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Thursday, April 27, 2017

My Favorite Things Event with Nina Bocci

Nina Bocci is a novelist, publicist, eternal optimist, unabashed lipgloss enthusiast, constant apologist, and a hopeless romanticist. She has too many college degrees that she’s not using and a Lego addiction that she blames on her son.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

ARC Review: The Hangman by Mary Burton

The Forgotten Files book three, Mary Burton does an excellent job making each book part of the overall series yet making it completely a standalone. The connection between all the books is the fact that cold cases are being revived. Julia Vargas is more like her father than she thinks, she knew deep down that her father couldn’t be the Hangman nor could he commit suicide before solving the case. Julia is now in a position to finish what her father started with the help of Shield Security and Garrett Andrews. It’s also the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the Hangman deaths; in 1992 three women were strung up in rope and slowly murdered but after the death of Jim Vargas the deaths stopped rumors ran rampant that Jim was the Hangman. Julia and her father’s old partner plan to prove Jim wasn’t the Hangman. Taking all the evidence to Andrews and Shield Security they both hope to find new evidence to point to a new different suspect.

Tobias Novak is a homicide detective his newest case is an old murder, twenty-five year old murder, a woman was found in the same manner the of the Hangman deaths. He brought in Julia because the victim had a picture of Julia and her father in her wallet. Novak and Julia know each other they have been sleeping with each other off and one for a short time and Novak has already started to fall for Julia. Julia after dealing with her childhood and who her father was and was accused of not to mention she use to be under cover and dealt with a really bad assault while trying to crack a case, she is unsure how to deal with being in a relationship let alone letting herself care for someone. The discovery of the old body raises all sorts of question about Julia’s father and she discovers he wasn’t quite the man she knew. Days later another body is discovered someone connected to Julia. With the advancement in technology Andrews, Novak and Julia are all able to put the pieces together as past and present merge and more bodies show up in the same manner as the Hangman. Novak and Julia must find out if it’s a copycat or if the Hangman has come back after all these years. 

Overall, it’s a satisfying story, exciting, with a nice twist at the end. The romance takes a second seat to the suspense and works at a slow pace but has a very gratifying ending.    

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |

My Favorite Things Event with Sylvain Reynard

I'm interested in the way literature can help us explore aspects of the human condition - particularly suffering, sex, love, faith, and redemption. My favourite stories are those in which a character takes a journey, either a physical journey to a new and exciting place, or a personal journey in which he or she learns something about himself/herself. 

I'm also interested in how aesthetic elements such as art, architecture, and music can be used to tell a story or to illuminate the traits of a particular character. In my writing, I combine all of these elements with the themes of redemption, forgiveness, and the transformative power of goodness. 

I try to use my platform as an author to raise awareness about the following charities: Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation, WorldVision, Alex's Lemonade Stand, and Covenant House.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Review: Pierced by Nicole Goodin

Pierced is the first book that I have read from Nicole Goodin. I got the opportunity to read this book as a blind date, knowing nothing going in. I love the fact that I can experience books and authors that I might not have otherwise, and this is just one of the books that I have been lucky enough to have had the chance to read. Pierced is actually the second book in the Love Like Yours series, a fact that I had no clue about until after I had already started this book. While I liked this story, it felt a bit like I had been dropped into the middle of a story already in progress. While this can be read as a standalone, as I read it, I would really recommend starting at the beginning of this series if possible. 

Lawson and Ellerslie are happy together and planning their future. But when life suddenly throws them a curve ball, they are forced to reevaluate everything that they thought they were working towards and they find themselves unprepared for what they must do. They always figured that they would get married and then have children, so what are they going to do now that they have a baby to care for that isn't theirs? 

I liked these characters a lot, though I will admit that I struggled with the name Ellerslie. I know it seems like a small thing, but I was really glad that she went by El for the most part because I just couldn't get behind her full name. These two were really sweet though and you could tell that their feelings were genuine and deep. They were easy to like and relate to, and I really believed in the love between them. 

Overall, this one was really sweet and enjoyable, though I do wish that I had started at the beginning of the series. Besides the fact that I felt like I had started in the middle of a story at first and was playing catch up on characters and relationships, I thought that this was a really good story. I definitely would recommend checking this series and author out, especially if you are like me and Nicole Goodin is a new author to you.

**Review Copy Provided by Quirky Blind Date with a Book**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | 

ARC Review: Groupie by Susan Daugherty

This is part 1 of a two part series. The book is a solid ok but I can't say that I'm dying to go grab part 2. In fact, I can't really see myself reading part 2 based on some of the things you will find in this review.

The first thing that jumps out at me about this book is that the name is completely misleading. I from time to time enjoy "bad girl" books. I like to read the stories of the slutty girl who pulled herself together and became a one man woman. I thought that this book was going to be one of those because hell-oh, the title. But no. This book was the opposite of that. Not only is Lexi not a groupie but she is...disgusted, mocking and self superior to anything even resembling a groupie.

Ok, rewind. Lexi is a doctor who finds herself at a country music concert. During the concert, country music superstar Jack is injured. As it turns out, Jack winds up being Lexi's patient and she is charged with his rehab. When Jack goes on the road, Lexi goes with him. From like the very first page of this book Lexi comes across as self important and pretty judgmental. In some of her early interactions with Jack, Lexi is kind enough to tell him that his music sucks (mostly). Nevermind that Jack is wildly successful with lots of fans and Lexi is supposed to be healing his body, she just tramples right over his ego. It was not a good way for me to start off with Lexi. I just didn't like her and that feeling did not go away during the book. In fact, Lexi gets way worse. She starts off just sneering and mocking Jack about his music but keep reading. She'll eventually criticize Jack's clothes, his relationships, his ENTIRE LIFE and it's really ridiculous. Lexi wound up being one of the most undesirable female characters I've ever read about.

So you might be asking 'well, what about Jack?' Jack is a nice guy and an ok character. He wasn't exactly my type of bossy alpha male but he was generally ok with me. The thing that made it hard for me to like Jack more than Lexi was that he didn't bother to stand up and tell Lexi that she was being a judgmental witch who needed to see one of her colleagues about having the stick surgically removed from her...well, you know. I just couldn't respect Jack when he let Lexi run everything about him in the ground without so much as even a hint of disagreement. I kind of felt like neither Jack nor Lexi liked Jack and that was unfortunate.

I felt like this could have been a good book but I needed Jack and Lexi to be much different. I don't know if that makes sense but that's how I felt when this book was over. Like, ok, that wasn't awful but man those characters sucked.

**ARC provided by InkSlinger PR**

Purchase: | Amazon |

My Favorite Things Event with Melanie Harlow

Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. Her stories are inspired by a sense of place, an appreciation for the past, and unexpected pleasures in life—especially the romantic kind. She lifts her glass to readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

Monday, April 24, 2017

ARC Review: Too Hard to Forget by Tessa Bailey

This is the third book in the Clarkston siblings series about a wild road trip filled with pit stops, self discovery, romance and hot sex. I've been on this journey since book 1 and I really love this entire series. Even though the last installment was previously my favorite, this book eclipses it. I just really loved the story of Elliot and Peggy (even though, ugh, I hate both of those names). This story was really unexpected in the level of emotional depth, angst and self revelation that occurred. The connection between Peggy and Elliot and the suffering that each put themselves and the other through was compelling from beginning to the end.

Peggy met Elliot when she was a 21 year old college senior. Elliot was the head coach of the football team and Peggy is a cheerleader when the two meet. Elliot has recently lost his wife and has a 9 year old daughter. Elliot is also a man of strong faith and a more than healthy dose of Catholic guilt. Elliot is covinced that he didn't love his deceased wife as much as he should of. He views the evidence of his failure to love as the fact that he fell madly in love with Peggy (which he doesn't admit until the bitter end) right after his wife passes away. Elliot doesn't think he deserves to be happy with Peggy. She's a student and he is punishing himself for his failures in his relationship with his deceased wife.

As for Peggy, she is strong and optimistic. Peggy comes along and really loves Elliot, flaws and all. Peggy realizes and appreciates Elliot's struggle with himself and she doesn't try to push for more but she truly loves Elliot and wants more in the future. Unfortunately, Elliot can't move past his guilt and he lets it drive him away from Peggy. More accurately, he pushes Peggy away. Three years later, Peggy has been engaged 4 times and has broken all of them off. Peggy feels like if she can return to her alma mater and be the one to walk away from Elliot first, she can erase the hurt of the past. What both Peggy and Elliot discover is that both of them made mistakes in the past but there might actually be a future for them.

What I love about this book is how both Elliot and Peggy come to realize that it was wrong for Elliot to project his issues on to Peggy. Peggy figures out that she deserves better right around the same time that Elliot does. And I really love how Elliot's daughter, Alice, plays a role in that discovery. Alice was a great supporting character. She did things you would expect a 12 year old with grief and a mostly absentee Father to do but in the end Alice may have had more insight than the adults in the book (which was a low bar to clear). I really liked that once Elliot pulled his head out of his nether regions, he realized the first thing he needed to do was make sure Alice was on board with his new relationship. I also loved how Peggy woke Elliot up, not just to what was going on between them but to everything. I was inspired by the whole healing power of love message in this book. And ohhhh, did I mention the sex is just, OMG, smoking hot. If you read this author, you know she loves men with dirty mouths and Elliot fit the mold. Oh it was nasty and it was gooood.

All in all I have nothing but good things to say about this book. This is another notch on my 'I love Tessa Bailey' belt.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

ARC Review: The One That Got Away by Magan Vernon

The One That Got Away is the fourth book in the Friendship, Texas series by Magan Vernon. Each book is a standalone story and you don't need to worry about reading them in order to understand anything. This was a sweet second chance romance and there was a lot to enjoy here. 

Jordan and Abbey were high school sweethearts until he left her behind to got to New York to follow his dreams. Left with a broken heart, Abbey struggled to find her way and move forward with her life. But now four years later they run into each other at an estate sale, and Jordan is determined to get Abbey back. But can they possibly have a second chance after everything that has happened? 

I liked Abbey and Jordan. I thought that they had a lot of chemistry and a great connection. Abbey was really sweet, and was the kind of girl who saw the best in others. She was caring and kind, trusting others to a fault at times. Jordan was sexy and once we got to know him a bit better I understood him and what he did even if I didn't always like it. I thought that they were really great together and it was clear that there were other things going on that kept them from being together, rather than the fact that they no longer cared for one another. It was good to see that their connection was still there after everything.

I will say that at times I struggled with some of the secondary characters though, and there were some I really disliked. This was especially true when it came to Abbey's friends, and a lot of the time I hated how things went down with them. I still liked the story though, and I think that this is one that readers will enjoy. If you are a fan of this series, you will want to check this one out. If you are new to the series or Magan Vernon though, this is one worth taking a chance on.

**ARC Provided by Give Me Books**

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

My Favorite Things Event with Barbie Bohrman

Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Barbie Bohrman dreamed of becoming an author. Long after she had given up, a book club’s prologue contest enticed her to give it one more go. What emerged were the beginnings of her debut novel, Promise Me. Now she’s living her dream and writing stories that entice readers to escape and break away from reality. When she’s not writing, you can find her trying to get through the books on her Kindle (more than a thousand at last count) or watching Sherlock or Seinfeld. She currently resides in New Jersey with her husband, two children, and two dogs.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

ARC Review: His Alone by Alexa Riley

I don't know what happened here but I was really really bored with this book and somewhat confused by it. This is part 2 in a series and it's supposed to be a standalone but maybe it's not because I just could not pick up the thread on the plot. I felt like maybe if I had read part 1 I would have been able to get into this one but after reading this there is zero chance I would go back and read part 1.

Paige is on some mission to get back at her Father for killing her Mother at some point in the past. She's been plotting this grand revenge for years only she has no actual plan. When she's confronted with her Father, the whole thing turns into a big nothing burger. Paige is upset at herself but she doesn't do anything about it but keep her "plotting." As for Ryan, he comes into Paige's life as a result of being hired to befriend her brother. It's not entirely clear, in the beginning, what Ryan is hiding but he constantly refers to some dark secret that keeps him from acting on his attraction to Paige.

Paige knows Ryan wants her and she wants him too. Paige also knows that Ryan won't act on his feelings but she thinks its because he is her boss. And I don't know blah blah blah. Honestly, the book wasn't that long and it took me forever to finish it because I just kept losing focus. The drama in this book felt completely ridiculous and manufactured. I resented being made to wait forever for my freaky fill up and then when it got there I was deflated because I just didn't care anymore. I thought Ryan's reasons for staying away from Paige were way over hyped as was Paige's "darkness." Alexa Riley is usually good for some quick fun dirty but this time around it just didn't work.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

ARC Review: Chasing Wicked by Kathryn James

Chasing Wicked is the first book that I have read from Kathryn James, so I really had no idea what to expect. This book was different though, and definitely was a great start to her Wicked series. I am looking forward to reading more from her in the future as this one kept me guessing the entire way through. 

Avery and Stone had a past together until they were torn apart from one another. Now years later they find themselves riding out a dangerous storm together. Each of them have secrets, and as the truth starts to come out they find everything that was between them before is still there. But are some secrets impossible to come back from, or will they be able to find a second chance for a future together?

I liked Avery a lot, she was one of those characters that I felt like I could relate to in some ways and couldn't in others. But she was honest about things, and that goes a long way with me. While I didn't agree with everything she had done, I really admired how she handled it all. Stone on the other hand was a bit harder for me to like. He was a lot like his name, and that made it hard to warm up to. He had a lot that he had gone through though, and some of that was understandable I just wish that we had got a bit more to warm up to earlier in this story. It was a bit too little too late to fully get behind his character. This book definitely had heat though, and there was no denying the chemistry between Avery and Stone.

While I did enjoy the secrets and twists here, I will admit that there were a few times that I was a bit confused about what was happening. There was a lot going on and at times that became a bit difficult to follow. I did enjoy the story though, and I will definitely read more from Kathryn James in the future. This is a new to me author that I would recommend taking the chance on if you haven't read anything by before.

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N

My Favorite Things Event with Monica Murphy

New York Times, USA Today and number one international bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite with her husband and three children. A workaholic who loves her job, when she’s not busy writing, she also loves to read and travel with her family. She writes new adult and contemporary romance and is both self published and traditionally published. She also writes romance as USA Today bestselling author Karen Erickson.

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