Friday, April 8, 2016

Review: Thrown Down by Tessa Bailey and Dirty Deal by Christine Bell

Thrown Down by Tessa Bailey
Book Two of the Made in Jersey series
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Publication Date: April 4, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***

Summary (from Goodreads):

He has one last chance to deserve the girl of his dreams...

Overachiever River Purcell was never supposed to be a struggling single mom, working double shifts just to make ends meet. Nor was she supposed to be abandoned by her high school sweetheart, breaking her heart into a thousand jagged pieces. Now Vaughn De Matteo is back in town, his sights set on her...and River is in danger of drowning a second time.

No one believed Hook's resident bad boy was good enough for River. Not even Vaughn himself. But he'll fight like hell to win back the woman he never stopped loving, to keep the daughter he never expected, and convince himself he's worth their love in the process?even if he has to rely on their fierce and undeniable sexual chemistry.

But even as River's body arches under his hungered touch, the demons of the past lurk in the shadows. Waiting for Vaughn to repeat his mistakes one last time...

What I Liked:

I love Tessa Bailey's books. There is something about them that keeps me coming back. She writes some of the hottest romances, and well-rounded characters, and different types of stories. You're always going to read something different and new when you pick up a Tessa Bailey book. I think this is my tenth Bailey read, and I really enjoyed the book!

Crashed Out was Sarge and Jasmine's story; Rough Rhythm was James and Lita's story. Thrown Down is Vaughn and River's story. River is Sarge's sister, and Vaughn is her ex-boyfriend who left her about four years ago and enlisted in the Army. Vaughn had no idea that River was pregnant, and nine months after he left, she had Marcy. Four years later, Vaughn is now hearing of his three-year-old daughter, and he's back. River won't let him back in her life easily, but Vaughn won't give up on River, and especially not his daughter.

I adore second-chance romances! I was a little nervous about this one. Crashed Out hinted at this story, with the ending of the book showing Vaughn's return. I had nothing to be worried about! I loved seeing Vaughn and River interact, after four years. Both of them were guilty of something that night four years ago - both of them kept things from each other. But Vaughn is the one that left, and River won't let him march back into her life, and into Marcy's life, so easily. Usually I dislike it when both people are to blame but only one person is working towards forgiveness, but that wasn't quite the case here.

For one, River does give Vaughn the chance to slowly come into her life and Marcy's. I think the author handled this aspect of the story well - there is no way River would have just let Vaughn into Marcy's life, like, surprise, this is your dad! And I like Vaughn's reactions to meeting his daughter - panicked, but then slowly getting more used to fatherhood.

River and Vaughn together are sizzling! They never lost their heat, and if anything, they are even more steamy together than before. We get to see flashback scenes from the past, so we know that the pair had a really physical relationship before Vaughn left. Fast forward to the present - initially River tries to keep things separated, but it's pretty impossible for either of them to stay away, physically and emotionally. 

I felt for both characters, and I really liked both characters. I thought it was really unfair that Vaughn missed the first three years of his daughter's life, and that River never told him about her. But at the same time, I totally understand River's reasons. And I was mad at Vaughn for leaving, but I totally understand his reasons too. 

In the end, I love how they both forgave each other, as well as themselves. I also really liked how the ending was very low on drama and miscommunication and angst. Both River AND Vaughn fought for each other and to be with each other. I love that it wasn't a one-sided fight! This aspect of the book was probably one of my favorites. The ending was lovely and wrapped up the story perfectly!

What I Did Not Like:

I can't think of anything at the moment! I breezed through this book so quickly - it was excellent!

Would I Recommend It:

If you like Tessa Bailey's books, don't miss this one. I'm not usually a fan of romance novels with children in them, but this one really worked for me. I really enjoy Entangled Brazen's books, and this one is another phenomenal publication. Bailey's books are always so hot and each one so unique, each story different from the last. Did I mention super steamy? This book was no exception!

Rating:

4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars (this is just picky Alyssa being picky). I love this second-chance romance! I like seeing two people struggle and push and pull and ultimately, fight to be with each other. Such a lovely story!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


Dirty Deal by Christine Bell
Book Two of the Perfectly Matched series
Publisher: Entangled Brazen 
Publication Date: August 25, 2014
Rating: 4 star
Source: Kindle copy bought from Amazon

***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***

Summary (from Goodreads):

Professional matchmaker Serena Elliott spends her workdays helping clients find love. It’s the perfect gig. She gets to see the good part of the relationships...before things inevitably turn to crap. She leads her own love life the same way. Get in, and get out before things get too complicated. One date with sexy army doctor, Bryan Metcalf, won’t be enough to make her change her mind, no matter how hot it gets…

Bryan has had his share of crazy women and isn’t in the market for another relationship that ends by way of restraining order. When Serena Elliott gets into a bidding war for him at a charity bachelor auction, he’s a little worried. Turns out she’s just as anti-relationship as he is, and could be the solution to all his problems. If he can convince her to be his fake girlfriend, he just might be able to spend the rest of his leave in peace. Now if only he can stop thinking about that night on the beach…

But there are other forces at work that believe these two belong together, and they just might find out that happily ever afters do exist.

What I Liked:

I bought this book on a whim, while it was $0.99 (such a steal!). I've had pretty good success with Christine Bell's books. One of my favorites is Down for the Count, but I also liked Down on Her Knees. Book one of the Perfectly Matched series, Dirty Trick, was okay for me. I liked this one more! Dirty Trick featured Grace and Patrick, and this book featured Serena (Grace's coworker) and Bryan Metcalf, an army doctor who has returned home for a short time.

Bryan is roped into participating in a charity event that was put together by his sister, Quinn. All Bryan has to do is strut around in his underwear while women bid on a date with him - in the name of charity, of course. The bidding comes down to his crazy ex... and Serena, who is bidding so that she can have time with Bryan to talk to him, and try and get him to be the face of a campaign she and Grace are working on, for their matchmaking company. Both Bryan and Serena aren't looking for a relationship, but the chemistry between them is pretty fiery. What happens when their purely physical relationship turns into more?

If there is one thing about Christine Bell's books that I've come to expect and love, it is that all of them are REALLY hot. Bell especially writes hot romances and steamy scenes, and not the same ones over and over with slightly different variations. The romance in this book was smoking hot! The chemistry between Bryan and Serena was beyond steamy.

I immediately liked Bryan, upon reading the first few pages. He's a sexy army doctor (win-win there - man in uniform and a medical professional), and he's a nice guy. Apparently he's the type of guy that drives women crazy (his exes are insane!), but he's a decent guy, not arrogant. Serena is a perfect match for him. She is bold and unapologetic and feisty. I like that they both kind of fell into a physical relationship and they both were pretty okay with it being only physical. But I also like that they both fell for each other, and both of them were terrified of this.

Both characters have their reasons for avoiding love and relationships, but I liked seeing them together. They have craaaazy chemistry, but they also fit well as a pair, in general. This was a nice story of  two people meeting, falling in lust, and then in love with each other.

Overall, another success from Christine Bell! I like her Dare Me series, but this Perfectly Matched series is great too. I don't think Bell has written a Brazen-published book in a while, but I think she should!

What I Did Not Like:

I don't think I had complaints about this one! I kind of wish the ending was a little less dramatic, though it wasn't nearly as bad as some romance novels can get. Poor Serena! I'm glad Bryan came to his senses (both of them, really, but especially Bryan). 

Would I Recommend It:

I would pretty much recommend any of Christine Bell's Brazen novels, this one included. My favorite of hers is Down for the Count, which is actually only $0.99 right now! Bell's books are incredibly sexy and so well-written. It's worth stocking up on these!

Rating:

4 stars. I do hope there are more Brazen sales in the future, because I love having Brazen novels I haven't read on hand! They are so fun to read. Especially books by authors like Christine Bell, who can write a really satisfying and steamy romance!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

16 comments:

  1. I love second chance romances, but I hesitate over the first one b/c of the secret baby added to it. Looks like they handled the reunion well.

    Always fun to see two anti-commitment types fall in love. Love when I catch a good sale.

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    1. I had been concerned about that type of plot as well. I usually do not like kids in books - or secret babies. But the story was so good!

      You're talking about Dirty Deal - me too! I liked the pair. And the sale. :D

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  2. Wohoo! I'm so glad to see you enjoyed the Tessa Bailey. Her writing is really like crack and you always want to come back for more. :) I'm glad she writes fast too. Can you imagine having to wait for a whole year like with some YA authors? That would be DEVASTATING!
    I liked that Thrown Down was low on the drama and miscommunication too. It's becoming such a tiresome trope in romance novels.

    LOL at the guy turning his exes crazy! I don't think I've read anything by Christine Bell, but you're making me want to pick something up by her. Especially given that they are steamy and hot!

    Fab reviews, Alyssa!

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    1. Me too! I was a little wary of this one. I love the schedule and pace of these romance authors! They are churning these books out so quickly. Tessa Bailey especially, she's a machine!

      Bryan Metcalf is quite possibly a new book boyfriend! I adored him. :D Christine Bell definitely writes some of the hottest Brazen novels I've read!

      Thank you, Nick!

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  3. Both of your reviews make me want to read these! Especially the one that you said the author always has "hot" books. I'm really starting to read a lot more of those now. I'll have to check that one out. Great reviews!

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    1. YAY! Yup, both authors have a handle on the "hot". They are such good romance writers!

      Thank you, Lisa!

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  4. I've never read anything by Tessa Bailey... it sounds as if I'm missing out though!

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  5. Tessa Bailey is actually new to me, but I do have a soft spot for second chance romances! Glad it was a lovely read, I do love a sizzling couple ;)

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    1. Whaaaaat? Cyn, you must read one of her books! Or all of them. ;)

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  6. Amazing reviews as always Alyssa! And heck yes for Tessa Bailey! I just freaking love and adore Tessa Bailey books which I really need to pick up her other series as well! And I really need too get books by Christine Bell. Which book series do your recommend to read first by Christine Bell Alyssa? Thank you for your awesome post my friend.

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    1. I highly recommend Bell's Down for the Count, and this Perfectly Matched series (Dirty Trick, Dirty Deal)! You can't go wrong with Bell. :D

      Thank YOU, Katiria!

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  7. YES!! River book! *one-clicks* It'll be May's Alyssa book if I can wait to read it till then! ;)

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    1. I hope you love love love it, Pili! <3

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  8. Yay :D Lovely reviews Alyssa. <3 I am so glad you loved both books, for the most part :D Love that you read books like these. <3 They are not for me, sadly.. but you do make them sound pretty amazing :) Thank you for sharing all of your lovely thoughts about them. <3 Hugs. Hope you are having the best week so far :D

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    1. I understand! I adore adult romance novels so much... and they provide a nice break from YA books, which is nice. Thank you! I hope you're having a great week as well!

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