Review: The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon

Format: E-bookthesmallestpart.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Noah Andelin
Heroine: Mercedez Lopez
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 13, 2018
Started On: December 15, 2018
Finished On: December 16, 2018

The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon is the kind of book that fits my favorite trope in the romance genre. It is a story of best friends who become lovers, but then again, it is as simple as that. The Smallest Part is an epic journey filled with a lot of heartache and pain that brings the two together, and makes you more grateful for the fact towards the end. It is the story of the girl who gives up the love of her life, because her best friend was in love with him too. I do not recall how I came across this title now. Not that it matters, because this was gut wrenching in every single way that matters.

Mercedez Lopez and Noah Andelin are best of friends. Mercedes is the one who sees Noah, and befriends him when they were just kids. Two years later, into their lives comes beautiful Cora, the one whom everyone wanted to take care of, because she was a fragility unto herself, a tragedy waiting to happen.

Fast forward through the years, Cora is the one who marries Noah, when Mercedez herself had been in love with Noah ever since she could remember. Not that she would ever profess to it. In fact, she lies when Cora asks her about it. But Mercedez gives him up, all because Cora had professed to wanting him. Everything comes to a standstill when Cora, now mother of a one year old daughter dies a tragic death, leaving everyone else reeling from the impact of the suddenness of it all.

So begins life without Cora, Noah and Mercedez picking up the pieces, learning to be whole again. It is Mercedez that is the pillar of strength to Noah when he needs it, it is she who coddles and gives the much needed reality check when Noah needs it. She is also Gia’s godmother, a godsend in every way to his daughter, until Noah is able to start making sense of the grievous loss that had once again come calling to his life.

When things start changing between Noah and Mercedez, it is Mercedez who tries to put on the brakes, to salvage the friendship that means everything to her, so that the one relationship that she completely depends on to keep whole would never fail on her. But somethings are inevitable, no matter which course in life you choose to take, and Noah and Mercedez are just that; inevitable and two halves of one whole that will time and yet again make their way back towards one another.

I cannot begin to describe how much this story meant to me. In a way, it made me think of one of my favorite books of all time; Guilty Needs by Shiloh Walker. Sarah’s Child by Linda Howard also follows a similar theme, and if you ask me, books like these, that takes on a sensitive trope as such and does it justice are too far and few in between. But perhaps it is for that reason that when you do find a book as such, it is hard to put down because you are reeling from the impact of the characters that break you in ways you never thought possible.

The Smallest Part is a story that has so much depth, such vivid characterization, that it is difficult to describe the profoundness you find in the story. I do not believe that I would be able to write any review that does this book justice, but all I can say is that this is the sort of book every romance reader ought to read, because this is the reason why we spend so much time searching for that one particular book that would hit all the spots and make the countless hours of searching worthwhile.

Amy Harmon does a masterful job in bringing to life the characters in the story. Without vilifying any of the main protagonists, she manages to convey the dynamics that had driven three individuals whose lives would always and forever remain entwined. Noah and Mercedes were definitely meant to be from the start, but then Mercedes steps aside, because she is the sort of person whose love is as pure as it comes – the kind of love that wants the best for the person you love, because that is what love in its truest sense is all about.

Moving between the past and the present, Harmon takes readers through the all together human emotions of jealousy, competitiveness, sorrow, and happiness that had driven the dynamics between the trio. She also takes on subjects such as deep chronic depression that could potentially end in suicide, how it impacts the lives of those left behind. How we as humans, tend to put the people we love up on pedestals once they are no longer with us, and in the end shortchange ourselves because we refuse to acknowledge what they were really like and how we were impacted by their actions when they were with us.

Mercedes is a force of life to be reckoned with. Strong in mind and spirit, beautiful inside and out, loyal, honest, & unafraid of hard work; she is the glue that forges and fosters the bond between the three. She is Noah’s rock and guiding force, the woman who always has his back, no matter what. There is not an ounce of malice in Mercedes, and that is what makes you realize that she is the real deal.

On the other hand Cora is weaker in character, never having properly moved on from her father’s suicide. Cora has an inability to love her own self, and looks for reassurance from those she surrounds herself with to keep the demons at bay. Where Mercedes is loyal, Cora is not. Where Mercedes gives it her all, Cora has only bits and pieces to offer.

Noah is the kind of character who is truly deserving of every bit of love that Mercedez has to give. His life had not been any less tragic than that of Cora’s, but there is a light that shines in him that tends to put others at ease. There is a strength of character to him that makes him so very easy to fall in love with. His steadfastness when it came to Cora and Mercedez, that is what I loved most about him. 

I loved how the story had the ability to spirit me away, make me resent the need for sleep, and the time away from reading that life demanded. It has been a while since I felt as such about a story and I am grateful for having discovered this gem.

Recommended for anyone who loves a good story. You need not be a romance lover to enjoy the roller-coaster ride of emotions this book will take you on.

Final Verdict: Harmon’s ability to weave the past & present together & juggle a myriad of characters, while ripping my insides to shreds & making me whole again; why this story will live on in my heart for a long while.

Favorite Quotes

Noah played a song on his guitar. It was the silly tune he’d written to ask Cora to marry him. Mercedes had never had the heart to tell him it was terrible. But as she listened to his quiet voice and the awkward strumming of his long fingers, not quite holding the chord, she realized how wrong she’d been. It was a song about all the little things he loved about her, all the parts that made up the whole. He’d rhymed words like button and glutton, like boring and snoring, and when he’d played it for Cora the first time, before he popped the question, she’d hardly been able to keep a straight face.
But between the silly verses and his bashful delivery, there was love and devotion, there was commitment and promise, and there was hope. It wasn’t terrible at all. It was perfect, and it was painful. It was all Mercedes could do not to cover her ears until it was over.

Without asking, without warning, he leaned in and kissed her.
His lips were soft, his breath sweet, and the tips of his fingers were light on her cheeks. But it wasn’t a kiss between friends. It wasn’t a kiss goodbye. It was a desperate hello. Her heart grew and grew, filling her chest with both terror and triumph. But she didn’t push him back or pull away. In the darkness, she returned the press of his lips, and when he deepened the kiss, she opened her mouth to him without hesitation.

Here I am, her thoughts screamed. Here you are. Here we are. This is us.
But she did not know this Noah.
She did not know this side of him, the way his breath caught when she stood naked before him, curved and full-bodied, warm-skinned and round-hipped. The way he moved his hands around her thighs and lifted her, pulling her legs around his waist, one arm beneath her, one arm behind her, cradling her head from the cool tiles at her back. The way he gasped when he entered her, like he’d never been with a woman before. The way he moved against her, lost in the rhythm and the gathering storm.

For a long time, Noah just kissed her. He kept his weight above her, kept his hands in her hair, kept his mouth on hers. Kissing is a thousand times more intimate than sex. He knew some people would disagree, but the first thing that goes when a marriage is coming apart is not the sex. It’s the kissing.

“Noah, please. Noah,” she begged, her hips rising, her hands escaping his hold to clutch and coax. He capitulated slowly, mouth to mouth as he sank into her, and was so overcome with emotion, he had to pause. He was Atlas, holding the weight of the world on his shoulders, suspended above her, reveling in the exquisite agony of servitude.

He pressed his lips to the corners of her eyes and sipped at the salt on her cheeks, tasting the feelings she tried so hard to keep from him. He didn’t ask her why she cried. He didn’t beg her to stop. He understood her pain, and he knew he was hurting her. Tenderly, gently, carefully . . . hurting her. For a moment she was with him, lost in the sweetness of surrender, sobbing his name against his lips. He rocked against her, lazy and slow, a porch swing on a summer evening, just the two of them with nowhere to go.

“If I kiss you, will I lose you?” he whispered, and she groaned, inexplicably angry.
“Why are you asking me? Why don’t you just take what you want? Why don’t you just kiss me? Why do I have to give you permission and guarantees and sign a freaking form before you—” Her rant was swept aside by the brush of his lips. He was gentle and tentative, holding her face in his hands, pulling her shuddering breath into his throat, and giving it back to her. For several heartbeats, his mouth moved with hers, no urgency, no pressure, no pain.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Format: E-bookeleanorandpark
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Young Adult
Series: Standalone
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Hero: Park
Heroine: Eleanor
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 26, 2013
Started On: September 07, 2016
Finished On: September 08, 2016

Rainbow Rowell is an author who is completely in a league of her own in the way she makes her characters and stories come alive with so much emotion that it practically hurts you – but in a good way. Eleanor and Park is no exception to this rule, and though the ending was a bit hasty for my tastes after the grueling bouts of angst that Rowell puts readers through, this is a story that has stayed with me long after I was done with it.

Eleanor is the new girl, who with a style that does not fit in with the rest, makes Park want to get away from it all. But even then, with all his misgivings about her, he does slide over in the bus and gives Eleanor the seat next to him to sit. Thus Eleanor and Park finds themselves going through the motions of friendship which grows into something tender, stronger and wilder by the turn of each page, all right before your eyes. Their love unfurls in a setting that is as simple and ordinary as they come. At the back of a school bus that ferries them back and forth day in and day out.

While Park has a relatively good life, Eleanor’s is one that is filled with horrors of the kind we would all rather not even think about. The fact that her mother does try to protect her does not mean much in the face of what is as inevitable as night turning to day, and one cannot help but be appalled, scared and wanting to grab Eleanor right out of the pages and provide her with a safe haven.

Like most readers I believe, I loved the bits where Park started to communicate with Eleanor in subtle ways at first, which developed into something that was so wonderful that it made my heart ache. I could not put this down from the minute I started reading, and I would not have had it any other way. Eleanor and Park is a story that is meant to be read in one sitting, a story that is meant to be devoured, if nothing else, just to feel the thousand and one emotions that courses right through you from start to finish.

Definitely recommended!

Final Verdict: A love that leaves you aching and wanting; Eleanor & Park is a novel not to be missed!

Favorite Quotes

“I read it again twice last night. You can take it tonight.”
“Yeah? Thanks.”
He was still holding the end of her scarf, rubbing the silk idly between his thumb and fingers. She watched his hand.
If he were to look up at her now, he’d know exactly how stupid she was. She could feel her face go soft and gummy. If Park were to look up at her now, he’d know everything.
He didn’t look up. He wound the scarf around his fingers until her hand was hanging in the space between them.
Then he slid the silk and his fingers into her open palm.
And Eleanor disintegrated.

“I don’t like you, Park,” she said, sounding for a second like she actually meant it. “I…”—her voice nearly disappeared—“think I live for you.”
He closed his eyes and pressed his head back into his pillow.
“I don’t think I even breathe when we’re not together,” she whispered. “Which means, when I see you on Monday morning, it’s been like sixty hours since I’ve taken a breath. That’s probably why I’m so crabby, and why I snap at you. All I do when we’re apart is think about you, and all I do when we’re together is panic. Because every second feels so important. And because I’m so out of control, I can’t help myself. I’m not even mine anymore, I’m yours, and what if you decide that you don’t want me? How could you want me like I want you?”

There’s only one of him, she thought, and he’s right here.
He knows I’ll like a song before I’ve heard it. He laughs before I even get to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes me want to let him open doors for me.
There’s only one of him.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | EbookMall | iTunes

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ARC Review: Chasing Chris Campbell by Genevieve Gannon

Format: E-bookchasingchriscampbell
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: HarperCollins Publisher Australia
Hero: Harry Jay Potter
Heroine: Violet Mason
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 1, 2015
Started On: November 15, 2015
Finished On: November 18, 2015

Chasing Chris Campbell by Genevieve Gannon is a novel that completely surprised me and delivered such entertainment that it will be hard to forget the magic that Genevieve Gannon wove with this number. Genevieve is a completely new to me author whom I stumbled across only because of Netgalley. Chasing Chris Campbell is an apt title for this novel because the heroine Violet Mason chases the man of her dreams (or so she thinks), all over Asia and then some, until she realizes her worth and comes to accept the fact that the only one responsible for charting the course of her happiness is herself.

Violet is in a relationship with a man whose idea of a future together is to be frugal and save until there is no spontaneity in their shared lives. When Chris once again walks back into her life, Chris being the one that got away, Violet is determined that she would follow him, even if it means leaving everything that is dear and familiar to her behind. From the busy streets of Hong Kong to Goa of India and then to Nepal, Violet goes on an epic journey of a lifetime where she discovers the beauty of shared experiences as well as the life lessons that come associated with leaving behind one’s comfort zone.

Violet being a germophobe and a vegetarian makes things doubly difficult for her in certain aspects but it does bring out the sort of ambition in her that otherwise might not have materialized. I had such a good time reading and enjoying the antics of Violet’s life and her attempts to make Chris notice her. And just like anyone who is smitten with the person who is wrong for them in all the ways, Violet too doesn’t realize the worth of the man she meets along the way. But it all does work out well in the end.

The best part of the novel for me was the journey itself. Violet learning the ropes of letting go, of letting things work out for themselves and of her wising up enough to know what she wants and needs. This book had a little bit of everything going for it. A bad breakup, unrequited love, the one you meet in the midst of it with whom the timing was off but turns out to be the best thing that could have happened to you, which all made for wholesome reading.

I absolutely loved the author’s voice. It was refreshing, insightful and a bit quirky with big doses of humor of the kind that makes you laugh and snort your way through the story. Chasing Chris Campbell even suffices as a travelogue because it brought so many aspects of traveling alive. The descriptions through Violet’s eyes, tinged with the humor of the sort that is hard to pull off was just the icing on the cake for me. Not overly descriptive but somehow just the right touch to give the reader that sense of what it was like. Having being to India, I could just vividly recall back everything about it that makes it so alluring. The good and the bad. And sharing Violet’s journey with her as the reader who was cheering for her on the sidelines, I very much wanted to pack my bags and leave to India for a sojourn too.

One of the bits about the journey to India that just had me hooting with laughter because I have been there myself was this.

Despite my claim that I wasn’t afraid of flying, Air India seemed qualified to instil that fear in anyone. The engine whirred and the seats started to shake as we began our shunting journey down the runway. As we sped up, the engine noise grew louder and louder. I wasn’t sure if we were going to lift-off or explode. I felt like cheering when we left the ground and things seemed to smooth-out.

It is books like this that makes me want to travel, to explore and to store up the experiences in my heart so that I can revisit them later. But it is books like this that allows people like us who can only afford to dream about traveling to visit places. That alone in my opinion makes the book worth a read!

Recommended.

Final Verdict: Refreshing & insightful with just the right touch of humor. Loved!

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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Review: Make Me by Tessa Bailey

Format: E-bookMakeMe
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: New Adult Romance
Series: Broke and Beautiful, #3
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Hero: Russell Hart
Heroine: Abby Sullivan
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: August 11, 2015
Started On: October 18, 2015
Finished On: October 21, 2015

Anyone who loves Tessa Bailey’s books knows what one can do for you. How it can mess you up in ways you never thought possible. Which is why I started reading the Broke and Beautiful series even though I am not much of a fan of the New Adult genre; though if Tessa writes them, I am definitely reading them. Though I missed out on the first book in the series (perhaps I will get around to reading it one of these days – a girl can always hope), I became an avid fan of the series from the moment Ben (the hero from the second book in the series), walked into MY life. Yes, my life. Note the possessive edge!

One cannot read either of the books in the Broke and Beautiful series without being invested in all of the characters. Thus, my heart was clamoring for the story of Russell, oh the big bad Russell, from the moment I laid my eyes on him. The man is a walking talking temptation unto womenkind if ever there was one. Well, of course after MY Ben of course! Abby and Russell’s friendship is one reason why Russell keeps his hands off of his precious Abby. Another being his past – a past that has screwed him up enough to believe that he would never measure up to someone like Abby.

Abby’s past wasn’t a walk in the park on a breezy Sunday morning either. A genius at numbers, something she inherited from her father, Abby’s life defines the word loneliness, until she finds a friendship of the kind she never thought possible with Honey and Roxy, and of course the three gorgeous men that relationship had brought into her life, one of them being Russell, the friend that she can always count on. Abby’s perspective of Russell as the friend she never had takes a dive when a set of events makes her take notice of the man he is – the man who sets her senses reeling, panties wet, and sets an ache tumbling through her that cannot be denied.

Russell is a man who can take torture, and I mean torture of the kind a lesser man would crumble from. But his heart doesn’t allow him to take that step, until of course there is no way that he CANNOT give into the passion between him and Abby. And then comes the heartache. Sigh! While I wanted to give Russell a bit of a good shaking until the chips in his head aligned just right so that he could see what preciousness that he was throwing away by playing noble, I wasn’t too happy with Abby for not realizing that for a man like Russell, the friend who would lay down his life for her – there must have been something that would cause him to behave as such.

But worry not ladies. If anything, Tessa Bailey knows how to write a mean ending and of course makes you pant your way to the finish line! And I mean literally pant your way through it because with all that heat? You won’t have a choice!

Recommended for fans of the series and fans of Tessa Bailey. Though not my favorite, Make Me still delivered a good read!

Final Verdict: Hot dayum!!

Favorite Quotes

Abby didn’t realize she’d closed her eyes until Russell’s heavy tread forced them open, and she saw him standing in her doorway.
Shirtless. Damp. Jeans sitting low on his hips.
A red-hot fist formed beneath her belly button. For Russell? She tried to shoot into a sitting position so fast, the back of her head bashed against the headboard, which really didn’t help her confusion. Not a bit. She wasn’t supposed to notice Russell in that way, right? But when a water droplet rolled down the center of his abdomen and vanished into the waistband of his jeans, she noticed. And she noticed good.

When the orgasm crested over her, Abby’s heels dug into the mattress to push herself back into the welcoming strength of his body, bearing down on his pleasure-giving hand at the same time. And God, even with the wicked climax turning her inside out, she wanted to feel his erection against her backside. Wanted to tempt him to do something about relieving the hunger she sensed in him. Already, his movements were growing uneven, staggered, his breathing ragged at the back of her neck.
“Yes,” he grated. “That’s how I make you come. Hard as fuck when you’re in my bed. That’s the way I do it.”

Long seconds of Abby’s studying his face had passed, as if she could discern what was taking place in his head when even he didn’t have a fucking clue. Those eyes were obscured a moment by her eyelashes, and Russell could feel that gaze move over his erect cock where it tented his jeans, then shoot back up. Hexpected surprise, maybe more confusion. Instead, he got relief and excitement. No. Not that. He couldn’t handle that.
Her sweet, ripe tits rose and fell on a shudder. “I’m sorry I used the situation to my advantage, Russell. It was wrong of m—”
He kissed Abby. Abby. He . . . kissed Abby.

“Abby, attraction is a weak-ass term for what’s going on here. It doesn’t begin to describe what I’d like to do to you.”
“Wh-which is?”
He placed his mouth against her ear, the truth coming out on a rush of breath. “I’d like to bang your little virgin brains out.”

“Come on, I’ll walk you to the train.”
Sti cazza. In another, more appropriate term, screw this. With a silent prayer for courage, Abby found the hem of her sundress and peeled the garment over her head, letting it fall to the floor. “I’m not ready to leave yet.”
[…]
Doubts fell from her consciousness like a cup of overturned paper clips when Russell stalked forward, prowling across the room and shifting the air around her. This impulsive disrobing had started as an act of rebellion, but now a furnace blast hit her head to toe. The raindrops pelted the window in time with her jumping pulse. The fierceness in his eyes told her to expect being pinned against the wall again, but it never happened. Instead, he fell to his knees in front of her, gripped her bottom . . .
And buried his face between her thighs.

Abby buried her fingernails into his ass, her thighs beginning to tremble around him. “I’m going to . . . oh my God, don’t stop. I’m . . .”
Russell dropped his head forward and closed his eyes, putting all his focus into staying right where the fuck he was, not deviating from what was pushing her toward a climax. Just a little longer. Just a little—
“Russell.”
Holy shit. His eyes flew open in time to witness Abby’s tits shaking between them, her teeth buried into her bottom lip as she arched on the chair. Her heels had a firm hold at the small of his back as she rode it out, her pussy squeezing him in tiny spasms that he would crave like air for the rest of his time on earth.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | ARe | eBookMall | iTunes

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ARC Review: Anticipation by Sarah Mayberry

Format: E-bookanticipation
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Brothers Ink, #2
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Eduardo Oliveira
Heroine: Blue Sullivan
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: April 1, 2015
Started On: April 13, 2015
Finished On: April 23, 2015

Blue Sullivan and Eduardo Oliveira (Eddie) have been colleagues and best of friends for more than 10 years. Blue has also been in love with Eddie for all those years, a love that she has kept to herself, her yearning for him something she had tamped down by turning to other places for comfort when necessary. However, nothing prepares Blue for the event that changes her life, a serious accident moments before which Blue is hit with remorse over the fact that she had never come out to Eddie with how she feels.

For Eddie, the moment the colorfully vivacious Blue, who is larger than life in every single aspect nearly loses her life serves as a serious bludgeon to his heart and emotions. The protective feelings that Blue arouses in him is one that Eddie has a hard time controlling, but as Blue’s friend, Eddie wants, no craves to be the one who helps her pick up the pieces.

Blue’s feelings towards Eddie intensifies to a point of no return which results in the hottest, most mind blowing nights of their lives. However Blue has kept her feelings under tight control for all those years for a reason. She doesn’t want to risk the friendship that she values above everything else with Eddie just for a tumble between the sheets. And given Eddie’s track record with relationships, if even one can call it that, Blue decides that she is right to deny them both a chance to see where this facet of their relationship could lead them.

It has been a while since I indulged in a friends-to-lovers romance and I welcomed this book with emotions akin to that of someone reuniting with a close friend who has been away for a long, long time. Sarah Mayberry does a mean friends-to-lovers romance from time to time, well lets be honest, she writes mean romances in whichever trope she singles out her books to be based on and I loved this little number, the second book in the Brothers Ink series.

Eddie, simply put, is the best thing about the story. His patience, endurance, kindness and the love he has in that big beautiful heart of his for Blue is what makes him that much more endearing. It takes a special kind of man or rather person to break down the emotional walls that a would be partner hides behind. Eddie has the added advantage of having being best friends with Blue for the past ten years. With that sort of arsenal in place, Eddie launches the type of mission that would win Blue over, but not without Blue giving him the fight of his lifetime.

Blue is a feisty character whom some of us can relate to, while others would sit back in awe and envy her over the kind of strength she has and the control that she exerts on herself. Life hadn’t been kind to her when she was a child and though a lot of good things had come her way since then, understandably, Blue has a hard time accepting all of it with good grace. Especially when it comes to the thought of losing her very best friend, the man she has loved from afar for so very long.

Blue’s hesitancy to place her trust in Eddie & his love is understandable given the track record Eddie holds for his love life. So opting to dislike Blue over the way she gives a bit of herself and then retreats is definitely not a choice when it comes to her. Blue’s indecision is what lends the story the proper amount of emotional angst that makes a romance worth delving into and while I was frustrated at times, I loved every single bit of it. Eddie’s character not only smoothed Blue’s ruffled feathers but did mine as well.

I would be remiss in my review if I don’t mention the bits of Maggie and Raf included in the story. Though I didn’t overly love their story as much as I did this one, I still enjoyed seeing them settle into the life that they’d found for themselves. Maggie’s story proved to be an interesting one in terms of what she went through. And if you haven’t already read her story, you should! Raf is just as sexy as Eddie! Them Oliveira genes!

I loved and loved the sensuality of the story. There were times when I went “woohoo, go for it girl’ and then there were moments that I nearly swallowed my own tongue from the panting variety of good, hot sex included in the story! What makes a Sarah Mayberry superb is the fact that she knows how to balance out the sex and the emotion and rarely shortchanges the reader on either aspect. And this one has got plenty of Eddie to tide us over!

The fact that both Blue & Eddie took their time to come together as a couple was the one aspect of the story that endeared it to me in a good way. A character like Blue’s is not easy to convince when she has a stubborn streak a mile wide. But in Eddie lies a determined streak perhaps that far outreaches Blue’s stubbornness and I felt like high-fiving with Mayberry over the the fact that she spent enough time on the story and each of their characters, giving it that realistic edge that made their connection & coming together that much more wholesome.

Recommended for fans of Sarah Mayberry, fans of contemporary romances & of course those that like myself love the friends to lovers trope! Can’t wait to read Lena’s story, interesting glimpses of which were included in this story.

Final Verdict: A story that touches deep into the heart of love, the risks it brings & the triumph that follows.

Favorite Quotes

“Haven’t you ever wondered?” she heard herself ask, her voice barely more than a whisper. “About us? How it would be?”
He was so close she could see his pupils dilate as her words hit him, the dark pupil swallowing the green of his irises. Then he spoke, and his words tipped her world upside down.
Every fucking day of my life.

“Tell me what you want,” he said.
Was it really that simple?
She knew it wasn’t, but she was so far gone, reason and common sense left far, far behind. All she could think about was the man looking at her as though he wanted to consume her and the need making her sex ache for fulfillment.
“You. I want you.” The words came from her soul, the most honest she’d ever uttered, and the moment they were out of her mouth the world got crazy.

How many years had he secretly wanted this?
Too many.
He ran a hand over her belly. She widened her stance eagerly as he slipped his hand between her thighs. His breath hissed out against her breast as his fingers slid over slick, plump flesh. She felt so good, so ready. He slid a finger inside her, and she clenched around him, welcoming the invasion.
“Fuck, Blue.” His words sounded like a prayer, fervent and worshipful, and that was exactly how he felt.

“Oh, God,” she breathed, and he felt her inner muscles ripple around his cock. “Oh, fuck, Eddie. Oh, God.”
“Yes. For me. Come for me, Blue.”
As if her body had been waiting for his words, she came apart, bucking against him, her thighs locked tightly around his hips, her head thrown back, her eyes closed.
His own climax hit him simultaneously, and he gave a low, almost pained groan as he thrust himself home. She opened her eyes and leaned forward, biting his shoulder as he came in one long, shuddering rush.

The sound was barely out of her mouth before Eddie moved beneath her, rolling her onto her back, his cock slipping free. She started to object just as he plunged inside her again, his hips working powerfully as he pumped into her. The slam of his body against hers, the satisfaction of having his cock so deep inside her and the primal, unrestrained desperation of his movements were exactly what she craved. He lowered his head and drew a nipple into his mouth, sucking on it hard enough to hurt. The stab of pain pushed her over the edge and she dug her fingers into his ass, holding him deep inside her as she came, hard.

“Get your clothes off,” he said, his voice gravel-rough with need.
She started to object…then she looked at his big, beautifully hard cock and decided that she could fight that battle another day. She whipped her top over her head, then stood so she could shed her pants. Eddie scooped her up, carrying her into the kitchen. He’d barely parked her ass on the table before he was inside her.
“I thought about doing this to you all day,” he said. “Every…fucking…second.”

… love took a part of your soul. Love meant that a phone ringing in the middle of the night could change your life. Love got its hooks into you and never let go. It made you bleed. It made you weak. It made you hurt.
Love was loss, pure and simple. It was risk. It meant casting yourself on the universe’s mercy and hoping against hope that you were going to be one of the lucky ones.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords

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Requested ARC Review: The List by Joanna Bolouri

Format: E-bookthelist
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Hero: Oliver
Heroine: Phoebe Henderson
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 6, 2015
Started On: April 9, 2015
Finished On: April 9, 2015

The List by Joanna Bolouri is one of those laugh-out-loud variety romances that makes you feel good and break out in laughter even long after you are done. It all starts when the new year rolls in and Phoebe finds herself still pathetically single, going to therapy, trying to take her mind off the ex who had cheated on her and left her in the lurch.

Like many of us, Phoebe is one to make all sorts of new year resolutions that never see the light of day. However this year, Phoebe is determined that she’d stick to her resolution and see it through, even if it kills her. Thus she and her best friend Lucy get together and make a list, a list that would guarantee that she, Phoebe, would have sexual adventures of the kind that she has only read about, and that she would put herself first this time than anyone else.

Next thing you know, Phoebe finds herself with her friends-with-benefits partner, none other than the Irish sex demi-god Oliver himself, who happens to be one of her closest friends. Oliver has no issues with making her scream with pleasure, in showing her how desirable she is. However, both Oliver and Phoebe promise each other that they aren’t an exclusive item, and that’s where all the ‘misadventures’ of Phoebe’s sex life begins.

The List is written in first person, in Phoebe’s point of view. The whole cast of characters tended to give the story a Sex & the City vibe to it that I absolutely loved. I felt like I had come home to characters who could make me laugh, who could make me cry and yet again who could make me smile through my tears through the happy ending it delivered.

One cannot talk about the good stuff in The List without mentioning the hilarity it delivers. The humor. Oh the humor. At times you feel like you’re watching a movie where everything that can go wrong will go wrong, and yet there’s nothing like laughing your way through the good and bad and being able to look back and still smile when you know that you had gone through it all like a champion. That is the sort of tale that The List delivered and I gobbled it all up in just one sitting!

I would be remiss in my review if I were not to mention the impact that Oliver brought to the story. Oliver, the Irish bloke who teaches Phoebe that she is desirable and sexy and that she deserves better than the man she has continued to pine for for the past year. The fact that they’ve known each other for so long makes it even better, that they can be their true selves with each other without any pretenses speaks volumes on just how well suited they are for each other; Oliver is the kind of friends with benefit bloke every girl should have; funny, sexy as hell and practically a God when it comes to making a woman scream in bed!

Only thing that I didn’t like was missing out on Oliver’s point of view. I felt a bit cheated out because of the fact. I’d have loved to see even a glimpse into his mind, how he views Phoebe, the woman he has loved all this while, the woman whose love he’d been willing to forgo just so that he could spare her the hurt that he’d inevitably cause when he screwed things up! This is the one reason that I tend to dislike books written in first person, which is a fad that every Tom, Dick and Harry seems to be following these days. I believe that Oliver’s viewpoint would have made the story more wholesome and given it a whole lot more emotional punch than the story delivers now.

I loved Phoebe. What is there not to love? I loved her courage; it must’ve taken a lot for her to actually take the step towards moving on even when heart kept clamoring for the man who’d cheated on her and hurt her in the worst way possible. Her cluelessness when it comes to Oliver is one that proved costly, but the angst the fact delivered to the story was one that made it all the more better!

Recommended! Couldn’t put it down. Even for a second. Highly readable!

Final Verdict: Fun & provocative. Loved it!

Favorite Quotes

“Take off your trousers.” I demanded.
I took off my skirt and tights, pulled my knickers to one side and slid down on him. Hard. I then whispered in his ear,
“I am going to fuck you so slowly and take every inch of you, until you’re begging me to let you come. Can you feel how wet I am already?”
He raised one eyebrow (man, I love it when he does that) and said, “Good god Phoebe! Keep talking like that and I think I’ll keep you.”
So I did.

We maneuvered round to the front of the car and he took down my tights and underwear. I say ‘took’, it was more of a ripping action, which would have been sexier had I not been wearing industrial strength pants and tights. With some help, they were flung in the nearby hedge and I was flipped over and shagged on the bonnet of the car, quite dramatically, and while it was obvious he wanted me, I could tell he was totally trying to out-shag Stuart so he could then jump up and down in front of me shouting “I’M THE WINNER, I’M THE FUCKING WINNER!!”
As he was kissing my neck he moved his mouth to my ear and said “It’s never this good with anyone else. Is it?”
I answered truthfully: “No. It isn’t.”

He slowly pulled down my bikini bottoms and began licking me, so slowly I felt my knees buckle and my face flush. He undid his jeans, wrapped my legs around his waist and held me up. I could feel the tree scratching my back and he went faster and faster and then he stopped, looked into my eyes and kissed me. I mean really kissed me and all I could do was kiss him back. It was passionate and as he started to move inside me again I cried out it was so intense.
“The thing about Ruth” he said as we fucked, “is that she’s not you Phoebe.”

He didn’t say anything. He walked to the door…and then he stopped. And he locked the door.
We made love right there on the bed. There was no shouting, or gymnastics or laughing. We were slow and quiet and we never took our eyes off each other. He was so gentle and the moment he entered me, I was so grateful to have him back inside me again, to feel him moving his hands over my thighs and to feel his mouth on mine. It was so intense and I came before he did. It was beautiful.
This morning when I woke up he was gone.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | eBookMall | iTunes

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Review: More Than Friends by Jess Dee

Format: E-bookmorethanfriends.jpeg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Series: More Than, #1
Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd.
Hero: Sebastian Blackford
Heroine: Lucy Lawson
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: May 28, 2013
Started On: August 7, 2014
Finished On: August 7, 2014

I am a sucker for a good friends to lovers romance. I am also a sucker for the good bout of eroticism and romance that Jess Dee can deliver in her books. It goes to show just how out of the loop I have been to have missed out on Jess Dee’s More Than series which debuted in 2013 which I found out about only just last month. When I stumbled upon the series, I wasted no time in acquiring all three novellas and curled up in bed to enjoy the wild ride that only few authors such as Jess can only deliver.

Lucy Lawson has landed in the mother lord of all problems. She has fallen in love with her best friend going six years. Sebastian Blackford has no clue as to the mass riot of feelings coursing through Lucy’s heart, body and soul and feels gobsmacked when Lucy just lays it all out on him, the pent up desire and all that love laid bare for him to see.

Though Sebastian tells himself that he wants nothing more than friendship with Lucy, from the moment Lucy’s admission stamps images full of eroticism in his mind, there is no turning back from the desire that courses through him and practically floors him with the force of his want and desire.

More than Friends is a novella that hit all those spots with just 60 plus pages. The only thing more I could have asked for was a full fledged sex scene after all those scenes that served as foreplay and barely satiated my thirst for more of Sebastian. Its hard not to love all the male that Sebastian is. You’d just have to grab yourself a copy and find out for yourself lest I give too much away in my review.

A book that pulls no emotional punches, More than Friends is a testament to how an author who works for you can make even three short pages worth of a story give all that you want. Recommended for those who love quick, short and hot reads!

Final Verdict: Scorching hot. Sebastian will literally blow you away!

Favorite Quotes

Seb couldn’t help himself. He looked at the tub. And just like that, he was hard again. Painfully hard.
As fast as his head filled with images of a naked Lucy, lying in her bath, immersed in water with her hand buried between her legs, so blood filled his cock.
He saw her, her head thrown back, her neck arched, her breasts bobbing, nipples swollen and distended. And he wanted her. Wanted her with an intensity that blew his mind clean away.

Seb had no idea what made him do it, what clicked in his mind and made him act, but impulse took over. One minute Lucy was wrapped in his arms, pressed against his body, the next he’d backed her against the wall and ripped her top in two. Grabbed the neckline with his hands and torn it clean in half, from the top to the bottom, so it hung open, leaving her white lace bra exposed to his hungry—no, his starving—gaze.

“Other one,” she begged. “Kiss the other breast.”
He did. He kissed it, nipped at it, suckled on it and when a soft keening sound filled the air, bit it.
Jesus, what was it with the biting? When the fuck did he ever bite a woman?
Never, that’s when.
But with Loo it was different. With Loo it was essential. He had to bite. Had to taste her, had to…mark her.
Mark her. Fuck yeah. That’s exactly what he had to do.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Samhain | Kobo | ARe

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