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Saturday, December 5, 2015

ARC Review: Coming Apart at the Seams by Jenna Sutton

Coming Apart at the Seams is the second book in the Riley O'Brien & Co. Series from Jenna Sutton, and it is my first book from her. It was really good though, and I will definitely be reading more from her in the future. This book is a standalone story with interconnected characters, and I can't wait to read the rest of the series. 

Teagan O'Brien and Nick Priest had a great friendship that was turning into more, after one passionate night changed everything between them. But when Nick walked away, he broke Teagan's heart. Though she has tried to forget about him, Teagan knows that she still loves him even though she hates him for leaving her when she needed him most. Nick knows that he screwed up, and now that life has offered him a second chance he is determined to win her over for good. Though Teagan can't help but want Nick, she isn't ready to give into him. Can he show her that they belong together?

I really liked Nick. He was smart and sexy, and really deep. He was a complicated guy that had been through a lot. I felt so badly for him and a lot of the things that he had been through. He kept it all in and didn't tell a lot of people much about him at all. Nick was a man of few words, with a stuttering problem he chose not to speak much. But with Teagan he didn't have to speak a lot as she just got him. They had their own way of communicating with one another and it spoke volumes about their connection. Teagan was easy to like, she was smart and sassy. But she was also really frustrating and there were a few times that I was less than happy with her. She did one thing here that really made me angry, and I wasn't okay with it at all. Nick and Teagan had a ton of chemistry and were so steamy together. But their connection was what kept me turning the pages. 

Overall, this was a good story. I liked Teagan and Nick a lot, and seeing them in the past and present was something that I really enjoyed. My heart broke for these two at times, but I could see how perfect for one another they were and I knew that they had to find a way to be together. I do think that Nick messed up, but I think that Teagan was almost as bad with how she was after. I am really looking forward to reading more in this series though, and I would recommend this one to fans of contemporary romance. This book was different and it was really refreshing to read something that wasn't the same cookie-cutter type of romance story. Jenna Sutton is a great writer, and I was drawn in right away. She is definitely an author to watch, as this is only her second book.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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

Caught Under the Mistletoe...with Christi Caldwell and Giveaway

USA TODAY Bestselling author CHRISTI CALDWELL blames Judith McNaught's "Whitney, My Love!" for luring her into the world of historical romance. While sitting in her graduate school apartment at the University of Connecticut, Christi decided to set aside her notes and pick up her laptop to try her hand at romance. She believes the most perfect heroes and heroines have imperfections, and she rather enjoys torturing them before crafting them a well deserved happily ever after!

Christi makes her home in southern Connecticut where she spends her time writing her own enchanting historical romances, chasing around her feisty seven-year-old son and caring for her twin princesses in training!

Bubbles and Books Subscription Box Review and Giveaway

I was really excited to get this Bubbles and Books Box when we were offered the chance to review it, because I had never seen anything like this before. While book boxes are all the rage right now, this is the first that I have seen to offer bath products as well. Who doesn't love to pamper themselves a bit and also get some great new books? I have always been a sucker for yummy smelling soaps, so the fact that I can combine that with my love for books was something that grabbed my attention right away. I think that these boxes are actually a really great value for the money as well. Not only is shipping included (within the US), but the books are full size novels as are the bars of soap. These bars of handcrafted soap as well as the indie books can get quite expensive when purchased on their own, so to get them in this reasonably priced box was something I thought was a really good deal!

Unlike some of the other book boxes available, the books I received were unsigned. While this isn't a problem for me, I feel like potential subscribers should know that upfront so they aren't expecting signed books. These are indie published books with beautiful covers, and any paranormal romance reader will enjoy getting these novels for their shelves.

I wish you could smell this box! When I first opened the box, I couldn't believe how good everything smelled! I immediately wanted to go take a shower or bath and get into these amazing smelling products. Not only did they smell great, but they are so pretty.

I will say that the only thing that was a bit of a drawback for me was the genre of the books. While I do like paranormal romance, I read mostly contemporary and new adult romance books. I am excited to be introduced to some new authors and books that I might not have heard of, but I would love it if the boxes came with a mix of sub-categories within the romance genre, or that Bubbles and Books offered boxes based on your preferred genre.
Bubbles and Books is a subscription book box that also gives subscribers handcrafted soaps each month. They currently have two options for subscribers to choose from, the first option is The Luxe Box. This is one book and one Soap and runs $19.95 per month. The second option is The Shifters Do It Better Box, and contains two novels and two soaps for $34.95 per month. Shipping in the US is free. Once you sign up for a subscription, your box will auto-renew every month until you cancel. So there is no need to try and remember to secure your box each month. Right now Bubbles and Books only offer paranormal (shifter) romance novels in their boxes. The soaps included in the boxes are handcrafted, small batch artisan soaps and aren't ones you will find in stores. These boxes make great gifts for your paranormal romance loving friends, or if you want to treat yourself a little each month.

November Shifters Do It Better Box

Included in my Shifters Do It Better Box: Awakened by Senna Tate (unsigned), Dragon's Melody by Ophelia Bell (unsigned), Black Raspberry Vanilla Soap from Rock Bottom Soap Co., Pear Vanilla Soap from Bee Butter, Pumpkin Pie Soap from Melen Soap Shop, Sleeping Dragons bookmark with dragon charm from Ophelia Bell, Hidden Gems Romance bookmark, cards with information on each of the soap companies and their products, business card from Bubbles and Books letting you know who prepared your box and where to follow them, Samples of Goat Milk Soap, Sweet Love Soap and Black Soap from Melen Soap Shop, and Samples of Sweet Pea Soap and Pear Vanilla Lotion from Bee Butter.   

Awakened by Senna Tate 

Gemma Fellings a recently canned school teacher, is looking for a fresh start. She’s never allowed herself to have friends, relationships, or even fun. Carson Sanchez has an abundance of friends, but he’s plagued by the skeletons in his closet and no one can help him escape his past.

A chance encounter leaves them both fantasizing, but they never even exchanged names!

When Gemma’s new friend – Carson’s sister – goes missing, the two find themselves thrust together again. It can’t be a coincidence, can it?

The strange happenings in town are much bigger than Gemma or Carson imagined and they’ll need to use their connection to each other to harness new paranormal abilities in order to save the ones they love.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository |

Dragon's Melody by Ophelia Bell 

All or nothing.

It was supposed to be a simple job transfer interview, but it was far from simple. After the most mind-blowing ‘interview’ of Melody’s life, she signs a contract with a gorgeous man named Skye, who she believes is much more than he seems. The trouble is, Skye's assistant Garen is every bit as enticing as his boss. Garen is just as inhumanly gorgeous and just as hungry for what Melody has to offer.

But the entire endeavor goes south when she finds herself falling for both elusive men and their otherworldly charms. Melody never considered the possibility of love. She rejected romance for most of her life, because love was her enemy. Love left her mother wanting and left Melody nothing but loneliness for two decades.

The realization that she has to choose between them sends her running scared. She refuses to choose, but the only other option is to refuse and risk even worse heartbreak. Will she follow her heart or lose it all?

Garen and Skye follow, too consumed by love to do anything but compromise for Melody's sake. In the arms of them both, she makes her choice—the choice Fate intended all along.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository |

Black Raspberry Vanilla Soap from Rock Bottom Soap Co.

Purchase: Rock Bottom Soap Co. |

Pear Vanilla Soap from Bee Butter

Purchase: | Bee Butter Soap |

Pumpkin Pie Soap from Melen Soap Shop

Purchase: | Melen Soap Shop | 

So what do you think of my November Bubbles and Books Box? Want to try one for yourself? Bubbles and Books has offered our readers the chance to win a box exactly like this one! If you are wanting to try this box out, make sure that you enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

Don't want to leave it up to chance? Bubbles and Books has offered the RFTC readers a special discount. To get 25% off your first subscription box, just make sure to enter this promo code: RAMBLINGS25 Just be sure to hurry as this code is only good through 1/19/16.

Check out what's up for grabs.

Up For Grabs:
  • 1 Bubbles and Book November Box

To Enter:
  • What do you think about book subscription boxes? Love em' or are they not for you?
  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter form.

Good Luck!

Special thanks to Books and Bubbles for sponsoring this giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 4, 2015

ARC Review: Mind Games by Laura Curtis

This is my second Laura Curtis novel and I was surprised that I found it a little disappointing. The description of the book seemed like it would make for a good action/suspense/romance which is one of my favorite combinations for a novel. The book is about Dr. Jane Evans who works in a psychiatric research lab. Jane had the capacity to be a really interesting character because she was focused on controlling the details of her work and life to an almost obsessive point when ish starts to seriously unravel on her. For reasons that I’m still a little hazy on, it becomes clear that Jane is in danger because of her work on developing a new drug. After an attempted kidnapping is thwarted, Jane is assigned a personal body guard. The body guard is Eric Sorenson. It turns out Jane knows him because she tutored him in college and of course he’s superhot. The problem with Jane and Eric as characters is that there wasn’t any nuance in the way they are described. Everything is very blunt. As the book moves on you don’t feel like you are a part of the story, you are very much an outside observer as we travel from one point in the plot to another. As a result, it’s very difficult to emotionally invest in this book. At one point, I felt like I just didn’t care.

The majority of the book is focused on the attempt to unravel the mystery of who was trying to harm Jane. There are explosions and shootings and rapidly changing scenery as the elite HARP security team pursues Jane’s pursuers. I usually like that sort of thing but the science aspects of the book became way too much for me. One, I didn’t really understand them and two what I did understand seemed really farfetched and it just got more outrageous as the book went on. And by “outrageous” I mean that at one point Jane is imprisoned by Mexican cartels. I was like ‘wait, what? How did the cartels get involved?” The other problem for me with the plot is that there are too many pages in which Jane is separated from Eric while he is trying to rescue her. Similarly, there are too many pages in this book dedicated to supporting characters. At one point, we get detailed information about the foster care home one of the supporting characters is operating. Like, I even know about how she bakes chocolate chip cookies when she is stressed and I just do NOT need to know that.

So what about the romance you ask? I didn’t love that either. First, there isn’t enough of it. Second, the romance involves a sort of role reversal where Jane is the one who wants quick and “no strings” and Eric is the one who wants long term. The role reversal isn’t my problem, my issue is that it didn’t make sense. Eric is constantly on the move and involved in a high risk business. Jane lives a very routine controlled existence. I mean her name is JANE. It didn’t make sense to me that she was the one who wanted to play fast and loose with sex and commitment. Speaking of sex, there is almost none and forget about any steamy scenes. Not even a vapor here. Overall, the romance fell extremely flat. There wasn’t a real connection between the characters, no sex and they didn’t make sense together.

There is a lot going on in this book so maybe something in it will appeal to you. It was not the book for me. Because I enjoyed the first book in the series so much, I think I would give the author another try.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

November Book Subscription Box Unpacking

For November I received only one box, the Book Candy Box. I skipped my November Bookworm Box, but from what I have seen online there were some amazing books included. I was really happy with the books that I got in my Book Candy Box though, but I was a bit disappointed in the swag included this month. There wasn't a lot, and what there was wasn't a very good selection as it was all bookmarks and cards. I am loving the surprise in my mailbox every month with these boxes though.
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 January Box, you need to order between December 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. 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. 

November Book Candy Box 

The Book Candy Box that I received in November included a signed Wild Pitch by Sloan Johnson and a signed Something For the Pain by Victoria Ashley (this one had a bookplate). Swag in this months box was a MJ Carnal bookmark, MJ Carnal door hanger, A. Giannoccaro bookmark, A. Giannoccaro signed postcard, MJ Fields signed rak card and an eye candy bookstore business card. 

Wild Pitch by Sloan Johnson 

There’s never been any question in Sean Tucker’s mind that he’d do whatever it took to make it to the major leagues and be one of the best pitchers of his time. The day he acknowledged to himself that he was gay was also the day he vowed to stay in the closet in order to chase his dreams. The problem is, he never counted on Mason Atley. 

Sean showed rookie short stop Mason Atley the ropes, both on the field and off. The two forged a friendship which continued as both of them moved through the ranks of the farm system and into the majors. Unfortunately, there’s always been one secret Mason never felt he could share with Sean. Until now. 

For seven years, Sean lived with the fact that he loved a man who would never reciprocate. When Mason admits that he’s always known he’s bisexual but has never allowed himself to pursue a relationship with a man, will Sean be able to put aside his reservations about starting a relationship with the friend he’d always assumed was straight? And more importantly, will they be able to find a way to stay together when their careers keep them apart more than they can be together? 

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

I have actually been dying to read this series. I have seen a lot of good things and I love sports romance stories. Over the past few years I have become quite a fan of the M/M genre, so when you add that to a sports romance this is exactly the kind of book I enjoy reading. Not ready to let go of the high from my team winning the World Series (Go Royals!), I can't wait to read this book. While this had been on my TBR list for awhile now, getting it in my box has definitely bumped it up to the top. Wild Pitch is the first book in the Homeruns Series, with each book being a standalone. 

  Something For the Pain by Victoria Ashley 

Tempting, inked and highly addictive. Alex is all that and more… 

I’ve made a lot of mistakes – ones I’m not proud of, and definitely ones that have left their marks both mentally and physically. 

Things got lonely; I got lost in my own fucked up mind and in the end it left me fucked out of my mind and unable to fight – or at least win. That life’s over for me and I’ve moved on. 

Six months into tattooing at Blue’s and already I’m the most wanted and sought out tattooist. My biggest clientele consists of women.  

They come into the shop, end up in my bed and we both come out happy. It’s been my release since I’ve stopped fighting. It’s become part of the “new” me.  

But when Tripp reappears in my life, I can’t deny the fact that I would do anything for that girl. 

So when she asks me to move in with her and her ‘boyfriend’ – our other childhood friend – I never expected for things to get so fucked up and twisted that I would find myself only more attracted to her by each passing second or wanting to protect her from everything that isn’t me. 

I have worked so hard over the years to suppress my feelings for her but when I find out that her and Lucas have been having an open relationship, I have the strong urge to rip his heart straight from his chest – to destroy the very thing that keeps him breathing. 

What I didn’t expect was for Lucas to ask what he did. For him to ask me to do the one thing I have secretly longed for since I was old enough to know what the need was. The second thing I never expected was the look of need that I saw in Tripp’s eyes when he asked. 

One night of free passion could change our lives forever.  

I never said that was a good thing either... 

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

While I haven't read this book from Victoria Ashley, I have read books by her before and really enjoyed them. I have heard that this is her best book yet from a lot of people, so I am really excited to start this one. Something for the Pain is actually the second book in the Pain series, but each book can be read as standalones as the characters are interconnected.

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. =)

A Prank...with Valerie Bowman and Giveaway

Valerie Bowman’s books have received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus. She’s been an RT Reviewers’ Choice nominee for Best First Historical Romance and Best Historical Romance Love and Laughter. Two of her books have been nominated for the Kirkus Prize for fiction.

Valerie grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven). After earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida. Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, and watching crazy reality TV.

Site | Blog | Facebook | Twitter |

ARC Review: Make Me Stay by Jaci Burton

Make Me Stay is the fifth book in the Hope series by Jaci Burton. While I have been a huge fan of Jaci for years now, I haven't read any of this series before. I love her books though, so I was really looking forward to this story. While it did have plenty of sweet moments, this wasn't my favorite book of hers. I liked the characters well enough, but I just felt like some of the heat was missing here and it didn't captivate me the way her books usually do. I wasn't sucked in right away and I kept putting it down and walking away. 

Reid McCormack left his hometown of Hope years ago for Boston, but when he returns for his brother's wedding he finds a reason to stick around a little longer. As a successful architect, Reid is looking forward to renovating the old town mercantile. But he knows that once the project is done, he will return home to Boston which is why he shouldn't start anything with Samantha Reasor. Sam is looking for love and is ready to settle down, and as much as she is drawn to Reid she knows that he isn't what she needs. But while Reid is in town, she figures that they can become friends and possibly even have a fling. As Reid and Sam get to know one another and grow closer, they find themselves feeling far more than they planned on. 

I liked both Reid and Sam. Reid was sweet and sexy, and just an all around good guy. Sam was smart and kind, and really easy to root for. While these two did have friendship and chemistry, their relationship was definitely a slow burn. They took their time to get to know one another, and while that was enjoyable there were times that I wanted more. I didn't think that their story packed the same punch as some of Jaci's other books. It was great to see them get to know one another though, and I did find their relationship and the connection they shared to be believable.

Part of my problem here though was one I have had with the last few books of Jaci's that I have read. While I love a series and getting to see familiar faces, I feel like lately she puts too much emphasis on past characters. They already had their books, and while it is enjoyable to catch up with them, they should not play such a huge part that their role in someone else's story becomes almost as big as the main characters. Even if I had read the previous books in this series, I really think that I wouldn't have enjoyed just how much the others were focused on here. I wish that more of the focus had been on Reid and Sam as I think that was a lot of what I was missing here. While I do think that this is a good book, it wasn't as great as I had been hoping for. As likable as the characters were, I just wasn't fully invested in their story and that had me losing interest from time to time. I still think that Jaci Burton is a great writer and this is worth the read. Fans of the series will enjoy this one, and I know I will read more from Jaci Burton in the future. I just hope that she focuses more on the main couple in her future books than she has in recent books as I feel like their connections are getting lost in the details and HEAs of other characters where they should be shining in their own stories.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Audiobook Review: Legal Heat by Sarah Castille, Narrated by Charlotte Kane

Sarah Castille is one of those authors that I always keep meaning to read. I finally had a chance to read one of her motorcycle books and it fell a little short for me. However, when I began listening to “Legal Heat” I was instantly interested in the story and the characters. I loved the seductive setting that the author began with and the suspense that carried throughout the story.

I really enjoyed this audiobook and it came at a perfect time. I wanted something light, fun and interesting and this story “Legal Heat” really covered all those areas. I also really enjoyed the hero and the heroine. The heroine, Katy Sinclair, is at a “pleasure” club solely on business but it quickly turns to a lot more. Right at the entrance of the pleasure club she meets Mark Richards. Both Katy and Mark are attorneys and they will eventually end up on opposite sides of the courtroom. But before that, Mark thinks that Katy is at the club for pleasure, he moonlights there as a bartender with his partners. They are attorneys by day and they work at the club by night until business picks up for them. As luck would have it Mark’s biggest client needs representation. His clients are a big pharmaceutical company and Katy’s client is suing them because they unjustly fired her. There is a lot more happening than just employment law issues. It quickly turns into a scene with dead bodies and threats are made. Despite their big attraction to one another neither Katy nor Mark can afford to drop their clients.

Aside from the suspense of element of this story, and I have to say that the author had a lot of surprises along the way, Katy and Mark can’t fight their attraction to one another but this presents a legal issue of “conflict.” Both love their careers and neither want to jeopardize their case but neither can avoid their feelings. Katy and Mark had excellent chemistry. They really got the best out of each other and they were perfectly matched. I also personally liked how Castille evolved Katy’s character. At the beginning she was very insecure and worried about not only her career but also her personal life- her ex-husband was a key player and Castille really had a lot of surprises in store for him. Not to be outdone with suspense and excellent lead characters Castille had equally fascinating secondary characters in James, the cop, and Lana the private investigator I loved every single scene they were in and I even ended up buying the book because I just have to know what happens between those two.

Finally, there was so much going on that I was interested from beginning to end. I could not wait to see how Katy and Mark would resolve their relationship, the villains were so deliciously bad and there were surprises at every turn. The narrator Charlotte Kane was great and her voice fit with the story perfectly. This was a fun, intense and exciting story!

**Audiobook provided by Publisher**

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

ARC Review: A Lady's Guide to Ruin by Kathleen Kimmel

A Lady's Guide to Ruin is an amazing debut from new author, Kathleen Kimmel. The story is filled with action. The romance was strong, and the story was unpredictable. There were some side plots that worked into the main story intricately. I found myself glued to the book and read it relatively quickly.

Joan Price is a fugitive from a mental hospital who has escaped, and she's trying to also escape members of her old life who were basically the ones responsible for putting her in there in the first place. When she is mistaken for someone else on the street, she clings to the opportunity to get her out of the city.

Martin Hargrove, Lord Fenbrook, is playing the role of dutiful lord and taking in his distant cousin. However, he hasn't seen her since she was very little and thinks that Joan is said cousin. He finds her intriguing to say the least, because he notices glimpses of a deeper person behind the flippant facade she acts.

Though their situation is near impossible, the two can't resist falling in love. I also fell in love with Joan's character. She was so strong, and she was also so compassionate for others. She rose from a hard upbringing and still obtained some morals. She really resonated with me and became one of my favorite female leads in romance.

I had the opposite reaction to Martin. I really felt like I didn't get to know much about him. There was a little backstory provided, but it was only touched on and rarely presented itself in the main plot. Mostly, all I remember from his perspective was his confusion with Joan. I guess I did get that he can't leave puzzles unsolved.

For a debut, this book was extraordinary. I think that as Kathleen grows as a writer, all the simple things I had problems with will come together. She did extremely well with getting me excited, and at the end of the book I was freaking out that it was over. I am very excited to continue the series! So glad I tried this one out!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

Caught with a Rogue...with Joanna Shupe and Giveaway

Award-winning author JOANNA SHUPE has always loved history, ever since she saw her first Schoolhouse Rock cartoon. In 2013, she won Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart® Award for Best Historical. Joanna’s first published novel, The Courtesan Duchess, has received a nomination as Best First Historical by RT Book Reviews, while the Washington Post named The Lady Hellion as one of the top five romance novels of 2015.

She currently lives in New Jersey with her two spirited daughters and dashing husband.