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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sealed With a Kiss Event with Shana Galen

Shana Galen is the bestselling author of passionate Regency romps, including the RT Reviewers' Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Kirkus says of her books, "The road to happily-ever-after is intense, conflicted, suspenseful and fun," and RT Bookreviews calls her books “lighthearted yet poignant, humorous yet touching." She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston's inner city. Now she writes full time. She's happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making. Shana loves to hear from readers, so send her an email or see what she's up to daily on Facebook and Twitter.

Places to find Shana:
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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Audiobook Review: The Devil in Denim by Melanie Scott, Narrated by Julie Frances

“The Devil in Denim” was my first experience with anything by Melanie Scott. There were some things I liked about the story and some I think needed more work.

In this story Maggie Jameson is drunk at a bar because she just found out her father sold his team the New York Saints' a New York baseball team and according to Maggie, her inheritance. The team was bought out by Alex Winters. Alex himself was a baseball player but because of an injury he was forced to end his career. Life was not unfair to him though, and he is now a rich business man and also very handsome.

So I really like the idea of Alex buying the team from Maggie’s father and them working together. I also like Alex. Even though the title depicts him as a devil he was really a great guy. He was self-assured but not arrogant. He was very fair and a very smart businessman. The character that fell short for me was Maggie. It was so hard to 1) empathized with her and 2) like her. From the very beginning she is angry at Alex because he bought the team. This is unclear to me because her father obviously wanted to sell it. Although the team has been a part of Maggie’s family the team is in financial trouble and her father ends up selling it. This, in Maggie’s eyes makes Alex a “devil.” She was so rude and nasty to him all because he bought the team. Which was completely puzzling to me. Then she is angry at her father because after graduating from business school she was supposed to have a very comfortable job as CEO for the Saints. I mean cry me a river, Maggie. Alex understanding that the Saints are a family business wants to hire Maggie as an effort to help him win over the team and the fans. Maggie is angry and resistant to this idea. Why? I have no idea, I didn’t see a string of job offers even though she was apparently incredibly talented. So I get what the author was trying to do but Maggie just came off as a self-absorbed pampered –entitled princess. Besides Maggie’s unlikeability, I also found the dialogue between the adults to be very childish. The way Maggie spoke with some of her friends reminded me of a group of high school friends not grown and mature women.

Even though I didn’t care for Maggie I did really like Alex and I really liked his chemistry with Maggie. This would have been a four star for me if the heroine had more depth. Also, the narrator Julie Frances made most of the women sound very whiney especially Maggie. Once I got past my dislike of Maggie I enjoyed the sports world and the loyalty of the team. I also enjoyed watching the hero and heroine fall in love. I also plan to read more stories by Scott.

**Audiobook provided by**

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Feature and Giveaway: The First Kiss by Grace Burrowes

Classical pianist Vera Waltham is recovering from a bad break up by taking a hiatus with her daughter in the Damson Valley countryside. She’s content with her music, and has no interest in complicating her life with further attempts at romance.

Attorney James Knightley is a numbers guy who reads contractual fine print for lunch, and wants nothing to do with damsels, in distress or otherwise. Nobody is more surprised than James when he falls for Vera Waltham, and the only contract on James’s mind when it comes to Vera is holy matrimony.

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ARC Review: Take Me With You by K.A. Linde

Let me start off by saying that in case you didn't know or haven't read anything by K.A. Linde before, that she is the absolute queen of angst! She always gets you there in the end, but the journey there just might kill you! I always love her characters and stories, and I think that she is a fantastic writer. She definitely brings out all the feels, and I love that she is able to write such real and believable books. They might not be pretty, but they always feel true to the characters. I absolutely couldn't wait for more of Grant after the first book, and he didn't disappoint. I love him and it was great to see such a different side to him in this book. If you haven't read Take Me for Granted (you definitely should!), you should start there before reading Take Me with You as it is not a standalone.

After everything that happened over Christmas break for Grant and Aribel, they are finally back together. Things appear to be going well, but they still have yet to deal with everything that has happened. They might be reconnecting physically, but they both know that they need to talk before they can get back to where they were. Just as it appears that the worst is over though, they find that they have even more obstacles to deal. Grant's past comes back and threatens everything that they have built and with the band's fame and success on the rise they will have all new problems to deal with. Not to mention Aribel's family has always had an idea of who she should be with, and Grant is nothing like they have envisioned for her. Can Grant and Aribel find a way to make things work, or will there be too many things trying to tear them apart?

I love Grant, but he definitely pissed me off a few times in this book. He is sweet and sexy, but he made some bad choices here. While I did have a few issues with him, I really loved seeing a different side to him this time around. We have been given even more of his backstory in this book, and he really had a vulnerability to him in this book. Aribel was there for him and did her best to support and encourage him, but it was clear that Grant was struggling. I thought that he really grew though, and it was nice to see him want to change some things in his life. Aribel also had her moments for me in this story, and I really felt like her biggest issue was communication. She wanted to talk and deal with certain things, and yet then she would shut Grant out and hide things from him. It was frustrating, and I felt bad for Grant. They were both new at a lot of things concerning relationships though, so it was interesting to see how they each learned to confront things separately and together. The chemistry and connection between these two was just as strong in this book though, and they could not have been more perfect for one another.

While these two were meant to be together, they had a lot of ups and downs. K.A. Linde did an amazing job making their story real and believable, and though it wasn't always easy, it was true to both Grant and Aribel. I did think that there was a bit with Grant that I could have done without though, and that was the fact that though he never cheated on her he was always thinking about other women. Every time he would see someone he was attracted to he would think about how hot she was and how he couldn't believe that he was turning her down or passing her onto one of the other guys. He would make it a point almost to remind himself that he could have them if it wasn't for Ari, and I just felt like because it happened repeatedly through this book that it cheapened things a bit when it came to his feelings and relationship. I realize attraction doesn't go away just because you love someone, but it shouldn't have been such a big deal in my opinion. He did more than make up for it with his actions and love for Ari, but I wish it would have happened a bit less. I still loved him though, and I would absolutely recommend this series. I honestly would love to get more of the other guys in ContraBand, as well as the guys from The Drift. I am really curious about them as well and hope that K.A. Linde will write their stories as well! If you aren't reading K.A. Linde, you are seriously missing out and I highly recommend giving her a shot as long as you remember to be prepared for angst and tons of feelings!

**ARC Provided by Shh Mom's Reading**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |

Friday, January 30, 2015

ARC Review: In His Keeping by Maya Banks

As of this moment, I have now read two of Maya’s novels including In His Keeping, which is the second novel in the Slow Burn series. The first novel, Keep Me Safe, I read so I would be prepared for the soon to be released second novel. The first was easily five stars, and I enjoyed Caleb and Ramie; hell, I loved the Devereaux family in its entirety. However, In His Keeping easily surpassed the quality of the first, which I would not have thought possible. Therefore, stating how wonderful this read was could not possibly convey how imperative I feel that any avid romance lover should devour this book with passion and anticipation.

After being introduced to the Devereaux family which includes Caleb, Beau, and Quinn, you are aware of the pure alpha male in each as well as how protective they are. Now, I will admit that I think it better to start this series from the beginning (which luckily we’re only on the second novel), but it could be read as a standalone since each book is focused directly on a particular member from the Devereaux family. This one focuses on Beau, the middle brother, and his current case with the security company he and his family started following their sister Tori’s abduction during the first novel.

Beau is a hard-ass, brutally honest, tough guy with a soft spot for women who have been brutalized (understandable of course). Not one to lose his head in any situation, and ruthlessly focused on any task acquired, he was not expecting his defenses to vanish when Arial Rochester walked into his office. She is a beautiful, seemingly vulnerable young woman who grew up under complete protection; sheltered by her loving parents Gavin and Ginger Rochester. What one does not suspect about her, is that she is actually a strong, decisive, and loyal woman with the gift of telekinesis. Even better, she is unbelievably capable of adapting in any situation.

When we first meet Ari (Arial), she is delicate and feels as though she is incapable of hurting another human being, even in self-defense. Of course, this changes when she is forced to save her own life from disturbed privileged youths who seek vengeance. In the wake of her dormant powers going viral from a live video, she is forced to go into hiding as instructed by her father. Then, as if she wasn’t fearful enough of the potential aftermath of her slipped secrecy, her parents are kidnapped.

As if to intensify her growing unease, she is attacked by one of her fathers’ own men guarding her. Without knowing where to turn, Ari finds Beau and asks for his help (her father told her to find Caleb or Beau Devereaux if she found herself in a dire situation). Beau has seen the existence of psychic powers in Ramie (his brother, Caleb’s wife) so he is not surprised that Ari’s reluctant confession proves she may be more than gifted. However, finding a way to protect her and save her parents simultaneously may prove near impossible. This is especially true when both are attacked within moments of his acceptance of Ari’s case, and decision to help her.

Clearly, whoever is after Ari, must be funded by someone quite powerful who is aware of her special abilities. Unfortunately, Ari has no knowledge regarding her enemies’ goals, nor does she know about all of the lies surrounding her upbringing. Aside from the Rochester’s not being her biological parental figures, those who brought her into this world were part of a scientifically engineered study regarding the creation of infants with psychic abilities. To say that Ari is dealt shocking news throughout this story (and what I mentioned is nothing when all other information is revealed), would be an understatement. Despite all that, Ari becomes stronger throughout the course of the book. Truly, her development is constructed beautifully, and I loved watching her grow from a confused, sheltered young woman into an indestructible force of nature.

From kidnapping to murder, from floating stuffed animals to strategically snapping multiple necks at once, this book has plenty of awesomeness to accommodate every individual in need of suspense! After all, who doesn’t love mystery, suspense, action, murder, and sex mixed with supernatural elements? Plus, Ari is a kick-ass heroine with a reason to live, and a reason to thrive in a chaotic, murderous environment. Beau, on the other hand, is the perfect hero. If you loved Caleb, well, he has nothing on Beau (to each their own though). Beau is protective of Ari, but he had complete and utter faith in her, which was comforting. I love it when leading characters complement each other rather than the male lead being obsessive about treating his counterpart as a fragile wisp. So, seeing Beau be slightly over-protective concerning Ari, yet trusting her capabilities was refreshing.

I mustn’t forget Beau’s ability to be volatile in the best way when it comes to beating the hell out of someone either. I am not above admitting that watching a man go a little psycho to exact revenge upon another, or retaliate in order to save his woman doesn’t hype me up (Mel Gibson anyone?). Granted, we use our imagination whilst reading, but well, that is even better than the memory of an actor is it not? So, it is quite understandable to utilize the imagery, perhaps, in order to convey the wonder that is Beau while chasing down the bad guys! Of course, there are also the superb secondary characters (Dane and Eliza whom we met in the first installment), and Zack, oh my goodness. I am hoping beyond hope that maybe we’ll get a closer look at the men in the DSS working for Caleb, Beau, and Quinn. Seriously! Zack is hardcore. I find him sexy with ferocity in him like a hawk awaiting his perfect kill, as well as potential for an unadulterated raw passionate side (yum, right?).

Ramie is in the book quite a bit, and I have liked her since the first book; she is so compassionate and no-nonsense. Tori was in the book a little, but I gather we won’t get to delve deep into her character much more until later on (which I am okay with). She is still reeling from horrific abuse, and torture at the hands of a psychotic sociopathic freak of nature (understatement). With that said, I look forward to maybe seeing her character learn to cope with her past and move forward, possibly with a great man, and start a new life.

Understandably, it is obvious that I cannot wait to read more from Maya, and from the novels within this amazing series! I loved the race for saving Ari’s parents, and her discoveries about herself along the way. Plus, the connections between Franklin Devereaux (Beau’s father), and her own father Gavin were intriguing! Not to mention, all the action put into Ari defending herself from the men out to control her and her powers! There is just so much to love about this book. Additionally, Beau and Ari have my vote for best couple thus far of the New Year. I think they had explosive chemistry, and I felt so much emotion while reading this book. Thank you Maya for your hard work!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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