Thursday, August 31, 2017

seriously romantic: long for me by stacey lynn

the latest novel in the luminous series, long for me, finds intense dom bennett tangled up with his secretary rebecca. she's good at her job, though you wouldn't know it given the way bennett dismisses her. what she doesn't realize is that he can't dismiss her. he can't stop thinking about her. he can't stop imagining all the ways she could submit to him. but he senses a powerful reserve in her and knows instinctively that it's not something he can pursue. so he hides his attraction by being the most demanding, condescending boss he can be.

when rebecca lets herself be taken to luminous by her good friends and neighbors, it's a big deal. she's known that they are part of the bdsm community and she's come to accept that their relationship is loving and healthy. but it is hard for her. her father was physically abusive of both her mother and her. and even when he left them, the emotional abuse didn't stop until her mother was gone. so rebecca has a lot of trust issues framed around physical violence and degradation.

when bennett sees rebecca at the club there's is no turning back. if she is curious about the lifestyle, if she is willing, if she is searching for something more—he knows he can give her exactly what she needs. she doesn't know it yet, but she's always been his. since the moment she walked into his office eager to please. but bennett knows that she won't be easy to tame. her reluctance is clear, but so is her curiosity. and when she responds to him, the way she explodes with sensation when he touches her, he knows that they are meant to be more.

rebecca puts bennett through his paces though. she's got a lot of emotional trauma to get through, and bennett doesn't always realize what is going on in rebecca's head. so he's often wrong-footed, and this is a foreign sensation for him because he's obsessive about being in control. this is why he is drawn to the lifestyle after all.

the relationship that blossoms between rebecca and bennett is both frustrating and satisfying. they have plenty of crossed wires, but what i love is that once bennett is certain that rebecca can be the woman for him, he goes after her single mindedly. she puts up barrier after barrier and he figures them out and gets her to see that they are meant for each other.

**long for me will publish on september 4, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/carina press in exchange for my honest review.

something from the archives: say goodbye - part 35

you all know the drill.

catch up here: 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930,  313233, 34.

read on for more


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

seriously romantic: maybe i do by nicole mclaughin

i really enjoyed maybe i do by nicole mclaughlin. it's the first book in her whiskey and weddings series, and gets off to a good start with charlotte and dean's story. they've been flirting for years. he's one of the co-owners of the stag distillery, which doubles as a wedding venue. and she's a photographer who specializes in weddings and sexy book covers.

dean is an older hero, though at 41, and given my current age (i'm not 40, yet) it doesn't seem so old. even though a lot of fuss is made about his age. and she's 29, which is younger than him, but also doesn't seem so young. so in some ways it felt like there was a big deal made about this 12 year age gap that wasn't such a big deal at least not given the kind of people dean and charlotte were. both charlotte and dean had big life experiences behind them when they meet, and both had suffered their fair share of loss. so why not give in to the wanting they both feel? why not let that sexual tension break over them and bring them some bliss?

dean puts up a lot of barriers to exploring anything, in part because he is trying to protect himself and charlotte from hurting. one thing that dean hasn't told charlotte is that it is extremely unlikely he will ever be able to father children. and his infertility issues and the resulting insecurities kind of drag down the romance. maybe it's because i have dealt with infertility, but it's one of my least favorite things to read about. i understand that it's a real world obstacle and can be a dealbreaker for many people. but i hate it when that kind of reality befalls my romance characters. i loved everything else about this story, and the characters already had enough baggage to deal with that this one extra thing made me kind of sad.

and you know, i know that there are many ways to have children, it doesn't always have to be biological. but i shouldn't have to be managing my own feelings about infertility when i'm trying to escape the hard stuff. this is very much a me problem, and honestly, when i finished this book i was on such an emotional high that i was ready to give it five stars.

dean is totally swoonworthy. he's a good person, kind, forgiving, honest about his own faults. it's no wonder that charlotte is head over heels for him. all of the characters in this novel are so well drawn, you see where the series potential lies, and i kind of can't wait for more. weddings have a way of heightening emotions and this plays well into the stories mclaughlin wants to tell.

**maybe i do published on august 29, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press in exchange for my honest review. keep reading for additional information on the book and where to buy it...


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

seriously romantic: hard justice by april hunt


charlie and vince finally get their day in the sun in hard justicetheir sexual tension has been racheting up since book 1 in the series, and finally, here they are assigned as partners on a mission and part of their cover is faking a relationship. and of course that relationship becomes something real. there is no other way for the tension between them to break. 

in the meantime, they are also trying to figure out how charlie's family is involved or not involved in a human trafficking ring. a ring that might tie back to charlie's youth and a deep trauma she survived. so to say that charlie is motivated is to understate things. as the only female alpha team member charlie also has a bit of a chip on her shoulder. she feels like she has more to prove. and this butts up against vince's need to protect her. 

the thing she doesn't fully understand is that vince respects her abilities as an alpha agent, but he loves her. and he can't just let someone he loves to come to harm. so he does things that get him in serious trouble with charlie, but he does them out of love. and once they sort out that it's not second-guessing, they're okay. 

this was an enjoyable romantic suspense. figuring out who the bad guys are and getting out of danger is quite a thrill ride for these two characters. add in the steaminess and the bit of emotion as both charlie and vince face demons from their past and you've got the whole package. 

**hard justice will publish on august 29, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever) in exchange for my honest review. read on for more information about the book including an excerpt...

seriously romantic: here comes the bride by hope ramsay


when laurie wilson is left at the altar by her boyfriend of ten years, brandon kopp it feels like an out of body experience. things are happening, her mother is crying, her father is furious, her bridesmaids are out for blood and the groomsmen are defensive. and the best man, andrew lyndon, is calm and concerned for her and takes her away from the mess and listens to what she wants and tries to fix everything for her.

that's just the kind of guy andrew lyndon is. he's unflappable and cool and so very generous and kind. and laurie isn't expecting to start feeling flutters about her runaway groom's best friend. andrew is also taken by surprise by all these feelings. but she's his best friend's ex-(or maybe still)-fiancée. he grew up with brandon. and shenandoah falls is a small town full of lyndons and kopps, and there is no escaping anyone.

and everyone has an opinion about laurie and brandon or laurie and andrew or andrew and brandon or laurie and hot date number 2 or andrew and val and it's enough to make a sane person crazy so it's no surprise that laurie and andrew go a bit crazy by the end of it. this is a sweet, unexpected love type story. i kind of wish we had more alone time with laurie and andrew because as it was it felt like every time they were together there were about 5 other characters on the scene interrupting the flow of chemistry. but there was chemistry and it's hard not to love these two characters. they're really perfect together.

**here comes the bride will publish on august 29, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgally/grand central publishing (forever) in exchange for my honest review. 

the author kindly provided a list of her top five wedding dresses of all time to go along with the bridal theme, and after the list you should keep on reading for more information about the book.

Top 5 Wedding Dresses

Oooh, this is a fun top 5 list.  I’m a “Say Yes to the Dress” junkie.  So here are my choices in descending order.

1. My Wedding Dress. I had a one-of-a-kind wedding dress that would be hopelessly out of style today. But the magical thing about the dress I wore forty years ago is that my mother and I made it. We bought two patterns and combined them to make a ball gown without a train. We made a muslin test dress. Then, when it fit perfectly, we took the pieces apart to make a pattern.
We bought the fabric – yards of taffeta and silk organdy – at Gimbels in New York.  Mom did the machine sewing. I did all the hand sewing using a golden thimble that belonged to my grandmother. There was lots of hand sewing: lace, embroidered braid, and hand-embroidered feather stitching. See picture.

2. Princess Diana’s Wedding Dress. Okay, I know it’s out of style, but Princess Di and I got married around the same time period. And we both had dresses with GIGANTIC sleeves. Love those sleeves. Here’s a link to a picture: http://people.com/royals/prince-charles-and-princess-dianas-royal-wedding-35-years-later/

3. Grace Kelly and Kate Middleton’s Wedding Dresses. The traditional lace wedding dress has never gone out of style. And If I were tall and had skinny arms I would have bypassed the big sleeves.

Here’s a photo of Grace Kelly’s wedding dress:    http://www.brides.com/story/grace-kelly-wedding-photos.

And here’s a link to a photo of Kate Middleton’s: http://us.hellomagazine.com/royalty/12016042914066/kate-middleton-wedding-dress-details-anniversary/1/066/kate-middleton-wedding-dress-details-anniversary/1/

4. Jackie Kennedy’s Wedding Dress. I love the 1950s look of this wedding dress. It’s also a dress for someone with skinny arms. Here’s a link: http://plumedserpentbridal.com/happy-62nd-anniversary-to-john-and-jackie-kennedy/

5. Felicity Smoak’s Wedding Dress.  I’m a fan of “The Arrow” TV show, and in an episode a couple of years ago Felicity Smoak had to wear a wedding dress. If I were getting married today, I’d be looking for an A-line dress like this one. In fact, this is the very dress I used for the jilted bride in the first scene of Here Comes the Bride.  Here’s the link:  https://wornontv.net/56677/


seriously romantic: 1001 dark nights - bundle eleven

the 6 stories included in 1001 dark nights - bundle eleven span genres, from contemporary to erotic to fantasy to supernatural. there's pretty much something here for everyone.

easy for keeps is short and sweet, telling the story of bartender adam, who we met in easy melody and social worker sarah. she has just moved to new orleans and runs into adam after a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad morning that involved losing track of her young daughter and car trouble and work emergencies. adam has alway been a bit of a player, so it's surprising that his encounter with sarah sticks with him. and as he slowly gets to know her he realizes that the reason no one else ever stuck before was because they weren't right for him. the format doesn't allow the author to delve to deeply into the characters' psyches. but the story is emotionally satisfying, and adam is delight around sarah's young daughter.

from there the bundle shifts to ancient greece, where prometheus is still recovering from his torture at the hands of zeus and hiding away in another reality close to his daughter natasa and the argonauts who helped save him. in unchained, his newfound peace is disturbed by visits from a woman he only knows as keia. she is a witch, in truth she is circe, and she is under zeus's command. her hope in contacting prometheus is to find a way to break her own chains as she is also zeus's prisoner. but she doesn't expect the chemistry or the feelings or the guilt that come with getting close to prometheus. but even as she tries to let go in order to save him, he's in too deep and he will risk everything, even coming face-to-face with zeus to save her. this one is fantastical and sexy and a nice, quick read.

we jump back to contemporary for the third novella in the bundle, hard to serve, which i think was my favorite of the bunch. set around a bdsm club in baltimore called blasphemy, kyler vance has just been put on desk duty after being struck by a bullet and now being implicated in an internal affairs investigation run by new chief of police, comissioner breslin. when he goes to the club he has a share in to let off some steam the last thing he expects is to find the perfect submissive for him. their kinks complement each other perfectly. only he's never wanted anything long-term as he believes that serving on the police force is enough to destroy any romantic relationship he will ever have. after all, it didn't work for his grandparents or parents. but mia is perhaps even more perfect for him than he could ever realize, and also is more complicated for him than he expected, since she also happens to be the police chief's daughter. this novella was erotic and emotional and really i would have been happy to have many more pages of story between kyler and mia.

dragon fever is a contemporary but a supernatural one. journalist rachel marek is determined to expose the dragon kings for the liars they are. when her informant sam macdonald gives her intel on one of the mysterious dragon kings as well as his whereabouts, she is going to track him down and reveal everything. because rachel is convinced the dragons are doing the humans irreperable harm. but when rachel encounters asher and begins to know him, she starts to wonder if she has the complete story. because even though she's never felt attraction to any other person before, she feels things for asher. and she doesn't think she has it in her to fall for someone who is utterly evil. especially when he is so gentle and kind and super sexy. as long as everyone stays in human form during the sexy bits i am mostly okay with these kind of shifter/interspecies romances.

and then we get to the two novels in the bundle. beneath these shadows, which i've reviewed before. but here's a peek of what i said then:  bishop's thing is that he doesn't get involved. he never lets anyone get close, because he's already lost too much and the truth is his heart can't take losing more. but when eden swoops into town and keeps running into trouble and crossing his path, he can't stop himself from saving her. he can't stop himself from thinking about her. and when it comes right down to it, he can't stop himself from tasting her. the chemistry between these two leads is crazy hot. eden is sheltered and naive and unworldly, and bishop definitely sets out to help corrupt her, but there is a sweetness to their relationship that makes their story that much more emotional and deep.

and then finally there is before i fall, an emotional, angsty new adult romance. beth lamont is trapped by circumstances. her father suffered a crippling back injury that leaves him disabled, but it isn't crippling enough to get him immediate relief. years of fighting with health insurances and the va have left her exhausted and her father an addict to opiods and alcohol. when she is assigned to tutor noah warren she is wary of the ex-marine. she doesn't have a good track record with military men. but there is something about noah that keeps her coming back to him. noah is suffering from extreme ptsd and his war injuries also have him in constant pain. we are made aware as readers of his use of anti-anxiety meds, but even as he tries to manage his anxiety and pain he is only ever given more pharmaceuticals and told to go to therapy. he hides the extent of his pain from beth. knowing that she isn't really in a place to handle it. a lot is made of the fact that he is lying to her, though it was hard to necessarily see it that way, because she also doesn't really want to know. the fact remains that in order for beth and noah to move forward with their relationship, he needs to find a way to heal and she needs to be able to understand. once they open themselves up to this, then they can figure out how to live and love together. it's not an easy road for them, and noah's demons will always be there. but maybe, beth is the right person to stand by him. she just has to want it.

**1001 dark nights - bundle eleven will publish on august 29, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of inkslinger pr in exchange for my honest review.

simply all about 1001 dark nights - bundle eleven



I am absolutely thrilled to bring you the Release Day Launch for 1001 Dark Nights: Bundle Eleven, brought to you by 1001 Dark Nights. Introducing Discovery Authors Meghan March and Jessica Scott, the Bundle contains 6 novellas, including novellas from New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors Kristen Proby, Elisabeth Naughton, Laura Kaye, and Donna Grant! Grab your copy of this incredible bundle today!

About 1001 Dark Nights: Bundle Eleven:

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors Kristen Proby, Elisabeth Naughton, Laura Kaye, Donna Grant, and introducing Meghan March and Jessica Scott.

Six Dark Tales. Six Sensual Stories. Six Page Turners.


EASY FOR KEEPS: A Boudreaux Novella by Kristen Proby

Adam Spencer loves women. He’s comfortable with his lifestyle and sees no reason to change it. Sarah Cox has just moved to New Orleans, having accepted a position as a social worker. It’s a demanding, sometimes dangerous job, but Sarah can handle just about anything that comes at her, even the attentions of one sexy Adam Spencer. But the more time she spends with the enchanting man, the more he begins to sway her into believing in forever.



UNCHAINED: An Eternal Guardians Novella by Elisabeth Naughton

For thousands of years, Prometheus’s only certainty was his daily torture at Zeus’s hand. Now, unchained by the Eternal Guardians, he spends his days in solitude, trying to forget the past. He’s vowed no allegiance in the war between mortal and immortal, but when a beautiful maiden seeks him out and begs for his help, he’s once again powerless to say no. Soon, Prometheus is drawn into the very conflict he swore to avoid.

HARD TO SERVE: A Hard Ink Novella by Laura Kaye

When Internal Affairs investigates Detective Kyler Vance as part of the new police commissioner’s bid to oust corruption, everything is on the line. Mia Breslin’s career is golden. Now if only she could find a man to dominate her nights and set her body—and her heart—on fire. When a scorching scene with a hard-bodied, brooding Dom at Blasphemy promises just that, Mia is lured to serve Kyler again and again.

DRAGON FEVER: A Dark Kings Novella by Donna Grant

Rachel Marek intends to expose the truth about dragons to the world – and her target is within sight. Nothing matters but getting the truth, especially not the ruggedly handsome, roguishly thrilling Highlander who oozes danger and charm. Asher is more than just a man. He’s a Dragon King – a being who has roamed this planet since the beginning of time. With everything on the line, Asher must choose to trust an enemy in the form of an all too alluring woman whose tenacity and passion captivate him.

BENEATH THESE SHADOWS by Meghan March

The only permanent thing in my life is the ink I put on my clients.

I drift from city to city, in and out of beds, from one tattoo shop to the next.

Every time I start to put down roots, I rip them up.

Until New Orleans.

Until her.

She’s everything I’m not.

Full of fire and life. An innocent where I’m a sinner.

I want to consume her. Protect her. Keep her.

But first, I have to escape from beneath these shadows.

BEFORE I FALL: A Falling Novel by Jessica Scott

Beth Lamont knows too much about the harsh realities of life. She’ll do whatever it takes to take care of her father, even if that means tutoring a guy like Noah. Noah Warren doesn’t know how to be a student. All he knows is war. But he’s going to college now to fulfill a promise and he doesn’t break his promises. Except he doesn’t count on his tutor being drop dead gorgeous.

Every Dark Nights tale is breathtakingly sexy and magically romantic.




simply all about the playboy bachelor - paperback version


About the Book
Title: THE PLAYBOY BACHELOR
Series: The Bachelors of Arizona Book 2
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Publication Date: August 29, 2017
Imprint: Forever Mass Market
Price: $7.99
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NOW IN MASS MARKET PAPERBACK!

She's no Sleeping Beauty. And he's definitely no prince . . .

Margot McCleery could have lived her whole life without seeing Bentley Wellington again-her ex-best friend and the poster boy for Hot, Rich Man-Whores everywhere. But Margot's whiskey-augmented grandmother "buys" Bentley at a charity bachelor auction, and now suddenly he's at her door. Impossibly charming. Impossibly sexy. And still a complete and utter jackass.

Bentley's just been coerced by his grandfather to spend the next thirty days charming and romancing the reclusive red-haired beauty who hates him. The woman he abandoned when she needed him the most. Bentley knows just as much about romance as he knows about love-nothing. But the more time he spends with Margot, the more he realizes that "just friends" will never be enough. Now all he has to do is convince her to trust him with her heart . . .

Buy the Book

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Excerpt

“I’m writing a kissing scene!” she blurted, mentally kicking herself for screaming it in his face. “And the guy’s a complete jackass. Since my only experience with jackasses is you…” Her voice was shaky, just like her body. Could he tell how much she wanted him? How much she hated that her response was this—raw. “I-I figured you were the only one who could show me what it’s like.” Good one, Margot. Do you really have to sound so…desperate?

“What what’s like?”

“A kiss. From a jackass.”

“Got the jackass part.” He treaded water and then grabbed her by the arm and pulled her deeper into the pool until they were on the opposite end, his body pressed against hers. At least his eyes were still locked on her face. “And you’ve never been kissed?”

She rolled her eyes. “Not by someone like—”

“If you keep insulting me, this kiss won’t ever happen, Red.”

“Don’t call me that,” Margot whispered. Was she so weak that she’d forgive his abandonment for one kiss? “Please?”

“This kiss.” His calculated gaze didn’t make her feel any better about the situation. “How long does it need to be? How deep? Where do you want my hands?”

Margot’s mouth dropped open. “That’s not how kisses work! You can’t just map out the kiss. That takes all the romance out of it!”

“Oh, so you want romance?”

“Yes! No! I mean. I didn’t say that!” Her face flamed, and she sagged in defeat. Admitting she wanted romance kind of felt like she was on the losing end of the little battles they’d been having, like she was giving him an in. And if he got in, he’d only hurt her again.

“I was joking,” he said, just before his lips brushed hers. His tongue slid across her bottom lip and then sucked it for a few seconds before he slid it into her mouth and deepened the kiss.

Her lips softened beneath his gentle coaxing, and his hard thighs pressed against hers as a deep hunger awakened within her.

Oh, this was bad.

So bad.

And very, very good at the same time.

Review

I reviewed this back in April when the ebook released and this is what I had to say then:

these books are written with a light touch, but what i liked about this one was the fact that these characters were actually dealing with some heavy emotional problems. they had to work through things in order to be able to move forward. and what they go through, the way they reach a new understanding of who they are and who they can be together is really satisfying.

At the time I thought the novel was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, though the marketing materials here seem to indicate that it's supposed to be a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. I like the book on its own merits, but I have to say that I find the Sleeping Beauty retellings to be a challenge in the modern world. The magic and revenge don't translate well, so you end up with the hidden away hero trope, but Beauty and the Beast and Rapunzel are better fairy tales to use for that I think.

About the Author

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult, Regency, and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. She keeps her home in Idaho with her husband, son, and their snoring boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers!

Website | Facebook | BookBub | Amazon Author Page

Giveaway

Enter to win 1 of 10 copies of the paperback of The Playboy Bachelor!

Monday, August 28, 2017

strictly literary: mask of shadows by linsey miller

linsey miller's debut fantasy, mask of shadows, follows a thief named sal through the audition process to join the queen's left hand. the left hand being the queen's special council of justice or revenge seekers, or assassins if we're speaking plainly. the audition process is arduous, dangerous, murderous. the queen's court is full of intrigue. the lands she saved barely stitched together.

sal is a fascinating character, i don't think i've ever read anything quite like this before. sal isn't exactly a he or she or them. gender fluid, sal is not that, but also all that. and it was hard at first to understand. i'm a cis-gendered, hetero, pass-for-white person. how could you be nothing but all things at once? it's not a feeling i truly understand but sal manages to explain it in a way that makes sense. so while i struggled at first to categorize sal, much like the characters around sal do, i learned to accept that sal is sal. and once i was able to stop fixating on this, the story just flowed.

if you like red queen or the hunger games, you will like this too. there's world-building and betrayal, deaths that just happen and deaths that cut to the bone. there is love too, and friendship. there's the fact that nothing in this world is stable and sal is just another person who wants it to crumble. partly because there is no way that things remain as is. and all sal wants is to survive the fall. well, that and revenge.

**mask of shadows will publish on august 29, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/sourcebooks fire in exchange for my honest review. 


Sunday, August 27, 2017

seriously romantic: when the scoundrel sins by anna harrington

when the scoundrel sins is one of those books where it's clear to everyone except the main characters that they are head over heels for one another. annabelle and quinton have a tumultous history that goes back to her debut season, or actually to a time before that, where he constantly teased her and she thought the worst of him.

and then he kisses her and she freaks out and then society stumbles in on them at the worst possible moment. there was never going to be a way to recover from that, though annabelle holds a grudge for quinton fighting to defend her honor and he's never apologized because honestly it doesn't make sense for him to apologize for the fight. he doesn't feel guilty about it and i'm still not clear on why that was something he needed to apologize for.

it's six years later and annabelle has to marry in order to inherit her home. she proposes a marriage of convenience to quinton but he won't do it. he's got his reasons and they are semi-valid, but also he's so stupidly in love with her that it's clear he won't marry her for convenience's sake. if he marries her it has to be a real marriage but that isn't what she wants.

so then he has to go through the motions of vetting all the candidates for her hand. while her neighbor sir harold stakes his specific claim while being an all-around jerk to pretty much everyone. he's not even on the page for all that much but whenever he is, he's like this mustache twirling villain. it's surprising that annabelle thinks he's so harmless.

anyway, it gets to a point where quinton is ready to marry annabelle and she won't have him because he won't say he loves her. he is terrified of love. but the fact of the matter is that they are being utter idiots because it's so freaking obvious that they love each other. his love for her is so apparent, i don't understand why she needs the exact words. he's more freaked out by the fact that she loves him than by what he actually feels for her. for the most part this is an enjoyable regency, annabelle and quinton have crazy amounts of chemistry, and their friendship makes their romantic relationship even more special, but they are also frustratingly stupid about things at the end. which is why it loses a star for me.

**when the scoundrel sins will publish on august 29, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever) in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

seriously romantic: tell me that you're mine by victoria de la o

tell me that you're mine is the final book in the tell me series, and finds ryan mcallister coming home after spending a year in japan, recovering from the events in book 1. being away from his brother has been good for him. even though it has put a strain on his relationship with jude, ryan needed the time away to become his own person. and coming back home isn't really an option now that jude and lizzie are living together.

when he wrangles a studio apartment from eva romero, the last thing he expects is the zing of chemistry between them. she's a couple years older than him. and as a divorced, single mom she's not up for a fling. her life is complicated. falling into bed with her renter would only make it more complicated. but for the first time since her divorce, she wants to try.

even though she can't help thinking that no matter what she and ryan have will only ever be temporary. she's older than him. she's got a six-year-old. her ex has a borderline personality disorder that she feels responsible about managing. she's carrying all this guilt about not sticking things out with her ex, that she keeps sabotaging what can happen with ryan.

and the thing about ryan is that all he wants is for someone to choose him. he wants someone to love him. someone to put him first the way he keeps putting everyone else in his life first. he may not always understand where eva is coming from, but he tries. he's such a good guy. i really loved him as a character. i haven't actually read the earlier novels in the series, and i think it would be hard for me to read book 1 knowing he loses out on the girl, even though i love him with eva.

**tell me that you're mine will publish on august 29, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (swerve) in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, August 25, 2017

seriously romantic: renegade by brynley blake

book 2 of the phoenix rising series, renegade, picks up right where rogue left off. kenzie and noah are off in malaysia trying to find clues to liam's bucket list, while walker follows up with gemma and charlotte on things at home.

liam's bucket list takes walker and gemma to the west coast. where they try to connect the dots between the actions he took just before his death and whether or not the rumors of liam's betrayal is true. it also takes them to a place where the limits of their long time friendship are stretched and boundaries are crossed.

gemma has always had a problem getting off when she's with guys, when the father of a wedding client propositions her with a D/s relationship, she's intrigued. maybe that's what she has been missing her whole life. when she comes across walker's research for their trip to san francisco and jumps to the conclusion that he's a dominant, she is delighted. she can test her limits with her best friend, the one person she knows she can trust above all.

walker doesn't know how to tell gemma that she's wrong about him. even though the more he experiments with her, the more he realizes that there are some aspects to the bdsm lifestyle that appeal to him. his original goal in agreeing to her crazy plan was to discourage her from seeking it out with the silver fox. but once everything gets all muddled he's not sure what his goal is. except maybe just being with gemma.

both of them are seeing each other in a new light. and the decades of friendship only add new depths to their sexual connection and incredible chemistry. walker and gemma are made for each other, and all they need to do is admit that they are better together than apart. something that changes everything, even though it changes nothing at all. because no matter what they are best friends. they've always been best friends. they will always be best friends. just with some extra loving.

oh, and this book has this amazing cliffhanger that was kind of everything i hoped it would be. book 3 in this series is looking like it might be my favorite, and this is saying something because i really loved both 1 and 2.

**renegade will publish on august 28, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (brazen) in exchange for my honest review. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

something from the archives: say goodbye - part 34

there's suspense, there's danger, there's teleportation! you can catch up with the story at the links: 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930,  3132, and 33.

read on for part 34.


simply all about ruthless king - a cover reveal


so meghan march's latest book takes place in the same new orleans world as the beneath series, but this time it's new orleans' darker underbelly. led by a sexy alpha hero named lachlan mount. mount isn't your average hero. he's not your cookie cutter good guy. he's a shades of gray kind of guy. how many? well, we'll find out on october 17th. read on for more information and a closer look at the cover...


seriously romantic: drift by amy murray

abby doesn't want to ever become her mother, even though this is what she thinks will happen. paranoid schizophrenia is genetic after all, and aren't all little girls destined to become their mothers? when she meets james kingsley and all her fears come true. because suddenly she's seeing things, things that aren't real, things that can't be true. and james seems to be the trigger, but staying away from him proves to be difficult.

she's not crazy. she worries she is, but she also knows she's not crazy. and she really isn't. the visions that james triggers in her are scenes from a past life, a life she shared with james. a past life that she also shared with mack her new neighbor. and the connections between the three of them lead to a wrong she needs to right before the drifts in time end her life.

drift is a new adult romance with time travel elements, the past has a lot of bearing on the future. but it's pretty clear from the get-go that the central person in abby's life is james. he's the reason for her drifts and making sure their story ends differently is the key for their romance this time around.

**drift will publish on august 28, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (embrace) in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

seriously romantic: rebel by rebecca yarros

you guys, rebel was even better than i imagined it would be. penna's story is by far the most emotional one of the bunch. she's still recovering from her leg injury. she's estranged from her little sister--her best friend--and the rest of her family. she's not sure she's got what it takes to still be a renegade.

so one night in vegas she decides to try a stunt. and she meets someone who is willing to roll the dice with her on a crazy base jump off a carousel. and that leads them to an intense makeout session that is interrupted only by the police looking for some illegal base jumpers. cruz only knows her as penelope. but when he starts up his new job as a history professor at ucla working a semester at sea program he learns that she is rebel aka penna carstairs, his student.

while what happens in vegas should stay in vegas, the problem is that the chemistry between cruz and penna is ridiculous and out of this world. these two literally scorch the pages of this book with the intensity of their connection and when you add in the layer of danger because they can't get caught it's so hot. so freaking hot.

she is his student. he is her teacher. except she is also his. and he is hers. there is no question that they belong together. their love burns so brightly. it's impossible to contain.

i can't really explain how much i loved this book. part of me is sad that this was written as the last in the series, because i feel like nitro/nick deserved his own book. but the epic epilogue on this one is perfect. literally, everything about this story worked for me. i have no nitpicks or quibbles about cruz and penna's story. i loved everything about it. i keep repeating myself, but it's because i feel compelled to tell everyone how much i loved this book.

**rebel will publish on august 28, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (embrace) in exchange for my honest review.


seriously romantic: nova by rebecca yarros

if i'm going to be honest, i have to confess that nova was the weak link in the series for me. i didn't love landon as much as it seemed every female in his vicinity did. and his story is a second chance at love type story that did include some of my least favorite tropes.

i also think the need for rachel to be so antagonistic made her harder to like. there's a scene late in the book where leah tells rachel that she has to bend. that sticking to her principles is making her miserable. bending doesn't mean you're defeated. forgiveness doesn't equal forgetting. 

landon and rachel find their way back from all the hurt. but it's on the excruciating side of the fence for me. the truth is i mostly wanted to get through this book in order to get to rebel, penna's story. pax might be my favorite renegade, but penna is my favorite character. 


seriously romantic: wilder by rebecca yarros

it's going to be a wild wednesday around these parts, because i've just binge-read the renegades series by rebecca yarros and the log line reads something like this "a group of extreme sports stars pledge to finish college while spending a year at sea, filming a documentary, and falling in love."

the series kicks off with wilder, and our first renegade is paxton wilder. he's the unofficial leader of the gang, mainly because his family's money is bankrolling the school and the documentary. he's also carrying a lot of guilt and responsibility and pressure on his shoulders. he feels responsible for nick's accident, he feels responsible for landon's heartbreak, and he has to get passing grades and avoid scandal in order to keep everyone on the documentary crew employed. basically pax feels like he's at the center of everyone's problems and he's got a plan to fix things for everyone.

but he needs help to do it. and leah baxter is the key to it all.

the last thing leah expects when she starts out her dream year abroad on a ship is to be upgraded to a vip suite. and getting mixed up with a bunch of extreme sports enthusiasts is so not her thing. in fact, it's so far out of her comfort zone that she immediately tries to confront pax about it. the last thing she expects is to find herself zip-lining onto the cruise ship from the port. she's afraid of heights. actually, that isn't quite descriptive enough. she's fucking terrified of them. with good reason.

but she needs to work with pax in order to keep her scholarship. and somehow she finds herself drawn into his world. it doesn't hurt that they have insane chemistry. or that every time pax pushes her to try something new or risky leah feels like she's coming back to life. it's possible that with pax she'll find a way to heal from her deepest hurts.

on top of everything else pax is dealing with there is someone who is targeting the renegades and pax specifically by sabotaging several of their stunts. everything comes to a head when pax is at an exhibition where he intends to be the first person to complete three-forward rotations while airborne on a motorbike. it's a trick his friend nick broke his back trying to attempt. to say that the stakes are high almost feels like an understatement.

the romance here works because it is as adrenaline-fueled as the story and when coupled with these two characters with insane amounts of chemistry, you find yourself with your heart pounding, fully invested in how everything turns out.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

seriously romantic: ready to run by lauren layne

in ready to run, jordan carpenter is convinced she's left her small town days behind. but the perfect reluctant groom lives in lucky hollow, montana and she needs him to be the star of a runaway bride/the bachelor-type reality show. if only luke elliott were for sale. he's hot, he's a firefighter, and he just happens to have three ex-fiancées that he happened to leave at the altar.

the problem is that luke isn't a jerk. he has no interest in cashing in on his story. but jordan is persistent and incapable of backing away from the challenge that luke presents. even as she realizes that there is no way luke will ever agree to being her star, she can't stay away from him. and he can't stay away from her. he wants to hate her hard-nosed, citified standards, but the truth is, jordan is a small town girl at heart. and there is someting about lucky hollow that captivates her.

there is more to luke's three failed weddings than meets the eye, but some of the secrets behind those break-ups aren't luke's to tell. and the one that is, well, that relationship destroyed his ability to trust pretty strangers strolling into his town. so his distrust of jordan comes from a valid place, it's just not exactly fair to jordan. because regardless of everything else, when it comes down to it, the reason he and jordan are so in sync is that from the first moment they met something sparked between them. and luke is only able to trust in it when it is almost too late. this is a romance, so it's only almost. and the way their story concludes is sweet and romantic and gives us a hint of what to look forward to in the next installment of this series.

**ready to run will publish on august 22, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/random house publishing group (loveswept) in exchange for my honest review.




seriously romantic: traitor in her arms by shana galen

the french revolution is not usually an era used as a backdrop for romantic novels, it's a bit macabre, what with all the losing of heads and blood flowing in the streets. shana galen's traitor in her arms doesn't shy away from any of that. the horrors of revolutionary paris are described in meticulous detail, but not in a way that feels gratuitous or false.

the horrors of paris up the ante for our hero and heroine. lady gabrielle mccullough is a thief who finds herself recruited by the mysterious scarlet pimpernel. she's left drowing in debt after her husband's death and her attempt to steal cleopatra's lapis lazuli necklace to finance paying her bills goes awry when ramsey barnes, earl of sedgwick gets there first.

she's not sure why he'd be stealing the necklace. he has money. it's likely just a game to him. years ago they shared a kiss in a summer house, but nothing came of it. she's sure he's toying with her the same way he did back then. the truth is more complicated however, ramsey is being blackmailed. his life, his ability to care for his family, is under threat if the truth about his past is revealed to society. he's always been attracted to gabrielle, but he's also known that getting close to her was too great a risk. if everything were ever revealed her position in society would be under threat, and ramsey wasn't about to risk it.

when his blackmailer asks him to unmask the scarlet pimpernel he has no choice but to head to paris. when he encounters gabrielle on the ship and realizes she is working with the mysterious do-gooder, he realizes he must stay close to her. his intent is to betray her. but the idea of this kills him. he finds himself helping gabrielle with her task even as his blackmailer grows more determined to have him bow to her will.

the story really shines when it gets to the streets of paris. the action picks up, the danger and the horror do too. ramsey and gabrielle find themselves drawn together for reasons that go beyond their mutual safety or their individual missions. there's the connection they've been denying for years, and with death threatening just around the corner, there's no reason to keep apart.

**traitor in her arms will publish on august 22, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/random house publishing group (loveswept) in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, August 21, 2017

simply a total eclipse of the heart, er, um partial eclipse of the sun

so i don't live in an area where i might easily glimpse the totality. which is a word i love.

i also really like the word singularity. and it's scientific meaning.

but i felt that even though i can't see the total solar eclipse, and even though i'm not entirely sure i'll be able to see the partial solar eclipse because i don't have any damn glasses. i'm kind of hoping i'll be able to access some since i work in the astronomy department. but that also involves me being more of a joiner at the office than i am generally speaking.

anyway, the whole thing is cool. and just worth commemorating with a special total eclipse blog post.


and this video is so weird and fantastical that it deserves some recognition today.

i mean, every single time someone says total eclipse, this song is in my head.

simply all about keeper - a cover reveal

so last time i talked about keeper, the latest in the harris brothers series by amy daws, i only had the blurb.

and already that told you that this book is going to be an epic friends-to-lovers sports romance. and honestly,  i can't wait to read it. but until it releases, we'll all just have to make do with drooling over the cover, which you will get your own peek of after the jump.

luckily, september 7th, isn't that far off. and is a doubly lucky day because it's the first day of school in my parts. no kids = more time to read. anyway, read on for the pretty...


seriously romantic: make me want by rebecca brooks

when tyler mccall rolls into gold mountain in make me want he has no intention of making friends with the locals. after all, this is just a résumé-building stop on his way to fire safety management somewhere else. the last thing he expects to do on his first night is rescue a woman from an aggressive ex by pretending to be a new boyfriend. and he's also not expecting the sexual chemistry with this woman to be off the charts, especially since he's never been one to smooth-talk the ladies. and even worse, the last thing he expects is to realize that this woman is abbi haas, the naturalist opposed to the firebreak he's come into town to implement and oversee.

abbi is passionate and headstrong and so badly burned by a childhood trauma that leads her to think the absolute worst of anyone who is actually trying to help her. this makes her both a sympathetic character and utterly enraging. because she is so passionate about her cause, but it also feels like she never listens to opposing viewpoints. she is so righteous and certain and it becomes a bit overwhelming. she immediately assumes that tyler is being misogynistic and condescending, and while his delivery leaves a lot to be desired, his position is based on his experiences as a firefighter and his knowledge of what it means to deal with the devastation it leaves behind. and his poor delivery and lack of tact has more to do with his own failings in personal communication rather than some deep-seated misogyny or misbegotten sense of superiority.

mostly i wanted these two characters to have a conversation where abbi actually listened. one where she didn't immediately assume the worst and leave poor tyler at his wit's end. because as readers we were privy to his thoughts as well as hers and could see where things went sideways every time they tried to talk. ultimately, i liked the book, i just wished that abbi were a little less frustrating a character. because i wanted to like her. i wanted to be on her side because it seemed like it should be the nobler side, but oh man, she made it difficult. tyler for all his demons is a good guy. and why it took abbi so long to see it, well, her history of sexual abuse makes the whole thing complicated and excusable, but no less of a challenge.

**make me want will publish on august 28, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (brazen)  in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

seriously romantic: compromised in paradise by samanthe beck

the compromise me series concludes with compromised in paradise. i've been waiting for arden st. sebastian's story since the first book and i was glad to see nick bancroft make another appearance. the hot doctor is once again set up with our heroine, but he doesn't know it.

when arden and nick first cross paths they don't know each other's names. they know nothing except that there is a powerful chemical attraction that flares between them. and arden wants one night to lose herself and forget all the pressures that have her wound so tight. all she wants is one night with a stranger, with someone who doesn't come from her world, someone who has no expectations.

but arden can't turn off for one night. her ringing cell phone ruins the moment, and when nick realizes she's faking there is no way he's going to let their night end on that note. except that as a doctor he can't really turn off for one night either, and an emergency at the hospital forces him to leave. but not before he extracts a promise from arden. they will see each other for the next six days, and he will get her to fully relax and enjoy the moment and not fake any orgasms. and arden agrees as long as they both agree not to divulge their names or identities.

this actually doesn't sit right with nick, but he wants arden more than he wants her name. and over the next few days he comes up with ways to spend time with her both in and out of bed. the sexual connection between nick and arden is off the charts, but they have more in common than they realize and fit together in ways that neither of them expects. at the end of the six days, both arden and nick are trying to figure out ways to stay in touch. it's that whole not sharing names or identities agreement that blows things up.

but not for good, or for that long, because nick and arden are pretty clear about their feelings for each other. and once they have the full picture, they realize that they were both feeling the same thing. that what started out as a one-night fling is something they never want to see the end of. nick is basically a super swoonworthy hero. he's kind and giving and funny and sexy and naughty at just the right moments. and honestly, i never wanted to see the end of him either.

**compromised in paradise will publish on august 28, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (brazen) in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

strictly literary: the art of hiding by amanda prouse

when nina mccarrick's husband dies suddenly everything in her life is turned upside down. it's not just the loss of her husband, whom she loved, that hurts. because what she learns is that their life is built on smoke and mirrors and his death brings everything crashing down around her. and it would be one thing if it were just her that needed to re-acclimate, but her two sons haven't asked for any of this and she has to be strong enough to protect them.

the art of hiding is not just about what we hide from the people we love, it's about what we hide from ourselves, it's about the hiding we do from others. nina has to start over but the further away that old life resides, the more she realizes that it kept her in a cage. and this new life where she has a job and works hard to keep her kids happy and connects with her sister and fellow rugby parents is more fulfilling and rewarding and happier than the life she lived before.

starting over means that she doesn't have to hide anymore. she can be her true self. and as much as she misses her husband. she also realizes she resents him. and she also realizes that she loves him no matter what he did. even as she realizes that she let him isolate her from people who would have loved her in order to keep his love to himself. people are complicated and often difficult to know. to some degree, we all hide something. this truth is what lies at the heart of the art of hiding which is more than just another book about a widow who has to start over.

**the art of hiding published on july 18, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/lake union publishing in exchange for my honest review.


Friday, August 18, 2017

seriously romantic: a hero to love by gail chianese

the second book of gail chianese's changing tides series, a hero to love, picks up the story of jackson "jax" faraday, who we met in the first book, and navy base veternarian risa reynolds. risa doesn't date military men. but she's tempted by jax especially once she sees how good he is with animals.

animals are her passion, and jax loves them too. his k9 partner, bella and him have been through a lot. and now bella is suffering from an injured hip and some form of doggy ptsd, but also clearly loves jax and would do anything for him.

risa's rule seems kind of arbitrary and eventually gets pushed aside when her connection with jax proves too strong to ignore. the main issue these two face is that they suck at communicating clearly and talking about the future, because there is a certain moment where risa assumes the absolute worst and has also completely misunderstood jax and they are estranged for absolutely no reason.

i have to be honest that kind of stuff drives me bonkers in romance novels. but at the end of the day, risa and jax are really good together, and other than the giant communication fail toward the end of the book they are perfectly well-suited.

**a hero to love will publish on august 22, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/kensington books (lyrical press) in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

something from the archives: say goodbye - part 33

so much drama...you can catch up with the story at the links: 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930,  31 and 32

read on for part 33.



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

seriously romantic: so bad it must be good by nicole helm

kayla gallagher has finally freed herself from her overbearing family. that was step one. the problem is that she isn't sure she knows what step two is. when she runs into liam patrick at the farmer's market she had conceived for her family's restaurant she's feeling vulnerable and lost. it had been her idea but her father and grandmother had bulldozed over her dreams to get what they wanted and now she had no part of it.

she's known liam since they were kids, she's crushed on his brother aiden for about that long, and when he shows up and teasingly asks for her number she thinks why not? aiden is flirtatious and funny and easy to be around. spending any amount of time with liam has her feeling wrong. she's antsy and insecure and tongue-tied. and she can't shake the feeling that he's judging her finding her wanting.

but when aiden stands her up and sends liam in his place, she finally sees him in a new light. because the truth is, he doesn't find her wanting. he just doesn't know what to say to the girl he's always been afraid to break. liam has a thing for fixing things. and kayla has never needed his fixing, so he's always been unsure.

in so bad it must be good, kayla and liam realize that those uncomfortable tingles are actually sparks of chemistry and once those sparks are ignited it's like they've finally found safe haven. because before you know it they are in a full-fledged relationship. and while they both have some lifelong patterns of behavior they need to work on, one thing they realize is that they are much better off together than apart. and sure they have to have some epiphanies and whatnot, but at the end of the day, they are perfect for each other. and i loved that.

**so bad it must be good will publish on august 22, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/kensington books (lyrical press) in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

superbly suspenseful: seeing red by sandra brown

i've been reading sandra brown since i was in college and her suspense stories are generally filled with just enough terror and the perfect amount of sexiness. in seeing red, major trapper is a national hero. beloved and admired by one and all. but the bombing he helped save people from still has secrets that haven't been revealed.

kerra bailey, the young girl in his arms in an iconic photograph of the event—and now a news reporter at a dallas-based television station—is one of those secrets. the true perpetrators of the crime are the other secret—a secret major trapper's son, john, suspects will put his father's life in danger.
when the major is shot at his front door the evening his interview with kerra airs, everything goes haywire. kerra was in the house and barely escapes with her life.

from that moment john, who goes by trapper, is on the case. he knows that whatever is happening now has links back to the bombing that put kerra and the major in each other's orbit. and he's not going to rest until the truth has come to light. kerra and trapper have this insane chemistry that brings them closer even as the situation intensifies.

in the end this is a well written, enjoyable romantic suspense novel. pretty much what i expected when i requested it. i have no regrets.

**seeing red will publish august 15, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy netgalley/grand central publishing in exchange for my honest review.