A MONSTER LIKE ME by Pamela Sparkman

Heart of Darkness series #2

HELLO STRANGER by Lisa Kleypas

The Ravenels series #4

THE BUTTERFLY PROJECT by Emma Scott

Companion to the Full Tilt series

MEMPHIS by Ginger Scott

A standalone sports romance

UNWRITTEN by Jen Frederick

Woodlands series #5

Cross My Heart by L.H. Cosway

Hearts series #5.75

MOONSHADOW by Thea Harrison

Moonshadow series #1

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Review: The Heiress He's Been Waiting For by Kaitlin O'Riley



Synopsis

In Victorian London, the Hamilton sisters are known for their bookshops—and for finding their happily ever afters on their own terms. Now, much to their chagrin, their offspring are following in their unconventional footsteps—in life and in love...
Raised in New York, shipping heiress Sara Fleming was ready to elope—until her disapproving parents tricked her onto a boat heading to England. Her only consolation is getting to see her beloved aunts and cousins. Even the start of London’s Season—and a strikingly handsome earl—can’t make her forget the man she left behind.

Considered one of London’s most eligible bachelors, Christopher Townsend, the Earl of Bridgeton, is not what he seems. Having inherited his father’s crushing debt, he must choose a wealthy bride to save his family’s estate. Though rumored to be penniless and committed to another, Sara takes his breath away—and makes him question what he truly needs to be free of the past. But he’ll have to win the headstrong beauty’s heart one kiss at a time.

The Heiress He's Been Waiting ForThe Heiress He's Been Waiting For by Kaitlin O'Riley
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Release date: August 28, 2018
Cliffhanger: No
Rating: 1 star 

I really wanted to love this book, and I was very optimistic going into it despite the fact that this was my first read by this author. Obviously you don't know what to expect with an unfamiliar author, but the description and cover hooked me at first glance. The synopsis proclaims the Hamilton family women as independent book owners who find love on their own unconventional terms. What's not to love about that? Turns out, a lot. It's not often that a book manages to fill me with rage, but the "headstrong" Sara Fleming had to be one of the worst heroines I've ever read. Headstrong isn't even close to an adequate description of her. Childish, churlish, bratty, selfish, hypocritical...I could go on.

By the end of the book she had FINALLY seen the error of her ways, and I couldn't find it in me to care. I wanted Christopher to pull a Rhett Butler and deliver a "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" kind of line and find someone who would show him the love and appreciation he deserved. You know when you're not happy that the two main characters got married in the end that the book didn't work for you.

The idea of this plot was intriguing. Unfortunately it was executed poorly, and it all fell apart the more I read and tried to cling to the scraps of what I originally liked. Sara and Christopher had a situation where they weren't able to explore any potential feelings for each other. She believed herself to be madly in love with someone from America already, and his father's debts forced him to seek out an advantageous marriage to save his estate. (Translation: find a rich wife. Yesterday.) The twist is that he believes her to be a poor relation to the wealthy Hamiltons, when in fact, her father is a self-made millionaire. So throughout the book, he's reluctantly courting a rich candidate for a bride that he absolutely loathes. All the while yearning for the beautiful, sparkling, and self-confident creature that unexpectedly entered his life and took his emotions by storm.

    Never had a woman made him feel this way. A complex mixture of powerless and powerful, of need and desire, of possession and possessed. He wanted her. It was as simple as that. And as complicated.

Christopher admired her from their very first meeting, and he didn't hesitate to acknowledge his growing feelings to himself. He was overwhelmed with shame over having to marry for avaricious reasons, but he knew his family would be homeless in a matter of months. I didn't always agree with his sneaky behavior and treatment of the woman he was pursuing. But I could step back and see the bigger picture. He was putting the safety and care of his sisters as his top priority after years of physical and emotional abuse by their father. Mistakes were made along the way, but I always admired his sense of loyalty and (mostly) chivalrous personality. Instead of being the typical Victorian man, and trying to sell off a female family member to the highest bidder, he put himself in that position in order to give them a better life.

    Women in general had been given a tough enough lot in life. After all his two sisters had been through, he couldn’t fathom trapping either of them into loveless marriages. It appalled him how few options his sisters had other than to marry or to remain living at home. He wished he could do more for Evelyn and Gwyneth.

Sara on the other hand was completely blind, deaf, and DUMB to reality. She spent the entire book sulking and plotting behind her parents' backs because they separated her from the man they found to be dangerous. Being coddled and pampered her entire life, she couldn't stand the fact that she wasn't getting what she wanted. She refused to listen to everyone around her urging her to remember how much her parents love her, and would never take such drastic measures without reason.

At no point did I feel as if Sara was falling for him. She stubbornly clung to her schoolgirl "love" based on his flimsy words of praise that masked malicious intentions. Christopher on the other hand was merely a handsome friend who she found entertaining to flirt with coquettishly on an endless loop. Then reminding him firmly that her fiancè would be coming to take her away soon. It was enough to make you want to bang your head repeatedly against the wall. She quite conveniently forgot the fact that she had a fiancè when lust overtook her, and she allowed Christopher on numerous occasions to kiss, touch, and finally, take her virginity.

She never felt an ounce of guilt or remorse about her unfaithfulness to the man she was so madly in love with, or even started to ponder if she could be mistaken about her what she feels. No, these occurrences were just odd weak moments that meant nothing, and she didn't plan to think or speak of them again. (Seriously, did she not realize that when she got married, that her husband would find out that she had been with someone else?? Was she that stupid?)

Here's where I got really, really MAD. The day after sleeping with Christopher, she once again chooses Alexander over him and runs off to his hotel to be with him. This was her thought:

    Everything that had happened last night with Christopher now seemed like a faraway dream. Could she simply brush it away like the wispy clouds of a reverie? Could she just erase it from her memory and pretend it never happened? Well, she would have to do so to marry Alexander.

AND YET...when he rushes to save her from her idiocy after she rejected him, she is offended. Yes, OFFENDED that he asked her why she would run off with Alexander when she could be pregnant from the night before. She has the nerve to think that he was insensitive, as if it meant nothing to him. So she can discard him like trash, and not once listen to reason, and HE is wrong here?

    How dared Christopher mention what happened between them! Last night wasn’t anyone’s business but theirs. And to throw it in her face like that! As if it didn’t mean anything. Stung by his cruel callousness, Sara blinked back tears, replacing them with outrage. She would not cry...

And speaking of hypocrisy, how does she have any moral ground to stand on when she gets outraged that he slept with her while engaged to someone else?? Her internal dialogue over this discovery was absolutely ludicrous.

    For some reason, her brain ceased to function properly when Christopher kissed her. But it didn’t mean that she wanted to marry him either. Especially not when her parents were now telling her that she had to marry him. Besides, he was already engaged! To that ridiculous little Beckwith girl, of all people! At least now Sara understood why the other day in the carriageChristopher said he couldn’t marry her. Well, fine. Bonnie Beckwith could have him.She didn’t need or want Lord Bridgeton!

It was like she completely lacked skills of self-reflection and the ability to understand her own faults and mistakes. With 10-15 percent of the book to go, she finally realized how selfish she has been, and ungrateful for the family who loved and protected her. Even after hearing Christopher's stories about his abusive father, and the trauma he inflicted on them, she stubbornly clung to her own whiny complaints of her unfair life. At this late stage in the story, he had just thought to himself that she clearly didn't love him despite everything that had happened. And it hurt.

The characters just lost all semblance of authenticity for me. Reactions and actions need to make sense to a reader. It didn't make sense to me at this point that in one scene he was feeling hurt that she had no feelings for him, and the next accepting her apology and marrying her as planned. There was no hesitation or residual anger. She finally decides to see how worthy he is, and I just didn't care anymore. And with all of the stubborn dramatics that Sara displayed, I couldn't see her through his adoring eyes. He saw her through an altogether different lens than me.

I am extremely sad to have disliked this book, because I did think the author had a lot of beautiful quotes in The Heiress He's Been Waiting For, however I was incapable of feeling the ring of truth in any of them. It was unfortunately a total fail for this reader.


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Monday, July 16, 2018

Cover Reveal with Giveaway: Peony Red by J. Lynn Bailey

It’s cover reveal day for J. Lynn Bailey’s PEONY RED. Check it out and be sure to grab your copy August 14th!

Title: Peony Red

Author: J. Lynn Bailey

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Day: August 14th

About Peony Red:

Alex Fisher hasn’t been able to find her stride since the death of her husband three years ago. She’s out of a job, out of time, and running on fumes. So, when she receives two postcards from Granite Harbor, Maine, inviting her for a visit, she takes it as a sign for a start fresh. For game warden Eli Young, life is simpler when he’s exploring the back roads of Maine. In the north woods, he doesn’t have to deal with town politics or his soon-to-be ex-wife. When Alex makes Eli an offer he can’t refuse, he should say no. He should walk away. Except he can’t. Something about her leaves him tangled. A dark storm is brewing in the small coastal town, and everyone is on edge when word spreads quickly about a young woman who has gone missing. When a picture of Alex shows up at a gruesome scene, no one is prepared for what will happen next. Eli wants to save Alex, but she has to save herself. The question isn’t, Can she? It’s, Will she?

Add On Goodreads!


Exclusive Excerpt:

Alex looks ahead, and I watch her. The snowflakes dance and stick to her face; some attach themselves to her eyelashes. Alex holds her hands out and tries to catch a few. We walk to her side of the truck, only because she has the coffees. She’s gotten more adjusted to the door thing. She said I’d probably tire out soon from opening the door all the time, but I told her it’d take a lifetime. Before I let her in, I hesitate. Not sure if I should do this in town with people watching. But I do it anyway. I lean down, and I kiss her in the softest way possible on her cheek. I linger there for a moment and then pull away, looking down into her caramel-colored eyes. She stares back, and all is quiet as the snow falls around us. “What was that for?” she whispers. “For all the times Kyle can’t.”   About the 

Author:
 

 J. Lynn Bailey has loved to write since she learned to read, around the second grade. When she isn't running after her children, watching COPS, or on the hunt for her next Laffy Taffy joke, you can probably find her holed up in her writing room feverishly working on her next book. She lives in Northern California with her family.

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | My Website

   

Enter J. Lynn’s Giveaway:

Friday, July 13, 2018

Release Blitz with Giveaway: Lie to Me by Lee Piper


Title: Lie to Me
Series: A Rising Star Novel
Author: Lee Piper
Genre: 2nd Chance Rocker Romance
Release Date: July 13, 2018



Cold. Distant. Unattainable.
Reid Tate wasn’t always like this. He once cared for me. Made music with me. Gave his heart and soul to me. 
But I ruined it.
The breath-taking boy I used to love is gone. In his place is a man who wants to rip my heart apart and lay my soul bare before thousands. He doesn’t care about the secret that will ruin me. His brand of retribution is destroying my band and ruining our future.
But I promised myself never to let Reid Tate steal my voice again. 
Except that’s the problem when dancing with the devil. By the time the music starts it’s already too late.



All entrants need to do is #LIKE #COMMENT 
AND #SHARE the release day post post







Lee Piper is a lover of books. She often juggles reading seven novels at a time for the sheer joy of it. At the grand old age of five, Lee Piper decided to become an author, however found a limited market for her unicorn stories. So, high school English teacher it was.
At thirty-two, and grieving the loss of her second miscarriage, Lee Piper turned to novels—Kylie Scott to be precise—to escape the pain. This then inspired her to write Rock My World, the first in a four part contemporary romance series. Her debut novel not only reached the second round of the 2016 Emerald Award, but also became an Evernight Publishing bestseller within the first two weeks of publication.
Lee Piper lives in Adelaide, South Australia with her drummer husband, cheeky daughters, and one very crazy dog.






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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Release Blitz: Kissing Jenna by Kristen Proby

Copy of KJ AN 2.png


Kissing Jenna by Kristen Proby 
Series: Big Sky #2 
Release Date: July 10, 2018



KissingJenna_Amazon_WEB.jpg



Synopsis:

From New York Times Bestselling Author Kristen Proby comes the newest installment in her beloved Big Sky Series…

Jenna Hull owns and manages vacation rentals in her hometown of Cunningham Falls, Montana. She’s just completed the construction of her most exhausting project, the one she’s put her heart and soul into. The inviting, opulent Snow Wolf Cottages are the first ski in/ski out tree houses in the world. 

Her biggest dream is about to come true, and she can’t let anything distract her.

Christian Wolfe is Hollywood’s it actor. If the magazines are to be believed, he’s the sexiest man on earth. He’s preparing for the biggest movie role of his life, and his agent has booked him in a hot new ski lodge in Montana, tucked away from crazy fans. He can’t wait for the break.

But what Christian isn’t prepared for is Jenna. With a face that could easily co-star with him in a movie and her ambition to put her stamp on Cunningham Falls, he can’t stay away. But even more intriguing than her beauty is the fact that she’s not at all impressed with his celebrity status, only turned on by the man behind the fame.

The love they’ve found is perfect—but time is running out before real life intrudes. Can they survive with both their dreams—and hearts—intact?



Read today!
Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2Ixp7Vc

Grab Charming Hannah, Book 1 in the Big Sky Series.
Add to Goodreads: ​http://bit.ly/2IvQJtC


Meet Kristen:

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Kristen was born and raised in a small resort town in her beloved Montana. In her mid-twenties, she decided to stretch her wings and move to the Pacific Northwest, where she made her home for more than a dozen years.

During that time, Kristen wrote many romance novels and joined organizations such as RWA and other small writing groups. She spent countless hours in workshops, and more mornings than she can count up before the dawn so she could write before going to work. She submitted many manuscripts to agents and editors alike, but was always told no. In the summer of 2012, the self-publishing scene was new and thriving, and Kristen had one goal: to publish just one book. It was something she longed to cross off of her bucket list.

Not only did she publish one book, she’s since published close to thirty titles, many of which have hit the USA Today, New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestsellers lists. She continues to self publish, best known for her With Me In Seattle and Boudreaux series, and is also proud to work with William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins, with the Fusion Series.

Kristen and her husband, John, make their home in her hometown of Whitefish, Montana with their two pugs and two cats.



Connect with Kristen:

Pinterest: @handbagjunkie 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Cover Reveal: Two Weeks' Notice by Whitney G



Title: Two Weeks' Notice
Author: Whitney G
Standalone
Release date: July 20, 2018

Synopsis:

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing this letter to formally announce my resignation from Parker International (& the arrogant, condescending CEO) effective two weeks from today.

This was a VERY EASY decision to make, as the past two years have been utterly miserable. I wish his next executive assistant all the luck in the world (she'll need it) and if my boss should need me to do anything over the next two weeks, kindly tell him that he can do it [his] goddamn self...

Sincerely (Not Really),
Tara Lauren

That’s the version of my two weeks’ notice I should’ve sent to my boss, because the more professional version--the one where I said I was "grateful for all the opportunities," and "honored by all the rewarding experiences" over the years?

That letter was rejected with his sexy, trademark smirk and an “I highly suggest you read the fine print of your contract...”

So, I did.

And now I've realized that unless I fake my death, poison him, or find a way to renegotiate my impossible contract, I’m stuck working under one of the cockiest and most ruthless bosses in New York.

Then again, I thought that was the case until he called me late last night with an emergency proposition...


Review: The Accidentals by Sarina Bowen



Synopsis

Never ask a question unless you’re sure you want the truth.

I’ve been listening to my father sing for my whole life. I carry him in my pocket on my mp3 player. It’s just that we’ve never met face to face.

My mother would never tell me how I came to be, or why my rock star father and I have never met. I thought it was her only secret. I was wrong.

When she dies, he finally appears. Suddenly I have a first class ticket into my father’s exclusive world. A world I don’t want any part of – not at this cost.
Only three things keep me going: my a cappella singing group, a swoony blue-eyed boy named Jake, and the burning questions in my soul. There’s a secret shame that comes from being an unwanted child. It drags me down, and puts distance between me and the boy I love.

My father is the only one alive who knows my history. I need the truth, even if it scares me.


Purchase here:

Amazon Global Link: http://geni.us/ACCAmazon
Audio: http://geni.us/ACCaudio
Paperback: http://geni.us/ACCpaperback
iBooks: http://geni.us/ACCibooks
Kobo: http://geni.us/ACCkobo
Nook: http://geni.us/ACCnook



About the Author:


Sarina Bowen is the USA Today bestselling author of many things, including: the True North series, Him/Us and the WAGs series with Elle Kennedy, The Ivy Years series and the Brooklyn Bruisers. And more!
Are you looking for a friends-to-lovers story or maybe even a secret baby book? You can read a list of Sarina's books broken out by trope and style.

Follow her:

https://www.sarinabowen.com/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7737308.Sarina_Bowen
https://www.facebook.com/authorsarinabowen
https://twitter.com/SarinaBowen
https://www.pinterest.com/sarinabowen/
https://www.instagram.com/sarina.bowen/


REVIEW


The AccidentalsThe Accidentals by Sarina Bowen

Title: The Accidentals
Series: Standalone
Author: Sarina Bowen
Release date: July 10, 2018
Cliffhanger: No
Rating: 4.5 stars


I'm a big YA fan, so I was thrilled when I heard that Sarina Bowen was venturing into one of my favorite genres. She's one of my auto-read/auto-buy authors in contemporary romance, and has been for some time. What I especially loved about this book was that she really went outside of her norm by placing the father daughter relationship at the forefront of the story, and the romance was just a sub-plot in the background. I love romance, but the lack of it in a story never affects my reading enjoyment at all. In fact, I may get stoned for saying this, but I could have even done without the romantic element completely in this case. As much as I loved Jake in all of his nerdy glory, Rachel and her father needed their time to heal and work on their relationship. They were starting from rock bottom.

Rachel has just lost her mother to cancer, and her entire life has been turned upside down and shaken with a vengeance.

    My life in Florida is coming abruptly to an end, like a familiar song shut off right in the middle of the chorus.

At seventeen, her mother is the only parent she's ever known and she's not sure that she wants her father waltzing in after being ignored for so long. Financially, he has always given his support, but that does not compensate for absence of his time and love. From their first meeting and interaction, I was sad for both of them. For the missed years and opportunities that passed them by as she was growing up. Frederick seemed genuinely emotionally wrecked and hopeful for some type of real relationship with her.

My first impression was that there had to be some grand explanation for his absence because of how determined he was to prove himself to her. He wasn't trying to make excuses or marginalize his parenting fail. He owned it. So for that, I had total respect. From Rachel's point of view, you could feel her internal conflict through every page. Having imagined being a part of her famous rock star father's life for so long, it now felt surreal to be living that dream so abruptly. She can't help but feel as if he was forced into the situation, and yet when given the choice to have her live with him or leave her in the hands of the state, he chose HER. For once in his life, he chose his daughter, and because of that, she knows that he deserves a chance to make things right.

    Our relationship is like an experiment gone awry. Maybe my father and I will never be able to hear each other properly, because so much of our beginning was spliced off and thrown away.

Frederick and Rachel have a long road to healing in front of them. It doesn't help that they are their own worst enemies and have a total lack of communication. She holds her resentment and hurt inside, only letting it out in passive aggressive swipes. He likes to shove uncomfortable explanations and conversations under the rug for later. Or never. There were so many times you want to grab them and lock them in a room until they yell and scream, and come to understand each other. But it's a process, one that they need to filter through, experiment, and learn from. Don't expect perfect behavior from perfect characters, because you won't find that here. That had me conflicted for a while, because Frederick truly did some immature and selfish things as they were taking that journey together. But the character growth by the end was realistic and well earned.

Jake was an amazing love interest for Rachel. There wasn't anything about him that I didn't love, and I rooted for them to admit the feelings that were brewing while she was navigating her new life. One of the things I really liked about them was that they became good friends over emails before they met face to face.

    His messages are like an escape hatch from my real life. They make Claiborne Prep seem like a real place. And when I read his messages, I can almost believe that the earth is still turning around the sun, and that I’m really going to a fancy new school in the fall.

Then to find out that her self proclaimed nerd of a friend was just as sweet and funny and person, AND made her heart skip a beat? There was never any doubt that their crush was going to develop into more. They had an easy camaraderie and flirtatious energy between them that was unmistakable. It almost became a joke at how they seemed to be the only one who weren't aware that their crush was reciprocated. Everyone around them was just waiting for them to get with the program and make it official.

I loved that Rachel was a talented singer herself. It fed into the whole music theme, while at the same time giving her and her father a common interest to help them bond with each other. Combined with their frequent walks and his persistence in consistently showing up and being present, they slowly start to build a relationship together. But the whole way, you're waiting for the past to rear its ugly head. The Talk is a long time coming, and secrets need to be aired. When her father finally put the ugly truth out there, it wasn't quite what I was expecting. It was then that you realize that he had a lot of growing up to do, and there was so simple excuse or tidy bow to place on top of everything. They were messy, they were broken, but in the end they found a way to put the shattered pieces back together again.

I could have done without Haze being in the picture altogether. I wasn't his biggest fan, and the fact that they "hooked up" in the past in the circumstances that they did was a little disturbing. Rachel was the type of person who didn't speak up when something was bothering her. Unfortunately that's what happened when she didn't feel comfortable with his pressure to move past friendship and get physical with her. In no way did that excuse his behavior either in the past, or when he visited her at her school. I didn't like that she never held him accountable and confronted him, but rather the entire thing was forgotten after she made him leave. The resolution of that felt like an after thought, and I wanted to see it more defined and addressed.

Overall, I thought this was such a beautiful coming of age story about a father and daughter building trust, learning how to get real with each other, and healing the wounds of their past. It was such a highly addictive, fast-paced book that I binge read almost the entire thing in one setting. Even if you're not typically a YA fan, I think you would find this story well written and easy to fall in love with. Sarina has another winner on her hands with The Accidentals, and I can only hope that there are many young adult titles in her future. I'll be the first one to sign up for every one of them.


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