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~ REVIEW: Mastered (The Enforcers #1) by Maya Banks ~

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Synopsis

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Surrender Trilogy and the Breathless Trilogy knows what makes readers hot. Now she turns it up in Mastered, the explosive first book in a new series of a desire too dangerous to resist.
 
What he wants, he takes with no remorse or guilt.
 
She stood out in his club like a gem, unspoiled and untouched. A lamb among wolves, she clearly didn’t belong. Drawn to her innocence he watched as she was surrounded by men who saw what he did—but no one but him could touch her. He summoned her to his private quarters. He sensed her fear. He also recognized the desire in her eyes. And he knew she wouldn’t leave before he possessed her. She had no need to know his secrets. Not until he had her under his complete and utter control.
 
What he wants, she isn’t sure she can give him.
 
The moment he told her want he wanted, she couldn’t resist. Instinct told her to run, but her heart said stay and walk the fine line between pleasure and pain. Though she wasn’t sure she could ever completely surrender, the primal part of her wanted to try, even knowing this man could break her in ways she never imagined. Because once he possessed her, he owned her and it would be too late to turn back. She can only pray that he doesn’t destroy her in the end.

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michele review 3 and a half stars

When I was asked if I wanted to read this book, I jumped at the chance! After reading others by Maya Banks, I’ve fallen in love with her writing, so it was a given that I would want to read this book as well. I just wish I loved this book as much as I did the others.

I first start off with what I really liked about the book. Ummmm can you say Drake Donavan? That is one slice of hot and sex man candy! I love the sexy alpha male in any story, and Drake is definitely one of them. He’s mysterious and in control of everything that’s around him. This definitely leaks into the bedroom, and if you’re like me and totally down for some BDSM, then you’ll enjoy the leakage ;). I also enjoyed Evangeline’s character as well. She a very sweet, yet sometimes naïve, but you can’t help but love her. She’s very loyal to those she cares about and will do what ever she can to stand up for them.

The story line was just OK for me. I loved Drake and Evangeline’s characters, but I just wish there was more to them than what was in the story. Too quickly, Evangeline gives in to Drake’s demands (even though she doesn’t fully agree with them). I wish she would’ve have shown the backbone she shows to everyone else, to Drake as well. Drake, all of us women love a man of mystery, but I wish we could have had more of what made him him. He’s got all these bodyguards surrounding him at all times, but we never fully understand how he got to where he is or what he really does on the side. Who knows, I probably would have loved Drake even more if I knew some more about him.

Overall, this book was a good read, but there were some holes that I hope are filled in the next book. Don’t get me wrong, the story was pretty good, and Maya Banks does give you the feels. I just wish there was more to the story than what there was. I’m hoping that the next book will make me fall in love with this series. I know sometimes the authors build up the tension during a series, but I just wish I had more instant gratification with this one.

If you love Maya Banks, I’d definitely say give this book a try! As they always say, not everyone reads the same book. So who knows, this could be your top read for the year!


** I was given a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

Christie's Reviews

~ First Touch by Laurelin Page Release Blitz + Review ~

first touch release blitz
first touch cover

Synopsis

When Emily Wayborn goes home to visit her mom while on hiatus from her hit TV show, she receives a voicemail from her former best friend, Amber. Though the two were once notorious party girls, they haven’t spoken in years. Although the message might sound benign to anyone else, Amber uses a safe word that Emily recognizes, a word they always used to get out of sticky situations during their wild days. And what’s more chilling than the voicemail: it turns out that Amber has gone missing.

Determined to track down her friend, Emily follows a chain of clues that lead her to the enigmatic billionaire Reeve Sallis, a hotelier known for his shady dealings and play boy reputation. Now, in order to find Amber, Emily must seduce Reeve to learn his secrets and discover the whereabouts of her friend. But as she finds herself more entangled with him, she finds she’s drawn to Reeve for more than just his connection to Amber, despite her growing fear that he may be the enemy. When she’s forced to choose where her loyalty lies, how will she decide between saving Amber and saving her heart?

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first touch teaser 1

Excerpt

The room began to close in around me, blanketing me with acute heaviness. I drained my champagne in one swallow then set it on a waiter’s tray as I pushed through the crowd and out to the overflow area that had been set up in the parking lot. Once the chill night breeze hit me, I gasped in a deep breath, swallowing the air in long gulps, as though I’d been underwater and had finally reached the surface.

With Amber, I’d been a glorified hooker. In Hollywood, wasn’t I pretty much the same thing? I’d simply left one bed to move to another. I chuckled at the paradox. It deserved a laugh, at least.

Footsteps sounded behind me, and I stifled the last bit of humor threatening to escape. Without looking over my shoulder, I felt the air change. The hair at the back of my neck bristled and the sting of electricity huddled around me.

I turned, somehow knowing what I’d find—who I’d find.

He leaned against the concrete doorframe watching me with eyes that pinned me in my place. He was captivating and magnificent, his tux fitting him better than clothing had the right to fit a person, better than any one of the pretty men that filled the room beyond him. Those men, my peers, they were a sea of beautiful—calm and serene. Reeve was the ocean, dark and commanding and turbulent. They moved in gentle waves. Reeve stood still and set the world crashing around him.

That easily, the breath I’d just managed to get under control was knocked from my lungs.

He spoke before I could regain my composure. “What a coincidence that you’d be at the same event that I’m at.”

The boldness of his accusation shocked me into response. “I’m not following you, if that’s what you’re insinuating.” My pulse fluttered in fear, in excitement. In irritation. I didn’t like the way he agitated me. Maybe I’d deserved it at his resort, but this? This was my turf.

With a surprising display of fierceness, I locked my eyes to his. “I’m the one who belongs at this event. Not you.”

He laughed and the sound of it fueled my indignation. It also sent heat rushing up my thighs, heat that turned my rage inward as well as out.

Hands in his pockets, Reeve stepped toward me. “Calm down, Emily. I was only teasing. Of course you aren’t here because of me. Perhaps, I’m here because of you.” He paused long enough for panic to jolt through me with reminders of the ominous words he’d delivered to me the last time we’d seen each other. “Perhaps, this time I’m the one who’s examining.”

My anger stepped up another notch, overwhelming my unease. “Examining me? Like, why—to scare me? To see if I’m as fun to mess with when you’re outside the home field? How dare you? Come here, into my world and prod at me just because you feel like it. Proceed to make it your playground. How dare you?”

His lip curved into a chiding smile. “Now you know how I felt.”

I refused to acknowledge my humiliation, though the flush that swept down my neck more than likely gave it away. “Thank you for the lesson, Mr. Sallis,” I said, my voice surprisingly steady. “I assure you that I have more than gotten the point. You won’t be having to give me any further demonstrations.” I started toward the venue doors, praying I could manage the walk. High heels and weak knees did not make for a good combination.

I circled widely around him, wanting to keep as much distance between us as possible. But I could still feel the warmth pulsating off him like the driving beat of a dance club. It trembled through me, coming up from the ground, shaking me, gripping me. I fought through it, forced myself past him.

“Emily.” His address caught me mid-stride. Five more feet and I’d be back in the Expo. Just a few more steps…

I couldn’t help myself—I stayed. I didn’t turn toward him, though. That was my single act of restraint.

“What I did to you at the spa—”His voice was silk and stubble all at once. The texture of the sound, as much as the mention of the spa, was bait on a hook. I practically leaned into his next words. “It wasn’t very nice.”

I spun toward him. “You think?”

“I like my privacy. I was mad.” It wasn’t an explanation so much as it was a reminder. You provoked me, he was saying. You deserved it.

“So you made me think you wanted to kill me?” Admittedly, I had earned his admonishment. I hadn’t earned a death threat.

“Eh. I never said I wanted—”

I cut him off with a point of my finger. “You did. In every way you could without the specific words.”

He opened his mouth as if to defend himself further. Then his expression changed, his features darkened, his eyes gleamed. “Did it scare you?”

“What do you think?” A shiver ran down my spine. He knew he’d scared me. It had been his intent to rile me up, make me afraid. What I hadn’t realized was how much he liked that he had.

christie review 5 star a

Wow! I really hate beginning reviews like this, but sometimes that’s the only word I think is appropriate. If you are looking for a book that will completely screw with your mind in all the best ways possible, then grab this one now. I guarantee once you start it, you will be addicted! Make sure you have nothing important to do except finish this book…yeah it’s that good!

Emily has worked very hard to leave behind a life that threatened to destroy her, and along with that she left behind her friend, Amber. She’s done well in becoming independent and taking care of herself. But, do you ever truly leave your past behind? She receives an ominous call from Amber indicating that Amber is in danger. Instead of turning her back on her friend, she is determined to find her. The person who may hold the key is the slightly dangerous, yet gorgeous, Reeve. What begins as a journey to find her friend turns into something much more than she expected…mystery, danger, darkness, and confronting your past.

First Touch is dark, disturbing, yet completely addictive. It’s not for the faint of heart. It exposes some of the darkest sides of humanity there can be. It’s also a lesson in how your past really can determine your future if you allow it to. The characters are some of the most complex and conflicted characters I’ve come across. Because of that, my feelings for them are complicated. I admired Emily because of her strength and tenacity to make her life better. But, has she really delved into her past and can she say she has overcome it? It appears that way on the outside, but not inside. She’s incredibly strong yet weak in some ways. I wanted to shake her and tell her that she is selling herself short, just like Reeve wanted to at times. And Reeve, OMG…he’s beautiful yet dark and scary at the same time. But, there’s something about him that lured me in just like he lured Emily in.

I’m always looking for something different to read, and First Touch is different! The characters on the surface shouldn’t make readers like them, but you really do! Parts of the book can be disturbing, yet you can’t get enough! It’s fast-paced, and just when you think you have it figured out, Laurelin Paige shows you that you have no clue what’s happening. And the end…holy crap…never saw that one coming! Can June get here any quicker? Brilliant book, one of the best books out there!!!

Abou the author laurelin paige

Laurelin Paige is the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Fixed Trilogy. She’s a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead, or dreaming of Michael Fassbender. She’s also a proud member of Mensa International though she doesn’t do anything with the organization except use it as material for her bio.

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Christie's Reviews · Giveaways

~ Till Death Us Do Party by Cristina Slough Release Blitz + Review + Giveaway ~

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TILL DEATH US DO PART
Cristina Slough
Releasing Dec 29th, 2015
Limitless Publishing

 

Synopsis
The fateful day Mimi Marcus has dreaded begins with a phone call…
 
The wife of a U.S. Marine, Mimi spent countless nights worried that her husband Joel would fall in the line of duty. He had fought valiantly and served his country with honor. That’s exactly what they tell her when they deliver the news—Joel was taken by the enemy in Afghanistan. Her husband is dead.
 
In desperate need of closure, Mimi travels to the one place Joel still has ties—The Marcus Ranch in Texas, inherited by his handsome younger brother Austin.
 
New beginnings are only an illusion…
 
The closer Mimi grows to the Marcus family, the more she considers it home. But when suspicions of Joel’s past surface, Austin refuses to disclose family secrets—even to his brother’s widow. It’s only by accident she uncovers evidence of Joel’s tainted past. Devastated by his lies and betrayal, she slowly opens up to Austin, and together they unfold layers of pain and grief.
 
Mimi is sure she’ll never love again, but is Austin the man to prove her wrong? Then the unthinkable happens…
 
Just as Mimi finds new hope in a future with Austin, Joel returns home from war. Enraged, traumatized, and teetering on the edge of insanity, Joel confesses to a history of deception, revealing yet another secret—this one too terrible to forgive.
 

 In an awful twist of fate, Joel proves marriage vows are made to be honored.

No matter what.

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Excerpt

She took the palm of her hand and wiped her face. “You don’t mean that.” She paused and looked at him. “Do you?”

“Yes, this is so fucked up Mimi. You don’t belong to me. You belong to him.”

“But…God, Austin, I don’t know what the hell I’m thinking or feeling.”

“I don’t care. The truth is, I got caught up in everything with you. I felt sorry for you; I pitied you.”

“Austin stop,” she cried “You don’t mean that.”

“Mimi, I do. The truth is. You were my final up-yours to my dear brother.”

“You’re lying.”

He took his hands out of his jean pockets and placed them on her sunken shoulders and looked firmly into her eyes. “Yes I do. Everything I told you about loving you was a lie. And this, what we had was nothing but revenge. Joel played it well, the son of a bitch. He even cheated death. Now get your goddam bags packed and get the hell out of my life.”

She jolted back, falling out of his grip.

Austin stood in silence after the hard slap connected across his left check; it caught his lip, making it bleed. She turned on her heel and ran away, her long hair flowing in the breeze behind her.

He stood there for a second, but it seemed like an hour. He walked a little, and then for the first time in his adult life, he cried.

The digital clock read 2 am. He gazed out of the window. The sky was tar-black, the large clouds gathered fast and furiously. Soon, the gentle specs of rain flicked against the window. As it grew heavier, the tarmac on the car-park soon turned into a black river. He saw a man quicken his pace and slip into a beaten old truck. He opened the door, letting the rain fall on him, drenching through his clothes. He moved out into the stormy weather, needing to wash away the hurt that lay inside him.

He remembered having this feeling once before, after the death of his father. It was then that the divide between him and his brother had become even greater. It had torn them apart, ripping them at the seams. Austin had stolen Joel’s father, and now he was taking his wife. He had no control over the first time, but he swore that he wouldn’t let Austin win this time.

Blood pounded in his ears; he was still at war, but this time with himself.

 christie review 4 stars

I have very complicated feelings about this book…I loved it yet I also wanted to throw my Kindle in the floor and stomp it by the time I finished. If you are looking for a book to bring out all kinds of emotions, this is definitely the book for you!

I knew when I read the synopsis there would be all sorts of feelings associated with it. Mimi is the wife of a U.S. Marine. Her relationship with her husband is a whirlwind and magical one. It’s incredibly passionate. She knows she faces the possibility of losing him, but she isn’t prepared for the day that call comes. As she is grieving, she realizes that there is so much she doesn’t know about him even though she is his wife. She travels to Texas and meets his estranged brother, Austin, and then she truly realizes that she really didn’t know Joel at all. As she uncovers more about Joel, she grows closer to Austin. When I say this is just the beginning of this book, I’m NOT EXAGGERATING!!! But, buckle up because it’s one heck of an emotional rollercoaster!

There were characters I truly hated, and there were characters I loved. At times, I thought Mimi was going way too fast, but I also somewhat understood where she was coming from. She has some much crap heaped on her. I kept wondering how much more she could handle, but she always rose to the occasion and went on. Because of her sheer will to survive, I came to respect her. Joel was extremely complicated…I loved parts of him and parts of him I hated…just like Mimi did. I loved Austin and Jake…you couldn’t help falling in love with them!

The plot drew me in quickly, and the twists and turns drew me in even deeper, especially those twists at the end. They left me speechless. At times, I felt like the writing style was a bit choppy, but this is Slough’s debut book, so I’m sure that will get better with each book she writes. If you are looking for a book that will elicit a very strong response, will get under your skin, and become a book you won’t soon forget, give this one a try! Looking forward to reading more from Cristina Slough!

Abou the author

 

Novelist, movie addict, and animal lover, Cristina Slough is the author of Till Death Us Do Part, her debut novel.

Cristina has always been a bookworm, rarely seen without a pen and paper in her hand, she loves delving into a literacy fictional world of her own.

At the age of 11, her junior school teacher told her mother that she would be wasting her life if she didn’t become an author. Throughout her teenage years and beyond, her parents spurred her on to keep writing. She later began a career in commercial real estate, working in London’s West End, a corporate bubble where she was unable to fuel her passion to write.

It was on her Californian honeymoon in 2012 that the bug to write was becoming increasingly difficult to ignore. After visiting Yosemite National Park she was inspired by the natural beauty of the land that surrounded her. Holding a special place in her heart, Yosemite would later be written into her debut novel.

She finally gave up the ‘big smoke’ when her son, Lucas, was born in October 2013.

When Lucas was a newborn, Cristina was told to sleep when the baby sleeps. She never could. There was a calling inside her to write. After getting to grips with her new role as a mother, she began working a psychological thriller, but she couldn’t fully connect to the characters she created. She ditched the manuscript and started Till Death Us Do Part (Limitless Publishing, 2015).

Cristina is married to Adam, who runs a successful business; together they share their Bedfordshire home with their son, crazy white German Shepherd and three spoiled cats. They can be found trekking through woodlands, or around the many shops Cristina loves to explore. As a family, they love to travel frequently, the United States being a firm favorite.

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