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I Belong

Review: Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

February 27th, 2015 Bridget Posted in Review No Comments »

Killer InstinctTitle: Killer Instinct

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Genre: YA Mystery

Series: The Naturals (Book #2)

Publication Date: November 5, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 386 Pages

ISBN-10: 1423168321 (Disney-Hyperion)

ISBN-13: 978-1423168324 (Disney-Hyperion)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes has a gift for profiling people. Her talent has landed her a spot in an elite FBI program for teens with innate crime-solving abilities, and into some harrowing situations. After barely escaping a confrontation with an unbalanced killer obsessed with her mother’s murder, Cassie hopes she and the rest of the team can stick to solving cold cases from a distance.

But when victims of a brutal new serial killer start turning up, the Naturals are pulled into an active case that strikes too close to home: the killer is a perfect copycat of Dean’s incarcerated father—a man he’d do anything to forget. Forced deeper into a murderer’s psyche than ever before, will the Naturals be able to outsmart the enigmatic killer’s brutal mind games before this copycat twists them into his web for good?

With her trademark wit, brilliant plotting, and twists that no one will see coming, Jennifer Lynn Barnes will keep readers on the edge of their seats (and looking over their shoulders) as they race through the pages of this thrilling novel.

Quick & Dirty: A suspenseful mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat. With a twisty-turny plot, witty characters, and unique idea this is by far one of my favorite YA mystery series!!!

Opening Sentence: The majority of children who are kidnapped and killed are dead within three hours of the abduction.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

The Naturals are a group of extremely talented teenagers the FBI have recruited to work on cold cases. Each one of them has a very unique ability that makes them extremely useful when it comes to solving cases. Cassie Hobbes is a part of the group and she has the ability to profile people by just observing them. She just recently had a terrible run in with a serial killer that was obsessed with Cassie’s mother’s murder, and the whole experience has left Cassie shaken. She can’t believe she didn’t see all the signs pointing to the killer and she starts to wonder if she is really an asset to the team or a burden. Hopefully she can prove herself by solving some of the cold cases the Naturals have been assigned to.

But soon a brutal serial killer strikes and the bodies start to pile up. The FBI needs help and they once again decide to pull the Naturals into an active case because the killer seems to be a perfect copy cat of a very infamous serial killer who happens to be Dean’s father. Dean has tried to forget his father and all the horrible things that happened while living with him, but he soon realizes that you can’t run from your past. With the help of the Naturals, Dean will have to visit his past and try to solve the case before they get caught up in the serial killers very dangerous web!

I loved Cassie in the first book and my fondness for her just continued to grow in this story. She is obviously very intelligent, but I love that she also follows her gut even if the facts are pointing to something different. I did feel that she had a lot more insecurities in this book then the first, but I loved seeing a more vulnerable side to her. Out of all of the members of the Naturals team she is the one that feels the most emotions. Most of them have shut off their emotions, so it is easier to cope with what type of work they are doing, but Cassie isn’t wired to be that way which is a good and a bad thing. It makes it so she can see things from a different perspective and she is determined to solve all their cases. But it also makes her way more attached and in her line of work they aren’t always going to be fast enough to save everyone. Overall, I think that she is a well rounded character that I absolutely adore.

Dean is the other profiler that is part of the Naturals team and he is also one of the love interests. In many ways I felt like this was Dean’s story. You learn so much about his background and why he is the way he is. He is a very broody guy that tends to shut everyone out which can be really frustrating, but as you learn more about him you understand why he does. His relationship with Cassie is very hot and cold, but because they are both natural profilers they understand each other in ways no else can. Cassie brings out the best in Dean, but I’m not a hundred percent sure that he brings out the best in her. I like Dean, but I don’t know if I would personally pick him for Cassie.

Michael is amazing at reading people. From the sound of their voice to their facial expressions he can pretty much tell what people are thinking. He is a very charming guy, but in many ways he is also chameleon. He has so many shades to his personality and it is very rare he ever lets the real him shine through. There are a few moments with Cassie when you get to see the real him, but for the most part he is a mystery. I loved Michael and I think that his relationship with Cassie is adorable. They have amazing chemistry and the amount of patience Michael shows while waiting for her to decide who she wants really made me love him even more. Personally, they clicked for me and I think that out of the two love interests, I would want Cassie to pick Michael.

I have to say just a couple things about the other two members of the Naturals group because they are such a vital part to the story. First there is Lia, who is a human lie detector. She has a very lively personality and she doesn’t get along with Cassie very well. She is very stubborn, but she also cares deeply for the few people in her life she has let in. There is still a lot to learn about her and I really hope more of her story is told in future books. The last member of the group is Sloane. She is the numbers person. You can pretty much give her any kind of puzzle and she will be able to mathematically figure out an answer, which makes her extremely valuable to the team. But it has also made her really awkward in any kind of social situation. She is brutally honest and totally weird at times, but she is probably my favorite character. I love how she tries to lighten the mood by sprouting off useless statistics and how she is always doing crazy experiments to pass the time.

All I can say about this series is WOW!!! The first book was amazing and this one was just as good. I will admit that I was able to figure out the plot a little bit easier in this book then the first but there were still a few things that took me by complete surprise. I am always looking for a good mystery that doesn’t have your run of the mill plot and this one didn’t at all. It is slower paced, but the suspense is running so high the whole time you don’t really notice. I also love that Barnes really pays attention to the little details in the cases the kids are trying to solve; it makes everything feel so real and creepier. I adored all the characters in the story, especially the other naturals. They each are so unique and I would honestly love to learn more about each of them. The only thing that I wish the book had was a little bit more romance. There is some, but I felt that the love triangle was much more predominant then I personally would have liked. I’m not sure if there are going to be any more books in the series, but I certainly hope so because there is still so much I want to know about the world and characters. If you have not read this series, I urge you to, especially if you are a fan of YA mysteries!!!

Notable Scene:

“I’ve been better.” Dean could have stopped there, but he didn’t. Each syllable was hard-won, and my gut twisted as I realized just how much it was costing him to form these words. “The professor they’re looking for, the one who teaches the Monsters or Men class? I’d bet a lot of money that the reason he’s a person of interest is that one of the killers he lectures about in his class is my father.” Dean swallowed and stared holes into the carpet. “The reason Briggs and Sterling were called in is that they were the original agents on my father’s case.”

I remembered what it had felt like to walk through a crime scene, knowing it had been patterned after my mother’s murder. Dean had been there with me. He’d been there for me.

“Bind them. Brand them. Cut them. Hang them,” I said softly. “That was how your father killed his victims.” I didn’t phrase it as a question, because I knew. Just by looking at Dean, I knew.

“Yes,” Dean said, before lifting his eyes to look at the still muted TV. “And I’m almost certain that’s what was done to this girl.

The Naturals Series:

1. The Naturals

2. Killer Instinct

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FTC Advisory:  Disney-Hyperion provided me with a copy of Killer Instinct.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Early Review: Liar’s Inc. by Paula Stokes

February 27th, 2015 Bridget Posted in Review No Comments »

Liars, Inc.Title: Liar’s Inc.

Author: Paula Stokes

Genre: YA Mystery

Series: N/A

Publication Date: March 24, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062323288 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062323286 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

For fans of Gone Girl, I Hunt Killers, and TV’s How to Get Away with Murder.

Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called “Captivating to the very end,” Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.

Quick & Dirty: Amazing dark and sexy mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end. I was instantly hooked and found it almost impossible to put this down!

Opening Sentence: I DON’T MAKE TO-DO LISTS, but if I did, today’s would have gone something like this: 1. get drunk, 2. get laid, 3. go surfing (not necessarily in that order).

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Max Cantrell is an average teenage boy in his senior year of high school. He has an amazing girlfriend, an awesome best friend, and a great new family.  His real parents are dead and he was lucky to get adopted by a really nice couple. He is an average student and not really athletic, but there is one thing he is exceptionally good at and that is lying. When an opportunity comes along where he can make some fast cash by creating alibi’s for his rich classmates he can’t pass it up. Together with his best friend Preston, and his girlfriend Parvati, they form Liars Inc., a place students can go to for forged permission slips, cover stories, or whatever they may need for a small payment. Soon business is booming and the money is flowing in.

Then Preston asks Max for a cover story so he can go visit a girl who lives in Vegas that he met online. Max doesn’t hesitate to help out his best friend, but then something goes terribly wrong. Preston doesn’t come home and Max is the main suspect in his disappearance. Soon they find Preston’s body and all the clues point to Max as the killer. Max would never hurt anyone especially, Preston, but the evidence says different. Will Max be able to clear his name before it is too late or will he end up in prison for a crime he didn’t commit?

I adored Max and found it really refreshing to be inside his head. I will admit that I don’t seem to read many books that have a male protagonist and it was a really nice change for me. The main thing I loved about Max is that he is just a normal boy living a fairly normal life. He doesn’t really have any exceptional talents, but he is okay with that. He does have a tragic past, but he hasn’t let that dictate the person he has become. Instead of wallowing in pity like many people would; he has learned to move on from the pain and still be a good person. But just because Max is average doesn’t mean he’s not resourceful. He is smart and when it comes to solving Preston’s murder it is a do or die situation for him, so he refuses to give up. I love Max as a character and really enjoyed reading his story.

While I loved Max I think that Parvati was my favorite character in the book. She is so spunky and rebellious it was hard not to love her.  She has extremely strict parents and it amazes me that she still manages to be so independent. She doesn’t care what other people think of her and she is extremely intelligent. I also loved that she is a different ethnicity then Max, it adds a good diverse element to the story. Her relationship with Max is difficult at times because her parents have forbidden her from seeing him, so they have to keep their relationship a secret. In many ways they are a very unlikely couple, but I think they really complement each other well. But Parvati is far from perfect and as her flaws start to surface you realize how much she hides behind her witty personality. I loved all the different elements that were expressed through her character and I thought she was a great addition to the book.

Liar’s Inc. was such a fun story that was full of suspense, mystery, and action! From the first moment I started reading I was instantly hooked and I found it hard to put down. The plot was very intriguing and really keeps you guessing until the very end. There is also a little bit of romance in the story, and to be quite frank it is on the steamy side for a YA book, which personally I love, but I know not everyone does. I have read other books by Stokes and I can say that she is an amazing writer. She just knows how to weave all the perfect elements together to make very entertaining yet emotional stories.  This is my personal favorite from her so far, but I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next. I would highly recommend this to anyone that is looking for a dark and sexy young adult mystery!

Notable Scene:

AND JUST LIKE THAT, MY birthday went from a sleeping dream to a waking nightmare. I barely remember brandishing the gun, running from the feds, leaping from the cliff into the frigid water below.

But I’ve passed the last fifteen minutes or so in the river, mostly beneath the surface. That’s one good thing about surfing. You spend enough time getting sucked under by rogue waves, you get good at holding your breath.

My lungs finally give up the last little bits of air and I pop up into the night, just far enough to suck in a couple more deep breaths. Around me, the roar of the water sounds muffled. My ears are still throbbing from the sound of the gun going off. Hopefully it didn’t do permanent damage.

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FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Liar’s Inc.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

February 27th, 2015 Bridget Posted in Review No Comments »

The NaturalsTitle: The Naturals

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Genre: YA Mystery

Series: The Naturals (Book #1)

Publication Date: November 5, 2013

Format: Hardcover, 308 Pages

ISBN-10: 1423168232 (Disney-Hyperion)

ISBN-13: 978-1423168232 (Disney-Hyperion)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides—especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own. Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

Quick & Dirty: Amazing young adult mystery that was full of wonderful characters, sweet romance, and a very intriguing plot! This is one of the best mysteries I have read in a really long time and I would highly recommend it!

Opening Sentence: You’ve chosen and chosen well.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Cassie has always been good at reading people. It was a trait Cassie’s mother taught her at a very young age so Cassie could help her mother with her physic business. But 5 years ago her mother was brutally murdered and the case was never solved. Cassie eventually developed her skills to the point that she could tell a great deal about someone just by studying them and the environment they are in. She never thought it was that big of a deal until the FBI contacts her with a proposition. They have put together a very special unit for teenagers that have very unique talents.

Michael can read emotions and facial express to the point that he can basically tell what you are thinking. Lia is a human lie detector, and then there is Sloane, a girl that has an amazing talent when it comes to numbers and figuring out patterns. Lastly, there is Dean who is a profiler just like Cassie. All the kids come from very different backgrounds and they all have their own secrets as to why they have come to be part of the group known as the Naturals.

The FBI has put together this little team so they can figure out cold cases that were never solved. But soon there is a killing spree right near home and Cassie finds herself drawn to this particular killer. It turns out that there may be a connection to her mother’s murder and Cassie will do anything to solve the case even if it means putting herself in danger. If the Naturals expect to win this very dangerous game they are going to have to work together and use all their gifts in order to survive.

I adored Cassie from the moment I met her. Being inside her head was really fascinating. The type of things she would notice about people and the conclusions she would come to were really extraordinary. But even though she was extremely talented when it came to figuring other people out, she was totally ordinary when it came to figuring herself out. I loved that she was a normal girl with normal insecurities; it made her very easy to relate to. I also loved watching her hone her talents and seeing her grow so much as a character really helped me develop a deep connection with her. She has become one of my new favorite heroines and I can’t wait to read more of her story in the coming books.

I am going to be honest, there is a love triangle and I am completely torn on who I want Cassie to end up with. First you have the charming, confidant, and mysterious Michael, who seems a little too perfect at times. He can read people’s emotions so it is extremely hard to hide anything from him, but he is an expert on hiding his own emotions from others. I feel like we just barely got a glimpse into who Michael really is, so I am very interested to see more of his character. His relationship with Cassie is sweet and I think in many ways they bring out the best in each other.

The next boy is Dean, who is also a profiler. He is very closed off and for the most part you have no idea what he is thinking. He is a character that has a lot of layers and a very sad past. I totally understand why he is so closed off, and his reasons for pushing people away totally make sense. He and Cassie have amazing chemistry, but I wonder if they are a good match. They understand each other really well because they think the same way, but they both have a lot of demons that they have to overcome before they could ever hope to have a chance at a relationship. To be totally honest, I think I am cheering for Dean at this moment, but honestly I can see her ending up with either guy.

The Naturals was a fantastic mystery full of suspense, romance, and intrigue. In most cases when I read a mystery it is very seldom that I am actually surprised by the ending, but this one totally took me by surprise in a very good way. There were little hints as to who the killer was and once you figure everything out it totally makes sense, but I loved that Barnes kept me guessing until the very end. The pacing of the story was a little on the slower side but it worked for me. It made it so you could really catch everything that was going on and I got so engrossed with all the interesting elements that were covered in the story. The idea of having teenagers be naturals at profiling and reading people was very unique. I haven’t ever read a mystery quite like this one and I seriously can’t wait to get my hands on the next book. If you are a YA mystery fan this is a must read for you!!!

Notable Scene:

My gut told me that Agent Locke didn’t want details. She wanted the big picture.

Behavior. Personality. Environment.

I tried to integrate Purple Fleece into her surroundings. She’d chosen a seat near the edge of the food court, even though there were plenty of tables available closer to the restaurant where she’d purchased her meal. There were several people sitting near her, but she stayed focused on her food.

“She’s a student,” I said finally. “Graduate school of some kind—my money’s on med school. She’s not married, but has a serious boyfriend. She comes from an upper middle class family, heavy emphasis on the upper. She’s a runner, but not a health nut. She most likely gets up early, likes doing things that other people find painful, and if she has any siblings, they’re either younger than she is or they’re all boys.”

I waited for Agent Locke to reply. She didn’t. Neither did Dean.

To fill the silence, I added one last observation. “She gets cold really easily.”

There was no other excuse for wearing a fleece—even indoors—in July

The Naturals Series:

1. The Naturals

2. Killer Instinct

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FTC Advisory:  Disney-Hyperion provided me with a copy of The Naturals.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Gilded Lily by Delphine Dryden

February 23rd, 2015 Steph Posted in Review No Comments »

Gilded LilyTitleGilded Lily

Author: Delphine Dryden

Genre: Steampunk Romance

Series: Steam and Seduction (Book #3)

Publication Date: July 1, 2014

Format: Paperback, 304 Pages

ISBN-10: 042526579X (Berkley/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0425265796 (Berkley/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Steph

Synopsis:

HIDDEN IDENTITIES, SCANDALOUS SECRETS…
DEADLY ATTRACTION.

Frederique Murcheson’s introduction into society hasn’t gone smoothly—some would even call it a disaster. Only Freddie considers her debut a success. Her scheme to become a makesmith has gone off flawlessly. The only thing that could upset her plans now would be if someone discovered that brilliant tinker Fred Merchant is, in fact, a lady in disguise.

Wooing a spoiled heiress is not exactly Barnabas Smith-Grenville’s idea of high espionage. However, considering his brother disappeared on the job, supposedly into the most iniquitous of opium dens, he cannot expect much better. At least the assignment will afford him time to search for his brother, whom he suspects is in spy-related trouble rather than a drug-addled haze.

But when Freddie proves to be both irresistible and the key to the answers he seeks, Barnabas finds himself not only entwined in a scandalous mystery involving lethal submersibles and deranged dirigibles, but also in a dangerous game of the heart…

Quick & Dirty: An unconventional noblewoman and an awkward gentleman discover that romance can happen in the unlikeliest of circumstances in this entertaining installment of the Steam and Seduction series.

Opening Sentence: Rollo Furneval was in a position to make demands.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Frederique is not your typical noble Englishwoman. For one, she prefers to go by the name Freddie. She also has always wanted to be a makesmith, a profession no genteel woman would ever aspire to (if they aspired to a profession at all). Oh, and then there’s the fact that she often goes out dressed as “Fred Merchant” so she can make her makesmith dream come true. Definitely not your average noble!

Barnabas has come to England looking for his brother. He’s made contact with his brother’s former employer, who has given him a task: play suitor to his daughter in order to keep her out of trouble. This task does not fill him with excitement, to put it mildly. Imagine his surprise when the noblewoman he’s been asked to look after drags him into her world of makesmithing. Maybe this won’t be as bad as he thought…

If you’ve seen my review of Scarlet Devices (located here), you’ll know how much I absolutely adored that book. I was extremely eager to dive right in to book three. Unfortunately, this installment wasn’t as magical for me as the previous book, but it was still highly enjoyable, mostly due to the characters of Freddie and Barnabas. For those new to the series, this book could technically stand alone, but the storyline involving Barnabas’ brother is carried over from Scarlet Devices, so it wouldn’t hurt to read that first. As far as the steampunk aspect of the novel goes, it’s definitely very easy to understand, so those new to genre shouldn’t have any problems diving right in.

Freddie and Barnabas have wonderful chemistry together, and their every interaction just felt so real to me. Their banter with each other is simply wonderful and full of humor. I had a smile on my face most of the time I was reading. My only complaint would be that there is an instance involving a misunderstanding where their reactions felt a bit off/out of character to me.

I honestly wasn’t super interested in the mystery plot, but watching Freddie and Barnabas investigate kept things entertaining. Even though I wasn’t drawn in by the mystery, I was certainly never bored!

So, I guess overall, I’m saying that while this installment of the Steam and Seduction series wasn’t as thrilling as its predecessor, it’s still a fun time and is full of humor and a wonderful romance. If you’re looking for a quick and fun read, look no further! Personally, I’m hoping that if the series continues, the next couple featured will be Phineas and Sophie. I’m keeping my fingers crossed! Meanwhile, I’ll go back and read book one so that I can experience all this series has to offer!

Notable Scene:

He took the still-warm mug from her hands, placing it carefully on the table by the bed, and drew her off to stand in front of him. The buttons of her shirt seemed to melt open under his fingers, but he stopped cold when he saw what lay beneath once the shirt dropped to the floor.

Padding. Layers of it, bandaged into place. All sodden, heavy, and now dripping seawater onto the floor by his feet. “I’d forgotten all about this. How can you stand it?”

“At least it’s kept me warm. Here, I’ll do that.”

He plucked at a knot where she’d tied a bandage off. “No. I’ll unwrap you.”

It sounded more intriguing than it turned out to be. In truth, the bandages were tricky to remove, and the prurience Barnabas had started out with was quickly subsumed by more practical thoughts. Such as whether to find a knife and simply cut through the entire mess, saving time and effort. Freddie refused to allow this, however, as she needed the stuffing and wrappings intact to wear again the next day.

The soaked linen seemed to have congealed where it was knotted, however, and Barnabas was yawning by the time he got the first one untied and began unwinding it, passing the wad of bandage around Freddie’s midsection with quick, efficient movements. She was already at work on another knot and kept having to move her arms out of his way. It made an odd ballet, the two of them working at cross purposes until they found a rhythm that allowed them both to operate.

“This is a great deal less lascivious than I had hoped it would be.”

Steam and Seduction Series:

1. Gossamer Wing

2. Scarlet Devices

3. Gilded Lily

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FTC Advisory: Berkley/Penguin provided me with a copy of Gilded Lily. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Melt Into You by Roni Loren

February 23rd, 2015 Kristie Posted in Review No Comments »

Melt Into YouTitle: Melt Into You

Author: Roni Loren

Genre: Erotic Romance

Series: Loving on the Edge (Book #2)

Publication Date: July 3, 2012

Format: Paperback, 346 Pages

ISBN-10: 0425247716 (Berkley Heat)

ISBN-13: 978-0425247716 (Berkley Heat)

Reviewed by: Kristie

Synopsis:

Her first love has returned, and he’s brought a friend… 

After running away from home and the boy who broke her heart, Evan Kennedy has kick-started the perfect new life with her celebrity fiancé. So what if said fiancé prefers guys? She knew the deal when they got engaged. And with her ticket to The Ranch, an exclusive resort where any fantasy can be satisfied, she can find someone to fulfill her less-than-traditional desires on the side.

She just never expected that man to be Jace Austin, her old heart-breaker—all grown up, hard-bodied, and holding out a collar. She knows it’s a world-class bad idea—especially since Jace has brought along his buddy Andre, who’s every bit as irresistible. But if they can stick to the no-strings rules, so can she.

Too bad Jace has never been so good with rules. Evan is convinced “forever” is a word used only in greeting cards, but Jace and Andre have one last fantasy of hers left to fulfill. It’s time to go big or go home. And neither man has ever been a fan of going home.

Quick & Dirty: Steamy, hot and emotional novel featuring a couple with a dark past. Prepare yourself for some sizzling ménage scenes.

Opening Sentence: Most of the time temptation climbs into your lap and straddles you, demands you deal with it immediately.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Melt Into You is the second novel in the Loving on the Edge series. This series features couples who meet up at The Ranch, a place for people to explore their inner and outer sexuality without the fear of being found out. This novel is so much more than the erotic scenes. The characters undergo a variety of emtions along with a dark past. This past really shapes the heroine of the story into the woman she is today.

Evan Kennedy was 16 when Jace Austin’s family took her in as a foster child. After a year, it is no surprise that Jace and Evan grew close – a little too close. Then one day, Evan disappears. They never forgot about each other but eventually life moves on. Many years later, a chance encounter and a job opportunity find Jace and Evan back in each other’s lives.

Jace owns an adult entertainment store and he is hoping that Evan’s fiancé, a relationship expert, will promote his business. Jace doesn’t realize that Evan is hiding a huge secret about her gay fiancé. After all, who would listen to a gay relationship expert? At least, that’s what he believes so Evan helps him with his façade to the outside world. Meanwhile, Evan is really sexually repressed. She hides it as best she can but it is hard when she hears her fiancé going at it with his boyfriend. They realize it so they offer her a chance to express herself sexually before the wedding with a membership to The Ranch.

At The Ranch, Jace is flabbergasted to see Evan there. Jace immediately goes into Alpha mode wanting Evan for himself, the only problem is, Jace is a part of a team. His roommate Andre joins him for ménage situations because he doesn’t ever want another relationship with a woman. He doesn’t want to lose his heart again. He knows something isn’t quite right about the situation with Evan. He doesn’t believe Evan’s vanilla boyfriend being okay with her sleeping with other men. He can see the sadness inside of her and he vows to win her over.

After a steamy weekend with Jace and Andre, Evan knows it can’t happen again. She has to move on but Jace and Andre won’t let her. Both Jace and Andre have fallen in love with her. They know they have a short window until her wedding to get her to change her mind about getting married.

Deep, dark passions and secrets are revealed about each of the major characters. Some were a little predictable, but it really didn’t diminish the story for me at all. Andre was still a bit of a secret but I really enjoyed his charming character.

Evan had her secrets and problems when she was a kid but instead of letting it take her life, she decided to live and make herself as happy as she could, while making the people who mattered to her happier. She wasn’t really ashamed of her secrets, she just didn’t want to tell them. Jace is the rich kid whose dad hates him, so he constantly does whatever he can to piss off his father, which includes his owning the adult entertainment store.

Melt Into You was a definite emotional sizzler. I really enjoyed their story, the emotional baggage captured my attention so much so that I didn’t want to put this book down until it was over. My only complaint was that I felt this novel wrapped up too quickly but I just found out there is a sequel to Jace, Evan, and Andre’s story and I am really excited to read it. I will definitely be picking up the rest of this series.

Notable Scene:

“You know, you and Jace are way too much alike sometimes.” He shifted forward in the chair. “Come on. Do what you need to do and lock up. I’ll walk you out so you can get home to Daniel.”

“Wait.” She put a hand on his thigh and pushed him down before he could stand up fully. “I’m sorry. I didn’t really mean that. It’s just . . . I can’t be that person. For you or for Jace. In a month, if you have a bad day, I’m not going to be here. We can’t pretend like this is something more than it is.”

“And you can’t go on pretending that it’s not,” he said softly.

She looked down, her eyes stinging. “Won’t change the outcome.”

He slipped a finger beneath her chin, tilting her face toward him. “So be it. But at least be honest when you’re with us. Trust us with the real you. Not some edited version. Do you think you can do that?”

She swallowed hard, the tempting idea sending cold fear through her. “I can try. But this scares the shit out of me.”

His hands cupped her face as he leaned down until his mouth was just a breath away from hers. “Join the club, bella.”

Loving on the Edge Series:

1. Crash Into You

1.5 Still Into You

2. Melt Into You

3. Fall Into You

3.5 Not Until You

4. Caught Up in You

5. Need You Tonight

5.5 Forever Starts Tonight

6. Nothing Between Us

7. Call on Me (July 7, 2015)

7.5 Break Me Down (October 20, 2015)

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FTC Advisory: Berkley/Penguin provided me with a copy of Melt Into You. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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