Review: The Songbook of Benny Lament (Amy Harmon)

The Songbook of Benny Lament
Author: Amy Harmon

Publication Date: March 16, 2021
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Fiction, Historical, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of What the Wind Knows and From Sand and Ash comes a powerful love story about a musical duo who put everything on the line to be together.

New York, 1960: For Benny Lament, music is his entire life. With his father’s deep ties to the mob, the Bronx piano man has learned that love and family can get you in trouble. So he keeps to himself, writing songs for other musicians, avoiding the spotlight…until the night his father brings him to see Esther Mine sing.

Esther is a petite powerhouse with a gorgeous voice. And when Benny writes a hit song and performs it with her, their collaboration thrusts the duo onto the national stage…and stirs up old issues and new scrutiny that the mob—and Benny—would rather avoid.

It would be easier to walk away. But the music and the woman are too hard for the piano man to resist. Benny’s songs and Esther’s vocals are an explosive combination, a sound that fans can’t get enough of. But though America might love the music they make together, some people aren’t ready for Benny Lament and Esther Mine on—or off—the stage.


You guys… I HAVE A NEW BOOK TO ADD TO MY FAVORITES LIST!!!

Amy Harmon consistently writes amazing works of art. It is always hard to pick a favorite book of hers, but The Songbook of Benny Lament just bulldozed right over all her other books to my top spot.

I loved EVERYTHING about this book. It alternates between chapters of radio interviews with Benny and his story of what happened along his way to fame. The radio chapters set up the story perfectly. They hinted at what was to come, making the story that followed all the sweeter. The story of Minecraft and Benny’s relationship with Esther Mine built in the best of ways. I had all these ideas of where things were headed, but didn’t even want to guess. I wanted to experience it all as I read it. It was such a fascinating love story set in the chaotic and violent times of the 1960’s. I enjoyed the way it wove music, the mob, politics, racial injustices of the 1960’s, and a sweet love story all into one package. There was even some humor!

The only book I can compare The Songbook of Benny Lament to is Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It gave me that same feeling. It had me forgetting that it was fiction and had me wanting to Google everyone and everything related to Benny Lament and Esther Mine. Their story felt real and true. I was so caught up in it that I forgot it was fiction. That’s not to say that The Songbook of Benny Lament was a copycat of Daisy Jones and The Six. It wasn’t. It was a completely different story.

If you love books that revolve around music, complex love stories and a ton of heart you won’t want to miss this book. Amy Harmon put so much heart into The Songbook of Benny Lament. It checked all my boxes. I will be thinking about it for a long time.

Review: Dirty Empire (Nina West)

From internationally bestselling author K.A. Tucker, writing as Nina West, comes the dark and sexy Dirty Empire series.

Dirty Empire
Series: Dirty Empire, #3
Author: Nina West
Publication Date: September 15, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Mercy Wheeler and Gabriel Easton’s sordid tale continues in Dirty Empire as Mercy finds her loyalties tested and Gabriel’s attempt to break free of his family’s legacy comes with unexpected consequences.

Dirty Empire is the third book in the Dirty Empire series and should be read after Sweet Mercy and Gabriel Fallen.


One word for Dirty Empire: EXPLOSIVE.

Why explosive? If I gave away Gideon’s secrets he would kill me, so this review is going to be a little sparse. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Things started where they left off. The drama and suspense continued and actually heightened in this third book.
  • Gideon and Mercy’s relationship went next level and got hotter, if that was possible.
  • There were some revelations I guessed but still managed to be a little shocked by.
  • Dirty Empire was supposed to be the end of Gideon and Mercy’s story, but IT’S NOT!!! There was another crazy cliffhanger and there will be a FOURTH book. I can’t decide if I love or hate that.
  • Dirty Empire was a fabulous addition to this series and I can’t wait for the fourth book!
Dirty Empire by Nina West is now live!
Download today or read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited

Dirty Empire (#3 Dirty Empire)

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3m5UHy9
Amazon Worldwide: mybook.to/DirtyEmpire

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/DirtyEmpireGR

Sweet Mercy (#1 Dirty Empire) is also FREE!

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Amazon Worldwide: mybook.to/SweetMercy

 Meet Nina

 Nina West is the author of the sinfully sexy and highly addictive The Wolf Hotel series and Dirty Empire series. She lives in the city but spends her summers in the wilderness.

Connect with Nina

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Nina-West/e/B0184G39E0
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14465382.Nina_West
Website: https://www.ninawestauthor.com/|
Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/nina-west
Facebook: @K.A.Tucker.Author
Instagram: @katucker_
Twitter: @kathleenatucke

 

Review: Destructive (Jay McLean)

Destructive
Series: Combative, #3
Author: Jay McLean
Publication Date: January 6, 2020
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Suspense

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Some villains are made.
Some villains are born.
And some villains aren’t villains at all.

Nate DeLuca was born into a life he didn’t want.
Forced to walk a path that was already chosen for him.
Grandson to a mob boss, he’s forever torn between his duty, his honor, his legacy, and the truth.
But the truth is never simple, and it’s not at all what it seems.

In a world full of secrets, heartache, and betrayals, Nate only has one thing on his mind: redemption.
But with redemption comes destruction.
And that destruction might cost him his heart.

***

Three Lives.
Two Loves.
One ticking time bomb…
Tick tock.


Destructive is the third and final book in the Combative series. Each book builds on the last, so you don’t want to jump ahead because you will miss out on the build up and all the good stuff. You can find my review for the first book, Combative, here.

Woah.

If Combative left me slightly confused with its cliffhanger and Redemptive left me mind blown, then Destructive left me fulfilled. It was everything I didn’t know I wanted, but needed from Jay McLean and her characters. It tested everything I thought I knew about Nate, Ky, Madison, and Bailey. There were so many revelations, so many moments of clarity. It took McLean years to wrap up this story, and I now understand why. It both shocked and amazed. What a way to end such an explosive trilogy!

Duet Review: Black Sheep & White Knight (Meghan March)

Good morning! Today, I am reviewing both books in Meghan March’s recently released Dirty Mafia Duet.

Black Sheep
Series: Dirty Mafia Duet, #1
Author: Meghan March
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Publisher: Meghan March LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author Meghan March comes a story of untold truths and one man’s redemption in the Dirty Mafia Duet.

Every family has a black sheep.
In the infamous Casso crime family, that black sheep is me—Cannon Freeman.
Except I’m not a free man. I’ve never been free. Not since the day I was born.
I owe my loyalty to my father, Dominic Casso, even if he won’t publicly acknowledge me as his blood.
I’ve never had a reason to go against his wishes… until I met her.
Drew Carson turned my world upside when she walked into my club looking for a job.
Now, my honor and my life are on the line.
Going against my father’s wishes might buy me a bullet straight from his gun, but black sheep or not, it’s time to make my stand.
She’s worth the fallout.

My thoughts:

Meghan March has been on fire recently! Well, actually her whole writing career. It’s not something new. Her books keep getting better and I have no idea how she can keep coming up with ways to surprise me, but she does.

Black Sheep was such a great read. I was on the edge of my seat from the very beginning. I was worried for Drew and her quest. I was curious to find out more about Cannon and his history. Drew and Cannon falling for each other made everything all the more tense, but also added tenderness to the story. The beginning of their story was a wild ride right up until the classic, shocking Meghan March cliffhanger. I’m so relieved to have White Knight waiting to be read next.

One thing I want to mention before finishing up this review is that Cannon is from the Dirty Billionaire Trilogy. You don’t necessarily have to read that series prior to this one, but I would recommend it. There’s some history there you might want to have ahead of time.

White Knight
Series: Dirty Mafia Duet, #1
Author: Meghan March
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Publisher: Meghan March LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I never expected to be anyone’s white knight. That’s not a role I’ve ever played.
But when the Casso crime family shifts into uncharted territory, they’re looking for a new hero, and they’re looking for me—Cannon Freeman, the black sheep.
But my time in disgrace is at an end.
It’s my turn to rise up and save the people who matter most to me.
Even if my family has never given a damn about me, I will not let them fall.
More than anything, I will not let her fall.

White Knight is the second book in the Dirty Mafia Duet and should be read after Black Sheep, book one.

My thoughts:

Things are never quite as they seem. Meghan March proved that with the final installment of the Dirty Mafia Duet. It was explosive from the moment it started and the action kept coming.There fantastic twists and turns to this story and I loved absolutely all of it. I couldn’t get enough of Memphis and Cannon. I would have easily read another hundred or so pages about them. This is a duet you won’t want to miss if you’re a Meghan March fan.

Review: Bennett Mafia (Tijan)

Bennett Mafia
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: March 4, 2019
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

There were always whispers about my roommate at Hillcrest Academy.

The wealthiest of the wealthy sent their kids to our boarding school, and Brooke Bennett had been at the top, though I never quite knew why. She was fun and outgoing, but she kept quiet about her family. The only things she showed me were photographs of her brothers.

I became fascinated with her second-oldest brother. Kai Bennett.

He was the most of them all. Smoldering. Hypnotic. Alluring.
Kai had eyes that pulled me in and a face that haunted my dreams.

Then I met him.

He came to our school with their father, and that’s when I learned what kind of family Brooke came from. They were mafia, and Brooke’s oldest brother was dead. Her father said accident, but Brooke said murder.

Three months later, her father died, and Kai became the head of the Bennett Family. Brooke left Hillcrest for good, and that was the last time I saw her.

Fourteen years later, I’m staring at her face on the television. Brooke is missing.

Two days later, Kai Bennett kidnaps me.


I cannot get Bennett Mafia out of my head! Every time I read a book by Tijan, I’m stuck thinking about it for days. Her words and worlds are so addicting and emotionally impactful. It doesn’t matter if I like or dislike one of her books, I’m always left with something to work out in my mind. It happened again with this book. I can’t say that I fell head over heals in love with it, but I did really enjoy it. There were just a couple of things that I had a hard time digesting.

I was impressed with the tale Tijan told in Bennett Mafia. This book was more than just a dark romance. It had all the angst and emotional turmoil of one, but it also had some twists that reminded me of a thriller. Bennett Mafia took me on a ride. I loved that. So many things happened that I didn’t expect. It was great!

Kai and Riley were interesting characters. Riley was a tortured soul who tried to do good. She didn’t let many people in, and I found myself having a hard time getting close to her in the beginning. Once I got into her head and felt the frustration and indecision she was going through, it was easier to connect with her — which was important since she was our only narrator. Kai wasn’t really the book boyfriend type, but he was the perfect mafia king. He was demanding and intense. I would have loved to have had his point of view to know what he was thinking. Both Kai and Riley were methodical. Everything they did had a purpose. They were both very good at hiding emotions and doing what needed to be done. I think that’s why it took me a while to love both of them. I had to get past the walls they had erected just like the people in the book did.

Kai and Riley’s relationship wasn’t one made in heaven. It would be more accurate to say it was made in hell with the mafia thing and all. Their relationship made me uncomfortable at times. Not for the reasons I would have originally expected. I had a hard time buying into it. They had an immediate and intense physical attraction to each other. Their sexual tension and chemistry was strong. That’s where things kind of stopped for me, though. I didn’t feel the emotional connection between them for much of the book. I felt like the building blocks of that love or the moments they could have forged that bond weren’t really there or strong enough for me until the end. That made some of the choices they made not feel as true to me. I don’t want it to sound like I didn’t like Kai and Riley together. I did. I just wanted more from them, I guess. I wanted to feel for their relationship what I did for Samantha and Mason or Ryan and Mackenzie or Jesse and Alex.

Another thing that was uncomfortable for me was some of the brutality to the story — which I expected from a book about the mafia. I cringed through those parts as they propelled the plot forward. That kind of stuff isn’t my favorite to read, but I can handle it when I appreciate a story line. Those heinous acts were important to and perfect for Bennett Mafia.

Despite these things, I found myself addicted to the story. I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. I loved how things unraveled and became known. I also really loved the side characters. The Bennett family was so interesting and surprisingly lovable. Bennett Mafia may not have been my favorite Tijan romance, but it was my favorite Tijan suspense story.

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.

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

Reckless Temptations Cover

PURCHASE

Amazon

(#FREE with #KindleUnlimited)

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.

Reckless Temptations Full Jacket Cover

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.

#TAKETHEDETOUR

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#TEMPTME

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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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