New Release Review and Giveaway! MORE THAN FRIENDS by Jody Holford (Kendrick Place #1)

What happens when the best friend you’re in love with  asks you to love him back, but only for pretend? 
 
MORE THAN FRIENDS
Kendrick Place #1
Jody Holford
Releasing Dec 5th, 2016
Entangled BLISS

Owen Burnett planned on a quiet, easygoing Christmas, hanging out with his best friend and neighbor, Gabby Michaelson. So when his mom pressures him to come home for the holidays, he tells a little white lie…that he’s spending the holidays with his new girlfriend. But when his family shows up unexpectedly, Owen pulls the best friend card and asks Gabby to play his fake girlfriend.

Gabby’s been hopelessly in love with her best friend Owen for what feels like forever, but playing his “fake” girlfriend when the entire boisterous Burnett clan visits is easier said than done. The more she tries to deny the attraction between them, the more obvious their chemistry becomes. But even though she’s not the only one feeling it, putting their friendship on the line is a risk she can’t take.

Owen thought he’d find Gabby curled up on the oversized chair in his bedroom, sketchbook in hand. He had looked forward to seeing her there like that, he realized. Instead, she was sitting in the middle of his bed, in a pair of pajama shorts and a tank top, laughing at whatever album she seemed to be flipping through.

“Hey,” he said, ignoring the warmth crowding his chest. He shut the door behind him and arched an eyebrow when she slapped the album shut and put it behind her back. No. Mom wouldn’t have…

“Hi.” She scooted back on the bed, pushing the dark blue album, which he now recognized, under the pillow.

“Gabby. What are you doing? You were supposed to be sketching,” he said, advancing.

If it was possible to look down her nose at him while she looked up at him, she managed. “Is that what I was supposed to be doing? I didn’t know I had to confirm my activities with you.”

His legs hit the bed and Gabby’s body tensed, like she was ready to spring from the mattress. With the album, most likely.

His heart dove into his stomach. “Did my mother give you that?”

Her smile started slow then took over her entire face. Her eyes shone with it. She nodded.

Oh, Mom so did. He thrust out his hand. “Give it.”

“Oh, no. It’s too good. There are actual bath shots, O. And the time you dressed up as your sister. And there’s one shot of you learning how to pee standing up,” she said. Her words came out slightly muffled as her hand shot to her mouth to cover the fit of laughter.

He launched himself at the album, but she tugged it away just in time and he landed on top of her. The album went flying to the floor and Gabby laughed, twisting in his arms, trying to get away.

“You think that’s funny?”

She nodded. “I really do. I think I’d like to do a new series. Owen: the younger years. From print to paint.” Gabby’s body convulsed in laughter. She struggled with him as he tickled her and tried to get her to promise never to do such a thing. It didn’t take long for her to cave.

“Okay. I promise. Stop. I promise.”

“Say ‘I swear on my favorite set of brushes to erase all memories of what I saw in Owen’s baby book,’” he said, pinning her hands above her head.

She bit her lip, considering. “Owen, I will never, in my life, forget what I saw in those pictures. In fact, in times of trouble or sadness, I may purposely recall them,” she said. He tickled again, his fingers grazing her breast accidentally on the way up her arm. She squealed. “Okay. Okay.” He paused. “I swear on my favorite set of brushes to never use the images I will forever hold dear as the subject of any of my artwork. Ever.”

Owen stopped fighting his grin. He groaned as he collapsed to the side of her, letting her hands go. “Good enough. I can’t believe she gave you that.”

 

A sweet, friends-to-lovers (holiday) romance!

Owen and Gabby have been best friends for two years, since a few months after they both moved into Kendrick Place, when Owen got the apartment that Gabby, an amateur artist, coveted for its views, windows, and wood floors. When Owen comes up with the suggestion that she pretend to be his fake girlfriend while his family is in town for the holidays (he’d previously told his mother that he’d found “the one” in the hopes of getting her off his back about finding a girlfriend/wife/giving her grandchildren) and offers an apartment switch as incentive, Gabby swallows her misgivings and agrees.

Of course you know before you even get past the first chapter how that is going to go, so really you’re reading the book for the journey as much as the destination. And in this instance, the journey is enjoyable–as long as you can look past a few questionable bits. For example, I get why Owen’s mother, father, elderly aunt, and sister decide to bring Christmas to Owen since he wasn’t going to come home for the holiday. But why do they decide to stay with him in his two bedroom apartment (and only one of those bedrooms actually has a bed) instead of getting rooms in a nearby hotel? It seems throwing our hero and heroine into closer, more awkward quarters is the only real reason. Their friends-to-lovers romance is a delicious troupe–add in the fact that Gabby’s been secretly in love with him for most of their friendship and he’s totally oblivious (squee!)–so much potential. All good things. BUT almost the second she agrees to his whole plot, Owen suddenly realizes that Gabby’s a woman. And desirable. And okay, the whole having-your-eyes-opened-to-the-truth bit is a staple to the troupe, but there really isn’t any catalyst for it here beyond him asking her to be his fake girlfriend. He does, and wham! he notices that she’s a gorgeous woman and he’s actually attracted to her. Um, okay…

Then there’s all the background noise. On the one hand, Owen’s other friend Brady and the mysterious Wyatt (whom Gabby befriends) engender enough interest to make me hope they’re getting their own stories, since they all live in the series’ titular Kendrick Place. On the other hand, the side plots with slimy apartment manager Jake, the broken into storage spaces, the missing box, and the almost-broken-into mailboxes feel neither fully developed nor completely resolved in the end. Will they be further addressed in later series books? Maybe. It’s hard to say, and those bits make the story feel a somewhat unfinished.

And, argh–where are Owen’s glasses on that cover? Sigh…

Still, Owen and Gabby are sweet together, and their developing romance makes for some akwardly cute moments. Though this story wasn’t without its flaws, it has accomplished its job of making me anticipate future books in the series.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


Jody Holford is a multi-published author who has a soft spot for happily ever after. So much so, she tattooed the words on her arm. She’s a mom and a wife, a friend, sister, daughter, teacher, and book-lover. Her stories have a little bit of heat and a lot of heart. And maybe, some swoon-worthy moments that will make you smile. 
 

 

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New Release Review and Giveaway! 12 STEPS TO MR. RIGHT by Cindi Madsen

12 Steps to Mr. Right Cover
12 Steps to Mr. Right
by Cindi Madsen
Publication Date: September 26, 2016
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Contemporary Select, Romance

Synopsis:
12 steps to finding Mr. Right, composed by dating coach extraordinaire Savannah Gamble:
  1. Admit to being powerless over your attraction to the wrong type of guy. (Like Lincoln Wells, who broke your heart after an unforgettable one-night stand.)
  2. Believe Mr. Right is out there.
  3. Take inventory of past mistakes. (See step #1.)
  4. Make a list of qualities you want in a man. (Avoid charming baseball players/reason you made these rules in the first place)
  5. Take charge of your own life.
  6. Learn to love yourself.
  7. Sort the hookup guys from the relationship guys. (Avoid a painful brushoff after an amazing night together.)
  8. Never, ever settle. (Even if the chemistry is off-the-charts.)
  9. Don’t believe you can change a guy. (Once a commitment-phobe, always a commitment-phobe)
  10. Communicate your needs.
  11. Open your heart & love fully. (Still working on this one…)
  12. Don’t ever, ever stray from the steps.

12-steps-to-mr-right-teaser-2

 

Review:

The romance in this one is sloooow moving, and it seems a little strange now to read an adult romance with a single POV (I want to know how he’s feeling, and I want to know NOW, darn it!;)) but ohmygoodness, the last 10% of this one made up for every bit before it when I didn’t get what was up with Linc or wanted to tell Savannah what she could do with her rules.

So. Good. There were tears. More than one batch. I might have even crossed over into sloppy crying, if I hadn’t been in a public restaurant and trying really, really hard not to embarrass my poor unsuspecting teenaged son.

Don’t get me wrong–I didn’t spend the first 90% in perpetual aggravation, and I really did enjoy Savannah’s voice from the first page to the last. I love her business (why, oh why isn’t it real and why isn’t she operating right here in my town?) and what she does for women, and her rules really do make a lot of sense. (#12 is the one that started the tearfest, BTW. It sounds good on the first page, but later on…? Sigh.) But we wait an awfully long time to find out exactly how her and Linc’s first time really went, and even longer to find out what the heck he was thinking then and since. There’s all kinds of good stuff in between about holding out for what you deserve, and friends and family goodness (Ivy and Jackson! Tell me they’re getting a book,please!) and learning to truly know and trust yourself–all good things. But it was frustrating to have Savannah and Linc moving sooo slowly and feel like the truth was out there, but just out of reach.

But that last 10%? Was killer.

Loved.

Every.

Page.

Except then I wasn’t ready to let go…

(So…Ivy and Jackson, yes? Soon?)

And for the record, I totally agree with Savannah. Baseball games are way too long, and their pants are totally like Regency-era silk breeches. I can’t believe I’ve never noticed before!

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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ABOUT CINDI MADSEN:Cindi Madsen

Cindi Madsen is a USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a new pretty pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music, dancing, and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Newsletter | Amazon Author Profile

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New Release Review and Giveaway! SUNSET IN CENTRAL PARK by Sarah Morgan (From Manhattan with Love #2)

sunset-in-central-park

Synopsis:

In the chaos of New York, true love can be hard to find, even when it’s been right under your nose all along…

Love has never been a priority for garden designer Frankie Cole. After witnessing the fallout of her parents’ divorce, she’s seen the devastation an overload of emotion can cause. The only man she feels comfortable with is her friend Matt—but that’s strictly platonic. If only she found it easier to ignore the way he makes her heart race…

Matt Walker has loved Frankie for years but, sensing how fragile she is beneath her feisty exterior, has always played it cool. But then he uncovers new depths to the girl he’s known forever and doesn’t want to wait a moment longer. He knows Frankie has secrets and has buried them deep, but can Matt persuade her to trust him with her heart and kiss him under the Manhattan sunset?

 

Review:

Such a good book!

I loved Frankie and Matt–definitely MFEO. He was so patient with her particular kind of relationship crazy–until he wasn’t, but that was okay too, because they needed to get through that part to get to the HEA, and anyway Frankie totally knew how to bring it for that (literally) kick-butt ending–and she was so, well, crazy.

But in a good way. Mostly. A way that was entertaining to read, anyway. I adore seeing into character’s heads and finding out they’re way more messed up than I am.

(We’re going to ignore the fiction – real life distinction, ‘kay? It’s better that way.)

Plus, she found a way to get herself to a less crazy place and learn to trust and hope, so–win-win.

Sunset is both a friends-to-lovers and a best-friend’s-older-brother story–in other words, the best of both worlds. Add in the fact that Matt is such a stellar book boyfriend that he’s even taken in an emotionally damaged cat (aptly named Claws) and really, there was no chance I wasn’t going to love this one. Fortunately, it totally lived up to all my hopes, and then some.

I have no excuse for the fact that book one in the series,Sleepless in Manhattan is sitting patiently on my ereader, waiting to be read–what was I waiting for?–and I didn’t even have to get to the teaser for book three, Miracle on 5th Avenue , to know that it needed to be added to my TBR, like, yesterday. This series. It’s gonna be a favorite, for sure. (In the meantime, though, it worked just fine as a standalone.)

Rating: 4 stars / A-

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

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About the author:sarah-morgan
USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes contemporary romance and her trademark humour and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. She has been nominated 4 times for the prestigious RITA Award from the Romance Writers of America and has won the award twice. Sarah lives near London, England, and when she isn’t reading or writing she loves being outdoors.

Connect with Sarah

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A Conversation with Jen Doyle, Author of CALLED UP (Calling It #2)

There are two things Max “Deke” Deacon can always count on:  his old high school teammates and Fitz Hawkins.
 

 

First, let me say thank you for having me here. I appreciate your hosting me on the occasion of the publication of CALLED UP (book two in the CALLING IT series). 🙂

You’re welcome! And, welcome 🙂

 

What 5 things should readers know about you?

* I’ve always been a huge reader, but only became a romance convert about five years ago. But it’s pretty much all I read now.

* I have three children, including two teenagers, who are a bit scandalized that their mom is writing romance. (Well, the 16yo girl is; the 13yo boy is busy catching Pokemon [or whatever is happening there].) The 5yo only cares when I’m on deadline and can’t do the normal bedtime routine.

* I’m a HUGE Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan. I still quote lines, even all these years later.

* I have a master’s degree in library and information science.

* I can’t stand the word ‘nipple’ yet I use it fairly often. (The hazards of being a romance writer.)

LOL! My 17yo girl AND 19yo boy are doing the Pokemon thing too…I don’t get it either 😉

 

Where did the inspiration for this book come from?

CALLED UP is, as you know, the second in the CALLING IT/Inspiration, IA series. The inspiration for the series itself was the character of Nate Hawkins, the celebrity athlete who comes back to his small hometown and finds love. But even in those early days of thinking about Nate, I always knew there was a huge heart lurking underneath a cold and jaded shell. And the character of Angelica “Fitz” Hawkins, who is Nate’s half-sister and the heroine of CALLED UP, was where a lot of that goodness came from. Though they got off to a rough start due to the way she comes into his life when they are both teenagers, the kindness and loyalty he’s shown her since those early days says so much about who he is. So even though CALLING IT was about Nate and Dorie, I had pages upon pages of backstory for the character of Fitz that served as the inspiration for book two.

Fitz isn’t a loner, but thanks to the circumstances of her introduction to Inspiration, she’s also taken advantage of the fact that most of her best friends are guys who have no interest in heart-to-heart conversations. There’s a lot of emotion hidden under her surface and she has no interest in acknowledging it even to herself, much less letting it show. Max “Deke” Deacon, on the other hand is pretty much the opposite. Part of Nate and Fitz’s group of close friends, he’s a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of guy. When the two characters presented themselves to me and required I write their story, I was quite intrigued.

That’s awesome! I love how things sometimes work out like that.

 

How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?

I became a writer fifteen years ago. I can actually name the day and time—November 6, 2001 at approximately 8:45 p.m. Remember how I mentioned above that I was a Buffy fan? I’d begun to watch the show when it came on in syndication (because, you know, back in those days, you had to actually wait until something was aired :)) and had avoided watching the season six episodes as they aired. But on November 6, they had their musical episode, and along with the entire rest of the Buffy fandom, I had to see it live. There was a particular character I’d come to love, and realized he hadn’t made it to season six. By about three quarters of the way through the episode, I found myself distracted by wondering what had happened to him. I almost immediately began to search out where he was—and was completely unhappy with the answer. I then came across the world of fan fiction and saw that there were others out there who felt the same and who wrote a different ending. But it wasn’t the ending I wanted, especially because I believed in the canon, which meant I couldn’t conceive of his journey happening differently than what had been laid out on the TV show. With that said, however, I felt pretty strongly that the story didn’t have to end there. So I picked up where his story left off. (I actually did a whole blog post about this. 🙂 See  http://www.jendoyleink.com/2016/08/18/on-becoming-a-writer-another-throwback-thursday-blog-post/ if you’re interested in reading more.)

It wasn’t until December that I began to put words to the page, but I feel like that moment was when the switch turned on for me.

I love it! I may have written fan fiction a time or two myself. For a different fandom, however.

 

What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?

I’m currently working on the proposal for book three for the series, so hopefully I’ll have news about that soon. I also just recently put out a free short story (Last Call) that serves as an introduction to Inspiration, Iowa. It’s a complete standalone, but Deke makes a cameo appearance. It can be downloaded at: https://www.instafreebie.com/free/HXb8B

This fall I’m also going to post Butterfly Ops, a somewhat epic story (360K words – which is, um, a lot), on Wattpad. It’s the evolution of that first fanfic I wrote, having become quite more polished over time. If you’re on Wattpad, keep an eye out.

Great! Thanks so much for both of those 🙂

 

If you had to “sell” your book in a single Tweet, what would you say?

Ugh! I am so horrible at this! How about:

Fans of @JillShalvis will love this friends-to-lovers story. Baseball, small town romance and…handcuffs? #CalledUp http://bit.ly/CalledUpAZ

Works for me! You’re better at it than you think!

Actually, I think I might go tweet that now…

🙂

 

Thank you so much for having me! I hope everyone enjoys CALLED UP and the rest of the CALLING IT series!

Thank you again for coming, Jen!

Keep reading to find out more about Jen and her books.

A big believer in happily ever afters, Jen Doyle decided it was high time she started creating some. Jen is a member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as a member of the New England, New Jersey Romance Writers and Music City Romance Writer chapters of RWA. She is represented by Sarah E. Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency. She has an M.S. in Library and Information Science and, in addition to her work as a librarian, has worked as a conference and events
planner as well as a Communications and Enrollment administrator in both preschool and higher education environments (although some might say that there is very little difference between the two; Jen has no comment regarding whether she is one of the “some”).

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

CALLED UP
A Calling It Novel
Jen Doyle
Releasing Aug 29th, 2016
Carina Press

There are two things Max “Deke” Deacon can always count on: his old high school teammates and Fitz Hawkins. But no matter how much Deke might secretly fantasize otherwise, a relationship with one of his best friends is off limits. Until one unexpectedly smoldering encounter has Deke and Fitz looking at each other in a whole new way.

Angelica “Fitz” Hawkins knows for a fact that it is not better to have loved and lost. After losing her parents, she’d rather lock up her heart and throw away the key than endure that kind of pain again. If that means giving up any hope of a lasting relationship, then so be it.

With Deke, Fitz finally feels like she’s back in the land of the living. But she won’t risk another broken heart—even if it means saying good-bye to Deke for good. It’s up to Deke to convince her that the safest place she could ever be is right here with him.


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Excerpt-Banner

“Hey, Dorie,” she heard from above her. “Do you know where Fitz wants these bottles of water?”

Speak of the devil. Fitz brought her head up a little too suddenly, banging it on the underside of the table. “Ouch!” Her hand going to the back of her head, she came up frowning, and…

Oh, God, was he this gorgeous before? Had he always smelled amazing?

Doing everything she could to keep herself immune from his physical charms, she spun on her heel. “Back here.”

Very specifically not looking in Deke’s direction so that she didn’t give anything away, she forced herself to act exactly as she always did around him. Except she suddenly couldn’t quite remember how that was. Did she flirt with him? Did she flat-out ignore him? Did she generally just go around in a state of low-level irritation? Because right now she had absolutely no clue.

She had even less of a clue as she bent down to open up the lid to the cooler and he crouched down next to her, his head so close all he’d need to do was turn it slightly to the left and his mouth would be on her breast.

And was that…?

Oh, hell, no, her nipples had not just hardened. She slapped her arms over her chest.

Because they had. And Deke, with his superhero sex god extra sensory perception, had definitely noticed. He at least had the decency to look down at the ground as he grinned.

“It’s the cold,” Fitz snapped. “From the cooler.”

Pushing the bottles down into the ice, Deke just answered, “You’d be amazed at all the bits and pieces I can warm up with my tongue.”

 

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New Release Review and Giveaway! THE BEST FRIEND BARGAIN by Robin Bielman (Kisses in the Sand #3)

The Best Friend Bargain Tour Banner

The Best Friend Bargain
by Robin Bielman
Kisses in the Sand #2
Publication Date: August 8, 2016
Genres: Adult, Entangled Lovestruck, Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Olivia Lincoln has a plan guaranteed to get her life back on track. A plan that involves her best friend, Danny. And he’s on board, too…until she blurts out that they’re engaged and expecting a baby, and the news spreads like wildfire.

The problem? Danny doesn’t do marriage. Or family. And everyone knows it, including Olivia.

As irritated as he might be, protecting Olivia is what Danny does. But put best friends under one roof, add house rules begging to be broken, accidental nakedness, and pancakes in bed, and what started as a marriage between friends threatens to turn into the real deal…which would ruin everything.

The Best Friend Bargain Teaser 1

Excerpt:

“Sorry,” she murmured. “But we’re having a wedding.”

Danny took her hand and gave a gentle tug so she had to follow him. “Instead of a swear jar, I’m going to start a sorry jar and charge you a dollar for every time you say it.” He led her to the couch. “Knock it off, okay?” He propped an extra pillow behind her back and sat far enough away for her to straighten her legs and put her feet in his lap.

She’d baked him chocolate chip cookies this morning. It was payback time.

“When?” he asked, taking her heel and massaging the bottom of her foot.

It took her a minute to realize he meant the wedding. “New Year’s Eve.”

“Where?”

“Backyard.”

He let out a breath. “Okay. Sounds good.”

“No it doesn’t.” She knew he was just appeasing her.

“It does actually. My original concern had to do with family and friends making a big production of it, but I can deal with something small. We’re friends doing this for a good reason, Liv, and a ceremony means something to you.”

Friends. She was starting to hate that word. She understood his explanation, but because he obviously wasn’t feeling any of the new sensations between them that she was, he didn’t see the harm in his casual attitude.

He rubbed the ball of her foot, making her sink a little further into the couch.

Silence rained between them like a hailstorm. She had to tell him about the unwelcome but stubborn desires making her hot and needy before she acted on impulse and did something stupid like jump him.

“Things are different,” she whispered to her lap, unable to meet his eyes when she admitted that.

When he didn’t answer right away, she looked up.

Pain filled the line between his furrowed brows, but agreement and…she couldn’t take a breath for a moment…heat shimmered in his direct gaze. “Yeah.”

Her toes started to tingle, the buzz continuing up her legs and spreading over every inch of her skin. He shared her crazy attraction. Comfort mixed with desire. “I should leave.”

“No. I want you to stay.”

A thrill moved up her spine. So did fear and uncertainty. “I’d die if anything happened to our friendship, Danny.”

“Nothing—”

“They say relationships ruin the best friendships, you know.”

He gave her the look that said, “Are you finished?” She pressed her lips together.

“Nothing is going to happen between us, Liv. Not like that. It will pass, whatever this is. I think we’re just straddling a line we never imagined we’d find ourselves standing on. It’s not your fault,” he was quick to add, taking in her upset expression. “Emotions are running kind of high at the moment, but we’ve got our rules. We’ve got fifteen years of friendship. The fact that we’re both feeling something new and feeling worried about it, means we can handle it and move forward without screwing anything up.”

Liv nodded in agreement.

“We good, then?”

 

The Best Friend Bargain Teaser 4

Review:

While The Best Friend Bargain was a cute story with likable characters, it’s neither my favorite from the author nor from the series. It was a pleasant way to spend my time, but definitely didn’t blow me away.

Throughout the book, it felt like Olivia did a lot of things without either really thinking about the consequences (like asking her best friend to marry her to smooth things over with her mother but never considering how his parents, who supposedly were more “parent” to her than her own, will take it) or paying attention to what is right in front of her (like when the baby’s father comes to see her–he barely acknowledges her pregnancy, and she notes to herself that he’s acting very detached and noncommittal, yet at the same time she’s seriously considering that they might get back together and thinks that he truly wants her? What??) and it was frustrating.

Danny was way too hung up on his determination to live his life alone because of his degenerative eye disease. Honestly, he needed to get over himself. People manage to live happy, fulfilling lives with disabilities all the time. I guess I can understand not wanting to pass it on if it’s genetic, but that’s obviously not a problem with Olivia’s baby, so…

The two of them went awfully quickly from “just friends” to something more–it didn’t seem like either one of them had had those kind of feelings about each other before, so it felt a little abrupt. Only one of them could claim to be affected by pregnancy hormone horniness, after all. 😉

The email exchanges between the two of them were very cute, though, and one of my favorite parts of the book. They reminded me of Meg Cabot’s Boy series, and I was happy to see them pop up frequently throughout.

I am generally a huge fan of the friends-to-lovers troupe; however, while The Best Friend Bargain was sweet, it isn’t going to be making my top ten list for the genre. Though it’s the third in the series it should work just fine as a standalone.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / C+

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

The Best Friend Bargain Cover

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DON’T MISS THE OTHER BOOKS IN THE KISSES IN THE SAND SERIES!
Keeping Mr. Right Now #1 Cover

Synopsis:

A temporary agreement neither could keep…

Brainy, organized Sophie Birch is no beach bunny. In fact, she’s totally out of her element among the sun-bronzed crowd at a film festival in beautiful White Strand Cove. When a surf lesson introduces her to Zane Hollander, suddenly she’s up close and personal with the world’s sexiest surf star. But what can a great-looking, experienced athlete possibly see in a klutzy out-of-towner who’s never set foot in the ocean?

Zane Hollander’s playboy reputation has never been a problem…until recently. Now his management team wants him on his best behavior to entice a meaningful new sponsor. Sophie Birch is the perfect girl to help reform his image. She’s genuine and respected—and their relationship is purely fictional. But the more Sophie blooms under the beachy sun, the more Zane knows he’ll just break her heart. Because nothing’s more important to Zane than following the tide.

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Blame It On the Kiss #2 Cover

Synopsis: The one guy she shouldn’t want…

Honor Mitchell has lived with guilt and regret for a long time, so when she promises to do the things on her dying best friend’s wish list, she’s determined to follow through and do something right for a change. But when she’s thrown together for wedding duties with the one man who complicates her vow–just by looking at him–she has to put her faith in Bryce Bishop’s pledge to help her, no strings attached.

Bryce’s near one-night stand with his ex-girlfriend’s best friend a few months ago might have been a mistake, but helping the beautiful, free-spirited Honor with her promise isn’t. His trust in women is shot, but he can’t help but play his best man card to his advantage and help Honor tick off the items on his ex’s list, even if it puts him in a no-win situation. Because his assistance might get Honor what she wants, but suddenly being the do-good guy puts his plans–and heart–in serious jeopardy.

ABOUT ROBIN BIELMAN:
Robin Bielman

When not attached to her laptop, USA Today Bestselling Author Robin Bielman can almost always be found with her nose in a book. A California girl, the beach is her favorite place for fun and inspiration. Her fondness for swoon-worthy heroes who flirt and stumble upon the girl they can’t live without jumpstarts all of her story ideas.
She loves to go on adventures, and has skydived, scuba dived, parasailed, gotten lost in the wilderness (and only suffered a gazillion bug bites for it) hiked to waterfalls, and swam with dolphins. In her spare time she also likes to put her treadmill to good use while watching her favorite TV shows, take hikes with her hubby, indulge her sweet tooth, and play sock tug of war with her cute, but sometimes naughty dog, Harry.
She dreams of traveling to faraway places and loves to connect with readers. Keep in touch and sign up for her newsletter on her website at http://robinbielman.com.

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Summer Reading Celebration and Giveaway! A Sneak Peek at Robin Bielman’s THE BEST FRIEND BARGAIN (Kisses in the Sand #3)

We are so excited to conclude the summer reading celebration with Robin Bielman by sharing a sneak peek of her upcoming Lovestruck release, The Best Friend Bargain. You won’t want to miss this funny, heartwarming read, so pre-order your copy today!
 

The Best Friend Bargain by Robin Bielman

 
About the Book:
Olivia Lincoln has a plan guaranteed to get her life back on track. A plan that involves her best friend, Danny. And he’s on board, too…until she blurts out that they’re engaged and expecting a baby, and the news spreads like wildfire.
The problem? Danny doesn’t do marriage. Or family. And everyone knows it, including Olivia.
As irritated as he might be, protecting Olivia is what Danny does. But put best friends under one roof, add house rules begging to be broken, accidental nakedness, and pancakes in bed, and what started as a marriage between friends threatens to turn into the real deal…which would ruin everything.

 

Excerpt:

The tail end of daylight cast a glow around her in one-of-a-kind beauty and he found himself tucking her hair behind her ear as she looked up at him with similar appreciation.

When her gaze moved to his mouth, he was a goner.

He ignored the voice inside his head reminding him she was his best friend and once they crossed this line they could never go back, and gave her two seconds to say something to change his mind.

One, two…

She took a step back.

One kiss. One kiss to get it out of his head and put it to rest. She might have placed another foot between them, but Danny saw the indecision in her eyes. He inched closer anyway, unwilling to let her go without one more try. It was a jerk move, but if he didn’t get to taste her he’d go insane wondering.

He cradled her neck in his hands.

“Danny.” He liked how breathless his name sounded on her lips.

“We have to. I’m going out of my mind, Liv.”

She half gasped, half sighed, a pleasure-and-pain kind of sound he wanted to turn into one of satisfaction. They had to get this crazy new attraction out of the way so they could go back to being just Liv and Danny. “Make it terrible,” she whispered.

He smiled. “I’ll do my best.”

“To make it awful,” she reiterated.

“Prepare yourself for the worst kiss ever.”

Her small smile made itself at home inside his chest. He lowered his mouth to hers. No tongue, he told himself. Keep it innocent. Safe.

Find it online:
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Don’t miss books one and two in the Kisses in the Sand series!

Keeping Mr. Right (#1)
Find it online:



Blame it on the Kiss (#2)

Find it online:
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About the Author:

 
When not attached to her laptop, USA Today Bestselling Author Robin Bielman can almost always be found with her nose in a book. A California girl, the beach is her favorite place for fun and inspiration. Her fondness for swoon-worthy heroes who flirt and stumble upon the girl they can’t live without jumpstarts all of her story ideas.
 
She loves to go on adventures, and has skydived, scuba dived, parasailed, gotten lost in the wilderness (and only suffered a gazillion bug bites for it) hiked to waterfalls, and swam with dolphins. In her spare time she also likes to put her treadmill to good use while watching her favorite TV shows, take hikes with her hubby, indulge her sweet tooth, and play sock tug of war with her cute, but sometimes naughty dog, Harry.
 
She dreams of traveling to faraway places and loves to connect with readers. Keep in touch and sign up for her newsletter on her website at http://robinbielman.com.

A Conversation with Mira Lynn Kelly, Author of MAY THE BEST MAN WIN (The Best Men #1–with a new release review and giveaway!)

conversation

Welcome, Mira! What 5 things should readers know about you?

  1. I’m a write-at-home mom to four kids, an overgrown puppy beast, and one perpetually young-at-heart husband.
  2. I write contemporary romance…the sexy, flirty, fun kind.
  3. I’m a chronic stress-baker…and I’m always on deadline. So my house smells delicious most of the time!
  4. More than anything else…I love to laugh.
  5. More than anything else…I hate to clean.

I’m a stress baker, and a procrastinating cleaner. I’m with you on #5, so you know when I start compulsive cleaning, it’s REALLY bad.
Where did the inspiration for this book come from?

The inspiration for the Best Man series goes back to an impassioned debate over “Construction worker hot” vs “Tuxedo fine” between a couple of like-minded man-candy aficionados I gab with from time to time. We were pulling snaps from Pinterest to support our cases when suddenly I had this group of tuxedo clad hotties piled up in front of me. An idea was born 🙂

Pinterest strikes again! If it helped to give us Jase, I heartily approve 🙂

How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?

I started writing my first (never to be published) novel about sixteen years ago when I was pregnant with my oldest son. A friend of mine had just written and sold her first novel and I was stunned to realize this regular girl like me…had just done this amazing thing that kind of made me ache a little deep, deep inside. I’d always loved reading and making up silly stories for my friends…but never saw myself as someone who could write an actual book. She inspired me to try.

It can be really fun to be wrong sometimes!

Fantastic!
What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?

I’m currently working on book three in the Best Men series—BEST MAN WITH BENEFITS. It’s a friends to lovers story and has me alternately clutching my aching heart and leaning over keyboard cackling. It’s a lot of fun! But after MAY THE BEST MAN WIN releases today, BEST MAN FOR THE JOB will be up next. It’s a girl who got away story and like the rest of the series is set in Chicago and is full of flirt, sizzle, fun…and tuxedo wearing hotties!

Gotta love the tuxedo wearing hotties! And I’ve got some strong suspicions about who is starring in that friends-to-lovers story—and can I say, I can’t wait? 🙂 
If you had to “sell” your book in a single Tweet, what would you say?

“Best man in demand brought to his knees by leggy bridesmaid he loves to hate. Buy it and I will love you forever!” Good? Wait, does that sound over eager? Should I back off a little? Lol, okay, well I really did love writing Jase and Emily’s story—especially with all the fight they put up about getting together—and I do hope you’ll give them a read 🙂

Over eager? Of course not!

((HUGS)) Mira

 

About Mira Lyn Kelly:

USA Today bestselling author Mira Lyn Kelly grew up in the Chicago area and earned her degree in fine arts from Loyola University. She met the love of her life while studying abroad in Rome, Italy, only to discover he’d been living right around the corner from her. They live in rural Minnesota.

Four friends

Each a Best Man at a wedding


One chance to get it right

Jase Foster can’t believe his bad luck. He’s been paired with the she-devil herself for his best friend’s wedding: Emily Klein of the miles-long legs and killer smile. She may be sin in a bridesmaid dress, but there’s no way he’s falling for her again.

They can barely stand each other, but given how many of their friends are getting married, they’ll just have to play nice-at least when they’re in company. Once they’re alone, more than just gloves come off as Jase and Emily discover their chemistry is combustible, and there may be something to this enemies to lovers thing after all…

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ae4h16

B&N: http://bit.ly/2ae4xx2

iBooks: http://apple.co/2ae4DVx

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2ae4qS7

Review:

Enemies-to-lovers in the absolute best possible way–loved it!

The banter, the off-the-charts chemistry, the smoking hot you-know-what–honestly, I don’t think I could have put this one down even if I wanted to. And then–OMG, the relationship black moment–even knowing this is a romance and there’s going to be an HEA in there somehow, somewhere, I still was crying. I can’t think of the last time a book had me in actual tears without a character dying. There may have been sobbing involved.

So. GOOD.

I loved Jase. I loved Emily. I adored their group of friends, especially Jase’s four BFFs–Max, Brody, Sean, and Molly (which is fortunate, because they’re going to star in future series books–I’m guessing Max, whose POV we see in the epilogue, is the next lucky “best” man?) And Janice, Jase’s almost eternally pregnant personal assistant? OMG, she defies description. I’m pretty sure she’s my first book girl crush. (When Jase asked her what she’d been feeding her newborn, who was growing like a weed and she replies “You really want to know?” with that Janice-y raised brow? All I can say is it’s a darn good thing I hadn’t just taken a drink…)

Read this book. Do not pass Go, don’t wait for your two hundred dollars. Just. Read. It. You won’t be sorry you did!

Rating: 5 stars / A+

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

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New Release Review! WINGING IT by Cate Cameron (Corrigan Falls Raiders #3)

WingingItTour

Book Title: Winging It (Corrigan Falls Raiders, #3)
Author: Cate Cameron
Release Date: May 16, 2016
Genre: YA Romance

 

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains adult language, ice-melting kisses, and a swoon-worthy hero. This fake relationship romance will have you wishing for a hockey player of your own…

Natalie West and Toby Cooper were best friends growing up, on and off the ice. But when Toby’s hockey career took off, their friendship was left behind. Now Natalie has a crazy plan to land her crush—Toby’s biggest rival—and she needs Toby’s help to pull it off.

When Nat asks Toby to be her fake boyfriend, he can’t say no. Not when it means getting his best friend back. But Natalie is all grown up now, and spending time with her—even when it’s just playing hockey together—stirs up a lot of feelings, old and new. Suddenly pretending to be interested in her isn’t hard at all…if only she wanted him and not his enemy.

Review:

I’ve loved this whole series, but Winging It has become my favorite! Loved, loved, loved Toby and Nat–what an awesome friends-to-lovers (in a totally appropriate high school way) story! With hockey–for both of them! Bonus 🙂

Even though I wanted to sit Natalie down more than once for a chat–slimy Scott over totally awesome Toby? The guy who plays hockey AND can quote Jane Austen? What was she thinking?–her behavior and actions made total sense for a high schooler, especially one who hasn’t really been in a relationship before. And I have to admit, I was feeling fairly sympathetic toward Scott by the end…not enough to want him to get the girl, mind you, because he’s not that deserving, but enough that I’d like him to shape up and find an HEA…someday.

Just not this HEA. Because it’s all about Toby and Nat and their awesome adorableness as a couple.

I loved that Toby helped Nat to rediscover her hockey mojo. At first I was right there with Nat as she complained about the short shift women’s hockey got in Corrigan Falls–how unfair! How sexist! But Toby helped both of us to see that Nat was the one giving up on her dream (not that she didn’t have help–what that coach said when he gave her their joint trophy? Grrrrrrrr) and went out of his way to help her figure out how to get it back. I seriously hope there’s a lot more to come in this series–not just because I totally love it, but because I need to hear more about Nat and Toby and where they’re going to be in the future.

Because it’s going to be great places.

I liked seeing the other series couples here (from Center Iceand Playing Defense ) but appreciated the fact that they took a back seat to Nat and Toby’s story. So if you haven’t read the other books, no worries–this one would work fine as a standalone. (But why haven’t you? Because they’re so good–quick, go put them on your TBR right now. I’ll wait.)

I literally could not put this book down–every time I tried to, it was back in my hands within five minutes. It made sleep optional…and the bags under my eyes the next day totally worth it.

Did I mention I’m hoping for more books in this series? A whole lot of them? 😉

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

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

Winging It Cover

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Purchase Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca |Entangled Publishing

Other books in the series:

CenterIce_500

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains adult language, underage drinking, sexual situations, and crazy squirrels. It may cause you to become a fan of hockey – or at least hot hockey players.

The hometown hockey hero won’t know what hit him…

Karen Webber is in small-town hell. After her mother’s death, she moved to Corrigan Falls to live with strangers—her dad and his perfect, shiny new family—and there doesn’t seem to be room for a city girl with a chip on her shoulder. The only person who makes her feel like a real human being is Tyler MacDonald.

But Karen isn’t interested in starting something with a player. And that’s all she keeps hearing about Tyler.

Corrigan Falls is a hockey town, and Tyler’s the star player. But the viselike pressure from his father and his agent are sending him dangerously close to the edge. All people see is hockey—except Karen. Now they’ve managed to find something in each other that they both desperately need. And for the first time, Tyler is playing for keeps…

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Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains adult language, swoon-worthy kisses, and sexy hockey players. It may cause you to watch a hockey game…or ten.

Sixteen-year-old Claudia Waring has never kissed a boy. Never been popular. Never been to a hockey game. All that’s about to change. Assigned to tutor Chris Winslow, a prank-loving, gorgeous hockey player, Claudia’s perfectly planned life immediately veers off course. And she kind of likes it. But as fun as Chris is, she knows she’ll never fit in his world.
After his latest prank lands him in hot water, Chris has to get serious about school or lose hockey. Not an easy thing for someone as carefree as the defenseman. The biggest problem, though, is how much he wants to help his cute, buttoned-up tutor loosen up a little. But while confidence has never been a problem for him, around Claudia, Chris is all nerves. Why would a girl as smart as her ever fall for a jock like him?

 

Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca | Entangled Publishing

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cate Cameron grew up in the city but moved to the country in her mid-twenties and isn’t looking back. Most of her writing deals with people living and loving in small towns or right out in the sticks—when there aren’t entertainment options on every corner, other people get a lot more  interesting!

She likes to write stories about real people struggling with real issues. YA, NA, or contemporary  romance, her books are connected by their emphasis on subtle humor and characters who are trying to do the right thing, even when it would be a lot easier to do something wrong.

 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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New Release Review! TAKE ME, COWBOY by Maisey Yates (A Copper Ridge romance)

Take Me, Cowboy
by Maisey Yates

Synopsis:

This sexy rancher is her best friend…but can he be more? Only from USA TODAY bestselling author Maisey Yates!

She’s just one of the boys, but with a new business in Copper Ridge, Anna Brown needs to change that. Her brothers bet she can’t land a date for a fancy charity event. So Anna turns to her best friend—the hottest bachelor in town—for advice.

Rancher Chase McCormack wants in on that gala. If Anna takes him, he promises to turn her into a lady. But the makeover reveals what he’s long suspected—Anna’s irresistible! Is his best friend prepared to be taken—heart, body and soul—by her very own cowboy?

 

Review:

Friends-to-lovers with a touch of My Fair Lady–an unbeatable combination!

Chase and Anna have been best friends pretty much forever. They know each other’s secrets. They understand the dark stuff in each other’s past that is so much a part of why they are the way they are. And when Chase needs to get invited to a charity event to schmooze for his business, and Anna needs a date for that same event to win a bet with her brothers, going together seems like the ideal plan–right?

Now add in the extra layer–to make it believable, they’re going to pretend to be dating in the weeks leading up to the event to guarantee Anna’s winning. And to make that believable (and help Anna to get more dates–okay, any–future dates), Chase is going to help Anna to be more girly.

Clearly nothing here could possibly backfire.

Except that Anna’s been in love with Chase since she was fifteen, and her mother’s leaving years ago made her believe she’s easy to leave and hard to love. And Chase’s parents’ death has taught him that nothing lasts, so he’s made “love ’em and leave ’em” his mantra, becoming a serial dater and never actually developing any of those encounters into relationships.

But still…it’s a solid plan, yes?

What I liked best about this book is how fearless Anna becomes. Once she decides to let down the walls she’d built up over the years, she really went all in, and it was awesome. I almost wanted Chase to continue in his a*shatery, because she clearly deserved better than him. Except that she really did love the big jerk, so it was better that he eventually get his head out of his you-know-what.

So far there hasn’t been a bad book in this entire series! I can’t wait to get to Ace’s book (One Night Charmer) and really, really hope Chase’s brother Sam is getting his own book soon 🙂

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Sale (and Pre-Sale) Blitz and Giveaway! A FRIENDLY ENGAGEMENT by Christine Warner (Friends First #1; #2 on Presale!)

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A FRIENDLY ENGAGEMENT
A Friends First Novel #1
Christine Warner
Released June 2015
Entangled Publishing
Omar Esterly is married to his job. But when Omar sets his sights on a potential, family-oriented client, his confirmed bachelorhood becomes a problem. Fortunately, his friend and employee, Devi Boss, has the perfect plan…
Okay, so it wasn’t exactly Devi’s plan to become her friend’s fake fiancée. Lies aren’t her style. However, Omar offers her a big, beautiful raise—enough to track down the missing father she’s never known—and Devi reluctantly agrees to the whole engagement hoax…
This was supposed to be a no-strings-attached win-win for both Devi and Omar, but when they cross the line between friendship and…well, something more, Devi realizes she’s made a huge mistake that just might cost her both job and friend—falling for her fiancé.
Excerpt:

“You’re game for anything, right?”

Devi compressed her lips and studied Omar through a narrow gaze, taking in the way his overly bright eyes concentrated on her face as if memorizing every pore. Her gaze traveled south to the non-existent rise and fall of his chest and how he pushed his suit jacket aside as he placed his hands low on his hips. He’d stopped breathing while he waited for her reply. That made her more nervous than anything. “Normally I am game for anything, but considering the man asking the question, I’m a little nervous.” She licked her lips.

Omar shook his head, swallowing her hands in the warmth of his. “No. This is a great idea. I can’t believe I didn’t see it before.”

“I’ll hold back on saying I’m glad I could help until I know what you’ve got pinging around your brain.” She tried to pull free of his grip, but he only grasped her fingers tighter. Her inner voice told her whatever plan he’d cooked up included her and she wouldn’t be thrilled with the role.

“Bartow wants a family-first firm. He wants a planner who is married, blah, blah blah.” He dismissed his unfinished words with the thrust of his chin.

Devi nodded, her mouth going dry. Was he planning to hire a wife, or about to propose?

“I might not be married, but what if I were engaged?”

She didn’t want to jump to conclusions about the proposal so she pasted on a tight smile. “Do you have a serious girlfriend hidden away I don’t know about?” The thought unsettled her, but she pushed aside the heaviness in her gut. Omar and relationships mixed like fire and ice. Not that women didn’t find him attractive and vice versa, but his true love would always be work. Most sane women wanted something more than a workaholic commitment-phobe.

He shook his head a bit too vigorously. “No. No.” His grip tightened, and she flexed her fingers so he’d loosen his hold. “Hear me out before you shoot me down.”

“I’m more curious than ever.” Again, she threw sand over that niggling feeling in her belly. She never jumped to conclusions. Living by the seat of your pants didn’t allow it, but…

Why start now? She rolled her shoulders in an effort to relax. Omar pulled her off to the side and out of the crowd moving past them on the sidewalk. His hands shook with excitement, and he swallowed hard before clearing his throat. Always calm and collected, his buildup unsettled Devi, and she tugged one hand from his grip and pressed it against the gurgle growing in her stomach.

“How about we announce our engagement? I could pull in some favors and have it in the press Monday morning. That’d still give Bartow enough time to invite us to the meet and greet. And—”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa.” Devi’s stomach did a nosedive, and she yanked her other hand from his death grip and stepped back. She twisted one of the bangle bracelets on her wrist. “Our engagement? First off, I didn’t even know we were dating. And second, I am not going to help you get ahead by lying.”

 

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A Friendly Arrangement
A Friends First Novel #2
Christine Warner
Releasing Oct 26th, 2015
 Entangled Publishing

What happens when your plus one becomes “the one”?

Holly Haggerty and Roth Esterly are two besties with everything in common—they’re neighbors, career-driven, and commitment-phobes. Tired of always being set up on dates by well-meaning friends and family, they take matters into their own hands: they will be the other’s plus one—a little friendly arrangement between friends.

Easy…until a steamy night where they cross the line. But that’s okay, they’ll add an addendum—one that includes a little action between the sheets…on top of the sheets…and without the sheets. But there are rules. Dating and sex are exclusive until one of them decides to terminate the agreement. No slumber parties. And if either party becomes emotionally involved they will break things off with no hard feelings.

When unexpected news changes their plans and turns their fun arrangement into something more serious, Holly and Roth must come to terms with what’s more important—what they thought they wanted, or what they really need.

AFA_Cover

 

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Christine Warner is living her dream in Michigan along with her family, one laptop, and a much-loved assortment of furry friends.
Besides laughing and a good dose of humor, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, writing, but no arithmetic. A confessed people watcher, she finds inspiration for her stories in everyday activities. She loves to read and write about strong heroes, and determined,
sometimes sassy, heroines.
A girl gone wild, at least where social media is concerned, she enjoys meeting other avid readers and writers on facebook, twitter and her website at christine-warner.com