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.

View all my reviews

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.

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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:
Tweet | Facebook | Pinterest | Website | Goodreads

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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

SBB Reviews Review

March 22nd

Briar’s Reviews Excerpt

Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews Review

Bobo’s Book Bank Review

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

Tania’s Book Blog Review

March 26th

Nicole’s Book Musings Excerpt

Those Crazy Book Chicks Excerpt

March 27th

Jen’s Reading Obsession Excerpt

G & T’s Indie Café Excerpt

 

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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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A Conversation with Megan Frampton, Author of MY FAIR DUCHESS (Dukes Behaving Badly #5) with a New Release Review and Giveaway!

An unexpected duchess proves that behaving badly isn’t exclusive to the Dukedom.

Welcome, Megan! What 5 things should readers know about you?

  1. I can’t write a book unless I know what real-life person the hero looks like. The hero in My Fair Duchess looks like David Gandy.
  2. I can name all of Henry VIII’s wives in order (Catherine, Anne, Jane, Anne, Catherine, Catherine).
  3. I love to dance, and I think I’m pretty good at it.
  4. I think cream soda is an abomination
  5. I am a big fan of Korean assassin movies.

Well, #1 only makes sense. I’m with you there…now excuse me a moment while I do a quick Google image search…

Ah, yes. Verrrrry nice! 😉

 

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

I’ve been writing since early 2002; I got laid off from my job thanks to 9/11 (long story, not very interesting), and my kid was 2 ½, so I decided to try being a stay-at-home mom. I thought why not try writing that romance novel I always thought I had in me? I did, and I kept writing and rewriting, and then it sold! And then I wrote some more.

Fantastic! (Well, except for the 9/11 and losing your job part of it, of course.)

What are you working on right now?

I’m writing the second book in my new Duke’s Daughters series. The premise is if Mr. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice was a duke, and had five daughters, and they all needed to make respectable marriages. Only, of course, they don’t.

Of course not! 😉 Sounds great!

What can readers look for from you in the next year?

Lady Be Bad, the first book in the Duke’s Daughters series comes out in August. I believe there will be a holiday anthology including me coming in October, and then more books in the Duke’s Daughters series.

Fantastic—can’t wait!

 

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

I have a trigger-happy DNF finger, so I am usually loving what I’m reading. But thanks to my deadline, and my kid’s college application process, I’m not reading anything! But I can’t wait for the final book in Anne Bishop’s Others series (out in early March), plus I have KJ Charles’s latest book in the TBR queue.

I hear you re: kids’ college application process. I don’t remember being this stressed about my own! (And trust me, I was pretty stressed…)

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

 Foxy ex-Army guy has to help a clueless aristocrat navigate the course of becoming a female duke. #sexytimes

LOL! Perfect!

 

 

Megan Frampton
writes historical romance under her own name and romantic women’s fiction as Megan Caldwell. She likes the color black, gin, dark-haired British men, and huge earrings, not in that order. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son. You can visit her on her website@meganf, and at Facebook.
 

 

MY FAIR DUCHESS
Dukes Behaving Badly #5
Megan Frampton
Releasing Feb 28, 2017
Avon Books
In Megan Frampton’s most recent installment of The Dukes Behaving Badly series, an unexpected duchess proves that behaving badly isn’t exclusive to the Dukedom.
 
The Unexpected Duchess
 
Archibald Salisbury, son of a viscount, war hero, and proficient in the proper ways of aristocratic society, has received orders for his most challenging mission: Genevieve, Duchess of Blakesley. How she inherited a duchy isn’t his problem. Turning her into a perfect duchess is. But how can he keep his mind on business when her beauty entices him toward pleasure?
It was impossible, unprecedented…and undeniably true. Genevieve is now a “duke”, or, rather, a duchess. So what is she to do when the ton eyes her every move, hoping she’ll make a mistake? Genevieve knows she has brains and has sometimes been told she has beauty, but, out of her depth, she calls on an expert. And what an expert, with shoulders broad enough to lean on, and a wit that matches her own. Archie is supposed to teach her to be a lady and run her estate, but what she really wants to do is unladylike—run into his arms.

Loved! As always, I’m a sucker for retellings, so a My Fair Lady/Pygmalion where the Eliza character is a female “duke”? Yes, please!

Genevieve and Archie were wonderful characters, both separately and when together in a room and giving off enough sparks to light up every single one of the ducal properties that Genevieve inherited. I absolutely adored their letters back and forth, especially the parts they crossed outthought better of and even more especially the letters they didn’t send…yet. Such an adorable idea!

The book titles that Genevieve kept coming up with to help her situation: How to Duchess Without Being a Dullard, How to Receive and Politely Decline Marriage Proposals from People You Don’t Wish to Be Married To, and How to Trust That the Person You Love Loves You Back and Wants to Marry You After All, You Idiot were highly entertaining as well. Overall, there was as much to smile at in this book as things that made you want to break out the fan–a fun read from start to finish.

I would have liked to have seen Archie’s (fingers crossed there really is one) reunion with his family at some point, but honestly, that’s the only criticism I have for the story.

This is the fifth book in the Dukes Behaving Badly series (though of course in this instance it’s a duchess who’s not conforming to society at all times) but it worked just fine as a standalone. I’m quickly becoming a big fan of Ms Frampton’s writing style, and am looking forward to whatever she writes next, in this series or another!

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

New Release Review and Giveaway! OFF THE ICE by Julie Cross (Juniper Falls #1)


Off the Ice (Juniper Falls #1)
by Julie Cross
Publication Date: February 27, 2017
Publisher:  Entangled Teen

 

The NY Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Whatever Life Throws at You kicks off a brand-new series perfect for fans of Miranda Kennealy and Abbi Glines.

All is fair in love and hockey…

Claire O’Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that’s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business—a hockey bar beside the ice rink—afloat. After that, she’s getting the hell out. Again.

Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team’s star goalie, suddenly he’s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire’s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good.

It’s the absolute worst time to fall in love.

For Tate and Claire, hockey isn’t just a game. And they both might not survive a body check to the heart.

 

Purchase Links:

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Amazon | Indies | B&N| Kobo | TBD | iBooks

Review:

I think I have a new favorite series. How fast can Julie Cross write the rest of these books, do you suppose? 😉

(No, really, Julie. Take your time and do it right. I. Can. Wait.

Really.

Probably.

Sigh…)

Where to start? I loved this book. Claire and Tate were just fantastic, full stop. And yes, he’s her best friend’s little brother, and two years younger, and that was a part of the story, but not really, if that makes sense. They both had so much other stuff going on here, though, that made those details pretty much just that…details. They were way more than their troupes.

(Not that I’m dissing troupes. I <3 troupes. But this story? Goes so far beyond them.)

Claire’s home from Northwestern for a semester, maybe more, because of her dad’s health problems. Tate, a junior who’s pretty much planned on being second string to the senior goalie, suddenly finds himself thrust into the top spot, which intensifies the already scary-a$$ relationship between him and his dad. (That guy? I wanted to pound him into the ground for what he was doing to his kid.) They’ve both had to grow up fast, and take on more than any teenager should have to. As a mom of teens, it made my heart hurt.

But together–when they finally let themselves be together and lean on each other (and their good friends)?–they were absolutely fantastic. Seriously, the last 25% of the story had me in such a state–tears, cheers, and ready to burst into song (so not my fault; Claire talks about trying out for Eponine! And singing “On My Own”! I am helpless to resist!)–I was torn between dying to get to the HEA and never wanting it to end.

But end it did, and it was so, so good.

So…how soon until book 2? 😉

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

About the author:

Julie Cross is a NYT and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult and Young Adult fiction, including the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy which includes Tempest, Vortex, Timestorm (St. Martin’s Press).

She’s also the author of the Letters to Nowhere series, Whatever Life Throws at You, Third Degree, Halfway Perfect, and many more to come!

Julie lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She’s a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former Gymnastics Program Director with the YMCA.

She’s a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres.

Outside of her reading and writing cred, Julie Cross is a committed–but not talented–long distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict.

 

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads

 

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New Release Review and Giveaway! THE LAWRENCE BROWNE AFFAIR by Cat Sebastian

 

Can they find forever in the wreckage of their lives? 
 
 
THE LAWRENCE BROWNE AFFAIR
Cat Sebastian
Releasing Feb 7th, 2017
Avon Impulse
An earl hiding from his future . . . 

Lawrence Browne, the Earl of Radnor, is mad. At least, that’s what he and most of the village believes. A brilliant scientist, he hides himself away in his family’s crumbling estate, unwilling to venture into the outside world. When an annoyingly handsome man arrives at Penkellis, claiming to be Lawrence’s new secretary, his carefully planned world is turned upside down.

A swindler haunted by his past . . . 

Georgie Turner has made his life pretending to be anyone but himself. A swindler and con man, he can slip into an identity faster than he can change clothes. But when his long-dead conscience resurrects and a dangerous associate is out for blood, Georgie escapes to the wilds of Cornwall. Pretending to be a secretary should be easy, but he doesn’t expect that the only madness he finds is the one he has for the gorgeous earl.

Can they find forever in the wreckage of their lives? 

Challenging each other at every turn, the two men soon give into the desire that threatens to overwhelm them. But with one man convinced he is at the very brink of madness and the other hiding his real identity, only true love can make this an affair to remember.

 

Cornwall, 1816

CHAPTER ONE

All this fuss about a couple of small explosions. As far as Lawrence cared, the explosions were entirely beside the point. He had finished experimenting with fuses weeks ago. More importantly, this was his house to burn to the ground if that’s what he wanted to do with it. Hell, if he blew the godforsaken place up, and himself right along with it, the only person who would even be surprised was the man sitting before him.

“Five servants quit,” Halliday said, tapping Lawrence’s desk in emphasis. Dust puffed up in tiny clouds around the vicar’s fingertips. “Five. And you were woefully understaffed even before then.”

Five fewer servants? So that was why the house had been so pleasantly quiet, why his work had been so blissfully undisturbed.

“There was no danger to the servants. You know I keep them away from my work.” That was something Lawrence insisted on even when he wasn’t exploding things. The very idea of chattering maids underfoot was enough to discompose his mind even further. “And I conducted most of the actual explosions out of doors.” Now was probably not the time to mention that he had blown the roof off the conservatory.

“All I’m suggesting is a sort of secretary.” Halliday was dangerously unaware of how close he was to witnessing an explosion of the metaphorical variety. “Somebody to keep records of what you’ve mixed together and whether it’s likely to”—he puffed his cheeks out and made a strange noise and an expansive gesture that Lawrence took to represent explosion—“ignite.”

The Reverend Arthur Halliday did not know what was good for him. If he did, he would have fled the room as soon as he saw Lawrence reach for the inkwell. Lawrence’s fingers closed around the object, preparing to hurl it at the wall behind the vicar’s head. Sod the man for even suggesting Lawrence didn’t know how to cause an explosion. He hadn’t invented Browne’s Improved Black Powder or even that bloody safety fuse through blind luck, for God’s sake.

“Besides,” Halliday went on, “you said you need an extra set of hands for this new device you’re working on.”

Oh, damn and blast. Lawrence knew he shouldn’t have told the vicar. But he had hoped Halliday might volunteer to help with the device himself, not badger Lawrence into hiring some stranger. The vicar was convenient enough, and when he wasn’t dead set on sticking his nose where it didn’t belong, he wasn’t entirely unpleasant company.

“I’ve had secretaries,” Lawrence said from between gritted teeth. “It ends badly.”

“Well, obviously, but that’s because you go out of your way to terrify them.” Halliday glanced pointedly at the inkwell Lawrence still held.

And there again was Halliday missing the point entirely. Lawrence didn’t need to go out of his way to frighten anyone. All he had to do was simply exist. Everyone with any sense kept a safe distance from the Mad Earl of Radnor, as surely as they stayed away from rabid dogs and coiled asps. And explosive devices, for that matter.

Except for the vicar, who came to Penkellis Castle three times a week. He likely also called on bedridden old ladies and visited the workhouse. Maybe his other charity cases were grateful, but the notion that he was the vicar’s good deed made Lawrence’s fingers curl grimly around the inkwell as he plotted its trajectory through the air.

“I’ll take care of the details,” Halliday was saying. “I’ll write the advertisement and handle the inquiries. A good secretary might even be able to manage the household a bit,” the vicar said with the air of a man warming to his topic, “get it into a fit condition for the child—”

“No.” Lawrence didn’t raise his voice, but he slammed his fist onto the desk, causing ink to splatter all over the blotter and the cuff of his already-inky shirt. A stack of papers slid from the desk onto the floor, leaving a single dustless patch of wood where they had been piled. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a spider scurry out from under the papers.

“True,” Halliday continued, undaunted. “A housekeeper would be more appropriate, but—”

“No.” Lawrence felt the already fraying edges of his composure unraveling fast. “Simon is not coming here.”

“You can’t keep him off forever, you know, now that he’s back in England. It’s his home, and he’ll own it one day.”

When Lawrence was safely dead and buried, Simon was welcome to come here and do what he pleased. “I don’t want him here.” Penkellis was no place for a child, madmen were not fit guardians, and nobody knew those facts better than Lawrence himself, who had been raised under precisely those conditions.

Halliday sighed. “Even so, Radnor, you have to do something about this.” He gestured around the room, which Lawrence thought looked much the same as ever. One hardly even noticed the scorch marks unless one knew where to look. “It can’t be safe to live in such a way.”

Safety was not a priority, but even Lawrence wasn’t mad enough to try to explain that to the vicar.

“Villagers won’t even walk past the garden wall anymore. And the stories they invent…” The vicar wrung his hands. “A secretary. Please. It would ease my mind to know you had someone up here with you.”

A keeper, then. Even worse.

But Lawrence did need another set of hands to work on the communication device. If Halliday wouldn’t help, then Lawrence had no other options. God knew Halliday had been right about the local people not wanting anything to do with him.

“Fine,” he conceded. “You write the advertisement and tell me when to expect the man.” He’d say what he needed to in order to end this tiresome conversation and send the vicar on his way.

It wasn’t as if this secretary would last more than a week or two anyway. Lawrence would see to that.

 I really enjoyed Ms. Sebastian’s first book set in this universe ( The Soldier’s Scoundrel ) and was so happy to see that Georgie (Jack’s brother) was going to get a book–I’m thrilled to say it did not disappoint! Somehow, it was an even better read than Jack and Oliver’s book–and that’s saying something 🙂

Once again Ms. Sebastian gives us two characters who are absolutely delicious together, who don’t at all intend to at the beginning but end up making life for the other one worlds better at the story’s end. Georgie, who grew up in deplorable conditions, has been a highly effective con man for his entire life, but it’s never really sat right with him and lately has been developing a conscience, which has him at odds with the crime boss he’s worked for since forever. Lawrence grew up with an unstable and cruel father and brother and was told from an early age that his sexual orientation was shameful and wrong. He’s isolated himself in his (literally) crumbling ancestral home, behaving like a brilliant but more than a little mad scientist. He lives in fear that he really will go mad, as his father and brother did before him, and it colors almost everything he does.

Together these two were just magic. Both their friendship and their relationship was slow moving but oh so satisfying, and I loved watching Georgie sllloooowly make Lawrence’s home, his very existence better and more comfortable. And then the last 20% when Lawrence returned the favor? OMG. I was completely unable to stop reading from that point to the very end, for any reason at all. So. Good. Throw in some wonderfully humorous writing and great secondary characters (Simon! Uncle Courtenay, hero of book 3!) and you have an all-around fantastic read.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


Cat Sebastian lives in a swampy part of the South with her husband, three kids, and two dogs. Before her kids were born, she practiced law and taught high school and college writing. When she isn’t reading or writing, she’s doing crossword puzzles, bird watching, and wondering where she put her coffee cup.


New Release Review! AT CLOSE RANGE by Laura Griffin (Tracers #11)

When her investigation brings them together, the sparks between them quickly get out of control.
AT CLOSE RANGE
A Tracers Novel 
Laura Griffin
Releasing Jan 31st, 2017
Pocket Books
New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin “delivers the goods” (Publishers Weekly) again with the eleventh title in the gritty, heart-pounding Tracers series.

When a lakeside tryst ends in a double murder, police detective Daniele Harper arrives on the scene determined to get answers. Clues are everywhere, but nothing adds up. Dani turns to the Delphi Center crime lab for help, but soon regrets it when her secret attraction to their chief firearms examiner threatens to distract her from the most important case of her career.

As a ballistics expert and former Navy SEAL, Scott Black knows firearms, and he knows he can help Dani unravel her case. Scott has managed to hide his interest in his best friend’s younger sister for years, but when her investigation brings them together, the sparks between them quickly get out of control. Scott resolves to keep his hands off Dani and his eyes on the goal—identifying a killer. But when that killer zeroes in on Dani, all bets are off. There isn’t a line Scott won’t cross to convince Dani to trust him so that he can help her take down a ruthless murderer who has her in his sights. 

 

Dani watched him. Scott stood beside the car, his back to the victim as he skimmed his flashlight over the ground. The firearms expert was tall and broad-shouldered, with the super-ripped body of a former Navy SEAL. Instead of his usual tactical pants and combat boots, he wore jeans and a leather jacket tonight, so maybe he’d been out when he’d gotten the call. Dani knew from experience that his jacket had nothing to do with the weather and everything to do with the Sig Sauer he carried concealed at his hip.

Something glinted in the grass, and Scott crouched down to tag it with a numbered marker. Two minutes on the scene and already he’d discovered a piece of evidence. He stood and squared his shoulders, and Dani felt a pang deep inside her as he approached.

He stopped and towered over her, and for a moment they just stared at each other.

“Was the passenger door closed when you got here?” he asked.

“That’s right.”

“Where’s the girl?”

“No sign of her.” She nodded at the woods. “One of our officers is searching near the lake with Travis.”

He watched her for a moment with those cool blue eyes. His gaze shifted to the woods. “You need a K-9 team.”

She bristled. “I know.”

He strode over to his truck and opened the toolbox again. He took out a metal detector, which would help him locate shell casings or bullets, and maybe even the second victim if she was wearing jewelry or a belt.

Then again, the killer might have taken her somewhere else. Dani glanced back at the road and got a queasy feeling in her stomach. Where was she? She turned her attention to the lake, visible just beyond the trees. It was a scenic spot, usually–a tranquil little oasis for couples. But not tonight.

She glanced at Scott again, and he was watching her closely–so closely it made her wonder what he was thinking.

“You coming?” he asked.

She nodded at the body. “I’ll stay with him until the ME shows.”

Scott walked off, and Dani let her gaze follow him until he disappeared into the woods.

The medical examiner’s van rolled up, followed closely by Ric, and Dani’s stomach tightened as she thought of everything she didn’t like about this case. And it wasn’t even an hour old yet.

Ric walked over, his expression grim as he took in the scene. “The media has it.”

“That didn’t take long.”

“It was all over the scanner,” he told her. “I give us ten minutes, tops, before they roll in here with their cameras. We need to barricade the road.”

“Daniele.”

She turned toward the sound of Scott’s deep voice calling her from the woods. He was a tall silhouette at the edge of the trees, and from his tone Dani knew it was bad.

“What is it?” she yelled back.

“I found her.”

##

Copyright 2017 by Laura Griffin

I have GOT to go back and read the beginning of this series! Seriously, I. Am. Loving. Them!

At Close Range delivers one heck of a suspense plot–a double murder that appears to be a crime of passion suddenly turns into a complex crime with a body count that is twice that, and the perpetrator soon appears to have the police detective who is put in charge of the case in his or her cross-hairs as well. Throw in a slow burning romance–SMPD detective Dani Harper has had a “thing” for Delphi Center’s ballistics expert Scott Black, her older brother’s best friend, since she was a teen, and has been trying to avoid him for months since a drunken New Year’s Eve kiss led to awkwardness. But now they’re working together, trying to solve the puzzle before anyone else gets killed, literally dodging bullets and finding resisting each other to be harder than ever.

So, yeah–it’s an incredible ride!

At Close Range had me on the edge of my seat, guessing what was really going on right up until the very end. And the chemistry between Scott and Dani? Fantastic. Adding to the drama of the book is the fact that Dani’s partner, Ric Santos and his wife Mia (hero and heroine of Unforgivable ) spend the bulk of the book waiting for their first baby to be born–Baby Santos is amazingly unwilling to make his debut–and there’s a hint that detective Sean Byrne and Delphi’s Center Brooke Porter might be subjects of a future series book–fingers crossed!

Whomever’s next on the list, though, you’d better believe I’ll be first in line for it!

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


New York Times
 and USA Today bestselling author LAURA GRIFFIN started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of romantic suspense. She is a two-time RITA Award winner (for the books Scorched and Whisper of Warning) as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award (for Untraceable). Laura currently lives in Austin, where she is working on her next book.