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Thursday, December 31, 2015

ARC Review: Dukes Prefer Blondes by Loretta Chase


One of my all-time favorite historical romances was written by Loretta Chase, Lord of Scoundrels. I’ve read it countless times and never tire of it. Jessica and the Marquess of Dain are incomparable in my eyes. I absolutely loved them both and still after many years and readings, still love and am highly entertained by them. I’ve read other books by Chase and some have been a hit and others a miss.

When I saw “Dukes Prefer Blondes” I was intrigued because of the plot and the characters. Also, because it was written by Chase. This is the fourth in the “Dressmakers” series although I have not read the previous books. There were some elements of the story that I liked and some that either felt awkward or very drawn out for me. But overall this was an interesting read, even if not a fantastic one. Lady Clara Fairfax was a great heroine. I really enjoyed her. Even though she is beautiful and very highly sought after she wants more from her life than just to be someone’s wife. Clara wants to have a purpose and she is very highly committed to orphan and street children. Once she sets her mind to do something very little can dissuade her. But Clara has always been a free spirit and very independent, even as a young child. When is merely a girl she meets Oliver Radford. Radford is everything Clara is not. He is serious and a very determined and successful barrister. He was instantly impressed with Clara as a child and not much changes when he is reunited with her as an adult.

Clara seeks Oliver out to help her with a street child. She has given her word that she will help out a young boy and she searches for Oliver to help her. Oliver can’t be bothered because he doesn’t want to get involved and really doesn’t take Clara too seriously. Clara is determined to get the help she needs to fulfill her promise. Against his better judgement Oliver decides to help Clara but this leads to her becoming very sick with Typhus. He literally saves her life by nursing her back to health. Clara is very in love with Oliver but he considers himself beneath her and tries to not give into his feelings for her.

First, I loved Oliver and Clara together. I loved Clara as a heroine but I had a hard time with Oliver. I didn’t get him. He was awkward and hard to understand. I also felt that some of the scenes were awkward and the transition between scenes felt choppy and out of sync. Also, after Clara and Oliver are married I felt that the story dragged. I did however, love how their relationship continued to grow after they married. The adventure does not end when they marry and they go on many more investigations that Clara insists on being a part of. Characters from the previous books are mentioned and they give some insight into the series. Even though I did not love this book I still found it enjoyable and plan to read more books not only by this author but also in this series.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |


A Naughty New Year...Brazen Style with Tessa Bailey and Giveaway


Tessa lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and young daughter. When she isn't writing or reading romance, Tessa enjoys a good argument and thirty-minute recipes.

December Book Subscription Box Unpacking

For December I received only one box, the Book Candy Box. I skipped my December Bookworm Box for the second month in a row. As much as I love getting it and helping out a great cause each month, it is a little pricey and I needed to use the money elsewhere for the last few months. I was really happy with the books that I got in my Book Candy Box though and I have to say that this is my favorite box from them yet! While I was really excited about the books I got, I was a bit disappointed in the swag included this month again. There wasn't a lot, and what there was wasn't a very good selection as it was mostly bookmarks and cards. I wish that there was a bit more of a selection when it comes to the swag, though I do still love getting everything that they send.
The Book Candy Box is a subscription box service that offers a few different options as far as which box you would like to purchase. These boxes are secured on a month by month basis, so you need to purchase one each month as it does not auto-renew. Prices vary per box selected. The Book Candy Box store is open from the 1st day of the month until the 15th day of the month for boxes shipping the next month. (IE: To purchase a February Box, you need to order between January 1st-15th.) The contents of your box will vary, depending on which box you select. The options are as follows: Option 1: One Signed Book. This box is $12.00 plus shipping. Option 2: 1 Signed Book, Swag, and a Signed Model Photo for that month's featured model. This box is $20.00 plus shipping. Option 3: 2 Signed Books and Swag for $22.00 plus shipping. Option 4: 2 Signed Books, Swag, and Signed Model Photo for $30.00 plus shipping. Option 5: Flavor of the Month Box Includes 1 Signed Book, Swag, and 1-4 oz Specialty Jar of Cheesecake from Lick Your Lips. This box is $22.00 plus shipping. (each month the flavor will differ, with customers being told which flavor is to be featured in the newsletter from The Book Candy Box.) Though you know what items you will be getting, the titles and authors are a surprise each month. The only thing that is not a secret, is who the model featured each month is as they announce that on their facebook page. The one thing that you should be aware of though is that while each book is signed, sometimes it is a sticker or label (bookplate) rather than a signature on the page itself. The great thing about The Book Candy Box is that because they are open for a limited amount of days and order books based on signups, they do not run out of boxes and they are available to customers throughout the entire sales period. There is no waiting for spots to open up or for others to cancel. As long as you order between the 1st and 15th, you are guaranteed a box.

December Book Candy Box

The Book Candy Box that I received in December included a signed Dirty English by Ilsa Madden-Mills and a signed Walking Among the Cherry Trees by H. D'Agostino. Swag in this months box was a signed postcard from Andie M. Long, postcard from Ilsa Madden-Mills, RAK card from Annalie Walker, bookmark from Carian Cole, bookmark from Kaylee Ryan, and a Pen from Sloan Johnson.

Dirty English by Ilsa Madden-Mills 

A scarred fighter. 
A girl with rules. 
One night of unbridled passion. 

There are three things you need to know about Elizabeth Bennett: she’s smart as a whip, always in control, and lives by a set of carefully crafted rules. She’s learned the hard way that people you love the most always hurt you in the end. 

But then she meets Declan Blay, the new neighbor at her apartment complex. 

A tattooed British street fighter, he’s the campus bad boy she’s supposed to avoid, but when he saves her from a frat party gone bad, all her rules about sex and love fly out the window. 

She gives him one night of unbridled passion, but he longs for more.  

With only a cardboard-thin wall separating their bedrooms, he dreams of possessing the vulnerable girl next door forever. 

One night. Two damaged hearts. The passion of a lifetime.

*a modern love story inspired by Pride and Prejudice* 

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle |


I was really hoping that I would get this box after I saw that it would be included in some in a preview that Book Candy Box did on facebook. I had previously read and reviewed the book, and really enjoyed the story. Not only did I enjoy the book, but I really loved the cover and wanted this one for my shelf! This is definitely a book worth checking out, and I could not have been more excited to see it in my box this month! 


Walking Among the Cherry Trees by H. D'Agostino 

Taylor Cook was the last thing Morgan McGregor expected to find when she stepped off the train at Cherryville station to spend the summer with her grandmother, Virginia. She didn’t know that the boy who befriended her would one day fill her heart with both joy and pain.  
First love can be magical. It can reach inside you and grip your heart with a force that you never see coming, and can’t deny. It’s powerful and sometimes debilitating, but most of all… it can break you in ways you never thought possible.  

How do you recover when the one the person you thought would always be there, pushes you away at the time they’re needed the most? How do you move on with your life and forget the boy who stole your heart all those years ago? How do you go back to that place knowing that seeing him will cause your careful fa├žade to crack into a million pieces? It’s simple you can’t, but sometimes you have to. 

When Morgan gets the news that her grandmother’s passed away and she’s the heir to her estate, she hardens heart in preparation of going back to face him. What happens when she steps off that train again? Will the feelings she’s worked so hard to forget come rushing back and threaten to drown her? Will he even still be there?  

Walking Among the Cherry Trees is the first book in The Cook Brothers Series.  

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |


H. D'Agostino is a new to me author, but I absolutely love this gorgeous cover! I had never heard of this book before, though I had heard of the author. So I was really excited to get this in my box. After reading the blurb, I can't wait to read this story. This is exactly the type of book I would choose for myself, but might not have heard about without receiving it in this box. Walking Among the Cherry Trees has been added to the top of my TBR pile, and I am really hoping that I get a chance to read this one soon!


Tell us what you think about the monthly book box craze. Any of these books on your TBR pile? Are you currently subscribed to any boxes? Are there any that you are 'dying' to subscribe to? Leave us a note about what you think or if there are any boxes that you think we should check out. =)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

ARC Review: Mastered by Maya Banks


Drake Donovan exerts power in every facet of his hard lifestyle, especially when it comes to his interactions with other people. He is ruthless, strong, smart, and a hardcore master of manipulation. One thing he isn’t, however, is a liar. He is pure of heart, and he never lets those he may care for, or those he has sworn to protect be hurt in any way. Evangeline is a tigress when it comes to being there for those who mean most, but she is fearful and suspicious of anyone who might treat her with dignity, or love. She has no confidence, and she is very independent-refusing to allow herself to rely on anyone. When these two meet, everything changes.

Evangeline starts out as a quiet, simple girl with no expectations in life. She plans on working until her parents are well-off and comfortable, then maybe one day she’ll start living for herself. A southern girl with charm, and a ton of pride, she is bereft after she took a shot with a total loser who broke her heart, and demolished her self-worth after capturing her virginity. One night of trying to prove she isn’t broken turns her into a firecracker once Drake Donovan comes to the rescue!

The entire story is fast-paced. They go from strangers, to lovers, to obsessed-with-one-another. On one hand, I loved it. On the other hand, I thought it was strange that her friends were so involved in the beginning. Then, they just disappeared altogether from the storyline. I guess though, if this were the real world, these two never would have come up for air long enough to engage with anyone else who may or may not disapprove. So, maybe other readers wouldn’t even think twice about this.

Drake Donovan takes everything and gives everything. He is a complete love, despite his formidable and aggressive nature. I loved him and Evangeline together! I rooted for them! I wasn’t expecting his harsh, brutal behavior, let alone the turning point in the story whatsoever. Maya did a great job at shocking me. I was heartbroken for the both of them when danger came in close contact with Evangeline, with neither Drake, nor her expecting it. Honestly, Maya created a breakout storyline. There is so much mystery left, that I can’t begin to formulate what may happen with Drake’s business, or what else we may learn in the coming books.

Furthermore, I love love love the secondary characters! Truthfully, I actually liked some of Drake’s men better than him. I wanted to read more about them! Silas and Maddox had me laughing and sighing constantly whenever they appeared. I just loved them to pieces. I loved how all of the men throughout the book made it clear that they believe in treating women with respect and graciousness. Not to mention, they are all a bunch of tough, alpha-men with hearts of gold. Definitely worth waiting for their stories!

Therefore, this is most certainly another hit by Maya Banks! I am not going to lie…I went down one star, simply because there is one particular piece of the storyline that really bothered me. It was during one of Drake and Evangeline’s sexy, turn-up-the-heat moments. However, I suspect it is only because of how the situation would have affected me personally if it were my experience. I was completely turned off; I’m a full-on monogamist. With that said, to avoid ruining it for anyone, I won’t go any further into this particular scene. It is imperative, however, to assure all of you that it didn’t detract from the story’s appeal as a whole. After all, anyone who has read Maya Banks knows that she is fabulous at bringing a plotline to life, and giving us characters that thrill us on more than one level. So, I definitely will be tuning into the next installment without hesitation!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |


ARC Review: Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame


Did I Mention I Love You? is the first book in the DIMILY Trilogy from Estelle Maskame. Each book in this series is an installment in Eden and Tyler's story, so keep in mind that there are cliffhangers with these books. While I was prepared for some of that, I wasn't prepared for just how many things seem to have been brought up and left unresolved. I am curious to see how the rest of the series will go though, and I am hoping that everything will be dealt with before it is over. I am unconvinced that there need to be three books however, and I am hoping that it doesn't become too drawn out and that there is actually enough story to warrant three complete books. 

After finally giving in to her father's request, Eden heads to California to stay for the summer with the father that she hasn't seen for three years along with his new wife and her three new stepbrothers. Eden gets the unfortunate room next door to her oldest stepbrother Tyler, the only one she immediately can't stand. But as she makes friends with the girl across the street, she finds herself drawn into his group of friends and they are constantly in the same place as one another. Soon Eden is wondering what makes Tyler act the way he does and do the things he does, and she finds herself falling for the one person she not only doesn't want to, but also shouldn't. 

I will admit that I had issues with both Tyler and Eden here. Tyler did a lot of things I didn't like at all, and he also was a complete jerk at times. He was obviously dealing with a lot, but at the same time he lashed out at everyone and at times it was hard to really see why any of them made the effort they did when it came to him. Eden had times where I liked her, and times where I thought that she was really weak. I didn't like the fact that she allowed Tyler and his group of friends to push her around so much and she often times did things she didn't want to just because she allowed them to coerce her into it. While I didn't like things about each of them, I did like them together. I found myself rooting for them despite everything, and there were moments where these two really fit together perfectly. When it was just the two of them without all the drama and outside influences thrown in, Eden and Tyler were surprisingly good together and seemed to be forming a great connection. 

The one thing that I will say is that while these characters are high school aged and would appear to be in the young adult genre, I wouldn't recommend this to young readers. There were too many touchy subjects here, including constant drug use (abuse) and sexual situations, for this to be one I would consider appropriate for the young adult audience. While these characters had a lot of moments of immaturity and things that frustrated me, I have to say that some of that is to be expected with younger characters. I am trying to keep an open mind when it comes to them, because I really do like Eden and Tyler together. I am hoping that some of the things that were left unresolved here will start to be dealt with in the next book, as I think there were a ton of things brought up and just dropped here. So far this is an interesting group of characters and as much as I had issues here, I am curious to know more and get the rest of the story.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes | 





A Naughty New Year...Brazen Style with Kate Meader and Giveaway


Originally from Ireland, Kate cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Mills & Boon thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron or a fire hose, and she’s there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines who can match their men quip for quip.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

ARC The Earl's Complete Surrender by Sophie Barnes


I really enjoyed this book. I found that at the end I didn't want it to end I wanted more of Chloe and Woodford to know more about what happens to them after this grand adventure. I loved the H/h individually and together. They were both burned in the past afraid to love again and insecure with their emotions, but the harder they protest the harder they fall. Its funny to read how much they don't want a relationship yet can't stop finding themselves always in each other's company, you just chuckle to yourself and think it's only a matter of time. At points in the story when something would happen to hurt one character or the other it was easy to emphasize with them, to want to crawl into a hole and cry for them. I loved the spy aspect of the book it was very exciting and entertaining, I loved how dark it got points. I loved reading the little bits about Kip and Sarah, from the previous book, it's not necessary that you read the first book but, like in a good amount of series everything is more cohesive if you've read all the books.

When the book starts we find ourselves in the King’s chambers. The recently crowned King is worried that an old secret society, The Electors, that has had its fingers in every pie around might try to overthrow the monarchy by killing him. He charges the one man he trusts to find an old book, The Political Journal that contains all the names of the members. The Earl of Woodford, James, finds himself at Thorncliff Manor with the man who raised him the Marquess of Hainsworth. James had worked as a spy for most of his life, he was practically born into the job, he took after his father, who was murdered by The Electors when he was trying to track them down. James’ mother was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was murdered as well. James had a personal stake in finding out who is behind it all.

Lady Newbury, Chloe, is the widowed sister of the last story's hero, Kip. She is staying with her family since her late husband's heir had moved onto the entitled home. Chloe had been at Thorncliff Manor for two weeks and her search for The Political Journal has had no luck. She has recently discovered the The Electors were behind the death of her grandfather. She never expected to find help in the form of the intense Lord Woodford.

All the while James and Chloe fight their attraction and deny that their feelings run much deeper than either of them realizes; they find the book, survive several attacks, and discover some people are not who they appear to be. This book had everything I love in it; sexual tension thick enough you could use a knife to cut it, suspense, action, mystery, and a romantic couple who once they realize where they stand will never let go.

Sophie Barnes is a fantastic storyteller, this one had me all tangled up and enthralled. Thorncliff Manor is a great series so far with its eccentric host, The Countess of Duncaster, and its extraordinary past. I can't wait for more.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |


A Naughty New Year...Brazen Style with Samanthe Beck and Giveaway


Wine lover, sleep fanatic, and USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy contemporary romance novels, Samanthe Beck lives in Malibu, California, with her long-suffering but extremely adorable husband and their turbo-son, Hud. Throw in a furry ninja named Kitty and Bebe the trash talking Chihuahua and you get the whole, chaotic picture.

When not clinging to sanity by her fingernails or dreaming up fun, fan-your-cheeks sexy ways to get her characters to happily-ever-afters, she searches for the perfect cabernet to pair with Ambien.

ARC Review: Built by Jay Crownover


Built is the first book in the Saints of Denver series from Jay Crownover, and I absolutely loved it! Fans of the Marked Men series will recognize both Zeb and Saylor, as the Saints of Denver is a spin-off to that series. But if you haven't read those books yet, Built is a easily read as a standalone. It was nice to see some familiar faces though, and I loved getting to know both Zeb and Saylor better after meeting them previously. I have to say that this book is my favorite so far of everything I have read from Jay Crownover. Everything about it spoke to me and I couldn't put it down! 

Zeb Fuller works in restoration after turning his life around. He made some mistakes in his past, and is determined to move forward. When Zeb meets Saylor Cole, he knows that he wants her right away. Though Zeb and Saylor are complete opposites, they find themselves drawn to one another. As Zeb works on restoring Saylor's house, he tries to drop as many hints as possible to his feelings for her, but nothing seems to come of it. But just when things appear to be taking a turn in the right direction, Zeb is given new that changes everything. Needing help, he finds himself turning to Saylor in both a personal and professional manner. But getting her help could be what ultimately pushes her away for good. 

I have to admit that I wasn't sure how much I would like Saylor before starting this book. While I had been intrigued by her, she always came off as cold and unfeeling. But as we got to know her better in Built, it was clear that there was so much more to her. Though she never became the overly warm and friendly type of heroine, I found that I actually really liked her. She was such a good person, and despite everything she had a strength to her that even she didn't realize. Zeb was my favorite though, and he was impossible not to love. Here was a guy that had such a strong love of family and loyalty to them that he would do whatever it took to protect and look out for them, and while that ultimately got him into trouble he did what he felt he had to do. I liked that he realized that he had messed up though, even with the right intentions, and that he worked hard to put his life back together and be a different person. He never gave up and that was what made him so easy to like. He was the kind of guy that Saylor needed in her life, and I really thought that these two made each other better people. They had great chemistry and the attraction was clear right away, but the way that they connected was what made their relationship one worth reading about.

Overall, there was so much to like here and I feel like I really can't go into detail without spoiling it. What I will say though was that I absolutely loved all the characters involved here and not just Saylor and Zeb. This one was sweet and heartwarming and I couldn't put it down. There was so much growth and development in these characters, and the love was so evident between them. Built is a fantastic start to this new series, and I cannot wait for the next book! Jay Crownover did such a great job setting up the next book as well, and the little we saw of Quaid and Avett has me hungry for more! I highly recommend this book, especially if you are a fan of Jay's! This is my favorite book of hers to date, and I can't wait to read more from her in the future.

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes | 





Monday, December 28, 2015

ARC Review: The Aftermath by R.J. Prescott


I couldn't wait to get more of Con and Emily after reading The Hurricane, so I was really excited when I found out about The Aftermath from R.J. Prescott. The Aftermath should be read after The Hurricane as it continues the story of Cormac O'Connell and Emily. There was a lot to enjoy here and it was good to see more of each of these characters. I hope that each of the guys get their own books as well as I am dying for more of Tommy, Kieran and Liam. 

Just as Cormac "The Hurricane" O'Connell's career is taking off, his and Emily's life together is threatened. Her past reappears and Con knows that he has to do whatever it takes to keep her safe. Though Con is willing to fight for his and Emily's future, he begins to realize that sometimes justice doesn't come in the form that you expect. Can he keep Em safe and protect their future together while also pursuing his career as a professional fighter, or will there be too much standing in his way of having it all? 

I absolutely loved Em and Con in The Hurricane, and nothing had changed here. Em was still strong and supportive and perfect for Con, while Con was still sexy and protective and willing to do whatever it took for his girl to be looked after. I love these two together, and I really can't imagine a couple more perfect for one another than these two were. They were sexy together and had more steam than ever before. Their connection just continued to grow stronger here and the more I saw of them, the more I fell in love with their relationship! These two are so solid, and I love the intense bond they share. 

The other thing I absolutely love about this series is the bond and camaraderie between the rest of the guys at the gym and how they have this tight family that they made. This isn't a bond based on blood, but it goes so much deeper than that. Family is what you make it, and it is clear throughout this series that these guys would go to the ends of the earth for Emily and each other. I can't get enough of them all and I need their books! The one thing that I will say is that there were times that things got a bit repetitive here and I found myself skimming a bit, especially when it came to Con's POV. I felt like things were being rehashed a bit, and I was a bit bored at times with parts of this story unlike how I couldn't put The Hurricane down. It was still a good story that I enjoyed a lot, but I felt like things got a bit too in depth at times when it came to the training and boxing, and I would have liked a bit less of all that. I really can't wait to read more from R.J. Prescott though and I am amazed that this is only her second book. I hope that we get more in this series, and these books are definitely ones worth checking out if you like sexy fighter stories.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |





RFTC's Best Books of 2015


2015 was a great book year with some amazingly good releases and it was so difficult to come up with our favorite reads of the year. Collectively, we've reviewed around 700+ books here on the blog, so you can believe it was super hard to narrow down our top reads of 2015.

A Naughty New Year...Brazen Style with Diane Alberts and Giveaway


Jen McLaughlin is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of sexy books with Penguin Random House. Under her pen name, Diane Alberts, she is also a USA TODAY bestselling author of Contemporary Romance with Entangled Publishing. Her first release as Jen McLaughlin, Out of Line, hit the New York Times, USA TODAY and Wall Street Journal lists. She was mentioned in Forbes alongside E. L. James as one of the breakout independent authors to dominate the bestselling lists. She is represented by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency.

Though she lives in the mountains, she really wishes she was surrounded by a hot, sunny beach with crystal-clear water. She lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her four kids, a husband, a schnauzer mutt, and three cats. Her goal is to write so many well-crafted romance books that even a non-romance reader will know her name.

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Sunday, December 27, 2015

ARC Review: With Every Breath by Lia Riley


I have become a fan of Lia Riley's after reading several of her books now. The one thing I love about her stories is that she always takes the reader on an adventure, and the location is always interesting and somewhere different. With Every Breath takes the reader and the characters to Patagonia, and I was excited to see how Lia Riley would bring it to life here. There was a lot to enjoy with this book, and this was a good story that captured my attention right away.

Auden Woods is used to playing it safe and being the girl that isn't noticed. So when she gets the chance at her dream job, she knows that she needs to take a risk and that happens to be an adventure that sends her to Patagonia. Out of her depth, a disaster leads her to a sexy Scot named Rhys and in order to survive she will have to ask him for help. Rhys MacAskill is tired of being the center to so much negative attention, and he knows that redemption isn't in the cards for him. But when a terrifying storm brings Auden into his life, he knows that he will do whatever it takes to protect her and keep them both safe. But when one night together turns into more, Auden and Rhys find themselves feeling something that they never expected. Soon things between them are more than just survival and they begin to wonder if they could possibly have a chance at love. 

I liked both Rhys and Auden. They each had issues that they were dealing with and their struggle was easy to see. I felt badly for each of them and it was clear right away that they needed each other. Their connection was very quick, but you could see that it was real and genuine. I did think that there was a definite case of insta-love here, but the relationship that was forming between them was believable. They had a lot of chemistry and I liked them together. 

There were a few times that I was frustrated with these characters and their actions, but overall I really enjoyed this story. My biggest complaint was that the ending seemed to be pretty rushed and abrupt. Though there was an epilogue, it just seemed to wrap things up far too quickly to be completely satisfying, and I wish that we had been given a bit more. This was an enjoyable story though, and I think that readers will enjoy this one. If you like NA stories or travel romance stories, this is one worth checking out.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |