Saturday, March 19, 2016

Weekly Winners

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

Come on Closer by Kendra Leigh Castle

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. =)

Feature and Giveaway: With the Band by Natasha Preston

Texas Knight is daughter of the word’s biggest rock star, Mark Knight.

Kitt Daniels is lead singer in the hottest up-and-coming band, Filthy Sound.

Mark has mentored Filthy Sound from the beginning, seeing their potential, and now he’s supporting them on their first worldwide tour.

She’s off-limits.

He can’t help himself.

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N |

Friday, March 18, 2016

ARC Review: Pushing The Limits by Jennifer Snow

Pushing the Limits is the third book in the "Beyond the Cage" series. I actually read one other book in the series. You don't have to read any other books in the series to read this one but this one does contain some minor spoilers, at least of the one other book that I read. When I picked up this book I didn't realize it was another one in the series but after reading for awhile I saw the one main issue that I had with the other book in the series. The heroine is stuck on stupid for entirely too long and a lot happens in the story before the romance (read:sex) really gets going.

Jennifer Snow is a good writer. She's particularly skilled at building characters. Even without the romance, I was intrigued by both Dane and Colby. I loved Dane's intensity. Even in his guilt and agony, Dane is a compelling character. I liked that Colby was a woman with a plan. I thought her plain was crazy and clearly headed for a quick disaster but hey, at least she had a goal. I have to say, I'm not really into down on their luck Heroes so take what I say next with that bias in mind. I didn't love where the story went with Dane at first. He runs into some hard times and Colby has to basically hook him up. I just like my Heroes to have their ish together. Dane didn't even have gas money. Listen people, I'm here for the fantasy. I could be broke with no fuel in real life. I want my Heroes hung like a horse with a full tank of gas in a Bentley coup. But that's just me. If that's not an issue for you, I promise, Dane is otherwise totally likeable as a hero.

Despite Colby's hair brained plan, she quickly develops a genuine affection for Dane. It quickly becomes apparent that her career goals take a back seat to her desire to really see Dane healed. I loved that party of the story, I found it heart warming and really sweet. My problem with this book is that there is just too much dialogue, too much story, too many pages and not enough romance AND sex. If the author could just condense all the getting to know you stuff and other information, and get to what we're really here for, I think I would be able to give her books higher ratings. For now, I'm going to say go ahead and read this if you like a well written story, sweet romance, character redemption and you don't mind holding off on the steam.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

ARC Review: Because by Jennifer Foor

Because is the fourth standalone story in Jennifer Foor's Seven Year Itch series. I have really enjoyed this series and I think part of what I love is that these books feel so genuine. These are couples struggling with life after they got their HEAs, and I love that Jennifer Foor has given us a look at what real life is like after marriage. Things aren't always rainbows and sunshine and relationships take a lot of work. I love seeing how she shows each of these couples hitting these low points in their relationships and then working to come back from that. 

Shayla Vincent has been married to her high school sweetheart for seven years. They got pregnant at a young age and got married to try to make things right and raise their daughter together. Though they do love each other, things have never been perfect in their relationship. Brandon isn't the man she needs him to be, and Brandon is tired of feeling like all Shayla does is nag. Shayla knows that something has to give, but will her leaving and asking for a separation be what mends their relationship or breaks it?

I really felt for Shayla here. She had some insecurities about her body that Brandon didn't help at all, and she was doubting his fidelity after she found out that he had been talking to women online. Brandon constantly went out with his friends leaving both her and their daughter at home. For someone who said that his daughter was his top priority, he definitely didn't seem to hold up to that. I understood exactly why Shayla was so frustrated, and honestly she had every right to be. I understood that she loved Brandon and wanted to make things work, but I also had a really hard time seeing how she could want to keep trying after all he had done. Brandon was a straight up jerk for a lot of this book, and I honestly wanted to hit him more than once. I kept hoping he would get better and redeem himself, and while he did improve, I still had a hard time ever liking him.

As much as I struggled with Brandon, I did like this story. Jennifer Foor has such a way of drawing you into her books and I never want to put them down. I love the angst and emotion that she brings to each story, and I think that is especially true with this series. Jennifer Foor is one of those authors that I immediately jump at the chance to read, and I always look forward to seeing what she will come up with next. I am already anxiously awaiting her next release. If you like some angst with your romance, I highly recommend giving Jennifer Foor's books a shot. Her stories aren't easy and the journey is often a bit rough, but each one I have read from her has been well worth it and I definitely can't wait to get my hands on more from her.

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | 

Guest Post with Author Elizabeth Michels and Giveaway

Elizabeth Michels is an award-winning author of Regency Romance, including the Tricks of the Ton series and the Spare Heirs series. Elizabeth was raised in South Carolina and attended Park University in Missouri. After graduating Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Interior Design, she settled in a lake-side town in North Carolina and began writing romance novels. When she is not creating plots and concocting characters, she is caring for her husband and little boy. Elizabeth Michels is a lover of happily-ever-afters in real life and in books. She invites you to read her stories, get lost, and enjoy.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Review: Till Death Us Do Part by Cristina Slough

Till Death Us Do Part is Cristina Slough's debut novel, so I really had no idea what to expect here. While I did think that this story had potential, ultimately this one wasn't for me. The blurb really caught my attention, but between the story and writing style this book wasn't what I had been expecting at all. I think that there are some readers that will enjoy this story, and it is very possible this one was just not for me personally. 

Mimi and Joel have just been married, and they know that as soon as the honeymoon is over Joel will deploy to Afghanistan. Though Joel promises to come back to her, Mimi soon receives word that Joel is dead. Needing to find closure, Mimi heads to Texas where Joel's estranged brother Austin lives. Soon Mimi grows closer to Austin, and she learns that Joel isn't the man she thought he was. Just as Mimi is finally ready to move on with her life, Joel returns and her world is once again turned upside down. But not only is Joel back from the dead, he has a secret that will shatter everything he and Mimi once had. 

I don't want to get into the characters too much here, because I don't want to spoil everything for those that might be interested in reading this book. But just as Mimi learned that Joel wasn't who she thought he was, the reader does as well. While I found some of it to be believable, some of it wasn't for me. The man he was later on in the book was so different from the man we first met, and while I do think part of that was real, there were some things that just felt completely out of character. I liked Mimi well enough, but I didn't feel connected to her. While I was interested to see what would happen, I just didn't feel fully invested in her story. Same with Austin. I liked him and there was so much more to the story than we had been lead to believe from Joel, but I just never truly felt like I was in this one. It felt as though I was removed completely and as though I was an outsider looking in. I wanted to really feel emotionally connected here, and I just wasn't able to. I think part of that was the writing style here. It just wasn't for me and often felt choppy. I think that because it was so choppy it was hard for me to get into the story as I might have been able to otherwise.

The other thing that bothered me was the ending here. I won't go into details or spoil anything, but as much as I struggled throughout the book I had really been hoping for an ending that would have made that struggle worth it. For me, this ending wasn't that at all. It wasn't satisfying and I was really disappointed with how things turned out. I respect the author and her vision, but personally had I known the way things would go I would never have started this book. To me it wasn't a romance, and it honestly felt like a lot of what happened here was done for shock value. It just didn't fully ring true to me with the rest of the book, and I wish that I had known ahead of time and saved myself the time. I do think that there are readers out there that will enjoy this story, and I if it sounds like something you are interested in you should give it a shot. Just because this book wasn't for me doesn't mean that it won't be for everyone.

**Review Copy Provided by Book Enthusiast Promotions**

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

ARC Review: Our Time by Gina Sheldon

Our Time is my first book from Gina Sheldon though it is the second book in her The Rub Down series. Each book is a standalone story with interconnected characters and can be read out of order. What really drew me to this book was the blurb and the fact that this is my favorite trope! I just can't help myself when it comes to girls falling in love with their brother's best friend! While there was a lot to like here, this one didn't fully deliver on what I had been hoping for. 

Elle has been in love with her brother's best friend Danny for years. But with the baggage from her past, she has always believed that she didn't deserve him. Danny has been in love with Elle for years also, but he knew that after everything she has been through that he needed to wait for her to be ready for him. Tired of waiting, Danny can no longer stay away from her and decides it is time to claim her. But when Elle's past shows back up, Danny must do whatever it takes to keep her from hiding away from the world again. 

I liked Elle and Danny a lot. I was drawn right into their story and couldn't put the book down. These two were great for one another, and it was obvious that the connection between them was special. They were perfect for each other on every level, and the chemistry between them was as strong as their emotional bond. I loved Danny's unwavering support for Elle, and how he had been there for her through everything. I did feel as though things got a bit cheesy at times though. Things were overly sweet at times and once they had admitted their feelings to one another (which was pretty early on in the story) they were always telling each other that they loved one another. It was a bit overkill, and got to be very repetitive.

The other thing that kept me from loving this story was that it was just a bit too smooth sailing here. Like I said it was very sweet and while that is great, there wasn't a lot of drama or conflict. It kept the story from ever really going anywhere and not a lot actually happened. I kept waiting for something big to come up and see how these two would handle things, but it just never went there though there was the potential for so much more. So while I liked this story, I didn't love it and wished for something more. It got to the point with all the sweetness and I love you's that I found myself wanting to skim a lot in the last half of the book. I think that contemporary fans who enjoy very sweet stories might enjoy this book, but if you are looking for a deeper story this might not be the one you are looking for.

**ARC Provided by Southern Belle Promotions**

Purchase: | Amazon

Guest Post with Author Sara Jane Stone and Giveaway

Meet Sara Jane Stone author of Serving Trouble.

After several years on the other side of the publishing industry, Sara Jane Stone bid goodbye to her sales career to pursue her dream-writing romance novels. Sara Jane currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with her very supportive real-life hero, two lively young children and a lazy Burmese cat. Join Sara Jane’s newsletter to receive new release information, news about contests, giveaways, and more!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

ARC Review: Rough Rhythm by Tessa Bailey

Rough Rhythm is the second story in the Made In Jersey series from Tessa Bailey. This is a standalone novella and features James and Lita. James and Lita meet one night at a bar. Lita was hungry and homeless, and James was looking for someone different in the endless Hollywood meat market. But when James let his desires get a bit out of control that night, he vowed to keep her at arms length and make up for how he had treated her. Lita has been trying since that night to show James that she wants all of him, but no matter what she does she can't seem to get through to him. When she finally takes things too far though, James exits her life and Lita decides to do whatever it takes to not only bring him back, but to also show him exactly what is between them. 

I will admit that I had a bit of an issue with Lita here. I disliked her pretty much from go, and that was a bit hard to come back from. She was very young and I do understand that part of that played into her actions. But this girl was beyond reckless and her self-destructive behavior almost seemed to be a joke to her. She didn't care that she was hurting herself or others around her, and she actually thought that her childish and immature behavior would win James over, as if that would convince him to explore his darker side with her. James I liked, but it felt as though his character was just surface deep. He was constantly saying how his desires were too dark and that Lita should be afraid of him, but honestly I didn't really see it. Yes there were some moments of him restraining Lita and them acting out fantasies and situations of non-consensual sex, but honestly it wasn't what I had been expecting at all. Tessa Bailey knows how to give the reader heat and dirty talk, but I felt like this one didn't really deliver on the darker edge that was promised here. 

Overall, this story had some good moments but it just didn't completely do it for me. I wanted more of James and his darker side, and less of Lita acting like a brat. I think a lot of my problem here was that this story just didn't draw me in like I had hoped and I was never fully invested in it. That could be a length issue, as there just weren't as many pages to really engage the reader since this was a novella instead of a full length novel. I still love Tessa Bailey, and there is definitely some heat and chemistry here. But I had been expecting this story to be on the darker side, and to me it wasn't much darker than Tessa's books typically are. I also didn't feel the same connection to the characters or between them that I typically do with Tessa's books and that is what really kept me from falling in love with James and Lita's story.

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle

Feature: Rough Rhythm by Tessa Bailey

God help the woman I take home tonight.

Band manager James Brandon never expected to find the elusive satisfaction he’d been chasing, let alone stumble upon it in some sleezy Hollywood meat market. Yet the girl’s quiet pride spoke to him from across the bar, louder than a shout. Troubled, hungry and homeless, she’d placed her trust in him. But after losing the grip on his dark desires that one fateful night, James has spent the last four years atoning for letting her down.

This time I’ll finally crack him.

Rock band drummer Lita Regina has had enough of James’s guilt. She wants the explosive man she met that night in Hollywood. The man who held nothing back and took no prisoners—save Lita. And she’ll stop at nothing to revive him. Even if it means throwing herself into peril at every turn, just to get a reaction from her stoic manager. But when Lita takes her quest one step too far, James disappears from her life, thinking his absence will keep her safe.

Now it’s up to Lita to bring James back…and ignite an inferno of passion in the process.

Reader Advisory: ROUGH RHYTHM contains fantasies of non-consensual sex, acted upon by consenting characters. Readers with sensitivity to portrayals of non-consensual sex should be advised.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

ARC Review: Playing Defense by Cate Cameron

Playing Defense is the second book in the Corrigan Falls Raiders series by Cate Cameron. Each book in this series is a standalone story, though the characters are connected. While I liked the first book, I didn't love it. Sadly I didn't like this book as much as I did the first, and I think that this will be the last I read in this series. 

Looking to add some extra-curriculars to her applications for college, Claudia Waring agrees to give tutoring a shot when her guidance counselor suggests it. Though Claudia doesn't want to tutor anyone, she has little choice as everything else is already full. But things go from bad to worse when she finds out that not only will she not be tutoring elementary kids, but rather fellow senior Chris Winslow. Chris is everything that Claudia isn't, he is a fun-loving prankster and a popular star of the hockey team. Soon Claudia and Chris are spending time together and not just trying to help improve Chris's grades. As they each begin to venture outside their comfort zone, Chris begins to wonder what a smart girl like Claudia could possibly see in him. 

While I liked Chris and Claudia enough, I felt like they acted a bit immature and young for their ages. These characters felt more like freshman than seniors, and I just had a tough time really connecting to them. I didn't feel invested in their story and I didn't really see the connection that they should have been developing. While I did enjoy some of their moments together and thought that they were cute, I wanted to see more of them getting to know one another and it turning into something real. These two were so different from one another, and I never felt as though they really had anything in common to bond over. 

I also wanted there to be more hockey. It was made a pretty big deal of that Chris is one of the team stars and the series is titled after their team, yet it was such a minor part of the story that it almost felt like it had nothing to do with the story at all. I also have to say that I absolutely hated Claudia's mom. She was awful and just made me extremely angry. The other thing that bothered me here was the fact that the POV would often switch in the middle of the chapter. It was a bit confusing at times to keep track of which POV we were getting, and I wish that had been more clear. Overall, this one was a miss for me even though I really wanted to like like it. What could have been a really cute YA story for me was cliched and tired, with nothing new or exciting to offer. It is a short and light read though, and if you are a fan of Cate Cameron's or the first book in the series, you might give this one a shot.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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

ARC Review: Hawke by Sawyer Bennett

First I’m going to start with my love for Sawyer Bennett! She is so amazing! I tend to flock towards historical more than contemporary and then if I do read a contemporary author there are certain ones that I stick to, for example anything Julie James or Kristan Higgans. Well now I have to include Sawyer Bennett to that list. Anything Sawyer Bennett! I first discovered Bennett when I was reviewing an audio book “Ryker.” Although I had heard of Bennett I was not at all interested in hockey nor reading about athletes. Or so I thought. Bennett can write about the hockey puck and I would want to read it! She has a great talent for making the characters in her story seem like real people. When I was reading Hawke I felt a big connection to both the hero- Hawke Therrien and heroine- Vale Campbell. 

Hawke plays for the “Cold Fury” a North Carolina hockey team. ( I would like to say I have never seen a hockey game in my life and I was captivated by her descriptions of the game). He is a wild man and not afraid to show it. Earlier in his life him and Vale were inseparable. They both partied hard and loved harder. It seemed that nothing could tear them apart. Just before Hawke is about to take off for his big chance to play professional Vale breaks it off with him. Hawke is angry and hurt. He can’t understand how Vale can just switch off their love from one day to the next. Although he tries to get her to explain why, she refuses and walks away. Hawke never looks back. Although he still loves her he is not going to beg her and he makes his own life and eventually loses contact with the people that are from his hometown including Vale’s dad and their mutual friends. 

Hawke is a big deal in the Cold Fury, he parties hard but plays harder. He is a professional thru and thru. He is shocked when he learns that Vale will be working for the team as a physical therapist. Vale for her part has left the past behind her. She is no longer the hard-partier that Hawke knew and she realizes that after their shared past she can no longer look back. She is very cold and distant with Hawke and tries her best to keep him out of her life. She has moved on and she has more important things to worry about then their past heartbreak. 

Like I mentioned before, I loved both Vale and Hawke. I was curious to know why she broke it off and it was hard to understand her motives until the truth comes out. When Hawke finally learns the truth he tries to make up for the past they lost but faces a lot of resistance from Vale. As Vale and Hawke begin to know each other again it was easy to see why they were so in love. I loved their dynamic and their intense love for each other! I also loved how Bennett had them come together and develop a friendship. As in past “Cold Fury” books, Bennett does not have her character’s waste time with immature and unnecessary and exhausting drama. Her characters seem like real people genuinely trying to find their way to love and happiness. When I started “Hawke” I couldn’t put it down and when I finished it I couldn’t stop thinking about Vale and Hawke! I highly recommend it and really enjoyed it and I am undoubtedly a HUGE Bennett fan!

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | 

Guest Post with Author Stefanie London

Stefanie London is the USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance with humour, heat and heart.

Growing up, Stefanie came from a family of women who loved to read. Her favourite activity was going shopping with her Nan during school holidays, where she would sit on the floor of the bookstore with her little sister and painstakingly select the books to spend her allowance on. Thankfully, Nan was a patient woman.

Thus, it was no surprise Stefanie was the sort of student who would read her English books before the semester started. After sneaking several literature subjects into her ‘very practical’ Business degree, she got a job in Communications. When writing emails and newsletters didn’t fulfil her creative urges, she turned to fiction and was finally able to write the stories that kept her mind busy at night.

Now she lives with her very own hero and dreams of travelling the world. She frequently indulges in her passions for good coffee, French perfume, high heels and zombie movies. Recently she gave up her day job to write sexy, contemporary romance stories and she couldn’t be happier.

Monday, March 14, 2016

ARC Review: Anything More Than Now by Rebecca Paula

Anything More Than Now is my first book from Rebecca Paula. It is the second book in her Sutton College series, though each book is about a different couple and is said to be a standalone story. Unfortunately this book was not at all like I had been expecting, and I just couldn't get into it like I had hoped I would be able to. I gave this one a shot after putting it down and walking away a few times, but at 35% I am throwing in the towel. 

The writing style here is part of my problem. While I believe that the story itself has promise, I found the execution lacking. This book was all over the place, and I honestly was constantly trying to figure out what was going on or if I had missed anything. At times it felt like words were missing, or the story would jump around in time or place as well as from one point of view to another. I just couldn't keep track of everything and there were often times no explanation between the jumps. The reader was left to try and figure it out on their own with no clues at all. I also thought that there were a ton of characters and things going on in the story, but little information was given. It was almost as if the reader should already know the background when it was never given. Part of that could be because I haven't read the first in the series, but if this book is intended to be a standalone there should have been more information given for those who hadn't read the previous story.  

It was also hard to reconcile the characters from the Prologue to the characters in the following chapters. I understand that there was a jump in time and that things had changed, yet the characters seemed to have huge personality shifts that weren't explained at all. Maybe that was explained after the 35% mark, but I just couldn't figure out how these two had gone from friendly and Noah wanting to ask Reagan out (before his friend moved first) to Noah and Reagan constantly fighting and pretty much hating one another. It didn't make any sense to me, especially since she had dated his best friend for awhile. If anything I would have expected them to become closer (since they both had attraction to the other and seemed to want something with each other) rather than being at each other's throats. All of that along with how confusing and disjointed this story was, and I just couldn't continue. There wasn't anything holding my interest, and I just grew tired of trying to figure out what was going on. Reagan was abrasive and came off as cold and bitchy. Noah had turned from slightly awkward but likable to a bit of a jerk. I found him calling Reagan "four eyes" to be insulting rather than endearing. I also wasn't really feeling the connection or chemistry between these two, probably because of how they treated one another. 

I think that there are NA fans out there that might like this book, and I think that if people can stick with it that the story might actually be a good one. Unfortunately I just couldn't get over all of those things and find the will to finish. I think the pacing and characters as well as the author's writing style just don't work for me personally. But while it didn't work for me, if this book sounds like something you might like then you should definitely give it a go. 

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |