Review: Nailed by Opal Carew

Nailed

Title: Nailed Author: Opal Carew Format: Paperback and eBook, 288 pages Expected publication: August 23, 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin ISBN: 1250052874

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When River set up a fundraiser to kick start her nail polish business, she never expected someone to pay five thousand dollars just to have dinner with her. But when she meets her mysterious benefactor, he turns out to be billionaire Kane Winters—the one man from her past who she never wanted to see again.  Kane is determined to right the wrong that happened to River in college—because of him. She’s been an obsession he can’t escape…and Kane wants River more than he’s ever wanted anything. So he offers her a deal she can’t refuse: marry him and her business will be success. But River’s knight in shining armor isn’t looking for a platonic business deal. He wants their marriage to be real…in every way.

Source: Netgalley and Purchase

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review:

River has no intention of spending the rest of her life working for someone else.  If all goes well, her kick starter campaign will be successful and she’ll be able to launch her own nail polish line and quit her completely unsatisfying job.  River has high hopes for her future right up to the moment she finds out precisely who it is that funded her entire campaign. 

Kane Winters has spent years trying to replace the one who got away.  He has a ridiculous amount of money, a successful company, and a best friend who has been by his side since undergrad.  What he doesn’t have is River, the one woman he has spent years comparing all other women to and the one woman he humiliated and hurt beyond all reason.  Yeah, Kane knows he was a total and complete as$ho!e and he also knows that if he has any hope of bringing River back into his life, he is going to have to employ extreme measures.  Step one, fund her entire kick starter campaign.  Step two, contractually obligate her to marry him.  Nothing can go wrong here . . .

River never dreamt her wedding day would be so underwhelming and overwhelming all at once.  On the underwhelming side, there are only three people in attendance and that number includes she and her husband.  On the overwhelming side, River now has a fully funded business, an opportunity to introduce her nail polish line at an exclusive and high-end location, and she’s marrying a man she swore she would never engage with again, ever.  Oh, this all happened in just a matter of days rather than weeks, months, or years.  So, yeah, overwhelming wins.

Other than in the bedroom, River and Kane’s marriage is a train wreck waiting to happen.  The sex is off the charts but that is the only area where each has any knowledge of the other.  Kane expects River to meld right into his life and make whatever changes necessary to become the perfect wife of a wealthy businessman with numerous high society connections.  Though River chaffs at some of the changes, she doesn’t want to be miserable so she is making a concerted effort to make her marriage work. The changes are made moderately easier by the presence of Kane’s best friend and business partner, Will. 

Will has been friends with Kane since undergrad and truly wants nothing more than his friend to be happy.  Though Will isn’t entirely comfortable with Kane’s trapping of River, he genuinely likes her and is willing to dive right in and help make her comfortable.  Will is kind, generous, sexy as can be, and totally understanding of River’s awkward situation.  When Kane travels for work – and he does, frequently – Will checks in on River, helps her with her nail polish line, and just hangs out to keep her company.  Their friendship quickly blossoms, an attraction develops, and before anyone can say “BOO!” they’re found out by Kane and all hell breaks loose.  To be completely fair, Kane has a few secrets of his own and when those bad boys come to light absolutely everything is threatened.

The Bottom Line:  Nailed certainly isn’t a typical Opal Carew read but it is still enjoyable if you can get past and/or simply accept the ridiculous nature of a couple of things.  One: the whole undergraduate event that set River and Kane at odds with one another and; two: the whole I’m going to contractually obligate you to marry me.  These are both utterly ridiculous elements that will most certainly turn away many readers.  While I certainly scoffed at these events, they weren’t deal breakers for me and I hung in there to the very end.  Will is the highlight of this read and he is the primary reason I continued reading and eventually conceded to really liking Nailed.  Though Will does make some mistakes, he’s a generally likeable character who serves as a peacemaker even when he’s the cause of some of the drama. Bringing Will into the relationship certainly ups the sexy and I truly wish he would have been brought into the bedroom far sooner.  There are some good naughty bits in this read but not quite as naughty or as frequent as I expected from Opal Carew.  In the end, even with the outlandish nature of the story and the subdued naughty bits, I still liked what I got.  If you’re looking for a naughty little romp that’s light on believability but high on entertainment value then Nailed may just be right for you.

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Review: A Common Scandal (Book #2: The Grantham Girls Series) by Amanda Weaver

A Common Scandal

Title: A Common Scandal Series: Book #2: The Grantham Girls Author: Amanda Weaver Published: May 30, 2016 by Carina Press ASIN: B0150Z3PLA

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Finishing school taught Amelia Wheeler how to put on a well-mannered performance—when she’s not bored and looking for trouble. Lady Grantham’s is behind her and now it’s time for Amelia to keep her promise to her dying mother: marry a title and leave her wild days behind.   That promise would be much easier to keep if Nate Smythe hadn’t just reappeared in a London ballroom. The son of an impoverished sailor, Nate—Natty, as he used to be called—has grown up to become handsome, rich and polished. He claims to be looking for a proper bride who can advance his business interests, but that doesn’t stop him from seeking out Amelia every chance he gets. Challenging her. Kissing her.  Suddenly, struggling against her simmering passion is the least of Amelia’s problems—one of her titled suitors is hiding a desperate secret that could stop Amelia from pleasing her parents or finding happiness with Nate. As a weeklong house party threatens to derail her hard-won future, Amelia must decide: fight against disaster or act like the lady she’s promised to become?

Source: Netgalley

My Rating: 3/5 stars

My Review:

Dear Sophomore Slump,

I hate you!

Sincerely,

RoloPoloBookBlog

I came into this read expecting the same level of awesome I got with book one, A Duchess in Name.  What I got was a strong character read with a rather weak and predictable plot.  Yeah, so not what I expected 😦

Amelia Wheeler may have a finishing school education but she has a tomboy mentality and Lord help anyone who bows up on her.  As a child, Amelia learned to defend herself which she had to do on a regular basis thanks to her penchant for finding trouble.  While her parents had high hopes finishing school would work the rambunctious right on out of her, Amelia shows no signs of slowing down or staying out of trouble.  Case in point, the moment she launches herself into the arms of her childhood friend, Nate Smythe in the middle of a society ball.  Really, what else could she do after not seeing her friend for a decade? 

Nate Smythe has spent more than a decade travelling the world and building his shipping empire.  He came from nothing and in the past decade, he has amassed a fortune and is now looking for a titled family to marry into.  With no title of his own, an advantageous marriage to a titled woman is the only way he will ever break into the exclusive world of the English peerage.  Nate is almost mercenary in his desire to marry well and he quickly sets his sight on Lady Julia Hyde.  Lady Julia’s father owns and operates the largest shipping company in England and Nate wants in on the action.  In order to make that happen, he has to win Julia’s affection and try to forget how Amelia Wheeler being back in his life makes him feel.

In what is eventually outed as a huge set-up, Amelia and Nate find themselves as guests at a week-long house party.  Due to their particular circumstances, Nate is obviously pursuing Lady Julia and Amelia is courting the affection of Lord Radwill.  In the moments when they are together, Nate and Amelia not only bait one another but fight a serious physical attraction.  As the week wears on, both Nate and Amelia grudgingly admit to themselves that being with someone other than the other person will make for a most unsatisfying life.  Unfortunately, both feel bound to their path and commitments and it isn’t until they are forced to say the words aloud that they realize how pointless it is to fight fate.

The Bottom Line: I very much liked Nate and Amelia and the banter between them.  They have known each other since they were children and know how to push each other’s buttons.  As adults, they still know how to push those buttons but the stakes have become even higher.  There are commitments and future happiness to consider as well as other people who have been pulled into the storm that is Nate and Amelia.  Amelia is strong enough to be a true partner to Nate and that makes her an oddity in her time and place.  Her penchant for trouble is seriously amusing and Nate’s responses to her ability to find trouble in an empty room are just as entertaining.  In truth, Nate and Amelia are two very strong characters that have been put into a somewhat ridiculous plot.  At nearly every turn, there is some new bit of stupidity playing out that forces a reaction and/or response out of Amelia and/or Nate.  Between the titled men acting like damn fools and the drama with Amelia’s family, there isn’t any real substance here other than Nate and Amelia.  I have said it before and I will say it again, strong characters can carry a weak plot and that is exactly what happened in A Common Scandal.  With that being said, the first book in this series was so good and I think this second book just fell victim to the dreaded sophomore slump.  I’m in it for the long haul and have already pre-ordered book three, A Reluctant Betrothal.

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Review: A Duchess in Name (Book #1: The Grantham Girls Series) by Amanda Weaver

 

A Duchess in Name

Title: A Duchess in Name Series: Book #1: The Grantham Girls Author: Amanda Weaver Published: January 18, 2016 by Carina Press ASIN: B014PIFZ6Q

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Victoria Carson never expected love. An American heiress and graduate of Lady Grantham’s finishing school, she’s been groomed since birth to marry an English title—the grander the better. So when the man chosen for her, the forbidding Earl of Dunnley, seems to hate her on sight, she understands that it can’t matter. Love can have no place in this arrangement.  Andrew Hargrave has little use for his title and even less for his cold, disinterested parents. Determined to make his own way, he’s devoted to his life in Italy working as an archaeologist. Until the collapse of his family’s fortune drags him back to England to a marriage he never wanted and a woman he doesn’t care to know.  Wild attraction is an unwanted complication for them both, though it forms the most fragile of bonds. Their marriage of convenience isn’t so intolerable after all—but it may not be enough when the deception that bound them is finally revealed. 

Source: Purchase

My Rating: 4½/5 stars

My Review:

Victoria Carson has never, not for a single moment fooled herself into thinking she is meant for something more than a strategic marriage.  Though she has lived in England for the majority of her life, Victoria is American born and her father’s fortune is considered less than those of native born English.  In fact, if her parents hope to gain any sort of legitimacy, and they do, Victoria is expected to marry a proper English gentleman with a title.  Too bad for Victoria’s parents, their daughter has a strong sense of self-preservation, a healthy amount of free will, and a brain that is smart enough to work she wants for herself.  Victoria knows she can’t avoid the marriage but she can certainly use her brain and her free will to carve out a life for herself once she’s out of her parent’s house.

Andrew Hargrave, otherwise known as the spare heir was always meant to be the spare and never the actual heir.  Then his brother had the audacity to die and bing, bang, boom, Andrew becomes the heir to an estate that is flat broke and with no hope of recovery outside of an advantageous marriage.  Yep, like Victoria, Andrew is expected to marry well and restore the family to what it once was.  As far as his father is concerned, the marriage doesn’t have to be happy nor does the woman have to be desirable as long as she comes with a fortune.  Given the example his own parents have set, Andrew never had any intention of marrying.  In fact, Andrew has every intention of going through with the marriage, making it legitimate, and then returning to his archaeological dig in Italy and his mistress.  Yeah, that ought to make everyone happy.

Both Andrew and Victoria are physically attracted to one another and Victoria is willing to give marriage a real shot but she soon discovers her new husband isn’t as willing.  In fact, Andrew seems quite angry about his situation and completely unwilling to get to know Victoria.  Within 48 hours of her wedding, Victoria finds herself abandoned by her husband at his crumbling ancestral home.  Determined to make a life for herself, Victoria turns her time, attention, and vast fortune toward repairing Andrew’s ancestral home and making it her own.  In the time Andrew is gone, Victoria not only remodels the home but reestablishes relations with the estate’s tenants and helps them bring the surrounding properties back up to an acceptable and profitable standard.  When Andrew eventually returns, he is blown away by Victoria’s progress.

For the better part of a year, Victoria is left to her own devices but eventually, Andrew is forced to return to England.  Upon his return, Andrew is not only made to take his father’s title but he is also made to really focus on life at home.  What he discovers, much to his great surprise is that his home is just that, a home and it has been made so by his estranged wife.  With his own dogged determination, Andrew vows to make things right with Victoria and with any luck, he will have a marriage he never, ever thought possible. 

The Bottom Line:  I do love a good period piece with a strong-willed woman!  Victoria Carson certainly fits the bill and then some.  From the moment Victoria is introduced, she establishes herself as an independent woman living in a time and place when such things weren’t prized and/or valued.  Victoria is bound and determined to be her own woman even if she has to be married.  Victoria is by far the highlight of this read and watching her come into her own is quite fantastic.  When Andrew comes back into her life, Victoria certainly makes it difficult for him to be a part of what she has built but the butthole sort of deserves it 🙂  To be completely fair, Andrew’s life hasn’t always been easy and he does have some redeeming qualities but Victoria has to dig deep to find them.  Once the two work out their differences, let go of a good number of past hurts, and really get to know each other, their road to an HEA finally becomes clear.

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Review: Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen

 

Nine Women, One Dress

Title: Nine Women, One Dress Author: Jane L. Rosen Format: Hardcover and eBook, 272 pages Published: July 12, 2016 by Doubleday ISBN: 0385541406

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Natalie is a Bloomingdale’s salesgirl mooning over her lawyer ex-boyfriend who’s engaged to someone else after just two months. Felicia has been quietly in love with her happily married boss for twenty years; now that he’s a lonely widower, she just needs the right situation to make him see her as more than the best executive assistant in Midtown Manhattan. Andrea is a private detective specializing in gathering evidence on cheating husbands—a skill she unfortunately learned from her own life—and can’t figure out why her intuition tells her the guy she’s tailing is one of the good ones when she hasn’t trusted a man in years. For these three women, as well as half a dozen others in sparkling supporting roles—a young model fresh from rural Georgia, a diva Hollywood star making her Broadway debut, an overachieving, unemployed Brown grad who starts faking a fabulous life on social media, to name just a few—everything is about to change, thanks to the dress of the season, the perfect little black number everyone wants to get their hands on…

Source: Netgalley

My Rating: 3½/5 stars

My Review:

On the eve of his retirement, Morris Siegel is pleased to discover his last design, the Max Hammer LBD is the dress of the year.  Little does Morris know, his dress won’t just be the dress of the year but it will irrevocably alter the lives of nine women.  Here’s the breakdown:

Likes:  Though Morris plays a small part in the long-term plot line, his background and involvement with the dress is an interesting part of the read and a very good way to introduce the dress.  Morris has devoted his life to the creation of beautiful designs and the reception of his last creation is such a fitting end to his career. 

Natalie is the most unlikely of individuals to be wearing the ultra-high end Max Hammer dress but find herself in it, she does.  The cherry on top of the awesome dress sundae is the fact she is wearing the dress while attending a flashy event with a bona fide Hollywood star.  Natalie is still hurting from a recent break-up so being seen on the arm of a Hollywood star is sure to bring her ex running right back.  Her new “beau” is gay (or is he?) so being with him is certainly safe enough. 

Felicia and her boss!!  These are, by far my favorite characters in this read.  For twenty years, Felicia has served her boss faithfully and quietly loved him as he has loved his wife.  When his wife passes away, Felicia doesn’t swoop in and try to take her place but supports him as she always has and provides comfort where she can.  It is only by mistake and misunderstanding that Felicia finds herself wearing the year’s most wanted LBD and having dinner with her boss. 

Dislikes:  I really only have one dislike related to this read but it’s a pretty big dislike.  Nine women for one dress is a lot of women and, in truth, about four too many women for this story.  There are two actresses and a set of sisters that add very little to the overall story other than bringing the total number of women touched by the dress up to nine.  In fact, there are so many women involved that the story becomes far longer than it needs to be and there are some pretty serious stretches that have been made to connect everyone and everything.  Had these four women been left out, there would have been more time and space available to devote to the stronger, larger characters and the overall story would not have suffered at all for the loss of these four minor characters.

The Bottom Line:  Nine Women, One Dress is an absolutely character driven read that is just a bit too ambitious in its number of characters included.  The characters who are given more “screen time” as it were are by far the most enjoyable, most well-developed, and most interesting.  Had the read focused on just the five strongest women, it would have been a smoother, less convoluted read that would have certainly earned a much higher star rating.  With that being said, if you can get past the awkwardness of the four superfluous women, Nine Women, One Dress is a good read and will particularly appeal to those who are fans of big, fat, sappy HEAs.

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Review, Excerpt, and Sweepstakes: Ultimate Courage (Book #2: True Heroes Series) by Piper J. Drake

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Ultimate Courage

Title: Ultimate Courage Series: Book #2: True Heroes Author: Piper J. Drake Format: Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages Expected publication: July 26, 2016 by Forever ISBN: 1455536059

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Elisa Hall is good at starting from scratch. Leaving an abusive relationship in her rearview, she packs everything she owns into the trunk of her car and heads for refuge with her friend in Hope’s Crossing, North Carolina.  Alex Rojas returned from his second deployment as a Navy SEAL to find his condo empty and divorce papers on the breakfast table. Now he’s building a life for himself and his daughter at Hope’s Crossing kennels training younger dogs and handlers to search and rescue, struggling to adjust to life back in the States and as a single father.  When Elisa shows up at the kennels, it’s obvious she’s running from something. Luckily, the dogs and trainers at Hope’s Crossing are more than capable of warding off trouble. And with every minute he spends with Elisa, Alex becomes even more and more determined to protect the woman he’s certain he won’t be able to live without…

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Source: Netgalley

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review:

Holy Hell!  The men of the Hope’s Crossing Kennels sure do know how to find trouble.  Even when they are actively avoiding trouble, trouble seems to come looking for them and in this second installment of the True Heroes series, trouble doesn’t just come a calling, it comes with a scary stalker willing to go to incredible lengths to retrieve his “property.”

Alex Rojas is home at Hope’s Crossing Kennels and he, along with his ten-year-old daughter, Boom have no intention of ever leaving.  Alex is a retired SEAL who still deals, on a daily basis with the effects of PTSD.  Training and rehabbing the dogs at Hope’s Crossing isn’t just a job, it’s a passion.  His friends and partners are really his chosen family and his daughter, Boom is like a breath of fresh of air for the hardened military men.  In Alex’s world, there is his family and his dogs and not much else.  A very, very bad situation with Boom’s mother has left him wary of women so when Elisa Hall comes into his life, he isn’t quite prepared for the likes of her.

Elisa Hall was once a confident young woman with a promising career as a project manager ahead of her.  When she met her ex, it seemed like a dream come true.  Unfortunately, the dream quickly turned to a nightmare and getting free from her ex was a harrowing experience that has left her on the run for the last six months.  In what eventually turns out to be a wonderful accidental encounter, Elisa meets Boom and Alex at the ER.  With no intention of starting up anything even remotely close to a relationship, Elisa plans on slipping in and out of the ER but fate and Boom have other ideas.  In the coming days, Elisa finds herself not only on Alex Rojas’s doorstep but neck-deep in his life, a place she never thought to find herself again.  Trust isn’t at the top of Elisa’s list of things that come easily but, at every turn Alex proves himself to be a man of his word. 

Alex is bowled over by Elisa and the more she shares with him, the more he wants to help her out of the mess that is her life.  He and his friends have a great deal of specialized training that can help Elisa break free from her past if she will only trust them enough to tell them the whole story.  Elisa is smart, organized, compassionate, and the only person Souze, Alex’s current doggy project really responds too.  Alex has learned to trust Souze’s instincts and though it takes a great deal of patience and care (just like doggy training!) Alex is willing to try with Elisa.  In fact, each day he is around her, Alex finds his own demons are a bit easier to deal with which makes him an all-around better dad, friend, and trainer. 

A new relationship is hard enough but Elisa comes with a whole hell of a lot of trouble.  As she grows more comfortable with Alex and the Hope’s Crossing crew, she finds that she is tired of running and being scared and that there can be a happy and settled life for her if she is willing to take a stand.  Her ex isn’t just determined to have her back, he’s determined to make her pay for leaving him and is willing to go to some very scary lengths to take back what he views as his.  Her ex isn’t above intimidation, threats, and/or violence which means, not only is Elisa in danger but so are the people around her.  Getting and free and clear won’t be easy.

The Bottom Line:  Book two of the True Heroes series is stronger than the first and was a true delight to read.  This one has a little bit of everything including action, drama, a totally disturbing and bat-sh*t crazy ex, naughty bits, and a ten-year-old and dog who damn-near steal the show.  Much of the read is taken up by the anticipation of the awful and the awful happening very quickly near the end.  During the moments of anticipation, the characters are more thoroughly explored, relationships are established, and a place worth fighting for is established.  I liked the tension that was created throughout the read and how explosively quick the awful came and went at the end.  In many ways, the speed of the awful reinforced the idea that this moment is time is just that, a moment in Elisa’s life that will pass.  Her life with Alex, Boom, and the Hope’s Crossing Kennels is really the story and readers will be happy to know, this one ends with an HEA.  With the increased strength of this read, I have high hopes for the future of this series and sincerely hope it extends beyond a mere trilogy.

Excerpt from Ultimate Courage (Book #2: True Heroes Series):

Alex’s hand came up slowly to cradle the side of her face, encouraging her to tilt her head, and she did. He deepened the kiss then, his tongue running across her lips and coaxing them to open for him. She opened with a sigh, and his tongue swept into her mouth, gently tasting. She kissed him back in return, leaning into him until she had one hand braced against his hard chest.

A needy moan escaped her, and he responded in kind. When he lifted his mouth from hers, she almost tipped into him, her knees not holding her upright anymore and her head spinning. Wow.

She took not one, but several long breaths to clear her head, looking down at a black and tan face staring up at her with soulful, dark eyes. Souze wasn’t shy about watching, apparently.

The thought brought her the rest of the way to her senses, because weird. Yeah. Weird.

She took a step back, and Alex let her. He’d done that since the beginning. Letting her go if she wanted. So why was it so hard to leave now even if she kept saying she should?

“Thank you,” she told him, not looking up into his eyes.

“But?” Alex’s voice came cool, deep, and so sexy it just wasn’t fair.

“But I should go. Especially because this is obviously not a professional thing now.”

“No. But none of your previous employers particularly cared if you left, did they?” He sounded reasonable. “Did they bother to try to check on you?”

“Not that I know of.” She said it slowly. She’d had her phone with her, and she’d been checking her e-mail. Both big mistakes, she knew now. But she’d been paid under the table and they didn’t really have a way to contact her after she disappeared.

“I think that’s a little odd.” Rojas lifted his hand, giving her plenty of time to avoid him, and brushed her hair back from her face. “Maybe this time, it wouldn’t hurt to have someone care about whether you disappear.”

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About the author and where to find her:

Piper Drake Piper J. Drake (or “PJ”) began her writing career as “PJ Schnyder” writing sci-fi & paranormal  romance and steampunk. She has recently received the FF&P PRISM award for her work as well as the NJRW Golden Leaf award and Parsec award.   Now, PJ is exploring the complexity of romantic suspense, incorporating her interests in mixed martial arts and the military into her writing.

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Review: Wicked Dix (Book #2: Hard Love Romance Series) by Monica James

Wicked Dix

Title: Wicked Dix Series: Book #2: Hard Love Romance Author: Monica James Format: Kindle Edition, 398 pages Published: March 24, 2016 by Bookouture

Purple Goodreads

I’ve always been a bad boy, with a very wicked reputation.  But then I met Madison – sweet, vulnerable, innocent Madison. She makes me feel as if there is hope for me. As if I could be a good man. I need her more than I need air to breathe.  There’s just one problem: Juliet. She’s a temptress who won’t take no for an answer. If I resist her, she’ll use our dirty secret to ruin everything with Madison.  I don’t want to lose Madison, but can I really change? This is my chance to prove that I can. But it’s going to be one hell of a ride.

Source: Netgalley

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Review:

**CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR BOOK #1, DIRTY DIX**

Holy cats!!!  Don’t let that wimpy little synopsis fool you, book two of the Hard Love Romance series is a fantastically crazy ride on a derailed train headed for a crash with the side of a mountain.  Yeah, it’s that kind of bad . . . .

Dix is up to ass in trouble and even with the advice of his two best friends, he can’t seem to find a way out of the trouble.  Since he can’t find a way out, Dix decides to play the game which means getting in deeper with Juliet while trying to maintain a real relationship with Madison.  Yep, Dix is leading a double life and as we all know, that business can’t last forever.

Juliet has gone completely off the deep end and has her hooks sunk in deep where Dix is concerned.  Unfortunately, Juliet is out of her depth with Dix and he launches a psychological long game that is viscous yet still not evil enough for the likes of Juliet.  At every turn, Juliet launches a new attack that is arguably more wretched than the last.  Her goal in life is basically an emotional scorched earth that will leave as many bodies in her wake as is humanly possible.  Juliet has little to no conscience and succeeds in dragging Dix down to her level.While Dix is locked in battle with Juliet, he is also locked in tight with Madison and determined to go the distance with her.  As far as Dix is concerned, Madison is too damn good for him and he is going to do everything within his power to be worthy of her.  To Dix’s way of thinking, he has to go slow with Madison in order to help her face and overcome the demons of her past and protect her from the dangers in her present.  The trouble with this plan is that Madison has no idea there are dangers in her present and Dix is keeping some very, very big secrets from her. 

Here’s what I really, really, really liked about this read.  In most books, the sh*t hits the fan, quickly gets worked out, and the happy couple scoot on down the HEA road.  That tired old crap just isn’t good enough for Monica James and she puts her characters through the wringer more than once.  In fact, once the sh*t hits the fan (and really, who the hell would throw sh*t at a fan?) it is just as dramatic as the rest of the read.  There is no quick fix here and, in fact, there is a complete separation that forces both Dix and Madison to deal with their personal crap in a serious and significant way.  In so many ways, this part of the book is even better than what came before as we see two completely damaged people having to come to terms with their respective pasts and actions and the consequences associated with those things. 

 The Bottom Line:  Just like the first book in this series, Wicked Dix was all about Dix for me.  He really drops right on down through the rabbit hole and the drop to the bottom isn’t so much what hurts him as the sudden stop when he gets to the bottom.  Dix’s rock bottom is pretty spectacular and it, at least for a time costs him everything.  The darkness of this read is one of its finest qualities and the darkness of the events leading up to the big separation make the eventual HEA even more satisfying.  I liked the first half of this read but thoroughly and absolutely loved the last half.  There is so much evolution in Dix and Madison that I honestly would have been happy with this book had Dix and Madison not eventually found their way back to one another.  Yeah, I actually said that and I mean it too!!  🙂

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Review: Dirty Dix (Book #1: Hard Love Romance Series) by Monica James

Dirty Dix

Title: Dirty Dix Series: Book #1: Hard Love Romance Author: Monica James Format: Kindle Edition, 362 pages Published: October 8, 2015 by Bookouture ISBN: 1910751537

Purple Goodreads

I knew she was bad news when she walked into my office, but I just couldn’t help myself…  Filthy, sexy and full of surprises, Juliet is so hot she has me on fire. I’ve met my match and I can’t help going back for more.  Then there’s Madison… she’s sweet, funny and awakens in me a fierce need to protect her.   But I don’t do relationships. I don’t usually do the same woman twice.  Juliet and Madison: Two very different women have got me completely hooked.  Who will I choose?   I know who I should choose, but I never said I was the hero of this story, or even the good guy. And besides, who wants to be good, when it feels so good being bad?  My tale isn’t for the faint-hearted. If you’re game, strap yourself in and expect the unexpected. But don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Source: Netgalley

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review:

Do you remember the show Dexter?  Yeah, the show with the serial killer that you totally knew you weren’t supposed to like but you did anyway.  Well, Dix is my new Dexter and I loves me some Dix just like I loved me some Dexter.

Dix is the best kind of anti-hero!  From the moment Dix is introduced, he owns up to his failings and faults and blames no one but himself.  If there is a moral/ethical/professional/social more that can be bent or broken, Dix has indeed shattered them and makes few apologies for having done so.  Since his most unfortunate and ugly break-up, Dix has had no interest in a relationship but has had loads of interest in banging a butt load of women.  Dix never offers the women he shags more than a physical encounter and if at all possible, he never “sees” the same women more than once.  The only women Dix sees more than once are his patients and while he feels the tiniest bit of guilt for shagging those particular women, his colleagues do often note the remarkable progress found among Dix’s patients. 

The moment Juliet walks into Dix’s office, he knows he is in for a wild ride that will leave him in search of his sanity.  In bed, Juliet is all Dix could ever hope for.  She is more than willing, totally able, and seemingly as disconnected emotionally as Dix.  Everything about Juliet raises red flags, even the sex but Dix can’t seem to walk away.  What Dix can’t possibly know is just how much of an impact Juliet is going to have on his life. 

At about the same time Juliet comes into Dix’s life, so does Madison.  Madison is perhaps the purest person Dix has ever met and she is everything he should want.  Dix does want Madison but, like Juliet, she raises a great many red flags.  Madison is kind and good but she is clearly hiding something that causes her a great deal of anxiety where physical intimacy is concerned.  With his great interest in physical intimacy, Dix knows he has no business sniffing around Madison but, also like Juliet, he can’t seem to walk away.  Quite unlike Juliet, Madison makes Dix care and that is something he hasn’t done in quite a long time.  Both Juliet and Madison have the capacity to ruin Dix.  He just has to decide if he wants the ruin to be moral or emotional.

The Bottom Line:  Dirty Dix is all about Dix for me and from beginning to end, I loved every minute of him.  No matter what new dumbassery he got himself involved in, and there’s a lot of dumbassery, I still found myself rooting for him.  Dix’s life is like a naughty, dirty three-ring circus that seems to get crazier with every turn of the page.  Though I found Dix to be the strongest and most interesting character, there is actually a whole cast of characters that surround him and most of them are quite entertaining in their own right.  Dix’s best friends are like yin and yang and when beer is involved, they’re a special kind of fantastic.  They work as Dix’s conscience (sort of!) and sounding board when he is desperate and try desperately to steer him in the right direction.  The women are certainly a factor as well but neither have the impact of Dix and I tended to see both Juliet and Madison as supporting characters.  In all, I very much enjoyed this first in a series read and dove right into the second book, Wicked Dix!

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