an abusive trainer

Debbie: And they’ve been living in the streets eating trash since they escaped

Leah: And now they’re in a motorcycle gang to survive

Debbie: Hahahahaha! I die.

Debbie: I’m imagining a bear on a bike wearing a leather vest

Leah: With a cute circus hat. Growling. I‘d read it.

Leah: Tiffany would 5 star it. Ali would hate it if one bear kissed another stripper MC bear.

Debbie: Ali would hate the bear who couldn’t growl. 


Debbie: What would the bear MC gang be named?

Leah: Ohhhh. Smokey The MC?

Debbie: Hahaha. SMOKEY MC! LMAO

Leah: I wish we had photoshop skillz.

[We then proceed to post pictures of bears riding motorcycles like this one, and this one]

Debbie: DEAD

Leah: I’m cackling. I can’t. Dead.

Debbie: Tiffany would say she’d cuddle with all those damaged bears.

Leah: OMG haaahahaha. Truth.

Leah: I have 12 highlights. TWELVE.

“My love. You can have them all, but tonight I think you need some sleep. Tomorrow is another day and you can decide how you want to spend it. We are all yours now. You are the queen to us all.”

Debbie: BEAR ORGY!

Leah: Sounds fur-tastic!

“his cockhead caught the opening of her honey hole”


“Her knees slid further apart and pushed her face into the soft fur blanket. Her ass was so full of cock and even in the movement, his long length never left her heavenly divide”

Leah: First… a fur blanket in a bear cave? IS IT A BEAR. Or like… rabbits

Debbie: Maybe it’s the fur on one of the bad bears? BAD NEWS BEARS!

Leah: Giant honey pots hanging from trees that they drop like on Nickelodean with the slime.

Debbie: And the bear cave is full of food cause they hibernate in the winter.

“Mark pulled out as he felt her suffocating folds collapse around him and she started to squirt her excitement.”

Leah: She sounds like she has a 90 year old vagina. DIE. And she squirted a lot. I mean, I don’t judge, but jesus fuck. Maybe she needs an antibiotic.

Debbie: She’s a former porn star cause only porn stars know how to squirt.

“Her shiny quim was inches from his face”

Leah: That visual scarred me.

Debbie: She was releasing her bear essence. That’s how she attracted them in the bar.

Leah: OMG YES! And it was all over his face, so wherever he went, her essence went. The author should thank us for putting this all together.

“She screamed and the sound was silenced by a hair paw.”

Debbie: I just Googled bear mating. A little bear mating fact: Males follow females to assess their receptiveness, regularly sniffing areas where the female has sat and the female herself when possible. Couples often play and rest together during courtship. Males may follow individual females and guard them against rivals for up to 9 days before the female becomes receptive and mating occurs. Soon after mating, the male moves on to find another mate. Both sexes are promiscuous.


Leah: Huge SLUTS….can we be bears?

Debbie: Do you think those guys would have turned half bear during intercourse? Like their heads turned into a bear head or they keep their human form but all their bear fur comes out.

Leah: Humans covered in fur. Or furry hands. Or just the bear growls. Or teeth.

And because we could not get enough of these lovely quotes, Leah made some pretty graphics for them. Check em’ out!

Claimed by Bears - 1      Claimed by Bears - 2

Claimed by Bears - 5      Claimed by Bears - 3

Debbie: IM DYING!

Leah: Best shit ever. We need to do this like every other week. The entertainment value is amazing

Debbie: As long as they’re free!

Leah: It’s a fucking date

Debbie: Ok….so do you have any final statements about this book?

Leah: Hmmm.

It was fucking ridiculous.But a lot of fun to buddy read. Don’t expect a story, at all, but a lot of laughs and discussion trying to fill the gaping honey pot holes.

Debbie: Bahahaha. Agree. If you’re a reader that expects structure, character development or a plot, this book is not one to read. But, if you want something ridiculous that’ll make you cackle, then this book is perfect and you didn’t have to spend any monies on it.

Leah: Yes!


Miss Debbie - Transparent Miss Leah Signature

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