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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Weekly Winners

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

Karin A.
Into the Fury by Kat Martin

Accidentally in Love with the Biker by Teri Anne Stanley

All winners have been notified via email and are posted on the Rafflecopter form from that giveaway post. Thank you to everyone that stopped by and entered. =)

ARC Review: Leaving Yesterday by Zoe Dawson

Leaving Yesterday is my first book from Zoe Dawson, as well as the first book in her Laurel Falls series. I was really excited to read this book after reading the blurb, even with it being a new to me author. Unfortunately though, I wasn't able to make it past 25% and this book ended up being a DNF for me. 

At the beginning I was drawn in and thought that this book was going to be very enjoyable. Rafferty Hamilton is a recent divorce that has left New York to head west and scout locations for the family business. Her car breaks down outside the small town of Laurel Falls, and Trace Black comes to rescue her and tow her car back to his family's garage. Trace's family life was a bit complicated, but I was liking all the members of the family and how they interacted. But then things took a turn, and something happened that I like to call "The Character Dump". This is where the author throws in a ton of characters all at one time and the reader is left to try and figure out who all these new people are, and if they are important enough to the story to try and remember all the details or if they will promptly disappear and aren't worth trying to figure out. 

Things went from bad to worse for me after all the new characters were brought in, as we went from having Rafferty and Trace's POVs, to also suddenly getting another POV courtesy of a side character. Soon Rafferty and Trace's story was taking a backseat to that of Trace's little brother Harley suffering from what appears to be PTSD and Anzu (the one whose POV we were suddenly getting). Then we were getting into a character named Greg Chamber's POV as well, and it all just became too much. I was confused and didn't really care about figuring out what was going on. The story just felt all over the place, and at this point we are only 25% of the way through and this is the first book in the series. It wasn't like I had missed out on what was going on from previous books. This was all being thrown at the reader at the very beginning, and I just had no idea what was going on or where things were going. This should have been Rafferty and Trace's story with some set-up for the continuation of the series. Instead it felt like Dawson was trying to cram as much information about all the other players in the series here, when the focus should have been the couple whose book it actually was. This was just not working for me and I was frustrated and confused, so I threw in the towel and made the choice not to continue. 

It really was sad for me to DNF this book as I had really started to like Rafferty and Trace at the beginning. Unfortunately it was just a case of the writing and execution here rather than the characters. If this sounds like a book that you would enjoy, I recommend giving it a shot. It could just be me and that it didn't work for what I personally enjoy when reading.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | 

Guest Post with Author Landra Graf and Giveaway

Meet Landra Graf author of What You Crave.

Landra Graf has been crafting stories since the tender age of too-young-to-watch-rated-R. When she finally got old enough for adult material, she believed adult meant anything besides the smexy. Then she discovered erotic romance and all things kinky. Since then it’s been a journey down a rabbit hole. Landra writes BDSM erotic romance and historical erotic romance, among other less smexy offerings.

ARC Review: Midnight Heat by Cat Johnson

I have to start by saying that I have no idea why this book is called Midnight Heat. I felt like the title was a little misleading. I was expecting some real down and dirty hotness but this was much more of a mid-tempo sort of average romance. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't "midnight heat" level steam.

So for a brief background, the book is about Phoenix who gets in her head to make a road trip to meet her birth mother. She runs into Justin who happens to be on a trip to help Phoenix's birth mother relocate to Oklahoma. Phoenix decides to go to Oklahoma and Justin decides to take her even though he doesn't know the real reason behind her trip.

Justin was like a really sweet guy wrapped in a A hole package. I was particularly unimpressed by his efforts to ignore Pheonix when her ca broke down and he knew she needed help. I forgave him because he quickly got over his a hole ways but it was touch and go for a minute there. As for Phoenix...she didn't really do anything for me as a character. Phoenix seemed kind of flighty. Her choice to travel across the country with a total stranger was mystifying to me. I had a hard time getting past the sheer stupidity of it.

Dumb choices aside, once Justin and Phoenix discovered their feelings for each other, the development of their relationship was really sweet. I love the reluctant Hero who is convinced that he doesn't have room in his life or heart for the heroine. Justin is dealing with some major trauma concerning the death of his brother and his Mother's consequent condition. It made sense that Justin took the a hole route, his life wasn't easy at the moment that Phoenix entered it. I can't help myself. I'm a sucker for redemption and I was geekily happy to see Justin getting the healing he needed from Phoenix. I also found the side story about Phoenix's journey to meet her birth mother intriguing. It kept things interesting.

All in all, this is a super sweet contemporary romance. I don't know what happened to all the title "heat" but it's still a worthwhile read.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

Feature and Giveaway: Bad Boy by J.C. Reed & Jackie Steele

I should have seen it coming. Sexy? Handsome? Trouble? Check, check, and check.

Is he messing up my life? Hell yes. All the signs are there: he is a bad boy.

Even his name is a lie. Too bad I married him. I can’t wait to get divorced.

Does this make me sound crazy?

I know I should avoid him, run as fast as I can. However, when a harmless misunderstanding lands me in a foreign prison cell, my dear, lying husband is the only one who can get me out. Crap. I shouldn’t accept.

But how to say no to trouble when said trouble is the one who makes me fantasize all the dirty things he could do to me?

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

Friday, February 26, 2016

ARC Review: You're Still the One by Rachel Harris

You're Still the One is the first book in the new Country Blues series from Rachel Harris. This book is a standalone, and was every bit as cute as I was expecting from Rachel Harris. I have enjoyed every single book that I have read from her, and Charlie and Arabella's story was no different. 

Arabella Stone can't wait to be on her own for the summer and away from her overprotective dad. Everyone knows her as Nashville's darling with her father being a big time record label CEO. But she earned her internship on her own and is determined to make a name for herself without her dad's help. She is also ready to start crossing things off her bucket list, first item being to kiss the man she has been crushing on for years. Charlie Tucker is known for being the bad boy of country music, never sticking with a woman for long. But when he learns that the sexy kiss and run stranger he made out with at an event is none other than the daughter of his boss and his newest employee at the record studio he just bought, things get complicated quickly. As the two spend more time together and work on her bucket list, their feelings continue to grow. But both of them know that anything they could possibly have is temporary and will be over at the end of summer. 

I really liked these two. They were so cute together and I really liked seeing them get to know one another. Watching them cross items off Arabella's bucket list was so much fun, and I thought that these two were really good for one another. Charlie was known for being a playboy, yet he knew that Arabella was different. He tried to stop things from happening between them because he knew she was different, yet it was obvious that he couldn't fight what was growing between them. Arabella was a bit shy and adorably awkward at times, and I was glad that she wasn't an expert in seduction. She was so likable and endearing. These two were a great team, and I loved that they worked well together. They really had it all, and I was glad that Charlie was able to see that she was worth pursuing. 

Overall, this book was light and sweet and I really enjoyed reading it. It was refreshing and fun, and I highly recommend it. If you are looking for an NA or contemporary romance that is heartfelt and on the sweet side, you can't go wrong with anything from Rachel Harris.

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

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

ARC Review: Teach Me by Sophie Holloway

Teach Me is the first installment in Sophie Holloway's Lessons in Seduction serial. Since it is the first part of three, it does end with a cliffhanger. 

Eva Fiorini has wanted Jack Bennett for years. As her older brother's best friends, they have always been strictly off-limits to each other. He is Manhattan's biggest player, and exactly the man she knows can help teach her about sex. Jack at first tries to fight his attraction to Eva, knowing that he promised her brother he would protect her. When it becomes more than he can resist, Jack gives in to feelings he hasn't allowed himself to feel. But when Eva starts to feel as though someone is watching her, it appears as though Jack will have to protect her from more than just himself. 

Though I did feel the attraction and chemistry between these two, I found myself wanting more. It was clear that they had known each other for years and had an easy relationship. They liked one another and had things in common. Yet, their entire relationship felt surface deep to me. I just wasn't really feeling any kind of depth here. They had some steamy moments together, but even with those I was left wanting. I am hoping that as this serial continues we get more, because I really do think that there is promise here. 

I also felt the same way when it came to the mystery/suspense portion of this story. It seemed that Eva brushed everything under the rug and not much was really explored here. My interest started to wane as this book continued because I just wasn't feeling like anything was happening. I kept waiting for something big to grab my attention and to really draw me in, but it just didn't happen. I am mildly curious as to where the story will go from here, but overall I just felt like this installment could have delivered so much more than it actually did. With a serial, the first installment has to really draw the reader in if you are expecting them to come back for the rest of the story with future installments, especially if you end each with a cliffhanger. But I had a tough time really caring much about what would happen after this installment since I really didn't feel invested in the characters or the story at the end of this one.

**ARC Provided by Gossip Girls PR**

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

Feature and Giveaway: You're Still the One by Rachel Harris

Love is one dare neither of them can take...

Arabella Stone, Nashville's darling, is eager to shuck her prim-and-proper rep, and a few wild months spent checking items off her " summer bucket list" is the way to do it. First up: kiss the man she's crushed on since she wore a training bra, the bad boy of country himself, Blue bassist Charlie Tucker.

For Charlie, a beautiful woman flirting with him isn't out of the norm--but a beautiful woman bolting after the hottest kiss of his life sure is. And when he finds out his kiss-and-run Cinderella is none other than Arabella Stone, daughter of his label's CEO, he knows he's in trouble. Because not only is she a Stone, she's also his employee for the next few months at the recording studio he just bought.

Over the course of one thrilling summer, Arabella and Charlie chip away at her bucket list and fight the simmering attraction between them...knowing that once it's all over, so is their time together.

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

Thursday, February 25, 2016

ARC Review: Spanish Lessons by Jessica Peterson

This is my first book by Jessica Peterson, but the blurb really drew me in. Spanish Lessons was a quick and angsty read, and I enjoyed it. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series and seeing what Jessica Peterson has in store for those characters. 

Vivian and her best friend Maddie head to Spain for a summer abroad. Not only does Vivian want to enjoy her passion for Art History, but she is hoping to get some tutoring help for her major of Economics. There she meets the sexy Rafa, the cousin of a friend of hers who just so happens to be her new tutor. But Vivian has had her heart broken and isn't looking to start anything that already has an expiration date. Though Vivian tries to fight her feelings for Rafa, she finds it harder to do with every time they see each other. But even if their relationship didn't only have a few months, Vivian finds out that Maddie wants Rafa too. 

I will admit that I struggled a lot with Vivian's character here. As much as I liked her at times, she really frustrated me at others. She wouldn't admit her feelings for Rafa to her friends or herself. I hated that she gave Maddie permission to pursue Rafa, knowing that she was interested in him herself. She would get upset then when Maddie would go for him and it drove me nuts! Rafa though was amazing! Sexy and sweet, I loved him from the start. He was a great guy, and I couldn't help but fall in love with him along the way. Vivian and Rafa had a ton of chemistry, and the connection between them was clear from the start.

As much as I wanted to shake Vivian at times here, I did like this story. It was full of angst and I couldn't put it down. I am curious to get Maddie's story next and I love that her hero is Rafa's uncle. I hope we get to see more of Vivian and Rafa, because I really loved them together. This is my first book by Jessica Peterson, but it won't be my last. I am glad that I took a chance on this new to me author, and I look forward to the next story in the Study Abroad series.

**ARC Provided by Author**

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

ARC Review: We Were Here by Daisy Prescott

We Were Here is the standalone prequel to the Modern Love Stories series from Daisy Prescott. For those that area already fans of the gang from Geoducks Are For Lovers, this story is an absolute must read! Don't worry if you are new to the series though, this is actually a great place to start as you get to see how all the characters met and became friends here! I have read a few of the other books in the series and really loved them, but after reading We Were Here I can't wait to go back and read every single one of them. This was such a fun read, and Daisy Prescott is a great writer! 

Set in the early 1990s, We Were Here tells the story about how all your favorite Geoducks couples met. Quinn, Gil, Ben, Selah, Jo, Maggie, and Lizzy are all in college and are just starting their friendships and falling in love for the first time. They thought they knew everything, but it turns out that many things they thought they knew they didn't. Set over the course of their college years, each of these characters has their own story told through their POV. 

I loved seeing these characters get to know one another and form these life long connections with each other. It was so interesting to get a glimpse at their past and how it all started, and to be able to see that through each POV. I loved these characters before, but getting this unique look into their younger selves just made me love them that much more. This group of characters is really special, and I am so glad that Daisy Prescott gave us the chance to experience how their bond became so solid. Daisy Prescott is great at finding the perfect balance of love, friendship, emotion, humor and steam. This book, as with everything I have read from her, was enjoyable from the very first page and held my attention to the very end. I highly recommend anything by Daisy, and I can't wait to read more from her.

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | 

Feature and Giveaway: See You at Sunset by V.K. Sykes

All Holly Tyler wants is a fantastic career, a not-too-committed relationship, and a city where there are no painful memories. Instead, she's called back to her hometown of Seashell Bay to help with her family's struggling general store. It's a town where everyone knows everyone, and where one man could sink Holly's careful plans.

Deputy Sheriff Micah Lancaster has wanted Holly for as long as he can remember. He knows she has a life on the mainland-and a boyfriend-and that there's no real future with her. But now Holly is back and the attraction still flickers between them, a promise of something more. Their desire is stronger than any undertow . . . and once it pulls them under, it won't let go.

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

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

ARC Review: Until I'm Yours by Kennedy Ryan

Until I'm Yours is the fourth book in Kennedy Ryan's Bennetts series. This book can be read as a standalone, but I would recommend reading in order if possible to really see how the characters here got to this point. It isn't necessary, but I think that Sofie's transformation over the course of the series is something that shouldn't be missed. I will admit that I wasn't her biggest fan before this book. Seeing how she was at the beginning of this series versus now though, I am so glad that I went into this book with an open mind. 

Having been a famous model since she was 18 years old, the world has always had one label or another for Sofie Baston. When her father asks her to help him reel in another big fish for business, Sofie never expects to come face to face with the hottest guy she has ever laid eyes on. But Trevor Bishop is more than just a pretty face, he is actually a really great guy as well. Soon Sofie realizes that Trevor is actually the one reeling her in, and there is nothing she can do to stop it. But when Sofie's past threatens to ruin everything that Trevor has ever worked for, she will do whatever it takes to do the right thing for him. 

I loved these two together. They were absolutely perfect for one another, and I couldn't get enough of them together. I really loved that the attraction between them was instant, yet they took things slowly. We got to see such a strong connection form between these two, and it was so clear that this was everything for them. Both had been in relationships before that were serious and could have been more, but they also knew that they hadn't found the right person. Sofie and Trevor had never been able to make it work with anyone else, because they were meant to find one another. I loved Trevor's constant support of Sofie, and how he never let her past change how he saw her. Sofie hadn't been a saint, yet he stood by her and I loved him all the more for that. 

Overall, this book was so much more than I had been expecting. I know that Kennedy Ryan is a great writer and I knew that I would love Trevor. I hadn't expected my mind to be changed so completely when it came to Sofie though. Kennedy Ryan knew exactly what she was doing with these characters, and it was all so genuine and felt so real. I truly believed everything that happened and I loved getting to know Sofie better. She hadn't been perfect, yet she had come so far and it was great to see all her progress. This book was emotional and difficult at times, but I really felt invested from the start and had to see how things would play out. If you haven't read this series or anything by Kennedy Ryan yet, I highly recommend it. I absolutely love this series, and this book was such a great addition to it.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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

Interview with Author Melody Anne and Giveaway

Meet Melody Anne author of Her Forever Hero.

NYT and USA Today Best Selling Author Melody Anne has written the popular series: Billionaire Bachelors, Surrender, and Baby for the Billionaire. She also has a Young Adult Series; Midnight Fire, Midnight Moon and Midnight Storm – The Apocalypse along with her new, traditionaly published, Unexpected Heroes Series and the newest release “Stolen Innocence,” the first book in her new Becoming Elena Series.

As an aspiring author, she wrote for years, then published in 2011, finding her true calling, and a love of writing nonstop. Holding a Bachelor’s Degree in business, she loves to write about strong, powerful, businessmen and the corporate world.

When Melody isn’t writing, she cultivates strong bonds with her family and enjoys time spent with them as well as her friends, and beloved pets. A country girl at heart, she loves the small town and strong community she lives in and is involved in many community projects.

To date, Melody has over 7 million book sales and has earned a spot on multiple best seller lists, including being an amazon top 100 bestselling author for 3 years in a row, as well as a Kobo and iBooks best seller. But beyond that, she just loves getting to do what makes her happiest – live in a fantasy world, 95% of the time.

ARC Review: 9 Letters by Blake Austin

9 Letters is Blake Austin's debut novel, so I wasn't really sure what to expect here. I was drawn in by the blurb and beautiful cover, and this story had so much potential. While I feel like the story had a great premise, I did think that the execution wasn't entirely there. For a debut novel this one wasn't bad, but I definitely had some mixed feelings overall. 

A year after the death of his wife, Luke Cawley receives a package containing nine letters she had written him. With each letter comes a task he must complete before he can open the next letter. His first letter calls for him to adopt a dog, and it is at that shelter that he meets Rae. Rae has had a series of bad relationships and is looking for something lasting. With both Luke and Rae trying to move forward with their lives, they will each have healing to do before they can fully move on. But can they help one another and find happiness in each other, or will there be too much damage to overcome? 

I had a bit of a tough time connecting to both Luke and Rae. Part of that was understandable as we only had Luke's POV. It made it difficult to connect with Rae because I felt like she was not around much. Since we didn't have her thoughts or what she was going through, I just never felt like we really got to know Rae or form any kind of connection with her. Even though we did have Luke's POV, I felt the same way about him. Although he was a constant in this story, I just felt detached and as though we weren't really getting much depth from him. It all felt on the surface, and honestly he drove me a bit nuts at times. Yes he had lost his wife and was grieving, and yet I wasn't really seeing much progress for him. It felt like he was going through the motions and was just doing each item to the next letter. I thought that his focus on Maggie was a bit too much too, as she seemed to almost have more of a place in his life than Rae did. I felt like their relationship was more present that what we saw of him developing something with Rae. I wanted more, and I never really felt like we got that. 

I also felt like this book needed a bit of work when it came to the writing itself. While the story was there and I liked the concept, it was the execution I found lacking. There were times that the story would switch from present to past and back again, with no explanation. While it was usually at the start of the chapter, there were no designations and the reader was left to figure it out within the first few paragraphs or pages and things would be referenced to either time (it would mention something going on in high school rather than the present) or we would see characters that weren't a part of either the past or present. It was confusing, and it would have been much easier had the reader had some type of warning of the switch. I also had some issues with how things were worded. Some sentences were just a bit odd, and there would be extra words or they would be out of order. It was distracting and I would have to read some of them several times to understand what the author had meant. There were also several times that things were a bit exaggerated, especially when it came to the constant reminding the reader that the story took place in Missouri and more specifically Kansas City, as well as how redneck the author made some of these characters sound. I actually live in the Kansas City, Missouri area (born, raised, and lived my whole life here), and the way some of these characters talked is like no one else I have ever heard from this area. Not saying we don't have our fair share of rednecks, but some of this was just over the top and slightly insulting with how some of these characters spoke and acted. I also didn't like how the author kept bringing up KCMO like the reader would have suddenly forgot where the story was taking place. It just wasn't necessary to beat the reader over the head with it like we weren't intelligent enough to remember. 

The other thing that I will say is that this story isn't exactly what I would classify as a romance. There were some romantic elements, but honestly this book was more about grief and healing that it was about love. Luke had been through a lot and was trying to move forward with his life, and that was the focus of this book. The actual love part was a bit of the past with his wife Emily and very little in the present with Rae. By the time anything really happened in the present, the book was abruptly over. I actually thought that I was missing something at the end of the book, because it just stopped. I didn't care for the way that it ended, and would have liked to have been given a bit more. We are lead to believe that things are on the right track for Luke, but this was one of the most abrupt endings for a standalone story that I have ever read. So while I think that this book had a lot of potential, it unfortunately fell flat for me. I think that Blake Austin does have promise as a writer, but I think there are some things here that could have used some work and a good set of beta readers would go a long way in helping Austin's future as an author.

**ARC Provided by TRSOR Promotions**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle |