Saturday, November 7, 2015

A Blissfully Spooky Event Winners

There are many winners to announce but before we do so, we wanted to take the time and say a SUPER BIG THANK YOU to each and every author that participated in the Blissfully Spooky event and donated items for giveaway. And a MASSIVE SHOUT OUT of THANKS to the Entangled Publishing and the Bliss Books line. You all rock our socks!

Now, on to the winners!

ARC Review: Paint My Body Red by Heidi R. Kling

Heidi R. Kling is a new to me author, but after I read this blurb I was so intrigued. Paint My Body Red was unlike anything I have read before, and it was a really good story. Kling captured my attention right away, and I couldn't stop reading as I had to know what was going on. This book deals with a lot of touchy subjects, and yet I thought that Kling handled them masterfully. Before starting this story I would make sure that you take the time to read the blurb as some of the issues dealt with here could be possible triggers for some readers.

After a rash of suicides at her school, Paige's mom sends her to live with her sick father fearing that Paige will be the next. Those around her believe that she will be the seventh teenager to throw themselves in front of a train. So when Paige arrives at her father's ranch, she finds out that nothing is as she remembered it. Not only is her father sick, but he is actually dying. The ranch that had been passed down for generations is falling to pieces and is in danger of being sold and the boy she once knew is now a full grown sexy cowboy. Paige finds herself tired of running and is ready to face her secrets. But can she deal with her secrets and move forward, or will they be too much for her no matter where she is? 

I was really interested in the characters of this story, and I thought that Kling did a great job of showing such depth for each of them. Paige was dealing with a lot, and it was clear that there was so much going on beneath the surface that no one knew about. Between her thoughts and her writing in her journal, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out everything that had happened both in the past and was happening in the present. Then you had Ty, her stepbrother. There was a lot to him as well, and I didn't always understand him or his choices. At times I really liked him and felt for him, and then at other times I was convinced he was a bad guy. He was definitely dealing with his own set of issues though, and I think that had everything to do with his actions. Then you have Jake, the sexy cowboy that Paige had known as a child. I liked him instantly, and I really thought that he was a great guy. There was such a huge gap in time from when Paige had known him before and the present, and I was just as curious as Paige was to find out all that had gone in in the years that she had missed. Jake had his own set of issues he was dealing with, but the more I got to know him the more I loved him. 

Overall, this was a really interesting book. I know at this point I haven't said much about the actual story and have been pretty vague, that is on purpose though as I really think that this book needs to be read blind. There are so many things that could spoil everything if said that I am just going to say that this book was different and was unlike anything I have read. Not only does it deal with teen suicide but it also deals with so many more issues including illness and loss. I found the characters deep and interesting and their story is one worth reading. I think that a lot of people will really relate to this story and it is definitely one worth taking a chance on. I will definitely be looking for more from Heidi R. Kling in the future after reading Paint My Body Red, and I think that this is one of those books that will stick with me and having me thinking about it for quite awhile.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes

Guest Post with Author Christine Warner and Giveaway

Christine Warner is living her dream in Michigan along with her husband, three children, one laptop and a much loved assortment of furry friends.

Besides laughing and a good round of humor, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, writing but no arithmitic. A confessed people watcher, she finds inspiration for her stories in everyday activities. She loves to read and write about strong heroes and determined, sometimes sassy, heroines.

A girl gone wild, at least where social media is concerned, she enjoys meeting other avid readers and writers on facebook, twitter and her website.

Guest Post with Author Grace Burrowes and Giveaway

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes' bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish and Lady Eve's Indiscretion. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.

Friday, November 6, 2015

ARC Review: Playing with Fire by Kate Meader

“Playing with Fire (Hot in Chicago) is what great romance novels are made out of. Needless to say I have been waiting for this story since I read “Flirting With Fire.” I could not wait to see what Kate Meader would do to Alexandra Dempsey and the ever cocky-self-assured- Eli Cooper. I’m happy to say that she does not disappoint.

First, I could not wait for this book, which is sometimes a downfall because I build up so many expectations. Eli and Alexandra had my interest in the first book in the series. Eli is the mayor of Chicago. He is gorgeous and ruthless. He will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Alexandra Dempsey is the only female firefighter at Engine Co 6. She is often fighting to be taken seriously and is at the receiving end of people not believing in her. Eli Cooper is one of these people. He thinks that women are not as effective as men when it comes to the profession of firefighters. Alexandra breaks through all of Eli’s barriers. She is determined to prove herself and show the city, and Eli, that she is a great firewomen.

When Eli and Alexandra met in the previous book their chemistry was intense. They were so perfectly matched. They are both very strong and stubborn people. Eli, although the handsome untouchable mayor, had a rough childhood. He was orphaned when his parents were murdered in their home. Eli’s father had the reputation for being tough on crime and for taking down criminals. Alexandra also had a very different upbringing, she was the only girl in her family. Alexandra’s family consist of different foster brothers and she is the only one the Dempsey’s legally adopted. This has placed a huge responsibility on her shoulders. Following in the footsteps of her adopted father and her foster brothers has not been easy.

Although Eli would never have guessed it Alexandra is just what he needs to turn his reelection around. He wants to be mayor of Chicago for a second term but his poll numbers are very low. The public however loves Alexandra for heroic acts and her deviance. She is tough and ready to stand up for what she believes in. When there is a fire at a restaurant where Eli is, she invariably ends up saving him and he saves her. I thought this was so metaphorical for the rest of the book. As the public starts to express an interest in them Eli “convinces” Alexandra that it is in their mutual interest to give the public what they want- a romance between them.

I cannot fully express how much I LOVED this book. Meader did an extraordinary job. She left no stone unturned. We learned about Eli and his past. There were some skeletons in his closet. She also covered all aspects of the characters evolutions. Alexandra is so determined to be seen as “one of the guys” that she thinks her femininity as liability. For her part Alexandra is like no women Eli has ever met. Her bravery helps him come to terms with his past and make a new start. This book was so funny, so endearing, so sweet, so tender, so romantic, so sexy. I can go on and on. There was one part (not quoting because it’s an advanced copy) but she is all dressed up and ready to go out with him. He takes down her hair because he doesn’t want her to change for anyone… especially not him. I mean there were moments when I wanted to strangle Eli, but other moments I just could not love him more! The secondary characters consist of Alexandra’s family. Their bond is so beautiful that their interactions added to the beauty of this book. Needless to say, I’m already counting down the day until the next book in the series about Wyatt Fox and his movie star love interest- Molly Cade.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

ARC Review: Shattered by Cynthia Eden

Oh Man, I love Cynthia Eden. Shattered is book three in the LOST series it picks up right after the events of Twisted. Like the previous two books this is a dark romantic suspense, and much like Beware of Me (from the Dark Obsessions series) it centers on a criminal anti-hero and heroine with a tortured past. Like with most of Cynthia Eden’s recent books it is not for the squeamish; bad things happen, things that can make us uncomfortable but the book has more than that in it and it balances out so it’s not so angst and depressing. Hell the book is about serial killers it’s not suppose to make us feel comfortable. I love it when characters survive through the worst of the worst and come back kicking. Both Jax and Sarah have not lived easy lives they are who they are because of it but they haven’t let it stand in their way. I love Cynthia Eden’s writing style, it’s very fluid and it teases you makes you second guess your own suspicions. This one was a surprise and I was so wrapped up in the characters and what they were doing the twist at the end took me by surprise. I love the opening line of both the Prologue and Chapter One, so completely creepy it sets the mood for the rest of the book.

Sarah Jacobs is the Criminal Psychologist and profiler for the LOST team; she is also the daughter of a notorious serial killer. Just having wrapped up the last case in New Orleans she is ready to return home to Atlanta. Jax Fontaine exudes danger and it’s not just all the tattoos and the fact that he as the face of a fallen angel but his whole attitude screams trouble. Jax and Sarah meet in the last book; Jax used to date Emma and helped search for her when she went missing. Jax as soon as he saw Sarah was fascinated. Sarah had convinced herself she needed someone safe and wasn’t willing to get involved with a man like Jax, but fate intervenes. Upon Sarah’s return to the hotel and after her sexual tension filled conversation with Jax, Sarah is attacked in her hotel room if it had not been for Jax she would have died. Her attacker is the son of a woman that her father murdered.

Sarah in need of some form of escape, a release, and comfort she knows she can find it with Jax; knowing he doesn’t feel the same other do about her when they find out who her father is. Jax views her without disgust or anger. She reaches out to Jax because she knows he will give her the sensual oblivion she needs to forget the past few hours. Jax is more than willing to give her anything she wants, he knows what Sarah hides from everyone else he can see it in her because he too has it as well. After a night of unbridled passion Sarah sneaks out hoping to put Jax and New Orleans behind her, but when work calls her in for their next case she sees Jax Fontaine looking to find out who he really is.

Sarah’s attack was only the first domino to fall, afterwards a pretty fast passed series of events that has both Sarah and Jax facing the horrors from their pasts and truths better left buried with the bodies. Through it all Sarah and Jax find understanding, salvation, and love with each other. Shattered is a definite keeper, the books in this series just keep getting better and better. Overall, this has to be one of my favorite Romantic Suspense this year so far.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | KindleB&N | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo |

Guest Post with Author Cynthia Eden and Giveaway

Meet Cynthia Eden author of Shattered.

Award-winning author Cynthia Eden writes dark tales of paranormal romance and romantic suspense. She is a New York Times, USA Today, Digital Book World, and IndieReader best-seller.  Cynthia is also a two-time finalist for the RITA® award (she was a finalist both in the romantic suspense category and in the paranormal romance category). Since she began writing full-time in 2005, Cynthia has written over fifty novels and novellas.

Cynthia lives along the Alabama Gulf Coast. She loves romance novels, horror movies, and chocolate.  Her favorite hobbies including hiking in the mountains (searching for waterfalls) and spelunking.

ARC Review: Wrapped in Lace by Prescott Lane

Wrapped in Lace is a sweet holiday standalone from Prescott Lane, and I enjoyed it a lot. Every once in awhile I am looking for a feel good type of story that you just can't help but be happy when you finish and this was that story for me. Though it does take place around Christmas and New Year's, it wasn't exactly a holiday story to me. This book really is a contemporary romance that is more about a second chance at love than it was about the holiday. I have to say that while it was nice to get a bit of holiday spirit here, I was so glad that it wasn't overdone and full of gimmicks. A lot of times holiday stories tend to just be cheesy and over the top for me, so it was really refreshing to read one that was done so well! 

After avoiding his hometown for the last six years, Drew finally agrees to return home for Christmas. Already knowing he will need the escape from his family, Drew sets out to find someone to occupy his time. But when he runs into a wannabe bad girl at a local bar, he never expects for it to be more than a temporary distraction. Drew soon realizes that Piper is so much more than a way to temporarily fill his time, and soon he is wondering how he can make it last. 

I really liked Piper and Drew. These two were so much fun to read about and I thought that they were great together. Piper was sweet and caring, and I loved that she was supportive of Drew. She was a good girl at heart, but I loved that she was fun and feisty and not afraid to speak her mind. This girl could hold her own, and I loved seeing her put Ellie in her place! Drew was such a great guy, and I felt so badly for how things had gone for him. I really didn't like a lot of his family for how some things had gone in his past and I didn't blame him one bit from staying away for so long. Frankly the way they treated him as though he was the one that needed to make an adjustment made me super angry. But I was so glad that Piper was able to help him move forward with his life, and I thought that she was exactly what he needed. These two had a great connection and a ton of chemistry, and I loved seeing their relationship grow over the course of this book. 

I will say that there were a few things that were predictable here, and while the story was good it didn't really break any new ground. But it was a very enjoyable read with likable characters and I felt good the entire time I was reading it. Heading into the holiday season, this book was exactly what I needed. It was a feel good story that brought just enough holiday cheer that I am starting to get in the spirit. If you are a fan of holiday romance stories, this is definitely one that you will want to check out. Prescott Lane is a very talented writer, and Wrapped in Lace was a great story. This won't be the last I read from her.

**ARC Provided by Ardent PRose**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Audiobook Review: The Wager by Rachel Van Dyken, Narrated by Tanya Eby

I’ve heard so many great things about Rachel Van Dyken that I jumped at the chance to review “ The Wager the second book in “The Bet” series. This was my first experience by Van Dyken.

The story immediately caught my attention. It begins with Char Lynn meeting up with her crush Jake Titus on an airplane. Char has been in love with Jake for many years and even though they shared one night together, nothing became of it. Char and Jake use to be best friends in eighth grade until hormones and miscommunication interfered. Now years later Jake’s brother is getting married and him and Char are the best man and woman.

Char and Jake were both excellent characters and they really evolved from the beginning of the story until the end. Jake was really a very immature and shallow jerk. He has had a pretty easy and golden life and hasn’t had to really worry about anyone except himself. Char’s childhood was less than ideal and has always felt second to her sister.

Char and Jake spend a lot of time bickering and it’s only through the successful interference of his hysterical grandma that Jake and Char are forced to spend some time together and work past all their differences.

I found this audiobook to be so hysterical. It was part narrator and part story that made it so successful. I found myself laughing-out-loud and really enjoying all the obstacles that Char and Jake had to overcome to finally find their way together and as individuals. I have to confess that my only hang up was that I felt that there were parts where the story dragged and I found my attention wondering. But other than that, this book is filled with fun antics by a feisty grandma, some very sweet and tender moments, all successfully brought to life by Tanya Eby. Eby was a fantastic narrator, she really understood the individual personalities of all the characters and made this story that much more enjoyable.

**Audiobook provided by Publisher**

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

ARC Review: I Need a Hero by Codi Gary

I Need a Hero is a cute novella length story that is the start of Codi Gary's new Men in Uniform series. This short and sexy read was fun and had some really great moments. It wasn't my favorite read from Gary, but it was still one that I liked quite a bit. 

After getting into some trouble Sergeant Oliver Martinez is sent to help plan a charity event for the Alpha Dogs Training Program. Just when things appear to be as bad as they can get, Oliver meets the woman that he has to work with, Evelyn Reynolds. Though the attraction between them is instant, Eve is the daughter of General Reynolds, the man that sent Oliver to the program in the first place. Evelyn wants nothing to do with military men, and she definitely doesn't want to get personal with the man helping her plan the event that can help launch her new PR career. But with the chemistry between her and Oliver and them spending more time together, they find it hard to keep things professional and soon are giving into the attraction between them. But is it just a quick fling, or could they have something more? 

I really liked the heat and chemistry between these two, and I felt like Oliver and Eve's attraction was clear right from the start. They definitely wanted each other, even though they both tried to fight it. The one thing I struggled with though was their connection. As much as I wanted to feel more between these two, everything seemed to happen so fast. I wanted to see more feelings developing between them, and I just had a hard time seeing anything real happening besides their physical attraction to one another. I think a lot of that was because of the length of this story and the fact that there were only so many pages to make that happen. Had they previously known each other I think that I might have felt differently, but since they just met here I just don't think there was enough time to really see a strong relationship form. 

I did love Beast though, and I thought that he stole the show. It was a lot of fun to read about him and I enjoyed the Alpha Program which I found really interesting. Beast had a lot of personality and I definitely think that he was the high point here. I wish that I had been able to see more happening between Oliver and Eve, because I think that this story had a lot of potential. I am interested to see where this series goes though as I really like Codi Gary's books and I liked the rest of the characters that were introduced here. I will definitely look for more in this series and from Codi Gary in the future. If you are looking for a short and sexy read I would give this one a shot. It was fun and light, and I think as long as you aren't expecting anything really deep or emotional that it is something most readers will enjoy.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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

Guest Post with Authors Cathryn Fox, Alison Bliss and Clare James and Giveaway

Please welcome authors Cathryn FoxAlison Bliss and Clare James.

Meet Cathryn Fox author of Wild Ride.

New York Times and USA today best selling author, Cathryn is a wife, mom, sister, daughter, and friend. She loves dogs, sunny weather, anything chocolate (she never says no to a brownie) pizza and red wine. Cathryn can never find balance in her life, is always trying to find time to go to the gym, can never keep up with emails, Facebook or Twitter and tries to write page-turning books that her readers will love.

ARC Review: The Exhibitionist by Tara Sue Me

The Exhibitionist is the 6th book in the submissive series and the 2nd book I've read in the series. I also read the immediate preceding novel "The Collar." Just by way of background I really enjoyed "The Collar" and recommend that you read it. This author is very talented and knows her way around erotica very well. That being said, there was one very prominent problem with this installment in the series- there was almost no conflict whatsoever. I'll explain.

This book is about Nathaniel and Abigail. Both of these characters have appeared in previous novels in this series. In fact the story of Abigail and Nathaniel meeting and getting together are the first four out of the six novels in this series (I haven't yet read those yet). I assume that the first four books depicting Abigail and Nathaniel getting together read more like a traditional romance with a chase, the couple getting together, some major conflict and the couple reuniting. That's pretty much the romance formula right? Well as much as we see that formula repeated, it's what we love and expect in our romance novels, even the BDSM erotic novels. But there is none of that in this book. The couple is already married with two children. They've already endured all of the initial couple conflicts (four books worth apparently) and they've been married for like 10 years. So this book is really just about the day to day life of a married couple who have a master-slave side to their relationship and are members of a large kink club.

I think what the author was trying to do was build a conflict around the fact that for the first time in their relationship Abby is discovering and exploring her need for public sex play. Even though Nathaniel is on board with giving Abigail what she wants, it makes him insecure that she gets off on other men watching her and he starts to wonder if it might be more than just wanting to be watched. For Abby's part, she is insecure about one of Nathaniel's employees and Nathaniel doesn't handle the insecurity well. Those were interesting sources of conflict but the problem is that they take up almost no pages in the book. The total amount of time spent on those conflicts is probably about 20-30 pages of the entire book and most of those pages don't appear until after the 70% mark of the book. So that means this is an entire novel about the everyday lives of a married couple with some very well depicted, tantalizing kinky sex interspersed in the pages.

I'm not exaggerating about the sex scenes, they are really really well done. The sex scenes basically carry the book because there just isn't much else going on in terms of the romance in the book. The non-sex scenes are about the business aspects of the "play group" that the couple are a part of. The business of the group is depicted in great detail with a lot of information about new security protocols the group is putting in place to increase safety for the players. I found that information to be really mundane and frankly boring. It didn't do anything for me in terms of giving me the romance I was craving from the book and it didn't infuse any excitement in to the story line. There is also a lot of detail given about some of the other club members and their stories. That's ok if you've read some of the other books and are interested in following up on some of the characters. For me, I don't really want that much information about non-main characters.

The question I kept asking myself as I was reading this book was 'what is this book about?' The only answer I could come up with is that it's about Nathaniel and Abigail's marriage and I just don't know if that's an actual plot that can hold a reader's attention. I appreciate Tara's adeptness at erotic writing so much that I still feel like it was worthwhile for me to read this book but I think there's potential for you to be disappointed by the lack of a clear plot. I think I would recommend reading the first 4 books in the series before you read this one. I think I would've gotten more out of this installment if I was already invested in the relationship between Nathaniel and Abigail.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

ARC Review: A Talent for Trickery by Alissa Johnson

It has been eight years since Charlotte BalesformerlyWalker has seen Owen Renderwell. Eight years since Charlotte's con-man father, William Walker, was killed attempting to rescue a kidnapped noblewoman. Eight years since Renderwell was rewarded with a title for rescuing that noblewoman.

Now, Owen is back in Lottie's life. Things are little tense between them. But they are just going to have to work past that. A woman has been murdered and Owen believes the key to the identity of the murderer is in William Walker's old journals. Coded journals that detailed Walker's con games.

I liked the suspense/mystery part of A Talent for Trickery. Despite the fact that they changed their name to Bales and relocated, the Walker family past is haunting the present. The current investigation reveals more about dear old dad's past and brings danger closer to the family. Which may have a side effect of bringing Lottie closer to Owen.

A Talent for Trickery is historical romance combined with suspense. The Walker/Bales family along with Owen Renderwell and his team spend several tense days together. While Owen and Lottie sift through Walker's journals they must also sift through their feelings. I like this process in the book. All sorts of things – facts, journals, opinions, codes and feelings – get revealed in this investigation.

On the romance side, the process is slow burning, though sometimes painful. Lottie has a habit of saying one thing and then thinking the exact opposite. This contradictory inner dialog became a little annoying at times. Which made the point where Lottie overcame this annoying habit very much of a relief!

Overall, I enjoyed A Talent for Trickery. If you like mystery with your historical romance, I betting you will like it too.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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