Echo (Bleeding Hearts, #1)

Echo (Bleeding Hearts, #1)

Echo by A. Zavarelli

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


WHAT JUST HAPPENED?! I don’t even want to take the time to write this review- I need ANSWERS!
In yet another episode of “searching Goodreads lists for my favorite tropes” I was over the moon to discover a book by A. Zavarelli on one of the lists.
Say what? One of my favorite authors has a book with one of my favorite tropes, and I haven’t read it? Thank you, Jesus! This is just what I needed right now! I haven’t had a good reader high in too long.
Obviously I thoroughly enjoyed this book- from start to maddening finish. Coerced relationship? Check. Over-possessive alpha hero? Check. Stalkerish tendencies that would yield a restraining order in real life. Yep… check. Be still my unhinged heart!
I was frustrated in the best way by the push and pull of Ryland and Brighton. And all of the suspense woven in? I LOVED IT. There are still mysteries left to unravel in book 2, even beyond that cliffhanger (gearing up for one of my very favorite tropes in book 2, which I won’t name because spoiler). Gah- I’m so excited I found this duet!
Me thinks I won’t be getting any sleep tonight- I have a VIB (very important book) to attend to. So now I’ll go skipping off to read book 2!

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A Dark Billionaire Romance

How far would you go to save someone you love? Would you give up your body? Your mind? Your heart?

I did and it cost me everything.

He says he owns me. And it’s true.

I’ve signed over complete control of my body and life for six months to a man I don’t know. Five years he’s been planning this. They say revenge is a dish best served cold. But my blackmailer serves it up white hot. He’s addicted to my innocence, and I’m addicted to him.

He likes to hurt me. I love to let him. He brings me to life. He sets me free. He makes my heart feel things it shouldn’t.

But he also scares me. He holds the fate of my brother’s life in his hands. A life behind bars for crimes I know he didn’t commit. My blackmailer can’t give up his revenge on my family, and I can’t be with him if he doesn’t. But I’m nothing more than a butterfly caught in his net. Do I really have a choice?

The Deal (Off-Campus Book 1)

The Deal (Off-Campus, #1)

The Deal by Elle Kennedy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Enjoyable NA (college) read

This was my first read by this author, and I really enjoyed it. There was suspense coming from several angles- not just the main relationship. It kept the book moving- no lulls.
I do wish there had been some resolution for Hannah’s parents, but everything else I can think of was resolved.
I need my stories to have an HEA, and this one delivers. Granted it is more HFN than HEA, but this is NA- they are young. Let them be!
Everything about this was good. The writing was good. The story, the characters’ back stories, the supporting characters, even the teasers laid for the next book (will poor Logan find love? My guess is… most likely)- all really good.
That said, I’m on the fence as to whether this would be a re-read for me. But, to be fair, my re-reads are generally darker (kidnapping, forced marriage, etc.). That’s not to detract from whether this is a good NA book- it really is. I’d like to read more from this author, perhaps her romantic suspense.
All in all, definitely a recommended NA read!

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New York Times bestseller Elle Kennedy brings you a sexy new Off-Campus novel that can be read as a standalone

She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy…

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice…even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.

…and it’s going to be oh so good

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.

The Tycoon’s Vacation (Baby for the Billionaire, #2)

The Tycoon's Vacation (Baby for the Billionaire, #2)

The Tycoon’s Vacation by Melody Anne

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Struggled to finish

This was my second read in this series, and is likely to be my last. I struggled to finish this one, but momma didn’t raise no quitter. So here we are.
I didn’t feel any suspense or action in this book. And where the first book was at least (one-sidedly) an enemies-to-lovers this one was just (again, one-sidedly) reluctant and scared-to-lovers. It didn’t give any urgency. I found it to be dull. I need some intrigue! Some suspense! Without that, what other than a pathological need to complete something will get me to finish the book? The answer is: nothing. I had no desire to finish this book. I made myself do it.
I found the reason Trinity was mad at Drew to be weak. I’m sure almost any man who met a woman in a situation like that would lie. Unless he was only trying to get her into bed, of course. Outside of that, lying would make the woman get to know him as a person, not as a billionaire executive. That changes things- either dollar signs flash in the eyes, the woman becomes intimidated, or perhaps she even decides to bail due to a stereotypical distrust of wealthy men (which would have been my move). If I were Drew I would have lied, too. And he didn’t lie for a nefarious reason- it is understandable to want to be just “Drew” and not “Drew, the billionaire resort owner.” Trinity held her grudge ENTIRELY too long. She assigned a disproportionate amount of distrust.
Anyway, I did not personally enjoy this book. The writing was decent, but it meandered along like a lazy river, and unfortunately I was bored.

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This is the second book in the Baby for the Billionaire series. Drew Titan decides it is time to take a vacation at one of his exotic resorts, and ends up literally running into Trinity Mathews while he is surfing. They end up having a steamy romance over the week long vacation, until she finds out he is the resorts owner, and had lied to her. She has sworn off all business men, since she couldn’t seem to find one who knew how to remain faithful to her, which is what landed her at the resort in the first place. She goes back home to discover that her first impulsive thing she has done in her life has left her pregnant and alone, that is until Drew finds her and will not go away until she agrees to marry him. Come enjoy the adventures Drew and Trinity take together in this fun filled story that has love, passion, fighting, and making up. Drew’s cousins Derek and Ryan add humor and even more love to the adventure, and will leave you wanting a hunk of your own.Coming in October, the final story in the series, The Tycoon’s Proposal.

Hate Crush by A. Zavarelli is coming November 21st! (student/teacher bully with age-gap)

Hate Crush by A. Zavarelli- a darkish student/teacher bully romance with an age gap and an a&*hole hero.

They call him the devil.
When I crash-landed into him on my first day at Loyola Academy, I was sure that couldn’t be true.
He was the most gorgeous man I’d ever seen in real life.
Little did I know he was also the cruelest.
I went from starstruck to stunned the moment his cynical eyes cut through me.
I can’t tell you what it was that made him want to punish me. But from that day forward the brooding recluse of a man made it his goal to torment me.
I want to loathe him, and some days, I do.
But good or bad, nobody’s attention has ever tasted so sweet.
What do you do when you have a hate crush on your bully?
Worse yet, what do you do when he’s also your teacher?

Release Date: November 21st

Add it to your TBR:

*image and text from the author’s page*

The Tycoon’s Revenge (Baby for the Billionaire, Book 1)

The Tycoon's Revenge (Baby for the Billionaire, #1)

The Tycoon’s Revenge by Melody Anne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My first from this author

This was my first read from this author, and I really enjoyed it. Secret baby is one of my favorite tropes, so I was pretty excited to find this series. I like that she held back and didn’t resolve all of the issues in one fell swoop- it kept the suspense going throughout the book. The paternity of Jacob wasn’t the only matter at hand, and I had to keep reading to see how everything would get resolved.

There is no mystery in this book as to what happened, who Jacob’s father is, etc. The mystery and suspense come into play regarding the interactions of the characters- who would find out what, and when? How would they react? Would there be appropriate groveling? We need answers!
I can’t imagine being in the situation the heroine was in, and would have handled it initially the same way she did. As for how she handled being faced with the hero as an adult, she managed that better than I would have.
I found this story very satisfying, and it scratched my secret baby trope itch. I’m looking forward to the next one.

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Newly Published and Edited as of October 2013

Jasmine Freeman’s world is about to tumble down around her and the one responsible for it is none other than her first love, Derek Titan. She hasn’t seen him in ten years, and they are both going to learn the truth of what happened back then.

Jasmine grew up wealthy and oblivious to the destruction her father caused all around him. Derek was from the wrong side of the tracks. In ten years their lives will be reversed. He is now a multi-billionaire tycoon and she works hard, but barely gets by due to her father’s unethical business practices.

Derek comes seeking revenge and instead finds out he has a half grown son and the woman he’s been angry with for so many years is not who he thought she was. They both fight against the passion they still feel for each other, but in the end it is irresistible.

Come take the journey with Derek and Jasmine as they rediscover a passion that never died and the lies that kept them apart.

The Hostage Bargain (Taken Hostage by Kinky Bank Robbers, #1)

The Hostage Bargain (Taken Hostage by Kinky Bank Robbers, #1)

The Hostage Bargain by Annika Martin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Note: I read this as part of an anthology- it is not my normal cup of tea.
A fun, breezy read. It doesn’t have a huge amount of substance to it- if it were a film it would be an adult video (perhaps made by women). A late-night Cinemax feature, maybe. Still, if that’s what you are in the mood for, it’s fun. I read a review that described this series as “campy,” and I think that hits the nail on the head. It isn’t serious. It isn’t dark. It isn’t going to have you in nail-biting suspense.
I rated this based on what it IS, not what it isn’t. I personally prefer a dark romance with suspense elements every day of the week, and this isn’t that, but that isn’t the book’s fault. It’s my fault for going to the hardware store to buy milk, as it were.
I liked the writing, and the snappy heroine. I think good differentiation was established between the male characters. You should be able to tell which character is in a conversation even if they aren’t named, and the author did that here.
It is a light and breezy read, perfect for the beach.
That said, it isn’t my normal kind of read as I generally prefer darker heroes/storylines (kidnapping, arranged marriage, and coercion, oh my!), and a good bit of suspense. As such I don’t plan to continue with this series.

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I was a small-town girl trapped in a desperate situation . . . and then three hunky bank robbers took me hostage.

Sure, I’d always dreamed of escaping my life, but I was thinking Greyhound bus – not getaway vehicle!

Then I started asking questions, and I found out about their rules.

These guys have more rules than a grammar class. Except their rules are shockingly dirty. And way more fun to memorize.

They’re letting me stay for now, but I’m never supposed to ask their real names. Or where they’re from, or why they lead this life.

And we can never, ever think about tomorrow.

Here’s a secret: I’m starting to suspect my tough-as-nails outlaws might have tender-as-taffy hearts.

And every night I go to sleep wishing this didn’t have to end.

The Imperfections by Sam Mariano is coming November 22nd!! Age gap? Yes, please!

Lawdy, November is proving to be an AMAZING month for book releases! I should have taken the whole thing off work, because… wow. I will be getting NO sleep. Because I have my priorities in order. Books being at #1.

November 22, 2019 the next book will be releasing! It’s a standalone forbidden romance featuring all-new characters. There is an age gap (the hero is older than the heroine) and a gruff, protective, rough around the edges hero whose moral compass could certainly use a little calibration, but… what fun would that be?



If you haven’t read Sam Mariano yet, and you like dark romance with super hot, alpha-tastic heroes, then I must insist you immediately stop what you are doing and go read her Morelli series (my #1 all-time favorite series). Or, if you can really tolerate some dark (and triggers), perhaps start with her fire-from-the-pages standalone, Untouchable. Did I mention that both the Morelli series and Untouchable are included in Kindle Unlimited? You’re welcome.



‘MANIK by Amo Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love this author!

My introduction to this author was her amazing Elite Kings series, so I got a bit spoiled by that. I still really enjoyed this book. It was really good for a standalone. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again- I have been spoiled by series. They allow so much space for character and story development that standalones pale in comparison. Standalones are forced to develop faster, and it can come off a bit like insta-love.
I loved this story, and these characters, and I only wish it had been a bit longer so the relationship/feelings between Beatrice and Aeron/Manik could have developed slower. It felt a bit quick to me.
I thoroughly enjoyed the darkness of this book, particularly that of pretty much all of the characters with the exception of Beatrice. I liked that the author made Aeron/Manik conflicted about having feelings after being trained not to for his entire life. I loved the back stories of the characters, and the mystery throughout the book of how they intersected. I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out what the secrets were- why was he supposed to keep her alive? Why was he supposed to stay away from her? Why was he supposed to get her back? Why was he supposed to prevent her from leaving? Who is she, really? Why does she matter?
I had to know!!
I love the gritty darkness of this author’s books, and I am so excited to dive into the rest of them!

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I’m Beatrice Kennedy, but everyone calls me Beat. I live a low-key life, fresh out of college and drifting from town to town until I find my home.
I love music, and how it stirs even the deepest and untouched parts of your soul. Depending on what you choose to listen to, would depend on what it touches. It’s the drug we all damper in, only different strains. My strain is Jazz. The smooth instrumental strums that take over me. The sound of cigar smoke, bourbon and an old dusty fedora hat. My strain wasn’t rap, and it sure wasn’t laced with some A-class shit like murky blue eyes casted down from the Lord and the Devil’s handcrafted smile. I knew who he was—the whole world did. One fateful night set off a chain of events, events that no one was coming back from. You can’t save people who don’t want to be saved. You can’t pull them up from the ocean when they’ve latched themselves to an anchor. Love was my anchor, destruction was the water that was drowning me, and the rope that was so tightly clamped around my ankles, was woven with the lyrics of Aeron Romanov-Reed, also known as, ‘Manik. He steals hearts from all around the world, but one night, he stole something that wasn’t his to steal.

*this is a full length standalone.

Escaping Ryan (Genoa Mafia Series Book 2)

Escaping Ryan (Genoa Mafia Series Book 2)

Escaping Ryan by Ginger Ring

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another enjoyable read

Sadly I saw the twist in this book coming as well… dang it. The foreshadowing was a bit too heavy. That said, I still enjoyed the read. I enjoyed it a touch more than the first book, which is odd because book one included an overly-alpha hero who wouldn’t take no for an answer. That is WAY more my jam than a sheepish/insecure hero (which is how I saw Ryan). I would have liked to see Ryan have more confidence in himself- his misfires with trying to woo Valentina might be viewed as charming by some, but I prefer my male characters to be unshakable in their confidence. But, maybe that’s just me.
I do enjoy reading series books that are connected standalones (as are these). It gives the book so much more room to advance the storyline when the characters do not ALSO have to be established from scratch within the same pages. So, bravo to the author for that.
As with book 1, I recommend this book (and series, thus far) for a breezy, easy beach read.
Recommended if you’re in the market for an easy, digestible read.

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Valentina Caponelli is more than a spoiled mafia princess…

She flees her father’s Chicago mansion to start a law office in a small-town in Wisconsin, determined to gain her independence.

Free of her father.

Free of her heritage.

Free of dangerous enemies of the family.

Then she falls in love with the one man who may cause her more harm than all the rest.

Officer Ryan Donavan is married to the force…

But the long-legged brunette he cared for after a car crash is all he can think about.

The problem is, Valentina is the sister of mob boss Roman Caponelli. The one man who definitely does not want his only sibling dating a lawman.

Ryan and Roman have made a tenuous peace, but if Ryan gives in to this passion, that peace will be shattered.

A killer is already roaming the streets, and all hell is about to break loose in Lake Genoa, Wisconsin. Can love really conquer all—or only make matters more deadly?

Crossing Roman (Genoa Mafia Series Book 1)

Crossing Roman (Genoa Mafia Series Book 1)

Crossing Roman by Ginger Ring

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An enjoyable read

I liked the premise of this story- it seemed a bit different. This time the big city mobster came to the small town, and met the small-town girl. And she, once she found out who he was, wanted nothing to do with his lothario, mafia ways. Well, to be accurate, she most definitely did WANT something to do with it, but her head/logic were telling her to avoid him like the plague. Or like Wal-Mart on Black Friday. It’s a toss up which is worse.
Anyway, this was a quick, enjoyable read. Unfortunately I saw the twist coming, so that was a bummer. Still, I enjoyed the read. I intend to read the next two books in the series as well. These are connected standalones (no cliffhangers), and so could technically be read individually. But, when series books take place in the same world I always read them in order. Is it OCD? A desire to wring the maximum enjoyment out of my reading experience?
Let’s just go with that second one.
Recommended for a quick, breezy mafia read with HEA.

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Madison Miller is a small town girl with big dreams, but years of running her mother’s bridal business has put a damper on that…

Madison is weary of planning other people’s dream weddings and ready to find a man of her own—when a sudden encounter with a handsome visitor leaves her world spinning. He’s all she can think about, but the son of a mafia boss is not the kind of man she’d had in mind. She wonders how being involved with him might impact her life—and the lives of those she cares about.

Roman Caponelli is looking to expand his family’s business on the legitimate side—not the mafia side—and perhaps find a little romance…

Roman is captivated with Madison, but this local beauty wants nothing to do with a criminal like him. Madison said no to him once, and come hell or high water she won’t deny him again—and if he has to use mob tactics to make that happen, so be it. Roman sets out, determined to win the only woman who has kept his interest for more than one night.

Madison is everything he wants in a woman, and he will stop at nothing…
Not until the entire town knows that Crossing Roman is not an option.