Deep by Kylie Scott #Review

Deep by Kylie Scott #Review

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Deep by Kylie Scott #Review
At parajunkee.com we accept books in exchange for a review, we also use affiliate links for Amazon.

PJV Quickie: Kylie Scott’s Stage Dive series has been a favorite of mine since the first book, Lick. I have loved meeting each band member and reading their HEA. With Deep, however, I had a hard time liking both the hero and the heroine. Even so, I’m really sad that this is the last book in the series.

Review:
Lizzy Rollins is pregnant.  No matter how hard she tries to convince herself otherwise, the pink lines on the test tell her the truth. The truth is that her one-night stand with the gorgeous bassist in her brother-in-law’s band has further-reaching consequences than she ever imagined it would; they used a condom, for pete’s sake!  She knows Ben loves the rock-n-roll lifestyle and all that goes with it and has no expectation of him settling down to play ‘happy family’.  She’s going to have to go it alone and rely on her sister for moral and emotional support.  But first, she has to tell Ben.

Ben Nicholson is the bassist for the popular rock band, Stage Dive.  He likes Lizzy, she’s sexy and smart and he can talk to her like a real person. He knows she wants him, but he knows he can’t have her: she’s his best friend’s kid sister-in-law and therefore untouchable.  Until one night in Vegas when he just can’t resist her any more.  But he’s the bassist in a wildly popular band and a family isn’t in his plans for his future…right?

~~~~~

I am a huge fan of Kylie Scott, both her NA series, Stage Dive, and her post-apocolyptic series, Flesh.  I have looked forward to each of her Stage Dive books with great anticipation and devoured them as soon as I could get my hands on them.  I dived right in to Deep, ready for Ben and Lizzy’s story.

I have mixed feelings about Deep – on the one hand, I loved the scenes with the Stage Dive women:  they’re strong, supportive, funny, and warm.  I love reading about women who have friendships like theirs.  The problem, though, is that I didn’t really care for Ben or Lizzy:  they both came off as immature and selfish.  Ben just wanted to live the band lifestyle – no attachments and no obligations other than to the band. I really couldn’t get past his poor treatment of Lizzy to wish these two a future together.  As for Lizzy, she was a frustrating character – she knew Ben didn’t want a relationship but continued to pursue him, and then when he didn’t want a relationship she was surprised. Really?

The scenes revolving around the rock-star lifestyle while the band was on tour were entertaining, and I did enjoy the story as it moved forward.  We got to see a lot of the previous couples – there were some funny scenes and some sweet scenes, and I love being back in the Stage Dive world.  A sexy new character from the opening band was introduced, and I hope this means that maybe there will be a spin-off series?  If so, I am totally on board.

Recommendations:
If you’re already a fan, you’ll appreciate the glimpses of the other couples. If you enjoy ‘rock star romance’, or angsty stories featuring stubborn characters, Deep is exactly what you’ve been looking for.  Fans of Olivia Cunning’s Backstage Pass series will probably love this series.

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Manwhore by Katy Evans #review

Manwhore by Katy Evans #review

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Manwhore by Katy Evans #review
At parajunkee.com we accept books in exchange for a review, we also use affiliate links for Amazon.

PJV Quickie: Oh. My. Gawd.  Manwhore was totally not what I expected, and I mean that in the best way.  I already knew and loved Katy Evans’ other series, Real, so I knew it would be good. I just didn’t realize I would get emotionally involved with these characters – I haven’t stopped thinking about them!

Review:
Rachel Livingston is a writer for Edge, a magazine that’s been slowly failing and is on the verge of collapse. She’s been with Edge since she graduated from college and loves it there. When her boss suggests an expose of one of Chicago’s most notorious bad boys, Malcolm Saint, she jumps on it: Malcolm Saint comes from a long line of old money. He’s privileged, sexy, relentless, and private. He works continuously, and doesn’t do relationships.  If she can just get in a little bit and see the ‘real’ Malcolm Saint, her story will save the magazine and advance her career.

The more time she spends with Saint and gets bits and pieces of the person behind the public image, the more she realizes she’s also giving him bits and pieces of herself.  And maybe she doesn’t want to share the bits and pieces Saint has given her, because their bits and pieces seem to fit each other – and not just for amazing sex.

~~~~~

I really enjoyed Real by Katy Evans, so when I received Manwhore for review, I was pretty excited.  When I read the blurb “reporter getting the scoop on playboy millionaire” – I figured that I had been there and done that, but since it was Katy Evans, I was going in anyway.  I should have known better; the story pulled me in and I felt myself falling for Malcolm Saint right along with Rachel, the heroine. I was getting anxious every time Rachel thought about telling Malcolm why they really met. I was dreading him eventually finding out, because I knew he would. And I was devastated, right along with our heroine after certain events unfolded.  I absolutely love it when a writer can pull me into the story and make me feel like I’m part of the story. The outside world fades away, and I am there.

Ms. Evans wrote such a wonderfully layered and engaging story in Manwhore – Saint is not a stereotypical alphahole who drags Rachel by her hair back to his mancave. He’s complex and interesting, and IMHO has the patience of a saint (pun intended). The reader is drawn towards his character right along with the heroine, and to be honest, I found him completely swoonworthy. If you keep a list of book boyfriends, you’d better clear a spot for Malcolm Saint on that list.  I was surprised that Rachel is (to me) a sympathetic character, because of her duplicity I wasn’t prepared to like her, but the complications of her taking the story then not coming clean are tangled and tortuous and I love that she learns more about herself through her relationship with Saint.  (In case you’re wondering, the sexytimes were pretty hot too.)

I always like to know a bit about the secondary characters, and honestly, when I saw that Rachel had two besties, and Saint had two besties, I thought that this would be a trilogy – one book for each couple.  That’s not happening here. There may or may not be some couplings (honestly, I’m not sure), but Manwhore does have a cliffhanger ending – we’ll have to read book 2 for their HEA (OMG it had better be an HEA!). I hate cliffies, really hate them, and this is why – because I need more NOW. Not July (when Manwhore +1 comes out), not tomorrow, NOW.  Why are you torturing me, Katy Evans and Gallery Books?

Recommendations:
I need to point out here that Manwhore is nothing like Real, so if you’re already a Katy Evans fan, don’t go in expecting a Remy and Brooke story. That being said, if you like Katy Evans, definitely give Manwhore a read.   If you like billionaire heroes, this is the book for you.  Fans of Sylvia Day, J. Kenner, and Christina Lauren will probably also enjoy Manwhore.

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Trends I Like:  NOLA love

Trends I Like: NOLA love

adrian phoenix, Alys Arden, carrie lofty, chloe neill, faith hunter, Kresley Cole, Kristen Painter, Moira Rogers, sherrilyn kenyon, Suzanne Johnson
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I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see what I hope is a continuing trend in Romance – books set in New Orleans.  You may or may not know that both Parajunkee and I live in New Orleans, so we’re always interested in books set here.   I like it because I can easily visualize the setting, but also because I like to see what ideas other people have about my city.

This is just a sampling of Romance or UF/PNR books I have read or plan to read that are set in New Orleans:

 

(book covers are amazon affiliate links)

The VeilThe Veil by Chloe Neill:

Seven years ago, the Veil that separates humanity from what lies beyond was torn apart, and New Orleans was engulfed in a supernatural war. Now, those with paranormal powers have been confined in a walled community that humans call the District. Those who live there call it Devil’s Isle.

Claire Connolly is a good girl with a dangerous secret: she’s a Sensitive, a human endowed with magic that seeped through the Veil. Claire knows that revealing her skills would mean being confined to Devil’s Isle. Unfortunately, hiding her power has left her untrained and unfocused.

Liam Quinn knows from experience that magic makes monsters of the weak, and he has no time for a Sensitive with no control of her own strength. But when he sees Claire using her powers to save a human under attack—in full view of the French Quarter—Liam decides to bring her to Devil’s Isle and the teacher she needs, even though getting her out of his way isn’t the same as keeping her out of his head.

But when the Veil threatens to shatter completely, Claire and Liam must work together to stop it, or else New Orleans will burn…

This is the book that inspired this post.  I love Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series, and when I saw she had a new book coming out, I got excited.  When I saw it was set in New Orleans – Woo Hoo!!

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SkinwalkerSkinwalker (Jane Yellowrock series) by Faith Hunter:

First in a brand new series from the author of the rogue mage novels

Jane Yellowrock is the last of her kind-a skinwalker of Cherokee descent who can turn into any creature she desires and hunts vampires for a living. But now she’s been hired by Katherine Fontaneau, one of the oldest vampires in New Orleans and the madam of Katie’s Ladies, to hunt a powerful rogue vampire who’s killing other vamps…

I won the first four books in this series at the RT convention here in New Orleans last year.  I’ve just started reading the first book and so far I like it.  It’s a very popular series and so far I’ve only heard good things.

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Royal StreetRoyal Street (Sentinels of New Orleans series) by Suzanne Johnson:

As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco’s job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. DJ’s boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, is the wizard tasked with protecting the city from anyone or anything that might slip over from the preternatural beyond.

Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans’ fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous flood waters.

While winds howled and Lake Pontchartrain surged, the borders between the modern city and the Otherworld crumbled. Now, the undead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering the soldiers sent to help the city recover.

To make it worse, Gerry has gone missing, the wizards’ Elders have assigned a grenade-toting assassin as DJ’s new partner, and undead pirate Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank. The search for Gerry and for the serial killer turns personal when DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter gumbo.

Parajunkee raves about this series and has encouraged me to read it on more than one occasion.  I have the first book and plan to start soon.

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Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00037]The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden:

After the Storm of the Century rips apart New Orleans, Adele Le Moyne and her father are among the first to return to the city following the mandatory evacuation. Adele wants nothing more than for life to return to normal, but with the silent city resembling a mold-infested war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal will have to be redefined.

Events too unnatural – even for New Orleans – lead Adele to an attic that has been sealed for three hundred years, and the chaos she unleashes threatens not only her life but everyone she knows. Mother Nature couldn’t drain the joie de vivre from the Big Easy, but someone or something is draining life from its residents.

Caught suddenly in a hurricane of eighteenth-century myths and monsters, Adele must quickly untangle a web of magic that links the climbing murder rate back to her own ancestors. But who can you trust in a city where everyone has a secret, and where keeping them can be a matter of life and death – unless, that is, you’re immortal.

I was interested in The Casquette Girls before I met Alys Arden at RT.  Everything about it screams “read me!” Bonus, follow her instagram for some great New Orleans flavor.

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Blue NotesBlue Notes by Carrie Lofty:

For fans of Jamie McGuire and S.C. Stephens, a sizzling new adult novel featuring the tumultuous relationship between a young piano prodigy and a reluctant billionaire playboy—set against the vibrant backdrop of a New Orleans college campus.

After being bounced from foster family to foster family, Keeley, a talented pianist, is ready to start over as a junior at Tulane. But when she plays a small concert that attracts the attention of Jude, a brooding playboy and heir to an enormous fortune in the wake of his parents’ tragic death, suddenly Keeley’s life is thrown off balance once again.

Jude is the first person to confront her about the pain behind her music, and she struggles with whether or not to let him into her life, or to keep protecting herself from the hurt that relationships have caused her in the past. But Keeley’s about to learn that the melancholy young billionaire who appears to have everything he wants can open her eyes to exactly what she needs…

I don’t see a lot of non-paranormal stories set in NOLA, so when I saw this one, I grabbed it!

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House of the Rising SunHouse of the Rising Sun (Crescent City series) by Kristen Painter:

Augustine lives the perfect life in the Haven city of New Orleans. He rarely works a real job, spends most of his nights with a different human woman, and resides in a spectacular Garden District mansion paid for by retired movie star Olivia Goodwin, who has come to think of him as an adopted son, providing him room and board and whatever else he needs.

But when Augustine returns home to find Olivia’s been attacked by vampires, he knows his idyllic life has comes to an end. It’s time for revenge—and to take up the mantle of the city’s Guardian.

I haven’t read anything by Kristen Painter yet, but I definitely want to.

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CruxCrux (Southern Arcana series) by Moira Rogers:

To find her destiny, she must trust him with her life…and her heart.

Jackson Holt makes a decent living as a private investigator in New Orleans, home of one of the largest underground supernatural populations in the United States. He and his partners have never met a case they couldn’t crack…until a local bar owner asks him to do a little digging on her newest hire.

New Orleans is the fourth destination in as many months for Mackenzie Brooks, a woman on the run from a deranged stalker. After all, any man who shows up on her doorstep claiming to be her destined lover has more than a few screws loose. But crazy doesn’t explain why he always finds her no matter how far she runs.

When her well-meaning boss puts a PI on her case, Mackenzie comes face to face with the incredible truth: magic is real, and whatever spell has kept her hidden and separate from the paranormal world is rapidly deteriorating.

With time running out, she has no choice but to trust Jackson as he struggles to uncover the truth of her past-and her destiny.

This book contains devious schemes, epic battles, forbidden love between a shapeshifter and a spellcaster, nosy secondary characters, furniture-endangering sex and a woman fighting to choose her own destiny.

I love this series. So much love. I especially love that Moira Rogers put a werewolf in the NOPD and so I always tease my brother the cop about which co-worker he thinks it is :)

 

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Sherrilyn KenyonSherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series:

The Dark-Hunter Credo:

We are Darkness. We are Shadow.

We are the Rulers of the Night.

We, alone, stand between mankind and those who would see mankind destroyed. We are the Guardians.

The Soulless Keepers.

Our souls were cast out so that we would not forewarn the Daimons we pursue. By the time they see us coming, it’s too late.

The Daimons and Apollites know us. They fear us. We are death to all those who prey upon the humans.

Neither Human, nor Apollite, we exist beyond the realm of the Living, beyond the realm of the Dead.

We are the Dark-Hunters.

And we are eternal.

Yeah, yeah. Enough of the doom and gloom because, baby, that ain’t us. You want to know what a Dark-Hunter is? We are what the intro says. We’re Mad, Bad and Immortal. We’re ancient warriors with attitudes who fight rough, and play hard.

We are the scary things that go bump in the night. And we love every minute of it. So when you think you’re being watched. You just might be. The question is…is it something evil or is it one of us?

Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunters were some of the first PNR that I ever read, and even though I stopped reading somewhere in the teens, this series will always have a special place in my heart- delicious alpha males and the women who love them (but won’t take their sh!t).

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Kresley ColeKresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series:

Every creature or being that was thought to be mythical . . . isn’t.

They all secretly exist alongside humans and enjoy the gift of immortality. There are hundreds of different kinds: from Vampires to Lykae, from Furies to Shifters, from the Fey to Valkyries.

These immortals call their world The Lore.

You may have had a brush with one of Lorekind already. The eccentric billionaire with hypnotic charisma—and an aversion to sunlight. The ethereal waif of impossible beauty—whose fingernails look more like claws. The Highlander with a seventeenth-century Scottish accent and animal magnetism—who can never be penciled in on the night of the full moon.

They walk among us, but they war among themselves. Each faction has its strengths, weaknesses, and age old prejudices against the others. Every five hundred years, the Accession, a battle for supremacy, rages. That time is now. . . .

This is another long-running series that I adore. One of the best parts are the Valkyrie, who have a home in New Orleans.  Good times, y’all!

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Adrian PhoenixThe Maker’s Song series by Adrian Phoenix:

Dark. Talented. Beautiful. Star of the rock band Inferno. Rumored owner of the hot New Orleans nightspot Club Hell. Born of the Blood, then broken by an evil beyond imagination.

HIS PAST IS A MYSTERY.

F.B.I. Special Agent Heather Wallace has been tracking a sadistic serial murderer known as the Cross Country Killer, and the trail has led her to New Orleans, Club Hell, and Dante. But the dangerously attractive musician not only resists her investigation, he claims to be “nightkind”: in other words, a vampire. Digging into his past for answers reveals little. A juvenile record a mile long. No social security number. No known birth date. In and out of foster homes for most of his life before being taken in by a man named Lucien DeNoir, who appears to guard mysteries of his own.

HIS FUTURE IS CHAOS.

What Heather does know about Dante is that something links him to the killer — and she’s pretty sure that link makes him the CCK’s next target. Heather must unravel the truth about this sensual, complicated, vulnerable young man — who, she begins to believe, may indeed be a vampire — in order to finally bring a killer to justice. But Dante’s past holds a shocking, dangerous secret, and once it is revealed not even Heather will be able to protect him from his destiny….

I read and enjoyed the first two books in this series and have purchased the third.

I’m sure I’ve left a few out – what books I have I forgotten (or not heard of yet)?

(I have not included a certain famous author who writes about vampires and witches in New Orleans on purpose.  Since she has expressed disdain for bloggers, I have taken it personally and will not refer her books.)

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How often do you come across books set in your city?  Do you like it or not?  

Where would you want to live if the world a particular book or series was set in was real?

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Ten Fingers Touching by Ellen A. Roth #Review

Ten Fingers Touching by Ellen A. Roth #Review

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Ten Fingers Touching by Ellen A. Roth #Review

Ten Fingers Touching by Ellen A Roth

two-half-stars
Published by: Inc. on December 10, 2014
Genres: Adult, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy, Historical, Romance
Amazon Goodreads
At parajunkee.com we accept books in exchange for a review, we also use affiliate links for Amazon.

PJV Quickie: Ten Fingers Touching is a beautiful book with gorgeous illustrations on several pages that bring the story to life.  Unfortunately, the pictures were my favorite part of the book; the story was nice but didn’t keep my attention and I ended up putting this book down several times before I finished.

Review:
The story begins with Good and Evil making a bet that would end with Evil’s banishment from the Kingdom:

 

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If virtue exists, then nothing can come between two virgin lovers’ desire for one another on their wedding night,” he declared.  “Their passion will be all consuming and they will reach for each other above all else.”

 

 

Evil tricked the couple into reaching for a bewitched globe, more beautiful than anything they had seen before.  But there was still a chance for Good to triumph – if the couple had children, as long as neither child touched the globe before the second child turned 8, Good would prevail.

The story then moves to the lives of some of the residents in the Kingdom:  Princess Rosy, daughter of the King and Queen, Marianna, a maiden from the village who takes care of Princess Ruby, and Martak, who was raised in the woods near Marianna’s village.  What follows is a love story, an adventure, and a battle against Evil.

~~~~~

TFT 1When I received Ten Fingers Touching in the mail for review, I was excited – it’s beautiful! The artwork is stunning and gives the story a real ‘fairy tale’ feel, reminiscent of when your parents would read them to you as a child.  I really wanted to love this book, unfortunately, Ten Fingers Touching was not a good fit for me.

The story is a novella, written in fairy tale form, and I think that’s what doesn’t work for me.  If it wasn’t for the references to ‘lovers’ and an attempted rape scene, this book would have been perfect for a child.  There’s not enough artwork for it to fall into the graphic novel category, and the story was not very in-depth because it was short, so it didn’t have enough pull to make me want more.  Also, while much of the mystery was revealed, I felt like there was a big ??? as to the fate of the original lovers when the story was over.

Recommendations:
If you enjoy historical fantasies with a touch of mythical good vs evil, you might enjoy Ten Fingers Touching.  I’d also recommend it if you like unusual or visually interesting books, it would be a beautiful conversation piece in any library.

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The Deal by Elle Kennedy #Review and Giveaway

The Deal by Elle Kennedy #Review and Giveaway

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The Deal by Elle Kennedy #Review and Giveaway
At parajunkee.com we accept books in exchange for a review, we also use affiliate links for Amazon.

PJV Quickie: 2015 has been a kind year for me reading-wise; I’ve really been lucky in the selection of books I’ve read so far and have stumbled upon some really excellent reads. The Deal is sitting high on that list – I didn’t want to put it down and when I finished reading I sat there with a goofy grin on my face, replaying the story in my head.

Review:
Hannah Wells is a Fine Arts major at Briar University.  She’s shy and quiet; she has friends but doesn’t really go out or date – her focus is on school and work and the showcase she’s performing in as part of her major. When a hockey jock from her Philosophical Ethics (PhilEth) class starts bugging her to tutor him, she steadfastedly tells him she doesn’t have any extra time. Even though that’s true, it hasn’t stopped her from developing a crush on Justin Kohl, a football player who’s in her PhilEth class, but he doesn’t know she exists. It’s been a while since she’s had these kinds of feelings, though, and she’d kind of like for him to know she DOES exist – she could probably make some time for that.

Garrett Graham plays hockey at Briar University and signed up for a PhilEth class because it’s a notoriously easy course. The professor died right before the term started and the new professor is a hard-case who’s failing most of the class. Garrett needs to keep his grades up to play hockey and when he notices that she got an “A” on the exam, he decides he needs Hannah to tutor him. She’s immune to his charm and popularity, though, until he stumbles onto the fact that she’s got a crush on a football player in their class. Garrett’s solution: Hannah will tutor him in exchange for Garrett’s help getting Justin to notice her.

As they spend time together studying for the class, they start to realize that there might actually be a friendship growing between them, and maybe, something more…

(Trigger warning: There are some references to rape and domestic abuse that take place off-page)

~~~~~

I loved everything about this book, it was funny and sweet and sad and wonderful.  How do I love The Deal? Let me count the ways:

  • Swoony, smart-ass hockey player hero (I adore hockey-themed romance)
  • A smart heroine who has a talent for music (instead of the hero!)
  • New Adult (if you normally hate NA, don’t let that deter you here)
  • Frenemies to Lovers (yesssss!)
  • Angsty but not over-the-top (I love me some angst, but not when it’s ridiculous)
  • Sigh-worthy ending (oh yes, I sighed)

When was the last time you got lost in a book? The Deal is the kind of book where you just fall in right from the first page and the next time you look up hours have passed. It’s a book full of sweet sighs and bursts of laughter and a little bit of sadness, and when you close the book, you realize you’ve momentarily forgotten where you are. The phrase “lost in a book” was coined for books exactly like The Deal: you are so deep into the story that it takes you a minute to find your way back to reality.

Ms. Kennedy’s writing is excellent and she writes the relationship to slowly grow and change through the story; it has a natural feel with some surprises (and good and bad).  I was in from page one.  Reading along as Hannah and Garrett’s relationship grows and changes is like having a secret that no one else knows, and the anticipation of waiting for everyone else to be in on that secret is palpable. These two are so right for each other and the overall flow of the story is slow and sweet.

It’s not all about Hannah and Garrett’s relationship, they’ve got other stuff going on independent of each other and their characters are distinct from one another.  You wouldn’t think it would work, but it does.   As far as the secondary characters, there are so many characters that I want to get their own stories!  I love that “Wellsy” (he calls her “Wellsy” and it’s so adorable!) has a good support system; she has her fine arts crew that she hangs around with and he has his teammates, and they blend pretty well.

Before you think this book is all happiness and sunshine, there are some tough topics the author tackles – Hannah was raped as a teenager (not a spoiler as you learn this very early in), and there is also some domestic abuse happening in the story.

I should close this review with a warning: I haven’t been able to get into a book since I finished The Deal. I’m ruined!!!

Recommendations:
First off, I’m going to recommend The Deal to anyone who reads Romance; it’s that good.  If you liked  The Hook-Up by Kristen Callihan, or Allison Parr’s New York Leopards series, you’ll like this.

 

 

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The Giveaway:

If you missed your chance during our Flash Giveaway earlier this week, you might be in luck because Ms. Kennedy’s publicist has generously offered another e-copy of The Deal by Elle Kennedy for giveaway.  Enter via rafflecopter below:

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