PJV Quickie: Coming off the high of True North, I was worried about the dreaded Sophomore Slump. I am happy to report this was not the case and I adored True Devotion!
You’d never guess now, but Devon Jenkins has lived a hard life. She grew up in poverty, but since her brother Trevor’s band (Trevor is the hero in True North) hit the big time, she’s living in L.A. now. She’s turned her life around and gotten away from some bad decisions in her past – she’s a massage therapist and she loves to bake in her spare time. She loves her brother and puts up with his band-mate, Simon. Does she have a thing for Simon? Well, sure – Simon is hot, so hot, but he flirts with anything in a skirt. So, no, she’s going there and getting her heart broken.
Simon Cole is in Trevor’s band, Trax. He’s had a thing for Devon, but he knows she’s off limits because she’s Trevor’s sister. Instead he takes what is offered by willing women, but they’re nothing real for him – Devon could be. When Devon offers him a drunken one-night stand after Trevor’s wedding, Simon tells her no – not until she’s ready to make it real.
I loved True North, the first book in this series, and couldn’t wait to read cocky, flirty Simon’s book. I wasn’t too sure about Devon, as she seemed kind of angry and stand off-ish, but that really was not the case here. Once you understand her background and her feelings for her brother, her actions in True North make much more sense.
OMG y’all – Simon and Devon had CHEMISTRY: Simmering, smoldering, sensual chemistry. I loved the back-and-forth between these two, and how they both have a great sense of humor. Their personalities were well-matched, and once they both decided to go for it, they were fabulous together. Simon only had eyes for Devon, and all he wanted to do was make her happy. Devon had a few bumps on the way – her past made her resistant to relationships and she didn’t feel worthy of Simon’s love and affection. And while I didn’t understand her turn towards self-destruction, I do know that it happens in real life and it felt authentic to this reader.
True Devotion had a tiny bit more of the “rock star” life in it than True North did, and I enjoyed seeing the guys doing their thing. We also get to catch up with Trevor and Kate, so that was like seeing old friends again. (Don’t worry, it can be read as a stand-alone.) My only complaint with the story is that it followed the same type of story arc as True North, although the different characters were enough to keep it interesting for this reader.
Liora Blake is on my “writers to watch” list and I am excitedly looking forward to the third book in this series, True Divide, which will be out in October.
Is it October yet?
Fans of rock-star romance will love True Devotion! If you like Kylie Scott’s Stage Dive series, or Erika Kelly’s Rock Star Romance series should give this series a try.
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Find out if rock sensation Simon can break through tough-girl Devon’s steely exterior—if he can keep his head on straight, that is—in this second sizzling romance in the True series!
Devon Jenkins is a feisty blonde, and Simon Cole is the arrogant, sexy guitarist playing in her brother’s band. When they met for the first time, it went something like this: He hit on her, she shot him down, he made a lewd joke, she told him he was an idiot.
In the two years since then, not much has changed. From the way Simon flirts shamelessly with any set of ovaries within a 100-mile radius, Devon knows the smartest thing she can do is keep an impenetrable wall between them.
But sometimes the smart choice isn’t necessarily the right one…
PJV Quickie: I always know when I crack open a Julie James book that I’m going to get a great story with complex characters and just the right amount of romantic tension. Julie James is an auto-buy author for me and her books are always worth the wait; Suddenly One Summer did not disappoint.
Victoria Slade is determined not to ever have a serious relationship or get married. As a divorce attorney, she’s seen the ugly side of marriage on too many occasions to ever want to go there herself. A break-in in her home causes her to temporarily rent an apartment until she can move into her new condo, and her new next-door neighbor seems to have a string of ladies at his door, which is fine because she is totally not interested in someone who’s an obvious player.
Ford Dixon is an investigative journalist who lives in the apartment next to Victoria’s. He’s happy with his job and his life, he’s got friends and he dates, but his best friends are starting to get married and do ‘couple things’. He’s certainly not interested in his new neighbor, who’s gorgeous but seems kind of unfriendly. Ford’s sister Nicole is a new mom, and she’s recently confided in him that she’s overwhelmed by being a single mom but she doesn’t know anything about the baby’s father except his name.
When Victoria finds Nicole at Ford’s door is in tears with a baby, she offers to let her into her apartment to wait for Ford. As they talk about Nicole’s situation, Victoria offers her attorney services to file for child support. When Nicole tells Ford about Victoria’s offer, he insists on using his investigative skills to hunt down the baby’s father. As they work together to find the baby’s father, they both realize that maybe first impressions are not reliable… but Victoria has issues stemming not only from her profession, but also her childhood, that may may ruin things between them before they can get very far.
As I said in my PJV Quickie, I love Julie James’ books, so it’s not surprising that I really enjoyed Suddenly One Summer. Three words that come to mind: smart, sexy, fun. Reading Victoria and Ford getting to know each other and rethinking their first impressions of each other really worked for me. Their chemistry was good and I love a good ‘enemies to lovers’ story. I liked the ‘finding the baby’s father’ plot and thought that it was a good way to draw them together. There was no clear-cut villain in the story, no outside influence trying to keep them apart, and that was refreshing to read. Although I wish there had been more lawyer action like we’ve seen in previous books by Ms. James, I still devoured Suddenly One Summer in a few days. Now that I’ve finished it, I’m sad I have to wait a whole year for her next book.
I’d also like to point out that Victoria had some PTSD issues that I thought Ms. James handled very well. Mental health issues are still considered ‘abnormal’ or ‘weird’ by many people in this day and age, and Ms. James wrote a very positive focus on the importance of going to therapy and not just ignoring your problems.
If you’re already a Julie James fan, you’ll enjoy Suddenly One Summer. If you’re a fan of Contemporary romance, definitely give Julie James a try – Suddenly One Summer is a good stand-alone if you’re not looking for a series.
Suddenly One Summer by Julie James
Published by: Jove
on June 2, 2015
, RomanceAmazon Goodreads
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From the New York Times bestselling author of It Happened One Wedding comes a novel about a man and a woman whose summer is about to get very, very steamy…
Divorce lawyer Victoria Slade has seen enough unhappy endings to swear off marriage forever. That doesn't mean she's opposed to casual dating—just not with her cocky new neighbor, who is as gorgeous and tempting as he is off-limits. But once she agrees to take on his sister's case, she's as determined to win as ever—even if that means teaming up with Ford…
Investigative journalist Ford Dixon is bent on finding the man who got his sister pregnant and left her high and dry. He's willing to partner with Victoria, despite the fact that the beautiful brunette gets under his skin like no other woman. He might not be looking to settle down, but there's no denying the scorching attraction between them. Still, the more time he spends with Victoria, the more he realizes that the one woman as skeptical about love as he is might be the only woman he could really fall for…
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance
Hey all, Patti here I know it’s not the weekend but I’ve got a few recent reads that I thought I’d share. There’s a mix of genres and ratings, hopefully you find something you’re interested in:
(book covers are amazon affiliate links)
The Martian by Andy Weir:
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
YOU WANT TO READ THIS!!! My husband was reading The Martian and sharing little snippets – it sounded like a good story, so I checked out the audiobook from the library. I started listening in my car, but when I got up to Chapter 6 and was sitting in my driveway listening, I decided I was being an idiot so I went inside and proceeded to read the entire rest of the book in less than a day! There is absolutely no romance in The Martian and I still loved it. A little bit technical but I skimmed the math stuff and still really enjoyed it. Hubs and I already have date-night planned for when the movie comes out. My Rating: 5 stars.
Deviant by Jaimie Roberts:
Most fairy tales end with a happily ever after.
This is not a fairy tale. He is not her Prince Charming about to whisk her away into the sunset. This is a story about betrayal, lust, desire and, ultimately, revenge…
And revenge can only lead to one thing.
He was my stranger, my visitor, my shadow in the corner of my room. He stalked me, watched me, knew everything about me. But all I could do was sit and wait. I waited for him to visit me night after night. He was becoming my addiction, my craving, my obsession. He knew every inch of me, but I knew nothing about him.
His calls himself Lotus and, as crazy as it sounds, I think I’m falling in love.
I wanted to take her, possess her, dominate her, and ruin her. I wanted to ravish her, please her, and consume her until I couldn’t take much more of her.
She will want me to kiss her. She will want me to hold her all night so that she feels a connection with me. I would make it so that she would seek me out in the dark. The one that satisfies her ultimate fantasy. A stranger who sneaks into her room. Someone who gives her the ultimate pleasure, but also seeks to give her ultimate pain. Pain she has never had to endure. Pain that will eat away at her until there is nothing left.
She was my nemesis, I was her lotus. And payback was a bitch.
Kristen Ashley made the “stranger sneaks into my bedroom for hot sex” work, this author does not. There were a lot of holes and it’s obvious the sick kid was written in to mask a plot point near the end. Really, none of the story makes sense – what kind of revenge is it to anonymously sex up your so-called enemy and flip her toilet paper roll to the wrong side? I’m not going to give away spoilers but I just didn’t buy any of it. I found Deviant to be very disjointed and I forced myself to read to the end just to see why the “hero” hated the heroine and what he hoped to accomplish by sneaking into her apartment and backing her car into her spot and stuff (which seems pretty nice to me). There’s a cliffhanger but I have no interest in the next book. My Rating: 1 star.
True North by Liora Blake:
What happens when a bad-boy celebrity rocker meets a small-town bestselling novelist? Find out in this first book in the sizzling new True series by Liora Blake!
While most novelists would consider jetting off to Hollywood for a TV interview rather exciting, small-town Montana writer Kate Mosely finds it all a bit exhausting. After losing her husband in a car accident where she was behind the wheel, Kate has finally found her bearings in the world again, rebuilding a simple but stable life. And even if that means a lot of lonely nights watching old movies and quiet days writing obituaries for her hometown newspaper, Kate’s not sure she’s ready for her life to change—again.
Until she shares the stage—and a whole heap of carnal gazes—with rock star Trevor “Trax” Jenkins. Despite his intimidating on-stage bravado, underneath it Kate discovers a man with a Rilke poem tattooed on his arm, an appreciation for cronuts, and a snarky wit that matches her own.
As she and Trevor explore their heated chemistry, the scarred parts of Kate’s heart begin to heal, making room for a love so passionate it makes her want long-forgotten things equal parts naughty, heart-swelling, and joyful. But when a searing exposé in a trashy gossip magazine sends Kate running, will it threaten their chances at forever?
I don’t remember where I first saw this book, but it was on my wishlist so when it went on sale I jumped. I’m so glad I did – I absolutely loved this one and will be reading/reviewing the next book, True Devotion, later this month. This was a sweet and sexy story about a rock star (my catnip) and a widow and it was so wonderfully done that I had a book hangover when I finished. My main qualm was that the ending seemed kind of abrupt, but other than that, big big love My Rating: 4 stars.
Elements of Chemistry (parts 1 – 3) by Penny Reid:
Parts 1-3: Elements of Chemistry
This book includes all 3 novels.
Part 1: ATTRACTION * Part 2: HEAT * Part 3: CAPTURE
What’s the worst that could happen?
Kaitlyn Parker has no problem being the invisible girl, which is why she finds herself hiding in various cabinets and closets all over her college campus. Despite her best efforts, she can’t escape the notice of Martin Sandeke—bad boy, jerkface bully, and the universe’s hottest, wealthiest, and most unobtainable bachelor—who also happens to be Kaitlyn’s chemistry lab partner.
Kaitlyn might be the only girl who isn’t interested in exploiting his stunning rower’s build, chiseled features, and family’s billionaire fortune. Kaitlyn wants Martin for his brain, specifically to tabulate findings of trace elements in surface water.
When Kaitlyn saves Martin from a nefarious plot, Martin uses the opportunity to push Kaitlyn out of her comfort zone: spring break, one week, house parties, bathing suits, and suntan lotion. Can she overcome her aversion to being noticed? Will he be able grow beyond his self-centered nature? Or, despite their obvious chemistry, will Martin be the one to drive Kaitlyn into the science cabinet of obscurity for good?
Four days left.
Private beach (…and boat).
Not so invisible girl.
And maybe less of a jerk-faced bully than originally thought.
What’s the worst (or the best) that could happen?
Kaitlyn is finding life outside of the science cabinet of obscurity to be quite illuminating …and so are her pants.
When things heat up between Kaitlyn Parker and Martin—previously known as the jerk-faced bully—Sandeke, she places her trust in the one person she never thought capable of earning it, let alone keeping it safe. Fortunately or unfortunately for Kaitlyn, where she gives her trust she can’t help but also give her heart.
But how will the world beyond the sanctuary of their newfound connection react to their relationship? Soon senators, chinless billionaires, and elements beyond Martin and Kaitlyn’s control want to weigh in on the young couple’s future.
Navigating the chaotic inferno of new love might be more than Kaitlyn bargained for, and much, much more than her trust—or her heart—can handle.
…What’s the worst that could happen?
It’s been nine months since Kaitlyn Parker has seen or heard from Martin Sandeke—nine months and five stages of matter. She’s lived through the worst of first-love heartbreak, and is most certainly stronger (and less likely to hide in science cabinets) than ever before.
But now Martin is back. And he wants to be friends. But he’s sending mixed signals to the Bunsen burner in Kaitlyn’s pants.
Will Martin re-capture Kaitlyn’s heart? Can Kaitlyn and Martin ever be just friends? Or, despite an abundance of chemistry, are some bonds just too unstable to endure?
Disclosure: I am a diehard Penny Reid fan and this e-book was provided by the author at no charge to me. Actually, the three parts of the book were sent one at a time and I’m so glad I waited until I had all 3 e-arcs in hand before I started reading. I have so many thoughts all jumbling together but all that keeps coming out is “wow”. Penny Reid is an auto-buy author for me – her characters are funny and relatable. So many sighs, some dreamy and some sad, and many laughs-out-loud. This is different from her Neanderthal series and different from The Hooker and the Hermit, and yet still amazingly good. My Rating: 5 stars.
Vicious Cycle by Katie Ashley:
New York Times bestselling author Katie Ashley revs up the danger and sexual tension in her brand-new Vicious Cycle romance series.
Deacon Malloy’s life is dedicated to the Hell’s Raiders motorcycle club. Tough, hard, and fast with his fists, he serves the group as sergeant at arms. But his devil-may-care approach to life is thrown for a loop when the five-year-old daughter he never knew existed lands on the club steps.
Alexandra Evans is devoted to all her students—but there’s always been something about Willow Malloy that tugs at her heart. There’s an aura of sadness about her, a girl in need of all the love Alexandra can give. When Willow stops coming to school, Alexandra’s search leads to a clubhouse full of bikers…and a father hell-bent on keeping his daughter always within sight.
The moment Deacon sees Alexandra, he has to have her in his bed—and he’s never met a woman yet who couldn’t be persuaded. No matter how attracted she is to Deacon, Alexandra refuses to be just another conquest. But it’s Deacon himself who could be seduced—into a brighter future for himself, his daughter, and the woman he’s falling for against all odds.
I liked the world but there were some issues with the heroine acting out of character (a goody-good school teacher is not going to suddenly throw back shots and dance on the bar in a biker club? Doubtful). I’m intrigued by one of the side-characters, whose story is next. I received this book free of charge at the RT Booklover’s Convention. My Rating: 3 stars.
Radiance by Grace Draven:
~THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE~
Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.
~THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE~
Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light. Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.
A wonderful fantasy romance. If you liked The Last Hour of Gann, you’ll like this. If you thought Gann was too long or too violent, try Radiance instead. (If you haven’t read The Last Hour of Gann, you need to. Seriously. Click here for my raving review.) I loved the hero and heroine and their sense of humor about their situations. I also loved their slow, sweet romance that neither of them expected. Also, Radiance has great worldbuilding. Fun fact: Grace Draven walked past me at RT but but I was too shy to say hi. At one event, this book was one of the giveaway choices and I recommended it to everyone who passed the table. I own it in print and ebook. My Rating: 5 stars.
Have you read anything recently that knocked your socks off? Or is there something coming out that you just can’t wait for?
Share in the comments!