Tuesday, December 12, 2017

strictly literary: sea of strangers by erica cameron

sea of strangers picks up where island of exiles left off. at sea, khya and her friends must come upon an idea that will allow them to survive the dangers ahead.

the action rarely stops, but we do get more answers to what the misireh are up to and a deeper understanding of the mythology and magic that imbues this world. because this is book two of a planned trilogy there’s still not a whole lot of resolution but i have high hopes for book three.

the relationship between khya and tessen continues to deepen, and i enjoyed the quiet moments between them, even as everything around them falls apart over and over again. what they are aiming to do feels like the impossible and yet, their perserverance, their determination makes it seem like it's within reach even as they are faced with setback after setback.

**sea of strangers published on december 5, 2017. I received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley:entangled publishing (entangled teen) in exchange for my honest review. keep reading for an excerpt and more information on the book... 

strictly literary: island of exiles by erica cameron

island of exiles brings to life a world of magic and lies, one where gender fluidity is the norm and asexuality and bisexuality are nothing remarkable. the glossary and the explanations of magic and rank are all nested at the end of the book, which if i had read the physical copy of i would have happened upon it much sooner than i did in the ebook, when i only found it because i had reached the end of the story.

there is a lot of world-building here. it's complex and detailed and maybe a little overwhelming. i'm still kind of confused by everything with tsua and osshi but i'm guessing book 2 will continue to provide answers.

at its heart, this is khya's story. realizing that what she loves most in the world is in terrible danger she pulls together a quest that will betray everything she believes about her society. working with her brother's lover, sanii, and her longtime nemesis, tessen, they come up with a daring plan to rescue her brother, yorri.

but when things go sideways, they soon learn that there is so much more to uncover about the world around them. and the battle they will need to prepare for will be more challenging and difficult than any battle they've ever faced before.

the only thing they have to rely on is each other, on each other's abilities and the bonds that tie them together. watching the bond between khya and tessen grow in strength throughout the novel is so satisfying. it's pretty clear from early on that he's totally into her, but she sees him as her enemy. i think she reacts so strongly because she knows that he is important. he's the only person to both challenge and support her unconditionally. how he does both things at the same time is impressive. he has the strength to let her be herself, and at the same time, he bolsters her in a way that allows her to shine and yet doesn't deny his strength either. their relationship is so unique and layered and i can't wait for more. luckily my review of sea of strangers is coming up shortly.

**island of exiles published on february 14, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (entangled: teen) in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, December 11, 2017

seriously romantic: dance with me by alexis daria

i really enjoyed take the lead, but i think dance with me totally topped it. i loved, loved, loved this book. natasha and dmitri are perfection together. they've been indulging in an on and off things for three years, so when dmitri suddenly starts to really be there for natasha she's suspicious.

though to be fair, she would have always been suspicious. her whole life she's been made to feel unworthy by her mother. born to a teenager who felt her life was ruined and incapable of expressing her affection in a constructive manner, tasha feels like she's second best in all things. and being surrounded by people who give off the appearance of being more successful without working nearly as hard has only added to her complex.

inadvertently dmitri has also fed into tasha's insecurities, mainly because in trying to protect himself from heartache and rejection he's made tasha believe that she isn't as important to him as she is. because the truth is, to dmitri, tasha is everything. he wants it all with her. love, passion, commitment. but he doesn't know how to express himself in a way that she would believe. and because he is holding back, he finds himself saying the exact wrong thing at the most inopportune moments.

te way these two love each other is sweet and deep and so emotional. together they build each other up. and they only need to figure out how to keep it going once they are out in the real world. everything about this story worked for me. especially the ethnic, puerto rican-ukranian bits.

**dance with me will publish on december 12, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (swerve) in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

seriously romantic: hold me harder by renee dominick

when natalie lindgren returns to the ranch her family used to spend summer vacations on in hold me harder, she's not just revisiting old childhood haunts. she's reencountering the one man who she has fully submitted to,javier, the man she turned her back on because she believes that her need to submit makes her weak.

to make things more complicated the man she fell in love with after javier is also part of the wedding party that brings her back to the ranch. ryan is another man she's run from for the same reason, his desire that she submit has her running scared.

but coming to the ranch is like coming home. and natalie learns that in order to be her true self, in order to be truly happy she can't keep denying the part of her that needs to submit. with javier and ryan guiding her and working together there's a chance that she can have it all. as long as she realizes that there is strength in submission. that all these two men want most in the world is to give her pleasure.

**hold me harder will publish on december 11, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (scorched) in exchange for my honest review. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

seriously romantic: a perilous passion by elizabeth keysian

rafe seaborne, aka the earl of beckport, is determined to redeem himself after his allergies to a horse ruined a military operation in the midst of war. humiliated he abandoned society and has taken up residence on the coast determined to catch a group of smugglers and a traitor to the crown.

when he crosses paths with miss charlotte allston he assumes that he is saving her from a suicide by drowning. in truth she'd been moping by the seashore for her lost love, justin, but her eye had been caught by a scrap of something floating in the water. she was just being curious not suicidal.

but once their paths cross, it's like they can't stay out of each other's way. either he's spying on her and she catches him, or she finds reasons to track him down. and at every turn they are beset by danger, accidents, and a surprising passion.

a perilous passion establishes early on that these two are wild for each other but rafe believes he isn't free to pursue charlotte until he has redeemed himself in the eyes of society and his country, and also he needs to make things right for himself. meanwhile, charlotte is harboring a secret about her father's past that she believes will negatively affect her marriage prospects.

but as much as rafe pushes charlotte away, he comes to realize that having her as a partner makes everything better. as often as he pulls her out of a scrape, she saves his life just as often in turn. and there is no doubt that these two are tailor-made for each other.

**a perilous passion will publish on december 11, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (amara) in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, December 8, 2017

seriously romantic: chaos and control by season vining

when wren hart blows back into the tiny town of crowley, kansas she's not sure what kind of homecoming she'll receive. she's been gone three years and her only contact with her sister, bennie has been a series of postcards. she shouldn't be surprised to discover that her apartment has been rented out and her old job filled. but her replacement, preston charles, couldn't be more fascinating if he tried.

in chaos and control, it's pretty clear early on that wren is the chaos and preston is the control. he suffers from some pretty severe ocd. and we see how the disorder both controls him and how he uses routine and repetition to keep his anxiety under control. wren steamrolls her way into his orbit, and once she is there he finds that he likes having her there. and that somehow, in spite of her propensity for chaos, she quiets his overactive mind. and when he's with her he finds a measure of peace that he's never really known.

wren has secrets and so do bennie and preston. and there's a moment when the secrets nearly destroy everything that these characters have been building up to. but love is stronger than that. pain and hurt and anger and betrayal are the lows, but the rush of elation, the sweetness of forgiveness, the thrill of passion, those are the highs. preston and wren do their best to experience all of it.

one of the things that i really liked about this story is how it is framed. told in third person limited from wren's point of view, each chapter ends with a poem written by preston that gives us insight into his psyche. you get such a clear picture of him and where he is at emotionally. it lets us see how he sees wren, and it's perfect because so much of her time is spent describing all the little things that make preston so unique.

**chaos and control will publish on december 11, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (embrace) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: mine to save by diana gardin

sayward díaz is not your average romantic heroine, after all it's not every day your lead character is on the low end of the autism spectrum. sayward has problems reading social cues, and she's never understood the need for physical intimacy, but something about bennett blacke calls to her. and when he says she's beautiful, she's stunned to realize that he makes her feel that way.

he's a man who has been through unspeakable stress, violence, danger. and while there is a darkness that resides deep in his soul, the way he cherishes everything about sayward in mine to save is totally worth swooning over. he's a man who whose ptsd is sparked by betrayal. loving someone, giving over that much trust to another person feel unthinkable, but he doesn't hesitate with sayward. even when he knows that being with her could set off all his triggers he knows that being without her is not an option.

they just work together so beautifully.

sayward's life is at risk, her past with a columbian drug cartel has caught up to her in wilmington. and bennett will do everything in his power to keep her safe. he would lay down his life, because she is everything to him. from the moment he realizes she is in danger he keeps her in his sights. she belongs to him from that moment. and even though sayward tries to deny it, tries to fight it, the truth is she loves how he makes her feel. she knows he will always protectt her. that if she were lost, bennett would always be the one to find her.

i really loved these two leads. i loved their story, i loved how they see each other, i loved how they fall in love. my only complaint is that i've never met a columbian who'd name their kid sayward or james. i mean, i guess it's possible, but those are not at all spanish names. and they sound really weird in spanish . i loved sayward's columbian heritage, but it didn't feel entirely authentic because i kept thinking in order to have that name one of her parents had to be american. and this was a thread that i had to ignore because it was going to drive me crazy to pick at it.

**mine to save will publish on december 8, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever yours) in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

seriously romantic: everest by s.l. scott

ethan everest is enchanted by singer davis from the moment he catches her eye across a crowded room. he wants to approach her. he wants so much more than that. and when they finally share a moment he lets himself get distracted and lets her slip out of his reach.

but she's not far from his mind, and months later when they cross paths again, he knows he needs to do everything in his power to keep her close. even though his life has been needlessly complicated and everyone is telling him to avoid entanglements.

but singer is more than an entanglement. she is his in a way no other woman will ever be. she even manages to put up with his hot and cold behavior. mainly because when she tries to leave ethan behind, he does or says something that makes it impossible for her to do that.

when tragedy strikes close to home, it almost breaks them. he worries that bringing singer into his orbit puts her at risk, and if there is anything he is unwilling to risk, it is her safety. and singer, she worries that the guilt will break him. she doesn't blame him. it's not his fault. but this is so surprisingly refreshing.

the biggest obstacles they face as a couple is actually everest's need to protect singer. because if it were up to her they'd be all in. but he has to want it too.

**everest will publish on december 7, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of s.l. scott in exchange for my honest review. 

something from the archives: say goodbye - part 49

as loose ends get tied up, catch up from the beginning at the links: 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930,  3132333435363738394041424344454647, and 48.

part 49 continues after the jump...

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

seriously romantic: big catch by cathryn fox

the latest entry in the dossier series, big catch, finds dr. alyssa davenport on holiday in antigua. when she encounters her hot er patient, brayden, she's quickly clued into the fact that it's no coincidence her dossier holder chose to send her of all things, cockle fishing. she didn't even know what cockles were until this trip.

in new york, she'd had to let brayden go because it would have been unethical to pursue something with him. but here and now she has no such restrictions. so she goes after what she wants. except she accidentally ends up in bed with tyler, brayden's business partner. the man he shares everything with.

everything. even his women. and it becomes clear that there is only one woman that either of them is interested in. and alyssa finds that away from all the pressures of new york, it's possible that she's found her truest self on antigua. not just her purpose, but then men who make her feel cherished, sexy and alive.

i do wish that we could have had some of tyler's actual perspective in the novella, but both brayden and alyssa give us a sense of his feelings. and their feelings for him. so it works.

**big catch will publish on december 11, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (scorched) in exchange for my honest review.

simply all about lake + manning - a cover reveal

the something in the way series is going to continue with lake + manning. i have a peek at the cover as well as a little information on the book, including where to pre-order, after the jump.

slightly silly: riverdale, episode twenty: tales from the darkside

i'm telling you all now, the black hood is totally the janitor.

in the meantime, this episode of riverdale changed up the format a bit. giving us three self-contained stories that overlapped with one another very nicely.

in story a, we have archie and jughead running an errand for the sketchy southside serpent lawyer that resulted in the boys catching a ride with the candyman (i didn't look up the actor's credits, but it was totally the candyman, right?) and jughead finding himself pulled further into the serpents than he ever wanted to go. honestly, things aren't looking to good for judhead right now. he's in way deeper than he ever intended. and at some point all the things he's keeping to himself are going to explode.

in story b, we have cheryl and josie. josie is kind of being stalked, but is it by chuck clayton, cheryl blossom or the janitor? this whole storyline is the one that has me convinced that mr. svenson is the black hood. he was super creepy. cheryl was only moderately creepy in comparison, and she appears to be single white femaling josie at the moment. the most harmless person of the bunch is skeevy dude chuck clayton, who took some art classes and has started going to church to amends, and still gets blames for everything.

finally in story c, we have betty and veronica. betty has convinced herself that sheriff keller is the black hood. veronica thingks he's having an affair. turns out veronica is right on this one, the sheriff is having an affair with mayor mccoy.

things are really starting to heat up!!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

seriously romantic: to the duke, with love by amelia grey

book 2 in the rakes of st. james series, to the duke, with love finds sloane knox, the duke of hawksthorne searching for the perfect gentleman to marry his sister. he wants to protect her from revenge seekers and gold diggers and the ton's less savory elements. mr. paxton quick seems to be the perfect prospective partner for his sister and so he decides to pay him a visit to discuss the possibilities. instead of paxton, hawks meets loretta, paxton's older sister.

when loretta discovers the reason for hawks visit she is immediately affronted on her brother's behalf. she had a disastrous experience with an arranged marriage. when she refused to marry her prospective groom her uncle forced her to take a vow that she would never marry in a church. and he then sentenced her to live in the most remote of his properties, never granting her permission to leave. she wants something more for her brother. she wants him to find love. she wants him to feel passion.

she wants so much for him. except she forgets that he has to want those same things too. this was one of the interesting bits about the novel. loretta is strong and independent, and surprisingly wrong about people. both adele and paxton are content to be promised to one another. neither one of them wants to feel the highs and lows of a grand passion. they want something easy and stable and placid. to loretta this is almost unthinkable. but the truth is, one person's wants and needs are not another's.

a large chunk of the story is also focused on loretta's care for a child off the streets. this particular time period was full of great disparity, and there were many children who suffered on the streets of london. loretta wants to give this child a better life, a chance for betterment, and at every turn gives him the benefit of the doubt. again she wants something for someone that they have no desire for. and you can't help but feel badly for her large heart and naïveté.

hawks proves to be the man she needs. he protects her in ways she never knew she needed protecting. he cares for her. he desires her. and he loves her. and because he loves her he figures out a way to preserve her sense of honor. he finds a way to allow her to break her vow. because he needs her to break that vow. her happiness, his happiness depends on it. he is a genuinely good person. he cares about everyone in his path. what he does for his sister and for loretta, is heartfelt and loving.

for a rake, he really is a good guy.

**to the duke, with love will publish on december 5, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: once upon a christmas eve by elizabeth hoyt

we get one last peek into the maiden lane universe in once upon a christmas eve. adam rutledge, viscount d'arque hates christmas. sarah st. john hates rakes. when the rakish adam gets trapped at the st. john residence over christmas, sparks fly between these two.

it's always delightful being in the maiden lane world. pairing up d'arque and sarah is a perfect way to close out the series. and what can i say, i was just happy to enjoy one last story with this incredible cast of characters. even if, this time, i didn't get to see them all.

**once upon a christmas eve will publish on december 5, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever yours) in exchange for my honest review. 

seriously romantic: a scottish lord for christmas by lauren smith

when rowena saves a little girl from falling into a well, the last thing she expects to happen is that she'll meet the man of her dreams. it's her first season, and she is looking for love. a sweeping, romantic love. and from the moment she meets lord forres, she's halfway there.

but quinn has already had that kind of love in his life. his late wife was the woman of his dreams. she was the girl he spent a lifetime loving, and it was cut tragically short. he's not interested in finding love. he just wants a woman to help him raise his daughter. a woman to keep his house. a woman who will keep him company. he knows that rowena wants love. and even though that's the last thing he wants to give her, he discovers that he is just selfish enough to want to keep her anyway.

quinn needs to realize that the heart is more resilient than he gives it credit for. that the capacity for love is boundless. and that if he lets himself believe these things, what he can build with rowena is something beautiful. this was a sweet short story with some real emotional depth.

**a scottish lord for christmas will publish on december 5, 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 on the novella...

Monday, December 4, 2017

seriously romantic: the sweetheart sham by danielle ellison

the town of culler, south carolina in the sweetheart sham reminds me a lot of bluebell, alabama in hart of dixie. it's one of those quintessential southern towns. small. traditional. where the old families still rule society and everyone knows everything about everyone. except will montgomery has a big secret. and georgia ann monroe, his best friend in the world, is the one other person who knows. he's gay. and he isn't out.

but when he meets someone who is struggling with the same things he is, he asks georgie to pretend to be his girlfriend so he can date his boyfriend in relative secrecy and peace. this would be fine, except for the fact that beau montgomery, will's cousin and georgie's almost boyfriend and definitely the boy who broke her heart, is back in town after a two-year absence. he wants to make amends with georgie. and he's horrified to realize she's dating his cousin.

georgie is pissed at beau. but she's also glad he's back. and she wishes she didn't have this enormous secret to keep because it's totally getting in the way of reconnecting with beau. even if she's still not sure she can trust him with her heart. time and time again he shows her that he's paying attention. but there's no way he'd hurt his cousin by moving in on his girl. and georgie knows that telling beau isn't going to go well when he realizes that she's been lying to him. because beau has, with good reason, no tolerance for liars.

they can get past these things, but beau has to show georgie that he has staying power. she doesn't want to find herself abandoned, waiting for someone who isn't going to show up. and he kind of needs to grovel about this, because if there is one thing beau does well, it's run away from his problems.

**the sweetheart charm will publish on december 4, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (crush) in exchange for my honest review. keep reading for more information on the book....

Sunday, December 3, 2017

seriously romantic: kiss kiss bang by sidney halston

i hadn't read the previous two books in the iron clad security series, but this had no impact on my ability to enjoy kiss kiss bang. this is a fast-paced romantic suspense, with josef "joey" clad meeting up with olivia "livie" russo and pretty much falling head over heels.

one of the things that made this book so enjoyable was how straighfoward everything about joey is. he's not one of those brooding alpha heroes who is going to keep you guessing about his motives and his feelings. with joey what you see is what you get. and livie finds that she really likes all of it. even if the timing is possibly the worst and the fact that she's worried about introducing a new guy to a five-year-old.

even when things get pretty dark, and some of the things that olivia suffers are pretty dark, the author has such a light touch that you breeze through the dark moments in a way that lets you both process the trauma and let it go. i'm probably not doing it enough justice in how i'm explaining this. but i'm trying to say there is suspense and danger, but it's not gritty and dark. the quick banter and repartee between livie and joey gives this book a sense of fun that is unexpected, but also very welcome.

**kiss kiss bang will publish on december 5, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (swerve) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: fatal evidence by kari lemor

fatal evidence picks up the story of scott holland and heather silva, who we met in running target. for years scott and heather pretended to be in a fake relationship in order to allow scott's cousin, jack, and heather's best friend, callie, opportunities to see each other. in that time they only gave into their attraction once, and a year later neither of them has moved on from it.

when the chance to purchase a bundle of land brings them together, they are both reluctant to follow through on it. but they both have a lot riding on the land development, and combining their ideas would likely benefit them both. except there is that pesky attraction.

as accidents and delays beleaguer their project, heather and scott come to realize that it's impossible to ignore chemistry like theirs. there is no other way to face the danger they're in other than by staying together. because as much as they want the other person to be safe, they also can't imagine being separated. for scott this means getting over his hang-ups regarding heather's wealth. and heather has to get over the fact that being independent doesn't mean you have to shun human companionship.

i really enjoyed scott and heather's story. this series is the perfect blend of suspense and dread and sweet emotion. i'm hoping we'll get more since drew and nick and others look like they can use their own stories.

**fatal evidence will publish on december 5, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/kensington books (lyrical undergrouns) in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

seriously romantic: the bad girl and the baby by nina croft

the third and final installment in the cutting loose series, the bad girl and the baby, brings things to a close with darcy's story. railroaded by crooked cops into serving time for assaulting one of their own, her abusive brother-in-law, she's spent her time in prison grieving for her sister and worried about her niece. on her release the one thing she wants is to get to know the baby girl her sister left behind, but her brother-in-law's brother has custody and all he knows of darcy is that she was incarcerated and according to his brother is violent and unstable.

matt peterson is honestly trying to do the best that he can under the circumstances. suddenly finding himself as the parent and guardian to an infant wasn't in his plans, but he's stepped up to the plate the way he always has. when darcy barrels into his life he's furious and barely willing to talk, but what she tells him has him questioning his sources. and soon he finds that he actually needs to make amends, and let this woman into his niece's life.

from the moment they cross paths, there's a spark between them. even as darcy struggles with the fact that matt looks so much like the detested steve, she can't help her reaction to him. she tries to stay away, but anytime they are in a room together the clothes melt off their bodies. literally, this is what seems to happen. the only reason they don't go farther at first is that they are interrupted at the most inopportune moment.

eventually, they get past the interruptions. and they develop a beautiful friendship. and something more than that too. but darcy is afraid. because her whole life everyone she's loved has up and died on her. and she doesn't want to feel loss like that again. she doesn't understand how she loves her niece the way she does. she doesn't want to be in love with matt because losing him would wreck her.

the three ex-cons—regan, summer, and darcy—get their happily ever afters here. and it's sweet and emotional and sexy. all of my favorite things.

**the bad girl and the baby will publish on december 4, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (brazen) in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, December 1, 2017

seriously romantic: undercover attraction by katee robert

the o'malley series continues with undercover attraction. as do the political mind games between the three boston mob families and the feds and dmitri romanov. aiden is the acting head of the o'malleys and he's determined to set a trap for romanov. but everything is a delicate game. a deadly game, because one wrong move can get people killed.

aiden underestimates the danger he's courting to trap dmitri. and as much as he is trying to save his sister, keira, he's going about it all wrong. charlie and aiden's story is perfectly fine, i liked it. they had good chemistry and i'm glad they figured out what they wanted. charlie is the one person who is able to see who aiden is deep down. and as ruthless as he is, he cares deeply for his family. he cares deeply for charlie. and he's trying to do the right thing for everyone.

but, here's the thing, and this was true in sloan's book too. keira and dmitri, the dance they're doing is the most interesting thing about this story. she is so broken. she's like a baby bird with clipped wings that won't fly. and dmitri is lethal. he might be the cat determined to eat the bird. but he also might be the one thing that saves her. the one thing that sets her free. and i'm absolutely dying to read their story. it has to be next. there's no one else left, and all roads lead to this one story.

i can't wait.

**undercover attraction published on november 28, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever) in exchange for my honest review. keep reading for more information about the o'malleys...

Thursday, November 30, 2017

seriously romantic: the heartbreak cure by amanda ashby

cat turner is humiliated and hurt and possibly heartbroken, though mostly he feels vengeful when we first encounter her in the heartbreak cure. when alex locke brings her brownies she realizes that everyone in town knows.

there will be no keeping it from the editor of the school paper and this will jeopardize all her journalistic endeavors. so she comes up with a plan and suddenly alex finds himself agreeing to be her fake boyfriend. he’s half in love with her already, but she is completely oblivious even as she crushes on him right back.

and so, i'm a total sucker for a fake relationship story. and here these two are so sweet together. alex really struggles with his self-worth. he's got a really rough childhood to contend with and tries to live his life out by doing the opposite of what his parents did. they were awful people. and he nearly got sucked into their world, but he pulled himself out. and he doesn't see the strength and the goodness in himself, but cat sees it. she believes in him in a way no one else ever has.

and when it feels like everything in his life is going bad again, he cuts her out of it to protect her. failing to understand that by not allowing cat to make the choice, he's just become another guy who leaves her behind when it's inconvenient. like her dad, the root cause of her abandonment issues.

cat and alex deal with some tough, real-world issues and i love how they support and care for each other through them. this was a sweet contemporary ya.

**the heartbreak cure will publish on december 4, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (crush) in exchange for my honest review. 

something from the archives: say goodbye - part 48

if you haven't read any of it before catch up from the beginning at the links:  123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930,  31323334353637383940414243444546, and 47. there's only 5 more parts left.

part 48 continues after the jump...

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

seriously romantic: outback affair by annie seaton

the third installment in the affair series really reminded me of a margaret way book. i swear annie seaton is channeling the authors of my grandmother's harlequin romances. in this one, the city slicker meets crocodile dundee plot was so familiar, and yet also it's so enjoyable.

in outback affair, alex richards is keeping a lot of secrets. and finding food journalist jessica trent blocking his path and learning that she's looking to interview is secret alter ego has him scrambling to gain control of the situation. at first he plans to teach her a lesson about lying, but eventually, he realizes that he's being a big, old hypocrite.

as they spend time together on the road to cockatoo springs, a resort in the midst of the australian outback, alex realizes that he's underestimated her. she's not the spoiled princess he judged her to be. and the fact that he's lying to her only makes it worse, because when she does find out it's totally going to blow up in his face.

the short format always makes the endings seem kind of rushed, but this is true of the series as a whole. all in all, these books fit very well with one another, and as quick, breezy reads, they are good for a couple hours entertainment.

**outback affair will publish on december 4, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (bliss) in exchange for my honest review. 

seriously romantic: italian affair by annie seaton

when brianna decides to propose a fake engagement to her seatmate on her flight to rome she has no idea that he'll take her seriously. it's not entirely clear why he does. except maybe that it was previously established that tomas richards was dying to be married?

there's a lot you need to suspend disbelief on in the italian affair. but at the very least tom and bri don't run the extreme gamut of love-hate the way nick and lissy did in the previous book in this series.

i did like seeing how tom and bri get close to one another, and we were able to see their relationship deepen and change. and when they are apart briefly, it's not a misunderstanding, it's just fear that they need to overcome, and the answer to fixing that is to believe.

and so as improbable as everything that happens to get them where they are is, it's enjoyable and well-plotted and these two work together in a way that lets you forget about sweating all the details.

again, this whole series has been repackaged, so just look before you buy, if you don't want to accidentally repeat a purchase, which happens to the best of us.

**italian affair will publish on december 4, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (bliss) in exchange for my honest review. 

seriously romantic: holiday affair by annie seaton

the holiday affair reminds me of my grandmother's harlequin romances. and it's not the fast-paced story, or the exotic locale, or even the off screen sex scenes. no, what made me think of my grandmother's harlequin romances was the fact that the main characters are completely, utterly irrational people.

nick and lissy need meds you guys, because they both had crazy mood swings even while in the middle of a conversation where no controversy should occur. one second they are all hot and bothered for each other and the next they hate each other's guts.

reading this novel was a roller coaster, because these two had so many ups and downs, and it's actually not that long a novel, so there were a lot of back-and-forth crammed into the pages. mostly it felt like they couldn't sit through a conversation and really listen to what the other person was saying, and while i understand people can be emotional and reactionary, nick and lissy took it to an extreme.

it was a quick read, and if you like books set in australia and characters with explosive personalities, then this is the book for you. no question. this is a re-release, so if the blurb sounds familiar, beware that it might have been repackaged.

**holiday affair will publish on december 4, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (bliss) in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

seriously romantic: a good day to marry a duke by betina krahn

american heiress daisy bumgarten only knows one thing. she needs to take london society by storm, marry a duke, and go back to new york to rub mrs. vanderbilt's face in it. as a good day to marry a duke begins, she is scandalizing new york society with her brazen, tomboyish ways. the fact that she is comfortable with men branding her a hussy, even if she's done nothing wrong. and this reputation not only ruins her chances, but also the chances of her sisters marrying advantageously.

in order to redeem herself, she takes two years to earn proper society polish and launches herself into the london high society scene. the duke of meridian is the perfect target for daisy's matrimonial machinations, especially as it appears his estate is facing financial trouble. arthur is also socially awkward and oblivious to most things other than bugs. he is an avid lepidopterist and has never noticed people over butterflies.

but this changes with daisy. and when arthur's scapegrace younger brother is recruited by their elder relatives to look into daisy's suitability as a partner, lord ashley graham agrees. partly because they offer him money, partly because he is intrigued by daisy, and partly because he's always been the one to protect arthur from the world, and he isn't about to stop now.

except the more time he spends in daisy's company, the more he realizes that he is the biggest danger to arthur's heart. the heat and sizzle that burns between daisy and ashley is off the charts, and yet she's determined to marry a duke and ashley has nothing to offer her as a second son. sometimes what we want isn't what we need, though.

even though it's not clear until the very end, there is only one possible way to end this love story. but the characters have to do some growing up and face some hard truths before they can earn their happiness. and it's kind of wonderful to see them all evolve. this late victorian era is such a delightful time in history, and there are so many interesting things going on in the world and those details infuse the novel in a way that gives it some real depth.

**a good day to marry a duke will publish on november 28, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/kensington books (zebra) in exchange for my honest review. 

seriously romantic: the bachelor contract by rachel van dyken

sometimes giving love a second chance is what you need to soothe what ails you. as the bachelor contract opens brant's family is convinced that he needs to settle things with his ex-wife, nikki, and either talk things out and close that chapter of his life or start over. but the drugs and the alcohol and the women who don't matter needs to stop. so when brant is challenged by nadine titus to take on management of a luxury resort and spa he signs the papers without a second thought.

of course, once he is at the resort he finds himself in nikki's path. at first, they are both too angry, too hurt to really understand what happened between them. there is so much pain, and loss, and grief they need to work through. they were young and alone and when they lost the ability to trust each other. they lost their way.

rebuilding that trust isn't an easy thing. brant, in particular, has done some pretty horrid things, but he loves her. and she loves him. and because of that, he can find a way to make things right. he has to, because there is no other option for him. when it comes down to it, the only person he wants to share his life with, the only person he wants to live for is nikki.

if you've read the other books in the series, you will be satisfied with how things tie up for brant. as with the other books in this series, the family dynamics and external intrusions into the relationship aren't my favorite. and some of the weird, physical comedy falls flat, but how brant and nikki find their way back to each other is still emotionally satisfying.

**the bachelor contract will publish on november 28, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever) in exchange for my honest review. for more information about the novel, keep reading...

seriously romantic: always you by denise grover swank

the third installment of the bachelor brotherhood series finds matt osborn running into the one woman who got away and broke his heart. anna fischer, now annaliese robbins, is a mom of a sweet five-year-old boy who happens to be best friends with matt's five-year-old nephew, ethan.

while their initial encounter is less than warm and fuzzy, the more time matt and anna spend together it's clear that the spark between them hasn't fizzled out even with time and distance. in spite of everything, anna is still the one for matt. and one of the things that i love about this in always you is that his feelings are never in doubt. neither are hers. she loves matt, she always has, but life is complicated. and there are plenty of obstacles and reasons to keep them apart.

but matt let anna go without a fight once before, and he's spent twelve years regretting it. this time, he's going to pull out all the stops. he wants, no, he needs anna in his life. that's the only way he will find happiness. he'd rather make the commitment now and work out the logistics later. and it's so refreshing to see someone who is all in. i loved it.

**always you will publish on november 28, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever) in exchange for my honest review. keep reading for an excerpt and more information about the book.

Monday, November 27, 2017

seriously romantic: falling for mr. wright by robyn neeley

falling for mr. wright finds sarah leonard begging her best friend ryan wright for help in getting her boss, logan to finally notice her as a potential dating partner. sarah is looking for love, and logan seems like he is ready to settle down.

this would be the perfect plan, since ryan and logan happen to be childhood friends too. but ryan is hopelessly in love with sarah, and has no idea how to tell her how he feels. the only way ryan can think to try and change sarah's mind is by spending more time with her.

he brings her with him to his high school reunion, partly to serve as a buffer between him and his ex-fiancée and partly to let her see another side of him. and it works, to a degree, but both of them are afraid to admit their real feelings as they fear rejection. on the one hand it's frustrating, because they keep willfully misinterpreting each other when they want the same thing. but it's also a highly entertaining romantic comedy, and ryan is an absolute sweetheart of a hero.

**falling for mr. wright will publish on december 4, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (lovestruck) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: the bookworm and the beast by charlee james

the bookworm and the beast is a contemporary holiday retelling of beauty and the beast. for not being my favorite fairy tale, it proves to be one that is easily adaptable to modern times. in this story, our beast is played by reclusive children's book author, derek croft while the beauty, or bookworm, is librarian izzy stevens, who has arrived at derek's home to serve as a temporary assistant while his staff is on holiday.

at first derek is unwelcoming and does his best to get rid of izzy. but when his stepmother threatens to bring another potential love match to their family christmas dinner, he begs izzy to stay. izzy is only working to earn extra money to pay for her grandmother's retirement home facility, and even though derek has been a beast to work for, she can't turn down his offer of extra cash.

lying doesn't sit well with izzy, but soon enough the lie starts to feel like truth. as derek and izzy spend time together and start to let down their walls. it's sweet and romantic and the kind of feel-good romance that is perfect to read by the fire and your christmas tree.

**the bookworm and the beast will publish on december 4, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (bliss) in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

seriously romantic: spy games by sidney bristol

sarah collins was only supposed to be the courier, dropping off key pieces of intel to strategically placed assets across asia under the cover of her job as a water resources manager. when she is burned on the way to a drop she is out of her element in these spy games.

rand duncan served his country until a mistake in battle left his best friend with only one hand. the crushing guilt has him leave everyone behind, and he joins the cia as a covert operative. little does he know that his path has crossed sarah's. she's the younger sister of rand's best friend, the one girl he's always loved but never thought he could have.

faced with unparalleled danger, both rand and sarah's lives are at stake. they can't trust anyone, especially given that there is a mole in the cia's ranks. forced to work together, rand and sarah have to deal with old hurts and an inconvenient attraction that burns hot even as they must evade international spies intent on bringing them in and destroying years worth of highly classified intelligence.

figuring out who the mole is, while fighting to stay alive and one step ahead of their trackers brings them closer than they've ever been. when your life is in danger, what you really want and what things matter become surprisingly clear. and after everything, for rand it has always been sarah. and for sarah it's always been rand.

**spy games will publish on november 27, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (amara) in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

seriously romantic: nightingale by jocelyn adams

in order to get the story that will launch her career as a serious journalist, darcy delacorte agrees to spend a week in the with reclusive millionaire micah lane. previously known as a playboy, he's retired from society since his abduction and subsequent disfigurement by a group of columbian drug traffickers.

both darcy and micah are hiding plenty of secrets between them. the only way micah agrees to open up is if darcy answers his questions in turn. why he wants to know about darcy, he's not sure. but he sees something in her, and wants to know if he can trust it. he's found himself used and taken advantage one time too many.

but darcy wins him over. and the more time they spend together, micah proves himself to be the nightingale she'd stopped looking for.

**nightingale will publish on november 27, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (amara) in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, November 24, 2017

seriously romantic: witness in the dark by allison b. hanson

when samantha hutchinson finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time in witness in the dark, she doesn't expect her honesty to put her life in danger. but doing the right thing puts her in the crosshairs of some powerful people who have no scruples when it comes to silencing her permanently. if deputy marshal garrett mckendrick has anything to say about it, she will stay safe and protected from all harm, even if it means his life is forfeit.

the attraction and relationship that sparks up between sam and garrett is both instant and slow-burning. the attraction is there from the first moment they meet, but how their relationship builds on that attraction to become something deep and meaningful is just perfectly done.

there's action and suspense and twists and turns aplenty. and the chemistry between these two leads is so hot. i just loved this one.

**witness in the dark will publish on november 27, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (amara) in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

something from the archives: say goodbye - part 47

we're close to the end of this story, if you haven't read any of it before catch up from the beginning at the links:  123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930,  313233343536373839404142434445, and 46.

part 47 continues after the jump...

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

slightly silly: riverdale, episode 19: death proof

every time i see mr. phillips i think of him as dr. charles percy who so ignominiously died in the active shooter episode of grey's anatomy. i guess his thing is ignominiously dying, because the black hood gets to him too. as the sugarman, he was spreading sin in riverdale, so serial killer justice prevails.

i'm about ready to learn the black hood's identity. allegedly it's someone we'll recognize. or at least it's someone who betty knows. i just worry that the reveal is going to be something of a letdown. especially given the mind games the black hood has been playing with betty.

and let's talk about the breakup. betty and jughead start out the episode on the outs but are reunited by the end of the episode. the thing is we have jughead's makeout session with toni topaz as a looming secret between them. it better not become the "we were on a break" of riverdale because i might lose it. jughead and betty are better characters than ross and rachel ever were so i'm cautiously optimistic. the truth needs to come out sooner rather than let it become something that festers.

this is kind of a weird complaint to have about riverdale because the show tends to blow through story at a breakneck pace. if i'm going to complain about anything, it's that. even though archie's red circle thing needed to take it down a notch, the fact that it's barely a thing anymore is seriously frustrating archie was finally showing some interesting depths of character, and now he's back to being eye candy.

and he's delightful eye candy, so i can't really complain. but i like it when my favorite characters have some hidden depth and angst. angst is my favorite after all.

also, i need to give some mad props to cheryl in this episode. she was fantastic. her scenes with her mother, with nick, with veronica, all give her some added depth and nuance to play when too often she is just merely the rich bitch from the crazy family.

i think one of my favorite things about this show is actually how much i love all the characters, even the minor characters. and my love is purely from the show. i mean, i have read an archie comic before, but never regularly. and more often than not, i tend to confuse archie with bazooka joe. my brain is weird.

anyway, let's hope all the neck breathing betty is doing will get us closer to seeing the black hood's face. i'm ready for the next big reveal in this story. my gut is telling me that it's a tangled, tangled web. and that more than one character will be affected by the reveal.