New Release Review and Giveaway! THE SUMMER OF SHAMBLES by Ebony McKenna (Ondine #1)

Such fun!


The Summer of Shambles
by Ebony McKenna
(Ondine #1)
Publication date: June 21 2013
Genres: Comedy, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

Dive into this wonderfully witty young adult series from author Ebony McKenna, set in the far off European country of Brugel.

15-year-old Ondine is struggling to fit in at Psychic Summercamp and doubts she possesses any of her family’s magical abilities. She resolves to leave, determined to follow her own path and be a normal teenager. Whatever normal is in a place like Brugel.

On the way home Ondine is shocked when her pet ferret Shambles starts talking – in a cheeky Scottish accent no less! He is in fact a young man trapped in a witch’s curse. When he briefly transforms into his human self, Ondine is smitten. If only she can break the spell for good, Shambles can be handsomely human on a full-time basis.

During the summer, these two misfits uncover a plot to assassinate a member of the royal family and discover a secret treasure that has remained hidden for decades. This attracts the attention of the arrogant Lord Vincent, and Ondine can’t help being drawn in by his bad-boy charm.

With so many demands on Ondine’s attentions – and affections – normal has never seemed so far away.

The Summer of Shambles is the first in the four-part ONDINE series. Fans of The Princess Bride or the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series will love this delightfully quirky fairytale.


Summer of Shambles is an adorably fun read! If The Princess Bride and Ella Enchanted (the book versions–not that the movie versions weren’t each fun in their own way) put their diabolically funny heads together and decided to create their own unique version of a Mini Me, something very much like this book would be the result.

And really, you can’t go wrong with a book that has a talking ferret. Or takes place in a tiny and imaginary European country named Brugel. (Which is the only country in the world with a hexagonal flag, according to and Shaaron Melvedeir’s classic work The Complete History of Brugel–though Everything Shaaron Melvedeir Says is Rubbish by Isaak Drixen probably would dispute the claim.)

As the book opens, Ondine has slept through her astral projection exam. More certain than ever of her immanent failure, and since Psychic Summercamp (apparently all psychics and mediums can trace their DNA to the foothills of Brugel, but Ondine is convinced she definitely isn’t one of their number) wasn’t exactly how she wanted to spend her summer vacation anyway, she grabs her suitcase and her ferret and runs away home.

Ondine has just arrived at the train station when she makes a startling discovery–Shambles, the ferret who found her at summer camp and became her constant companion, can talk! In a deep Scottish (and manly) accent, nonetheless–although apparently Ondine’s the only one who can understand him. He’s a little too excited to find out that Ondine lives in a pub, for reasons that become clear when she learns his true identity. More than a half century earlier, Hamish McPhee, the Laird of Glen Logan, offended a witch–a witch who, coincidentally, happens to be Ondine’s great-aunt. When he imbibed a little too much plutz (Brugel’s number one alcoholic export, which is made from fermented peaches and is 32% proof and the main ingredient in divorce proceedings) at Ondine’s Great-Aunt Colleen’s debut into society, she turned him into a ferret.

Together Ondine and Shambles/Hamish uncover a plot to assassinate the Duke of Brugel, find a small fortune in jewels hidden in the pub, and discover not one but two secret romances. Ondine becomes smitten with the Duke’s handsome son Vincent, much to Shambles/Hamish’s dismay, although as the summer continues she develops more than a passing interest in finding out just what her ferret looked like when he was a human.

She soon finds out–and the answer is very nice.

Will Hamish manage to stay human? How did the jewels get under the pub’s floorboards? Who is trying to shut the pub down, and why? Is Vincent a bad boy gone good, or is he just bad? Is Ondine actually psychic? Will Ondine’s father survive if all three of his daughters manage to find love in a single summer? Read The Summer of Shambles to find out–you won’t be sorry you did!

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.



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AUTHOR BIO:ebony_mckenna_portrait_imgP3975_435x606

Ebony McKenna lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and son.
She has worked as a journalist, market researcher, website editor, and company director.
As a teenager, she lived in a family-run restaurant. This provided the inspiration for Ondine’s family, as Ebony has also waitressed, prepared food and yep, she washed dishes. So many dishes.
Now she writes novels for a living, so her hands are dry. Except for when her characters are making her laugh too much and she has to wipe tears away so she can see the keyboard.She’s always loved trivia nights and the Eurovision Song Contest, and wishes she’d put money on Conchita Wurst winning this year.
Author links:
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Release Day Review and Giveaway! READY TO BURN by Tracey Alvarez (Due South #3)

 Yessss! Book three is out today, on sale for 99 centsand there’s going to be a Christmas novella! :)

Release Day Event

Ready to Burn Release Day

Book Title: Ready To Burn (Due South Book 3)
Author: Tracey Alvarez
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 25th, 2014
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions


Take one sassy Harland girl…

Shaye Harland, sous chef de-awesome, desperately wants the role of Due South’s head chef. Though a little out of her depth, she can totally cope with the extra demands if she can resist her future brother-in-law when he muscles in on her kitchen. The Hollywood wannabe is nothing but a troublesome distraction and he fries her sex-ometer to a crisp. But as far as romance? Forget it. Love, when she finds Mr. Perfect, will be as sweet as her to-die-for cookies.

Add a bad-boy from LA…

Del Westlake swore he’d never again set foot on the island he calls the “ass end of New Zealand.” With his reputation as a sous chef in one of LA’s hottest restaurants trashed, and his estranged father’s restaurant needing a head chef, Del wants nothing more than to go in, get the job done, and get out. Except his feisty second-in-command carves herself a spot in his heart and completely incinerates his plans.

Watch the sparks fly as they burn it up in the kitchen…

Winning a spot on a TV reality show is just what Del needs to jumpstart his career back in the States. Nothing can get in the way of him winning—not even the woman whose trust he’d destroy if she discovers his secrets. But with a film crew capturing the explosive kitchen chemistry between them, will his bad-boy ways rear up and ruin his shot at becoming Shaye’s Mr. Perfect?

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Be a bridesmaid, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.
–Shaye Harland

Oh, Shaye, I feel your pain. Spanx is no fun at the best of times, and when you’re the last of your siblings to still be single? Doubly painful…

Shaye Harland’s older sister’s getting married (Piper from In Too Deep –which you don’t have to have read to appreciate Shaye’s dilemma here, but if you haven’t yet, why the heck not?? ;)), and Shaye’s going to be a bridesmaid. This is all lovely–Piper’s fiance’s a great guy, and he’s been a friend of the family for years. Shaye works for him, actually–she’s sous chef at Due South, the Westlake family pub. Bill Westlake, the family patriarch, is also its chef, and Shaye’s been told by him on more than one occasion that one day the kitchen of Due South will be hers to run. Bill’s sick, though, and Shaye’s been struggling with the extra workload. She’s determined to make it work, however. She can do this–she’s focused, determined, and unshakable in the kitchen, even if her personal life is a bit shaky at best.


Del Westlake is back. Del Westlake, the second son who left the island thirteen years ago to live in California with his mom. Del’s wanted nothing to do with the father who he believes threw a confused and heartbroken fourteen-year-old away without a second thought, and his relationship with his older brother Ryan (AKA Piper’s fiance West) isn’t much better. Del’s been living the high life as a sous chef at one of the hottest restaurants in LA, and has had zero interest in Due South. So why is he suddenly back in town, weeks before the wedding? Shaye hopes against hope it’s just to see if he’ll be a viable kidney donor for his dad.

Yeah, not so much.

Del has no intention of being tested. Unknown to everyone, his personal and professional life has hit rock bottom–at least he hopes it’s rock bottom. Surely it can’t get any worse, right? His one chance for breaking back into the profession he loves is getting onto a restaurant-based reality show, and filling in for his dad at Due South will give him the perfect opportunity. So what if he has to step on a few toes in the process? It’s not like he owes these people anything, right?

But Shaye Harland has such delectable toes. Not to mention a few other choice body parts–and suddenly he can’t stop thinking about what it would be like to crush her pouty lips to his while he…

Nope. Not going to go there. Because he’s not the guy for her, not at all. She’s looking for a Mr. Perfect, and Del’s got nothing but flaws. But hey, life is short and he’s not going to be on Stewart Island for long. Maybe they could scratch a mutual itch while he’s here, and make a few good memories for him to take back to LA? What could go wrong with that plan?

“Let me tell you something else, cupcake. I’m not perfect. I’m just a guy and a pretty ordinary one at that. I belch after a beer, hog the TV remote, and scratch my balls because I damn well can. I won’t pretend to like Pride and Prejudice, I don’t remember birthdays and anniversaries, and the day I get on my knees and grovel for a woman’s affection will be the day I ask Dr. Joe to ring the psych department for a straitjacket.” He stabbed a finger at her. “But I want you, and you want me— and it pisses you off because you can’t bear getting messy with a man who’ll never measure up to your unrealistic expectations.”

(I’m still trying to get over the slight to my beloved P&P, Dang, it’s hard. But for Del, I’ll make the extra effort.)

Ready to Burn definitely did not disappoint–don’t tell Piper and West or Ben and Kezia, but Shaye and Del might just be my favorite couple in this series! Shaye’s creative cursing–to avoid having to put money in her own curse jar at work–was both amusing and hunger-inducing. (Surely I can use “Effing cinnamon sticks!” and “Jittering-freaking-jalapenos!” and “Holy-freaking-guacamole with a side order of cinnamon sicks” at some point this week?) I love the way she thinks (“If he’d been a department store sample strip, she would’ve rubbed him over her body to transfer the delicious smell onto her skin”) and that she’s worked so hard to keep her family going despite tragedy and still manages to carve out a successful professional life for herself on the island. Del is deliciously yummy (refer back to Shaye’s errant thought above) but has some very real flaws–flaws he eventually mans up to and works overtime to try and repair. Okay, he’s not a fan of my favorite period drama, but he does have a standing breakfast date every morning with the annoying bird that wakes him up way too early. How can you not love this guy?

I had to pace myself while reading their story because I wanted to make it last–not an easy feat, because I was so anxious to get to their HEA :) Tracey Alvarez makes them work for it, and work hard they do–in funny, touching, heartbreaking, and very realsituations and scenes.

Sigh… Such. A. Good. Book.

Next up: a Due South Christmas novella ( Christmas With You ) featuring Del and West’s half sister Carly. Sign me up; I can’t wait until my next trip to the island!

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

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One second Del stood beside her all moody and mysterious, and the next, his hands gripped the railing on either side of her hips. He moved fast—fast enough that she made an embarrassing little eep-ish squawk. Nowhere to go unless she became flexible enough to do a flip over the wooden railing.

Shaye yanked her hands from her pockets and gave his chest a shove. “Back off.”

Even after she added her sous chef do it now or die glare, he stayed, big and bad and way too close. He continued watching her with dark and unreadable eyes, his nostrils flaring slightly as he breathed.

Her hands didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t put them back on those two hard pecs, since every single nerve-ending had soaked up the heat burning through Del’s shirt and transmitted swoony, oh yeah sighs into her brain.

Stupid nerve-endings. Stupid brain.

She wriggled her bottom, so she half sat on the railing, arching away from him. “What are you doing?”

“Showing you the reason.”

The rough timbre of his voice stroked over her. Wickedly dark, decadently rich, scarily addictive. Like chocolate, the quality stuff made of eighty percent pure cacao.

He leaned forward, his face level with hers. “It’s a compelling reason.”

Shaye’s hand shot out to grip his biceps—that or topple backward—but God, he felt amazing. All hard, sinewy muscle and why the hell couldn’t she unhook her fingers?

Her breathing hitched, high and ragged. “My sister’s a cop, and I know how to defend myself.”

“So, show me your ninja moves.”

“Daring a cornered woman to hurt you isn’t very bright.”

One of his hands rasped off the wooden railing and touched the end of her ponytail. He selected a strand and stroked it down her jaw. Shaye licked her lips, unable to suck her gaze from his mouth, which angled closer. Close enough that she could tell the flavor of the last handful of potato chips he’d eaten.

Salt and vinegar. Her favorite.

She strained upward to see if he tasted as good as he smelled…Freaking hell

Shaye reared back a little, hair slipping from his fingers, her chin narrowly missing his. “Are you going to kiss me?”

Her heart gave a little bunny-hop at the thought and leaped around her ribs.

“Not unless you ask real nice.”

“Ask you?” There was that damn smirk of his again. She should’ve guessed he was playing with her. “When pigs fly.”

A muscle ticked in his jaw, but the smile didn’t falter. “Now you’ll have to say, ‘Please, Del. With a cherry on top.’”

“I’d jam that cherry up your nose before I’d kiss you, Hollywood. Get outta my face.”

His gaze dipped once to her mouth then flicked up. “I can’t go anywhere while you’re grabbing onto me.”

Meet the Author

Tracey Alvarez lives in the Coolest Little Capital in the World (a.k.a Wellington, New Zealand) where she’s yet to be buried under her to-be-readTracey Alvarez Bio Photo book pile by Wellington’s infamous wind—her Kindle’s a lifesaver! Married to a wonderfully supportive IT guy, she has two teens who would love to be surgically linked to their electronic devices.

Fuelled by copious amounts of coffee, she’s the author of contemporary romantic fiction set predominantly in New Zealand. Small-towns, close communities, and families are a big part of the heart-warming stories she writes. Oh, and hot, down-to-earth heroes—Kiwi men, in other words.

When she’s not writing, thinking about writing, or procrastinating about writing, Tracey can be found reading sexy books of all romance genres, nibbling on smuggled chocolate bars, or bribing her kids to take over the housework.



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Bonus Saturday Morning Video: Get Ready for NaNoWriMo with founder Chris Baty!

ONE WEEK TO GO. I will be ready. Maybe. Probably.

I hope….

What is NaNoWriMo? I’m so glad you asked! Hear all about it from Chris Baty himself–the guy who wrote No Plot? No Problem! and started this whole crazy shebang. The audio’s not great for the first few minutes of the video, but the problem is resolved fairly quickly, so it’s worth it to stick with it.

It’s not too late to join the insanity! ;)

Saturday Morning Videos: Glove and Boots plea: PLEASE STOP GIVING EVERYTHING AWAY, HOLLYWOOD!

Ever sit through a trailer and wonder what the heck was left for you to discover in the actual movie? Yeah, me too.

Spoiler alert–if you haven’t seen THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, this may ruin it for you. Teensy spoiler for THE RETURN OF THE JEDI too…

Though seeing Han Solo in his prime is totally worth it…

Bad Grandpa? Not so much.

Cover Reveal and Giveaway! WITHERING HOPE by Layla Hagen

It’s tough to hide guys in wet t-shirts as well… ;)


Withering Hope
by Layla Hagen
Publication date: January 19th 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Aimee’s wedding is supposed to turn out perfect. Her dress, her fiancé, and the location—the idyllic holiday ranch in Brazil—are perfect.

But all Aimee’s plans come crashing down when the private jet that’s taking her from the U.S. to the ranch—where her fiancé awaits—defects mid-flight and the pilot is forced to perform an emergency landing in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.

With no way to reach civilization, being rescued is Aimee and Tristan’s—the pilot—only hope. A slim one that slowly withers away, desperation taking its place. Because death wanders in the jungle under many forms: starvation, diseases. Beasts.

As Aimee and Tristan fight to find ways to survive, they grow closer. Together they discover that facing old, inner agonies carved by painful pasts takes just as much courage, if not even more, than facing the rainforest.

Despite her devotion to her fiancé, Aimee can’t hide her feelings for Tristan—the man for whom she’s slowly becoming everything. You can hide many things in the rainforest. But not lies. Or love.

Withering Hope is the story of a man who desperately needs forgiveness and the woman who brings him hope. It is a story in which hope births wings and blooms into a love that is as beautiful and intense as it is forbidden.

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My name is Layla Hagen and I am a New Adult Contemporary Romance author.
I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later.
I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world.
And I drink coffee. Lots of it, in case the photo didn’t make it obvious enough
Author Links:


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New Release Review and Giveaway! STROLLERS & STILETTOS by Nana Malone (In Stilettos #4)

Want to see where it all began? Enter to win a copy of Jaya and Alec’s first book, Sexy in Stilettos!

Strollers & Stilettos Cover

Title: Strollers & Stilettos
Series: In Stilettos, #4
Author: Nana Malone
Release Date: October 20, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Summary:

What happens when real life gets in the way of Happily Ever After?

Chronic list-making, event planner Jaya Trudeaux Westhorpe envisioned a fairytale ending once she married hotel magnate, Alec Westhorpe—complete with a steamy, extended honeymoon and an eventual family.  What she didn’t expect was a baby on their doorstep and a family-phobic husband.

When reformed playboy Alec Danthers Westhorpe married the woman of his dreams, he thought he’d finally found peace. But a long-hidden secret threatens to jeopardize what he holds most dear.

Warning: Sexy, sass talking women will make you laugh, cry and want a pair of killer footwear.



Strollers and Stilettos, the fourth book in Nana Malone’s In Stilettos series, continues the story of Jaya and Alec (from book one, Sexy in Stilettos ) and looks for an answer to the question how is life after the HEA? Does the “H” continue?

The novella works as a standalone, though fans of the series will definitely enjoy a look into the future lives of the heroes and heroines of the previous series books–all three sets play a role in this one.

Strollers takes place six months after Alec and Jaya’s wedding, and things aren’t quite going as planned. Alec, having made some major changes to adjust to their life together, is working far more than Jaya would like and out of town a lot. They’re reduced to stealing moments when they can get them (supply closets will never be seen the same way again!) but neither is feeling quite satisfied. Jaya’s been making offhand comments about starting a family someday, but Alec worries that there’s more of his father in him than he’s ever been willing to admit.

What if he won’t be able to pull off the role of family man either?

When a surprise baby shows up at Alec’s hotel, their lives become even more chaotic. Alec’s determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, even though he’s sure–well, reasonably certain, anyway–mostly–that Alexa’s not his. Jaya, seeing only a child in need, wants to care for the baby while her mother is found. Alec believes CPS is a better choice.

When the foster family she’s placed with appears overburdened, Jaya finally gets her way. But Alec, still searching for the absent mother with a sick feeling in his stomach, refuses to even touch the baby. Is it a sign of things to come? One Jaya would be wise to heed?

The mystery of the baby’s origin is eventually solved, though parts of the drama aren’t quite sufficiently explained.

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Still, there’s a happy ending for everyone involved, and both Jaya and Alec learn some important things about themselves and each other. By the book’s end, the two are back on their path to a lasting HEA.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B-

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Author:NanaMalone

USA Today Bestselling Author Nana Malone’s love of all things romance and adventure started with a tattered romantic suspense she borrowed from her cousin on a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana at a precocious thirteen. She’s been in love with kick butt heroines ever since.

With her overactive imagination, and channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own characters. Waiting for her chance at a job as a ninja assassin, Nana meantime works out her drama, passion, and sass with fictional characters every bit as sassy and kick butt as she thinks she is.

Nana is the author of twenty novels. And the books in her series have been on multiple Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble bestseller lists as well as the iTunes Breakout Books list and most notably the USA Today Bestseller list.


Connect with Nana: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Newsletter

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New Release Spotlight and Giveaway! UNETHICAL by Jennifer Blackwood

A brand new second chance romance! Whoo hoo :)
by Jennifer Blackwood
Published by: Entangled Embrace
Publication date: October 20th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

A new adult romance from Entangled’s Embrace imprint…

Love burns hotter the second time around…

Two years ago, the medical world was shaken by scandal, and Payton Daniels’s family was at the center of it. The second she graduated, Payton left everything behind―her high school sweetheart, her family, and the controversy surrounding her mother’s death—and hid within the anonymity of college. But Payton’s ex, Blake Hiller, hasn’t forgiven her for leaving, and when he enrolls in the same medical ethics class, she panics. She can’t run the risk of him telling everyone who she really is.

As if being at the same university isn’t enough, both Blake and Payton land the same internship. Forced together, their passion for each other reignites, but when Payton is asked to testify in her father’s high-profile trial, she must choose between risking her acceptance into medical school to help her father, and losing every connection to her past—including the only guy she’s ever loved.




I cracked my knuckles and waited for Andrew to take his tongue out of my ex’s mouth.

He wiped his lips with the back of his hand, and a wide grin spread across his pretty-boy face.


“Hey, Blake! Have you met Payton Daniels?” Andrew motioned to the girl who left me broken and forgotten.

Yes. I knew her all too well. I chuckled at the irony of the halo perched atop her auburn hair, the soft curls cascading over her shoulder. How could I forget her? When I flew to Mexico for my graduation trip, she was my loving girlfriend. And when I got back… Well, I came back to nothing.

Her green eyes opened so wide they looked like they might pop out of her head. Yeah, I’m surprised to see you, too, little Miss Runaway.

Wait, Daniels? That was her mom’s last name, not her dad’s. Interesting. Stretching my neck, I decided I needed to keep cool. I couldn’t freak out on her, not here. Her hand on Andrew’s abs was all the explanation I needed, making my time spent agonizing about what I could have done differently the past two years a complete waste.

“No, I’ve never met Payton Daniels before.” Payton flinched when I emphasized her last name. Of course she did. To me, she would always be Payton Cooper. I’d go along with her charade for now. Her pleading look liquefied some of the ice that had hardened my heart the past couple years.

The ice wall solidified again when Andrew slid his arm around Payton’s waist. She leaned in to his touch, and I wanted to punch a hole through a wall.

I stuck out my hand, pretending I had never met her. She extended hers, and we shook. “Nice to meet you.” My thumb skimmed over her knuckles, and her skin, albeit a little clammy, was just as soft as I remembered.

Payton’s voice cracked. “Nice to meet you, too.” She started to pull her hand away, but I tightened my grip. Her mouth thinned into a hard, narrow line as she stared at our interlocked hands.

Seriously? What did she have to be mad about? My stomach muscles tensed like I had done ten rounds of 8 Minute Abs, and the dormant anger that lingered in every crevice of my body heated to a steady simmer, ready to erupt.

I let go of her hand, and she smiled at Andrew, batting her eyes. What a bitch. Who did she think she was, prancing in here, going googly-eyed for the fraternity’s token manwhore? The lingering warmth of her touch burned my clenched fist.

“Blake and I are fraternity brothers.” He stuck out his hand, and we did the A Sig handshake.

I figured small talk would tear her focus away from blatantly eyeing Andrew’s abs. Her hand kept sliding across his stomach like a windshield wiper set to slow-mo. “Payton, what’s your major?”

Andrew’s eyes laser focused on her cleavage, and I was two seconds away from tearing one of the cardboard clouds off the wall and beating him over the head with it. I couldn’t stand the way he looked at her, the same way he looked at every other girl he was about to—in his words—take to “pleasure town.” This also meant I’d be kicked out of our room for the night.

“I’m majoring in biology with a focus on pre-med.” Her response was robotic. This had been her answer since middle school. Right up until she did her little disappearing act. And now she had magically reappeared.




Jennifer Blackwood is an English teacher and New Adult author. She lives in Oregon with her husband, son, and poorly behaved black lab puppy. Her debut novel, UNETHICAL, comes out in October with Entangled Embrace.
Author links:



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Cover Reveal! FILTHY BEAUTIFUL FOREVER by Kendall Ryan

Book 4 has a cover….




Collins Drake exercises control over all facets of his life. From his business, to satisfying his physical needs … it all happens on his command.

So when a woman shows up at his door and reminds him of a promise they made each other when they were just ten years old, it shouldn’t have the ability to rock his entire world.

Yet it does.

Because Mia Monroe wasn’t just his childhood best friend, she wasn’t just the girl he lost his virginity to and hasn’t seen since, she’s the one exception to his perfect control. And piece by piece, she’s about to tear apart his carefully laid plans.

Filthy Beautiful Lies:




Filthy Beautiful Love: 
Filthy Beautiful Lust: Release Date Nov 10, 2014




Kendall Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance novels, including Hard to Love, Unravel Me, Resisting Her and When I Break.

She’s a sassy yet polite Midwestern girl with a deep love of books, and a slight addiction to lipgloss. She lives in Minneapolis with her adorable husband and two baby sons, and enjoys hiking, being active, and reading.

Visit her at: for the latest book news, and fun extras





A Conversation with Patty Maximini, Author of THE REASON I STAY (with a Giveaway!)

Out now! Read on to find out all about Patty and her new book, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!


Thanks so much for agreeing to be with us today!

Thank you so much for having me. I’m super excited to share a bit of The Reason I Stay with you.


What 5 things should readers know about you?

Let’s see . . . I’m a hopeless, sappy romantic. To me, ninety percent of the good in the world comes from Disney. I believe in superheroes with all of my heart. I think that soup is something you should eat all year round, and finally, I think that the best way to be happy is by being ourselves and helping others to be themselves.



Tell us all about your main characters—who are they? What makes them tick? Most importantly, what one thing would they need to have with them if stranded on a desert isle? ;)

The main characters in The Reason I Stay are Lexie and Matt, and they are absolute opposites. Lexie is an upbeat, responsible, caring small town girl who takes her life into her own hands and works hard to get what she wants. As for Matt, he’s a fun loving, whiskey drinking jerk who doesn’t give a damn about anyone but himself. The only thing they actually have in common is that neither of them is afraid to speak their minds, which often makes for interesting—and explosive—dynamics.

If stranded on a desert isle, Matt would make sure he’s got a nice supply  of Jack Daniels, because there’s no way he’d go through that sober. As for Lexie, she’d be fine as long as she had some chocolate.

Mmmm. You had me at “chocolate”.


Where did the inspiration for this book come from?

Being a Disney girl, I’ve always been fascinated with the idea that true love can change even the most screwed up people and bring about the best version of ourselves. To me, that life altering love is incredibly romantic and inspiring. The idea of Matt and his love story with Lexie definitely came from that.

Can’t go wrong with Disney! ;)


How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?

Although I’ve always loved to make up stories and spent my whole life keeping journals, I started writing novels two years ago. I never thought that writing for a living was a possibility until I started reading indie books like Easy (Tammara Webber), Love Unscripted (Tina Reber) and the Slammed Series (Colleen Hoover). Those authors were just regular women, like me, who decided to take their passions to the next level. They gave me the courage to give it a go, and I couldn’t be more thankful that I did.

Publishing has certainly changed a whole lot in recent years. Indie books have really given us some gems!


What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?

I think my favorite part is being able to write at home, in comfy clothes, with my cat on my lap. A close second would be making fictional people fall in love. I’m a deeply romantic person and having the opportunity to experience that awesome new love feel over and over is the best thing ever.

I think the most challenging part is juggling writing with my personal life. Writing is so much fun that I easily get lost in it, and if I’m not careful, I’ll forget to do my other obligations.

Being able to wear comfy clothes while working is a definite plus!


What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?

At the moment I’m in the early outlining stages of a still unnamed book. I’m extremely excited about this project. I think it’ll be very different from both Exception and The Reason I Stay, but in a cool, challenging way. I’m already anxious to get it into readers’ hands.

Along with this new, unnamed project, I also have a novella featuring Lea from The Reason I Stay planned. I’m also super excited about it because she was a character that stole my heart. And I’m sure that writing Matt in his pre-Lexie, bad boy prime will be lots of fun.

Sounds great—and very busy!


What authors and/or books have inspired you?

That’s a mile long list, but my top five are: Easy by Tammara Webber, every single book written by John Green, Colleen Hoover, Love Unscripted by Tina Reber and The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare.

Great list!


What are you currently reading? What are your thoughts about it so far?

I just started Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover. I’ve been dying to read it since the book came out, but since reading within my genre while I’m writing is a bit hard for me, I only got to it now. Colleen is one of my favorite authors, and as always, she’s not disappointing. I love her ability to create connections between her characters that are at the same time so simple and so intricate. Also, she has the best sense of humor.

True—I loved Colleen’s Slammed series. Maybe Someday is in my TBR…


If you had to “sell” this book in a single Tweet, what would you say?

I talk too much which makes writing tweets really hard for me, but let me give it a try . . .

“Sometimes love is hard and stubborn and painful, but it’s The Reason I Stay.”
Nice! 140 characters is a challenge, isn’t it? :)



Hopeless dreamer, tattoo enthusiast, Disney addict and hoarder of nail polishes and vegan recipes. Patty lives with her husband, her crazy cat, two dogs and elderly bunny in a house frequently visited by wild birds and chipmunks.

Author links:


The Reason I Stay
by Patty Maximini
Publication date: September 10th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance


Jack Daniels is the cure to all evils.
Sex should be casual and, preferably, anonymous.
Giving a damn is for nurses, philanthropists and suicide hotlines.

Those are the values Mathew Rogers built his adult life on and plans to spend the rest of his days honoring. In his pursuit of happiness, he embarks on a one year journey where he’ll have to prove he can live by his values and rely only on himself.

Four months and thirteen days later, due to a series of unfortunate events, he finds himself in the rickety town of Jolene, Alabama. There, he meets Lexie, a waitress with some serious attitude and values of her own.

Never underestimate the healing power of chocolate chips.
If it walks and talks like a jerk, it’s definitely a jerk. Stay the hell away.
When in doubt, go with a smile and kindness. It goes a long way.

Taken by her beauty and personality, Mathew questions all he’s ever known and, much to his surprise, begins to give a damn about someone else for once in his life. The problem, however, is that Lexie seems to despise him.

Desperate to get his life back but unable to get in his car and drive to the next unplanned destination, Matt stays in Jolene. In the midst of arguments, unlikely friendships, new values and heartbreak, they’ll both try to find a reason to stay.



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New Release Review: THE DOCTOR’S FAKE FIANCEE by Victoria James (Red River #3)

Another great installment in the Red River series!

The Doctor’s Fake Fiancée
by Victoria James

About the book:

Their marriage bargain is just what the doctor ordered…

 Former surgeon and self-professed life-long bachelor Evan Manning has one thing on his mind—to reclaim the career that a car accident stole from him. But when he’s forced to return to his hometown of Red River, Evan comes face-to-face with the gorgeous woman who’s haunted his dreams for the last year—the woman he rescued from the burning car that injured his hand. Now Evan needs her help. In a month, he’ll have the job opportunity of a lifetime…he just needs a wife to get it. Artist Grace Matheson is down on her luck again…until she walks into Evan Manning’s office. When her sexy former hero hears that she needs work, he offers her a job and a home—if she’ll pretend she’s his fiancée. Grace knows she shouldn’t fall for him. Once the month is up, Evan will be back to his old life. But the more time they spend together, the more real their feelings become—and the more likely heartbreak is.


Reading the teaser blurb for this one at the end of The Best Man’s Baby, I knew I was going to have to read this one ASAP. But I was going to have to wait, of course…

And oh, Evan’s story was so worth the wait!

Sure, the inciting incident hinges on some pretty big coincidences (namely, Grace, trained as a medical receptionist, showing up at Evan’s office the day his other one quits), but hey, I can absolutely live with that. They served the purpose–to get Evan and Grace together–and the story was just a whole lot of fun to read, with characters it was so easy to root for.

(And fortunately, Mini Moe #2 was upstairs for most of it, sleeping off a cold so I didn’t have to keep explaining every time I laughed out loud, said, “Awwwww…”, or uttered any of the other involuntary noises of enjoyment I made while reading. Teenagers. Always so nosy. Not to mention critical, as they interrupt my reading time.)

Evan Manning is the classic “thinks he knows what he wants but he’s dead wrong” character. Unable to continue his career as a surgeon due to the accident, he’s all set to take over as CEO of a group of private plastic surgery clinics. First, though, he’s back in his hometown for one month, filling in for the man who inspired him to become a doctor in the first place. He’s only there marking time before moving on–he resents his chatty patients, wishes his brothers and sisters-in-law weren’t quite so busy-bodyish, and believes he is, as his father often told him, bigger than the small town he grew up in. He knows having a family isn’t for him, and the only kids he gets along with are his niece and nephew. (Contemplating his awkwardness around children, he reflects that, “Luckily for him, they [Ella and Michael] probably assumed his weirdness was due to the gene pool he shared with their fathers.” An LOL moment.) Nothing, he’s sure, could ever be more important to him than his job.

Oh, and then he thought those four words that are a death knoll to the singlehood of romance heroes everywhere. As he considered his plan to get Grace to agree to be his fake fiancee to better his chances at being hired on as Medcorp’s CEO, the words, “What could go wrong?” ran through his head.

Yep. They caused me to snort unattractively. Obviously he doesn’t read romance novels.

I loved the character of Grace. She’s funny and friendly and honest and always puts her son first. She volunteers at the places that have helped her in the past–like the shelter she and her mom stayed at–even though she herself is only a step or two above the women there whom she is helping. She ties her hair back with a Spider-Man shoelace and writes her very detailed daily “to do” lists in crayon. Heck, anyone who can refer to herself (referencing her curly auburn hair) as “[Ronald McDonald's] older, crazier-looking, dark-haired sister” is going to be a favorite in my book.

Christopher was adorable, and had a tendency to steal the scene when he showed up. At times his conversation was a bit too adult to be believed, especially when he’d call Evan “Dr. Nevan” in the next sentence, but those parts were few and far between. Revealing all of his mother’s secrets, though? Totally spot-on. (And as a former preschool teacher, I can just guess what he was saying at school–poor Grace!)

The family relationships were some of the best parts of this novel–Evan and his brothers, Evan and his niece and nephew, Evan and his sisters-in-law, Grace and Christopher–their interactions were at times touching, sweet, and wickedly funny. (The conversation Evan and Quinn had about buying Jake a pink box of tissues? Another snort-laugh moment.) These scenes all rang true, and made it a joy to read.

And of course the romance was just so sweet and sigh-worthy. Until it isn’t. But then Evan eventually pulls his head out of his butt and figures out what he really wants–and sigh.

I read The Doctor’s Fake Fiancee in an afternoon–I couldn’t put it down! Victoria James is quickly becoming a must-read for me.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / B+

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.