Geri’s Review: Roomies by Christina Lauren

ROOMIES
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Christina Lauren
Release Date: December 5, 2017

Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient.

Rescued by Calvin McLoughlin from a would-be subway attacker, Holland Bakker pays the brilliant musician back by pulling some of her errand-girl strings and getting him an audition with a big-time musical director.

When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until he admits his student visa has expired and he’s in the country illegally.

Holland impulsively offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, her growing infatuation a secret only to him.

As their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers, Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway.

In the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realise that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

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Come home and kick me in the teeth if you need to, but then kiss me.

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This book isn’t just sweet & cute, it’s also full of charm and wit. It also has fantastic tension and conflict, not to mention a great chemistry between its main protagonists.

Roomies is told entirely in Holland’s point of view, which was great mainly because Holland is a character that you can’t help but love. She doesn’t have her shit together. One could say that she’s privileged, which she is, but the great thing again is that the book acknowledged her privilege. You just can’t help but root for her.  And her painful crush on the hero was not only endearing, it’s also very relatable.

Calvin was a crush-worthy hero that I honestly couldn’t blame Holland for crushing hard on him. What I really like about his character is that he’s not the quintessential ” alpha bad boy musician” hero I’m used to reading nowadays. He’s a theater nerd, and I personally find that refreshing. He’s very flawed, and his backstory is one that immigrants like me could relate to. And even if you’re not a US immigrant, you’d still feel for him.

I loved the marriage-of-convenience set up. Holland and Calvin started out as strangers and then friends until they inevitably became lovers. But things aren’t as straightforward as it may seem. There’s quite a bit of angst in this book. Not too much though, just enough to keep you on the edge of your seat and invested in these characters. You want them to work out so bad but since they’re not perfect characters, imperfect decisions were made.

One other thing that makes this book for me are the secondary characters, most especially Holland’s “uncles” Jeff and Robert. Their presence in this book was a grounding force for Holland. They’re her rock and she’d be lost without them. I loved these characters so much I wanted to read more about them, preferably in their own standalone book.

Roomies isn’t a perfect book but the emotion it evoked was undeniable. The romance, the banter, the sexy times…all of it worked. It’s a quick read, too. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down. It was that readable.

So whether you’re a fan of the marriage-of-convenience trope or not, I highly recommend this book. It’s sweet and angsty with characters that you can’t help but fall in love with.

Geri’s Review: Holiday Wishes by Jill Shalvis

HOLIDAY WISHES
Series: Heartbreaker Bay #4.5
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Jill Shalvis
Release Date: November 7, 2017

It’s Christmastime again in Heartbreaker Bay!

When Sean O’Riley shows up at the Hartford Bed & Breakfast for his older brother’s bachelor weekend, he’s just hoping to make it through the weekend.

What he’s not expecting is to come face to face with the woman he lost his virginity to a decade ago—a woman he’s never really forgotten.

The last time Lotti Hartford saw Sean, she told him she loved him while he said nothing. Now, ten years later, she’s just looking for a good time.

For once, she wants to be the wild and free one, and Sean – the good time guy – is the perfect candidate.

But as the weekend continues, Sean realizes that after a lifetime of being the hook-up king, he’s ready to find happily-ever-after, and he wants it with Lotti. But will she open her heart to him again?

As Christmas sweeps through the little B&B, he can only hope love and magic are in the air.

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What makes a perfect holiday read?

For one, it has to be sweet. Nothing says holiday novella than a sweet, satisfying romance that make your toes curl. Holiday Wishes has plenty of romance, and yes, it’s sweet and satisfying, just the way I like it.

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Two, it has to be the right length. Look, holiday season often means, you’re pressed for time. You have to do a lot of shopping and cooking. And as much as you want to sit by the fire and read a fabulous 300+ page book for hours, you can’t. Not always. So a novella length book that packs in the romance in under 150 pages or so is a godsend.

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Three. It features familiar characters you already love. Sean O’Riley has been a familiar figure in the Heartbreaker Bay series. He started out as Finn’s younger, troublemaker brother. But as the series goes on, Sean grew up and matured. He’s proven himself a good brother and a loyal friend so reading about him getting his woman made me happy. Especially with a heroine as lovely as Lottie. Jill Shalvis always writes interesting heroines. They’re complex, flawed but inside they’re just full of love and loyalty.

Plus, we get to see the gang again. Nothing makes a reader’s heart happy than to see the characters she loves happy and content. Like do you know of anyone who wants to see their fave characters sad and miserable? No!

And last but not the least, the thing that makes a book a perfect holiday read is its ability to give you the warm fuzzies.

Look. Don’t me make me come at you with a 1,000 page dissertation of what constitutes warm fuzzyiness. All i know is that YOU’LL KNOW IT WHEN YOU FEEL IT!!!

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And yes, this book gave me all the warm fuzzies down to my toes.

Any questions? None? Good. Go forth and enjoy this book! <3

 

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras with her family and far too many assorted quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental.

Look for Jill’s latest, LOST AND FOUND SISTERS on shelves and e-readers now, and get all her bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold.

Visit Jill’s website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

 

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Geri’s Review: Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh

SOMEONE TO WED
Series: Westcott #3
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Mary Balogh
Release Date: November 7, 2017

A very practical marriage makes Alexander Westcott question his heart in the latest Regency romance from the New York Times bestselling author of Someone to Hold.

When Alexander Westcott becomes the new Earl of Riverdale, he inherits a title he never wanted and a failing country estate he can’t afford.

But he fully intends to do everything in his power to undo years of neglect and give the people who depend on him a better life. . . .

A recluse for more than twenty years, Wren Heyden wants one thing out of life: marriage. With her vast fortune, she sets her sights on buying a husband. But when she makes the desperate—and oh-so-dashing—earl a startlingly unexpected proposal, Alex will only agree to a proper courtship, hoping for at least friendship and respect to develop between them.

He is totally unprepared for the desire that overwhelms him when Wren finally lifts the veils that hide the secrets of her past. . . .

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It was not just her face that she had hidden from the world. It was the whole of herself. Her instinct was to hide behind veils within veils, and she had done it for so long that she did not know how to case those veils aside.

Someone to Wed is a story about two people who came together out of convenience but in the process, found not only affection but deep and abiding love for each other.

The romance was top-notch as is expected from a Mary Balogh book. Both characters are flawed, complex and relatable in a way that made you root for their happiness and their developing relationship.

Alexander has inherited a failing earldom and must marry for money in order to rebuild his estates. Wren has spent the better part of her adult life in isolation. She wants to get married and have a family but feels that her appearance (she was a huge port wine stain on her face) and time spent away from society made her less of an ideal candidate for marriage. The one thing she has advantage of is her wealth. She’s an independently wealthy woman and wealth is something that Alexander needs.

But he had glimpsed something tantalizingly fleeting behind the veil. Something – no, he could not find the word. But something that invited him to keep looking.

There’s plenty to love in Someone to Wed.

It’s a fantastic MOC story, something that Mary Balogh does really well. Great, well-developed characters. Wren is such a strong, layered character. She knows what she wants and while she presents this cold and aloof behavior on the outside, her heart is passionate. But years of self-imposed seclusion and loneliness did a number of her, which made her all the more endearing and likable in my opinion.

I really liked Alexander, too. I liked that at very beginning, there’s no feelings or even an attraction between them. Their relationship grew from chapter to chapter and I was swept away with the slow burn romance between these two characters.

If you’re a fan of both slow-burn romances and the marriage-of-convenience trope, I highly recommend this book.

Mary Jenkins was born in 1944 in Swansea, Wales, UK. After graduating from university, moved to Saskatchewan, Canada, to teach high school English, on a two-year teaching contract in 1967. She married her Canadian husband, Robert Balogh, and had three children, Jacqueline, Christopher and Sian. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, music and knitting. She also enjoys watching tennis and curling.

Mary Balogh started writing in the evenings as a hobby. Her first book, a Regency love story, was published in 1985 as A Masked Deception under her married name. In 1988, she retired from teaching after 20 years to pursue her dream to write full-time. She has written more than seventy novels and almost thirty novellas since then, including the New York Times bestselling ‘Slightly’ sextet and ‘Simply’ quartet. She has won numerous awards, including Bestselling Historical of the Year from the Borders Group, and her novel Simply Magic was a finalist in the Quill Awards. She has won seven Waldenbooks Awards and two B. Dalton Awards for her bestselling novels, as well as a Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award.

FACEBOOK WEBSITE | AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE 

 

Blog Tour Review & Excerpt: Cherish Hard by Nalini Singh

CHERISH HARD
Series: King Of Code #1.5
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: CD Reiss
Release Date: November 14, 2017

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh kicks off her new Hard Play contemporary romance series with a sizzling story that’ll leave you smiling…

Sailor Bishop has only one goal for his future – to create a successful landscaping business. No distractions allowed.

Then he comes face-to-face and lips-to-lips with a woman who blushes like an innocent… and kisses like pure sin.

Ísa Rain craves a man who will cherish her, aches to create a loving family of her own. Trading steamy kisses with a hot gardener in a parking lot? Not the way to true love.

Then a deal with the devil (aka her CEO-mother) makes Ísa a corporate VP for the summer. Her main task? Working closely with a certain hot gardener.

And Sailor Bishop has wickedness on his mind.

As Ísa starts to fall for a man who makes her want to throttle and pounce on him at the same time, she knows she has to choose – play it safe and steady, or risk all her dreams and hope Sailor doesn’t destroy her heart.

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ÍSA WONDERED WHAT THE HELL she was doing.

Being a devil woman, she reminded herself. Having fun for a change. Not being a grandma at twenty-eight years of age.

Still, she couldn’t stop second-guessing herself as Sailor led her out of the house through a side entrance that opened out into a small, manicured garden. “I’ll have to take off my heels,” she whispered when she saw the pebbled path snaking through the garden.

“Want a piggyback ride?” A playful grin. “I promise not to molest your thighs.”

Goose bumps broke out over Ísa’s skin, her nipples tight. Reckless as she was feeling tonight, she might just have taken him up on his offer if she hadn’t been worried her damn dress would split in two. “Maybe when we’re naked,” she said instead, Devil Ísa in full flower.

Groaning, he doubled over as if she’d punched him.

Her lips twitching despite the melting sexual heat liquefying her bones, she leaned down to slip off her heels.

Sailor waited, his hand firm around hers, until she was done. Taking the heels from her, he carried them in his other hand as Ísa padded beside him on the grass that lay on this side of the pebbled path. The path ended at a weathered wooden gate, which, when opened, put them at the top of a narrow walkway that led down onto a beach Ísa couldn’t yet see but could hear.

Her heart crashed in time with the waves as they made their way down to the beach while the mansion behind them pulsed with light and music. But she didn’t turn and run away, she didn’t stop and talk herself out of it, she didn’t attempt to be a sensible adult. She followed a gorgeous, blue-eyed man down a dirt pathway to an effectively private beach.

The sand that had been tracked onto the path was gritty under her feet, the air coming off the sea cool but not cold.

“The water’s going to be icy, isn’t it?” she whispered to his broad back.

“Don’t worry, spitfire. I’ll keep you warm,” was the deep-voiced response. “Stop here.” Jumping down to the beach, he reached up to grab her by the waist, swinging her down as if she were a featherweight.

Something fluffy and mushy came to life inside Ísa. “Here?”

Shaking his head, he said, “Raj told me there’s like a little cove area—not a proper cove, but caused by— There.”

Ísa saw it at once. A huge tree had fallen into the water at some point and smashed up against some rocks where it appeared to be stuck. Between the jutting rocks on either side and the fallen trunk was a naturally created pool. The water within it was pretty calm, and it looked as if they could get to it by clambering over some rocks that didn’t appear too sharp or slippery.

Of course, she’d be walking over those rocks naked.

Ísa looked up at the moon. Imagined it shining on the stark white of her body. Gulped. “Will you close your eyes while I go in the water?” Even Devil Ísa wasn’t up for blinding him with her glow-in-the-dark form.

A glance back. “What’re you going to bribe me with?”

Ísa scowled. “Not pushing you into the water right now.” It was a toothless threat given his muscles and her lack of them.

Rubbing his jaw, he said, “Three tongue kisses. That’s my price, and I’m not budging.”

Ísa wanted to pounce on him all over again. “Two,” she countered.

“Nuh-uh. Three. Or I’m keeping both eyes wide open.” Leaning in, he pressed his nose to hers. “I really want to keep my eyes wide open.”

And Ísa really wanted to kiss him and run her hands all over that sculpted chest. “Three,” she whispered.

 

Copyright © 2017 by Nalini Singh

Cherish Hard is an insanely sweet but very sexy romance between an older heroine and younger hero, which I loved!

Nalini Singh has always excelled in writing great heroes-in-pursuit tropes, and in this book, Sailor is a great example of a hero in pursuit of a woman who caught his eye. He is easily the best part of this book for me.

He’s determined to not only prove that he can get his business off the ground but to prove that his love for Isa isn’t just a passing fancy.

Sailor Bishop is Gabe’s brother but this story took place before the events of Rock Hard so we see a bit of Gabe during his rugby playing years, which I appreciated. A lot.

But the star of the book is Sailor. He’s an amazingly sweet and considerate alpha hero. And I would recommend this book base on that alone.

That said if you’re looking for a high-conflict, angsty romance, then this book won’t be for you. Cherish Hard is light on conflict and drama but it doesn’t skimp on the sexy times. The sexy times in this book is A grade, and I was a huge fan of it.

I would’ve rated this book higher if not for one huge issue for me. I didn’t find Isa particularly interesting. Don’t get me wrong. She’s very sweet and nice and a really good person. She sacrificed so much for her family. And despite being born rich and privileged, her childhood was lonely which contributed to her insecurities and fears. She is on paper, the perfect heroine but I was personally bored with her character. I found her best friend, Nayna, a lot more interesting.

I don’t dislike Isa, it’s just that she didn’t really capture my attention. She’s okay but her character didn’t wow me.

Despite that, I did enjoy this book and I’m looking forward to reading more of this series. I’m hoping we’d get a Nayna book and maybe another Bishop brother? God, I hope so.

Nalini Singh is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Psy-Changeling, Guild Hunter, and Rock Kiss series. She 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 and free short stories 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. The Rock Kiss books are all stand alone and can be read in any order.

 

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Geri’s Review: Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

MAGIC BREAKS
Series: Kate Daniels #7
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Author: Ilona Andrews
Release Date: July 29, 2014

No matter how much the paranormal politics of Atlanta change, one thing always remains the same: if there’s trouble, Kate Daniels will be in the middle of it…

As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers.

Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.

As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer.

And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear…

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This book was fraught with tension from beginning to end. Kate’s courage and mettle has been tested in the past and she always triumphed. But this might be the toughest test she has to face yet. It’s personal and it threatens everything and everyone she worked so hard for.

I was in pins and needles while reading this book. Kate seemed to be vulnerable in this book. She seemed to be floundering. Kate has always been tough so there were some moments in the book where it’s hard to see her so down and helpless, and feeling defeated. It’s hard to read. And I understand why some reviews feel that this was uncharacteristic for Kate especially since she seemed to be waiting for Curran to rescue her. And that somehow, she’s not a badass anymore.

Fortune favors the brave,” I told her. It also kills the stupid, but I decided to keep that fact to myself.”

I admit at first, I was taken aback. But the more I read the more I realized that this is the reason why Kate is special. She’s not the typical “badass” who doesn’t need anybody or feel vulnerable or doesn’t experience self-doubt. She experiences all these things and come out of it stronger and more resolute. I love that Gordon and Ilona showed us that sometimes our heroes feel helpless and that it’s okay for them to need someone come through for them. That’s what makes me root for them.

In Magic Breaks, Kate and Curran are both pushed to the absolute limits. I feared for their lives and the lives of the other characters in this series. I was still traumatized by a major character’s death in the previous book that I was worried for everyone! Yes, even the ones that we can technically consider the bad guys.

That said, I did want to kill Hugh myself. I still hated his character. Ugh. Out of all villains so far, save from the villain of season 1, I find Hugh the most punchable. I just find his character very grating. His backstory is interesting enough but his motivation was too obvious that there is no way Kate would even be tempted to join him like he wanted.

And his constant flirting with Kate wasn’t cute. It was annoying. He’s like that married boss you had right out of college. Handsome, predatory, and predictable. I’m so glad Curran beat his ass twice now!

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Roland was exceptional as a villain, mainly because you can’t quite put your finger on his motivation. Some of his decisions and actions made me question if he’s the big baddie of the series or just a misunderstood father who wants to get to know his estranged daughter. Plus, he’s just so damn likable.

Magic Breaks marks the end of some major story and character arcs in this series. In the first seven books, it was about Kate hiding her identity from her father, Roland. Everything is out in the open now. Every major players in the series knows who she is and they’ll be gunning for her. This book also marks the end of some of Curran’s arc.

Although you can consider this an ending, it’s hardly THE END because some of the decisions that Kate and Curran made will have repercussions. Not to mention there are some loose ends still that needs to be tied. I’m really excited to get to know more about Roland.

All that was missing was a neon sign that read EVIL AND CONFLICTED ABOUT IT with a flashing arrow pointing at his head.”

Overall, this was another solid installment. The humor, the excellent cast of characters, the plot, everything work seamlessly together. And although I must admit that I was expecting a bigger battle set piece especially during Kate and Roland’s confrontation. But I do understand that they might be saving the big battle towards the end of the series. Roland still holds all the cards here, and we really haven’t seen what he’s capable of yet.

If I pass out face down in this water, will you fish me out?”
“Will you promise to call me Your Majesty?”
“Hell no.”
“Then I’ll have to think about it.”

Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army.

Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Oregon with their two children, three dogs and a cat. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge.

 

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Geri’s Review: Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews

MAGIC BLEEDS
Series: Kate Daniels #4
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Author: Ilona Andrews
Release Date: May 25, 2010

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic. When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose.

Kate Daniels works for the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, officially, as a liaison with the mercenary guild. Unofficially, she cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to handle—especially if they involve Atlanta’s shapeshifting community.

When she’s called in to investigate a fight at the Steel Horse, a bar on the border between the territories of the shapeshifters and the necromancers, Kate quickly discovers there’s a new player in town. One who’s been around for thousands of years—and rode to war at the side of Kate’s father.

This foe may be too much even for Kate and Curran, the Beast Lord, to handle. Because this time Kate will be taking on family…

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^^Me every time I finish a Kate Daniels book!

I can’t give you the white picket fence, and if I did, you’d set it on fire.”

What can I say? AnotheramazinginstallmentintheKateDanielsseries!!!

Kate Daniels, mercenary and psuedo Knight of the order gets to meet a long lost family member. It should’ve been a happy family reunion but this is Kate Daniels we’re talking about and to say that her family is just dysfunctional is an UNDERSTATEMENT!

The stakes just keeps getting higher and Kate is confronting bigger and more powerful beings. Man, the action in this book is top notch. There are so many moments where I don’t even know if Kate and Curran would come out of it alive.

Don’t die on me, you stupid sonovabitch. You goddamn fucking idiot. I told you to stay out of the damn fight! Why the hell don’t you ever listen? I fucking hate you. I hate you, you hear me? Don’t you dare die on me, because I need to kill you with my bare hands.”

There’s also politics and intrigue added to the mix. In the hands of less skilled writers, this book would’ve feel bloated but Gordon and Ilona have proven themselves adept at juggling storylines. But where they really shine is with their characters.

Again, we see growth with each and every character in this series. Kate has changed. She’s still Kate but with each and every book, we get to see her make tough decisions. There’s a really powerful scene in this book where we see Kate struggle with a decision between doing what she was taught to do and doing what was right. That scene was so powerful to me because it speaks of who Kate is and I know I sound like a broken record here but man, she’s such an amazing hero.

The stairs ended. I wished I knew the jackass who’d made the staircase so short. I’d throw him down the damn steps so he could count them with his head.”

But what really makes this book special is the romance department. Look, I’m not one of those people who thinks that a badass heroine becomes less of a badass because she wants love or falls in love with the hero. Nope. I’m firmly in the “heroines can fall in love and still be a badass because we can do whatever the fuck we want” camp. And Kate does what she wants. And she wants the Beast Lord. And I can totally get behind that because while Curran might be overbearing at times, he is learning and making comprises with Kate.

You might want to decide fast. We live in a dangerous world. If you see a chance to be happy, you have to fight for it, so later you have no regrets.”

I love how they negotiated and compromised with each other. They are both stubborn. Both are alpha. Kate has baggage, so does Curran and they both have identities outside of each other. Curran’s life is with the pack, while Kate was a loner. She doesn’t belong to anyone. It would’ve been a disservice to Kate’s character if she suddenly becomes subservient to Curran and vice versa. But somehow Ilona Andrews made it work. That doesn’t mean they didn’t make mistakes. They made plenty of mistakes. They had their share of jealous fits and misunderstanding but the way the authors handled their conflict was wonderful.

Mad gold eyes stared into mine. “Do you miss me, Kate?”
I closed my eyes trying to shut him out. I could lie then we would be back to square one. Nothing would be resolved. I’d still be alone, hating him and wanting him.
He grabbed my shoulders and shook me once. “Do you miss me?”
I took the plunge. “Yes.”

I’ve never read 4 straight books in a series before. Never. I tend to get bored easily even with series I love. But this is just too good to put down. So I’m off to read book 5.

I gave him my hard stare. “You’re a control freak and I fight all authority. And you want us to mate?”
A wicked spark lit his eyes. “Many, many times.”

 

Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army.

Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Oregon with their two children, three dogs and a cat. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge.

 

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Geri’s Review: Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels #3) by Ilona Andrews

MAGIC STRIKES
Series: Kate Daniels #3
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Author: Ilona Andrews
Release Date: February 20, 2009

When magic strikes and Atlanta goes to pieces, it’s a job for Kate Daniels…

Drafted to work for the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems these days than she knows what to do with.

And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that’s saying a lot.

But when Kate’s werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet.

As her investigation leads her to the Midnight Games—an invitation-only, no-holds-barred, ultimate preternatural fighting tournament—she and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, uncover a dark plot that may forever alter the face of Atlanta’s shapeshifting community…

 

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I was conceived, born, raised and trained with one purpose in mind: to become the best killer I could be. It’s what I do.”

There are two things that I was curious about coming into this series. One, I wanted to know why Kate Daniels is so universally beloved by readers. Two, I wanted to know why the Curran-and-Kate pairing was deemed the OTP by so many who loved the series.

It becomes readily apparent why Kate and Curran are so loved by so many as the series progress. By the third book, I’m now a certified Kate Daniels evangelist.
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Yes! I love Kate’s character. She is one of my favorite heroines ever, if not my ultimate favorite. You just can’t help but love her character! If you look up “badass” in the dictionary, her picture would be in there. She’s brave, resourceful, and so hilarious. She’s also very relatable.

I had imagined our encounter a dozen times. I had constructed long conversations in my head, full of barbs and witty comebacks.
The bastard didn’t show.

And Curran is just the perfect scary, alpha, beast Lord who matches Kate perfectly. They infuriate each other and their interaction and dialogue are so hilarious and scary cute, I can’t help but fall in love with them more and more. I really get why there are so many Tumblr posts dedicated to this couple. They are amazing as individuals and as a couple.

Every time, I think you’ve reached the limit of your arrogance, you show me new heights. Truly, your egotism is like the Universe—ever expanding.”

You sure you don’t want to kiss me goodbye, baby?”
“How about a goodbye kick to the throat?”

Magic Strikes is a high-quality adult UF. It’s not just tightly plotted, with twists and turns, and enormous stakes, it’s also very character driven. Kate Daniels, our titular heroine who now works for the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid is working against the clock to find the people who attacked one of her friends. Her investigation led her to the Midnight Games, an illegal fight-to-death tournament attended and participated by powerful and magical beings. And one of them are out to annihilate Kate and the people she’s come to recognize as her friends.

From the gladiator arena type battles to the intriguing and sinister plot, Magic Strikes is a book that once you start, you can’t put down until you’ve finished it. It will consume you. I was so invested in these characters and the story that I couldn’t possibly leave them while their lives hang in a balance!

I think you’re confused as to the nature of our relationship. You and I, we don’t get along. You’re a psychopathic control freak. You order me around and I want to kill you.”

 

I love how heroine-centric this series is. And it’s not just Kate, by the way. One of the things that used to frustrate me with UF is that its heroines tend to be so special that they can’t have any other female characters in the story that might take away from the specialness of the heroine. Every guy has to be in love with her, etc. etc.

Not so with Kate Daniels. There are other female characters that are as beautiful, (if not more so), intelligent and as skillful as Kate. It makes me so happy to see female characters of color in all shapes and sizes having and exercising their agency.

We need a team name.”
“Hunters,” Raphael said.
“Valiant Knights of the Fur,” Dali said.
“Justice Group.” Jim said. “Since Justice League is taken.”

I can’t say enough about this series. If you’re a fan of urban fantasy, I highly recommend you guys read this. Even if you haven’t tried UF before, this series is definitely a great way to immerse yourself in this genre. Yes, the romance may not be central but it still very strong and swoony.

His Majesty needs a can-I girl anyway. And I’m not it.”
“A can-I girl?” Andrea frowned.
I leaned back. “ ‘ Can I fetch you your food, Your Majesty? Can I tell you how strong and mighty you are, Your Majesty? Can I pick out your fleas, Your Majesty? Can I kiss your ass, Your Majesty? Can I…”
It dawned on me that Raphael was sitting very still. Frozen, like a statue, his gaze fixed on the point above my head.
“He’s standing behind me, isn’t he?”
Andrea nodded slowly.
“Technically it should be ‘may I,’” Curran said, his voice deeper than I remembered. “Since you’re asking permission.”

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Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army.

Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Oregon with their two children, three dogs and a cat. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge.

 

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Geri’s Review: Tell Me by Abigail Strom

TELL ME
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Abigail Strom
Release Date: October 1, 2017

Shy bookstore owner Jane Finch grew up hiding in the margins of her own life while her vibrant, adventure-loving sister, Samantha, dominated every plotline.

She’s made peace with it, unlike Sam’s business partner, Caleb, who’s always nudging Jane to go after what she really wants.

Why should she care what blunt, brash Caleb thinks? They’ve never had much in common, except for Sam.

After tragedy strikes, they don’t even have that.

Caleb can’t quite remember when Sam’s little sister stopped being like a surrogate sibling to him and became just…Jane. She’s the most intriguing woman he’s ever met, and so much sexier and stronger than she thinks.

On the emotional journey to honor Sam’s memory, the spark they’ve tried to deny becomes an inferno.

This journey was meant to be an ending, but will they discover an unexpected new beginning?

AMAZON | iBOOKS | B&N 

 

First off, thank you Arabella ~♡AB♡~’s review for bringing this book and this author to my attention. I enjoyed this book so much. I cried and laugh, and let me tell you that I’ve never rooted so hard for a couple as much as I did with Jane and Caleb.

Both are deeply flawed and complex characters whose differences might be too great that love might not be enough!

Yes, you read that right! There were moments in the book where I was like…

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Why? Because the conflict is that good. Simple but really effective and it’s not very obvious if we go by the blurb. In fact, I thought initially that it’s going to be something else. But I prefer the direction that the author took. It’s a very mature conflict and she was able to really flesh out the story and each of the characters.

Aside from the conflict, what I also loved about this book was how tight the writing was. Not one scene or interaction was wasted. Everything that you read has a purpose. And the author did a fantastic job tying up all the loose ends and giving readers the answers to questions they have about the characters and the story. It was masterful.

But what really made this book a favorite was its cast of characters. Jane and Caleb felt real. Jane is a shy bookstore owner. At first, I was skeptical because the character sounds really cliched. I mean, hello, shy, plain-Jane bookstore owner? That’s like classic character trope.

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But the more you read, the more you see the nuances of Jane’s character. And the same goes for Caleb. He’s a tough nut to crack. He was a very intriguing character. At first, he came off really cocky and was a bit annoying. The moment the two of them are together on page, you could feel the tension that was borne out of their differences despite the fact that there’s definitely an attraction there.

I loved how Anne of Green Gables was used as sort of a backdrop in the story. It was clever and it made me want to read Anne of Green Gables again. It made me curious about the lore behind that series.

Another intriguing layer to this book was Sam, Jane’s beautiful and adventurous older sister who also happens to Caleb’s best friend and business partner. She was the thread that connected Jane and Caleb at first. Her tragic death served as a catalyst for Jane and Caleb’s relationship. I personally didn’t feel that her presence detracted from the romance between Jane and Caleb. I thought that Jane’s feelings about Sam was handled really well. Again, it felt real and it was so heartbreaking.

There are so many thing I loved about this book. I especially loved how the author brought everything in full circle, giving readers what they long for. The resolution wasn’t perfect but it fit the story really well.

Tell Me is a heartwarming story about two people who couldn’t be more different from each other fall in love. It’s a beautifully written romance which I highly recommend you guys read.

 

Blog Tour: Excerpt & Geri’s Review of Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis

CHASING CHRISTMAS EVE
Series: Heartbreaker Bay #4
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Jill Shalvis
Release Date: September 26, 2017

Meet cute…

Run for the hills—temporarily. That’s Colbie Albright’s plan when she flees New York for San Francisco. Wrangling her crazy family by day and writing a bestselling YA fantasy series by night has taken its toll. In short, Colbie’s so over it that she’s under it. She’s also under the waters of a historic San Francisco fountain within an hour of arrival. Fortunately, the guy who fishes Colbie out has her looking forward to Christmas among strangers. But she’s pretty sure Spencer Baldwin won’t be a stranger for long.

Make merry…

Spence’s commitment to hiding from the Ghosts of Relationships Past means he doesn’t have to worry about the powerful—okay, crazy hot chemistry—he’s got with Colbie. Just because she can laugh at anything, especially herself… just because she’s gorgeous and a great listener just because she gets Spence immediately doesn’t mean he won’t be able to let Colbie go. Does it?

…and hope for a miracle.

Now the clock’s ticking for Colbie and Spence: Two weeks to cut loose. Two weeks to fall hard. Two weeks to figure out how to make this Christmas last a lifetime.

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At the unexpected sight of Spence, Colbie startled hard. How was it that he was the one who needed glasses and yet she’d not seen him standing against the window? “No, I don’t kill a lot of people,” she said cautiously because she was wearing only a towelin front of a strange man. “But I’m happy to make an exception.”

He laughed, a rough rumble that was more than a little contagious but she controlled herself because, hello, she was once again dripping wet before the man who seemed to make her knees forget to hold her up.

“I didn’t mean to scare you,” he said and pushed off the wall to come close.

She froze, but he held up his hands like, I come in peace, and crouched at her feet to scoop up the clothes she hadn’t realized she’d dropped.

Leggings, a long forgiving tee, and the peach silk bra-and-panty set that hadn’t gotten so much as a blink from the TSA guy.

But it got one out of Spence. He also swallowed hard as she snatched them back from him.

“Hold on,” he said and caught her arm, pulling it toward him to look at her bleeding elbow.

“Sit,” he said and gently pushed her down to a weight bench. He vanished into the bathroom and came back out with a first aid kit.

It took him less than two minutes to clean and bandage the scrape. Then, easily balanced at her side on the balls of his feet, he did the same for both her knees, which she hadn’t noticed were also scraped up.

“You must’ve hit the brick coping as you fell in the fountain,” he said and let his thumb slide over the skin just above one bandaged knee.

She shivered, and not from the cold either. “Not going to kiss it better?” she heard herself ask before biting her tongue for running away with her good sense.

She’d raised her younger twin brothers. Scrappy, roughhouse wild animals, the both of them, so there’d been plenty of injuries she’d kissed over the years.

But no one had ever kissed hers. Not surprising, since most of her injuries tended to be on the inside, where they didn’t show. Still, she was horrified she’d said anything at all. “I didn’t mean—”

She broke off, frozen like a deer in the headlights as Spence slowly lowered his head, brushing his lips over the Band-Aid on her elbow, then her knees. When he lifted his head, he pushed his glasses higher on his nose, those whiskey eyes warm and amused behind his lenses. “Better?”

Shockingly better. Since she didn’t quite trust her voice at the moment, she gave a jerky nod and took her clothes back into the bathroom. She shut the door and then leaned against it, letting out a slow, deliberate breath. Holy cow, she was out of her league. He was somehow both cute and hot, and those glasses . . .

 

What happens when an author suffering from writer’s block and an inventor who can’t finish his latest project meet and fall in love despite their protestations? Well, you get Chasing Christmas Eve.

She’d offered him her friendship. Her body. And he’d taken both. He wanted to keep them both. And he also wanted more, so much more. He wanted her heart, like she had his.”

I adored this book.

Once again, Jill Shalvis takes us through whimsical San Francisco to tell the story between Colbie and Spence. Colbie is running from her responsibility back home in New York, a looming deadline and a writer’s block she can’t break. Spence, as most readers of the series know, owns the building that’s the centerpiece of the Heartbreaker Bay series.

Anyway, serendipitously, Colbie found herself living in Spence building, temporarily, of course. Spence, like Colbie, has been having a hard time finishing an invention needed to deliver medicine to remote and far-flung areas of the world. He doesn’t need a distraction. And besides, he’s bad at relationships anyway. The last time he tried it, it almost broke him.

Spence found himself drawn to Colbie and she to him and soon enough they both give in to their attraction. Besides, Colbie will go back home on Christmas Eve anyway so this thing between them would be intense but more importantly, it will be temporary.

I’m only here until Christmas Eve. I don’t think we’ve got time for games or to be coy.”

But of course, they found themselves getting more involved with each other, and I, as a reader, enjoyed reading Spence and Colbie fall deeper for each other despite the secrets that they try so hard to keep. There’s something about the way Jill Shalvis writes romance. She writes about characters aren’t perfect but they are ready to fall in love and meet the one even though they think they’re not. Both Colbie and Spence are like that. Despite their accomplishments, they are two people who need each other.

Their chemistry is undeniable. Loved their banter and of course, their sexy times. I also enjoyed how San Francisco was used as a backdrop in the book.

Another enjoyable thing about this book and this series in general are the characters that live in and around the apartment building. It’s like Melrose Place except that the women are actually supportive of each other and there’s a lack of backstabbing and bed-hopping.

With Chasing Christmas Eve, we get to see the characters from the previous series including Archer’s security team. And it’s fun. These characters feel like family now, and I’m looking forward to reading more of it.

Home is wherever you are.

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website, www.jillshalvis.com, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

 

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Release Day Blitz: Hot Stuff by Kim Karr

HOT STUFF
Author: Kim Karr
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 27, 2017
Get ready to fall in love with this new standalone sports romance from New York Times bestselling
author Kim Karr. 
He’s the newly drafted
quarterback.
Hot. Arrogant. Too
sexy for words. 
Ready to score.
I’m an athletic
intern, and the coach’s daughter.
Driven. Determined.
Prepared to conquer the world.
Completely off-limits.
You get the picture.
The NFL is full of
rules. Rules I’ve never broken. Never challenged. Never even scratched—until
the day Lucas Carrington crashes into my life with his hard body and
I-don’t-give-a-f*ck attitude.
After I almost
injure my father’s star player, I volunteer to make sure he’s in top
shape. At first, it’s hell. I don’t like his cockiness, his easy smile. Don’t
like the way he oozes sex. Or how his penetrating eyes follow me
everywhere. 
That doesn’t stop me
from wanting him.
He’s meant to be a
distraction—something to occupy my mind for these precious few remaining hot
summer nights before I’m forced to leave football behind forever.
I know what we’re
doing will lead nowhere good. I know we’re crossing the line. And I know my
father will never understand.
None of that
matters.
But maybe it should.
Rules aren’t meant
to be broken.          
Or are they?
Free on Kindle Unlimited

Disappointed, she unwrapped her arms from her body, and then pivoted on her toe in the direction of the open door. “Then it looks like we have nothing further to discuss, Lucas.”

I reached for her and tugged her to me. “I don’t want to want you,” I breathed, my mouth hovering just centimeters from hers.

Gillian tried to pull away, but not whole-heartedly. If she wanted me to let her go, I would have, but I knew she didn’t. “Then stop,” she sighed.

I took her face in my hands. “I can’t. I don’t know how to.”

“Neither do I,” she whispered.

Unable to stop myself, I crashed my lips to hers and drove my tongue into her mouth to retrace every inch that I had explored days ago.

Also Available
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
 
Free on Kindle Unlimited
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
 
Free on Kindle Unlimited
 
Reader * Chocolate Lover * Writer * Coffee Lover * Romantic

* Beach Lover * Yoga Beginner

Kim Karr is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of eighteen
novels. Best known for writing sexy contemporary love stories, she enjoys
bringing flawed characters to life.

Her romances are raw, real, and explosive.
Her characters will make you laugh, make you cry, make you feel.
And her happily-ever-afters are always swoon worthy.

From the brooding rock star to the arrogant millionaire. From the witty
damsel-in-distress to the sassy high-powered business woman. No two storylines
are ever alike.

Get ready to fall in love. 

 
Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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