Perspective (Exposure #4) by Annie Jocoby – Review by Colleen Noyes

Perspective (Exposure, #4)Perspective by Annie Jocoby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Perspective by Annie Jocoby is the 4th and final book in the Exposure series and the excitement continues! Now that CJ and Asher have taken the next step, they still have to deal with the fallout they will endure from bringing Natalia to the United States.

Asher has made the decision that in order to save his life and that of his families he must come clean about his past, he’s hoping that with big risks comes big rewards. They are also trying to accomplish a specific goal to avoid Asher’s father finding out they duped him because that could mean the end of their lives.

CJ isn’t sure how to tell her mom, sister, and Scarlett that she is married to Asher without giving away too much, but gives it her best try and of course now her own father is in the picture. Things just keep piling up and you have to wonder how much more they can take before it all breaks apart.

Just when they think they may be safe and out of the woods, things take another turn and CJ is now racing to save Asher. When CJ has a visit from an unexpected guest and then Asher suddenly doesn’t show up for an important meeting, CJ knows something must be wrong. She trusts her instincts and decides she must take matters into her own hands, but will that end up getting her killed? Can she find Asher in time to make everything right? Will they get their happily ever after? This story may just end with the way they prepared for it all along, in heartache, destruction, and death.

Annie Jocoby did a wonderful job on this series. She keeps the reader engaged, has strong characters, and a balanced mix of love, rejection, suspense, and storytelling. I thoroughly enjoyed the series and appreciated the way it all ended.

Review by @colleennoyes

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Close Up (Exposure, #3) by Annie Jocoby – Review Colleen Noyes

Close Up (Exposure, #3)Close Up by Annie Jocoby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Close Up by Annie Jocoby is the third book in the Exposure Series and picks up immediately where book 2 left off. CJ is completely shocked by Asher’s proposal and even though she wants to say yes, there are still so many doubts for her. It doesn’t help that she still can’t remember any of the feelings she had before her accident.

While she is trying unsuccessfully to put her life back together, it has made her stronger and she is beginning to face things she once ran from like visiting her mother and sister. What she doesn’t expect is the response she receives from them, but you see a true growth in how she handles the rejection.

Asher wants desperately to be there for her and for her just to love him. The problem is that he doesn’t really know the meaning of the word boundaries and the more he pushes the more she pulls. They create a tug-o-war of emotions that hurts both of them because they can’t seem to find a balance.

CJ wants to be a woman on her own two feet before jumping into anything. “I need to get my life together. I need to prove to myself that I can handle my own problems and issues on my own. My family, my job, my finances…I need to know, for myself, that I’m not helpless without you. I hope that I can get my head straightened out about all of this, and I can come back to you and take you up on your proposal. I’m not making any promises, though.”

For the first time in his life Asher truly loves someone and is willing to take a chance, to share everything about his past, all his secrets but knows he first needs the approval of his father or CJ will be susceptible to what Sophie would do to her. That’s a chance Asher just can’t take. As Sophie continues to blackmail and threaten them, they are in a race against the clock. Will they be able to keep CJ safe? Will CJ be able to handle all of Asher’s secrets and still love him? The continuation of their story in this third book keeps you engaged and intrigued. You just want to root for them, but it’s possible it’s just way too late.

Review by @colleennoyes

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Dirty Deeds (J.J. Graves Mystery #4.5) by Liliana Hart – Review by Colleen Noyes

Dirty Deeds (J.J. Graves Mystery #4.5)Dirty Deeds by Liliana Hart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dirty Deeds by Liliana Hart is a Novella as part of the J.J. Graves mystery series. Jack Lawson and J.J. (Jaye) Graves have finally taken their wedding vows after solving their last murder.

Now all they want is a quiet honeymoon, relaxing on an island, and making love more times than they can count. “We can put another tally mark on the wall.” JJ said. “I don’t have the energy. Your tally mark idea is going to put me into an early grave. I need some rest and some food, woman. We’re on sex hiatus for at least an hour.” “I didn’t know marriage was going to make you so whiny.”

However, in true JJ form, trouble comes knocking at their door and now there is a dead man. JJ and Jack can’t help themselves when the local officer needs their help solving the murder of a man nearly 100 years old.

Why would anyone murder a man who probably would have died in a few months? What could rock the quietness of this small community where crime rarely happened? As they find themselves smack dab in the middle of the investigation, what they uncover could haunt them for the rest of their lives.

Liliana Hart gives us a great quick read to update us on J.J. and Jack with just enough intrigue to leave us desiring more and tapping our fingers waiting for the next book.
Review by @colleennoyes

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Tempting Fate (Serendipity, #2) by Brinda Berry – Review by Colleen Noyes

Tempting Fate (Serendipity, #2)Tempting Fate by Brinda Berry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tempting Fate by Brinda Berry is her second book in the Serendipity Series and I absolutely loved it! This is the story of Collin Cordova who we met in the first book “Chasing Luck”, as Malerie’s friend and business partner. Collin, has a flourishing business, great friends, and he thought the love of his life in Raquel, but he soon discovers that she has betrayed him. He is left bitter, angry, and broken-hearted when Veronica Marshall literally crashes into his life. He can’t believe that she rear-ends him and then takes off, only to be found hitchhiking a short time later.

Veronica, is running scared from her life back home. She is fragile, broken, and clearly not in her right mind, but Collin sees something besides desperation behind her eyes. He can’t resist wanting to help her, even though he knows he may end up regretting it. “My urge to help her, fix her, know her… is a dangerous one. I can’t get involved.” When Collin notices bruises on her and that she won’t take any calls from her brother Gunnar, he assumes it must be her brother that has hurt her. The truth however, may be far worse.

When Collin offers to let Veronica stay with him one night she secretly wonders if he is a murderer. “What’s in your trunk?” “My what?” “Chainsaw? Garbage bags? Bleach?” Collin can’t help but smile and be a little amused. “You checking my supplies list?” “I’m a girl.” “You must watch a lot of crime drama.” After a few moments he realizes that she really is afraid “Hey, I’m going to call someone to vouch for me. Murderers don’t like witnesses.” “Okay. A girl. Call a girl, but not your mother. Your mother might lie to protect you.”

Both Collin and Veronica find themselves in a sticky situation with chemistry that seems to explode in a room. Since neither one of them had a great family life, they are both scared and hesitant to take a leap of faith. They begin a friendship that requires each of them to let down their walls a little and trust. Something they don’t even believe in considering all they have dealt with. Collin doesn’t believe that there is a woman who isn’t a lying cheat and Veronica doesn’t believe there is a man capable of being kind and good. “Is there such a thing as a nice jackass?” When their worlds collide they may soon discover their impressions are wrong, but will they be able to tear down the walls of protection? Can they find a compromise that allows them to be their own person, but also be together? Will Veronica continue on the run right out of Collin’s life and away from her troubles? Is there really such a thing as happily ever after when two people have been so hurt, betrayed, and let down?

This story has strong main characters and supporting characters. It updates us on Malerie and Ace from “Chasing Luck” and introduces us to Gunnar, Beck, Dylan, Emerson, and Jordy. The writing is captivating, smooth, and so funny at times. I think that Brinda Berry captures the essence of each character and lets us see them from the inside out. The story is told in Collin and Veronica’s POV’s. I can’t wait to get my hands on “Seducing Fortune”

Review by @colleennoyes

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Seducing Fortune (Serendipity, #3) by Brinda Berry – Review by Colleen Noyes

Seducing Fortune (Serendipity, #3)Seducing Fortune by Brinda Berry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Seducing Fortune is the third book in the Serendipity Series by the talented Brinda Berry. Dylan Mercado, has taken over his father’s car business after his father was forced to retire because of health issues. He has always been a playboy, taking home one woman after the next, never committing to anyone. Emerson, is a former stripper turned housekeeper for Dylan and his roommates, Jordy and Collin. They have always been friendly with each other but after a brief dancing encounter one night they both secretly have feelings for the other. Unfortunately, neither one of them is willing to let down the walls they have built up from their tumultuous past.

Emerson is living life, raising her sister Gabby, working hard and trying to forget about the fact that her father is in prison. She still can’t believe that she was once a stripper but also doesn’t want that to define her. She has spent so long, not letting anyone into her life that she is stunned when Dylan takes her off guard. “I’m normally a good liar. Someone asks how I’m doing and I pull on my hunky-dory mask. Another mentions my dad in the federal penitentiary and I act as though it doesn’t bother me. My real feelings are buried deep, a grave of emotions. No visitors allowed.”

Dylan, has a good reason for not letting anyone in and it’s one no one would ever know. He was left devastated one time in his past, and has found it’s not always better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all. He also comes from a family where money seems to be the only important thing, instead of relationships.

Each of them have their own impressions of the other, but soon discover that they don’t really know anything each other. They discover that their version of the truth may not be the truth at all. “The enormity of my prejudices slams me. It’s not like I expected a silver pole in the middle of the room. But I don’t expect ex-strippers to be ex-homecoming queens.”

While Emerson is working out her feelings for Dylan from afar, she meets Toby a nice guy who wants to date her and just happened to be there when she needed help. He continues to reach out to her, help her in her times of distress, and be compassionate. Her father’s past and misdealing’s soon come back to haunt her and she is left having to fight to survive while trying to protect the ones she loves. She is forced to keep secrets from those around her, but doesn’t realize that the people around her have been keeping secrets a very long time. Not everything is as it seems and things may have been put in motion long before she even realized. The twists and turns this story takes will keep you guessing and maybe rooting for the people you shouldn’t be.

Will Emerson and Toby end up happy? Will she break his heart and take the less safe road to Dylan? Can Dylan, let go of his past hurt and truly be committed to one woman and no matter what they decide will any of them survive?

I loved Brinda Berry’s writing style, which kept the story flowing non-stop. It is refreshing to read a book that has romance, love, pain, sorrow, and so much more without only focusing on the sexual aspects. She writes a classy novel that will be appealing to women everywhere and does a great job of bringing the reader into the characters’ lives.

Review by @colleennoyes

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Fighting Shadows (On the Ropes, #2) by Aly Martinez – Review by Colleen Noyes

Fighting Shadows (On the Ropes, #2)Fighting Shadows by Aly Martinez
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dear Lord, Fighting Shadows the second book by Aly Martinez in the On the Ropes Trilogy DID NOT disappoint! I had been not so patiently waiting for this books release since I read Fighting Silence and I was truly unable to put it down.

Flint Page, literally just took a bullet for his brother’s wife Eliza whom Flint is in love with. It’s a bullet that changes the course of his life, leaving him with more emotions than he knows what to do with. At 19 years old, he has spent the better part of his life, abandoned by his piece of crap parents to be raised with his brother Quarry, by his brother Till. Flint is convinced he is in love with Eliza and finds himself bitter, angry with rage, and deeply sad that he can’t have her. He knows that the love is real and she should be with him, not Till. “I was lying face down on a hospital bed, drugged out of my mind, and pinning over my brother’s pregnant wife. The same woman, who was the closest thing to a real mother I’d ever known. The levels of messed up could not even be described.” He feels as if he is a third wheel, “Like so often in our lives, Quarry and I were just part of the package.” His anger and hardness comes from such a raw and emotional place that is only enhanced by the troubles his family has had to endure. “I’d had to fight for everything. The same everything that had absolutely never been enough. For God’s sake, hearing and walking weren’t even guaranteed for us.”

Ash Victoria Mabie, was living her own miserable life, being forced to do the dirty work of her father’s choosing. “I hated every single second of robbing people, especially the nice ones who seemed like they genuinely cared about me. It was freezing outside, and he’d offered me his coat. Unlike my father, who had taken my shoes and shoved me out of the car two blocks away.” She was willing to do what she had to though, in the hopes of avoiding yet another move, to another new place. She was never able to settle, never allowed to enroll in school, never able to make friends or connections. “I’d been begging my father for as long as I could remember to let me go to school. But he’d always answered with a resounding no.” In her short 15 years of life she had lived in 22 houses, trailers, apartments, etc. All she wanted was to belong, to be accepted, worthy, and have something stable. When she met Quarry, her life was about to change but would it be for the better or would it leave her alone and gutted.

After Flint and Ash are introduced they begin to see threw the others facades. There are light hearted moments like Ash continuously stealing Flint’s wallet and there are heart wrenching moments like when Flint makes the mistake of telling Ash why he avoids family functions. In their own ways they are each running away when they should be running towards each other. Their lives are filled with hurt, betrayal, insecurities, and most of all fear. The fear of love and not being enough. When the mistakes they make tear them apart and leave each one alone will they be able to find their way back? If they find their way back to each other will they ever be able to forgive? Can Flint ever truly love a woman other than Eliza? Is Ash even capable of sticking around and not running? This story is about so much more than love, it’s about the journey people sometimes have to take to find their true identity and destiny. It’s about not giving up, when the deck is stacked against you and you are lost, hurt, and confused. It’s about realizing that what you think you want and need may not be your true reality. How will I ever make it to the winter for the conclusion of this trilogy?

Review by @colleennoyes

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