New Release Review! ENCHANTING THE EARL by Lily Maxton (The Townsends #1)

Enchanting the Earl
by Lily Maxton

Synopsis:

Llynmore Castle is the only place Annabel Lockhart has ever considered home. For years, she’s been able to live as she wished, freely roaming the wild moors. Now there’s a new earl, as arrogant as he is handsome, and he wants her out. But if he thinks she’ll go quietly, he’s in for a surprise.

Theo Townsend returned from war a changed man. After unexpectedly inheriting an earldom and a secluded castle in the Scottish Highlands to go with it, he thinks he’s found the perfect place to hide from the world-until he arrives to find a spirited, beautiful woman already in residence. He can’t just throw her out, but surely there’s a way to get her to leave on her own. The sooner she’s gone, the better, especially when he realizes there’s more than just mutual dislike between them.

 

Review:

Such a good story!

I really liked both Theo and Annabel–he was more than a little prickly, but it was easy to see why once you knew more about him. Annabel was just delightful from start to finish; I loved how she was always so aware of Theo and his reactions to things even before they became involved. It also broke my heart just a little that she’d been such a throwaway child for much of her life–shuffled off from family member to family member until she came to live with her aunt. That Theo became determined that she’d never feel that way again (eventually–he was a bit on the slow side)? Definitely added to the sigh-worthiness of the story 🙂

I was a bit bummed that we didn’t witness Theo as he finally wrestled his demons into something like submission–we find out about it after with Annabel–but knowing that he did and that she inspired him to makes up for the lack. Mostly.

Theo’s brother and sisters were just delightful–I can’t wait to get to their stories!

Rating: 4 stars /A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

View all my reviews

 

New Release Review! MADLY by Ruthie Knox (New York Trilogy #2)


Madly

by Ruthie Knox

Synopsis:

An impulsive trip to New York City, a heartthrob from London, and a scandalous to-do list turn a small-town girl’s life upside down in this sultry romance from the New York Times bestselling author of Truly and About Last Night.

Allie Fredericks isn’t supposed to be in Manhattan, hiding in the darkest corner of a hip bar, spying on her own mother—who’s flirting with a man who’s definitely not Allie’s father. Allie’s supposed to be in Wisconsin, planning her parents’ milestone anniversary party. Then Winston Chamberlain walks through the door, with his tailored suit, British accent, and gorgeous eyes, and Allie’s strange mission goes truly sideways.

Winston doesn’t do messy. But after a pretty stranger ropes him into her ridiculous family drama with a fake kiss that gets a little too real, he finds out that messy can be fun. Maybe even a little addicting. And as the night grows longer, Allie and Winston make a list of other wild things they could do together—and what seems like a mismatch leads to a genuine connection. But can their relationship survive as their real lives implode just outside the bedroom door?

 

Review:

So, so good 🙂

I loved both Allie and Winston–they shouldn’t have worked together at all, but OMG they so did somehow. I’m going to give the credit to Ruthie Knox’s writing here–she really knows how to write characters who shouldn’t at all be made for each other but totally are. I also really liked that their age difference was practically a non-issue for everyone involved; that was unexpected but also absolutely worked.

Seriously, she’s a romance wizard.

The whole what-is-Allie-and-May’s-mother-doing-in-NYC subplot was a little iffy–it worked to bring Allie and Winston together, but then took up a bit too much page time in parts of the book, finally ending up…just okay in the end. It was ultimately pretty feel-good, though a bit out there on the realism front.

Allie and Winston are both siblings to previous Knox characters–Allie’s May’s sister from Truly and Winston’s Nev’s brother from  About Last Night–and though it could be read on its own, I did find myself wishing I’d had a recent refresher, especially for Truly (mostly because of how much I loved, loved, loved May and Ben’s story, but also because it seems like that book came out ages ago).

Now–how about a book for Winston’s daughter? 🙂

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

View all my reviews

New Release Review! EMERGENCY ATTRACTION by Samanthe Beck (Love Emergency #3)

Synopsis:

Ten years ago when Shane Maguire chose the Marines as his escape from some trouble of his own making, he only regretted one thing—leaving Sinclair Smith behind. Despite his best intentions, she ended up as the one that got away. Now he’s back, determined to reclaim everything he gave up, including Sinclair.

Sinclair is immune to Shane’s charms. She’s immune to stolen kisses behind the gym. And she’s definitely immune to that maneuver he did in the back seat of his car… Okay, maybe her hormones are susceptible, but she has absolutely no desire to risk anything on the bad boy who broke all his promises.

When a little emergency lands her at his mercy, he offers her a deal she can’t refuse. And this time, she’ll show Shane what it means to be left wanting…

 

Review:

Second chance romance! Yessssss 🙂

Shane and Sinclair had a totally believable reason for not working out the first time, which definitely helps make the second chance romance troupe work so well here. I also appreciated that neither one of them was truly at fault for what ended up happening with their original relationship, beyond the fact that they were both so young. But when their second chance comes along? Watch out, people, because these two are H-O-T together.

And yep, Shane does know his way around the ol’ romantic grand gesture, I’m happy to report. Total swoon-worthiness. (Samanthe Beck visited my blog to talk about RGGs here. Thanks, Samanthe!) Throw in an epilogue that is just too flippin’ cute for words (“Your mother borrowed something”–LOL), and you’ve got a winner here, folks!

Emergency Attraction is book 3 in the Love Emergency series, and though there are aspects of the story that will have a bit more meaning for people who’ve read the other books–Sinclair is Savannah’s ( Emergency Engagement ) sister, and there’s a slight overlap between books 2 ( Emergency Delivery) and 3–a dramatic scene from 2 plays out in the background early in this story–but if you haven’t read the other books yet, you’ll manage just fine.

I’m not saying you won’t want to read them, mind you… 😉

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

New Release Review and Giveaway! RIDE ROUGH by Laura Kaye (Raven Riders #2)

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Laura Kaye brings you the second title in her Raven Riders Series, RIDE ROUGH. A sexy romantic suspense, you might’ve first met the Ravens in the Hard Ink world, but this series about a different kind of a motorcycle club with a protective mission stands on its own and is even sexier, edgier, and grittier! The Raven Riders Series takes you on a new adventure and kicks it into overdrive! Order your copy of RIDE ROUGH today!
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About Ride Rough (Raven Riders #2, 4/25/17)

Maverick Rylan won’t apologize for who he is—the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club Vice-President, a sought-after custom bike builder, and a man dedicated to protecting those he loves. So when he learns that the only woman who has ever held his heart is in trouble, he’ll move heaven and earth to save her.

Alexa Harmon thought she had it all—the security of a good job, a beautiful home, and a powerful, charming fiancé who offered the life she never had growing up. But when her dream quickly turns into a nightmare, Alexa realizes she’s fallen for a façade she can’t escape—until sexy, dangerous Maverick offers her a way out.

Forced together to keep Alexa safe, their powerful attraction reignites and Maverick determines to do whatever it takes to earn a second chance—one Alexa is tempted to give. But her ex-fiancé isn’t going to let her go without a fight, one that will threaten everything they both hold dear.

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Excerpt:

Maverick’s gaze narrowed. “Don’t ask a question you don’t want the answer to.”

Alexa swallowed and licked her lips. “What if I do want it? The answer,” she added.

Years of need and longing roared through Maverick like a drug he’d mainlined. His thoughts spilled out unfiltered.

“Damnit, Al. You’re laying there in my clothes in my house with your thighs spread after I’ve just woken up holding you. My skin smells like you. And I’m sporting an erection because of you. Don’t fuck with me.” The words came out harsher than he intended, but she couldn’t play with him. Not on this. Not when he cared so much. Not when he wanted so much.

Her mouth dropped open and her chest rose and fell a little quicker. “I’m not playing a game. I want to know.”

Planting his hands on his hips, Maverick studied her. Her beautiful, languid body. Her pretty, open face. Her eyes, honest and free of pretense. He felt pulled in a million directions. Between wrong and right, between taking advantage and taking care, between giving in and opening himself up to a world of hurt. “I was dreaming of you. Of us. Up at Swallow Falls.”

“That night we—”

“Yes,” he growled.

“Maverick—”

Fuck.” He dropped his chin to his chest and closed his eyes. Trying to be bigger than his base needs. Trying to put her before himself. “Whatever is about to come out of your mouth is not a good idea.”

“Mav—”

“I mean it, Al—”

“Maverick!” she nearly yelled. “Listen to me.”

His gaze cut up to hers in time to see her sit up a little and take off her shirt. Well, his shirt. Then she laid back again, her eyes on him, drinking him in, inviting him in. “What if I do want it?” she whispered.

Something inside him snapped.

He was on her in a second. Body covering hers. Hands going to her warm skin. Mouth tasting her everywhere—her shoulder, her throat, her cheek. His chest pressed against her breasts, her hard nipples evident, her excitement palpable. And then his mouth found hers. On a triumphant groan, he claimed her, his lips sucking, his tongue penetrating. His big hand found her breast and kneaded at the soft mound.

And Alexa was right there with him. Moaning, kissing him, clutching on to him. Her thighs wrapped around his hips and her fingers twisted in his hair.

Bad idea bad idea such a fucking bad idea.

Why did bad ideas have to feel so good?

Review:

Whoa. What a ride this book takes you on!

Ms. Kaye did a fantastic job of showing how an otherwise seemingly strong, rational woman could become a part of an abusive relationship–and holy cow, did it give me the chills. That the reader can absolutely see what is wrong with Alexa’s relationship when she can’t yet? Yikes. This book has made me add Sleeping with the Enemy to my “must re-watch in the near future” list, because, yeah. That kind of creepy horror is all over this book.

Plus, motorcycles. And a hairless cat who wears sweaters and plays in the bathtub. A filled bathtub. With bath toys. Oh, and Maverick. Can’t forget him. 😉 Basically, this book is non-stop awesomeness from cover to cover–I can’t even begin to tell you how much the fact that Mav has so many single “brothers” in his club thrills me!

Raven Riders is a spinoff of Kaye’s Hard Ink series, and a few of the guys from there make appearances here (not enough, though, IMHO ;)). Even so, this one could work okay as a standalone. Some of the events that happened in book one of this series ( Ride Hard ) do come up here, but you’re given enough information to know what you need to for this story. Dare and Haven are almost as awesome as Mav and Al, though, so you’re going to want to find out their whole story–just a warning!

While clicking through to the series page, I see that Cora and Slider’s story is next, and all I have to say is YESSSSSSSSSS! (Fist pump in air)

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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And don’t miss all the books in the Raven Riders Series!
HARD AS STEEL now available
RIDE HARD now available
RIDE ROUGH coming April 25th, 2017
RIDE WILD coming October 31st, 2017

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laurakaye-34 crop 2About Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in contemporary romance and romantic suspense, including the 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. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and monster puppy, Schuyler, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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Laura Kaye’s RIDE ROUGH – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule
April 17th
Book Lovin’ Mamas – Review
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April 18th
a geordielass honest blog on reviews – Review
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April 19th
Disheveled Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
From the TBR Pile – Review & Excerpt
It’s All About the Romance – Excerpt
Julalicious Book Paradise – Review & Excerpt
Lit. 4 Ladies – Review & Excerpt
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Thoughts of a Blonde – Review
April 20th
Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – Excerpt
Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt
Books According to Abby – Review & Excerpt
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Liezel’s Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
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April 21st
Books, Coffee & Passion – Excerpt
East Coast Book Chicks – Review
My Girlfriends Couch – Review & Excerpt
Naughty Moms’ Story Time – Review
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Two Girls with Books – Review
April 22nd
Another Book Hangover – Excerpt
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The Book Boyfriend Addict – Review & Excerpt
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April 23rd
Cocktails and Books – Review & Excerpt
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April 24th
Book Sniffers Anonymous – Review
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For The Love of Fictional Worlds – Review & Excerpt
JOJO THE BOOKAHOLIC – Review & Excerpt
Nice Ladies, Naughty Books – Review
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April 25th
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April 26th
A Hopeless Romantic’s Booklandia – Review & Excerpt
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April 27th
A small girl, her man and her books – Review & Excerpt
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Book Angel Booktopia – Review
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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! WHATEVER YOU NEED by Barbara Longley (The Haneys #2)

Whatever You Need
by Barbara Longley

Synopsis:

In the second novel in award-winning author Barbara Longley’s sweet and sexy Haneys series, an introverted electrician rewires a young widow’s apartment—and attempts to mend her heart.

Painfully shy electrician Wyatt Haney is a pro at complex wiring jobs, but when it comes to women, he just can’t seem to make a lasting connection. If he had even half the courage of the superhero he penned for his comic book series, he’d finally be able to talk to his beautiful neighbor, Kayla—and stop hiding behind a hoodie. When an electrical fire breaks out in Kayla’s apartment, Wyatt comes to the rescue, sparking an attraction neither of them expected.

Kayla Malone has had enough surprises. First an unplanned pregnancy at eighteen, then losing her husband in war, and now a fire in her apartment. Thank God her hot neighbor has the skills to help. As Wyatt repairs Kayla’s apartment and forges a relationship with her son, he also makes inroads to her heart. It’s clear that Wyatt has fallen for Kayla, but is she willing to risk another heartbreak—or will she ignore the electricity between them and miss her happy ending?


Review:

Whatever You Need was a cute story and very sweet–the heroine’s little boy especially was a show stealer. (He’s almost too good, but manages to have a few mini-meltdowns that make him a tad bit more real.) This was the second in the series, but I didn’t have any problem at all not having read the first yet.

There were a few aspects that stretched credibility a bit thin–the amount of time the heroine’s misconception about the hero’s relationship status went on for, the virgin who has amazing sex and gives incredible Os the very first time (even with “research” I found it highly unlikely), the rather quick and painless way some pretty big issues were resolved toward the end–but for some light, easy reading with likable characters, you could do a lot worse. Having Wyatt draw comics in his free time was a nice touch, and Kayla putting herself through school with VA benefits made the horrible first husband storyline easier to take.

Though this won’t make it on to any of my favorite lists, there was enough that was enjoyable here; I’d probably give another book from this author a try.

Rating: 3 stars / C+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


View all my reviews

 

 

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.

View all my reviews

New Release Review: TWIST by Kylie Scott (Dive Bar #2)

Dive-Bar-banner-with-Chaser

From New York Times bestselling author Kylie Scott comes the second sizzling stand-alone novel in the Dive Bar series!

When his younger brother loses interest in online dating, hot bearded bartender Joe Collins only intends to log into his account and shut it down. Until he reads about her.

Alex Parks is funny, fascinating, and pretty much everything he’s been looking for in a woman—except that she lives across the country. Soon they’re emailing up a storm and telling each other their deepest, darkest secrets…except the one that really matters.

When Alex pays Joe a surprise visit, however, they both discover that when it comes to love, it’s always better with a twist.

Twist-promo-10

Review:

Oh my goodness, this book was so much fun to read. I absolutely loved Alex’s voice–her snark, her insecurities, her weird quirky hangups–I think I found my new fictional BFF. (She’s given me my new motto: “When in doubt, don’t answer the phone or the door. It’s always people.” Maybe we were separated at birth?) And since in my head Joe looks an awful lot like Thor, I’m not going to mind hanging out with my new bestie and her beau at all 🙂

Seriously, why have I never read anything by Kylie Scott before? Must remedy ASAP.

Twist worked absolutely fine as a standalone. Other book characters–both from this series and (briefly, oh-so-briefly but they’re there) Scott’s Stage Dive series make appearances, but you don’t have to have read their books to appreciate this one. Chances are you’ll want to read them, though–if you’re like me, this urge will hit around page, oh–five, maybe?–because, holy schmoly, this is some fun reading. Heck, I even want to read Eric’s (upcoming) book, and he wasn’t anywhere close to my favorite secondary character. If anyone can change my mind about him, it’s probably Ms. Scott.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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About the author:

kyliescottimageKylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet. You can learn more about Kylie from http://www.kylie-scott.com/

 

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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!

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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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