New Release & Review: Man Hands by @SarinaBowen & @Blunder_Woman

MAN HANDS
Series: Man Hands #1
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Author: Sarina Bowen & Tanya Eby
Release Date: December 11, 2017

He puts the “screw” in screwball comedy…

BRYNN

At thirty-four, I’m reeling from a divorce. I don’t want to party or try to move on. I just want to stay home and post a new recipe on my blog: Brynn’s Dips and Balls.

But my friends aren’t having it. Get out there again, they say. It will be fun, they say. I’m still taking a hard pass.

Free designer cocktails, they say. And that’s a game-changer.

Too bad my ex shows up with his new arm candy. That’s when I lose my mind. But when my besties dare me to leap on the first single man I see, they don’t expect me to actually go through with it.

TOM

All I need right now is some peace and quiet while my home renovation TV show is on hiatus. But when a curvy woman in a red wrap dress charges me like she’s a gymnast about to mount my high bar, all I can do is brace myself and catch her. What follows is the hottest experience of my adult life.

I want a repeat, but my flying Cinderella disappears immediately afterward. She doesn’t leave a glass slipper, either—just a pair of panties with chocolate bunnies printed on them.

But I will find her.

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I want this woman with every ounce of my being. Since I’m six-three and two hundred fifteen pounds, that’s a lot of ounces.


Dear author duo, I have only one thing to say to you about any and all of your future releases together.

Oh yeah. It’s like that. We’re totes besties now.

Side note: I just threw up in my mouth a little from actually typing the words totes and besties.

But I digress as always. So where was I? Ah yes. Deez nuts. I mean, deez book. I mean this book. For goodness sake. I spend one evening with this book and my inner sassy will not be contained.

Let’s simplify it—we’re looking for a man instead of what you’ve been attracted to.”
“What have I been attracted to?”
“Gwyneth Paltrow, I’m pretty sure. And every time I see her on TV, I just want to kick her.”


Aside from the laugh out loud story, the ridiculously endearing main characters, what completely hooked me on Man Hands was the friendship between Brynn and her girlfriends. It was like watching a comedic version of Sex and the City. And I’m not just saying that because I believe that her best friend Ash is my spirit animal. I couldn’t get enough of these three completely different personalities together and their obviously tight bond and love for each other.

Brynn was easily one of my favorite female characters I’ve read this year. Coming off of a recent divorce of an entirely lackluster marriage, Brynn isn’t looking for Mr. Right. But when her friends tell her to move on with her life by getting under some hot stranger, she doesn’t take the advice lightly. She jumps right on it. Literally.

I wind her hair around my hand and quietly convert carpentry fractions into decimals. Three eighths is .375. Five eighths is…
She gives a good, hard suck.
“POINT SIX TWO FIVE!” I bellow.
Her mouth makes a popping sound as she releases me. “Come again?”
“I’m trying not to,” I gasp.

But what was supposed to be one night of pleasure, turns into something much more. Her random stranger can’t stop thinking about her and won’t rest until he tracks her down and makes her give them a chance.

Did I mention yet how much I freaking LOVED Tom? Because OMG! I freaking LOVED Tom. Here’s an alpha male that doesn’t take himself too seriously and I loved him all the more for it. He’s funny, endearing, sexy as all get out, and impossible not to like. SERIOUSLY.

How do you think we should celebrate?”
“Chocolate and sex,” I whisper.
“Mmm,” he groans into my ear. “I’ll bring truffles and my dick.”

Man Hands was easily one of the funniest, entertaining, and quirky romances I’ve read all year. I had a goofy grin on my face from beginning to finish. Between the shenanigans of the main characters and the shenanigans of the secondary characters, I was in stitches reading it.

There’s no crazy drama. There’s no huge misunderstanding. There’s no angst. Just a light-hearted, romantic, and sexy romp that’s full of laughs and memorable one-liners. It unrolled like the perfect romcom movie in my head as I read it, and I simply can’t recommend it enough if you need something cheerful, uplifting, sweet and romantic. This girl loved every page of it.

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 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: 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?

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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.

 

Geri’s Review: Fallen Heir by Erin Watt

FALLEN HEIR
Series: The Royals #4
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Author: Erin Watt
Release Date: August 28th, 2017

These Royals will ruin you.

Easton Royal has it all: looks, money, intelligence.

His goal in life is to have as much fun as possible. He never thinks about the consequences because he doesn’t have to.

Until Hartley Wright appears, shaking up his easy life.

She’s the one girl who’s said no, despite being attracted to him. Easton can’t figure her out and that makes her all the more irresistible.

Hartley doesn’t want him. She says he needs to grow up.

She might be right.

Rivals. Rules. Regrets. For the first time in Easton’s life, wearing a Royal crown isn’t enough.

He’s about to learn that the higher you start, the harder you fall.

 

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You guys!

I’m sorry. Please don’t hate me.

I liked Fallen Heir and I enjoyed it but I just DIDN’T love it the way I did Paper Princess.

*cue my awkward face
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Before I go into the whys, let me tell you what I did enjoy about this book.

One. The writing as usual was impeccable and seamless. The way they write the dialogue and East’s POV is on point.

Two. I adored the secondary characters especially Pash and Bran. Pash is Easton’s best buddy and comic relief in the book. Brandon is the new guy in Astor Prep and his character is a breath of fresh air full of farts. Privileged Astor farts. I hope he doesn’t get screwed over by that crowd and lose his innocence too soon. He’s the perfect foil for Easton’s rich boy arrogance and privilege.

Three. The Easton-Ella dynamic. Boy, this one…I knew a few chapters in that something is up and I have my suspicions (which was proven to be right, by the way!) but I just like the way Erin Watt slowly unraveled that thread. It played out perfectly. And nope, I won’t spoil it for you. You have to read the book yourself. Trust me. It’s worth it.

Now for the so-so parts…

Easton. I know, I know. I loved him in PP. Maybe not as much as the other readers but I was interested to know what made him different from Reed and his other brothers. And I gotta say…he’s OK. I sympathized with his issues and feel for him but other times, he annoys the crap out of me.

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I’m SORRY but he does. The whole book is written in his POV and sometimes I wish I could take a break from it because he can be real douchebag.

I would’ve loved to get Hartley’s POV because I want to know what she sees in him. I want to see him through her eyes. I want to see what she thinks of him. I want to read her thoughts about Easton and whether or not he’s redeemable.

Like I said, I needed another POV, another lens through which I could see his character grow and change. Which brings me to my second so-so. Hartley.

I needed her POV. Did I say that already? Yes, I did.

I needed it to get to know her and relate with her. Without it, I’m kind of apathetic towards her. Aside from being the girl that Easton like, she’s…meh so far. I think that would change once we get her POV…maybe in the next book but for now. I’m not loving her but I’m also not hating her.

Now for the not-so-great part…I only have one issue, which is why I said I still enjoyed this book. But the main reason why I didn’t outright loved Fallen Heir is that it’s a little repetitive.

Okay, more than a little.

What I’m saying is for most of the book, about 70% of it, we get the same Easton-Hartley interaction which basically goes like this: Easton pursues, Hartley demurs and then acquiesce. Easton then does something stupid and Hartley gets hurt and pulls away. Easton gets wasted and does something even more idiotic things. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Just when there’s progress in their interaction, you get pulled back into the very beginning and start all over again. One step forward, two steps back. It’s great for maybe one or two instances but after the second time, it became annoying and frustrating.

It wasn’t until the last 30% where the plot got tighter and we see breakthrough in Easton that the book really took off! Only to have the rug pulled out from under me with that wicked cliffhanger!!!

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But I ain’t even mad. I was just so happy that the story progressed beyond the Easton and Hartley drama. But OMG, that last scene is stressing me out.

The wait for the next book is gonna be brutal.

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Blog Tour {Excerpt & Review}: When the Scoundrel Sins by Anna Harrington

WHEN THE SCOUNDREL SINS
Series: Capturing the Carlisles #2
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Anna Harrington
Release Date: August 29, 2017

A MOST INDECENT PROPOSAL

Annabelle Green needs a husband-and quickly. To inherit the only home she’s ever known, she must be married by her twenty-fifth birthday.

But finding a suitor has been next to impossible after a reckless rogue named Quinton Carlisle seduced her into a scandalous midnight tryst. Her reputation in ruins, Belle now needs a rather large favor. And she knows just who to turn to . . .

Quinn can hardly believe that the shy bookish girl he teased as a child has grown into such a brazen beauty. The very idea of marrying Belle to right the wrongs of his past is downright shocking . . . and deliciously tempting.

Too bad marriage, convenient or otherwise, is the last thing Quinn wants. He’ll help Belle find a husband and be on his way.

But if he can’t control his attraction to the bride-to-be, this marriage could go up in flames-of wicked desire.

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“You look much more like your father now,” she commented, nervously licking her suddenly dry lips but only serving to draw his attention to her mouth. Which made her even more nervous, so nervous that she couldn’t stop the trembling of her fingertips as they wrapped into the skirt of her night rail. “But you’re still a troublemaker.”

A faint smile played at his mouth. “And you’re still a bluestocking,” he countered. Unintentionally simmering a slow heat low in her belly, he reached up to tuck a stray curl behind her ear. “Still retreating to the sanctuary of your library.”

“Because books are usually more pleasant than most people,” she answered, swallowing hard when he trailed his fingers down the side of her neck. She forced out, not at all as firmly as she’d hoped beneath the soft touch of his fingers,

“And more trustworthy.”

Ignoring that jab, he slid his hand lower to let his fingers play at the edge of her shawl. “Yet there are things that people can do that books can’t.” His fingers tugged gently at the shawl and pulled it down her shoulder to reveal the scooped neck of the nightdress beneath. His gaze flicked to the small patch of revealed skin at the base of her throat, then back to her eyes. “All kinds of interesting things.”

She should stop him, swat his hand away, shove him back—but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. Just as she couldn’t hold back the hot shiver that swept through her or the gooseflesh that formed on her skin. His touch was proving to be as equally intoxicating now as that night six years ago.

“Then I have no interest in learning them,” she countered, although from the way her blood hummed, her body was very interested.

Madness—that after what he’d done to her, she could ever want to be in his arms again. Yet she desired just that, although that could never happen. Kissing him once had ruined her reputation. Kissing him again might destroy her entire future.

She thrust her chin into the air. “I know of your reputation.”

“Thank you,” he half purred.

His finger hooked beneath the wide shoulder strap of her sleeveless nightgown and slid it slowly down her arm. But this time, with a stretch of bare shoulder revealed to his eyes, he didn’t bother feigning propriety by looking away and instead flamed a prickling heat beneath her skin everywhere he gazed.

She pulled in a deep breath to steady herself. Oh, why did she always go light-headed when she was alone with him?

“That was not meant as a compliment.”

“Wasn’t it?”

 

When Annabelle Greene needed to marry to keep her inheritance, the only man she’s ever considered was Quinton Carlisle, AKA, the man who ruined her reputation six years ago. But Annabelle is desperate. If she doesn’t marry before her 25th birthday, she’ll lose the only inheritance she has, putting her future in jeopardy.

The only problem is Quinn isn’t interested in marriage, no matter how tempting Annabelle is. He already has a plan: sail to America, make his fortune there and make his family proud and a marriage to Annabelle would put an end to his plan. So when Annabelle proposed to him, he rejected her. He did offer to help her find a suitable person for her to marry.

But Quinn quickly finds out that it’s hard to find a suitable suitor for someone you want for yourself. And Quinn wants Anabelle. He wants her and none of her suitors seems suitable enough. Despite their raging attraction to each other, Quinn and Annabelle continue to stubbornly resist one another. It’s clear from the get go that Quinn would end up marrying Annabelle but the book went through great lengths to make Quinn as stubborn as a mule.

So even though I enjoyed the story overall, I couldn’t help but feel a tad frustrated with how long it took them to come together. It was frustrating and annoying. I was disappointed with Quinn because there were so many instances where he could’ve manned up and marry Anabelle. But nope. He was so set in his ways that he refused to even consider marrying her because he already has a plan.

He did realize in the end what needed to be done and we got our HEA. But yeah, the book could’ve used a little less frustration in that area. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this book a lot. I read it and couldn’t put it down.

 

Anna Harrington fell in love with historical romances–and all those dashing Regency heroes–while living in London, where she studied literature and theatre. She loves to travel, fly airplanes, and hike, and when she isn’t busy writing her next novel, she loves fussing over her roses in her garden.

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Geri’s Review: Ready to Run by Lauren Layne

READY TO RUN
Series: I Do, I Don’t #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Lauren Layne
Release Date: August 22nd 2017

The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: Luke Elliott, a playboy firefighter who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.

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You can always count on Lauren Layne to deliver a well-written and heartfelt romance between two very different people.

In this Runaway Bride meets The Bachelor love fest, Lauren Layne ventured into something she’s never quite done before–a small town romance. And I dig it.

Jordan Carpenter is a producer of a new show called Jilted. Jilted is basically The Bachelor for runaway grooms. She’s tasked to rope in Luke Elliot as the first runaway groom to be featured in the show. The problem is Luke isn’t interested in being a reality star or letting the whole world into why he jilted those bride, not once but three times.

So Jordan decided to go to Lucky Hollow to convince Luke herself and she not only found the prospective groom reluctant, he also doesn’t think highly of her and her “city” ways. She found herself attracted to Luke which complicates things. And Lauren Layne didn’t shy away from writing complications. It’s why I enjoyed this book so much.

At first I wasn’t quite sure whether I actually like Jordan or not. And I was afraid that she was going to constantly harp on the city versus small town cliches too much. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case because Jordan was a much more complex character than I initially pegged her to be. Her backstory is quite heartbreaking which totally surprised me.

The chemistry between two characters was fantastic. The romance took time to develop which was plus because the journey to get to that place was enjoyable. I loved Jordan’s interaction with Luke’s friends and the people of Lucky Hollow.

There were some things to nitpick. Most notably Simon AKA Jordan’s very gay, very flamboyant best friend. And the ending was also very rushed. There was a sweet epilogue though so it wasn’t a complete disappointment.

Overall, this is typical Lauren Layne. Meaning, it’s lighthearted and fun but with enough emotional heft to make it thoroughly satisfying.

 

Blog Tour & Jen’s Review: Enrage by Rachel Van Dyken

  • ENRAGE
    Series: Eagle Elite #8
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Author: Rachel Van Dyken
    Release Date: July 31st, 2017

Part of a world I loathe.

Part of a family who hates me more than I hate myself.

Living with a girl who reminds me of my darkness.

I’m. In. Hell.

Also known as the Cosa Nostra.

My life was over the minute I stepped off that plane.

Son to a murdered mob boss.

Heir to a throne of murder and lies.

My name is Dante Nicolasi.

And there will be blood.

 

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PLEASE READ THIS SERIES!!!!! PLEEEEEASE!!!!!

I loved this book because ALL THE REASONS!!! I loved it so much, I went back to the beginning and read Books 1-7 in 1 week because I could not put them down! I know. I know. I should have read this in order. I usually don’t care about reading in order, but I truly regret it this time. It doesn’t matter because I still enjoyed every…single…moment of this series. And I just want more because I can’t get enough! Obsessed is just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to my love for this series.

à la Mode St. » fashion
He was a danger my heart didn’t recognize – because sometimes the heart doesn’t give a damn if the person who holds it kills people – it just recognizes its soul mate and beats anyway.

à la Mode St. » fashionDante. 
Men like Dante Nicolasi existed in two places. Books. And in my arms.

Dante is the heir to a very powerful mafia line. He is violent and volatile and trained by the best of the best mafia bosses, all of them. Assigned to protect a girl in the Eagle Elite, he uses his skills to show how freaking awesome he is! Seriously, this guy. Ugh! He is all power and control but so swoony and charming. Dante is definitely one of my top favorites, especially in this series.

El.
She was the only soldier in a one-woman army
El was a prisoner, a slave, for a long time until she was freed by the mafia bosses. She yearns for freedom but still feels trapped. I loved loved loved that Dante doesn’t coddle her or pity her or treat her too gently because of what she went through. They are both tough with each other, challenging each other through the whole book. El is strong. All of the heroines in this series are badass!

I wish I could include ALL THE QUOTES because this whole book is awesome-sauce and beautiful-sauce.

à la Mode St. » fashion
Dante turned his head toward mine and kissed me softly on the mouth, I wasn’t expecting it.
I clung to his shirt while his lips moved nimbly over mine, softly caressing my cheek and then meeting my ear. “Speak to no one.” He kissed my neck again then whispered in my other ear. “I’m serious, El. Keep your eyes forward.” Another kiss. “Head up.” His mouth fused against mine, I gasped as his tongue slid past my bottom lip, licking me up like I was better than pie, better than vanilla. “Don’t worry. I don’t lose.”

à la Mode St. » fashion
I should have read all of these books in order.

I should have known this series would kill me.

Any regrets? Not one.

I sacrificed food and hygiene for this series, for these characters, for this phenomenal story that goes down in my reading history forever. I cried. I laughed. I died. This book killed me in all the best ways. It is everything. One my of favorite MAFIA series evah!

ARC courtesy of publisher in exchange for an honest review

Dante slammed his hand into the tree, his jaw popped as he gritted his teeth together and then calm washed over him as he whispered near my ear, “Want me to kill him?”

A few people walked by and stared at us, it looked like he was kissing my neck, like we were normal college students sharing a moment.

Nope. Wrong story, kiddos.

He just offered to kill someone for offending me, run along, nothing to see here.

“After,” I said. “Kill him after he stops being useful to you, to the bosses.” I couldn’t believe what was coming out of my mouth, what I was agreeing to. “Yes.”

Dante pulled back, his face broke out into a smile. “How messed up is it that I’m actually looking forward to that moment?”

I gulped. “It’s in your blood.”

“I wish it wasn’t,” he said gruffly. “I wish I didn’t crave it — dream about it — almost as much as I wish I didn’t feel guilt every day because of it.”

I sighed and put my hands on his chest, then ran them up around his neck, he didn’t move, or flinch, so maybe we were having a moment as our mouths almost touched. “The only shame in life, is not being who you were truly born to be. If that means you kill the bad guys — kill the bad, guys Dante. Just don’t lose your soul in the process.”

“And if it’s already gone?” He croaked his eyes darkening as he slowly leaned in until his forehead touched mine.

Days ago I would have been terrified that his body was this close.

Days ago, I would have shoved him away and run.

Days ago, I would have shuddered that his bloodstained hands were running up and down my skin.

But today.

Today was different.

Today I closed my eyes and drank in the wicked scent of Dante Nicolasi, the cologne mixed with soap. I inhaled.

And opened my eyes again.

Yesterday I was angry. I was afraid.

Today. Against the tree.

Pinned by Dante’s arms.

I was safe.

“I’ll help you find it,” I whispered.

“Just don’t damn yourself in the process, El.” He cupped my face with his right hand, his eyes fell to my mouth, his half-lidded seductive look could stop a girl dead in her tracks.

The wives always talked about how attractive his father was, even at an older age.

Almost like he’d aged backward.

Dante was no different.

If it was possible for a human to get more attractive by the day — he’d be the one to prove you right.

“Are you going to kiss me again?” I asked hopefully.

“No.” He pulled away.

My heart sank into my stomach.

“Because I don’t want to start something I have no intention of stopping.”

My head jerked, our eyes locked, and I saw it. The honesty.

“Told you I’d never lie to you, El.” His voice had a warning edge to it, like I shouldn’t push him, push whatever invisible boundaries he’d mentally set up between us. His eyes never left mine.

And I knew, this was what he looked like when he was telling the truth.

His eyes pierced through my defenses in an unapologetic search for my heart, my soul.

And I let them.

“We should get to class.” I finally found my voice and started walking, he fell into step beside me.

And I spent the rest of the day thinking about the non-kiss.

And the promise that came with it.

 Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

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