Friday, October 20, 2017

seriously romantic: nailed it by cindi madsen

ivy clarke has rules against falling in love. 13 of them actually. her best friend savannah might be a dating coach with 12 ways to love, but ivy knows that her rules are better. they are meant to keep her heart safe in nailed it.

if only she hadn't gotten in way over her head in a house-flipping project. if only her only source of salvation weren't jackson gamble. if only her stupid body and heart wouldn't react every time jackson was in the same room with her. she tries to mask all her attraction with antagonism. but it's just an act.

and the more closely they work together it's inevitable that they'll end up in bed together. but jackson wants the real thing—love, commitment, and a happily ever after. and ivy knows that she'll never be able to give jackson what he wants. she's a mess. she has no idea what to do with her career. her mother continues to be an emotional timesuck. she's that girl from the wrong side of the tracks and there is no way that jackson's family would ever be happy with her pairing up with him.

jackson has to be the bigger man here. he has to have the faith for both of them. because ivy is just a little too broken, a little too afraid to admit that her heart is engaged. but will time be enough for ivy to realize that she's got everything backwards? that even if you try to avoid feelings, humans are built to have them?

the chemistry between jackson and ivy is off the charts, and there are some really sweet emotional beats between the two leads as they figure out their way to a happy ending. there's ups and downs, but it's a relationship that is worth sticking out, even when ivy is being super stubborn.

**nailed it will publish on october 23, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (amara) in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

simply a sneak peek of twisted truths

ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: TWISTED TRUTHS
Author: Rebecca Zanetti
Series: BLOOD BROTHERS
Publication Date: November 14, 2017
Trade paperback: $14.99
eBook: $5.99
ISBN: 978145559431

Series Page
 on Goodreads

"TOP PICK! 4 1/2 stars! Zanetti proves that when it
comes to RS, she is in a class by herself!" ―RT Book Reviews

One year ago, Denver Jones blew up his life and left everything behind. To stay alive, he had no other choice. But now, when video footage of the woman he could never forget goes viral, begging for his help, he has no choice but to go to her. Her niece has been kidnapped and Denver and his blood brothers are the only people she can trust.

But Denver isn't the only one watching that video. The deadly forces from his past see it too—and they'll use anything—and anyone—they can to lure Denver out of hiding to exact their revenge.

BUY THE BOOK

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book-a-Million | Google Play | iBooks | IndieBound | Kobo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over twenty-five romantic suspense, dark paranormal, and contemporary romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestseller lists. She has received a Publisher's Weekly Starred Review for Wicked Edge, Romantic Times Reviewer Choice Nominations for Forgotten Sins and Sweet Revenge, and RT Top Picks for several of her novels.  She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat...and a huge extended family.  She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off...and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads


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See the promised sneak peek after the break...

something from the archives: say goodbye - part 42

click on the links for parts 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930,  31323334353637383940, and 41.

read on for part 42...


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

slightly silly: riverdale, episode 14: a kiss before dying



season 2 of riverdale picks up immediately where we left off. archie’s dad has been shot and whether or not he survives becomes the main question of the episode. i mean it’s freaking luke perry so no way he dies, but i admit there were moments i was concerned.

the shows heightened reality allows it to play with time and dreamlike visions in a very effective way. we kept seeing scenes where you were meant to question the future for these characters and the mystery and the symbolism all played so well on the screen. 

riverdale is a show i love for the atmosphere, the aesthetics, the juicy stories and the rich characters, even though at times the acting is not on point. but honestly this episode, everyone brought it. kj apa was at his most effective. the scene with veronica where he breaks down and tries to send her away was possibly the best of the episode. 

jughead and betty also have their own drama to contend with, betty’s mom is very much against her daughter dating a south sider serpent or not. and while jughead claims he is not drawn to that world, it may be impossible to keep the serpent world from his life and relationship with betty. 

the thing is, everything about this show works for me. and the last couple of minutes. with the murder and death that pays off a storyline that started last season, really worked for me. i can’t wait to see what happens next. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

seriously romantic: slap shot by kelly jamieson

if you're looking for emotional, angsty sports romances, then kelly jamieson is the author for you. in slap shot the aces hockey series continues with left wing max hall getting his shot at happily ever after. the thing with max is that he already had a love story. but then she got cancer and died. and max doesn't want to fall in love again. he doesn't think he can endure another loss like that.

so he has one goal. to make the hockey team. even though he was a star in his prime, he's been out of the sport for eighteen months, and when younger and faster and stronger athletes are competing for the same spots as veterans nothing is guaranteed.

but at his teammate's wedding he's distracted by one of the bridesmaids. kendra has an openness and joy in her soul that calls out to him. he hasn't been with a woman since his wife died and suddenly he finds himself wanting that. but he only wants sex. not a relationship. not love. just friends, maybe. with benefits.

but max is actually a one-woman kind of guy.

and the more time he spends with kendra, he realizes that it's not so easy to keep those pesky emotions turned off.

realizing that we all have more than one chance at love is going to be max's biggest lesson. but can he do that in time to save his relationship with kendra. can he let her go knowing that being with her, that her special brand of sunlight and joy is everything he needs to find happiness?

i really enjoyed this book. it was so sweetly romantic, and i loved that we see everything from max's perspective. it's nice to have the guy tell the story for once.

**slap shot will publish on october 17, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/random house publishing group (loveswept) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: duke of desire by elizabeth hoyt



except for one last novella, which will hopefully bring together some old favorite characters, the maiden lane series comes to a close with duke of desire. we've met both raphael and iris before, namely in duke of pleasure, and i was happy to see both characters again.


when raphael saves iris from the lords of chaos she isn't sure she can trust him. and maybe she shouldn't because once he has her in his home, raphael finds he can't let her go. he says this is for her safety, but it runs deeper than that. it's something he's not ready to explain or explore. but he knows all the same that letting iris go is not an option for him.

and once iris gets over her initial distrust, she doesn't want to leave. she sees the things that have hurt and damaged this beautiful, broken man and she doesn't shy away from them or from him. she never sees him as the monster he sees himself as. but until he lets go of this warped view of himself, their future together hangs very much in the balance.

on top of that there is still imminent danger from the lords of chaos. the new dionysius is possibly more evil and depraved than raphael's father was. and he knows that raphael wants the lords destroyed and intends to do everything in his power to get to raphael and iris first.

it's hard to say what is more challenging to raphael and iris's romance, the lords of chaos or raphael's demons. needless to say there is a lot of healing and acceptance that needs to happen in this book for everything to work, and i think it is handled quite beautifully.

i've so enjoyed this series, even as it tackles some heavy topics like child abuse, rape, and poverty, the romances are heartfelt and emotionally satisfying.

**duke of desire will publish on october 17, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing in exchange for my honest review. for additional information on the book, including an excerpt read on...


seriously romantic: ruthless king by meghan march

well.

that cliffhanger.

those last few twists.

ruthless king was even better than i expected and i already thought it was going to be amazing. i loved everything about lachlan mount and keira kilgore’s story so far—and to think there is more!!

the fact that there is so much more about lachlan mount that peeks out from that hard mask of his. he’s not a good guy. but he’s so sexy and burdened with this dark power. “heavy is the head that wears the crown”—it’s clear that mount has demons that give him no peace.

and he wants keira. and he will do anything to get her. and while she isn’t powerless exactly, it’s hard to fight someone like mount. at least hard to fight him on everything. especially when there are things he offers that she wants. even if she hates to admit it.

this relationship is tempestuous and hateful and passionate and there’s this thread—this sliver of want, of need, of being completely wrong and yet completely right for each other—that keeps them craving more.

but can it work? something or someone has to break. but who will break first? because both keira and mount are strong and stubborn and determined to get their way. and their battle of wills is sexy as all get out. and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

defiant queen can’t come soon enough!

**ruthless king will publish on october 17, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of meghan march in exchange for my honest review. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

seriously romantic: most of all you by mia sheridan

shattered childhoods make gabriel and crystal the adults they are today. but while gabriel chooses to be open and wears his heart on his sleeve, crystal guards hers so fiercely you wouldn't even know she still possessed one. it shouldn't be a contest as to who has survived more trauma, though it very nearly is. somehow gabriel has come out of his stronger, and his ability to leave himself open and vulnerable to others makes him an amazing hero to read. 

as most of all you begins he's looking for help with his one remaining problem area. he can't stand the touch of others. but he's reached a point in his life where he craves closeness. he wants to have a family. he wants to be with someone. he was never meant to live his life alone. so he decides to hire someone to get him used to the touch of others. and it doesn't go well.

except she fascinates him. he sees the vulnerability she tries so valiantly to hide. and he recognizes it because he understands her trauma. as a survivor of the unimaginable, he understands more than she would like him to.

it's because he is a survivor that he can help make her whole again. he's a stonecutter, an artisan really, and his ability to call forth beauty from the rough is unrivaled. this is the talent that saved him during his darkest days, and this is the talent that will save her too. and knowing what she needs, having lived through the same recovery lets him understand that he must give her time and space and unlimited amounts of love to make herself whole. he knows that he cannot do it for her. 

this is such a beautiful, heartbreaking story. the beauty in the midst of so much horror and ugliness is what makes it speak to me. it's one of those stories that stays with you long after you've turned the last page because in the end there is so much hope and promise and loveliness in the happy ending. 

**most of all you will publish on october 17, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever) in exchange for my honest review. keep reading for some additional information about the book, including where to buy. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

strictly literary: pride and prejudice and mistletoe by melissa de la cruz

as you might imagine from the title, pride and prejudice and mistletoe is a pride and prejudice retelling. but this reimagining of one of my favorite stories cleverly twists the narrative to be told from the perspective of one darcy fitzwilliam, otherwise known as our intrepid heroine. darcy has returned home to pemberley, ohio to see her mother who recently had a heart attack. she's been estranged from her family for years for not bowing to pressure to stay home and marry her high school sweetheart, one carl donovan.

while home she reconnects with her best friend, bingley charles. and through his sudden romance with jim bennet, her high school nemesis luke bennet. a series of encounters with luke under mistletoe have darcy reeling. as everything in her life seems to go topsy-turvy.

this retelling does a great job of hitting the right beats from the book, but also telling its own story. it's fun to see characters reimagined in different genders but with similar personality traits as in the original. the romance here is more straightforward, but that's okay since the framework of the holiday season constrains the timeline. i've yet to meet a pride and prejudice retelling i don't like, and i think pride and prejudice and mistletoe is a solid entry in the genre.

**pride and prejudice and mistletoe will publish on october 17, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

seriously romantic: chasing xander by lexi lawton

in spite of its title, chasing xander, is not really about a romantic chase, because kylie and xander spend little time running away from their romance.

when kylie quinn drops her underwear and other unmentionables in front of xander collins as she moves into her freshman dorm room she is beyond embarrassed. the last thing she expects is to keep running into him or for him to seek her out.

xander is ridiculously attractive and genuinely kind, and is an upperclassman to boot. so she can't figure out why he wants to spend anytime with her. she's just an incoming freshman with an alcoholic and abusive father and the grandmother who raised her who is in the last stages alzheimer's. but it is actually quite simple, there is something about kylie that keeps xander intrigued. she's the first girl who seems to like him, for just him. not his money, not what he can do for her. and this makes him willing to do anything for her.

xander wants to make sure he treats kylie with the respect and tenderness he feels she deserves, and this means holding back from just giving into the passion that sparks between them. he wants her beyond measure, but he doesn't want her to regret anything that might happen between them. he's already been with someone like that and it was the worst experience of his life.

though it takes a while for them to communicate openly about their feelings, it's pretty evident from the get-go that kylie and xander are headed for something serious. when kylie experiences the worst kind of loss, xander is there for her in a way that shows how highly he regards her. he'd put his academic career, his fraternity standing, his trust fund at risk for kylie. that's some pretty heavy stuff. and i will say that the one thing i wish we had a glimpse of, was how things turn out for xander. i mean considering it's a romance, it should all end happily, but xander had really backed himself into a pretty tight corner so more resolution would have been reassuring.

**chasing xander will publish on october 16, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (embrace) in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, October 13, 2017

strictly literary: never apart by romily bernard


never apart is like a cross between before i fall and infinity. grace keeps reliving the same five days in alternate realities. each reset comes with its own set of rules but the end is always the same—she and her boyfriend, ander, die at the hands of their friend finn.

told in alternating chapters, between a time before the falls (then) and the current fall (now) we slowly unravel the deeper mystery of why grace and ander are stuck in this endless loop. it would be unfair to reveal more of the plot since how grace figures out what is going on is well worth the journey.

bernard does an amazing job of sharing the urgency, the frustration, and the utter hopelessness grace feels at having to relive the same-ish scenarios over and over and always getting the same ending. in the end, this is an excellent high-concept young adult thriller.

**never apart published on october 3, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishng (entangled:teen) in exchange for my honest review. read on for more information about the book, including information on where to buy...


Thursday, October 12, 2017

something from the archives: say goodbye - part 41

this part is heavy on mythology/backstory...

parts 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930,  313233343536373839, and 40 can be read at the links.

read on for part 41...

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

superbly suspenseful: a dangerous year by kes trester

a dangerous year is an action-packed ya debut from kes trester. riley collins is feisty, smart, and never backs down from a fight. even when she's outnumbered on a street in karachi, pakistan, she has the presence of mind to save a young pakistani girl and emerge unscathed from a street fight.

her antics get the attention of the u.s. state department, and she's pressed into service to serve as the bodyguard/handler for the daughter of a tech genius who may be uncoding the latest, greatest spyware. but in order to do this, she must attend an exclusive connecticut boarding school that is a far cry from her life as an ambassador's daughter in pakistan.

riley is so personable and charming that it's actually enjoyable to watch her forays into the social cesspool that is high school. and the people she meets and befriends are fleshed out enough that you really begin to enjoy the setting. this book is the launch point for a series, and i look forward to future appearences from von and sam in particular, but also harper and stef. and karen and karl and riley's dad.

the chapters in this book are framed by advice riley has gotten from her father's best friend and the man who helped raise and train her, karl benson. these pithy sayings play into the action unfolding in the chapters, but they are also entertaining in a way that i don't usually find chapter titles to be.

all in all, this was a really fun start to a series and i look forward to reading more riley collins' stories in the future.

**a dangerous year published on september 26, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of curiosity quills press in exchange for my honest review. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

seriously romantic: can't walk away by sandy james



when songwriter brad "hitman" maxwell first notices savannah wolf in can't walk away he's so impressed by her talent that he feels compelled to write his first song in years. from the get-go he knows savannah will be a star, even though she's already had one run at stardom and wants nothing to do with the celebrity lifestyle.

working with brad is a dream come true, but she struggles to manage the impact her increased profile has on her, on her family, and on her life. and the more closely she works with brad the harder it is to deny that she is incredibly attracted to him. and knowing that she inspires him to write music is just as heady.

brad and savannah fall into a relationship pretty quickly, even if they take pains not to define it. both of them have been burned by relationships past and have to work hard not to let the lessons they've learned close them off to something real and true.

these two fall hard and fast for each other, but at the same time their relationship really has time to deepen and grow on the page. the timeline isn't super compressed so you really have a chance to know them as a couple before things get complicated. and even then, these two work through their conflicts beautifully and you never doubt their love for one another. which is just the kind of romance i love.

**can't walk away will publish on october 10, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever yours) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: stolen kisses by annie rains

noah and krista have been friends forever. and both of them have been in love with the other one since forever too. of course noah is a commitment-phobe with issues and of course he can't admit that. so instead he freaks out when krista kisses him when she's had too much to drink one night.

stolen kisses spends a bit of time laying the groundwork for how they each believed the other person had completely friend-zoned them, and the back and forth from krista's perspective who is actively pining for noah and wants him so desperately and believes that he does not see her that way at all, to noah's where he totally thinks krista is hot and she's the only girl he wants to be around in his life even if he can't admit it and is afraid that krista is finally ready to move on.

the best-friends-to-lovers trope follows some pretty standard plot points. and they get hit here. once krista and noah finally given in to the building sexual tension it's a relief, and the only thing that might have improved the story would have been to have them actually behave like rational adults and talk to each other about their doubts and worries. because when krista freaks out about noah over a conversation where she overheard second-hand information and immediately assumes the worst and then proceeds to freeze him out, i kind of wanted to kill her. i hate when characters don't communicate with each other for no good reason.

in the end, this is a solid entry in the blushing bay series. i have high hopes for abby and sam's story, it looks like maybe fireworks and a second-chance-at-love story that is ready to go, although there's also a lot of freezing out happening just in stolen kisses, so who knows?

**stolen kisses will publish on october 10, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/random house publishing group (loveswept) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: game on by victoria denault

when alex larue first encounters brie bennett he couldn't have made a worse first impression. both of them come away from that encounter with the complete wrong idea about the other person. the truth is that alex and brie have a lot in common. 

and that common ground is what brings them into each other's orbits and allows their relationship to grow. they have a lot of baggage and undiagnosed trauma to contend with. but they both have these huge hearts that are begging to be filled with love.

because they both have incredible amounts of love to give, and when they open themselves to receiving that love whole-heartedly it has the power to heal the hurts of the past. and then, and only then, is there a real chance of moving forward.

for a sports romance game on is less focused on hockey than it is on the abuses and gaps of the foster care system and how easy it is to slip through the cracks. as alex and brie work together to prevent another child from slipping through the very cracks that caused them so much trauma, the process proves as healing as falling in love.

**game on will publish on october 10, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever yours) in exchange for my honest review.


Monday, October 9, 2017

seriously romantic: hope at christmas by nancy naigle

when sydney ragsdale finds herself moving to her grandparent's vacation home in hope at christmas in order to get away from atlanta and the memories of her life before divorce she isn't holding out high expectations for her new life. but when she reconnects with the owner of the bookstore she adored visiting every summer, she finds herself feeling stronger and better about her new life in hopewell.

she's still adjusting to being a single mom. and her daughter is suffering quite a bit of emotional distress caused by her father and his utter selfishness. for both sydney and rayanne christmas at hopewell will be a challenge. except that with the best santa claus for miles and a town enthusiastic about the spirit of the season it is hard from either of them to stay down in the dumps for long.

more women's fiction than straight out romance, there is still a sweet romance with the aforementioned santa claus, also known as coach mac. a single dad who loves christmas with his whole heart. watching sydney come into her own and embrace her new life makes for an uplifting story with a happy ending.

**hope at christmas will publish on october 10, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (st. martin's griffin) in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

seriously romantic: catching the player by diane alberts

catching the player continues the hamilton family series with wyatt hamilton's story. he lives and breathes football, so the last thing he expects is to fall for a prank singing telegram performer. but fall for kassidy thomas he does.

it just takes him a while to figure this out. because he has always assumed that there would be nothing else in his life other than football. that in order to be the best football player he could be, he needed to eschew romantic entanglements or anything else that would distract from his focus on the game.

but without trying he finds himself all tangled up with kass. and she is trying so hard to only take what he is willing to give her. she's so used to planning out every aspect of her life and is sick and tired of feeling bored and uninspired. being with wyatt is anything but boring. and so what if she knows this is only going to end in heartbreak. being with him any way she can get him is worthwhile. or it will be worth her while until it's not.

and even though there is a huge misunderstanding that is partly all wyatt's fault for being a jerk and also partly all wyatt's fault for not realizing his true feelings quickly enough, the way he goes about making it all better is really sweet. in the end, the relationship that wyatt and kass have is everything. it's not just sex and romance, there is real friendship too. and that makes the story all that much sweeter.

**catching the player will publish on october 9, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (indulgence) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: 69 million things i hate about you by kira archer

cole harrington is the world's worst boss. he's inconsiderate and demanding and there are literally so many reasons kiersten abbott has to hate him. 69 million things i hate about you covers all the tiny ways cole makes kiersten's life impossible. and when one lucky evening she wins 69 million dollars in the lottery, she decides that turnabout is fair play.

so she decides that it is her turn to make his life impossible. she figures that with his inability to endure inconvenience the first time she lets her attitude slip he'll fire her.

but he doesn't.

and as things escalate to more outrageous behavior, cole finds himself enchanted by the feistiness his former perfect assistant is showing. by all accounts he should fire her. but ever the contrarian he knows this is what she wants. and even with the attitude she is still the best assistant he will ever have. he knows this.

besides, the more inappropriate kiersten is, the more he wants to spend time with her. the more he enjoys her company. and if that isn't a contradiction, who knows what is. kiersten was always gorgeous and he's always noticed her more than he let on. but now, she is unforgettable and there is no way that cole will ever be willing to let her go.

and oh, it's just an absolutely perfect workplace romance. there is so much heat and spark between cole and kiersten. and as things escalate around them, you can't help but love the interplay.

**69 million things i hate about you will publish on october 9, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (indulgence) in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

seriously romantic: in pieces by danielle pearl

when beth caplan starts college she's already lived through significant trauma. in pieces is not about her recovery, it's about her showing her strength and maturity in the face of problems that would have broken her in the past.

and the one thing she has in her life, that she didn't then, is the support of david march. he is her older brother's rough-around-the-edges best friend. but he has always been her champion. even when she didn't know it. he's loved her for as long as he can remember, and the only thing that keeps him from declaring it is the fact that his best friend doesn't approve of him for his sister.

but as circumstances force beth and david into closer proximity, the pull between them is impossible to deny. and eventually they don't want to deny it. because they are the best possible versions of themselves when they are together. and even given everything they have to lose, what they share is immeasurably more precious.

this is an emotional new adult novel, there is a hint of suspense and menace throughout that heightens the drama unfolding in the plot in the best possible way. the angsty forbidden aspect of beth and david's romance works perfectly. and when they finally give into each other, it's perfect.

**in pieces will publish on october 10, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever) in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, October 6, 2017

seriously romantic: twice as wicked by elizabeth bright

twice as wicked tells the story of two sets of twins. alice and adelaide were as close as can be, until adelaide fell in love with the wrong man and ended up pregnant and alone in france. and then she died in childbirth and alice felt as if her whole world had been torn apart. her twin sister was the other half of her soul. and when she sees a photograph that might just be of the man who knocked her up, alice decides to take revenge. 

when she first meets nathaniel, alice finds herself in the odd position of saving his life. she wishes she could take it back. except there is something about nathaniel that draws her to him and she finds it difficult to plan revenge when she’s so attracted to him. when she learns that he is also a twin, she realizes that it is his brother who is the villain. 

her determination to exact revenge keeps alice and nathaniel at cross purposes, and when nicholas enters the mix, the game he plays adds to the mystery. one that remains unclear even as the novel closes, though at the very least alice and nathaniel do get their happily ever after. 

**twice as wicked will publish on october 9, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (scandalous) in exchange for my honest review. 


Thursday, October 5, 2017

something from the archives: say goodbye - part 40

sex equals power, maybe?

parts 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930,  31323334353637, 38, and 39 can be read at the links.

read on for part 40...

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

seriously romantic: make me yours by rebecca brooks

the men of gold mountain series ends with make me yours, when single mom claire collins reconnects with ryan thomas, her former love and the father of her daughter maya. when claire left ryan he was in the throes of an addiction to alcohol that took him years to get a handle on. he had no memory of their final days together, no idea that she was carrying his baby, and that she had his baby girl.

back then leaving him was the right thing to do. but it doesn't mean that part of her regrets it. she knows she did the right thing for herself and for her daughter, maya. but seeing ryan again is screwing with her head. because it doesn't matter how much time has passed. he is still the one man that does it for her.

and when instead of chasing the music, he decides to stay put in gold mountain, it messes with her head even more. because she shouldn't let this man near her daughter, and yet, he's her father. and he isn't just saying he's better, he's going out of his way to prove it. but he's got a lot of baggage to make up for. and claire has every reason to be doubtful. and when it seems like he breaks every single one of his promises to her, she cuts him out completely. again.

but maybe this time it's not entirely fair? and maybe this time ryan will fight for her and for maya?

and maybe this time they'll end up with the happiness and the family they deserve? because i have to say that this is one of the best second-chance love stories i've read. the baggage these two characters have is deep and meaningful. claire has every reason to not trust ryan and he is honest about his failures. but he also works so hard to make things right. and not in an over the top grand gesture sort of way that rings false, he does it piece by piece, little by little and proves himself to be a better man than he was five years ago.

what a wonderful way to close out this series. i just loved it.

**make me yours will publish on october 9, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (brazen) in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

seriously romantic: a seal's strength by j.m. stewart



the second military match book, a seal's strength, finds stephanie mason reconnecting with her old flame gabe donovan. years ago gabe left stephanie behind when his parents were killed. and they lost touch. when they are matched via a military dating service the reunion is slightly awkward, but also welcome.


gabe is a widower and during his time in the service he was injured and lost his lower leg (i can't remember if it was his right or left). he's hesitant about meeting new people because that baggage added to the fact that he has a ten-year-old daughter means that he scares prospective partners away well before any serious conversations happen. but with stephanie it's different. she knows him. she loved him once.

and as they spend time together they find themselves quickly falling in love again. it's not all smooth-sailing of course, gabe is scared of committing to someone again and stephanie is afraid of losing gabe. getting over him once was hard enough, she's not sure she can do it a second time. but they can work through these things, and you end up with this really sweet, emotional second-chance love story that i truly enjoyed.

**a seal's strength will publish on october 3, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever yours) in exchange for my honest review. read on for more about the book, including an excerpt.


seriously romantic: the scot beds his wife by kerrigan byrne


gavin st. james has spent his entire adult life battling his childhood demons, mainly by raising hell and other general debauchery. his family is a mess. his father an evil tyrant. his mother killed by his father's hand. his brothers seemingly awful replicas of their dad. it makes sense that he meets his match in strong-willed sam. there's a wildness in him that is matched by a wildness in her.

the scot beds his wife throws gavin and sam together when sam comes to the highlands to lay claim to some land. land that she's been charged to keep away from the mackenzies. you see, back in america she did a stranger a favor and in return was asked to take that stranger's place in scotland. the fact that sam is in scotland under false pretenses becomes one of those secrets that we know that the other main character doesn't know for a huge chunk of the novel.

this adds to a sense of dread, because you know things will just happen to fall apart spectacularly. and they do, and part of the joy is seeing them put it al back together. even if it's frustratingly rushed. this is the fifth book in the series and it does stand alone. at the same time when you are this far into a series it feels a bit weird to be only just picking it up.

**the scot beds his wife will publish on october 3, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (st. martin's paperback) in exchange for my honest review. read on for an excerpt and more information on the book...


seriously romantic: bad reputation by nicole edwards

chase "sin" barrett is a bad boy on and off the ice. his favorite thing to do in the whole world besides playing hockey is hang out with his best friend cassie and give her sass. he says it's because she is the one person in the world he knows he can count on. but it's more than that. because chase really wants in her pants. he just happens to be self-aware enough to realize that it's not a very good idea.

and cassie is a smart girl. she knows better than to get entangled with her best friend with the bad reputation. but when cassie brings chase on a work trip to vegas all bets are off. because what happens in vegas, stays in vegas, right?

except maybe the sizzle between them is too strong to keep denying and after vegas how can they go back to the friend zone? especially when chase realizes that maybe cassie is it for him. and he knows that he's the only one for her. he just has to prove it.

**bad reputation will publish on october 3, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/random house publishing group (loveswept) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: take the lead by alexis daria


take the lead is set during a dancing like the stars-esque reality competition. professional dancer, gina morales, not only wants to win the trophy, she needs to win in order to keep herself on the pro-dancer rotation. as a proud, yet fiery, latina, gina is careful about her portrayal on the show. she wants to avoid falling into stereotypes. and she's been burned by fake relationships in show business before.

this season she's paired up with alaskan mountain man, stone nielson, a fellow reality tv star who's main purpose for being on the show is to ensure that his family has enough money to pay off his mom's medical bills. dancing is as far out of his comfort zone as one might imagine, but from the moment he meets gina they simply click.

the producers of the show notice the obvious chemistry and try to encourage gina to play up a showmance, something gina is adamantly opposed because she feels like it typecasts her as a sultry latina. but not only is she attracted to stone, she likes him a lot, and the more time they spend together the harder it is for them to keep their hands to themselves.

when they do finally give in, gina does her best to keep everything on the down-low. except stone doesn't want to hide his feelings for gina. he's sick of keeping secrets. his family's show is a lie, his whole life feels like a lie, and gina is the only real thing in it. why should he hide? but gina doesn't see how this could be real when her life, her career is in the big cities of los angeles and new york. while stone's life is in the middle-of-nowhere alaskan wilderness.

i really enjoyed stone and gina's story. i liked the backdrop of the reality dance competition. i don't know if the author has any insider information on the industry, but it felt like she really knew what she was writing about and that added another layer of fun. and i love the threads of puerto rican culture that daria included throughout the narrative. you can tell when it's authentic, and this was. i'm always happy to see fellow puerto ricans in print. especially now.

**take the lead will publish on october 3, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (swerve) in exchange for my honest review. keep reading for an excerpt and more information about the book...


Monday, October 2, 2017

strictly literary: abounding might by melissa mcshane

this cover might not be as pretty as the previous two in the extraordinaries series, but don't count abounding might out for a good story. this time the adventure leads us to india. where daphne st. clair, an extraordinary bounder is essentially banished after her propensity to faint at the sight of blood leads to the death of a good man in battle.

once in india, daphne meets captain phineas fletcher, a discerner charged with trying to find a group of missionaries who has gone missing in a remote part of the indian continent. he recruits daphne, partly because he could use her talents on the field, but also because he knows she can be doing something more than she is currently in india.

as they work together to solve the mystery, daphne and phin spend time in each others company, and it becomes quite clear that they feel something strong for one another. captain fletcher's talents add an interesting twist because in a sense he has a better idea of what is going on between them because he can feel her feelings every time he touches her.

one of the things i've enjoyed in each story is seeing how each person's talent is described. there's always a glossary of sorts at the end of the book that helps, but as you get to know the individual characters and their own abilities, having how they do things or react to things describes is really cool.

the regency era in india is an interesting and fraught moment in british colonialism. the author has researched the time period well and has crafted an interesting story for this latest set of extraordinary talents. i love this series.

**abounding might will publish on october 3, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/curiosity quills press in exchange for my honest review. 


seriously romantic: the wicked billionaire by jackie ashenden

the wicked billionaire picks up with lucas tate's story. we met lucas in book 1 of the series, the dangerous billionaire. and even then he was intense and mysterious and oh-so-intriguing. so now that the focus is on him, the danger is always that he might be less interesting as a lead than he was as a secondary character.

i'm here to report that this isn't the case. lucas is as intense, as mysterious and as super-duper sexy as he appeared to be in book 1. lucky grace. she's the widow of his former army buddy/possible traitor. all lucas knows is 1) that he has been charged to keep her safe and 2) that something happens to him every time they are in a room together. for a man so in control of his emotions and body, the way he reacts to her is disconcerting.

and oh my, does it result in something steamy. the mystery surrounding griffin and his relationship with both lucas and grace add some added depth to this romance. there's just enough danger and just enough sex to make this an all-around enjoyable read.

**the wicked billionaire will publish on october 3, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (st. martin's paperbacks) in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

seriously romantic: with this christmas ring by manda collins

set in the same world as the school for scandal series, this novella, with this christmas ring, is a second-chance at love story for alexander ponsonby and merry parks. she's the daughter of a renowned classicist and he's the viscount of wrotham. years ago, when they first fell in love, alexander's grandmother ensured that merry wouldn't stay.

but neither of them have moved on. in the story's present day, alexander has just returned from the continent and visiting his estranged mother, and the new perspective he's gained since being in france has him deciding to seek out merry. except she seeks him out first, because his cousin has fathered a child with her dearest friend, who died in childbirth and asked that the baby be sent to her father.

being forced together again awakens all their old feelings for each other. this time alexander is determined that nothing shall scare merry away. and merry is coming to realize that she was too hasty when she gave him up, and maybe she wasn't strong enough then, but she is strong enough to fight for him now.

things are wrapped up pretty neatly, even if things happen at a quick pace given the short format. but it's an enjoyable story and merry and alexander are clearly meant for each other.

**with this christmas ring will publish on october 3, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (swerve) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: christmas at two love lane by kieran kramer

the stereotype that the pace of life in the south is slower, seems to bear true in christmas at two love lane because while this story is enjoyable it moves as slow as molasses. from the moment deacon banks meets macy foster he's smitten. he's your standard commitment-phobe, and of course he can't admit his real feelings except to say he likes her a lot. but he's totally smitten. 

he's also just convinced her to become his matchmaker for the season as a gift to his aunt. deciding that you would rather date your matchmaker rather than the prospective dates she's going to set you up on isn't quite the thing. early on he colludes with the ladies to make the dates lead to more time with macy, rather than less. 

macy is the matchmaker who's never been in love. so at first she is just as confused by her reaction to deacon as he is by his to her. but when she realizes that the dates she's set him up on are ones she doesn't want to see succeed she feels horrible and unprofessional. she prides herself on the ability to connect people, but it's not too surprising that her judgment is cloudy when it comes to her connection to someone special.

the obstacles that keep them apart seem kind of silly, but i have to say that the way deacon lets macy know he's realized what he wants is for them to be together is pretty special. also very festive. and possibly traumatizing to children who still believe in santa claus. 

**christmas at two love lane will publish on october 3, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (st. martin's paperbacks) in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

seriously romantic: a season of you by emma douglas

mina harper had enough heartbreak to last a lifetime. so she wasn't searching out more. but when will fraser saves her after an unfortunate road accident, she finds herself noticing him in ways she never did before. a season of you finds mina and will indulging in the attraction between them. and mina, in particular, ignoring the very real fact that it's something more.

she already loved and lost, so to say she wasn't looking for love is an understatement. but will has been half in love with mina since he first saw her 6 years ago. he never approached her because she was married, and then because she was widowed and needed time to grieve. and then she developed an unreasonable hatred of alcohol and bars, and will happens to own a bar and a distillery.

but when she finally takes notice of will, she can't stop. it's not just his physical appearance, although that has her artist hands itching to draw him. it's his kindness. his patience with her. his steady presence in her life—never pushy, never aloof, just right.

it's pretty rare for the character required to make the grand gesture to be the female lead, but i liked that it happened here, especially in this case. mina did need to do something to make will know how special he is. because he's so good to her.

**a season of you will publish on october 3, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (st. martin's paperbacks) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: holiday spice by samantha chase

the last shaughnessy gets her happily ever after in holiday spice. darcy may be the youngest shaughnessy but she might have the biggest heart of them all. the only daughter with five older brothers, she's used to fighting for her independence. at the same time, she's fiercely loyal and close to her family.

so when she falls in love with reclusive artist ben tanner things are complicated. for one thing he lives in a remote area of washington state. her family lives outside of charlottesville, north carolina. he's an introvert who generally avoids spending time with people. she's an extrovert who thrives in a crowd.

and yet, together they make sense. when they can shut the world out of their relationship bubble, everything is wonderful. so they need to figure out how to quiet the noise.

remote cabins outside the cascade mountains help. and eventually they both find a solution that works. both of them have some family issues and old baggage to work through too. and once they settle those things it's easier to find a happy medium.

on the one hand i really enjoyed this story, on the other, i have to acknowledge that darcy did her best to make herself unlikeable. it's actually pretty amazing that ben stuck it out with her, because she was horrid to him for a large chunk of the novel. but he's a good guy, and he's so upfront about how much he loves her. and i can't help but get swoony over it.

**holiday spice will publish on october 3, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/sourcebooks casablanca in exchange for my honest review.