Blog Tour & Geri’s Review: Hearts on Air by L.H. Cosway

HEARTS ON AIR
Series: Hearts Series #6
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: L.H. Cosway
Release Date: June 8, 2017

3 weeks. 5 cities. 15 impossible stunts. One reality show.

 

Trevor Cross came into Reya Cabrera’s world with a bang and faded out with a whimper. They vowed to make it work, but life had other plans. After chasing his TV dreams for years, Trev finally became the UK’s next big reality star, but he alienated his family and friends in the process. Now he finally has everything he ever wanted. Women. Money. Fame. But none of it means anything when he doesn’t have the one thing that matters most: love.

 

Money leaves a gaping hole. Fame surrounds him with loneliness. And no woman makes him feel like Reya used to before the whirlwind of success pulled them apart.

 

He has a plan to get her back. However, with a hectic filming schedule looming, the only way to do that is to convince her to come on the road with him. Reya has been stuck in a rut for a while, and the opportunity to travel across Europe and play her music for new audiences seems like heaven. The only catch? She has to do it with the one boy who ever got close enough to break her heart. But he’s not a boy anymore, and as she gets to know him again she can’t deny her respect for the man he’s become.

 

Every time she’s around him her heart feels full of air, like a balloon about to pop. Little does she know, Trev’s feelings are just as tumultuous as hers. One thing’s for sure, these three weeks on the road together will either make them whole again or break them irrevocably.

 

**Hearts on Air is a contemporary romance and book #6 in the Hearts series, however it can also be read as a complete standalone.**

AMAZON | iBOOKS | NOOK | KOBO | SMASHWORDS

Happiness was a stranger, but misery was dear old friend.”

Hearts on Air is the sixth installment of the L.H. Cosway’s Hearts series. It can be read as a standalone but I would highly recommend reading the previous books in the series because they’re excellent. Cosway has a talent of creating complex yet relatable characters, and Hearts on Air follow in the same vein as its predecessor: it has two characters who are completely made for each other if only they could overcome their own personal demons and the curve balls thrown at them to achieve happiness.

Trevor Cross and Reya Cabrera are the best of friends. Reya however has feelings for Trevor which she thought isn’t returned, so she hides her feelings for him. Unbeknownst to her, Trevor has been harboring feeling for her as well. Reya was Trevor’s constant. The one person he could come home to and keep him grounded.

Trevor is this fascinating character who is addicted to theadrenaline rush. Reya is the exact opposite. Because of her upbringing, she craves stability and predictability, something that Trevor lacks. Despite their differences, the two decided to give in to their feelings and the sexual tension that’s been threatening to boil over, with disastrous result. Trevor is on the brink of stardom and after a while the pressure got to them and they separated.

Trev was the one thing in this world I could never, ever resist. I’d always want him. Only him. Even when I know wholeheartedly that I shouldn’t.”

A couple of years after their disastrous attempt at a relationship, Trevor is back and wants to reconnect. But Reya is wary and still hurt over what happened in the past. But Trevor is tenacious. Offering Reya a chance to travel Europe and get her music heard to a different audience, he sets out to win her heart again and to show her how much has changed.

This is where the story really picked up for me. I loved the angsty parts but reading how Trevor changed and became the kind of person that Reya could count on was even better. This was a very character driven book. Some readers might say that it’s slowed down the story but I felt like the author was able to show readers how much the characters changed and how the past informed their decisions in the present.

Ms. Cosway didn’t shy away from showing Reya’s resentment or Trevor’s struggle with his impulses. You get to see these characters grow before your eyes.  Their relationship itself went through different stages from excitement to heartache to healing and so on. I personally loved how the story focuses on their character growth.

We’re making memories tonight, Reya Cabrera, isn’t it exciting?”

Another element that I enjoyed about this book was the inclusion of Trevor’s parkour or stunt crew. Throughout the story, we get bits and pieces of information about them which gave us a taste of what their stories might be like if ever the author plans to write them, which is still up in the air at this point. But yeah, I want to know more about them.

Overall, this was another excellent addition to the Hearts series. If you loved the previous books, there’s a huge chance that you’re going to really enjoy this as well as I did. And I really hope we get to read more about Trevor’s team because I’m there. Sign me up!

(1) A signed paperback copy of the book

(1) Swag and a $50 Amazon giftcard

a Rafflecopter giveaway


L.H. Cosway lives in Dublin, Ireland. Her inspiration to write comes from music. Her favourite things in life include writing stories, vintage clothing, dark cabaret music, food, musical comedy, and of course, books. She thinks that imperfect people are the most interesting kind. They tell the best stories. L.H. is represented by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency.

Connect with L.H. Cosway:

Website | Facebook | Twitter 

Geri’s Review & Excerpt: Silver Silence by @NaliniSingh

SILVER SILENCE
Series: Psy-Changeling Trinity #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Author: Nalini Singh
Release Date: June 13, 2017

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh introduces a bold new chapter in her extraordinary paranormal romance saga with the Psy-Changeling Trinity series. Wild passion will encounter the darkest of betrayal…

Control. Precision. Family. These are the principles that drive Silver Mercant. At a time when the fledgling Trinity Accord seeks to unite a divided world, with Silver playing a crucial role as director of a worldwide emergency response network, wildness and chaos are the last things she needs in her life.

But that’s exactly what Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater Bears, brings with him.

Valentin has never met a more fascinating woman. Though Silver is ruled by Silence—her mind clear of all emotion—Valentin senses a whisper of fire around her. That’s what keeps him climbing apartment buildings to be near her.

But when a shadow assassin almost succeeds in poisoning Silver, the stakes become deadly serious…and Silver finds herself in the heart of a powerful bear clan.

Her would-be assassin has no idea what their poison has unleashed…

AMAZON

I’ve got strong hands, and I promise to be a gentleman unless you ask me to tear off your clothes and kiss every delectable inch of you.”

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Oh my gah, Valentin. *melts into a puddle of goo*

This Changeling alpha bear stole my heart from the get go and he almost ALMOST replaced Hawke as my favorite Nalini Singh hero ever! No small feat coz duh, Hawke is Hawke but oh man, Valentin is right up there.

Silver Silence is the first book out of the second chapter of Nalini Singh’s sprawling Psy-Changeling series called Psy-Changeling Trinity. Silence has fallen and a new peace accord has been signed by the three groups: the Human Alliance, the Psy’s and the Changelings. But a new group threatens to unravel the fragile bonds of peace that the Trinity has forged. Just when you thought this series couldn’t get any better, it does. It really does.

Silver didn’t know how to love, but she knew how to hold on to her people.

Silver Mercant rose from being Kaleb Krychek’s top aide to become the head of the Em-Net, the worldwide emergency response network. Silence has fallen but despite this Silver still chooses to live under it. She has a good reason to and her reason isn’t clear to other characters in the book as well as the readers until it was revealed. The Mercants is one of the most powerful Psy family in the world, and the most secretive. So when an attempt was made on Silver’s life, the Mercants did what they had to do their way.

Fortunately for Silver, Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater Bears offered his home and his protection while her family tried to get to the bottom of who wanted Silver killed. 

The StoneWater Bears are a strong predator changeling group out of Moscow who went through a very traumatic rift which threatens to tear them part. And Valentin being the Alpha has his hands full with keeping his family safe and strong as they navigate the new changes brought about by the Trinity Accord. But Silver has always fascinated Valentin. The man and his bear recognized their mate in Silver and despite her Silence, Valentin goes above and beyond in trying to win her trust and her heart. And we know what happens when you put a determined alpha bear together with a reluctant Silent Psy in one place, right?

This was my favorite part of the book for me. Yes, this book does have multiple POVs. It has intrigued and a dash of suspense. But the romance…the ROMANCE was top-notch swoonworthy.

Explain what’s happening.”  

 “We’re happening.”

Valentin, like most changeling Alpha, is determined. Gah! His devotion and patience as the pursues Silver “sneaky like a cat” was everything. He was funny as hell and he respects Silver and treats her as his equal. He totally won me over and Silver didn’t stand a chance. He was one determined bear.

I loved how Ms. Singh took time to develop not just their romance but each of their character arcs. Silver went from being Silent to the kind of person that was perfect fit for Valentin, who has always worn his heart on his sleeve when it comes to Silver. I loved how the StoneWater Bears Denhome was explored in the book. The vivid imagery of their cave as well as the relationships between Valentin and his sisters, as well as his lieutenants added an interesting layer to the story and to the romance.

A few familiar characters from the first chapter of the Psy-Changeling series made some appearances but not all. Lots of names were dropped though which made me so happy because yes, I knew these characters. Their presence were felt but not too much that it became distracting. This book is definitely all about these new characters, specifically, the StoneWater bears and the BlackEdge wolves, which I am already in love with.

I’ll be beary good,” he promised, his face lit from within.

She had the sense of playing with a wild thing. “Now you’re just beyond bearing.”

Silver Silence did not disappoint. It’s tautly written with fascinating characters and an intricate plot that holds your interest from beginning until the end.  There were a lot of plot threads that were left open and I for one, am intrigued.  I’m definitely looking forward to more Psy-Changeling Trinity.

Laughing at the cubs’ antics, Valentin jogged down the slight incline and waded into what had to be ice-cold water after kicking off his boots and socks. He splashed the cubs, laughed when they splashed him back. Running so they could chase him, he turned abruptly and chased them back, to their unhidden joy.
Silver took a seat on the grass. When the female bear looked her way, she inclined her head in a silent greeting. The bear did the same, then they both watched an alpha bear play with two energetic cubs, his hands holding rough care for their small bodies.
By the time Valentin made his way back to her, he was drenched and his eyes weren’t human in any way. When he spoke, his already deep voice was so low it felt like thunder against her skin. “Couldn’t resist,” he said, pushing back his wet hair with one big hand. “If you weren’t in recovery and if I wasn’t in terror of Nova’s wrath, I’d have invited you. The small monsters wanted to play with you.”
Silver didn’t get to her feet. “Can we stay here a little longer?” It was patent that Valentin had an extremely high tolerance for the cold, but he might want to dry off.
“Sure,” he said, and, moving away several feet, shook off the wet.
Fine droplets settled on the skin of her cheek, but she didn’t flinch at the unintentional tactile contact. She also controlled her urge to reach up and touch the water where it lay against her skin. There was no reason to do that, and Silver was alive because she only did things that were rational.
Settling beside her, Valentin waved at the cubs as their guardian led their tired forms toward a path in the trees that was at the same level as the stream. “Gentler climb,” Valentin told her.
“They seem too exhausted to make it to Denhome.”
“It’s all an act—they’re hoping for a ride on their aunt’s back.” His tone held the same fond affection she’d heard when he spoke of Dima. “It’d take more than a few minutes’ play in the water to wipe out those two.”
The cubs had played with Valentin for almost a half hour. “They’re hyperactive?”
“They’re baby bears.”
Silver watched as those baby bears turned toward her and rose up on their back paws, as if in challenge. A stern sound from their caretaker, and they dropped down and scrambled to catch up with her. Their bodies disappeared into the trees as dusk began to turn from orange to shadowy gray.
Beside her, Valentin sprawled out, bracing himself on his elbows. His drenched T-shirt clung to the ridged muscles of his abdomen, pulled tight across his pectoral muscles, shaped itself over his shoulders. His jeans weren’t much better, outlining the raw muscle of his thighs.
Valentin Nikolaev was a man of violent physical strength even in human form. Yet he clearly had iron control over it; when he’d played with the children, they’d displayed zero fear of their alpha.
“You thought about where you’re going to live when you escape the bears who’ve kidnapped you?”
When she raised an eyebrow at him, he grinned. “Fringe netter with his own Internet channel sent out a breaking report last night. Pasha—who obviously needs more work duties—made up a fake account and posted a comment swearing to have seen you being pulled into a black van by six burly bears in bear form.”
“You don’t seem too concerned.” Amber eyes and deep voice, he remained very much a bear in human form.
“Well, according to this ‘eyewitness,’ the getaway driver was in bear form, too. Must’ve been tough for him to steer with one paw since he was drinking a beer at the same time.”
“Bears,” Silver said, making Valentin throw his head back and laugh that huge laugh that wrapped around her.
“I’ve got strong hands, and I promise to be a gentleman unless you ask me to tear off your clothes and kiss every delectable inch of you.”

NEW YORK TIMES AND USA Today bestselling author of the Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter series Nalini Singh usually writes about hot shapeshifters and dangerous angels. This time around, she decided to write about a hot and wickedly tempting rock star. If you’re seeing a theme here, you’re not wrong.

Nalini lives and works in beautiful New Zealand, and is passionate about writing. If you’d like to explore her other books, you can find lots of excerpts on her website. Slave to Sensation is the first book in the Psy-Changeling series, while Angels’ Blood is the first book in the Guild Hunter series. Once Rock Addiction is out, swing by the site to check out the special behind-the-scenes page, complete with photos of many of the locations used in the book.

Blog Tour: My Best Friend’s Ex

MY BEST FRIEND’S EX
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Author: Meghan Quinn
Release Date: June 1, 2017

When I found an eviction notice taped on my apartment door, I had two options: find a comfortable cardboard box to call home, or move in with Tucker Jameson.

Seeing that cardboard makes me feel itchy, I chose the latter. Which shouldn’t be that big of a deal Tucker is one of my good friends. And because he’s still pining after his ex-girlfriend and I’m trying to finish my nursing degree, there is nothing to worry about in the romance department, making my last semester an easy one to conquer.

Boy, was I wrong.

Rules are set, dinners are made, conversations are had, and a shirtless, swoony roommate walks around in nothing but a pair of black briefs, ruining me for every other man.

Before I know it, I turn into a panting, lust-filled woman begging for Tucker to kiss me, touch me, and show me exactly what is hiding under those briefs.

But with great orgasms, comes great consequences.

Tucker might be my friend and roommate but he’s also my best friend’s ex-boyfriend, making him completely off-limits. At least that’s what my brain is telling me, my heart is speaking an entirely different language.

AMAZON

When Emma Marks received an eviction notice for her apartment, she found herself accepting an unconventional arrangement with Tucker Jameson, her best friend’s ex.

Best friend’s ex-boyfriends are always off limits.”

Although this book can be read as a standalone, both Emma and Tucker appeared in another one of Meghan Quinn’s book, Co-Wrecker. And while I don’t think you necessarily need to read that book, it would definitely give you more insight into Tucker’s character.

In My Best Friend’s Ex, Tucker is trying to pick up the pieces of his life after his relationship with Sadie imploded. He found himself an owner of a house he has no idea how to do with. So when he found out that that Emma needs a place to stay after being evicted from her apartment, Tucker offered her a place in his.

This arrangement gave Emma and Tucker a chance to reconnect after what happened in the past. I really liked how Ms. Quinn was able to show how they reconnected and build on that reconnection. The decisions these characters made make sense and one of the best aspect in the book was them rebuilding their friendship.

You have taught me about perseverance, about the strength a human possesses, and that despite your upbringings and influences, you rose above it all and became the most beautifully broken man I’ve ever met.”

There were some laugh-out-loud moments in the book but there were also instances where the humor just didn’t land for me, which says more about my taste in comedy rather than Meghan Quinn’s writing ability. Personally, I just found the comedy a little too out there.

I did like the fact that Tucker and Emma didn’t fall in love immediately. The book acknowledges the difficulty of starting a relationship with a friend’s ex. Ms. Quinn didn’t shy away from exposing both Emma and Tucker’s reservations regarding their relationship. But at the same time, the author didn’t overburden their story with the past. She gave them a surmountable issue.

Their transition from being friends to lovers was also written really well. It was believable. We got insight into what Tucker is going through, trying to unpack his feelings and coming to terms with his own hurts from the past. That was really important because I wouldn’t have believed their HEA if I didn’t read what was going on in his head.

I want her for all the wrong reasons, and yet, I can’t help but think how right she feels.”

My Best Friend’s Ex was an enjoyable ride, overall. The difficult subject matter was really written well, and at the end of the day, Emma and Tucker’s HEA was well earned and believable. My only issue really was the comedy aspect. It was kind of ‘eh’ for me. There were times where the interaction was ruined by the joke. It wouldn’t bother other readers probably but personally, it just didn’t work as well for me. But again, this is more of a personal preference than anything else.

Geri’s Review: When It’s Real by Erin Watt

WHEN IT’S REAL
Genre: Contemporary YA Romance
Author: Erin Watt
Release Date: May 30, 2017

From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt comes the addictive contemporary tale of a teen rock star in need of an image makeover and the teen girl hired to be his fake girlfriend.

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley’s team decides it’s time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he’s settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of “normal.” Under ordinary circumstances she’d never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn’t have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley’s team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley’s a shallow, self-centered jerk? It’s not like they’re going to fall for each other in real life…right?

AMAZON | iBOOKS

When It’s Real by Erin Watt is the perfect, romantic, fluffy summer read.

Oakley Ford is a teen celebrity whose early rise to fame and penchant for trouble has attracted a slew of negative publicity. Desperate to rehab his image before he becomes a washed-up has-been at 19, his management suggested that he dates a normal girl to not only rehab his tarnished image but to also help him land the next producer for his album.

Vaughn Bennett may be a “normal girl” by Hollywood’s standard but her life hasn’t a bed of roses. Orphaned and desperately helping her sister raised her younger siblings made Vaughn’s decision to be Oakley Ford’s fake girlfriend a no-brainer.

Despite a rocky start, Oakley and Vaughn found themselves becoming friends. But paparazzies, jealous exes, Hollywood gossip, nosy publicists and crazy fans are just few of the things that Oakley and Ford had to contend with. They also had to deal with their growing feelings for each other, which makes things a little bit more complicated.

I appreciate how the authors didn’t just focus on the growing romance between Vaughn and Oakley. It also focused on Oakley’s growth from being a spoiled brat musician who had fame way too early in his life to a mature young man whose passion and love for music was unquestionable.

Even though this premise has been done a lot in the past, I still enjoyed this book immensely. I liked that this was different from their other series. Low drama and low angst but still in keeping with the Erin Watt tradition of having smart, capable teenage characters that would appeal even to older readers.

And what makes me even more excited was the fact that I could share this book with my nieces. This is a true YA book, not just because the characters are in their teens but also the way it’s written which means no explicit or overly sexy scenes. So yes, you could recommend this to a younger audience without fear of being accused of corrupting them.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to readers who are looking for smart, romantic YA reads.

Geri & Lana’s Review: Curveball by @MariahDietz

CURVEBALL
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Mariah Dietz
Release Date: May 18, 2017

Shakespeare believed there was always humor in tragedy and tragedy in humor.

My life proved his theory as fact.

At eighteen I was a single parent moving to this small town to be with the man I loved. The one who was supposed to love and cherish me in return.

Finding out he had a wife was tragic.
Remaining in love with him in spite of her was more tragic.
My mom and best friend setting me up on a long string of blind dates was an ongoing tragedy.

Nine years later, I’ve learned to see the humor in most situations.

My mom and best friend setting me up on disastrous blind dates.
My son’s jokes.
The fire alarm going off each time I cook.

My constant bright spot always adding to the humor was my son, Hayden. But when Hayden had a life-threatening allergic reaction, the man who came to help my little boy became my own savior. His laugh, his smile, and the way his eyes lit up when he spoke to my son made him a beacon of light in both our lives.

But I wasn’t the only one who noticed him.
When I began having feelings for the man my best and only friend had fallen for, I knew following my heart would once again lead to a fresh round of heartbreak.

Love led me to this town.
Lies kept me there.

Would history repeat itself?
Or had life just thrown me another Curveball?

AMAZON

LANA’S REVIEW

Will you keep looking at me like I’m yours if I tell you there’s nothing to worry about?”
“You just haven’t been paying attention. I’ve been looking at you like you’re mind since I first saw you.”

Holy. Wow. How is this the first book I’m reading by this author? I’ll fully admit that I was hooked by the blurb with a promise of an angst fest. Being the angst addict that I am, I was ready to have my heart ripped out…
But that’s not at all what I got.

This book was nothing what expected and yet exactly what I needed. I loved the flowing, almost lyrical writing style. I loved the characters and most especially the incredible hero. I loved the character driven story and the pacing. I loved the slow burn romance. I loved the lack of unnecessary drama. I loved Elle and Coen’s connection and their journey from friends to lover. I loved Elle’s adorable little boy. I just loved it. I loved everything about it.

I feel the blurb is a bit misleading, or maybe it was for me. Because this is not an angst fest. It’s a story that’s full of depth and feeling, but there’s no crazy drama or angst. It’s a story of a woman that made a mistake when she was young and naive and now learning to move on with her life. Elle fell for a man when she was a teenager that irrevocably changed the course of her life. Now 9 years later, she’s come a long way from the naive 17 year old girl she used to be. Being a single mother that’s balancing raising her son and a full time career leaves no time for her love life. She inevitably allows her best friend to set her up on a string of horrible dates from a dating site she’s on, fully convinced she’ll never meet the man she wants.

The last thing she expects is to form a connection with her best friend’s new neighbor. Coen is everything that she’s sworn off; a firefighter and off limits because her best friend is interested in him. He’s also endearing, thoughtful, sweet, and is incredible to her little boy. What starts off as an almost unwilling friendship, soon begins to develop into something much more.

She squares her shoulders when I take three measured steps that bring us toe to toe and the flame in her eyes smothers me as it spreads like a wildfire, heating me, filling me with a fight or flight instinct that has me reaching up to grab a handful of her dark hair and lean forward until my lips steal her breath and give her my own.

Coen.

SWOON. All of the swoon! This man was perfection. He’s fiercely protective, sweet, thoughtful, and he cares for Elle’s son as much as for her. I loved seeing the development of the connection between the three of them. I loved the way that Coen demolished every wall that Elle has built around her heart through the years.

There was no crazy drama or angst and it’s not even a little smutty. It was simply a story of a love in the most unlikeliest of place. Elle and Coen complimented each other so perfectly. Coen lifted Elle up in her weak moments and Elle stood by Coen in his. It was poignant and touching and I absolutely adored it.

My only quibble is the twist in this book that made things a little too convenient in how some things played out. But other than that, I enjoyed this book immensely. I’m seriously kicking myself for not reading this author before but I’ll be rectifying it by reading every future book this woman releases.

GERI’S REVIEW

I love him because he saved me. Because he makes me acknowledge my feelings rather than feel ashamed of them, and he makes me feel calm and safe. Two things I haven’t felt since I was seventeen.❞

This was my very first Mariah Dietz book and certainly won’t be my last.

Curveball was a pleasant surprise. I was kind of expecting angst on top of angst, which I admittedly am all for on some cases, and Curveball isn’t quite the angsty read I was expecting. But it nevertheless, captured my attention and I was able to fell in love not only with the story overall but with the characters.

Speaking of characters…Coen, Coen, Coen. He made this book for me. Just an amazing hero. He had me swooning right from the get go. He could’ve easily become an indecisive character with two beautiful women vying for his attention but he’s not. I loved his steadfastness and resolve. He’s definitely worthy to be called a hero in every sense of the word.

I also loved Ella. Her journey is quite heartbreaking. I liked how the author showed the toxic kind of love that Ella had with her ex and how it can happen even to a person like Ella who had a great family and friends, etc. Her reactions and her fears felt real to me, and I really enjoyed seeing her character evolved from the beginning of the book until the end.

Another thing that I really liked about this book was how rich and complex the secondary characters are. They’re not just there to serve the hero or the heroine. They definitely have their own personalities and quirks.

That said, I felt like the ending was a bit rushed and conflict resolved a little too quickly. Some people got away with some things and there were some confrontations (which I won’t divulge here because it’s a spoiler) that I would’ve loved to see.

But overall, this was a very solid, heartwarming read. And yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from Ms. Dietz.

Mariah Dietz lives in Eastern Washington with her husband and two sons that are the axis of her crazy and wonderful world.

Mariah grew up in a tiny town outside of Portland, Oregon where she spent the majority of her time immersed in the pages of books that she both read and created.

She has a love for all things that include her sons, good coffee, books, travel, and dark chocolate. She also has a deep passion for the stories she writes, and hopes readers enjoy the journeys she takes them on, as much as she loves creating them.

Geri’s Review: The Simplicity of Cider by Amy Reichert

THE SIMPLICITY OF CIDER
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Author: Amy Reichert
Release Date: May 16, 2017

Fall in love with The Simplicity of Cider, the charming new novel about a prickly but gifted cider-maker whose quiet life is interrupted by the arrival of a handsome man and his young son at her family’s careworn orchard by the author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake and Luck, Love & Lemon Pie.

Focused and unassuming fifth generation cider-maker Sanna Lund has one desire: to live a simple, quiet life on her family’s apple orchard in Door County, Wisconsin. Although her business is struggling, Sanna remains fiercely devoted to the orchard, despite her brother’s attempts to convince their aging father to sell the land.

Single dad Isaac Banks has spent years trying to shield his son Sebastian from his troubled mother. Fleeing heartbreak at home, Isaac packed up their lives and the two headed out on an adventure, driving across the country. Chance—or fate—led them straight to Sanna’s orchard.

Isaac’s helping hands are much appreciated at the apple farm, even more when Sanna’s father is injured in an accident. As Sanna’s formerly simple life becomes increasingly complicated, she finds solace in unexpected places—friendship with young Sebastian and something more deliciously complex with Isaac—until an outside threat infiltrates the farm.

AMAZON | iBOOKS

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You make my heart reckless.”

I had the pleasure of reading my first Amy Reichert book with The Coincidence of Coconut Cake. I fell in love with Lou and Al and with Amy’s writing then. I mean, I love food. And what’s better than reading about romance and food? Nothing! It’s a no-brainer for me.

The Simplicity of Cider take readers on another journey through Wisconsin’s charming apple orchards.

Sanna Lund is a daughter, hermit, and talented cider maker whose life was scarred by a family betrayal. She’s content with her life making cider and helping her father tend to their family orchard. Things aren’t going well for Sanna and her father though. She’s failing to sell her cider and her family might lose the orchard to developers.

Help came in the form of two strangers, Isaac and his son, Bass. Father and son are running from their own heartbreak at home and found solace and respite in the Lund orchard bringing Sanna and Isaac together. The attraction that sparked between them took Sanna and Isaac by surprise. But Sanna has no time for love especially one that could leave her at any moment.

She couldn’t tell if he was the storm or the rescue boat.”

Love, loyalty, family and betrayal are just some of the themes that are at the heart of this book. Amy Reichert did a phenomenal job with these characters. Sanna was an amazing character. She’s awkward but sure of herself. Confident in her skill but also shows vulnerability which made her such a joy to read.

Isaac and his son Bass straight up stole my heart. Their interaction and banter was given a substantial amount of page time, which I really enjoyed and the tragedy that they both went through tugged at my heart. Isaac was the perfect foil for Sanna. He’s exactly what she needed.

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Despite its somber theme, there was such a joy to this book. Sanna’s love for cider making, Isaac’s love for Bass, Einar’s patience, Ms. Dibble’s matchmaking—these things saved the book from being depressing. Not to mention, the romance was really strong in this book. Isaac and Sanna’s chemistry sizzled throughout the book.

The toe-curling romance combined with strong family dynamics made this book a winner for me. Simplicity of Cider was simply lovely. And I couldn’t have asked for a better book from Amy Reichert.

Review: Pipe Dreams (Brooklyn Bruisers #3) by Sarina Bowen

PIPE DREAMS
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Sarina Bowen
Release Date: May 2, 2017 

A goalie has to trust his instincts, even when taking a shot to the heart…

Mike Beacon is a champion at defending the net, but off the ice, he’s not so lucky. A widower and a single father, he’s never forgotten Lauren Williams, the ex who gave him the best year of his life. When Lauren reappears in the Bruisers office during the playoffs, Beacon sees his chance to make things right.

Lauren hates that she’s forced to travel with the team she used to work for and the man who broke her heart. There’s still undeniable sexual tension running between her and Mike, but she won’t go down that road again. She’s focused on her plans for the future—she doesn’t need a man to make her dreams of motherhood come true.

Lauren plays her best defensive game, but she’s no match for the dark-eyed goalie. When the field of play moves to Florida, things heat up on the beach.

One of Mike’s biggest fans doesn’t approve—his teenage daughter. But a true competitor knows not to waste the perfect shot at love.

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 You’re my happy thought, Lo.”

 

Lauren Williams may be known for being an ice princess, but she’s also one of Nate’s trusted right-hand man. So when Becca suffered a concussion and has to rest, Lauren had to step in and take over her job (temporarily) as manager of the Brooklyn Bruiser’s front office. The problem is Lauren would rather be anywhere else than in the Bruiser’s office. Readers of this series will remember her aversion to hockey and the team but we never really knew why. We do have an inkling that she and the Bruiser’s goalie had a thing in the past but it was never fully revealed in the other books yet.

In Pipe Dreams, we finally get to know the reason behind Lauren’s aversion to hockey. And yes, it does have to do with her past relationship with Mike Beacon. Mike was the former captain of the Bruisers. We found out that he stepped down as captain after his estranged wife fell ill and he had to devote his extra time with her. What we do not know then was that this event was also linked with the demise of his and Lauren’s relationship.

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I have been intrigued with Lauren since the series began. I thought there was more to that whole ice princess routine than meets the eye. But at first, I thought, “Oh no, she’s going to cause trouble for one of our heroine, isn’t she?” But then Sarina Bowen sort of turned that on its head when she volunteered to babysit for Becca’s neice (sic) in the previous book.

Since then, my opinion on Lauren changed. I wanted to know why she’s the way she is. I loved that she’s capable, accomplished and ambitious. She’s also heartbroken and vulnerable. And boy, her past with Mike was a doozy. It’s tragic and it’s one of those things where you really don’t have any choice in the matter. And that’s what makes Lauren’s heartbreak even more relatable.

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I was prepared to hate Mike for what he did with Lauren. But when I started reading this book, I realized that things are more complicated than that. Mike had to make the best decision he can for his family, and while I feel for Lauren and I wish he didn’t break her heart, I understand where his coming from.

It also really helped that Sarina Bowen didn’t write Mike’s wife as this shrew who had no personality except to be the bad guy in the story. Again, it was more complicated than that. I actually felt sympathy for Mike’s family especially his daughter. Okay, I admit I was a little leery when it seemed like Elsa is going to be the “obstacle” that’s going to keep our main couple apart. But again, Ms. Bowen did her character justice. She’s not just a prop but a real character with a story arc.

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The whole team featured prominently in this book as they chase the Stanley Cup. I enjoyed seeing them in action. My only complaint about this book was  

Click to view spoiler

Apart that, I liked this one a lot. I’ve always enjoyed Sarina’s writing. Her characters are simply likable and her stories tends to really resonate with me and with a lot of readers. Pipe Dreams is an enjoyable, low-angst, second-chance romance that shouldn’t be missed.

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Review: Before I Ever Met You by Karina Halle

BEFORE I EVER MET YOU
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Karina Halle
Release Date: April 25, 2017

I first met William McAlister when I was just a teenager.

He was handsome, had a beautiful wife and was on the verge of success, having just joined my father as his business partner. Mr. McAlister was full of smooth charm, but back then he was barely a blip on my radar. Just a family friend.

Fast forward ten years: I’m 25 years old and a single mom trying to make things right for her seven-year old son. I’ve made some mistakes, grappled with my demons and now I’m back in the city of Vancouver, getting a second chance at a better life.

I’ve started by working for my father’s production company as an executive assistant. My first day on the job and I already know I could have a promising career there.
That is until I see Will McAlister for the first time in a decade.

Now recently divorced and as sophisticated as always, Will has gone from being my father’s friend and business partner to something so much more.

We’re both older, for one thing, and he just oozes this worldly confidence and stark sexuality. Combined with his tall, muscular build and sharp suits, strong jaw and bedroom eyes, Will has turned into one hell of a distraction. A distraction I’m having a hard time staying away from, considering his office is right across from my desk and I work with him in such close proximity.

But it’s just a harmless crush, right?

It’s just an innocent fantasy of screwing him on his desk, right?

It can’t ever be more because he’s my father’s best friend, business partner, and my boss.

Right?

Wrong.

 

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When I think about Karina Halle, I immediately think delectable anti-heroes, edgy heroines, and her stories are usually dark and twisty with a lot of angst. I never would have used sweet and adorable to describe her stories until now.

Before I Ever Met You is a different Karina Halle altogether and I am glad I got to read it this early because I really, really enjoyed it. Take my opinion with a grain of salt because I haven’t read all her her books but as someone who’s enjoyed her horror-paranormal series and her other edgier titles, Before I Met You was a breath of fresh air. Don’t get me wrong, it is still quintessentially KH but different.

Life is short. And when you find what makes your heart beat, your soul sing, then you have to hang on to it.”

Jackie is a familiar KH-type heroine: troubled, rebellious teenager who made a terrible decision and is now paying for it. Because of those mistakes, her relationship with her parents suffered and now, she’s back in their home, begging for a job and another chance to make a better life for her and her 7-year old son. Despite the guilt and the shame she’s feeling, Jackie remains resilient and it’s one of the things that made me relate with her character. Her decisions and actions made sense throughout the book.

The Mr. McAlister I remember from when I was a teenager was tall, dark and handsome, now he’s all those things magnified. Age has made him one hell of a sexy beast.”

But as much as I liked Jackie, the one character who stole my heart is Will McAllister. Will is her father’s friend and business partner, and 16 years older than Jackie. Will is also seeking a second chance in a town he left for who he thought was the love of his life. He’s back in Vancouver after the humiliating end of his marriage. Like Jackie, love is not his priority at all.

But the moment Jackie and Will meet, sparks started flying. And despite their best effort to stay away, their coming together was inevitable.

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Yes, it’s “forbidden” romance in a sense that there is that 16-year age gap and he’s her boss. But it’s also more than that or should I say, it’s never really about that. I feel like Jackie and Will’s journey as characters go beyond the May-December office romance affair cliche thing. Jackie’s got a lot of emotional baggage she had to deal with and Will was the catalyst that brought those issues to the forefront.

There was nothing sordid about their coming together even though they did keep things under wraps from other people especially her parents. It never felt like the story was about just that, and I really appreciated that Karina Halle took time to develop Jackie’s character. She made me understand and sympathetic to her plight, which is very important to me.

How is that life can be so crazy,so chaotic,so scary.
And yet one kiss from you and all that goes away.”

Will’s character is the same. From the get go, he’s characterized as a mature, caring, and sweet man who is willing to risk everything for Jackie and his boy. I smiled and swooned along with Jackie and I’m pretty sure I was doing the heart-eyes emoji thing every time he does something sweet for Jackie and Ty.

Then there’s the grand gesture.

Anyone who knows me well enough would attest that it doesn’t matter if I got annoyed with the characters or that the book was really slow in the beginning as long as I get my big-ass, grand gesture at the end. And this book’s grand gesture had me like…

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And then there’s that epilogue….

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OMG, I can’t. I was bursting with happiness. All that gooey HEA goodness was just too cute for words.

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Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of Where Sea Meets Sky, Racing the Sun, The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Dirty Angels and over 20 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.

Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit www.authorkarinahalle.com and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more.

A Surprise Announcement from Brooke Blaine!

A LITTLE BIT LIKE LOVE
Standalone Romance
Genre: MM
Author: Brooke Blaine
Release Date Reveal: May 23rd, 2017

A Little Bit Like Love, an all-new sexy STANDALONE MM romance from Brooke Blaine is coming soon!!! 

What if you had everything in the world you wanted…except the man you’d left behind?

Jackson Davenport, the charismatic, strait-laced heir to the Davenport fortune, has a secret. One he’s been hiding since he graduated from South Haven all-boys academy—and that secret’s name is Lucas.

When a work trip takes Jackson back to his old stomping grounds, memories of the year he shared with Lucas come crashing to the surface. With growing pressure from his father to settle down and take over the family business, Jackson knows he’s on borrowed time, and sets out to find the free-spirited daredevil he once knew.

But Lucas isn’t the same man he was eight years ago.

One night. A shattered heart. And an endless parade of nameless faces. Lucas Sullivan is South Haven’s ultimate playboy, a reputation he’s honed since the only boy he ever loved left without a trace. To the world, he’s brash and confident, an in-demand artist who spends his days designing one-of-a-kind pieces and his nights as king of the downtown scene.

Many have tried and failed to get past the barrier he’s carefully constructed, but it’s the shy, studious boy he once coaxed out of his shell who still haunts him.

Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe it was lust. Or maybe…it was a little bit like love.

You could say Brooke Blaine was a book-a-holic from the time she knew how to read; she used to tell her mother that curling up with one at 4 a.m. before elementary school was her ‘quiet time.’ Not much has changed except for the espresso I.V. pump she now carries around and the size of her onesie pajamas.

She is the author of Flash Point, a romantic suspense standalone, as well as the co-author of the erotic series, A Desperate Man, with Ella Frank. The latter has scarred her conservative southern family for life, bless their hearts. Licked, a romantic comedy, will be released November 11th, 2015 and is the first in the L.A. Liaisons series.

If you’d like to get in touch with her, she’s easy to find – just keep an ear out for the Rick Astley ringtone that’s dominated her cell phone for ten years.

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Review & Excerpt: Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan

THE HOT SHOT
Series: Game On #4
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports
Author: Kristen Callihan
Release Date: April 18, 2017

First we were friends. Then we were roommates. Now I want more…

What can I say about Chess Copper? The woman is capable of bringing me to my knees. I know this about five minutes after getting naked for her.

No one is more surprised than me. The prickly photographer my team hired to shoot our annual charity calendar isn’t my usual type. She’s defense to my offense, a challenge at every turn. But when I’m with her, all the regrets and darkness goes away. She makes life fun.

I want to know Chess, be close to her. Which is a bad idea.

Chess is looking for a relationship. I’ve never given a woman more than one night. But when fate leaves Chess without a home, I step up and offer her mine. We’re roommates now. Friends without benefits. But it’s getting harder to keep our hands off each other. And the longer we live together the more I realize she’s becoming my everything.

Trick is… Now that I’ve made her believe I’m a bad bet, how do I convince her to give this player a true shot at forever? 

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CHESS

Grumbling, I toss on some black lounge pants and my oversized Tulane t-shirt and head to the drugstore.
My head throbs by the time I get there, and my insides are writhing. I rest my hand against my lower stomach and grab a basket before calling James to complain.
“I swear,” I tell him as I grab a bottle of painkillers. “It’s like this entire day has been cursed.”
He snickers. “Curse. Get it? Curse?”
I roll my eyes, even though he can’t see me. “Laugh it up. Meanwhile, it feels as if someone is playing Battleship in my uterus.”
“Poor Chessie bear. At least we know why you were in such a foul mood.”
A flush washes over my cheeks. “Yeah.” Lie. Lie. Lie. A tub of salted caramel gelato makes its way into the basket.
“Tell me you’re getting some gelato,” James says.
I smile. “Just grabbed it.”
“Salted caramel?”
“You know it.”
I find the feminine products aisle and search for my brand. “I’m going to go home, take a long bath with my gelato, and forget this fucking day.” Forget Finn. “And then I’m going to go on Amazon and buying a freaking year’s supply of tampons so I don’t have to make these kinds of emergency runs anymore.”
A low, deep chuckle rumbles from behind me, and all the tiny hairs lift on my arms.
“But you’ll still need your gelato,” a familiar—fuck me, seriously?—voice points out.
My insides swoop even as my cheeks burn.
“Who is that?” James asks in my ear.
I slowly turn on one heel. “The plague,” I say, glaring up at Finn Mannus’s smiling face.
“From asshat to plague.” Finn scrunches up his brow. “I’m not sure if that’s a step down or a tie.”
“Who is that?” James nearly yells now.
I don’t take my eyes off Finn. “I’ll call you back.”
James’s squawks of protest cut off as I hit the end button.
“Are you stalking me, Mannus?”
Finn a rests his hands low on his lean hips. “Having a healthy amount of conceit myself, I have to admire yours, but no, buttercup. My buddy Woodson lives a few blocks away. It’s poker night. I’m stocking up on beer.”
It’s only then I notice a twelve pack tucked under his other arm.
“And tampons?” I ask, with a pointed look around the aisle we’re standing in.
“Not tonight,” he says easily. “Though we used to keep a pack of them back in college. Light flows were perfect for stopping up bloody noses.”
A snort escapes me. “Now there’s a visual.” Somehow, I’ve taken a step closer to him. He’s freshly showered, the golden brown strands of his hair still damp at his temples. And I wonder if he’s just come from the gym or practice. “So back in college you went and bought these tampons?”
“Nah,” he says with a cheeky smile. “I’d ask one of the girls hanging around to get me some.”
“Of course you did.” My nose wrinkles with annoyance.
“Give me a little credit, Chess. I’d buy them now if I had to.”
“Hmm…” I eye him, trying not to return his smile. If only because it’s more fun when he teases. “So why are you in this aisle now, if not for potential nosebleed needs?”
“That’s easy.” He steps closer, a warm wall of muscle and clean scent. “I heard your voice.”
For a second I just blink. “You recognized my voice?”
His gaze darts over my face as if he’s trying to get a read on why I’m gaping at him. “Not to be…ah…rude, but you’re loud when you talk on the phone.”
“Yeah, but… You recognized it.” We’d only just met. It occurs to me that I’d recognized his both times he’d snuck up on me. Then again, his voice is distinctive, flowing like hot honey when he’s relaxed or hammering down like iron to rock when he’s taking command of a situation.
A soft flush of pink tints the tips of his ears. If I wasn’t staring at him, I might have missed it. He shifts his weight. “Was I not supposed to?”
“No. Yes.” I shake my head and laugh. “I don’t know.”
He grins then. “You’re cute when you’re flustered.”
“I’m not flustered.” I am.

THE SERIES

THE HOOK UP | THE FRIEND ZONE | THE GAME PLAN | THE HOT SHOT


So were going to…What? Be friends.”
He looks almost boyish then. “Yeah. We are.” His eyes spark. “Fair warning. I’ll still be picturing you naked half of the time. So get used to a bit of leering.”
I snort. “You just had to go and ruin the moment, didn’t you?”
“Probably should get used to that too.”

GAH. All of the stars! ALL OF THEM!

Do you know why I love that one quote up there? Because it’s the perfect summary of this book. It’s this incredibly endearing combination of humor, emotion, and passion. I seriously couldn’t get enough of it! Opposites attract in this sweet and sexy sports romance and I was absolute putty reading it. A happy pile of swooning goo. Can goo swoon? Hmm…no matter. What’s important is how much I seriously loved this book!

From bickering, to unlikely friendship, to roommates, to lovers, Chess and Finn stole my heart…and I never want it back

Like an inevitable collision with a charging linebacker, I suspect Ms. Chess Copper is going to take me down and make me feel it. Bitch of it is, I’m not sure if I hate the idea or kind of like it.

The last place Finn wants to be is in front of the camera. When the photographer hired by their team to shoot their annual calendar doesn’t automatically swoon at his feet like so many other women, he’s intrigued. She’s so far from his usual type, but there’s something about her sharp wit and sarcasm leaves him hooked.

Chess has just about given up on relationships, and the last person she would ever date is the playboy quarterback with the easy smile and a horde of women in his past. But then when she sees the depth hidden beneath his easy smiles, she’s intrigued, and what soon begins is the unlikeliest of friendships even when both of them yearn for something much more.

I want her with a ferocity that aches low in my gut, and I find myself reaching for her without thought, only to restrain myself at the last second. Because she is not mine.

I loved reading their budding relationship develop. There’s so much more than first meets the eye with Finn and watching his layers reveal themselves was utterly delicious. He’s so much more than Chess expected and watching that slowly crumble her walls left me a grinning fool. I adored their easy camaraderie. They were so different and yet so perfect together. I loved the slow burn; until the sexual tension was sprung so tight, I thought I might explode if they didn’t finally didn’t give in to the pull between them.

Finn was the perfect easy-going humor to off-set Chess’s prickly sarcasm. I simply couldn’t get enough of these two together. I loved their friendship but I definitely loved watching it develop into something more.

Finn, what am I going to do with you?” His smile is an easy glide, but his eyes hold mine a beat too long. “Keep me. I’m pretty sure I’m good for no one else.”

And then there was that epilogue. GOD. That epilogue deserves 5 stars for it alone.

Book four in what’s become one of my favorite sports romance series delivered on the promise with one swoony, funny, and sweet read. I adored every single page of it. If you’re a fan of this series, this book is an absolute myst read. I’m already in need of my next fix, I just don’t know who I want more, North or Jake.

Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal , best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

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