A MONSTER LIKE ME by Pamela Sparkman

Heart of Darkness series #2

BEARD IN MIND by Penny Reid

Winston Brothers series #4

THE BUTTERFLY PROJECT by Emma Scott

Companion to the Full Tilt series

THE HUNTING GROUNDS by Katee Robert

Hidden Sins series #2

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

Friday, December 30, 2016

Review: Hard Hitter by Sarina Bowen


Title: Hard Hitter
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #2
Author: Sarina Bowen
Release date: January 3, 2017
Cliffhanger: No
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis:

He’s a fighter in the rink, but he’s about to learn that playing nice can help you score...

As team captain and enforcer, Patrick O'Doul puts the bruise in the Brooklyn Bruisers. But after years of hard hits, O'Doul is feeling the burn, both physically and mentally. He conceals his pain from his coach and trainers, but when his chronic hip injury becomes too obvious to ignore, they send him for sessions with the team’s massage therapist.

After breaking up with her long-term boyfriend, Ari Bettini is in need of peace of mind. For now, she’s decided to focus on her work: rehabilitating the Bruisers’ MVP. O'Doul is easy on the eyes, but his reaction to her touch is ice cold. Ari is determined to help O'Doul heal, but as the tension between them turns red hot, they both learn that a little TLC does the body good...


Hard Hitter is the story of Patrick O'Doul, the team captain/enforcer. O'Doul has always been perceived as grumpy and standoffish, but in this book, we get to see a whole new vulnerable and softer side to him. Honestly, I didn't even really feel as if he was that grumpy, to me he seemed simply like a quiet loner. He was just waiting for the right person to come into his life and bring some sunshine into his drab world and Ari was just the woman to deliver.

Ari Bettini is the team massage therapist and yoga instructor. At a quick glance, I think just about anyone would say that her personality is the polar opposite of Patrick. She's bright, outgoing, and people are almost drawn to her. While he's friendly enough with the team, he doesn't go out of his way to be sociable or allow others into his personal space. It goes beyond aversion, it causes him real anxiety and he avoids it at all costs.

His problem with people touching him stems from a violent childhood in the group home he lived in. Being forced to fight for food and defend himself against constant, unprovoked attacks was a double-edged sword. On one hand, his struggle made him stronger, and eventually learned the skills to make a successful career for himself on the team. On the other, the lack of love and a real family pushed him away from making close connections with people. This causes a real problem when he's ordered to see Ari for therapeutic massages for his injured hip.

Their sessions start out awkward, but her patience and sensitivity to his anxiety have him slowly giving her his trust. He's a little rough around the edges, but after you get him to open up a little, under the surface he's one of the most protective and loyal guys you'll ever find. Once he discovers that Ari's ex is harassing her, he does everything he can to make sure she's safe and protected. And when his sights are finally set on making her his? Nothing can deter him.

You’re everything that I want, and everything I need. You already have my heart, and I don’t want it back. You understand?”

Ari was a little more difficult to love. I didn't dislike her, but I just didn't love her either. She had a massive amount of baggage from her recent breakup, and she wasn't in the best place to even consider seeing anyone new. I did understand her need to keep her distance, yet it stretched on too long for my personal taste. I felt like he was pushing for her to let him in over and over, and she refused to give him an inch. She kept coming up with reasons why they would never work instead of taking that leap of faith-even after he proved himself over and beyond.

“You are a tough sell, Ariana.” He removed her hand from his face and kissed her palm. “I don’t know what I have to do to win you over. But I’m gonna keep trying. You hear me?”

This book was difficult for me to get into initially, but once I did, I enjoyed spending time with the team again. I'm hoping the Bruisers' owner Nate could eventually get his own book, maybe a standalone. He intrigued me so much and his story would be amazing to read.

Book three, Pipe Dreams is Beacon's book and will be out in May.


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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Release Blitz with Giveaway: Complex Kisses by Kim Bailey

Complex Kisses

by Kim Bailey 
Publication Date: December 29, 2016 
Genres: Contemporary, Romance

  complex-kisses_ecover

Read for FREE in KindleUnlimited: Amazon


When lost and living in the moment … … can you be found with just a kiss? Jamie Hartley ran away, leaving grief and heartache behind. Lost on her own. Raising a child. Her plan is simple. Make it through. Find her path. Survive. Eric Anderson walked away, abandoning plans and expectations. Living day to day. Waiting for miracles. His goal is complicated. Make it through. Find a way. Endure. In stolen moments of passion and pleasure, Jamie and Eric find reprieve from their complex lives. Together, they eases the burdens. Together, they soothe the pain. But can they recognize the future when it finds them? Here and now.

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About Kim Bailey

Kim Bailey is a Canadian author. She’s a born procrastinator and sarcasm junkie. She gets her motivation from coffee, the fact that her teenage children haven’t disowned her, and the smile on her husband’s face when she tells him “maybe”. When she was young and naïve, Kim dreamed of being a documentary filmmaker, and script writer. But when real life happened, she went to a job that actually paid her. Now she’s a customer support specialist by day and romance writer by night. Writing is something she’s always done – she has about 20 million half-started story ideas. She may also be a slight exaggerator. Kim promised herself to set her fears aside and make the dream real. She’s working on that, one day at a time.


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Monday, December 26, 2016

Review: Moonshadow by Thea Harrison


Title: Moonshadow
Series: Moonshadow #1
Author: Thea Harrison
Release date: December 13, 2016
Cliffhanger: No
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis:

Her past is a blank, her future uncertain….

Recovering from a shooting, LAPD witch consultant Sophie Ross leaves her job and travels to the U.K. to search for answers about her childhood. When she encounters a Daoine Sidhe knight of the Dark Court, she becomes entangled in an ancient hatred between two arcane forces.

He has given his body and soul to fight for his people….

Barred from his homeland along with his surviving brother knights, Nikolas Sevigny is embroiled in a conflict that threatens everything he holds dear. Only by uniting his people’s resources can they hope to prevail against Isabeau, the deadly Queen of the Light Court. He will do anything and use anyone to return home to Lyonesse.

When Nikolas encounters Sophie, he sees a tool to be used. The insouciant witch might be the key to unlocking every passageway that has been barred to the knights of the Dark Court, even as a fascination for her takes root in what’s left of his soul.

Sophie has no intention of becoming anyone’s pawn, yet the fierce Nikolas is so compelling, she can’t deny the temptation that endangers her guarded heart.

As magic threatens Lyonesse, Queen Isabeau unleashes her merciless Hounds, and Nikolas and Sophie become embroiled in a race for survival. Meanwhile, the passion that ignites between them burns too hot to be denied and quickly turns into obsession.

Thank goodness they both know better than to fall in love…



Despair had no place here. It had been a long, dark battle, in the darkest of wars, but they would hold. They would all hold.

I've gotten woefully behind in reading Thea Harrison's books. Dragon Bound, book one in the Elder Races, was one of my all-time favorite PNR/fantasy books. EVER. Not only did I fall in love with the humor and snark from her characters, her world building is absolutely top notch. The details put into the people, culture, magic, and the intricate web of how they all interconnect are rich and precise. These key ingredients make her writing surpass the ordinary and reach extraordinary. Moonshadow reminded me all over again what I love about her writing and will be rectifying my lapse in continuing the Elder Races.

As a witch consultant for the LAPD, Sophie has had to be tough to survive the things she's seen and experienced. She's the type of heroine I really go for: a strong, independent woman who doesn't take nonsense from anyone. Her sarcastic, self-depreciating personality had me laughing on more than one occasion and her unpredictability left me guessing what she would say or do next. She wasn't afraid of any person or situation she came across. Rather than from danger, she jumped in front of it and gave it the middle finger. (Much to the eternal chagrin of Nikolas)

When she gets an unusual offer she can't refuse, she jumps on a plane and heads to the UK to try to slip through centuries worth of magic. She gets a whole lot more than she bargained for. A huge monstrosity of a house that repels people from entering and transported past inhabitants in strange and usual ways becomes the promise for an entire race of people. And she is the key to unlocking it. The simple vacation that she took on a whim turns into a desperate race to return a group of dwindling soldiers back to their home.

Sophie meets Nikolas shortly after arriving and right from the start they clash and butt heads. It was without a doubt NOT love at first sight, more like love to hate you at first sight. A bad first impression, and Nik's lack of sensitivity leaves her itching to put him in his place. And every time she ruffled this stoic man's feathers I couldn't help but laugh. She was exactly what he needed.

“I might choose to lock the door when you leave because it’s a good idea, not because you ordered me to.” His eyes narrowed.
“One of these days you’re going to say, ‘Sure, Nik. That’s a good idea, I think I’m going to do that.’” Nik. She liked that.
“Don’t hold your breath.” She laughed.


She scowled. "I'm not a trick pony to perform on your command."
"No, a trick pony doesn't know how to talk back like you do." The exasperation was heavy in his voice. What on earth did he have to be exasperated about? It was enough to make her exasperated at him.


She seemed to be a magnet for trouble with no knowledge of what she was getting herself into. She was exasperating, stubborn, and prickly. But as much as she frustrated him, there was no denying her bravery. She was a fighter, and he respected that.

She resurrected something inside him, the kind of man he used to be, protective of and attentive to those he cared for.

A reluctant partnership was formed and slowly she began to see pieces of what was hidden under his gruff exterior. He's not the easiest to love at first, but by the end he had completely won me over. He showed a lot of growth in character and I loved seeing not only his transformation, but theirs as a couple. The humor kept me highly entertained, and the plot was unique and engrossing.

My only not giving this a full five stars was that there were some simple inconsistencies in the book that could have easily been corrected. But in no way did they detract from my enjoyment of the overall story.

If you haven't read anything by Thea Harrison yet, now is your chance to get in on her brand new series. I was highly impressed by this first offering and will be continuing on with the following installments without a doubt.

Wherever the moon’s shadow touched them, something of their true nature appeared. Moonshadow always revealed truth to those who knew how to see it.



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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Top Ten Favorite Picks of the Year


It's that time again! Time for the arduous task of narrowing down the ten books that stand apart from all the rest. 2016 was a year filled with greats, but these were unquestionably special in their own unique ways.  These I know without a shadow of a doubt I will return to in the future with the knowledge I have an incredible read ahead of me. The top of the pile...of your TBR pile, that is.  

These books don't have to have been published in 2016, the only requirement is that I've read them this year. As well, I chose from a variety of genres and authors.  Let me stress: these are in no particular order. I decided to save myself the added pressure of ranking them. Trust me, it's hard enough to even narrow them down to a list. 

Now, without further ado...




THE MAN I LOVE (THE FISH TALES #1)
By: Suanne Laqueur

The man is Erik “Fish” Fiskare, a student of technical theatre at a Philadelphia university. At twenty-two, he is the lover and soul mate of Daisy Bianco, a beautiful and talented ballerina. His best friend is William Kaeger, Daisy’s charismatic, free-spirited partner.

While deeply in love with Daisy and astonished by their physical passion, Erik is fascinated by Will’s bisexuality. But when Will embarks on a disastrous affair with a dancer named James Dow, it pushes Erik’s tolerance and trust to the limit. Rejection soon pushes James over the edge of sanity, taking Will and Daisy with him and leaving Erik in the ruins.

The young stagehand soon discovers that in the face of heartache, grief and betrayal, love is not always enough to make you stay. And sometimes, it’s the only thing that can bring you back.

Spanning fifteen years and following a man's thrilling emotional journey back to the truth of himself, Laqueur's debut novel explores the complexities of sexual passion, the dark side of devotion and the futility of running from one's past. The Man I Love is an epic tale of love and forgiveness that will linger long after the last page is turned.

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The One Real Thing (Hart's Boardwalk #1)
by: Samantha Young

Welcome to Hartwell, a quiet seaside escape where uncovering old secrets could lead one woman to discover the meaning of a love that lasts…

While Doctor Jessica Huntington engages with the inmates at the women’s correctional facility where she works, she’s always careful to avoid emotional attachments in her personal life. Loss and betrayal taught her that lesson long ago. But when she comes across a set of old love letters in the prison’s library and visits the picturesque town of Hartwell to deliver them to their intended recipient, she finds herself unable to resist the town’s charm—and her attraction to the sexy owner of a local bar proves equally hard to deny.

Since his divorce from his unfaithful ex-wife, Cooper Lawson has focused on what really matters: his family and the boardwalk pub they’ve owned for generations. But the first time Jessica steps into his bar, Cooper is beyond tempted to risk his heart on her. Yet as their attraction grows hotter and Jessica remains stubbornly closed off, he begins to realize it will take more than just passion to convince her there’s only one real thing in life worth fighting for….

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Beard Science (Winston Brothers #3)
by: Penny Reid

Make a deal with the devil and you might get what you want, but will it be what you need?

Jennifer Sylvester wants one thing, and that one thing is NOT to be Tennessee’s reigning Banana Cake Queen. Ever the perpetual good girl and obedient daughter, Jennifer is buckling under the weight of her social media celebrity, her mother’s ambitions, and her father’s puritanical mandates. Jennifer is officially desperate.

And desperate times call for Cletus Winston.

Cletus Winston is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery covered in conundrum sauce, and now he’s in a pickle. Despite being convinced of his own omniscience, extortion by the exalted Banana Cake Queen of Green Valley has taken him completely by surprise. So... what’s a maniacal mastermind to do?

Likely, the last thing you expect.

'Beard Science' is the third book in the Winston Brothers series, is a full-length romantic comedy novel, and can be read as a standalone.

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Back to Yesterday
by: Pamela Sparkman

Everyone loves a good love story. The stories that make you feel warm all over. The kind that leaves you the slightest bit envious because the story belongs to someone else and not you. The stories that make your heart race and on the edge of pain and pleasure. Pain because your heart hurts and pleasure because your heart hurts. An unlikely combination, yet, that’s the stuff good love stories are made of.

Ours could have been like that. We could have made a beautiful love story.
But when he was ready for that epic love story, I was afraid to fall in love, too hurt by my past to trust anyone. Then, when I was ready for the epic love story, he was gone.
And I was alone.
And the only thing I got was the pain.
It was time I told him the things that were in my heart but too afraid to say out loud.

I wrote the letter I needed to write and prayed it wasn't too late.

Dear Charlie,

You were right. I was wrong. I've never been more wrong in my life.
There - I said it.
I’ll say it a million times if you just come back to me.
Come back to me. Please!

I was so wrong. I do love you.

Sophie

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The Silent Waters (Elements #3)
by: Brittainy C. Cherry

Moments.

Our lives are a collection of moments. Some utterly painful and full of yesterday's hurts. Some beautifully hopeful and full of tomorrow's promises.

I’ve had many moments in my lifetime, moments that changed me, challenged me. Moments that scared me and engulfed me. However, the biggest ones—the most heartbreaking and breathtaking ones—all included him.

I was ten years old when I lost my voice. A piece of me was stolen away, and the only person who could truly hear my silence was Brooks Griffin. He was the light during my dark days, the promise of tomorrow, until tragedy found him. Tragedy that eventually drowned him in a sea of memories.

This is the story of a boy and girl who loved each other, but didn’t love themselves. A story of life and death. Of love and broken promises.

Of moments.

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On Broken Wings (Wild Aces #3)
by: Chanel Cleeton

The author of Into the Blue and Fly with Me returns with the newest, hot and high-flying Wild Aces romance...

A year after losing her husband, Joker, the squadron commander of the Wild Aces, Dani Peterson gets an offer from his best friend, Alex “Easy” Rogers, to help fix up her house. Dani accepts, and their friendship grows—along with an undeniable attraction.

Racked by guilt for loving his best friend’s widow, Easy’s caught between what he wants and can’t have. Until one night everything changes, and the woman who’s always held his heart ends up in his arms. Yet as Easy leaves for his next deployment, he and Dani are torn between their feelings and their loyalty to Joker’s memory.

But when Dani discovers something that sends them both into a spin, the conflicted lovers must overcome the past to navigate a future together…

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Full Tilt (Full Tilt #1)
by: Emma Scott

"I would love you forever, if I only had the chance..."

Kacey Dawson has always lived life on the edge--impulsively, sometimes recklessly. And now, as lead guitarist for a hot up-and-coming band, she is poised at the brink of fame and fortune. But she is torn between wanting to be a serious musician, and the demons that lure her down the glittering, but alcohol-soaked path of rock stardom. A wrecked concert in Las Vegas threatens to ruin her career entirely. She wakes up with the hangover from hell and no memory of the night before, or how she ended up on her limo driver’s couch...

Jonah Fletcher is running out of time. He knows his situation is hopeless, and he's vowed to make the most of the handful of months he has left to him. His plans include seeing the opening of his glass installation at a prestigious art gallery…they do not include falling in love with a wild, tempestuous rock musician who wound up passed out on his couch.

Jonah sees that Kacey is on a path to self-destruction. He lets her crash with him for a few days to dry out and get her head on straight. But neither of them expected the deep connection they felt, or how that connection could grow so fast from friendship into something more. Something deep and pure and life-changing…something as fragile as glass, that they both know will shatter in the end no matter how hard they try to hold on to it.


Full Tilt is a story about what it means to love with your whole heart, to sacrifice, to experience terrible grief and soaring joy. To live life with all its beauty, and all its pain, and in the end to be able to smile through tears and know you wouldn’t have changed a thing. 

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Paper Princess (The Royals #1)
by: Erin Watt (Pseudonym for Jen Frederick and Elle Kennedy)

From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.

These Royals will ruin you…

Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone.

Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.

Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.

He might be right.

Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.


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From Sand and Ash 
by: Amy Harmon

Italy, 1943—Germany occupies much of the country, placing the Jewish population in grave danger during World War II.

As children, Eva Rosselli and Angelo Bianco were raised like family but divided by circumstance and religion. As the years go by, the two find themselves falling in love. But the church calls to Angelo and, despite his deep feelings for Eva, he chooses the priesthood.

Now, more than a decade later, Angelo is a Catholic priest and Eva is a woman with nowhere to turn. With the Gestapo closing in, Angelo hides Eva within the walls of a convent, where Eva discovers she is just one of many Jews being sheltered by the Catholic Church.

But Eva can’t quietly hide, waiting for deliverance, while Angelo risks everything to keep her safe. With the world at war and so many in need, Angelo and Eva face trial after trial, choice after agonizing choice, until fate and fortune finally collide, leaving them with the most difficult decision of all.
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This is Love 
by: Caroline Nolan

Rachel Miller had love, life and happiness...until she didn't. Uncertain of how to cope and move on without him, Rachel's life comes to halt as she mourns the loss of her fiance Ben. Then one night she discovers it doesn't have to. By way of dreams, Rachel and Ben continue to live the life they had planned together. It's unconventional, it's not even real, but it's enough for Rachel. For the first time since Ben's death, she's happy...whole. That is until she runs into someone she barely knew from years ago and suddenly real life is just as great as her dream one. Now Rachel doesn't know what to do. Will letting someone new in threaten what she has with Ben? Or will their love story threaten her new happiness? Is it crazy to chase after a ghost while being caught up by someone very real?