New Release Review! TAKE ON ME by Gwen Hayes (Silver Pines #4)

Take On Me
by Gwen Hayes

Synopsis:

Online dating columnist Dane Martin (www.virile.com) has no plans to give up his reign as bachelor extraordinaire. He has a reputation to uphold, especially with the upcoming release of his book Coming on Strong.

Holly Winters, everyone’s favorite girl next door thanks to her blog of the same name, gives dating advice to women struggling to find commitment among the Virile sycophants. Dane is exactly the kind of guy she cautions her readers away from.

When a publicity stunt goes awry and the opposites must pretend to be dating, all bets are off. Has the Girl Next Door tamed the most Virile man alive, or is she just another notch on the bedpost?

Previously published as Mr. Virile and the Girl Next Door. Now with bonus epilogue!

 

Review:

This novella was so, so much fun! Well-written banter, a side romance to root for, an awkward rescue mutt, and an enemies-to-lovers romance with a he said/she said rivalry going on–very reminiscent of every rom-com movie I’ve ever watched and loved 🙂

(And I’ve watched more than my fair share, so I would know.)

Holly and Dane’s progression from friends to lovers to something more was nicely done, and realistic. Even though it’s a novella, the time frame was not at all rushed. The excerpts from their individual blog posts were a nice touch, and revealed much about their characters and mindsets.

The new epilogue (not originally included with Mr. Virile and the Girl Next Door) cranks up the adorableness about a thousandfold, and has me totally ready for my next visit to Silver Pines!

I only have one complaint here:

“Tell me a little bit about the man of your dreams.”

She sent him a startled look. “Well, he’s…nice.”

A huff of incredulity escaped Dane’s lungs. “Nice? The man of your dreams is nice? Try again, this time give me some of that honesty you were talking about the other night.”

“Oh, all right. But he is nice. It’s not a crime, you know. I happen to like nice men.”

Something pulled in his gut. “I’m a nice man.”

Holly laughed. “No you’re not. You’re…”

“A scoundrel?” he offered.

“I was always more of a Luke Skywalker fan than Han Solo anyway.”

You see my problem here, right? As if any sane person would pick Luke over Han… 😉

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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Cover Reveal! CHECKMATE Duet (THIS IS WAR and THIS IS LOVE) by Kennedy Fox

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★★★

BOOK 1 EBOOK

Title: Checkmate: This Is War

Series: Checkmate Duet #1

Author: Kennedy Fox

Photographer: Sara Eirew

Designer: Sara Eirew

Genre: Enemies to Lovers Romance

Release Date: October 3

 

Synopsis

Travis King is the worst kind of asshole.

He taunts me for being a good girl and mocks my high standards.

He’s cruel, crass, and has enough confidence to last two lifetimes.

And I hate him.

It wouldn’t matter so much if he were avoidable.

But considering he’s my older brother’s best friend and roommate, I see him more than I’d ever want to.

His sculpted abs and gorgeous eyes are a waste on such an egotistical man, which makes me hate him even more.

Even though I’ve had a crush on him since I was ten, the feelings weren’t mutual and he’s always made that very clear.

He’s always loved getting under my skin and one night against my better judgment, I let him in my bed.

I’ve succumbed to his manwhore ways, but that doesn’t change a thing.

Because the King is about to get played at his own game—and lose.

Checkmate.

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★★★

BOOK 2 EBOOK

Title: Checkmate: This Is Love

Series: Checkmate Duet #2

Author: Kennedy Fox

Photographer: Sara Eirew

Designer: Sara Eirew

Genre: Enemies to Lovers Romance

Release Date: TBA

 

Synopsis

Viola Fisher is the epitome of perfection.

She despises my one-night stands and mocks my less-than-classy habits.

She’s smart, beautiful, and too good to be true.

And I want her.

If she were anyone else, I’d have made my move years ago, but considering she’s my best friend’s little sister, she’s always been off-limits. Not to mention how much she loathes my very existence.

Hating me is her religion, but needing her is mine. Her sexy curves and filthy smart mouth make me want her even more, and I’m more determined than ever to change her mind.

I’ll prove I’m done playing games.

But until then, we’ll continue to play by her rules.

Viola Fisher may have won the battle, but the war isn’t over yet.

Checkmate, princess.

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About the Author

Kennedy Fox

Kennedy Fox is a duo of bestselling authors who share a love of You’ve Got Mail and The Holiday.

When they aren’t bonding over romantic comedies, they like to brainstorm new book ideas. One day, they decided to collaborate together under a pseudonym and have some fun creating new characters that’ll make your lady bits tingle and your heart melt. If you enjoy romance stories with sexy, tattooed alpha males and smart, independent women, then a Kennedy Fox book is for you!

Both authors are from Manhattan living the glamorous bachelorette life, or perhaps they’re just confusing themselves with an episode of Sex and the City (Total #Girlcrush SJP). Either way, they’re looking forward to bringing you many more stories to fall in love with!

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New Release Review: PLAYING WITH FIRE by Kate Meader (Hot in Chicago #2)

Playing with Fire
by Kate Meader

Synopsis:

From popular romance author Kate Meader comes the second novel in Hot in Chicago, a brand-new, sizzling series that follows a group of firefighting foster siblings and their blazing hot love interests!

As the only female firefighter at Engine Co. 6, Alexandra Dempsey gets it from all sides: the male coworkers who think she can’t do the job, the wives and girlfriends who see her as a threat to their firefighter men, and her overprotective foster brothers who want to shelter their baby sister at all costs. So when she single-handedly saves the life of Eli Cooper, Chicago’s devastatingly handsome mayor, she assumes the respect she’s longed for will finally come her way. But it seems Mr. Mayor has other ideas…

Eli Cooper’s mayoral ratings are plummeting, his chances at reelection dead in the water. When a sexy, curvaceous firefighter gives him the kiss of life, she does more than bring him back to the land of the living—she also breathes vitality into his campaign. Riding the wave of their feel-good story might prop up Eli’s flagging political fortunes, but the sizzling attraction between them can go nowhere; he’s her boss, and there are rules that must be obeyed. But you know what they say about rules: they’re made to be broken…
Review:

I love the firefighting Dempseys!

Honestly, while reading each book in the series, I think this one’s my favorite! and the Dempsey it’s about becomes my new favorite Dempsey–so I should probably just give in and say they’re all my faves, I suppose. Wyatt’s story’s next (Sparking the Fire)–can’t wait!!!) and what are the chances I won’t love it too? Yeah, pretty much nil…clearly, resistance is futile! 😉

Alex–or Alexandra, as Eli likes to call her–and Eli’s story was so much fun to read. I’d been looking forward to it since the two of them showed up together on the page the first time (Flirting with Fire, when Alex was taken to the carpet for destroying the car of Eli’s biggest political supporter (she was totally justified, IMHO), an incident that was mentioned in the first passage I highlighted in this book. Alex is on yet another soon-to-be-disastrous first date at the time:

“You know how the news blows stuff out of proportion,” she said, adding the half shrug Alex Dempsey 2.0 would use. That Alex was more dateable. More lovable. Less likely to use the Jaws of Life on the personal property of anyone who pissed her off.

Of course, it isn’t actually possible for any Alex to be more lovable, as her “posse” (AKA Team Get Alex Laid: her youngest brother Gage–Melting Point–and friends/future sisters-in-law Darcy and Kinsey–Rekindle the Flame and  Flirting with Fire–already knows. It’s going to take Alex a while to figure out, though, that the right guy for her is going to be the one that’s going to take her exactly as she is.

One thing she’s sure of is that that guy isn’t going to be mayor Eli Cooper.

She’d be wrong, of course. Because Playing with Fire is an example of the best kind of enemies-to-lovers story. Even when these two are driving each other crazy they have absolutely amazing chemistry going on.

…suddenly, his mouth was on hers again, that wickedly talented mouth that he should never, ever use for speech. Just pleasure. That’s all that stupid, annoying, sexy mouth was good for.

When the two of them end up in the same press conference together, all of Chicago can see how the sparks fly between the two of them, and they’re in a fake relationship–for the good of Eli’s re-election campaign–faster than you can say hell, yeah:

“It’s called a publicity stunt. God knows why, but people like us together. They like that sassy mouth of yours. They like the soap opera quality of our history. There’s even a poll going on the names of our children. Sophie will be the first woman president of the United States, while Joshua will fight brush fires in California.”

“That’s…that’s ridiculous. There’ll be a woman president long before that.”

Seriously, every moment these two are on the page together, it’s golden–the chemistry, the sexy banter, the almost-made-me-spit-out-my-iced-tea quips. Even when Eli’s doing his convincing impression of an a$$hat, he’s hot. And funny.

“You can rest assured your medal from the Order of Chivalry is in the mail.”

“Must everything be framed as a battle, Alexandra? I was merely being polite and walking you to your door.”

She huffed her annoyance. “You wouldn’t do it for a man.”

“I might. If he was puny or was carrying Super Bowl tickets and looked like he might be mugged at any moment.”

(Though, really, isn’t that just a sad commentary on all of her dates lately? Isn’t being walked to the door a good-date requirement? I’m with Eli on this one, though I get why Alex is frustrated by the gesture, especially from him.)

But oh, Lord, Eli Cooper could walk me to my door any time.

Especially after the absolutely to-die-for epilogue. (Sigh!)

Alex’s brothers are out in force in this novel, standing up for their sister and glaring daggers (and occasionally more) at Mr. Mayor on her behalf, being overbearing as only big (and even so-called little) brothers can. Kinsey and Darcy are like the sisters Alex never knew she was lacking. Besides the sassy, snarky, chemistry-driven amazeballs nature of this series, the family dynamic really makes it what it is. Playing with Fire would work fine as a standalone, sure–but do yourself a favor and read the other three books in the series first, just because they’re amazing.

Now, excuse me while I go back and re-read all of my highlighted passages.

Several times. 🙂

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Release Day and Giveaway! SEARCHING FOR ALWAYS by Jennifer Probst (Searching For #4)

Today we are celebrating the release of SEARCHING FOR ALWAYS by Jennifer Probst. This is the 4th book in the Searching For series and it is published by Gallery Books. Check out the teaser and giveaway below.

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SEARCHING FOR ALWAYS Synopsis:

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jennifer Probst sparks a blissful mind-body connection as her “sexy, satisfying” (Kirkus Reviews) new series continues!

She’s an expert in helping others de-stress, but Arilyn Meadows is running on fumes. Along with her job counseling singles seeking soul mates at the Kinnections agency in Verily, New York, she’s a yoga teacher, animal shelter volunteer, anger management therapist, and helping hand to her beloved grandfather. No time to find Mr. Right—but after discovering her yogi boyfriend in a compromising asana, Arilyn would rather dog-sit for her honeymooning friend Kate than risk her heart on another downward dog. And when police officer Stone Petty—radiating masculinity and bad-boy attitude—is sent to her for mandatory lessons in cooling off when the job gets too hot, Arilyn vows to ignore his seductive glances and sexy grin. But there’s no halting their sizzling flirtation—a red-hot, high-speed chase that’s breaking all the limits.

SearchingforAlways

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AUTHOR INFORMATION:
Jennifer Probst

Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.

She makes her home in Upstate New York with the whole crew. Her sons keep her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean.
She is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her book, The Marriage Bargain, was ranked #6 on Amazon’s Best Books for 2012. She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website for updates on new releases and her street team at www.jenniferprobst.com.

LINKS:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Lindsay Emory, Author of KNOW WHEN TO HOLD HIM, Talks about the “Kiss or Kill” Trope

I LOVE enemies to lovers 🙂

Lindsay picked most of my favorites, though–I’m going to have to do some real thinking to come up with more…

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One of my earliest experiences with the enemies to lovers (or as I prefer to call it, Kiss/Kill) trope was watching Moonlighting in the 80’s.  The snarky banter  between uptight Maddie and playboy David was tight and tense and sexy and something that probably formed the basis of every romance I’ll ever write, including my debut contemporary romance, KNOW WHEN TO HOLD HIM.

This trope is old as dirt, and can be seen in Shakespeare  (I could go back to the Bible, but that feels a bit strange, when we’re discussing romance novels) in Much Ado About Nothing, where Benedick and Beatrice’s sharp words and witty insults are so at odds with the attraction they clearly feel.

Pride & Prejudice is another example of the Kiss or Kill trope, with Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy’s wordplay being a (very proper) form of foreplay.

In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, we’re still loving the push and pull between will-they-won’t-they sometimes-enemies.  Look at the enduring popularity of Buffy and Spike, or the eternal hotness of Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

In KNOW WHEN TO HOLD HIM, Liam Connelly and Spencer Hightower find themselves attracted to the person who is the biggest threat to their professional careers and their identities as competitors. Their challenges are sexy, one-upping the other a turn-on.  In the end, they’ll find out whether they’re strong enough to admit defeat in love and in war.

I had so much fun writing these two, and I’d love to hear all about your favorite Kiss/Kill couples on Twitter (@lindsay_emory) or Facebook (facebook.com/lindsayemorywrites)!

Author Bio:

As a Texan and recovering sorority girl, Lindsay Emory has strong opinions on college football, nachos, and wearing white after Labor Day. Lindsay started writing when her first grade teacher put her in a closet and told her to write stories, instead of teaching her math. When she’s not writing, she’s raising two daughters, watching movies with her husband, and reading as many books as possible. She is an active member of the Dallas Area Romance Authors chapter of RWA and a semi-active member of the PTA, which is a whole lot less fun.

Author Website: lindsayemory.com

Author Twitter: @lindsay_emory

Author Facebook: facebook.com/lindsayemorywrites

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/lindsayemory

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/32aSn

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Book Title: Know When To Hold Him
Author: Lindsay Emory
Release Date: February 23, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

Spencer Hightower’s job is cleaning up other people’s messes. And she is damn good at it. Unfortunately, being a supremely organized workaholic, it is isn’t always easy to meet guys—until Liam Connelly shows up, all gorgeous and really, really sexy. Sure, he makes Spencer’s pulse thump…but he’s also the biggest pain in her professional life.

Liam can’t believe his lousy luck when he learns that Spencer is his opposition in a high-profile scandal. She’s the best at what she does and the worst possible opponent. Of course, a little professional animosity can’t hurt a guy’s chances for a date, can it? Even as Spencer tries to keep her distance, their attraction grows stronger…and hotter. But once they cross all kinds of professional—and personal—boundaries, the situation snowballs into a disaster that even the great Spencer Hightower can’t fix…

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