Monday, July 30, 2018

Spotlight & Giveaway: Half Empty by Catherine Bybee

Hello readers! I'm thrilled to spotlight Catherine Bybee's newest release, because it sounds  like an exciting read! I want to pick it up soon! I have an excerpt as well as a Giveaway of $25 Amazon Gift Card and a copy of  Half Empty to share!  See below for a chance to win!

Publication Date: July 31st 2018 by Montlake Romance
Pages: 348
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

About the book:
Trina Petrov’s marriage-by-contract was only meant to be temporary. But when tragedy strikes, Trina is left one of the wealthiest women in the world. To recover from the shock, she takes some time off in Italy, swearing not to fall for any men while there. But that doesn’t mean she can’t fall for anyone on the trip home

Country-music superstar Wade Thomas is lying low in a hotel bar when he gets the cold shoulder from the woman next to him. He’s used to fans fawning at his boots, and Trina is a refreshing change—so is the fact that she has no idea who he is.

As things begin to heat up, Trina discovers that the circumstances of her late husband’s death are not what they seemed. Now she’s in trouble, and Wade isn’t about to let her out of his sight. Getting close to love and danger could get them killed…or it could sweep them both off their feet.


They closed the bar and took their last round to the hotel lobby.
Wade had to admit he was a bit more than tipsy, and Trina wasn’t exactly sober. She’d tucked her feet under her on the lobby sofa as she described Venice in a way that made him want to visit.
“There isn’t one car?” he asked.
“No place for them. You only get around on foot or boat. Which is probably best to help counter the pasta you consume while you’re there.”
“So why did you pick Venice?”
Her eyes drifted away, something Wade had noticed happened a lot when she was lost in thought. A hint of sorrow quickly came and went, almost as if she caught herself. The smile she flashed felt forced. “I wanted isolation so I could study.”
“Study?” She rattled off something that went completely over his head.
Her dark brown eyes glistened with her smile. “I’m learning Italian.”
Wade blew out a breath. “Oh, thank God. I thought maybe that last beer was one too many.”
“I like languages.”
“As in many?”
“A few.”
He was happy to speak English. “I’m impressed.”
“Don’t be. Most Europeans are fluent in a minimum of two languages.”
“Are you from Europe?”
“No. Born and raised in Southern California. My grandparents on my mother’s side are from Mexico. Spanish was always spoken in our home.”
“So you speak Spanish as well?” He squirmed in his chair.
“Now I’m feelin’ a bit inferior.”
“Language is my hidden talent,” she said.
“So how did you end up in Texas?”
Her gaze met his before she wrinkled her nose and gave a quick shake of the head. “It’s a long story.”
“Which is your way of saying don’t pry.”
She stretched out her arms. “It’s my way of saying that we’ve had a pleasant conversation, and bringing up my recent move will change all that. I’d just as soon keep this light.”
Wade wasn’t expecting her reply. “Now you’ve piqued my interest.”
“Another time,” she said.
He offered a smile that usually had women crawling all over him. “Am I going to have that chance?”
“Chance for what?”
“Another conversation.”
Her eyes bored into him as if he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. “I told you, I’m not interested.”
He lifted one eyebrow, flashed a dimple. “What if I told you I was rich?”
She burst out in laughter.
His smile fell.
“Sorry…” She appeared to pull in her mirth. “You’re gonna have to do better than money.”
“Good lord, woman.”
He scratched his head. “I’m famous.”
She bit her lip. “That explains the arrogance.”
Wade placed a hand on his wounded chest. “I am not.”
Trina tossed her head back, and her deep laugh filled the empty lobby. “My name is Wade Thomas, you don’t know who I am?” Her mimicry of him was off by several octaves.
Her laughter tickled his gut.
“I can teach you the two-step.”
She pinched her lips together, trying to contain herself.
His pride was starting to dim.
“I’m not bad looking.”
She looked him up and down … twice. “I’ll give you that.”
He lifted both hands in the air. “Finally.”
For the span of a full minute, she stared. Her smile slowly started to fall, and he knew she was talking herself out of dating him.
“Tell you what. I’m flying home tomorrow. Private charter, because I’m rich, famous, and arrogant.” He moaned on that last word.
“And good-looking.”
Now they were getting somewhere.
“I can give you a lift home.”
Trina blew out a breath. “I’m avoiding going home,” she reminded him.
“And I was thinking I needed a quick stop in Nassau … where the plane might not be able to leave right away. That tropical depressed storm and all.”
She pointed a finger in his direction. “I like the way you think.”

About the Author
New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee has written twenty-eight books that have collectively sold more than 4.5 million copies and have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Raised in Washington State, Bybee moved to Southern California in the hope of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Not Quite series, the Weekday Brides series, the Most Likely To series, and the First Wives series.

Connect with Catherine Bybee:

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Review & Giveaway: Untamed Cowboy by Maisey Yates

Publication Date: June 19th 2018 by HQN
Pages: 480 Pages (including the bonus short story)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

About the book:

In Gold Valley, Oregon, love might be hiding in plain sight…

Some things are too perfect to mess with. Bennett Dodge’s relationship with Kaylee Capshaw is one of them. They work together at their veterinary clinic and have been best friends for years. When Bennett’s world is rocked by the appearance of a son he didn’t know he had, he needs Kaylee more than ever. And he doesn’t want anything else to change. But then Kaylee kisses him, and nothing will ever be the same…

Kaylee’s done her best to keep her feelings for the man she’s loved since high school hidden away, but one unguarded moment changes everything, and now there’s no more denying the chemistry that burns between them. But the explosion of desire changes all the rules, and what’s left could destroy their bond—or bring them to a love that’s deeper than she ever imagined…

My Thoughts:
Kaylee has been in love with her best friend Bennett Dodge since they were teenagers but hasn’t ever revealed her feelings and has had to endure the pain of watching him date other women.  I felt Kaylee’s yearning and pain acutely. 

Yes, I wanted to smack Bennett for being so clueless, he did have some reasons why he just never let his brain go there, think of his best friend in that way, but still! His circumstances change abruptly, he has a son that he didn’t know about dumped on his door, and the emotional upheaval it produces causes him to need and rely on Kaylee like he’s never had to before.  Finally, Bennett starts to see Kaylee as more than his best friend! 

I was happy once things were out in the open there were no games played.  Just honest feelings and the delight of falling romantically for someone you already know and love so well. And these two had some delicious, hot chemistry so it made it worth the wait!

I was invested in everything working out with Bennett’s son, Dallas, I felt bad for that kid! Selfishness and neglect leave an emotional mark, and it was hard for Dallas to believe he’d be cared for and loved. Kaylee, given her upbringing, was the perfect person to listen and understand Dallas, and it was fortunate Bennett had her for support and mediation.  

As usual Maisey Yates brings all the feels out with Untamed Cowboy! Bennett losing his mother at a young age, Dallas having a crap one, and Kaylee’s neglectful, unloving parents added a real emotional aspect that made me teary here and there!   Then there was the romance.  Unrequited love has a special sort of pain, and Kaylee’s was palpable, but that just made their (Highlight for spoiler) HEA, come on you know they’re gonna get together, this is a romance! (End of spoiler) all the more sweet!

As if that wasn’t enough to make you want to run out and read this, there’s a bonus short story, Mail Order Cowboy.  Surprise baby, bewildered cowboy, and sweet nanny make for a short, hot read!

4.5 Suns

Connect with Maisey Yates:

The lovely people of Harlequin generously provided a Paperback Copy of Untamed Cowboy to giveaway to one lucky follower.  Fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win.  Giveaway is open to US residents only.  Good luck!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Rough Ride by A.S. Green

Publication Date: July 30th 2018 by Carina Press
Pages: 76
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

About the book:

Summer in the barn at Camp Winnepauk is about to get interesting

For years, part-time cowboy Luke has obsessed over a beautiful green-eyed girl he once saw in a magazine. Not a model, just a girl who captured his imagination…and then fueled every sexual fantasy he’s had ever since. When that picture comes to life in the form of Tess, a twenty-year-old counselor-in-training with a sexual appetite that rivals his own, Luke has finally met his match.

Tess wasn’t thrilled about spending the summer mucking out horse stalls, but things take a dramatic turn when she meets Luke. The tall, lean cowboy delivers more than she could have hoped for, showing her exactly what her body is capable of. There won’t be weeks of flirtation for these two: Tess is impatient and her cowboy…does…not…play.

My Thoughts:
Camp counselors Tess and Luke have an instant attraction but must be careful since they could lose their jobs if their romance is discovered.  They fight the a
ttraction, a very little bit, lol, but the irresistible pull makes staying apart impossible.

This was a quick, hot read. I do expect a bit of insta-love with a book this short, but I have read other novellas that manage to put some depth in the romance even with a short number of pages. I love stories with sexy cowboys, but I think this is more of a summer camp setting with horse back riding as part of the summer camp fun.

Rough Ride is the perfect kind of read if you just want some quick smutty fun.  I have Wild Child a full-length story on deck, also by A.S. Green, which might be more my kind of read.

2 Suns

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Review: Making Up by Lucy Parker

Publication Date: May 28th 2018 by Carina Press
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

About the book:

Author of Act Like It and Pretty Face Lucy Parker returns readers to the West End, where it’s fireworks onstage and off in a sexy enemies-to-lovers showdown.

Once upon a time, circus artist Trix Lane was the best around. Her spark vanished with her confidence, though, and reclaiming either has proved…difficult. So when the star of The Festival of Masks is nixed and Trix is unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight, it’s exactly the push she needs. But the joy over her sudden elevation in status is cut short by a new hire on the makeup team.

Leo Magasiva: disgraced wizard of special effects. He of the beautiful voice and impressive beard. Complete dickhead and—in an unexpected twist—an enragingly good kisser.

To Leo, something about Trix is…different. Lovely. Beautiful, even though the pint-size, pink-haired former bane of his existence still spends most of her waking hours working to annoy him. They’ve barely been able to spend two minutes together for years, and now he can’t get enough of her. On stage. At home. In his bed.

When it comes to commitment, Trix has been there, done that, never wants to do it again. Leo’s this close to the job of a lifetime, which would take him away from London—and from Trix. Their past is a constant barrier between them.

It seems hopeless.

Utterly impossible.

And yet…

My Thoughts:
Trix Lane unexpectedly lands the lead role in The Festival of Masks, a kind of circus/play, and normally she’d be over the moon, but self-doubt creeps in thanks to a bad breakup with a toxic man.  Add to that Leo Magasiva will now be working on the production, and they have a long history of hating each other.  Well, they didn’t always hate each other. There was a time in school they were quite close, but that went horribly wrong. Yet, now when Trix is having problems with performing the one who seems to help the most is Leo. 

I really enjoyed the past two books in this series, Ms. Parker is such a clever writer.  Making Up did not disappoint, and once again I was treated to witty and funny exchanges.  The sparring back and forth between Trix and Leo was a laugh, but there was also serious depth as we’re shown the history between them. Trix and Leo discover things in the past may not have been as they thought.  Of course, you can’t have such strong emotions such as hate without passion and hurt at the bottom of it, and it’s as they say there’s a fine line between love and hate.  Trix and Leo have a sweet and HOT journey back to love, and it was a pleasure to experience with them.

4 Stars

Connect with Lucy Parker:

Monday, July 9, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I've Read in 2018 (So Far)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Artsy Reader where each week they post a new top ten list and ask fellow bookish folk to share their lists on that topic.

Best Books I've Read in 2018 (So Far):
(click on cover for Goodreads link)

I've got quite a mix here: Urban Fantasy, Romantic Suspense, Mystery/Thriller, Contemporary Romance, and Historical Romance.
Let me know your favorite books so far this year.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Giveaway: Box of Seven Romance Books!

Hello readers! Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend.  It's hotter than heck this weekend, even too hot to be by the pool so I'm inside thanking the heavens for air conditioning!
I have seven books to giveaway today, a nice mix of contemporary romance, historical and a thriller.  See below for the Goodreads book link.

All copies are Paperback

The giveaway is open to US Residents only.  Just fill in the rafflecopter for a chance to win. Good luck!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Review & Giveaway: Off the Grid by Monica McCarty

Publication Date: July 3rd 2018 by Berkley
Pages: 384
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo 

About the book:

A hunt for dangerous secrets leads to explosive chemistry in this exhilarating romantic suspense novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Going Dark.

A team of Navy SEALs go on a mission and disappear without a trace--they are The Lost Platoon.

Investigative reporter Brittany Blake may have stumbled upon the story of a lifetime in her search for her missing brother. When he seemingly disappears overnight, she refuses to accept the Navy's less-than-satisfying explanation. She begins her own investigation, which leads her to top-secret SEAL teams, covert ops, and a possible cover up...

John Donovan is having trouble biding his time, waiting for his Commanding Officer to figure out who set up their platoon. John's best friend and BUD/S partner, Brandon Blake, was one of the many lives tragically lost in the attack against his team. When Brandon's sister, Brittany, tracks John down, looking for answers, he realizes that she may be their best bet--or bait--for finding out who is targeting SEAL Team Nine.

My Thoughts:
Oh, I’m loving this series! Covert-ops-gone-bad with a SEAL team thought to be dead, they’re on the run and in hiding. Just like the first book there’s action, danger, conspiracy, and the best part…romance! 

Brittany Blake’s brother Brandon, along with his best friend John Donovan have gone missing and suspected to be dead.  Brittany knows they’re part of some super-secret Navy SEAL team. Since she’s has had less than stellar dealings with the government and cover-ups in the past, Brittany’s pretty suspicious of all their explanations.  She decides to force the government’s hand by publishing sensational exposé type newspaper articles questioning the team’s whereabouts and the mission they were lost on, dubbing the stories: The Lost Platoon.  Her articles are stirring up interest and not the good kind. Brittany’s got a target on her back and the survivors of SEAL Team Nine are being put at risk for discovery with all the scrutiny. 

John Donovan couldn’t have a serious relationship when he first met Brittany, but their connection was instant and intense.  They didn’t part on good terms, but John thought it for the best even though he’s never felt the same way about any other woman.  Hiding out in Finland has become dull, but things take a turn when Brittany starts stirring up trouble with her articles.  Scott, the team’s Commander, orders John to handle Brittany and lock down the talk, but his efforts throw Brittany right into his path again with danger trailing along after. Will they survive?

Off the Grid has a second chance romance, one of my all-time favorite types, and this one’s oh-so-good! With John being the best friend of Brittany’s older brother, they have a history.  There was a connection, and then John broke her heart.  Brittany hasn’t forgotten the hurt but doesn’t matter, when they meet again fireworks spark and ignite, and the pull between them is irresistible!  That first kiss, woo!! These two are so very hot together! 

As if their romance wasn’t enough we also have Colt and Kate.  I’m totally riveted by their history (they were married) and their exchanges now in the present.  Colt was a total ass to Kate, but they’re working together again to get answers for SEAL Team Nine.  The hurt (on Kate’s side) and anger (on Colt’s side) is palpable!  The revelations through this story were soooo good and I’m DYING to find out what happens next!  

Off the Grid is the second book in The Lost Platoon series, but it’s not necessary to read the first book to enjoy it. However, the first book, Going Dark is really good too, so why not read it as well?

4.5 Suns

Connect with Monica McCarty:

Berkley has generously provided a Paperback Copy of Off the Grid for one lucky reader.  Giveaway is open to US Residents only.  Fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win. Good luck!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Spotlight, Excerpt, & Giveaway: Small Town Rumors by Carolyn Brown

If you've been visiting Waves for a while you know I'm a huge fan of Carolyn Brown's writing.  Her stories always make me laugh, cry, and smile!  
I'm pleased to feature her newest story, Small Town Rumors.  As part of this spotlight I have an excerpt, giveaway ($25 Amazon Gift Card & A copy of The Sometimes Sisters!) and guest post by Ms. Brown. Enjoy!

Publication Date: July 3rd 2018 by Montlake Romance
Pages: 302 
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

About the book:

From New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown comes a funny heartache of a novel about overcoming the past, confronting the future, and defying all expectations.

Everyone is talking about Jennie Sue Baker and the mess she made of her life in New York. The former high school queen bee—and wealthy darling of Bloom, Texas—has returned home after all these years, riding on a common bus and bearing two bounced alimony checks. In a town that thrives on gossip, Jennie’s fall from grace has shamed her mother, set the town buzzing, and caused old, jealous enemies to whisper in delight. They say she’s taken a job as a housekeeper, gotten a garage apartment, and might be crushing on Rick Lawson, a simple farmer with modest dreams.

As romance starts to bud, Jennie relishes what it means to follow her heart, find real new friends, and finally be herself—regardless of all the lying town chatter. But fate has another twist in store. Rumor has it that Jennie now stands to lose what matters most…unless she can convince Rick of one true thing—and that’s love.

Top 5 Biggest Scandals in Bloom, Texas by Carolyn Brown

Welcome to Bloom, Texas, where the gossip is hotter’n than the peppers in Rick’s garden. Bloom is located just north of Sweetwater where the land is so flat that you can see all the way to where the earth curves. Well, maybe not that far but it goes out there for miles until it finally meets the sky. It always reminds me of a child’s drawing. He/she makes a line on their paper. Above it is sky with fluffy clouds. Below it is grass with wild flowers. The streets are wide and the bus comes through on the way to Sweetwater once a day.

If you want to hear the local gossip, just stop by the Main Street Café. You’ll love the burger baskets and sweet tea, but if you listen closely, you can learn who didn’t come to church on Sunday and why, who died, who had a baby and whether or not she was married. The list goes on and on, so don’t bypass the café as you wander up and down Main Street. Oh, and ask Elaine, the owner, to fix you up with a large sweet tea to go when you leave.

A couple of doors down, you’ll see a used book store. Go right on in and Amos will tell you the whole history of Bloom. If you have a seat on the sofa inside the front door, he’ll entertain you until all that sweet tea is gone with stories about the folks in town. Don’t be shy, now. He loves company.

As a stranger, you probably won’t be invited to one of the Sweetwater Belle’s club meetings, but even their exclusive meetings aren’t so secret in Bloom. After all everyone knows everything about everyone. They know what they did with whom, where it happened and what time they got home afterwards. Then they read The Bloom Daily News to see who got caught!

After all, gossip is the life blood of the community. It’s what drives the people to get out in the blistering hot sun and go to town. It’s what sets the phone lines to smoking, and why there’s more than one cell tower pretty close to the town.

There were, have been, are will be many scandals in Bloom. But five come to mind. First is the fact that Jennie Sue’s dad has been having affairs for years and every year the mistress gets younger and younger. He has his reasons but Jennie Sue doesn’t know them until she comes home. Second would be the fact that she arrives in town, right there on Main Street on a bus. Not in a rented car from an airport. Not even in her own little fancy sports vehicle, but a bus! That alone will put a strain on the phone company. Third is that she intends to be independent and since her father won’t give her a job in the oil company, she agrees to clean houses for two elderly sisters, Lettie and Nadine, who are the biggest gossips in Bloom, Texas. Fourth is that she’s seen with Rick, a local farmer, and even worse that she’s working on his farm for no money but for vegetables as pay. And number five that she has a baby buried in an unmarked grave at the Bloom cemetery. Now when that last one hits the gossip vine, it really will be hotter’n the peppers in Rick’s garden!


“Well, well, well! Are you leaving us already? You only got here yesterday.” Lettie shoved the suitcase over and sat down across the table from Jennie Sue. Short, as round as Mabel, and sporting a kinky hairdo that had gone out of style years ago, Lettie hadn’t changed since Jennie Sue was a little girl.

“Yes, ma’am,” Jennie Sue answered. “How have you been, Miz Lettie?”

“Elaine, I’ll have a big stack of pancakes and two orders of bacon,” Lettie called out across the café.

“Got it,” Elaine yelled.

“So where are you going?” Lettie turned back to Jennie Sue.

“To find a job,” she answered.

“What kind of skills and experience do you have?”

Elaine crossed the floor and set Jennie Sue’s breakfast in front of her. “Millie will bring out your order shortly, Miz Lettie.”

“No rush. Just send me a cup of coffee, and I’ll be happy until it gets here.” Lettie waved her away with a flick of the wrist and turned back to Jennie Sue. “Now, you were about to tell me about your work experience.”

Jennie Sue picked up the saltshaker and applied an unhealthy dose to her eggs. “I have no experience, but I do have a business degree. The only thing I’m good at is keeping a clean house and organizing fund-raisers and parties.”

“Hmm.” Lettie pursed her lips. “So why didn’t you have a housekeeper up there in New York?”

“Percy was never pleased with the way they cleaned.”

“Was?” Lettie asked.

“Been divorced for over a year.”

“Oh, really?” Lettie cocked her head to one side.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Me and my sister, Nadine, lost our housekeeper a couple of weeks ago. The lady that worked for us cleaned for me on Friday and Nadine on Thursday. You interested?”

Charlotte would probably go into cardiac arrest if Jennie Sue became nothing more than a maid for her archenemies. But hey, it was a job, and Jennie Sue damn sure knew how to clean a house so well that it would pass judgment in the courts of heaven.

“I might be interested if you could point me in the direction of an apartment or a rental house of some kind that wouldn’t be too expensive,” Jennie Sue answered.

“I got an apartment over my garage. It’s pretty small, but it’ll work for a single person. I’d be willing to rent it to you furnished. You’ll clean for me on Friday each week, but the last week in the month, you won’t get paid. That’ll be your rent,” Lettie said.

Jennie Sue could imagine Charlotte throwing whatever she could get her hands on at the wall when one of the Belles called her with that bit of news. Even if she was angry with her mother over trying to mold her into another Wilshire woman, she couldn’t do that to her mother—or could she? How else would she be independent?

She picked up a piece of crisp bacon with her fingers and took a bite while she thought about the offer. It was a job that she could do. It was a place for her to live. She didn’t have to live in a shelter or sleep on a park bench. However, her mother would never speak to her again, and the rumors would be so hot that they might burn down the whole town of Bloom.

About the Author

Carolyn Brown is a New York TimesUSA TodayPublishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and a RITA finalist with more than ninety published books, which include women’s fiction and historical, contemporary, and cowboys-and-country-music romance. She and her husband live in the small town of Davis, Oklahoma—where everyone knows everyone else and knows what they’re doing and when—and they read the local newspaper on Wednesday to see who got caught. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren to keep them young.

Connect with Carolyn Brown:

Fill in the rafflecopter for a chance to win.  Good luck!