Release Day Review! THE NANNY ARRANGEMENT by Rachel Harris (Country Blues #2)

The Nanny Arrangement
by Rachel Harris

Synopsis:

Soft-spoken and shy Hannah Fisher is determined to make the man she’s loved her entire life finally see her as a woman. With the help of a makeover, a new mission—Operation Find My Happy—and the convenient forced proximity of a tour bus, she vows to win her best friend Deacon’s heart.

Former bad boy and current fiddle player Deacon Latrell has the world at his fingertips: a new gig with a famous band, plus his best friend on tour as his son’s nanny. Life couldn’t get much sweeter. Now if only he could stop imagining kissing the daylights out of his childhood BFF…

With one friend set on pushing the boundaries and the other afraid to rock the boat, one thing’s for certain—their story would make one heck of a country song.

Soft-spoken and shy Hannah Fisher is determined to make the man she’s loved her entire life finally see her as a woman. With the help of a makeover, a new mission—Operation Find My Happy—and the convenient forced proximity of a tour bus, she vows to win her best friend Deacon’s heart.

Former bad boy and current fiddle player Deacon Latrell has the world at his fingertips: a new gig with a famous band, plus his best friend on tour as his son’s nanny. Life couldn’t get much sweeter. Now if only he could stop imagining kissing the daylights out of his childhood BFF…

With one friend set on pushing the boundaries and the other afraid to rock the boat, one thing’s for certain—their story would make one heck of a country song.

 

Review:

The Nanny Arrangement is an excellent example of one of my favorite troupes–friends-to-lovers. Hannah and Deacon are absolutely adorable together, whether it’s their very first interaction or their one thousandth. When you add in Deacon’s two-year-old son Max, it’s pretty much sweetness overload.

The two main reasons the two of them haven’t gotten together yet are 1) Hannah’s certainty that Deacon is beyond her reach (kind of annoying, since they started in pretty much the same place) and 2) Deacon’s certainty that he can’t have nice things because in the end everyone lets him down (also kind of annoying, because in ten years Hannah and her family have been there for him, even though his family and ex haven’t been). And yes, some actual, adult conversation between the two of them probably would have cleared everything up–and yet, this book ended up working for me anyway, even though those factors are usually deal breakers. I’m going to give credit to Ms. Harris’s writing and such likable characters that I’m willing to overlook their flaws.

The Nanny Arrangement is the second book in the series (third, if you want to count Tyler and Sherry’s book, Accidentally Married on Purpose, which is actually part of a previous series but clearly connected, as Tyler’s the lead singer of the band) but could be read as a standalone. Certain aspects of the story–things happen for both of the H/hs from the other books here–will have more meaning if you’ve read the other stories, but it’s not necessary if you haven’t yet.

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


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New Release and Giveaway! CURSED by Jennifer Chance (Gowns & Crowns #5)

Synopsis:

When the prince she was supposed to marry falls for someone else, Edeena Saleri is done with Garronia’s courts, crowns, and family curses. She grabs her sisters and escapes to the nobility-free coast of South Carolina, USA.

Refuge isn’t anything like it’s supposed to be, however. The family’s island vacation home now borders a singles’ retreat, which Edeena’s sisters embrace all too eagerly. Worse, the private protection firm Edeena hires is run by the most infuriating man she’s ever met–a rough-hewn, dark-eyed, charismatic charmer named, of course, Prince. He’s not a royal and he’s nowhere near noble, so there’s no way he can break the family curse. And yet…

Vincent “Prince” Rallis has spent his whole life justifying his name. The son of hardworking immigrant parents, he’s hustled for every dime, finally building a personal security firm with the muscle and grit to live up to its promises. He’s used to keeping his cool, but when the high-strung, high-class Edeena shuts him down despite her obvious interest, pride demands he fight for her–even if he has to track her back to her glittering court to prove his point. Only once Prince arrives in the seaside kingdom of Garronia, he finds his troubles are just beginning.

Sometimes love in Garronia can be magic. And sometimes you’re just Cursed.

Available at:  Amazon

Add Cursed  to your GOODREADS TBR stack!

Review:

A sweet romance!

Cursed has a slow start–there’s a lot of ominous grumbling about the “curse” which admittedly I might have just skimmed through, because I just wanted to get to the good stuff, which would explain why it seemed like they were making a big deal out of…well, not very much (for a cursed family, they sure seemed to be doing okay, honestly) but after about 40% or so things started to pick up. Vince and Edeena were very cute together–her determination to sacrifice herself for her sisters got to be a bit much at times, but every time Vince managed to get her out of her own head for a few minutes it was easy for the reader to forget all the drama as well. And the his big romantic gesture? Makes everything that came before it pale by comparison 🙂

Though it’s fifth in the Gowns & Crowns series, it’s almost a spin-off of the original four, and would work fine as a standalone. The H/h from the other books make appearances, but it’s not necessary to have read their books…yet ;)…to enjoy this one.

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

About Jennifer Chance:

Jennifer Chance is the award-winning author of the new adult Rule Breakers series as well as the contemporary romance modern royals Gowns & Crowns series. A lover of books, romance, and happily-ever-afters, she lives and writes in Ohio. In addition to her work in romance, she is also Jenn Stark, urban fantasy author of the Immortal Vegas series, and Jennifer McGowan, YA author of the Elizabethan spy series The Maids of Honor. She is truly NOT trying to become 27 Jennifers, but it’s getting a little dicey.

Connect with Jennifer: Website | BookBub | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

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

 

About the Book:

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

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

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

Purchase:Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

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Excerpt:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating 3 1/2 stars / B-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Meet the Author:

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

Connect: Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway:

  • $20 Amazon Gift Card

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New Release Review and Giveaway! ARRANGED by Lexi Blake (1001 Dark Nights & A Masters and Mercenaries novella)

ARRANGED - Tour banner
Kash Kamdar is the king of a peaceful but powerful island nation. As Loa Mali’s sovereign, he is always in control, the final authority. Until his mother uses an ancient law to force her son into marriage. His prospective queen is a buttoned-up intellectual, nothing like Kash’s usual party girl. Still, from the moment of their forced engagement, he can’t stop thinking about her.

Dayita Samar comes from one of Loa Mali’s most respected families. The Oxford-educated scientist has dedicated her life to her country’s future. But under her staid and calm exterior, Day hides a few sexy secrets of her own. She is willing to marry her king, but also agrees that they can circumvent the law. Just because they’re married doesn’t mean they have to change their lives. It certainly doesn’t mean they have to fall in love.

After one wild weekend in Dallas, Kash discovers his bride-to-be is more than she seems. Engulfed in a changing world, Kash finds exciting new possibilities for himself. Could Day help him find respite from the crushing responsibility he’s carried all his life? This fairy tale could have a happy ending, if only they can escape Kash’s past…
arranged

Amazon | Amazon Print

Excerpt:

“Are we a happy couple?”

“I don’t think we’ve had time enough to be sure of that yet, but I know we were once.” She’d thought it through in a way she never had before. She had a much different view of those months with Kash in England. “You were courting me back then, weren’t you? You wanted me to be your girlfriend.”

He sat down in the plush chair that dominated the sitting area portion of his bedroom. Normally they stayed in the living room, but he’d wanted more privacy. This was the only place in his suite that wasn’t covered by CCTV, the only place where they could truly be alone. Everything about the space was masculine and decadent, including the man himself. With his hair disheveled and his chest on display, it wasn’t hard at all to see him as a primal male.

One she’d dearly enjoy taming.

“I don’t think you realized it at the time.”

She was willing to admit her faults. “I didn’t. I had my nose in a book most of the time back then and I had little experience with men. No, I had no idea you were interested in me beyond copying my notes from class when you slept in.”

“It would surprise you to know that I often thought about sleeping in with you.” His voice had gone low and gentle. “I was crazy about you back then, Day. I find myself in the same position today, but I don’t want to scare you. I know you think we should take this slow and I will honor your wishes, but I want this marriage to work. You see me as a playboy, but I don’t want to be some forty-plus player who trades on his money to keep young girls around him. I think it might be time for me to find out if I can be the king my father would have wanted me to be.”

It was all she needed to hear. If he wanted to try, she was ready. Despite his reputation, she’d fallen right back into a peaceful friendship with him. He’d been the old Kash, supporting her when she needed it. He’d asked her questions about her work with the education department and then gave her ideas on how to handle the parliament. He hadn’t told her what she should do. He’d suggested, debated.

“I think you’ll find me less averse to giving this marriage a real try than you think. I was planning on talking to you about using the Palm Ceremony to begin to explore what we could be as a couple.”

He frowned. “I’m not sure what that means. You want to talk? Or have counseling? Because that sounds terrible.”

“I was talking about sex, Kashmir. I thought we could use this time to see if we’re sexually compatible.”

He popped up out of his chair like an eager puppy. “Yes. I think that is a brilliant idea. We should start now. Don’t worry. I intend to be gentle with you.”

She didn’t move at all. “Like you are with your lovely flowers?”

“Women deserve a man’s care,” he said quietly. “Day, I can’t erase my past.”

“I don’t want you to.” He misunderstood her problems with his statement. “But I do need you to understand that I’m not one of those flowers. I’m not here to sit at your side and bat my eyelashes in the hopes that you’ll buy something for me. I don’t work like that. I don’t care about your money.”

“That is easy for you to say. You’re about to have access to all of it, aren’t you?”

He had a point. “Even if I wasn’t, that wouldn’t be why I would want you, Kash. Sit down. We have some things to talk about before we get started. Come here close to me.”

He moved to the chaise she was sitting on, lowering himself down with a sullen frown. “I knew there would be talking.”

She was fairly certain his lovely flowers did very little talking, but he would get used to it. “Why did you want me back then?”

“I liked you. I liked talking to you. I liked being around you. I rather liked who I was when I was around you.” His expression softened. “I don’t think you knew how alluring you were to someone like me. You didn’t understand how beautiful you were, so you didn’t use it against me. Most women do.”

“Well, that happens when you surround yourself with women who are mostly valued for their looks. I don’t blame them. They’ve been told their beauty is the only thing worthy about them. If you want to meet women who don’t feel that way, you should probably expand out of models and actresses.”

“Well, you would be surprised how many gorgeous, sexy physicists turn me down because I’m not smart enough for them.”

Review:

A second-chance romance/coming to terms with your true self story, <i>Arranged</i> has a whole lot going on for a novella. I really liked Day; she was a strong character who also struggled with being accepted for who she was. I was with her 100%. Kash, though? He had his awesome times, but he also went through some major a$$hattery. Don’t get me wrong, I get where he was coming from and can see why he would think the way he thought…kind of…but man, I wanted to reach in a slug him one in the middle part of the book. At least he was at odds with himself during much of it, knowing that his reactions weren’t the ones he should be having, but man…

Still, they worked it out in the end, thank goodness. Once again a whole lot of past characters came in and out of the story, and since I still haven’t read any of the books save the last 1001 Dark Nights novella (shame, I know! But school’s almost over…) I once again felt a bit out of the loop not knowing who everyone was already. We really don’t need to know their stories to appreciate this one, it just feels a bit like being at a huge party where you only know one or two people at first. So–a standalone? Yes, with reservations. Will it make you want to read others? Yep 🙂

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

About the author:

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog int eh world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

FACEBOOK / TWITTER / WEBSITE / AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

New Release Review and Giveaway! MARRYING THE WRONG EARL by Callie Hutton (Lords and Ladies in Love #2)

She didn’t want to marry anyone, let alone the wrong one.  

 

MARRYING THE WRONG EARL
Lords and Ladies in Love #2
Callie Hutton
Releasing April 17th, 2017
Entangled Scandalous

Lady Arabella Danvers is happy with her life just the way it is. She is free to be herself and take care of broken and abandoned animals. Her mother is desperate for her to marry, and has decided to take things into her own hands. There is just one little problem with her plan.

Nash, the Earl of Clarendon has determined it is time to take a wife. He has selected a woman to whom he intends to propose. However, the annoying Lady Arabella has stumbled into his life at the wrong time, and in the wrong place.

But he of all people should know if Lady Arabella is involved, plans will go awry.

 

Clarendon’s dark blond curly hair hung a bit more over the back of his cravat than was fashionable, but it suited him well. It appeared his valet had attempted to tame the curls but a few stubborn locks had sprung free and brushed his broad forehead. An aristocratic nose and full lips left no doubt he was descended from generations of nobility. His crystal blue eyes bore into her as he released her hand when they joined the line. They stood across from each other as the music began. He bowed, she curtsied, and they came together. She would be the bigger of them, and clear the air. “I do wish to apologize for the trouble I caused you today, my lord.”

They switched places. “’Tis nothing, I assure you.” He extended his hand, and they moved together with the other dancers for a few steps.

“I disagree, my lord. You ended up muddy, with your clothes torn.”

His jaw flexed as they moved around each other and joined the line of dancers again. “Of course, you disagree, but I assure you, my lady, ’twas nothing.”

As they weaved in and out of the other dancers, she mumbled, “What do you mean ‘of course I disagree,’ and why cannot you accept an apology freely given? Are you always so disagreeable, then?”

They joined hands once more. “Perhaps because I do not wish to be reminded of the incident.”

Separating, they moved around each other, dipping with the music. “I believe you are merely being stubborn.”

Nash closed his eyes. “And I believe you are being stubborn.”

“I am not being stubborn. I simply want to extend my apologies for the mishap this afternoon.”

They joined hands again and moved in a circle. “Fine. Your apology is accepted.”

Another couple switched places with them, eyeing them with curiosity. “There, now. Was that so very hard?”

“My dear lady, do you wish to dance, or converse?”

They stepped forward, hand-in-hand to the head of the line. “Can we not do both?”

“Perhaps I lose count if I talk and dance.”

Her eyebrows rose and she offered a tight grin. “Cannot do two things at once, my lord? Is that why you had such a difficult time rescuing a poor cat?”

Nash came to an abrupt halt, causing the couple behind them to stumble. “I did not have a difficult time of it.” He bent close to her ear and murmured. “Furthermore, I am finished with this conversation.”

Marrying the Wrong Earl was a sweet story. Similar to Nash’s sister’s story ( Seducing the Marquess , Nash and Arabella do things a bit backward–they’re married first (about 1/3 of the way in) and gradually work their way into love from there.

I have to admit I was a tad bit concerned that they’d be able to pull off their HEA in the end–it went pretty down to the wire–because Nash’s “my wife needs to act like all the other ton wives out there” ‘tude seemed even more extreme than Drake’s in The Duke’s Quandary . (Is it a coincidence that Drake had to show up and give him an assist? I think not. ;)) So…they get to their HEA (of course!) but it is a bit of a last minute thing…still, they do get there, and it is a very sweet ending.

Despite the fact that characters from other books by Ms. Hutton do make appearances here, this book should work well as a standalone if needed. Fingers crossed that there’ll be a third book in the series, though.

Rating: 4 stars / B+

Callie Hutton, the USA Today bestselling author of The Elusive Wife writes both Regency and western historical romance, with “historic elements and sensory details” (The Romance Reviews). Callie lives in Oklahoma with several rescue dogs and her top cheerleader husband of many years. Her family also includes her daughter, son, and daughter-in-law, and twin grandsons “The Twinadoes.”  
Callie loves to hear from readers. Contact her directly at calliehutton11@gmail.com or find her online at her WebsiteSign up for her newsletter to receive information on new releases, appearances, contests and exclusive subscriber content. 
 

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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.

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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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