Review: The Kiss Thief (L.J. Shen)

   The Kiss Thief
Author: L.J. Shen
Publication Date: January 9, 2019
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

They say your first kiss should be earned.

Mine was stolen by a devil in a masquerade mask under the black Chicago sky.

They say the vows you take on your wedding day are sacred.

Mine were broken before we left church.

They say your heart only beats for one man.

Mine split and bled for two rivals who fought for it until the bitter end.

I was promised to Angelo Bandini, the heir to one of the most powerful families in the Chicago Outfit.

Then taken by Senator Wolfe Keaton, who held my father’s sins over his head to force me into marriage.

They say that all great love stories have a happy ending.

I, Francesca Rossi, found myself erasing and rewriting mine until the very last chapter.

One kiss.
Two men.
Three lives.
Entwined together.

And somewhere between these two men, I had to find my forever.


When I decided to read The Kiss Thief I hadn’t read the synopsis. I just saw that gorgeous cover with L.J. Shen’s name on it. I have been a fan of her writing for while now, and I was content to pick up anything she writes. That being said, I might have hesitated more had I realized there was a love triangle aspect to this one. I am not really a fan of that trope, but I’ll come back to that more later. Anyway. I went into this one blind, for the most part, and I am glad I did. I ended up enjoying The Kiss Thief. I might have missed out on reading it had I read the blurb first.

The Kiss Thief is the story of an arranged marriage between a mobster’s daughter and a senator. It’s not that simple, though. Said daughter was supposed to marry someone entirely different until the senator barges into the picture. The daughter is not thrilled with the change, nor is the original suitor. The betrothal of the daughter and senator starts a series of events that will change the three lives involved forever. (Pretty much what the blurb says, yeah?)

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the arranged marriage part of The Kiss Thief. Francesca and Wolfe started out at odds and I loved seeing their resolve slowly melt away. Francesca was young and a little delusional when it came to how life works, but I could forgive her that based on how she was brought up. It allowed for her to be filled with wonder at the perfect times in the story. Wolfe was an alpha jerk. He had his reasons, but he was hard to stomach at times. What else would you expect from L.J. Shen, though? Francesca would become the one crack in his armor, and I loved the way she chipped away at it. I only had one problem with their relationship. That problem is a spoiler, so I’ll just say there was a scene I couldn’t forgive Wolfe for. It made me mad and uncomfortable.

But wait, you say. Isn’t this a love triangle? Yep. Like I said before, I’m not a fan of love triangles. I wouldn’t say this one read like a true triangle, but close enough to irritate me at times. Mostly because I wasn’t an Angelo fan. Angelo is the man Francesca should have married. He’s the man she’s loved, the man willing to put everything on the line for her. There is a tenderness between them that Francesca doesn’t have with Wolfe. Angelo is everything Francesca has wanted. He causes problems for her with her husband to be, and makes Francesca question who she should be with despite what her father has arranged. I liked what Angelo added to the story, but I cringed a lot when he was involved. I just wanted him to go away so I could get back to Francesca and Wolfe. I picked my hero early despite his disposition.

The mob aspect of this love story added some interesting fun and even more intensity to this story. I loved how Wolfe became involved with Francesca’s father. It was entertaining to see how it all played out.

Overall, I found The Kiss Thief to be an addicting, dark romance. It is exactly what I have to come to expect from L.J. Shen. She manages to make me fall in love with characters I should hate.

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   About the Author

L.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.

Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets peoples’ birthdays and never sends Christmas cards.

She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.

Connect with L.J. Shen

Website: http://www.authorljshen.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorljshen/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lj_shen
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorljshen
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/authorljshen/
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/l-j-shen
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13531492.L_J_Shen
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KSFkad

Review: Four Seconds to Lose by K.A. Tucker

17571140Four Seconds to Lose

Series: Ten Tiny Breaths, #3

Author: K.A. Tucker

Publication Date: November 4, 2013

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense

Goodreads Synopsis:

When a gorgeous young dancer walks through his door, a strip club owner must decide whether to follow his rules or his heart in the third novel by the author of One Tiny Lie and Ten Tiny Breaths.

Owning a strip club isn’t the fantasy most guys expect it to be. With long hours, a staff with enough issues to keep a psych ward in business, and the police regularly on his case, twenty-nine-year-old Cain is starting to second guess his unspoken mission to save the women he employs. And then blond, brown-eyed Charlie Rourke walks through his door, and things get really complicated. Cain abides by a strict “no sleeping with the staff” rule. But being around Charlie challenges Cain’s self-control… and it’s been a long time since any woman has done that.

Twenty-two-year-old Charlie Rourke needs a lot of money, really fast, in order to vanish before it’s too late. Taking her clothes off for men makes her stomach curl but Charlie tells herself that at least she’s putting her acting and dancing skills to good use. And though her fellow dancers seem eager to nab their sexy, sophisticated, and genuinely caring boss, she’s not interested. After all, Charlie Rourke doesn’t really exist—and the girl pretending to be her can’t get distracted by romance.

Unfortunately, Charlie soon discovers that developing feelings for Cain is inevitable, and that those feelings may not be unrequited—but losing him when he finds out what she’s involved with will be more painful than any other sentence awaiting her.


  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


I’ve been slowly making my way through reading K.A. Tucker’s Ten Tiny Breaths series. I absolutely loved the first two books, Ten Tiny Breaths and One Tiny Lie, so I was excited to learn more about Kasey’s ex-boss, Cain.

Cain is the owner of Penny’s, a classy strip club in Miami. He makes it his business to hire and help turnaround women’s lives. When gorgeous Charlie walks into his club looking for work, Cain feels a spark that he hasn’t felt for a long, long time. He knows he shouldn’t hire her, but he can’t help himself. Night after night, Cain does what he’s never done before. He watches Charlie strip. She seems to be putting a show just for him.

Charlie knows she’s shouldn’t act on her attraction to Cain. She has too many secrets that keep her from having a real relationship. But she can’t seem to stop herself from seducing him on the dance floor every night.

The closer Cain and Charlie get, the closer Charlie’s secrets get to destroying their relationship.

Cain was such an amazing character. I loved the way he took the bad in his life and tried to turn it into good. He did so many awesome things for so many women. Charlie was a mystery to start with. I loved the way the author built up her story and slowly revealed things to the reader.

Four Seconds to Lose was a really fun book to read. Cain and Charlie’s love story was sweet and incredibly sexy. The suspense aspect of the book was very cool and had me reading even when I should have been in bed. I loved this addition to the series and I can’t wait to see what’s up for Ben in the next book.

Review: Code of Silence by Jasmine & Genna Denton

coded1_3200x4800Title: Code of Silence

Series: Cosa Nostra, #2

Author: Jasmine Denton, Genna Denton

Publication Date: January 15, 2016

Publisher: Sun&Moon Ink

Genre: New Adult, Thriller, Contemporary, Romantic Suspense

Goodreads Synopsis:

In this steamy new installment of the sizzling mafia romance series Cosa Nostra, Bela and Vincent’s forbidden love takes a devastating turn and tests their bond like never before.

Bela DeLuca, mafia princess, has always lived a life of virtual imprisonment under the thumb of her dad and brother, both of them tyrants. Her only ray of light is Vincent—the tough as nails enforcer for Trey’s crew, who is also secretly working with the cops to put her father in prison and end his reign of terror, once and for all. Bela is counting the days to her freedom, until she and Vincent can truly begin their life together.
But when Vincent’s family, the Marcanos—longtime rivals of the DeLucas—call a summit meeting, everything is thrown into chaos. Marcano offers a peace treaty, to be sealed with the arranged marriage of Bela…with Vincent’s older brother, Rafe.
Bound by honor and torn by love, Bela’s very freedom is on the line. Can Vincent find the proof he needs to destroy the mobsters and save the love of his life before it’s too late?


★ ★ ★ ★ ★


I feel like I’m watching a mini series when reading the Cosa Nostra series. Code of Silence picks up right where Men of Honor left off. (You can read my review for Men of Honor by clicking here.) Everything is spinning out of control in the DeLuca family’s lives.

Trey is still dealing with the fall out from the end of Men of Honor. He’s trying to keep the woman he loves, Mandi, close and happy. That’s turned out to be harder than he thought. Not only is he dealing with her, he’s dealing with his sister’s unfortunate relationship with Vincent. Trey has to make some very important decisions before he loses everything to the lifestyle he loves.

Bela is still struggling with her mob heritage. She’s not sure how patient she can be when it comes to waiting to be with Vincent. Matters are made worse when it’s arranged for her to marry Rafe Marcano–Vincent’s older brother to make peace between the two families. Her only hope is Vincent. He needs to hurry up and do his job to save her and their relationship.

Code of Silence was action packed. It was so fast-paced that I couldn’t put it down. I read it in one sitting. I loved finding out where the decisions the characters made in Men of Honor led them. It was also very interesting to see how all of the characters’ relationships changed and shifted. Before I knew it, it was over. I was left with a cliffhanger that had me wanting more!

If you enjoy mob romance series, I would highly recommend the Cosa Nostra series. It’s so detailed and complicated. I’ve loved reading it so far. You do need to read the series in order, as each installment builds on the next. Also, it’s pretty violent and for mature readers only.

**I was given the opportunity to read Code of Honor in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Review: Men of Honor by Jasmine Denton & Genna Denton

Title: Men of Honor

Series: Cosa Nostra, #1

Author: Jasmine Denton, Genna Denton

Publication Date: December 18, 2014

Publisher: Sun&Moon Ink

Genre: New Adult, Romance

Goodreads Synopsis:

An ambitious prince…

Trey DeLuca has it all. Heir to the dynasty his father, a notorious mob boss has built, he’s ruthless and determined to step into his father’s shoes. Until someone threatens to ruin it all…

A prodigal son…

Vincent Marcano walked away from his own life of crime five years ago. Now he’s back and wants in on Trey’s crew. Trey has no reason to trust Vincent—he’s from a rival family and has proved to be a traitor in the past, but the boss allows Vincent to join the team in spite of Trey’s protests. But Vincent’s keeping a lot of secrets…about where he’s been, why he’s back, and the fact that he’s in love with Trey’s younger sister, Bela. Desperate to prove his loyalty to Trey, Vincent plays a dangerous game of cat and mouse that threatens to expose his relationship with Bela and the truth about his past.

And the only girl who could come between them…

The daughter of a mob boss, Bela has grown up to hate organized crime, but she loves Vincent enough to overlook his decision to join her brother’s gang. His mission will test her beliefs, strain their relationship and turn her world inside out. As Vincent becomes more embroiled in the mob’s dark world, the threat of exposure heightens. Can Bela continue to be with Vincent, knowing her love could sign his death sentence?

Disclaimer: Men of Honor is a new adult romance, not intended for readers under the age of eighteen. This story contains graphic violence and sexual situations that may be uncomfortable for some readers. Reader discretion is advised.


  ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆


When I think of the phrase “men of honor”, I immediately think of police officers. The “men of honor” in Men of Honor are definitely not police officers. In fact, they’re pretty much the exact opposite. They’re the mob.

Men of Honor revolves around the DeLuca mob family. Trey DeLuca is heir to the throne and is doing everything in his power to prove he’s up to the job. He’s cruel and calculating. His one weakness is Mandi, the stripper he can’t stay away from. He’ll do anything to keep her safe, even if it jeopardized his place in the family.

Trey isn’t the only young DeLuca fighting for his place in the family.  Nineteen-year-old Bela DeLuca wants to escape her family destiny. She’s been kept safe and out of the family business her entire life, but a chance encounter with her family’s arch nemesis has changed all that. Bela has fallen in love with Vincent Marcano. She hopes he is chance to break from the control her father and brother have on her life.

Vincent Marcano left his mob life just when he was set to take over. He wants to be free from the violence of the lifestyle, but it’s hard with a bounty on his head. Things got even tougher when he fell for the enemy. Now, Vincent has been forced to join forces with his enemy to try to free himself and Bela from the life they hate.

Men of Honor was a fast-paced, intense ride. The authors weaved a tale that was constantly changing and surprising me. I loved reading the story from the four different points of view (Trey, Mandi, Vincent and Bela). Their individual voices gave the story more depth and it was fun to find out the different secrets they were each keeping.

One thing that bothered me a little while reading Men of Honor was the amount of violence. I understood its inclusion since this a story about the mob, but it was tough for me to read at times. Another thing that threw me off was the ending. It felt like an odd place to end book one. I was expecting more of a cliffhanger.

Readers who enjoy mob romances with a ton of action and suspense will love Men of Honor. I’m really looking forward to reading book two, Code of Silence, to find out what happens next!

**I received an electronic copy of Men of Honor from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

Blog Tour & Review: Reckless Temptations by Janine Infante Bosco

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RECKLESS TEMPTATIONS

by: Janine Infante Bosco

Tempted #4

Publication Date: March 8, 2016

Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance

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PURCHASE

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SYNOPSIS

RIGGS

Heart.

It’s what keeps you from being reckless. It’s what keeps you breathing.

Money, power and respect… they were my god given right, not the reason I joined the Satan’s Knights. I tied myself to my club and nothing else. Give me my bike, the open road and a different woman every night and I was happy.

My life was great.

Until the chaos exploded.

One night.

One reckless temptation and I finally found my reason for breathing.

I never saw her coming. The girl that would turn my world upside down and give me my heart.

Only it was too late.

One mistake can take it all away.

I’m about to lose my heart.

The thing that keeps me breathing.

The thing that keeps me from being reckless.

 

LAUREN BIANCI

Drop out of nursing school? Check.

Have no idea what you’re going to do with your life? Check.

Disappoint your family? Double check.

Meet a biker and have crazy sex against a wall? Check. Check. Check.

Get knocked up by said biker? Check.

I was always the good girl, the prodigal child, the girl who said and did all the right things.

Things like this didn’t happen to me.

Until him.

Until he smiled.

Until he tempted me to find out what made me happy.

Too bad it’s him.

We’ll never work, but, I can pretend can’t I?

Just for a little while.

Just until it’s over.

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EXCERPT

PATCH PARTY

Lauren rolled her eyes and turned to leave. I wasn’t going to let her go anywhere. I reached for her and caught her wrist, stopping her from leaving.

“Going somewhere?”

“Yeah, home,” she sneered, tugging her arm free. I’d never seen her like this, so angry, so fucking hot. She turned toward Blackie, took his drink from his hand and threw the whiskey in my face before handing the empty glass back to him.

“Congratulations, you’re a dick with a patch,” she said, before turning and walking toward the door.

I sputtered whiskey from my mouth, lifting the hem of my t-shirt to dry my face, trying to ignore the surrounding chuckles.

“You better marry her because if you don’t I will,” Bones said, as he came up beside me and handed me a stack of napkins.

“Fuck off,” I shouted, throwing the napkins up in the air like confetti before I took off after her. “Lauren,” I shouted as I stepped outside. Scanning the grounds, I found her stalking through the parking lot.

I ran after her but Kitten had speed even in those heels she had on that threatened to take her down.

“Lauren, baby…Kitten,” I called.

She froze in her tracks and turned around.

Hallelujah!

Oh, shit!

She bent down, removing one of her high heels and swung it like a Cy-Young pitcher, aiming straight for my head.

“Are you fucking crazy?” I shouted, dodging death by a high heel.

“Oh, you think I’m crazy?” She asked incredulously, looking every bit crazy. No question about it. “Maybe I am crazy! I mean, I must be because I’m here, right? Standing here in my little black dress, against my better judgement, because well, tonight was a big night for you and I…” she let her words trail off. “…I am crazy,” she confirmed, shaking her head in disbelief.

“Kitten,” I started, reaching for her.

She flicked my forehead with her fingers.

“Ouch! What the hell did you do that for?” I shouted, rubbing my forehead.

“There is plenty more where that came from, buddy!” She threatened, as she poked my chest with her finger. I had had enough of this shit. I grabbed her hips, hauling her up against me and maneuvered her legs to wrap around my waist. She didn’t like that at all and yelped as I held her in place.

“Riggs, put me down,” she yelled.

“You don’t really want me to put you down,” I ground out. My patience was gone, my nerves frayed. She kicked my back and I pinched her leg as I turned and slammed her up against the wall of the Dog Pound.

“Came here for a reason, Kitten, now it’s time to tell me what that reason is,” I whispered against her ear.

“It doesn’t matter,” she squealed, as I ran my hands up her thighs.

“I disagree,” I argued, glancing down at her legs locked around my waist. “I like your dress,” I said, sliding my hands underneath it.

“You should,” she sneered, wrapping her arms around my neck. “I wore it for you,” she rasped.

Sweetest fucking words I ever heard.

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REVIEW

4.5 / 5 Stars

Wow. Reckless Temptations had me on the edge the entire time I was reading it. I felt like I was watching a spin-off of Sons of Anarchy the entire time I was reading Reckless Temptations! It was crazy!

Reckless Temptations wasn’t just another biker romance. While the romance was sweet, there was so much more going on. There was problems with rival gangs, club dealings and more. It was so intense! I was reading it while waiting for a doctor’s appointment and my blood pressure was actually higher than normal because I was so stressed by what was going on in the story!

The characters in the story were great. I loved Riggs and Lauren. Riggs was this motorcycle gang prospect who is willing to do anything it takes to get his patch. Not only is he handsome as hell and cocky, he’s got a crazy sense of humor. His plan is to ride for life. He doesn’t need anyone except his “brothers”.

Then, there’s Lauren. She’s the girl next door. She’s sweet, innocent and feisty. Lauren’s everything Riggs would want in a girl — if he wanted a girl. Of course, he doesn’t think he needs an “old lady”. It was fun watching Lauren convince him otherwise.

I also loved all of the Biancis and their funny antics. Lauren’s mom was my favorite. She was perfect for this story! Oh, and I can’t Riggs’ “brothers”. I especially loved Bones. He knew exactly what Riggs needed.

My favorite thing about Reckless Temptations was how the story unfolded. I have to admit, I wasn’t so sure I was going to like it after the Prologue. It made me worried for the characters before they even met! But I didn’t need to worry. It may have been super intense and suspenseful, but it was also a lot of fun. I would highly suggest it to readers who like a romance with a lot of intensity and don’t mind violence.

**I received an ARC of Reckless Temptations from IndieSage in exchange for an honest review.

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DON’T FORGET TO GRAB THE FIRST 3 BOOKS IN THE TEMPTED SERIES

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ABOUT JANINE INFANTE BOSCO

Janine Infante Bosco

Janine Infante Bosco lives in New York City, she has always loved reading and writing. When she was thirteen, she began to write her own stories and her passion for writing took off as the years went on. At eighteen, she even wrote a full screenplay with dreams of one day becoming a member of the Screen Actors Guild.

Janine writes emotionally charged novels with an emphasis on family bonds, strong willed female characters, and alpha male men who will do anything for the women they love. She loves to interact with fans and fellow avid romance readers like herself.

She is proud of her success as an author and the friendships she’s made in the book community but her greatest accomplishment to date would be her two sons Joseph and Paul.

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Before the Blog #8: Vendetta

Before the Blog is a weekly blog meme hosted by Karis Jacobstein over @ YA Litwit. It’s an opportunity to showcase books a blogger read and loved prior to starting their blog .  I love this idea because there are so many amazing books I haven’t reviewed on A Novel Glimpse because I read them a long time ago. The only rules to this meme are to answer the following questions about the book chosen to review:

  • Why did you choose this book? 
  • When did you read this book? 
  • Who would you recommend this book to? 

_________________________________________________________________________

Vendetta (Blood for Blood #1) by Catherine Doyle

Publication Date: February 24, 2015

Publisher: Chicken House Ltd.

Synopsis:

Sophie Gracewell is thrown into a dangerous game of revenge when five brothers move into the long abandoned mansion in her neighborhood. Sophie is drawn to one of the brothers, Nicoli. Their families warn them to stay away from each other, but Sophie and Nicoli can’t help falling for each other. As soon as they do, Sophie will be forced to make decisions she didn’t even know existed.

Why did you choose this book?

Vendetta wasn’t what I was expecting it to be. For some reason, I was expecting a vampire story. (It’s not.) What I got was so much more interesting: a modern day Romeo and Juliet story filled with the mob. I was drawn into Sophie’s world and I honestly think this should be the next big series everyone is talking about.

When did you read this book?

In May of 2015, I saw it displayed on a library shelf. I grabbed the opportunity to read it because I had originally seen the book in BookPage magazine and thought it sounded interesting.

Who would you recommend this book to?

Anyone that enjoys a great YA series –especially with forbidden love or mob stories. So far, there are no love triangles or sex. There is some violence.


Check out my other Before the Blog posts here:

Before the Blog #1: Dear Daughter 

Before the Blog #2: There is No Light in Darkness

Before the Blog #3: The Lace Reader

Before the Blog #4: The Beach Trees

Before the Blog #5: The Raven Boys

Before the Blog #6: Waiting on You

Before the Blog #7: A Little Something Different