The Booby Trap by Anne Browning Walker

I received an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Book description via NetGalley:

Welcome to The Booby Trap, a seedy bar where waitresses’ skirts are high, necklines are low and customers show up for the eye candy.

When brainy, beautiful, Harvard Ph.D. candidate Bambi Benson wants to study the women of the the Booby Trap for her dissertation, she goes undercover and joins them.  All is going well for Bambi until handsome local celebrity Trip Whitley enters the scene.

Hoping to shock his high-society family by dating a bimbo, Trip offers to pay Bambi to pretend to be his girlfriend.  She accepts his offer and bides her time, waiting for the right moment to reveal her true identity and teach Trip not to judge based on appearances.

After a series of dates carefully orchestrated for their publicity value, Bambi’s trap is set.  But there’s one problem: the predator might have fallen in love with her prey.

Trip works for the family business, a dating service called Belles and Beaux, which his father runs. Being that he is practically the face of the company, his father wants him to find someone to date for at least nine months to boost the company’s reputation. Feeling inconvenienced with this request, he sets out to find the least classiest girl to bring home, and what’s less classier than a blonde named Bambi with big boobs, who works at a bar called The Booby Trap? Little does he know that after setting up a fake-dating agreement with Bambi, she has a totally different agenda of her own. From the beginning, Bambi is aware of and is used to being judged by her appearance and her name so she decides to agree to the fake-date plan, which contributes to her research and allows her to teach Trip a lesson in judging a book by it’s cover.

I loved Trip and Bambi! Trip is your typical hot playboy, who everyone underestimates and treats as a spoiled rich kid. Bambi is a strong and intelligent woman and a force to be reckoned with. Together, their chemistry is explosive! I ridiculously enjoyed reading this book very much! It was a very sweet and light read, and makes for the perfect read if you’re in between books or just need a break from drama and angst. If this is just the first in a series, I would be more than happy to read the next! I would love to read more from this author.

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Three Stages of Love: Lust by T.C. Anthony

I received an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Book description via NetGalley:

Evangeline Chase is standing at the edge of a crossroad. After choosing to be blissfully ignorant for far too long and willfully ignoring what her life has been lacking, fate is about to intervene. When Alexander Mason, a striking and powerful venture capitalist, is introduced as her new boss, Eva is overwhelmed by an intoxicating cocktail of hormones and lust that leaves her struggling to maintain her composure and more importantly, control of her life. 

With an undeniable urge to dominate her new boss, her own lust-filled fantasies lead to a transformation that shakes her to her core. But when Alexander challenges Eva to satisfy her carnal urges, she is forced to choose between her career, her desires, and an unconventional and lustful relationship. Consumed by fear and forced to maintain control at all costs, Eva must decide if having it all is worth risking her career, her world, and possibly, love.

Three Stages of Love: Lust is the first book in a suspenseful new erotic romance series that explores the questions that young women have while embarking on their journey through life and love. Eva’s transformation from prim and proper to fun and dominating proves to be one of the most erotically intriguing personal makeovers around. Her passion for her career and life goals ultimately gives way to uninhibited encounters that leave her intoxicated and yearning for more. Eva’s emotional battle between her heart and mind leave her juggling with a desire to have it all and a profound fear of losing everything.

Written to illustrate the average, driven woman’s point of view, Three Stages of Love: Lust tackles the everyday fears and desires that young women have in an intoxicatingly erotic way. A gripping, palpitation-inducing romance full of underlying themes that are extraordinarily relevant to modern women, this enthralling erotic novel by T. C. Anthony is a must-read for women of all backgrounds.

I totally loved the concept of this book! BUT first off, I want to get a few pieces of constructive criticism out of the way because I think this author has AMAZING potential and I believe this to be her first piece of work. The word ‘giggling’ was a little overused, I was relieved to see ‘chuckled’ as a substitute toward the end of the book, and I don’t think males giggle too often. Also, everything happened REALLY fast. Within days actually and I think I would have preferred everything to unfold with a wider timeline (maybe weeks?) so that I get a chance to connect with the relationship.

ANYWAY, I really do love the idea of this story. It is a romance and erotica and the author definitely knows her romance and erotica! This series will definitely be equal competition to the Fifty Shades of Grey series and Bared To You series. This book was a great introduction into the world of bdsm novels. I’m not a big fan of the bdsm stuff, but this never went overboard; it featured light bondage and some use of toys so it wasn’t overwhelming and I was never thinking what the hell is happening?! The sexual chemistry was hot and the sex scenes were steamy and plentiful. I loved the main characters, Eva and Alexander. Alexander is the typical hot, rich, alpha male, but he isn’t too overbearing or over controlling, and we are introduced to his sweet side early on. He wants what he wants and he doesn’t play games. Though stubborn as hell, I really loved Eva. She isn’t the typical woe-is-me virgin plain jane. Alexander definitely meets his match in Eva. She likes sex, she doesn’t mind experimenting or trying new things, and she too wants to be in control. FINALLY AN ALPHA FEMALE!!! Definitely one of my favorite female book characters!

Like I said before, this author has lots of potential. I think this series will only get better and better! I can’t wait to read more from this author, especially more about Eva and Alexander!

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Accidentally On Purpose by L.D. Davis

Description via Amazon:

Emmy thinks her boss Kyle Sterling of Sterling Corporations is a dick.
So, she sleeps with him.

Emmy tries to put the mistake behind her, but then finds herself snowed in with Kyle. As the snow builds, so does the heat in the house between the two. The problem is that Kyle has a steady girlfriend that he is unwilling to break up with. Emmy cuts Kyle off and starts dating Luke. Even as their relationship takes off, Emmy is finding Kyle hard to shake. He is blatant in his feelings and desires for Emmy, putting her in an awkward situation. She tries hard to resist Kyle, but deep down inside Emmy’s motives are shady. When Emmy succumbs to her hidden feelings for Kyle without setting Luke free, devastating consequences ensue.

In addition to her two men, Emmy daydreams about doing violent things to her loud mouthed, opinionated mother.

With some humor and sarcasm, and of course some tequila, Emmy’s world will flip upside down as she deals with the results of “accidentally on purpose” falling for two men at once.

DO NOT let the description of this book fool you. What I thought would be sweet story with a little love triangle action, turned out to be nothing I expected yet everything I love to read about. This story is so full of emotion, I seriously can’t believe that the author only has two books under her belt.

I don’t want to give a single thing away because this really is one of those books that you just have to read to understand it’s amazingness. I was pulled in from the start and wasn’t even sure which guy to root for. I was just as confused and stuck between the two as Emmy was. She made a lot of stupid decisions but somehow I connected with her so I understood that it was essential for her to experience the repercussions of those decisions to build her character. But damn, up to the very end, I seriously wasn’t sure who the hell I was rooting for. I was so conflicted, even when every truth was laid out on the table, I was still not sure! Can she just have both? Um… CAN I just have both?! No? Fine, just kidding then…

Aside from the angst, there were lots of LOL moments and a few that made my heart ache. There was a lot of drama but it was just enough where it didn’t turn into a soap opera. I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up being made into a movie one day. This was seriously an amazing story. I can’t believe how much happened in only a few hundred pages… and I can’t believe that I still want more! I kind of, sort of want to know more about the guy she didn’t choose… but MAN, it’s going to be hard to accept that he’s not with Emmy. Definitely adding this to my list of favorites 🙂 Can’t wait to read more from L.D. Davis!

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The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Book description via Amazon:

I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk. 

Full of rage and without a purpose, former pianist Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her pay.

All 17 year-old Josh Bennett wants is to build furniture and be left alone and everyone allows it, because it’s easier to pretend he doesn’t exist. When your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, a hot mess of a girl who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. The more he gets to know her, the more of a mystery she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he may ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding or if he even wants to.

The Sea of Tranquility is a slow-building, character-driven romance about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

Content Warning: This book contains mature themes and subject matter including profanity, drug/alcohol use, and sexual situations/language.

I am completely blown away by this book. This has definitely made it to my favorites list and I think it has the top spot. It was so beautifully and emotionally written, I could feel the pain, the anger, the sadness–just everything. It conjured up emotions I didn’t know I could feel.

Nastya (NAH-stee-ya) has a heavily damaged soul due to a tragic past and she doesn’t want anyone in this new town to know anything about her or her past. She doesn’t speak, she hides who she used to be behind revealing clothes and dark make-up. She comes off as badass; girls don’t like her, guys just want to do her, and the majority of everyone is afraid of her. Josh is pretty damn badass himself. He has an equally damaged soul and everyone stays away from him as if he’s surrounded by a force field. But somehow Nastya breaks through that force field. The more time they spend together, the deeper things get, but how long can any kind of relationship, whether friends or lovers, withstand secrets?

The alternating POV’s between Nastya and Josh contributed a great deal to the rawness of the story. We get more than just a glimpse into the mind of two damaged souls. It’s not a happy read full of sunshine and lollipops. There are no hot, throw-me-around type of sex scenes. There are no proposals or pregnancies, or even pregnancy scares. This book is the farthest from your typical romance novel, yet it’s not all angst and sadness. The only word I can think of that would best describe this story? REAL. It was real. What I mean by that is though the story line is just that–a story–it feels real. Somehow I felt like I was inside of their heads. The author commands real, raw emotions from her readers, and that is definitely what she got from me.

I haven’t done much research on Katja Millay but I am hoping that there is a sequel. I can’t stand not ever reading more about Nastya and Josh. I need to know what the future holds for them because I have to know how the universe will make up for the shittiness that is their pasts.

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Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia

Book description via Amazon:

He counts her smiles every day and night at the train station. And morning and evening, the beautiful commuter acknowledges him—just like she does everyone else on the platform. But Blake Hartt is not like the others . . . he’s homeless. Memories of a broken childhood have robbed him of peace and twisted delusions into his soul. He stays secluded from the sun, sure the world would run from him in the harsh light of day.

Each day, Livia McHugh smiles politely and acknowledges her fellow commuters as she waits for the train to the city. She dismisses this kindness as nothing special, just like her. She’s the same as a million other girls—certainly no one to be cherished. But special or not, she smiles every day, never imagining that someone would rely on the simple gesture as if it were air to breathe.

When the moment comes that Livia must do more than smile, without hesitation she steps into the fray to defend the homeless man. And she’s surprised to discover an inexplicable connection with her new friend. After danger subsides, their smiles become conversation. Their words usher in a friendship, which awakens something in each of them. But it’s not long before their bond must prove its strength. Entanglements from the past challenge both their love and their lives.
Blake’s heart beats for Livia’s, even if her hands have to keep its rhythm. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love never fails. Love never fails, right?

In an interwoven tale of unlikely loves and relationships forged by fire, Debra Anastasia takes readers into the darkest corners of human existence, only to show them the radiant power of pure adoration and true sacrifice. Complicated families and confused souls find their way to light in this novel, which manages to be racy, profane, funny, and reverent all at once.

It was really hard for me to get into this book at first. I just couldn’t get past the fact that a girl falls for a homeless guy who may or may not have mental issues. But I trudged through the first few chapters and I’m glad I did. It was a great story and very well-written even if it started out as a Twilight fanfic (I am not a big fan of Twilight. Sorry!).

I liked Livia and Blake. They were both very gentle, kind-hearted people so when I got past the whole homeless thing, I was rooting for them to end up together. Especially because Blake was such a sweetheart. He may be one of the sweetest book males ever! He had so little, nothing really, yet he did theee most sweetest things for Livia! He did seem to have some mental issues, but Livia not only wanted to fix him, she encouraged him to fix himself. I loved Livia’s sister, Kyle. She was feisty and had the dirtiest potty mouth. She said whatever she wanted, when she wanted, which made for some of the most hilarious banter. The story didn’t revolve around Livia and Blake. A lot of it focused on three different relationships coming together, besides Livia and Blake’s. One relationship was between  Beckett, Blake’s foster brother, and his assistant mercenary, Eve. The other relationship was Cole, another foster brother, and Kyle. This is the first of it’s kind that I’ve read where the book is actually split between different relationships, but I don’t think it took away from the story at all.

Each relationship was unique, so it kept me interested and wanting to find out more. I’m pretty sure if it only focused on Blake and Livia, I would be wanting to know more about these other characters. And while it would be nice to read a second and third book based on the other relationships, I appreciate that the author didn’t leave me hanging with questions and concerns that wouldn’t be addressed for months. It’s not always nice to leave your readers hanging! So this was definitely a nice change.

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Find You in the Dark by A. Meredith Walters

Book description via Amazon:

Maggie Young had the market on normal. Normal friends, normal parents, normal grades…normal life. 

Until him.

Clayton Reed was running from his past and an army of personal demons that threatened to take him down. He never thought he had a chance at happiness.

Until her.

Maggie thought their love could overcome anything. Clay thought she was all he needed to fix his messy life. 

That together, they could face the world.

But the darkness is always waiting. 

Sometimes the greatest obstacle to true love is within yourself.

This book brought me back to my teenage, adolescent years of rebelling and being “in love.” My first love… it was crazy and irrational. I wanted it to last forever. We hurt each other to the core but going through the pain with your first love was better than going through the pain without them. It wasn’t true love but it was real to me and something I will never regret experiencing but definitely don’t ever want to succumb myself to again. *Sigh* So I definitely understood the intensity of Maggie and Clay’s relationship.

The author touches on very sensitive subjects that are becoming more common among the younger generation; mental illnesses and self-destructive behavior. I’m 27 so I’m at an age where I don’t understand it, but I know it exists and happens more often than not. What starts out as a sweet love story, quickly turns out to be a sad, heart breaking story between two teenagers against the world. It was beautifully written and I would be surprised if the author didn’t have first- or secondhand experience with the taboos in this book. I love Clay and Maggie and I’m rooting for them through and through. Can’t wait to read the next installment

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In My Mind Monday – The Sweet Gum Tree edition

I read and reviewed The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred months ago and finally got the chance to read it for a second time this past weekend and man, it still gets me like the first time. It’s tear-jerking, heart breaking, and gut-wrenching, which is why it is one of my favorite books. Of course, like all of my other favorites, it was pretty hard for me to put a face to the names. I want it to be perfect. I want to do these books justice! There are so many significant characters in this book, it was too hard to get to them all but here are my picks for the ones I got to…

Nick Anderson: Tyler Hoechlin

Alix French: Leighton Meester

Lindsey: Amanda Seyfried

Hugh: Ryan Gosling


Jenna: Emma Stone

Daniel Anderson: Ricardo Antonio Hoyos

Judge: Barry Corbin

Ellie: Debra Messing

James: J.R. Bourne

Have you read this book yet? If not, GET ON IT! You will definitely not regret it! If so, would you cast this book differently? Who do you picture as your favorite characters?

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Back To You by Priscilla Glenn

Book description via Goodreads:

When Lauren Monroe first laid eyes on Michael Delaney back in high school, she had every reason to stay away from him; within minutes of their first encounter, his volatile actions confirmed his notorious reputation. But Lauren saw something in him that caused her to question his bad-boy persona, and against her better judgment, she took a chance. She had no way of knowing that the unlikely friendship they formed would become so important to her.

Or that it would end so painfully.

Eight years later, when Lauren begins her new job at Learn and Grow Day Care, Michael is the last person she expects to see. Refusing to revisit the hurt and confusion of their past, Lauren vows to keep her distance from him. But staying away from Michael proves to be more difficult than she thought, despite her lingering grief and her instincts for self-preservation.

As Lauren and Michael recall the friendship that changed them forever and the events that tore them apart, will they finally be able to heal? Or will the ghosts of Michael’s past prove to be too much to overcome?

It starts out as any other ‘good girl meets bad boy’ plot. Michael is the damaged bad boy with a heartbreaking past and Lauren is the good girl who goes against the waves and decides to befriend Michael. The chapters alternate between the past and the present, which works out really well for this story. Two parts of the story of their relationship unfold at the same time; the chapters of the past tell about Michael’s sad childhood and why he is the way he is as he grows up, and how Lauren and Michael met and became best friends.. From the start, we know that these chapters are building up to something that happened between them that caused them to not see or speak to each other for 8 years. The chapters of the present tell about their chance encounter with each other and how their attempt at rekindling the friendship they used to have. But is that possible given the circumstances that ripped them apart years before?

I loved Lauren and Michael! Lauren is the girl-next-door who sticks up for herself and those that she cares about. Michael is the bad boy who doesn’t really know how to control his anger, which makes him a target for other boys to egg on. Lauren stands by as his best friend, as Michael gets involved with all the wrong type of girls. Meanwhile, Michael tries to protect her from getting hurt by all the wrong guys. Their relationship as best friends totally tugged at my heart strings, so when the climax was finally revealed, I was heart broken! It wasn’t super overly dramatic but fairly realistic and relate-able  I wanted to reach into my kindle and punch people but hug them at the same time. And I’m not going to lie… I may have shed a tear or two… Okay, more like got really watery-eyed.

In the present, they have both moved on from their past and have forgotten about each other… Or have they?? I loved seeing them try to build back up to the friendship they had before. At first it’s awkward but they eventually get more comfortable with each other and their banter is still the same as it was when they were younger.

Like I mentioned before, the drama wasn’t over the top. There aren’t really any sex scenes, but the chemistry is definitely there. This is a beautifully told love story, filled with the perfect amount of angst and romance. I loved this book and will more than likely be reading it again.

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Sempre (Forever) by J.M. Darhower

Book description via Amazon:

This is a story about sacrifice… death… love… freedom. This is a story about forever. Haven Antonelli and Carmine DeMarco had vastly different childhoods. Haven, a second-generation slave, grew up isolated in the middle of the desert, her days full of hard work and terrifying abuse. Carmine, born into a wealthy Mafia family, lived a life of privilege, never having to answer for anything he did. 

Both now seventeen, a twist of fate causes their worlds to collide, making them question everything they ever believed. Entangled in a web of secrets and lies, they learn that while different on the surface, they have more in common than anyone would think.

In a world full of chaos, where money and power rule, Haven and Carmine yearn to break free, but a string of events that started before either were born threatens to destroy them instead. Murder and betrayal are a way of life, and nothing comes without a price– especially not freedom. How much will they have to sacrifice? Can they escape their pasts? And, most of all, what does it mean to be free? Not everything is as it seems, and no one can possibly come out unscathed, but maybe, just maybe, it’ll be worth it in the end.

Wow. This was the most sweetest yet heartbreaking and gut-wrenching story I have ever read. It was hard not to love it. I wish I didn’t wait so long to read it. It’s almost like the author took bits and pieces from some of my favorite books and brought it all together.

Haven is taken from her life of being a slave and is forced into the DeMarco household by Dr. DeMarco himself. She meets his two sons, Dominic and Carmine, and begins her transition from being a slave to being normal. But what is normal when all you’ve ever known has always been far from it? The longer she stays there, the deeper her connection gets with Carmine and the more she learns about the tragedy that the DeMarcos have suffered from, which may involve her more than anyone let on. Carmine and Haven are from two very different worlds, almost opposite ends of the spectrum, yet they are more similar on the inside than they realize.

First, I think you should know that this is a very VERY long book. I only have the ebook but I imagine its hardback to be the similar in size to the last Harry Potter hardback. I don’t like stories that drag on so I promise you that this does NOT drag on. In fact, I never wanted to finish it. It could have easily been split into 2, maybe even 3 books but THANK YOU J.M. DARHOWER FOR NOT DOING THAT!

The first part of the book covers Haven’s transitioning into the DeMarco household. We meet the family and get a glimpse into Dr. Vincent DeMarco’s life in the mafia (I don’t think they like it to be called that but it’s the only word I can think of that describes that lifestyle) and how much he wants his sons to stay away from that type of life. We get a feel for hot badboy Carmine, Vincent’s youngest son, of course he’s a trouble-making manwhore with a potty mouth, just the way I like it! And we get into Haven’s head as she adjusts to their world. The second part of the book is pretty much Carmine’s and Haven’s story of coming together and trying to work things out, despite the circumstances. They try to just be together without having their pasts or backgrounds get in the way. It’s one of the sweetest love stories and also the most heartbreaking because we see what broke their souls in their pasts and how they still struggle with that pain. We also see Haven’s growth and progress in Carmine’s world, as she meets his friends and learns how to do small things she never dreamed she would like grocery shopping and driving. The last part of the book is full of action and suspense as Haven’s and Carmine’s backgrounds crash into each other; sh*t hits the fan. Their worlds collide and the consequences end in blood shed.

Is it a happy ending? Is it a tragic one? READ IT TO FIND OUT! There is a lot more to this story than what is in its book description. I had this on my wishlist for a while because I wasn’t sure I would like it but now after reading it, I want to punch myself in the face for waiting for so long. J.M. Darhower’s blog mentions that a sequel is in the works. Yes f*cking please! I will be the first to pre-order that sucker. I will take whatever you got, Darhower! Sequel, short story, excerpt, follow-up, spin-off about Dominic? JUST GIVE ME MORE!

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Checkmate by R.L. Mathewson

Book description via Amazon:

There’s nothing worse than living next door to your childhood nemesis, except maybe being forced to share your dream project with him, being blackmailed into going along with something that was just wrong on so many levels, and having your hot cocoa stolen by the person that drove you to drink it in the first place.

As long as she has plenty of hot cocoa, a pair of pliers on hand and is able to resist Connor O’Neil’s bad boy charm then Rory James should be able to make it through this project with her sanity intact. If not….. She’d probably face a few more nights in jail, have a few more restraining orders slapped against her and lose her heart to the man that ruined her life.

This is the third book in the Neighbor From Hell series and is by far my favorite one! This series gets funnier and hotter with each book. I love each couple from the other books but Rory and Connor definitely take the cake.

Connor and Rory have been tormenting each other since childhood. Years later, they own rival construction companies and are forced to work together on a high-priority project. Connor approaches Rory with a deal that could possibly make her dreams come true, all she has to do is to pretend to date Connor for 5 months. Unbenknownst to Rory, Connor has his own agenda, which is to take over her construction company and win over her brothers so that they work for him. But as the story unfolds, the plan doesn’t go exactly that way. Things start changing between the two of them and everything starts going in a totally different direction.

I loved Connor and Rory. Their banter and longtime rivalry is hilarious! Rory is a sexy tomboy who was practically raised by her dad and five brothers. She’s as stubborn as most males and I loved her for it! She is definitely one of my favorite female characters. Connor has been her tormentor for most of her life but he has also been her knight in shining armor on the sly. He loves torturing and annoying her to no ends, but he also holds a soft spot for her. I loved him and at the same time I loved to hate him. He was the biggest jerk and sweetest guy at the same time!

Though this isn’t based on any of the Bradford brothers like the first two books, they do make an appearance because they are Rory’s cousins. The other couples, Haley and Jason, and Zoe and Trevor, also make an appearance. And of course when all the Bradfords are present, hilarity ensues. I’m crossing my fingers that the series doesn’t end here, I would definitely love to read something based on any one of Rory’s brothers!

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