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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Weekly Winners


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

Jodi
First Step Forward by Liora Blake

Kate S.
Always My Girl by Samantha Chase

Latifa
Picture Perfect Wedding by Lynnette Austin


**Monthly Newsletter Giveaway Winners**

Carol L.
Book from RFTC Stash

Yvonne
Book from RFTC Stash

Rosemary R.
Shameless Con Tote Bag & Swag


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. =)

Audiobook Review: Stepbrother Dearest by Penelope Ward, Narrated by Simone Lewis


I'd forgotten how much I loved Elec and Greta's story until I listened to the audiobook. I had been itching for a reread and this was the perfect way for me to fit it into my schedule. Not only did I get to enjoy Penelope Ward's amazing story, but I also got to hear narration by Simone Lewis for the first time. She was a great choice for this story and I look forward to more from her in the future. 

Being forced to stay with his father, Elec is not looking forward to being around his new stepmother and stepsister. He sets out to punish all of them and does what he can to irritate Greta, his stepsister. But Greta and Elec find themselves drawn to one another despite their circumstances. They spend one forbidden night together before Elec heads back home to California. Years go by without contact, but when tragedy strikes they are reunited and soon realize that things between them are far from over. 

Elec and Greta are characters that have so much chemistry and connection between them, that nothing else matters. They shouldn't work, and yet not only do the, but they are so undeniable that you can't help but fall right along with them. I love that time and distance couldn't touch their feelings and that Greta wouldn't let Elec push her away though he did try at times. I thought that Simone Lewis did a great job of bringing these characters to life in a way that wasn't possible simply by reading their story.

I still have a few issues with the story itself that keep this one from being a perfect book for me. But I do love this story and the characters despite the few criticisms I had. I really enjoyed experiencing this story in a whole new way and I definitely recommend this book in any form. Penelope Ward is a great writer and I think that Simone Lewis was a great choice to give these characters and story life. I look forward to more from both Penelope Ward and Simone Lewis in the future.

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





A Historical Christmas Event with Susanna Ives


Susanna Ives started writing when she left her job as a multimedia training developer to stay home with her family. Now she keeps busy driving her children to various classes, writing books, and maintaining websites. She often follows her husband on business trips around Europe and blogs about the misadventures of touring with children. She lives in Atlanta. 

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Friday, December 9, 2016

ARC Review: The Only One by Lauren Blakely


The Only One is a One Love Series novella from Lauren Blakely. Fans of her books might recognize these characters from Well Hung and The Sexy One, but don't worry if you haven't read those as this story is a complete standalone. I have really loved books by Lauren Blakely, but lately I have been struggling with her newer releases. While I liked this one, again I found myself not fully loving it. I did enjoy it though, even with the criticisms I had. 

Penny and Gabriel once shared a brief fling before promising to meet back up. But when Gabriel never showed, Penny was heartbroken and forced to try and move on with her life. Now ten years later Penny is desperate for a restaurant to cater an event for her work, and she comes face to face with Gabriel as he is the only option she has left. But while the attraction and chemistry have never faded, Penny is upset to learn that Gabriel doesn't recognize her. 

I liked both Penny and Gabriel, but I felt like these two really didn't have much substance to them. Unfortunately I think a lot of that was because this was a novella, and there just weren't enough pages to really do them justice. Things felt instant with them, and despite their past, they really didn't know each other well. We never really got to see them truly get to know one another and fall as it just didn't seem like enough time. While the attraction and chemistry were clear, I just wasn't really seeing that connection form between them despite what they said or the author tried to convince us of. They were sexy together though, and that is one thing that Lauren Blakely really excels at. The steam between them kept me flipping pages to see what would happen next.

The other thing that I struggled with her was that this book was just so sweet and cutesy, bordering on cheesy and cliche at times. Things were just too easily forgiven or explained and it just felt forced to me. There wasn't really anything new or different here, and while it was enjoyable it was just okay. It felt like any other sweet romance and it just didn't do it for me. So while I liked this one at times, this is one that I doubt I would go back and reread or really remember. I think that fans of the series will enjoy seeing familiar faces and if it sounds like a story you might like I encourage you to give it a shot. It wasn't bad by any means, it just wasn't great for me either.

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | 





A Historical Christmas Event with Anna Bradley


Anna Bradley is an award-winning author with a weakness for alpha heroes and happily-ever-afters. Anna’s debut novel, “A Wicked Way to Win an Earl” was named RT’s 2015 “Best First Historical,” and one of Booklist’s Top 10 Romance Debuts for that year. Anna’s current series, the sassy, steamy Sutherland Scandals features not-so-gentlemanly heroes, and heroines who know how to tame them. History is sexier than you think, Gentle Reader!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

ARC Review: Nico by Sarah Castille


I don't know what happened here. I should have loved this book. I love this author, I love the other books by her that I've read, I loved the blurb for this book....I JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED HERE. To make matters even more confusing, when I started this book, I was like yes yes yes. Mia was smart and snappy and I loved her boldness. Then we meet Nico and I was like hot damn, I'll take one of those. Castille is great at descriptive writing and she conveys Nico loud and clear. Nico is enigmatic and magnetic at the same time. He is not "the boss" but he is still "a boss" and boy can you tell. From the first moment that Nico and Mia meet, there attraction is explosive and jumps off the pages at you. I really thought we were headed to the happy place.

Mia finds herself in a precarious situation. Her father is a mob boss who decides to marry her off to the son of another mob boss to solidify the family's ties. Of course Mia knew nothing about the planned union and has no intention of marrying a total stranger. The problem is if Mia doesn't marry strange mob boss son, her Father will force her little sister to do it. By a strange twist of fate, Nico winds up sort of rescuing Mia from the marriage and perhaps death. And it is is right around this point in the book that things went left for me.'

Like right around the 30% mark in this book, I just got...bored. I felt like Nico and Mia were spending too much time apart. I didn't understand how the whole kidnapping thing went so left. Mia's life didn't really make sense to me. I didn't understand how she went on running her company and teaching classes while all hell broke loose. There was a lot of action surrounding the story of Mia and Nico but I just wasn't all that into it. Nico is a really compelling character to me but as the book went on, I didn't love Mia as much. I honestly don't know how this happened. I sometimes read other reviews when I read a book by an author that I really like that doesn't move me. So I read some other reviews of this book and people loved it. And now I feel even more like I'm on asshole island all by myself. So this is what I will say, give the book a try. If you get to the 40% mark and it's rocking your world, you can assume LJ was just having an off day. But if you find that something goes missing in the plot around the 30% mark, you can't say I didn't try to warn you.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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


ARC Review: Womanizer by Katy Evans


I am a big fan of Katy Evans, and I have enjoyed the Manwhore series since the very start. If you haven't read the previous books in the series, don't worry about starting with Womanizer. This book is a standalone story though it is the fourth novel (5th book) in the series. Womanizer features Callan and Tahoe's sister Livvy.

Olivia was determined to have the career she dreamed of, and while having her brother help land her the internship she needed wasn't ideal she figured that once she was in she would make it on her own. But neither Olivia, nor Callan expected to feel the connection and attraction they felt to one another. Callan was the last person Livvy should be involved with, a womanizer who didn't settle down. Soon they realize that what they are feeling though is beyond what they ever imagined and both are left to figure out if there is a chance at something together. 

I will admit that I struggled a bit with Livvy at first, but I ended up really loving these two together. I am a huge fan of brother's best friend stories, so this one was right up my alley. But it ended up being a really great story, and a lot of that was because of Callan. He was sexy and I had been hoping for his story after seeing him in the previous books, so it was really great to get to know him better. Callan and Livvy were perfect for one another and I loved their chemistry! Livvy might have taken a bit for me to warm up to, but she was determined and I ended up really liking her. 

Overall, this was a great addition to the series and a really great standalone as well. While I do recommend reading this series in order if possible, Womanizer is definitely worth the read even if you haven't read any of this series before. Katy Evans is one of those authors that draws you in right away with her stories, and I didn't want to put Womanizer down! This book was everything that I have come to enjoy when reading something from Katy Evans, and I really hope that she continues to tell stories in this world. There were a few characters here that I would love to get to know even better! I recommend Womanizer, especially for fans of the Manwhore series, but this was just a really great story that I think romance readers will enjoy.

**ARC Provided by Social Butterfly PR**

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





A Historical Christmas Event with Christy Carlyle


Fueled by Pacific Northwest coffee and inspired by multiple viewings of every British costume drama she can get her hands on, Christy Carlyle writes sensual historical romance set in the Victorian era. She loves heroes who struggle against all odds and heroines who are ahead of their time. A former teacher with a degree in history, she finds there's nothing better than being able to combine her love of the past with a die-hard belief in happy endings.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

ARC Review: Make It Hurt by Jackie Ashenden


Everyone who reads my reviews knows I'm a sucker for MC romance. If there is a book with a Motorcycle Club, I'm pretty much in. So of course when I saw the description of this book, I was like hells yes.  But then Nora happened and things went left quick.

So Nora is a bounty hunter. But before Nora was a bounty hunter, she was a southern debutante who was firmly under her Daddy's control and did everything he told her.  But Nora was not immune to lust. So when she was a teenager and met the super sexy Smith, it was only a matter of time before she gave herself to him. And I do mean gave herself to him. Nora was the one who led when it came to Smith. She was younger and he was reluctant but Nora pressed the issue until they were doing the vertical hokey pokey. Nora fell in love with Smith and vice versa but when her Dad found out she was into some lowly contractor, things went left. I didn't mean to tell you this much but the background is significant to understanding why the rest of the book annoyed the hell out of me. The thing that you most need to understand is that Nora convinced Smith to get into a relationship with her, they both fell in love with each other and NORA sold Smith out, not the other way around.

So fast forward several years.  Nora comes to Smith's MC bar hangout to claim a bounty on Smith's VP. Let's just pause right here for a minute. Nora goes crashing into a MC bar by herself to arrest one of the club regulars. IN WHAT WORLD? This does not happen. Nora would've gotten her ass killed in anything near a real MC bar. Instead, she sashays in, talks crazy to the MC PRESIDENT and lives to tell the story. The MC Pres happens to be....you guessed it, Smith. In addition to the fact that I could not get over Nora talking crazy, the book totally lost me at this point.

Nora treated Smith like Smith was the one who did her wrong. I kept going backwards in the book trying to figure out if I had gotten the details of their early relationship wrong but I didn't. There is simply no explanation for Nora's treatment of Smith. Oh wait, Nora was a witch. That might explain it. And that explains why despite all the things about this book that should have made it a great read for me, I didn't love it. Smith is great. He's a strong bossy man who seems to really love Nora. I liked that he was not at all put off by Nora's tough facade and that he pressed her to get what he wanted. And of course he is the president of a MC so he has that going for him!! I think if Nora had been less ridiculous about her history with Smith, I would have really liked this book. By the time Nora sorts herself out, I just really didn't like her.

I know this is going to sound crazy but beyond my issue with Nora, this is quite a good book. Lots of action, twists and turns. The story was entertaining, the sex was sexy and eventually I even kind of liked Nora and Smith together. You just have to be able to overcome Nora's shenanigans to enjoy this one.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

ARC Review: On Thin Ice by Carrie Aarons


I am pretty new to Carrie Aarons, but the two books I have read from her I really enjoyed! So when I saw that she had a new standalone story coming out, I was really excited to read something different from her. On Thin Ice was such a good story, and I didn't want to put it down. This one sucked me right in and I was invested from start to finish. 

After losing her parents to a mysterious death, Camille decides to hide away at her family's home in New York. There she meets Nathan, the groundskeeper of the estate. Though Camille and Nathan live completely different lives, they find themselves drawn to one another. But with a threat growing closer, can Nathan keep Camille safe long enough to see if they could have a future together? 

I really liked these two together. I thought that Nathan was so perfect for Camille. He was super sexy and such a great guy. Kind and caring, he was exactly what Camille needed, and I loved the support he gave her especially with all that was going on. He was impossible not to fall for! Camille on the other hand took a bit of time for me to warm up to. Though she was going through a lot, her attitude was extremely off-putting at the beginning of this story and I really worried that she was going to ruin things for me. But she changed as the story progressed and I think so much of that was because of Nathan. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I thought that the story was interesting. This one was different and refreshing from what I have read recently. There was plenty of romance and steam, and just enough suspense to keep me flipping the pages. This was different than the previous books I have read from Carrie Aarons, but just as well written as what I have come to expect from her. I definitely recommend this one if you are looking for something with a bit of suspense, and I will absolutely read more from Carrie in the future!

**ARC Provided by Author**

Purchase: | Amazon





A Historical Christmas Event with Sherry Thomas


USA Today-bestselling author Sherry Thomas decided years ago that her goal in life is to write every kind of book she enjoys reading. Thus far she has published romance, fantasy, mystery, and a wuxia-inspired duology. Her books regularly receive starred reviews and best-of-the-year honors from trade publications, including such outlets as the New York Times and National Public Radio. She is also a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® Award.

And by the way, English is her second language.

You can find out more about Sherry’s books at SherryThomas.com

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

ARC Review: Intended for Bristol by L.P. Dover


Intended for Bristol is the 9th standalone story in the Second Chances series from L.P. Dover. Though I am a huge fan of hers, I have never read any of the previous books in this series. While I have loved everything I have read from Dover previously, if I am honest this book just didn't fully work for me. While there were things I liked here, overall I had mixed feelings and this was my least favorite of Dover's books that I have read to date. 

Jaxon Reed is infamous for being a player both on and off the field. While he knows he has earned his reputation, that doesn't stop him from wanting to get back at his fellow teammates by going after the quarterback's sister. Bristol Thomas usually avoids guys like Jaxon, yet she finds herself unable to deny the attraction she feels to him. Soon Jaxon's revenge fling with Bristol turns into more than either of them expected, but can it possibly be something that lasts forever?

I will admit that a huge part of my issues here were with the characters. I found it hard to ever really warm up to either of them, and that had me struggling the whole way through this story. Jaxon was a total player that was also a jerk at times. While he did change his ways, it didn't ever feel as though we ever really saw the evolution of his character. It all felt surface deep and as though things just happened with the flip of a switch. I think part of that was because this was a huge case of insta-love and it was hard to really see them as having truly fallen for one another. I also didn't understand either of these two and their decisions/motivation. While I thought that they had chemistry, I just wasn't ever able to connect with them and that had a huge effect on how much I enjoyed the story.

Overall, this one wasn't my favorite from L.P. Dover. I normally love her books, and this one just didn't feel like her. I felt as though a lot of this story was spent with too many details being told to the reader about previous characters in the series, and I would have liked the focus to have been more on Jaxon and Bristol. I think I might have been able to like them more had things been different in that regard. Unfortunately this book was just okay, and I am used to Dover's books being great. I probably had too high of expectations when reading this book, but I have always loved everything that I have read from Dover and this one just didn't feel up to what I have come to know from her. If this one sounds like something you would like, I recommend giving it a shot. This one could simply be a case of it being me and not the story itself, and I really do believe that L.P. Dover is a fantastic writer. This won't be the last I read from her.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes





A Historical Christmas Event with Anna Campbell


Australian Anna Campbell has written ten multi award-winning historical romances for Grand Central Publishing and Avon HarperCollins and her work is published in 18 languages. This Christmas, Anna has written two seasonal novellas, “Mistletoe and the Major” from the multi-author anthology Under the Kissing Bough, and the stand-alone, A Match Made in Mistletoe, out 30th November. Her website is www.annacampbell.com

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