complicated, by kristen ashley

If I can offer one piece of advice with audiobooks: Don’t listen to one where you have preconceived notions of what the characters sound like, you’re apt to be disappointed. Not the case with Complicated. This stand alone novel has been released as an audiobook only until November 2017, when it will be available in print. Since it’s not part of a series, there was little to no room for disappointment and it’s by one of my most beloved authors, Kristen Ashley.

The story begins in the midst of a 1-night stand. Or rather, at the end. Hickson (Hicks) is fleeing the home of Greta after they met at the club where she sings part-time. He’s the local sheriff, 3-months divorced, begrudgingly, and Greta is a full-time hair dresser during the day.

With the ink barely dry on the papers dissolving his long-time union to Hope, which produced 3 children, the last thing Hicks is looking for is a relationship. Greta, on the other hand, is ever hopeful in spite of her wrong-side-of-the-tracks upbringing and streak of general bad luck. She too was married but her divorce was long ago and left a shadow of ‘it just won’t happen for me’ over her expectations for love. So when Hicks is hastily fleeing her bedroom, Greta, while hurt, is not all that surprised.

With a special needs brother who lives in a facility that offers the best possible care and a mother with no qualms about blackmailing her daughter for money—Greta has her hands full. But she also has a support system composed of the owner of the salon she works in and the proprietor of the club she sings at. Not to mention a local community who comes to her aid in spite of the prom king and queen status Hicks and his ex-wife essentially hold in the town.

The title of the book describes the relationship between Hicks and Greta. For those who are in a marriage or have had the unfortunate experience of divorce, you know that relationships in and of themselves are complicated. With elements such as local gossip, young children, and a murder thrown in—it only serves to make things more convoluted.

Kristen Ashley, true to form,  managed to make us care deeply about the characters she has brought to life through the power of the pen—or in this case, the spoken word. The pain and anguish that Hicks feels for a divorce that was forced upon him leaves us bereft and sympathetic. He’s trying to do the right thing for his family and ultimately himself by learning to live again.

With interwoven intrigue and sex scenes that will leave you blushing, Complicated is a story rife with emotion about people you could easily know and love. The sexual tension, underlying suspense, and deep emotional connection to the characters once again, has us praising Ashley for her storytelling.

If you can wait until the print version of Complicated hits the market in November, you are stronger than I am. At just over 15 hours on audiobook, I managed to finish in about 2 days—listening at every opportunity I could find. And if you’re new to audiobooks, like I was, this is one that won’t disappoint.


hollywood dirt, by alessandra torre

This was a fun and relatively fast read. There was a lot of humor infused with real emotion and just the right amount of sexual tension. Alessandra Torre is quickly becoming one of my most adored authors and I could easily go on a binge devouring one book after another from her. In this case, Hollywood Dirt is being made into a movie. And while not a big budget summer release, casting has begun and you’re sure to recognize a face or two on the big screen when it’s brought to life.

Cole Masten, the hero (a term used loosely) is the epitome of an egotistical a*s. He’s Hollywood elite, with over-the-top good looks and talent for days, all slathered in charm. He’s also the male half of ‘Codia,’ being married to Nadia Smith, a Hollywood starlet in her own right. But the demise of the Cole/Nadia acronym is upon them.

After returning home one day, Cole discovers Nadia engaged in extra curricular activities with another man in their bathroom. Needless to say, Cole doesn’t take it well. After arranging a meeting between the other man’s head and shoulder with a ceramic elephant, the divorce of “Codia” ensues; along with a lot of bad behavior on Cole’s part.

Enter Summer. A down home, tell it like it is, care free southern girl. She manages to wrangle a job on Cole’s next movie as an assistant to the location scout. But what starts out as a short-term assistant gig, turns into the part of a lifetime for Summer and as it were, Cole.

The interactions between Cole and Summer are rife with will they/won’t they as well as insults and pranks galore. It makes for a well-written enjoyable story that takes a light-hearted approach to dealing with serious matters of the heart. The reader has the dual benefit of knowing what’s going on inside both Cole and Summer’s head to get a clear view of where they stand, even though they aren’t expressing it to one another. Peppered with one liners and secondary characters almost as entertaining as the primary, this is one book I hope the movie-makers do right by.

asking for it/begging for it, by lilah pace

asking begging for itingredients:
Drama and suspense.

This series deals explicitly with fantasies of non-consensual sex. Readers sensitive to portrayals of non-consensual sex should be advised.






This was a bit of a dark read. Not as dark as some other books I’ve read, but still, dark. As if the disclaimer didn’t already give that away…

Vivienne is looking to have certain fantasies fulfilled and her boyfriend isn’t exactly on board. So when at party her recent ex lets it fly why he wasn’t the man for Viv, there were several people within earshot who take notice. Enter Jonah.

Jonah comes from a very entitled background and gives new meaning to sexy and brooding. A professor at the college where Viv is taking graduate classes, their worlds collide through a mutual friend, which only makes their newfound ‘arrangement’ all the more awkward.

While the premise of the ‘arrangement’ seems, on the surface, like a theme that’s already been done to death, trust me when I say, “This time it’s different.” The explosive secrets in both Viv and Jonah’s pasts are enough to tear apart their relationship and make each one second guess what they’re doing and for very good reasons.

Asking For It and Begging For It are titles that represent both what you are thinking, but then again, not quite…

difficulty level:
Hard. This was not hard to read because of the writing, but because of the topic. There was abuse and the role-playing that was done is not for the faint of heart. An interesting story with difficult topics handled fairly well.

the player, by kresley cole

Drama and suspense.

If you’re a fan of Cole’s Game Maker series, this is the final installment.







I was sucked into this series with the first book, The Professional. That book was released in 3 parts and I was on pins and needles waiting for each installment. The Master came along and my expectations were very high, but weren’t quite met. And now we have The Player

This book follows a family of con artists. And not being familiar with the con industry, I was considerably lost with all of the jargon that was being used. What’s worse, I didn’t really care what the words meant. The only problem, you needed to know the lingo in order to follow what was happening–especially at the end.

Victoria Valentine is a grifter and Dmitri Sevastyan is a self-made billionaire and computer genius. Victoria’s family is made up of grifters and they owe a lot of money to someone who has given them little time to pay up. When Dmitri appears on the scene, he seems ripe for the picking. Seducing a ‘mark’ like Dmitri is normally left to Karin, Victoria’s sister. However, after all but dismissing Karin at a party, Dmitri becomes obsessed and focused solely on Victoria, good news, right?

The majority of the story is spent with Victoria agonizing over taking Dmitri for a ride and the reader wondering what mysterious secret Dmitri himself is hiding. The problem is, there isn’t enough character development for Victoria or her family for you to really like her or to become attached. And Dmitri, while like-able, is more creepy than anything else due to his immediate obsession with a woman he just met.

By the end of the book there’s a big revelation by both the hero and the heroine. Which has to culminate with a long explanation because jargon aside, it’s just so confusing as to what is going on with the 2 of them. The Professional was such a strong start to this series that of course there were high hopes for the other books. While The Master was tolerable, The Player is just an utter disappointment.

difficulty level:
Medium. Being a fan of Cole’s and the series it was incredibly upsetting that the final installment in the series was such a let down. Coupled with the hero and heroine both being annoying, it made for a challenging read at times.


seal’s honor, by elle james

seal's honoringredients:
Drama, humor, and action.

If you like a predictable military story with a fair amount of s*x, get your hands on this one.






Tuck is a the leader of a top-notch Navy SEAL team and Delaney, aka Razor, is one of the very few female Army pilots flying at all, let alone extraction missions. They both agree that being involved with each other is something that can’t be discovered by either of their teams/military brethren and neither is interested in a long-term relationship. After all, with the types of missions they’re involved in, no one is promised tomorrow.

But not all of Tuck’s teammates have that same philosophy. Cory, aka Reaper, not only disagrees with Tuck’s don’t get too close way of thinking, but he too sees what is so special about Delaney and isn’t afraid to show it. And Reaper being Tuck’s best friend, doesn’t help the already tenuous situation.

With marriage proposals, crew losses, and injuries this is an action-packed novel; and a brief one too. The story is very predictable and the characters could use a bit more depth, especially Tuck. Because the book is so short, it doesn’t give you a chance to really get to know and like them so you’re not very vested in what happens to them.

I had the pleasure of meeting the author of Seal’s Honor at a book convention and she was so awesome in person that I downloaded the book as we were standing in line for a session. As such, it pains me that I couldn’t write a more stellar review for the book. It’s the first in a series and I can only hope that the others get better as the stories progress. However, I myself will cease and desist with this book.

difficulty level:
Medium. There was an annoyance factor with this book, primarily due to the hero’s behavior, which made it difficult to read at times.