Wednesday, May 31, 2017

seriously romantic: taming the ceo by hayson manning

in the story of two competing hotel chain ceos, taming the ceo, rivals daisy and zan get the chance to get to know each other up close and personal on a mandatory retreat before they submit competing proposals to take over a luxury resort chain.

their rivalry isn't just restricted to business. their families have been one-upping each other since their great-grandparents' time. and even though they swear to keep their walls up and defenses on alert during their retreat, the intense chemistry and the fun easy way they have with one another makes the distance hard to maintain.

but zan is keeping a secret. he has a plan to buy out daisy's hotel chain from under her. if he succeeds his family can declare victory once and for all. but can he put his family's business over his personal relationship with daisy? can his brothers, who seem to have their own tangled histories with daisy's sisters do the same thing? both daisy and zan have to learn to open themselves up to new experiences. daisy needs to trust that people who love her won't leave her behind and zan needs to learn that sometimes the line between business and personal gets blurred, but there are ways to handle it.

all in all, this is a quick read. there's more story to be had with daisy's sisters and zan's brothers, and i kind of want to see what happens there.

**taming the ceo will publish on june 5, 2017.  i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (indulgence) in exchange for my honest review.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

seriously romantic: the girl with the make-believe husband by julia quinn

i pretty much buy anything julia quinn publishes. this doesn't mean i love everything she publishes. i didn't love miranda cheever. and i know everyone loves romancing mr. bridgerton best, but it is not my favorite. my favorite is when he was wicked. and i also love the bevelstoke books that are not miranda cheever, i actually kind of hope there is at least one more of them. olivia's twin brother is deserving of his own story i think.

anyway, i really enjoyed because of miss bridgerton, the first book in the rokesby series. and i have been waiting with bated breath for the girl with the make-believe husband to print. because the few glimpses i'd had were enough to confirm to me that i was going to love it. when i checked my email this morning and saw the notice that it had been delivered to my kindle app, i was thrilled. i knew what i was going to spend the day doing, even though i had a ton of other more pressing things to read.

and i was not disappointed. this novel has quinn's trademark wit and humor. she has always managed to tackle difficult things with a light touch. here war and death play into the story, and she doesn't shy away from the hard truths, but she also doesn't let them overwhelm the story. because this is a romance. it's about a girl who is alone and searching for her brother, but finds his best friend. and he is injured and he needs her. maybe she needs him too. but she lies and says he's her husband in order to help him. and maybe later that helps her. but that one little lie, one she had every intention of correcting as soon as possible gets away from her. and when her purported husband awakens with amnesia of all things, she doesn't quite know how to tell the truth. or she does but she doesn't think she can. and then everything keeps getting more complicated. because the truth is, she's been in love with her brother's best friend for a long time. they'd been corresponding for a long time. through her brother at first. and then with little extra notes at the end of those missives. and when he seems to know her she is charmed and doesn't feel so damnably lonely. so she lets the lie live. and he doesn't seem to mind. he doesn't mind, actually. he was glad she was there when he woke up. and he doesn't remember their marriage, but he remembers her. he knows he was half in love with her. so he's happy to be bound to her. he wants to be bound to her.

and maybe when the truth is finally revealed, it will turn out okay, because the truth is that they love each other. everything else is just extra complication. they love each other and are suited to each other and they make sense together. and when you find the thing that lets your life make sense and not be lonely, then maybe you hold on to that no matter the circumstances.

seriously romantic: forbidden promises by katee robert

while a standalone, forbidden promises, is probably a book best read in its proper series order. i hadn't read the earlier books in this series and i found myself having to stop and make sense of the family connections and problems. daughter of an irish mob family, sloan o'malley has fled to avoid an arranged marriage that would secure her family's future.

she's always been the one to do what was expected of her. so the fact that she fled, that she's trying to stand on her own two feet, it's a big deal. life outside of her family is pure freedom compared to the danger of living amidst her family's enemies. but she is still an o'malley. and while her brother who has joined up with the sheridan family might be protecting her, he's also more concerned about his own interests. and there's the hallorans to worry about. and the russian, dmitri romanov. (keeping all the mob family dynamics straight is part of the reason why i think this series is best read in order.)

but really everyone should be worrying about jude mcnamara. he didn't seek sloan out. he wasn't watching for her, even though he knows exactly who she is. he was actually watching for her landlady, sorcha o'connor. but as much as he wanted to repel her interest, he can't help himself. he's crazy attracted to her. she's crazy attracted to him. and the intensity of that attraction as well as how quickly the stakes rise as their relationship deepens makes every moment they're together a crazy adrenaline rush.

they have to go on the run, and the situation between siblings, between families grows precarious, and none of that matters as long as they can stick together. before they've fully accepted their feelings jude and sloan are a unit. they were meant to find each other. they should have never, ever met. jude is the last of the mcnamara's for a reason. but he becomes sloan's. and sloan is his. and she gets it now, why her sister chose some guy over her family. jude is her heart, her future, her everything.

somehow he manages to get them out of the immediate mess they are in, but you can see where things remain up in the air. the next novel in this series looks like it will focus on aiden, the eldest o'malley brother. but i am most intrigued by keira's story. the dance she is currently playing with romanov seems to indicate that everything will come to a head in her story. the attraction between them feels so wrong, and so right.

anyway, i need to do some catch up with this series, but the taste i got with forbidden promises makes me think that it will be worth it.

**forbidden promises will release on may 30, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: maybe this love by jennifer snow

maybe this love is the second novel in the colorado ice series, and focuses on older brother ben westmore. he is a total dreamboat. he's kind and generous. he loves his mom and sister. he adores his baby niece. he's close to his brothers. and he's also a super hot professional hockey player.

he meets olivia davis under less than desirable circumstances, however, because she is representing the wife he forgot he married on a drunken new year's eve in las vegas. olivia has a reputation in sports circles as the woman who represents the scorned wives of professional athletes. and she's ready to think the worst of ben. except there's that sizzle of attraction between them from the start. and her client's reasons for delaying a divorce and settlement start to look fishy. and maybe she can't be objective about ben westmore.

ben never acts like he's married. he only interacts with his alleged wife maybe once in the whole story. and he is interested in olivia. even as he realizes that this attraction is going to make his life complicated fate seems to conspire to put them together.

olivia has a lot going on in her life too. she's decided that she's waited long enough to start a family. so she's doing in vitro treatments to see if she can have the baby she's always wanted. i will be honest, this part of the story was a challenge for me. i'm not usually a fan of romances where the main character is pregnant with someone else's kid. it's definitely a matter of personal preference, but it's just something i tend to go out of my way to avoid. it turns out having one of the main characters actively trying to get pregnant while starting a relationship with someone else still feels icky to me. i think the other thing that made this challenging was that i have my own experience with ivf and i don't think i really enjoy reading about other people's ivf journeys.

but when you take all the ivf stuff out of the picture, and really focus on ben and how dreamy he is. and really just think about how perfect those westmore boys are in general, all is good.

**maybe this love will publish on may 30, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever) in exchange for my honest review.

simply all about maybe this love



ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Maybe This Love
Author: Jennifer Snow
Series: Colorado Ice #2
On Sale: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Formats: Mass Market
Price: $7.99 (mass market)
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THE GAME OF HIS LIFE

Hockey player Ben Westmore has some serious skills—on and off the ice—and he's not above indulging in the many perks of NHL stardom. When a night in Vegas ends in disaster, he realizes two things: 1) it's time to lie low for a while, and 2) he needs a lawyer—fast. But the smoking-hot woman who walks into his office immediately tests all his good intentions.

Olivia Davis doesn't need anyone derailing her career---or her dreams of starting a family---least of all a skirt-chasing player like Ben. But soon he's unleashing a full-court press to convince her that he's the real deal. She's slowly falling for his sweet, rugged charm, but with so much on the line, Olivia has to decide whether Ben can truly change---or if he's just playing the game.

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EXCERPT

“Relax,” he said smoothly, his gaze locked on hers, his expression soft, unfazed—the look of a man not dancing with the lawyer who could ruin his life or at least playoff season. She had to learn this guy’s secret, because there was no way he was this unaffected. Yet, his hands weren’t sweating the ways hers threatened to, and the only heartbeat she could hear thundering was her own.

She forced a slow and what she hoped was unobvious breath. “I am relaxed. I’m not the one who should be worried.”

The palm of his hand spread across the exposed flesh of her back and she prayed the tingling sensation in her spine didn’t result in goose bumps. “So you’re saying I should be?” he asked, turning them in rotation to the steady beat. Despite her resistance to this dance, her hips betrayed her by swaying in sync with his, and her feet kept time with his every step. He led with a silent authority that she was forced to follow. And for the first time in her life, she wasn’t hating giving up control.

“I think so, yes. My client is…”

He brought their joined hands between them and placed a finger to her lips.

Her heart all but stopped.

“Why don’t we save the shop talk for the courtroom? Let’s just enjoy this dance.”

She swallowed hard, but nodded. Dancing in silence, she could do that.

Unfortunately, Ben seemed eager to chat. “How long have you been practicing law?”

He expected her to remember stats as his hand on her back dipped slightly lower, his hold drawing her even closer? It had been far too long since she’d been enveloped in the arms of a man who felt and smelled so strong, so confident…How long would it be again if she went ahead with her plans for a baby? She pushed the thought aside when he stared at her, still waiting for an answer. “Twelve years,” she said, cutting out her time as a junior lawyer and intern, so as not to age herself. She knew from his online Wikipedia page that he was thirty-four, two years younger than she.

“Do you love what you do?” he asked.

“If I say no will I get the inspirational ‘do what you love and it will never feel like work’ speech?”
“Is that a no?”

She shook her head. “Actually, I really do enjoy my job.” She couldn’t say watching families get ripped apart by bitter divorces was something she loved without sounding like a sociopath, but she enjoyed her career.

“Can I ask why only professional athlete divorces?”

“I was dumped by a jock,” she said.

Ben laughed. “So one guy ruined it for us all, huh?”

She nodded then shook her head. “No. Everyday cases—with normal, everyday husbands and wives—just seemed a little too…real,” she said.

His blue eyes burned into her and his grip tightened on her hand. “So, guys like me aren’t real?”

She swallowed hard. He felt real…He felt more than real—he felt amazing. His arm wrapped around her felt deceivingly safe and his hand holding hers felt warm and secure. God, she could see herself giving in to these painfully real feelings…“You’re probably one of the more real ones,” she said, hoping he didn’t detect the slight quiver in her voice.

He nodded slowly as though unsure whether her words were a compliment. “Have you ever been married?” he asked, rotating them in time to the music.

“That’s crossing a line into personal.”

“Kids?”

“That’s less personal?” She raised an eyebrow.

He smiled. “Guarded much?”

The effect of his smile from a safe distance was knee-weakening. This close, it was downright dangerous. She quickly averted her gaze to the other couples on the floor. “How long is this song anyway?” She felt trapped the way she had in tenth grade when Robbie Gropes-a-Lot Harris had tricked her into dancing with him at the winter formal to “November Rain”—the full eleven-minute extended version. Except Ben’s breath smelled minty fresh and not like tacos, and his arm draped across her lower back made every fiber in her being spring to life, making her want to flee for a completely different reason than the one Robbie had evoked.

“Do I make you uncomfortable?”

Damn right. And it should be her making him uncomfortable. There needed to be a power shift between them and fast. “Of course not.”

He pulled her closer. “You make me uncomfortable,” he murmured, his expression suddenly serious. Every inch of her body was pressed to his and she could barely catch a breath. Dancing was a really bad idea—a torturously bad idea. Being in his arms reminded her of all of the things she’d sacrificed for her career, of all the things she’d told herself she didn’t need…

“G-good,” she said, her voice cracking. “As I said, my client…”

“I don’t mean the divorce case. I mean you.” He touched her cheek and her skin burned. Thank God he was holding her so tightly because she couldn’t trust her legs.

Their stare locked and held for what could have been a lifetime, as everything seemed still and quiet around them.

Still and quiet.

The song had ended.

She yanked her hand free of his and stumbled away from him, inhaling a gulp of air into her deprived lungs. “Well, dance is over. I’ll…uh…see you.”

He nodded, the charming polite smile back on his face and for a second she wondered if she’d imagined the intensity in his gaze seconds before. “Goodnight, Olivia.”

Olivia.

Her own name sounded foreign coming from him. She longed to hear the sound again, and she was an idiot for wanting something so dangerous. The NHL’s biggest playboy had just worked his charm on her, and she’d lost all common sense.

She turned and headed straight for the table, leaving him on the dance floor.

She had to pull it together, but she also had to admit the unfortunate truth. Never before had she been tempted to kiss the enemy.

Excerpted from Maybe This Love by Jennifer Snow. Copyright ©2017 by Jennifer Snow. Reprinted with permission of Forever. All rights reserved.  

COLORADO ICE SERIES 

Maybe This Kiss (#0.5, Becky and Neil)
Maybe This Time (#1, Jackson and Abby)
Maybe This Love (#2, Ben and Olivia)
Maybe This Summer (#2.5, Owen and Paige)
Maybe This Christmas (#3, Asher and Emma)

Series Page on Goodreads


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennifer Snow lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her husband and son. She writes sweet and sexy contemporary romance stories set everywhere from small towns to big cities. After stating in her high school yearbook bio that she wanted to be an author, she set off on the winding, twisting road to make her dream a reality. She is a member of RWA, the Writers' Guild of Alberta, the Canadian Authors Association, and the Film and Visual Arts Association in Edmonton. She has published over ten novels and novellas with many more on the way.
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Monday, May 29, 2017

strictly literary: the sixth victim by tessa harris

the sixth victim is a paranormal historical mystery set during the jack the ripper murders in victorian england. harper has clearly done a lot of research in order to bring this particular moment in british history to life.

the story is told from the point of view of constance piper, a flower girl in whitechapel. and miss emily tinsdale, a mysterious missionary whose whereabouts aren't made crystal clear at the beginning of the novel. eventually, you figure out that something not quite worldly is happening, because the way emily has access to certain moments and how she responds to them make it clear that she might be a supernatural being.

the thing is, i never felt the urgency in this story. there is a lot of historical detail and we see things from both character's perspectives, but it's not quite clear why these moments are being shared. yes, the plot and the scenes we witness are brought together by the end. but even with the threat of the ripper hanging over the character's heads i just never felt that concerned about that. and this felt wrong. i should care more, but as it is, i don't have much interest in learning more about constance. and don't even get me started on emily.

this wasn't for me. in the end, it isn't my cup of tea.

**the sixth victim will publish on may 30, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/kensington books (kensington) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: the most dangerous duke in london by madeline hunter

madeline hunter's decadent dukes society series kicks off with the most dangerous duke in london. lady clara cheswick knows one thing for certain, the stratton family are entirely at fault in the longstanding feud between their families. so when adam penrose, the current duke of stratton catches sight of her and decides that their marriage will be just the thing to end the feud, she wants nothing to do with it. she can't say that she doesn't want anything to do with him, because he's intriguing and has the odd habit of surprising her.

clara has no intention of getting married. she wants to live an independent life and focus her energies on a women's journal she helped found with her inheritance. but adam is nothing if not persistent. while his first thoughts about lady clara are riddled with the tinge of revenge and convenience, the truth is he's not really thinking of the family feud or how he blames her father's actions for his father's untimely and questionable death. but he also believes that clara may have the key to unlocking the mystery behind the scandal that ruined his father.

even as he is making his way back into society, most people find a way of cutting him without directly insulting him. and he wouldn't care, except that he takes his honor quite seriously. and he can't let an insult slide, it's just not done. as he and clara grow closer, the family feud acts like an elephant in the room. and clara, who never questioned her family's position begins to have her doubts, just as adam starts to learn things that cast his parent's actions in an extremely suspect light.

what i love about clara and adam's relationship is that they have no qualms sharing their true thoughts with one another. there is no social pretense. adam eschews a lot of the strictures that london society places on women, and his experiences in french society give him a tolerance for independence in a woman. the fact that he is more open-minded than most english gentlemen is clearly one thing that attracts clara. she can be her true self around him and he will not judge her for it. he appreciates it. and to have these two leads engage in such open communication is quite refreshing.

sure there's intrigue and questionable motives, but at the same time, it's clear that when it comes to how they feel about each other, clara and adam aren't going to pretend anything but the truth. and i love that.

**the most dangerous man in london will publish on may 30, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/kensington books (zebra) in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

seriously romantic: positively pippa by sarah hegger

when pippa turner waltzes back into ghost falls, utah a pariah in the reality tv world, she is unsure what to do. her larger-than-life grandmother, philomene, will know. and so in positively pippa she comes home. and things are odd. her grandmother is missing things. is it her age? is someone stealing them? pippa feels like she is out of the loop. and maybe that's been her choice, but it's never meant that she doesn't love her family implicitly even if she's often at cross-purposes with her mother and sister.

and then there's matt evans. he's always been the one guy who never worked out because of timing. but now the timing is right. and he's not about to avoid taking this chance. and the fact is, he is the one person who never doubts that she didn't say the things she's accused of saying. he knows her so well, he knows she could never hurt someone the way she is accused of hurting them.

and finding someone who believes in you like that is pretty heady. and maybe this time there's a way to figure things out in a way that lets them both get what they want. mainly a life with each other and some pretty exciting job opportunities.

this is a small town romance, so we also get to know the people of ghost falls throughout this narrative, and they are all pretty interesting folks. it will be nice to see where some of their stories go in subsequent books.

**positively pippa will publish on may 30, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/kensington books (zebra) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: through your eyes by shannyn schroeder

i remember really enjoying in your arms, which is an earlier entry into the o'malley siblings series. through your eyes focuses on youngest brother, tommy, tattoo artist and sensitive soul. he's been in love with an o'leary cousin since he first set eyes on her temporarily working at a bakery during a monthlong visit.

the thing is deirdre has a boyfriend. and her family's plan for her has always been for her to marry and work at the family pub. but she loves baking. and she finds herself drawn to tommy. but she's never been one to rock the boat. until her world is shattered and she starts doing things for herself.

deirdre and tommy may rush through getting-to-know-you stuff. and they may hastily make a commitment that most people would try to think twice about. but the thing is, once they both decide to go all in, it doesn't matter. it doesn't make one lick of difference how much that ante gets up by, because if it means they have each other in the end, they are willing to try and do anything. they just have to tell each other that they are playing for keeps, and maybe then they'll have enough faith to know that everything between them is real and special.

**through your eyes will publish on may 30, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/kensington books (zebra shout) in exchange for my honest review.



seriously romantic: all i ask by nicole mclaughlin

book one in the man enough series, all i ask, introduces us to a team of ex-military men who are now national guard members. reeve miller is building a landscape business now that he's rejoined civilian life. his national guard drills let him maintain the sense of order and brotherhood that is so important to him. especially considering his upbringing. his mother has a severe mental illness, she's a hoarder and there is no rehab or therapy that will fix her. so reeve has found ways to deal with this.

one of them happens to be blowing off steam at the local bar. one evening a bachelorette party is there, and he is fascinated by one of the single ladies. and when he gets close to her he is mindlessly attracted to her too.

emily phillips isn't the kind of woman who picks up guys in bars. but she's been accused one time to many of being a workaholic, and something about this guy makes her want to break character. she expects this to be a simple one night stand. and so she lies about her name and she runs away in the middle of the night never expecting to see him again.

but it turns out that reeve is the landscaper in charge of the design project on the building she owns. she's a multimillion dollar ceo of a theater chain. its a business she inherited from her grandfather, a business her father never had a chance to run because he died when she was nine years old. her stepfather was ex-military and always a jerk so she's been leery of military men ever since. especially since non-military men already have a problem with her success as a business owner.

when she can't deny her attraction from reeve, she lets herself fall into a relationship with him. but she doesn't share all of herself with him. she hides her success from him. and he makes it easy for her. he recognizes that she doesn't want to talk about certain things, and since he doesn't want to talk about his mother he respects her boundaries. because she is respecting his.

but this means that they are keeping each other at arm's length even as they are falling head over heels for each other. this is a push–pull that will eventually backfire. and it does. because at the end of the day, when you don't share those pieces of yourself with someone who loves you, you aren't really trusting them with your heart. and this is the most important thing to do when you love. is trust that no matter what this person will have your back.

reeve and emily have a lot of baggage and abandonment and trust issues to work out. there are a lot of past hurts that require healing. they do get there, and reading about it is well-worth it.

**all i ask will publish on may 30, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (swerve) in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

seriously romantic: into your arms by chelsea m. cameron

the squad stories series opens with into your arms, where cheerleader freya has moved up to maine state university from texas in order to search for her biological mother. when fellow student rhett approaches her at a bar, she dares him to join the cheerleading squad never expecting to see him again. except he takes her up on the challenge. and in spite of his relative inexperience when it comes to cheerleading, he is exactly what the squad needs in order to have a chance at making nationals. (this coincidence is almost too hard to swallow.)

freya spends most of her time irritated by rhett. it's really hard to understand why, because all he is doing is being a nice guy. he is trying to get to know her and she is so antagonistic that it makes little sense. because the truth is she actually is attracted to him and knows that he's a nice guy. so it's really hard to reconcile how she treats him for most of the novel with how patient and forgiving and not insane rhett is with her.

when she forgets to be annoyed by him and forgets that she has commitment issues, freya has the ability to be pleasant. and the reality is that she did get a raw deal and she has reasons to be gun shy. but her over the top reaction to rhett's revelation that he grew up in the foster care system still makes no sense. he confesses something personal and difficult and she runs away and is upset because they both had crappy childhoods? that's just not a normal way to react, and even when freya acknowledged that her reactions weren't appropriate this self-awareness didn't feel right, because she would do nothing to apologize or mitigate these behaviors.

rhett and freya manage to get on the same page, but you wonder why he bothers with it. freya is kind of a shrew. and he's pretty much the perfect guy. maybe if the two characters had been less extreme, freya less shrill and rhett less dreamy, it would have been easier to redeem the relationship. as it is, i'm not sure it works.

**into your arms will publish on may 30, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (swerve) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: enticing the enemy by jules court

i have a love-hate relationship with novellas. sometimes they are short and sweet and deliver just the right balance of story and character. other times they cut short character development in favor of plot and i really hate that. the good news here is that enticing the enemy is one of the former.

erin rafferty has a terrible day in court courtesy of detective daniel cruz. mostly it's her fault that things went so badly. but his ability to remain unruffled and calm in the courtroom made things worse. so when she runs into him later that same horrible, no good, very bad day she's not happy about it. and when he acts like a jerk and calls her out on how badly she misplayed her hand in the courtroom she's embarrassed and upset. especially since all this drama is unfolding in front of her best friend, priya, and daniel's partner, brian, and the blind date they set daniel up with.

the problem is that the sparks between erin and daniel keep igniting at the most inopportune moments. when erin is asked to defend a client who daniel and brian are investigating she tries to ignore the conflicts of interest in order to preserve her career. but the deeper she gets into the case and the more involved she gets with daniel, she knows that she is compromising too much.

all daniel knows is that she's the one person who makes him feel alive again. after years working undercover and having to embrace a darkness that wasn't innate in order to survive, being with erin is a welcome distraction. more than a distraction, being with her becomes necessary to his happiness. and as much as she wants to fight it, she has to admit that being with daniel is essential to hers. watching these two battle it out in order to come together is well worth it. and luckily they don't make you wait too long because this one is short and sweet, and also sexy.

**enticing the enemy will publish on may 29, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/carina press in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, May 26, 2017

seriously romantic: until you by denise grover swank

book 2 in the bachelor brotherhood, until you, picks up the story of tyler norris. he's an ace corporate lawyer and after a relationship that ended with him having to go to court for a restraining order, he's a little leery of the ladies. when he meets lanie rogers while hiding from everyone at a friend's engagement party he is intrigued. the bride is her cousin and she also happens to be hiding from the parade of potential partners her cousin keeps throwing at her.

they don't exchange names or information. they only have a mild flirtation. but that chance meeting in the garage stays with each of them. and then they keep running into one another. when they are paired as partners during the prewedding pictures for the wedding they are both in, they give into their attraction.

for a confirmed bachelor like tyler, lanie is the perfect girl. she doesn't do long-term. her job keeps her moving. but tyler finds that he dreads thinking about lanie leaving. he's never felt more in sync with anyone. their relationship is so easy. they are playful and sexy and the easy way they slide into something serious feels just right. so can lanie put down roots? can tyler find a way to have it all?

both of them have some job intrigue that affects the outcome. and one of the reasons their relationship functions so well is that they share so many of the same values. they care about their jobs. they care about their friends and their families. they just have to stop running from something that might truly tie them down. and i love how they navigate this together. i didn't think it would be possible to top kevin and holly, who by the way make some nice appearances in this book, but tyler and lanie might just do it for me.

**until you will publish on may 30, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: only you by denise grover swank

only you kicks of the bachelor brotherhood series, a spin-off of the delightful wedding pact series i read a while back. kevin vandermeer, megan's brother is the star of the show in this first book. he's come home after serving in the marines and is sick of finding out the women he is dating are crazy. but just when he's sworn off women, he meets holly greenwood, an up-and-coming wedding planner, who works hard to keep the grandmother who raised her comfortable at a nursing home.

holly is kind of an awkward mess around kevin. but the more she embarrasses herself in front of him, the more charmed he is. she's sweet and funny and has no idea how capable and beautiful he finds her. what kevin doesn't know is that holly's uptight and impossible boss is none other than nicole vandermeer, kevin's mother.

realizing that the guy you like has a mom who makes your day-to-day life miserable, is not good. it's even worse when you've accidentally complained about your boss to her son. the thing is, kevin really likes holly. but she needs to keep her job and having a relationship with kevin puts that at risk. kevin agrees to be friends, but its an agreement he has no intention of keeping to.

the more time he spends with holly the more convinced he is that she is the one. and no bachelor pact or crazy mom or dicey job situation is going to change him mind about the fact that what they share is something worth fighting for. it takes holly longer to believe this, but she's more risk averse, having already lost so many people she loves in her life. taking a chance on love, knowing that it could crash and burn, is a big ask. but kevin might just be the perfect guy.

the payoff to the big wedding holly has been planning throughout the story is one of my favorite plot points in the novel. it really worked for me. i'm so glad to be back around this group of characters again, we do get to see what megan and josh are up to, and a flyby visit from libby. and gram, who as always is up to no good.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

seriously romantic: crave me by stacey lynn

if chloe is being honest, she's always wanted simon. but he wanted her sister cassie first. and when his relationship with cassie ended badly, in part due to his need to dominate in the bedroom, there was no way that chloe thought she'd be able to attract his attention.

but when she encounters him at a masked ball as crave me opens she sees her one chance. and she dares him to kiss her. simon is intrigued until he realizes exactly who she is. and then he is horrified. he thinks it's a sick joke. things with cassie ended badly. and he's convinced that her whole family hates him and chloe is just playing some psychotic mind game. 

but he can't get her out of his mind. that one taste, there was so much possibility there. six months later he's at luminous, an exclusive kink club that he belongs to in order to take the edge off. nothing has tempted him since chloe, but he's also aching for some release. the last thing he's expecting is to hear his name called out in a panic. 

when he realizes it's chloe and she's been caught up in a scene that's gone too far, he feels conflicted. he's angry and upset that someone would have abused their power that way. he also feels responsible, because if he had agreed to teach chloe months ago, perhaps she wouldn't have found herself in this situation. and he also realizes that she means something to him. 

he reluctantly agrees to train her as a submissive. he wants to give her the tools to manage the lifestyle. and the thing is, the way they are together is everything. chloe turns out to be the exact submissive simon's dominant heart was looking for. once he figures out what really makes her tick he knows that she is the one for him. but he believes that given his history with her family that there is no way forward for them. no matter how tempted he is to ask for more. but chloe wants more too. 

and even as her family acts out in ways that confirm simon's belief, she still wants him. and so the real question is, will either of them take the leap of faith that their connection is meant to last, that the way they are together is perfect, that what they have is something real and strong enough to withstand disapproval? 

**crave me will publish on may 29, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/carina press in exchange for my honest review. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

strictly literary: blood oath by melissa lenhardt

the second book in the sawbones saga finds laura and kindle on the run. in blood oath they continue to attract problems and bad guys galore. friends and enemies turn on a dime as they continue their quest to safety. but safety in the wild west is a relative thing. and laura and kindle go by at least five different pseudonyms throughout the novel. they can barely keep their stories straight and incredibly keep running into people who would know the bounty out on their respective heads.

laura is still also recovering from the trauma of her brutal rape in sawbones. physically she's mostly healed but the emotional scars run deeper than the physical ones, and considering how her hand is permanently deformed, that says something. however, in spite of her ptsd, laura is open-minded and forgiving enough to not want an eye for an eye. when she encounters an indian woman being similarly abused, she saves her. and her connection with this woman allows her to gain some understanding of the other side of the story. there are no real heroes—between the abuses of white men and the brutal actions of some of the indian braves—neither side is truly innocent. the truth is that everyone loses when you're at war. it's not just loss of life that's the issue. it's the loss of humanity. and lenhardt highlights that particular issue beautifully. 

colonialism is the kind of business that has no mercy. not on the native peoples. not on the land. and not on the settlers themselves. in order to survive you to what you must. and laura has to reconcile herself to the fact that she's had to betray her hippocratic oath of healing in order to keep breathing. she wonders at every turn whether or not this escape is really worth all the trouble. if in the end it wouldn't be easier for her to just turn herself in and hope for the best in new york. she is innocent after all. maybe it is time that she fought to clear her original name. 

one of the overarching themes of the novel is this idea of identity. laura aka catherine aka charlotte aka sophia plays a role with each identity she tries on. her experiences out west have changed her. and it's likely that she'll never really ever feel comfortable as catherine again. but is she comfortable as laura? the fact that she will likely never be able to perform surgery again also affects her deeply. will she be able to find fulfillment as a midwife? is it better to leave her identity as a doctor behind? can she imagine a life for herself as a wife and mother? is that something that is even a possibility for her? given everything she's endured can she regain control of her sexuality? because that loss of her sensual self not only affects her identity as a woman, but it also affects her relationship with kindle. 

kindle also struggles with his identity. in many ways, he's simply not as strong as laura is. he wants to protect her. he feels that he failed her. he loves her. he loves her intelligence and her ambition. but he also wants a proper wife. at some moments he gets so caught up playing seedy bastards that he starts to act like one. he is careful and respectful of laura after her rape. and the one thing he does right is wanting her even after her assault. when he tells her that what happened to her in palo duro changed nothing of his feelings for her, it's the truth. the problem is more that it changed her feelings for him. and that is something they need to work together on. 

like sawbones, blood oath doesn't make for comfortable reading. it's not supposed to be. but in sawbones i struggled to understand and like catherine. in blood oath, i realized that it was okay to feel ambivalent about laura. she's struggling with ambivalence too. these characters get put through the ringer, and their story isn't over. as far as they come with healing and moving forward by the end of blood oath. laura and kindle can't catch a break, and badlands will continue with their journey. hopefully, given all the suffering they've endured, they'll find some version of peace by the end of it. just don't expect it to be easy. life out west certainly wasn't, and lenhardt never lets us forget it. 


**blood oath will publish on may 23, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/orbit books (redhook) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: real sexy by meghan march

the conclusion of the real dirty duet does not disappoint, real sexy is such a treat.

one of my favorite things in romance novels is when no one doubts how much the main characters love each other. life throws you curveballs and there are ups and downs you have to navigate, and maybe you figure out a way to do it together. this is really the question boone and ripley need to answer.

because the chemistry between boone and ripley is so palpable, you just want them to give into it. these two were made for each other and the more real they are with one another the more certain this is. and i love that. they have baggage and nonsense and freaking curveballs thrown their way, but the rollercoaster ride they're on is so worth it in the end.

**real sexy will publish on May 23, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of meghan march in exchange for my honest review.

simply all about real sexy - a release day blitz


REAL SEXY
Real Dirty Duet Book 2
By Meghan March
Release Day May 23th


In Nashville, country stars are a dime a dozen. 

I swore I’d never get caught up with one, but Boone Thrasher made a liar out of me. 

I said I’d never put my heart on the line, but he didn’t ask before he stole it. 

Now we’re facing my worst fears, and we'll see if this country boy is tough enough to see it through.

Girls like me don’t get happily ever afters… but maybe he’ll prove that wrong too.  

Amazon | iBooks | BN | Kobo | Google Play 




REAL DIRTY
Real Dirty Duet Book 1
By Meghan March
Available Now

I have everything a guy could want—a new single burning up the charts, more money than a simple country boy could spend, and a woman I’m planning to marry.

Until she doesn’t show up for my proposal.

The life I thought was so perfect, isn’t.

The guy who thought he had everything, doesn’t.

I’ve got my heart on lockdown, but life sends me straight into the path of a mouthy bartender who puts me in my place.

Now the only place I want to put her is under me.

I thought I was done with love, but maybe I’m just getting started.

Amazon | iBooks | BN | Kobo | Google Play | Goodreads 



About the Author
Meghan March has been known to wear camo face paint and tromp around in woods wearing mud-covered boots, all while sporting a perfect manicure. She's also impulsive, easily entertained, and absolutely unapologetic about the fact that she loves to read and write smut. Her past lives include slinging auto parts, selling lingerie, making custom jewelry, and practicing corporate law. Writing books about dirty talking alpha males and the strong, sassy women who bring them to their knees is by far the most fabulous job she's ever had. She loves hearing from her readers at meghanmarchbooks@gmail.com.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

seriously romantic: when a lady dares by tara kingston

the her majesty's most secret service series continues with when a lady dares picking up some time after the secret agency established in when a lady deceives comes into being. sophie atherton has become more than jennie's assistant, she's become a field agent all on her own. while undercover investigating a series of deaths linked to a spiritualist by the name of trask she encounters gavin stanwyck. she knows he's a sceptic, he's a man of science and there is simply no way he is honestly seeking to speak with his dead father as he claims. 

afraid that he's aiming to debunk trask entirely, sophie acts as an obstacle, so to speak. she needs gavin out of the way in order to complete her own investigation without coming under suspicion. what she doesn't realize until later is that she and gavin are both investigating the same suspicious deaths. 

at first gavin suspects that sophie is a party to the murders, but the more time he spends with her he realizes that she is in danger. trask may not be an honest man, but the people he's involved with are worse. and as they start to sense that they have more than one person on their tail, things start to get extra murderous.

thrown together, the simmering attraction between sophie and gavin basically explodes. the whole story they've been dancing around each other, playing mind games, fighting to gain the upper hand. they are perfectly matched in a battle of wits and they both want a life filled with adventure. they just have to figure out how they might take that adventure together. because the truth is, they are better together than apart. 

**when a lady dares will publish on may 22, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (select historical) in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

superbly suspenseful: the darkest corner by liliana hart

the darkest corner introduces us to the gravediggers, a top secret organization of rogue agents whose deaths have been faked in order to allow them to fight international terrorism under the radar. as the first recruit of the gravediggers stationed in last stop, texas, he's the de facto team leader. under the cover of working at a funeral home, he's been surrounded by death for too long since he was himself brought back from the dead.

but there's one person who makes him feel alive again. one person he'd consider risking it all for. he knows he's on borrowed time. either the directors will order him killed by the end of his term of service to the gravediggers or he'll die on the field of duty. either way, he's spent too long denying himself anything real. and when tess sherman accidentally discovers their newest recruit, it is only a matter of time before he will have to actually start answering her questions with the truth.

and he wants to tell her the truth. he thinks she deserves it. and when he is given the official go-ahead to bring her in, he does so mostly for him. the fact that she speaks the dialect of russian necessary to overturn the latest threat to world peace is incidental in his book. when his supervisor gives him leave to seduce her, he doesn't prostitute himself out for the job. he takes it as permission to move forward with something he's always wanted.

the connection between tess and deacon is strong from the get-go. and as they finally share their truest selves with one another and become more entrenched in each other's lives what's at stake becomes a lot more personal. for the first time deacon has something, someone to live for. and tess, who's been abandoned and cast aside more than once in her life, realizes that she's finally given her heart to someone who might leave in spite of how much he loves her. and the question becomes more about is the risk of heartache worst if they are together or if they are apart?

the shadow organization this series sets up is pretty incredible, and i can't wait to see how each other the gravediggers' stories evolves. i'm already looking forward to reading gone to dust, book 2 in the series.

**the darkest corner will publish on may 23, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/gallery, threshold, pocket books in exchange for my honest review.

simply all about the darkest corner - a release week blitz


ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: THE DARKEST CORNER
Series: The Gravediggers, Book One
Author: Liliana Hart
Imprint: Pocket Books
Publication Date: May 23, 2017
ISBN: 9781501150036
Price: $7.99 Paperback

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Liliana Hart’s first book in her sexy, suspenseful Gravediggers series, The Darkest Corner, features an elite group of mysterious men who might be dead to the world, but are also tasked with saving it—and no one can ever know.

The Gravediggers aren’t exactly what they seem. They’re the most elite of the world’s fighting forces—and all they have in common is that they’ve been betrayed by the countries they’ve died for. Because they are dead. To their country, their military, and their families.

Sometimes the dead do rise…

Deacon Tucker is a dead man walking. A former black ops agent, he was disavowed and stripped of all honor before being recruited as a Gravedigger. But his honor and good name no longer matter, because no one knows he’s alive, and he’ll never get the recognition he deserves. His mission is simple: save the world or die trying. And for God’s sake, don’t ever fall in love. That’s a rule punishable by death. The kind of death a man can’t be brought back from.

Tess Sherman is the only mortician in Last Stop, Texas. She has no idea how Deacon Tucker ended up in her funeral home, but she’ll eat her hat if he’s only a funeral home assistant. Deacon is dangerous, deadly, and drop-dead gorgeous. And she knows her attraction to him can only end in heartache.

Deacon is on a mission to stop the most deadly terror attack the world has ever known—what’s known as The Day of Destiny—a terrorist’s perfect day. But when he discovers Tess has skills he can use to stop them, he has to decide if he can trust her with secrets worth dying for. And most important, he has to decide if he can trust her with his heart.

BUY THE BOOK


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Liliana Hart is a New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than forty titles, including the Addison Holmes Whiskey and J.J. Graves Mystery series. Since self-publishing in June 2011, Liliana has sold more than four million ebooks. She’s hit the #1 spot on lists all over the world, and all three of her series have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list. Liliana is a sought-after speaker who’s given keynote speeches and self-publishing workshops to standing-room-only crowds from California to New York to London.


Look for Gone to Dust (Book 2) June 20th!




Saturday, May 20, 2017

seriously romantic: without words by delancey stewart

when dani hodge first approaches roberto derosa in without words, she's convinced he's giving her the brush off. what she doesn't know is that roberto is recovering from a traumatic brain injury he suffered in the line of duty as a fireman. and one of the more difficult aspects of his new normal is that words don't come easily to him. other than his aphasia you wouldn't be able to tell he suffered any trauma, physically, he's as strong as ever.

but he's also depressed and moody. his injury ended his career in fire-fighting. now that he's able to get on with his life, what is he supposed to do with it? dani is a girl with dreams. and with the recent passing of her grandmother, she now has the means make her dreams a reality. she wants to open a bookshop/cafĂ©/wine bar. she has the perfect space for it. she just needs help renovating it.

when roberto comes upon her while she is attempting to complete a project, he realizes she needs help. and he knows something of construction and decides to help her. he'd only rebuffed her earlier because he didn't know what to say. but remodeling work will not require that much talking. and he has the time to help her.

the more dani understands roberto's situation the more impressed by him she is. she'd always found him incredibly attractive, but his strength and resilience makes him even sexier in her book. i mean, he is pretty dreamy. it's always so interesting to read books where the characters have difficulty communicating with the world around them, because as a reader you know their thoughts and feelings so intimately. most problems in romance novels are solved with a little effort at communication, so when communication is difficult for other reasons, it almost means more to see how the characters work things out.

**without words will publish on may 22, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (select contemporary) in exchange for my honest review. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

seriously romantic: the nanny arrangement by rachel harris

the latest book in the country blues series, the nanny arrangement, follows newest member deacon latrell and his best friend, hannah fisher.  since they first met, years ago when deacon was new in town and hannah summed up the courage to say hello to him in spite of her stutter, they've been connected at the hip. and while hannah values his friendship, she is also in love with him and always has been.

the problem is that deacon doesn't see her as a woman, or at least she thinks that is the problem. it's a little more complicated though. deacon sees her as a woman all right, he just believes that he has no business lusting after his best friend. his experience with love is that people leave. and he never wants hannah to not be a part of his life.

and he's thrilled when for his first tour with the band, he'll have hannah with him. she's agreed to join the tour as a nanny, watching his young son max, and the lead singer's daughter. they'll be sharing a tour bus, and at first deacon doesn't think anything of the forced proximity. but as the sexual tension rachets up between them, it's finally time for them to talk about things openly.

the truth is, they both want the same things. they want to spend a life with each other. they want to raise his son together. all deacon needs to do is believe that he is worthy of the love hannah has for him. all hannah has to do is tell him unequivocally that she loves him. this is a sweet, emotional story, and the character's rich history adds to the depth of feeling in their romance.

**the nanny arrangement will publish on may 22, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (bliss) in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

something from the archives: say goodbye - part 20

see the links for parts 123456789101112131415161718, and 19. part 20 follows the break, and we've basically connected to the moment first described in the opening two chapters. so after chapter 21 we'll start seeing some forward progress. 

you guys, sometimes i rewrite these passages because i find them so cringeworthy, other times i fix the more egregious errors and live with the terrible writing because there's no real way for me to make it less terrible. i'm not that skilled. anyway, sometimes i'm embarrassed about my quest to preserve my fanfic, and other times i think, i spent time on this. even if it is ridiculous and silly, i want to keep it someplace accessible. this is not a bad thing. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

slightly silly: riverdale, episode 13: the sweet hereafter


i'm not sure i have words.

the season finale totally lived up to my expectations and more.



the love square became fully entrenched.



and, and, and there was so much kissing.





and the more you watch, the more opportunity for drama. it's the absolute best. 



this is what i watch teen soaps for. and riverdale has done an excellent job of being pure, soapy, ridiculous, stress-free entertainment. it took a while for these characters to come into their own, but at the end of the day, this was a wonderful freshman effort. i can only hope that the second season takes the wonderful characters and rich narrative history and runs with it. 

there is so much to look forward to. the resolution of that cliffhanger. the aura of romeo and juliet that surrounds betty and jughead's relationship. the arrival of papa lodge and what that might mean for archie and veronica. there's the promise of crossed stars that i like. i love my teen dramas soapy and full of angst, after all. 

somehow i feel like the writers will respond somewhat like this:



and now to live through the long, riverdale-less summer. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

superbly suspenseful: lethal lies by rebecca zanetti

lethal lies picks up where deadly silence left off, with heath, ryker, and denver are still on the run from cobb and madison and they're still searching for the copper killer and keeping their heads above water.

anya best is at the center of the copper killer case. her fbi agent, loretta, dies trying to solve the case. she's got a background in criminal psychology and knows just how to push his buttons. and so when she announces that she's engaged to heath and the new location of his p.i. agency—conveniently close to the killer's latest attacks—on national television, well, she has a plan.

anya pushes all of heath's triggers, or really the one, woman in danger. he can't stay away from her and she's right that she is the key to cracking the copper killer case. but as heath and his brother's dangerous past begins to close in on them and things with the copper killer escalate, the tension hits a breaking point—and all hell breaks loose.

but the one thing that heath can focus on is keeping anya safe. she's gotten so far under his skin that there's no chance this fake relationship isn't becoming something real. even if it is insanity to connect with someone so viscerally when the world around them is blowing apart and coming together in the most horrific way.

what anya and heath go through will leave physical and psychological scars, but in each other they find safe haven. their moments of connection might be the calm in the eye of the storm, but those moments are powerful, meaningful, life-changing.

everything they endure leads up to what will be the thrilling conclusion to this series, twisted truths. i for one can't wait.

**lethal lies will publish on may 16, 2017. i received an advamce reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever) in exchange for my honest review.