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

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Blog Tour with Giveaway: The Duke that I Marry by Cathy Maxwell

Once upon a time there were three young ladies who, despite their fortunes, had been on the marriage mart a bit too long. They were known as “the Spinster Heiresses” . . .
Is it wrong for a woman to want more?

Not if she is a Spinster Heiress. They do not settle. Any young miss would be very lucky to find herself promised to a man like the Duke of Camberly. However, Miss Willa Reverly has watched her friends marry for love. Camberly may be the prize of the season, but she will not be “sold” to any man. She wants his devotion or she wants nothing at all.

When is a Marriage of Convenience inconvenient?
Newly named to the ducal title, Matthew Addison is determined to discover the secrets behind Mayfield, the bankrupt estate he has inherited. He doesn’t have time to coddle a headstrong heiress who is determined to ditch him over something as silly as “love.” Little does he know that his questions will place her in jeopardy. Now he must do what he must to save them both. Could it be that in running from danger they might be racing headlong into a truly unexpected fate: falling in love?

About the Book

The Duke That I Marry by Cathy Maxwell
Series: The Spinster Heiresses Series
Genre: Adult Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: November 27, 2018

Purchase Your Copy Today!
Amazon  |  Avon Romance  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Google Play  |  iBooks


Her arms came around his neck. She stood on her toes. He picked her up and carried her to the bed. His fingers began working her lacings. Her hands slid inside his jacket, pushing it down over his shoulders.

Dear God, he wanted this. He’d had her warmth beside him in bed but it had taken all his willpower to give her the time she needed to heal.

Matt lowered his arms, and his jacket slid to the floor. He pulled Willa down onto the bed beside him. He kissed her chin, her cheek, her nose, and her sweet ears before finding her mouth again. She laughed as if it tickled, and the sound made his heart grow fuller, the beat stronger.

She loved him.

He’d always thought true love was full of drama and turmoil. It wasn’t. Love was the sense that he was right where he was supposed to be. That at last, he’d found his home.

Tour Wide Giveaway

To celebrate the release of THE DUKE THAT I MARRY by Cathy Maxwell, we’re giving away one paperback copy of If ever I Should Love You!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of If Ever I Should Love You by Cathy Maxwell. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance.  Giveaway ends 10/10/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

About Cathy Maxwell

CATHY MAXWELL spends hours in front of her computer pondering the question, “Why do people fall in love?” It remains for her the great mystery of life and the secret to happiness. 

Fans can contact Cathy at www.cathymaxwell.com; Twitter: @maxwellcathy
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Review: Tailspin by Sandra Brown

Fearless pilot Rye Mallett is on a dangerous mission with a mysterious woman in another suspenseful, sexy thriller from #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sandra Brown.

Rye Mallett, a fearless "freight dog" pilot charged with flying cargo to far-flung locations, is often rough-spoken and all business, but soft on regulations when they get in the way of meeting a deadline. But he does have a rock-solid reputation: he will fly in the foulest weather, day or night, and deliver the goods safely to their destination. So when Rye is asked to fly into a completely fogbound northern Georgia town and deliver a mysterious black box to a Dr. Lambert, he doesn't ask questions.

As Rye's plane nears the isolated landing strip, more trouble than inclement weather awaits him. He is greeted first by a sabotage attempt on his plane that causes him to crash land, and then by Dr. Brynn O'Neal, who claims she was sent for the box in Dr. Lambert's stead. Despite Rye's "no-involvement" policy when it comes to other people's problems, he finds himself irresistibly drawn to the intrigue surrounding his cargo . . . and to the mysterious and alluring Brynn.

Soon Rye and Brynn are in a treacherous forty-eight-hour race to deliver the box before time runs out. With everyone from law enforcement officials to hired thugs hot on their heels, they must learn to trust each other so they can protect their valuable cargo from those who would kill for it.

Genre: Mystery & Thriller / Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense
On Sale: August 7, 2018
Publisher: Grand Central

"Tailspin is thriller writing at its very best, a nonstop, topsy-turvy, frantic ride that steers an adrenaline-fueled course from first page to last."―Providence Journal

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Sandra Brown is the author of more than sixty New York Times bestsellers, including STING (2016), FRICTION (2015), MEAN STREAK (2014), DEADLINE(2013), & LOW PRESSURE (2012), LETHAL (2011).

Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy novels, bringing the number of copies of her books in print worldwide to upwards of eighty million. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages.

In 2009 Brown detoured from romantic suspense to write, Rainwater, a much acclaimed, powerfully moving historical fiction story about honor and sacrifice during the Great Depression.

Brown was given an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Texas Christian University. She was named Thriller Master for 2008, the top award given by the International Thriller Writer’s Association. Other awards and commendations include the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature and the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. 


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TailspinTailspin by Sandra Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Release date: August 7, 2018
Cliffhanger: No
Rating: 4 stars

Tailspin started out a little rocky for me. I had to force myself to stay focused after putting it down and picking it up again countless times. I wasn't sure if it was just my personal mood not aligning with the story, so I continued to push through to see if the dragging pace would pick up. I'm glad I did, because it payed off. The story was blocked into a frantic 48 hour time span for the majority of the book, so once the action really got started it was a pretty intense ride. There were lots of twists and turns as the main characters struggled to outwit and outrun the opposition. The romance did suffer from the lack of time afforded to them to get to know each other at a meaningful level, but there was enough development to leave me satisfied enough.

Rye Mallett is an ex-military cargo pilot that lives and breathes flying. It's been in his blood ever since he was a kid, and his passion for his job is the one thing in his life that will never change.

    “Thing of it is, I don’t know how to explain it, any more than I know how to explain my fingerprints. They’ve always been there, and so has the obsession for flight. It goes beyond liking it, or even loving it. It’s…” He paused, searched for the word, and again drew inspiration from his fingerprints. “Ingrained.”

Since returning from duty overseas, he's been using his comfort in the air as a crutch to avoid unpleasant emotions, and the trauma that haunts him. A classic case of survivor's guilt has pushed him to take on any job offered, regardless of the dangerous conditions involved. If he can just keep moving enough, he never has to slow down and face the regret that eats him alive. Which is why he's the only one crazy enough to take a plane out in the kind of weather no one with sense would attempt. The client is desperate to get a mysterious black box transported that night, and when Rye boards the plane to Georgia, he has no idea what's in store for him.

When Dr. Brynn O’Neal walks through the fog at Rye's plane crash site, you won't be quite sure what to make of her. Her motives and agenda are questionable right off the bat. The fact that she holds her cards very close to her chest for some time leaves you to question what she's hiding, but most importantly, why. These questions probably eclipse the biggest initial mystery of what exactly is in that box that everyone is so desperate to get a hold of? Rye is an intuitive guy that can't be fooled easily, and he knows that there's more to Brynn than the story she's spinning him. After the stumble upon the air traffic controller who has been knocked unconscious, it cements his suspicions that he's gotten tangled up in something he wants no part of.

Rye is a loner and his personal policy is to mind his own business whenever possible. That is, unless he's unknowingly put in a position that could jeopardize his career and ability to fly. In which case, they'll get dealt with swiftly, and he's not above vigilante justice to achieve it. Yes, Rye had a bit of a rebellious side. But it was governed by his set of morals that he wouldn't compromise on. He was a likable character whom you could really root for and sympathize with. You can see his reluctance to join Brynn on her race against the clock, but his conscience brings him to her side time and again. He was emotionally closed off with her, but who can blame him? He's had to fight for the truth and avoid attacks without the full scope of the situation he's embroiled in. When he does understand the life or death tug of war going on, he chooses Brynn regardless of the consequences.

The attraction they feel towards each other isn't at the forefront of the plot. It was a low simmer in the background, and I was okay with that. I think Brynn's personal struggle to live down her father's legacy, and his emotional upheaval over his past were interesting subplots that they helped each other with along the way. What really impressed me by the end was the mystery and suspense that keeps you guessing until the very end. The third person POV with a handful of first person POV chapters is a rare structure that you don't see very often, but I think it was utilized well in this story. Sometimes that can be jarring for me, but it felt seamless here and I welcomed those little snippets where I got inside the head of that narrator.

All in all, it was slow going at first, but worth it in the long haul. I enjoyed the dynamic of Rye and Brenna, and how they became a team that fought for justice against an immoral person in a position of power. There were a few surprises along the way, a little bit of steam, and the mystery was many layered and well developed. I don't read this genre very much, but when I'm in the mood I know where I'll be looking to first to get my fix. I'm really happy I've found my way back to Sandra Brown's books again.



Spotlight: Tiger's Claim by Celia Kyle

Fans of Katie MacAlister and Terry Spear will love this sexy enemies-to-lovers, paranormal romance about a gorgeous billionaire and a vengeful heroine from the New York Times bestselling author of Wolf’s Mate.

Title: Tiger's Claim
Author: Celia Kyle
Series: Shifter Rogues #2
Publication Date: November 27, 2018
Publisher: Forever Romance
Genre: paranormal shifter romance


Jaguar shifter Stella Moore has one thing on her mind - to take down the anti-shifter organization that destroyed her family. Her plans are going perfectly until a sexy-as-sin stranger throws off her game and decides the only way they can both avoid getting caught is to claim her as his girlfriend. Wait! What? Now she has to fly to a tropical island and play along because the alternative is...deadly.

Most people know Cole Turner as an uber-wealthy playboy - not as a tiger shifter who's part of a special ops team to protect his kind. Now his undercover mission has been compromised by a redheaded bombshell, and every animal instinct he has is screaming mate. To survive among so many enemies, they'll have to keep up their romantic act, find their intel... and absolutely not fall in love along the way.

Praise for Celia Kyle:

"Celia Kyle's my go-to for sexy alpha shifters and fast-paced,
delicious storylines."—Jessica Clare, USA Today bestselling author

"A classic tale of... fated mates, Wolf's Mate by Celia Kyle kicks off her new Shifters Rogues series with a bang."—thebookdisciple.com

"A great paranormal romance....If you like sexy shifters and steamy sex scenes you will love Celia Kyle's He Ain't Lion."—The Book Maven on He Ain't Lion

"This is one hot menage... I recommend this book."—Romancing the Book on Scarlet

Google Play: https://goo.gl/VhmEXc

Other Books in the Series

Book #1: Wolf's Mate

Danger shouldn't be this sexy...
Cougar shifter Abby Carter always plays it safe. That's why she's an accountant--no excitement, no danger, and no cocky alpha males. She loves her quiet life, but fate has other plans. When Abby uncovers the shady dealings of an anti-shifter organization, she'll have to trust the too-sexy-for-her-peace-of-mind werewolf Declan Reed... or end up six feet under.

Declan Reed is starting over. After two years with Shifter Operations Command, it's time to put his past behind him. Now Declan is the only thing standing between the gorgeous Abby and an early grave, and if he's going to have any chance of keeping her alive, he'll have to embrace the darkness he's fought to keep at bay. But first he has to convince Abby that there's no safer place in the world than the arms of a big bad werewolf.

Book 1.5: Wolf's Mate: Nine Month Mission

Werewolf Declan Reed’s mate is lying to him. Not outright, but a lie by omission is enough to tweak his tail and anger his wolf. Abby is pregnant and she still hasn’t told him about the baby. He’s given her time, but the moment he gets her alone, he’s going to demand answers. 

The trick is finding her alone because his mate has been adopted as an honorary sister to the rest of Declan’s Shifter Operations Command—SHOC—team. That means that when they’re not on a mission, he’s got at least one team member—sometimes more—at his home.

Thankfully, Declan is a highly trained SHOC agent. If he has to kidnap his own mate to get some privacy, he’ll do what needs to be done.

About the Author

Ex-dance teacher, former accountant and erstwhile collectible doll salesperson, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Celia Kyle now writes paranormal romances for readers who:

1) Like super hunky heroes (they generally get furry)

2) Dig beautiful women (who have a few more curves than the average lady)

3) Love laughing in (and out of) bed.

It goes without saying that there’s always a happily-ever-after for her characters, even if there are a few road bumps along the way. Today she lives in central Florida and writes full-time with the support of her loving husband and two finicky cats.

FOLLOW: website | twitter | goodreads | facebook

Monday, November 26, 2018

Blog Tour with Review and Excerpt: A Duke Changes Everything

In the first novel in Christy Carlyle’s sizzling Duke’s Den series, three men, intent on making a fortune, discover irresistible opportunities . . .
Nicholas Lyon gambled his way into a fortune and ownership of the most opulent, notorious gentlemen’s club in England. But when Nick’s cruel brother dies, he inherits a title he never wanted. The sooner Nick is rid of the estate that has always haunted him, the sooner he can return to the life he’s built in London. But there’s one obstacle—the exquisite Thomasina Thorne.
When the new heir to the Tremayne dukedom suddenly appears in Mina Thorne’s life, she’s flustered. Not only is he breathtakingly handsome, but he’s also determined to take away her home and position as steward of the Enderley estate. If Mina learns what makes the enigmatic duke tick, perhaps she can change his mind—as long as she doesn’t get too close to him.
With each day Nick spends with Mina, his resolve weakens as their colliding wills lead to explosive desire. Could she be the one woman who can help him finally bury the ghosts of his past?

About the Book

A Duke Changes Everything by Christy Carlyle
Series: The Duke’s Den (Each story is a standalone.)
Genre: Adult Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: November 27, 2018

Purchase Your Copy Today!
Amazon  |  Avon Romance  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Google Play  |  iBooks


Nick looked at the dark drop of honey on her skin and his mouth watered. He licked his lips and looked into her eyes. The heat there made him want more. More moments like this with her. When there was no Enderley boxing them in, no duties that needed their attention. Just Mina and the odd, undeniable spark he’d felt between them from the day he arrived.

“I’d like a taste,” he told her quietly.

Mina bit her lip, and her brows dipped in concentration. She locked her gaze on his mouth and seemed to hold her breath as she slid a honeyed finger across his lower lip.

Nick swept his tongue out to taste and reached for her hand. Flavor burst inside his mouth in a shock of floral sweetness.

“Delicious,” he whispered before leaning closer, flicking his tongue out, and tasting the tip of her finger once more. “But I honestly can’t tell whether it’s you or the honey.”

About Christy Carlyle

Fueled by Pacific Northwest coffee and inspired by multiple viewings of every British costume drama she can get her hands on, USA Today bestselling author CHRISTY CARLYLE writes sensual historical romance set in the Victorian era. She loves heroes who struggle against all odds and heroines who are ahead of their time. A former teacher with a degree in history, she finds there’s nothing better than being able to combine her love of the past with a die-hard belief in happy endings.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon


A Duke Changes Everything (Duke's Den, #1)A Duke Changes Everything by Christy Carlyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: A Duke Changes Everything
Series: Duke's Den
Author: Christy Carlyle
Release date: November 27, 2018

    “You clearly haven’t read many fairy tales, Your Grace.
There’s plenty of tragedy,
and sometimes the creature is actually an enchanted prince.”

What a breath of fresh air! I needed this book so badly, I can't even tell you how much. Lately I've been in such a book funk that I couldn't seem to find a romance that swept me away and gave me that level of excitement that elevates a good book to great. From the moment I cracked open this book, (or tapped open would be more apt) I knew it was going to give me something more. Something that makes you want to speed read and slow it down to make it last all at the same time. Thank you, Avon Romance for putting that absolutely STUNNING cover art on the book. It caught my eye and helped me impulse click this hidden gem. All I can say is, after reading A Duke Changes Everything, I'm firmly hooked on the series, and I cannot wait to read more about Nick's friends in the next installments.

Aidan, Rhys, and Nick are co-owners of the Devil's Den, a gentlemen's club that made them all very wealthy and independent men. Nick makes additional money in the Lyon's Den, the basement of the club where desperate gamblers go to beg for mercy and one last-ditch loan. Nicholas Lyon is the secondborn son of the Duke of Tremayne, but don't let his aristocratic lineage fool you into thinking he's a pampered and privileged lord. It doesn't take long to realize that Nick's frigid coldness and brooding nature are hiding a world of pain that he's kept hidden away for a very long time. The power he wields in his club is something he needs after a childhood of fear and powerlessness. When he unexpectedly inherits the dukedom, he must return to his ancestral home to get his affairs in order.

Nick is a character you can easily empathize with despite his gruff exterior. Abused for being born with Heterochromia (two different colored eyes), the castle he returns to is nothing but a house of horrors with painful memories around every corner. He's suffered unimaginable cruelties by his father, and it's left him deeply scarred, both emotionally and physically. But he doesn't let his fear control him, and bravely faces the place he barely escaped with his life. Because of his facial scar and his unusual eyes, he's prepared for people to recoil at the sight of him. The isolation and loneliness are constant companions, even with Aiden and Rhys' acceptance. He's used to being an outsider, and it's hard for him to warm up to people. But when he encounters a young woman in breeches climbing a tree on the road to Enderley, he's not prepared for the emotions that she immediately begins to stir.

Mina has lived on the property her entire life, and when her father passed away, she took over his job of managing the estate. I loved how unconventional she was, working as a steward, and wearing men's clothing. Her father had raised her to temper her adventurous spirit, and her decidedly "un-ladylike" behaviors, but she failed to hide her true nature from Nick. He saw right through her thin veneer, and spotted the passion and intelligence she exuded so brightly. Mina was one of the best HR heroines I've read in a long time. She had such courage and spirit, and not for a minute was she intimidated by the hero. They had such an instant awareness of each other that makes you melting into a pile of goo from their very first interaction. The author did an amazing job creating an organic attraction in subtle ways that built my anticipation to monumental levels. I wanted to smoosh their faces together and make them kiss so many times!

    His head, where he’d convinced himself to value a life unencumbered by personal entanglements, knew she was right to draw a boundary line between them. But his heart, that rarely used thing that thrashed every time Mina was near, didn’t seem to agree.

He was determined to leave as soon as humanly possible, she was equally determined to convince him to let go of his hatred of the property. Unfortunately, she had no idea of the trauma he went through there, and what an impossible task that would be. As she took him through the property to meet the tenants, and show him the beauty hidden under the disrepair, their attachment grew stronger. She may not have been able to make him love his home, but she made him want to be a better person. He doesn't trust anyone easily, but from the moment they saw each other again, there was a mutual understanding and respect that neither had felt before. They were from completely different social classes, but he always sees her as an equal which I adored. There was some trepidation on her part that they could never be together because of the vast differences in their social stations, but he went above and beyond to make her feel comfortable. When he went in, his heart was all in.

    Mina didn’t make him feel weak. She made him want to surrender. To give her everything and hold nothing back. Even if it meant she’d see the truth of who he was—the ugliness, inside and out. Somehow, she’d unearthed goodness in him, a vein of decency he’d doubted he still possessed.

Nick and Mina gave me the giddy feels. From the uncovering of each other's heartaches and hurts, to the sweet unraveling of their carefully constructed lives into something much more beautiful together. I was either grinning like a fool at Mina, or sighing in complete bliss over the hero's wounded heart that got pieced back together bit by bit.

I'm SO happy I found Christy Carlyle, and even more thrilled that I have Aidan and Diana's book to stalk next. Book two in the Duke's Den series, Anything But a Duke, is scheduled for publication April 2019



Thursday, November 22, 2018

Blog Tour with Giveaway and Excerpt: The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard

Jina Modell works in Communications for a paramilitary organization, and she really likes it. She likes the money, she likes the coolness factor—and it was very cool, even for Washington, DC. She liked being able to kick terrorist butts without ever leaving the climate-controlled comfort of the control room.
But when Jina displays a really high aptitude for spatial awareness and action, she’s reassigned to work as an on-site drone operator in the field with one of the GO-teams, an elite paramilitary unit. The only problem is she isn’t particularly athletic, to put it mildly, and in order to be fit for the field, she has to learn how to run and swim for miles, jump out of a plane, shoot a gun…or else be out of a job.
Team leader Levi, call sign Ace, doesn’t have much confidence in Jina–who he dubbed Babe as soon as he heard her raspy, sexy voice–making it through the rigors of training. The last thing he needs is some tech geek holding them back from completing a dangerous, covert operation. In the following months, however, no one is more surprised than he when Babe, who hates to sweat, begins to thrive in her new environment, displaying a grit and courage that wins her the admiration of her hardened, battle-worn teammates. What’s even more surprising is that the usually very disciplined GO-team leader can’t stop thinking about kissing her smart, stubborn mouth…or the building chemistry and tension between them.
Meanwhile, a powerful Congresswoman is working behind the scenes to destroy the GO-teams, and a trap is set to ambush Levi’s squad in Syria. While the rest of the operatives set off on their mission, Jina remains at the base to control the surveillance drone, when the base is suddenly attacked with explosives. Thought dead by her comrades, Jina escapes to the desert where, brutally tested beyond measure, she has to figure out how to stay undetected by the enemy and make it to her crew in time before they’re exfiltrated out of the country.
But Levi never leaves a soldier behind, especially the brave woman he’s fallen for. He’s bringing back the woman they left behind, dead or alive.

About the Book

The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard

Series: n/a; standalone

Genre: Adult Romantic Mystery / Thriller

Publisher: Avon Books

Publication Date: November 27, 2018

Purchase Your Copy Today!
Amazon  |  Avon Romance  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Google Play  |  iBooks

Tour Wide Giveaway

To celebrate the release of THE WOMAN LEFT BEHIND by Linda Howard, we’re giving away one paperback copy of the book!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard.  This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 12/3/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address.  Duplicates will be deleted.   CLICK HERE TO ENTER!


She wanted to reach out and touch him, but despite what had just happened between them, she felt constrained. Their make-out session hadn’t changed anything. He was still the leader of that team, and he’d do whatever was necessary for their operational stability because their very lives depended on it. Her job was to safeguard them as much as possible, to provide an extra set of eyes looking for trouble or gathering information without exposing them to unnecessary danger.

If she were in an arguing frame of mind, she’d yell at him that the guys wouldn’t mind at all if she and Levi began a relationship, but she’d be lying. It would make a difference. The others would subconsciously begin looking for signs of favoritism, which would foster resentment and a lack of trust. Any argument between her and Levi would necessarily cause tension among the others. That was just how team dynamics worked; a disagreement between any two members was one thing, but throw sex into the mixture and it became combustible.

She turned her head and stared at the sky as grimly as he was, and for the same reason. As things stood, she had two choices: she could quit training and have Levi—for how long was up for debate—or she could stay on the team and deal with the bitter truth that they couldn’t be together.

She. Couldn’t. Quit. Doing so would betray everything she was, every sense of self. Maybe she drove herself past what a sane person would do, but didn’t the guys also do that? Being who they were, doing what they did, required more of them than, say, a regular nine-to-five job.

She had been happy with that nine-to-five job, but now this was her reality, and she wouldn’t, couldn’t, turn her back on it.

About Linda Howard

LINDA HOWARD is the award-winning author of numerous New York Times bestsellers, including Up Close and Dangerous, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Cover of Night, Killing Time, To Die For, Kiss Me While I Sleep, Cry No More, and Dying to Please. She lives in Gadsden, Alabama with her husband and a golden retriever.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Review: Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

In the romantic tradition of The Notebook and Nights in Rodanthe, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with a story about a chance encounter that becomes a touchstone for two vastly different individuals—transcending decades, continents and the bittersweet workings of fate. 

Publication Date: October 16, 2018
Publisher: Grand Central

Hope Anderson is at a crossroads. At 36, she's been dating her boyfriend, an orthopedic surgeon, for six years. With no wedding plans in sight, and her father recently diagnosed with ALS, she decides to use a week at her family's cottage in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, to ready the house for sale and mull over some difficult decisions about her future.

Tru Walls has never visited North Carolina, but is summoned to Sunset Beach by a letter from a man claiming to be his father. A safari guide, born and raised in Zimbabwe, Tru hopes to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding his mother's early life and recapture memories lost with her death. When the two strangers cross paths, their connection is as electric as it is unfathomable . . . but in the immersive days that follow, their feelings for each other will give way to choices that pit family duty and personal happiness against each other in devastating ways.

Illuminating life's heartbreaking regrets and enduring hope, Every Breath explores the many facets of love that lay claim to our deepest loyalties—and asks the question, How long can a dream survive?

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Dlbx8m
BAM: http://bit.ly/2purGjb
B&N: http://bit.ly/2GPnCm7
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2FT8fvy
iBooks: https://apple.co/2GPdPwm
Audible: https://amzn.to/2RDM9zv

Praise for Every Breath:
"Sparks is known for crafting sweeping romances that make readers feel deeply and believe in the power of love...Sparks confirms his gifts...in this thoughtfully researched and spellbinding story of love that defies time, a tale both heartbreaking and heartwarming."―Booklist


Nicholas Sparks is one of the world’s most beloved storytellers. All of his books have been New York Times bestsellers, with over 105 million copies sold worldwide, in more than 50 languages, including over 75 million copies in the United States alone.

Sparks wrote one of his best-known stories, The Notebook, over a period of six months at age 28. It was published in 1996 and he followed with the novels Message in a Bottle (1998), A Walk to Remember (1999), The Rescue (2000), A Bend in the Road (2001), Nights in Rodanthe (2002), The Guardian (2003), The Wedding (2003), True Believer (2005) and its sequel, At First Sight (2005), Dear John (2006), The Choice (2007), The Lucky One (2008), The Last Song (2009), Safe Haven (2010), The Best of Me (2011), and The Longest Ride (2013) as well as the 2004 non-fiction memoir Three Weeks With My Brother, co-written with his brother Micah. His eighteenth novel, See Me, published on October 12, 2015. His newest book, Two by Two, will be published on October 4, 2016.

Film adaptations of Nicholas Sparks novels, including The Choice, The Longest Ride, The Best of Me, Safe Haven (on all of which he served as a producer), The Lucky One, Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe, Dear John and The Last Song, have had a cumulative worldwide gross of over three-quarters of a billion dollars.

In 2012, Sparks and his publishing agent and creative partner Theresa Park, launched Nicholas Sparks Productions, with Park as President of Production. A film version of The Guardian is currently in development, as is a film based on Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers’s friendship with Chicago Bears teammate Brian Piccolo.

Sparks lives in North Carolina. He contributes to a variety of local and national charities, and is a major contributor to the Creative Writing Program (MFA) at the University of Notre Dame, where he provides scholarships, internships, and a fellowship annually. He co-founded The Epiphany School in New Bern, North Carolina in 2006. As a former full scholarship athlete (he still holds a track and field record at the University of Notre Dame) he also spent four years coaching track and field athletes at the local public high school. In 2009, the team he coached at New Bern High School set a World Junior Indoor Record in the 4 x400 meter, in New York. The record still stands. Click to watch the Runner’s World video with Nicholas.

The Nicholas Sparks Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to improving cultural and international understanding through global education experiences for students of all ages was launched in 2011. Between the foundation, and the personal gifts of the Sparks family, more than $15 million dollars have been distributed to deserving charities, scholarship programs, and projects. Because the Sparks family covers all operational expenses of the foundation, 100% of donations are devoted to programs.

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Every BreathEvery Breath by Nicholas Sparks
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Series: Standalone
Release date: October 16, 2018

Every Breath had a lot of promise to be a big winner for me, but unfortunately it didn't reach the expectations that I anticipated. Based on the synopsis, it sounded like an emotional ill-fated love story with the potential for a second chance later in life. How long can a dream survive? it poses.

    Mistakes were inevitable, and she’d concluded that regrets could impart important lessons in life, if one was willing to learn from them. And in that sense, she realized that her father had been only half-correct about memories. They weren’t, after all, only doorways to the past. She wanted to believe that they could also be doorways to a new and different kind of future.

I knew that a happy ending isn't guaranteed, and while that's preferable, if the message in the story at least leaves me introspective and moved then I'm satisfied. I didn't come away from the book feeling happy with the events that took place, in fact, I was frustrated and left wanting more. There were several things that contributed to that, and I'll get to that in a minute.

Tru Walls is a safari guide from Zimbabwe who is visiting North Carolina for the first time on a life changing trip. He's a man of simple needs who loves his son dearly, but as much as he loved his ex-wife, they couldn't make their marriage work. They wanted different things out of life: she wanted a husband who would be home more, he wanted to continue the career he loved amongst the land and wildlife where he felt most at peace. This is one area where he was unwilling to compromise, and they parted on amicable terms. There isn't much that would tempt him to leave the country and take time away from his son. Except learning more about his biological father and unlocking answers to questions he has about his mother. For that, he agrees to meet with the man who has reached out to him, and the uncertainty of what he will uncover has him more than a little unsettled.

Hope Anderson is staying nearby at her parents' cottage on the beach with her own worries consuming her. Her father has just been diagnosed with ALS, and with that earth shattering news, the future is a scary thing to imagine. Will her parents have enough money for his care as his health deteriorates? How will she deal with seeing her wonderful father slowly waste away before her eyes? And then she has things of a more personal nature plaguing her mind. The relationship with her boyfriend of six years is once again on rocky terms, and she's at a crossroads with him. Attending her friend's wedding by herself while he parties in Vegas with his friends, she knows something has to give. As much as she doesn't want to believe she's wasting her time with him, she can't help but feel like marriage and a family may never be in the cards. Motherhood has always been something she expected to achieve...but more than that, needed to achieve. Now her biological clock is ticking away as she counts the minutes passing her by.

Both Hope and Tru were dealing with very heavy decisions that would forever alter the course of their life. It was a time for introspection and self-discovery. Then they cross paths and begin a friendship that very quickly evolves into a complication that neither was expecting. When I say very quickly, I'm talking about a matter of one day.

    We met on a Wednesday morning, and I’d fallen in love with him by Thursday evening.

This was a major issue for me. Sparks was going for a soulmates/destiny/magical feeling about this couple based on how they instantly felt emotions that couldn't be explained. I'm not necessarily against that in books, but in this case it made their supposed depth of feelings seem artificial and shallow. In short, I just didn't believe it. The actual development of their romance was almost non-existent in the book. Which made the unchanged intensity of their feelings after 25 years to be laughable. On one hand, this was a fairy tale type of romance. On the other, it was bone jarringly realistic in regards to the effects of Hope's rash choices. I don't think you can have it both ways and end up with a cohesive plot.

Part two was a juxtaposition of regrets and hope for both characters. The big question was which one was the end point in it all? We get a long examination of their life stories over the last two and a half decades. Family, successes, failures, and pondering if things could have been better if another path had been chosen. To be frank, I started to skim some of these pages after a while because the story started to lose me. If I had agreed with Hope and liked her more, I might have cared at this point. Unfortunately I got annoyed at her selfishness, and the ignorance of her decision. Yes, she achieved her ultimate goal, but at what cost? She had alternatives that would have given her the same results, but refused to compromise on her needs.

I was just so done with her, I completely disconnected from the outcome of the story. Yes, it was sweet and romantic how they reconnected, and yet I was puzzled as to why Tru would even be interested at that point in his life. It didn't make very much sense to me.

I enjoyed Tru's home of Zimbabwe, and the detail put into the research surrounding that setting. There were parts of the plot that were whimsical and touching, and yet overall the romance was too superficial to actually be believable. The ending left me unexpectedly deflated as the reality of the near future was revealed. I couldn't help but feel that Tru's blind devotion had cheated him out of the happiness he could have had. I'm sure a lot of readers will find this to be achingly bittersweet, but for me this leaned way too far into the bitter with not enough sweet to satisfy.