Review: Furious Rush by S.C. Stephens

26245882Furious Rush
Author: S.C. Stephens
Publication Date: August 23, 2016
Publisher: Forever
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance
Note: I received this book from Forever via Goodreads in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Too fast, too furious-and way too hot to handle . . .

Mackenzie Cox has a lot to prove. Daughter of a racing legend, she is eager to show the world that she has inherited her father’s talent in the male-dominated sport of professional motorcycle racing. The last thing Kenzie needs is to be antagonized by her rival team’s newest rider, Hayden Hayes. Plucked from the world of illegal street racing, Hayden immediately gets under Kenzie’s skin. His insinuations that Kenzie is a spoiled princess who was handed her career fuels her desire to win, and much to her surprise, Kenzie soon learns she performs better when she’s racing against Hayden.

As Kenzie and Hayden push each other on the track, the electric energy between them off the track shifts into an intense–and strictly forbidden–attraction. The only rule between their two ultra-competitive teams is zero contact. Kenzie always does her best to play by the rules, but when her team slips into a financial crisis, she has no choice but to turn to Hayden for help. The tension simmers during their secret, late-night rendezvous, but Kenzie has too much to lose to give in to her desires. Especially when she begins to doubt that Hayden has completely left his street life behind…


To completely honest, this isn’t the first book I’ve tried to read by S.C. Stephens. I tried to read Thoughtful, but I couldn’t finish it. It wasn’t the writing. The writing was great. It was the subject matter. I had a hard time with the love triangle in that one. That being said, I was very excited to get to read Furious Rush because I did like her writing and wanted a chance to experience it without a love triangle getting in my way.

Furious Rush was different from other sports romances I’ve read. It revolved around the world of motorcycle racing and was written from Kenzie’s point of view. I wasn’t sure how that would go at first. My husband watches motorcycle racing and I find it a little boring. Furious Rush wasn’t boring, though. It was exhilarating! The racing aspect of the story made everything feel fast-paced and risky. It also helped create a really cool forbidden love storyline that I loved.

Hayden and Kenzie’s relationship started out as a love-hate kind of thing. They had amazing chemistry off and on the track. I could feel the intensity of it every time they were around each other. Both of them had a lot to lose, and it amplified their connection. It was fun to experience Kenzie trying to hold back her feelings and do what was expected of her. She was a tough girl and wanted to be seen as an equal to the guys, but she also had a softer side. I really respected the way she dealt with her father. Hayden was a surprise. The way he came across in the first chapter wasn’t necessarily who he was. I liked getting to know his character and what drove him as the book went on. Hayden was actually a very decent and good guy.

The supporting characters in Furious Rush were great. They were all part of the racing world and added so much to the story. I especially loved Kenzie’s friends Miles and Nikki. (I would love to read a book about either of them!)  The only character I didn’t get was Felicia, but I feel like she’s going to be explained in the next book in the series, or at least I hope so.

My only complaint about Furious Rush was the last 1/4 of the book. It took a turn I didn’t expect and I still can’t decide if I like. The ending was also a little abrupt. It felt like it could have been a cliffhanger or just “The End”. If it’s a cliffhanger, I’m really interested in seeing what comes next. If it’s “The End” of Kenzie’s story, I feel like I’m missing something. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what the blurb of book 2 is. 😉

Overall, I truly enjoyed reading Furious Rush. I loved the uniqueness of the story and the characters. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next in S.C. Stephens’ world of motorcycle racing.

WWW Wednesday: October 26, 2016

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Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading but is now hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

The Three W’s are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So here we go…


Currently reading:

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My daughter and I have been making steady progress through Return to the Isle of the Lost. I’m hoping we can finish it by the end of the month.

Next up is Believe (The Brightside, #3). I haven’t read anything before from this author and it’s really cute so far.


Recently finished:

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This past week was once again filled completely with romance novels. 🙂

Stroked Hard (Stroked, #3)
Furious Rush
Waking Olivia
Play
Lucas (Preston Brothers, #1)

Click on the book titles to read the reviews that I have already posted.


Reading Next:

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I’m doing a weekly read at the beginning of next week with my favorite Goodreads group of All the Rage. I’ve owned a physical copy of this book for a long time, so it’s nice to finally read it.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books That Put Me On Edge

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is Halloween Related Freebie. I am not a fan of scary novels but I do read thrillers every once in a while, so I decided to go with Ten Books That Put Me On Edge.


1. The Weight of Blood
by Laura McHugh

2. Sharp Objects
by Gillian Flynn

3. Those Girls
by Chevy Stevens

4. Delicate Monsters
by Stephanie Kuehn

5. Mud Vein
by Tarryn Fisher

6. One Kick
by Chelsea Cain

7. In the Woods
by Tana French

8. Bone Dust White
by  Karin Salvalaggio

9. Hannibal
by Thomas Harris

10. Jagger
by Heather C. Leigh

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Review: Waking Olivia by Elizabeth O’Roark

29494152Waking Olivia
Author: Elizabeth O’Roark
Publication Date: March 12, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance
Note: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

“That girl isn’t just trouble of the not-a-team-player, not-a-reliable-runner variety. She’s trouble of the devious, manipulative, too-f***ing-hot-for-her-own good variety. She’s the kind of girl who causes trouble merely by existing, and then makes sure to cause more.
And the last thing I need right now is more trouble.”

A failing farm.
His father’s debt.
And a struggling college track team.
Will Langstrom has too many responsibilities, and the last thing he needs is Olivia Finnegan, a beautiful but troubled new transfer student.

A smart mouth.
A strong right hook.
And a secret that could destroy her.
Olivia is her own worst enemy, with a past she can’t seem to escape, and the last person she wants help from is a cocky track coach she can never seem to please.
Refusing to be pushed away, Will is determined to save her.
And determined to resist an attraction that could destroy them both.


I was told by other bloggers that I would love this book. I knew it had to be a great new adult novel, but I had no idea what I was in store for. Waking Olivia was amazing! It left me  wondering why I haven’t heard of author Elizabeth O’Roark before?!?!

Elizabeth O’Roark’s writing was exceptional. The emotions in this book were so palpable and intense. I felt fear, loathing, anger, nervousness, sadness, happiness, love, hope. It was amazing and overwhelming at the same time. I felt like I was in the story! And the plot. It was so complex! Waking Olivia wasn’t just another romance. It had a darker, thriller side to it. It was so cool. I also have to throw in the fact that the running theme in this book actually worked. It’s very rare to find a book where running as part of the plot feels natural. It did here.

I loved the main characters in Waking Olivia. Neither of them was perfect, which made them feel all the more real. They were both so complex and compelling, especially Olivia. She was haunted by her past and could barely function in the present. She came across as a hard person, so getting to know what was deep inside her was rewarding. I had such hope for her. Will may not have initially been happy with his new trouble-making track star, but I loved the fire Olivia brought to his life. Being around her showed who he really was. He may have been the sexy track coach, but he was also a compassionate human being.

I’m not a big fan of student-teacher/coach relationship, so I was originally worried I wouldn’t enjoy the forbidden romance between Olivia and Will. I shouldn’t have worried, though. I loved Will and Olivia’s connection. The relationship between them and their situation didn’t have a truly forbidden feel. They were so close in age (even if Will seemed so much more mature) and it felt more like a workplace romance than a student-teacher one. I do have to admit that the secrecy of their relationship did set me on edge several times, but I loved Will and Olivia together. They completed each other in a very special way.

One of the things I loved most about Waking Olivia was the last few chapters. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the entire story. I was so addicted to it that if I could have forced myself to stay awake any longer, I would have read it in one sitting. But there was something so special about the ending. Where some authors would have ended the story, Elizabeth O’Roark continued it. She made it a true story of healing. I felt like I got a well thought out and possible conclusion for Olivia. I really loved that.

If you’re a new adult fan or just a romance fan in general, you really need to read Waking Olivia. It’s an awesome experience that you don’t want to miss. (You can find it as one of NetGalley’s Read Now books.)

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Only You by Denise Grover Swank

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Title: Only You
Author: Denise Grover Swank
On Sale: October 25, 2016
Series: The Bachelor Brotherhood, #1
Publisher: Forever
Mass Market: $6.99 USD
eBook: $3.99 USD

Add to Goodreads

Series Page on Goodreads

**NOW AVAILABLE IN PRINT**

The first book in a spin-off from Denise Grover Swank’s New York Times bestselling Wedding Pact series (The Wedding Pact, The Player, The Gambler, The Valentine)

“Warm and funny, the first book in the Bachelor Brotherhood series reads like a great Hollywood rom-com.” –iBooks Best Books of June

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SYNOPSIS:

Never say never…Romance isn’t an option for Holly Greenwood. With her wedding planner career on the line she needs to stay focused, and that means pleasing her demanding boss, not getting distracted by her mind-alteringly hot neighbor…

Ex-Marine Kevin Vandemeer craves normalcy. Instead, he has a broken-down old house in need of a match and some gasoline, a meddling family, and the uncanny ability to attract the world’s craziest women. At least that last one he can fix: he and his buddies have made a pact to swear off women, and this includes his sweetly sexy new neighbor.

After one hot night that looks a whole lot like a disaster in the light of day, Kevin and Holly are about to learn that true love doesn’t play by the rules…

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EXCERPT:

Kevin wasn’t sure why he was surprised Holly was here. She was a wedding planner, and from what he’d seen so far, she was a damn good one.

He’d been on his way out of the room, needing a breather from the noise and the chaos of the reception when he’d seen her at the table. He hadn’t planned on asking her to dance—hell, he hated to dance—but he’d been desperate for a reason to talk to her.

When he sat back down at the table, Tyler wore a smirk. “Crashed and burned, huh? I thought you were going to the bathroom to take a piss.”

“I was. I just happened to run into a friend.”

“Run into a friend, my ass. I thought we’d sworn off women. I’ve held up my end of the bachelor brotherhood. And let me add that I had no idea my balls could turn this blue.”

“She’s a friend,” Kevin said, trying not to sound irritated and feed any more fuel to the fire.

“She’s his neighbor,” Matt said, taking a sip of his beer, and giving Kevin a pointed look. “They’re friends.”

Tyler burst out laughing. “You got friend-zoned?”

“No,” Kevin said slowly, picking up his drink, surprised Matt hadn’t told Tyler about the situation he’d stumbled upon. “I was the one who said I wanted to be friends.”

“Why?” Tyler asked, watching Holly with a little more interest than Kevin liked. “She’s hot. Do you know if she’s seeing anyone?”

“No.” Kevin’s irritation grew.

Tyler stood and adjusted his tie, a smirk lighting up his eyes. “Screw the brotherhood. I think I’ll go over and introduce myself.”

Kevin was up in a flash. “I don’t think so.”

“Why not?” he looked surprised. “She looks like she’d be worth a short break from my hiatus from women.”

Kevin stepped in front of his path, his jaw set. “Because you’re a prick who will use her and toss her aside and she deserves a helluva lot better than that.”

Matt was up in an instant, grabbing Kevin’s arm. “Why don’t we get some air?”

“You like her,” Tyler said, slack jawed.

“Of course he likes her,” Matt said. “For someone so smart, sometimes you’re an idiot.”

“In my defense,” Tyler said. “He said they were friends.”

“Okay,” Matt said slowly. “When was the last time you convinced a woman to be just a friend?”

“Never.”

“I rest my case, counselor.”

Tyler sat back down, and Matt tugged on Kevin’s sleeve to get him to join them.

“I can’t believe you didn’t last even a single week,” Tyler said.

“He didn’t last a single day,” Matt told him. “He slept with her the night after our agreement to remain single.”

Tyler burst out laughing. “For a tough-ass former Marine, I expected you to be the last holdout, man. At least a week or two.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese, which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period. Her hobbies include witty (in her own mind) Facebook comments and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks. She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.

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Teaser: Stroked Hard by Meghan Quinn

STROKED HARD will be here soon! Check out this teaser and don’t forget to add STROKED HARD to your tbr!

 

STROKED HARD
Scheduled to release: November 1, 2016
 Sports Romance

Cover Designed by: Indie Solutions by Murphy Rae
Goodreads

BLURB:
He’s hot. Like, stop breathing kind of hot with his killer body, vivid blue eyes, and constant five o’clock shadow.
Did I mention his body?
Watching Hollis Knightly, Olympic diving gold medalist, man-pony specialist—and cocky bastard—stand up on the diving platform in nothing but a small piece of Spandex? Yeah, I’m beguiled.
And easily seduced.
I want to keep things light but he won’t leave me alone. And hell, if he’s not wearing me thin.
What is supposed to be a simple summer fling with a very hot man, has now morphed into a f*cked-up mess of feelings, attachment, and dare I say it…love. But I don’t do relationships. And Hollis Knightly does.

NOW AVAILABLE!

 

STROKED by Meghan Quinn
Released: July 19, 2016
Cover Designer: Murphy Rae

BLURB:

Reese King: Olympic medalist, underwear model, Greek god.

His body is chiseled from rock, sculpted by the weight room, and refined by water.

On a daily basis his skin is completely bare for everyone to see, tan and defined, only covered up by a minuscule piece of spandex. There is no denying his sex appeal.

I hate to admit it, but I’m head over heels infatuated with him.

There is one HUGE problem though. His achingly gorgeous abs, inked up arm, and cocky swagger belong to my boss, the high-profile, reality star bitch from hell and certified heinous human being, Bellini Chambers.

What I think is going to be an easy job assisting a glorified wench turns into a cluster f*ck of epic proportions.

STROKED LONG by Meghan Quinn
Scheduled to release: September 20, 2016
 Sports Romance

Cover Designed by: Indie Solutions by Murphy Rae

BLURB:
From his dirty-blond hair and breathtaking smile, to the abs from heaven and the irresistible V in his waistline, everything about Bodi Olympic-gold-medalist Banks screams hot piece of @$$.
Yet there’s more.
Dark shadows lurk behind his soulful, serious eyes.
I’m enamored. He’s captured me.

How can running an art foundation with Bodi Banks turns into a slow-burning, epic romance, even though he tries to push me away at every chance? How can I stay away from a broken, routine-driven man whose soul cries to be forgiven for a crime only he believes he committed? Or is that a lie?


**STROKED LONG can be read as a stand alone.

About the Author:

Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped.
Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing… enter her first novel, Caught Looking.
Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!
Find me on Goodreads:

Release Week Review & Giveaway: The Billionaire Next Door by Jessica Lemmon

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THE BILLIONAIRE NEXT DOOR
Author: Jessica Lemmon        
Series: Billionaire Bad Boys, #2
On Sale: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Forever
Mass Market: $5.99 USD
eBook:  $5.99 USD
Add to Goodreads

SYNOPSIS:

It’s Tag Crane’s job to be the life of the party. Traveling from one exotic locale to another is just part of running the luxurious Crane Hotel empire. But even paradise isn’t perfect. Devising a new business strategy is keeping Tag up at night-and so is the Great Dane barking at all hours in the apartment below his. To muzzle the problem, Tag charges downstairs . . . right into the most beautiful, blond distraction he’s ever seen.

Dog-sitting by day, bartending by night. It’s not exactly the life Rachel Foster dreamed of. But when Tag Crane rushes in, all mountain-man shoulders and obscenely sexy smile, needing her help for the Crane Hotels, it’s a fantasy come true. What’s the harm in a fun no-strings fling? Only a fool would give her heart to a billionaire player like Tag-until suddenly the one man who can’t be caught is the one flirting with forever . . .

BUY THE BOOK HERE

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REVIEW:

Note: I received an ARC from Forever via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Every time I read a novel by Jessica Lemmon I fall deeper in love with her writing. Her contemporary romances are so fresh and fun. She’s quickly becoming one of my go-to authors for contemporary romance reads. Needless to say, I was excited to get to read The Billionaire Next Door. I really enjoyed The Billionaire Bachelor, the first book in the series, and I was looking forward to getting to know Reese’s younger brother, Tag.

In The Billionaire Next Door, bartender Rachel Foster’s life has hit an all-time low. The only bright spot is being paid a bunch of money to dog sit by one of her regular customers. She can’t complain about getting to stay in an amazing apartment — especially when one of her neighbors is sexy Tag.

Tag Crane is known to be many things. A one woman kind of guy isn’t one of them. But when gorgeous and smart Rachel moves into his building, he can’t seem to get her out of his mind. The more they spend time together, the more he realizes that maybe he’s done with his playboy ways.

This story was so stinking cute! Seriously. There was so much I loved about it! The writing was fun and witty. I loved the plot and how everything unfolded. Jessica Lemmon had a fresh take on the playboy billionaire theme and that made it exciting to read.

I adored Tag and Rachel. Tag was everything I hoped he would be after getting to know him a little bit in The Billionaire Bachelor. He was fun-loving and handsome, but he was also intelligent and nice. Rachel was that girl you can’t help but love. She was a great friend, smart and just an overall nice person. I loved her drive and determination. Together, they were magic! The chemistry between these two was off the charts sexy. Tag and Rachel just fit so perfectly together.

Honestly, there’s nothing to complain about with The Billionaire Next Door. I absolutely loved reading it, and I would highly recommend it to readers who love a great contemporary romance. It’s definitely one of my favorites so far this year. Now that I’ve finished The Billionaire Next Door, I can’t to get to know Eli, the third Crane brother!

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EXCERPT:

“Why is it you look like you’re thinking something sinister?” he asked, that eyebrow arcing higher. “And don’t lie to me, Dimples. I have a sixth sense.” She watched his slow smile, white teeth appearing as his trimmed beard parted. Her nether regions buzzed like she’d sat on a vibrating phone.

“I’m surprised . . .” she started, feeling daring. Must be the Kona coffee.

“Because?”

“Because I expected you to induct me into the Mile High Club by now. This is my first private flight.” She looked at him through her lashes, her coy smile in place.

Tag wore an all-out grin, which made her inordinately pleased. Where she was concerned, he wasn’t immune. And she liked that. A lot.

“Excuse me.” Smoothly, he shut his laptop, stood, and walked from cabin to cockpit.

Okay. That was interesting. She hadn’t expected him to leave. Maybe she didn’t have the same power over him as he had over her.

She turned to look out the window, but the nighttime landscape was nothing but blackness. She imagined a sea of clouds and blue skies once the sun rose, anticipating being someplace where the high was above freezing. She wondered what the temperature was on—

“Let’s go.” Her hand was snatched a moment later as Tag pulled her out of her seat and led her to the bedroom.

“Wait,” she said through her laughter as she hustled after him. “What are you doing?”

In the bedroom, he released her, closed the door, and whipped off his shirt. She gasped, her eyes eating up his tanned muscles and bulky arms.

“Making you a member.” He caught the back of her head in his hand and kissed her. She melted beneath his touch. She was hopelessly attracted to him. Just an absolute goner.

When she caught a breath of air, she said, “Where did you go?”

“Told the pilot to take the long way.”

“There’s a longer way to Hawaii?”

“There is now.”

THE SERIES:

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The Billionaire Bachelor, #1
The Billionaire Next Door, #2
The Bastard Billionaire, #3

Series Page on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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A former job-hopper, Jessica Lemmon resides in Ohio with her husband and rescue dog. She holds a degree in graphic design currently gathering dust in an impressive frame. When she’s not writing super-sexy heroes, she can be found cooking, drawing, drinking coffee (okay, wine), and eating potato chips. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want.

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