Saturday, July 30, 2016

Weekly Winners

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

One Size Fits All by Stephanie Haefner

The One You Really Want by Jill Mansell

Nuts by Alice Clayton

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: Here and Now by Cheryl Etchison

Here and Now is the second book in the American Valor series by Cheryl Etchison. I am really loving this series, and am becoming a huge fan of Cheryl's. This series is emotional and both stories so far have been so good that I couldn't put either one of them down. If you are a contemporary fan and love military heroes, this series is a must read!

Former Ranger Medic Lucky James is adjusting to civilian life and has decided to work nights in the ER while attending classes during the day. Things are working out for him until his 19 year old lab partner shows up with dinner one night looking for more. Lucky knows that he needs help and asks his coworker Rachel to help him out. But Rachel is also in need of some help and agrees to help Lucky with his chem partner as long as Lucky will help move her out of her boyfriend's place so that she can finally break up with him. As Lucky and Rachel get to know one another, things start to change and both of them find themselves feeling far more than they expected. Can two people who weren't looking for love or a future find one together?

I really liked these two. I will admit that while I had liked Lucky in the first book of the series, I had been hoping to get Mike's story. But as soon as I started Here and Now, Lucky had me! Seeing him adjust to civilian life and start a friendship with Rachel was something that I couldn't get enough of. Lucky was such a great hero, and I thought that him and Rachel were fantastic together. Rachel was great as well, and even though these two weren't initially friends and didn't plan on anything more, they fit together perfectly. She helped him just as he helped her, and I felt like the connection they were forming was so real and genuine. 

Overall, another great story in the American Valor series by Cheryl Etchison. I am so glad that I took a chance on Cheryl with Once and For All, because this series is everything I look for in a great Contemporary Romance series. I have really loved both books, and I think that readers will love these just as much as I have. Though I have never been through what any of these characters have, Cheryl Etchison has a way with words and I feel like there is something in each of these that anyone can relate to. Her characters are interesting and unique, and I have felt invested in each of them. I can't wait to read more from Cheryl Etchison, and I am still anxiously awaiting Mike's story!

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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Feature and Giveaway: A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet



Catalia "Cat" Fisa lives disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus. She is perfectly content avoiding the danger and destiny the Gods—and her homicidal mother—have saddled her with. That is, until Griffin, an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south, fixes her with his steely gaze and upsets her illusion of safety forever.

Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker, the woman who divines the truth through lies. He wants her as a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm—until he realizes he wants her for much more than her magic. Cat fights him at every turn, but Griffin's fairness, loyalty, and smoldering advances make him increasingly hard to resist and leave her wondering if life really does have to be short, and lived alone.

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ARC Review: A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Catalia (Cat) is a fortuneteller with a travelling circus. One night she is approached by five men and is asked if any of them are disloyal to their leader, Griffin. Griffin's suspicions are correct in two things. One of his men is in fact a traitor, and second, Cat is the Kingmaker. She can determine between truth and lies when spoken.

Griffin decides to take her hostage and back to the capitol and his sister. He has conquered the previous royal family and put his older sister on the throne. Cat fights as hard as she can to get away from the men and makes the journey as difficult as she can. Despite her captivity, she starts to care for the group and have romantic thoughts about Griffin.

The small company faces some incredible beings and magic. Turns out she is a known entity to Gods like Hades and Poseidon. Griffin has some unique abilities of his own, and he also becomes obsessed with Cat. He cannot stop trying to figure out all of her secrets. Cat resists pretty well but she is at war with herself over it.

Personally, I thought it was pretty lazy of the author to use Greek Gods and Goddesses for this story. It doesn't really go into them very much and only their names and basic powers are used. I don't think any of the city's mentioned are from ancient Greece. I wasn't impressed, but it is possible that I'm particularly biased because I love Greek Mythology. It just would have been better if the world and magic was original.

Cat's character was hard from me to decide on. She annoyed me to no end with her overconfident sarcasm while at the same time I admired it. It was an inner struggle for me. I did find her pretty funny though. I hated Griffin. He just would not see that he was forcing Cat to be with them. He kept justifying it with his family's need for her abilities. He wasn't even the slightest bit remorseful for doing that to someone he cared about.

The plot of the book was pretty amateur. It repeated itself. A new threat would appear, and Cat would miraculously save the day almost killing herself. She'd regret not telling Griffin, info and then when she recovers or is saved, she still won't confide in him. The book ends out of nowhere. I understand that the story will continue, but even a smaller resolution was not found.

Despite the fact that this book had contradictions galore, I was still pretty hooked. Something kept pulling me to turn the page. I think the author does a good job of keeping the reader on their toes and wanting to uncover the next secret. It's a good ability for Amanda Bouchet to have and speaks of her potential. For a debut, this is a entertaining read. I look forward to seeing how the author improves.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

Friday, July 29, 2016

ARC Review: Paper Princess by Erin Watt

I'll be honest and say that Paper Princess is one of those books that I wanted to read, yet I was kind of scared to start. I had heard so many people raving over this book that I began to wonder if it could really live up to the hype. Since I love books by both Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick (the writing duo behind the name Erin Watt), I figured that I should finally break down and give this one a go before the second book in the series was released. Of course now that I have finished I can't believe I waited this long to read it, and I can admit that my fears were for nothing. This book was every bit as fantastic as everyone is saying it is. 

Ella is survivor, doing what she has to in order to live and put herself through school now that her mother is gone and she is on her own. But then she meets Callum Royal, who takes her in and offers her a place in his mansion living along with him and his five sons. Though each Royal boy is captivating in his own way, it is Reed Royal who has her attention. But Reed Royal is determined to get rid of Ella and send her back where she came from. 

I absolutely loved the characters in this book, from secondary to main, they were all so unique and different. I felt like the authors did a great job of creating this world and I couldn't get enough! There is some steam in this book, but honestly this one falls somewhere between YA and NA for me. I adored Callum though he isn't the hero of the book. Every scene he was in was so much fun to read, and I really loved how sweet and almost awkward he is. Ella was strong and easy to like, I loved how determined she was and the fact that she was such a survivor. Things between her and the five Royal brothers were fun and playful, and I was glad that while they could be mean at times and picked on Ella, it wasn't done in a truly horrible or cruel way. But Reed was probably my favorite, and I just loved him. 

I know that I probably sound repetitive and extremely biased, but I can honestly say that this book was just a fantastic all around read that I didn't want to put down. There were twists and turns, and I will warn there is a cliffhanger here. But I would definitely recommend this one and I am already anxious for more. This world is so much fun, and I can't wait to see what Elle and Jen (writing as Erin Watt) have in store for us next with Broken Prince. If you haven't taken the chance on this one yet, you absolutely should!

**ARC Provided by Bocci PR**

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

Feature and Giveaway: Wanderlust by Roni Loren

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Loving on the Edge series and Off the Clock, a story of sex, love, rock & roll, and a reporter who’s about to learn a new meaning for staying on top of her assignment...

Restaurant critic Aubrey Bordelon is never at a loss for words to describe her meals in the fancy restaurants of New Orleans. But after her magazine’s high-profile music reporter falls ill, she finds herself out of her element and in a sea of screaming fans awaiting Wanderlust’s lead singer, Lex Logan. The sound of his voice gives her goosebumps, and the stage presence of the hard-bodied rock star takes her breath away. So when he pulls her onstage for a sexy stunt, she knows she’s in real trouble.

Lex doesn’t want to pretend that the sparks on stage between him and Aubrey never happened, but it certainly makes the fact that she’s writing a story on his band all the more dangerous. The last thing he needs is some nosy reporter revealing their problems to the world. But the sexy Southern belle doesn’t give up easily, and soon, he’s wondering if the best way to chase her off the story is to coax her into his bed…

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

Thursday, July 28, 2016

ARC Review: Learning to Ride by Erin Knightley

Learning to Ride is exactly what James Patterson is advertising! A quick shot to get you through when you need a hit! You only need to commit to the amount of time it would take you to watch a movie. I finished this in about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Erin Knightley jumps out of her comfort zone to bring us her first contemporary romance.

Madeline is a city girl who is trying to advance her career. She is sent to a small town in Texas in the hopes of acquiring a new branch for her company. The promotion is extremely important to her, so she is absolutely devoted to only her work. After a few weeks in town, She finally decides to have a little fun and goes to the local honky tonk.

Tanner is a former Rodeo rider, and he doesn't want any sort of serious relationship. When he sees Madeline at the Honky Tonk, he thinks she gorgeous and perfect because he doesn't think she is planting any roots. They share a few sexy dances and leave the bar together, wink wink!

Turns out though that Madeline is sticking around and she ends up finding a house to rent. The two agree that a relationship isn't a good idea because of reasons like Madeline's career and Tanner's knowledge of a small town rumor mill. However, they can't fight how drawn they are to each other.

This book was super cute, as all of Erin Knightley's stories are! Erin proves she has a lot of talent up her sleeves now that she is branching off into other romance sub genre's. She also gave a little more intimacy than is her norm. It was extra spicy, but still tasteful.

While my particular preference from Erin Knightley is Regency, this was still a great fast read. I have already recommended it to a couple of friends and my Mom! It's definitely worth a try and its James Patterson approved! That's gotta tell you this author has something special.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

ARC Review: Steadfast by Sarina Bowen

Steadfast is the second book in the True North series by Sarina Bowen, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one after I finished the first in the series, Bittersweet. I have been a fan of Sarina's since I first read one of her books, but I have to say that this series is absolutely my favorite from her to date! I am loving this world that she has created and I never want to leave! 

Sophie and Jude loved one another, but one incident changed everything. Jude vowed to stay away after the accident that killed a man and sent him to prison, but now that he is out he is an ex-con and is limited on where he can get a job. Sophie's heart was broken by Jude and she finds herself face to face with the man he has become and how much he has changed. Though no one wants them together, they find it impossible to let go of what they once had as well as the feelings that continue to grow. 

I loved these two! I knew I was going to love Jude's book after reading Bittersweet, but I honestly didn't expect to love it more than the first in the series! My heart broke for these two and all that they had been through. Though I have never experienced anything like they did here, I found that I was so emotionally invested in these characters. I felt a connection not only between Sophie and Jude, but also between them and me as a reader. I just couldn't get enough of them, and the chemistry between them was something really rare and unique. It was something that couldn't be broken, and that undeniable love they had kept me captivated the entire way through this one. 

Steadfast was such an emotional journey, and I will admit that there were some difficult parts to get through here. Reading about Jude and his addiction had me feeling so much, and that wasn't always easy. With that being said though, this story was so worth it and I really loved how things turned out. Sarina Bowen is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, and I really can't say enough positive things about this series. While this one can be read as a standalone story, I highly recommend this entire series! They are fantastic books and I really think that there is something for everyone here. I already can't wait for the next book in this series and I am looking forward to whatever else Sarina Bowen writes in the future.

**ARC Provided by Bocci PR**

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

Feature and Giveaway: To Have and to Hold by Lauren Layne

Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in The Wedding Belles, her sizzling brand new contemporary romance series about three ambitious wedding planners who can make any bride’s dream come true…but their own.

Discovering her fiancé is an international conman just moments before they exchange vows devastates celebrity wedding planner Brooke Burke’s business—and breaks her heart. Now a pariah in Los Angeles, she seeks a fresh start in New York City and thinks she’s found it with her first bridal client, a sweet, if slightly spoiled, hotel heiress. Then she meets the uptight businessman who’s holding the purse springs.

Seth Tyler wishes he could write a blank check and be done with his sister’s fancy-pants wedding. Unfortunately, micromanaging the event is his only chance at proving Maya’s fiancé is a liar. Standing directly in his way is the stunning blonde wedding planner whose practiced smiles and sassy comebacks both irritate and arouse him. He needs Brooke’s help. But can he persuade a wedding planner on a comeback mission to unplan a wedding? And more importantly, how will he convince her that the wedding she should be planning…is theirs?

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

Guest Post with Author M.L. Buchman and Giveaway

Meet M. L. Buchman author of Heart Strike.

M. L. Buchman has over 40 novels in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the year” and twice Booklist “Top 10 of the Year,” placing two titles on their “Top 101 Romances of the Last 10 Years” list. He has been nominated for the Reviewer’s Choice Award for “Top 10 Romantic Suspense of 2014” by RT Book Reviews and is a 2016 RWA RITA finalist. In addition to romance, he also writes thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction. He is constantly amazed at what can be done with a degree in geophysics.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

ARC Review: To Have and To Hold by Lauren Layne

To Have and to Hold is technically the first book of the Wedding Belles series. It’s a great romance; it is very much a typical Lauren Layne story. I loved the characters, each with varying personalities that it keeps it interesting and funny but with the common ground of wedding planning, they all mix well together.

Brooke Baldwin ran from California, she was building up her own wedding planning business she planned on having hers the best example of what she could do, but it all blew up in her face when the FBI arrested her fiancé at the altar. Seth Tyler has a plan for everything but when his father died those planned got moved up by two years and now his sister dropped the bomb that she is getting married to a man she has known for only three months, he knows something is not right. Seth’s only way of proving Maya’s fiancé is a gold digging waste of space is to micromanage the wedding and that puts in in direct contact with the stunning Brooke. No woman has ever affected him this way before. Brooke was heartbroken and mortified by her last relationship so when the brother of the bride starts making her lady parts tingle she doesn’t know what to do. Her boss gives her the advice that just because he’s writing the check does not make him the client, if you have an itch scratch it just done make it complicated. Making it complicated was inevitable.

I loved the side story with Maya, her fiancé, and Grant. You could see it coming and it played out nicely in conjunction with the rest of the story. Brooke and Seth are perfect for each other she bring just a little bit of chaos to his otherwise orderly life. But when Seth does something, which I completely agree with, I would have done it too, and Brooke flips out completely overreacted to it and compared him to her ex she breaks it off only to realize she loves him and she just may have lost him forever.

Overall, it’s hard for me to hate this book it was just great! Everything of Lauren Layne’s that I have read I love and I can’t wait for the remaining character’s HEAs.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

ARC Review: Ball Peen Hammer by Lauren Rowe

I don't even really know where to start with this review. I have absolutely loved everything I have read from Lauren Rowe, The Club series is one of my favorite series ever! That being said, I have very mixed feelings about Ball Peen Hammer. While this book can be read as a standalone story, I wouldn't recommend it. For those that haven't read The Club series, there are so many familiar faces, names and storylines referenced here that it might be hard at times to keep track of everything. This story is about different characters though they are interconnected. 

All Maddy Milliken wanted was a parking spot for the coming year so that she could work as well as attend school now that she got into UCLA. When her sister Hannah lines up a parking spot, all she has to do is give Keane Morgan a ride to LA to meet up with his brother, and his brother will give her the parking spot. Maddy and Keane get off on the wrong foot, but soon they are talking and getting to know one another while driving. Both Maddy and Keane start to like one another, though they know that hooking up is the last thing they should do. Keane is a stripper knows as "Ball Peen Hammer" and he doesn't do relationships at all, and Maddy is one woman that Keane can't risk making angry. But can they possibly make something work between them though there are many reasons why a relationship between them shouldn't happen? 

I will admit that a lot of my issues here center around Keane. I really struggled to like him for a lot of this book. He came off as cocky, completely aloof and often times selfish. I just had a hard time really caring for his character and I felt like he was just a hero that I wasn't going to fall for. But I did start to like him despite all the issues I had, and then he ended up ruining things for me all over again. While I did think that he and Maddy had chemistry and were forming a connection, I just wasn't able to feel fully invested in their relationship because of Keane. Maddy was a character that was easier for me to like, and I thought that she was great. Unfortunately she wasn't enough to fully win me over here. 

My other big issue here was that while there has been humor in Lauren's previous books, it was too over the top for me here in Ball Peen Hammer. Lauren Rowe has a great sense of humor that really comes across in her writing, and I love the witty banter that is always present in her stories. But while I usually find that funny and well balanced, there were times here that it was just too much. I really struggled to stick with this story, and it wasn't until well after half of this book was through that I felt like I actually wanted to read the entire book. I have never felt like that before with one of Lauren's books, but there was just something about this one that wasn't working for me and that made it hard for me to personally get into. Things felt a bit slow and as though not much was going on, and there were just too many over the top conversations and interactions going on up until that point for me to love this one like I wanted to. I think that a lot of readers will really enjoy this one, and fans of The Club series will definitely want to give this one a shot. But this one didn't have the same effortless feel to me that Lauren's books usually have, and I felt like this one came off as forced and trying a bit too hard when it came to the humor.

**ARC Provided by TRSOR Promotions**

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

Feature and Giveaway: Forbidden Fling by Skye Jordan

Delaney Hart has come a long way from her wild youth, dating tattooed bikers at her father’s bar, The Bad Seed. But when his death pulls her back to Wildwood, California, she must stay to renovate the dive he left her. And also face the lies and secrets that sent her running ten years before.

When Wildwood’s chief building inspector, Ethan Hayes, shows up on the property, Delaney doesn’t recognize him. The last thing he wants to do is save the bar where his cousin died in a brawl. But the good boy from her past is all too willing to remind her of the bad girl she used to be. And one night of passion leaves them both in a compromising position.

The last place Ethan should be is in Delaney’s bed. Guilt, family pressure, and plans for a brewpub of his own make shutting down The Bad Seed his top priority…until his feelings for Delaney interfere. Because her future depends on the success of the bar’s renovation and his dreams are rooted in its failure, their forbidden romance may be destined for heartbreak.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

ARC Review: Pennies by Pepper Winters

I usually do not write reviews the second I finish a book. I try to let some time, let the story sink in and gain some perspective. But you know what? I don't want this shit sinking in. I would like to forget this book ASAP so I need to go ahead and get this review off my chest.

I honestly don't think that there is a valid way to give this book a star rating. This book could be between 1 and 5 stars depending entirely upon where your gag reflex is located. So you can look at the rating I will eventually choose but in this case, the actual review is far more important.

First, I think I should explain something about the timing of me reading this book. This is the second kidnap/human trafficking book I read in the past couple of days. Timing is important because this is an extremely taboo subject matter that goes to the very hear of darkness in the human soul. Reading two books in a row on this topic might have an impact on my own gag reflex and how I was able to cope with this book.

Second, Pepper Winters' writing is insanely good. Winters' is writing on an entirely different level than a good 90% of "romance" writers. Her use of the English language is compelling and intriguing. The words this author uses make the book an experience, the imagery is so precise she makes the real world fall away and transports you into the story. The problem is that the story is utterly horrifying. I've read a lot of dark romance, this installment in this series (which is the first of a 5 part series) is not just dark, it's bleak, desolate, hopeless, __________ (insert other word that means you need several hugs when you are done with this book). I read Pepper Winters' Monsters In The Dark Series and some of the Debt Inheritance series. In my opinion this is more.....brutal than the other Winters' books I've read.

I don't know if you can tell from the synopsis but the story in this installment is fairly simple. Pim is kidnapped at the age of 16, sold into slavery to a perverted sick "human" being. After being sold, Pim is tortured in every despicable way you can imagine for years. The only solace for me is that most of the abuse is not described in great detail. It was a small solace because there is still a lot of abuse which is described and it is so ugly, I had to skim over some of the pages just to get through it. The thing about this book that elevates it above just gratuitous violence and abuse is the two main characters- Pim and Elder. Pim is either really brave or just a complete idiot, I still don't know. Elder is either a hero or a monster, don't know the answer to that either. What I do know is that the way that these two communicate with one another and the complexities between them are some of the most interesting descriptions of two characters I have ever read. That's all I can really tell you about the plot without spoilers.

Should you read this book? Maybe. Pepper Winters offers a warning at the beginning of the book, READ THE WARNING, BELIEVE THE WARNING. Don't expect any reprieve from ugliness in this book. Maybe it is coming down the road in the series, but don't look for it here. If you feel like you want to read this book AFTER you read Winters' warning and this review, you've been duly warned. For that reason, i decided to give this book 5 stars. Winters' is honest with her readers about what this is. If you decide to read the book anyway, I assume you can handle all of that darkness and despair and engage in the superior writing and character interactions in this book. If that is you, good luck to you. I need a fucking drink.

**ARC provided by TRSoR Promotions**

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