A Conversation with Amanda Ashby, Author of THE WEDDING PLANNER’S BABY (Sisters of Wishing Bridge Farm #2–with a New Release Review and Giveaway!)

He’ll have to choose between duty to his relatives and  love for the real family he never thought he could have. 

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Bec’s quite wild and carefree and Lincoln is an English Lord and despite the differences they bounced really well off each other, which meant it was fun to write them. Plus, I loved Bec’s relationship with her best friend, Coop, so it was always a giggle when they were on the page together!

 

Name three things on your desk right now.

Colored Post It notes and colored pens

A large quartz crystal

A coaster in the shape of a Maori Tiki

(and one thing that isn’t on my desk is me! I tend to travel around the house following the sun like a cat, leaving the desk untouched by human hands!)

 

What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silveria (loved this book so much and when I finished I did that sad blinky thing when you realize that you’re not in book world at all, but rather in your house).

The Starbound Trilogy by Aimee Kaufman and Megan Spooner

 Storm Front by Jim Butcher.

 

What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?

The silly kind. I do have a tendency to go over the top with the situations that I throw my characters into and I figure that when it gets too ridiculous then my editor will haul me back. Though, every now and then they forget, and I end up with crazy weird things happening in my books. I really shouldn’t be left unattended!

 

What are you favorite types of stories to read?

I read a lot of Young Adult and Fantasy books and often describe my reading tastes as that of a twelve-year-old boy because I like a lot of action, sword fighting and magic. But I also love humor and romance so when I get a book that combines all of these things, I’m pretty happy!

 

What 5 things should readers know about you?

1) I can’t tell my left from my right without shaking my hand and then working out if that’s the one I hold a pen in (and yes, I know about all the tricks of making the letter L with your left hand and no one wishes that way would work more than me. Alas, it does not). However, despite not being able to tell my left from my right, I have a really great sense of direction, which was very handy in the pre Google Map/SatNav days!

2) I was born in Australia but have lived for many years in both England and New Zealand and as a result have a very strange accent. No, seriously, if we were having a strange accent competition I would totally win!

3) I will forever love The Spice Girls and all forms of 90s pop music. This makes my husband shudder, to which I merely reply zig-ah-zig-ah.

4) When it comes to black boots, I’m a firm believer that more is better!

5) The above policy also applies to purses and white linen blouses.

 

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I started writing when I was twenty-seven after suddenly waking up one day and deciding that I should write a book. I wish I could say I was exaggerating and that I’d some inkling when I was younger, but nope. Not a clue. I was really good at creative writing at school and had been a life long reader, but until that moment of clarity, the chances of me being a writer were as likely as me becoming an astronaut (which, no offence to astronauts, but it looks like a lot of work). But I digress. So, after waking up with the idea to write a book I promptly sat down and wrote a 50,000 word romance, enticingly titled Love Story. Yeah. It was as bad as it sounds! It took me about a month to write and if memory serves, I did the whole thing in bold. Because I really was that clueless!!! After that I kept writing more books and learning my craft until I finally sold my debut book ten years later. Probably another reason why I could never be an astronaut. I’m a very slow learner!

 

What do you do when you are not writing?

I also work in the children’s department at my local library, which is awesome! I love books and I love seeing kids reading books so it’s a win/win. I also spend lots of time watching television or having my own nose buried in a book. Oh and I have a small and totally under control addiction to buying vintage treasures, which keeps me busy!!! Apparently I also have a family to feed and water, so let’s pretend that they come further up the list!

 

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

I sure do! For a start, I’m so proud of everyone who listens to their inner voice, who dares to follow their dreams and who steps into the magical space of creativity, it’s an amazing place to be! As for advice, there is quite literally only one way to write a book, and that’s word by word. Yes, you might not have the craft nailed, or understand how a scene works but until you sit down and start writing your story, you’ll never figure it out. So, take a deep breath and get started. You got this!

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

She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. Her debut book was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, and her first young adult book was listed in the New York Public Library Stuff for the Teen Age. Because she’s mysterious she also writes middle grade books under the name, Catherine Holt and hopes that all this writing won’t interfere with her Netflix schedule.

 

THE WEDDING PLANNER’S BABY
Sisters of Wishing Bridge Farm #2
Amanda Ashby
Releasing April 10th, 2017
Entangled Bliss

Free-spirited Bec Watson was never having children­––until she is. No way she’s ready for this, and she’s not going to tie-down the father, not even (especially!) if he’s secretly an English Lord. She’s doing this solo, which means she needs help from the one place she swore she’d never return…Wishing Bridge Farm. Home.

Lincoln Mathews has never known love, only responsibility. And now his family home and business is at jeopardy unless he finds a solution. Fast. Their idea? Marry for money. But the girl who stole his heart is carrying their child. His first mission? Follow her to Wishing Bridge Farm. But soon he’ll have to choose between duty to his relatives and love for the real family he never thought he
could have. 


 

“I’m sorry I judged you. I hate when people judge me, and yet I seem to be constantly doing it to you.” Bec sighed, causing her chest to rise and fall beneath her thin T-shirt.

“I didn’t give you much to go on.” Lincoln tried to ignore the cramp in his shoulder. He should move, but if he did, he might somehow break the connection that had opened between them. “What with the whole forgetting to mention who I really was.”

“I understand why you did it.” Bec bit down on her lower lip, making her even more desirable. The numbness in his shoulder disappeared, replaced by the steady pounding of his heart as he drank in the sight of her mouth. “And I could’ve asked more questions. Or taken fewer photographs,” she said.

“At the time it seemed like a good idea.” He dared to inch closer to her, breathing in her aroma—soap and hay and all things bright. His pulse spiked as she let out a tiny moan. The air caught in his throat as the throbbing tension rattled his body.

“It did,” she murmured, her eyes never leaving his. A shudder went through him as her perfume caught in his nose and her lips parted. “Just like right now, this seems like a good idea.”

Desire raced through him. She wants to kiss me as much as I want to kiss her.

He leaned in and pressed his mouth to hers, feather light at first, until Bec let out a soft groan. Lincoln’s arms snaked around her, dragging her closer to him, pushing away all the things standing between them. They were back in Italy. She tasted of juice and sunshine. The sea was behind them, the sand beneath. Bec’s hand looped up around his neck. His title fell away along with his responsibilities. All he could taste was her skin. Her heart pounding—

A cute and fluffy read–a fun way to start the week 🙂

The end of book one ( Falling for the Best Man ) ensured that I was going to sign up for book two–what was Bec’s story? What–or who–was she running from, and why? And…a baby? I was intrigued. Not to mention anxious to see who her hero would be…and a titled English lord? Yes, please!

Though I have to admit Lincoln didn’t seem particularly British, and Bec was more than a little immature…still, they were both quite likable, and wanting to see them get to an HEA kept me turning the pages. Bec’s inner monologue was particularly amusing–I especially felt a kinship with her when she reflected that

All she knew was that she was miserable. And she’d once spent six months trying to study accounting, so she knew a thing or two about misery.

Preach it, sister. Though I had two semesters, so tell me about it.

The Wedding Planner’s Baby would work fine as a standalone, if you haven’t read the first book yet. One sister left to go–we’ve got a pretty good idea where Pepper’s story is going to go, but it will be nice to have confirmation 🙂

Rating: 4 stars / B-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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New Release Review! PRETTY FIERCE by Kieran Scott

Kieran Scott stopped by earlier this weekend to chat about kickbutt heroines. Check out her post here. (Plus, there’s a giveaway!)


Pretty Fierce

by Kieran Scott

Synopsis:

Kaia has been on the run her whole life. The daughter of professional assassins, she knows true danger—and she’ll do anything to survive. After her parents vanished during a job gone bad, Kaia’s spent the last year in hiding, trying to blend in as an ordinary teenager, and there’s no one who makes her feel more normal or more special than her boyfriend, Oliver.

But when she’s jumped by a hit man, and Oliver catches her fighting back, Kaia’s secret is exposed. In a split-second decision, she flees the small town, taking Oliver with her. With professional killers stalking their every move, can Oliver and Kaia protect each other long enough to uncover the mysteries of her past?

 

Review:

A non-stop, rollercoaster ride of a read! Pretty Fierce was a lot of fun, if not 100% realistic and believable at all times 🙂 Still, Kaia and Oliver were easy to root for, and needing to see them through to the last page–they’d get an HEA, surely?–kept me reading this one until late in the night. Who was after them? Why? What had happened to Kaia’s parents, and was her relationship with Oliver just too good to be true?

Thank goodness this was a standalone, because if I had had to finish this one not knowing stuff, it wouldn’t have been pretty 😉

This was my first book from Ms. Scott, but probably not my last!

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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New Release Review and Giveaway! THE BABY BOMBSHELL by Victoria James (Shadow Creek, Montana #2)

The Baby Bombshell

by Victoria James
Shadow Creek, Montana #2
Publication Date: April 10, 2017
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Bliss, Contemporary Romance

SYNOPSIS:

Lily Cookson has a few rules for the New Year, the most important being don’t fall for Jack Bailey. The gorgeous, rugged man returned with a new look and a determination to win her back, catching her off guard. After a forbidden night in his arms, she vows never to let it happen again. But when morning sickness kicks in a few weeks later, Lily realizes staying away from Jack just got a whole lot harder.

Jack Bailey left Shadow Creek behind five years ago when his world imploded around him, knowing it would be best for everyone if he was gone…including Lily. It took him a long time to get his life back on track and grow into the kind of man she needs him to be. Now he’s determined to prove to Lily that he’s back for good and ready to commit, but the secrets she’s holding onto are nothing compared to the bombshell he drops…

EXCERPT:

She squeezed her eyes shut and he took that opportunity to close the distance between them, gently folding her up in his arms until all she could breathe was him. She stood there, not hugging him back, but not pushing him away. His chest was hard against the side of her face. His hands were in her hair and she knew all she had to do was lean back slowly and his mouth would be on hers. But she wasn’t ready for that, because she knew all her control would be gone at that point. Instead, she breathed in the scent that was him. It was like she was home.

All at once, her past and her present, her pain and her joy was all here, wrapped up in the one man she needed more than anyone. God did she want to believe in him. Her arms wrapped around his waist, and she felt him shudder before his strong arms held her tightly. “Lily, there’s been no one.”

She wanted to push him, but instead ended up clutching two fistfuls of his shirt. “I can’t ever get back together with you. It doesn’t matter that you claim you still love me, that you never stopped loving me. It doesn’t matter that it’s New Year’s Eve and you, the love of my life, are back in town and looking so good that all I want to do is jump you,” she said, blabbing an embarrassing mile a minute, hating that she had no filter when she was drunk and that she had a tendency for theatrical, dramatic jabbering. “It doesn’t matter that we’re here. Alone. Two adults with a past but no hope for a future.”

“Lily.”

“I don’t trust you anymore,” she whispered, aware that she was pulling him in closer as she spoke. God, he stilled smelled like Jack. He felt like her Jack. She closed her eyes, feeling his hands on her wrists, pulling them off his chest. His hands cupped each side of her face, and she felt the calluses, such a contrast to the tender way he was holding her. Oh God, she was such toast. One night. She could do one night.

His lips hovered over her mouth, and it took all her self-control not to whimper. “Give me tonight. One night to prove to you that we still belong together.” She reminded herself to breathe normally, but it was so hard to breathe normally with Jack whispering about a night together. His beard scraped against her cheek as he whispered in her ear, and her knees threatened to buckle. “I wrote to you every day. Every single day, because it made me feel close to you, because I missed you so damn much.”

She squeezed her eyes shut, tilting her head up, surrendering, as his words impacted her until she couldn’t defend herself anymore. “One night. Then tomorrow my new number one New Year’s resolution is going to be ‘no more Jack Bailey.’”

There was the tiniest hint of a smile, like he was making a resolution of his own, before his mouth finally captured hers in what had to be the best reunion kiss of all time.

 

REVIEW:

The Baby Bombshell is a feel-good, sweet second-chance romance story. If you read book one in the series ( Christmas with the Sheriff ), you knew this story was coming and were more than ready for it–plenty of teasers were given throughout. (And if you haven’t read Chase and Julia’s story yet, no worries–this could work as a standalone too. You just might not feel the same degree of needing to see how things will turn out for Jack and Lily before even starting the story ;))

A family tragedy five years ago not only tore apart the Bailey family, but also ended Lily’s plans for the future when her fiance, Jack Bailey, left Shadow Creek–and her–without much of an explanation. Now Jack’s back, and says he never stopped loving her, but Lily’s gone through too much without the guy she depended on by her side. Can he prove his worth to her once again, or is it too late?

I’m still a bit torn about Jack’s reasons for leaving and staying away so long, especially given the revelations he makes in the last third of the book. On the one hand, guilt is a powerful thing, but on the other…I just don’t know. I’m glad he’s back, and yes, he does a lot here to prove that he’s really back now, but I don’t blame Lily for holding out as long as she does.

All’s well that ends well, though, and I was very satisfied with where this story ends up. A possible story for Gwen is strongly hinted at (the “Muffin Man”–hee hee hee) that will definitely have me haunting the lists to see when it’s going to be released 🙂

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

BUY:

ABOUT VICTORIA JAMES:

Victoria James is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance.

Victoria always knew she wanted to be a writer and in grade five, she penned her first story, bound it (with staples and a cardboard cover) and did all the illustrations herself. Luckily, this book will never see the light of day again.

In high school she fell in love with historical romance and then contemporary romance. After graduating University with an English Literature degree, Victoria pursued a degree in Interior Design and then opened her own business. After her first child, Victoria knew it was time to fulfill her dream of writing romantic fiction.

Victoria is a hopeless romantic who is living her dream, penning happily-ever-after’s for her characters in between managing kids and the family business. Writing on a laptop in the middle of the country in a rambling old Victorian house would be ideal, but she’s quite content living in suburbia with her husband, their two young children, and very bad cat.

Sign up for Victoria’s Newsletter to stay up to date on upcoming releases and exclusive giveaways, follow her blog for daily antics and insight into her daily life, and get to know her on twitter and Facebook. She loves hearing from readers!

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter | Amazon Author Profile

 

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New Release Review! LITERALLY by Lucy Keating


Literally

by Lucy Keating

Synopsis:

A girl realizes her life is being written for her in this unique, smart love story that is Stranger Than Fiction for fans of Stephanie Perkins.

Annabelle’s life has always been Perfect with a capital P. Then bestselling young adult author Lucy Keating announces that she’s writing a new novel—and Annabelle is the heroine.

It turns out, Annabelle is a character that Lucy Keating created. And Lucy has a plan for her.

But Annabelle doesn’t want to live a life where everything she does is already plotted out. Will she find a way to write her own story—or will Lucy Keating have the last word?

The real Lucy Keating’s delightful contemporary romance blurs the line between reality and fiction, and is the perfect follow-up for readers who loved her debut Dreamology, which SLJ called, “a sweet, quirky romance with appealing characters.”

 

Review:

Such a clever idea! I had a lot of fun reading this one–probably almost as much as the author did coming up with the idea… 😉

I can’t even tell you how many times I laughed out loud while reading this one, or how many different passages I read to my (unsuspecting, and not exactly begging for the details, but oh well) kids. There were just so many parts I felt the need to share! Maybe it’s the ex-English teacher/current librarian/aspiring author speaking, but I just loved the idea of book characters who 1) realize that they’re in a book and 2) decide that they’re going to do something about it–whether the author likes it or not. I kept thinking of this image that I found on Pinterest as I read:

Because, yeah. That’s pretty much what was going on here. (Note to aspiring authors: if the characters don’t seem to want to do something no matter how many times you rewrite, maybe there’s a reason! You might need to give in to them once in a while. If you just can’t seem to get something to work the way you want it to in a story, perhaps you need to go in a different direction.)

I loved Annabelle, Elliot, and Will (even though I’m not generally a huge fan of love triangles, it made sense here) and watching them go to such lengths to take back control of their lives was so much fun. For writing nerds, things like the use of “TK”, all the talk about story structure, and the way details that would be fixed in copy edits were noticed by the very literal, very observant Annabelle really add to the overall reading experience. And OMG, the many, many examples of the author exerting her god-like influence throughout the book (classmates being transported to different seats in the classroom in the blink of an eye because an empty seat was needed at their old one; sudden, extremely localized weather events happening just so one character can gallantly give his jacket to another, etc.) really served to prove why the first draft of a manuscript doesn’t (and shouldn’t!) get published and why copy editors are truly worth their weight in gold.

The one odd bit was that the author wrote herself into the book…and there was a whole lot of “this author is unbelievably awesome!” noises being made throughout that don’t appear to be exactly true-to-life right now. (In the books, she’s a bestselling author, movies are made out of all of her books, she has legions of fans, etc. etc. etc.) I mean, it’s really cool that the author character IS the author of the book–very meta–but OMG, everyone in the book makes a really big deal about an author who is clearly fictional, yet who has the same name as the real author, so…yeah. Kind of awkward. (I men, yes, she’s a good author–but this is her second book, as far as I can tell, her other book IRL is not one of the ones mentioned in this book as one of hers, so obviously all of that bestselling author stuff is not true…yet. It’s just kind of weird, is all I’m saying. Why not make up a fictional author, if all those other details are necessary?)

Still, I had a great time reading this one, and would not be at all adverse to reading a story from the POV of the corner of the triangle who didn’t quite get their HEA…just saying… 😉

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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Release Day Review and Giveaway! THE MAGNATE’S MAIL-ORDER BRIDE by Joanne Rock (The McNeill Magnates #1)

A mix-and-match mock engagement? 
THE MAGNATE’S MAIL-ORDER BRIDE
The McNeill Magnates #1
Joanne Rock
Releasing April 4th, 2017
Harlequin Desire
mix-and-match mock engagement? 

Ballerina Sofia Koslov’s career is on the line when she’s accosted at the airport by a rich, reckless playboy who thinks she’s his mail-order bride! But the playboy’s levelheaded brother, Quinn McNeill, solves the media snafu with a switcheroo. He’ll pretend to be her legitimate fiancé to protect her reputation—and to protect his family’s business deals from her father’s wrath.

Sofia’s one condition: they’ll share the spotlight as a loving couple but won’t share a bed. But soon Quinn’s gentlemanly ways strike a chord, and Sofia’s dying to renege on that condition and have a real fling…


“I never would have guessed your brother would spend a small fortune on a ring for a woman he never met.” She edged out of his grip. “I thought he was a romantic, not completely certifiable.”

Quinn’s smile faded. “I assure you, Cameron is neither.” He set the ring on the steamer trunk beside her. “I’ll let you decide whether or not to wear it in the morning. And in the meantime, I’d better let you get some rest.”

He rose to his feet, leaving a priceless piece of jewelry balanced on last month’s Vogue.

“Quinn.” She stood to follow him to the door then reached back to grab the ring so she could return it. “Please. I don’t feel right keeping this here.”

He turned to face her as he reached the door, but made no move to take the glittering ring.

“If you were my bride-to-be, I would spare no expense to show the world you were mine.” His blue eyes glowed with a warmth that had her remembering his kiss. Her breath caught in her chest and she wondered what it might be like for him to call her that for real.

Mine.

“I’m—” At a total loss for words. “That is—” She folded the diamond into her hand, squeezing it tightly so the stones pressed into her soft skin, distracting her from her hypnotic awareness of this man. “If you insist.”

“It’s a matter of believability, Sofia.”

“It’s only for one month.” She wasn’t sure if she said it to remind him or herself.

“We’ll work out the details tomorrow.” He reached to smooth a strand of hair from her forehead, barely touching her and still sending shimmers of pleasure along her temple and all the way down the back of her neck. “Sleep well.”

She didn’t even manage to get her voice working before he was out the door again, leaving her alone in a suddenly too empty apartment.

Squeezing the ring tighter in her fist, she waited for the pinch of pain from the sharp edges of the stones. She needed to remember that this wasn’t real. Quinn McNeill had only agreed to this mad scheme to clean up his brother’s mess. Any hint of attraction she felt needed to be squashed immediately, especially since Quinn was cut from the same mold as her father—focused on business and the accumulation of wealth. Her world was about art, emotions and human connections.

Her mother had taught her that people did not fall into both camps. In Sofia’s experience it was true. And since she wanted her own relationships to be meaningful bonds rooted in shared creativity and ideals, she was willing to wait until she had more time in her life to find the right partner. Romance could not be rushed.

“It’s only for a month,” she said aloud again, forcing herself to set the engagement ring on the hallway table.

Surely she could keep up her end of a fake engagement for the sake of appearances? She’d made countless sacrifices for her career, from dancing on broken toes to living away from her family on the other side of the globe to train with Russian ballet masters.

Ignoring the sensual draw of Quinn McNeill couldn’t possibly be more difficult than those challenges.

Yet, even as she marched herself off to bed, she feared she was lying to herself that she could keep her hands off the man anywhere near as easily as she’d set down the ring.

The Magnate’s Mail-Order Bride is one of the more believable fake engagement stories I’ve read. There is more than a little insta-love, but it doesn’t seem totally outside the realm of believablity overall. Sofia and Quinn make a great couple, and watching them fall for each other while talking on the phone every night is very sweet.

Quinn has two more brothers (The McNeill Magnates) so we’ve got two more books to look forward to seeing Sofia and Quinn together, which is awesome because this book ended much too soon 🙂

Rating: 4 stars / B

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 
Four-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author of over seventy books enjoys writing a wide range of stories, most recently focusing on sexy contemporaries and small town family sagas. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly–love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing skills to her intensive study with friend and fellow author Catherine Mann. When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded sons.
 

 

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New Release Review and Giveaway! CRAZY FOR YOU by Rachel Lacey (Risking It All #2)

 

She’s taking a walk on HIS wild side!

CRAZY FOR YOU
A Risking It All Novel
Rachel Lacey
Releasing March 28, 2017
Forever

 

“Rachel Lacey is a sure-fire star.” — Lori Wilde, New York Times bestselling author
 
SHE’S TAKING A WALK ON HIS WILD SIDE…
 
Emma Rush can’t remember a time when she didn’t have a thing for Ryan Blake. Haven’s resident bad boy is just so freakin’ hot-with tattoos, a motorcycle, and enough rough-around-the-edges sexiness to melt all her self-control. Now that Emma’s over being a “good girl,” she needs a little help being naughty . . . and she knows just where to start.
Before Emma’s brother enlisted in the military, he made Ryan promise that he would protect her from everything–including himself. When her brother doesn’t come home, Ryan needs to turn his screwed-up life around to honor his pledge. But he knows he’s still not the right kind of guy for someone as sweet as Emma. Only he can’t stop wanting to be with her. Wanting her. Falling in love with a good girl may be the craziest risk this bad boy can take . . . 

 

Whoa. Emma closed her eyes and let out a shriek as Ryan guided the motorcycle onto Main Street and picked up speed. The cold wind whipped her face, taking her breath away. Beneath her, the engine rumbled and roared like a wild thing. Holy sh*t. She was on the back of Ryan Blake’s bike, and it was amazing.

The wind bit through her thin, knit gloves, hitting her fingers with an icy blast. Actually, every part of her was freezing, but she didn’t care. She wrapped her arms more firmly around Ryan’s waist, anchoring herself to him so she didn’t tumble off the back of the bike, and somehow her hands slipped beneath his jacket. Ahh. That was better. Toasty warm, and also…her hands were on his T-shirt. Even through her gloves, she felt the hard contour of his abs, and nope, she wasn’t cold now.

And this was absolutely freaking amazing.

She hung on tight as he guided them over Haven’s twisting mountain roads, deserted at this hour. Overhead the moon shone like a beacon, illuminating the night in its soft, silvery glow. The roar of the engine and the slap of the wind against her face shocked her senses. It was thrilling, invigorating, so completely different from riding inside a car.

She’d never have done this if Mandy hadn’t dared her, and now she felt like her eyes were open for the first time in years. This was what she needed. Somewhere along the way, as she sat at the bar talking to Ryan, she’d realized she was having fun, really having fun. And she wanted more. She wanted it all, every last wild and crazy fantasy.

All too soon, her building came into view. Ryan cut the engine and guided them quietly into the driveway, coming to a stop behind her silver Toyota RAV4. He turned his head to look at her, so sexy in his helmet and riding glasses. “So how was it?”

“Even better than I thought it would be.” She gulped for air. His lips were way too close to hers, and she was still a little bit drunk on beer and a whole lot drunk on her first motorcycle ride. Mandy’s words echoed in her ears. Bonus points if you kiss him. Just stand up a bit, lean over his shoulder, and…

Emma leaned forward, her chest sliding up his back as she tipped her face to his. Holy hell, she had completely lost her mind, but she was going for it. Every nerve in her body went haywire.

Clunk. Her helmet smacked into his, drawing her up an inch short of his lips.

Crazy for You is a fun, sweet read–Emma and Ryan are easy characters to root for, and the best friend’s little sister troupe is one of my weaknesses. (Really, Mom and Dad, what were you thinking, not giving me an older brother? Very short sighted of you.) The secondary characters are great here too–Ethan and Gabby from book 1 ( Run to You ), Carly from the prequel novella ( Rock with You ), even poor Mark and Jess, who don’t get their chance at a second chance until the next book ( Can’t Forget You –but that’s at least better than Mandy, who doesn’t even have that…yet), plus Ryan’s long lost baby brother, Trent–interesting characters, all. If it’s your first trip to Haven, though, no worries–it’d work just fine as a standalone too.

There really aren’t a lot of surprises in this story, which is fine–Ryan hasn’t really been a “bad boy” since he moved back to town, and it’s clear from the start that he’s going to have no problem seeing Emma as a grown up instead of the little sister hanger-on that she used to be, once he gives himself permission to look. The promise-to-her-big-brother part was going to be trickier, but then again it always is. The solution to Emma’s future was honestly so easy to see from the beginning, I was surprised that it took so long for that part of it to be resolved, but it wasn’t any less satisfying for being obvious.

What makes the story stand out, though, is the writing. Ms Lacey manages to make rock climbing sound sexy when she writes scenes like this one:

“Watching you climb that rock is the biggest f-ing turn-on.”

Really? She must have looked ridiculous, failing around as she scrambled for the top. “It would be really bad if you took me right here.” She emphasized the word as fantasies of them having wild sex up here on top of the world exploded through her brain.

He groaned. “Bad in all the wrong ways. Bad in the ‘bruises and scrapes where the sun don’t shine’ and potentially fall to your death in the throes of passion kind of way.”

Well, when he put it that way…

Yeah. So maybe not…

Still. Fun to imagine in the abstract, while we wait for Mark’s book 🙂

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


Rachel 
Lacey is a contemporary romance author and semi-reformed travel junkie. She’s been climbed by a monkey on a mountain in Japan, gone scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, and camped out overnight in New York City for a chance to be an extra in a movie. These days, the majority of her adventures take place on the pages of the books she writes. She lives in warm and sunny North Carolina with her husband, son, and a variety of rescue pets.

 

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

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

The help only he can offer…

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

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

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Review:

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

Spoiler alert: they’ll get there. Eventually 🙂

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

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

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Other Books in the Series:

  

About the Author:

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

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Tour Giveaway!

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

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Tour Schedule:

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

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New Release Review! SO GOOD by Darcy Burke (Love on the Vine #1)

So Good
by Darcy Burke

Synopsis:

Cameron Westcott has spent eight years recovering from heartbreak by keeping romantic entanglements casual and simple. He’s never minded being called a manwhore, but after two years immersing himself in his new winery, he might be ready for the next chapter. Especially when he meets a sexy wine distributor—only she says she isn’t interested.

Following a bitter divorce, Brooke Ellis relocated to Ribbon Ridge to rebuild her life. Things will never be the same for her, and she’s coming to terms with that reality when she meets charming, persistent Cam. She can’t imagine a happy ever after given his reputation, but he makes her feel so good.

As the sparks between them intensify, they’re both hesitant to commit for very different reasons. Or are they really just sabotaging their own futures? If they can trust each other—and themselves—they may realize that what they share is too good to let slip away.

 

Review:

A highly satisfying contemporary romance!

Newly divorced, Brooke isn’t interested in a relationship, and especially not one with Cameron, who has a reputation for being a player. Cameron, however, has been trying to rebuild his life lately–and make his business venture with his brothers and best friend a success–and has no interest in his old, manwhorish ways. He does, however, have an intense interest in Brooke…now he just needs to convince her of it!

Fun characters, a nice romance, and the tidbits about wine and wineries made this an entertaining read. It’s the first in a new series, but connected to her Ribbon Ridge books (which I’ve only read a few of, but will remedy soon)–it’s a good place to start with this author’s contemporary series if you haven’t read any yet.

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book.

 

 

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New Release Review! AGORAPHOBIC: INSIDE OUT A Short Story by Sara Secora

Agoraphobic: Inside Out by Sara Secora
A short story – 11 pages
Release Date: January 30th 2017

Summary:

28-year-old Kade hasn’t been able to make it past his sidewalk in eight years. In this chilling short story, you will be given a glimpse into the inner workings of his mind as he goes through the process of trying to face his irrational, but very real fears.

Experience firsthand what goes on in an Agoraphobic’s mind and begin to understand the silent disorder that millions of people across the world struggle with.

Review:

Agoraphobic: Inside Out is a very short short story that gives a fairly intense look into the mind of a man who hasn’t gone more than 15 steps from his front door in years. I really connected with the main character Kade–Ms. Secora did a great job of making us see and feel things as he saw and felt them. Actually, at one point I was a tad bit concerned about just how much I started to identify with him…I had to take a quick walk outside, just to prove I could!

This is a very short story, but based on its impact I would definitely pick up a longer work from the author!

Rating: 4 stars / B

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

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About the Author:

Sara Secora has a passion for all things gamer and nerdy, as evidenced on her YouTube channel, AviGaming. She is also a well-branded voice over artist.

Secora has always been in love with writing, and nearly a decade ago, she finally turned her talents to the arduous endeavor of authoring an exciting fantasy trilogy. Her whimsical stories are full of enchantment, mystique, and insight—destined to intrigue readers of any age.

Secora lives in Detroit, Michigan, where she continues to explore old and new avenues for her talent and hard work.

 

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New Release Review and Giveaway! MASTERING HER SENSES by Laura Kaye (Blasphemy #2)

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Decadent… Sensual… Forbidden…

 12 Masters. 12 Desires. 12 Fantasies Come to Life.
Meet the Masters of Blasphemy…

About MASTERING HER SENSES (Blasphemy #2, 2/21/17):

He wants to dominate her senses—and her heart…

Quinton Ross has always been a thrill-seeker—so it’s no surprise that he’s drawn to extremes in the bedroom and at his BDSM club, Blasphemy, where he creates sense-depriving scenarios that blow submissives’ minds. Now if he could just find one who needs the rush as much as him…
When an accident leaves Cassia Locke with a paralyzing fear of the dark, she’ll try anything to get help. Ready to fight, she knows just who to ask for help—the hard-bodied, funny-as-hell Dom she’d always crushed on—and once stood up.

Quinton is shocked and a little leery to see Cassia, but he can’t pass up the chance to dominate the alluring little sub this time. Introducing her to sensory deprivation becomes his new favorite obsession, and watching her fight fear is its own thrill. But when doubt threatens to send her running again, Quinton must find a way to master her senses—and her heart.

Review:

This one seems to be getting mixed reviews, but I liked it quite a bit. Cassia had some fairly heavy duty phobias that had pretty much caused her to put her life on hold for two years, and watching Quinton throw himself into figuring out how to help her overcome them (in an erotic/D/s kind of way) was sweet. And…not sweet at the same time 😉

It did feel a bit rushed at times–Cass and Quinton did have a history, but we didn’t really get to see it, and they moved a bit quickly to declarations at the end (though the intensity of their…ahem, other scenes might contribute to that somewhat)–but it wasn’t outside the realm of believability. And whoa, was Quinton ever creative… 😀

Though several of Blasphemy’s other owners made appearances (along with a few characters from other series), this one worked just fine as a standalone. Ten more Doms to go!

Rating: 4 stars /B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book.

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Books in Series:
Hard to Serve #.5
Bound to Submit #1
Mastering Her Senses #2 – 2/21/17
Eyes on You #3 – 7/11/17

 

Laura Kaye - headshotAbout Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirty books in contemporary and erotic romance and romantic suspense, including the Blasphemy, Hard Ink, and Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. Laura also writes historical fiction as the NYT bestselling author, Laura Kamoie. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

 

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Laura Kaye’s MASTERING HER SENSES – Review Tour Schedule:

February 27th

A Wonderful World of Words

bad boys and bedtime stories book blog

Books According to Abby

Curvy and Nerdy

Evermore Books

I Love Romance

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Kelsey’s Corner Time

Love Notes Book Blog

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Melena’s Reviews

Naughty Girls and Their Books

Reads All the Books

S3OC

The Book Hammock

we stole your book boyfriend

February 28th

Abibliophobia Anonymous book Reviews

Bloggin’ With M.Brennan

East Coast book chicks

Feeling Fictional

Heartbeats Between Words

Knotty Girl Reviews

NightWolf Book Blog

Ripe For Reader

Romancing the Readers

SBB Reviews

The Book Boyfriend Addict

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Wicked Babes Blog Reviews

March 1st

Ashley Book Blog

Bookgasms Book Blog

Book Reader Chronicles

Books, Dreams,Life

Bound by Books Book Review

FMR Book Grind

Krista’s Dust Jacket

Lit. 4 Ladies

Mommys naughty playground

My Girlfriends Couch

Novel Addiction

Only One More Page

Read more sleep less

Shayna Renee’s Spicy Reads

Somewhere Lost in Books

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March 2nd

a small girl, her man and her books

Between The Bookends

Deluged with Books Cafe

For the Love of Books and Alochol

HEA Fanatics

I’m A Sweet And Sassy Book Whore

My Reading Obsession Reviews

Obsessive Reading Disorder

Queenzany

Read-Love-Blog

Reading in Pajamas

Red Hot + Blue Reads

She Hearts Books

The book obsessed momma

True Story Book Blog

WTF Are You Reading?

March 3rd

Alphas Do It Better Book Blog

Books Need TLC

Four Chicks Flipping Pages

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My Book Filled Life

Nose Stuck in a Book

Redhot Romance

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The Book Reading Gals

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March 4th

Becky on Books

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Books I Love A Latte

Cara Book Boudoir

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Romance Reviews and More

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