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

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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

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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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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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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! 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 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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New Release Review and Giveaway! ANY BOY BUT YOU by Julie Hammerle (North Pole, MN #1)

Any Boy but You
North Pole, Minnesota #1
by Julie Hammerle
Publication Date: February 13, 2017
Publisher:  Entangled: Crush

 

Elena Chestnut has been chatting with an anonymous boy late into the night. It’s a very You’ve Got Mail situation, and she has no idea who he is. He can’t be Oliver Prince, hot-and-bashful son of the family running the rival sporting goods store. Their fancy sales strategies are driving Elena’s family out of business. Elena’s mystery boy has teamed up with her in their latest sales strategy, an augmented reality game, to help her win the grand-prize plane tickets. Money’s so tight Elena’s going to miss senior year spring break with her friends if she can’t win this game.

The girl Oliver’s fallen head-over-heels for online had better not be Elena Chestnut. She’s his angry, vindictive Latin tutor, the daughter of his dad’s business rival, and the one girl he’d never even think of kissing. She’s definitely not his online crush, because that girl is funny, sweet, and perfect.

When Oliver asks to reveal their names at the Valentine’s Day dance, their IRL relationship will either ruin what they have online, or they’ll discover just how thin the line between love and hate really is.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains swearing, snowball fights, and sexual tension that could melt the North Pole. Read at your own risk.

Review:

A super-cute modern YA version of You’ve Got Mail (or technically, of the original–The Shop Around the Corner) with a bit of Romeo and Juliet feuding families-style drama added in, I really liked Any Boy But You. Both Oliver and Elena had their less-than-sympathetic moments–he was pretty judgmental at first on nothing more than his dad’s say-so, and she was over-the-top nasty at times, but that just made everything all the more sweet when they realized the errors of their ways, got a clue, and went above and beyond to make things better.

The ending was a bit rushed–we don’t get a whole lot of satisfactory Oliver and Elena time before the final page–but it’s pegged as the first in a new series, so fingers crossed that we’ll see plenty of them together and being cute in the books that are to come.

(Is it wrong to say I was about ready to cheer for the Chinese restaurant that insisted on calling itself “The Chinese Restaurant” instead of “Away in a Lo Mein-ger”, though? Because those Christmas-themed business names got to be a bit much at times…)

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

Purchase Links:

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About the Author:

Julie Hammerle is the author of The Sound of Us, which was published by Entangled Teen in 2016. Before settling down to write “for real,” she studied opera, taught Latin, and held her real estate license for one hot minute. Currently, she writes about TV on her blog Hammervision, ropes people into conversations about Game of Thrones, and makes excuses to avoid the gym. Her favorite YA-centric TV shows include 90210 (original spice), Felicity, and Freaks and Geeks. Her iPod reads like a 1997 Lilith Fair set list.

She lives in Chicago with her husband, two kids, and a dog. They named the dog Indiana.

 

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New Release Review and Giveaway! GUARDIAN OF SECRETS by Brenda Drake (Library Jumpers #2)

Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2)
by Brenda Drake
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Publisher:  Entangled Teen

 

Being a Sentinel isn’t all fairytales and secret gardens.

Sure, jumping through books into the world’s most beautiful libraries to protect humans from mystical creatures is awesome. No one knows that better than Gia Kearns, but she could do without the part where people are always trying to kill her. Oh, and the fact that Pop and her had to move away from her friends and life as she knew it.

And if that isn’t enough, her boyfriend, Arik, is acting strangely. Like, maybe she should be calling him “ex,” since he’s so into another girl. But she doesn’t have time to be mad or even jealous, because someone has to save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, and it looks like that’s going to be Gia.

Maybe. If she survives.

Link to Goodreads:

Purchase Links:

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Chapters
Indies
Amazon
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Review:

Books acting as portals to libraries around the world, transporting magical knights through them in order to save the world?

Yes, please!

Guardian of Secrets is the second book in the Library Jumpers series, and definitely not the one to start with. There’s too much going on, too many characters and plot threads already happening at that point–and book 2 takes everything to an all new level. A major character’s going to be under a spell, other characters aren’t going to make it into book 3, and Gia’s going to be involved in a significant love triangle–so. Much. Going. On. I feel like I need another week to process it all…and I should probably re-read before book 3 comes out…

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Also in the series:

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17669243-thief-of-lies

Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels—magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books—rescue them from a demonic hound.

Jumping into some of the world’s most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik’s world and her own, before both are destroyed.

 

About the Author:

Brenda Drake is a New York Times bestselling author of Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1), Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2), Touching Fate (Fated Series #1), and Cursing Fate (Fated Series #2). She grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. She hosts workshops and contests for writers such as Pitch Wars and Pitch Madness on her blog, and holds Twitter pitch parties on the hashtag, #PitMad. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her family, she haunts libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or reads someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).

Website – http://www.brenda-drake.com/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/brendadrake
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Brenda-Drake/171424269657164
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Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7012713.Brenda_Drake

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