Saturday, July 16, 2016

Weekly Winners

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

Hanging by a Thread by Jenna Sutton

Brave the Heat by Sara Humphreys

Flameout by Keri Arthur

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: You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell

Nothing stays secret forever, least of all love…

On the morning of her twenty-fifth birthday, Lily Harper opens the very last letter written to her by her beloved mother, who died when she was eight. Learning about the first and only real love of her mom’s life is a revelation.

The same momentous day, Lily meets Eddie Tessler, an actor fleeing fame who could change her world in unimaginable ways. But her childhood friend Dan has his own reasons for not wanting Lily to get too carried away by Eddie’s attentions.

As secrets past and present begin to emerge, Lily’s not sure what—or who—to believe. But one thing is clear: in the beautiful Cotswold village of Stanton Langley, nothing will ever be the same again…

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |

ARC Review: Scarlet by Aria Cole

Sometimes when it comes to reading a book, the book can be a victim of timing. In this case, it just so happens that this book landed on my read list at the same time as a similar short story. I tell you that because reading two books with similar characters might effect my thoughts on those books. So when you read this review and my review that is up for tomorrow on Holding His Forever, consider that I might have just overloaded on super intense alpha males. It might have been too much for me but you might enjoy this book more than my three star rating.

Let me give you a quick rewind. In this book, Cole is giving us updates on a familiar fairy tale theme. This book is a twist on Little Red Riding Hood. Beau is the big bad wolf....I think. Scarlet is, of course, Red. Scarlet is at home to spend time with her sickly Grandmother when she encounters Beau. Scarlett is an innocent red head who has not had much experience with life or sex. From the minute Scarlett meets Beau, she is captivated by him and vice versa.

The reason I enjoyed this book is because, as you know, I'm nasty. This book gave me all the smoking hotness that I could ask for. Even though Scarlett is an innocent virgin at first, the sex was very sexy. The reason my rating of this book isn't higher is because I honestly thought i missed a couple of pages at some point. The book is short but Beau goes from being a stranger to Scarlet to being seriously obsessed and in love in no time. I just did not get the intensity of Beau's feelings for Scarlet developing when he knows almost nothing about her. I also felt like some of the scenes were so over the top, they were kind of silly. Before Beau and Scarlet sleep together for the first time, their interludes, while steamy, just seemed like too much. For as over the top as Beau was, Scarlet is equally over the top in her wide eyed innocence. I just really didn't get how Beau thought someone like Scarlet was his abosolute soul mate after like two minutes of knowing her. Lastly, I was really wondering what happened to poor Grandma after Scarlet got into Beau. She was dickmatized to the point that Granny became a non-factor.

I had fun with this short book. I definitely found it entertaining but there isn't much of a story and you might not necessarily follow the relationship between the couple.

**ARC provided by Ardent PRose**

Purchase: | Amazon |

Friday, July 15, 2016

Audiobook Review: Simply Unforgettable by Mary Balogh, Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

I saw so many great reviews for “Simply Unforgettable” by Mary Balogh that I was intrigued by the story. Balogh is an author I have tried to read in the past but didn’t quite get into. I liked the plot behind “Simply Unforgettable” and I enjoy romance novels where teachers are the main heroines.

Frances Allard was a great heroine. She is a teacher at an all-girls school. She teaches girls that don’t come from high society families. She loves her job and working with her students. Frances is also a very talented singer. She is a very gifted songstress. During the Christmas holiday she is visiting her aunts when on her way back to her school, her carriage suffers an accident. Lucius Marshall is both the cause and the help in this incident. Lucius and Frances rub each other the wrong way and soon they are at odds. Lucius offers Frances help and she has no choice but to accept as a big snow storm hits.

When Frances and Lucius spend the next couple of days together there is a notable class difference between them. But soon they realize that they really enjoy each other and find the good in each other. Lucius gives Frances the holiday that she has always wanted and although Lucius is not ready to say goodbye, Frances realizes that there is not future for them. Lucius feels rejected by Frances and can’t understand why she doesn’t want to see him after an intimate night that they shared.

Frances and Lucius part ways and they each carry on with their own lives. She goes back to teaching and he goes back to his home. Lucius realizes that it’s time for him to marry and he realizes it’s his duty. He seems to have someone in mind when fate intervenes and Frances meets his grandfather. Frances and his grandfather develop a great relationship. She also plays chaperon to his younger sister and also develops a good relationship with her.

So, this is where I started to struggle… I felt that the drama that followed Frances and Lucius was very drawn out. There was so much that happened in the first part of the book but then everything that followed was very drawn out. Even after Lucius reconnects with Frances, she starts to imagine that he is only interested in exploiting her signing talent and he only wants her as a mistress.

Overall, the story was cute but I would have enjoyed it more if it were shorter and there was an actual problem instead of self-created problems. I am confident that Balogh fans will enjoy this story and I plan to hear the next one in the series.

Rosalyn Landor was a great narrator. I thought she really understood the characters and their emotions. She made the story enjoyable to hear.

**Audiobook provided by Publisher**

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

ARC Review: Filthy English by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Filthy English is the second book in the English series by Ilsa Madden-Mills. Each book is a standalone story, though they are interconnected. After reading Dirty English, I couldn't wait for more of this world. I was so excited when I found out that we were getting Dax's story, and I really enjoyed it. 

Dax and Remi had once found out that a relationship between them would never work, despite their feelings for one another. Years passed and they moved on though they both thought of each other often. But when Remi is left at the altar by her fiance, she goes on her honeymoon to London alone with plans to get drunk and forget about her fiance. But Remi is shocked to run into Dax, and once she does her plans change. Remi intends to move on and she knows Dax is exactly the man to help her do it. 

I liked Dax a lot, and I was so hoping we would get his story. He is sexy and charming, and impossible to resist. He is a tattooed bad boy that you can't get enough of, yet he also had an unexpected soft side that we got to see occasionally. I loved how intense he could be at times, but what really got to me was seeing his vulnerability because it wasn't something that showed often. I did have some issues with Remi. While I liked her at times, I did get frustrated with her because of her wishy washy feelings about her ex. Her inability to make up her mind got on my nerves and sort of soured me on her character.

I thought that Dax and Remi had a ton of chemistry and were perfect for one another, but I could have done without her ex being in the story as much as he was. It felt a bit forced at times and as though it was done at times just for the drama. I still liked this story, and it is definitely worth the read for Dax alone. I just wish that Remi had been a bit stronger of a character and hadn't come across as weak as she did at times. I do love how this is a modern take on Romeo and Juliet and that it was new and different while still delivering everything that readers know and love of the classic story. I love a good forbidden story and thought that this was a unique take on that. I know I will read more from Ilsa Madden-Mills in the future, and I would recommend this series to readers who enjoy contemporary romance, especially those that love the NA genre.

**ARC Provided by TRSOR Promotions**

Purchase: | Amazon

Guest Post with Author Charis Michaels and Giveaway

CHARIS MICHAELS is thrilled to be making her debut with Avon Impulse. Prior to writing romance, she studied Journalism at Texas A&M and managed PR for a trade association. She has also worked as a tour guide at Disney World, harvested peaches on her family’s farm, and entertained children as the “Story Godmother” at birthday parties. She has lived in Texas, Florida, and London, England. She now makes her home in the Washington, D.C.-metro area.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

ARC Review: Dominating Red by Kristin Miller

Look, I probably have no business giving this book 4 stars but just let me explain. I'M NASTY. Hard stop. Hey, that's all I got. I like the steamy/freaky ish and this was definitely that. Can I be honest? I can barely locate a plot here because there are so few pages. But I still enjoyed the brief experience.

I know this book picks up where the last one left off. Something is afoot in the it a pack? Anyway, somebody has been stealing or doing something unsavory with the packs business and Reaper is still on the case but while he is out howling at the moon or whatever, Ivy is with Lukas. With Lukas, naked. As offensive as I find a heroine who goes from one bed to another in less than the time it takes me to make a casserole, Ivy and Lukas together is HAWT. I'm not sure which was hotter, the Reaper hookup, or the Lukas hookup. What I am sure of is that this series should be read with a glass of ice water near by. There is a lot of ho hum sex scenery going around. I appreciate Ms. Miller for blowing the lid off that trend.

A few side notes: Grandma pack leader, the Omega, she is still around. She worked my last good nerve. Ivy has to pick a mate after her wild bang fest. She's in near impossible position so she seeks guidance from Grandma Omega. Grandma is supposed to be super wise with even extra intuition but her advise SUCKED. I don't know why this stuck out in my mind so much but it did. I'm also really curious about what Ivy is working with below the belt. On her first time out of the gate she captured not one but two alphas. I don't read a lot of shifter books so I'm not sure how common that is but it seems pretty non-standard.

If you are already into this series, the fun continues in this book. Don't read these books out of order because they are still just really parts to one long book. If you like the super hot stuff, start at the beginning because this is the series for you.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

Feature and Giveaway: Filthy English by Ilsa Madden-Mills

A smokin’ hot British player…
A jilted girl…
One night of mistaken identity…

Two weeks before her wedding, Remi Montague’s fiancĂ© drops her faster than a drunken sorority girl in stilettos. Armed with her best friend and a bottle of tequila, she hops a plane to London to drown her sorrows before fall semester begins at Whitman University.

She didn't plan on attending a masquerade party.

She sure didn’t plan on waking up next to the British bad boy who broke her heart three years ago—the devastatingly handsome and naked Dax Blay. Furthermore, she has no clue how they acquired matching tattoos.

Once back at Whitman together, they endeavor to pretend they never had their night of unbridled passion in London.

But that’s damn hard to do when you live in the same house…

One night. Two damaged hearts. The passion of a lifetime.

Purchase: | Amazon |

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

ARC Review: His to Protect by Stacey Lynn

This is a solid damsel in distress contemporary romance novel. If you like books in this genre, you will love this one. If you are looking for something edgy and out of the box, this probably isn't the book for you but this is a reliable installment in the genre to which it belongs.

Declan stumbles on Trina digging through his trash and is instantly attracted to her. Despite the fact that Trina is all up in the garbage, Declan can tell that she is someone from better means. It turns out Trina is running away from an abusive husband who has a lot of power and influence. Declan is determined to do everything he can to protect her from ex-crazy. The thing I like about Declan and Trina is that he takes her in but the relationship is reciprocal. Trina doesn't just take advantage of Declan's kindness, she contributes to his life and to his business.

The other thing I like about the main couple is their maturity. I enjoy drama and angst as much as the next girl but sometimes you need people to say what they mean and mean what they say. In this book Declan recognizes when he starts to develop feelings for Trina and clearly communicates with her. I loved that Declan was protective enough of Trina to realize that she might not be ready for a relationship and then to wait on her. I also liked that Trina was not broken by her prior relationship. She took a chance on being able to find the kind of love she really wanted with Declan.

The only reason this book wasn't a 4 star ranking for me is that it just didn't have any extra zing. I really liked the book but I feel like I won't be able to distinguish these characters from any of the hundreds I read about. I still recommend this book for all you damsel in distress fans.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

ARC Review: Serving Trouble by Sara Jane Stone

Serving Trouble is the first book in the Second Shot Series by Sara Jane Stone. Each book in the series can be read as a standalone story. I have really enjoyed books by Sara Jane Stone before, and I was excited to start this new series of hers. I love a good second chance romance story as well as a best friend's little sister book, but while I liked this one I didn't love it. 

Five years after leaving, Josie Fairmore returns home to look for a job. Suffering from a loss and a ton of debt, Josie is forced to turn to the one man she wishes she didn't have to. He is the same man who gave her one amazing night and then left her behind, also known as her brother's best friend Noah Tager. Noah is home from serving overseas as a Marine, and managing his dad's bar. Noah is determined to get a second chance with Josie, and Josie is determined to protect herself from Noah this time around. But when trouble shows up and Josie is caught up in it, Noah will do whatever it takes to protect her and show her that they are worth taking a chance on. 

Noah and Josie had both been through so much. Each of them had a lot that they had been put through, and they were still suffering because of that. Josie was a fighter though, and I admired her strength. Same with Noah, he had seen so much and was still living with it even after returning home. I thought that these two were great for each other and I really believed that together they were even stronger and could help heal one another. They had chemistry and history, and I liked that even though they were different people than they had been they still fit one another and had a connection to one another.

While I liked them though, I had trouble believing that these two went from having one night together and some history to being fully in love. It felt like something was missing, and it wasn't entirely realistic. I just couldn't see how they got to be where they were, and I wanted to see them really develop that relationship and there just wasn't enough shown here for me to buy into them fully. There also were times that my interest just wasn't held here, and I found myself wanting to either put the book down or skim through and because of that I just didn't love it. It was an okay story and there were things I liked, but there wasn't really anything new or memorable here. I do think that if this sounds like one you are interested in reading, that it is worth the chance. While I didn't love it, it was still a good story and there was a lot to like here.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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

Feature: Searching for Harmony by Kelly Elliott

From New York Times bestselling author Kelly Elliott comes the gut-wrenching story of a love that transcends all odds—and transforms the deepest pain into the brightest hope.

Firefighter and first responder Preston Ward thought he had grown immune to the job’s emotional burns. But when he goes out on a particularly tragic call, he realizes that some scenes are too devastating to forget. And yet, if it weren’t for that terrible night, he never would have met the woman who makes him want to risk his heart.

More than once, Harmony Banks has watched her perfectly ordered world torn apart by fate. Now she’s finding out that what she lost wasn’t as perfect as she thought—and it’s tearing her apart. The only thing that keeps her going is the kindness of a stranger: the firefighter who saved her life the night everything changed.

Preston isn’t like the men who have come before. For one thing, he’s far more genuine. And the love Harmony feels growing between them is almost too intense for her wounded soul. But if she and Preston can push past heartbreak, they’ll find that something incredible awaits in each other’s arms.

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

ARC Review: The Drifter by

I did not like anything about the pages of this book that I read. Nothing. I felt like the author was going for something really deep and dramatic but it seemed to me like a lot of words that didn't convey whatever actual emotion was supposed to be conveyed.

First, the issue that drives Kray out of his home just didn't move me. I didn't identify with his relationship with Rory and I didn't really get the depth of emotion regarding the separation. The couple seems really really young to have the kind of intense connection that is being depicted. I also didn't really understand the issue with Kray's Father or why he set out to destroy his entire life. None of it made sense to me.

By the time Rory and Kray meet up as adults, Kray is a vagrant who hangs out with an old hooker and Rory is a wealthy executive. I was still trying to hold on to the story until Rory becomes obsessed with getting this random vagrant (who is of course Kray) she meets on the street to sing for her. Kray knows that Rory has stumbled on him because he still remembers her from their teenage years and is still in love with her. And oh yeah, Kray has not had sex with anyone since Rory. And it was just all too ridiculous. Add to all of this the fact that the writing just tells you what to feel instead of drawing you into the story and this was one book that I just could not get myself to keep turning the pages on.

Maybe you can get past the 20% mark and this will be for you but it wasn't for me and I had to just cut my losses.

**ARC provided by TRSoR Promotions**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

ARC Review: Cream of the Crop by Alice Clayton

I honestly don't know exactly how to feel after finishing Cream of the Crop by Alice Clayton. On the one hand I genuinely enjoyed parts of this book, and there were some really great moments here. But I also had a few things that I didn't like and didn't work for me, and that left me with mixed feelings overall. One thing I can say though is that Alice Clayton definitely knows how to write a wonderful blend of humor and steam, giving you just the perfect amount of each to keep you flipping pages and not wanting to put her books down. 

After a childhood of being known as the chubby girl, Natalie Grayson has it all. Embracing her curves and gaining some confidence, she now has a fantastic job that she is great at and can have any man she wants. But the sexy owner of Bailey Falls Creamery seems to be the one man that turns her into a pile of mush. Every Saturday morning she heads to the farmer's market to see him and each week she is only able to utter two words to him while buying some of his amazing Brie. But when her work sends her to Hudson Valley, she knows that now is her chance to make him see her as more than just the woman who buys his cheese every week. 

I really liked Natalie most of the time. While she did have her moments of being a bit high maintenance, she was also strong and confident. I loved how she had overcome her feelings of not being enough and all that she had been through in her childhood and past relationships. She went after who and what she wanted, and made no apologies. Oscar I struggled a bit with if I am honest. He was sexy and had some great moments with Natalie. But there were also times that I hated how he treated her, and I wanted nothing more than to throttle him. He seemed surface deep to me for the most part, despite getting details on his past. While the chemistry was really strong between these two, I wasn't 100% sold on their emotional connection.

I think part of my problem buying into the relationship between these two was the fact that Oscar's ex was so prominent in his life still. It was way too much for my taste and Natalie had a problem with it for the majority of this book. But Oscar basically told her to suck it up and get over it, and Natalie was suddenly okay with it. That didn't work at all for me, and honestly didn't quite ring true for her character and all that she had grown into after her past. Frankly I got sick of Oscar's ex being around so much and seeming to never give up, and I was even more sick of Oscar shrugging it off and continuing on like her butting in and dropping by constantly was normal. He seemed more concerned with her feelings at times than Natalie's, and that was no okay with me. So while I liked parts of this story, I didn't love the book as a whole. Unfortunately some of those things just never left me able to really get behind Oscar and Natalie's relationship and I just didn't feel like they were as solid as they should have been. I know I will read more from Alice Clayton in the future, but honestly this one wasn't my favorite of hers.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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