New Release Review! MADLY by Ruthie Knox (New York Trilogy #2)


Madly

by Ruthie Knox

Synopsis:

An impulsive trip to New York City, a heartthrob from London, and a scandalous to-do list turn a small-town girl’s life upside down in this sultry romance from the New York Times bestselling author of Truly and About Last Night.

Allie Fredericks isn’t supposed to be in Manhattan, hiding in the darkest corner of a hip bar, spying on her own mother—who’s flirting with a man who’s definitely not Allie’s father. Allie’s supposed to be in Wisconsin, planning her parents’ milestone anniversary party. Then Winston Chamberlain walks through the door, with his tailored suit, British accent, and gorgeous eyes, and Allie’s strange mission goes truly sideways.

Winston doesn’t do messy. But after a pretty stranger ropes him into her ridiculous family drama with a fake kiss that gets a little too real, he finds out that messy can be fun. Maybe even a little addicting. And as the night grows longer, Allie and Winston make a list of other wild things they could do together—and what seems like a mismatch leads to a genuine connection. But can their relationship survive as their real lives implode just outside the bedroom door?

 

Review:

So, so good 🙂

I loved both Allie and Winston–they shouldn’t have worked together at all, but OMG they so did somehow. I’m going to give the credit to Ruthie Knox’s writing here–she really knows how to write characters who shouldn’t at all be made for each other but totally are. I also really liked that their age difference was practically a non-issue for everyone involved; that was unexpected but also absolutely worked.

Seriously, she’s a romance wizard.

The whole what-is-Allie-and-May’s-mother-doing-in-NYC subplot was a little iffy–it worked to bring Allie and Winston together, but then took up a bit too much page time in parts of the book, finally ending up…just okay in the end. It was ultimately pretty feel-good, though a bit out there on the realism front.

Allie and Winston are both siblings to previous Knox characters–Allie’s May’s sister from Truly and Winston’s Nev’s brother from  About Last Night–and though it could be read on its own, I did find myself wishing I’d had a recent refresher, especially for Truly (mostly because of how much I loved, loved, loved May and Ben’s story, but also because it seems like that book came out ages ago).

Now–how about a book for Winston’s daughter? 🙂

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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New Release Review: TWIST by Kylie Scott (Dive Bar #2)

Dive-Bar-banner-with-Chaser

From New York Times bestselling author Kylie Scott comes the second sizzling stand-alone novel in the Dive Bar series!

When his younger brother loses interest in online dating, hot bearded bartender Joe Collins only intends to log into his account and shut it down. Until he reads about her.

Alex Parks is funny, fascinating, and pretty much everything he’s been looking for in a woman—except that she lives across the country. Soon they’re emailing up a storm and telling each other their deepest, darkest secrets…except the one that really matters.

When Alex pays Joe a surprise visit, however, they both discover that when it comes to love, it’s always better with a twist.

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Review:

Oh my goodness, this book was so much fun to read. I absolutely loved Alex’s voice–her snark, her insecurities, her weird quirky hangups–I think I found my new fictional BFF. (She’s given me my new motto: “When in doubt, don’t answer the phone or the door. It’s always people.” Maybe we were separated at birth?) And since in my head Joe looks an awful lot like Thor, I’m not going to mind hanging out with my new bestie and her beau at all 🙂

Seriously, why have I never read anything by Kylie Scott before? Must remedy ASAP.

Twist worked absolutely fine as a standalone. Other book characters–both from this series and (briefly, oh-so-briefly but they’re there) Scott’s Stage Dive series make appearances, but you don’t have to have read their books to appreciate this one. Chances are you’ll want to read them, though–if you’re like me, this urge will hit around page, oh–five, maybe?–because, holy schmoly, this is some fun reading. Heck, I even want to read Eric’s (upcoming) book, and he wasn’t anywhere close to my favorite secondary character. If anyone can change my mind about him, it’s probably Ms. Scott.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

twist

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About the author:

kyliescottimageKylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet. You can learn more about Kylie from http://www.kylie-scott.com/

 

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New Release Review and Giveaway! A STUDY IN SCOUNDRELS by Christy Carlyle (Romancing the Rules #2)

Can this scoundrel convince a proper lady that he’s actually perfect for her or will their adventure leave them both heartbroken? 


 

A STUDY IN SCOUNDRELS
Romancing the Rules #2
Christy Carlyle
Releasing April 11th, 2017
Avon Impulse

 

Sophia Ruthven is the epitome of proper behavior. On paper at least, as long as that paper isn’t from one of the lady detective stories she secretly pens. She certainly isn’t interested in associating with the dashing Jasper Grey, the wayward heir to the Earl of Stanhope, and one of the stage’s leading men. But when she learns Grey’s younger sister Liddy has gone missing, she can’t deny her desire to solve the mystery…or her attraction to the incorrigible scoundrel.

Responsibility isn’t something Grey is very familiar with. On the boards and in the bedroom, he lives exactly how he wants to, shunning all the trappings of respectability and society. Grey knows he should avoid the bewitching Sophia, but he’s never been able to say no to what he wants. And having Sophia in his arms and his bed is quickly becoming the thing he wants the most.

As Sophia and Grey’s search for Liddy continues across the English countryside, can this scoundrel convince a proper lady that he’s actually perfect for her or will their adventure leave them both heartbroken? 

Laughter tickled his ears. Weight bore down on his chest, draped over his hips. A soft weight, pliant under his hands. Heated too. Pleasure in his groin twined with pain in his head as the soft, warm weight moved against him.

He blinked, then again. Colors shimmered and blurred. The light was too dim. The room too smoky. Perfume burned his nose, too spicy and pungent.

What was that sound? A moan. A cry.

A rumbling groan reverberated in his own chest.

“Don’t leave me now,” a woman whispered near his ear. “I need release.”

He flexed his fingers, digging into the warm flesh of smooth feminine legs. Slid his hand up, finding the thicket of curls between the woman’s spread thighs.

“Yes, Grey.”

She moved against him, her breath quickening as little moans emerged. She clutched at his shoulder, her other hand on his, showing him how to touch her.

He didn’t require much direction. The role of lover was one he knew by heart. Some said he was skilled on stage, but he never doubted his expertise in the bedroom.

His own body had numbed. Whether from drink or the drugging effect of the smoke rising in whorls above his head, he wasn’t certain. But this, how to touch a woman, how to give pleasure. This he knew intuitively. This was where he excelled.

Heaven knew he’d failed at everything else.

Except acting.

But performing on stage was all a matter of illusion, of lying artfully. Sex and falsehood were his twin aptitudes.

If only he could see the woman clearly and scatter the fog in his mind. He twisted his head on the pillow and noticed a half-empty glass of blue-green liquid glowing in the low gaslight.

“What did I drink?”

A trill of laughter. Red lips. The curve of a grin in a pale face. A waterfall of red hair.

He swirled his fingers in the woman’s curls. She stilled and held her breath. He knew he’d found the key. Gently, masterfully, he touched her with all the art he’d learned from countless lovers.

“Oh, Grey.” She twitched against his fingers, dug her nails into his shoulder. “Don’t stop.”

He didn’t. Not until she gusted out a long moan, dipped her head, and sank against him as if her bones had melted.

“Absinthe,” she murmured against his chest. “A bit of laudanum.”

Grey pressed a fist to the throbbing crown of his head and tried to sit up. The lady on his chest stretched like a cat woken from a nap before rising off him and stepping away from the bed.

No, he realized when his vision cleared and he took in the books lining the walls, not a bed. Not his bedroom. He was on a settee in his London townhouse’s library, and he and his lady companion were not alone. Half-clothed bodies reclined around the musky, haze-clouded room. Some sleeping. Others smoking from an enormous bubbling hookah. At least one couple was busy, writhing and moaning in the far corner.

A man stumbled past the open library door, nude from the waist up, his shirt and coat rolled in a crumpled ball in his arms. Returning to the threshold, he let out a burp before offering, “Many happy returns, Grey. Smashing birthday party.”

Even better than book one–and that’s saying something 🙂

I just loved Sophia and Grey…and Cate (Sophia’s new BFF/Kit and Phee’s housekeeper) and Clary (the youngest Ruthven and heroine of book 3, How to Woo a Wallflower –yay! Though she doesn’t seem particularly wallflowerish here, I’m willing to go with it.) It was so much fun watching Grey completely rethink everything about his life (all while denying that anything was changing, of course) and Sophia come into her own after living under her publisher father’s “rules” for so long. Even though Grey’s little sister Liddy was a bit on the annoying side, at least her taking off the way she did was an excellent way to get her brother out of his self-destructive rut and into Sophia’s path.

This quote particularly sums up both of their characters nicely:

He’d always bucked at being managed by anyone, but Sophia had the voice of a siren. A very practical, sensible siren.

See what I mean? 😉

Plus, the epilogue was especially squee-worthy, and a great way to start my Monday morning.

A Study in Scoundrels worked just fine as a standalone, especially since Kit and Phee ( Rules for a Rogue ) are off on their wedding trip for most of the book. If you have read the first one, however, you’ll be more than glad to see just how Kit’s reprobate best friend and his “do the right thing” sister manage to find their own HEA together.

Bring on Clary’s story–I’m more than ready!

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


Fueled by Pacific Northwest coffee and inspired by multiple viewings of every British costume drama she can get her hands on, USA Today bestselling author Christy Carlyle writes sensual historical romance set in the Victorian era. She loves heroes who struggle against all odds and heroines who are ahead of their time. A former teacher with a degree in history, she finds there’s nothing better than being able to combine her love of the past with a die-hard belief in happy endings.

 

 

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New Release Review and Giveaway! DUKE OF DESIRE by Darcy Burke (The Untouchables #4)

About the Book:

Ten years ago Ivy Breckenridge’s life was ruined. She had to reinvent herself, and now, after painstakingly making her own way in the world, she’s nearly forgotten the dreams of home and family she’d once nurtured. Until one man peers into her soul and awakens every one of her hidden desires. But no matter how good he makes her feel, she can’t trust him—alone by choice is better than alone by necessity.

With a notorious reputation for training married women in the art of passion, Sebastian Westgate, Duke of Clare, is reviled by some and celebrated by others. He doesn’t allow anyone close enough to see past his charming exterior. When Ivy uncovers the man beneath, the seducer is suddenly the seduced. Enraptured by her mind and spirit, he wants more but revealing his darkest secrets is a price he won’t pay.

Excerpt:

Ivy hurried downstairs and made her way across the hall to the drawing room, which was the center room at the back of the house. The group had started to thin—either to take part in some activity or rest before dinner.

But because Ivy had the luck of the devil, she found Lady Dunn’s cane in a most inopportune place: the clutches of the Duke of Clare.

He stood near the chair Lady Dunn had vacated, her cane in his hand. His dark gaze swept toward Ivy. “It’s you.”

She resisted the urge to snatch the cane from his grasp and flee. “Yes.” She flicked a glance at his fingers. They were long and rather slender. Almost elegant. “I came for Lady Dunn’s cane.”

“You are her companion, then.” It wasn’t a question. He’d deduced the answer, and they both knew it. There was a cool confidence about him that was just shy of arrogance. His gaze raked over her, and she decided he wasn’t shy of anything.

“Yes. May I have it, please?” She held out her gloved hand.

“How about I offer it in trade for your name?”

She scowled at him. “How about you just give it to me and cease this preposterousness?” She kept her voice low, and the end of that word rushed from her mouth in an angry hiss.

He exhaled but didn’t look perturbed in the slightest. “I don’t know why you find my amiability preposterous.”

Because you’re a degenerate scoundrel. Instead of voicing what was in her mind, she forced a smile. “I am merely in a hurry. I am Miss Breckenridge. The cane, please?”

He set it in her hand but made sure to brush his fingertips along the edge of her palm.

Ivy closed her fist around the cane and yanked her hand back.

He arched a dark brow at her. “You’re a bit touchy, aren’t you?”

“And you’re more than a bit unseemly. Good afternoon.” She turned and marched from the drawing room, paying no attention to anyone who might’ve witnessed their conversation. She hadn’t noticed if anyone was close enough to hear them. No, she’d been too intent on him.

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Review:
OMG, I knew I was going to love Ivy’s story–I’ve been dying to find out what her backstory was for three books now–but how much I loved it still managed to take me by surprise.

Because, Ivy. And West. Seriously, they’re right up there in my top ten favorite couples. Heck, they’re probably in the top five.

Ivy’s been a mystery for the whole series–she was befriended by the other wallflowers at the start of book one (The Forbidden Duke ) but most of her life before and after that point remained a mystery, even to Nora, Lucy, and Aquilla. We knew there was something big and tragic there–everything about her screamed huge secrets–but it wasn’t until she got her own book that we found out what they were. And how appropriate is it that the Duke of Desire (though she lobbied hard for Debauchery or Depravity) become her hero?

So. Appropriate.

And whoa, Ms. Burke did a great job of making a guy who at first seemed like a total sleezeball (I would have been right there with Ivy once upon a time, casting my vote for Debauchery as well) into such an amazingly great guy. I mean, I am still shuddering when I think too hard about it, because no condoms (didn’t they have French letters yet? Because, scary…) but overall his reasons behind and for doing what he’d been doing up until Ivy were so much better than I ever could have come up with. But then he met Ivy, so…sigh.

I was a bit distressed when I realized that this book meant that all four of the original heroines had their HEAs, but was thrilled to hear that a book five (the hero is connected to a secondary character here) is in the works (and that West’s best friend also has a “Duke” moniker courtesy of the girls, so surely he’ll get a book too, soon?) because I am absolutely not ready to leave the world of the Untouchables behind!

The Duke of Desire would work fine as a standalone, though if you (like me!) have read the other series books and been dying for Ivy to get her HEA, this one will be all the more satisfying for you.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Check out the other books in The Untouchables series:

Meet the Author:

Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, and three Bengal cats. Visit Darcy online at www.darcyburke.com and sign up for her newsletter, follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/darcyburke, or like her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/DarcyBurkeFans.

Connect with Darcy: Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway:

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New Box Set Review! TAMING THE PACK (Books 1-3) by Wendy Sparrow

Don’t miss my conversation with author Wendy Sparrow (and a tour giveaway!) here!


Taming the Pack Boxed Set

by Wendy Sparrow

About the box set:

Sometimes a wolf is all you need.

What do you get when you mix Alphas and sheriffs and park rangers? Three sexy tales of wolf shifter romance from the talented Wendy Sparrow sure to keep you up past your bedtime! With one click, immerse yourself in a rich world of danger, intrigue, a little humor, and more than a little heat.

Past My Defenses

After a feline danderbomb takes Vanessa down, she wakes up naked in a cage staring at a hot park ranger who has no idea what he’d trapped. Dane Hansen had hoped to tame the silver wolf in his kennel, but all bets are off with the deliciously sweet Vanessa on two legs. They’re hot as a forest fire even before they scent-match. Meanwhile, Lycans are being poached, and Vanessa has been targeted. Dane will have to keep her close to protect her, but with Vanessa in heat and mad to mate, who will protect him?

This Weakness for You

Jordan Hill is his pack’s Alpha wolf, and after his last breakup, he’s opting to be the lone wolf, too. But when his rival’s little sister—a human—comes to his door, what should be a tasty snack turns out to be something more than Jordan could ever imagine. Christa Hansen is simply looking for a place to stay. Yet the dark shifter smells irresistibly like forever. But getting involved with the wolf who tried to kill her brother—twice—is lunacy. Falling for her family’s enemy won’t just be her downfall…it will be his, too.

Crazy Over You

Waking up with a naked woman holding a knife at his throat is just about the last thing Sheriff Travis Flynn expected. And the brother she’s looking for? A murderer. And dead. Probably. But the real shock comes when she insists she’s not a Lycan. Once LeAnn Wilcox finds her brother, she’ll get out of the pack’s territory and go back to her regular, nonfurry life. But LeAnn’s life is at stake if she won’t claim her place in the pack, especially once Travis’s control over the pack is challenged and her brother’s fate is questioned.

Review:

Past My Defenses

Wendy Sparrow has definitely written a werewolf (they go by lycan in this universe) story with a twist here. Our heroine does have super speed and fantastic hearing, but she also suffers from near-dibilitating alergies and has a relationship with her four(!) air purifiers that borders on unnatural.

Seriously. She’s taken down by a housecat in the first scene. (I was going to say “common housecat”, but I’m not entirely convinced he is.) She’s allergic to marshmallows. (According to the author’s note, so is Ms. Sparrow. My condolences…) Though I do love the fact that Dane puts her list of allergens on the fridge. And memorizes it. And they put the list to good use…more than once.

“What are you doing?” he asked, smiling against her skin.

“Listing out my allergies so I can keep my hormones from taking over.”

He shouldn’t keep going. They were meant to be paying attention to their environment. Plus, now “ragweed” had joined the list of words that couldn’t be said in mixed company. They should stop. He pulled back enough to drag his shirt off.

“You stopped on sesame seeds,” he said.

“Carrots, celery, cumin.” Cumin was said on a long moan. She made spices she couldn’t have sound even more forbidden.

“You forgot coriander.” He groaned as she bit his collarbone.

“I didn’t forget coriander. I just hadn’t gotten there yet.” It earned him another bite.

Oh, hell, they should really stop. “You were listing the Cs in alphabetical order.”

“I was just listing them.” She pressed herself closer to him. “Fennel, kiwi.” She tipped her head back and those nails scraped down his back again. “Coriander.”

Coriander was on the list of inappropriate words now.

Ms. Sparrow’s sense of humor really shines in this novel. Even though I will readily admit that a simple conversation or two could have resolved most if not all of Vanessa and Dane’s relationship woes in–oh, the second chapter maybe–I so thoroughly enjoyed reading the rest of the novel I didn’t even care. Plus, the “whodunnit” at the end isn’t completely obvious, which made it fun (though that individual was on my short list of suspects, I wasn’t at all sure until the big reveal).

Rating: 4 ½ stars / A-


This Weakness for You

Jordan’s story! I loved him in Vanessa and Dane’s book (Past My Defenses), and the nonstop sparring (mixed with a healthy dose of mutual respect) between Jordan and Dane continues here, since Jordan scent matches with Dane’s younger sister Christa. Absolutely perfect! 😉

Ms. Sparrow’s writing made me laugh out loud over and over again. Her sense of humor is fantastic, and really shines through both her writing and characters. Poor Christa–it took her most of the book to get used to the fact that she was surrounded by Lycans with amazing hearing, and her lapses made for some really funny scenes. (Awkward for her, but super funny for the rest of us)

Lucifer the cat is back too, and seeing him instantly obey Jordan even over the phone is hysterical. (Clearly, I need to get involved with an alpha Lycan–can I connect with one on eHarmony, do you think? My cats have a little too much power here.)

I was already half in love with Jordan’s big bad alpha wolf self after book one, so it was pretty much a given I was going to enjoy his book. Christa ends up being his perfect counterpart–she sees herself as weak for much of the book, in part because she has MS (yay to Ms. Sparrow for writing a heroine with MS!), but in reality she’s so much stronger than her condition. She’s a kickbutt marksman (markswoman?)–the scene where Jordan decides to teach her some basic gun safety is hilarious–and she has zero filter as far as her brain-to-mouth connection goes. (Remember the Lycan sense of hearing? So. Many. Laughs.)

Even her dad is awesome. If ever a family were created that should be involved with supernaturals, the Hansens are it. His retelling of his phone conversation with his daughter re: their new in-laws? I think I snorted some Pepsi Max out of my nose at that part.

Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about this book. If you like paranormals, appreciate humor in your reading, and enjoy sweet sexiness (there’s not really much actual steaminess, though, but I for one didn’t miss it at all), then do yourself a favor and give this series a try.

Quite a bit in this book hinges on what was going on in book one, but much of it is explained along the way (some of it for Christa’s benefit, since she was new to the situation), so it’s not necessary to have read the first book to “get” this one–but this series and these characters are so much fun you’re going to want to read them both—and since they’re now in a box set together, it’s easier than ever!

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A


Crazy Over You

It’s a good thing that digital highlighters don’t ever dry up, because I gave my Kindle’s highlighter function a real workout with this one. There are so many laugh-out-loud moments, and so many truly clever lines. I enjoyed the heck out of reading this one.

Right from the very first page, Travis and LeAnn are on opposite sides–he’s a small-town sheriff, she’s a (rather successful) petty criminal; she’s looking for her brother, he might just have had a hand in the man’s very recent death; he wakes from a dead sleep to find her naked on top of him, with one of his own knives to his throat–and just in case that’s not enough, Travis realizes almost immediately that they’ve scent matched, which means they’re destined to be mates.

Oh, the conflict! The pages are oozing with it, in the best possible way.

“If you let me up, we can keep talking about this.” And by “talking” he meant he’d have her on her back, moaning out his name rather rapidly. His very long stretch of abstinence was about to end.

She licked her lips and wrinkled up her nose. “First, tell me where my brother is.”

Well, that would ruin any “talking”.

Even though at first they seem like oil and water, the reader can clearly see that fate got it right this time–LeAnn and Travis are each exactly what the other needs. Travis, the organizing, control-freak alpha, definitely needed a less-than-gentle shove out of the rut his life had gotten into. LeAnn had spent a lifetime looking for a place to belong and a family that wouldn’t leave or make her want to leave, and she finds it with Jordan and the pack. Plus, she gets to use her “special skills” for the greater good for a change.

She could hot-wire cars. That was good to know. Also very sexy. In a non-law-abiding way that he couldn’t ever outwardly support.

The suspense was nicely done–though I was pretty sure I knew some of what was going on, I didn’t have it all figured out until the characters did, which was excellent. Book three continues the series’ overarching plot where the packs are concerned, finally resolving their main problem–which is good, because resolution! but sad, because the series comes to an end… 🙁

The romance, of course, is fantastic–Travis and LeAnn have great chemistry and even better banter. Even in the middle of a shootout, they were making me laugh.

Both he and LeAnn bounced up at the same time, firing. More swearing from Troy.

“Yes!” LeAnn said as they dropped back down to the floor.

“I got him,” they said at the same time before scowling at each other.

“Oh, that was me,” LeAnn said.

“No, I’m sorry, but that was me.” He wasn’t going to give up his hits because she was a woman he wanted in a filthy way–one he wanted even more now that he’d seen her fire a gun. “Troy, was that last hit from a rifle or handgun?” he yelled.

His answer was more swearing.

“It was from a rifle,” he translated for her.

“Oh, sweetie, if you really need this to boost your self-confidence, I’ll give you this one,” she said, giving him a long look.

“Honey, that wasn’t a gun in my pocket a few minutes back. Trust me, I have a lot to be confident about.” He gestured toward the other side of the table with his head. “Including that last shot.”

She pulled her shirt off. “And they’re real, babydoll.”

He stared.

“And that last shot was all me too.”

See what I mean? There’s a lot more where that comes from, believe me. 😉

This book was a thank-goodness-I-don’t-have-to-work-today-because-I’m-not-sure-I-could-stop-reading-it kind of story. Make sure you’ve cleared out a few hours before you sit down to start it; you’ll be glad you did.

I have loved this series from start to finish, and can’t wait to see what Ms. Sparrow has in store for us next. In the meantime, at least we have her backlist… 😉

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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New Release Review and Giveaway! EVEN COWBOYS GET THE BLUES by Amie Stuart (Bluebonnet, Texas #5)

Today is the blog tour for Even Cowboys Get the Blues by Amie Stuart. Check out today’s post and grab your copy today!

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About Even Cowboys Get the Blues:

Tim Caldwell doesn’t do relationships…

Not after his wife walked out on him and their daughter ten years before. He’s got a well earned reputation as a Casanova Cowboy who’s never met a woman he couldn’t talk into bed…until Toni duBois. Disinterest isn’t something he’s is used to. Neither is playing by someone else’s rules.

Toni duBois doesn’t do forever…

After fifteen years away, Toni’s headed home to Louisiana in search of the answer she needs and the redemption she craves. She doesn’t plan on hanging around in Bluebonnet, Texas, any longer that she has to and she isn’t interested in a steamy, sexy entanglement. Regardless of how good looking said entanglement might be.

Rene Caldwell doesn’t do step-moms…

Unfortunately for both them, Tim’s teenage daughter, Rene has opinions. Lots of them. And she’s feeling a certain kind of way about Toni—mostly pissed. So when she pulls out all the stops to keep Toni from getting her hooks into Tim and Toni’s dark past is revealed, no one is safe from the fallout.

ECGTB
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Review:

Wow. I finished this one with (mostly happy-ish) tears and a burning desire to see more of these people–a lot more–and soon. Please tell me future series books will let us know more about what the future has for Toni, Tim, and Rene? Please? Because those three–they just grabbed me and aren’t letting go. I am pushing so hard for them to get their HEA-forever together, and I feel a burning desire to know exactly what that’s going to look like. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the ending–but gosh darn it, I want to know more.

At first the different POVs–Toni and Rene’s sections are done in first person, Tim’s in third–felt a bit strange, but eventually it stopped being such a glaring difference for me. I’m still not sure why that choice was made, but it worked for the most part, so I guess that’s okay. Either way, Ms Stuart definitely managed to draw me right into the lives of her three characters, and whoa, did I ever really truly care what was going to happen to them. There were so many times that I teared up over the three of them, and then that ending…

Happy (teary) sighs.

So far I’ve only read one other Bluebonnet Texas book, The Big Girl’s Guide to Buying Lingerie , Rowdy’s book, the one just before this one. (I actually didn’t realize they were the same series when I started this one, and still am not 100% about the timing of these two books–Rowdy, the hero of Lingerie, is pretty present here, being Tim’s ex-brother-in-law and one of Rene’s favorite uncles, and there’s no mention of his heroine, Jade…I’ll have to go back and double-check in book 4, but maybe this one happened first? Or book 4 began during the events of this one? I can’t remember how long Jade and Rowdy “knew” each other virtually before getting together IRL, so…) I had a few of the same concerns in this book as I did in book 4–so many characters and couples, and keeping straight which family member was which was still a challenge–but here it gave me less trouble this time than with book four. Maybe seeing things from Tim’s daughter Rene’s POV too helped? Not sure…all I can say is yes, I needed to remind myself occasionally who was who, but it was somehow easier to getup to speed and keep everyone straight in my head this time around.

So…can this be read as a standalone? Yes, with more success than book 4, though I did manage there too. But honestly, you’re probably going to want to know the stories of all of those other characters that you’re going to encounter here, so you might as well give in and just keep clicking those “want to read” buttons sooner rather than later.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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About Amie Stuart:

Amie Stuart is the last of a dying breed: a Native Texan. She writes sexy, emotional contemporary romances set in small towns. In the past, she’s worked as a receptionist, a daycare office manager, delivered pizzas, and was even a hairdresser for five years–all fodder for the writing gig. That and all those Barbara Cartland romances she cut her teeth on.

None of those careers can compare to her favorite job: writer. She’s a storyteller through and through, even when she’s keeping tabs on her almost-grown sons and many pets, or organizing promo and planning trips for her day job as a personal assistant. She smokes, she drinks, she writes–sometimes at the same time.

Connect with Amie:
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Blogs Taking Part in the Blog Tour:

March 20th

Sweet Red Reads Review

Books need TLC Review

A Sky Filled with Sparkling Stars Excerpt

Angels With Attitude Book Reviews Excerpt

March 21st

Becky on Books Review

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March 22nd

Briar’s Reviews Excerpt

Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews Review

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March 23rd

Friends Till The End Book Blog Excerpt

What Is That Book About Excerpt

All Things Dark & Dirty Excerpt

March 24th

Adventures in Writing Excerpt

The Ordinary Housewife Book Blog Review

March 25th

It’s All About the Romance Excerpt

Ashley Book Blog Review

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March 26th

Nicole’s Book Musings Excerpt

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March 27th

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New Release and Giveaway! SINFUL SCOTTISH LAIRD by Julia London (The Highland Grooms #2)

Synopsis:

A young widow puts her sexy suitors to the test in New York Times bestselling author Julia London’s scintillating return to the idyllic Scottish Highlands.

Widowed and forced to remarry in three years’ time or forfeit her son’s inheritance, Daisy Bristol, Lady Chatwick, has plenty of suitors vying for her hand and her fortune. But a letter from a long-lost love sends Daisy and her young son to her Scottish Highland estate to buy time for his return. Along the way she encounters the powerful Cailean Mackenzie, laird of Arrandale and a notorious smuggler, and she is utterly and unwillingly bewitched.

Cailean has no use for any Sassenach in his glen. But Daisy’s brazen, flirtatious nature and alluring beauty intrigue him. When her first love appears unexpectedly at her estate, Cailean knows that a passionate woman like Daisy cannot marry this man. And to prevent the union, Cailean must put his own life at risk to win her heart.

 

Review:

Absolutely loved!

Cailean and Daisy’s story started out with more than a little bit of lust at first sight, compounded with a healthy dollop of distrust and dislike, to make this one heck of a enemies-to-friends-to-lovers story in the end. With Scottish brogue and plaids–really, there’s not a single downside to be had here! 😉

I just adored both the hero and heroine here, and found myself wanting nothing more than for the two of them to get together while I was reading this book–which of course is exactly what you’re looking for in a romance! Their reasons for not being together made sense, even as I railed against them–truly, they gave this story the best kind of angst–and OMG, Daisy’s young son Ellis? I. Love. That. Kid. Seeing him open up and become the little boy that had been hiding inside him all along made me want to stand up and cheer. (And gah! Seeing Cailean with him? Gave me all kinds of feels. Just when I thought the guy couldn’t become any more awesome…) My only complaint is that we don’t get to see nearly enough of Daisy and Cailean’s HEA here, but I fully expect that to be remedied in future books in the series 🙂

Though this is the second book in the series, it worked just fine as a standalone. Book one ( Wild Wicked Scot ) is Cailean’s parents’ story–their story is hinted at here, but if you haven’t read it yet you’re not at a disadvantage at all. I’m not saying that you won’t want to read their story ASAP, though–chances are you will–but at least that will keep you busy until younger brother Rabbie’s story ( Hard-Hearted Highlander ) comes out later this year 😉

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About the author:

Julia London is the New York Times and USA Today best selling author of more than two dozen romantic fiction novels. She is the author of the popular historical romance series, the Cabot Sisters, including The Trouble with Honor, The Devil Takes a Bride, and The Scoundrel and the Debutante. She is also the author of several contemporary romances, including Homecoming Ranch, Return to Homecoming Ranch, and The Perfect Homecoming.

Julia is the recipient of the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance and a six-time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction.

Connect with Julia:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

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New Release Review! MISSING JUSTICE by Misty Evans and Adrienne Giordano (Justice Team #5)

Missing Justice
by Misty Evans and Adrienne Giordano

Synopsis:

A one-night stand and a missing child put these two on opposite sides of solving a murder.

A rising star at the FBI, Taylor Sinclair has a perfect close rate on cold cases. When the bones of a senator’s murdered wife turn up eight years after her kidnapping, the case lands on Taylor’s desk, putting her in the crosshairs of the media—and the killer. Success will solidify her career at the Bureau, but a provocative one-night stand with cocky PI Matt “Mad Dog” Stephens could ruin it.

Matt’s on the hunt for the killer as well, along with the senator’s still-missing child, and believes joining forces with Taylor will get them both the answers they need. He’s determined to get the sexy agent to work with him—in and out of the bedroom—but Taylor is convinced the senator is a murderer. Matt is just as certain he’s innocent.

With a child’s life on the line, Matt and Taylor must plunge into the world of undercover ops and a dangerous attraction that could prove fatal to them both.

 

Review:

Another great book in this series!

This time the hero and heroine worked with the Justice Team but weren’t technically part of it–Taylor worked with Grey (and Mitch) before he left the FBI, and Matt, as a P.I. has worked with him since. So in addition to an awesome new H/h, there was also plenty of Grey/Mitch/Caroline/Teeg time (not enough Sydney, though!) while at the same time since it focuses on a new pair, it should work okay as a standalone.

Though I’m warning you–Mitch’s t-shirts alone are going to make you want to read his books (Cheating Justice and  Undercover Justice) and Grey’s his usual bad-a$$ self, so you’re going to want to know his story (Stealing Justice and  Holiday Justice), so…yeah. And did I mention Teeg? Heck, just read them all. 😉

I loved, loved, loved Taylor and Matt–so good together! I appreciated that they didn’t put too much effort into either resisting each other or denying their relationship. They didn’t flaunt it in front of people (because yeah, getting involved when they did wasn’t the best idea ever career-wise) but they didn’t deny it either. Instead, the suspense part of the plot provided plenty of drama all on its own 🙂

Speaking of suspense, that part of the story had a slightly different slant to it than did the rest of the series, since Taylor’s specialty is cold cases. The case she snags here is one that Grey had originally investigated about a decade before, and that Matt had also been involved in several years later as a P.I. as well. A missing woman’s bones have finally been found, but something is still missing…the next thing we know, Taylor becomes a target herself, and a previously cold case is heating up fast…

My only complaint is that one part of the story is resolved really, really quickly at the end–I’m glad that there was closure, but boy do I have questions about that character’s backstory! Misty and Adrienne could fix that by giving her her own book…I’m just saying… 😉

I’m eagerly awaiting the next series installment, ladies, even if it’s not her book!

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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New Release Review! TAKE ON ME by Gwen Hayes (Silver Pines #4)

Take On Me
by Gwen Hayes

Synopsis:

Online dating columnist Dane Martin (www.virile.com) has no plans to give up his reign as bachelor extraordinaire. He has a reputation to uphold, especially with the upcoming release of his book Coming on Strong.

Holly Winters, everyone’s favorite girl next door thanks to her blog of the same name, gives dating advice to women struggling to find commitment among the Virile sycophants. Dane is exactly the kind of guy she cautions her readers away from.

When a publicity stunt goes awry and the opposites must pretend to be dating, all bets are off. Has the Girl Next Door tamed the most Virile man alive, or is she just another notch on the bedpost?

Previously published as Mr. Virile and the Girl Next Door. Now with bonus epilogue!

 

Review:

This novella was so, so much fun! Well-written banter, a side romance to root for, an awkward rescue mutt, and an enemies-to-lovers romance with a he said/she said rivalry going on–very reminiscent of every rom-com movie I’ve ever watched and loved 🙂

(And I’ve watched more than my fair share, so I would know.)

Holly and Dane’s progression from friends to lovers to something more was nicely done, and realistic. Even though it’s a novella, the time frame was not at all rushed. The excerpts from their individual blog posts were a nice touch, and revealed much about their characters and mindsets.

The new epilogue (not originally included with Mr. Virile and the Girl Next Door) cranks up the adorableness about a thousandfold, and has me totally ready for my next visit to Silver Pines!

I only have one complaint here:

“Tell me a little bit about the man of your dreams.”

She sent him a startled look. “Well, he’s…nice.”

A huff of incredulity escaped Dane’s lungs. “Nice? The man of your dreams is nice? Try again, this time give me some of that honesty you were talking about the other night.”

“Oh, all right. But he is nice. It’s not a crime, you know. I happen to like nice men.”

Something pulled in his gut. “I’m a nice man.”

Holly laughed. “No you’re not. You’re…”

“A scoundrel?” he offered.

“I was always more of a Luke Skywalker fan than Han Solo anyway.”

You see my problem here, right? As if any sane person would pick Luke over Han… 😉

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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New Release Review and Giveaway! TOO WILDE TO TAME by Tonya Burrows (Wilde Security #5)


Too Wilde to Tame
by Tonya Burrows
Wilde Security #5
Publication Date: February 27, 2017
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Ignite, Contemporary, Romance

 

SYNOPSIS:

For three years, ballet teacher Natalie Taggart has lived across the hall from grumpy, reclusive, sexy Greer Wilde. Save for a handful of hellos and the occasional heated glance, they never spoke to each other.

Until the morning Greer lands on her doorstep, bleeding, beaten, and bullet-riddled.

Greer doesn’t need or want her help. He has only one goal: revenge. And nobody—not his brothers, and certainly not his too-hot-for-his-sanity next-door neighbor—is going to get in his way.

Review:

Such an awesome end to the series! (But not quite to the characters, hopefully…at least two HORNET people are strongly hinted at here as future heroes, so…yay!) It feels like we’ve been waiting forever for Greer’s story; fortunately, it was competent worth the wait!

All of the Wilde brothers are back for this story–eventually; Greer is steins to go it solo for a big chunk of the book, which is frustrating for everyone involved, but Natalie manages to set him straight on that score before it’s too late. The mystery of the Wilde parents’ death finally gets resolved, the brothers and their significant others are all left in an awesome place, and everything is good in the world, especially with Natalie and Greer…who are all kinds of awesome together, from first page to last 🙂

If you haven’t read the others in the series, Ms. Burrows does give you enough here to get caught up, plus there are elements to the final series resolution that are introduced here for the first time, so newbies shouldn’t be totally lost. I feel I should warn you, though, these Wilde brothers are truly something else–you won’t be able to stop with just one. So do yourself a favor, and start with book one ( Wilde Nights in Paradise ) 😉

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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ABOUT TONYA BURROWS:

Tonya Burrows wrote her first romance in 8th grade and hasn’t put down her pen since. Originally from a small town in Western New York, she suffers from a bad case of wanderlust and usually ends up moving someplace new every few years. Luckily, her two dogs and ginormous cat are excellent travel buddies.

When she’s not writing about hunky military heroes, Tonya can usually be found at a bookstore or the dog park. She also enjoys painting, watching movies, and her daily barre workouts. A geek at heart, she pledges her TV fandom to Supernatural and Dr. Who.

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