Saturday, October 3, 2015

Weekly Winners

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

Lori H.
$5 Amazon Gift Card from Julie Particka

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: Hold Me Until Morning by Christina Phillips

Hold Me Until Morning is the second book in the Grayson Brothers series by Christina Philips. Each book can be read as a standalone story though, so don't worry if you haven't read the first one. This was my first book by Christina Phillips and there was a lot to enjoy here. It was short and sexy, and had its really sweet moments too. I liked this book and Christina Phillips is a really great writer. I would read more from her again after reading this one.

When Cooper Grayson's best friend Scott asks him to look after his little sister for a week, he just knows that it is going to be a pain. Paris O'Connell is used to only the fine things in life, after being a famous soap star for the last several years. But when Paris arrives at the remote mountain cabin, he is surprised to find that Paris isn't what he had been expecting at all. Neither of them are like the person they remember growing up around, and the attraction between them is instant. But Cooper finds himself struggling with his feelings since she is Scott's little sister. The more time they spend together though, the closer they become and soon they can't fight what is between them. But when they are forced to face the real world, will they lose everything that they are building?

I liked Cooper and Paris. I thought that they had great chemistry, and I loved that they had some history between them. They had grown up around one another, and knew each other before Paris was famous. Paris was far from the typical Hollywood starlet, and I really liked that she had a mind of her own. She had her own wants and wasn't what people thought she was. I did think that she had let her mother push her around for far too long, but I was glad that she was able to think for herself. She had issues from her past that she was able to overcome and I really admired that. Cooper was really great for her as well, and I liked that he was supportive of her. He treated her like she was normal right from the start here, and that was something that not many people did. He was able to see beneath the facade and really cared about her and what she wanted. 

I will say that I thought that while the first half was great, the second half lost me a bit. I didn't care for her mother and how much she had to do with Paris and her life. I also was really loving the tension and build-up between Cooper and Paris, and it seemed to get a bit lost in the second half as it felt like they just jumped ahead a few steps. Things were suddenly more serious and it didn't feel as natural or smooth as I would have liked. While I liked the chemistry between them, I didn't really feel as invested in their relationship as I would have liked. The first half of the book was really enjoyable, but the second half sort of fizzled out and fell flat. I will still read more from Christina Phillips in the future, this one just had a lot of promise that I felt didn't quite deliver in the end.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon. | Kindle | B&N | 

Guest Post with Author Gwyn Cready and Giveaway

Gwyn Cready is a writer of contemporary, Scottish, and time travel romance. She’s been called “the master of time travel romance” and is the winner of the RITA Award, the most prestigious award given in romance writing. She has been profiled in Real Simple and USA Today, among others. Before becoming a novelist, she spent 25 years in brand management. She has two grown children and lives with her husband on a hill overlooking the magical kingdom of Pittsburgh.

Guest Post with Author Ronnie Douglas and Giveaway

Meet Ronnie Douglas author of Undaunted.

Ronnie Douglas is the writing name for a multiple New York Times bestselling author. Drawing on a lifetime love of romance novels and a few years running a biker bar, she decided to write what she knew—dangerous men with Harleys and tattoos. Her debut “Ronnie book” was indie-published as part of a series she created and wrote with friends in 2014.

Friday, October 2, 2015

ARC Review: Paper Thin by Jennifer Snyder

Paper Thin is my first book by Jennifer Snyder. I was really intrigued by the blurb of this one, and I thought that I knew what I was in for. That wasn't the case here at all though, and this wasn't anything like what I had been expecting. Paper Thin was beautifully written, and I think that Jennifer Snyder is definitely talented. That being said though, this story was not for me. I want to warn potential readers here that this is not a traditional HEA or what I would even consider a romance. This story is fiction and deals with some difficult topics and how we handle life's curve balls. 

Charlotte Montgomery and Fate are not friends. At every turn, Fate seems to mock her. Every time that she thinks things are about to go her way, she quickly finds that she has been fooled once again. So when her sister informs her that she is engaged and asks her to finally return home, Charlotte is reluctant to go. Curious to see who her sister has found, Charlotte heads home and thinks that Fate may have finally given her something. But Charlotte soon figures out that Fate once again has different plans for her. 

I really felt for Charlotte here. She didn't always make choices that I agreed with, and she did have her moments that frustrated me. But I felt like she was always getting such a raw deal. She wasn't a bad person and yet she seemed to have such terrible karma. At the beginning of this book, I really thought that things were finally turning around for her only for her to be slapped in the face. I hated how things went, and even though the situation was very complicated, I was really hoping that things would finally go her way. This book was really about Charlotte dealing with tragedy and difficult things in life, and I really think that she grew as a person. But that wasn't the story I was expecting here, and unfortunately this entire book was a bit of a downer for me. It was tough to get through parts of this story, and I just didn't want to even finish it at times knowing that it wasn't going to end how I had hoped. 

Overall, this wasn't a bad book but I think I went into it expecting something completely different and that changed the entire experience for me. I think if I had known this was more of a journey to self discovery and growth/healing that I would have been better off. But I was expecting this to be a romance at the heart of it, and that wasn't the case at all. One thing that is for certain though is that this one was emotional and heartbreaking at times, and I would warn readers to make sure they have tissues on hand before reading this one. Jennifer Snyder is a great writer, and I am sure that I will read more from her in the future. I will prepare myself ahead of time that her stories aren't always traditional HEAs though before starting, and I think that is something that will definitely change my mindset about what I am reading.

**ARC Provided by Good Choice Reading**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

ARC Review: Desperate Chances by A. Meredith Walters

Desperate Chances is not my first book from A. Meredith Walters, but it is the first I have read from her Bad Rep Series. Each book is a standalone story about one couple, but they do have interconnected characters. I really liked this book, and after reading I cannot wait to go back and read the previous ones from this series! I loved all these characters, and I am looking forward to seeing how everything started here.

Mitch Abrams has been in love with Gracie Cook for years. He always tried to get her to see him as more than a friend, but Gracie did everything she could to keep him at arm's length until one night changed everything. After sleeping together, Gracie and Mitch quickly found out that sex changes everything. While Mitch thought it was the start of his dreams coming true, Gracie let her fears and insecurities scare her into running away destroying the friendship that they had. With no choice left, Mitch moves on and gets a girlfriend that is the opposite of Gracie, while Gracie begins to put her life back together and finally faces the issues that have been plaguing her. But with Mitch's band returning home and them sharing the same group of friends, Gracie and Mitch are once again thrown together and forced to face all that went wrong between them. Can Gracie finally let go and give Mitch a shot, or will things be over once and for all. 

My heart really went out to both Mitch and Gracie. These two had such a strong connection and they were so great as friends. There was also an attraction there that while Mitch embraced it, Gracie lied to herself about. But I felt so badly for both of them. Mitch had been hurt so many times by Gracie, and yet he also knew that he loved her and wouldn't trade that for anything. No matter how many times he tried and was rejected, he knew deep down that she was it for him. Gracie had a ton of baggage that kept her from really being able to see what it was that she wanted and needed. She had a ton of work to do on herself, and I really felt like she was growing and healing over the entire course of this book. It was terrible that it took so much to wake her up, but it was also really great to see her overcome so much. These two were meant to be together, and I really loved how deep and intense their connection was.

Overall, this was an emotional story and I could not put it down. I started with the intention of just reading a few chapters, and the next thing I knew it was a few hours past my bedtime and I had finished the entire thing! This one was angsty and heart-wrenching at times, but it was also filled with love and friendship. I couldn't get enough of Gracie and Mitch, and I just knew that they had to find a way to be together. I loved the rest of the characters here too, and I am looking forward to reading the previous books to get to know the rest of the band and their girls! I would highly recommend this book if you are a fan of friends to lovers stories and if you like sexy rockstars. Mitch and Gracie were steamy and sweet, and I know that I will be reading their story again in the future! A. Meredith Walters is a fantastic writer, and Desperate Chances is one of my favorites I have ever read from her!

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | 

Interview with Author Christina Phillips and Giveaway

Christina Phillips is an ex-pat Brit who now lives in sunny Western Australia with her high school sweetheart and their family. She enjoys writing paranormal, historical and contemporary romance where the stories sizzle and the heroine brings her hero to his knees.

She is addicted to good coffee, expensive chocolate and bad boy heroes. She's also owned by three gorgeous cats who are convinced the universe revolves around their needs. They are not wrong.

Site | Blog | Facebook | Twitter |

Feature and Giveaway: Ryker by Sawyer Bennett

The rugged men of the Carolina Cold Fury hockey team are winning hearts once again in another scorching novel from New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett.

The stakes have never been higher for Carolina Cold Fury goalie Ryker Evans. With his contract running out, he’s got a year left to prove he’s still at the top of his game. And since his wife left him, Ryker has been balancing life as a pro-hockey star and a single parent to two daughters. Management is waiting for him to screw up. The fans are ready to pounce. Everybody’s taking dirty shots—except for the fiery redhead whose faith in Ryker gives him a fresh start.

As the league’s only female general manager, Gray Brannon has learned not to mix business with pleasure. And yet even this tough, talented career woman can’t help breaking her own rules as she gives Ryker everything she’s got. She hopes their hot streak will last forever, but with Ryker’s conniving ex plotting to reclaim her man, the pressure is on Gray to step up and save a tender new love before it’s too late.

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

ARC Review: Ryker by Sawyer Bennett

Ryker is the second book I have read in the Cold Fury series and Sawyer Bennett continues to deliver. I just have to say that I know nothing about hockey. I don't watch it and I'm not a fan. For that reason, I was a little reluctant to get into these books. Let me tell you, if you're a non-hockey girl like me, don't let that stop you from reading these books. The romance is so well depicted, the hockey is just icing on the cake. Not only that, Sawyer Bennett apparently bothers to research before she writes because the information in the book about hockey and the individual characters is so well done, you know she couldn't just write this stuff off the top of her head.

Ryker is the goalie for the Carolina Fury. We first met him in the last book in the series (which I also gave a 5 star rating and you should read). When this book picks up Ryker is a goalie at the top of his game. He was apparently recruited by Gray Brannon when she was a scout. In this book, however, Gray is promoted to the GM of the Fury when her Father who owns the team steps down. The setup for this book is awesome. Gray is the first female GM of a professional hockey team and that is met with all the sexist derision you might expect, especially from some of Ryker's teammates. So when Gray finds herself attracted to Ryker and vice versa, their relationship is a powder keg waiting to explode as soon as anyone finds out about it. If Ryker's teammates know, it could put him at odds with them since they are opposed to Gray. If the world at large finds out, Gray could be discredited in her career for sleeping with one of her employees. Add to that the fact that the mother of Ryker's young daughters decides she wants Ryker back and this book is full of delicious tension. I loved every second of it.

Ryker is a refreshing alpha male character. I say refreshing because Ryker actually doesn't do flings. I've read so many books where the male character "only does one night" and it just gets old. It's nice that Ryker was a guy who wanted more from the beginning. Ryker is also progressive in his thinking about women, completely supportive, a great Dad and sexy as hell. He's the book boyfriend every girl wants. Gray is also a great character. It turns out she's a genius who plans to employ some super involved statistical analysis to build her hockey team. I love the way she talks about her methods and the fact that we as readers can actually follow along with her reasoning. Even though Gray is Ryker's boss, there is never a role reversal feel to this book. Gray supports Ryker without weakening herself and vice versa and I absolutely love that..

The relationship between Ryker and Gray develops pretty early on and most of the book is about how they deal with the secrecy and external pressures. The story of Ryker and Gray is a really great one about how love can trump just about anything. If I had one criticism of this book it would be that I was a bit disappointed in the sex scenes. They were definitely better in the last book, here they were quick and a little vague. Obviously, I didn't hold it against the book because the story was so good and the characters so well developed, I was actually ok without the sexy sex. Read this book and the rest of the series if you haven't already!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

Thursday, October 1, 2015

ARC Review: The Stolen Mackenzie Bride by Jennifer Ashley

I have always been a fan of Jennifer Ashley and her Mackenzie family, especially Ian. The Stolen Mackenzie Bride is a prequel of the series. In previous books we learn a little about the Mackenzie ancestor who made a name for himself with his whiskey and had quite the reputation. But that was only part of the story. I expected this one to be similar to her others a good read with the typical turn of events and an extremely satisfying ending; and I got that plus more. This book takes place during the period of time where there was a lot of political turmoil going on between Scotland and England. Bonnie Prince Charles was gathering his army and all about taking back the crown yadda, yadda,yadda, and well we all know how that ended. I love this book, it was engaging and entertaining and everything I look for in an excellent historical. There’s love at first sight, sexual tension, betrayal, kidnapping, sabotage, action, an intense battle sequence not to mention the unforeseen circumstances that ultimately FUBAR the whole scheme of things and complicate matters for the heroes and most importantly a love story for the ages.

From across a crowded room Malcolm Mackenzie fell in love. Lady Mary Lennox is the daughter of a stringent English loyalist who is planning on using her for political gain; she is already engaged to Lord Halsey. Mary is a dutiful daughter but one little kiss from the forthright Scotsman and her heart is lost, even if she doesn’t realize it yet. It all starts with Mary’s sister Audrey, and her forbidden love Jeremy Drake. Mary is aiding her sister send love letters to Jeremy when she first meets Mal. Mal as the youngest son of the Mackenzie family is such a caring man he takes care of everyone; even if no one else can see it. To get keep close to Mary he helps carry the love letter and after hearing Jeremy’s story they plot out a plan for the Audrey and Jeremy to runaway and get married. Mal is able to share his plan with Mary and get the details but at the same time Mal also has to keep an eye on his older brother who showed up in Edinburgh to ride with the rest of the Jacobite; to top it all off his father shows up all in an uproar because of it. It’s a downward spiral from there.

The uprising complicates everything for Mal and Mary. The Jacobite take Edinburgh and Mary barely makes it to Mal while her father and fiancĂ© are taken in as traitors. Mal is able to arrange their release under the understanding that Mary’s father is his responsibility and if Mal pays Halsey the same amount Halsey would have got for marring Mary then she is free from the engagment. With Mary’s father and another English Officer under thumb Mal and Mary travel to his home of Kilmorgan. Things get better but not by much the fighting between the English and the Jacobite is affecting everyone, if you’re not loyal you are a traitor. It gets worse when one of the brothers is killed and Mal goes to war. Eventually the whole Mackenzie clan finds themselves at Culloden.

It gets very emotional, you get very close to Mal and his brothers even his stubborn father. If you have read the rest of the series you know something bad happens to leave Mal the last one to inherit the title of Earl of Kilmorgan, but it a satisfying ending, I don’t want to say much more it’s hard to write this and not cry just thinking about it. I will say it has an HEA and boy is it a good end to the beginning.

Overall, I cannot say anything bad about this book. I love it I must own it. If you haven’t read any of the series this is a good place to start.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

ARC Review: Until Jax by Aurora Rose Reynolds

Until Jax is said to be the first book in the Until Him series from Aurora Rose Reynolds. While this one is supposed to be a standalone, I would recommend reading the first book in the Until Her series (Until July) before reading this one. I am not sure exactly what the deal is here since the characters are all interconnected and Until Jax picks up right after the end of Until July. It was a bit confusing since they are technically shown to be from a different series. Until Jax and Until July are both spin-offs of the Until series, and feature the children of those characters. These books can be read without having read the Until series, but I would still recommend reading Until July before starting Until Jax. 

Ellie Anthony wasn't looking for a relationship, but when she meets Jax Mayson everything changes. Jax knows from the moment that he meets Ellie that he will do whatever it takes to protect her and her daughter Hope. Ellie knows that the feelings she is developing for Jax are happening really fast, and she has more than just herself to think about. However Jax is determined to show her that he loves her and Hope and wants them to be his family forever. But Ellie and Jax both have things from their pasts that they will have to face in order to find a way to be together.

I really loved Jax and Ellie here. It was so clear that these two had a connection right away. But I loved that Hope was also such a huge part of that. Jax was sweet and protective, and seeing him with his girls was absolutely adorable. Hope had him wrapped around her finger, and they were so cute together. Ellie was great with him as well, and I really loved their chemistry. Ellie was so strong and the fact that she took care of Hope at such a young age was so admirable. She always put her little girl first, and I loved that they had such a great bond. Seeing that they had a similar relationship to the one that Jax had with his mom, it really made it that much sweeter. Family is what we choose to make it, and it just goes to show that love is what means family, not always blood. 

The one thing that is common with these books from Aurora Rose Reynolds is the fact that they each center around insta-love, or what she calls the BOOM. Since that is known beforehand, I never let it bother me. But if that is something that drives you crazy, just be aware of that before starting. The connections all feel so real and natural though that I don't even really notice it. The other thing I will say here though is that I would keep in mind the issue about this one being a standalone. You can read this one as a standalone if you are willing to stick with the story, as things are eventually explained. But the beginning is very confusing if you haven't read Until July, and it definitely feels like you are being thrown into the middle of a story already in progress. That is why I really recommend reading that book before this one. I had read Until July before reading Until Jax, and even I had to go back and read the last bit of Until July to refresh myself on the situation as it had been so long and I couldn't remember what had happened. I was confused and felt like I had missed a few chapters of the story here, but once I read the end of Until July it all came back to me. I think that these books are good stories and are definitely worth the read though. I will definitely read more from Aurora Rose Reynolds in the future, and I am really looking forward to getting more of the secondary characters and the stories that were set up here, especially Sage and Kim's.

**ARC Provided by TRSOR Promotions**

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

Guest Post with Author Rebecca Yarros and Giveaway

Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and lover of all things chocolate, coffee, and Paleo. In addition to being a mom, military wife, and blogger, she can never choose between Young Adult and New Adult fiction, so she writes both. She's a graduate of Troy University, where she studied European history and English, but still holds out hope for an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Her blog, The Only Girl Among Boys, has been voted the Top Military Mom Blog the last two years, and celebrates the complex issues surrounding the military life she adores.

When she's not writing, she's tying on hockey skates for her kids, or sneaking in some guitar time. She is madly in love with her army-aviator husband of eleven years, and they're currently stationed in Upstate NY with their gaggle of rambunctious kiddos and snoring English Bulldog, but she would always rather be home in Colorado.

ARC Review: Beyond What Is Given by Rebecca Yarros

Beyond What Is Given is the third standalone story in the Flight & Glory Series from Rebecca Yarros. Though the characters are interconnected, you can read these out of order with no problems though there will be some spoilers from the previous books if you choose to do that. I really love this series, and I couldn't wait to read more from Rebecca Yarros. That being said, this wasn't my favorite of the series. 

Grayson Masters is focused on graduating flight school and getting the assignment he needs. He doesn't need any distractions, and has kept himself closed off from anyone but his family for a reason. But when Samantha Fitzgerald moves in with him and his roommates, the instant connection between them threatens everything. Sam wasn't looking for anything either, having just left her own horrible situation behind. But the more they try to stay away from each other, the quicker they realize that it is impossible. Soon they are falling for one another, and neither of them knows what to do about it. 

I really liked Sam and Grayson at the beginning of this book. I loved the chemistry that was so apparent right from the start. They were attracted to one another, and though they got off on the wrong foot I really enjoyed seeing them interact with one another. As they began to feel more for one another I really thought that I was going to love their story. But then all their secrets started getting in the way of things, and unfortunately that was what really started to lose me. I understood some of where Gray was coming from and why he was so stuck on doing things according to the plan. But I also really hated how dead set he was on sticking to those, even knowing everything that he was doing to Sam because of them. He was hurting her by focusing so much on his past and a future that he was basically guilted into keeping, and I really wanted him to fight for Sam. I felt like he didn't really seem to do that until the very end, and it was frustrating. Same with Sam. She was beyond patient and accepting of the situation, but when given the chance for them to take a stand she chose to back off. I wanted her to claim Grayson and face everything together, but she seemed to just give in. It made it hard to really connect with these two, given that they seemed to just give up so easily. 

The Grace situation got old here for me, and quite frankly I lost a lot of interest because of it. It seemed to take over the story and was more about her than it was about Grayson and Sam. I absolutely hated Parker and Grayson's dad, and I hated the fact that Grayson continued to allow them to have such a strong impact on his life. He might have had words with them at times, but he never really seemed to do much about it, and I hated that he allowed them to get away with so much. While I admired Grayson's loyalty to them and Grace, I wanted to see that same loyalty to Sam. The fact that he knew what they had was everything and more than anything he had felt before yet he still didn't stop all the crap really just made me angry and caused me to lose a lot of respect for Grayson. The pacing here was also very slow and made this book feel far too long. I was getting bored and waiting for something to happen, yet we just kept going around in circles as the situation continued to go unresolved. Though I did like the epilogue and ending of this story, I really felt like there was just too much that had already happened to move past and be fully satisfied with the story. I liked Grayson and Sam together, but I hated the way things went for them and how much it took for Grayson to finally come around. I will read more from Rebecca Yarros in the future as I have really enjoyed the previous books in the series. This one was just frustrating and not what I had been expecting or hoping for.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

ARC Review: Last Hope by Jessica Claire and Jen Frederick

I love when these two authors get together for the Hitman Series but I must say this book was even more off beat than their usual writing. If you've read any of the books by these authors you know that they specialize in delivering...unexpected heroines and heroes. You don't find the typical flawless characters who are perfect even in their imperfections, nope. These authors dream up characters that can actually make you a little uncomfortable with their...quirks.

In this book we have the story of Ava and Mendoza- and here come the quirks. Ava is a model...a hand model...with two different color eyes. I'm telling you, it was really some weird ish. Throughout the book Ava is worried about moisturizing her hands because without hand modeling, she has no other income source. Ava's roommate is kidnapped and for some reason the kidnappers enlist Ava to deliver random ish to random people. I don't really know and frankly it didn't matter much. The point is that Ava finds herself in a foreign country where she meets Mendoza. Mendoza is an assassin who needs to steal the very information Ava needs to deliver in order to save one of his good friends. Now that's a conflict of interest.

In the end (or rather for a long portion of the middle of the book), Ava and Mendoza find themselves stranded on a island where their mutual attraction for one another grows. I gotta say, the development of their attraction and relationship was very WEIRD. Ok, I have to give you a very very mild spoiler next so if you haven't read the book, you might not want to read my next paragraph.

Mendoza's quirk is that he has a huge D!ck. Like, huge huge- the size of a small Louisville slugger (*Blank Stare*). Not only is his equipment unnaturally large, he has an erection for 50% of the book (I'm not kidding) because he can't control his attraction to Ava. I don't know if I should be telling you about the plot and what not but honestly, I was totally distracted between the hand model stuff and the giant peen and that's what sticks out in my a Mendoza erection. I don't want to give anymore away but the whole sexual thing between Mendoza and Ava was really WEIRD. I can't even say it was sexy, it was just...a lot for me to process. The sex scenes involved an unusual amount of bodily fluids and it was just....weird.

All in all, I was completely sidetracked from the writing, plot and characters by all of the quirkiness. I have no clue if this book is good but it was fascinating, I can tell you that. The plot moves quickly, there is action, suspense and some messy sex. These are two characters who for better or worse you won't forget but the story might take a back seat to some of the details.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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