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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Weekly Winners

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

Jane Bassett-Nelson
Kindle copy of Wild Ride by Cathryn Fox

Heather Bogucki
Kindle copy of Playing with Fire by Alison Bliss

Sue Galuska
Kindle copy of Played by Clare James

Yadira Alonzo
eBook of Choice from Christine Warner

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: Untamed by S.C. Stephens

I will admit that it took me awhile to get into this book and I was pretty worried when I first started reading Untamed. As much as I love the Thoughtless series by S.C. Stephens, I was having a tough time with Griffin at the start of this book. Thankfully I stuck with it and things got so much better. I will warn that this book isn't all happy times and there were some pretty emotional moments here. While this wasn't my favorite of the series, I did enjoy it and it was great to see all our favorite D-Bags and their women again. 

When the D-Bags made it big, bassist Griffin Hancock knew that it was his destiny. He had been born to be a rockstar and it was only a matter of time before the world saw how awesome he was. Though Griffin is in the most famous band in the world and has a beautiful wife and family, the one thing he doesn't have is to be the star in the spotlight. Tired of living in Kellan Kyle's shadow, Griffin is determined to show the world that he is the real star. But when the guys refuse to let him take any of the spotlight, Griffin makes a shocking decision that changes everything. Though his wife Anna tries to stand by his side and support him no matter what, the more things continue to spiral out of control. Before long everything begins to slip through Griffin's fingertips and he might lose everything and everyone that he cares about. 

I had such a hard time with Griffin at first here. He was over the top and cocky, almost to the point of me completely disliking him at times. While I felt for him and saw what it was like at times, there were others that he just alienated everyone around him as well as the reader. Griffin has always been different, and I love that about him. But I felt like he was almost made to be a complete character here at the beginning if that makes sense. Some of the things he said and did didn't ring true for me and it was sad to watch. I did understand how he was feeling though, and I was really mad at the other D-Bags because it felt like they didn't take his feelings seriously here. He was trying to tell them that he felt like he was the odd man out and was trying to find his place, and while his methods and ideas weren't the greatest, I felt like they should have handled it differently. They were mean about it and didn't seem to really care about him at all. My heart especially broke for him with how Matt treated him. I don't agree with everything that Griffin did when it came to Matt and Rachel, but I really felt like Matt was the most to blame for how quickly things soured with their relationship. All of these characters have so much pride and it was clear that no one wanted to be the one to apologize and grovel. While Griffin definitely had things to apologize for, I felt like he wasn't the only one that needed to and it really sucked that he was the only one that really did in the end. 

I loved the fact that Griffin made such progress, and towards the end of the book I could not have loved his character more. He really turned his life around, and it was so good to see that he realized what was truly important. No matter what the outcome was with his career and future with the D-Bags, I was so glad that he knew without his wife and family nothing mattered. While I was glad that he figured that out, I will say that I wasn't completely happy with how things ended here. Griffin and the guys were okay with the direction things were headed for the future, but to me it was a little bittersweet. While things ended on a happy note, I didn't really care for the huge change that things took here. On the surface it seems like a win for everyone, but it also just felt wrong to me. As a fan of this series throughout the previous books, it didn't really sit right with me and unfortunately changed everything. So while I was happy with Griffin's growth and progress, I can't say that I was happy with where things ended up here overall. I think that fans will love seeing Griffin and the D-Bags here though, and if you are new to this series this could possibly be read as a standalone. I would really recommend reading these books in order though, as it really allows you to see just how far Griffin has come and everything that has happened to get to where they are here.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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

Interview with Author S.C. Stephens and Giveaway

Meet S.C. Stephens author of Untamed.

S. C. Stephens is a #1 bestselling author who spends her every free moment creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance. In addition to writing, she enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and family. She and her two children reside in the Pacific Northwest.

Guest Post with Author Terri L. Austin and Giveaway

As a girl, Terri L. Austin thought she’d outgrow dreaming up stories and creating imaginary friends. Instead, she’s made a career of it. Now she writes steamy contemporary romance and mysteries. She met her own Prince Charming and together they live in Independence, Missouri.

Friday, November 13, 2015

ARC Review: A Midnight Dance by Lila DiPasqua

Originally published in 2011, this reissue has a spanking new hot cover. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with it. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting but this one left a lot to be desired. I’m new to Lila DiPasqua books, so I’m not familiar with her style but it just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t particularly like how the storyline and how things played out, the characters rubbed me the wrong way; Jules was pretty much a bastard, and the villain seemed to come out of nowhere when he showed up over halfway into the story. All this is just personal preference especially the sex, I think there was too much too soon and it dominated the story.

Sabine Laurent was the daughter of a prestigious play writer and theatre owner until his benefactor was accused of being a traitor, stripped of his title and everything taken away. Eight years they struggled until her father’s death, after that it was up to Sabine to keep her makeshift family of actors in the only home they have known. But the new land owner has continually raised taxes, and no way to pay it Sabine concocts a dangerous plan of stealing silver from a pirate. Eight years ago Sabine was in love with a young man she called her Dark Prince but it was his families fall from grace that ruined her father’s life and hers. When she finds out that he is the pirate she is to steal from she thinks it is justice. But she’s not as clever as she thinks she is and is found out.

Jules de Moutier is determined to prove his father’s innocence and win back the family’s title and lands. He was never expecting a young lady willing to sell herself and her innocence for the chance to steal his hard stolen silver. Sabine under the guise of a commoner, Elise, is just as determined to steal Jules’ silver to protect her family the fact that she gets to spend a couple of nights in his arms is just an added benefit. That is until he tracks her down and demands his silver back. Everything just goes downhill from there. Sabine isn’t willing to give it back because not only will if pay off her father’s debts but she plans to search for her twin sister who has been missing and presumed dead. Things aren’t going as planned a third of the silver is missing and all the evidence that will prove Jules’ father as innocent isn’t exactly shinning him in the best light either. The trail of evidence for both de Moutier senior and Sabine’s sister lead them to Paris for a midnight masquerade, a kidnapping and a glass slipper.

Overall, I could have liked this book I wanted to like this book but there were too many aspects of it that I just didn’t like.

**ARC provided by NetGalley**

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

ARC Review: Beyond Repair by Kelly Lincoln

This was my first read by Kelly Lincoln. I was first interested in the story by the plot and I really liked the idea of a single mom trying to make a life for her and her daughter.

Brooke was a fun heroine. She has some signs of post dramatic stress disorder because of different things that happened in her life. She is 100% dedicated to her daughter Mia. Mia is her world and her number one priority. Brooke’s sister has lived next door to her for a very long time and when she moves out with her family to a bigger home, she feels a little bit of separation anxiety. Anxiety and worry play a big part in Brooke’s life. She is a fun and sweet character.

Chris is Brooke’s brother-in-laws friend. He is gorgeous and carries his own baggage. Although both Brooke’s sister and brother-in-law have wanted to set up Chris and Brooke the timing was never right. When Chris moves in they can’t help but form a friendship. When Mia and Chri’s nephew become friends Chris and Brooke also form a friendship.

Chris and Brooke have good chemistry and I was happy to see how they formed a friendship first and then a romance. Overall, I enjoyed this story and found it enjoyable. My one big gripe is how overly dramatic everything became. The first half of the story is really about Chris and Brooke getting to know each other and forming a romantic relationship and then all the skeletons jump out of the closet.

I thought that this was a bit much, I felt like literally everything happened to Brooke and even Chris for that matter. I personally would have enjoyed it more if this was a novella and the last half of the book was cut out. It seemed to overly done. Nonetheless I was happy for both Chris and Brooke as they battled their demons and found love.

**ARC provided by Author**

Purchase: | Amazon

Feature and Giveaway: Guarding Sophie by Julie Brannagh

Hearts beat and sparks fly when two people find shelter in each other

Seattle Sharks wide receiver Kyle Carlson needs to escape and Noel, Washington, is the perfect place for him to do it and figure out his next step. He likes the seclusion and predictability of the small town…until the biggest surprise of his life turns up in the local grocery store.

Sophie Hayes has her own reasons for disappearing without a trace and moving to Noel. This mountain town makes her feel safe for the first time in a long time. But her quiet routine is threatened when Kyle walks back into her life. Growing up in the same Florida town, she always had a little thing for the sexy football player. This tie to her old life, though, could mean she has to run again, even if her heart wants to stay.

When the reason she fled shows up in Noel, Kyle and Sophie, with a little extra help from his teammates, must decide to stay and fight for the life, and love, they’ve found together.

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

Review: Under the Influence by L.B. Simmons

I honestly don't even know where to begin with this review. I guess I should start by saying that Under the Influence is my first L.B. Simmons story. I have heard so much about her books that I felt like I needed to read this one when given the opportunity. I have to say that this was nothing like I was expecting though, and I almost gave up on this one right away. As much as I liked the overall message and outcome here, this book was just a bit too all over the place and cliche for me to really feel invested. 

Dalton and Spencer were childhood best friends, until they finally acted on the feelings they had for one another. Just as it appeared that they would be moving forward together, a tragic event changed everything. Spencer was left broken hearted when Dalton left her behind without a word, but now five years later she is finally ready to let him go for good.

I did like Spencer and Dalton for the most part, and I did feel their connection. They had history together and had each been through a lot. While they did have great chemistry and a connection though, it was hard to feel invested in them and this book. I never felt like Dalton's "job" felt genuine. It seemed very out of place to me considering the characters ages and the fact that this was a NA story. I also felt like Spencer came off as immature and a bit young considering her constant giggling and apparent ignorance to everything that was going on with Dalton. How she missed the beyond obvious clues right in front of her face was impossible for me to comprehend and made her come off as an idiot most of the time.  

I felt like we were dropped into this book in the middle of a story already in progress. There was so much going on at first that I really almost gave up. I felt like I had missed a prequel or something that would have clued me in a bit, but I did stick with it. Things did pick up thankfully, and I felt like the first part of this story was very promising after the initial 10% or so. I did feel as though the blurb was a bit misleading though when it said that the story takes place over five years when we really don't get to see much of that. Broken into three parts, the first portion is Spencer and Dalton up until the point that he leaves her behind, with the second part being very brief and giving us only minor details about the five years they are apart. Part three then focuses on the present and came off feeling very rushed. It felt as out of place as Dalton's "job" and just seemed so chaotic to me. There were so many missed opportunities here with the huge time gaps and the lack of development. While the potential for a great story was there, Under the Influence just missed the mark. This wasn't the book that I had been hoping for or expecting, and honestly I was disappointed.

**Review Copy Provided by Inkslinger PR**

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

Thursday, November 12, 2015

ARC Review: Wrapped and Strapped by Lorelei James

This is my first book in this series but it is the 7th book in the series. This is also one of my first cowboy-romance books but I can honestly say, I dug the cowboy vibe. Even more than the cowboy thing, I just really liked the writing of this book. The author brought together two very different characters with a great deal of emotional complexity and she did it well!

Hugh is the Hero of the book and I absolutely loved all his layers. Hugh has a really good heart but it’s buried underneath a rough exterior and a lot of hurt from his past. This was the first male Hero I’ve ever read about who discussed being overweight in his past and how it effected a relationship he was in. I don’t know why I found that so compelling but it might be because it made Hugh so much realer to me. The back story on Hugh also helped me to understand all the stupid ish he was doing in the present. Hugh is a special brand of unfriendly, he even insults Harlow when he first meets her. In the end though, the author's good use of flashbacks and character introspection smooths over all the rough edges.

Harlow, our heroine, is also a complex character who I ended up really liking. At first, Harlow seemed more like an obnoxious flirt than a serious character but oh, look again. It turns out Harlow is simply a master of illusion. Harlow is good at burying her real feelings and only letting the world see what she wants them to see and you know what? I’m here for that. Not every heroine needs to wear her heart and every last emotion on her sleeve. I really enjoyed Harlow’s vulnerabilities and all the cover ups.

I have to give a shout out to the story line between Harlow and her sister. It was just really fascinating to see how Harlow’s sister was the closest person to her and not even she knew what was going on inside Harlow. This was a subplot that added to the overall book by giving you a more in depth understanding of Harlow. The same goes for the interactions between Harlow and her Dad. Again, we see a different side of Harlow portrayed through the lens of her relationship with one of the supporting characters.

There was a slow build up to the relationship between Hugh and Harlow but I never felt bored or like the book was dragging. Instead I felt like I was invested in the relationship by the time it was manifest. There is a really sweet and real bond between Harlow and Hugh. There are many pages where the status of them as a couple is unclear but the bond is always there.

I highly recommend this book for all you fans of second chance romance. But not just second chance romance, second chances in life. Don’t pass this one up.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

ARC Review: November 9 by Colleen Hoover

I will admit that I was a bit scared to start November 9 when I received it. While I love Colleen Hoover and have enjoyed her books, the last few of hers weren't my favorites. I had issues with each of them and while there were great moments in them, I began to worry that maybe it was just me since so many others loved them and raved about them. My favorite Colleen Hoover book to this point has been Maybe Someday (even though there was something I took issue with there as well), but I have to say that after just having finished November 9, it has definitely taken over as my favorite. This book absolutely wrecked me in true Colleen fashion, but thankfully she put me back together piece by piece and I fell in love with Fallon and Ben right along with them. 

On the day she is set to move to NY from LA, Fallon meets aspiring writer Ben. They spend that November 9th together and agree spend each November 9th together from that day forward, though they will continue to live their lives separately. Though each year they meet on November 9th, they have absolutely no contact for the rest of the year. Their agreement and lives are supposed to be the inspiration behind the novel that Ben promises to write but just when it appears to be so much more, Fallon discovers that Ben has been keeping some very big secrets and their entire relationship might have been a lie. 

Ben and Fallon had me from their very first meeting and I was completely hooked. I couldn't put this book down, and I loved how fun and witty they were. Their interactions were the kind you live for in a great book, and they were impossible not to fall for. Ben and Fallon were great as individuals and I really loved them, but together they were magic. Sweet and Sexy, these two had every single thing that makes for a great couple and they are the kind of couple romance books are made of. They each had struggles and so much to overcome, but the great thing is that they were there for each other even when they weren't together. These two had so much chemistry that I really couldn't think of any two characters who were more perfect for each other than Ben and Fallon were. They might have not spent much actual time together, but it was so real and genuine and believable despite the circumstances. 

Overall, this is my favorite CoHo book to date and I honestly cannot recommend it enough. This book is so beautiful and emotional, and I could not put it down. I never wanted Fallon and Ben's story to end, and as fast as I wanted to devour the book I also wanted to savor it. November 9 truly is Colleen Hoover at her best, and it is the kind of book that every person can find something to relate to. Sweet, sexy, and funny, November 9 is one of my favorite reads not only this year, but that I have ever read. I cannot recommend this book enough, and I cannot wait to see what Colleen writes next.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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

Interview with Author Lynette Austin and Giveaway

The luxury of staying home when the weather turns nasty, of working in PJs and bare feet, and the fact that daydreaming is not only permissible but encouraged, are a few of the reasons middle school teacher Lynnette Austin gave up the classroom to write full-time. Lynnette grew up in Pennsylvania’s Alleghany Mountains, moved to Upstate New York, then to the Rockies in Wyoming. Presently she and her husband divide their time between Southwest Florida’s beaches and Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. A finalist in RWA's Golden Heart Contest, PASIC's Book of Your Heart Contest, and Georgia Romance Writers' Maggie Contest, she’s published five books as Lynnette Hallberg. She’s currently writing as Lynnette Austin. Having grown up in a small town, that’s where her heart takes her—to those quirky small towns where everybody knows everybody...and all their business, for better or worse.

Feature and Giveaway: Pirate Princess by Catherine Banks

As the daughter of the Pirate King, Tilia Swanson has an unusual upbringing learning skills that aren’t often available for women. As the heir apparent for the Kingdom of Crilan, her skills set her apart as she is trained by the best in the land and taught to harness her magic. However, piracy is in her blood, and draws danger to Tilia in the way that treasure draws pirates. Some treasures are more valuable than others. Will this lesson be learned in time or will the betrayal of those around her be her undoing?

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

ARC Review: Traded by Rebecca Brooke

Wow this book was so good! Traded is my first book from Rebecca Brooke, but I have a feeling it will be the first of many. She drew me right into this story and I could not put it down! I have read some books with a similar premise to this before, but Traded was different and unique. I will warn readers that if you have any triggers relating to abuse, you might want to consider that before starting Traded. But I would highly recommend this book and ultimately this book is full of hope and healing.
Elena married her high school sweetheart Dominic, and she was determined to be the best wife she could be. No matter what she did though, Dominic never found it to be good enough. Elena just tried to work harder though to make up for all that she didn't seem to get right. But when Dominic trades her to a loan shark in trade for a large debt he owes, Elena is terrified of what awaits her for the next three months she is to spend with Ashton. Ashton can't believe how Dominic treats Elena, and he is determined to use the next three months to show her the life she deserves. He knows that there is a strong woman beneath the surface, but is three months enough time to help Elena find it after all the damage that Dominic has caused? 

Elena had been beaten down and brainwashed to the point that she believed she wasn't pretty and that everything she did was wrong. She didn't make any choices for herself and she thought that by allowing her husband to dictate everything in her life that she was performing her wifely duties. It was so sad to see someone truly believe those things, and it was even more heartbreaking to realize that there are so many women out there that are just like Elena in real life. But Elena was beautiful and strong, and I absolutely loved seeing her begin to come back from the years of damage that she had endured. Ashton was alpha and demanding, and beyond sexy. But the thing that I loved most about him is what a great guy he was and how gently he treated Elena. He set about showing her what a real man treats women like and how she deserved to live her life. Though he was intimidating as a loan shark and how he did business, he also was more than just that. I loved the chemistry between these two, and enjoyed seeing them fall for one another even more. 

Overall, this was a great story and I loved it from start to finish. Elena and Ashton had so much to come back from and though it was heartbreaking at times to see how Elena thought of herself, the moments that she started to show her true personality and stand up for herself were full of hope. She had so much healing to do, and it was great to see her journey back. This book is full of hope and love and healing, and the progress made from start to finish was inspiring. I couldn't put this book down, and I highly recommend it. I look forward to reading more from Rebecca Brooke in the future, and I am so glad that I took a chance on a new to me author here.

**ARC Provided by The Hype PR**

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

ARC Review: Play Dirty by L.P. Maxa

Play Dirty is the second book in the Devil's Share series by L.P. Maxa. Before reading the first book in the series, Play Nice, I hadn't read anything by L.P. Maxa, but that book made me an instant fan. Maxa's writing is fun and sexy, and I love the emotions that she is able to bring out as well. So when I finished Play Nice, I couldn't wait to get more of these sexy rockstars. Though I am still really partial to Lexi and Dash, I enjoyed Dylan and Smith's story and couldn't get enough of them. 

Smith James, bassist for Devil's snare, is used to enjoying women and drugs to escape his past. Though he doesn't need the drugs, he likes them and doesn't want to quit. But when Dylan Lawson joins the tour in order to look out for Lexi and her baby, Smith finally sees a reason to give up the women and drugs. Dylan can tell that Smith uses, and while she doesn't condemn him for that she also can't be with someone who is caught up in drugs after losing her high school boyfriend to them. But the more time they spend together, the more Dylan sees that Smith is changing. When the tour takes them to Smith's hometown though, his past comes back and threatens everything that they are trying to build.

Smith was complicated and I was really interested in his character from the beginning. He had so much in his past and beneath the surface, and he didn't let a lot of people in. Though he was a good guy, he was also struggling with some guilt and painful family memories. Dylan was so good for him, and I really liked how she was with him right away. Though she knew he was a bit of a bad boy, she didn't let that stop her from seeing where things between them could go. Dylan was smart and funny, and I liked how well she fit in with the band right away. She was extremely likable, and I loved that she was able to hold her own. These two connected emotional and I enjoyed seeing them get to know one another. Watching Smith transform from the guy that lived for drugs and casual sex to being the caring and sexy boyfriend content to stay at home and watch movies with his girl was a lot of fun. The chemistry between them was smoking hot and the sparks were flying from the start. But it was seeing them fall for one another and grow closer that I really enjoyed the most. 

Overall, I love this series and Play Dirty was such a great addition. I was worried that since I loved Play Nice so much that this book wouldn't be able to live up to the expectations I had because of that, but that absolutely wasn't the case. L.P. Maxa brought the heat, emotions, and humor that she did the first time around and I felt like she really did the characters justice here. This wasn't just another rockstar story, and I was so glad that Smith and Dylan's story was so genuine and believable. This group of characters is one of my favorites, and the camaraderie between them is unlike any other I have read before. Each character is unique and different, and while they are flawed they are easy to relate to and root for. If you are looking for a great contemporary romance this series is one I would highly recommend. I think that readers will really enjoy these books as much as I have, and I am already anxious for the next book after how L.P. Maxa left us set up at the end of Play Dirty.

**ARC Provided by Give Me Books Promotions**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |