Wednesday, April 29, 2015

ARC Review: Sinful by Joan Johnston

copy received for an honest review from publisher
Three Stars
Sinful is the 13th book in the Bitter Creek series by Joan Johnston. I was shocked that I never heard of this series and I have to admit the author as well. Although there were some things I loved there were some things I also had an issue with. Putting these issues aside I was interested in the characters and I wanted to know how the author would unfold the story.

Connor Flynn is a Delta sergeant and he recently lost his wife. Since he was enlisted in the military he had to leave his two children with their maternal grandparents. When Connor’s time is up he moves back home. He has a couple of things to deal with. One he is a widower. He lost his wife, who was also his high school sweetheart, in a car accident. Two his in-laws want to keep the children and have painted him as an unfit father. Although Connor passionately loves his children he really hasn’t had much time with them since he was serving in the army. He is trying to rebuild his life and needs a lot of help.

Eve Grayhawk was Molly (Connor’s wife’s) bestfriend. She has also loved Connor since they were in high school and has sat by as Connor married and had a family with her bestfriend- basically coveting her life.

So I LOVED both Connor and Eve. They were both so incredibly sweet and such great people. They also had great chemistry and I really wanted them to find their way together. I’m a sucker for unrequited loved that is finally fulfilled. I was interested in them as people, as a couple, and genuinely liked them and loved their chemistry.

Aside from the great hero and heroine I did have some issues with the story. First, everything was so dramatic. I mean it seemed everything happened to Connor. It was one thing after another. He is marrying Eve and because of old family revelries between their perspective families his father cuts off his trust fund. The social worker assigned to them is basically threatening him at every meeting, he suffers from PTSD(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). He has guilt because he feels responsible for his bestfriend’s death. I kept thinking, “give the guy a break…” So the supporting characters were also a positive and a negative for me. There are some old rivalries between his brothers and her sisters. I cannot wait to see those unfold, especially Leah’s story. But the dad’s were so ridiculous. Eve’s father cuts her and her sisters off and it is never 100% why. Yes, the dad wants his prodigal son, Matt, to come home but to give him the land where his family grew up and leave his daughters on the street? This was a hard one to swallow. My last pet-peeve was the inconsistencies. Eve finally agrees to marry Connor and she receives a message from National Geographic offering her a job out in Nevada-on the day of their wedding?? I mean come on… Ok, so putting this little issues aside I’m looking forward to the next book in the series “Shameless.” I can’t wait to see how she brings Pippa Grayhawk and Devon Flynn together! I’m hooked on this series and I want to see where the author takes the perspective siblings.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

ARC Review: The Duke and the Lady in Red by Lorraine Heath

Historical Romance
Five stars
copy from publisher for an honest review
I have often confessed my love of Lorraine Heath many times already so it will come as a shock to say that at the beginning of “The Duke and the Lady in Red (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James) I didn’t love it. I had a hard time getting the hero and the heroine. Well there is a fantastic reason for this!

I have read and loved the previous two books in the: Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James Series so I was familiar with Avendale and his ruthlessness and selfishness. When he sees Rosalind Sharpe he is immediately drawn to her. Rose knows how to work a room, a crowd, how to be charming and basically how to steal from her audience. She is a con artist.

So this is the reason that I didn’t like her and Avendale. Basically because when they meet she is not herself. She is pretending to be someone else. This is not a big spoiler because there are so many rich and wonderful parts of the story that unravel the minute we understand why Rose does what she does.
Avendale rich, handsome and unbeatable cannot believe that he has been con. He considers himself a worthy opponent of any men, especially a women. The minute he discovers who Rose really is, or what she is, he sets off to find her. And find her he does!

No one can do chemistry and tension like Heath! Rose and Aavendale were a fantastic couple! As pay back for her deception, Avendale takes Rose as his mistress until he is ready to dispose of her. He obviously doesn’t really know Rose and when he does he can’t help but fall head over heels. Rose was such a rich character. She alone could have made me love this story. Avendale is a true rake turned hero. He does such beautiful things for the people that Rose is protecting that it brought tears to my eyes. Her brother crushed my heart. I had to put the story down and take a breath.

I have to bend down my head in shame that I could have doubted Heath. Beautiful, entertaining, and heartbreaking story! Just when we think Rose and Avendale have faced it all, Rose’s past catches up to her. Ultimately, Avendale has to let her go… Needless to say, this was a phenomenal story. It was one heart stopping moment after another. Another fantastic read by Heath!

Sinful by Joan Johnston

Sinful (Bitter Creek, #9)

Contemporary Romance
Three Stars
Copy from Publisher via Netgalley for an honest opinion
Sinful is the 13th book in the Bitter Creek series by Joan Johnston. I was shocked that I never heard of this series and I have to admit the author as well.  Although there were some things I loved there were some things I also had an issue with.  Putting these issues aside I was interested in the characters and I wanted to know how the author would unfold the story.

Connor Flynn is a Delta sergeant and he recently lost his wife. Since he was enlisted in the military he had to leave his two children with their maternal grandparents.  When Connor’s time is up he moves back home.  He has a couple of things to deal with.  One he is a widower. He lost his wife, who was also his high school sweetheart, in a car accident.  Two his in-laws want to keep the children and have painted him as an unfit father.  Although Connor passionately loves his children he really hasn’t had much time with them since he was serving in the army.  He is trying to rebuild his life and needs a lot of help.  

Eve Grayhawk was Molly (Connor’s wife’s) bestfriend.  She has also loved Connor since they were in high school and has sat by as Connor married and had a family with her bestfriend- basically coveting her life. 

So I LOVED both Connor and Eve. They were both so incredibly sweet and such great people.  They also had great chemistry and I really wanted them to find their way together.  I’m a sucker for unrequited loved that is finally fulfilled.  I was interested in them as people, as a couple, and genuinely liked them and loved their chemistry.

Aside from the great hero and heroine I did have some issues with the story.  First, everything was so dramatic. I mean it seemed everything happened to Connor.  It was one thing after another.  He is marrying Eve and because of old family revelries between their perspective families his father cuts off his trust fund. The social worker assigned to them is basically threatening him at every meeting, he suffers from PTSD(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  He has guilt because he feels responsible for his bestfriend’s death.  I kept thinking, “give the guy a break…”  So the supporting characters were also a positive and a negative for me.  There are some old rivalries between his brothers and her sisters. I cannot wait to see those unfold, especially Leah’s story.  But the dad’s were so ridiculous.  Eve’s father cuts her and her sisters off and it is never 100% why.  Yes, the dad wants his prodigal son, Matt, to come home but to give him the land where his family grew up and leave his daughters on the street?  This was a hard one to swallow.  My last pet-peeve was the inconsistencies.  Eve finally agrees to marry Connor and she receives a message from National Geographic offering her a job out in Nevada-on the day of their wedding??  I mean come on… Ok, so putting this little issues aside I’m looking forward to the next book in the series “Shameless.” I can’t wait to see how she brings Pippa Grayhawk and Devon Flynn together!  I’m hooked on this series and I want to see where the author takes the perspective siblings.

(From Goodreads)
From beloved New York Times bestselling author Joan Johnston comes a sizzling contemporary Western romance beginning another chapter in the Bitter Creek series. After a tragic accident takes Delta sergeant Connor Flynn's wife, he faces the toughest fight of his life-battling his in-laws for custody of his two young children. He needs a make-believe wife to take care of the kids while he runs his Wyoming ranch. Who better than a woman he already knows and likes-his late wife's best friend? Forced to live under the same roof, Eve must hide a love that has never died, while Connor fights his growing need for a woman who was forbidden fruit during his marriage. Can two lonely people set adrift by fate and haunted by guilt find redemption in the healing embrace of love? (less)
Paperback320 pages
Published April 28th 2015 by Dell (first published December 30th 2014)

Monday, April 27, 2015

SINFULLY YOURS by Cara Elliott (April 28, 2015; Forever Mass Market; The Hellions of High Street: Book #2)

SINFULLY YOURS by Cara Elliott (April 28, 2015; Forever Mass Market; The Hellions of High Street: Book #2)
After an eventful Season, Anna Sloane longs for some peace and quiet to pursue her writing. Though her plots might be full of harrowing adventure and heated passion, she'd much prefer to leave such exploits on the page rather than experience them in real life. Or so she thinks until she encounters the darkly dissolute-and gorgeously charming-Marquess of Davenport. 

Davenport has a reputation as a notorious rake whose only forte is wanton seduction. However the real reason he's a guest at the same remote Scottish castle has nothing to do with Anna . . . until a series of mysterious threats leave him no choice but to turn to her for help in stopping a dangerous conspiracy. As desire erupts between them, Davenport soon learns he's not the only one using a carefully crafted image to hide his true talents. And he's more than ready to show Anna that sometimes reality can be even better than her wildest imaginings . . . 

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About the author:

Cara Elliott started writing Western novels at the age of five. Later she changed her genre to Regency romance after reading Pride and Prejudice. She graduated from Yale University, and she now lives and works in New York City.

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Excerpt
“It was getting devilishly dull out here with only my own thoughts for company.”
Speak of the Devil!
Anna whirled around. “That’s not surprising, sir, when one’s mind is filled with nothing but thoughts of drinking, wenching, and gaming. Titillating as those pursuits might be, I would assume they grow tiresome with constant repetition.”
“A dangerous assumption, Miss Sloane.” Devlin Greville, the Marquess of Davenport—better known as the Devil Davenport—tossed down his cheroot and ground out the glowing tip beneath his heel. Sparks flared for an instant, red-gold against the slate tiles, before fading away to darkness. “I thought you a more sensible creature than to venture an opinion on things about which you know nothing.”
Anna watched warily as he took one . . . two . . . three sauntering steps closer. Quelling the urge to retreat, she stood her ground. The Devil might be a dissolute rake, a rapacious rogue, but she would not give him the satisfaction of seeing her flinch.
“Sense has nothing to do with it,” she countered coolly. “Given the rather detailed—and lurid—gossip that fills the drawing rooms of Mayfair each morning, I know a great deal about your exploits.”
“Another dangerous assumption.” His voice was low and a little rough, like the purr of a stalking panther.
Anna felt the tiny hairs on the nape of her neck stand on end.
He laughed, and the sound turned even softer. “I also thought you a more sensible creature than to listen to wild speculation.”
“Indeed?” Feigning nonchalance, she slid sideways and leaned back against the stone railing. Which was, she realized a tactical mistake. The marquess mirrored her movements, leaving her no way to escape.
“I—I don’t know why you would think that,” she went on. “You know absolutely nothing about me.”
“On the contrary. I, too, listen to the whispers that circulate through the ton.”
“Don’t be absurd.” She steadied her voice. “I am quite positive that there’s not an ill word spoken about me. I am exceedingly careful that not a whiff of impropriety sullies my reputation.”
“Which in itself says a great deal,” he drawled.
“You’re an idiot.”
“Am I?” He came closer, close enough that her nostrils were suddenly filled with a swirl of masculine scents. Bay rum cologne. Spiced smoke. French brandy. A hint of male musk.
Her pulse began to pound, her breath began to quicken.
Good Lord, it’s me who is an idiot. I’m acting like Emmalina!
Shaking off the horrid novel histrionics, Anna scowled. “You’re not only an idiot, Lord Davenport, you are an annoying idiot. I’m well aware that you take perverse pleasure in trying to . . .”
Cocking his head, he waited.
“To annoy me,” she finished lamely.
Another laugh. “Clearly I am having some success, so I can’t be all that bumbling.”
To give the Devil his due, he had a quick wit. Biting back an involuntary smile, Anna turned her head to look out over the shadowed gardens. Flames from the torchieres on the main terrace danced in the breeze, their glow gilding the silvery moonlight as it dappled over the thick ivy vines that covered the perimeter walls.
She shouldn’t find him amusing. And yet like a moth drawn to an open fire . . .
“What? No clever retort?” said Devlin.
Anna willed herself not to respond.
“I see.” Somehow he found a way to inch even closer. His trousers were now touching her skirts. “You mean to ignore me.”
“If you were a gentleman, you would go away and spare me the effort.”
“Allow me to point out two things, Miss Sloane. Number one—I was here first.”
The marquess had a point.
“And number two. . .” His hand touched her cheek. He wasn’t wearing gloves and the heat of his bare fingers seemed to scorch her skin. “We both know I’m no gentleman.”

Devlin saw her eyes widen as the light pressure on her jaw turned her face to his. It wasn’t shock, he decided, but something infinitely more interesting. Miss Anna Sloane was no spun-sugar miss, a cloying confection of sweetness and air that would make a man’s molars stick together at first bite. He sensed an intriguing hint of steel beneath the demure gowns and dutiful smiles.
If I had to guess, I would say that she’s not averse to the little game we have been playing.
She inhaled with a sharp hiss.
Or maybe I am simply in a state of drunken delusion.
It was entirely possible. Of late he had been imbibing far more brandy than was good for him. Only one way to find out.
He would give her a heartbeat to protest, to pull away. Yes, he was dissolute, but not depraved. A man had to draw the line somewhere.
She made a small sound in her throat.
Too late.
The tiny throb of her pulse beneath his fingertips had signaled her time was up. Devlin leaned in and felt their bodies graze, their lips touch.
A mere touch, and yet it sent a jolt of fire through him.
He froze. The distant laughter, the faint trilling of the violins, the rustling leaves all gave way to a strange thrumming sound in his ears.
Anna shifted, and Devlin shook off the sensation. It must be the brandy, he decided. He had just come from his club, where he had been sampling a potent vintage brought up from the wine cellar. Women had no such effect on him.
A kiss was a distraction, nothing more. A way to keep boredom at bay.
“Go to Hell.” Anna’s whisper teased against his mouth as she jerked back.
“Eventually,” growled Devlin. “But first . . .” He kissed her again. A harder, deeper, possessive embrace. Her lips tremored uncertainly.
Seizing the moment, he slipped his tongue through the tiny gap and tasted a beguiling mix of warmth and spice. Impossible to describe.
He needed to taste more.
More.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Reaper's Fall is the newest standalone in the Reaper's MC Series. Painter & Melanie's story will be available on November 10th and is currently up for Pre-order!

Reaper's Fall is the newest standalone in the Reaper's MC Series.
Painter & Melanie's story will be available on November 10th and 
is currently up for Pre-order!


Pre-order available at the following retailers:


Amazon US:  http://amzn.to/1DsDyRt 
Amazon UK:  http://amzn.to/1yYt1Rn

Blurb

He never meant to hurt her.

Levi “Painter” Brooks was nothing before he joined the Reapers motorcycle club. The day he patched in, they became his brothers and his life. All they asked in return was a strong arm and unconditional loyalty—a loyalty that’s tested when he’s caught and sentenced to prison for a crime committed on their behalf.

Melanie Tucker may have had a rough start, but along the way she’s learned to fight for her future. She’s escaped from hell and started a new life, yet every night she dreams of a biker whose touch she can’t forget. It all started out so innocently—just a series of letters to a lonely man in prison. Friendly. Harmless. Safe.

Now Painter Brooks is coming home… and Melanie’s about to learn that there’s no room for innocence in the Reapers MC.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Quicksand by Gigi Pandian Plus Give Away

Author Gigi Pandian

on Tour

April 20-29

with

Quicksand-final-cover
Quicksand:
A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery

(cozy mystery)

Release date: March 10, 2015
280 pages

ISBN: 9781941962275
***

SYNOPSIS

A thousand-year-old secret room. A sultan’s stolen treasure. A missing French priest. And an invitation to Paris to rekindle an old flame…

Historian Jaya Jones finds herself on the wrong side of the law during an art heist at the Louvre. To redeem herself, she follows clues from an illuminated manuscript that lead from the cobblestone streets of Paris to the quicksand-surrounded fortress of Mont Saint-Michel. With the help of enigmatic Lane Peters and a 90-year-old stage magician, Jaya delves into France’s colonial past in India to clear her name and catch a killer.

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 Gigi PandianUSA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian
is the child of cultural anthropologists from New Mexico
and the southern tip of India.
After being dragged around the world during her childhood,
she tried to escape her fate when she left a PhD program for art school.
But adventurous academics wouldn’t stay out of her head.
Thus was born the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series
(Artifact, Pirate Vishnu, and Quicksand).
Gigi’s debut mystery novel was awarded a Malice Domestic Grant
and named a “Best of 2012” Debut Novel by Suspense Magazine.
Her short fiction has been short-listed for Agatha and Macavity awards,
and she also writes the new Accidental Alchemist mystery series.
She takes photos of gargoyles wherever she goes, and posts them on her Gargoyle Girl blog.

Visit her website. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter

Subscribe to her newsletter

Visit her Gargoyle photography blog: http://www.gargoylegirl.com

Buy the book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Itunes | Google Play

***

You can enter the global giveaway here
or on any other book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook,
they are listed in the entry form below
.

Entry-Form

Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday
of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

Global giveaway open internationally:
1 winner will receive a print copy of the 3 books in the

Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mysteries Series



plus a beautiful set of recipe cards matching the 3 books!
Yes, you got that right:
1 winner will win the 3 books + recipe cards!

***

CLICK ON THE BANNER
TO READ OTHER REVIEWS, GUEST-POST, INTERVIEW

Quicksand banner

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Seduced by Sunday Author: Catherine Bybee

Book Information

Title: Seduced by Sunday
Author: Catherine Bybee
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance


Summary

Meg Rosenthal: Matchmaker by day, realist by night, Meg is not about to get swept away by a charming, darkly handsome businessman in a designer suit. She’s come to a beautiful secluded resort to evaluate the private island’s potential for her agency, not to ogle its owner. But there’s something about the magnetic man that’s hard to resist, even for a woman who refuses to fall in love.

Valentino Masini: A successful and drop-dead sexy businessman, Valentino is used to having the finer things in life. Yet he’s never wanted someone the way he wants Meg, who’s stirring up a hurricane of trouble in his heart. But just as he decides to convince her to stay, someone else decides it might be time to get Meg off the island…permanently.
                 
Excerpt

Val brushed the side of her face with the back of his hand, moved closer.

Meg stopped playing, felt her pulse jump.

“Where’s Michael?” Val whispered.

“Michael?” The name didn’t register.

Val lifted his left eyebrow. “The man you’re here with.”

Right. “He’s a …” Damn, he smelled edible.

Val’s palm captured her neck and guided her to her feet. “He’s just a friend, isn’t he, Margaret?”

The way Val’s lips moved drew her closer. The need to taste them, feel them on hers was impossible to walk away from. “If I told you we were more than friends…”

Val’s eyes traveled from her lips to her eyes. “Then I’d have to let you go.” He loosened his fingers on her neck, but instead of moving away, Meg leaned in.

“Sounds like you might regret that decision.” She laid a hand on his firm chest. The man wasn’t soft under his stuffy suits.

“I don’t pursue another man’s woman.”

He wasn’t moving away.

“Good to hear, Masini.” She lifted her lips close to his, felt his breath mix with hers. “I don’t belong to anyone.”

Val hesitated for a nanosecond, and then took her lips. His closed-mouth kiss started off soft, like a hesitant man worried about rushing. Yet when Val wrapped his free hand around her waist, and his body fit against hers, Meg opened for him, encouraged him to taste.

When he did she lost it. He tasted of bourbon and sex. God help her, she wanted to crawl into his kiss and explore it for hours. The man kissed like he was on a mission. And maybe he was. Who knew if Val Masini made it a weekly occurrence to kiss a new woman? Somehow, she didn’t think so. He was too reserved most of the time.

Not now … not with his tongue exploring her and his strong hands pressing the small of her back closer. Every hard ridge of the man met with every soft curve of hers.

The kiss went on until she found her chest tightening with a familiar warning. Sexual excitement had to be paced or she might find herself in a full-blow asthma attack. A frustrating fact of her life in the last few years. One that kept her single most of the time, her encounters lukewarm at best.

Val was threatening the air in her lungs with just a kiss.

A heated knock her on her ass kiss, but a kiss nonetheless.

She eased away and Val chased her lips.

She tried to slow her breathing, couldn’t catch a deep breath. “Wait,” she managed, pulling away.

“Too much, cara?”

You have no idea.



Author Biography

New York TimesUSA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Catherine Bybee not only has experience writing about mending hearts, but she’s also helped fix a few during her tenure as a registered nurse. These real-life experiences sometimes make their way into her books, giving her Weekday Brides and Not Quite series the personal touch that readers have come to adore. Born and raised in Washington State, she now writes full-time from her sunny home in Southern California.

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Catch of the Day (Gideon's Cove #1) by Kristan Higgins -Audiobook

Catch of the Day (Gideon's Cove, #1)

Four Stars
original review post at http://ramblingsfromthischick.blogspot.com

Kristan Higgins is a phenomenal writer. I absolutely love her. Anytime I see anything by her I jump at the chance to read it or hear it. I’m often confused by why she is characterized as a romance author because her writing, although some parts romantic, is usually more broadly focused on female characters and their surroundings.

I wish I can say I have read all her work but I’m slowly getting there. One of my favorite books by her is “The Best Man” which is part of her Blue Heron series. One book of hers that I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe was “Just One of The Guys.” I was listening to another audiobook that was a little darker and it was affecting my mood. I knew instantly when I started “Catch of the Day” that it would be a pleasant experience and that I would love the characters. Higgins is known for her wit and well-developed characters.

One of my best friends and I argue all the time about Higgins because she thinks all her heroines are the same type. I have to agree there. They tend to be single women, who are goody-goody two shoes and can’t find a man. You won’t find heroines that are tough as nails say like Julie James’ heroines (who is another one of my faves). But really I can’t help love Higgins and her heroines. Although her writing is not filled with very detailed intimate moments (really any) she knows how to build conflict with her heroine and hero. She knows how to make them at odds with each other and interesting. In this story Maggie Beaumont is a twin. She is single and owns a diner. She lives in Gideons Cove in Maine. Maggie has a wonderful family that has family issues, really like any other family. Maggie is also single and a little bit of a doormat. She loves to take care of everyone around her. She is also very well-known for having a very serious crush on Father Shay a Catholic priest. Although Maggie has known Malone for most of her life (a local lobster man) she is not the least bit interested in him and finds him unattractive. They are also complete opposites. While she is outgoing and bubbly he is reserved and extremely quiet. By coincidence one night she runs into him and she sees him in a whole new light.

So, first. The story is mainly focused on Maggie and the people that surround her and the conflicts she has with them. Maggie really has a coming into herself moment. I wish there was more insight into Malone because Higgins stayed true to his character and it was really hard to get to know him. He says very little throughout the book and is not very expressive which is a point of contention in his relationship with Maggie. I would have liked them to share more moments together but the important part was that Malone really knew when to show up when it mattered and it was fun to watch Maggie realize this. I thought Xe Sands did a great job of portraying the voices of the characters and she really added to the charm of an already charming story.

Higgins really is a master at creating interwoven plots and there are many other stories that take place while Maggie and Malone fall in love. One of them is focused on her brother and her friend Chantel and another is her pet dog. When I was hearing about these two sub-stories I thought that I knew in what direction one was going but I was very wrong. The other story, I should have known in what direction she was going to take the story, but I didn’t. This is part of Higgins genius. I loved reading about Maggie and Malone and they were an awesome couple. The narrator really had her work cut out for her because she had so many different voices to do since the book is filled with fun and colorful characters. If it’s not obvious by my review, this was another Higgins hit for me!

Jagged (Colorado Mountain #5) by Kristen Ashley -Audiobook

Jagged (Colorado Mountain, #5)


original review at http://ramblingsfromthischick.blogspo...

So before I start. I know that Kristen Ashley has a huge fan base. One of the reasons that I started this audiobook was because she has such great reviews about her books. This was my first experience with her work. There were some things I liked and some I didn’t so I made peace by giving it a three star rating.

“Jagged” is the fifth book in the Colorado Mountain series. I have not read or heard any of the previous books. When the story begins our heroine Zara Cinders is planning to break up with her friends –with- benefits Graham, or Ham as she calls him. This part really got to me and I didn’t understand if I missed something in their story. So Zara is younger then Ham and is looking for a serious relationship. Ham is not. He is not a settled guy and he basically wanders around Colorado and when he is in town he hooks up with Zara. Zara realizes that this is no longer working for her and she breaks up with him and explains she has met someone. Zara then ends up marrying this guy she met only to divorce him in two or three years. Ham makes Zara promise him that they will always have a way to be in touch because he always wants to make sure that she is ok. When we see Zara again she is definitely not ok. She has lost her successful business, her home and finally her marriage. My question was, did Zara ever say to Ham that she wanted a serious relationship? Did they ever have that “where is this relationship going?” conversation. So fast forward, Zara is divorced and penniless. She sees on the TV that Ham was attacked by a murder and she calls him. He makes his way to her and they have the stupidest fight I have ever heard. I had to replay it because I just didn’t understand what they were fighting about. Ok. Zara and Ham meet up again and he makes her move in with him and he gives her a job working as a waitress at a bar he bought for her so she could have a job… As can be expected their living arrangement bring up old feelings.

So at first the hero and the heroine were so confusing to me but they did grow on me and they did have great chemistry. My other issue with the story. Zara’s posse, and yes I mean posse, gang up on Ham and make it clear to him that Zara is a delicate flower? I just don’t understand what their purpose was? Is Zara a dimwit? Can’t she stand up for herself? Apparently her friends don’t think so because they take her life into their hands. Another huge issue I had was the level of crazy that the grownups in this book displayed. So Zara had a tough upbringing and her parents were neglectful and Zara receives some disturbing news about her family. First, her aunt was borderline deranged. But that is not the worse part. Ham and Zara are at a restaurant and everyone becomes involved to protect Zara when her aunt has less than nice words to say to her. Seriously, I spent so much time shaking my head with this storyline, who behaves this way? Many scenes in this book felt like “Dynasty” meets “Days of Our Lives.” Emma Taylor was a good narrator. I thought she was true to the characters personalities.

As I mentioned before I had many issues with these characters and the story. I get Ham is an alpha male but most of the times he was an overbearing jerk. Aside from these little issues, I liked Ham and Zara together. I was really glad to see her grow stronger and put her life back together. Although I plan to read and/or hear more of Ashley’s stories I can’t say that they will be on the top of my list. Any one that really enjoys romance with a touch of suspense will like this story and I expect that her fans will really enjoy it as well.

Before I Fall (Falling #1) by Jessica Scott

Before I Fall

copy via author 
original post at ramblingsfromthischick.blogspot.com
Four Stars
I’ve read many of Jessica Scott’s books and have really enjoyed them. “Before I Fall” was no exception. Although a little different form her previous books. They were mostly about people in the military or getting out of the military. They were also mostly about adults. This book was a little different because it’s about young adults. Generally, I have to confess, that I don’t love young adult books because I find them to be very melodramatic but when I saw that this was written by Scott I was interested.

The story is about Beth Lamont. Beth is a young twenty year old. She is in college, specifically studying business. Beth is also beautiful and a teachers aid. Although she lives in a good neighborhood she lives with her dad on the outside of town. Her father is a veteran and relies on Beth to take care of him. Beth has to work to financially take care of her father and herself and most of the time they live pay check to pay check. One day Beth’s statistics professor asks her for a favor. She needs her to tutor a young man that is just coming out of the military. Noah Warren is young man who enlisted in the military at a young age. He is now out and thanks to the support of his friends he is enrolled in business school.

Both Beth and Noah are such nice people. They both carry a lot of burdens on their shoulders at a very young age, which in a way helps them connect to one another. When they first meet Beth is very defensive because she knows that Noah is coming from the military. Beth has had a lot of experience with the military because of her dad. Once they get to know each other they quickly fall for each other. Beth and Noah begin to see each other as they really are. This is both good and bad. Noah has his fair share of baggage. He is suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). He is also very dependent his meds to help him with this condition.

In true Scott fashion she doesn’t sugar coat life in or out of the military. She delivers the cold, hard and sad truths. She is very forthcoming about all the issues that Beth’s father deals with at the Veterans Hospital. This was really a beautiful story about two very beautiful people. For me it was impossible not to ache for them. I do have to say that like many of Scott’s books they are very emotionally heavy, they are not light readings and “Before I Fall”is no exception. Just like her other books I couldn’t put the story down. If anyone hasn’t read her yet, I highly recommend that they do so.

Still the One by Jill Shalvis

Four Stars
original review at http://ramblingsfromthischick.blogspot.com/

Jill Shalvis is a very successful contemporary author. Her books are frequently seen on the New York Times bestsellers list but I’ve just recently started to read her books. “Still the One” by Jill Shalvis is an example of why Shalvis is so successful. Her books are impossible to put down and her characters are impossible to forget.

Let’s start with the heroine- Darcy Stone. I just loved Darcy. She is a mixture of strength and vulnerability. I love that her last name is Stone because it fits her so perfectly. When the story begins Darcy is working for hunky physical therapist A.J. Colten. A.J. and Darcy are night and day. He is very organized and straight laced. Darcy is definitely not. She loves to live on the wild side. Previous to her accident she was a writer for a traveling magazine. She loved to wander around the world. When she had a horrible car accident it was A.J. that helped her heal with his physical therapy. A.J. is like a member of the family. He is very close to both of Darcy’s siblings. When in a moment of vulnerability Darcy turned to him he rejected her. Darcy has a lot of anger and frustration because of this but takes it out on A.J. by bickering with him. Although Darcy comes off very tough she is a very sweet and loyal person. She is also incredibly passionate about rescuing dogs.

A.J. comes off as he has it all together but he really doesn’t. He carries his own insecurities and his own wounds from the past. Even though A.J. seems indifferent to Darcy, unless it’s to get on her case for not taking care of herself and not eating healthy, he is really trying to be honorable and not cross the line of friendship. A.J’s stoicism is challenged when he has to ask Darcy a favor. A.J. is a successful physical therapist but he often has to get grants in order to help patients pay for their care. He has a meeting with a potential investor that is willing to help and Darcy would be a perfect example of his abilities as a physical therapist. Needless to say A.J. and Darcy can’t resist their mutual attraction and as the elements conspire against them they are forced to extend their trip and their relationship finally changes.

I really enjoyed this story and the characters. Even though this is a part of a series “Animal Magnetism” and characters from other books make an appearance this is easily a stand alone. I was so happy to see Darcy and A.J. finally work up the courage to admit their feelings for one another. A.J. was such a great guy. He really did so many things out of love for Darcy, it was so sweet and endearing to read. Needless to say I really enjoyed this beautiful story and highly recommend it. Shalvis delivers a fun, sweet, romantic and steamy story. Looking forward to reading more by her!

Homefront by Jessica Scott

Homefront (Homefront, #1)

Five Stars
original review: ramblingsfromthischick.blogspot.com
I’m convinced Jessica Scott can do no wrong. This book was A-MAZING. I’ve read a few of Scott’s books so I should know by now what to expect but she always has a new trick up her sleeve. She always breaks my heart even though by now I should see it coming. I can’t help but feel for these characters. I constantly have to put her stories down and just breathe! Just like the previous books, once I started reading I could not stop and I quickly grew to love this characters.


Let’s start with the hero. First Sergeant Gale Sorren was such a juxtaposition of emotions for me. I really disliked his past because he basically left his then wife, Melanie, all by herself to raise their daughter. I admired that he was dedicated to his career but I disliked how he rationalized everything in his head because of his upbringing and because he and Melanie were married too young and got pregnant to fast. His big redeeming quality was his raw honesty. I could not help but ache for him. He was very upfront with Melanie about his faults and he took full responsibility. He also was very humble and didn’t just barrage into Melanie and their daughter ,Jaime’s, life. Just like the heroes in her other books Scott does not sugarcoat the effects of war and like her other characters, Gale is dealing with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Melanie, Gale’s ex-wife, was also fantastic. She was a mom trying very hard to help her daughter Jaime not only grow as a teenager but also battle her own personal demons. Melanie has held it together for the twelve years since she had Jaime. She has the basic mother and teenage daughter struggles. I thought that their relationship was very real and authentic. When Gale is back Melanie is obviously hesitant to believe in him and let him back into their lives. Although Melanie has had her hearth broken by Gale before she has never stopped loving him and he never stopped loving her. Scott had a lot of work to do with this story, not only did she have to bring a couple back together but also make them a family.

I really loved Gale and Melanie together and Scott didn’t make it one big fairytale. They both had to do a lot of believing and soul searching. I loved how she brought them together and I thought that they both had intense chemistry. I was happy to see characters from previous books show up here because it made it feel like a huge family. I have to admit I was super happy that both Gale and Melanie finally got their HEA but I was disappointed to see the story end. I am looking forward to the upcoming books in the series and can’t wait to see what she has in store for Captain Sarah and Captain Sea!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Goodwine Kingmaker by Mercedes Rochelle

02_Godwine Kingmaker CoverPublication Date: April 24, 2015 (US & UK)
Top Hat Books
Formats: Kindle eBook, Paperback
351 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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READ AN EXCERPT.

Harold Godwineson, the Last Anglo-Saxon King, owed everything to his father. Who was this Godwine, first Earl of Wessex and known as the Kingmaker? Was he an unscrupulous schemer, using King and Witan to gain power? Or was he the greatest of all Saxon Earls, protector of the English against the hated Normans? The answer depends on who you ask. He was befriended by the Danes, raised up by Canute the Great, given an Earldom and a wife from the highest Danish ranks. He sired nine children, among them four Earls, a Queen and a future King. Along with his power came a struggle to keep his enemies at bay, and Godwine's best efforts were brought down by the misdeeds of his eldest son Swegn. Although he became father-in-law to a reluctant Edward the Confessor, his fortunes dwindled as the Normans gained prominence at court. Driven into exile, Godwine regathered his forces and came back even stronger, only to discover that his second son Harold was destined to surpass him in renown and glory.
My Review:
Four Stars
Copy received from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for an honest review
Goodwine was a great hero. The story is primarily from his perspective which I really enjoyed because it made it easy to relate to him.  Goodwine had some aspects of his power given to him but most of his decisions were based on survival. When he joins with the Danes it seals not only his fate but that of future generations as well.  Because I am a romantic at heart, I loved to story between him and Gytha. Yes theirs was a union of convenience and power but it grew to be more. 

I always struggle with the Anglo-Saxon history and the Normans but I did not let that deter me because I've read Mercedes Rochelle before and knew that she would be able to grab my attention. No matter how many stories I read about history  I am always amazed at the tumultuous   struggle between the  Anglo-Saxon and English. Aliases were so important and many times it made all the differences because it meant a victory or defeat.  Aside from the political tensions there was also the religious differences that affected society of the time.  Just like "Heir to a Prophecy" "Goodwine Kingmaker" was a very informative, entertaining and enjoyable read.  

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About the Author03_Mercedes Rochelle Author

Born in St. Louis MO with a degree from University of Missouri, Mercedes Rochelle learned about living history as a re-enactor and has been enamored with historical fiction ever since. She lives in Sergeantsville, NJ with her husband in a log home they built themselves.

For more information please visit Mercedes Rochelle’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Godwine Kingmaker Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 20
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views
Spotlight at Genre Queen

Tuesday, April 21
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight at Unshelfish

Wednesday, April 22
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, April 23
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Saturday, April 25
Spotlight at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Tuesday, April 28
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, April 29
Review at Broken Teepee

Thursday, April 30
Guest Post & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Spotlight at The Writing Desk

Monday, May 4
Review at Impressions in Ink
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews

Tuesday, May 5
Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, May 7
Review at Bookramblings
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book

Friday, May 8
Review at Layered Pages

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Mistress Firebrand by Donna Thorland

02_Mistress Firebrand CoverPublication Date: March 3, 2015
NAL Trade
Formats: eBook, Paperback
416 Pages

Series: Renegades of the American Revolution (Book 3)
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

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British Occupied Manhattan, 1777. American actress Jenny Leighton has been packing the John Street Theater with her witty comedies, but she longs to escape the provincial circuit for the glamour of the London stage. When the playwright General John Burgoyne visits the city, fresh from a recent success in the capitol, she seizes the opportunity to court his patronage. But her plan is foiled by British intelligence officer Severin Devere.

Severin’s mission is to keep the pleasure-loving general focused on the war effort…and away from pretty young actresses. But the tables are turned when Severin himself can’t resist Jenny Leighton…

Months later, Jenny has abandoned her dreams of stage glory and begun writing seditious plays for the Rebels under the pen name “Cornelia,” ridiculing “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne and his army—and undermining the crown’s campaign to take Albany. With Jenny’s name now on the hanging list, Severin is ordered to find her—and deliver her to certain death. Soon, the two are launched on a desperate journey through the wilderness, toward an uncertain future shaped by the revolution—and their passion for each other…
My Review
Five Stars
Copy Received from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for an honest review
"Mistress Firebrand" by Donna Thorland was an easy five star read for me. This story had all the parts that work for me.  I really enjoy historical fiction but love historical romance and this book had equal parts historical fiction and historical romance.  I really enjoyed learning about the late 1700's in early U.S history and I thought I knew a lot about it but I learned so much more by reading "Mistress Firebrand."  For example, for some reason in my mind the rebels and the English were very intertwined, which makes perfect sense, but in my mind I imagined that the lines were more clearly drawn between. It was very enlightening to see that that was not the case and it was also very enlightening to see the struggles that the rebels had to endure.  The heroine, Jennifer Leighton was fantastic. I absolutely loved her, admired her and was completely fascinated with her and her mission.  The female characters in this book were very impressive and refreshing to read about.  Not to be outdone by a fantastic heroine, Thorland also creates a fantastic hero, Severin  was so enjoyable. I enjoyed reading about him, I loved the tension and struggle with him and Jenny and I really enjoyed the historical perspective he provided.  His lineage is part Mohawk and part English. Although I've read my historical romances, I can say he was a completely original and refreshing character.

Finally, I thought that storyline was fantastic. The time period Thorland focuses on is so rich with history, information and really so insightful into what we know as present day.  It was very humbling to read about the struggles that the early "rebels" endured, not to mention how crafty they were.  Jenny's aunt was a great example of resourcefulness.  How can the theater and  writing help the early residents of this country form the nation?  It was clear that the author did tremendous research and I found it very intriguing.  Also, although this is part of a series it is easily a stand alone. I didn't feel I missed out on anything but I definitely want to read more by her.  I strongly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys history, historical fiction, historical romance or just a great story, by a great author about great characters.  Loved!

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About the Author03_Donna Thorland

A native of Bergenfield, New Jersey, Donna graduated from Yale with a degree in Classics and Art History. For many years she managed architecture and interpretation at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, and wrote and directed the Witch City’s most popular Halloween theater festival, Eerie Events. She later earned an MFA in film production from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Donna has been a sorority house mother, a Disney/ABC Television Writing Fellow, a WGA Writer’s Access Project Honoree, and a writer on the ABC primetime drama, Cupid. Her screenwriting credits include episodes of the animated series, Tron: Uprising. Her short fiction has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Albedo One. The director of several award-winning short films, her most recent project, The Night Caller, aired on WNET Channel 13 and was featured on Ain’t It Cool News. Currently she is a writer on the WGN drama SALEM. She is married with one cat and divides her time between the real Salem and Los Angeles.

For more information visit Donna Thorland's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Mistress Firebrand Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 6
Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Excerpt & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, April 7
Review & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, April 8
Interview at The Maiden's Court

Thursday, April 9
Guest Post & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing

Friday, April 10
Spotlight at Broken Teepee

Sunday, April 12
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, April 13
Spotlight, Excerpt, & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, April 16
Review at Caroline Wilson Writes

Friday, April 17
Spotlight at I'd So Rather Be Reading

Saturday, April 18
Excerpt & Giveaway at A Dream Within a Dream

Monday, April 20
Review at Book Nerd

Tuesday, April 21
Guest Post & Giveaway at Book Babe

Wednesday, April 22
Guest Post & Excerpt at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, April 23
Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

Friday, April 24
Review at Back Porchervations

Monday, April 27
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, April 28
Review at Historical Readings & Views

Wednesday, April 29
Review & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Guest Post at Boom Baby Reviews

Thursday, April 30
Review at Bookramblings

Friday, May 1
Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at Drey's Library
Spotlight at Genre Queen

Sunday, May 3
Review at Forever Ashley

Monday, May 4
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Guest Post & Giveaway at To Read, or Not to Read

Tuesday, May 5
Excerpt at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, May 6
Review at Unabridged Chick

Thursday, May 7
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, May 8
Interview at Scandalous Woman

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