Review: Damage Control by Lisa Renee Jones & Giveaway!

Review:  Damage Control by Lisa Renee Jones & Giveaway!Damage Control by Lisa Renee Jones
Published by St. Martin's Griffin February 21, 2017
Genres: Mystery, Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 304
Format: ARC, Audio
Source: Copy for Honest Review, Purchased
Narrator: Grace Grant, Jeremy York
Also by this author: Hard Rules
Amazon US
Goodreads

Wall Street meets the Sons of Anarchy in Damage Control, the smoldering, scorching next novel in the explosively sexy Dirty Money series.

The only thing more dangerous than a dark secret is a damaged heart…

Shane Brandon has been pushed to the brink, torn between his corrupt family and his explosive, all-consuming desire for Emily Stevens, who he now knows is not who, and what, she seems. Has he trusted the wrong person? Will she, not his brother Derek, be the ultimate destruction of his family Empire?

Emily tries to run from Shane, but he will stop her, confront her, force her to reveal all — one hot touch and kiss at a time, under every intimate detail of who this woman is, and what she wants, is exposed. But as he tears away the dangers of the unknowns with the woman in his bed, and in his heart, The Martina Cartel has set their sights on his company, his family, and the one piece of leverage they believe he won’t gamble with: Emily.

The blurb is what got me to read book one, Hard Rules, in this series by Lisa Renee Jones:

“When Wall Street meets the Sons of Anarchy…”

There really isn’t a better way to describe these books.  Picture the chaotic, crazy mess and ever-constant web spinning of the Sons of Anarchy cast… but instead of dirty (but sexy) bikers, picture filthy rich (and equally as sexy) bajillionaires.

I absolutely loved book 1 (you can read my review here) and was so excited to get my hands on book 2, Damage Control.  But with my entire family dropping like flies with the flu, my life got a bit hectic and I was late starting my ARC and ended up buying the audiobook and switching back and forth from e-book to audio (I highly recommend the audiobook, I think the narrators are fabulous, by the way!)

Damage Control starts exactly where book one leaves off, with a giant freaking mess, more secrets than you can remember, and pretty much zero answers as well.  I seriously haven’t read a book with so many intricate details, and lies, and side plots going on at once… it’s incredible the web that Lisa Renee Jones spins in these books.  You never really know who is good, who is bad, what side someone is on, who is going down next, who is plotting what…  seriously!   I am good at figuring things out but good lord I leave each book wondering how the flaming fig newton someone can get out of these disasters unscathed.

Emily and Shane both have secrets and terrible families that are desperately trying to drag them down.  There’s international hacking groups, murder, a cartel, a billion dollar family business changing control, cancer… you name it.  It is all in there tearing everybody apart at every angle.

I felt like this story was a lot of figuring out Shane and Emily’s pasts and how they would conquer their future… if they even have one together.  A lot of the plots are intense and action-packed, but Shane and Emily handle it separate from each other.  Unlike book one where they are busy trying to handle their feelings, and the hiding of their relationship from co-workers and family members, in book 2 they’re together in the open.  The plot is more focused on the suspense, the mystery, the scandal.  The parts where Shane and Emily are actually together are when they’re home from work or bustin’ cartel booty… and naked.

I loved that their relationship was there in the very steamy background, and the story instead took on a very strong voice more based on plot than relationship, if that makes sense.  It’s such an amazing, mind-boggling storyline that I loved immersing myself in the wtf is happening, how can they fix this, omg what now?!    

Yes, they are still figuring out what “us” even means, and let me tell you…  *fans face*   Their “us” is sexy AF.  *fans face harder.*   Shane is the epitome of alpha male.  And Emily is just as strong, no matter how lost she is in life, that chick is one bad ass mamba-jamba!

I can’t recommend this series enough, and if you enjoy romantic suspense that’ll get your heart pounding (for multiple reasons) this series is a must click!


***Giveaway!***
Enter to win (2) $25 Amazon gift cards, (3) signed books of Hard Rules and (3) Dirty Money totes!!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e837c2b0294/

 

 

About Lisa Renee Jones

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series.

In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, she has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is presently working on a dark, edgy new series, Dirty Money, for St. Martin’s Press.


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Review:  Hard Rules by Lisa Renee JonesHard Rules by Lisa Renee Jones
Published by St. Martin's Griffin August 9th, 2016
Genres: Romance, Mystery
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also by this author: Damage Control
Amazon US
Goodreads

Wall Street meets the Sons of Anarchy in the smoldering, scorching first novel in the explosively sexy new Dirty Money series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones.

How bad do you want it?

The only man within the Brandon empire with a moral compass, Shane Brandon is ready to take his family's business dealings legitimate. His reckless and ruthless brother, Derek wants to keep Brandon Enterprises cemented in lies, deceit, and corruption. But the harder Shane fights to pull the company back into the light, the darker he has to become. Then he meets Emily Stevens, a woman who not only stirs a voracious sexual need in him, but becomes the only thing anchoring him between good and evil.

Emily is consumed by Shane, pushed sexually in ways she never dreamed of, falling deeper into the all-encompassing passion that is this man. She trusts him. He trusts her, but therein lies the danger. Emily has a secret, the very thing that brought her to him in the first place, and that secret that could that destroy them both.

This book.  I have so much to stay about this story and I’m not even sure where to begin.

When the ARC sign-up came across our email, I read the blurb and was immediately interested. “Wall Street meets Sons of Anarchy.”  Um… yes please!

But here’s the thing. We all know what a finicky reader I am. Due to that I don’t typically sign up for books with new-to-me authors, because I hate signing up for reviews when I end up not loving the book. Can you say awkward? It’s one thing to read it on my own time and not love it, but when I sign up for a release and I’m just not sure about an author… well, yeah. I tend to say away. 

But I couldn’t, because I was super intrigued and I wanted this story.  So I did it. I signed up.

And I am so glad I popped my Lisa Renee Jones cherry because this book was everything I want in a story. Mystery, lies, secrets, steamy sex, angst, suspense, LOL moments… you name it.

I will say, it was a bit of a rougher start for me. There was a finger-zap meeting at the very beginning, which is one of my pet peeves and DNF triggers… plus the Alpha had a lot of sly one-liners which I tend to roll my eyes at. But I’m telling you, those one-liners are smooth as fucking butter and I ended up highlighting like…twenty of them. They. Were. Hot.

Emily, the main character, is an absolute secret. We really know nothing about this chick except she loves sweet coffee, is a light weight drinker, can stand her own against the toughest mother fuckers on this planet, and she’s on the run from something or someone. She has multiple burner phones, has major secrets she keeps close to herself, and while she’s slumming it with crap jobs and a bare apartment, she obviously has expensive tastes and came from money at some point.

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Then there’s Shane. 

Okay, so, you can’t see me…but I’m grinning like a loon. I typed his name and then just stared at my laptop with the biggest shit-eating grin on my face for like 10 seconds. Shane is HOT. Super alpha.  Super dreamy. He’s this big shot lawyer from New York who’s moved back to his hometown in Colorado to join his family’s business because his Dad is dying from cancer and his dad and brother are horrible human beings who play with dirty money and have mafia connections they’re entwining with the company. Shane wants to take over and turn it back into a profitable, lucrative business… but to do this he has to play just as dirty as his own blood and push them out. In any way possible.

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Saying his family is a disaster is putting it lightly. When I thought they couldn’t get any worse, they proved me wrong. Over and over again.

All the while Emily is stuck in between all of the family’s mess while she’s trying to figure her shit out and keep her secrets secret.

It’s just a complete cluster fuck of what-the-hell-is-going-to-happen-next?! moments. All you want is to figure out all of the lies, all of the connections and see the big picture. I’m usually really good at reading between the lines and figuring out the big a-ha! moments early… but this entire story I was in the dark just begging for a glimpse of light to help me out.

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Shane and Emily have such a heated chemistry, and their pull is visceral. You can feel it. They’re constantly pushing each other away, but you know it won’t last long. They totally, 100% need each other.

And before you know it, you’re at 95% and you’re pissed the fuck off because you know the story is coming to an end and you just don’t want it to. You want more. You even consider emailing the author, begging her for more, but then you realize that’s a little weird, so instead you tell your husband all about the story and plot and your ideas about what’s going to happen next until you notice he’s just nodding his head absent-mindedly every few seconds while he watches the golf channel.

Anyways. My first LRJ book was an absolute knock out and I cannot wait until book two. Shit is about to hit the fans and I have a box of popcorn just waiting for the show. These secrets can’t stay hidden forever and oh em gee I need a front row seat for when it all starts to crumble.

ALSO! Check out our Facebook page tomorrow (the 11th) because Lisa Renee Jones is hosting a super-duper amazing giveaway. You seriously don’t want to miss it!

 

 

About Lisa Renee Jones

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series.

In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, she has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is presently working on a dark, edgy new series, Dirty Money, for St. Martin’s Press.


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Review: Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

Review:  Hidden Bodies by Caroline KepnesHidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes
Published by Atria Books Feb. 23, 2016
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 448
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Amazon US
Goodreads

Joe Goldberg is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past ten years, this thirty-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him.

In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They re-emerge, like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: truelove. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice...

Oh, Caroline Kepnes.  I am so in love with your brain, and I mean that in the least creepy way possible.  Like, I’m certain you and I are meant to be the bestest of friends.  We can have slumber parties and I’ll brush your hair while you tell me the fucked up shit that runs through your mind.

See?  We were meant to be.  (Call me!)

Ahem.  Anyway.  Hidden Bodies.   THIS BOOK!  You guys, if you haven’t read YOU, which is book one, we cannot be friends.  Like, at all.  That book was a top 2015 read for me, and Hidden Bodies will absolutely be a top 2016 read for me as well.  There is just something about Kepnes‘ writing style that keeps you hooked.   It’s haunting, yet playful.  Freaky, yet endearing.  Her characters are the perfect anti-heroes, yet… you find yourself falling in love with and rooting for them.

Both books follow Joe.  Joe is a perfect man fucked up guy.  Joe is normal has issues.  But Joe has a lot of love that he really just wants to give to somebody…even if he ends up killing everyone around them, and well…. them, too.  Like I said, Joe has issues.

“Fucking and killing are the same damn thing.”

Closeup view portrait of one handsome bearded young macho man with strong look hazel eyes and sexy lips standing in light looking forward in studio on black background horizontal picture

 

Spoiler alert, but in book one…Joe kills the woman he stalks, falls in love with, and dates.  Yeah, their love story doesn’t really end well.  So when this book starts and his new girlfriend steals from him and runs away, he goes across the fucking country to find her, because Joe needs answers.

And there in the good ‘ol Hollywood Hills, Joe falls in love with Love.  And she. is. perfection.  She’s just as crazy as Joe, maybe a bit more at times…and I LOVED them together.

“Love’s eyes remain on me and I know.  She’s a pervert too.”

Portrait of one beautiful sensual sexy young serious passionate blonde woman with long hair in leather black jacket in studio on wooden wall background square picture

 

Joe and Love’s love story isn’t perfect.  There are so many ups and down, so many secrets, so many ‘Awww they’re meant to be!’s that you never really know if these two psychopaths are perfect for each other or if they are going to go up in flames.  Literally.

“She is evil.  She is dangerous.  She is incapable of love.  She is a sociopath.  Worse than borderline.  She’s criminal.”

Plus, the side characters and the many, multiple intertwined plot lines?  #^%#&@(#*$^#(@   Gah!  Be still, my heart.  No one can write this shit like Caroline.  No one.

So… the question of the day is:  Can Joe and Love have their happily-ever-fucked-up-after with a trail of dead bodies following them into the sunset?  Can Joe keep his knife secrets away from Love?  Will Love still be breathing by the end of the book?  Will Joe?  WILL ANYONE??

Well, you’ll have to read to find out.  And trust me, this book is freaking phenomenal and you will love every single second of it.

 


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Review: He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker

Review: He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. TuckerHe Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker
February 2, 2016
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Amazon US
Goodreads

A woman who almost had it all . . .

On the surface, Celine Gonzalez had everything a twenty-eight-year-old woman could want: a one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a job that (mostly) paid the bills, and an acceptance letter to the prestigious Hollingsworth Institute of Art, where she would finally live out her dream of becoming an antiques appraiser for a major auction house. All she had worked so hard to achieve was finally within her reach. So why would she kill herself?

A man who was supposed to be her salvation . . .

Maggie Sparkes arrives in New York City to pack up what’s left of her best friend’s belongings after a suicide that has left everyone stunned. The police have deemed the evidence conclusive: Celine got into bed, downed a lethal cocktail of pills and vodka, and never woke up. But when Maggie discovers a scandalous photograph in a lock box hidden in Celine’s apartment, she begins asking questions. Questions about the man Celine fell in love with. The man she never told anyone about, not even Maggie. The man Celine believed would change her life.

Until he became her ruin.

On the hunt for evidence that will force the police to reopen the case, Maggie uncovers more than she bargained for about Celine’s private life—and inadvertently puts herself on the radar of a killer. A killer who will stop at nothing to keep his crimes undiscovered.

I love it when an author tries something new. Win or fail, you have to take chances in life.  This business isn’t always (rarely, in fact) kind to such risks by authors. Genre hopping backfires quite often.  Yet, I’m still a fan when they try.  However, I can say, unequivocally, that Tucker did not fail with this risk.  She may have hit the scene as a romance writer, but she excels just as easily as a suspense writer.

If you go into He Will Be My Ruin with any expectations of it being remotely like her previous titles, you’ll not get what your looking for. This is not a romance. There is some budding relations and sexual interactions but I would never classify this as romantic.  Let’s just be clear about that up front.

What this is – is a murder mystery at it’s core.  Maggie’s life long friend ends up dead in her New York apartment, police rule it a suicide but Maggie is less than convinced.  With no hope of help from authorities, she dives into the facts and clues herself and recruits some help along the way.   While digging, she realizes her friend, Celine, had a much different life than she led Maggie to believe and the secrets she held, the people she knew, led to her untimely death.

And also to the danger Maggie finders her own life in now, because there is still a killer on the loose.

From the beginning of this tale there were two fairly clear suspects for me and I bounced back and forth between them often.  I also had moments when I thought side characters were playing a bigger part in the backstory than the story suggested – I played with several scenarios in my head.  Hoping some would flesh out and hoping others wouldn’t.  All of that is what makes a great suspense story for me.  If I have it all figured out too early on, I won’t want to continue reading.  This wasn’t the case here, Tucker kept my mind working. 

While I don’t know that this is going to be as explosive of a seller as say, Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train, I can most definitely see it finding a loving home with those who gravitate to those type of titles.  It’s got a lot of what those big selling Mystery / Suspense books have.  I think the only thing that really lacked for me was a bit of character development, for a couple of the main players.  I think that would have cemented my interest in them all the more.  However, even without that, He Will Be My Ruin will be a memorable read for me and I thoroughly enjoyed every page. 

 

About K.A. Tucker

Born in small-town Ontario, K.A. published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons.

She has come a long way from working in crayon. All four books (ANATHEMA, ASYLUM, ALLEGIANCE and ANOMALY) in her best selling YA Paranormal Fantasy series – Causal Enchantment- are available now.

Her USA Today best selling New Adult Contemporary, TEN TINY BREATHS–originally self-published–was acquired by Atria Books (a division of Simon & Schuster), and is available now, along with subsequent books in the series: IN HER WAKE, ONE TINY LIE, FOUR SECONDS TO LOSE, and FIVE WAYS TO FALL. Also out from Atria Books is her Romantic Suspense series: BURYING WATER, BECOMING RAIN, CHASING RIVER, SURVIVING ICE, and coming in February, 2016, her first adult suspense novel, HE WILL BE MY RUIN.

K.A. is a voracious reader and currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and a chug.


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