Fix You by Christine Bell *Review*

 

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Title: Fix You, Bash and Olivia Book One (The McDaniels Brothers #1)

Author: Christine Bell

Release Date: March 27th 2014

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Source: NetGalley

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“Fresh, sexy, and addicting–you won’t want to put it down!”—New York Times Bestselling Author Jen McLaughlin

FIX YOU is part one in the new adult McDaniels Brothers serials from USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Christine Bell. Fans of Monica Murphy, Jen McLaughlin, and H.M. Ward will be seduced by Bash and Olivia’s story and will look forward to a new installment in this ongoing family saga every month!

Want to learn more about FIX YOU? Be sure to check out this exclusive interview with Christine Bell!

Follow the tour and win some awesome prizes!

Synopsis

Olivia Beckett’s once-charmed life is falling apart. Her family is about to lose everything, and she has almost no chance of continuing her college education. She can’t even seek solace from her high school sweetheart. He’s changed. She doesn’t recognize the boy she used to know— his violent behavior is escalating and it scares the hell out of her. Her whole world is crumbling, and she has no one to turn to……

Sebastian “Bash” McDaniels is an up and comer in the boxing world working nights at the local college bar until he can land the fight of his dreams that will get him the hell out of Boston and away from his family’s tragic past. He’s weeks from his goal when Olivia Beckett comes tumbling into his life in a flash of silky dark hair and haunted eyes. When he saves her from a potentially brutal beating, they begin to grow close, but Olivia’s ex isn’t ready to let her go so easily.

Bash can’t bring himself to walk away, but fixing Olivia just might leave him broken…

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Review

4 stars

I can’t say much about this story without giving too much away, but I will try my hardest to paint a clear picture for you on why you should consider reading it.

– Characters

Both Bash and Olivia were intriguing characters with a complex side to them. I believe that Bash has layers that we’ve yet to see and I can’t wait to experience his whole story. As for Olivia, I’ll admit that it took a couple more pages for me to connect to her, but thankfully as the story progressed and she allowed her true self to come to the surface I came to understand her better.

– Connection and Chemistry

Bash and Olivia’s initial connection was subtle, but there nonetheless. However, as the story started gaining momentum and they started interacting in a more significant manner I saw how their connection was growing and deepening. Of course, their chemistry was instantly palpable. But again, it ran under the surface–always present, intense-up. And when all that pent-up lust was unleashed? HOT, HOT, HOT!

I’m sure there’s going to be a lot more of their connection developing and shinning through as their story continues but Christine Bell did a great job of bringing it to the page in this installment.

– Overall story

Christine Bell did an amazing job in drawing me into the story. Instantly, I was curious to see what was in store for Olivia. And once Bash came into the picture I couldn’t help but be intrigued by his story as well. By her use of dual POV and clear transitions, Christine Bell made sure that I could easily understand where each character was coming from. I enjoyed getting to know some of their story and now that I’ve invested myself in the outcome of what has developed between them, I can’t wait for the next installment.

With a mix of emotions, intriguing twists and turns plus sizzling chemistry between two complex characters, Fix You was a great start to a series. One that packed a punch with only 70+ pages of content. I can’t wait for more!

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

About the Author

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Christine Bell is the USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romances, and one half of the happiest couple in the world. She doesn’t like clowns or bugs (except ladybugs, on account of their cute outfits), but loves movies, football, and playing Texas Hold ‘Em. Writing is her passion, but if she had to pick another occupation, she’d be a wizard. She loves writing fun, sexy romance and deep, emotional new adult novels, but also hopes to one day publish something her dad can read without wanting to dig his eyes out with rusty spoons.

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Review: Full Measures by Rebecca Yarros

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Title: Full Measures

Author: Rebecca Yarros

Publishing Date: February 10th 2014

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Source: NetGalley

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Synopsis

Three knocks can change everything…

“She knew. That’s why Mom hadn’t opened the door. She knew he was dead.”

Twenty years as an army brat and Ember Howard knew, too. The soldiers at the door meant her dad was never coming home. What she didn’t know was how she would find the strength to singlehandedly care for her crumbling family when her mom falls apart.

Then Josh Walker enters her life. Hockey star, her new next-door neighbor, and not to mention the most delicious hands that insist on saving her over and over again. He has a way of erasing the pain with a single look, a single touch. As much as she wants to turn off her feelings and endure the heartache on her own, she can’t deny their intense attraction.

Until Josh’s secret shatters their world. And Ember must decide if he’s worth the risk that comes with loving a man who could strip her bare.

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Review

4 stars

 

Ember’s world came crashing down early one morning. One day she had it all – a loving boyfriend, college and a supportive family – and the other she’s facing an uncertain future, feeling alone and like she had the weight of the world on her shoulders.

It is during this time that she connects with Josh, the guy she once had a crush on. Romance is the last thing on her mind, but Josh’s supportive arms and his caring ways are too much for her to resist. However, just as Ember starts to think that her life has settled on solid ground, the rug is pulled right from under her feet.

This is the type of story that pulls you in from the very beginning and doesn’t let up until the very end of it.

Rebecca Yarros did a wonderful job in bringing Ember’s emotions to the page. This was not a light read by any means, but the emotions and the character’s reactions felt real and not over the top. My heart went out to Ember immediately and I was happy to see her trying to move on with Josh and finding some kind of semblance of normalcy in her life. But this only made me a sniffling mess when Josh’s secret came out. Yep, I shed a tear or three — I was that invested!

I loved Josh and Ember together. I think they found each other at the best time of their life. She needed someone to lean on and he needed someone to give him purpose. I thoroughly enjoyed their moments together and loved watching as their connection grew and strengthened as the story progressed. Of course they had great chemistry too, which only made it that much more enjoyable!

All in all, an emotional story about loss, hope and taking chances.

*I received this title through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

Excerpt

“When are you going to put me out of my misery?” he asked with a smile, biting into my cone.

“You don’t look miserable to me.” I wiped away a drop of ice cream from his lip with my thumb, and licked it off.

He groaned. “Trust me, I am. When are you going to let me take you out?”

My eyebrows raised. “Like an actual date?”

“Yeah, you know, like pick you up, we go out, have a good time, I steal a good night kiss?” He leaned back across the table and whispered, “I get to tell people you’re mine?”

Could I do that? Was I ready? First dates weren’t exactly commitments, right? Gus saved me from answering by walking back in, clean face and all. We stood, tossed our trash, and headed for the parking lot.

“Want me to take you home, Gus?” I asked as we stood halfway between our cars.

“I’ve got a better idea,” Josh interrupted. “What do you say to laser tag?”

Gus lit up. “Heck yes!” He scrambled into Josh’s Jeep.

Josh turned back to me in question. “Ember? Want to shoot at each other in the dark?”

He was giving up his Sunday afternoon for ice cream and laser tag with my little brother. “Where is your flaw, Josh Walker?”
He laughed. “I keep it in the closet.”

I slid up next to him as he told Gus to move to the backseat and reached on tiptoes to whisper in his ear. “If it’s dark in there, does it mean I get a kiss?”

He turned around so I was against his chest. “I have half a mind to tell you no more kisses until I get a date.”

“Oh?” I stepped back so Gus wouldn’t get the wrong . . . ahem, right . . . idea.

About the Author

Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and lover of all things chocolate, coffee, and Paleo. In addition to being a mom, military wife, and blogger, she can never choose between Young Adult and New Adult fiction, so she writes both. She’s a graduate of Troy University, where she studied European history and English, but still holds out hope for an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Her blog, The Only Girl Among Boys, has been voted the Top Military Mom Blog the last two years, and celebrates the complex issues surrounding the military life she adores.

When she’s not writing, she’s tying on hockey skates for her kids, or sneaking in some guitar time. She is madly in love with her army-aviator husband of eleven years, and they’re currently stationed in Upstate NY with their gaggle of rambunctious kiddos and snoring English Bulldog, but she would always rather be home in Colorado.

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Book Spotlight: Missing in Somerville by A.J. Raven *Excerpt*

Missing in Somerville

Title: Missing in Somerville

Author: A.J. Raven

Publication date: December 13th 2013

Genre: YA, Mystery, Bisexual

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Synopsis

The beautiful young bride of the town’s wealthiest man has been missing for several months and rumors of her whereabouts are rampant. Some speak of murder at the hands of her husband. Others claim that the young beauty died at the hands of a jealous ex-boyfriend. She could have run away, but why would a woman throw away a life of luxury? When a group of friends begin to search for her, they quickly discover that their lives are in danger by those determined to keep the woman’s whereabouts unknown.

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Excerpt

It took me a few minutes to realize that I was bound to a chair. “People know that I’m here,” I yelled at him.

He didn’t seem to listen and gently stroked Devona’s long blonde hair. I looked around the attic. Jars filled with red liquid lined the wall behind Devona. I noticed my cell phone near her chair smashed into pieces.

“Why?” I asked as I tried to loosen my hands.

“Devona is special,” he said, and I watched him pick up a syringe from a table. “My master told me that.”

“Who is your master?” I asked. He has gone totally crazy.

“Shut up!” he yelled at me. “Do not speak of my master with your filthy mouth.”

I tried to move my feet, but they were bound as well. I turned my head. There wasn’t anything sharp in my reach either. I needed to escape from him.

“It was my master’s doing,” he said, pouring the blood into a jar.

I noticed that the attic door behind me was open. If only I could move the chair a little. I slowly began to push the chair toward the attic stairs.

“Stop!”

I was grabbed by my hair and couldn’t catch my balance.

“You imbecile!” he yelled. “My master will be proud to hear that you are dead,” he said, and I saw him raise the knife.

Breathe Again (Breathe #2) by Rachel Brookes *Review and Excerpt*

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Title: Breathe Again (Breathe #2)

Author: Rachel Brookes

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release: March 10, 2014

Source: eARC

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/ZZ3XF6D9yT8

Synopsis

For Savannah Rae, the thought of living in her picture-perfect world was almost too much to comprehend. With her dream job, a family she could finally call her own, and the beginnings of the best chapter of her life, she still couldn’t shake the unnerving feeling that it was all too good to be true.

The thought of a life without Savannah was incomprehensible to Tate Connors. Never in his wildest dreams did he think he would find his girl in the form of a sassy, stubborn, beautiful Australian. Finally he had the girl and life he so desperately wanted, but he still couldn’t ignore the fear that it would crash around him.

When Tate’s past becomes his present and Savannah’s present becomes her past, the possibility of a future together collides head-on with reality.

In her darkest days, the words Just Breathe provided a peaceful comfort to Savannah from the heavens above. Now as she and Tate go down the path of new beginnings, brutal endings, and the constant craving of a happily ever after, they are anxious to learn how to Breathe Again.

Buy the Book

 

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Review

4 stars

3.75 stars

As the final chapter in Tate and Sav’s love story, Breathe Again was an overall success. It had the romance, the angst and the happily ever after. However, some of the things in the second half of the book disappointed me, especially after reading Breathless.

In the previous installment, Tate and Sav had come a long way in their relationship. Although that installment ended on a sad note, with the first half of Breathe Again the author didn’t waste any time in bringing forth the connection that Tate and Sav shared. As I was reading the first few chapters I found myself thinking ‘Finally, they got their crap together!”

They had worked most of their issues out, shared the birth of their baby (lovely!) and continued to love and tease each other while dealing with the different obstacles that were thrown at them. I thought they had made huge strides in their relationship and when tragedy struck I thought that this time around they would have been more than ready to deal with it in a mature and understanding manner.

This is where it started going downhill for me. I like my angst and my characters to struggle with their feelings–for me it makes their story much more believable. But somehow Tate just got on my nerves. The whining, the ultimatums, the attitude–it was just too much.

Thankfully, this only happened towards the fourth quarter of the book. I don’t think I would have been able to continue reading otherwise. I had already invested myself in the outcome of their story and was enjoying Mr. D and Max too much to have to stop then.

That little hiccup aside, I think that Rachel Brookes brought it all together rather well. Questions were answered, relationships were mended and new ones developed with emotions galore, humor and some steamy moments thrown into the mix to make Breathe Again a great conclusion to Tate and Savannah’s journey to happiness.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

Teaser

As a standoff of epic proportions began between Chelsea and me. My hackles rose, and I knew I would never back down from her. I wasn’t a revengeful person, but as soon as someone starts hurting the people I care about and throwing around half-arsed accusations, they will see the wrath of Savannah. This could be the very reason I chose to have limited female friends. It was easier than having to deal with the bullshit games girls were notorious for starting, and clearly this was why I never hid my intentions when it came to men in the past. Be clear as day and no feelings came to the surface. I felt Mr. Davenport sigh beside me and I swallowed hard. Professional, Savannah. For him.

I still didn’t back down as I spoke. “So I am assuming the—”

“Um, excuse me? I was told that I needed to be here.”

Our heads snapped to the door opening slowly, and I couldn’t believe who I was looking at, could this day get any weirder? Blake freaking Ryan had just walked through the door looking all rock star-ish. This was the first time we had seen each other since he had left New York for London.

His eyes widened to the size of saucers as he took everything in. Dressed head to toe in black, he was wearing a shirt that sat snug against his body, and his tattoos were glistening under the boardroom lights. He was born to be a rock star.

His eyes bounced between Tate and me and dropped to my hand gripped tightly in Tate’s and a smile tugged at his lips. Tate’s body stiffened against mine and his hand squeezed mine to the point of hurt like he was making his claim on me.

“Stop it,” I hissed and shot him a pleading look.

“Sorry, just habit,” he whispered then peppered my jaw with a kiss.

“Thanks for coming in, Blake.” Mr. Davenport shuffled papers on the large conference table and looked towards Blake, holding out a pen and what looked to be a contract. “So you have been booked for the shoot next week and we are now just finalizing details. Savannah will be running the shoot on behalf of Beautify and Chelsea will be the female model for the campaign. If you can just sign here, we are good to go.”

Blake shook his head and shot a disgusted look at Chelsea. “Are you serious? I can’t work with her.”

“See? I told you, Savannah. Even Blake doesn’t want to work with you in your pathetic little fairytale world you are supposedly living in,” Chelsea spat before she threw her straw-looking hair over her shoulder and strutted towards Blake. I watched Blake closely; the look sweeping over his face was priceless.

“I wasn’t talking about Savannah, you idiot. I cannot work with you, Chelsea. I tend to not want to associate with fucked-up, conniving bitches.”

I couldn’t hide the smile of victory tugging on my lips. Blake Ryan, you genius. The look of utter devastation Chelsea was wearing made me feel like a million bucks. I still had no clue of the history that Chelsea and Blake shared.

“Well isn’t this going to be a fun shoot,” Mr. Davenport mumbled under his breath.

About The Author

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Rachel Brookes is from a coastal town on the east coast of Australia where beaches, kangaroos and surfers roam free. She writes angsty love stories with a pinch of craziness, a dash of drama, a cup of romance and a spoonful of sexiness… oh and the main ingredient hot guys.

Rachel sometimes forgets to eat, sometimes forgets to sleep and sometimes can’t remember the last time she cleaned her apartment but that’s because she is in a long term relationship with her laptop and is constantly writing.

When she does step away from her laptop she can be found taking too many photos, making scrumptious cocktails, laughing at Adam Sandler movies and spending her time with her amazing family and friends.

With her first novel, Just Breathe, due to be released in July 2013, her dream of releasing a book will become reality. With another three books already taking up her mind, she cannot wait to start this crazy ride.

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Rachel’s Other Books

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Play (Stage Dive, #2) by Kylie Scott *Review*

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Title: Play (Stage Dive, #2)

Author: Kylie Scott

Release Date: March 25, 2014

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Source: NetGalley eARC

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Kylie Scott returns with the highly anticipated follow-up to international bestseller LICK.

 

Synopsis

Mal Ericson, drummer for the world famous rock band Stage Dive, needs to clean up his image fast—at least for a little while. Having a good girl on his arm should do the job just fine. Mal doesn’t plan on this temporary fix becoming permanent, but he didn’t count on finding the one right girl.

Anne Rollins never thought she’d ever meet the rock god who plastered her teenage bedroom walls—especially not under these circumstances. Anne has money problems. Big ones. But being paid to play the pretend girlfriend to a wild life-of-the-party drummer couldn’t end well. No matter how hot he is. Or could it?

 

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Review

5-stars

4.5 stars

Goodness gracious, what a story!

I had my doubts about Mal when I had read Lick. He seemed way too out there and I didn’t think he had much depth, but man was I proved wrong!

Kylie Scott didn’t waste any time drawing me into the story. I loved how Mal and Annie met, their initial interaction and what ensued next. Although it all started as an arrangement, I could see that they was some sort of connection there and with each interaction–crazy, honest or flirtatious–that connection grew and strengthened.

I loved Mal story! And what is more is that I loved Mal with Anne. She was the perfect yin to his yang. She was fun and sweet but strong and independent. She gave as good as she got, but melted whenever he grinned her way.

I was surprised to find that Mal was so complex. he was the first one with a sarcastic remark or making light of any situation, but underneath it all he had a great heart and it was a treat for me whenever I got a glimpse of if. My only wish I could have gotten a chance to get into his head. I’m sure the story would have been even more touching and much more enjoyable to me.

Thankfully, Kylie Scott made sure that enough of Mal’s eccentric personality and vulnerability shined through across his actions and interactions with Anne, so I could easily overlook not having his POV.

Although not an angsty story, Kylie Scott brought a whole range of emotions to the page. Be it frustration over the attraction that simmered between them, the fear of giving in and falling hard or the heartbreak at having to face the truth, every emotion brought to the page was intense and placed just right to impact the reader.

Don’t even get me started on chemistry! Wow, those two really had it going on. Their first kiss alone was a scorcher and everything else just kept getting better, especially as their emotions came into play. I loved it when they let unleashed their passion just as much as I enjoyed them opening themselves to one another. Very nice, indeed!

Keep in mind that although this is the second book in the Stage Dive series it can certainly be read as a stand alone. But then again, why would you miss out on another rock-star romance and on the chance to see Mal being his outrageous self. 😉

All in all, a great addition to the series which told the story of how a chance meeting brought together two different people that found each other and love when they least expected it.

*I received an copy of this title through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

 

Lick (Stage Dive, #1)

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About the Author

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USA Today Bestselling Australian Romance Writer.

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Email: kylie@kylie-scott.com

Hit the Wall (Blythe College #2) by Rochelle Paige *Review and Excerpt*

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Title: Hit the Wall (Blythe College #2)

Author: Rochelle Paige

Genre: New Adult Romance

Release Date: March 10, 2014

Source: eARC

Synopsis

Jackson thought he knew what love was and feels like he missed his chance at happiness. He realizes he wasted his chances by chasing after one-night stands instead of going after what he really wanted.

Kaylie knows what loss feels like and doesn’t want to take a chance on love. She puts up walls to keep her heart protected from experiencing that kind of pain again.

What happens when a guy who refuses to lose out again meets a girl who resists him as much as she can? Will Jackson be able to hit the wall Kaylie has put up and knock it down?

Buy the Book

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Review

4 stars

Of course I was curious about Jackson after I finished reading Push the Envelope, the first book in the series. He came across as such a man slut but by the way he protected and cherished Alexa and his sister Aubrey I knew he had a great heart too. And it is his heart that’s all over this story. From his conflicting emotions over Alexa to the way he treated Kaylie, Jackson’s heart was laid open every step of the way. I loved it!

Kaylie was a great character too. She was attracted to Jackson but hesitated, questioned and analyzed the feelings he brought out in her. She was independent and strong and I admired her determination to make her dreams come true. Her vulnerability made an appearance too and as I got to know her more I came to believe that she was the right partner for Jackson.

They not only had chemistry, they also had great camaraderie. I loved watching them together. They had great moments together–some were light and fun and some were honest and emotional. But through it all their connection shined through which helped me cheer them on as the story progressed.

Once again, Rochelle Paige delivered an amazing story. I liked that the emotions were still there–intense and jumping off the page–but the story was not overly angsty nor overwhelming. Like I said before, Jackson and Kaylie’s chemistry was off-the-charts hot and the author didn’t miss a beat in bringing that aspect of their relationship to the page.

Although this is the second book in the Blythe College series it can be read as a stand alone. I did enjoy visiting with Drake and Alexa, but Hit the Wall focuses on Jackson and Kaylie’s story and the connection they share.

All in all, a hot little read with amazing characters I could relate to, great dialogue and a bit of emotions to round it all up.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion as a participant of this event.

 

Excerpt

I loved bartending at the campus bar, The Rooster’s Nest. Of course, nobody called it by the real name. Instead, everyone usually just called it The Roost. Or if they were feeling particularly pervy, they called it The Cock. The bar was known for its cold beers, its hot cheese fries, and college bands. It’s a bit of a dive, but not in a sleazy

way. Although the tight t-shirts we wore with crazy phrases like “I Serve Tail at The Cock” and a picture of a martini glass on it sure did seem push things toward the sleazy slide.

I got the job as soon as I’d turned twenty-one. I needed the money, and it paid well for a part-time job with hours that didn’t interfere with school or dance. It also didn’t hurt that I usually got to work shifts with my roomie Charlotte since she was the one who’d gotten me the interview. She was the boss’s favorite at The Roost, so I’d been a shoe-in for the job. And I got paid well to flirt all night, so that was a plus too.

Speaking of hot guys, Jackson Silver walked into the bar about an hour before last call. I’d thought about him several times over the last month and a half. Word on campus was that he’d been keeping to himself a lot more. When he came back from Christmas break, there hadn’t been any more rumors about random hook-ups. This was the first time I’d seen him since witnessing his argument with Sasha, which was strange considering how small the campus was.

He sat down at the other side of the bar, so Charlotte took his order and served him a beer and a shot. Then she headed straight over to me as soon as she had taken care of Jackson.

“Did ya see who’s at the bar? Hottie McHot-Pants himself,” she said, nodding her head in his direction.

Hit the Wall Teaser 3

Push the Envelope (Blythe College #1)

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About the Author

I absolutely adore reading – always have and always will. My friends growing up used to tease me when I would trail after them, trying to read and walk at the same time. If I have downtime, odds are you will find me reading or writing.

I am the mother of two wonderful sons who have inspired me to chase my dream of being an author. I want them to learn from me that you can live your dream as long as you are willing to work for it.

When I told my mom that my new year’s resolution was to self-publish a book in 2013, she pretty much told me “About time!”

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Review: Frenched by Melanie Harlow‏

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Title: Frenched

Author: Melanie Harlow

Release: March 18, 2014

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Source: eARC

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Synopsis

Mia Devine plans over-the-top weddings for a living. So when it comes to her own nuptials, she spares no expense—hand engraved invitations, Vera Wang gown, luxury honeymoon in France. And since her fiancé is Tucker Branch, playboy heir and notorious flirt, local media is obsessed with every little detail.

Which is why it really sucks when he jilts her a week before the wedding.

Mortified, Mia wants nothing more than to crawl under her newly monogrammed sheets and plan a funeral for her dignity, right after blabbing to the world how fitting it is that Tucker will inherit a bolt and screw company, because that’s all he wants to do—screw, and bolt. And he doesn’t do either with much finesse.

When her friends convince her that bitter tastes better when it’s drowned in Bordeaux, she grits her teeth and packs her bags, determined to make the best of a week in Paris alone.

She never planned on meeting Lucas Fournier.

The free-spirited musician’s scruffy good looks and less-than-sympathetic ear annoy her at first, but when she takes him up on his offer to show her around the city, she discovers that the romance of Paris isn’t just a myth.

Nor is the simultaneous O.

The last thing Mia needs is another doomed love affair, but since she only has a week, she figures she might as well enjoy La Vie en O with Lucas while she can. But each day—and night—with him is better than the last, and suddenly her heart is telling her this is more than a rebound fling.

Is it just the seduction of Paris…or could this be the real thing?

Buy the Book

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Review

4 stars

I love it when a book surprises me!

As I started reading, I had my doubts about Mia. At first, I found her shallow and too self-centered for me to be able to connect with her. But thankfully Melanie Harlow gave me glimpses into the other sides of her. She truly just wanted to connect to someone else and be happy. So when she found Lucas I was intrigued about how the story would play out.

What I enjoyed most about this story was that it didn’t jump into the romance right away. At first, Mia and Lucas shared a deep connection which only grew and strengthened the more time they spent together. Yes, they had chemistry and it was always a palpable presence whenever they were together, but it was their playful banter and flirtatious interactions that hooked me.

I loved them together. They were funny and care-free, something I don’t think neither of them allowed themselves to be much of the time. But mostly I enjoyed how they opened up about their past, their needs and their dreams. They knew that their chance encounter must be taken advantage of and they made the most of the time they had together and fell in love along the way. Kudos to the author for bringing Lucas and Mia’s story to the page in a way that didn’t feel forced or rushed–it was one of the most important aspects in my enjoyment of this story.

I also loved the scenery. Melanie Harlow did a great job in drawing me into the story by making me feel like I was right there with them–experiencing the places, enjoying the food and feeling the ambiance.

All in all, a sweet romantic read with chemistry abound, a dreamy setting and interesting and relatable characters.

 

*I received an ARC copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

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Excerpt

 

Mia and Lucas Meet

“You hate flying, yet you want to get on another plane first thing in the morning?”

“I have to.”

“No, you don’t.”

Shaking my head, I insisted, “Yes, I do. You don’t understand.”

“Sure I do. Your fiancé called off the wedding and you’re angry and sad or whatever because you’re getting close to your marriage deadline or whatever, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time here. You came all this way, even though you hate to fly. There must have been a reason.”

Oh, yeah. That’s why I was annoyed with him.

Aggravated anew, I sat taller on my seat. “The reason was that I’ve always wanted to see Paris. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid. I had every day planned out, I knew exactly what we would do, the things we would see. And I thought I could handle it on my own, but now that I’m here, I can’t, OK? I can’t handle all the love and romance and fucking happiness all around me when I was supposed to be here on my honeymoon! It isn’t fair!” My voice was rising and several people glanced my way, especially since I thumped my hand on the bar with my last word. But how dare he ruin my buzz and the tenuous peace I’d made with myself about going home!

He shrugged. “Lots of things in life aren’t fair. Doesn’t matter what city you’re in.”

I rolled my eyes as all the attitude progress I’d made during my second glass of wine came undone. “Spare me the platitudes. I’ve heard a boatload of them in the week since I was unceremoniously dumped—via text message, mind you—seven days before my goddamn wedding.”

Lucas regarded me carefully. “You’ve got a problem.”

Brilliant, this asshole. “Yes. My problem is that I’m on my honeymoon, alone.”

“That’s not your problem.”

My jaw fell open. Who the hell was he to tell me what my problem was? He went on before I could protest.

“Your problem is that you thought things were going to be one way and they’re not. You’re not even telling me you miss the guy who was supposed to be here with you. You just don’t want to be here alone because that wasn’t the plan.”

“That is not what I said!”

He laughed. “That’s exactly what you said.”

“Well…” I flapped my hands. “That’s not what I meant. I’m flustered. And drunk.”

“So you do miss him? Because I don’t see a heartbroken girl here in front of me. I see someone who’s angry that her relationship ended badly mostly because it ruined an idea she had about the perfect life. And she flew all the way here, but even Paris isn’t enough to distract her from the fact she didn’t get exactly what she wanted when she wanted it.”

“It was more than an idea! It was real. At least, it felt real…most of the time.” My spine curled as the fight left my body. Even my voice weakened. “But what do I know?”

He spoke softer too. “Want to know what I think?”

“No.”

He held up his hands. “Fair enough.”

I put my credit card on the bar. “I want to pay my bill and leave.”

“The wine is on the house.”

“Because you feel sorry for me?” I snapped. God, Mia, just shut up. Why I was letting this guy get to me, I had no idea. Wasn’t I in this bar because I felt sorry for myself?

He hesitated before answering. “Yes. Originally, I felt sorry for you because some asshole treated you wrong. But now that I know a little more, I think he did you a big favor. Now I feel sorry for you because you’re going to let one bad day ruin a dream that you’ve had for such a long time. You

know, if you leave tomorrow, I bet you never come back. I bet you’ll always think of Paris as a miserable, lonely place.”

I opened my mouth to argue and then closed it. Was he right? Was I letting one bad day speak louder than a lifetime of dreaming about Paris?

“But I’d also bet you’re stronger than you think.”

I met his eyes, and they were serious. Was he right? I’d known coming here wouldn’t be easy, but I’d gotten on that plane. Cocking my head, I asked, “Were you a psych major or something?”

He grinned. “Double major—music and psychology. Graduate degree in psych. Look, I know we just met, and I do tend to analyze people and open my big mouth when I should probably just keep my opinion to myself. But when you walked in here alone and looked around, I thought, There is a woman who knows what she wants. That confidence is sexy.”

“But I’m not confident.” The words came out like a whimper as I stared down at my left hand, where my ring used to be. I wondered where it was now—I’d thrown it in the toilet, but Coco had rescued it.

“Yes, you are. You’re just a little scared right now.”

Exhaling, I looked up at him through my lashes. “You argue with everything I say. It’s really annoying.”

“Sorry. Let me make it up to you.”

“How?”

He thought for a moment. “Well, let’s make a deal. You agree to give Paris one more day, and I’ll agree to spend the day being your tour guide—no psycho-analysis, I promise. If you’re still miserable even when you have a friend by your side, you can grab a flight home the next day. I’ll even call the airline for you.”

“A friend, huh?”

“You think about it.” He moved down the bar to fill drink orders, and I checked out his ass again.

It really was cute.

About the Author

Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her lipstick red, and her history with the naughty bits left in. I write New Adult historical and contemporary stories.

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Third Degree by Julie Cross *Review*

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Title: Third Degree

Author: Julie Cross

Release date: March 25, 2014

Published by: Flirt (Imprint of Random House)

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Source: eArc

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Synopsis

Fans of Monica Murphy and Tammara Webber will savor this New Adult novel—a story about coming of age in the heat of the moment—from Julie Cross, the internationally bestselling author of the Tempest trilogy.

I used to be “Isabel Jenkins, child prodigy.” As lame as that sounds, at least it was an identity. But now I’m not sure what I am. I just failed the most important exam of my life—the emotional readiness test required to get into a medical residency program—and it turns out my parents can’t stand each other. Now I’m trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces of my life, and that means re-enrolling as a college freshman, but this time I’m shutting the books and majoring in being eighteen.

But so far, my roommate hates me and I’m not into the party scene. The only good thing about school has been getting to know my insanely hot RA. Marshall Collins makes me wonder about everything I missed while I was growing up too fast. Pretty soon we’re hanging out constantly, but for the first time, I find myself wanting more than a no-strings-attached physical relationship. And the lesson I really need is one Marsh definitely can’t teach me: love. Because I’m going to be alone forever if I don’t learn fast.

Advance praise for Third Degree

“With quirky characters, laugh-out-loud moments, and a touching romance, Third Degree is a refreshing entry in the New Adult genre. I can’t wait to read what Julie Cross comes up with next!”—Roni Loren, bestselling author of Need You Tonight

“I fell for quirky, brainy, socially awkward child prodigy Izzy and even more so for her sweet, compassionate, and hot RA, Marshall. I was rooting for their happily-ever-after and was sighing with satisfaction by the end.”—Christina Lee, author of the Between Breaths series

“Loved! Fans of Huntley Fitzpatrick’s My Life Next Door and Tammara Webber’s Easy will fall hard for this book.”—Krista Ritchie, co-author of the Addicted to You series

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Review

4 stars

It’s a great feeling when you start reading a book and are immediately drawn into the story. Especially when you’re not expecting it to happen!

I really enjoyed this one.

Isabel was a great character — the kind you don’t understand very well and find it hard to connect to because she’s just that different, but one you can’t help but be curious about and come to are for in the end. As a child prodigy she was hilarious, as a young woman struggling to find her place in the world she was adorable.

Nevermind Marshall. He was awesome. The kind of character that quickly endears himself to you making you wonder what his imperfection is. I loved him!

I especially loved them together. They were so different but perfect for each other bringing out the best out of each other while allowing themselves the chance to discover how to let go of the walls they had around themselves. Together they learned to open up, embracing the life they were meant to lead and finding love along the way — something neither one of them was expecting.

Light on the angst, but not light in the range of emotions, Isabel and Marshall’s story was one packed full of light and funny moments, honest interactions and some mighty steamy encounters. Kudos to Julie Cross for bringing forth such a different and entertaining read.

All in all, a wonderful story about two completely different people taking a risk and allowing their connection to develop into something that would forever change their lives.

* I received an ARC copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

About the Author

Julie Cross lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She’s a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former gymnastics program director with the YMCA. She’s a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and New Adult genres. She’s also a committed (but not talented) long-distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict.

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Deep Surrendering (Episode 1) by Chelsea M. Cameron *Review*

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Title: Deep Surrendering (Episode 1)

Author: Chelsea M. Cameron

Expected Release Date: March 20th 2014

Genre: Contemporary Adult Novella Series (set in the world of Sweet Surrendering)

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Synopsis

She’s all about rules. He lives by none but his own. When these two meet, the results could be disastrous.

When Marisol Everly’s friend Rory sets her up with Fin Herald, Marisol doesn’t expect that it will amount to anything, but that was before she saw Fin’s searing blue eyes and mischievous smile. Not to mention, he seems absolutely fascinated by her mundane life. He’s everything that a girl could want, but there’s something else that ripples under the surface of his flirty behavior. Something darker. Something that fascinates Marisol, but scares her at the same time. Is she willing to risk falling into an abyss she might not get out of?

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Review

4 stars

3.75 stars

Intriguing first episode.

I have to say that I was a bit hesitant about this story, mainly because I found the blurb to be vague. But this is Chelsea Cameron and I’ve come to enjoy her books, so I took the plunge.

Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised. I found that I was immediately drawn into the story. Fin and Marisol seemed like such opposite characters that I couldn’t help but be curious about what was to come for them both. Especially when Fin started acting strange. That certainly caught my eye.

My only complaint and I wouldn’t even call it that but I can’t find the right word at the moment (damn that Spanish-speaking brain of mine!), was that I couldn’t see the connection between them. Yes, they had chemistry abound, but I couldn’t feel any type of immediate connection. But since this is a serial and the story is bound to be expanded, I am hoping for it to be explored more as the story unfolds in the continuing episodes.

All in all, a great start to a serial with plenty of chemistry between the characters and an intriguing storyline that has me anticipating what is coming next.

*I received an ARC copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

About the Author

Chelsea M. Cameron

Chelsea M. Cameron is a YA/NA New York Times/USA Today Best Selling author from Maine. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world’s worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car and tweeting (this one time, she was tweeted by Neil Gaiman). She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.

Her New Adult Contemporary Romance titles include My Favorite Mistake, which has been bought by Harlequin along with a sequel, Deeper We Fall and Faster We Burn (April 20, 2013)

Her Young Adult books include Nocturnal, Nightmare and Neither, the first three books in The Noctalis Chronicles. The fourth and final book, Neverend will be out in 2013. Whisper, the first in The Whisper Trilogy is also available, with the second book in the series, Silence and the final book, LIsten coming out in 2014.

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Roman Holiday ~ The Complete Adventure by Ruthie Knox *Review*

 

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ROMAN HOLIDAY is a contemporary romance published by LoveSwept, an imprint of Random House.

Synopsis

The wait is over with this eBook bundle that includes all ten episodes of Ruthie Knox’s steamy, irresistible serial, Roman Holiday. Like all the greatest road trips, Ashley and Roman’s journey is full of unforgettable twists and turns. But what’s their final destination?

Ashley Bowman has always been impetuous, but even she is a little shocked when she chains herself to a palm tree in the Florida Keys hours before a hurricane is due to blow in. It’s all with the hope of saving her childhood home from a heartless Miami developer. But the moment she meets Roman Díaz she realizes he does have a heart—it’s just encased in ice. Ashley’s determined to get Roman to crack . . . even if she has to drag him all over the eastern seaboard to do it.

Roman can hardly believe he’s been talked into driving across the country with this brazen wild child in a skimpy bikini. He tells himself he had no choice—Ashley insists he meets the elderly snowbirds whose community will be displaced by his career-making development deal. But in truth he knows that there’s something about Ashley that makes him want to get a little wild himself . . . and the closer they get, the more tempted he becomes.

Read the First 2 Chapters!
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 Review

When I first read Chained, the first episode on this serial, I was left with the need to know what Ruthie Knox had in store for these two.

From the very start, Roman intrigued me. I wanted to see his stoic composure crumble and I thought Ashley was the perfect gal to accomplish it. What I was not expecting however, was to find so many layers to Ashley. As the episodes started to unravel, I got to glimpse a different side of Ashley I never thought she had.

From the quirky woman who lived her life in the moment to the troubled woman who just wanted to be loved by those she cared for, Ashley’s character endeared herself to me more and more as the story progressed. That’s not to say that Roman didn’t achieve the same level of endearment. That man had me hooked from the moment he first walked in to check on Ashley as she sat chained to a palm tree.

I am glad that I got to read the complete story in one sitting. I don’t think I would had been very patient if I had to wait for each of the episodes to be published — Roman and Ashley’s story was too interesting for me to be able to wait to know what was going to happen next.

I enjoyed this story thoroughly. From the adventures these two engaged in to the people they met along the way all through the emotions that came into play and the growth Roman and Ashley underwent as their story progressed, I loved it all.

Ruthie Knox made sure I could connect to both characters fully while still keeping the story fun and entertaining. Roman and Ashley’s connection shined through as their adventure took flight. Every event peeled another layer from Roman and Ashley. Their actions, thoughts and emotions were right there for the taking and I devoured it all.

I loved their chemistry and enjoyed the hell out of watching them give into it — Roman especially.  The sexual tension between them was very palpable so to see Roman finally giving into his desire was a treat to read. Roman’s struggles with his feelings and the strength it took for him not to act on his attraction to Ashley were at times overwhelming, but so very necessary for the story.

I can truly say that Roman Holiday had it all — complex character that grew as the story progressed, emotions from both characters that added to the story and to their complexity, amazing chemistry that ran under the surface even in the most emotional of moments and tender moments that tugged at your heartstrings even as your urge to throttle both characters increased.

All in all, a wonderful romantic read about two people allowing themselves to live their lives to the fullest and finding love along the way.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

Excerpt

The driver’s door opened, and black dress shoes appeared beneath gray slacks. The black top of his head crested the door, then disappeared as he ducked down to reach into the car—probably retrieving his hooded cape and sickle, just to complete the look.

But no. When he emerged from behind the door, his evil was far more subtle than she’d expected. The closer he walked, the more this rich Miami land developer looked like television’s version of a bad guy: tall, dark, expensive, beautifully proportioned, and—she had to admit—way more handsome than people were supposed to be in real life.

Ashley liked a handsome man as much as the next girl, but the ones who really got her going always had endearingly imperfect teeth, bad haircuts, unfortunate facial hair—some flaw that made them approachable. She picked the sort of guys who were game to go surfing on a whim or try out sex in a hammock even if they risked ending up in the dirt, slightly bruised and laughing.

Whereas this man—no way did he own a hammock. He was too perfect, his handsomeness nothing less than a loaded weapon aimed at the world. She imagined him bleaching his teeth so white that he purposefully blinded people when he smiled. You’d be gazing at his face, mesmerized by those teeth—which she couldn’t even see right now, but she knew just how they’d look, their contrast to the deep brown of his skin both surprising and delicious—and then you’d blink and he’d be gone, and so would your wallet and your house.

Possibly he’d leave you the hammock.

Of course, it was also possible she was projecting. She’d only been watching him for about four seconds, and she had, admittedly, a fairly strong bias against the guy.

His slick soles crunched over the crushed-shell surface of the lot. He didn’t walk so much as he loped, taking the circular pavers two at a time. His suit was so well behaved that it loped right along with him, too expensively tailored to look awkward for even a heartbeat.

When he’d passed the office, he veered off the path to make a slow circuit around the palm. His expression betrayed nothing as he took in the mound of mulch where Ashley sat. Her bound wrists, tucked tight against her lower back. Her bare arms and barer legs and barest-of-all feet.

He stopped directly in front of her.

“Ashley Bowman, I presume.”

A joke? He delivered the line with such dignity, she couldn’t tell if he meant to be funny.

“That’s me.”

He placed his briefcase on the ground and hunkered down, resting his elbows on his spread knees and clasping his hands lightly between them. Normal people would look awkward doing that, but he made it seem like he’d been born to hunker.

His shirt was black, open at the collar, his sunglasses mirrored. He took them off, and his dark eyes were mirrored, too. Impenetrable.

Good-looking, yes. But good?

She wouldn’t bet a nickel on it.

Not for the first time, it occurred to Ashley that chaining herself to the palm tree had not been her best decision ever. The idea had been to take a stand. Instead, she felt like a virgin staked below a volcano.

A nostalgic sort of feeling, since it had been so very long since she was a virgin. But this guy definitely had some magmalike qualities. Slow-moving. Molten. Dangerous.

The danger explained why all her frayed nerve endings were sizzling.

It had to be the danger. Because attraction under these circumstances would be insane.

Which was why she hadn’t glanced at his package, so conveniently on display in front of her.

No. She had not.

“I’m Roman Díaz. I’d say it’s a pleasure to meet you, but . . .” He spread his hands, encompassing the scene before him. “You’re protesting, I take it?”

“I can’t let you knock it down.”

“Yes. You mentioned that in your voicemail.”

So he’d listened to her messages. She hadn’t been sure, since he had never bothered to call her back. Or answer the letter she’d sent by registered mail. Or admit her to the inner sanctum of his office.

Ashley had done everything she could think of to get his attention, just as soon as her grief had abated enough to let her begin to process a freshly discovered set of horrible truths: That she didn’t own Sunnyvale. Grandma had sold it two years ago without telling her or, as far as she knew, anyone. She’d secretly and sneakily transferred title on the property to Roman Díaz’s development group, Ojito Enterprises, for a generous sum of money that had vanished—though she’d definitely spent some of it leasing the property back from Díaz.

“I’ll buy it from you,” Ashley offered. “Whatever you paid for it, I’ll double.”

He raised an eyebrow.

She had to admire his economy. The mere flick of an eyebrow said it all. He knew she had no savings to speak of, no property of value—nothing to her name but an inherited Airstream trailer full of her grandmother’s junk.

She didn’t have Sunnyvale because he’d taken it from her before she even had a chance to claim it.

He glanced at her bound hands. She’d looped the chain around the tree, then around her wrists, which rested against her back, knuckles brushing the ground. “Is that a padlock?”

“Yes. And I can cover the keyhole with my fingers, so you won’t be able to drill it open unless you cut them off.”

“I could cut the chain behind the tree, where you can’t reach.”

“I’ll rattle it. And probably if you do that, I’ll manage to get hurt, and the media headlines will be all, like, ‘Protester Mangled by Heartless Developer.’”

“What did you do with the key, swallow it?”

She’d shoved it down her bikini bottoms, where it had spent the evening tattooing itself onto her tailbone. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

 

About the Author

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USA Today bestselling author Ruthie Knox writes contemporary romance that’s sexy, witty, and angsty—sometimes all three at once. After training to be a British historian, she became an academic editor instead. Then she got really deeply into knitting, as one does, followed by motherhood and romance novel writing.

Her debut novel, Ride with Me, is probably the only existing cross-country bicycling love story. She followed it up with About Last Night, a London-set romance whose hero has the unlikely name of Neville, and then Room at the Inn, a Christmas novella—both of which were finalists for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award. Her four-book series about the Clark family of Camelot, Ohio, has won accolades for its fresh, funny portrayal of small-town Midwestern life.

Ruthie moonlights as a mother, Tweets incessantly, and bakes a mean focaccia. She’d love to hear from you, so visit her website at www.ruthieknox.com and drop her a line.

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