Saturday, December 12, 2015

Weekly Winners

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

Missy C.
Bubbles and Books Subscription Box

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: Rolling in the Deep by Rebecca Rogers Maher

Rebecca Rogers Maher is a new to me author, so I didn't know at all what to expect with Rolling in the Deep. I ended up really liking it and this is one of those times that it was totally worth taking a chance on an author that I am not familiar with. This story was sweet and heartwarming, and I really liked the majority of the characters here. Rebecca Rogers Maher is definitely an author that I will be looking for more from in the future.

Holly Ward does her best to provide for her son after getting a divorce from his father. Though she works hard and wishes she could provide more for him, there is little room for anything beyond necessities. Working at her local big box store, she is drawn to the new guy Ray. Though she knows she should focus on her son, she can't help but feel a connection to Ray. So when Holly and Ray get to talking about their lives, they decide to go in on a lottery ticket together. Ray likes Holly and wants to get to know her better, so when the opportunity presents itself he offers to split the ticket thinking that it could lead to more between them. But when the numbers are in and they find themselves as the sole winners of the lottery, things quickly get complicated. 

I liked these two characters a lot. Holly was strong and kind, and such a great mother! She couldn't provide the life she wished she could for her son and she wanted to do so much more for him, and yet she always made sure that he knew how much she loved him and that she wanted him to be happy. It was so good to see something so amazing happen to her knowing the type of person she was. She helped others out and was just a genuinely good person who had been dealt some bad cards in life. She never complained though, so it just made it that much sweeter when she won. Ray was a really great guy, and I liked him instantly. He was sweet and kind, and I loved that he was so adorable and awkward at times. He wanted to take things further with Holly, yet he also didn't really know how to at times and was afraid that he would scare her off. It was really cute, and I loved how he was with her. These two had a great connection and I really loved how well they got on right from the start. They were so much fun to read about, and I really liked seeing their relationship build on the chemistry and attraction that drew them in from the start.

Overall, this was a good book and I really liked reading it. This book was a quick read that I would definitely recommend to those in the mood for something heartwarming and easy to lose yourself in. The characters were all great (well except Holly's complete jerk of an ex, Brett) and I liked how strong their relationships were in this book. Holly was close to her friend Beth, and it was good to see that nothing had changed that. Beth had been by her side through everything, and I loved how she made Holly see things that she might not have without Beth. I also really loved Ray's brother Tony, and I am so excited that he and Beth are getting their own story in Just Give Me a Reason! The one complaint that I had though was that the ending was a little abrupt here. I wanted more and thought that things were wrapped up too quickly and a bit too easily. This book was a really great surprise from an author I didn't know before though, but I can't wait to read more from Rebecca Rogers Maher in the future.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

An Unexpected Visitor...with Wendy LaCapra and Giveaway

Wendy LaCapra has been reading romance since she sneaked into the adult section at the library and discovered Victoria Holt & Jane Aiken Hodge. From that point on, she dreamed of creating fictional worlds with as much richness, intrigue and passion as she found within those books. Her stories have placed in several contests, including the 2012 Golden Heart®. She lives in NYC with her husband and loves to hear from readers.

ARC Review: Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare

Lord Dashwood was a delightful novella from Tessa Dare. We are brought back to the Spindle Cove Series. I believe Tessa Dare has another full length book coming out after this one so this novella almost felt like a good refresher. It has all of the wit, romance, and comedic relief Ms. Dare is known for.

Miss Elinora Browning is visiting Spindle Cove for a reading of her Pamphlet, Lord Ashwood Missed Out. It is an inspiring story for women to not feel defined by the attentions of men. She has some trouble in her travels and ends up stuck in a snow storm than none other than Lord Dashwood, whom her pamphlet was about.

Honestly, Dashwood to Ashwood was way too similar, and I think that Elinora wanted him to someday read it and know, though she denies it is even about him for quite awhile. George Travers (Lord Dashwood) has been a cartographer traveling the world since he left England. Now this pamphlet is bringing him some negative publicity. George decides to confront Elinora to find out what it was exactly he missed out on.

While the two are stuck in the storm, we get cameo appearances from favorites of the series. This was very cute and felt like 2nd epilogues for their stories. I loved how the reader given only bits and pieces of the couple's past a little at a time. It had me glued to the story because I wanted to know what had actually happened between them. Dashwood did a few romantic gestures that will have all the female readers swooning.

All together this book was a sweet and quick comeback into the Spindle Cove series that is perfect before the next book comes out. I was able to finish it in two hours or so and I consider myself a slow reader. I felt like I really got to know the characters well and that made the romantic plot more convincing. I will say the only negative I have from the story comes at the end. I can't give any spoilers but the "Grand Gesture" at the end didn't impress me as much as it did the characters in the book. Oh well, still had a nice time reading it!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

Friday, December 11, 2015

ARC Review: The Lady Who Lived Again by Thomasine Rappold

The Fair Five. Misty Lake NY's clique made up of beautiful, flirtatious girls that were always more concerned about wearing the latest fashion than acknowledging the average people on the street. Then the accident happened. Four of the friends were killed in a wagon accident. Strike that. The day after the town doctor proclaimed her dead, M Sutton awoke from the coma she had been in.

Waking with terrible injuries, Maddie was told she would never walk again. But her determination and her newly manifested healing ability got her on her feet again. Maddie's strength made me appreciate her from the beginning of the story. She never seemed to blame anyone even if she had just cause. Overnight, Maddie went from being a member of the youthful Fair Five to a young woman who was forced to grow up before she was ready. Good thing. I have little interest in reading about immature characters. So I liked Maddie. She is not totally grown up though, so expect some behavior that is not well not thought out. To make the story interesting.

Maddie's new found strength doesn't get her very far with anyone except her grandfather. Grandfather did not have a huge role in this book, but he was inspiring and pivotal to Maddie's story. But to the rest of the residents of Misty Lake, the sole survivor of the town's greatest tragedy is both blamed for the accident and considered an abomination.

Enter the new town doctor. Though anxious to establish himself and fit in, Dr. Jace Merrick still defends Madeline against Misty Lake's narrow mindedness. He is disgusted with their attitudes and does everything he can to help her to become a part of the community again. Including masquerading as her fiance' so she can attend her friend's wedding.

I really tried to like Jace. He was great when he was defending Maddie. But his arrogance and lack of interest in Maddie's opinions really irritated me. Yes, I get the whole 'I'm a Doctor. I am confident and arrogant.' thing. But his attitude really made me wonder what Maddie saw in him. Jace's mindset prevents Maddie from telling him about her special healing talent. There is no way he would ever understand. Jace's arrogance makes him as close-minded as the Misty Lake residents that anger him when they misjudge Maddie.

However, since Jace does stand up for Maddie – a lot – I finally decided he was okay. Besides, it is a romance. If Maddie is going to like him and even fall in love with him, the least I can do is give him a chance.

Other characters in the book are just as easy to like or dislike. On the like list is Dolly whose physical demeanor enables her to appreciate the unfairness of Maddie's treatment. On the dislike list is Pastor Hogle who encourages the town's attitude toward Maddie. The Lady Who Lived Again is comprised of uncomplicated characters. They make it easy to draw the line between the good guys and the bad guys. The question is, will any of the good guys be redeemed. Or should they be?

I was actually looking for a bit more complexity to the story, but the plot of The Lady Who Lived Again is as straightforward as its characters. Maddie's paranormal ability is not so much of a plot device as it is a character motivation.

The story moves along and can be read in one quiet evening. I enjoyed it, though not enough to continue with the series. It appears that each story in the Sole Survivor series will stand alone. If you enjoy a little bit of the paranormal combined with your historical romance, you might enjoy The Lady Who Lived Again.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

ARC Review: Love Me Always by Michelle Lynn

Love Me Always takes us back to the couple that started it all, Sadie and Brady! Michelle Lynn closes The Invisibles series out by revisiting familiar faces as Brady Carson and Sadie Miller approach their wedding day. Though this could standalone, I wouldn't recommend it. You will be missing some backstory and history for these two if you haven't read their book, though it would still be understandable if you haven't since this focuses on their future together.

As Sadie and Brady's wedding draws closer, their relationship is far from what it was when Brady proposed. Not only do they have the stress of their upcoming wedding, but Sadie and Brady's pasts begin to jeopardize their future together. Though they both love each other, they will have to rely on each other if they plan to make it to the wedding and the start of their HEA. 

I'll be honest here and say that Sadie drove me nuts here. She made me so angry several times throughout this novella, and honestly it really seemed as though she was responsible for most of the problems that her and Brady were experiencing. She was selfish and suffering from guilt that she should have shared with Brady. I hated the fact that she didn't seem to really think about Brady or his feelings and what he needed. Brady would ask her to do something and would do the opposite, thinking that she knew better. Their chemistry was still there and they were hot together, but I really didn't like Sadie's attitude here. There were times that I was actually wanting Brady to just call it all off. Brady was great though and I couldn't have loved him more. He was always there for Sadie and treated her with nothing but love and respect.

While it was nice to get more of these characters, I just wish that Sadie wouldn't have been so hard to like here. I really had issues with her, and I didn't feel bad for her at all. She was dealing with a lot and while I understood that, the way she went about things made it impossible for me to be sympathetic to her and her situation at all. I also didn't really care for the way the epilogue was done. It was nice to see where everyone ended up and how things turned out, but it was just kind of weird the way it was done. Great series that I will always remember, but this wasn't my favorite.

**ARC Provided by Book Plug Promotions**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | 

Learning a Secret...with Sherry Thomas and Giveaway

USA Today-bestselling author Sherry Thomas is one of the most acclaimed romance authors working today—and one of the first to be reviewed by the New York Times Book Review. Her books regularly receive starred reviews from trade publications and are frequently found on best-of-the-year lists.  She is also a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA® Award.  

English is Sherry's second language—she has come a long way from the days when she made her laborious way through Rosemary Roger's Sweet Savage Love with an English-Chinese dictionary. She enjoys digging down to the emotional core of stories. And when she is not writing, she thinks about the zen and zaniness of her profession, plays computer games with her sons, and reads as many fabulous books as she can find.

Sherry also writes young adult fantasy and historical mystery. A Study in Scarlet Women, book 1 of the Lady Sherlock series, releases October 2016.   

ARC Review: Lies by C.A. Harms

I'll be honest and admit that I don't even really read the blurbs anymore when I see that a book is by C.A. Harms. If it has her name on it, I am going to read it. But when I did read this book's blurb, I couldn't wait to read this story. While I love the contemporary stories that Harms writes, I was excited to get something with a bit of suspense here. I would still call this one a contemporary, but there are suspense elements to the story. Lies is a really great story no matter how you classify it though, and I honestly cannot wait for more. This book does end with a cliffhanger, and we will see more of Josh and Gabby in Chaos. 

Joshua Phoenix is an undercover FBI agent that has just taken on a new assignment. This huge opportunity is a dangerous one, but solving this case could make his career. But right as things are heating up for the case, he meets a woman that changes everything for him. He knows that Gabriella Shannon is special right away, and though he knows he should walk away he can't help himself. Soon Josh is questioning his ability to stay committed to his job and the mission he is on, especially when his future with Gabby is at stake. But when Josh is given no choice in order to protect those he loves, he knows that they will be the ones that get hurt the most.

Josh and Gabby drew me in right away. I absolutely loved them and they had amazing chemistry from the very start. I couldn't get enough of these two, and the sparks were clearly flying. Gabby was smart and understanding, and she was so easy to like. She was perfect for Josh and I really admired her strength. They were just starting a relationship, but she went in with her eyes open and made the choice to stand by Josh. She was supportive and exactly what Josh needed in a woman. Josh was sexy and and honorable, and committed to doing good through his job and the way he lived his life. I hated a lot of the situations he was put in, but I understood why he was doing what he did. I never once questioned his feelings or commitment to Gabby though, and it was easy to see that had he known her before taking the assignment he was on that he never would have done it. He was determined to have her be his top priority, and unfortunately he wasn't in a position to just walk away from his job at times. 

Overall, I loved these two and I really believed in them as a couple. Their relationship was strong even with all the obstacles in their way. The love between them was undeniable. I will say that I knew trouble was coming though and that I went into this one knowing there was a cliffhanger. I mentally prepared myself as much as possible knowing that I wouldn't get an HEA here, but yet I couldn't stop reading! I need the next book and I hope that we don't have to wait too long to get it. Gabby and Josh's story is far from over, and I need to know what happens next! This book is one I would recommend if you like some suspense with your romance, but not to the point that it takes over. C.A. Harms is a great writer and I thought that she had the perfect balance of action and romance here. The story is so easy to lose yourself in, and I am really looking forward to finding out what happens next.

**ARC Provided by Enticing Journey Book Promotions**

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

Thursday, December 10, 2015

ARC Review: Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz

Secret Sisters is another outstanding novel by Jayne Ann Krentz. It is full of mystery, suspense and a bit of romance in a typical Krentz fashion. I love her romance suspense; it always keeps me on edge and it creeps me out just a little. The book starts off through the eyes of a child molester intent on kidnapping and raping one of the two girls he is watching. Later in the story we find out more but it was a hell of a way to start of a book. Her active setting and narration always pull me into the story, and it really is reminiscent of some of her earlier works. This book is a tangled web of lies, deceit, and murder.

Madeline just inherited her grandmother’s legacy; a very popular chain of hotels and a deeply buried secret that just resurfaced. Eighteen years ago Madeline was kidnapped and almost raped by a man staying at her grandmother’s inn, luckily her best friend went running to get helped and the man was stopped before he could. But something stopped her grandmother from going to the authorities, a briefcase that was sealed up in the wall of one of the rooms. Madeline is back on the island where it all started and where it will end. She was called in by the only other person who knew where the body was buried but upon her arrival she finds him at deaths door attacked by an intruder or so say the police. The death of the grounds keeper was suspicious enough she called in her bodyguard, Jack Rayner. Jack rushes to Madeline’s side not just out of duty for the job but because he has been attracted to the woman since he first met her. Jack agrees with Maddie that it suspicious especially with what had happened their years ago and with man’s last words. He even confides that he found her grandmother’s death suspicious and has been investigating it. With that Maddie calls on her best friend, her secret sister, Daphne back to the island so they can all be safe Jack sends his brother, Abe, to bring Daphne in safely.

Several attempts on Maddie’s life are made and thankfully Jack is there to save her. All of these events are connected to the contents inside the briefcase Madeline’s grandmother enclosed in a wall; a briefcase that is now missing. Jack, Maddie, Abe and Daphne work to solve the mystery of the past and the current one. It all seems at the center of the web of deceit is the prodigious family, The Websters. The Webster patriarch made his money in the stock market. His oldest son Xavier is a psychopathic pyromaniac and the youngest is running for office. The whole family is really messed up.

Overall, this is another keeper it goes right up there with all the other books of her I own. This was a great twists and turns and a surprise WTF ending.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

ARC Review: Persuasion by Violetta Rand

Persuasion is about Lang and Lilly. Lang has just become the president of the Sons of Odin Motorcycle Club and Lilly is his teenage sister’s high school counselor. Lang meets Lilly before he knows she is his sister’s counselor (Lang is the guardian for all three of his sisters as his parents are deceased). From the first time Lang and Lilly meet, the book has a really strange rhythm that I had a difficult time following. When Lang meets Lilly at a bar, there is some insta-attraction. I was thinking Lang saw Lilly as someone he would want to spend time with but suddenly he is ditching her because she won’t screw him out behind the bar. I’m cool with that as a principal but I didn’t understand how the story skipped from what we were being told about Lang’s feelings for Lilly to him ditching her for really ridiculous reasons.

Lilly has recently relocated to Lang’s area, in part, to get away from the dissension between her recently divorced parents. I was thoroughly confused by this whole thing. Lilly spends pages upon pages obsessing about the conflict between her parents or being drawn into it during their phone calls to her. My guess is that the author included all of this because she wanted to create an arc in the story related to Lilly not trusting men and not wanting to settle down. The way it comes across in the writing though is just really forced. It seemed like Lilly was too damn old to be as concerned about her parents as she was. Plus, she was living thousands of miles away, I kept screaming ‘don’t answer the phone’ at my Kindle every time she had a conversation with her parents.

After Lang initially ditches Lilly, he immediately decides that was a mistake when he runs into her at his sister’s school. This again felt like a weird jump in the plot line. Nothing changes between Lang and Lilly but as soon as he sees her at the high school, he knows he made a grave mistake and immediately begins pursuing a relationship with her. Lilly…I don’t know what her deal was. She put up some very minimal resistance to the idea of hooking up with Lang because she thought it would be a career conflict. It lasted all of two seconds and they were ripping each other’s clothes off. No complaints there, the sex was good and dirty just like I like it.

As for the other aspects of the book, yes this is technically an MC romance. There was some MC stuff in the book but I read A LOT of MC books and this one didn’t feel nearly as authentic as the stuff written by our favorite MC authors like Joanna Wylde. I did like the stuff in the book about Lang trying to clean the club up after its last president let the members run amok. I actually liked a lot of things about this book, I just felt like they all needed to be rearranged to make the book really good and easier to read. I would definitely read other books by this author.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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Preventing a Disaster...with Anna Campbell and Giveaway

ANNA CAMPBELL has written ten multi award-winning historical romances for Grand Central Publishing and Avon HarperCollins. She has won numerous awards for her Regency-set stories including Romantic Times Reviewers Choice, the Booksellers Best, the Golden Quill (three times), the Heart of Excellence (twice), the Write Touch, the Aspen Gold (twice) and the Australian Romance Readers Association’s favorite historical romance (five times). Her books have three times been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Award and three times for Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year. Anna lives on the beautiful east coast of Australia where she writes full-time.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

ARC Review: How to Fall by Rebecca Brooks

How to Fall is my first book by Rebecca Brooks, but I was really drawn in with the blurb for this book. Unfortunately, I really struggled to get through this book. I had a lot of issues here, even though there were some things that I did like. Ultimately though, this book just wasn't for me though I did at least finish it. 

Looking to escape for a week, Julia Evans leaves her life behind and heads to Brazil by herself. She is ready to put herself first for a change, leaving behind the others that she is always putting first. So when she meets a sexy stranger, she decides to take a chance and act a little impulsively for once. Blake Williams is also looking to escape his life and troubles and is about ready to head to the next stop in his months long traveling tour. But when he meets Julia, he can't help but be drawn to her and decides to stay longer than expected. But Blake and Julia know that they only have a week together before she returns home, and neither one of them has told each other everything. 

Blake and Julia were really hard to relate to for me. It wasn't that I disliked them, I just didn't really like them either. I wasn't invested in their story or their relationship, and honestly I never did really care about where they ended up. These two did have great chemistry though, and I liked seeing them explore Brazil together. But I just felt like both of them handled things wrong, and their week together was filled with unnecessary drama and snap decisions that would instantly be glossed over. 

This story started off rough for me as well, with Julia arriving in Brazil instantly with no set-up and being thrust into this group of characters right off the bat. I felt like I was playing catch-up to a story already in progress and that I had missed a few things. As rushed as this one was at the beginning, there were spots that were extremely slow throughout and I hated how much it would drag. Honestly I got bored a lot, and with me not being invested in the book I really forced myself to continue at times. Had I not been given a copy and reviewing this one, I probably would have just thrown in the towel. Then the ending was rushed and to me wasn't that satisfying. Yes we do get a resolution, but it really wasn't much of one. Things were tied up too quickly and we really didn't get much in the way of how things would work out. It felt more like a happy for now ending than a HEA. This book was just a miss for me, and I don't know that I would recommend it. If you like travel romance stories, this one might be worth giving a shot. Brazil was beautifully shown through the author's words here, I just wish the story had been as good to go with it.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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