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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Weekly Winners

Below is a list of all of the winners from last week.

Sharon
Against the Tide by Kat Martin


All winners have been notified via email. Thank you to everyone that stopped by and entered. =)

ARC Review: Delicious Temptation by Sabrina Sol


Sabrina Sol is a new to me author, but I couldn't wait to read Delicious Temptation because of it's sexy cover and blurb. If you have read my reviews, you will know that I am a sucker for little sister/brother's best friend stories, and I absolutely cannot turn them down. This one had a bit of a twist though being that Eric was Amara's brother's former best friend, so I was really interested to see what would happen. While I liked this book okay, it was just good not great. Unfortunately there wasn't anything new or memorable to the story, and isn't one that I will probably ever read again or even remember.

Amara is used to being the good girl that does everything that her parents and older brother Miguel tell her to. When her father hurts himself, she agrees to resign from her dream job in order to return home to help her family with their struggling bakery. Though she tries to update the bakery and bring in new customers, her family doesn't want to change anything. When her family finally agrees to remodel the bakery though, they end up hiring her brother's former best friend Eric to do the job. Eric was the bad boy that Amara always had a crush on, but he never saw her as anything but her brother's annoying little sister. Now that Amara is older and has changed, he sees her in a whole new light. But can Amara and Eric have a chance at a relationship when no one in her family approves of them being together? 

Eric was a good character and I did like him. He had been the bad boy that was always getting into trouble and was only interested in casual relationships with women. Then he got his high school girlfriend pregnant , but was determined to be a good dad. When she lost the baby though, Eric spiraled out of control and turned to alcohol to help him get through life. I loved that he decided to turn his life around though, and that he was clean and sober and determined to stay that way. He was a good guy that had been through some bad times and made some bad decisions, and I hated that others judged him solely off his old behavior. I know that happens in real life, but it really sucks that some people don't see real improvement and change when it is right in front of them. I didn't like Amara as well as Eric though, and I had a tough time ever warming up to her. While she had great ideas and was passionate about her job and career, she was a bit of a doormat and came off as weak. She let her family, especially her parents, run her life and she never stood up to them. It was really annoying after awhile and I kept having to remind myself that this was supposedly a 26 year old woman. She acted much more like a high school girl seeking approval, than a grown successful woman who was good at her job. She never really seemed to take a stand either, it always came down to someone else stepping up to handle things rather than her. While I liked Amara and Eric together, they were kind of all over the place and neither one of them seemed to be able to communicate their feelings or what they wanted. They kept it to themselves and never really opened up until the very end, assuming that they knew what the other wanted or thought. 

Overall, this wasn't a bad book and I Sabrina Sol's writing style was good and easy to read. But the story and Amara were what kept this one from being great to me. I found myself getting bored with the story and frustrated with Amara, and that had me wanting to skim to get to the end. I think that Sabrina Sol is a good writer though, and I will be willing to give her books another shot in the future. I think this one just wasn't what I had been hoping for. If you are looking for something light and easy, you might give this one a shot. This was a quick read and is a good book to fill the time if you are looking for something that isn't too deep or emotional.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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





Guest Post with Emily Greenwood and Giveaway


Emily Greenwood worked for a number of years as a writer, crafting newsletters and fundraising brochures, but she far prefers writing playful love stories set in Regency England, and she thinks romance novels are the chocolate of literature. A Golden Heart finalist, she lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters.

ARC Review: What the Lightning Sees: Part 3 by Louise Bay


Part 3 of What the Lightning Sees picks up where Louise Bay left us after Part 2. Make sure that you have read the first two installments before starting this one since Haven and Jake's story continues from one part to the next. After the huge bombshell that was dropped at the end of part two, Jake is left trying to figure out what he should do. He just won Haven back and knows that this will change everything for not only his life, but the future he is building with Haven. Though he knows things are about to change, he is determined to make things work with Haven and will do whatever it takes to keep her from running. But can Jake and Haven have a future together when faced with their biggest obstacle yet? 

As with previous installments, Jake and Haven each had their moments when I loved them and when they drove me nuts. Things were so complicated in this installment, and they had so much to try and deal with. One thing that I absolutely loved though was the progress that Haven had made. When Jake let her know what was going on, I felt like she handled things so well and didn't try to run. She faced them and was the support he needed. She loved him so much and I was glad to see that she had come so far. I felt like she had gained so much strength and maturity, and even when she was hurting she was able to see what she needed to do rather than what her fear and insecurities were telling her. Jake was also struggling with everything, and I felt really badly for him as well. He had so much on his plate and it was easy to see how much it was all weighing on him. I think that he handled things poorly a few times and that there were so many things that he should have seen coming, and yet I also understand that he was just trying to be the great guy that we know he is. I think that he should have fought harder for Haven at times, and I was disappointed that he didn't after everything that had happened in part 2. These two were meant to be together and made one another their best selves, so for him to just give that up without much of a fight was very frustrating to me. 

I did like the ending though, and I was glad to see how things worked out for these two. I felt like it was inevitable that they would wind up together, because there was no other option to me. Jake and Haven's journey was far from easy, but I think that everything that they were dealt made them stronger in the long run. They grew as individuals as well as a couple, and I think that the progress they showed was interesting to see happen. Jake and Haven understood one another in a way that no one else did, and their connection just continued to get stronger. They had great chemistry and that never changed throughout the entire story. I will say that I loved the secondary characters in this serial, and I would love to get a story for Jake's sister Beth as well as a story for Haven's brother and best friend! I liked them a lot and would love to see what happens next for each of them. I think that this was a good story overall, and once you start reading these you won't want to stop. Haven and Jake are worth the read, and I look forward to more from Louise Bay in the future.

**ARC Provided by AToMR Tours**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&NiBooks | 





Friday, May 29, 2015

ARC Review: Rescuing the Bad Boy by Jessica Lemmon


When I saw “Rescuing the Bad boy” by Jessica Lemmon I jumped at the chance to read and review it. Jessica Lemmon has been on my “to-read” list for a while and this book sounded exciting. This is the second book in the “Second Chance” series.

When the story begins Sofie Martin is losing her virginity to Donovan Pate. Donnovan or Donny like Sofie and thinks she looks great but there is no real connection between them. He is also getting ready to leave town and make a new start for himself. When Donny realizes that Sofie is a virgin he can’t leave her side quick enough.

I feel like I should start my reviews with a disclaimer… I’m in a reading slump. I’ve picked up a couple of books and none have held my interest for long periods of time. “Rescuing the Bad Boy” is one of these books. I put it down and picked it up so many times but I could not find myself invested in Donny and Sofie. I want to say that I really like bad boys turned good stories. I loved the rough around the edges characters but Donny fell short for me.

Although I liked Sofie I found her to be a little on the overly dramatic side. I get that she is young and she liked Donny but they didn’t have any type of relationship so her feelings of abandonment, although I sympathized, I also felt they were a little on the extreme side.

When Sofie and Donny finally are reunited there is understandable tension between them. I loved tension filled stories but the over dramatization of their encounters left me a little disappointed. I reconciled with a 3 star because I did want to see how Sofie and Donny would eventually build a relationship and really get to know each other. Aside from my disappointment in this story I do plan to read more by Jessica Lemmon.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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


ARC Review: Defining Love Serial by Elizabeth Reyes


Defining Love is a serial told in three parts by Elizabeth Reyes. As with serials, each part needs to be read in order and will leave things unresolved until the final part. While I am not the biggest fan of serials, I was excited to read this story since I was able to read them back to back. Luckily, all three parts are live now so there is no waiting for readers in between installments. One thing that I was unaware of that I think readers should know ahead of time is that Henri's best friend that she is with is another girl. While it was made clear that Aaron and Henrietta are with others in the blurb, it failed to mention that there was some bisexuality in this book and I believe that that is important for some to know since it isn't for everyone. I will say that I don't typically read Female/Female. In this case though, I felt like Elizabeth Reyes was very respectful and things were not overly graphic, but it is definitely something readers should be aware of. 

Volume One

Volume 1 starts with the reader learning about Henri's life growing up. Henri and her sister were abandoned by their mother and were left to live in foster homes. Henri has abandonment issues and fears that everyone she gets close to will leave her. She ends up moving to live with a previously unknown aunt where she meets Edi. The two quickly become friends and move away to attend college together. Things between her and Edi begin to change when she finds out that Edi is gay and they start a relationship. She then meets Aaron who is also in a relationship, and the two feel an instant connection. Aaron is engaged to his high school sweetheart and would never cheat on her, but he can't stop thinking about Henri the same way she can't stop thinking of him. 

I liked these characters a lot, and I feel like we are just starting to scratch the surface with them. Henri's past is one that would be tough for anyone to get through, and yet she has emerged smart and strong, if a bit damaged. She has insecurities, and it is clear to the reader that a lot of what she does stems from those fears. Though she loves Edi and the two are best friends, their relationship is new, and it really seemed to me that it was more out of fear of losing Edi than actual romantic love on Henri's side. Edi is clearly in love with Henri though, and I can tell that is going to be something that they will have to deal with in the future. Aaron loves his fiance Mia, and they have been together a very long time. They are comfortable with one another, but you can also tell that their love isn't passionate or explosive. The connection he and Henri feel is already becoming strong, and these two really haven't had much interaction at this point. I had to keep reading to see what would happen next, and I couldn't put it down. I really liked seeing Henri and Aaron meet for the first time and I felt like their conversation was really a turning point for both of them. It was interesting how instantly they started to see each other differently, and yet there was no cheating or drama. I liked that they didn't start off together right after they first felt the connection, and I am curious to see how things will proceed from here. 

Purchase Volume One: Amazon |

Volume Two

Volume 2 continues the story of Henri and Aaron, with Henri just having accepted a job working for Aaron. As the two begin to spend more time together, they get to know one another better and the attraction between them intensifies. Aaron and Henri are both still in relationships though, and neither of them would ever hurt their significant others by cheating on them. But the closer they grow to one another, the more they begin to rethink their relationships. 

In this installment it was so clear that while both Aaron and Henri cared about who they were with, it was also different from how they knew they should care about the person they were with. Aaron loved Mia and didn't want to hurt her, but he also knew that he didn't feel passionate about her as he did other things in life. His growing connection with Henri made that very apparent, and he knew that he needed to make some changes. Henri was still struggling with her relationship with Edi, knowing that she wasn't gay but that she didn't want to lose her best friend. She knew that her growing feelings for Aaron were changing things in her life, and yet she also knew that because of the path she had started on with Edi, ending things would completely change the friendship that she had with Edi. I really loved seeing Aaron and Henri grow closer as they got to know one another. It was so clear that they were passionate about the same things and that they connected in a way that they didn't with others. They had such a natural ease with each other, and it was impossible not to see the attraction between them. But what I loved most about these two is that they never crossed that line, and there was no cheating. Though they were bonding emotionally, they had never done anything that was entirely inappropriate. I'm not saying that their feelings or thoughts were completely innocent (because they weren't) but they never acted on anything or took it to that level, which I found really refreshing.

Purchase Volume Two: Amazon |

Volume Three

In the third and final installment of Defining Love, Aaron and Henri can no longer deny the feelings they have for one another. Though they love their significant others, they also love each other in a completely different way. Aaron and Henri must make the tough decision of whether they should take a risk on the connection and love they have found with one another or stay with the ones that they have loved for years. Both of them know that whatever decision they make with change their lives forever.

I have really enjoyed seeing Aaron and Henri get to know one another, and it has been clear to me from the start that these two had a connection that they didn't share with anyone else. They had everything right from the start, and it really felt like they had been meant for one another. Their friendship and bond was easy and natural, and the passion and attraction between them was undeniable. I did have a few moments in this book that Henri drove me nuts, and I really wanted to shake her. I felt like she was a bit weaker in this installment than the previous ones, and it seemed like she struggled more than ever. While I understood part of that, it also got a bit old at times. But what I loved about this book was how fantastic Aaron was. He was sweet and thoughtful, and he was so supportive and understanding of Henri. He understood just what was going through Henri's mind, and he really could not have handled things better. He absolutely made this story for me, and I really loved him!

Purchase Volume Three: Amazon |

Overall

Overall, I thought that this serial was a really good story and I was surprised how different and new it was. This is not the same old story told with slightly different details, and it was great to read something refreshing and unique. The epilogue was my favorite part of the whole story, and I loved getting to see down the line at how everything had worked out for everyone. I thought that Elizabeth Reyes did a great job on the story and the ending, and I will definitely look for more from her in the future.

**ARC Provided by As The Pages Turn**

Purchase Set: | Amazon |



Guest Post with Author Cecy Robson and Giveaway

Meet Cecy Robson, author of Once Pure.

Cecy Robson is the New Adult author of Once Perfect, Once Loved, and Once Pure and the award-winning author of the Weird Girls urban fantasy romance series. A self-proclaimed professional napper, Cecy counts among her talents a jaw-dropping knowledge of useless trivia, the ability to make her hair big, and a knack for breaking into song despite her family’s vehement protests. A full-time writer, registered nurse, wife, and mother living in the Great Northwest, Cecy enjoys spending time with her family and silencing the yappy characters in her head by telling their stories.

Review: River of Dreams by Lynn Kurland


River of Dreams is the second book for Rùnach and Aisling, and the eighth book of the Nine Kingdom series. It begins with the two inside the library at Diarmailt with swords pointed at them. They are both trying to find answers to the mysteries that surround them. Unfortunately, they don’t get to spend too much time researching at the library because one of Rùnach’s bastard brothers arrives.

The pair ends up travelling from place to place looking for answers and running from evil mages. This pretty much sums up the entire book. Not much progresses with the plot because answers are not abundant. There weren’t a whole lot of exciting moments with this part of the trilogy. I can think of only three things in this book that made my adrenaline start pumping.

Aisling did get a lot more interesting mostly because she started developing a backbone. She has turned out to not be so delicate, though she does continue to faint a little too often. She’s also not willing to let herself fall for Rùnach since he is a prince and she just a simple weaver. She doesn’t think she is worthy of him. Oh how I wish she would just put her prejudice against herself aside!

I believe Rùnach would agree with me if he knew what Aisling was feeling. However, he somewhat starts to believe she just isn’t interested. He ends up discovering that he has fallen in love with her, regardless of her seeming lack of interest. He even decides to take up her quest because of this love. He ends up acting a little jealous and protective, which I always find flattering and endearing for men. He continues to be charming and chivalrous as ever.

The book did end on an exciting note, so I am eager to continue the adventure. I know some of the most nail biting scenes are soon to come. The romance again is PG, which I love! If the story wasn’t so slow, I probably would have given it a higher rating, but it did drag a little too much for my taste.

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



Thursday, May 28, 2015

ARC Review: Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt


Dearest Rogue opens with an exciting attempted kidnapping scene in which the hero and heroine escape the would be kidnappers on the back of a spirited horse. Lady Phoebe has not had so much fun in a very long time. I should clarify, it was not the kidnapping attempt that Phoebe enjoyed, but the horse ride. It has been years since she has been on a horse because she has been slowly going blind. Captain Trevillion is the man who saves her from the kidnappers. He is her bodyguard and constant companion.

The opening scene did grab my attention. But it is the characters that held my attention. Phoebe is young woman who's world has gotten progressively smaller as her eyesight grew progressively worse. Not just because she can't see, but because she is overprotected - so much that her choices are limited. Trevillion is the former Dragoon, avoiding his past. Hired by Phoebe's brother, the Duke of Wakefield, Trevillion is determined to keep Phoebe out of harm's way.

The relationship between Phoebe and Trevillion began before the the timeline in the book. By the time Dearest Rogue starts, they've gone past an initial tense, antagonistic period and at this time, can be considered to be friends. Actually, more that friends, but neither is ready to admit that yet. Trevillion feels he is not good enough for Phoebe. Phoebe thinks Trevillion is uncaring and only there because he has a job to do.

Phoebe is tired of being kept in a guilded cage, so she pushes her boundaries. Trevillion is with her all the time. When treachery puts Phoebe in even more danger, Trevillion must face his past and his heart in order to keep her safe.

This is a story about going into dark places. Literally for Phoebe. But she is adamant that her blindness not sideline her and desperately wants to experience life. It will be a constant challenge for her, but she is ready for it. Trevillion's dark place is his past. However, while Phoebe is ready to face her adversity, Trevillion is not so ready to acknowledge his prior life.

If you have read and enjoyed the Maiden Lane series, you will probably really like this book. Dearest Rogue is the first Maiden Lane book I have read. It was evident to me that this book was not the first appearance of most of the characters in it. I must admit, I felt cheated that I missed out on the first stages of the relationship between Phoebe and Trevillion. If you've not read the rest of the series, you can still enjoy the book. Just be prepared to feel something is missing.

If you are thinking about reading Dearest Rogue, you should know that you can't judge this book by its title. I don't believe Captain Trevillion can be considered a rogue by any definition of the word. Any character in the book that could be call a rogue would not deserve to also be called dearest. I recently had the opportunity to meet Ms. Hoyt so I asked her about the title. What I took from the conversation was that it was an editorial decision. Does the word 'rogue' in a title get you to buy a book? I suspect the most of the sales of the Dearest Rogue will be to Maiden Lane readers and they won't care what the title is. But if you are looking for a dear rogue, you might want to look elsewhere.

So here is my verdict. On its own, I enjoyed Dearest Rogue but did not love it. For that I would give it 3 stars. However, as part of a well-loved series, I suspect it will be adored and therefore stands well within the series. For that reason, I can give Dearest Rogue 4 stars as it is sure to appeal to the many Elizabeth Hoyt Maiden Lane fans.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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



ARC Review: 21 Stolen Kisses by Lauren Blakely


If you have read any of my past reviews, you will know that I am a fan of Lauren Blakely's. I love her books, and I always find myself falling for her sweet and sexy heroes. 21 Stolen Kisses was great, but it was a bit different than anything I have read by her before. The characters are younger here, and the story is not as steamy as she typically writes. But I still loved this book and the characters, and there was something really sweet and refreshing about this book! 

Kennedy and Noah started off as acquaintances that turned into friends. But their friendship grew into more, and they fought the feelings that they each felt. Their relationship was forbidden for more than one reason, the biggest being the eight year age difference. While that isn't a big deal later in life, Kennedy was 17 and in high school with Noah being 26 and already out of college. Forced to end their relationship before it really had a chance, Noah and Kennedy find themselves drawn to one another again and unable to stay away from each other. But with Kennedy getting ready to head to college and still dealing with the results of her parent's disastrous marriage and divorce, can Kennedy and Noah have a chance at making a relationship work?

I loved these characters, but Noah was by far one of the sweetest book boyfriends I have ever read. Seriously I think Noah might be the sweetest and best guy ever, and the love he felt for Kennedy was so true and unending that I couldn't help but fall for him! He was kind and thoughtful, understanding and supportive. His feelings never wavered, he didn't cause drama, and he loved Kennedy unconditionally. I really cannot go into enough reasons why he might just be the greatest book boyfriend of all time, but trust me when I tell you that he is worth the read alone! Kennedy was struggling with how to deal with things that no child should ever be forced to. Her parents divorced because her mother is a serial cheater and can't keep from seeking out married and unavailable men for brief and very inappropriate flings. Unfortunately Kennedy got sucked into helping her mother lie and cover up for her affairs, and I felt so bad for her. She felt an enormous amount of guilt, and it really messed with her. But her love for Noah was exactly what she needed to show her that not all love is toxic, and I was so glad that she had him to lean on along with her friends. Noah was so great for Kennedy, and I really loved that they clicked on every single level. Their relationship wasn't instant, and it developed so naturally. These two had so much in common, and honestly their relationship didn't seem forbidden to me because it was so clear that they belonged together.

Overall, I really loved this book. I loved Noah and Kennedy, and I found their story sweet and refreshing. There was something so amazing to me about a young couple that just clicked and got along so well. Their interests were so similar and they really spoke the same language when it came to their love for Broadway. It was great that they could talk about the Broadway shows and speak to each other in lyrics from show tunes, but Lauren did it in such a way that it was adorable rather than cheesy. I loved Kennedy's love of found hearts, and how Noah would send them to her so she would know he was always thinking of her. These two didn't behave like a new couple finding love for the first time, or a typical NA couple that couldn't talk or communicate their feelings. They behaved like they had always been together and in love, because their connection was that strong that they just went together as if that had always been meant for one another. I never can pick a favorite book of Lauren's, because with each new book she writes I find myself falling for another set of characters and they are all so unique and beautiful that you really can't compare them. I think 21 Stolen Kisses is a great story, and I know that I will definitely be reading this one again in the future. I highly recommend this sweet story if you are looking for something new and different. Noah make's this book a must read, and you will find yourself swooning and falling in love right along with him and Kennedy.

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iBooks |