Tuesday, January 16, 2018

strictly literary: a treacherous curse by deanna raybourn

veronica and stoker are at it again in a treacherous curse. this time stoker's past has them all caught up in a mysterious disappearance, and we finally learn more about stoker's disastrous first marriage and what happened on the fateful expedition that cost him his reputation and marked his body forever.

it's his former best friend who has disappeared. the man who married his ex-wife. and considering the acrimony between them he's been declared scotland yard's most likely suspect. unwilling to have stoker's reptation further blackened or to face the strong likelihood that the royal family will intervene in their partnership, veronica sets herself on the task of figuring out what went wrong with the egyptian expedition that preceded the disappearance.

with her trademark wit and her staunch lack of squeamishness veronica carefully pulls apart all the tangled threads of this web of lies and murder and mystery. but this particular mystery reveals more to veronica about what she might feel for stoker. she understands him even more. she's afraid of what it all means. a feeling that veronica is not at all acquanted with as she has not much use for fear. this world, this relationship, these characters continue to be delightful and entertaining and smart. and i can't help but be excited for the next book in the series.

**a treacherous curse will publish on january 16, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/berkley publishing group in exchange for my honest review. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

seriously romantic: can't let her go by sandy james

the nashville dreams series continues with can't let her go, where ethan walker finds that as much as chelsea harris is everything he says he doesn't want in a woman she's his dream come true. she's a true star in a town full of them. and ethan has some serious issues coming in second to celebrity.

from the get-go their relationship is fraught. because too many people in ethan's life have approached him to catch a shard of his parent's star power. while chelsea plans to use it for good, at first she just another in a long line of takers. but chelsea proves that she's more than a bubble-headed celebtriy. she's grounded in real in ways he's never seen. not even his parents were ever that real. so he doesn't trust it and doesn't know how to handle it. and chelsea struggles with keeping ethan away from the trappings of her fame.

she knows all to well that he doesn't want it. but performing and singing is her calling. and while he doesn't feel the need to share his incredible talent with the world, for her it's been a dream. and it's part of who she is. he can't just reject it entirely without rejecting her on some basic level.

when it comes down to it, ethan will need to find a way to make it work for him. celebrity and the press are not the evil he's built up in his head—with good reason because his parents and their death really created some visitble scars that will never truly fade. and here chelsea can give a little too. she can give more to ethan than she gives to her fans. she can put him first in a way that no one else in his life ever has, and that's probably enough to make him love her forever.

i love the setting here and i love that we get some updates on savannah and brad, and i can't wait to see what book three in this series has in store for russ.

**can't let her go will publish on january 16, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever) in exchange for my honest review. 

superbly suspenseful: deadly deception by marissa garner

deadly deception picks up detective sean burke's story (we met him in book one of the rogue security series, risky redemption). unlike the first book, the events in deadly deception are told in a more straightforward manner. but there are plenty of twists and turns with the central mystery.

sean burke is back in ramona, ca as part of a mandatory leave of absence after his off the book actions in risky redemption. the last thing he expects is to run into jessica hargrove, the woman who shattered his heart eight years ago. even more bizarre is the fact that everyone seems to be angry with him, when she was the one who dumped him.

but jessica's family is in trouble. her mother is missing. her brother is less than reliable. her stepfather is behaving strangely. her ex-husband is back in town and demanding custody of their daughter. and sean's presence is unwelcome except for the fact that he seems to be the only person interested in searching for leads in her mother's disappearance.

as the story unfolds different pieces of the puzzle are revealed. and sean and jessica realize that things haven't been as they seemed for a long time. and that there's a chance—beyond all the insanity in their lives at the moment—for happiness. and spilling any more of the plot wouldn't do the book justice, so just trust me when i say it was an enjoyable romantic thriller.

**deadly deception will publish on january 16, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever) in exchange for my honest review. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

seriously romantic: a seal's honor by jm stewart

book 3 in the military match series has marcus and mandy finally getting set up on a date. it doesn't go well, but mainly because marcus believes that dating mandy breaks two rules. one, she's one of his best friend's little sister and two, she's way too young for him. she's not yet thirty and he's already forty. plus he's never been the relationship type. he's never stuck around for anyone before and the last thing he wants to do is hurt mandy.

the thrust of the conflict in a seal's honor is really marcus's battle with his own conscience. because mandy brushes off the age difference. trent is totally cool with marcus dating his sister. and logically speaking, just because you've never been in a significant relationship doesn't mean you are incapable of it.

mandy overwhelms marcus's objections with sex and hand jobs. and she also agrees to pretend to be his girlfriend in front of his grandmother even though that's not what they are actually calling their relationship. which is silly, because from the moment they get together, mandy and marcus belong to each other. she is his in a way he's never felt about anyone else. he needs her more than he ever thought he'd need anyone. he's a strong person, but her strength bolsters his. and his acceptance of mandy's toughness empowers her feminity in a way that she never knew possible.

all in all this was a very satisfying conclusion to the military match trilogy. everything gets all tied up nicely in a very sweet epilogue.

**a seal's honor will publish on january 16, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever) in exchange for my honest review. 

seriously romantic: cake at midnight by jessie l. star

giovanna, zoë and declan have been friends through the worst and roughest childhood years. gio's aunt aggie's homey apartment has provided them all with safe haven. and it makes sense why giovanna would fall for declan. except this isn't a friends-to-lovers story. and when declan says he doesn't feel that way about gio he means it.

except he's also a giant jerk who proceeds to take advantage of gio's feelings in the worst possible way. and when gio is forced to face his bad behavior she goes about cutting him out of her life. and suddenly the hot guy across the hall starts playing a larger role in her life than the guy who scowls and nods at her in the morning. theo has his reasons for trying to not get involved, but giovanna's warmth and sweet nature get under his skin.

and when she begins to spend time with him, he finds it's not a distraction, but rather moments to be savored to cure some of his loneliness. he has a lot of good reasons for cutting people out of his life. his family accustomed to picking at his vulnerabilities to further their art and their insatiable need for drama. everyone wants a piece of him except giovanna. but soon he starts to realize that he wants her to want him. even though he knows she's using him as a distraction from her pining for declan.

being with theo gives gio the strength to realize that she's been using declan as a crutch to keep others away. and opening her heart to theo happens almost inadvertently. and so quickly it's hard to believe it's real.

both giovanna and theo have plenty of baggage to work through, and even though they are total opposites, something about their pairing works. like cake at midnight. it might seem like a bad idea. but it's sweet and decadent and delicious.

**cake at midnight will publish on january 15, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/gallery, threshold, pocket books (pocket star) in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

seriously romantic: sweet attraction by melanie munton

it was supposed to be one night of letting all inhibitions go and just letting sweet attraction rule the moment. but when jade hollingsworth walks into her flaky contractor’s office and comes face to face with her one night stand she can’t help feeling punished.

hunter sparks didn’t want to give up the storefront job, his evil ex-girlfriend basically blackmailed him into it. and it would be one thing if he’d woken up from their tryst anxious to run off, but he hadn’t. instead he found himself alone and disappointed and thrilled that she’s going to be putting down roots in shell grove. 

and since he’s actually a really good guy who happens to be interested in jade he goes about making amends. and soon the incredible sparks that flared between them that night at the bar ignite into something real and deep. this is some seriously sexy small town romance and i have to say i liked it. 

**sweet attraction will publish on january 15, 2018. I received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (brazen) in exchange for my honest review. 

seriously romantic: unsolicited advice by melinda di lorenzo

heidi bluthe is tired of cheaters and would be cheaters asking for advice on getting a free pass. she's tired of the betrayed wives looking for excuses. the truth is her secret identity of miss anonymous, advice columnist for between the sheets has become something of a trap. when a strange man shows up at her house insisting that she's ruined his life and needs to fix it with a retraction, she's equal parts terrified and stunned into agreement.

she doesn't leave her house. not unless she has a plan. not unless she has a lot of time to prepare. and even then, most of the time she stays home. for all the advice she doles out to the masses of cheaters and emotionally needy, she's kind of a mess.

william rutherford knows his plan is crazy. but he's decided to take life by the horns and live it to the fullest. he has a bucket list of things he needs to do and he needs heidi to do them with him. but she's not what he expected. and as he pushes her out of her comfort zone he feels incredibly guilty and compelled to help heidi deal with her anxiety in more effective ways than she has done.

unsolicited advice sets heidi and william on a life-altering road trip and by the end of it, there is only one logical conclusion: they belong together. his presence grounds her through the worst of her anxiety and she provides the necessary distraction from his own issues. and even though their story starts with william being a totally creepy stalker, he somehow manages to become super dreamy the more time we spend with these two.

**unsolicited advice will publish on january 15, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/tule publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, January 12, 2018

seriously romantic: scoring with the wrong twin by naima simone

sophia has always been the "ugly" one when compared to her model identical twin. she's curvier and nerdier and has piercings and an edgy look that is more punk than mainstream. but when giovanna begs sophia to take her place at a calendar shoot so she can go to a show in milan, she begrudgingly agrees.

she doesn't know that she will be paired with zephirin black, the league's hottest tight end. and she had no clue that the explosion of chemistry between them would be something mutual. and even worse, she has no way to be honest with him about her identity because she refuses to screw things up with her sister. if only zeph didn't have massive trust issues and have a thing about honesty.

sophia tries to keep things professional. and when that doesn't work she tries to keep it to one night. and then when she can't stay away she figures she might as well hold on to every moment she can before it blows up in her face.

and zeph will need to work out if everything was a lie or not. and he'll need to decide whether or not all lies are unforgivable. because sophia never asked him for anything he wasn't already prepared to give. and letting her go after she burrowed her way into his heart doesn't feel like the right choice. scoring with the wrong twin sets up the conflict these two will face perfectly. the pull of their chemistry is undeniable and even though you know that the other shoe is going to drop and ruin everything you can't help but hope they manage to pull it all together before it does. and you get why they make the decisions they do and why they react the way they do. it's all realistic and well-done and oh-so-enjoyable.

**scoring with the wrong twin will publish on january 15, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (brazen) in exchange for my honest review. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

something from the archives: all of me

Summary: More post-breakup angstiness/darkness Companion piece to “In the Shadows”, but can be read on its own. Warning: This is particularly dark.

Dedication: To Leila, who has loved Spike from the get-go.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

seriously romantic: the billionaire's unexpected baby by kira archer

when leah meets brooks in the billionaire's unexpected baby she's already four months pregnant with another man's baby. amazingly this is never really a problem for brooks. he never flinches or hesitates. when he tracks her down as she's moving into her new apartment and possibly losing her job due to her pregnancy, he impulsively offers to marry her.

so in the span of a month, he's married and on the path to fatherhood. it's supposed to be temporary. enough to buy leah some time to settle into her new job without the threat of being fired. but the time they spend together is real. the relationship they have together is real. and it's complicated by this baby that they both adore and the fact that the baby daddy is someone brooks knows and massively dislikes.

i really loved the first book in this series. and this is definitely a different take on the surprise baby trope. leah and brooks are both really great characters, their biggest problem is that neither of them actually says what they really want and they keep putting off important conversations that they should have well until it's too late and misunderstandings arise.

they both walk around with this sense of impending doom that ends up being self-fulfilling. the good news is that they eventually get their heads on straight. but some better communication could have cut off some of the unnecessary drama. i think the drama disappointed me in part because their situation is already so fraught. having another man's baby less than six months after getting married is already high drama. i'm still not sure how i feel about that particular plot point and i'm not brooks, who for all his momentary stupidity is like the most amazing guy.

**the billionaire's unexpected baby will publish on january 15, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (indulgence) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: besting the billionaire by alison aimes

alexander kazankov has been determined to bring down winslow industries for years. now that winslow himself is dead, and his widow has been appointed the interim ceo he sees his chance. but lily isn't the bubble-headed trophy wife he assumes her to be. and for all the damage her former husband inflicted on people, on his own family, he's still her savior.

besting the billionaire becomes a battle of wills between lily and alexi, it's a battle for dominance and a battle against the attraction that sparks up between them every time they are in a room together. soon alexi finds himself at a crossroads. destroying winslow industries means destroying the future lily has clawed her way out of hell for. but not destroying it breaks a promise he made to his dead fiancée and her mother, his surrogate mother.

each of these women he holds in his heart, and betraying one of them is going to tear him apart. but when he makes his choice, it's for love. and love can only reap wonderful things. and what could have been some standard category fare is elevated by the emotional depth and real complexity of the choices these characters need to make to secure their happy ending.

**besting the billionaire will publish on january 15, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (indulgence) in exchange for my honest review.