Saturday, August 30, 2014

SUNNY - ARC BOOK REVIEW: "Evernight" by Kristen Callihan

Once the night comes . . .

Will Thorne is living a nightmare, his sanity slowly being drained away by a force he can't control. His talents have made him the perfect assassin for hire. But as he loses his grip on reality, there is no calming him—until he finds his next target: the mysterious Holly Evernight.

Love must cast aside the shadows . . .

Holly cannot fathom who would put a contract on her life, yet the moment she touches Will, the connection between them is elemental, undeniable—and she's the only one who can tame his bouts of madness. But other assassins are coming for Holly. Will must transform from killer to protector and find the man who wants Holly dead . . . or his only chance for redemption will be lost.

Evernight is book 5 in the Darkest London series.

I started reading this series after the 2014 RT Convention.  I attended a session where Kristen Callihan was on the panel and I won a copy Shadowdance. Having never read any of the books, I decided to start from book 1. I quickly became immerse in the world of shifters, elementals, demons and other immortals.  But more than anything, I became enamored with the stories. Kristen Callihan has a way of writing deeply emotional stories with suspenseful plots.  Getting so involved in their humanness, I don’t think of the characters as paranormals. Evernight is no different.

I would rank this story only second to Shadowdance (which I would nominate as one of the top three books I’ve read this year). I’m not sure I will ever recover from the despair I felt over Jack’s story.  This story also starts with a hero who experiences an excruciating past. Will is desperate to get revenge against the person he thinks is responsible for his current condition.  For me, although Will is a strong character, it is Holly that is unforgettable. She is human with an elemental gift over metal.  She is an inventor, an engineer, a mechanic succeeding in 19th Century, male dominated world. She is a member of the SOS (The Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals). As Q is to James Bond, Holly Evernight is to the SOS. What makes Holly’s character unforgettable is that she is the stoic one in the relationship. Will is the passionate one. As a sanguis demon, “bonds were emotional ties that wrapped about a sanguis’s soul quickly and dug in deep.” Holly grew up in a household in which she was loved, but didn’t necessarily feel a lot of affection.  She holds people and relationships at arms length.  She can legitimately sequester herself in her lab and others would not necessarily know she is hiding. She is not mercurial, but rather slow and steady, methodical and process driven.  It is Will who brings her to life, shows her joy, helps her live. Ah, so satisfying.

One thing that strikes me about this book is how superbly the author builds suspense. There are multiple story lines developing and, unlike some other stories I’ve read recently, one thread does not take away from the other.  The narrative is delicately balanced.

This also has one of my favorite endings in any book.  First, I love the look-across-the-room instant. It is heartbreaking.  Secondly, there is a classic meet-at-the-train-station-moment that made my knees buckle and brought tears to my eyes. It is an intensely emotional moment written so well you can see them running across the platform and hear the music in the background.  Another ah, so satisfying moment.

When you buy this book, be ready to be thrilled. You may want to start on a weekend because you will not want to put it down.

Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

SUNNY - BLOG TOUR, REVIEW, AND GIVEAWAY: "I Want It That Way" by Ann Aguirre

Are you a fan of Ann Aguirre?  So are we.  From Sci Fi to YA, we love her work.  So, join us for this highly anticipated book in the New Adult genre.  We have an review, giveaway, and links to the first chapters of all three books in the series!  Enjoy!

Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she’s determined to make them come true. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, dating’s the last thing on her mind. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can’t risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, the last thing he wants is noisy students living in the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia’s and Ty’s paths cross, and soon they can’t stay away from each other.

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can’t know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.

"A tender, sweet, and sexy story about how life—and falling in love—can never be planned."
—Jennifer L. Armentrout, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You

I WANT IT THAT WAY on Goodreads

My review begins with a question from the Epilogue: “…would you have been as interested…,if you’d known?”  Yes! Yes! Yes!  For me, this book begins once Nadia makes this choice.  Up until then, the story seemed rushed.  Certainly, there is a certain amount of insta-love present in most romance novels, but I did not understand the mutual attraction between Nadia and Tyler.  There isn’t much to substantiate the attraction. The relationship begins when they start a conversation on their respective balconies and then BAM! Love blooms when Nadia confesses that Tyler is hot.

One of the things I like most about Nadia is that she is refreshingly upfront and honest.  She doesn’t hem and haw, doesn’t play games, and wears her heart on her sleeve. With that level of honesty, the story clips along. Couple that with Tyler’s stoicism, and you have a fast moving relationship, maybe just a little too fast. When Tyler says, "You make me...better. Calmer," I want to believe him, but I want to know why beyond just her voice.

However, once we hit a certain point in the story where Nadia makes a critical choice, this book becomes a powerhouse.  I loved her courage, strength and spirit.  I found the idea of breaking through expectations and convention empowering and uplifting.  I cried for the first time in a long time and cheered out loud. The last third of the story made the entire book for me.

We are also introduced to Nadia’s merry band of roommates.  They play an essential role in the story and I am attached to them. Being more than roommates, I relish the family they create for one another. It's clear that their is an interesting road ahead for them and I can’t wait to see where Ann Aguirre takes their stories.

In a Nutshell:
Even with the quick and early development of the relationship, I still recommend that you pick up this book for its satisfying ending and strong secondary characters. 

Other Books in the 2B Trilogy:

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.

Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Newsletter SignUp

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

SUNNY - SPOTLIGHT: Dare Series, Review of Dare to Love, and Giveaway by Carly Phillips


Decklan Dare knows about the unexpected loss of loved ones and for this reason, he values control in all areas of his life. Amanda Collins enjoys the freedom she finds in casual encounters without the emotional connection a relationship brings. They meet and their physical attraction is mutual but both experience feelings that could run deeper – if they drop their guard and let each other in. Decklan is first to trust, but when he discovers the secret Amanda’s been hiding, will he forgive? Or will he rebuild every wall before she has a chance to explain?

Dare to Love

When it comes to family, Ian Dare gives his all but in relationships he offers the bare minimum. Until one glimpse of sensual Riley Taylor arouses his dominant and protective instincts. He will do anything to possess her … and does. But any future with Riley must include him dealing his half-brother who is a constant reminder of the pain he’d rather forget. 

Riley Taylor believes herself immune to domineering men – until charismatic Ian Dare turns a simple kiss into an all out assault on her senses and she discovers she likes his brand of control in the bedroom. As their affair heats up, they soon realize they complete each other in ways neither imagined. But Riley’s past is closer than she cares to remember, and her struggles with Ian’s dominance might just cost her everything. (love story, contemporary romance, alpha heroes, beach reads, sports heroes, bad boys, billionaire)

Buy Links: AMAZON | B & N | iTunes

Dare to Love is an over-the-top, erotic, romance story.  It starts with an attraction between Ian and Riley that is so intense that it is almost an interstellar black hole, "...the minute he caught sight of her alone at the bar, he'd gone after her, compelled by a force beyond his understanding."  Admittedly, I was a smidge annoyed at the blatant insta-love but when I decided to read this book as pure escapist fare, I could suspend my cynicism and enjoy the story. 

There are pockets of goodness in this narrative including the relationship between Ian and his estranged father. His father and mother married out of obligation.  Consequently, his father has a long-running affair with his true love that results in a second family.  Ultimately, Ian's father leaves his mother which results in Ian's major trust issues. Currently, Ian despises his father for leaving and giving more to his second family, but the author leaves room for the possibility of a relationship and that is appealing. 

Riley comes from an abusive household where her father consistently and cruelly dominated her mother.  From that she has an aversion to controlling men which then extends to a desire to avoid most relationships. 

Their relationship is very monochromatic - black or white.  They are all-in or all-out.  Lines get drawn and, at first, there is no give. "...You either trust me or you don't. You either instinctively come to me first or there is no us.  On that, I can't compromise."  It is difficult to sustain such a high standard and, as you can imagine, there is bound to be conflict. Which is what makes the forgiveness and reconciliation all the more sweet. 

Highly entertaining, if a little implausible, this book is a nice way to lose yourself for a few hours.  Consider it a good summer read by the pool or for a rainy day.  

Dare to Desire

Quarterback Alex Dare, had it all -- an all-star football career and his choice of willing women -- until a severe injury forces him into early retirement. Social worker Madison Evans grew up in foster homes and knows what it means to have-not. She isn't impressed by Alex Dare’s wealth or charm. Not since she fell hard for him once before, only to discover she was just one of his too-easy conquests. 

This time around Madison refuses to succumb to Alex so easily. But Alex wants Madison. And if there is one thing Alex does well, it’s to get what he wants. Can he convince Madison to take a risk and dare to love? 

 Buy Links: Amazon |  B&N  | iTunes 

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips has written over 40 sexy contemporary romance novels that today's readers identify with and enjoy. After a successful 15 year career with various New York publishing houses, Carly is making the leap to Indie author, with the goal of giving her readers more books at a faster pace at a better price. Her Serendipity books will still finish up in January/February 2014 via Berkley as planned. Carly lives in Purchase, NY with her family, two nearly adult daughters and two crazy dogs who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. She's a writer, a knitter of sorts, a wife, and a mom. In addition, she's a Twitter and Internet junkie and is always around to interact with her readers.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

SUNNY - BLOG TOUR, REVIEW, EXCERPT, AND GIVEWAY: "Worth Forgiving" by Vi Keeland

Thank you for joining us in celebrating the release of Vi Keeland's Worth Forgiving. We have lots of goodies including an excerpt, review, and a whopping giveaway.  

They say men like a lady in the living room and a whore in the bedroom. I never knew the sentiment was reciprocal. Until I met Jax Knight. A gentleman in public, a commanding, dirty talking rogue in the bedroom.

Daughter of legendary fighter “The Saint,” Lily St. Claire knows firsthand how fighters can be. As the owner of a chain of MMA gyms, she’s no stranger to aggressive, dominating, and possessive men. That’s why she’s always kept her distance. But the day Jax Knight walks through her door she’s captivated by his charm. Stunningly handsome, well mannered, Ivy League educated, and confident, he shatters all the preconceived notions she’d come to think were true about men who trained to fight.

But falling for someone so soon after her breakup wasn’t something she’d planned on. And definitely not something her ex plans to allow.

Genre: A New Adult/Adult Contemporary Romance novel

Worth Forgiving is the third book in the MMA trilogy and in my opinion, the best of the three. After meeting Jax in Worth the Chance, I wondered where the author would take this character.  He has a minor role in that book, but she does a wonderful job of developing this story and his character.  One of the things I enjoy most about this series is the alternating first person perspective. The inner dialogue worked well for this book and brought a deeper understanding to the characters.

Jax is the son of a recently disgraced senior Senator.  It turns out that the pillar of "family values" has been having affairs for years.  The problem for Jax is that he bought into his father's image and now with this reality, feels disillusioned and alienated. 

Lily is the part owner of a chain of MMA gyms started by her now deceased father.  She is finding her own balance after going losing her equilibrium after her father's death.  She also has an abusive ex-boyfriend who is intimately tied to the gyms.  Jax comes in as a potential investor and the sparks start flying.  

I didn't find the conflict between Jax and Lily overly dramatic or intense.  There are a series of misunderstandings that leads to estrangement, but in the romance novel world these conflicts are more minor than most.  However, what I did enjoy were the interactions between Jax and Lily.  I enjoy the two sides to Jax.  As Lily so aptly puts it: "I smile thinking how lucky I am to have Jackson, the Ivy League refined tycoon pulled out my chair and open my door. And Jax, the gritty, dirty talking fighter that commands my body." Their banter and play is fun and the way that the characters lose their inhibitions is flirty and erotic.

I did get a little frustrated with how Lily handled the whole Caden situation.  I understand her guilt and her wanting to resolve the situation her way. Unfortunately for me, this undermines her strong character and I wanted a little more from Lily. 

I especially liked how Ms. Keeland resolves a major conflict --- in the MMA ring.  It is a great way to bring the story together with the original theme.  Also, a thumbs up to the Epilogue - a very nice way to end the series. 

This book can definitely stand on its own. It's a sweet love story within the MMA world.

Excerpt: Meet Jax and Lily

Dinner and a dirty mouth

My face pinks when the waiter clears his throat, no doubt he’d heard Jax’s last comment.

“Are you ready to hear the specials?”

“Are we?”  Jax arches an eyebrow, his eyes gleaming with delight.  He’s not the slight bit embarrassed, but knows I am and is quite enjoying himself.

“Yes.  Please.”  I give him the evil eye and force my full attention back to the waiter.  The entire time the waiter talks about the specials I feel Jax’s eyes burning into me.

“I’ll give you a moment to let you decide.”  Graciously, the waiter excuses himself.

“Why did you do that?” I scold, my voice low.

“Do what?”  He leans back in his seat, crossing his arms over his thick chest.

“You know exactly what I’m talking about.”

“Do I?”

“You enjoy watching me flustered, don’t you?”

Jax arches both eyebrows.  Bad choice of words.

“You know what I mean.”

Leaning in, his voice gritty and sexy, he looks me straight in the eyes when he speaks.  “I love watching you.  Period.  But what I like best is watching you pretend you’re unaffected.  It’s like an unspoken challenge.”  He pauses and leans in even closer.  “I love the pink that creeps up your cheeks when I say something dirty.  The way your pussy throbs when I mention what I’m going to do to you later, and you wiggle in your seat trying to control it.  So yeah, I guess I do like watching you flustered.  You sit and give your attention to the waiter, trying to pretend you’re listening to whatever he’s saying instead of thinking of me feeding you my cock later, but we both know you didn’t hear one word he said.  Hell I didn’t hear one word watching you, just knowing what you were thinking about.”

This time, I see the waiter before he’s close enough to hear us.  He smiles as he reaches our table.  “So what can I get for you this evening?  Did I interest you in one of our specials?”

I look at the waiter, then Jax, who arches an eyebrow with a knowing smirk on his face, then back to the waiter.  “The specials all sounded delicious.  I just can’t decide for myself.  I’m going to defer to my date to pick one for me.”  I return my eyes to Jax with a cheeky grin.

He throws his head back with a chuckle and looks at the poor confused waiter.  “We’ll take whatever two are your favorites.  Surprise us.”

 Cover designed by

Model: Jamie Dominic

Photographer: Jamie Dominic Photography

MMA Series Reading Order


Worth the Fight  (Book One)
It didn't matter that the ref called it a clean hit. Nico Hunter would never be the same.

Elle has a good life. A job she loves, a great apartment, and the guy she's been dating for more than two years is a catch and a half. But it's boring...and she strives to keep it that way. Too many emotions are dangerous. Her own past is living proof of what can happen when you lose control.

Then Nico walks into Elle's office and everything changes...for both of them. But what can the tattooed, hard-bodied MMA fighter and the beautiful and always steady attorney have in common? A lot more than they bargained for.

***Author's note*** THIS IS A STAND-ALONE NOVEL. Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

CURRENTLY ON SALE for ONLY $0.99 (limited time)

 Worth the Chance (Book Two)

 Meet Liv Michaels
It may have been seven years, but I'd know him anywhere. Sure, he's grown, filled out in all the right places, but his captivating blue eyes and cocky grin are exactly the way I remember. Even though I'd much rather forget.

Liv Michaels is almost there. She's smart, determined and weeks away from landing the job she's dreamed about for years. Time healed old wounds, even her broken heart from the devastation of being crushed by her first love.

Meet Vince Stone
Women love a fighter, especially a good one. Lucky for me, I'm damn good. But there's one woman that isn't interested. Not again, anyway.

Vince 'The Invincible' Stone is every woman's fantasy...strong, sexy, confident and completely in control. Growing up surrounded by chaos, he's learned never to get too attached. Love will drag you down. He adores women, treats them well, puts their own needs before his own...for the night anyway. With the biggest fight of his life coming up, his focus should be on training.

When fate brings Vince & Liv back together again, there's no denying the chemistry is still there. But can Vince erase the old scars their past left behind? Or will Liv hurt him instead?

***Author's note*** THIS IS A STAND-ALONE NOVEL. Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the 18.


Vi Keeland is a native New Yorker with three children that occupy most of her free time, which she complains about often, but wouldn't change for the world. She is a bookworm and has been known to read her kindle at stop lights, while styling her hair, cleaning, walking, during sporting events, and frequently while pretending to work.  She is a boring attorney by day, and an exciting smut author by night!

Find the author at: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Additional Books by Vi Keeland

First Thing I See

Belong to You (A Cole Novel, Book One)

Made For You (A Cole Novel, Book Two)


KINDLE & a signed cover

(Signed kindle cover by some amazing authors)

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