New(ish) Release Review! SWEETLY, DEEPLY, ABSOLUTELY by Kira Archer (Sweet Love #3)


Sweetly, Deeply, Absolutely

by Kira Archer

 

Synopsis:

Hello, Mr. Right…for Now.

With a month off from culinary school, Jenny Boyd has some serious party plans. Especially when the hottest guy in the club literally lands in her lap.  He’s 6’2” of cocky, sexy, man-candy, and just as commitment-phobic as she is.

She’s definitely off limits…

Graphic designer Jared Crew is shocked when his best friend’s sister-in-law doesn’t remember him right away. Luckily, she is more than willing to let him jog her memory, no complications required.

It’s all fun and games…until the condom breaks…

 

Review:

A sweet story!

I was really looking forward to Jenny’s story after reading her big brother’s (Totally, Sweetly Irrevocably) and seeing all of the mayhem she managed to cause there. And the Jenny of the first few chapters didn’t disappoint. Their meet (meet again, technically) cute was especially entertaining:

He was even hotter closer up. Who was she to turn away a gorgeous man who introduced himself with his face in her lap? That would be rude.

Both Jenny and Jared are young and free and fun, and reading about them feels just as fancy free…until things happen.

Don’t get me wrong, though–it’s still a great read, but our hero and heroine have to pause and take stock of things, which quickly get complicated. They have to take a good look at their lives and decide what they really want, what they’re willing to change, and what will be worth the effort of reaching for–regardless of the ultimate outcome of their “oops” moment. In some ways, the carefree, most-likely-to-be-arrested-in-a-food-truck Jenny is no more, but since time has gone by and she’s discovered and been moving toward her calling (culinary school in Paris, nonetheless!) that makes sense. It needed to happen. She’s growing up and finding her way, a way which may or may not include a certain fun-loving, live and love for the moment friend of her older brother who also needs to think about moving forward and taking his own risks.

And…maybe anther somebody too? I’m not telling you; you’re going to have to find out for yourself 😉

A sweet conclusion to a delectable series–readers will get to see prior heroes and heroines living out their HEAs, ooh and aah over baby owls (!), and maybe even drool a little–or a lot–over the idea of a wedding cake made of baklava. (Google it. You won’t be sorry. Though you’ll probably be hungry…)

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


View all my reviews

 

New Release Review! THE INNKEEPER’S SISTER by Linda Goodnight (Honey Ridge #3)

Synopsis:

Welcome to Honey Ridge, Tennessee, where Southern hospitality and sweet peach tea beckon, and where long-buried secrets lead to some startling realizations

Grayson Blake always has a purpose and never a moment to lose. He’s come home to Honey Ridge to convert a historic gristmill into a restaurant, but his plans crumble like Tennessee clay when the excavation of a skeleton unearths a Civil War mystery and leads him back to a beautiful and familiar stranger.

Once a ballet dancer, now co-owner of the Peach Orchard Inn, Valery Carter harbors pain as deep as the secrets buried beneath the mill. A bright facade can’t erase her regrets any more than a glass of bourbon can restore what she’s lost. But spending time with Grayson offers Valery a chance to let go of her past and imagine a happier future. And with the discovery of hidden messages in aged sheet music, both their hearts begin to open. Bound by attraction, and compelled to resolve an old crime that links the inn and the mill, Grayson and Valery encounter a song of hurt, truth, and hope.

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Review:

The Innkeeper’s Sister is a unique blend of history and the present, secrets and mystery, all with a touch of the supernatural. Valery and Grayson kind of have a history–they knew of each other as teenagers, and Grayson crushed on Valery a bit, though they never really had a relationship back then. He’d definitely had an interest, though, and she was at least aware of him, despite the fact that she had some pretty major things going on in her life around the same time–things that will factor into the secrets she’s hiding (and will need to own up to and deal with) later on. Ms. Goodnight does a great job of blending all the various threads of the story together into a sweet, satisfying tale in the end.

The Innkeeper’s Sister was my first book from this author, but definitely not my last!

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

About the Author:

NY Times and USA Bestseller, Linda Goodnight writes novels to touch the heart as well as to entertain. Her emotional stories of hope have won the RITA , the Carol, the Reviewer’s Choice, and numerous other industry awards. A small town girl, Linda remains close to her roots, making her home in rural Oklahoma. She and husband have a blended family of eight, including two teenagers recently adopted from Ukraine. Many of her books are about family and children and rightly so, as she draws her deeply emotional stories from her surroundings, her great love of family, and from personal experiences as a nurse and teacher.

Readers may connect with Linda through her website at www.lindagoodnight.com or on Facebook and Twitter.

Connect with Linda:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Linda Goodnight’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, July 10th: Books and Spoons – excerpt
Tuesday, July 11th: Mama Vicky Says – excerpt
Wednesday, July 12th: The Sassy Bookster – excerpt
Thursday, July 13th: Books a la Mode – excerpt
Friday, July 14th: Reading is My SuperPower – excerpt
Monday, July 17th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy – excerpt
Tuesday, July 18th: Black ‘n Gold Girls Book Spot – excerpt
Wednesday, July 19th: Book Mama Blog – excerpt
Thursday, July 20th: Dwell in Possibility – excerpt
Friday, July 21st: A Chick Who Reads – excerpt
Monday, July 24th: Reading is My SuperPower
Tuesday, July 25th: Reading Reality
Wednesday, July 26th: Written Love Reviews
Friday, July 28th: Broken Teepee
Monday, July 31st: Rebel Mommy Book Blog
Tuesday, August 1st: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, August 1st: Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, August 2nd: Buried Under Books
Thursday, August 3rd: Just Commonly
Friday, August 4th: Books & Bindings
Monday, August 7th: The Romance Dish
Tuesday, August 8th: All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
Wednesday, August 9th: A. Holland Reads
Friday, August 11th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, August 14th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Tuesday, August 15th: Becky on Books
Wednesday, August 16th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, August 17th: Steph the Bookworm

New Release Review! WICKED WISH by Sawyer Bennett (Wicked Horse Vegas #2)

 

Jorinda Pearce thought she did everything right – graduated from college, married her long-time sweetheart, established a career. But what does she have to show for it now? A degree she doesn’t use, a job she hates, and an ex-husband that broke her heart.

Looking for a long overdue adventure, Jorie takes a walk on the wild side and attends a masquerade event at The Wicked Horse Vegas. It’s exactly the escape she’s looking for, and even better, she can explore anonymously. Drawn to the man masked in black leather with the body of a god, Jorie finds the greatest pleasures of her life at the hands of a stranger.

Walsh Brooks is the most sought after man in The Wicked Horse. Sex is nothing but a game to him and he’s the type that will always leave at the end of the night without looking back. Unfortunately for Walsh, there’s no way he can walk away from the mysterious green-eyed beauty behind the mask of sapphire feathers, because he knows exactly who she is.

Jorie is his best friend’s little sister and there’s not another woman in the world that’s more off limits.

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo | Paperback

 

Excerpt:

Squaring my shoulders, I march into The Royale and head straight for the concierge desk. I haven’t been in this casino before. Hell, I haven’t been in hardly any of them. Sure, I’d only grown up about forty-five minutes away, but gambling and all-you-can-eat buffets held no interest to me.

From Micah bragging about his best friend over the years, I knew Walsh orchestrated the purchase of the land, then pulled together financing with two other partners to build this casino. It’s one of the most popular on the strip, boasting five-star dining, old-world elegance, and superior customer service. Again, all this from Micah, but honestly… I’m so proud of Walsh, too. We may have lost touch over the years, but I’ll never forget all the ways in which he acted as a big brother to me.

Ick.

Okay… that’s gross. Thinking of Walsh like a brother.

I scrub my mind clean of that thought and demand myself never to do that again.

Rather, I’ll never forget all the ways in which Walsh provided me friendship and support in my formative years.

Yes… much better.

“Can I help you?” a man behind the concierge desk asks with a genuine and friendly smile. Not snooty as I would expect in a fancy hotel, and I guess that goes to the superior customer service The Royale strives for.

“Yes… hi,” I say as I nervously tuck my hair behind my ears on both sides. “I need to see Mr. Brooks. How do I go about getting access to his apartment?”

Micah told me some time ago that Walsh lives here.

The concierge never loses his friendly smile, but a single eyebrow arches high at my temerity.

“Oh, gosh,” I stammer. “That came out stalkerish. Mr. Brooks… I mean, Walsh… and I are longtime friends. He used to babysit me.”

“Your name?” the man asks as he pulls up something on his computer.

“Jorie Pearce.”

After a moment of scanning, he looks up at me. “Your name isn’t on the approved list.”

“Well, he’s not exactly expecting me.”

“I’m sorry, Miss Pearce,” he says with true regret in his voice. “But our policy is strict. No one gets up to the private penthouse without their name on the list.”

I lean on the desk with one elbow and lower my voice. “Just out of curiosity… are there any women on that list?”

The eyebrow shoots up again.

“No, wait,” I say hastily as I hold my palms toward him in a silent plea to not process my last request either mentally or on the computer. “That’s totally stalkerish, and I didn’t mean that.”

“Miss Pearce,” the concierge says, now with a hint of annoyance. “Perhaps you’d like to leave a message? I can get it up to Mr. Brooks today and he can call you.”

“No, I need to see him now,” I tell him firmly. “And I swear it’s not to cook a rabbit in a pot on his stove. Can you please just call up to his apartment?”

“That’s not our policy—”

“Look,” I snap as I lean across the desk slightly. “I’m a lifelong friend of Walsh’s. My brother is his best friend. We lost touch for a few years, but we ran into each other last night. I really need to talk to him about something that happened last night, and I’m not leaving this hotel until you call up to his apartment.”

The eyebrow doesn’t arch but it does draw inward to meet its match on the other side as he considers what I just said.

“I swear to you,” and here I pause to look at his name tag, “Bentley. Please just call him. He won’t be mad.”

With a sigh, he relents and picks up the phone receiver, punching in a five-digit number. After a pause, he says, “Mr. Brooks… I’m very sorry to disturb you, sir, but there’s a Miss Jorie Pearce here to see you. She says she’s a longtime friend.”

I watch as Bentley listens, but I can’t gauge what’s being said as his face remains blank. Finally, he says, “Very good, sir.”

I take this to mean I’ll be getting an escort to the penthouse suite, but Bentley replaces the receiver and says, “I’m sorry, Miss Pearce. But Mr. Walsh told me to tell you he’s busy and can’t receive you right now.”

My eyes narrow at Bentley. “I don’t believe you. Call back and let me talk to him.”

“I assure you, I just talked to him and that’s what he said.”

“Call him back,” I order as I point to the phone.

“I can’t,” he says almost with a wail. “If I do, he’ll fire me.”

Okay, that hits home. I don’t want to get anyone in trouble, so I say, “Fine. Give me just a moment.”

I take a few steps away from the concierge desk and pull my iPhone out. I shoot off a quick text to Micah. What’s Walsh’s phone number?

I wait a few moments, but I know Micah is awake in San Francisco at this hour. His phone is always on, and he never ignores a text from me.

He responds with the number before I can even start to tap my foot with impatience, adding on, Why?

I hate the lie, but I write back, Came to Vegas for the day. Thought I’d see if he could meet up for lunch. Haven’t seen him in years.

Cool, he writes back. Tell him I said, “what’s up, douche?”

I roll my eyes as I text back, Real mature. Love ya. Later.

After I save the number to my contacts, I open a new text to Walsh. Let me up to see you or I’m going straight back to The Wicked Horse to satisfy some further curiosities I have.

I hit send and then walk back to the concierge desk. I merely lean one elbow on it and watch Bentley with a silent smile. The phone rings about ten seconds after that.

Bentley’s eyes fly to mine as he listens, and then says, “Yes, sir. Right away.”

When he replaces the receiver, he says, “I’m to show you to the penthouse elevator.”

“Thank you, Bentley,” I say brightly.

Review:

Whoa. Just…whoa.

Wicked Wish was truly something else: off-the-charts hot with a good helping of the forbidden (as Jorie’s brother’s best friend, Walsh had already been warned away at least once in the past)–their chemistry plus some very interestingnew equipment at the Wicked Horse Vegas made for some almost-too-hot-for-August reading. Even while you knew Micah (the brother/BFF) was going to find out and it was going to be horrible, it was impossible not to want the two of them together since not only were they fantastic together that way, they truly cared for each other on a whole other level that made it clear they were MFEO.

I was a bit bothered by the fact that Jorie’s marriage wasn’t quite as over as I originally thought it was…a fact that comes into play at about 80%…but ultimately that too was handled well so I tried not to dwell on it too much. In the end things turn out very, very well; and now all we have to do is wait for book #3 to come out 😉

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

About the Author:

Since the release of her debut contemporary romance novel, Off Sides, in January 2013, Sawyer Bennett has released more than 30 books and has been featured on both the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists on multiple occasions.

A reformed trial lawyer from North Carolina, Sawyer uses real life experience to create relatable, sexy stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From new adult to erotic contemporary romance, Sawyer writes something for just about everyone.

Sawyer likes her Bloody Marys strong, her martinis dirty, and her heroes a combination of the two. When not bringing fictional romance to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to a very active toddler, as well as full-time servant to two adorably naughty dogs. She believes in the good of others, and that a bad day can be cured with a great work-out, cake, or a combination of the two.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | BOOKBUB | AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE | INSTAGRAM

New Release Review! THE SECRETS OF THE TULIP SISTERS by Susan Mallery

A wonderful story full of romance, forgiveness and the unavoidable ties that bind, SECRETS OF THE TULIP SISTERS is Susan Mallery at her very best.

Secrets of the Tulip Sisters
by Susan Mallery

 

Kelly Murphy’s life as a tulip farmer is pretty routine—up at dawn, off to work, lather, rinse, repeat. But everything changes one sun-washed summer with two dramatic homecomings: Griffith Burnett—Tulpen Crossing’s prodigal son, who’s set his sights on Kelly—and Olivia, her beautiful, wayward and, as far as Kelly is concerned, unwelcome sister. Tempted by Griffith, annoyed by Olivia, Kelly is overwhelmed by the secrets that were so easy to keep when she was alone.

But Olivia’s return isn’t as triumphant as she pretends. Her job has no future, and ever since her dad sent her away from the bad boy she loved, she has felt cut off from her past. She’s determined to reclaim her man and her place in the family…whether her sister likes it or not. For ten years, she and Kelly have been strangers. Olivia will get by without her approval now.

While Kelly and Olivia butt heads, their secrets tumble out in a big hot mess, revealing some truths that will change everything they thought they knew. Can they forgive each other—and themselves—and redefine what it means to be sisters?

Told with Mallery’s trademark heart and humor, the Tulip Sisters are in for the most colorful summer of their lives… 

Purchase Links:
Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Review:

I may have cooled on Mallery’s Fool’s Gold books (too much same old, same old + creepy senior citizens = nope) but boy, does she know how to bring it with her longer, more women’s fiction romance hybrids?

Yes. Yes, she does.

I really enjoyed Secrets of the Tulip Sisters. There were a lot of interconnected threads and stories to keep track of here–four POVs (Kelly’s the main one, and Griffith the only male)–and they are not kidding with the use of “secrets” in the title. There are secrets galore here. For the most part, though a few conversations might have resolved a bunch of the drama before it happened, the keeping of secrets was at least believable if not always the best idea. There was only one instance here where I was not firmly on the side of the POV character (I’m looking at you, Helen; Jeff was more the wronged party there than you) but reparations were made, and the HEAs at the end were sweet and believable.

Susan Mallery might be back on my auto-read list to stay!

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

About the Author:

With more than 25 million books sold worldwide, #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery is known for creating characters who feel as real as the folks next door, and for putting them into emotional, often funny situations readers recognize from their own lives. Susan’s books have made Booklist’s Top 10 Romances list in four out of five consecutive years. RT Book Reviews says, “When it comes to heartfelt contemporary romance, Mallery is in a class by herself.” With her popular, ongoing Fool’s Gold series, Susan has reached new heights on the bestsellers lists and has won the hearts of countless new fans.

Susan grew up in southern California, moved so many times that her friends stopped writing her address in pen, and now has settled in Seattle with her husband and the most delightfully spoiled little dog who ever lived.

Connect with Susan:

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Release Day Review and Giveaway! THE THIRD KISS by Kat Colmer (Love’s Mortal Coil #1)

The Third Kiss (Love’s Mortal Coil #1)
by Kat Colmer
Publication Date:  August 7, 2017
Publisher:  Entangled Teen

Love curses don’t exist. At least that’s what Jonas, master of the meaningless hookup, tells himself when a letter warns him he’s an Eros Guardian cursed to endure a test of true love or forever be alone. His levelheaded longtime friend Cora figures it’s a revenge prank by an ex. The way Jonas stamps each girlfriend with a weeklong use-by date, it serves him right.

But when an impulsive kiss between the two friends reveals potential for more, Cora becomes the target of the Groth Maar: demons sent to wipe out the Eros Guardian line. And suddenly the curse becomes dangerously real.

Breaking the curse means Jonas’s biggest challenge yet. Failure guarantees Cora’s death. But success may cost him his own life…and the loss of his carefully guarded heart to the one girl far too sensible to fall for him.

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Amazon.com.au | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Entangled

Excerpt:

Jonas snorted. “The guy has a backyard designed to charm girls out of their underwear.”

Did he seriously just say that? When he himself went off with— Unbelievable! I grabbed the rough wood of the gazebo railing so I didn’t lash out with more than my words.

“And you’d know all about that, now, wouldn’t you?”

His jaw clenched even as a wince tightened the line of his lips. “I don’t like him.”

“You don’t know him.”

“Neither do you.” He widened his stance and crossed his arms. “A few online chats don’t exactly mean much when it comes to getting to know someone.”

My fingernails dug into the railing, the wood biting into my skin. “Nice. So all our conversations while I was in Manhattan were meaningless, too, were they?”

“That’s different.” Jonas scowled under his balaclava of shadows. “We have history, a friendship. You hardly knew him before you left and haven’t seen the guy in over a year.”

He took a half step closer. “Ever heard of taking things slower?”

Breathe. Deep and steady, in and out. “Do you hear yourself? You telling me to take things slower?”

His hand twitched, like a gunfighter about to draw. “We’re talking about you, not me.”

“No, let’s talk about you. And how you need to butt out of my life.” Letting go of the safety of the railing, I took a step toward him. “I don’t go around judging how you change girlfriends more often than your social media updates so where do you get off telling me how fast or slow I should go?”

Jonas stilled. “I’m just trying to stop you from making a mistake.”

My jaw dropped. “What, with your track record? You’re the master of the meaningless hookup. You do not get to lecture me on making mistakes.”

Eyes locked on mine, his pulse punched out a frantic rhythm against the side of his throat. “A mistake for some isn’t necessarily one for others.”

Of all the patronizing— “Are you listening to the garbage coming out of your mouth or has all the bullshit clogged up your ears?” I pressed my clenched hands against my sides, fighting the urge to grab his headphones and show him exactly what I thought of his double standard.

“The guy is a player, Cora.”

I scoffed. “Not every guy operates the way you do.”

Jonas flinched but didn’t say anything.

“And even if he is, maybe that’s all I’m after.” I wasn’t, but it felt good to bait him.

His eyes narrowed, two glistening slits. “That’s not you.”

I edged closer still, my frame vibrating with anger. “How do you know? Maybe that night a year ago gave me a taste for short and uncomplicated.”

I felt more than saw something in him shift. Then a flash of lightning ripped the shadows from his face, leaving his expression exposed.

Shit.

The light disappeared. And with it the space between us.

Review:

The Third Kiss offers a different take on the idea of love curses; I found the biblical origins of the Love’s Mortal Coil curse compelling. It really made me wonder where Ms. Colmer came up with the idea; I bet there’s a story there! The curse and the universe in which it resides was well thought out and maintained. I really liked the voices of the two protagonists, Jonas and Cora, and Beth and Leo were strong secondary characters as well. The grownups of the book–Cora’s dad, Jonas’ aunt, even the professor–seemed a bit more disposable, though that’s often the case in YA books, so it didn’t bother me overmuch.

I am really interested in seeing where this series is going to go–will there be two books (I totally called the ending of this one; go, me!) or three? Or…more? And how soon will we have to wait to find out???

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

About the Author:

Kat Colmer is a Sydney-based Young and New Adult author who writes coming-of-age stories with humor and heart. The recipient of several writing awards, she has won the Romance Writers of Australia First Kiss contest, as well as the Romance Writers of America On the Far Side contest for her debut Young Adult Paranormal Romance.

Kat has a Master of Education in Teacher Librarianship and loves working with teens and young adults. When not writing, teaching, or reading the latest in YA fiction, Kat spends time with her husband and two children.

 

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New Release Review! PERILOUS TRUST by Barbara Freethy (Off the Grid #1)

 

In PERILOUS TRUST, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy brings you the first book in a new romantic suspense series! OFF THE GRID: An FBI Series offers five breath-stealing books filled with action-packed plot, heart-stopping romance, and page-turning suspense.

It was one dark night that brought Damon Wolfe and Sophie Parker together. They were two tortured souls, looking for escape, and they weren’t supposed to see each other ever again…

Four years later, Sophie’s FBI father, who is also Damon’s mentor, is killed in a suspicious car crash after leaving Sophie a cryptic message to trust no one from the agency. When Damon shows up looking for her, she isn’t sure if he’s friend or enemy, but she knows he could easily rip apart what is left of her heart.

The last thing Damon wants is to get involved with Sophie again. It was hard enough to walk away the first time. But she’s in trouble, her father’s reputation is under attack, and the lives of his fellow agents are at stake if there’s a traitor in their midst.

When someone starts shooting at them, they have no choice but to go on the run and off the grid. Everyone in their world becomes a suspect. They want to uncover the truth, but will it turn out to be the last thing they expect? Proving her father’s innocence might just cost them their hearts…and their lives…

Apple iBooks | Amazon Kindle | Kobo | B&N

 

Excerpt:

“Why did you run away from your apartment, your friends, your father’s coworkers? Why did you just disappear, Sophie?” Damon asked.

“Because someone killed my dad.”

“It’s possible it was an accident.”

“You don’t believe that any more than I do.”

“Maybe not, but I think something specific spooked you.”

“You mean like the two men I saw going into my apartment building?”

“You saw the men who broke into your apartment?” he asked in surprise.

“I don’t know if they were the ones, but they could have been.”

“What did they look like?”

“Law enforcement, maybe—I don’t know.”

Damon stared back at her, and she could see him running through her words in his head. “Why would you be afraid of law enforcement when your father is FBI?”

“Gut instinct,” she lied, knowing she wouldn’t have been afraid at all if her father hadn’t told her to be. “And it looks like I was right to run. If I’d gone to my apartment, who knows what would have happened?”

His lips drew into a hard line. “Look, Sophie, I want to help you.”

“Why? Why on earth would you want to help me?”

His gaze darkened, and the air sizzled between them as they found themselves back in a place probably neither of them wanted to revisit, but they were there all the same.

“We’re not friends,” she said quickly, needing to break the tension. “We’re not anything. We haven’t seen each other in four years. Why do you care where I am, what I’m doing? Is it because of loyalty to my dad? That has to be it, right? Nothing else could have made you drive all the way up here.”

“I should have called you after that night,” he said.

“I’m not looking for an apology.”

“Aren’t you?”

“No. Maybe. No,” she said, hating to sound so uncertain. “None of that is important now. I have bigger problems.”

“Then let’s talk about now,” he said, relief in his eyes as he changed the subject. “I respected your father. He was a mentor to me. I owe him for that, and I know that he would want me to help you. He trusted me, and I hope you can trust me, too.”

“I don’t know if my father trusted you,” she said, shaking her head.

Surprise and anger flared in his eyes. “Why would you say that?”

“Because he told me not to trust anyone from the bureau, and since you’re an agent, that includes you. Please, just go. Just leave me alone,” she pleaded, desperate to get him out of the cabin before she did something even more stupid—like start to trust him. “I’ll disappear. I’ll go somewhere no one else knows about. You don’t have to worry about me. You’ve done your duty. You came after me. You did that for my dad. Now do something for me—leave me alone. You’ve managed it for four years. You can keep going.”

His mouth tightened. “I’m not leaving you alone. You won’t be safe. You can’t get help from a friend, because you’ll put them in danger, and even if you are very careful, you’ll make a mistake. You don’t know how to stay off the radar, but I do. You’re going to have to trust someone at some point. You’re going to have to put your anger aside and let it be me.”

Before she could answer, she was suddenly hit with a shower of glass from the nearby window.

What the hell had just happened?

Another pane blew out, and something whizzed by her ear.

Damon grabbed her arm and pulled down as a third window exploded.

Someone was shooting at her!

 

 

Review:

This book has a great premise and a solid start–it had me hooked from the very first page, and I was on the edge of my seat to see what would happen next for Damon and Sophie and to a lesser degree, Bree and Wyatt. Damon and Sophie had a (brief) history as well, which also piqued my interest, and kept me turning pages, wanting to see what they would do with it. The suspense part of the story was solid, I honestly didn’t know who did what and exactly why until the end, when all was revealed. (Quick question–do real-life antagonists really tell all in the end to the heroes, even if they think they’ve already won? It really seems more like convenient fictional exposition than realism…still, at least we get to know the truth.)

Somewhere in the second half of the story, though, the suspense became more real than the romance. It felt like Sophie and Damon went from “let’s try and forget about that awkwardly-ending night four years ago” to love a little too fast, skipping some crucial steps in between along the way. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to believe in their relationship, but it didn’t feel like there was enough foundation laid down for what it was supposed to be becoming. Still, I did like them together and their epilogue was darn cute.

The next two books will be Bree and Wyatt’s, and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for them. Even though this story wasn’t perfect, Ms. Freethy definitely grabbed my interest with her characters and I’m looking forward to more gotta-find-out-the-truth suspense.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

About the author:

Barbara Freethy is a #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of 60 novels ranging from contemporary romance to romantic suspense and women’s fiction. Traditionally published for many years, Barbara opened Fog City Publishing in 2011 and has since sold over 7 million books! Twenty-three of her titles have appeared on the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller Lists, including one title, SUMMER SECRETS, which hit #1 on the NYT. In 2014 Barbara was named the Amazon KDP Bestselling Author of all time! She was also the first Indie writer to sell over a million books on Barnes and Noble.

Known for her emotional and compelling stories of love, family, romance and suspense, Barbara is a six-time finalist and two-time winner in the Romance Writers of America acclaimed RITA contest for her novels DANIEL’S GIFT and THE WAY BACK HOME.

For more information, visit her website at www.barbarafreethy.com

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New Release Review! KISSING MAX HOLDEN by Katy Upperman

Kissing Max Holden
by Katy Upperman

 

Kissing Max Holden was a terrible idea…

After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn’t himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help him, but she doesn’t know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows that she shouldn’t let him kiss her. But she can’t resist, and when they’re caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it’ll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea.

With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?

 

Review:

Ms Upperman is a debut author I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more from!

Kissing Max Holden‘s Jill and Max are far from perfect people, which makes their story all the more likable. I loved that Jill was so passionate about baking–she did it to express love, to keep herself calm and centered, and to make sense of her world–and all of the little baking metaphors that the author threw into the narrative were so much fun. (It also made me kind of hungry, so plan your reading snacks accordingly.) Max had more than a few issues to work through, and he does (eventually) make a pretty good effort, which made me like him all the more. The ending of the book left me with a pretty good case of the feels all around, and lived up to the promise of that pretty, pretty cover 🙂

Trigger warning: there is infidelity (with both young adults and adults–though I would argue that in the case of the latter it’s much more consequential; the YA couple really just kissed while one was in a relationship, as the title suggests), so if that’s a no-go for you, you might want to steer clear. You’d be missing a darn good debut story if you did, though.

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

View all my reviews

 

 

New Release Review and Giveaway! CALL TO ENGAGE by Tawny Weber (Team Poseidon #2)

The Poseidon team are hard-bodied, fiercely competitive Navy SEALs. But when a sensitive mission goes disastrously wrong, three of the team’s finest will have to trust their hearts and instincts to uncover the truth…

Lieutenant Elijah Prescott should be spending his precious leave somewhere with sun, surf and scantily clad women. Instead, he’s heading home with two goals in mind. Figure out exactly how his last assignment went to hell and almost killed him—and reconnect with the woman who might offer salvation.

Ava Monroe has streamlined her life, eliminating every source of pain—including a marriage touched by tragedy. One glimpse of her ex and those good intentions turn to bad-girl desires. Her strategy: get over Elijah by getting under him again, sating herself until she can finally let go. But as betrayal within the rank of the SEALs turns deadly, there’s no denying that her heart and her life are on the line. Elijah is the only man who can protect both…

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Review:

The second book in Ms. Weber’s Team Poseidon series did not disappoint! This one follows “Rembrandt” (aka Elijah Prescott) as he and the Poseidon team continue to try to find the missing traitor who eluded them in the last book. Elijah’s also struggling with his future–is it still in the military? as a part of the Team? or does he have a second chance with his ex, the only woman he ever loved? Does making one of these choices exclude the others?

I loved Ava–she truly is a kick butt heroine! Fingers crossed that we’ll see more of her and Elijah in the next book (which is Nic’s; whose story I do want to hear–but what about Jared and Andi??? You’re killing me here, Ms. Weber…and now I want to know more about Ava’s BFF Chloe and her story too, darn you) just as we got a bit more Harper and Diego in this one 🙂

Call to Engage would work okay as a standalone if needed–the pertinent details that you need to know from the first book are explained–but everything’s going to work better all around if you know the whole story. Plus, it’d be impossible to know just a little about these characters and not want to know all–so you might as well put the whole series on your TBR and save yourself the trouble 😉

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

About the author:

New York Times and USA TODAY Bestselling author of more than forty books, Tawny Weber loves writing about sexy heroes, most notably her popular Navy SEALs series. Her sassy, emotional romances are filled with men dedicated to being the best—and women determined to have the best. Tawny credits her ex-military alpha husband for inspiration in her writing, and in her life. The recipient of numerous writing accolades, including Romantic Times Reviewers Choice and in addition to the NY Times and USA Today bestseller lists, Tawny has also hit the number one spot on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

A homeschooling mom, Tawny enjoys scrapbooking, gardening and spending time with her family and dogs in her Northern California home.

You can find Tawny on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Connect with Tawny:

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New Release Review and Giveaway! REBEL IN A SMALL TOWN by Kristina Knight (Slippery Rock #2)

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Rebel in a Small Town
(Slippery Rock #2)
Kristina Knight
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
July 1st 2017 by Harlequin Superromance

He’s not giving up his family without a fight

James Calhoun has never been able to resist Mara Tyler, or her knack for mischief. Her reputation as a reckless teenager drove Mara from their hometown. So Slippery Rock is the last place James ever expected to see her, and Mara’s timing couldn’t be worse. With the upcoming election for sheriff, she threatens the squeaky-clean image James needs to win. Because Mara has brought with her the result of their steamy affair: his two-year-old son, Zeke. After the initial shock, James is determined to have both his family and career. He just needs to convince Mara that her home is where it’s always been. With him.

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Review:

Mara and James’ story, the second in the Slippery Rockseries, is a sweet second chance/secret baby romance. I liked James a lot, which isn’t surprising since I liked him in the first book ( Famous in a Small Town ) too, as Collin’s best friend. Here we see him in more detail, learn of his less-than-pristine teenage past, and his secret relationship with the town rebel and Collin’s little sister Mara, who hasn’t been back in town for more than two years. Now he’s running for sheriff, a position formerly held by his father and grandfather, and struggling with wanting to win and wanting to create a life for himself with the town’s former rebel and their son.

Mara was likable too, though her insistence that she was exactly like their parents had been and that her being with James meant that he wouldn’t get the sheriff’s position got to be a bit much at times–it seemed like she should have gotten over it before she did. Still, she was a great mom, and it was nice to see her trying to fix the problems she’d created with her family by leaving so many years ago. Watching her begin to have faith in herself and in the life she could have with James and in Slippery Rock was heartening; their HEA, when it comes, is very sweet. Seeing the rest of their collection of friends once again makes me anxious to see what will be in store for future books in the series, especially Adam and Jenny, Levi, and the mysterious, absent Aiden.

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Other Books in the Series:

Famous in a Small Town
(Slippery Rock #1)
Kristina Knight
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
May 1st 2017 by Harlequin Superromance

Lifestyles of the small-town famous

Forced to leave Nashville after a scandal, Savannah Walters has come home to Slippery Rock, Missouri, with a bruised ego and her singing career in jeopardy. As if that isn’t humiliating enough, on her way into town she’s rescued by her swoon-worthy childhood crush, Collin Tyler.

His hands are full running the family orchard and dealing with his delinquent teen sister, so Collin doesn’t need to get involved with someone as fiery and unpredictable as Savannah. But the intense attraction between them can’t be denied. And when disaster strikes, they’ll both be surprised by who’s still standing when the dust settles.

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And coming September 2017…Breakup in a Small Town
(Slippery Rock #3)
Kristina Knight
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
September 1st 2017 by Harlequin Superromance

This isn’t the man she married… 

Jenny Buchanan never considered what “for better or for worse” meant when she married Adam Buchanan at nineteen. Six years and two little boys later, “for worse” arrives in the form of a tornado that ravages Slippery Rock and injures Adam. Now he’s a stranger to his family…and love won’t be enough to bring him back.

Only when Jenny asks him to move out does Adam become the husband she needs…but Adam isn’t the only one who’s changed. As their attraction sparks back to life, Jenny and Adam must learn what it is to grow up—and grow together—before this small-town breakup lasts forever.

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About the Author:

Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police–no, she wasn’t a troublemaker, she was a journalist. Her career took her all over the United States, writing about everything from a serial killer’s capture to the National Finals Rodeo. Along the way, she found her very own Knight in Shining Cowboy Boots and an abiding love for romance novels. And just like the characters from her favorite books, she’s living her own happily ever after.

Kristina writes sassy contemporary romance novels; her books have appeared on Kindle Best Seller Lists. She loves hearing from readers, so drop her a line!

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Other Harlequin Superromance Books by the Author:

Tour Giveaway

– 1 winner will receive a signed copy of Protecting the Quarterback and some fun swag
– US residents only
– Ends July 25th

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

July 15th: Launch
July 16th:
Sylv.net
Beck Valley Books
Becky on Books
July 17th:
Hearts & Scribbles
underneath the covers
Thoughts of a Blonde
July 18th:
Mythical Books
Deal Sharing Aunt
Christian Suspense Author Mary Alford
July 19th:
It’s All About the Romance
Inside the Mind of an Avid Reader
July 20th:
Nicole’s Book Musings
Harlie’s Books
Always Reading
July 21st: Grand Finale

 

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New Release Review ! COMEBACK COWBOY by Sara Richardson (Rocky Mountain Riders #2)

Blurb: 
 
A WOMAN NEVER FORGETS HER FIRST COWBOY . . . 

As a single mother, Naomi Sullivan is used to doing things on her own. She’s finally saved enough from working at the Cortez Ranch to buy a lovely home for her and her little girl. Life is going as planned. But when her high school sweetheart comes riding back to town, this self-sufficient woman feels something she hasn’t felt in years: red-hot, unbridled need for the handsome cowboy who left her behind.

Lucas Cortez doesn’t plan on being in town long. Yet when he sees Naomi again-the gorgeous girl he never stopped loving-he’s tempted to hang up his hat and stay awhile. He’s already charmed his way into her daughter’s heart, but he’ll need more than sweet talk and roses to convince Naomi to give them a second chance-especially when she’s hiding a secret that could change their lives forever . . .

Comeback Cowboy is a sweet second chance romance story. I liked that the author didn’t always choose the obvious direction with things–we find out pretty quickly who’s the father of her ten-year-old daughter instead of dragging out the drama and suspense, for example, and even though it did sometimes look like one of the main characters was going to make a run for it in the other’s “best interest” they had adult conversations about what was going on instead and made decisions together. What a novel idea! 😉

Though some of the outcomes here almost seemed to come too easily, this is a sweet story with likable characters who really do deserve their HEA, even if the worst trials happened before the book even began…it’s not worth getting worked up about it; just go with the easy-reading flow and you’ll be glad you did.

Although it’s the second in the series, this book worked just fine as a standalone. The hero and heroine from book one appear quite a bit–Lance is Lucas’s brother, and Jessa is Naomi’s good friend–so I’ve already added book one (Hometown Cowboy ) to my TBR. It looks like the youngest brother, Levi, will have the next book ( Renegade Cowboy ) so I might as well add that one too, while I’m at it 🙂

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

AUTHOR INFORMATION: 

Sara Richardson grew up chasing adventure in Colorado’s rugged mountains. She’s climbed to the top of a 14,000-foot peak at midnight, swam through Class IV rapids, completed her wilderness first-aid certification, and spent seven days at a time tromping through the wilderness with a thirty-pound backpack strapped to her shoulders.

Eventually, Sara did the responsible thing and got an education in writing and journalism. After five years in the corporate writing world, she stopped ignoring the voices in her head and started writing fiction. Now, she uses her experience as a mountain adventure guide to write stories that incorporate adventure with romance. Still indulging her adventurous spirit, Sara lives and plays in Colorado with her saint of a husband and two young sons. Her first contemporary romance, No Better Man, was released by Grand Central forever 2015.

 

AUTHOR LINKS: 
Website: www.sararichardson.com