New Release Review and Giveaway! CASK STRENGTH by Layla Reyne (Irish & Whiskey #2)

Title: CASK STRENGTH
Author: Layla Reyne
Release Date: May 1, 2017
Publisher: Carina Press
Series: Agents Irish & Whiskey
Genres: M/M Romantic Suspense
Word Count: 61,000
Format: Digital
ISBN: 9781488024399

 

Synopsis:

The heart’s a resilient beast…

Professionally, the FBI team of Aidan “Irish” Talley and Jameson “Whiskey” Walker is as good as it gets, closing cases faster than any team at the Bureau. Personally, it’s a different story. Aidan’s feelings for Jamie scare the hell out of him: he won’t risk losing another love no matter how heart-tripping the intimacy between them. And loss is a grim reality with the terrorist Renaud still on their trail, leaving a pile of bodies in his wake.

Going undercover on a new case gets them out of town and off the killer’s radar. They’re assigned to investigate an identity theft ring involving a college basketball team in Jamie’s home state, where Jamie’s past makes him perfect for the role of coach. But returning to the court brings more than old memories.

As secrets and shocking betrayals abound, none may be more dangerous than the one Jamie’s been keeping: a secret about the death of Aidan’s husband that could blow his partner’s world apart and destroy forever the fragile bonds of trust and love building between them.

Find out more at: Carina Press | Amazon | Google Play | Kobo | iTunes | B&N | Goodreads

Excerpt:

“I know our schedule’s fucked, but that face of yours is awfully grim.”

Startling at the full-blast Irish accent, Jamie’s head shot up and the phone slipped from his fingers, clattering to the ground. Pick it up, some instinct ordered, but he was too busy losing the rest of his fucking mind. The veneer of calm shattered and any hope of patience took a flying leap out the window.

Because standing in front of him was his stylishly dressed partner, a messenger bag over one shoulder, a coat tossed over the other, and silver-rimmed aviators nestled in waves of auburn hair. More times than he could count, Jamie had imagined Aidan with his natural hair color, and damn if the reality didn’t surpass each and every one of his fantasies.

Mouth dry, heart racing, cheeks burning, Jamie’s fingers twitched with the urge to weave through the long red strands. Reaching down instead, he grabbed his phone, held it between his palms, and wedged his clasped hands between his knees, forestalling his impulse. He tried to force out a “hello,” but his brain refused to cooperate, all the blood in his body having raced south where his jeans became painfully tight.

Fuck.

He was gone. So far gone. Past casual, past a crush, past simple attraction.

This was Aidan, sans disguises, and Jamie wanted him more than he’d ever wanted anything.

“Is it that bad a dye job?” Aidan asked, interrupting his mental breakdown.

“Ai—” he started, only to be corrected with a brogue-laced, “Ian.”

Jamie blinked, reminded that this was a disguise. It sure as hell didn’t feel like one. “I wasn’t expecting this.” His eyes raked over Aidan again, taking it all in. Dressed in jeans and a navy V-neck sweater, the dark blues set off his pale skin, the freckles, his autumn eyes, that hair…

“Fuck,” he muttered out loud.

Aidan shifted on his feet in front of him. “I said I was making a few more changes.”

“Yeah, but this—” he spread his arms wide, the motion totally inadequate “—is more than a fucking few.”

Their gazes locked, heat sparking. “Problem, Jamie?” Aidan’s eyes flickered down to the very obvious problem.

“You gotta stop that.”

He dropped his messenger bag and shrugged the coat off his shoulder. “Stop what?”

“Saying my name in that accent.”

“Mr. Walker, then,” he said with a smirk.

Way too smooth.

Jamie propped his elbows on this knees and covered his face with his hands. “God no,” he groaned. “Not that either.”

Aidan laughed as the buzzer went off on the conveyor behind them.

Leather smacked the backs of Jamie’s hands, and he snagged Aidan’s coat before it hit the ground.

Leather?

“Cover that up,” Aidan said, eyeing his crotch. “And get yourself together. Debrief in the car.” Turning, he headed for the spinning luggage carousel, giving Jamie a prime view of his sinfully fitted jeans.

Get himself together…

Yeah, right.

Copyright © 2017 Layla Reyne

Review:

I enjoyed the suspense of Cask Strength–definitely had me on the edge of my seat, especially for the last 20% or so–couldn’t put it down! Though Irish and Whiskey are mainly dealing with their new undercover case here, a major plot thread from book one ( Single Malt ) is also still a pretty big deal (and continues to be into the next book) so if you haven’t read the first book, you’re definitely going to be behind. I liked both Jamie (Whiskey) and Aidan (Irish) a lot and loved them together, though Aidan’s behavior for much of the book was pretty frustrating. It was more understandable when we saw things from his POV, but still…hopefully they’ll manage to stay in the place they are at the end of this book and not make a backward slide relationship-wise like they did between 1 and 2.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / C+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Other books in the Agents Irish & Whiskey series:

 

SINGLE MALT

Available Now: Carina Press | Amazon | Google Play | Kobo | iTunes | B&N| Goodreads

“Sexy, smart and suspenseful – this book has it all.”—HelenKay Dimon, author of MR. & MR. SMITH

 

“SINGLE MALT is full of explosive chemistry, captivating characters, and edge-of-your-seat suspense. A must read for any romantic suspense fan!”—Megan Erickson, USA Today Bestselling Author

 

BARREL PROOF

On Sale August 7, 2017: Carina Press | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes | Google Play | Goodreads

 

About Layla Reyne:

2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist, Layla Reyne, was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline fueled suspense and heart pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs.

Connect with Layla: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

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New Release Review and Giveaway! HIS FAMILY OF CONVENIENCE by Amy Ayers (The Medina Legacy)

 

About the Book:

Senna Callas’s one-night stand with her alpha asshole boss, Marco Medina, was supposed to mark the end of her internship and their ridiculous attraction. After being unreachable and ignoring Senna for a year, Marco sweeps back into the country and summons her to his office, revealing he knows her secret…the secret created during their explosive night together.

Marco is determined to be there for the son he’s just discovered he has, but when it comes to being with Senna, his choices aren’t his own. His meddling family expects him, the firstborn son, to follow through with the arranged marriage set up when he was a child. And Senna has no plans on being his mistress and still resents how her attempts to contact Marco were ignored. The only thing going right between them is the attraction that burns no matter the complicated situation they’re in.

Marco would do anything to protect his family, anything except decide between the legacy he was born into and the young family he’s just found…

Purchase:Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

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Excerpt:

He walked over to where she was standing with an involuntary need to be closer to her. She faced him, and the vulnerability etched into her features made him long to take her in his arms and kiss her until she was breathless.

“Please,” she implored, her hands finding their way to a resting spot on his chest. He didn’t know if he could resist her much longer. “The past is, well, the past. We have a son, and we need to look ahead. We don’t have to be best friends or even friendly acquaintances if you don’t want to. But you have to promise me, whatever happens, you’ll always be there for Max. And I don’t mean by sending a check once in a while. Promise me you’ll be a father, a dad. That you’ll take him to a baseball game. Or you’ll take him to the beach and look for starfish together. Promise me you’ll just be a presence in his life. He deserves that.”

He swallowed hard. “Always, princesa. I promise.”

They stood that way for what seemed like a long while, neither speaking, just being close with each other and processing the intimacy between them. He wanted to kiss her. He needed to kiss her. It was all flooding back, all the memories that had been locked away so he could focus on his father and ensure that Medina Enterprises would endure. That his family would endure.

He’d forgotten how her essence had a way of seeping into the marrow of his bones. How hard it was to keep his hands off her while working together. She was honest, pure. No guile. She demanded nothing of him directly, but his body begged to obey hers.

Without thinking, Marco reached up to cup her face, lifting her chin closer to his. He brought her lips to his, and she did nothing to resist. They came together slowly at first; he brushed his lips with hers, tasting, teasing. But he couldn’t hold back, and their kiss intensified. Her arms snaked around his neck and held his head firmly in place. His hands moved lower until they rested low on her hips right above the curve of her behind. He brought her hips closer, eliminating the space between them.

His tongue found its way into her mouth, gently exploring every crevice. She moaned softly under his ministrations, and he was hard and throbbing almost instantly.

How could he have forgotten the sweetness of her lips, the softness of her skin, the silky feel of her tresses as his hands wandered up and down her back? He wanted to sneak out onto the grounds, forgetting about everyone else, and spirit her away to the gentle rolling hills by the nearby lake and spend all night making up for lost time.

Review:
This must be my week for first-time authors 🙂

His Family of Convenience is a quick little read, with a touch of a Cinderella story, some secret baby, and a second-chance romance thrown in for good measure. There isn’t a whole lot of depth to the story–as soon as you think Marco and Senna have run into an insurmountable problem, it’s solved fairly quickly soon after–but still it was an entertaining read. The two of them are very cute together, and Max, of course, is absolutely adorable. The push-and-pull aspect of the story (his original plan for Max and Senna, which he abandons almost immediately after seeing his son and she never finds out about…they can’t be together and push each other away and seconds later are in each other’s arms…he can’t give up his place in the company and loyalty to his family, or can he?) was a bit much at times, but still there’s definite promise in Ms. Ayers’ writing.

We don’t really get to know the other Medinas terribly well here–the focus is really on Senna and Marco and Max–but still, I’ll be keeping an eye open for more of The Medina Legacy in the future.

Rating 3 1/2 stars / B-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Meet the Author:

Amy Ayers remembers writing her first fiction as an introspective tween in rainy Portland, Oregon. She took a break from writing to move with her family to the desert of Phoenix, Arizona. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Women’s Studies which lends itself to writing strong, opinionated heroines. She has worked as an Editor, a Job-Skills Trainer, and as an Executive Assistant. She even spent a college semester writing articles for the Tombstone Epitaph in the town ‘too tough to die’. She currently divides her time between her writing, her family (including one husband, four boys and two dogs), and her daily commute to work. A life-long lover of literature, she began writing her own contemporary romance in earnest in 2014 and is thrilled to be published with Entangled. She hopes to win the lottery someday so that she can devote all of her time to writing; until then, she writes when she can.

Connect: Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway:

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Release Day Review and Giveaway! MEANT FOR YOU by Michelle Major

Will a ploy to impress old high school classmates turn into a second chance at love for Jenny and Owen? Find out in MEANT FOR YOU by Michelle Major.

Synopsis:

Single mom Jenny Castelli has a temper to match her red hair. When the former mean girls of her high school insult her son, Jenny fires off a big lie—that she’s engaged to a rich, handsome guy and is bringing him to their ten-year reunion. Now she needs to find the perfect fake fiancé for one night. And only one man fits the bill.

Geek turned tech entrepreneur Owen Dalton already had his heart broken by Jenny Castelli. Still, he finds himself agreeing to her proposition—even as he struggles to remember that the chemistry sparking between them isn’t real. But when Jenny’s ex makes a play for custody and Owen is forced to deal with the family who always treated him as “second best,” their arrangement suddenly becomes very personal. And that lie they’ve been telling everyone? It isn’t nearly as big as the one they’ve been telling themselves.

Review:

A second chance romance and fake relationship story? With a nerdy hero? Sign me up!

Both Jenny and Owen come into this book with baggage galore. Besides their brief past romance that ended badly, they each have more than their share of family and past relationship drama. Jenny never knew her dad and was dumped in high school by her son’s father, and now her mother is suffering from dementia. Owen, who’s never felt like he fit in to his own family, lost a fiancee to his younger brother–a fiancee who’s about to marry that younger brother in a few short weeks. Add in the fact that Jenny’s the one who torpedoed their first attempt at an HEA, and yeah, this one’s gonna be drama-filled with a capital D, with angst to spare.

Jenny drove me a little nuts with her insistence that she and Owen couldn’t possibly have a future together. I mean, I get her hangups about being left–first her dad, then Cooper’s–but her original freak out that ended relationship number 1 with Owen? I had a hard time feeling the panic behind her actions. Maybe that’s because we only heard about it afterwards–it happened before the events of this story–but we get it from both her and Owen’s POVs, and either way it left me feeling kind of…meh. This means I spent 90% of the book feeling vaguely annoyed with her, which was a bit of a bummer, but Owen and Cooper did their slightly geeky, manly best to keep me distracted from that fact.

Though I really did like Owen, Jenny’s son Cooper stole the show in this one. He’s polite and respectful towards adults, but with a mercenary streak a mile wide when it comes to looking out for his mom. Plus, you’ve got to love the kid who’s so invested in his mother’s fake relationship that he’s the one who comes up with their “how we got engaged” story (it involved enchiladas…and fried ice cream…and a fireworks display–though Owen nixed the latter element as too much, party pooper that he is) 😉

Though it’s not listed as part of a series, Meant for You has characters from at least three other Michelle Major books: Kissing Mr. Right , Recipe for Kisses , and Tell Me Again –the heroines of each are part of Jenny’s group of friends, and Ty (aka “Mr. Right”) is both Jenny’s original BFF and friends with Owen. I’ve only read Ty and Kendall’s book prior to this one, though; so reading Meant for You as a standalone should work out just fine.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / C+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Buy:
Amazon

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About Michelle Major:

Michelle Major grew up in Ohio but dreamed of living in the mountains. More than twenty years ago, she pointed her car west and settled in Colorado. Today her home includes her husband, their two children, several furry pets, and a couple of well-behaved reptiles. She’s grateful to have found her passion for writing stories with happy endings

Connect with Michelle: Newsletter | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

 

 

 

 

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New Release Review and Giveaway! THE WEDDING MARCH by Tara Randel (The Business of Weddings #4)

The Wedding March
(The Business of Weddings #4)
Tara Randel
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
March 1st 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming

The help only he can offer…

Cypress Pointe, Florida, is a long way from LA, where pop singer Cassie Branford needs a hit to prove she’s not a twoalbum wonder. But her case of writer’s block could be over when the struggling songwriter meets Luke Hastings at a family wedding.

The legendary musician walked away from success at the height of his career. Yet Luke is already inspiring Cassie with his dedication to building a permanent community outreach center for troubled teens. Volunteering to help bring music into these kids’ lives is also bringing her and Luke closer. Maybe they’re not as different as he thinks…

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleHarlequin

Review:

A gentle and sweet romance–like book 3 ( The Bridal Bouquet) there’s a bit of a mystery involved, and a whole lot of (mostly family and ex-related) drama. This time, though, throw in the complications that the music industry and fame bring with them, plus a healthy dose of writer’s block and…yikes. Yeah, Cassie and Luke have obstacles galore on their way to an HEA.

Spoiler alert: they’ll get there. Eventually 🙂

Couples from other series books make appearances (the main couple do not get to their own “wedding march” during the course of the book, but both of them are present at plenty of weddings throughout the story), and though you’ll probably be curious about their stories, if you haven’t read them you should do just fine here.

My only real complaint? What English teacher doesn’t ever have to spend time grading, planning, or reading over student work…? 😉

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Other Books in the Series:

  

About the Author:

USA Today Bestselling Author Tara Randel has enjoyed a lifelong love of books, especially romance and mystery genres, so it didn’t come as a surprise when she began writing with the dream of becoming published. Family values, mystery and, of course, love and romance are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. Tara lives on the West Coast of Florida, where gorgeous sunsets inspire the creation of heartwarming stories, filled with love, laughter and the occasional mystery.

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Tour Giveaway!

– US PRIZE PACK: Signed copies of the first three books in The Business of Weddings series by Tara Randel, a $25 gift card for Dunkin’ Donuts, a coffee mug with an inspirational message: “Something beautiful is on the horizon,” and a Harlequin Heartwarming tote bag. (US only)
– $25 Amazon eCard (open internationally)
 Ends March 28th

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Tour Schedule:

March 12th: Launch
March 13th: Falling Leaves
March 14th: Reading Is My SuperPower & Book Lover in Florida
March 15th: Hearts & Scribbles
March 16th: Christy’s Cozy Corners & Rainy Day Reviews
March 17th: The Silver Dagger Scriptorium & Bookworm Lisa
March 19th: Heidi Reads…
March 20th: Katie’s Clean Book CollectionMel’s Shelves & Rockin’ Book Reviews
March 21st: Wishful Endings & Getting Your Read On
March 22nd: underneath the covers & Hardcover Feedback
March 23rd: Harlie’s Books & Becky on Books
March 24th: Grand Finale

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New Release Review! FAKE ENGAGEMENT REAL TEMPTATION by Joya Ryan

Title: Fake Engagement, Real Temptation
Author: Joya Ryan
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 30, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Brazen

Synopsis:

Oh. My. God. Carrie Morgan can’t escape her cheating ex fiancé. She goes on her Hawaiian honeymoon fantasy vacation to prove she’s over him—but he’s there with his mistress in tow. Good thing Carrie’s annoyingly over-protective friend Blake came with her. How’s she going to prove to her ex she’s over him? Easy. One… Two… Three… She grabs Blake and kisses him.

Blake Harris isn’t about to let anyone take advantage of his heartbroken friend Carrie. And that includes himself, even if she’s sexy as sin in that bikini. Then she kisses him—and he’s on fire. Damage done, but he can back off. Except he sees that broken look in Carrie’s eyes. No. Hell no. New plan. He intends to show her ex just what he’s thrown away.

The kisses? For show. The heat? Part of the performance. The private practice sessions? Uh-oh. Those are starting to feel a bit too real…

Purchase your copy today!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | IBooks | Kobo

Excerpt:

Blake Harris had no idea what he was doing staring down the door of his best friend’s baby sister. Okay, he did have an idea, he just wasn’t loving it.

Carrie Morgan was on the other side of that door, and yes, Blake cared about her. He’d known her brother since they were kids. But this was her wedding. Or it was supposed to be. And now she was on the other side of the door, in tears, because her scumbag fiancé had abandoned her for another woman.

Shit. He’d never been close to her. He’d been sixteen and she’d been nine when his mom had died and he’d spent so many afternoons with her older brother Lane. But hell. Lane was his best friend. He couldn’t just let his sister suffer like this.

Blake would go back to his outdoor guiding business in the mountains soon, bury himself in work, but not before he made sure Carrie was okay.

He hadn’t even had a chance to see her yet since she’d not left the bridal suite in forty-eight hours. Even since she’d gotten word that the groom wasn’t going to show. Could have been worse. She could have been literally stood up at the altar. At least the piece of shit fiancé had told her two days before the wedding.

Now, he was staring down her hotel room door and asking god to open the door.

He knocked twice.

“Carrie?” he called. He heard low music and rustling. “It’s Blake. Come on, little girl, open up.”

Lane was the closest thing to a brother he had, and neither distance or time had changed that. Then there was Carrie. The sweet girl Jake and Lane had spent their teenage years playing Uno with and looking after. Until Blake had graduated college and moved to the city.

Shit. He was an ass for not being around more. Poor girl was likely behind the door crying, and that made him want to punch the douche bag that had hurt her. Maybe later he’d help Lane hunt the prick down.

Blake took the keycard that Lane had given him out of his pocket. “I’m coming in,” he announced. “Just want to check on you…”

Blake peeked in. “Carrie?”

He stepped into the room. It was a massive suite with a sitting area and kitchen. The plush furniture was lined with roses, and unlit candles were scattered around everywhere. Ah shit, so this was her honeymoon suite.

He stepped further in and heard the low sound of music got louder. It was coming from the open bedroom door. He looked in and found—

“What the hell?” he asked, taking in the scene, or rather the woman before him.

The strawberry blond five feet in front of him was moving and shaking in the middle of the room. What was more distracting was the fact that she was doing that in nothing but a pair of panties and matching white tank top. Her eyes were locked on the wide screen hanging on the wall. He glanced at the television. She was doing…jazzercise?

“Carrie?” His voice decided to break a little around the one word he’d said several times but now held a lot more heat. Sure, his blood felt hot, but his skin was cold.

So this is what shock feels like.

She froze and faced him. “Blake?”

He smiled, and her body remained still while her chest heaved with deep breaths. While those inhales made the thin cotton stretch over her breasts in a way that made his mouth instantly water, it was better than her dancing. Because any more bouncing on her part and he might forget she was his best friend’s little sister and lose his damn mind wondering how many more deep breaths it would take to make that tank top non-existent.

“What are you doing here?” she asked, not bothering to cover up. Something he wasn’t completely upset about since the woman was smoking hot. She wasn’t a little girl, he knew that. But he’d barely seen her since she was a teenager. And seeing her now, all woman—worse, his type of woman—that fact hit harder than the last.

He glanced down, attempting to take a break from marveling at her, but all he accomplished was getting flashes of those tone thigh and adorable pink-tipped toes.

Nope. She definitely wasn’t the kid he grew up with anymore. She was twenty-three with a tight body, perfect ass, and breasts he’d just learned had no problem doing a Baywatch slow-motion run in place.

She’d invited him to the wedding, but he realized that she’d likely meant: What the hell are you doing in my hotel room?

“I’m here to see you,” he said.

She nodded as if his answer was good enough and walked to the bedside table. She seemed…carefree? Not at all the crying woman he’d expected to find. Then she grabbed a half empty bottle of Jack Daniels off the table and took a few swigs.

Well that explains things.

“Glad to see you’re staying hydrated,” Blake said. She wasn’t carefree, she was drunk. And exercising. An odd combination, but he could see the logic. Drink away the sorrows and get the endorphins going. He’d try it out himself next time he felt so lonely he forgot why a relationship was off the table for him.

She winced on her final swig and wiped the back of her hand over her mouth.

“Yep. Hydrating is important,” she said. “I’ve got to stick with my video exercise. Been doing this for six months to get ‘bikini ready’ and if I stop now then…”

She trailed off and folded her lips together as if to fight off tears.

Ah, hell. Put him between a woman and a man who meant her harm, he knew what to do. Swing until the other guy went down. But a crying woman? One who’d already been abandoned by the guy? Yet another sign Blake had failed by not saying something. Or at least getting here early. Maybe then he could have caught the scumbag before he disappeared to who knew where.

But nope. Blake’s life and job were a hundred percent on his time and agenda. Freedom was a heady thing, and he would always be free. Never tied to a woman, never love, because the loss that came with love was too much.

But this woman was different. The protective instinct he had came roaring to the surface at the first sign of water lining her eyes. She was hurting. Her shoulders slinking. And there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it. But he so badly wanted to.

She shook her head. “I guess I don’t have to do the videos anymore now that I’m not going to Hawaii.” She took another swig. “Guess it didn’t matter how hard I worked out, Kevin left anyway. The whole time he was cheating! Can you believe that? With his trainer. Which, by the way, I want a refund on all those ‘classes’ he signed up for to get his own ass ‘bikini ready,’ because I doubt nailing your trainer burns more calories than a treadmill.”

Review:

Cute and sweet, with some truly funny moments sprinkled throughout–if you like best friend’s little sister or fake relationship troupes, this could be for you. The timeframe, though, feels much too short–sure, they’ve known each other for years, but have never been close (Blake’s own words on page one) and in recent years hadn’t seen each other at all. Overall it made for an enjoyable few hours–Blake and Carrie are likable characters and work well together, and hey, Hawaii–but it definitely could have benefited from more story and character development throughout to make it more.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

About The Author:

National and international bestselling author Joya Ryan is the author of more than a dozen adult and new-adult romance novels. Passionate about both cooking and dancing (despite not being too skilled at the latter), she loves traveling and seeking out new adventures. Visit her online at www.joyaryan.com.

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New Release Review and Giveaway! FALLING FOR THE BEST MAN by Amanda Ashby (Sisters of Wishing Bridge Farm #1)

 He’s the best man and her secret fling—who said being a wedding planner was easy?
FALLING FOR THE BEST MAN
Sisters of Wishing Bridge Farm #1
Amanda Ashby
Releasing Jan 9th, 2017
Entangled Bliss
 
What’s worse than running into your ex-hookup at the airport? When said ‘hookup” is the best man for the most important wedding of your career, and he’s on the hunt for a fake girlfriend. Between a hysterical bride and a wedding party gone wild, wedding planner Emmy Watson can’t afford any more disasters if she wants to save her beloved Wishing Bridge Farm. Which is why she puts the best man on lockdown. Unfortunately, he also happens to be the one guy who can make her forget everything except the way his kisses make her feel.
 
All Christopher Henderson needs is a fake girlfriend to convince his bosses that his bad boy reputation is a thing of the past so he can land his dream job. What better place to find said companion than at a wholesome vintage wedding. The only thing he didn’t count on was seeing Emmy, the woman who dumped him. The one he hasn’t been able to get off his mind.
There’s no denying the spark between them, but he’s a globetrotter and she’s a homebody, and falling in love is something neither of them has in their plans.
 

“Emmy,” he countered, trying not to be distracted by the delectable sight of her chest rising and falling. “One dance. That’s all I’m asking. For old time’s sake.”

Emmy’s lips twitched, and Christopher could almost see the two sides of her battling before the carefree smile he recognized from their time together in New York appeared. It changed the shape of her face and brought everything about their first meeting slamming into his mind. She stood up, so close that his skin prickled with desire.

“Fine. One dance.”

“Great.” He led her to the small wooden dance floor to the left of where the jazz band was playing. Lewis and Miranda were in the middle, and fanned out all around them were the rest of the bridal party, but all Christopher could see was Emmy.

The music pulsated around them, and even the pale yellow moon above swayed to the beat. He sucked in a breath and pulled her toward him. It was a mistake, and his lungs were filled with the smell of her freshly washed hair and the evening clematis climbing up the crumbling brickwork of the courtyard walls. His arms tightened around her waist, and her bunched, tense muscles seemed to relax as she melted into him. The rest of the world disappeared, and all he was conscious of was her pounding heart as it pressed against his.

This was the woman he’d met two years ago.

And it seems I’m just as helpless around her as I ever was. Which is either a good thing, or a very, very bad one. The verdict’s still out.

As if reading his mind, she turned her face up to him, a soft, suggestive smile tugging at her full mouth. Desire flared through him, and if they were anywhere else he would’ve kissed her without a second’s hesitation. He forced himself to return her smile and simply enjoy the way her body molded his.

It wasn’t until the lead singer announced the name of the next song Christopher even realized the music had stopped. Emmy was the first to recover, and she stepped away, her face flushed and her eyes not quite meeting his.

“Um.” She licked her lips. “I’m not sure that was such a good idea.”

“I hate to disagree with you, but I think it was an excellent idea. And one that should definitely be repeated. You can’t deny that there’s still something between us.” Christopher tried to pull her closer as the next song started, but she folded her arms firmly in front of her. Ironically, it highlighted the soft curves of her body.

At this rate I’m going to need a fire engine to cool me down.

“I’m serious,” she insisted before letting out a soft sigh. “You’re right. There is still something between us, but there’s nowhere it can go. I want to save the farm, and you want to go visit every strange nook and cranny in the universe. Don’t you see? Nothing’s changed.”

“My hair’s longer,” Christopher said, but it was obvious by the way Emmy had pushed her lips into two compact lines, she wasn’t in the joking mood. “I know you like to be organized, and I get that, but aren’t you over thinking this? I mean, shouldn’t we be having the fun first and then move on to the serious conversations about why it would never work?”

“I’m sorry.” The muscles around her jaw tightened. “I think we should just be friends.”

“Friends that do friendly things together? Like dancing?” he asked in a hopeful voice.

“How about friends that help other friends ensure the groom’s brother doesn’t do anything he might regret?” she countered.

Christopher winced. Ouch. He’d been friend-zoned. Logically, she had a point. She hadn’t changed her mind, and he wouldn’t change his, which meant it was for the best.

If only someone could inform my body of the situation.

Cute story! I especially enjoyed Emmy’s inner snark; Ms. Ashby’s “voice” is a lot of fun. I liked Emmy and Christopher together and was rooting for them from the first chapter, and though I was a bit annoyed with Emmy’s sisters’ ‘tudes initially, I’m looking forward to seeing where the author will go with their stories, Bec’s especially.

But…the one aspect of the book I wasn’t crazy about was the romantic conflict. Both his and her “issues” felt a bit like overreaction, and therefore didn’t take a whole lot more than some personal reflection for them to get over. On the one hand, yay, they get together for a cute ending. On the other, frustrating–couldn’t they have taken a chill pill six chapters earlier and saved everyone the angst? Still, this was a cute read from an author I’ll definitely be looking for more of in the future.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B-

 I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


Amanda Ashby was born in Australia but now lives in New Zealand where she writes romance, young adult and middle grade books. She also works in a library, owns far too many vintage tablecloths and likes to delight her family by constantly rearranging the furniture.

She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. Her debut book was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, and her first young adult book was listed in the New York Public Library Stuff for the Teen Age.

Because she’s mysterious, she also writes middle grade books under the name Catherine Holt and hopes that all this writing won’t interfere with her Netflix schedule.

 

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New Release Review and Giveaway! PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES by Stacey Trombley (Off Limits #1)

Pushing the Boundaries (Off Limits #1)
by Stacey Trombley
Publication Date: January 16, 2017
Publisher:  Entangled Teen Crush

 

Myra goes to Haiti with one goal: take the photograph that will win a scholarship and prove to her uber-traditional family that she has what it takes to be a photographer instead of a doctor. Her camera has always been her shield against getting too close to anyone, but she didn’t expect the hot teen translator who has an ability to see past her walls.

Elias needs his job as a translator to provide for his siblings. He can’t afford to break the rule forbidding him from socializing with a client. Except this girl Myra insists on going outside the city to capture the perfect picture, and he steps in as her guide in order to keep her safe.

The deeper they travel into the country, the harder they fall for each other. Now they’re both taking risks that could cost each other their dreams.

If they get too close—it could ruin both their lives.

 

Excerpt:

Chapter Two

Elias

The roar of the planes overhead is just another reminder of how insignificant we are in this tiny forgotten country. Stuck. My little brother watches through the chain-link fence, eyes wide, mouth open as they soar over us, so close the air sends ripples through our clothing.

“Kouman rich ou panse yo ye?” he asks without taking his eyes from the huge white plane. How rich do you think they are? I mentally translate to English. I need all the practice I can get. My palms sweat just thinking about it, and my first test is just minutes away.

“Who?” I ask.

He turns to me and blinks his big eyes, his eyebrows high in question. Oh, right.

“Ki moun?” I repeat in Creole so he’ll understand me.

My stomach sinks. I can’t even get this right with my little brother. The whole double language thing is harder than I expected. I need it to be easy if I’m going to be any good at my job.

“Moun nan avyon yo.” The people in the planes!

I shake my head, but he doesn’t see. I explain that there are hundreds of people in those planes. Some are probably rich, and some are probably poor.

“Yo ap toujou pi rich pase nou, dwa?” he asks.

I sigh. If they can afford a plane ticket… “Chans.” Yes, they are likely wealthier than us.

Our world is tiny, a country that is only half an island. To people who can afford a plane, the world is limitless.

My pocket buzzes, making me jump. I fumble with the little plastic device and flip it open. “Hello!” I say, pressing the phone against my face.

“Elias! Pull the van around. They just landed.”

“Yes, Mr. Rowland.”

“Remember that line we talked about? Don’t step over it.”

My head swims. There’s so much for me to remember, but the most important? Don’t get too close to the Americans. Mr. Rowland made it very clear that I’m not one of them and I shouldn’t expect anything from them. If I make any of them uncomfortable I’ll be out of a job faster than one of their huge planes can take off.

“Yes, sir.”

There’s a click and then silence. I put the foreign technology back in my pocket and hope he doesn’t call again.

Luke grabs at my pocket, seeking out the phone, his eyes alight with envy. “Ki jan ou fè jwenn yon telefòn?”

I swat his hand away. The phone is not mine. It’s Mr. Rowland’s. “E si ou kraze li?” What if you break it?

Luke rolls his eyes but then shuffles his feet.

He may only be eight, but he knows what this job means for us. I’m only eighteen, with a chance for the kind of job that will keep his belly full, permanently. Not to mention our mother and sister.

I point across the parking lot and tell him to get to the van. It’s time to work.

Luke’s eyes get big again, and I smile. He runs to the parking lot, fast as a bullet, jumping up and down once he reaches the van. I unlock the door, and he climbs in, looking tiny in the massive vehicle.

We pull up to the front of the airport to wait for the Americans, and I try not to let myself get too worked up. The more nervous I am, the harder this will be.

“Ou jwenn yon telefon, yon ti bis, e al rankontre tou Ameriken yo. Pi bon travay pou lavi!” You get a phone, a van, and get to meet all the Americans. Best job ever.

I roll my eyes and tell him to keep working on his English and maybe he can have a job like this someday, too.

I take in a deep breath. To him, this is an adventure.

To me, it’s dangerous.

 

Review:

Pushing the Boundaries has a fairly unique premise–a Pakistani American girl goes (against her will) with her doctor mother on a service trip to Haiti to work in a medical clinic and becomes involved with their teenaged Haitian interpreter/driver, and problems ensue. Myra and Elias are from different worlds–literally–and it seems as if their relationship can’t realistically be more than a bittersweet memory of a first love experience…or can it?

I enjoyed a look into a different world–like Myra, I wanted to see what Haiti looked like beyond the clinic and rented home she was shuttled between, thought the way she chooses to get out nearly causes more problems than positive experiences. Her self-centeredness and tendency to think of herself first and of others (maybe) second made her difficult to like at times, though she does grow up more toward the end, garnering more sympathy for her character. Elias is much easier to like overall, though his chapters tended to be too short to really get to know him and his life as much as I’d like to.

There’s a touch of insta-love here (though it is their “first love” experience, so that’s not exactly out of character) and I’m still processing how I feel about the way things are left at the end–a too quick and easy solution? The rich Americans coming in and making everything all better?–the jury’s still out on that part. This is being billed as the first in a series, and if the other book(s) are going to continue Myra and Elias’s story, I am interested in seeing where it is going to go.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / C+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Purchase Links:

Amazon.com
B&N
iBooks
Kobo
Amazon.com.au
Amazon.com.uk
Amazon.ca

Follow the tour here!

 

About the Author:

Stacey Trombley lives in Ohio with her husband and the sweetest Rottweiler you’ll ever meet. She thinks people are fascinating and any chance she has, she’s off doing or learning something new. She went on her first mission trip to Haiti at age twelve and is still dying to go back. Her “places to travel” list is almost as long as her “books to read” list.

Her debut novel Naked released from Entangled Teen in 2015. Find her online at www.StaceyTrombley.com and on twitter @trombolii.

 

Website – http://www.staceytrombley.com/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Trombolii
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/StaceyTrombleyAuthor
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/trombolii/
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/tromboli/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8475704.Stacey_Trombley

Giveaway Information: 

Pushing the Boundaries Prize Pack including:

* Signed copy of Naked by Stacey Trombley

* Signed copy of Pushing the Boundaries by Stacey Trombley

* Haitian Art as shown in the photo

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New Release Review! LEARNING TO RIDE by Erin Knightley (Sunnybell #1)

Learning to Ride
by Erin Knightley

Synopsis:

She never wanted to love a cowboy. . . .

Rodeo king Tanner Callen doesn’t want to be tied down. When he sees Madeline Harper at a local honky-tonk and everything about her screams New York, he brings out every trick in his playbook to take her home. But soon he learns that he doesn’t just want her for a night and, instead, hopes for forever. . . .

Review:

Learning to Ride is short and sweet, though the ending is a bit too rushed to be entirely believable. 129 pages doesn’t quite give enough room (12 pages of the book are essentially advertisements for other BookShots books–both Flames and the regular line) to really flesh out a romance between two people as different as Madeline and Tanner are, though Ms. Knightley does an admirable job of trying. Her characters are likable and the romance is sweet, and Sunnybell, Texas has that charming, small-town feel so popular in fiction today (though Madeline did see a bit of the not-so-charming aspect of it too, when so many of her coworkers knew her business without her even realizing that the entire town had essentially been talking about her. Ah, life in a small-town!) I was looking for a quick read, though, and was curious about the BookShots books that James Patterson wasn’t even pretending to have written himself (yeah, don’t get me started on that topic) so this one fit the bill.

This book serves as a good intro to both the author and the series, even if it isn’t ultimately the most satisfying of romance reads on its own. Book two in the series (The Return) is a second chance romance, a troupe which does tend to do better as a novella, since the characters generally have known each other more than a few weeks before making life-altering decisions based on their relationship, so I’ll definitely give that one a try when it makes its way into our library.

 

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B-


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New Release Review and Giveaway! DYLAN by Melissa Foster (Bad Boys After Dark #2, Billionaires After Dark #6)

One night and too much tequila might change their lives forever. 
 
BAD BOYS AFTER DARK: DYLAN
Bad Billionaires After Dark #2
Melissa Foster
Releasing Dec 21st, 2016
World Literary Press
Sinfully sexy bar owner Dylan Bad has a thing for needy women. He’s a savior, a knight in shining armor, and his mighty talented sword has no trouble bringing damsels in distress to their knees.
Enter Tiffany Winters, a gorgeous cutthroat sports agent who looks like sex on legs, fucks like she’s passion personified, and wouldn’t let a man help her if she was hanging onto a ledge and he was her only hope. One night and too much tequila might change their lives forever. The question is, will either one survive?

With her phone pressed to her ear, Tiffany Winters ducked out of the rain and into the Kiss, an eclectic Manhattan bar, to return calls and take care of a mountain of text messages that had piled up during her dinner meeting. She listened to her client’s wife explain why she didn’t want her husband traveling too often to endorse a hotel chain Tiffany was planning on pitching to him next week. Her client had already nixed any mention of his family in the advertisements, and reducing his travel would make it an even harder sell.

“I hear your concern, Allison,” she said as she sat on a barstool. “If you and Matt decide this isn’t the right thing for your family, we’ll turn our efforts in another direction.” As a sports agent, dealing with significant others was part of the job, a part Tiffany enjoyed and other agents rued. Sure, some wives assumed their husband’s success granted them the power to be overly demanding. Ass kissing was part of the game. Sometimes she wished she could give the meeker wives lessons in how to be tough. Teach them to have balls as big as their husbands’ and come right out and say what they meant instead of beating around the bush with bullshit hypotheticals. She reminded herself often that not every woman grew up in a testosterone-laden house with two competitive older brothers and a father who won the Heisman in college and went on to play pro sports—a house where mincing words didn’t cut the mustard.

“You missed the wedding.”

The deep male voice drew Tiffany’s attention from her phone call to the fine specimen of a man standing behind the bar. He looked like he’d just stepped off a Hot Guys in Suits Pinterest page. His tie hung loosely around the collar of his white dress shirt, which was open three buttons deep, revealing a smattering of dark chest hair, a rarity nowadays, when so many men manscaped every inch of their bodies. Tiffany preferred a man to look like a man, which included hair in all the right places. His sleeves were rolled up to his elbows, exposing heavily corded forearms, and his jacket hung casually from two fingers over his left shoulder. Her fingers itched to send the last few buttons—and that jacket—flying to the floor. The guy’s chiseled jaw and dark eyes were movie-star classic, and his dark hair was thick enough to hang on to. She’d had a long, hard day, and he looked like he could provide a long, hard, pleasure-filled night.

Perfect.

Holding his gaze, she spoke into the phone as he laid his jacket across the bar, giving her the impression he wasn’t the bartender, but rather a guest who’d happened to wander back there. “Allison, I’ll see what else I can come up with and get back to you. Right. Okay, hon. Thank you.” After ending the call, she responded to the stud behind the bar. “Wedding? Who gets married at a bar?”

“My brother, for one.” He nodded across the room to a group of men and women who were holding their glasses up in a toast.

She zeroed in on one she recognized as her tall, dark colleague. “Mick Bad is married?” The high-powered attorney was a workaholic like her, and he’d been unattached two months earlier, when they’d worked together on a deal for one of her clients. She’d never understand couples who claimed to fall in love practically overnight. Love was a crutch for weak people who needed someone else to lean on. Except Mick Bad had never needed anyone to lean on. She wondered if his new bride was pregnant.

“The one and only.” Hot guy’s eyes took a long, luxurious stroll down her body, lingered on her breasts, then roamed north, hovering around her mouth, before finally meeting her gaze. He flashed a wolfish grin full of sinful promises.

“Dylan Bad at your service.”

Pushing thoughts of her newly married colleague’s expedient nuptials aside, she focused on his very available brother. A definite player, which was fine with her. She had no time—or interest—in anything but a quick hookup, and the six-two or -three stud had already shot to the top of tonight’s fantasy list.

“What’s your pleasure?” he asked with more than a hint of innuendo.

You. Naked, with your head buried between my legs, to start.

“Surprise me.” She watched him turn to prepare her drink and checked out the way his dark slacks hugged his perfect ass. It had been a long time since she’d found a man this attractive. But Mick Bad’s brother? That spelled trouble.

Dylan, as part of the After Dark series, is much steamier than a lot of Ms. Foster’s other books–be warned! Cupcake batter may be used for nefarious reasons 😉

Bar owner Dylan Bad is ready to settle down, and on the night of his older brother’s wedding he believes he might have finally met the one. The only problem? Tiffany Winters is already married–to her job as a very successful sports agent. She’s been burned by love before, and anyway, she’s much too busy for anything more time consuming than a one night stand.

Okay, maybe two nights. She’s only human–and he’s Dylan.

It was entertaining watching Dylan do all he could to win Tiffany over–and she made him work for it, not being a flowers and chocolates kind of girl. He never gave up, though, and that was a huge check mark in his favor.

Tiffany had a lot of issues to work through, not only with her fear of relationships but also her need to have total control over every aspect of her business. When she meets Dylan, she’s available to her clients 24/7, and even her vacationing assistant is texting her about business from the beach, with neither of them thinking anything of it. Tiffany spends much of the first few weeks of their relationship waiting for Dylan to be tired of her giving so much of herself to her career and ending things…which (spoiler alert) isn’t going to happen, because romance.

Honestly, though, the whole is-Dylan-going-to-get-tired-of-her-job question is the biggest conflict in the story, and it really doesn’t feel like it’s enough. Tiffany’s really the only person who thinks it’s going to be a problem–the reader isn’t concerned about it, even for a second, because we see things from his POV and we know better. As a result, this is a sweet and steamy story with likable characters, but without a whole lot of dramatic umph.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / C+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Don’t miss the BAD who started it all! 

Melissa Foster is a New YorkTimes & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult romance, and women’s fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic, perfect beach reads, and always family oriented.

 

 

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New Release Review! A SURE THING by Marie Harte (The Donnigans, #1)

A Sure Thing
by Marie Harte

Synopsis:

Meet the Donnigans
With the eldest Donnigan brothers adjusting to civilian life, their younger sister constantly in trouble, and their little brother clueless about life in general, falling in love is the last thing on anyone’s mind…

Can this Bossy Badass Marine…
The Marine Corps was everything Landon Donnigan ever wanted in life…until a bullet sent him home with a medical discharge. Teaching a self-defense class at the gym is old-hat for a marine, but when he meets sexy Ava Rosenthal, his combat skills are useless for protecting his heart.

Be her Mr. Right?
Ava can take care of herself and likes quiet, bookish men-not muscular warriors who think women need to be coddled. But Landon is more than he seems, and when they come together, the results are explosive.

 

Review:

First in a new series (related to another–the Donnigans are cousins to the MacAuley brothers), A Sure Thing is Landon Donnigan and Ava Rosenthal’s story. Landon and Ava are a prime example of opposites attracting–or are they? One thing we find out as the story progresses is that these two have more in common than they think at first.

I really liked Landon. He’s brash, he’s ballsy, and OMG just so gosh-darn charming. When he crashes into Ava’s super-boring date before he even really knows her? An imposition, sure, and you can see how it might be annoying, but dang it, he’s right, and so–well, Landon-like–that it’s hard to really get annoyed. Ava tries her best, but even she can’t admit he’s really wrong in what he’s saying.

And that’s how a lot of the book goes–Landon throws something Ava’s way that should be a major “You did what?” moment, but it ends up being a positive in the end. Yeah, if he were my not-yet or brand-new boyfriend I’d be pretty annoyed with him, but it’s hard to deny that each event ends up well in the end. He’s just so…Landon. And the sex, when they have it? Watch. Out.

Ava can be a bit prickly at times–perfectly justified when Landon’s being a pain, but when she’s sticking to her “list” or running from her true feelings it’s easier to get aggravated with her. I really liked watching her interact with both her cousins (Sadie and Elliot) and Landon’s family, though–it was fun and genuine, especially when she jumped right in with his brothers and sister against their annoying eldest bro. I found myself smiling a lot in those parts.

There aren’t a lot of surprises in this one–overall, it’s pretty predictable–but it is an entertaining read and a great intro to the rest of the series. We see enough of Gavin, Hope, and Theo to really make me, at least, want to see where Ms. Harte is going to take these three en route to their own HEAs.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book

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