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

PLAYING FOR KEEPS by Jill Shalvis

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

Monday, February 18, 2019

Review: The Risk by Elle Kennedy


A sexy standalone novel from New York Times and international bestselling author Elle Kennedy. THE RISK takes you back to the world of hot hockey players, feisty heroines, bro banter, and steamy scenes... 


THE RISK by ELLE KENNEDY
Publication date: February 18, 2019
Series: Briar #2
Genre: new adult romance

Everyone says I’m a bad girl. They’re only partly right—I don’t let fear rule me, and I certainly don’t care what people think. But I draw the line at sleeping with the enemy. As the daughter of Briar’s head hockey coach, I’d be vilified if I hooked up with a player from a rival team.

And that’s who Jake Connelly is. Harvard’s star forward is arrogant, annoying, and too attractive for his own good. But fate is cruel—I require his help to secure a much-coveted internship, and the sexy jerk isn’t making it easy for me.

I need Connelly to be my fake boyfriend.

For every fake date…he wants a real one.

Which means this bad girl is in big trouble. Nothing good can come from sneaking around with Jake Connelly. My father would kill me, my friends will revolt, and my post-college career is on the line. But while it’s getting harder and harder to resist Jake’s oozing sex appeal and cocky grin, I refuse to fall for him.

That’s the one risk I’m not willing to take.

Purchase your copy now!
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Praise for Elle Kennedy's The Risk

"Elle Kennedy writes the best sports romances! The Risk was an unputdownable, funny, steamy novel that now has me hooked on reading about hot hockey players!” — New York Times bestselling author Penelope Ward

“Elle Kennedy is the queen of hate-to-love-you sexy romance! A 2019 favorite!”
— Vi Keeland, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Briar U just keeps getting hotter!”
— Sarina Bowen, USA Today bestselling author of Brooklynaire

“The Risk is the perfect combination of humor, heart and heat. No one writes deliciously sexy and laugh-out-loud funny better than Elle Kennedy. I loved this book!” — USA Today bestselling author Nikki Sloane

About Elle Kennedy


A New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.

Elle currently writes for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!

You can find her on:
Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Blog


REVIEW

The Risk (Briar U #2)The Risk by Elle Kennedy
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars


Elle Kennedy is really talented when it comes to not only creating intriguing secondary characters, but building excitement for who they are going to be matched with in future books. That's definitely the case when I read The Chase and saw the friction between Brenna and Jake. Although I didn't love the first in the series, the potential enemies to lovers story had me clamoring to get ahold of their book. This author does snarky dialogue and banter like no other, and she created two characters who couldn't have been better matched on the sarcasm front. Brenna is full of fire. She's blunt, bold, and outrageous. Jake Connelly, the hotshot forward on Harvard's team, enjoys nothing more than teasing and getting a reaction out of her. When they went head to head, all you could do was sit back and enjoy the show.

    Connelly is the captain of the Harvard hockey team, AKA, THE ENEMY.

Even from the very beginning, it was obvious that neither disliked each other. Drawn? Attracted? Yes. Even when she was laying into him with a well-crafted insult. Instead of getting offended by her snark, he admired her even more for it. Not only did he think she was drop dead gorgeous, confident, and funny, he respected her assertiveness. She knew what she wanted, and she went after it with everything she had.

    Melodic laughter spills out of her throat. I can’t deny I like hearing it. No, I like knowing that I’m the one who made her laugh.

Jake is the kind of guy that has charisma coming out of his pores. You can't help but like the guy, as personable and outgoing as he is because he isn't full of his own importance. Even though he's almost secured a spot at stardom in the professionals, he's still grounded and hasn't let it get to his head. There really isn't much conflict revolving around him, it's mostly related to Brenna. She carries around some heavy baggage that she doesn't allow anyone to see. A broken relationship with her father and a disaster of a past romance in high school that continues to weigh on her life occupy a lot of her headspace. She's come a long way from the rebellious teen that she used to be, but she can't seem to fully put the past behind her. She's worked hard to improve herself and reach for her goals, but in the eyes of her father, she's still the same disappointing person who can't be trusted.

    I wonder how other people cope with the knowledge that their parents are ashamed of them. The weight of my father’s shame has been pressing down on my shoulders for years, and I’ve yet to find a way to deal with it.

Her one and only serious relationship failed, and it failed epically. Since then, she's lost all desire for emotional entanglements. After all, her ex wasn't capable of being there for her at her lowest and darkest. Why should she risk her heart again if it was all in vain? She had a goal to make it in the sports broadcasting industry, and nothing was going to stand in her way. Thing is, it was a little hard for her to get her foot in the door when her potential boss at her dream job was a sexist pig. That's where Jake comes in and things get interesting. As her internship interview is clearly tanking, she drops Jake's name and the next thing she knows, she's agreeing to bring her "boyfriend" to his house for dinner. Could annoying, cheeky Jake be the key to getting her big break?

Based on the synopsis, I thought there would be more involved with their "fake relationship" but it was literally one fake/real date and that was it. There wasn't any slow burn involved with these two, though there was definitely some resistance involved. As the captain of the team, he didn't want to become distracted at a crucial point in the season. She had trust issues a mile wide, and a fear of getting too close because he was on a fast track to stardom after Harvard. In a few short months, he'd be gone.

Jake steadily broke down her walls and it didn't take long for him to want to explore where they could go. He supported her as she worked for her internship and listened when she was ready to open up to him about the guilt that was still ruling her. His friend Hazel wasn't the most supportive, and that was really the only drama added in on his end. Hazel didn't trust Brenna and wasn't afraid to say it. She was not very likable for a lot of the book but I still understood where she was coming from, and in the end she saw the error of her ways.

Brenna and her dad's heart to heart was one of the best parts of the book for me. She needed to find the courage to confront him about the distance they couldn't seem to bridge since her teens. Once they were able to communicate and be honest with one another, it was a beautiful thing to see their relationship bloom. As usual, Elle Kennedy had me so entertained that an over 400 page book felt like it flew by way too fast. The bubble butt scene in particular had me choking in hilarity. The boys' conversation...the coach's reaction when he walked in? Pure gold. By far, this is my favorite out of the first two in the series. This couple was so well paired and there was relatively no excess drama to be found. There's something about this author's writing that keeps me coming back for more every time. If you're looking for a light and fun NA read with a healthy dose of steam, look no further.

    I have faith that he’ll always choose me, always choose us.


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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Cover Reveal: Things We Never Said by Samantha Young




THINGS WE NEVER SAID by SAMANTHA YOUNG
Expected publication date: May 7, 2019
Series: Hart's Boardwalk #3
Genre: contemporary romance


Synopsis

Local metalsmith and gift shop owner, Dahlia McGuire, likes her quiet life in Hartwell, Delaware. It's the perfect place to hide from her family and the tragic events that led to their estrangement. However, when her father, the person she loves most in the world, needs her Dahlia has no choice but to return to Boston to face her ghosts. One of those happens to be her ex-boyfriend's best friend, Michael Sullivan. The man she was never supposed to fall in love with.

Michael Sullivan has never forgotten Dahlia McGuire. Some might say he’s never gotten over her. For years he lived with the anger of her desertion, and now, newly-divorced, he’s finally ready to move on. That proves impossible when Dahlia returns to Boston and reawakens their explosive connection. Despite everything, Michael wants her back, but Dahlia can’t seem to let go of the tangled emotions of the past. When she flees home to Hartwell, Michael follows, determined to do everything in his power to convince her they belong together.

However, when the unthinkable hits the quiet seaside town, Michael finds himself trying to unravel more than the mystery of Dahlia's broken heart. It's time for truths left unsaid to finally be spoken or Michael and Dahlia might find themselves torn apart forever…

US Preorder Links:

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About the Author


Samantha Young is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows. Fight or Flight, a new standalone to be published by Berkley Romance, is out October 9th 2018. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha's YA contemporary novels The Impossible Vastness of Us and The Fragile Ordinary are published by Harlequin Teen. Her next adult contemporary romance As Dust Dances releases August 7th 2018. It follows the story of homeless ex-poprock star Skylar Finch and the ambitious Scottish A&R Exec Killian O'Dea who shakes up life as she knows it. Samantha is from a small town in Central Scotland and is known for her romantic stories set in her beloved home country. She is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author. When she's not writing books, she's buying shoes she doesn't really need and searching for nooks and crannies to shelve her ever-expanding book collection. To learn more head on over to her website.


Review: The Governess by Christi Caldwell




THE GOVERNESS by CHRISTI CALDWELL
Publication date: February 12, 2019
Published by: Montlake 
Series: Wicked Wallflowers #3
Genre: historical romance

Regina (Reggie) Spark has loved Broderick Killoran, the resourceful and protective proprietor of the Devil’s Den, ever since he saved her from the streets and made her his right hand at the notorious gaming hell. For just as long, Reggie has never admitted her true feelings for him. Nor has she revealed her spirited ambitions—to buck convention and expectations and open a music hall.

While Broderick built his gaming empire with ruthless cunning, his loyalty to his employees is boundless. So when he learns of Reggie’s plan to leave his side and take charge of her own future, the betrayal cuts Broderick to the core. He responds as he would to any business rival…with swift retribution.

Instead of wilting, the savvy Reggie rebounds with a fury that shocks Broderick and stirs a desire he’s been holding in reserve for only ladies of nobility. But as their seductive battle of wills ignites under the harsh spotlight of the London Season, secrets are exposed as well—ones that could be ruinous in decent society but invaluable for the heart.

Purchase your copy now!
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Praise for Christi Caldwell’s The Wallflowers Series 

“[A]n atmospheric and captivating romance." —​Publishers Weekly o​n ​The Hellion
"The story gave me the angst and emotion I wanted and an ending that satisfied." —Red Hot Books ​on​ The Vixen

About Christi Caldwell

USA Today bestselling author Christi Caldwell blames novelist Judith McNaught for luring her into the world of historical romance. When Christi was at the University of Connecticut, she began writing her own tales of love—ones where even the most perfect heroes and heroines had imperfections. She learned to enjoy torturing her couples before they earned their well-deserved happily ever afters.

The author of The Hellion in her Wicked Wallflowers series, Christi lives in Southern Connecticut, where she spends her time writing, chasing after her son, and taking care of her twin princesses-in-training.

You can find her on:
Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Blog


REVIEW

The Governess (Wicked Wallflowers, #3)The Governess by Christi Caldwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Christi Caldwell has quickly become a new top favorite author in the historical romance genre for me. I recently binged on The Sinful Brides series and the first two in the Wicked Wallflowers back to back because once I started, I was utterly addicted. I gobbled them up like they were my last meal before a long fast.

    Only Broderick Killoran could issue a threat in a silken whisper that painted it as seduction instead of ruin.

I'm going to be honest and admit that Broderick Killoran was not high on my list of characters that I was especially excited to read about. As the head of the Killoran clan and the Devil's Den, he's certainly the most powerful. He's a man who's willing to play dirty in the cutthroat streets of the Dials in order to give his siblings financial security. But his obsession with marrying off any one of his sisters to a nobleman didn't incite any warm and squishy feelings. I never really understood his laser focus on making that happen, despite his sisters' aversion to sacrificing themselves. I should have known better than to be anything less than excited for his book. Somehow Caldwell not only meets, but far exceeds my expectations. I don't know how she keeps doing it, but each couple seems to impress me more than the last.

I knew going in that this was going to be a secret unrequited love story, so I was hoping for all of the angst that goes along with it. Let me assure you, it did not disappoint. Regina "Reggie" Spark is the governess to Broderick's younger brother and sisters, and has become one of the few people he trusts in the world. Reggie has been harboring some very inconvenient feelings for her employer that she's sure he will never return. There were hints in the series that she felt something deep for him, but he never had a clue about her turmoil. She was his employee (and practically a member of the family as far as he was concerned,) so that was a line he couldn't fathom crossing.

Reggie has decided that for her own peace of mind, she must separate herself from the family and start her own business. She plans to open her own music hall which will not only give her her own independence, but it will also give the prostitutes from the Devil's Den a new life where they don't have to sell their bodies to survive. I admired Reggie's strength and tenacity from page one. She wants to make something of herself and follow her passion for music, and it took a lot of guts to make the decision to put herself first. Knowing that Broderick would see her move as a betrayal against him, she pushed on with her plans because she knew she couldn't continue to be dependent on this ruthless man. She had to make her own way in life, with or without his approval.

    Ten years ago, nearly to the date, Broderick had saved her. On this day, Reggie would save herself.

When Broderick discovers her secret plans, the retribution is swift and brutal. He isn't willing to listen to her explanations or motivations, and sets a trap to keep her under his control. Thing is, Reggie isn't the type to be backed into a corner or bullied, and the sparks start flying. She was the perfect adversary for him because she knew every one of his secrets and intimidation tactics. And despite his broken trust, he can't help but admire the fire, wit, and courage she displays. Out of his admiration grows an attraction that he's determined to resist.

It was a relief to finally get inside Broderick's head so that I could understand him better. Previously he always seemed very self-absorbed and single minded in his attempts to:

1) Make money
2) Form connections to the nobility through advantageous marriages with his sisters

Leading the life he has, first with Diggory, and then making a name for himself in the unforgiving streets of the Dials, his only objective has been to give the Killorans safety. They believe that he wants to increase his own fortune and social standing, but he's worried what will become of them if his enemies ever get the better of him. His role is the protector, because he's determined to do a better job than his own weak father who led him to the underbelly of London. Even as the noose is tightening around his neck as his past catches up with him, he's resigned to the inevitable. Gertrude is his last unmarried sister, and he's dead set on giving her a season where she will meet a husband who will take care of her.

I wasn't prepared for how tragic Reggie's backstory would be. The combination of the slow burn, enemies to lovers tension, and uncovering her painful past created a serious amount of emotion that had my heart fluttering inside my chest. She was such a broken heroine, and yet she gritted her teeth and faced every obstacle with incredible bravery. There were several times in the last chapters that I got choked up and barely held myself back from crying as she healed from all of the hurt she had been hiding.

Not only did I fall head over heels for Broderick, but his spoiled brother Stephen finally brought me around to his corner. I never thought I would like him after what he did to the Black family, but he proved that he had some honor in him by the end. Stephen's father, Lord Edwin's vendetta against Broderick was at the center of all of the threads of the plot. I was on the edge of my seat as they all started to weave together and rush towards the conclusion. There is much more of the story to be told in regards to Edwin, and I'll be interested to see how the author reconciles his relationship with his son.

If you haven't read a Christi Caldwell book, you are missing out. Her writing is instantly engaging and highly addictive. The characters she creates are flawed, three dimensional people that you have to learn more about. They're like a puzzle with scattered pieces you need to study and put back together again. And that's exactly what she's done with Broderick and Reggie. Two broken people find an unexpected love together that binds them and gives them strength to overcome their pasts. I highly recommend this series, and cannot wait for Gertrude's book, The Bluestocking which is scheduled for publication in May.

    A taste of her was a mere taunt. Temptation. Sin wrapped in splendor. And he wanted all of her, rules of honor be damned.


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Spotlight: The Beast's Heart by Leife Shallcross


A sumptuously magical, brand new take on a tale as old as time—read the Beast's side of the story at long last.


THE BEAST'S HEART by LEIFE SHALLCROSS
Publication date: February 12, 2019
Published by: Berkley/Ace
Genre: fantasy, fairy tale retelling

I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.

I am the Beast.

The day I was cursed to this wretched existence was the day I was saved—although it did not feel so at the time.

My redemption sprung from contemptible roots; I am not proud of what I did the day her father happened upon my crumbling, isolated chateau. But if loneliness breeds desperation then I was desperate indeed, and I did what I felt I must. My shameful behaviour was unjustly rewarded.

My Isabeau. She opened my eyes, my mind and my heart; she taught me how to be human again.

And now I might lose her forever.

Purchase your copy now!
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Praise for The Beast's Heart

“What a delight! This is a beautifully crafted, deeply romantic reworking of the fairy tale.”—Juliet Marillier, author of the Blackthorn & Grim series

“A lush retelling of my favorite fairytale classic. Beautiful, poignant, and enchanting…Leife Shallcross’s Beast shines.”—C. L. Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of The Sea King

"Glorious…. retells Beauty and the Beast in a compelling and surprising novel filled with peril, darkness, romance and beauty."—Kate Forsyth, author of Bitter Greensand The Wild Girl

“Utterly beautiful. . . . Gorgeous writing, magical romance at its best.”—Sam Hawke, author of City of Lies

"Leife Shallcross weaves her words like a fairytale enchantment. . . . like nothing you've read."—Angela Slatter, World Fantasy Award-winning author of The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings


About Leife Shallcross


Leife Shallcross’s first novel, The Beast’s Heart, a "luxuriously magical retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale", will be published by Hodder & Stoughton in May 2018. She is also the author of several short stories, including Pretty Jennie Greenteeth, which won the 2016 Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Short Story. Leife has a bit of a thing for fairy tales, and is particularly inspired by those characters that tend to fall into the cracks of the usual stories.

You can find her on:

Monday, February 11, 2019

Release Blitz: Motion by Penny Reid

LIVE01.jpg

Motion, the first in the all-new Laws of Physics Trilogy from Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestselling author Penny Reid, is available now!

LOP_MOTION.jpg

One week.
Home alone.
Girl genius.
Unrepentant slacker.
What’s the worst that could happen?
Mona is a smart girl and had everything figured out a long time ago. She had to. She didn’t have a choice. When your parents are uber-celebrities and you graduate from high school at thirteen, finish college at seventeen, and start your PhD program at eighteen, you don’t have time for distractions outside of your foci. Even fun is scheduled.
Which is why Abram, her brother’s best friend, is such an irritant.
Abram is a talented guy, a supremely gifted musician, and has absolutely nothing figured out, nor does he seem to care. He does what he feels, when he feels, and—in Mona’s opinion—he makes her feel entirely too much.
Laws of Physics is the second trilogy in the Hypothesis series; Laws of Physics parts 1 (MOTION) & 2 (SPACE) end with a cliffhanger.

RB_BANNER.jpg

Download your copy today!
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/Motion
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2DoH8pv
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2T4ebo9
Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2U1pnSv
Teaser01.jpg

Pre-order the rest of the series today!

Space
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/SpacePR
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2RRny94
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2tfBT5C

Time
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/TimePR
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2Sm1Zmu
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2WSQbXe

Meet Penny Reid:
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Penny Reid is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Best Selling Author of the Winston Brothers, Knitting in the City, Rugby, and Hypothesis series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she just writes books. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.
Connect with Penny:

Friday, February 8, 2019

Review: Motion by Penny Reid

One week.
Home alone.
Girl genius.
Unrepentant slacker.
Big lie.
What’s the worst that could happen?


MOTION by PENNY REID
Series: Laws of Physics #1
Release date: February 11, 2019
Cliffhanger: YES
Genre: Contemporary romance


SYNOPSIS

Mona is a smart girl and figured everything out a long time ago. She had to. She didn’t have a choice. When your parents are uber-celebrities and you graduate from high school at fifteen, finish college at eighteen, and start your PhD program at nineteen, you don’t have time for distractions outside of your foci. Even fun is scheduled. Which is why Abram, her brother’s best friend, is such an irritant.

Abram is a talented guy, a supremely gifted musician, and has absolutely nothing figured out, nor does he seem to care. He does what he feels, when he feels, and—in Mona’s opinion—he makes her feel entirely too much.

Laws of Physics is the second trilogy in the Hypothesis series; Laws of Physics parts 1 (MOTION) & 2 (SPACE) end with a cliffhanger.

Goodreads




PRAISE FOR MOTION:

"I. Am. In. Awe. This book is just everything!" -- L.J. Shen, #1 Bestselling Author

"I have no words, I'm actually speechless. I NEED THE NEXT BOOK RIGHT NOW!!" --Amo Jones, Bestselling Author
"A thoroughly adorkable story that will keep you flipping pages long after bedtime--or until the wolves come." -- Kayti McGee, Author

"Penny Reid continues to up her "smart romance" game with this New Adult gem." --Reading Frenzy Book Blog
"As much as I love this author's humor, I really appreciate that she integrates social topics into her stories in order to bring more awareness." -- Smokin' Hot Book Blog
"A Penny Reid book at its finest. Hilariously entertaining, slow burn romance, and amazing characters that will be the stars of your dreams, for months after reading this gorgeous story." -- Wrapped Up in Reading Book Blog

"You can never go wrong when picking up a book by Penny Reid. Whether it's laughs you're looking for or some sweet new adult romance, she's got the story for you." -- The Biblioholic

"...you'll forgive her for a brutal cliffhanger and be very glad you got to hang out for a while with the wonderful characters she creates." -- Author April White
"I was grinning the whole time, which is a trademark result of reading one of Ms. Reid's Smart Romances." -- Cover to Cover

"Motion was pretty much the reader getting to witness the beginning of something wonderful. Something unique and elaborate but so very, very delicate. It's beautifully staged and wonderfully written, where the characters are as multifaceted and alluring as every other player in the Penny Reid world." -- Emerald Book Reviews
"I couldn't get enough of the dynamic and burgeoning attraction between Mona and Abram, and I am so excited to pick up with the story left off with the release of Space." --Nightbird Novels


Purchase the book here:


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Penny Reid is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she just writes books. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja. 

Connect with Penny:

Twitter: @ReidRomance


Motion (Laws of Physics, #1; Hypothesis, #2.1)Motion by Penny Reid
My rating: 5 of 5 stars








This is the first in the Laws of Physics trilogy, and as you would expect in a three book story arc, you're going to be left hanging in suspense a couple of times. I'm not gonna lie, Penny had me more than a little concerned about this cliffy she was warning us all about on social media. It got to the point where I was dreading the end of the book. (And not just because I was enjoying it and didn't want it to end.) Maybe my nervousness and fear of the unknown had built my expectations up, but it really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be! Though you WILL be consumed with curiosity about what comes next, make no mistake. I immediately went to read the synopsis for Space to hunt for some clues.

When Mona gets a call from her twin sister Lisa pleading for her help, she very reluctantly agrees. Leaving a PhD program interview in order to play the part of her sister for a week? It's a recipe for disaster. The two sisters are identical in looks, but complete opposites in every other way. Mona has always been the smart and responsible one, Lisa is the attention seeking wild child. One is a social butterfly, the other has difficulty relating to other people's humor and interacting socially. Mona is conservative and regimented, Lisa is flashy and impulsive.

Of course, I immediately loved the heroine for her gargantuan brain, her soft heart, and overall awkward ways. But she has this vulnerability to her as well that so easily endears you. Growing up with two famous rockstar parents, she was left to her own devices most of the time, even shipped off to live with a Professor in her teens. There was never anyone she could confide in, or a safe place for her to feel protected. It seemed like such a lonely life, especially one who's a little bit different and sees things at a deeper level than most people care to look. Mona has so much to offer, but often she's laughed at for her unique qualities or gawked at like a science experiment. That made me so sad for her.

    The universe—in all its infinite complexity and beauty—struck me as an apt reverse allegory for human interaction. We are deceived by the white dots. We label them stars. Often, they’re so much more. Layered. Complex. Important. Surprising. Beautiful.

We met Abram as a secondary character in the Elements in Chemistry series, and now we get to see him front and center here. He was always that broody and quiet character you wanted to know more about, with a heck of a lot of smolder. In this first installment, he still very much gave off that mysterious persona, and it took some time for him to warm up to Mona. It doesn't help that she's forced to act like her ill-mannered sister in order to pull off their ruse. On one hand, she wants to just be herself and forget all of the deception that surrounds their relationship. On the other, she can't very well throw her sister under the bus because of this uncomfortable attraction she can't begin to figure out what to do with. Her preconception of him as a surly, slacker musician is dismantled and shuffled into a new image. Her true personality falls through the cracks of her facade, and he can't help but smile at her unexpected intelligence and humor.

Her entire relationship with him during the week is based on fabrications and lies, and I was really nervous to find out how he would react when the truth was out. He's sweet and passionate with those he chooses to give his trust to, but when that trust is broken...it's not going to end well. Let's just say that I was reading with one eye closed while peeking through my fingers as the slow burn heated up. I half wanted to smoosh their faces together, half wanted to pull Abram away from the inevitable hurt and protect him. There didn't seem to be an easy way out of the predicament they landed in.

I can't say enough about the predictably witty and sharp science humor. You expect to laugh when you pick up a Penny Reid book, and belly laugh I DID. Mona's fierce battle over her chocolate donuts, the puns and whale jokes were just a few of the reasons why I couldn't stop smiling. But the book also explored the themes of sexual harassment and consent, and how males aren't given equal care when they are the victim. As much as I love this author's humor, I really appreciate that she integrates social topics into her stories in order to bring more awareness.

Mona and Abram had a ton of chemistry together that we just started to scratch the surface to see. I cannot wait to continue the series and see how their unconventional connection will unfold.

**Though there is a connection to characters from other series, this is a complete standalone.

Part two, Space is scheduled to release March 11, 2019.


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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Cover Reveal: This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman



The first book in a new Regency romance series, an heiress and a rogue accidentally end up in a secret marriage of convenience.



THIS EARL OF MINE by KATE BATEMAN
Series: Bow Street Bachelors #1
Release date: October 29, 2019
Genre: historical romance


Synopsis

In a desperate bid to keep her fortune out of her cousin’s hands, shipping heiress Georgiana Caversteed marries a condemned criminal in Newgate prison. The scoundrel’s first kiss is shockingly heated, but Georgie never expects to see her husband again. Until she spots him across a crowded ballroom. Notorious rogue Benedict Wylde never expected a wife. He was in Newgate undercover, working for Bow Street. To keep their marriage of convenience a secret, Wylde courts Georgie in public, but the more time they spend together, the more their attraction sparks. Could an heiress with the world at her feet find happiness with a penniless rake? Kate Bateman's This Earl of Mine is a delightful start to the Bow Street Bachelors series, with witty banter, dynamic characters, and swoon-worthy romance.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Review: The Antidote by Shelley Sackier


Laini Taylor meets Sara Holland in this lavish fantasy from lauded historical romance author Shelley Sackier!




THE ANTIDOTE by SHELLEY SACKIER
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA fantasy
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Publisher: HarperTeen


Synopsis

Magic is not allowed, under any circumstances — even if it could save someone’s life. Instead, there are herbal remedies and traditional techniques that have been painstakingly recorded in lieu of using the mystical arts. Fee knows this, so she keeps her magic a secret.

Except her best friend, Xavi, is deathly ill. He’s also the crown prince. Saving him is important, not only for her, but for the entire kingdom.

Fee’s desperation to save her friend means she can barely contain the magic inside her. And after the tiniest of slips, Fee is thrust into a dark and secretive world that is as alluring as it is dangerous.

If she gives in, it could mean she can save Xavi. But it also means that those who wish to snuff out magic might just snuff her out in the process.

Purchase the book!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shelley Sackier grew up in a small farming community in Northern Wisconsin continually searching for ways to grow warm. Realizing she would never be able to enjoy ice cream like real people should, she left the state and lived the blissful life of a traveling musician. Discovering her stories needed more space than two verses a bridge and a chorus could provide, she began storytelling in earnest. And then in Virginia. Which is where she lives now and continues to write.

Her first novel, DEAR OPL (Sourcebooks 2015), is a tale about a snarky, overweight thirteen-year old, who suffers from loss everywhere in her life except on her body.

Her next novel, The Freemason's Daughter (HarperCollins, 2017) is a story about a 16 yr old Scottish girl living in 1715 who's raised entirely by six burly Scotsman--and they're all smugglers. The Antidote (HarperCollins February 2019) is a YA novel about magic and medicine, and the witches who wield them both.


To learn more about Shelley, visit shelleysackier.com where she blogs weekly about living on a small farm atop a mountain in the Blue Ridge and how it’s easiest to handle most of it with home grown food, a breathless adoration for tractors, and a large dose of single malt scotch.

Follow her: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest


REVIEW



The AntidoteThe Antidote by Shelley Sackier
My rating: 3 of 5 stars







    Like a pernicious weed, they will pull you out by the roots and destroy you. Keep your secret close, for your enemies are all around you.”

The Antidote revolves around three central characters: Ophelia "Fee," Xavi, and Rye. The beginning of the story introduces you to them as children. The three of them are thick as thieves, and from an early age they knew they would be connected to each other all of their lives. Fee and Rye are bound in an arranged marriage set up by their parents. Xavi and Rye are brothers and heirs to the Firelli kingdom, one of the four that make up Aethusa. They all knew their destiny, their futures were mapped out for them: Fee would eventually be the castle healer after her apprenticeship is finished. Xavi would become King, and Rye his right-hand advisor. Rather than feeling trapped, there was a comfort in that for them. Firelli mines produced precious metals that left the kingdom prosperous and financially secure. Until one day, those mines released a toxin that wiped out huge numbers of the population and left chaos in its wake.

The three have all lost their parents and must adjust to the disaster that's befallen them. A ten year quarantine is ordered for the safety of everyone. For the first time they must be separated. During those ten years, "The antidote" is administered to the survivors by her mentor, Savva in order to prevent any possible further deaths. Fee goes from a precocious, sassy girl to a lonely, hollowed out young woman.

    She’d not been allowed to feel the edges of anything for ten years. She’d been held prisoner smack dab in the middle of an insipid life, intentionally held back from the spectrum of experience available.

For a short while, I was worried there would be a love triangle and maybe she would fall for sweet Xavi, but it didn't take long to see that she really only saw him as a brother. As for Rye, it took me a while to get a handle on what type of person he was. He had prejudices against those with magic and I didn't think that bode well for his future with the heroine. For several reasons. One thing remained clear throughout: they both deeply loved Xavi, and would do anything in order to protect him. They would have to work together to not only find a cure for his mysterious illness, but to save the kingdom from unknown malicious enemies. Fee was a strong female lead that showed a lot of courage and grit. She's the kind of person you would want in your corner because she doesn't give up on those she loves. In the end, she must decide what she's willing to sacrifice for the good of Firelli. Even if it's something that will change her life irrevocably for the worse.

The magic was interesting, though it wasn't a very complex system by any means. My reason for not rating higher was because the first half of the book I had some problems staying engaged with the story, and and it caused the pace to drag. I liked the main characters it took me a while to feel any enthusiasm for them because of it. The author keeps you guessing as to who is truly out to harm whom which eventually did draw me into the story more. On the positive side, this book is a standalone YA fantasy. There are a lot of trilogies/series saturating the genre, and it's nice to see a book with a complete ending for a change. While I did have some issues in the beginning, I enjoyed the story overall.


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