Monday, December 11, 2017

Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway Hop

I'm participating in Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway Hop hosted by Valerie at Stuck in Books, and will be giving away a $10 Giftcard to US Amazon or US Barnes & Noble or up to $10 at The Book Depository to one reader.  See below for a list of participating blogs or click HERE

I'm featuring reads I really loved with a holiday or winter type setting:

These are three very different books, but amazing in their own way.  Snow-Kissed is a novella, a marriage in crisis romance that pierced and stole my heart! I've read it a few times now, being one of my all-time favorite reads! I've also read The Gamble a few times, which is technically not set in winter, but there's lots of snow.  It's a tried and true Kristen Ashley romance that I'm sure I'll pick up again.  A Dark Lure was an on-the-edge-of-your-seat type of thriller/mystery with just enough romance to make me happy.  The setting is very atmospheric and lends to the creepy vibe you get while reading!

So what's your favorite winter/holiday read? Let me know in the comments! :)

My giveaway is for a $10 Gift Card to US Amazon or US Barnes & Noble or up to $10 at The Book Depository to one reader.  The giveaway is International as long as The Book Depository ships to your country.  Just fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Review: Christmastime Cowboy by Maisey Yates

Publication Date: October 24th 2017 by Harlequin
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

About the book:

It's Christmas in Copper Ridge, and love is waiting to be unwrapped…

Falling for a bad boy once is forgivable. Twice would just be foolish. When Sabrina Leighton first offered her teenage innocence to gorgeous, tattooed Liam Donnelly, he humiliated her, then left town. The hurt still lingers. But so does that crazy spark. And if they have to work together to set up her family winery's new tasting room by Christmas, why not work him out of her system with a sizzling affair?

Thirteen years ago, Liam's boss at the winery offered him a bribe—leave his teenage daughter alone and get a full ride at college. Convinced he wasn't good enough for Sabrina, Liam took it. Now he's back, as wealthy as sin and with a heart as cold as the Oregon snow. Or so he keeps telling himself. Because the girl he vowed to stay away from has become the only woman he needs, and this Christmas could be just the beginning of a lifetime together…

My Thoughts:
Sabrina fell hard for Liam when she was just seventeen.  They formed a friendship while he was working at her family’s winery, and she never felt closer to anyone. Confiding her hopes and dreams all the while her crush grew and burned a permanent mark on her heart.  Unfortunately, when Sabrina offered herself up to Liam, he rejected and humiliated her.  Worse, he accepted her father’s payoff to stay away and she hasn’t laid eyes on him in thirteen years.  That is until he shows up back in town and they must work together setting up the new winery tasting room. Let’s just say things are a little chilly going forward.

The intensity of feelings Sabrina felt for Liam has been unmatched by any other man in the years that’ve passed, but there’s anger and hurt there, too.  There is a reason, or many, why Liam left when he did.  I won’t go into it, but it made sense, and once Sabrina got the whole story, understanding started to replace the anger she felt. 

I just loved this second-chance romance so much! Yes, there was hurt and anger, but that’s because the feelings between Liam and Sabrina were intense and passionate. It was pleasure seeing Liam and Sabrina fall all over again!  The setting, a small picturesque town lit up by Christmas lights, dusted with snow felt perfect for this time of year!

4 Suns

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Review: Roomies by Christina Lauren

Publication Date: December 5th 2017 by Gallery Books
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

About the book:

Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient.

Rescued by Calvin McLoughlin from a would-be subway attacker, Holland Bakker pays the brilliant musician back by pulling some of her errand-girl strings and getting him an audition with a big-time musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until he admits his student visa has expired and he’s in the country illegally.

Holland impulsively offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, her growing infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers, Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway. In the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realise that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?
My Thoughts:
I had high hopes for Roomies and while I liked the story, I didn’t love it.

You get the gist of the overall story from the description, so I won’t rehash it here. I think this is a case where the story would’ve benefited from a dual POV because my biggest issue was that I wasn’t sure that Calvin wanted Holland like she wanted him for much of the book.  It felt very one-sided to me, I knew Holland was crazy about Calvin, but didn’t feel it on his end. If we would’ve had Calvin’s POV maybe I would’ve felt differently?  Who knows.  I didn’t feel much chemistry between them, and they didn’t even get together until well over (highlight to view spoiler) the 60% mark (end of spoiler).  Until then, I wasn’t sure Calvin was even attracted to Holland. 

Holland’s self-doubt and insecurities kind of tainted the story for me as well, because I didn’t see any evidence to the contrary. She didn’t start believing in herself until the very end. Holland kept wondering why someone like Calvin, talented and amazing, would want to be with her besides the benefit of a green card.  I didn’t feel a magnetic pull between them, so I kind of wondered the same thing.  This is a romance, so it all worked out, but I still feel a bit underwhelmed by the whole thing.  I’m in the minority with my reaction, so who knows, maybe it was just me. 

3 Suns

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Review: So Over You by Kate Meader

Publication Date: December 4th 2017 by Pocket Star
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

About the book:

Three estranged sisters struggle to sustain their late father’s failing hockey franchise in Kate Meader’s sizzling Chicago Rebels series. In this second entry, middle sister Isobel is at a crossroads in her personal and professional lives. But both are about to get a significant boost with the addition of a domineering Russian powerhouse to the Rebels...

Isobel Chase knows hockey. She played NCAA, won silver at the Games, and made it thirty-seven minutes into the new National Women’s Hockey League before an injury sidelined her dreams. Those who can’t, coach, and a position as a skating consultant to her late father’s hockey franchise, the Chicago Rebels, seems like a perfect fit. Until she’s assigned her first job: the man who skated into her heart as a teen and relieved her of her pesky virginity. These days, left-winger Vadim Petrov is known as the Czar of Pleasure, a magnet for puck bunnies and the tabloids alike. But back then... let’s just say his inability to sink the puck left Isobel frustratingly scoreless.

Vadim has a first name that means “ruler,” and it doesn’t stop at his birth certificate. He dominates on the ice, the practice rink, and in the backseat of a limo. But a knee injury has produced a bad year, and bad years in the NHL don’t go unrewarded. His penance? To be traded to a troubled team where his personal coach is Isobel Chase, the woman who drove him wild years ago when they were hormonal teens. But apparently the feeling was not entirely mutual.

That Vadim might have failed to give Isobel the pleasure that was her right is intolerable, and he plans to make it up to her—one bone-melting orgasm at a time. After all, no player can perfect his game without a helluva lot of practice...

My Thoughts:
Hockey has been Isobel Chase’s life ever since she can remember, but her career imploded after a head injury almost ended her life.  Now she finds herself part owner, along with her two other sisters, of The Chicago Rebels, her deceased father’s team, and since she can’t play, coaching will have to be the next best thing.  For a chance at the job Isobel must personally coach their newly acquired player, Vadim Petrov through his knee injury to prove her skills.  Unfortunately, they have a checkered past, a night together that started out amazing, but didn’t wrap up so well for Isobel.  That night got Vadim kicked out of the country, back to Russia thanks to her father. 

The attraction they felt as teenagers only burns brighter now, but Isobel is serious about making her position work, and gaining the respect of the team.  So, no-go with Vadim, even if he is about ten times hotter now!  Plus, her experience with Vadim started off all hot and bothered, but left her hanging in the end, so it wouldn’t be all that great anyhow, right? 

Vadim is back in the States, traded after an injury, back with the Girl with the Blazing Skates.  Isobel Chase amazed Vadim and lit up his fires when they were teenagers, and it postponed his US Hockey career.  Finding out he didn’t live up to his reputation as the Czar of Pleasure with Isobel back then makes him determined to make up for the past and then some!  Oh my, a man on a mission I wholeheartedly approve of!

I just loved Vadim!  All big and broody, a heart the size of Texas, and a dry sense of humor! I immediately connected with Isobel, too; my heart went out to her and all she went through.  Vadim and Isobel together were electric, but they’re romance was more than just sizzling physical attraction.  Their chemistry was off-the charts, but I appreciated the many layers to these characters as their vulnerabilities were revealed.  Vadim’s were wrapped up in family issues, and Isobel’s stemming from her loss of career; well, that and a kind of shitty dad.  Loved the understanding and support between them!

This is the first Kate Meader I picked up, but it won’t be my last! (I already grabbed up a copy of Irresistible You, the first book, which is currently on sale for .99 cents!) Her writing is playful, humorous, and hot!  Everything I love in a romance! She brought Vadim and Isobel to life; their their struggles and their highs all felt real to me making their journey towards a HEA a pleasure to experience!  

4.5 Suns

Connect with Kate Meader:

Friday, December 1, 2017

Review: Once Upon a Christmas Eve by Elizabeth Hoyt

Once Upon a Christmas Eve (Maiden Lane #12.6) by Elizabeth Hoyt
Publication Date: December 5th 2017 by Forever
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

About the book:

Adam Rutledge, Viscount d'Arque, really rather loathes Christmas. The banal cheerfulness. The asinine party games. And, worst of all, the obligatory trip to the countryside. His grandmother, however, loves the holiday—and Adam loves his grandmother, so he'll brave the fiercest snowstorm to please her. But when their carriage wheel snaps, they're forced to seek shelter at the home of the most maddening, infuriating, and utterly beguiling woman he's ever met.

Sarah St. John really rather loathes rakes. The self-satisfied smirks. The sly predatory gazes. Oh, and the constant witty banter rife with double meaning. But in the spirit of the season, she'll welcome this admittedly handsome viscount into her home. But as the snowstorm rages, the Yule log crackles, and the tension rises, Sarah and Adam find themselves locked in a fiery, passionate kiss. If love is the true meaning of Christmas, it's the one gift this mismatched pair can't wait to unwrap.

My Thoughts:
Sarah St. John and Viscount Adam d’Arque have crossed paths, but it wasn’t a friendly exchange, because Sarah so clearly hated Adam on sight.  Sarah isn’t fond of rakes, gentleman who seduce and carouse without thought for the women they hurt.  But Sarah is about to get another, lovelier version of Adam as their lives are thrown together this holiday season.

Adam is accompanying his Grandmother to their yearly Christmas destination in the country, when their carriage breaks down in a storm.  They have no choice but to take shelter at the St. John’s, imposing on them during their holiday festivities, something Adam would love to avoid, but he’s worried about his beloved ailing Grandmother.  Seeing Sarah St. John again is an irritation, since she clearly despised him on their first meeting, but he’ll just have to make the best by teasing and tormenting her. As he gets to know Sarah, Adam is feels an irresistible pull towards this sweet, infuriating woman.

I just love a good antagonistic romance, and Elizabeth Hoyt makes them so much fun! There’s snips and snipes, sexual tension brewing under the surface, fun banter back in forth until Sarah and Adam realize they actually like each other. But can Sarah trust Adam with her heart?  And is Adam interested in forever?

Elizabeth Hoyt’s talent as a writer shines even in a short number of pages.  Once Upon a Christmas Eve is a steamy, chemistry filled romance in a Winter wonderland setting, perfect for the season!

4 Suns

Connect with Elizabeth Hoyt:

Friday, November 17, 2017

Review: The Ones Who Got Away by Roni Loren

Publication Date: January 2nd 2018 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

About the book:

A fresh new contemporary romance from New York Times and USA Today bestseller Roni Loren that will rock your world.

Twelve years ago, tragedy struck the senior class of Long Acre High School. Only a small number of students survived, a group the media dubbed as The Ones Who Got Away.

Now, web designer Liv Arias, along with the rest of the survivors, have returned to the small Texas town to tell their stories for a documentary. Which means Liv seeing former star-athlete and old flame Finn Dorsey. A lot happened between them that night and Liv is ready to end their decade-long riff and move on. But when her attempt at closure turns into a steamy kiss, moving on proves much more difficult than either of them thought...

Liv's words cut off as Finn got closer. The man approaching was nothing like the boy she'd known. The bulky football muscles had streamlined into a harder, leaner package. The smooth face was now dusted with scruff, and the look in his deep green eyes held no trace of boyish innocence. A thousand things were in those eyes. A thousand things welled up in Liv.

My Thoughts:
Liv and Finn had a secret romance back in high school that was obliterated when a school shooting tears their lives apart. There’s more to their story than what was made public, a reality that hurt both Liv and Finn.  Twelve years later they are reunited with the other survivors, and the old raging chemistry they felt before is stirred up again, but can they get past the damage the shooting and their actions caused?

The setup here sounded amazing to me, and I’m a huge fan of Roni Loren’s work (her erotica), but somehow Liv and Finn’s romance and story didn’t really touch me.  I did enjoy the story overall, but I didn’t feel the yearning and connection that was supposedly there between them.  Also, I felt the issue keeping them apart in the long term, (Finn’s job situation) wasn’t as big of a deal as Finn was making of it.  I think when you fall in love with “the one” you find a way to make it work.  What about all the wives who live without their husbands while they’re off serving a tour in the military? They find a way, and I thought Finn could somehow adjust his duties, so they weren’t apart, so I was a bit frustrated when it took so long for him to clue in on the possibilities.

I haven’t read anything from Roni Loren I haven’t loved, so I think this might’ve been a fluke that I didn’t love it, or possibly my reading mood at the time.  I’m still a huge fan of her writing and I look forward to the next in this series, Rebecca’s story in The Ones You Can’t Forget. I felt bad for her!

3 Suns

Connect with Roni Loren:

Monday, November 13, 2017

Review: Once Upon a Maiden Lane by Elizabeth Hoyt

Publication Date: November 14th by Forever Yours
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

About the book:

Miss Mary Whitsun is far too intelligent to fall for the rakish charms of a handsome aristocrat. But when the gentleman in question approaches her in a bookshop, mistaking her for his fiancée, Lady Johanna Albright, the flirtatious encounter only raises more questions. Could Mary, a servant raised in a St Giles orphanage, actually be Lady Joanna's long-lost twin sister? If so, Mary has been betrothed since birth—to the rakishly handsome artistocrat himself.
Henry Collins, Viscount Blackwell, is far too intrigued by Mary to let her go so easily. He's drawn to her sharp mind, indomitable spirit, and the fiery way in which she dismisses him—ladies simply don't dismiss Lord Blackwell. But as Mary makes her first hesitant steps into society, she can't help but wonder if she truly has a place in Henry's world—or in his heart.
My Thoughts:
I was pleased one of the Mary’s from the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children got her own romance!

Mary Whitsun may have grown up in an orphanage, but she didn’t grow up without love thanks to Lady Caire and all the others running the home.  But still, the possibility of being a lady, and having a family sounds too good to be true, yet that’s what has happened to Mary.  Out on a day off she runs into the impossibly handsome Lord Henry Blackwell, and her life forever changes.

While out shopping Lord Henry Blackwell mistakes Mary for Lady Joanna the daughter of the Earl of Angrove, but quickly realizes he’s mistaken.  This woman has spunk and life, and stirs up desires in him that Joanna never has.  Henry thinks he must have discovered the lost Angrove twin, the twin who was to be his wife. 

Mary may have been hesitant at first, but as she got to know Henry and realized he wasn’t just a pretty, spoiled aristocrat, her reservations melted.  Heat and desire spark between them every time they’re close!  Henry was lovely, so I knew Mary couldn’t help but fall for him.

There’s a little mystery and danger as someone is either out to kill Henry or Mary. They’re not sure of the intended target, but when it was all revealed I felt bad for Henry and Mary. 

Once Upon a Maiden Lane is short on pages, but rich with passion and feeling.  Elizabeth Hoyt brings her characters to life with her beautiful writing, making you feel what they feel, and always delivers a sweet, happy ending! 

4 Suns

Connect with Elizabeth Hoyt:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Review: Hold Tight by Alexa Riley

Publication Date: October 16th 2017 by Carina Press
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

About the book:

New York Times and #1 ebook bestselling author Alexa Riley returns with Hold Tight, the next novella in the For You series

A hotshot consultant hired to streamline Osbourne Corp. meets his match in Pandora Justice—the more she plays hard to get, the more he wants her.

They say that like recognizes like, and the day I looked into her deep blues, I met my other half.

Pandora Justice took over as head of security at Osbourne Corp. after her father's retirement. Eighty-hour workweeks are normal; being brushed up against by hot consultants with ridiculous names is not. And she doesn't like it. Not even one bit.

It's amazing how easily she can lie to herself.

I had to have her. Plain and simple.

The first time Pandora sees Royce in the ring—all tattoos and sinew, covered in sweat—he looks at her like he's just won more than the fight. Like he won her.

I won't play games with her. I'll wait, and it will kill me, but I'll do it for her.

Royce's cocky grin with deep dimples makes Pandora melt. Once she wanted to smack that look off his face—now all she wants to do is kiss it. For the rest of her life.

The thought of spending the rest of my life with Pandora warms the place in my chest I didn't think was alive. I've put my claim on her—she's the one, and I'm done. It's that simple.

My Thoughts:
Pandora Justice takes pride that’s she’s tough and good at her job, as head of Osborne Security she must be, but that hasn’t left much time for a personal life.  That’s okay, because unlike her twin sister, she hasn’t found anyone that sparks an interest.  That is until her cousin hires Royce to help streamline their department.  He’s handsome, cocky, and annoying, or so she keeps telling herself.  Pandora can’t stop thinking, dreaming and lusting after him, but with little experience with the opposite sex she’s a little hesitant to get involved.  There’s a bit of cat-and-mouse here, a fun sexy chase! More fun when Pandora allows herself to be caught, though!

Royce has been takes one look at Pandora and knows he has to have her.  He feels the heat between them so even though she keeps pushing him away, he’s determined to claim her. Yes, claim, lol. This is a complete alpha-hero here, but it’s fun, fantasy fiction so I’m totally okay with that! Royce and Pandora are completely unable to resist the powerful pull between them and steam up the pages all the way to a HEA!

You can always count on a smoking hot, good time when picking up Alexa Riley’s romances, and Hold Tight lives up to their reputation.  Novellas are always a fast-favorite way to satisfy my romance addiction! You might say that I do enjoy a hot quickie, lol!  Now I need to go back and read the first book in the series, Penelope (Pandora’s twin sister) and Ivan’s romance in Stay Close, because they are super cute together as side characters! 

4 Suns

Connect with Alexa Riley:

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Review: The Rancher's Christmas Song by RaeAnne Thayne

Publication Date: November 1st 2017 by Harlequin
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

About the book:

Keep a song in your heart this holiday season… 
Music teacher Ella Baker's plate is already full. But when single dad Beckett McKinley's wild twin boys need help preparing a Christmas song for their father, Ella agrees on one condition: they teach her to ride a horse. She's hoping that'll help mend her strained relationship with her rancher father; it certainly has nothing to do with the crush that's lingered since her one and only date with Beck.
It isn't disinterest spurring Beck to keep his distance—if anything, the spark is too strong, with Ella reminding him of his ex-wife. Soon what started as an innocent arrangement is beginning to feel a lot like family. But with the holidays approaching, Beck and Ella will have to overcome past hurts if they want to keep each other warm this Christmas…
My Thoughts:
Music teacher Ella Baker may have been a Boston city girl, but her heart never left the family ranch in Idaho.  When her father becomes too sick to manage on his own, Ella comes back home to help, and cherish time with her father.  A strained past between them sometimes makes it hard, but Ella hopes to convince her father she’s tough and capable, eager to meet the challenges of ranching life. In the meantime, Ella has her hands full as the town’s music teacher, organizing the holiday program, and volunteering at the senior center. Another distraction is Beckett McKinley, the rancher next door, and father of two energetic, but sweet, twins.  Twin boys who happen to be in her music class. Beck is a heap of confusion.  On one hand she’s a little jealous of the admiration and closeness shared between her father and Beck, and on the other she can’t help the sparks of attraction she feels anytime he gets close. Doesn’t matter though, because Beck treats Ella with nothing but cold indifference.

Indifference is not the problem Beck has with Ella.  He struggles with overwhelming attraction every time she’s near. Beck’s under the impression that Ella is a city girl just like his ex-wife who couldn’t stand ranch life, leaving him and their (toddler!) twin boys to fend for themselves. Beck doesn’t want a repeat of that mistake.   But, when his boys offer riding lessons to Ella there’s no way to avoid her, and he finds their time together changing his initial impressions.  He knew she was smart, and beautiful, but discovering her sweet, and brave side makes him wonder if Ella just might be his dream girl after all.

The Rancher’s Christmas Song was a heartwarming delight!  Ella and Beck’s back story was sad and touching, showing the great strength each had to have to overcome the past.  As they get to know each other, the powerful attraction they’ve felt for each other blossoms into something deeper, and far more irresistible!  Oh, there’s a bit of angst in this one! Not too much, mind you, I’d hate that! Just a little bit to make the longing palpable, and real!  To make Beck and Ella’s giving in so much sweeter!

RaeAnne Thayne is a new to me writer, and I’m catching onto her appeal!  The Rancher’s Christmas Song was a heated romance filled with touching family moments that brought a tear or two to my eyes!  

4 Suns

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Review & Giveaway: Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt

Publication Date: October 17th by Grand Central Publishing
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | TBD

About the book:


Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping. Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos. When one of the masked-and nude!-Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him . . . only to find she may have been a trifle hasty.


Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them. Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans. But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe.


Much to Raphael's irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involves herself in his life-and bed. Soon he's drawn both to her quick wit and her fiery passion. But when Iris discovers that Raphael's past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters. Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael's own demons?

My Thoughts:
Iris Jordan finds herself in the middle of the Lords of Chaos latest diabolical plan when they mistake her for the Duke of Kyle’s wife and kidnap her.  Lucky for her Raphael is there, trying to infiltrate their horrid group rescues her from rape, torture, and possibly death.  These men are despicable! Unaware of Raphael’s true intentions, Iris shoots Raphael as he’s trying to get her to safety. Ooops! 

Snatching Iris away from the Lords of Chaos as his own was no easy task.  To continue the deception Raphael realizes he must marry her to keep her safe.  Which is in no way a hardship since he’s longed for Iris from afar for quite some time now.  Unfortunately, Raphael believes his tainted line must die with him and, so he plans on the marriage to be in name only. Poor Raphael. 

Iris has met Raphael before, they shared a dance and she was fascinated and maybe a little afraid of the man. Just being next to him felt dangerous and thrilling, but she never counted on marrying him!  As they get to know each other well in a short period of time, she hopes their marriage can be a love match after all.  Raphael may feel responsible for the sins of his father, but Iris has other ideas for the two of them.  She’s drawn to him and she knows he’s attracted to her even though he fights it every step of the way.  Can she dispel his fears?  Add to their dilemmas are the Lords of Chaos scheming to take them out for good.

Iris and Raphael had some obstacles to overcome with their romance, and I loved their journey!  Raphael had damage from the past, but Iris was determined to help him to see the light, and prove he was someone worthy of love and happiness. My heart ached for Raphael, so I was happy he had Iris to help with his dark times.  Raphael couldn’t resist his desire for Iris and every time they were alone they couldn’t keep their hands off each other. Lusty, heated encounters between them crumbled Raphael’s resolve a little more each time.

Duke of Desire was full of passion, peril, and conflicted emotion, but wrapped up so very sweetly! I’ve read and loved the Maiden Lane series, so I’m sorry that this is the last book!  Elizabeth Hoyt’s beautiful writing made this series come alive; exciting and daring, making each book a thrilling read! I’m anxious to find out what she plans next!

4 Suns

I'm offering up a giveaway of One Book from the Maiden Lane series by Elizabeth Hoyt to one reader. From US Amazon, US Barnes & Noble or The Book Depository.  Winner's choice. The giveaway is International as long as The Book Depository ships to your country.  

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Review: Once a Charmer by Sharla Lovelace

Publication Date: October 17th 2017 by Lyrical Shine
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

About the book:

Charmed, Texas, is a close-knit small town where people’s dreams of love can come true. That’s not to say that some people aren’t still waiting, and dreaming . . .
By day, Allie Greene stays busy with her family diner, and keeping tabs on her teenage daughter. What’s really exhausting Allie, however, are the nights. Not that she minds Bash Anderson unbuttoning her naughty desires—if only in her dreams. But what was he doing there at all? He’s her best friend, and a father figure to her girl. Talk about awkward. Talk about OMG-heat-and-fireworks that are flipping fifteen years of normal upside down. And now, when Allie needs him as a friend more than ever, logic doesn’t stand a chance against his lips and irresistible deep-blue eyes . . .

Sure, Bash has fantasized about Allie, but there’s no way he’d act on it. She and her daughter are the closest thing to family he’s ever known. With the exception of one drunken moment fifteen years ago, he and Allie have stayed on this side of the line—until that impulsive kiss of hers knocked him on his butt. That’s just one hurdle. Not only does Allie need Bash’s help to save her diner, but his apiary is in trouble, too. To stir the pot further, they’ve been roped into vying for the town’s Honey King and Queen contest—a sweet event that’s making them closer than ever. Something’s bound to come undone. Bash just hopes it’s not the friendship he’s worked so hard to hold on to.

My Thoughts:
Allie and Bash have been best friends since they were teenagers, always there for each other through thick and thin, a makeshift family without intimate benefits.  Never wanting to jeopardize their friendship they ignored the mutual attraction until recently.  A passionate kiss, three months ago, left them both discombobulated.  Avoiding the issue, they’ve grown apart just when they need each other most.  Allie finds out she could lose her diner, and her fifteen-year-old daughter, Angel is discovering the opposite sex! Bash is having his own business struggles, as well.

Once a Charmer ended up being a touching best-friends-to-lovers romance! I had my doubts because up until about the 37% mark I was getting a little frustrated that Bash and Allie weren’t communicating.  I guess this was somewhat necessary because before this book I didn’t really know their history, only that there was some underlying sexual tension between them. Their romance really took off for me after that, with lusty, can’t-keep-our-hands-off-each-other exchanges, but I loved the close, tender moments between them just as much. I melted over how protective Bash could be with Allie and her daughter Angel. He made such soul-baring declarations, in public no less, that completely stole my heart!  Bash and Allie truly completed each other, and with Angel they were a perfect, sweet, ready-made family!  

4 Suns

Connect with Sharla Lovelace:

The Charmed Series:
(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Review: Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

Publication Date: October 3rd 2017 by Atria Books
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

About the book:

Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness.

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

My Thoughts:
I was really worried about picking up Without Merit because I hated the last book I read by Colleen Hoover.  I was pleasantly surprised and relieved to like Without Merit as much as I did. It made me feel a whole range of emotions, and I read the story in one afternoon, unable to put it down.

The romance isn’t angsty or the main focus really, but it was the sweetest part to me.  As the story starts you’re just kind of thrown into the middle of Merit’s world, but in a pretty fantastic moment.  That moment is sort of shattered, but no worries, all sorts itself out.

Merit’s family life is far from happy.  Her father divorced her mother and married his mistress when mistress was pregnant with his child, yet everyone, including Merit’s mother continue to live in the same house!! I was not happy with Merit’s father, and even with all the explanations at the end, I still wasn’t thrilled with the man, but no one is perfect and he did seem to be trying the best he could with the screwed-up situation.  Still, all kinds of f*cked up IMO.  I’d say the circumstances were way out there in terms of real life, but unfortunately, I’ve had to deal with a somewhat similar situation in my own life, so I could totally relate to Merit’s feelings and reactions.

Merit bounces back and forth between being a fun, quirky character to someone with a lot of anger.  As the story progresses it becomes apparent she’s depressed. I think the feelings of depression and reactions felt very real to life.  Those feelings can just sort of creep into your life and take over without even realizing it.  It’s a dangerous thing, but I’m happy that Merit, had people there for her, which included her screwed up family.  

4 Suns

Connect with Colleen Hoover:

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Holiday Release Blitz-SMP Romance

I'm excited to be part of the SMP Holiday Romance Blitz, because it's getting close to the season where you want to pick up a romance to warm your heart while you read by a cozy fire! Any one of these titles will put you in the Holiday Romance mood!  I read With This Christmas Ring by Manda Collins (see my review below) and loved this second chance romance!  As part of this post the lovely people of St. Martin's Press have generously offered up a giveaway of one of the print titles.  See below for details and enter for a chance to win.

Publication Date: October 3rd 2017 by Swerve
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the book:

A wallflower determined to fulfill a dying promise, the rogue she jilted years ago, and an orphaned baby are all brought together amidst the magic of Christmas in this new novella from Manda Collins.

Miss Merry Parks makes a deathbed promise to a schoolfriend that her infant daughter will be taken to her absent father. There’s only one problem—to find the baby’s father, she’ll have to consult his cousin, Viscount Wrotham, the man she jilted five years ago. The man she couldn’t forget.

Alex Ponsonby, Viscount Wrotham, is stunned to find Merry Parks—looking more lovely than ever--on his doorstep with an infant in her arms. His shock soon turns to dismay when he learns his own cousin William is the man who abandoned his wife and child. As head of the family he’s duty bound to see right is done. But he can't let this opportunity pass. He’ll take Merry and the baby to his cousin, but he’ll woo her back in the process.

Merry agrees to travel with Alex and the baby to Wrotham Castle, where the entire Ponsonby family has gathered for Christmas, but her plans to see the baby settled then leave are ruined by a snowstorm. After five years apart, Alex and Merry will spend the week getting reacquainted. Perhaps it’s the spirit of the holiday, or the magic of the season, but there could be something else in the air this Yuletide…A Christmas Reunion.

My Thoughts:
Circumstances throw Merry and Alex together after Merry ended their engagement five years ago. Merry was bullied by Alex’s grandmother, the dowager Lady Wrotham, to break things off unbeknownst to Alex.  The moment they lay eyes on each other again the attraction and longing rush right back up, but Merry doesn’t expect Alex to give her a second chance.  However, it doesn’t seem Alex is holding a grudge, he’s had some time to think about the past and suspects his grandmother had a hand in ending things so when Merry shows up in his life again, he’s determined to take this opportunity to set things right and find happiness with Merry at long last. 

With This Christmas Ring was a sweet, second chance romance that warmed my heart.  There’s no drama between Alex and Merry once they meet up again. They are truthful and bond over the loss and longing they’ve felt since parting.  All conflict comes from outside sources and they meet those problems head on, as a united front. 

The Holiday setting will get you in the mood to take a snowy sleigh ride, snuggling up to your loved one, staying warm under blankets and the heat of attraction.

4 Suns

About the author:
Manda Collins is the author of the Studies in Scandal series, The Lords of Anarchy series, The Ugly Duckling series and the Wicked Widows series as well as several other Regency-set romances. She spent her teen years wishing she’d been born a couple of centuries earlier, preferably in the English countryside. Time travel being what it is, she resigned herself to life with electricity and indoor plumbing, and read lots of books. When she’s not writing, she’s helping other people use books, as an academic librarian.

Below is the SMP Holiday titles featured.
(click on title for Goodreads link)

Saint Martin's Press has generously offered up a copy of one of the Print titles above to one lucky reader.  The giveaway is open to US Residents only.  Winner can choose one Print Copy from the following titles:

A Season of You by Emma Douglas
Christmas at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer
Hope at Christmas by Nancy Nagle
The Christmas Cowboy Hero by Donna Grant