A MONSTER LIKE ME by Pamela Sparkman

Heart of Darkness series #2

HELLO STRANGER by Lisa Kleypas

The Ravenels series #4


Companion to the Full Tilt series


Heartbreaker Bay series #7

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

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Review: The Orphan's Song by Lauren Kate

The historical adult debut novel by # 1 New York Times bestselling author Lauren Kate, The Orphan's Song is a sweeping love story about family and music--and the secrets each hold--that follows the intertwined fates of two Venetian orphans.

Publication date: June 25, 2019
Published by: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Genre: historical fiction

 Add on Goodreads


Venice, 1736. Violetta has a secret: When she climbs out of her window at The Hospital of the Incurables, the revered music school and orphanage that has always been her home, she can look out over the city and dream. But when she stumbles upon Mino, a violinist from the boy's hall who also seeks solace in the skyline, she feels a surprising connection. The two begin a passionate duet that will transform their lives.

Yet as Mino becomes determined to find his lost mother, and Violetta's desire to sing in the ospedale's famous coro make clear she can never leave its walls, they find their love torn in two. Known as the "city of masks," Venice is the perfect place to hide one's heart, but as Violetta becomes a legendary soprano with a secret nighttime life, and Mino seeks the truth among the city's canals, their fates prove inextricably linked. A haunting memory Violetta has kept hidden since childhood soon leads them both to a shocking confrontation.

Vibrant with the glamour and beauty of Venice at its zenith, The Orphan's Song takes us on a breathtaking journey of passion, heartbreak, and betrayal before it crescendos to an unforgettable ending, a celebration of the enduring nature and transformative power of love.

Purchase your copy now
Amazon | Google | iBooks  | B&N | Kobo 

Praise for The Orphan's Song:

“The Orphan’s Song plunges the reader into the streets and canals of eighteenth-century Venice, where the world of Carnivale roils with music, love, and intrigue. Lauren Kate is a masterful storyteller, with a stunning command of her rich historical material and the ability to draw forth the beautiful and intimate songs of the human heart.”
—Allison Pataki, author of Sisi

“Lauren Kate mesmerizes in a tale that brilliantly recreates 1700s Venice – a city of high-stakes intrigue and earthly delights – where a pair of abandoned children find solace in music and each other. I was swept along as their lives formed a tangled knot of betrayal and love, lies and redemption. Marvelous.”
—Fiona Davis, bestselling author of The Masterpiece

“In a gorgeous ode to eighteenth-century Venice, Lauren Kate uncovers the intriguing, little-known origin of the era’s most famous Baroque musicians in The Orphan’s Song, in a tale brimming with love, deception, and ultimately, surprising truth.”
—Marie Benedict,  bestselling author of The Other Einstein, Carnegie’s Maid, and The Only Woman in the Room

“Delightful . . . Kate’s enchanting story brings the canals and backchannels of Venice to vivid life and will appeal to fans of Elizabeth Chadwick.”
—Publishers Weekly

“An operatic and opulently detailed tale of longing, secrets, and high-stakes quests for freedom, love, art, and home…Kate vividly conjures a city of beauty and pain, piety and criminality, helplessness and ruthlessness, while choreographing a suspenseful, soaring love story of anguish, ecstasy, risk, and stunning reversals.”

“Kate brings the romance of 18th-century Venice to life in this light historical…it’s an engaging read with likable characters and an emotionally potent plot.”
—Library Journal


Lauren Kate is the #1 New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the Fallen novels, the Teardrop novels, and The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove. Her books have been translated into more than 30 languages. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.

You can find her on:
Twitter | Instagram | Website | Goodreads


The Orphan's SongThe Orphan's Song by Lauren Kate
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

     Life was like music; if you changed a single note, you changed the entire song.

I loved the premise of this story and how it was inspired in real life. The author's note explains how the idea took root, and how she became completely immersed in Mino and Violetta's world in 18th century Venice. While visiting the city, she stumbled upon the real life building that was once an orphanage called the Incurables and her interest was piqued. It was as if fate had delivered a hidden gem into her lap. I give the author a huge amount of respect for the attention to detail that was put into showing us this lush city and its inhabitants. The sights, sounds, and culture were described so vividly that I was transported to glittering Venice in all of its seductive extravagance. That was without a doubt my favorite thing about reading this novel.

The first stage of the story begins in early childhood, taking you through the innocence and hope of first love. This is my favorite part of the book, watching them steal away in secret to meet in the quiet hours of the night. You learn how regimented their life is, how sequestered they are from the world, and how their lives are not their own. All decisions are made for them, and punishment is swift if you don't obey. Violetta is an impulsive and rebellious girl for her time, but her rebellions have always been minor until she met Mino.

From the very first time they encountered each other on the rooftop, they felt a special connection unlike any other in their young lives. It began with a song, and that song would tie them together through friendship, love, heartbreak, and unattainable dreams. They share a love of music in a way that wouldn't be approved of, but they can't help but hold it close while they have the chance. Incurable girls were expected to be chaste and obedient, and Violetta doesn't feel confident that she fits the mold she's required to fit in. When she sings, this causes her to be timid and unsure. But the song she shares with Mino will unlock passion in her voice that could give her a future in the coveted coro. It's something she's always been desperate to achieve, but suddenly she's conflicted.

Mino's affection for her was instant and touching. He was so devoted to his Violetta and desperate to find a way to hold onto the time that was slipping away from them. Unfortunately, life gets in the way of his grand plans for their future. When we move into the next part of the book, bad decisions and betrayals were made that cause an irreparable break. They both despair, and go through a period of that leads them down lonely paths. Perhaps it was just their youth causing these rash choices, but it really illustrates how one action can change the entire course of your life when you're on the edge of adulthood. This portion of the story was a little slow for my liking, and kind of depressing to read, especially on Mino's end. He goes through some desperate times that really hurts your heart.

Mino and Violetta are living in the same city, but so isolated from each other that it seems impossible that they'd ever find a way back to each other. With time they try to move on, but the feelings they shared are pressed into their hearts where time and circumstance can never touch them. As we barreled on in the hope that they would meet again, there are secrets lurking that will change both of their lives forever. I started to get a hint at what was to be revealed somewhat early on, and it turned out just as I'd suspected. It was disturbing and uncomfortable, but surprising, no. Most of the story wasn't really romantic, it was somewhat dark and dismal. However I appreciated the themes of family, love and sacrifice, and how they can change and grow through hardships and challenges in life.

This was a well written historical fiction novel. I absolutely loved the setting and learning so much about the time period. The love story was often bittersweet, making your heart ache for what these two must go through. While I didn't always agree or understand their choices, I enjoyed the final destination and their lessons learned. This is Lauren Kate's first adult fiction, and my first time reading her. It certainly won't be my last. I love her beautiful way with words, and her skill in bringing her characters to life so sharply. If she has any more historical novels planned, you won't have to pull my arm to read it. I'll be lining up to see what she has to offer next.



Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Feature with Excerpt and Giveaway: More Than Anything by Natasha Anders

Two lovers strive to trade a grim past for a bright future in this story of bittersweet yearning.

Series: Broken Pieces #1
Publication date: June 11, 2019
Published by: Montlake Romance
Genre: contemporary romance

 Add on Goodreads


Tina Jenson belongs to the same social stratum as Harris Chapman, but he’s out of her league—at least that’s what she thinks before they jump in bed together. It’s the perfect night, but when she overhears crude, hurtful comments the next morning, she can’t get away fast enough.

Ten years later, Tina’s life is a mess. That night with Harris didn’t just hurt her feelings; it started a cascade of disappointment and heartbreak. Every time she bumps into Harris, her heart twists inside out. She still wants him, but she’s harboring a painful secret from their night together that she’s not ready to reveal.

Crossed signals, high-society whispers, and shame have kept Tina and Harris apart for years, but deep down, they’re hungry for each other and eager to write their own rules. Can they let go of the past and find their way back to each other, or are the barriers between them too high and too strong?

Purchase your copy now!
Amazon | B&N 

Feature: Then and Now with Natasha Anders   

Hi there, my name is Natasha Anders and I’m here to talk about my newest release – More Than Anything. This book features Tina Jenson and Harris Chapman as the lead characters.

Tina and Harris have known each other forever. They belong to the same social circle and attended high school together. When Tina was eighteen and Harris twenty, an ugly incident drove them apart and for the next ten years they barely spoke to each other.

The years have not been kind to Tina, she struggles to maintain familial relationships and friendships and finds it hard to even consider forming bonds with new people. As a teenager she was incapable of handling the overwhelming loss and sadness of what had happened to her and as she grew into a woman, a large part of her remained lost in the past and incapable of moving forward.

Tina’s emotional growth throughout the story is painful but necessary. She has frozen the pain, humiliation and absolute devastation resulting from the incident with Harris, into a solid block of ice. She has never properly dealt with any of that anguish and now the ice is thawing and all of those overwhelmingly painful emotions are surfacing. Tina is far from perfect and she makes a lot of mistakes throughout the story. But these mistakes are necessary in order for her eventual metamorphosis into a strong, capable, and emotionally mature woman to be believable.

Harris’s journey is very different. He tries his best to fix what has happened between them. Unaware of how damaging their encounter was to Tina, he often attempts to reach out to her and apologize for causing her pain. After constant rejection from her, he tries to move on with his life and for a few years he almost succeeds. But whenever he sees Tina, he finds himself drawn to her. He’s a steady, dependable guy. But it’s hard for Tina to see him as such. To her, he will always be the boy who hurt her. The boy responsible for the worst night of her life and for every difficult thing that has happened as a result.

When he finally finds himself in the position to be her rock, Harris truly shines. He’s by no means a perfect man and sometimes he’s stubbornly determined to do the “right thing” even if it tends to be self-defeating. But he eventually recognizes that the best thing he can do for Tina and himself is to allow her to make her own decisions and trust her to know her own heart and mind.

Despite their many trials and frustrations, Tina and Harris will always be better together. This is the story of how they discover that absolute truth for themselves.

More than Anything by Natasha Anders

“How you’d like your steak cooked?” Harris asked.

“Medium rare.” Tina retreated to one of the mismatched tall stools at the breakfast bar and clambered up onto it. She watched him competently move around the kitchen, cleaning and washing the spuds before readying them to go into the oven. He hummed softly beneath his breath as he worked … the tune was very familiar, but because his humming was so off-key, she couldn’t quite place it. The title hovered on the edge of her brain.

“Ugh, what is the name of that song? It’s driving me crazy!”

He looked up, startled. “What song?”

“The one you’re humming.”

“I’m not sure. Wait…” He hummed again and then breathed a few lyrics in a falsetto voice that reduced Tina to stitches. He repeated the same two words over and over again. And the words, combined with the seriously off-key tune, were definitely familiar to her. 

He shook his head before saying, “I’m not sure what that song’s called … hey, stop laughing. I know for a fact your singing voice isn’t much better.” His offended observation just made her laugh harder. “Do you know the song title?”

“It’s…” She gasped for breath, then broke down into gales of laughter again when she glanced up into his expectant face. She folded her arms on the countertop and dropped her head for a moment as she tried to bring her giggles under control. Once the laughter abated, she lifted her gaze to his smiling eyes—he didn’t really look offended at all, just gently amused. “I’m sorry. It’s not your singing … okay, it kind of is. But I think I found it funnier that you were asking for the song’s title when you k-kept…” She inhaled deeply when it felt like the laughter was threatening again. “Kept singing it in that godawful voice.”

“What do you mean?”

“The song’s called ‘No One,’ Harris. By Alicia Keys.”

“Oh.” He twisted his face into a sheepish grimace before chuckling, the sound deep and masculine. “That makes sense. I like that song.”

She did too. In fact…

“We danced to that song. On my twentieth birthday,” he said, his voice quietly reminiscent. She nodded, surprised that he remembered the song, considering the state he had been in that night.

“I know.” Danced. And then kissed. Her very first kiss. The song had come to mean so much more to her, but she determinedly tamped down those particular memories.

Amusement fled, and they exchanged an uncomfortable look before both averted their eyes. Silence descended, their troubled history once again asserting itself between them. Tina nervously drummed her fingers on the Formica countertop.

“Tina.” His voice sounded anguished. “If I could do it all over again…”

She stopped tapping and lifted her hand to prevent him from saying anything further.

“Let’s not go into this again, Harris.” She watched him screw his eyes shut as he battled with what looked like some pretty powerful emotions.

“Damn.” The word was soft and fierce and sounded like a prayer.

“Why don’t we…” She paused as she considered the words she was about to utter. No matter which way she phrased them, they would seem like an olive branch. And she wasn’t sure if she wanted to extend one yet. Or ever. Still, she was in his—temporary—home, about to break bread with him, so to speak, and maybe—for her emotional health—it would be best. “Why don’t we set this aside? For today at least.”

She watched his throat move as he swallowed and then shifted her gaze to his navy-blue eyes, which were alight with gratitude.

“I’d like that,” he said gruffly, offering her the tiniest of smiles.

Tina heaved a relieved sigh, feeling lighter than she had in months. Possibly years.

“Good. Now, how about you get those steaks on? I’m starving.”



Natasha Anders was born in Cape Town, South Africa. She spent the last nine years working as an assistant English teacher in Niigata, Japan, where she became a legendary karaoke diva. Natasha is currently living in Cape Town with her temperamental and opinionated budgie, Sir Oliver Spencer, who has kindly deigned to share his apartment with her. Please feel free to contact her (or Oliver) on Twitter @satyne1.

You can find her on:

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Review: Kingdom of Exiles by Maxym M. Martineau

Fantastic Beasts meets Assassin's Creed in this epic, gripping fantasy romance from debut author Maxym M. Martineau

Series: The Beast Charmer #1
Publication date: June 25, 2019
Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: paranormal romance

 Add on Goodreads


Exiled beast charmer Leena Edenfrell is in deep trouble. Empty pockets forced her to sell her beloved magical beasts on the black market—an offense punishable by death—and now there's a price on her head. With the realm's most talented murderer-for-hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes him an offer he can't refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for her life.

If only it were that simple. Unbeknownst to Leena, the undying ones are bound by magic to complete their contracts, and Noc cannot risk his brotherhood of assassins...not even to save the woman he can no longer live without.

Purchase your copy now

Praise for Kingdom of Exiles:

Martineau’s impressive debut novel, the first of a romantic fantasy trilogy, marries grand-scale wonder with the intimacy of relationships among traveling companions and a layered plot.
Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

A "lush and sweeping swords-and-sorcery romance" 
New York Times

- Publishers Weekly Best Book of Summer 2019

- Bookish Staff Read Pick

- Selected as a June LibraryReads Pick


Maxym M. Martineau is a staff writer and editor by day, and a fantasy romance author by night. When she’s not getting heated over broken hearts, she enjoys playing video games, sipping a well-made margarita, binge-watching television shows, competing in just about any sport, and of course, reading.

Following her passion, Maxym earned her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University.
You can find her on:
Kingdom of Exiles (The Beast Charmer, #1)Kingdom of Exiles by Maxym M. Martineau
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

     When it came to us, there were just too many thorns. But damn if I didn’t want to cut them all down and see what grew.

The first half of this book was a little slow going for me. Thankfully once I felt comfortable in Maxym M. Martineau's world of beasts, charmers, and assassins, I was all in. There was plenty of suspense-laden action, entertaining adventure, and a romance that was refreshingly heavy for the genre. I wasn't entirely sold on how quickly Leena developed an attraction for the hired assassin who could eventually follow through with her contract. But aside from that, it progressed believably and I enjoyed the forbidden love aspect of it.

Noc is an undead guild master of Cruor-leader of a group of assassins who were brought back from the dead and must complete each kill contract assigned to them. There is no choice in the matter, it's simply a requirement that they are bound to in order to survive. Even knowing that some of his bounties are innocent, he's resigned to his fate. But it's a lonely life he leads, because even the men and women closest to him must be kept at a distance for their own good. He erected a barrier between himself and the rest of the world-a cold facade that no one is permitted to penetrate. He believes that his past is so tarnished by his misdeeds that he is unworthy of any other life anyway.

     I thought death had wiped my slate clean when I followed Talmage and became a member of Cruor. I didn’t realize how wrong I was until it was too late. If death couldn’t cure me, then nothing would.

His past life is shrouded in mystery. You're given hints and clues throughout the book, and I think I have an idea as to what he's concealing but this bombshell is left for future books to be revealed. You just know that when everything does come out, there will probably be hell to pay.

Leena and Noc are similar in that they are both outcasts of society. Both fallen from grace and doing what they must, living one day at a time. Leena is a highly skilled beast charmer who has been cast out of her home, Hireath. Betrayed by the man she loved and trusted the most, she's become a loner and puts her faith in nobody but herself. Her one goal is to somehow convince the Council to hear her side of the story and end her exile. That's a little difficult to do when you're selling the beasts that you charm in order to live which is strictly forbidden by her people's laws. Then there's the whole hit put out on her by an unknown source. That tends to cause some difficulties as well. Leena isn't one to go down easily though, and she manages to strike a deal with the man bound by Cruor’s Oath to end her life. She must provide beasts for his crew in exchange for her life. If she can kill two birds with one stone and charm the beast she needs to re-enter Hireath, she may have a chance to reclaim her home and her honor that was stolen from her.

The magical beasts were something completely different for me. I really enjoyed the wide range of species and how their talents interacted and aided the group on their adventure. Leena's skill in charming them was extraordinary. Many times she was facing seemingly insurmountable challenges, putting herself in life or death situations. Yet she faced each and every one with courage and tenacity. There was a lot to love about Leena. She was a strong heroine that was dealt a crappy hand, but always finds a way to outsmart the odds. As she started to develop feelings for Noc, there was a lot of confusion on her part because he couldn't help but give her mixed signals. She knew she was missing vital pieces of information regarding him distancing himself, but she really had no idea what he was keeping close to his chest. Falling for each other could be the destruction of them both.

     Noc was an open door. Not because he was easy to read, but because every action begged me to walk right into him. To unearth every secret of my own volition and turn it over in my hands.

The end was action packed, and satisfyingly suspenseful. It leaves off in a happy for now place, but there is plenty of unresolved issues and room for the plot to grow in the following books. This is my first read by the author, and I was very pleasantly surprised. I'm always looking for more fantasy/paranormal books with a strong element of romance, and this fit the bill perfectly. Great world building, original concept, and flawed yet approachable characters that are easy to root for make a well rounded package. I look forward to continuing with The Beast Charmer series next year with The Frozen Prince.



Review with Excerpt: The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

A complicated romance from debut author Abby Jimenez

Series: Standalone
Publication date: June 11, 2019
Published by: Forever Romance
Genre: contemporary romance

 Add on Goodreads


Kristen Petersen doesn't do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don't get her. She's also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.

Planning her best friend's wedding is bittersweet for Kristen--especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He's funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he'd be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it's harder and harder to keep him at arm's length.

The Friend Zone will have you laughing one moment and grabbing for tissues the next as it tackles the realities of infertility and loss with wit, heart, and a lot of sass.

Purchase your copy now!
Amazon | iBooks  | B&N | Kobo 

Praise for The Friend Zone:

Good Housekeeping Best New Books for Summer 2019

PopSugar Best Books of Summer 2019

Women's Health Best Romance Novels of 2019

SheReads Most Anticipated Romance Books of 2019

Women.com Most Highly Anticipated Books for Summer

Bookstr Ultimate Summer 2019 Reading Guide

Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Booklist Starred Review


Abby Jimenez is a Food Network champion, motivational speaker, and contemporary romance novelist living in Minnesota. She founded Nadia Cakes out of her home kitchen back in 2007. The bakery has since gone on to win numerous Food Network competitions and has amassed an international cult following. Abby's wry literary wit was spotlighted as the admin behind the hilarious viral comments on the now famous Nadia Cakes Vageode ® cake. 

Abby loves a good romance, coffee, doglets, and not leaving the house.

You can find her on:
The Friend ZoneThe Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Friend Zone was one of my most anticipated contemporary romances this year. I don't like to read reviews before starting an arc, but I saw the love this one was getting and could not wait to get started on it. There's a certain level of excitement that goes above and beyond your average read, and my gut was telling me that this was going to hook me. I can honestly say that it delivered in that department. I knew within the first chapter that I had an addictive story in my hands. I was so utterly consumed by it that I couldn't pause for a second to make any highlights. Let me tell you, as a book blogger I need my highlights and notes to help the reviewing process go smoother, so you are warned. I'm completely winging it this time. The second sign that this book is gripping? I stayed up until THREE AM to finish it. My dry bloodshot eyes the following day were a small price to pay for finally getting my HEA.

If you think this will be a light, humorous romance, you're only partly right. I was NOT prepared for the level of angst this one hit me with. My emotions were all over the place. Jimenez was a puppet master pulling my strings, making me dance to her whim. It was exhausting and not just because of my sleep deprivation. There are several factors that contribute to the angst: Kristen's upcoming surgery that will eliminate any sliver of a chance of getting pregnant. Being attracted to Josh, living with him, and having a long distance boyfriend at the same time. Then there was her inability to open up to Josh about her medical issues, and how that prevented her from letting him have a real relationship with her. Finally, some SUPER unexpected angst at the end that just about rips your heart out. I'm not spoiling it, but bring tissues.

One trope that could've been thrown in the mix for further emotional battery was cheating. Cheating is a hard pass for me 99.9% of the time, and it tends to sour a story for me. I was so happy to find that the heroine Kristen was emphatically against it, in fact, did everything in her power to avoid it happening when she started to grow strong feelings beyond friendship for Josh. As much as the sexual tension amped up, and their willpower was battered, neither ever crossed the line when they shouldn't have.

I loved their friendship period as they were getting to know one another. After a bad first impression, they had a bit of banter back and forth, but it was all pretty good natured. Josh is such an easy going guy, and her snark rolled right off his back every time. He almost immediately labeled her one of the unattainable "cool girls." The kind that are unapologetically themselves, are effortlessly sexy, and an absolute delight to spend time with. Having just gotten out of a nasty breakup himself, he was certainly not on the look out for a new romantic relationship. So he got to know unfiltered Kristen in close quarters, and the slow burn attraction started to build.

The banter was perfection, the humor was charming, and the heat was red hot with this couple. There was a whole lot to love. But I have to say, Kristen's stubbornness seemed to be indestructible after a certain point. It was so maddening I wanted to pull my hair out. I'm not saying I didn't see where she was coming from. I was trying to be open minded about her sex only rule with Josh because I was in her head properly and understood her hesitation. She had legitimate fears that were only enforced as time went on. And thing is, she's not the bold and confident woman she portrays herself as. At least, not to the extent she wants the world to believe. The vulnerable woman who feels unworthy because of her relationship with her mother is hidden well.

While I did see all of this about her, I hated how long she stubbornly refused to give him a chance. To rip herself open, lay the facts on the table, and let him have his say in the unspoken conversation. A conversation that was one-sided and entirely in her own head for the majority. It killed me to see how badly he'd hurt from her mixed signals and her lack of communication. That being said, I have a lot of respect for the emotion this book pulled out of me, and the quality of this debut author's writing! I was pleasantly surprised at how instantly engaged I was, and how it held me captive until the very end. That's no easy task for this reader after reading every basic romance trope too many times to count in a million different variations. I think Abby Jimenez brings something fresh to the romance genre, and she's the new voice to look out for in the future. I look forward to seeing what she has to offer us next.



Spotlight: Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

Can a romcom-obssessed romantic finally experience the meet-cute she always dreamed of or will reality never compare to fiction, in this charming debut adult novel from Kerry Winfrey.

Publication date: June 11, 2019
Published by: Berkley
Genre: romance, rom-com

Add on Goodreads


Annie is twenty-seven years old, single, and obsessed with romantic comedies (she and her mother watched them religiously, before her mom died). Her dating life is limited by the expectations she’s formed from these movies. She is not as open to new experiences as she might be, because she’s waiting for her Tom Hanks–i.e., a guy she’ll find in the perfect, meet-cute romantic comedy way. When Annie does finally meet her perfect match, it’s not quite in the way she expected, and she’s forced to reckon with the walls she’s built around herself over the years.

Purchase your copy now!
Amazon | Google | iBooks  | B&N | Kobo 


Chapter 4

     I blink a few times, staring straight into Drew Danforth’s face. It’s like when you’re a kid and there’s a solar eclipse, and all the teachers are like, “Don’t look directly into the sun! You’ll destroy your retinas!” but there’s always that one kid (Johnny Berger, in our class) who can’t stop staring.
     In this situation, I’m Johnny Berger. And I guess Drew Danforth is the sun.
     “Are you okay?” he asks again, enunciating his words even more as if me understanding him is the problem. His brown eyes, I notice, are flecked with tiny bits of gold, which is something you can’t see when you watch him on TV. His hair is just as voluminous as it seems in pictures, but in person, I have the almost overwhelming urge to touch it, to reach out and pull on that one lock of hair that hangs over his forehead.
     “She’s not responding.” He turns to Chloe. “Is something wrong?”
     “She’s French,” Chloe says without missing a beat. “She only speaks French.”
     “I’m not French,” I say, breaking my silence. Chloe and Drew’s heads swivel to look at me.
     “I’m sorry about your coat,” I whisper, then I run toward Nick’s.
     Chloe bursts in the door behind me, the bell jingling in her wake. “I’m not French?” she screeches. “Those are the first words you spoke to Drew Danforth? Really?”
     “Well then, why did you tell him I was French?” I shout, ignoring the curious stares of everyone working on their laptops and the calming melody of whatever Nick put on to replace the Doobies.
     “I don’t know!” She throws her hands in the air. “You weren’t talking, so I thought I’d give you an interesting backstory!”
     I put my hands over my face. “This is ridiculous.”
     “No,” Chloe says, grabbing me by the shoulders. “This is your meet-cute, and now you need to go back out there and find him and say something that isn’t a negation of your Frenchness or an apology for destroying his probably very expensive coat.”
     “Meet what?”
     Nick stares at us from behind the counter, a dishtowel in his hand.
     “A meet-cute,” Chloe stands up straight, shoulders back, as if she’s delivering a Romantic Comedy 101 lecture to Nick and his patrons, “is the quirky, adorable, cute way the hero and heroine of a romantic comedy meet.”
     Everyone stares at her blankly.
     “Or hero and hero. Or heroine and heroine. Not to be heteronormative,” she clarifies.
     “Like how me and Martha met at her wedding,” Gary says.
     Chloe thinks about it. “I don’t know that I would necessarily call that one a meet-cute, but sure, Gary.”
     “Did you just make that up?” Nick asks, arms crossed.
     I shake my head. “No. It’s a thing.”
     “Watch a romantic comedy, dude,” Tobin says.
     Nick rolls his eyes.
     “Anyway,” Chloe continues, “Annie straight up ran into Drew Danforth and spilled a cup of coffee all over his coat, which is, like, the cutest of meets.”
     “That doesn’t sound very cute,” Nick says skeptically, rubbing the scruff on his chin. “Was it still hot?”
     “Scalding,” I say, sinking into my chair and resting my head on the table.
     “Sounds like a meet painful,” says Gary, and a few people laugh.
     “Thanks,” I mutter. “I’m so glad you all find my embarrassment entertaining.”
     “Annie!” Chloe sits down across from me as a customer walks in and the rest of the shop stops paying attention to us. “This isn’t embarrassing. This is merely a story I’ll tell in my toast at your wedding to Drew.”
     I lift my head to look at her. “I hate to break this to you, but I don’t think he’s my Tom Hanks. I think he’s just a famous guy with a possible third-degree burn on his chest. And now my first day on set is going to be super awkward because I accidentally assaulted the lead actor with a beverage.”
     Chloe’s about to say something, but then a song starts and she closes her mouth, looking up toward the speakers. “I swear to God, I told Nick not to play any more Bon Iver. It makes people look up their exes on Instagram, not buy coffee. I’m gonna go put on some Hall and Oates.”
     As she walks away, I rest my head on the table again. As if it wasn’t embarrassing enough to have my uncle get me a job on set, now I have to deal with this.

Praise for Kerry Winfrey:

“An endearing, klutzy heroine elevates this utterly charming romance [and] the plot’s many moving pieces add complexity. Chloe, lovable Uncle Don, and the local coffee shop’s colorful characters provide humor and heart in just the right places.”—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“What a total delight it was to read this book! A compelling, heartwarming, hilarious rom-com. I couldn’t stop turning the pages!”—New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster   

“This sweet story is a warm, favorite-sweater-wearing hug for anyone who believes that true love doesn’t only happen in the movies.”—kc dyer, author of Finding Fraser

“The perfect blend of humor and romance…Waiting for Tom Hanks is a romantic comedy full of heart, humor, and a delicious dose of reality.”—Wandereader


Kerry Winfrey is the author of LOVE AND OTHER ALIEN EXPERIENCES and THINGS JOLIE NEEDS TO DO BEFORE SHE BITES IT. She’s written for many websites, including HelloGiggles. When she’s not writing, she’s most likely baking yet another batch of cookies or watching far, far too many romantic comedies. She lives with her husband, baby, and dog in the middle of Ohio.

You can find her on:

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Spotlight: A Rogue By Night by Kelly Bowen

From the author who Sarah MacLean calls "a charming, clever, and engaging storyteller" comes the next regency romance in the witty and sexy Devils of Dover series!

Publication date: May 28, 2019
Published by: Forever
Genre: historical romance

Add on Goodreads


Baron. Physician. Smuggler. Sir Harland Hayward is living a double life as an aristocrat by day and a criminal by night. As a doctor, Harland has the perfect cover to appear in odd places in the dead of night, a cover he uses to his advantage to bring in all sorts of illicit cargo from across the English Channel. He's chosen this life to save his family from financial ruin, but he draws the line at taking advantage of the honest and trustworthy Katherine Wright.

Katherine has returned to Dover to find that her family is working for a mysterious new crime boss. Growing up in a family of smugglers, she knows it's only a matter of time before they are caught—and killed. So after her brother is shot, she convinces her family to move away and start over. After they honor their last contract, of course. With her injured brother and elderly father unable to work, Katherine reluctantly steps back into the life she had left behind. And straight into the path of the merciless Harland Hayward.

Purchase your copy now!
Amazon | Google | iBooks  | B&N | Kobo 

Praise for Kelly Bowen:

"Wonderful! A charming, clever, and engaging storyteller not to be missed."―Sarah MacLean, New York Times bestselling author

"Where have you been all my life, Kelly Bowen? If Julia Quinn, Sarah MacLean, and Lisa Kleypas were to extract their writing DNA, mix it in a blender, and have a love child, Kelly Bowen would be it."―HeroesandHeartbreakers.com

"Top Pick! 4 1/2 stars! What a way to start the Devils of Dover series! Readers will adore the dark playboy and the smart, witty heroine who teaches him a lesson (a la Pretty Woman). This is a book not only to savor, but a keeper that will stay in your heart."―RT Book Reviews on A Duke in the Night

"If you read one historical romance this year, make sure it's this one. I can not wait to see what comes next in this series. Final Grade-A."―Fiction Vixen on A Duke in the Night

"Oh reader, there's so much to love about A Duke in the Night - and this review only scratches the surface. The love story and lovely tribute to early feminism are both fabulous and so well done. Elegant, romantic and engaging, A Duke in the Night is one of the best romance novels of 2018."
―All About Romance on A Duke in the Night


Kelly Bowen grew up in Manitoba, Canada. She worked her way through her teenage years as a back country trail guide and ranch hand. She attended the University of Manitoba and earned a Master of Science degree in veterinary physiology and endocrinology.

But it was Kelly's infatuation with history and a weakness for a good love story that led her down the path of historical romance. When she is not writing, she seizes every opportunity to explore ruins and battlefields.

Currently, Kelly lives in Winnipeg with her husband and two boys, all of whom are wonderfully patient with the writing process. Except, that is, when they need a goalie for street hockey.

You can find her on: