Bad Deeds by Lisa Renee Jones

Bad Deeds

Synopsis

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

Would you bleed for the one you love?

To save his family empire from the grip of the drug cartel, Shane is pushed to the edge of darkness, forced to make choices he might never make. His father is dying. His brother is desperate to rule the empire and this means war and all gloves are off. His brother only thought he knew what dirty meant. Shane is about to give it new meaning. There is another war brewing though, and that one, is inside him, his battle between right and wrong, light and dark, and in the heat of the night, it is Emily he turns to for escape. Driving her to new limits, pushing her to accept a part of him that even he cannot.

In every one of Shane’s seductive demands, Emily can taste and feel, his torment, his struggle to save his family and not lose himself. But he is losing himself, and that is a problem just as dangerous as her secret, that still lurk in the shadows, a threat to the Brandon Family waiting to erupt. No matter where she and Shane have traveled, or will travel in the future, she can’t just sit back and watch him become everything he hates, everything he never wanted to become, everything she tried to save him from when she tried to run. It could be their undoing, the end. His end.

This is war, blood will spill, and someone in the heart of the Brandon family will not survive….

This is book THREE of FOUR in Shane and Emily’s story.

Review

Background
I’m a big fan of Lisa Renee Jones’ brand of erotic suspense, and this series has been intriguing from the off. Enter instalment three, which I’ve finally managed to find the time to catch up on.

Cover
I’ll admit, I’m not particularly a big fan of the branding for this series; the covers wouldn’t tempt me to one-click. Luckily, I know Lisa Renee Jones’ work well enough to want it anyway!

Writing
As ever, Lisa manages to weave several fascinating strands of story together, with numerous characters and their relevant agenda working beautifully together (and, indeed, against one another). It is pure skill that she manages to maintain this, and the complex plot, without the reader becoming completely lost in this high-stakes game. Even better, we had the chance to delve into the minds of previously secretive Derek and Theresa.

In some aspects, what I felt was a slight disappointment was the overabundance of sex scenes—and believe me, this is a criticism I seldom provide. There were far too many, and their quality just wasn’t enough to have me interested. I much preferred the politics.

That cliffhanger though.

Characters
We’re beginning to get a sense of the development of our characters, with some softening and some hardening. Of particular interest to me were that of Derek and Shane, and their relationships both with one another and with others. Their actions, their goals. What’s happening is various shades of grey, layering up the tension to make for what I imagine to be a rather explosive finale.

Conclusion
Despite the disappointing sex scenes, Lisa Renee Jones’ brand of romantic suspense never fails to impress, and Bad Deeds is just another delicious portion before we’re served the dessert of this epic series.

~Evelyn (4/5)

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Fear the Wicked by Lily White

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Synopsis

CONFESS.

It’s what he said to me across his altar, what he demanded so that I would be pure.

In the moment he blessed me with his virtue, I was no longer the woman I’d once been.

I was Eve.

His light. His salvation. His bridge to Heaven’s gate.

I failed him because my faith was not strong enough.

He punished me for not giving in.

Resisting temptation is never easy.

Not when his hands, his teeth, his heat and hunger were the greatest of my sins.

Review

Background
Lily White has fast become one of my must-click authors, and having very much enjoyed reading the first in this duet, I was awaiting the second with much anticipation.

Cover
Much better than the first, this cover is dark and really grabs the attention whilst providing a small hint about what’s to come.

Writing
White is, for the most part, a fantastic writer: thoughtful, concise, poetic. However, I found I struggled a little throughout this second part of the novel. Perhaps it was the writing style or perhaps it was just that I couldn’t stand Elijah’s POV (of which there was considerably more here).

Either way, everything just felt incredibly drawn out and repetitive, enough to provide me with the impression of someone enjoying exhibiting how clever and how much thought had gone into the characters and their deceit. This is the main reason this book was only rated three stars. It became a struggle and I really found myself wanting to finish it just so I could remove it from my ‘Currently Reading’ shelf.

Characters
Whilst Elijah and Jacob were developed nicely here (perhaps, in some respects, developed a little too well!), Eve just felt more like a doll, a prop along for the ride, despite her major role in the first novel. I understand the themes moving to the brothers and familial love, and uncovering the darkness of the past, but I prefer my characters to be more than just love interests, and be more interesting than that (and, indeed, stronger).

Conclusion
Although maintaining its intrigue, the slower pace of Fear the Wicked lets this second instalment down, making it drag and lost its power. This, and an ending that hints at a slight cop-out, leave this read as three-stars for me — Lily White, however, remains on my one-click list.

~Evelyn (3/5)

Down on Me by J. Kenner

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Synopsis

Tight muscles. Vibrant Ink.
Meet Mr. January. Winter’s never looked so hot …

Certified bachelor Reece Walker wants two things—to save the local bar he manages and to get Jenna Montgomery into his bed.

He has a few ideas for the bar. But Jenna  . . .  well, he’s going to have to rely on cold showers, because she’s been his best friend for years, and that’s a line he just can’t cross.

Until one wild kiss on a dark night changes everything. Now Reece is certain Jenna’s meant to be his.

And with long nights in bed, sensual caresses, and deep, lingering kisses, he sets out to thoroughly convince her that friends can be lovers, too.

**Down On Me is the first in a binge read series by New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and #1 International bestselling author of the million copy Stark series, J. Kenner.

Each book in the series is a STANDALONE novel with NO cliffhanger and a guaranteed HEAT!

But even so, you won’t want to miss any in the series. Because then you can answer the question…

Who’s Your Man of the Month?

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Review

Reece can barely contain his excitement for his best friend coming back home – unfortunately, this excitement is mostly in his pants and Jenna, him and Brent have always promised to be friends – so he knows that’s a line he mustn’t cross.

When one of the local bars (aka his second home) is threatened, Reece will do almost anything to keep it from sinking. Battling his life long crush on his best friend, and the few places he considers home is no easy feat, and if it takes everything (short of posing in a man-of-the-month calender) then he’s up for it. Jenna is everything he has ever wanted, and he’ll stop at nothing to prove that he’s here for her. Forever.

A breathtaking story that sweeps you in right from the first page. Friends-turned-lovers is a tricky hand to play with (no pun intended) but Reece and Jenna both know what they want. It’s not always the same thing and that’s what takes us readers on a quick paced story filled with hope, friendship and laughter. I can’t wait to meet Mr. February!

~Alex (4/5)

Besting the Billionaire by Alison Aimes

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Synopsis

Billionaire Alexander Kazankov always wins. But he didn’t count on high-heeled, drop-dead sexy Lily Bennett getting in the way of his latest deal. She’s a distraction he doesn’t need, not when he’s so close to making things right for his family.
 
Lily may walk and talk like a Southern piece of fluff, but she’s been underestimated before. She’s determined to succeed—and no entitled, arrogant asshole, especially the too-gorgeous-for-his-own-good-kind, is going to get in her way.
 
Oil meet water. Gasoline meet spark. It’s all out war as these two enemies go toe-to-toe in an ugly, take no prisoners battle to prove they’re the right choice to be CEO of the same company. All too soon playing dirty in the boardroom leads to playing even dirtier in the dark. It’s destined to end in personal and professional disaster. So why the hell can’t they stop?

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Review

Alexander Kazankov knows what he wants, how to get it, and never fails. He is fierce in every aspect of his life. When his rival passes, and his widow is set to take over his company, Alexi wants to fight for it. There are reasons for his go-getter attitude and no one has ever melted the “Iceman”. No one until Lily Bennett.

After her husband passes, Lily is out to prove to his family and company that she can handle the takeover; even with a hothead like Kazankov trying to snake it from her.

When the two collide it is like nothing either have ever seen before and neither one of them are prepared for it.

A hot and heavy, quick paced story that keeps you on your toes! The back-stories play a huge part in the motivations for the characters and I loved that we got dual POVs. The passion from the two of them was undeniable. Sometimes, you can mix business with pleasure.

~Alex (4/5)

Buried Alive by Stacey Marie Brown

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Synopsis

Nine years after a tragic accident, Hannah “Brennley” Evans has returned home to the snowy mountains of Whistler, Canada. This is the very place that destroyed her, where her whole world ended, and the reason she now goes by Hannah Jennings.

Struggling with his own tragic past, Rhys Axton, an infamous sexy snowboarding champion, wants nothing more than to be the next Olympic hopeful. Sex, snowboarding, and working out are all he cares about, which helps shut off the demons that haunt him and the family who rejected him.

The moment Hannah walks into his room, he knows something is different about her. Drawn to her, he can’t seem to stay away from the mysterious, guarded girl. They are two heartbroken souls who both understand the darkness.

Little does he know she lives in lies and carries secrets that will bring his universe to its knees and secrets that will bury them both alive.

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Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review

Title: Buried Alive
Author: Stacey Marie Brown
Series: standalone
Genre: new adult, romance
Themes: return to hometown; sports
Heat: 3/5
Rating: 3/5

Background
Although Stacey Marie Brown is a new-to-me author, she’s been on my watchlist for some time now. I have several of her releases on my Kindle, but haven’t got around to reading them as of yet; I’m pleased to say that, after this, they will be booted up my priority list.

Cover
It’s pretty enough, but didn’t ‘wow’ me. It wouldn’t have grabbed me when browsing the Kindle store. I certainly appreciate the snowflakes and the darkness, and the man candy (who perhaps doesn’t resemble the hero I pictured whilst reading).

Writing
In some ways, I feel like I’m over basic contemporary romance. There’s very little originality left and I now find myself bored more often than not. Fortunately, there was a little more depth to Buried Alive. Dealing with the aftermath of an unspecified accident, two people affected find their way to one another after Hannah returns to her hometown to face her demons. The slow reveal of the events from that fateful night is wonderful, enough hints dripped down to sustain the reader’s attention. Yet, it was also a little predictable, marring the final, anguished reveal.

I also found the beginning a little confusing, unsure as to whether Rhys really recognised her or not, which became more clear as I continued reading. In some respects, I felt this was perhaps the least believable part, him knowing but not knowing her, and then this confusion on his end being forgotten.

Characters
I certainly appreciated the depth and flaws of both Hannah and Rhys, and never found myself too frustrated with their actions, despite the back and forth. I found it more believable than most due to the events of the past, shaping these characters and their anxieties. I also enjoyed how developed and lovely their ‘sidekicks’ (Shaun and Siena) were; again, flawed yet believable, and certainly likeable.

It was just a shame how the antagonists seemed to be lacking in development, more shells used to create pressure and drama than fully fleshed out characters which would hold their own. I found them more irritating than believable.

Conclusion
I very much enjoyed the overall story, which fortunately managed to distinguish itself from the usual contemporary romance, despite having some aspects I felt didn’t quite grip me as much as I hoped, particularly needing a little more development in some areas.

I look forward to reading more from Stacey Marie Brown.

American Queen by Sierra Simone

Title: American Queen
Author: Sierra Simone
Series: New Camelot Trilogy #1
Genre: political erotic romance
Themes: BDSM, menage, military, second chance

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Review

Heat: 5/5
Rating: 5/5

Background
I’ve had my eye on this one for a while, and, on a lonely winter night, decided to invest and give it a read. Boy, was I sucked in, reading into the early hours of the morning to devour this.

Cover
I love this cover. I love the anonymity, the elegance, and how beautifully it provides a mere taste of what is to come. It’s sensual but not cheap, subtly erotic, and something which immediately caught my attention.

Plot
Although verging on the slightly improbably, I just couldn’t get enough of this plot. There is little I will go into in this review because, like any of my rare five-star ratings, I am passionate—absolutely passionate—about new readers going into this book totally blind. Just like me. What I will say is that the fairytale themes woven through this are beautiful. There is so much angst and confusion here but it all comes across as totally warranted, working within these characters’ personalities, rather than forced to propel drama.

Writing
The absolute highlight, above the incredibly steamy erotica which had me reaching for my vibrator, was how intelligible and gorgeous Sierra Simone’s writing was. I don’t think I’ve ever highlighted so many passages on my Kindle before, with words that truly penetrated my soul, some harrowing, some heartbreaking, others filthy and powerful. Just look at the quotes already saved on Goodreads if you don’t believe me. And the best part? The intelligence of the narrative felt so in-line with the characters. It was truly like nothing I have come across in contemporary romance before. In fact, I think Simone is one of the most talented writers out there—and I’ve only read one of her books!

Characters
Flawlessly executed, these characters have their demons, their pasts, their anxieties and their lies…and all these facets combine to form three perfectly crafted people. Their interactions with one another feel real, authentic, perfect.

Even the supporting cast is strong. Of particular interest to me was Merlyn, the nightmarish figure of Greer’s childhood, and his role in this tale. And it’s fantastic to find antagonists who seem as fleshed out as the protagonists.

Conclusion
If you haven’t yet grasped my point, READ THIS BOOK. READ IT RIGHT NOW. It’s outrageously sexy, touching, and sharp. I can’t say any more about it other than that it is a decision you will not regret.

Onto book two!

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Amazon US | Amazon UK

REVIEW: Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

What was so powerful about this story is that it makes you want to read the story within the story. Seriously guys, I want to read Monstrous Sea! (Find me someone who doesn’t after reading this)

Eliza is someone which readers can relate to. She is a high school senior who escapes into the online presence that she has created for herself. One that no one, except her two best friends (whom she has never met face to face, but that means nothing), know the extent of. Between the internal monsters, and the ones she draws for her online fanbase, Eliza must come to terms with how it will all end.

I could not get enough of this story and wanted to jump into it and live forever. Not that I like the idea of going back 10 years to high school, but hey – I get the concept of being more comfortable in cyber space than real space… which sounds odd but you know what I mean. I loved every thing about and I will be recommending it to everyone; especially for those who are on are either end of the spectrum of escaping into the internet for comfort, and not understanding those who do.

~Alex (5/5)