Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: "Where There's Smoke" (part of the 12-Alarm Cowboys box set) by Becky McGraw


Synopsis:

Cowboy Austin McBride follows a herd to a new town, but firefighting is his passion, so he applies at a local station. Standing between him and the job is a blonde bombshell who thinks she's a shoe-in.

Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Review:

It's been a while since the last time I read a Becky McGraw book, but what I did remember of them was that they were hot. And she does not disappoint in Where's There Smoke. The hero and heroine start out at cross purposes from the very beginning, with our heroine trudging across a ranch yard in a suit and fireman's boots, and Austin dealing with a ranch hand who had been gored by a bull. Think about that for a minute and see what images it conjures. The entire book is like that. Can I just say "marijuana grow?" I laughed out loud as the fire crew fought to contain a brush fire that was anything but!

I think what I liked the most about this book is that the stereotypical male/female roles were reversed. Sunny is the ambitious woman who is making enemies among the crew, and Austin is the likable team mate that everyone wants to work for. The boorish attitudes in this book were coming from Sunny - her name not always a fitting moniker for her attitude or personality. But Austin recognizes early what is going on with Sunny and I love how he approaches the challenge: He applies for the job he knows she wants, a job he doesn't want, just to force her to take a look at what is going on in her life. He gets her to address her problems and she comes out better on the other end - and they come out the other end together. Love it.

Links:
Where There's Smoke is currently available as part of the 12-Alarm Cowboys Box Set
Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes and Noble • Kobo • iBooks


About the Author:
A Jill of many trades, NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author Becky McGraw has been an optician, a beautician, a legal secretary, a real estate broker, web designer, graphic artist, and romance writer. She knows just enough to make her dangerous, and her humor-laced contemporary western cowboy, and military, police procedural romantic suspense novels varied and interesting. Becky resides in Florida with her husband of thirty-three years and her dog Abby.  She is a member of the Romance Writers of America Published Authors Network.

Website: http://beckymcgraw.com/

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Review: "Love After Dark" by Marie Force


Synopsis:

Paul Martinez has been run ragged by the demands of managing the family’s landscaping business and his mother’s battle with dementia. It’s been so long since he had sex, he can’t remember the last time. The arrival of nurse Hope Russell brought some badly needed help to Paul and his brother Alex in managing their mother’s illness, but Hope’s presence has sparked a whole new problem for Paul—lusting after one of his employees, something his late father would never condone. 

Hope and her young son Ethan badly need this second chance on Gansett Island, and she’s determined to make her new job work for both of them. Kissing her boss, however, was not part of the plan. The more time she spends with Paul, the more she admires the way he cares for his mother and the attention he pays to her son. But when Paul finds out about her shameful past, will he still want her and Ethan in his life? 

Come back to Gansett Island to find out what’s going on with all your favorite characters, including Mac and Maddie, Seamus and Carolina and the rest of the Gansett crew. Weeks before Alex and Jenny’s long-awaited wedding, Alex begins to worry that his bride is getting cold feet—or is something else going on? It’s September on Gansett where the days are cool, bright and sunny and the nights are hot and sexy!

Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Review:

Welcome back to Gansett Island! For fans of the MacCarthys and all of their friends, it's been long overdue. The author has been teasing us with Paul and Hope's story for a while now, so I was excited to actually read it. Before I jump into the story, I need to comment on the cover. The author actually used a real-life newlywed couple as her cover models for Paul and Hope. They are a perfect fit for Paul and Hope! I could just picture them as I read their story. It makes their love feel more real because we KNOW it's real!

Paul and Hope are the feature of Love After Dark. Their love story is delightful. Hope is a single mother and feels the pressures of putting her child first, even at the sake of her own love. She can't get involved with her boss because she needs her job. But we all know that you can't fight love, and it's not long before Paul and Hope are involved. I was heartbroken for Paul and Hope as their relationship progresses and they decide, somewhat mutually, to go their separate ways. Thankfully, Paul has a good confidant in his brother, Alex, who smacks him upside the head and helps him realize what he needs to do to get his happily-ever-after.

The author also includes a difficult storyline - dementia in a family member. Paul and Alex are dealing with the decline of their mother, which was what brought Hope into their lives initially. The author provides a sensitive and emotional look into the family struggles of living with a patient with dementia. My heart broke for Paul, Alex and Hope as they made tough decisions regarding her care.

In typically Marie Force fashion, she gives us a check-in with many of our favorite residents of Gansett Island. And for the benefit of readers NEW to Marie Force, I will warn you right now.  The residents of Gansett Island are very happy. I mean VERY happy. Maybe a better way to describe it is "sexually satisfied". The residents of Gansett Island have sex. A lot of sex. All the time, anywhere (can we say Blaine and Tiffany). If you aren't interested in a sneak peak in the sexual habits of some of our favorite Gansett Island residents, this book isn't for you. For the lovers of sensual contemporary romance that tugs at your heartstrings and makes you smile, you'll love Love After Dark.

Links:

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes and NobleKoboiBooks

About the Author:
With more than 4 million books sold, Marie Force is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling, award-winning author of more than 40 contemporary romances. Her New York Times bestselling self-published Gansett Island Series has sold 2 million e-books since Maid for Love was released in 2011. She is also the author of the New York Times bestselling Fatal Series from Harlequin’s Carina Press, as well as the New York Times bestselling Green Mountain Series from Berkley Sensation, among other books and series. Marie’s new erotic Quantum Trilogy was released under the name of M.S. Force in April 2015, and all three books were New York Times and USA Today bestsellers. The trilogy is now set to become a series.


While her husband was in the Navy, Marie lived in Spain, Maryland and Florida, and she is now settled in her home state of Rhode Island. She is the mother of one young adult and one teenager and two feisty dogs, Brandy and Louie.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review: "Weekend With the Tycoon" by Kaira Rouda


Synopsis:

Wealthy business tycoon Blake Putnam isn’t looking for love, he just needs a date for a family wedding he’s dreading. Alpha male to the core, Blake’s idea of being a man leaves little room for emotional connection. He comes up with the perfect solution to the dreaded wedding: he’ll find a controllable date. He has everything planned to perfection.

Samantha Jones agrees to spend the weekend with the hot boss. She’s attracted to him, but she’s sworn off men after her embarrassing recent break up. She’s determined to ignore the attraction and focus on business when he hands her an opportunity to be part of the biggest business pitch in Blake Genetics’ history. It could change everything. She’s not looking for love, she won’t jump off that cliff again. But she will take the chance to further her career.

What neither of them expected was the weekend to take flight. Is this a risk they’re willing to see through to the end?

Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Review:

Weekend With the Tycoon provides an interesting look at a billionaire romance. We meet, but don't really get to know Blake until quite a few chapters in, so the opinion we form of him out of the gate is based on solely on what we learn of him through Samantha's eyes. It's an interesting way to get to know the hero because from her perspective, he's overbearing, dominating, and boorish. He basically calls her into his office, commands her to a weekend meeting, and sends her to a boutique to pick out a bunch of designer outfits. No wonder she perceives him the way she does. But, in true romance fashion, all is not what as it seems. Samantha takes a positive look at the situation - as an opportunity to discuss an exciting idea she has with the boss.

When we finally meet Blake, it's as he's dealing with Samantha's paralyzing fear of heights and he reaffirms Samantha's perspective of him. He is overbearing and boorish. We find out she's is posing as his girlfriend for the weekend with his family. So add deceiving to his list of characteristics.

But, as Samantha and Blake arrive at the island, we start to see a different side of Blake. I believe he's formed this opinion of his family and spending a lot of time away from them, it has festered into a deep dislike for them. His family is delightful. His mother is very welcoming, if not a bit sly in putting Blake and Samantha together in the same bedroom. His father is welcoming and acknowledging of Blake's difference of opinion in how they run their business. His brothers are fun and his sister is delightful. Just a little bit of time around his family brings out the softer side of Blake. We see him smiling more, acting on his attraction to Samantha and demonstrating a more sensitive, loving side that you wouldn't necessarily have expected based on how we first met Blake. Blake's transition during this book was probably my favorite part of the book.

In true romance fashion, the hero and heroine get their happily-ever-after and I love the transition we see in Blake as he falls in love with Samantha.

Buy Links:

Goodreads  Amazon  Barnes and Noble  Kobo  iBooks

About the Author:
Kaira Rouda is a bestselling, multiple award-winning author of contemporary women's fiction and sexy modern romance novels that sparkle with humor and heart.  Kaira's work has won the Indie Excellence Award, USA Book Awards, the Reader's Choice Awards and honorable mention in the Writer's Digest International Book Awards. Her books have been widely reviewed and featured in leading magazines.

She has written two contemporary romance series: INDIGO ISLAND and LAGUNA BEACH. She has already participated in two Kindle World releases.


Her nonfiction titles, REAL YOU INCORPORATED: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs, and REAL YOU FOR AUTHORS: 8 Essentials for Women Writers (available for free download on her website) continue to inspire.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Guest Review: "Sacrifice" by Adriana Locke

Readers: I've started taking on some work which is reducing my leisure reading time. In the interest of keeping book reviews flowing, I've asked a fellow book reviewer to share a review on my blog today.

About the Blogger:

I am, a wife, a mother to a little Hurricane and a hairy k-9, and a lover of baseball.I work Full Time delivering love notes, bills, and life changing documents.Family is my prized possession and books, they follow a close second. I sneak as much kindle time as I can get! Over the past few years I have found a keen addiction to books, and I'll own it 100%!

Nikki is a blogger / book reviewer at "Bookmark My Heart". Her blog can be found here → http://reademandreview.blogspot.com/

You will find Nikki's review of Sacrifice by Adriana Locke below.


Synopsis:

My life changed forever the night my husband died. 
I was left with a shattered heart, a heap of bills, and our daughter, EVERLEIGH. I don’t want to rely on anyone, least of all CREW GENTRY. He’s my first love and the man who almost destroyed me, the man who has let me down every time I’ve needed him. 
But when tragedy strikes a second time, Crew just might be my only hope. 

My life changed forever the night my brother died.
I was left with a guilty conscience, a pile of mistakes, and little else. I take care of JULIA GENTRY, my brother’s widow and the love of my life, and their daughter. I know she doesn’t want my help, but she gets it anyway. I owe her that.

When another disaster hits, I’m given the opportunity to make things right. I’m taking it. I'm willing to sacrifice it all.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Nikki's Review:

This. Book. OMG! This book is adrenaline racing, pulse Thumping, Heart Shattering, can't sleep until its done Good. No, make that great. Fan-freakin-tastic. I've never read a book that's gotten my heart, body, and soul working like this one did. Adriana Locke is a freaking rock star at putting words on a page. A genious! An amazing author. She KNOWS how to tell a story. A story that'll blow you out of the water. It just doesn't stop getting good. Every. Single. Word. Has you glued. It just keeps getting better and better!! It's gut wrenching, but honestly that's what makes this book what it is. The reality brought into this book, the fact that it's not all laffy taffy and rainbows, it makes you feel. And it was totally needed. A retired fighter and his first love. A little girl you will fall in love with. And a woman with a change to life as she knows it. Her husband's dead, her brother in law is to blame, her heart is broken, and her life will never be what it was. Julia is a very strong woman who has to survive a rocky life, and we get to join her on that rocky journey. I can't find a way to rehash on this story without giving anything away, so I wont. But just know that This book was perfectly written. The characters are amazing. And the author is a genious! ♡

Buy Links:
Goodreads  Amazon  Barnes and Noble  Kobo  iBooks

About the Author:
USA Today Bestselling author Adriana Locke lives and breathes books. After years of slightly obsessive relationships with the flawed bad boys created by other authors, Adriana has created her own.

She resides in the Midwest with her husband, sons, and two dogs. She spends a large amount of time playing with her kids, drinking coffee, and cooking. You can find her outside if the weather's nice and there's always a piece of candy in her pocket.


Please contact Adriana at www.adrianalocke.com. She loves to hear from readers.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Spotlight: "On the Fly" by Catherine Gayle


Synopsis:

USA Today bestselling author Catherine Gayle presents another novel in the Portland Storm hockey romance series. 

Injury after injury has put Brenden Campbell’s NHL career on hold for years. Now he’s playing for the Portland Storm and determined to make it stick. Few things in life drive him more than being told he can’t have something he wants, and what he wants most is to prove he belongs. Brenden also wants Rachel Shaw, the cute, little redhead who just got hired as the general manager’s new assistant. But then she went and made herself off-limits, telling him: “I don’t date.” Those three words pretty much guarantee that he’ll do everything he can to change her mind. 

Rachel is changing things up on the fly for her family, moving them somewhere she can be the kind of mom her kids deserve. Allowing anyone else to be in their lives is out of the question, at least until her instincts get back on track. How else can she be sure who to steer the kids clear of? Right now she trusts no one, including herself, and especially not a man like Brenden Campbell. He’s way too handsome and a little bit cocky. Falling for a guy like him is a mistake she can’t afford to make twice.

Buy Links:

eBooks
Amazon • Barnes and NobleKoboAll Romance eBooksiBooksGoogle Play

Audio Books
Amazon • AudibleiTunes

Print Books
Amazon

About the Author:
Catherine Gayle is a USA Today bestselling author of Regency-set historical romance and contemporary hockey romance with a New Adult feel. She’s a transplanted Texan living in North Carolina with two extremely spoiled felines. In her spare time, she watches way too much hockey and reality TV, plans fun things to do for the Nephew Monster’s next visit, and performs experiments in the kitchen which are rarely toxic.

If you enjoyed this book and want to know when more like it will be available, be sure to sign up for Catherine’s mailing list. You can find out more on her website, her blog, at Red Door Reads, at Hockey Romance, at Facebook, on Twitter, and at Goodreads. If you want to see some of her cats’ antics and possibly the occasional video update from Catherine, visit her YouTube account.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Review: "Promise My Love" (A Braden Novella) by Melissa Foster


Synopsis:
Sweet and sexy wedding romance, PROMISE MY LOVE, the follow-up novella to DESTINED FOR LOVE (The Bradens). Catch up with all of your favorite Bradens and enjoy Rex Braden and Jade Johnson’s wedding.

Publishing first in the Sweet Life boxed set for Diabetes in May 2015, and released as a stand alone novella in August 2015.

Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Review:

Promise My Love is a dream come through for fans of the The Bradens. Melissa Foster uses this novella to bring us back to the Braden ranch in Colorado and check in with the entire Braden clan. As Rex and Jade are preparing for their wedding, we get a wonderful opportunity to check in with recent births and pregnancies, and all of the developments of the Braden family members and the loves of their lives.

Despite the shorter length than a typical Melissa Foster novel, the author manages to infuse the entire gamut of emotions: fear, happiness, love, anxiety... you name it, you experience it in this novella. The author even gives us an opportunity to see the wonderful relationship between horses and people as the family deals with a potential illness in their beloved Hope, their mother's horse who spends most of the book not feeling well. The diagnosis and treatment are a wonderful testament to the love that this family has for each other and the horse that they know helps sustain their father.

All in all, a wonderful catch up with the Bradens. Rex is still a fantastic hero and, as expected, comes up with a creative solution to their wedding challenge that creates a wonderfully-romatic end, or is it a beginning, to their love story. And his emotional outburst at the wedding - classic!

Links:

About the Author:
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women’s fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the World Literary CafĂ© and Fostering Success. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine.

Melissa hosts an Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family.

Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa at The World Literary Cafe or her personal website.
Never miss a brand new release, special promotions or inside gossip again by simply signing up to receive your newsletter from Melissa.
Find the author on the following sites....

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Review: "Thrill Me" by Susan Mallery


Synopsis:
Maya Farlow learned the hard way to depend only on herself, so when she fell too deeply for the bad-boy charms of Del Mitchell, she did the only thing she could—she ran. Stunned, Del left Fool's Gold to make his name and fortune in extreme sports. 

Now ten years later, Maya's been hired to promote her hometown's new slogan, The Destination for Romance. The celebrity spokesman is none other than Del, the man she dumped but never forgot. Awkward! 

Although Del's not the type to hold a grudge, he's determined to avoid falling a second time for the woman who broke his heart. He's a daredevil, not an idiot. Trouble is, in all his adventures, he never found a rush as exhilarating as Maya's kiss. Maybe risking his heart will prove to be the biggest thrill of all… 

Genre: Contemporary Romance

My Review:

Just when I was ready to write off Fool's Gold as jumping the shark, Susan Mallery has done it again - she has sucked me back in and made me fall in love with Fool's Gold all over again.

As with all of Susan Mallery's book, Thrill Me is a very well written book. The storyline flows effortlessly, the development of the characters is compelling, and the emotion is woven wonderfully into the story until you can no longer tell whether the emotions you are feeling are yours or the characters in the book. I found myself tearing up several times while reading this book - a sure sign that the author has created a book that touches your heart.

I think what struck me the most about Del and Maya's relationship is that it just happens. It didn't happen like a normal relationship - boy meets girl, boy asks girl out, girl stresses over what to wear, boy and girl date, boy and girl kiss, boy and girl have sex. Del and Maya had a relationship previously, so it was natural for them to reconnect when they both found themselves back in town and working together. A comfortable working relationship progresses into a couple of innocent kisses, and then Del and Maya are back together again. And then they're just working partners again, and then they're together. They never define their relationship - they just happen into it. It is especially interesting when the characters observe that's how their relationship happened.

I love the brother dynamic of the Mitchell brothers. Del is a wonderful character with a great personality and fills his own spot in the family, but the author has opened the door to a lot of future stories about the Mitchell brothers by showing secrets that each of them is holding close - there are many we are only teased with and don't know the complete story yet, ourselves. And I look forward to heading to Happily, Inc. where two of the brothers have moved.

Susan Mallery hit a home run with Thrill Me and has a recommitted fan of Fool's Gold. Just when I was ready to close the door on a great small town, deciding their stories had all been told, she has set us up for so many stories in the future.

Links:

About the Author:

New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has won the hearts of millions of readers around the world with books described as “immensely entertaining, intensely emotional” (RT Book Reviews), “hilarious” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram), and “heartwarming” (Publishers Weekly). One major retailer recently described her as “the queen of romantic fiction.” While she deeply appreciates the accolades of critics and booksellers, Mallery is even more honored by the enthusiasm of her readers and the word-of-mouth that catapults her toward the top of the bestsellers lists time and again.

Mallery lives in not-so-sunny Seattle with her husband, plus a toy poodle and two ragdoll cats who are not at all impressed by her growing fame.

Websitewww.SusanMallery.com

Monday, August 17, 2015

Spotlight: "Chalk Lines and Lipstick" by Ophelia London


We're celebrating the release of CHALK LINES AND LIPSTICK by Ophelia London! Check out the excerpt and giveaway below!


Title: CHALK LINES AND LIPSTICK by Ophelia London
Age group: Adult
Genre: Cozy Mystery/Romantic Comedy
Publisher: Gemma Halliday
RELEASED! August 11, 2015

BLURB:

Maren Colepepper thought she had it all: a career at a fashion magazine, a successful boyfriend, and a glamorous New York lifestyle. She thought wrong. When her glamorous life suddenly goes belly up, Maren finds herself forced to take the only job she can find at a small town newspaper in the tiny northern California hometown she fled ten years ago.

While Maren expected her new job in no-wheres-ville to kill her with boredom, She never expected to be front row to a shooting on her very first day! Worse yet, Maren is knocked unconscious at the scene, and when she comes to, the body has gone missing and she's been scooped by another reporter. Talk about a bad first impression. Now Maren is hot on the trail of the story of a lifetime, involving a shady lumber mill and the foresting of old-growth redwoods—a ginormous crime in her neck of the woods! Between her suddenly flirty new editor, her supremely hot new neighbor, and a lovably meddling family, Maren find small town life anything but boring. But if she can't find the shooter before he strikes again, it may even become deadly!

Words from the Author:

Let’s talk about kissing…

My newest novel, Chalk Lines & Lipstick, is my first stab at a cozy mystery (pun obviously intended!) and is a bit of uncharted territory for this romance-writing chick. But after having ten romance novels published, I was ready for a new challenge.

However, I couldn’t seem to keep my cozy characters from making out!

The story is set in my hometown of Eureka, California. So we’re talking rain and fog and lots of dark and misty corners for mystery-ish things to happen. Thing is, whenever I put my characters in one of those corners, they went straight to making out. (You’re welcome!)

“Hey, I think that guy with the knife might want to kill me…but we better kiss for a while…”
See what I mean? Once I realized my romance crutch, I couldn’t bear to get rid of it. Because, let’s face it, kissing is totally awesome. Especially when it’s dark and public and rainy and you just…can’t…stop…yourself no matter what else is going on. Or wait, maybe that’s just me.


Either way, I’m thinking maybe I do have a bit of romance writing still left in me, and I will always defend the cozy make outs!

Excerpt:

     Once we were on the road and had a plan, my heart stopped pounding so hard. I blew out a long, slow breath then looked at Patrick, so calm and helpful, taking care of things when I didn't have the brainpower to do it on my own. "Thanks," I said. "I'm not used to being the damsel in distress."

     "You're not. My car happens to be bigger than yours. If we have to dispose of the dead body of a circus freak"—he jerked a thumb toward the backseat—"I have more room. And a shovel."

Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:



USA Today bestselling author Ophelia London was born and raised among the redwood trees in beautiful northern California. Once she was fully educated, she decided to settle in Florida, but her car broke down in Texas and she’s lived in Dallas ever since. A cupcake and treadmill aficionado (obviously those things are connected), she spends her time watching arthouse movies and impossibly trashy TV, while living vicariously through the characters in the books she writes.

Ophelia is the author of DEFINITELY, MAYBE IN LOVE; ABBY ROAD and CROSSING ABBY ROAD; the Perfect Kisses series including: FALLING FOR HER SOLDIER, PLAYING AT LOVE, SPEAKING OF LOVE, and MAKING WAVES; and the upcoming AIMEE AND THE HEARTTHROB for Entangled’s Teen Crush. Visit her at www.ophelialondon.com, but don’t call when The Vampire Diaries (or Dawson’s Creek) is on.

Twitter: @ophelia_london : Facebook : Website : Pinterest : Goodreads

Friday, August 14, 2015

Review: "Her Volunteer Cowboy" (part of the 12-Alarm Cowboys box set) by Donna Michaels (Harland County)


Synopsis:
Sparks reignite when one-nighters reunite. Can the firefighter/Guardsman convince the reforming bad girl she’s worth fighting for, or will she leave before he finds the courage to volunteer his heart?

Cowboy Tanner Hathaway, part time firefighter and National Guardsman, is great at volunteering his time, never his heart, but when his Pocono one-nighter shows up in Texas to help a friend, sparks ignite a flame neither of them expect. Can the county’s bad boy, convinced the reforming bad girl she’s worth fighting for, or will she leave before he has the courage to volunteer his heart?
My Review:

I always love coming back to Harland County, TX! Donna Michaels has introduced us to yet another wonderful, alpha, military, cowboy hero in Tanner. And add in a firefighter to boot. This guy is just about the perfect alpha hero. He even takes special care of an older man - his mentor - as his health is failing. It's hard to believe that with all of that going for him that he hasn't been snatched up yet. But perhaps he'd just been waiting for the right woman - and has likely found her in Gwen.

We met Gwen briefly in a previous book and she's a nice tie-in to the author's Citizen Soldier series (the Wynes). She's in town to help out while we meet the next generation of Harland County - the birth of Jordan's baby. We the reader discover early that Gwen and Tanner had met before and the heat they exuded in the Poconos has traveled clear down to Harland County, because the sparks between Gwen and Tanner are flying.

I liked how Gwen and Tanner both have some emotional baggage holding them back - Gwen with her years as a model and behaviors she's reformed, and the impact of those behaviors that she's still feeling. Tanner, who seems to be the one who is always helping, always volunteering, is struggling with his mentor declining due to Altzhimers. The two have some hiccups in their road to happily ever after, especially when Tanner lets his anger get the best of him. But, they are both good communicators and are quick to realize what they were to each other.

The author provides a very sensitive look into life with a person with Alzhimers and the emotional impact it has on the patient as well as those around him. I thought it was very tastefully done and gives me a look into those living with the disease.

One thing I really liked about this book is how the author transitions from one point of view to the other. In many books, you'll be hearing from one point of view and then they'll be a break - a chapter break or a section break - and then it'll be the other character's point of view. In this book, a scene will progress and all of a sudden, as the reader, I would realize I was hearing from the other character and I didn't realize it. I thought the best example of that is when Gwen was talking to her girlfriends in the ice cream shop, talking about men of course, and the men walk in. They join the conversation and almost immediately she's able to shift to Tanner's point of view. It was so seamless that I had to go back and find where it changed. I thought it was fantastic.

Links:
Her Volunteer Cowboy is currently available as part of the 12-Alarm Cowboys Box Set
Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes and Noble • Kobo • iBooks


About the Author:
It’s all my mother’s fault.

She read to me before I could read and opened up that magical world where I still reside today. Then came television and movies. Now I had three avenues that fed my imagination...and boy could I eat! As you no doubt figured out, this lead to my writing career. I’m a NY Times, USA Today, and Amazon Bestselling Award winning author. Phew, that was a mouthful! Multi-published in e-book and print with several publishers, I certainly have a ton of voices in my head.

I’m happily married to a military man for 28 years.  We have four children and several rescued cats. Michael’s been in the Army National Guard since before he graduated. The Guard has been a part of our lives right from the start. It was only natural for the military to spill into my writing.  God bless the military and their families. Thank you all for your sacrifices. ♥

You already know my mom inspired my love of reading,but it was my dad who got me hooked on movies. Even now, if I had the time, I could happily go from one movie to another all day long. They are the reason I love mixed genre and why I can’t just stick to just one in my writing, although, as you can tell, I have a soft spot for cowboys and the military.

Well, that’s about it. Thanks for getting to know me a little better. Remember, keep reading to your children. The journey you’re igniting is precious. And the next time you’re at the movies, turn around. I just might be the person sitting behind you. No, not the one throwing popcorn (it’s too expensive to waste). I’m the one already imagining the sequel.

Website: http://www.donnamichaelsauthor.com/

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Release Day Review: "Home Ice" by Catherine Gayle



Synopsis:
There’s only one person Portland Storm head coach Mattias Bergstrom allows to see his soft side: his sister, who was born with Down syndrome. She lives in Sweden, so he doesn’t worry he’ll accidentally reveal other than the hard-assed defenseman-turned-coach his players know. At least not until his sister’s doppelganger leaps for one of his young D-men before the team’s charity skills competition and melts Mattias’s frozen heart. 

Paige Calhoun has her hands full with four exceedingly boy-crazy, hockey-loving daughters—three teens and a pre-teen with Down syndrome. Everyday life is a challenge. Taking all four girls to the StormSkillz event with no assistance? The magnitude of her task was daunting enough before her youngest spotted the hockey player of her dreams and barreled through the crowd to claim him.

The team’s sexy-as-sin coach intervenes, and Paige feels just as boy crazy as her daughters. Charmed by the youngest, he decides to give the girls a weekend they’ll never forget. It never crossed his mind that, in doing so, he might end up giving himself an unexpected happy ever after with Paige.

When it comes to hockey, Mattias has a Home Ice advantage. But when it comes to life? He likes the look of Paige’s arena. 

Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Review:
Home Ice is a novella in the Portland Storm series and the only complaint I have is that it wasn't a longer book - it ended too soon. In typical Catherine Gayle fashion, she includes an aspect of a social element to each of her books and in Home Ice, it's living with a child with Downs Syndrome. The author wonderfully depicts the sweet innocence of Paige's daughter with DS. Mattias is immediately drawn to Paige's daughter because he has a sister with DS. And then he sees Paige, and he is a goner!

Also in typical Catherine Gayle fashion, Home Ice has plenty of heat. Having older children myself, I enjoyed seeing a bit more of a "mature" love relationship. The author demonstrates the challenge of dating with children, and planning around alternate weekends, and babysitters, and having to go out as a family instead of a couple. But that didn't take away from the heat that Mattias and Paige generate when they are away from the prying eyes of the kids. Woo Hoo - hot!

Paige's older, teenage kids also add a fun aspect to the story, with their giggling worship of the Portland Storm players, their teasing of their mother when Mattias asks her out, and even their horror when they try to text their mom and Mattias, and suffer the fate of autocorrect. It all made the love story seem very real and very relatable.

Another great contribution to the Portland Storm series.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Links:
Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes and Noble • Kobo • iBooks

About the Author:
Catherine Gayle is a USA Today bestselling author of Regency-set historical romance and contemporary hockey romance with a New Adult feel. She’s a transplanted Texan living in North Carolina with two extremely spoiled felines. In her spare time, she watches way too much hockey and reality TV, plans fun things to do for the Nephew Monster’s next visit, and performs experiments in the kitchen which are rarely toxic.

If you enjoyed this book and want to know when more like it will be available, be sure to sign up for Catherine’s mailing list. You can find out more on her website, her blog, at Red Door Reads, at Hockey Romance, at Facebook, on Twitter, and at Goodreads. If you want to see some of her cats’ antics and possibly the occasional video update from Catherine, visit her YouTube account.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Review: "Cop on Her Doorstep" by Karen Docter


Synopsis:
In the six years since her husband was killed by S.W.A.T., Carrie Padilla has spent long hours at work, rebuilding a life for herself and her son. The little time she has at home is spent keeping her eight-year-old son out of trouble, but he is all too eager to try to be the man in the house. When a handsome cop shows up on her doorstep, her errant son in tow, Carrie's heart stutters. The sexy Italian cop sets off all kinds of bells in her system, and she knows there's only one thing she can do to save what is left of her family, her husband’s memory, and her heart...avoid her new neighbor at all costs.

S.W.A.T. officer Jake Stafani already lost one little boy to gang violence, the dead boy’s older brother is missing, and Jake's not about to let the same thing happen to a neighbor's son. He drags the youngster home only to discover much more than a passing interest in the boy's beautiful, but wary, mother. Forced to take a leave of absence after a bust goes awry, Jake can think of nothing better to occupy his time than to keep Carrie and her son safe, and locate the missing teen who holds the key to taking the gang off the streets, once and for all.


But Jake doesn’t count on his stubborn, intriguing neighbor distracting him from his job, or the passion that flares between them. He doesn’t expect her amazing son to steal a piece of his heart. Jake is ready to risk everything for Carrie, body and soul. But it’s not all up to him. If their new love is to survive, Carrie will need to be strong enough to see the man's beating heart behind the badge, to look beyond the pain of her past, and decide that loving again is worth the risk.

Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Review:

Karen Docter is a new author to me. I'm always skeptical when I read a book from a "new to me" author, but Karen Docter didn't disappoint. This book really touched me. It is an emotional read with compelling characters and a great storyline. I really think the author did a great job with her character development. Carrie is a strong woman. She's raising her son alone and managing a successful career. I like how she seems to have figured it out. And despite her son's escapades, she does realize that he's missing out on having a man in the house. I just don't think she ever expected that the man would end up being a cop. It was really neat how Carrie meets Jake literally on her doorstep - with her son beside him. And that was the start of a great, complicated, exciting relationship.

Gosh, I just love Jake. He speaks to Carrie in a rational, loving, kick-ass kind of way. He loves her, but he won't let her do something he doesn't think is right for her. I love how he let her learn for herself when he realizes he can't convince her, and when he admits that if she doesn't see what he sees, then maybe what he's seeing isn't real. I can't say enough good things about this hero.

Carrie's strength also means that she can be stubborn. She has hung onto her misdirected responsibility for her husband's death for a long time, and it takes the fear of possibly losing the love of her life to help her realize the reality of the situation - well, that fear, and the arguments of a good man who can be equally stubborn and refused to give up on the love of HIS life!

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who likes hometown heroes, strong women, sensitive men, and a great love story!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Links:
GoodreadsAmazonBarnes and NobleKobo

About the Author:
Amazon Bestselling Author Karen/K.L. Docter writes two different kinds of romance novels ... Contemporary Romance as Karen Docter: Romance…With a Kick! Romantic Suspense as K.L. Docter: Women hunted by killers…men who’d die to protect them.

Karen’s contemporaries are delightful, spicy romances. She loves writing about real men and women with dreams and goals that don’t allow for a relationship just so she can throw them in each others path.

Her romantic suspense novels (as K.L. Docter) are also filled with romance, although the dangers the hero and heroine face are intense, usually because a serial killer is bent on ending one or both of their lives before they can fall in love. Karen/K.L.’s an award-winning author, a four-time Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® finalist, and won the coveted Kiss of Death Romance Writers Daphne du Maurier Award Category (Series) Romantic Mystery Unpublished division.


When she’s not saving her characters from death and destruction or helping them to fall in love, she loves camping and fishing with her family, reading, gardening & cooking. If she can do most of those things over a campfire, all the better!

Website: http://www.karendocter.com/

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Spotlight and Giveaway: "Chalk Lines and Lipstick" by Ophelia London



We're celebrating the release of CHALK LINES AND LIPSTICK by Ophelia London! Check out the excerpt and giveaway below!


Title: CHALK LINES AND LIPSTICK by Ophelia London
Age group: Adult
Genre: Cozy Mystery/Romantic Comedy
Publisher: Gemma Halliday
Scheduled to release: August 11, 2015

BLURB:
Maren Colepepper thought she had it all: a career at a fashion magazine, a successful boyfriend, and a glamorous New York lifestyle. She thought wrong. When her glamorous life suddenly goes belly up, Maren finds herself forced to take the only job she can find at a small town newspaper in the tiny northern California hometown she fled ten years ago.

While Maren expected her new job in no-wheres-ville to kill her with boredom, She never expected to be front row to a shooting on her very first day! Worse yet, Maren is knocked unconscious at the scene, and when she comes to, the body has gone missing and she's been scooped by another reporter. Talk about a bad first impression. Now Maren is hot on the trail of the story of a lifetime, involving a shady lumber mill and the foresting of old-growth redwoods—a ginormous crime in her neck of the woods! Between her suddenly flirty new editor, her supremely hot new neighbor, and a lovably meddling family, Maren find small town life anything but boring. But if she can't find the shooter before he strikes again, it may even become deadly!

Excerpt:

"What is this thing?" His husky voice lilted through the darkness as he fisted the top of my hair.

"A bun."
"It's ingenious. Gives me easy access." His mouth flew to my neck, planting kisses down the side, leaving warmth and tingles all along the way. But despite his comment, a minute later, his hands tunneled into my hair, undoing the knot, releasing my hair to fall in heavy waves, which he interchangeably combed through with his fingers and then swept away from my neck to restore that "easy access."

His indecisiveness about what he wanted more was about the sexiest thing ever.

Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:


USA Today bestselling author Ophelia London was born and raised among the redwood trees in beautiful northern California. Once she was fully educated, she decided to settle in Florida, but her car broke down in Texas and she’s lived in Dallas ever since. A cupcake and treadmill aficionado (obviously those things are connected), she spends her time watching arthouse movies and impossibly trashy TV, while living vicariously through the characters in the books she writes.

Ophelia is the author of DEFINITELY, MAYBE IN LOVE; ABBY ROAD and CROSSING ABBY ROAD; the Perfect Kisses series including: FALLING FOR HER SOLDIER, PLAYING AT LOVE, SPEAKING OF LOVE, and MAKING WAVES; and the upcoming AIMEE AND THE HEARTTHROB for Entangled’s Teen Crush. Visit her at www.ophelialondon.com, but don’t call when The Vampire Diaries (or Dawson’s Creek) is on.

Twitter: @ophelia_london : Facebook : Website : Pinterest : Goodreads

Book Tour: "Calm Like Home" by Kaisa Clark

Blog Tour:
Calm Like Home
by Kaisa Clark
Aug 3rd - Aug 13th

Calm Like Home
Kaisa Clark
ASIN: B010BLZE1C
Release Date: July 15, 2015
Length: 75,000 words
Available formats: ePub, mobi
Genre: New adult contemporary romance



Alexa Clausen has never fallen. She’s never soared. She’s lived her entire life floating midway between passion and despondency, never experiencing those extremes. But all it takes is one evening with Adam Westbrook to draw her out of her shell, to leave her feeling bold for the first time ever. He is fiery and magnetic. He is gravitational, that inescapable pull no one can avoid. After a few chance encounters, Alexa finally accepts that she can’t stay away, can’t deny the electricity she feels every time he comes around.

But as the intensity between them deepens, she also can’t avoid the subtle hints that Adam is hiding something. His wide smile and radiant eyes obscure some burning secret, some detail of his past that resurfaces to steal his joy. The farther Alexa falls, the more she realizes just how little she really knows about Adam and how far he is willing to go to cover up the truth.

Calm Like Home is a story about love and longing, growth and stagnation, discovering one’s counterpart but losing oneself, and ultimately finding that one person truly has the power to change everything.



My Review:

Genre: New Adult / College Romance

Calm Like Home is a sweet romance with a bit of drama thrown in. It definitely reads like a college / new adult romance where the most important thing happening at the time is that the boy you like stopped by, and breakups are over dramatized as the end of the world. I had forgotten how simple life could be when the most you needed to worry about was getting to class on time, how your presentation in class would go, and knowing where the next party was.

This book is written in first person perspective, but solely from Alexa's point of view. I felt like I was missing big parts of the story while it was happening because I had no idea what Alex was thinking and feeling as he was going through his relationship with Alexa. It makes the book read like a journal - Alexa's journal - and I often felt like I was just an observer in Alexa's life instead of part of her life.

The one thing I didn't like in the story is that Alexa blamed herself for the breakup with Alex. She lamented that it had to be her fault because she pushed him to tell her something he wasn't ready. I don't like the message that sends to girls - that they shouldn't do anything to piss off a boyfriend because he may break up with her. She had a right to demand honesty in him and to choose not to be with him if he didn't give it to her.

Calm Like Home is an easy read that shows the ups and downs of a college romance with the added difficulty of distance and a secret the boyfriend doesn't wish to divulge. It's got drama, romance, good friends, and strife - all of the key elements of a good, dramatic romance.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


         






“What an emotional roller coaster this book took me on! This book was so well written it was like the story was actually happening to me instead of the main character, Alexa.“

“Calm Like Home definitely gave me a book hangover. I finished the book and had to get my emotions in check before I could start another book.”

“Really, the ups and downs of the story couldn't have been more perfect. Kaisa Clark did an amazing job. The story was sweet at times, but very real and raw. I loved it.”






The early hostess ends up running late so I’m covering the host stand when Damien strolls in through the door. Even in his work uniform, he looks every bit the confident frat boy. He has one hand casually tucked in his pants pocket, the other swinging languidly at his side. His tie is loose at his throat, his light brown hair tousled on his head, lips curled into a relaxed don’t-give-a-fuck smile. He nods towards me at the host stand then saunters towards the back, likely in search of some new prey to poke fun of.
And then there’s Adam, his dark head poking through the doorway. Suddenly the room is filled with him, with his energy, with his light. I drink him in, soaking in every detail. His crisp, white dress shirt fits him perfectly, lightly skimming over the muscles in his chest and arms and tapering where his waist narrows. The lightness of the shirt is the perfect contrast to his tan skin, to his dark eyes.
His gaze slowly sweeps from the floor to my face, and if seeing the four letters of his name earlier was enough to give me butterflies, seeing him now is like being hit by a freight train. It’s been three hundred days and yet everything slams back into me at once. The way his brown eyes sparkle when he smiles, how one corner of his mouth turns up a little higher than the other. And this smile is all for me.
His stride quickens as he approaches and I can’t help myself. My face breaks into an obvious grin, completely full-toothed and pinched-cheeked. So much for playing it cool. 
“Look who’s back!” I call out, hearing my voice light up. Being around him instantly lifts me. This is what he does to people; it’s what he’s always done to me.

Full Chapter 1 





  







Kaisa Clark is the author of the new adult novel Calm Like Home. She is passionate about reading and writing and also has an intense love for music, coffee, and dark chocolate. She lives with her amazing husband, sweet dog, and kooky cat.


    

    



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