Alta Hensley-Filthy Fight

This is the second book in the Hot Hard & Dirty books. There are 5 or 6 more of them. Alta’s book focuses on a boxer, a boxing gym, and the Filthy Fight. About the title, it gets used several places in the book, and I really like that.

Juelp’s dad always told her that she was named after his favorite drink, the mint julep. It looked sweet and packed a punch. Julep has spent her life trying to live up packing a punch, and she does. Since her dad died, she and her brother Danny have been running the boxing gym that he started. Danny does the training, and she does pretty much everything else. So when Danny runs off their best chance at winning a heavyweight championship, again, it’s up to her to fix it. That’s what she does, along with keeping Danny from completely losing it. So she starts figuring out who to get to come fight for the gym. One thing she does is call her friend Lola, who is a sports writer, and who suggests that she go talk to Mateo, the boxer who was known as The Matador, but who has been out of boxing for a few years. Lola warns Julep that there was some kind of scandal there, so she will need to be careful.

Mateo loved to box. His father Cisco loved boxing and taught him to love it and how to box. But a few years ago, he did a stupid thing and caused his career to crash and burn. So when Julep rolls up to his house, looking all sweet, and asks him to come and try out at their gym for the heavyweight spot, he tells her no. But that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t really, really, really want to do it. Especially since he’s doing a shitty job with his welding company. His dad talks him into it, and away he goes to the open tryouts, where he dominates.

Danny is worried about taking a chance on him because he threw a fight. He doesn’t want Mateo to reflect badly on the gym, and if Mateo does it again, not only will it reflect poorly on them, it will be the end of the gym. But Julep convinces him to do it because she knows that he is their best choice. She’s positive that Mateo won’t do anything like that again and she’s sure that there was a really good reason that he did whatever it was he did. Mateo has never talked to anyone about it, and no one knows what he was thinking or his motives.

Danny is a total prick. I can say that without insulting pricks, I think. But seriously, everything is always Julep’s fault, even when it’s his fault, but when something goes well, it’s always because Danny planned it, or whatever. That kind of thing is really exhausting to have to deal with.

When I went into this book, I was all excited about a nice, filthy, forbidden boss/employee romance. And that’s there. But to me, this is about so much more than just that. You get a story about redemption, second chances at life, love, family, and picking yourself up after you fail. And that all wrapped around some hot sex and some fighting. I loved how Mateo’s story and his journey made me feel. There’s a lot of emotion there. And that’s what made this book so glorious, in my opinion.

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I personally think Nero and Danny had a little something going on in the background. I still don’t trust Danny at all. I know that kind of guy too well. Maybe Julep and Mateo can punch Danny around a little until he gets some sense in his head?

Oh man, Cisco’s whole storyline both makes me incredibly sad and incredibly happy. Sad that he was so sick, happy that he got to die the way he wanted to and where he wanted to. Not everyone gets that.

OK, that’s all that I have to say about this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Kristen Hope Mazzola-5-fer

Today is an interesting treat. We’ve got 5 Kristen Hope Mazzola books in one post. Four of the books are from the Unacceptables MC series and the 5th is a hockey book. They are all from Kindle Worlds and Kristen rereleased them today, with some extra stuff included, I believe. As I didn’t read them before, I can’t swear to it, but I’m pretty sure that I saw that. All 5 books are super quick reads. I don’t think any of them took me more than about 75 minutes or so to read, so you know that they are getting down into the relationship fairly quickly. But, they are all enjoyable reads, perfect for when you need something quick and relatively short to read.

Since the hockey story is all by itself, let’s start with Cherry Picked. This the story of Chase and Nikki. He’s come to NYC to play for his dream hockey team, she’s come to NYC to become a prima ballerina with the NY ballet. They are both pretty young, Nikki is just 19, so this is a new adult kind of romance too.

Nikki and Chase meet in a bookstore because she’s reading his favorite book. He pretty much immediately falls in love with her and her with him, and they spend the next 2 weeks together as much as possible, only separating when Chase has to practice.

The story is a sweet one and the sex scenes are pretty tame when it comes to description, so if you like sweet and just a little steamy, this is probably a good one for you.

The Unacceptables

The Unacceptables are a motorcycle club that has several chapters. Four, I think. There are 9 books in the series altogether, and I read 5, 6, 7, and 8. Each of the books is basically a standalone, with the couple’s story winding up in the book, but there is some kind of rough storyline. I haven’t read the first 4 books, but I didn’t feel like I didn’t know what was going on, and I got to know the characters pretty well, so it all worked out OK. I will mention that I think the books bounce back and forth chronologically a bit, probably because they were all in various Kindle Worlds. I would probably read these in this order, 5 & 8 then 6 & 7, and that’s how I have them listed here. That’s just my opinion, and you don’t have to follow it.

Unbearable

Bear is an Unacceptables Prez. He and his VP Jaxon are riding home following a terrible event. On the highway right before they get to their exit, they come across a motorcycle on the side of the road and a woman who was obviously on it. Bear does CPR while waiting for the first responders to show and then follows her to the hospital. There’s just something about her that he is drawn to.

Scarlett walked into her house after grocery shopping to find her husband balls deep in her best friend. She takes her friend’s clothes, lights them on fire, then throws them out the window. That’s pretty damn epic if you ask me. Then she pulls a gun on her husband and tells him that it’s over. She grabs some panties, tosses them in a bag, jumps on her bike, and heads to Atlanta. The next thing she knows, she wakes up in the hospital, with a tattooed guy in a cut standing there.

Unscarred

We’re back with Bear and Scarlett sometime after the end of the first book (but before its epilogue). Her now ex-husband and shown up and wants to cause some trouble. Bear and Scarlett escape out to some of the other chapters so that Scarlett can be safe while Bear takes care of business.

Undeniable

Ryan is Cass’s brother’s best friend. Along with his brother, the 4 of them are inseparable and have a good old time. Then Ryan’s older brother, who is in the service, dies. On the night of his viewing, they all go out to have a bonfire like they used to before Cam died. Ryan and Cass spend some quality time, then he tells her he’s joined the Marines.

Ten years later, she’s engaged to another man, Ryan’s an Unacceptable. But when the two of them see each other again, it’s almost like no time has passed at all.

Uncut

Ryan and Cass have been together for a while now, and while he no longer wears the patches, in his heart, he’s still an Unacceptable. So, when things come up, what’s he going to do?

I would consider the books MC-lite, except for Unscarred, which does get a little darker in places than the others are. The stories are spicy but more like banana pepper spicy and not ghost pepper spicy. They are all pretty good, and the characters have a good connection.

So, no spoilers today. Go check out these books, they are all in KU and the 9th book of the Unacceptables comes on later this month. Happy reading!

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Alison Mello-Refuse to Lose

We have a new author on the blog today, Alison Mello. I saw her on FB and was like, sure I’ll be happy to read and review your book. Have I told you how much I love my life? Being a blogger/reviewer is cool af. I get a chance to read alllllll the things. I get a chance to share allllll the things with you. It’s a win/win situation for all of us.

So, Refuse to Lose. This is a sweeter and lighter story than I would normally read, which isn’t a bad thing. Even my dark and twisted soul needs some sweetness and light sometimes. It balances me out, and sometimes, when I’ve read a lot of dark all at once, I need to have something lighter. It’s like the pickled ginger that you eat when you are eating sushi. It helps to clear your palate and get you ready to go on. Of course, I’m the person who loves eating pickled ginger right out of the jar. I like it so much that my stepfather got me a jar of pickled ginger one year for Christmas. OK, enough digression. This book is a piece of yummy, yummy pickled ginger. It was good to read and it made me happy.

The story starts out with Stella and her son, DJ. They are living in NYC, and it’s been a couple of years since Stella’s husband was murdered. Stella has decided that she wants to take DJ away from NYC and to some place where he can grow up in the fresh air and sunlight, and she doesn’t have to worry about him walking down the street. So, when DJ comes home after the last day of school, Stella tells him that they are leaving first thing in the morning, here’s a couple of boxes, I’ve already packed your clothes, go pack the most important things you have. She’s done some research and has decided that West Virginia is the place to go. She’s not sure where, but she’s sure they’ll find a good place.

When they get to a nice, small town, she finds a diner where she and DJ can eat, and finds out that they are hiring, so she asks Misty, the boss, for the job. Misty hooks her up and voila, Stella and DJ have somewhere to live.

Six months later, Stella is still going strong at the diner. She’s renting a house from one of their old-timer regulars. DJ is getting ready to start baseball. And Trystan, who calls Stella sugar when he sees her at the diner, is in front of the judge because he was arrested on a DUI. The judge sentences him to community service as a little league baseball coach.

Trystan loves baseball. He was trying for the semi-pros when his National Guard unit was called up to the war. While he was there, his girlfriend Sophia cheated on him. When he came home, he started working with his friends at a construction company. On the night that he got arrested, he was out with his boys, and he was driving his friend Billy home because Billy was drunk as a skunk. Trystan isn’t happy about being sentenced to coaching, but the judge tells him that he thinks it will be a good thing for him and for the boys.

Those poor boys. They really have no real team going on. Their last coach wasn’t all that interested in coaching and everyone was glad when he moved. Trystan knows that he’s going to have to get the boys playing as a team, so he does what he can to build camaraderie. Meanwhile, he and Stella start getting closer.

Anyway, you know how it goes now. You don’t want the risk of spoilers, stop at the picture. You don’t mind spoilers, keep going. Like I said, I enjoyed the book. I did think that there were a couple of small places where it didn’t flow as well as it could’ve, but that’s just my personal opinion. And flow issues are something that happens to every author from time to time, so, in the greater scheme of the book, they didn’t really me overly much. It was a good story, with a lot of sweet moments in it. Trystan is a very good man, and he takes a lot of care of Stella and DJ, as well as all the boys on his team. He does really well stepping up to the plate there. Stella is a strong woman who has had more than any person should deal with, but she doesn’t let it break her and she has not only survived, but she’s also thrived, and has made sure her son has thrived.

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OK, I knew that Sophia was a problem, but I didn’t realize that she was a complete nutter. I didn’t like her from the first time we saw her, but I didn’t expect her to go to the extent that she did.

I’m glad that Billy found someone to help him fight. He needed that, and Daisy and Landon could really use having a man around to help them. I liked Billy. He seemed like a really nice guy, so that made me happy.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this. The book is on KU, so go check it out. Happy reading!

T.L. Smith-Distorted Love

Oh my,  there are so many things I have to say about this. This is my first TL Smith book, but it sure as hell isn’t going to be my last. There’s a second book to this duet, but anything else she’s written, I’m going to go check out.

Before I get into it, Distorted Love is part of a duet, and you know how authors love to do us. If you are one of the people who hates hanging on until the next book, wait. Also, this book takes place in Australia, but it’s mostly written in American English, so USicans should have no problem with slang and such.

Saskia is in her next to last year of school. She goes to an exclusive private school, even though she lives on the wrong side of the tracks. She gets a scholarship and wears her cousin Livia’s hand-me-downs. Saskia has been crushing on Ryken Lord as long as he’s been in the same school. He’s a year older than she is and very popular. Her friend Robert urges her to go talk to him, but Saskia would rather be the wallflower, the person no one sees. When Livia asks her if she likes Ryken, Saskia tells her no.

Ryken Lord is in his last year of school, and waiting until he turns 18. When he turns 18 he’s going to take over his father’s nightclubs, while his father continues to run the seedier part of the business. He always sees Saskia, his Barbie, no matter what. Sometimes that’s all he sees. He doesn’t talk to her though.

On the first day of school, Ryken and his best friend through a huge party. Livia drags Saskia around to the party with her. Livia wants to hit on Ryken, Saskia wants to go home. When they get there, some older guy named Quinn starts talking to her. Ryken comes out and tells him to get lost. Turns out Quinn works for his dad and collects young women to be sold. Saskia, pretty young Saskia with very few familial connections, is a perfect target. Quinn tells Ryken he won’t take Saskia on one condition, Ryken has to leave her alone. If he can stay away from Saskia, Quinn will leave her alone. Ryken tells Quinn that won’t be a problem. Quinn thinks otherwise.

That’s as far as my synopsis is going to go. This is a strangers to enemies to friends to lovers to enemies to something else altogether story. It would my brain around like you would wind spaghetti with a fork. It was hard to keep track of everything as a reader but in a good way. I can’t imagine how Saskia and Ryken were able to keep track of everything. The two of them are combustible and explosive. When the two of them get together, it’s like putting det cord and plastique together. You get a huge fucking boom and a lot of heat, and everything around it gets destroyed. That’s Saskia and Ryken. The problem is, they can’t stay away from each other. They are drawn to each other like two powerful rare earth magnets. They will knock everything out of the way to get to each other. Even when they hate each other, they love each other and vice versa. The story is a total mindfuck and trying to figure out what is going on will keep you guessing and wondering. I reached the end in a huge burst of adrenaline like I had been running a race. I can’t wait for the next one.

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OMG. The end. The end of this thing. I can’t even.

I have to say, I don’t trust anything that Livia has said, so I’m thinking that the announcement is a lie. At least, that’s my opinion of the matter. I guess I’ll have to wait and see. I never really liked Livia anyway, I thought that she was bad news for Saskia and that she treated her like crap anyway. So, there’s that.

That’s all I have to say on this today. If you want to talk more about it, then you’re going to have to come find me somewhere. I’ll telll you alllllll my opinions, I swear. Happy reading!

Bry Ann-Axel

Axel is a suspense story from Bry Ann. She’s a new to me author and this was a book she asked me to read.

When Axel was a teenager, he had a best friend named Sarah. She was the love of his life and he was hers. One day he walked around the corner and found her just after she had been raped. Axel, who already had serious anger issues, beat the shit out of the guy who did it, nearly killing him. Axel walked Sarah home, called his dad to help him, and then found out that Sarah killed herself. He spent the next several months in juvie while his dad spent the time trying to get the rapist convicted. The second he turns 18, he is out of his small town.

Two years after that, we meet Aly. She’s just turned 18 and is on her way to the big town of Seattle. She’s lived under her overly religious parents’ thumbs for years, and she’s ready to break free and find out who Aly is. Neither her parents, nor her best friend Brandon want her to leave. They are positive that she’s going to get to the big city and literally turn into a slut immediately. She has to smack her father to get out to go to the train station, where she runs into Axel, who is now going by X.

OK, normally this is where I would separate out for spoilers, but I really don’t have anything to say, spoiler-ish-wise. So, I’ll just keep talking about the things I would generally say, and then put in a picture. Overall, I thought that the story was pretty good. I was entertained, and isn’t that the whole point of reading a book? To gain some entertainment from reading it? My one real problem with it is that I felt like the story was just a little too convoluted sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I like convolutions in my stories, and a good twist is always interesting. However, I think that there was maybe one too many twists in Axel. I think that if one of the twists or convolutions were left out, it would’ve been a tighter story, and thus, more enjoyable. Of course, remember that’s all my opinion, and opinions are like assholes, everybody has one. I did like the story, even with all the convolutions, so there’s always that. So, go check it out and tell me what you think. Meanwhile, happy reading!

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Livia Grant-Royalty, American Style: King of Baseball

Livia Grant has brought us a new romance. Unlike some of her other work, this one isn’t really kinky, but it is really steamy. Anyone who read Royally Mine is going to recognize this story or at least parts of it. It’s Livia’s offering in that book. However, she has expanded out the story, given us new bits and new info, and a whole new Christmas scene. So, let’s talk about Royalty, American style: King of Baseball.

Colt is a baseball player who has a long career, and he’s doing very well. He’s chasing a record when it comes to double-base hits. If he gets 94 more, he will have the record. That has been his focus lately. According to Wikipedia, which I had to use to check because my baseball terminology is rusty, a double means that runs are being driven in from 2nd and 3rd bases, and even 1st base, occasionally.

While he’s been working on that and playing in the playoffs for the Yankees, his agent ambushed him with a contract to a reality show. On this show, he’s going to go live in a house with 6 attractive women and end up choosing one of them. Think the Bachelor. However, since it’s on cable, think the Bachelor on HBO, where all the things that have been faded to black are now shown in living color. Colt isn’t very happy about that. Yeah, he’s been a playboy in the past, but this is a totally different situation, and he really doesn’t want to be on TV, but he has no choice.

Harper is a chef in need of both a job and a home. She was living with Giorgio, who was her boyfriend and her boss. That is, right up until she found him playing dip the sausage with another employee. Then, G was “nice” enough to recommend her for the job. So yeah, there’s that. Now she’s working as the chef on the show, cooking for everyone, and living on the estate in a glorious apartment. On her first night there, she makes her signature dish, a mushroom ravioli. Colt recognizes it as the dish from his favorite recipe, where she used to work and where she created it. He runs into the kitchen to meet her and gushes all over her.

Harper’s plan has been to just avoid the playboy man-whore named Colton, cook her food, get paid, and figure out the rest of her life. Should she go home to Illinois or go back to NYC and try to cook?

So, here’s where I’m going to part ways with you. I like this story. I like Colt, even though he plays for the Yankees. Boo hiss, Red Sox Nation 4-evah, yo. LOL. Actually, I grew up cheering for the Cincinnati Reds, since we lived in Indianapolis. My dad was a huge baseball fan, and all my brothers played Little League. Anyway, it’s a good story. I liked it in the original anthology, I like it more in this incarnation. The first sex scene is incredibly erotic, and I really liked it. I really want to try it sometime. This is definitely worth the money to pick it up and read it.

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Oh, I really hate Gavin, the producer. He’s a slimy little fuck. He gets his in the end, which makes me happy. Karma is a bitch, and then she bites you in the ass. I did the Nelson laugh from the Simpsons when I first read it and still did it this time too.

The Christmas scene is lovely. I like seeing the continuation of their HEA. I mean, usually that’s the end of the story, and the MCs ride off into the sunset perfectly happy. But, a real HEA takes work and negotiation, and all that stuff. We get to see some of it in the Christmas scene, and I really like that. I mean, yeah, in some places I’m perfectly happy to have the HEA be the end, but I always enjoy the rest of the story.

OK, as much as I would love to keep talking about this lovely book, I don’t want to spill anything more than I may have already done. So, I’m going to still my furious fingers of fire and start the next blog. Go grab this one and look forward to the next one, like I am now. Meanwhile, happy reading!