Saturday, June 24, 2017

ARC Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I am a huge fan of Taylor Jenkins Reid, so each time I see a new book from her I automatically add it to my TBR. When I heard about The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, I couldn't wait to read it! While this book isn't really what I would consider a romance (my preferred genre!) I knew I had to give it a chance just because Taylor wrote it. I have to say that I was drawn in right away and didn't want to put it down! Taylor's writing style is one that captivates the reader, and this book was no exception. 

No one is more stunned than Monique Grant when aging starlet Evelyn Hugo selects her to finally share her story. Wanting to jump start her career, Monique knows that this is the perfect opportunity and decides not to question why she was chosen. But as Monique gets to know Evelyn and her story, she quickly finds out that she and Evelyn have a connection that she never could have expected.

I found these characters fascinating. I was so intrigued with Evelyn and her husbands just from the title, but the more we got to know Evelyn the more I wanted! Evelyn was not everything that you first though she was, but beneath the surface she was someone who would do whatever it took to make it where she wanted. Her decisions and life story were so much more than what showed on the surface, and as she revealed more and more, I found myself unable to predict what would happen next. I loved seeing things unfold as we learned more right along with Monique.

Overall, this book wasn't at all what I expected and yet it was fantastic. Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of the most talented writers that I have ever read, and with each new book I read from her I am that much more impressed by her. She just seems to get better and better, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was really interesting. I recommend going into this story blind and just experiencing it as I did because I think if you try to find out what more that it wouldn't be quite the same experience. Taylor Jenkins Reid is an auto-buy for me, and I can't recommend her books enough.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Feature and Giveaway: Primrose Lane by Debbie Mason

Love is the best medicine.

Olivia Davenport has finally gotten her life back together. She’s left her painful past behind, started over in a new town, and become Harmony Harbor’s most sought-after event planner. But her past catches up to her when Olivia learns that she’s now guardian of her ex’s young daughter. With her world spinning, Olivia must reconcile her old life with her new one. And she doesn’t have time for her new next door neighbor, no matter how handsome he is.

Olivia may act like she’s got everything under control, but Dr. Finn Gallagher knows a person in over her head when he sees one. He’d really like to be the shoulder she leans on, but Olivia makes it clear she doesn’t want his help. Since he’s returned to town, his waiting room has been full of single women feigning illness. Yet the one woman he’s interested in is avoiding him. But with a little help from some matchmaking widows and a precocious little girl, Finn might just win Olivia over.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

ARC Review: Strong Enough by Melanie Harlow & David Romanov

I am a huge fan of Melanie Harlow's, so I was really excited when I saw that she had a new book coming out. Strong Enough is actually her first M/M novel, as well it being her first collaboration. This is also David Romanov's writing debut, and these two did a fantastic job! I really enjoyed this book and the writing was seamless and flowed as if they had been writing together for years. 

The last thing that Derek was looking for was another stray that his sister needed his help with. But when she called asking for his help with Maxim, a man trying to start a new life in the US, he knew he had to help. But neither of them expected the instant attraction and growing connection they feel. Derek had his life all planned out, and Maxim was everything he had always secretly wanted yet knew he could never have. Maxim wasn't looking for love but wasn't willing to walk away without giving things between them a try. But can Derek be strong enough to go against everything he always planned for his future for a chance at everything with Maxim?

I really loved these two. I felt the chemistry and connection between them right away, but I was glad that things progressed naturally for them and it didn't feel rushed. Maxim was so mature and open for his age, and I loved his patience with Derek. He understood where Derek was coming from and he never pressured him, and yet at the same time Maxim also didn't lower his own standards. He knew what he needed and what he had to do, and even if it hurt he wasn't willing to hide and keep their love a secret just to be with Derek. Derek had a lot to overcome, and I thought that Maxim was perfect for him. He showed him that their love wasn't wrong and that while it wasn't what Derek had planned for his life that it was worth taking a risk. 

Overall, this was just a really great story and I enjoyed reading it a lot. The characters were easy to like, and their story was genuine and believable. There was so much passion between Maxim and Derek, but it was so much more than that. These two clicked right away and were able to talk to one another and had such a great foundation for more. I loved seeing their friendship and the attraction between them grow, and it just felt right. There were some really great secondary characters here as well, especially Derek's sister. I loved her and how supportive she was of these two. I would love for her to get her own book as well as maybe see more of these two in the future. I highly recommend this one! This was a great story and Melanie and David made a great team! I really hope this isn't the last we see from them!

**ARC Provided by Social Butterfly PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle

Feature and Giveaway: The Right Ranger by Donna Michaels

Haley Wagner’s life just got a lot more complicated. As if turning her struggling ranch around isn’t tough enough, she’s forced to call him for help. With his hard eyes and even harder body, Cord is an irritatingly sexy contradiction of hot and cold. How can she possibly hide her embarrassing secret when just looking at Cord is a combustible event?

Former Army Ranger Cord Brannigan has a secret, too. He promised his fallen teammate he’d protect the tempting, fiercely independent Haley from a distance, but now they’re stuck together for three weeks. Alone. Keeping his hands off will take every ounce of control he can muster. And that control is slipping…

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

ARC Review: Before I Ever Met You by Karina Halle

I am a huge fan of Karina Halle's, so whenever I see that she has a new book out it automatically gets added to my TBR. That being said, Before I Ever Met You was one I couldn't wait to read because I absolutely love forbidden romance stories. Wit this one being about Jackie and her father's best friend Will, I knew there was bound to be all sorts of naughty moments and Karina definitely delivered. I loved it, and I think readers are going to feel the same way I did.

Will and Jackie first met when she was just a teenager. He was married and the best friend and business partner of her father. They were nothing to each other but acquaintances. Now ten years later, Jackie is returning home a 25-year old single mother needing help from her family after making a few mistakes. When her father offers her a job as Will's personal assistant Jackie jumps at the chance to prove herself at a place where she knows she could have a future. But Will is recently divorced and things between them are different than they were when they first met all those years ago. The chemistry and attraction is more than they can fight, but with them working together and Will being her father's best friend makes them off-limits to each other. 

I absolutely loved these two. They were super hot together and I couldn't get enough. It was so much more though between Jackie and Will though. They just fit together and it was so natural. It can be really hard to feel as though an age difference like the one between them would work realistically, yet for Jackie and Will it did. Will was great with Jackie and her son. He was kind and patient, and he genuinely cared about both of them. I loved that he didn't push her before she was ready, yet he didn't give up on her either. He was exactly what they needed after everything that had happened.

Overall, this was a really great story and I couldn't put it down. Karina Halle always draws me right in with her stories and this one was no exception. Before I Ever Met You was captivating and I read it in one sitting. I just really enjoyed everything about this one, and I am so excited that Karina has decided to write more about some of the characters that we met in this book. Karina Halle is a go to author for me that I always recommend, and this book is a must read!

**ARC Provided by Bocci PR**

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

Feature and Giveaway: Three Weeks with a Princess by Vanessa Kelly

Lia Kincaid, illegitimate daughter of the Duke of York, comes from a long line of notorious women. Raised by her grandmother, formerly mistress to the late Marquess of Lendale, she has little hope of a respectable marriage. But the new marquess, her childhood friend, Jack Easton, would make a very desirable protector…if he weren’t too honorable to take her to bed.

It’s bad enough being saddled with a title he never desired. Now Jack must resist the beautiful woman he desires far too much. Duty calls, and he is duty-bound to choose a wealthy bride. But then Lia makes another outrageous suggestion: asking Jack to devise some tests to find her the perfect paramour. Tests that involve flirting, kissing, and other pleasurable pursuits. Tests that, in a matter of weeks, could transform friendship into the ton’s greatest scandal, igniting a passion even duty can’t deny…

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“Trying to set me up as a courtesan is rather drastic,” Lia said. “I’m not you or Mama. I’m not a patch on either of you.”

“Nonsense. You’ve grown into a stunning young woman. With a little help from me and some financial support, you could very well take London by storm.”

There were so many things wrong with that plan that Lia didn’t know where to start. “I have another idea, Gran, and I’m convinced it’s the best one we could possibly come up with.”

Her grandmother had been reaching to replenish her teacup, but her hand halted in midair. “I’m listening.”

“I’ll join Mama’s acting troupe. They’re looking for new company members now that they’re in London. Mama said so in her last letter. And I’m sure I could live with Mama and Mr. Lester in their town house in Kensington.”

Her grandmother regarded her with a dubious air. “Unfortunately, there are a number of critical drawbacks to that plan.”

“Such as?”

“You can’t sing, dance, or act.”

That was rather a low blow. “I’m not much of a singer, I grant you. But I’m sure I can learn to dance, and you know very well I can act.”

Lia had been playacting for as long as she could remember and had often dreamed girlish dreams of following in her mother’s famous footsteps. She’d put on any number of recitations for her grandmother and his lordship over the years and had staged skits and little dramas for the servants, often with help from the kitchen maids and footmen. Granny and Lord Lendale had often told her that she was as fine an actress as Mrs. Siddons.

“My darling, the truth is you’re a dreadful actress,” her grandmother said in a patient tone.

“But you and his lordship were always so enthusiastic about my performances,” she protested.

“Because we didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”

“But what about the amateur theatricals I put on up at the house? The servants all seemed to think I was splendid.”

Her grandmother rolled her eyes.

She couldn’t help feeling daunted, but she had no intention of conceding—especially if the alternative was to become the next Notorious Kincaid. Lia was convinced she’d make an utter fool of herself as a courtesan, especially because her heart wouldn’t be in it.

“I don’t care what you say,” she said. “I’m writing to Mama tonight and telling her I’m coming to London. I can at least try out the notion on her and Mr. Lester and see what they say.”

Her grandmother seemed to waver for a moment, but then she grimaced. “I feel certain your mother will not be amenable to you taking up the theatrical life.”

“But she will be amenable to me becoming someone’s mistress?” Lia asked with disbelief.

Granny starched up. “It was good enough for me, was it not?”

“Look how well that’s turned out.”

“I’m sure under certain conditions your mother will agree to this plan,” Granny said, clearly determined to ignore Lia’s objections.

“And what are those conditions?”

“That won’t become entirely clear until I’ve had a chance to speak with Jack.”

Lia’s mind blanked for a few moments. “What in heaven’s name does Jack have to do with me becoming a courtesan?”

Granny’s eyebrows lifted with delicate incredulity. “Because you’re feeling a little squeamish about this plan, I think he should be your first.”

Lia got a very bad feeling—which was something, considering how alarming the entire discussion had been thus far. “First what?” she asked, praying she had misunderstood.

“Your first lover, of course. But only if I can persuade him to agree to our terms.”

Named by Booklist as one of the "New Stars of Historical Romance," bestselling author Vanessa Kelly's books have been nominated for awards in a number of contests. She is also the recipient of the prestigious Maggie Medallion for historical romance. With a Master's Degree in English Literature, Vanessa is known for developing vibrant Regency settings, appealing characters, and witty storylines that captivate readers.

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Feature and Giveaway: Her Surprise Engagement by Ashlee Mallory

Single mom Daisy Sorensen doesn’t believe in fairytale endings—at least not for her. All she wants is to enjoy a much-needed, stress-free family vacation at a friend’s Lake Tahoe home. So of course everything that can go wrong does. Including a gorgeous man and his daughter showing up in the middle of the night.

Soon-to-be Governor Jack Harrison has had a crazy week, but he’s sure nothing can top arriving to find a bathrobe-clad, beautiful stranger in the home he’s staying in for the week. He’s wrong. When things spiral out of control the next morning, Jack makes Daisy an offer she can’t refuse. She’ll pretend to be his fiancĂ©e and he’ll help her open the bakery she’s been dreaming about.

But in between late-night campfires and days on the lake, Jack finds himself falling for the strong, stubborn woman for real.

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

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Feature and Giveaway: A New Leash on Love by Debbie Burns

First in a fresh contemporary romance series from award-winning debut author Debbie Burns.

Every heart has a forever home.

Megan Anderson loves the animals at her no-kill shelter. She’ll do anything for them—even go toe-to-toe with a handsome man who’s in way over his head. She’ll help him sort out his troubles, but getting too close to an adorable puppy’s human counterpart? Been there, done that, got burned.

When Craig Williams arrived at the local shelter for help, he didn’t expect a fiery young woman to blaze into his life. But the more time they spend together, the more he realizes it’s not just animals Megan is adept at saving—she could be the one to rescue his heart.

Soon, Craig and Megan find that the magic of unconditional love can do anything…even lead to their forever home.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

ARC Review: Blackmailing the Bad Girl

My feeling the whole time I was reading this book was that 'I should like this more.' I'm usually really into redemption books featuring heroine's who have gone astray. I also like a little bit of coercion every now and again like you find in the blackmail books. So I thought for sure this book would be for me but something just didn't quite click. One possibility is that this is the second book in a series. This book is promoted as a standalone but based on what I now know, there might be information in the preceding book that would help to put this book in better context. I haven't read the first book so I'm speculating but based on some of the other reviews I've read, this seems accurate.

I don't have very strong feelings about this book so I'll keep my review brief. If you've read the synopsis of the book, it's accurate. There are no major surprises. There are a few plot twist but nothing you can't guess based on what comes before it in the book. Nik is a likable character. Yes, he got scammed by Summer but his desire for her is genuine. The fact that he never forgot Summer and still wants to save her (even though that is not at all how he sees it at first) kind of made you feel like, awwww, true love endures. Or something like that. 

Summer, on the other hand, is NOT a likable character.  It took Summer too long to come to terms with what she wanted. Also, I can't stand a character who wrongs another character and then acts like they are the ones suffering. Nope. You did the crime so get off your high horse convict. The chemistry between the couple was sufficiently dictated but it was hard to overcome Summer's character flaws. You can't really root for a couple when you don't like one half of the couple.

The last thing I will note about this book is that it kind of mixes subgenres: Blackmail, enemies and lovers, boss and subordinate etc. That's ok if it's done well but I kind of felt like there was some confusion here. It was almost as if the author couldn't make up her mind exactly what she wanted to do so she wound up not really doing anything. This is an ok read if you like this author. If you're new to this author, I would suggest starting with something else.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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Guest Post with Author Ava Claire and Giveaway

Ava Claire is a sucker for Alpha males and happily ever afters. When not putting pen to paper or glued to her Kindle, Ava likes road tripping, watching an unhealthy amount of Netflix, karaoke and vintage fashion.

Feature and Giveaway: Sweet Scandal by Scarlett Scott

Not the average lady

Lady Helen Harrington is a spinster by choice. She hasn’t any desire to entangle herself in romantic nonsense. Instead, she prefers to spend her time championing the causes nearest to her heart through writing articles for the London Beacon. When a ruthless American tycoon suddenly buys the struggling paper with plans to turn it into a business journal, Lady Helen isn’t about to stand idly by or put down her pen. Even if the ruthless tycoon in question happens to be the most maddeningly handsome man she’s ever met in her life.

Not the average man

Levi Storm built his empire the hard way, spending years working his way out of the slums where he grew up. He won’t allow a spoiled aristocrat like Lady Helen to interfere with his plans to further his brand with the newspaper he’s just acquired. It doesn’t matter how lovely she is or how persuasive her arguments or how perfectly she fits in his arms.

One sweet scandal

When scandal looms and Helen discovers a shocking secret about Levi, she does what she must to protect herself. But Levi isn’t the sort of man who admits defeat, and he’s not ready to give up on the plucky Lady Helen, especially when he discovers that she has secrets of her own…

Purchase: | Amazon |

Sunday, June 18, 2017

ARC Review: Stripped Bare by Heidi McLaughlin

Heidi McLaughlin is one of those authors that I always jump at the chance to read. While I have had issues with some of her books, I always enjoy the stories. Stripped Bare had a super sexy cover and I couldn't wait to read it after reading the blurb. But once again while I wanted to love this one, there were some things I had problems with.

Finn is used to keeping things casual and living in a world full of one night stands. But when he comes across an old fling at a casino in Vegas, he can tell that she is down on her luck. Macey went to Vegas to try and earn money to support her daughter, but after blowing all her money on blackjack she needs help more than ever. When she runs into Finn, the guy that once broke her heart, she would like nothing more than to return the favor. But when he offers to pay her debts in exchange for some time around town and between the sheets she can't turn it down. 

A big part of my issues here were the characters. They were just pretty blah for me. There wasn't anything new or special about them, and I didn't feel like I could relate to them or like I was invested in their story. They weren't memorable, and the whole time I was reading this story I just kept thinking how similar this book felt to other stories that I have read or seen the movie of. It just felt a bit too Pretty Woman to me, only it couldn't touch the original. There were just too many scenes and things that were way too similar for my liking. 

Overall, I really wanted to like this story but unfortunately it was just okay. It wasn't anything new or memorable, with things too predictable and similar to so many other well loved stories that frankly I felt like did it better. I have had some issues with Heidi McLaughlin books recently, and while I would read more from her in the future I think I might take a break from her for awhile. If this one sounds like something you might like though, you might try giving it a shot.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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