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

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Spotlight with Excerpt: Say No To the Duke by Eloisa James

One little wager will determine their fate—a daring escape or falling into temptation with a rakish lord. 

Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #4
Publication date: June 25, 2019
Published by: Avon Romance
Genre: historical romance

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Could she possibly refuse a duke’s hand—in favor of a sardonic, sinful rake?

Lady Betsy Wilde’s first season was triumphant by any measure, and a duke has proposed—but before marriage, she longs for one last adventure.

No gentleman would agree to her scandalous plan—but Lord Jeremy Roden is no gentleman. He offers a wager. If she wins a billiards game, he’ll provide the breeches.

If he wins…she is his, for one wild night.

But what happens when Jeremy realizes that one night will never be enough? In the most important battle of his life, he’ll have to convince Betsy to say no to the duke.

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

Praise for Say No to the Duke:

Eloisa James crafts such a beautiful tale...If you're a fan of Lisa Kleypas' Wallflower series, then James' books about the Wilde family are perfect for you!

-- "San Francisco Book Review"


     They moved toward each other as if they were following the steps of a very slow, very grand country dance. One that was danced by kings and queens and countryfolk alike.
     When they were beside each other, she squared her shoulders and met his eyes.      
     “I decided to come to you. I hope that is all right.”
     “I do believe that you are the bravest woman I’ve ever met,” he replied.
    He couldn’t have said anything better; Betsy felt herself begin to glow. “I haven’t been brave to this point, but I have made up my mind to change. I outlawed being nervous, but now I need to outlaw being afraid.” She hesitated. “I have chosen courage, and now I choose happiness.”
     “I love you as you are,” he whispered, and then his mouth came down on hers.
Her breath caught in her throat because their tongues met as if they kissed every day, every night. He tasted right, which sent a shiver through her whole body, and pushed her against him gently, the way a pebble might roll up a beach when the tide comes in.
     One doesn’t fight the tide.


Eloisa James is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author and professor of English literature, who lives with her family in New York, but can sometimes be found in Paris or Italy. She is the mother of two and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight. Visit her at www.eloisajames.com.

You can find her on:

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Review: Never Fall in Love With a Rockstar by Rachel Higginson

Series: Standalone
Publication date: June 25, 2019
Genre: rockstar romance

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My name is Clover Calloway and I’ve lived two separate lives.

The first, I like to call “my past.” I never talk about it. I try not to think about it. My rockstar days of playing in one of the hottest bands on the planet are over. Along with the most volatile, beautiful, tragic love story of all time.

Over the past five years, I’ve settled into my second life. My “normal life.” The one where I work a normal job, hang out with normal people and fall in love with a normal, but wonderful guy. The life where I’m admittedly a little bored, but also safe.

My past wasn’t boring. But my past broke my heart into a million, unfixable pieces. So, I’m determined to keep it where it belongs—behind me.

And the man responsible for the shattering of me? Malachi Porter, lead singer and mastermind of Bright Tragedy, should stay there too. Far away from me and this idyllic life I’ve carved out for myself.

But what happens when my two lives collide?

When Malachi comes crashing into my perfectly normal world, he threatens to destroy it, promises to annihilate everything I’ve replaced him with.

He upends everything I thought I wanted and forces me to question the reasons I left Bright Tragedy all those years ago.

But I didn’t walk away five years ago, I ran. As fast as I could go. And while my heart is whispering that it’s different this time—that he’s different—my brain is screaming for me to run again.

Malachi Porter isn’t a normal guy. And he doesn’t belong in my “normal life.” But, nevertheless, he’s bound and determined to make a place for himself here.

I just hope my heart can survive him, that we don’t burn into another bright tragedy. 

Purchase your copy now: Amazon 


Chapter One

     My fingers flew over the keys. Up and down. Black and white. Sharp and natural and sharp, sharp, sharp. The damper pedal lifted with my momentum. I pressed down again, elongating the notes, pulling the best of the melody out of the song and letting it hang in the air, notes dancing and twirling and singing in the emotional symphony. Beethoven had never sounded so good.
     I took a breath. Closing my eyes at the final, heart-stopping crescendo, I lifted my fingers and let the last notes resonate through the vaulted ceilings in perfect harmony.
     When the sound died and the song drifted from the building, I couldn’t help but wait for applause. It was ingrained in my nature. My entire life I’d played to crowds much bigger than this one. And so, I sat there, my breath trapped inside my chest, my eyes closed in anticipation and… nothing.
     There was no eruption of cheering and wild clapping. There was no demand for an encore. There was no stadium filled with rabid fans, blissed out at the end of the best show of their lives.
     Only one person was clapping for this performance and it was Maya from the MAC makeup counter. And she only did it because she knew it made me happy. I grinned at her over my shoulder. She clapped louder, jumping up and down in a pure attempt to feed my ego.
     A cluster of teenage girls moved between us, laughing and chatting, eyes glued on all the pretty things around them. I quickly turned away, ducking my head and focusing on the gorgeous grand piano that filled the center of the glistening lobby.
     Nobody recognized me these days, but better safe than sorry.
     When the shoppers had moved on, I gathered my music and slipped it inside a folder. Maya was still slow clapping by the time I reached the counter that was covered with tubes of lipstick.
     “Woman, you were on fire today,” she cheered. “I was seriously moved by that last piece. Tears, Clover. Actual tears.” She pointed at the corner of her eye where her electric blue eyeliner was smudged.
     “Moonlight Sonata.” I took a steadying breath, banishing the lingering emotions that clung to the edges of me. Beethoven’s masterful piece was one of my favorites too. And I rarely played it. But today I’d been in the mood for melancholy and memories. And that song, above all others, despite what the tabloids and bloggers said about me once upon a time, weighed the heaviest with my past. “It’s a good one.”
     She leaned forward on her elbows. “You’re stupid good, you know that?”
     I tilted my head, letting my long, fiery red curls fall over my shoulder and partially hide my face. “What you really mean is I’m good for Macy’s standards, right?” I looked behind me as Walter arrived and started to set up for his three-hour block. Macy’s hired us for elegant entertainment. We were the background music for the high-end department stores evening and weekend shoppers. There was a rotating total of six pianists and each of us were happy for the work. It was a relatively easy way to make a hundred bucks.
     This was all part of my new normal. Trying to live and eat and sleep off the grind of regular employment.
     Once upon a time, my piano-playing skills made me lots and lots of money. Not that I put in fewer hours. But it seemed easier to make money as a headline band dropping platinum albums.
     It seemed easier, I realized. But it hadn’t been.
     I breathed deeply of this normal life I lived now and smiled at the simplicity of it. Sorrow and heartache tugged at the corners of my thoughts, desperate to get my attention and claim some space in this adjusted life of mine, but I refused to give them room.
     They were banished, along with everything else that used to be.
     “Girl, I mean you’re good period. Stop playin’.”
     “You’re really sweet. Thank you.”
     She winked at me. “You’re welcome.”
     “What is all this?” I asked, picking up a random tube of lipstick and turning it over. Russian Red. “Wow, this is bright.”
     “Restocking,” she sighed. “It’s a pain in the ass. But also, better than giving tweens makeovers all day.”
     “What about former tweens? Do you have time for one of those?”
     She laughed her deep, throaty laugh that always made me smile. Maya and I had gotten to know each other slowly over the last few years after I’d first started playing at Macy’s. She’d been one of my most favorite parts of slowing down and finding normal.
     She was a real friend. And a real person. There was nothing shallow about her. She jumped right into a deep friendship and demanded raw honesty. There were still parts of my life I kept a secret from her, but that wasn’t because I didn’t want to tell her the whole sordid history of how I’d ended up in Kansas City, Missouri. It was for her safety. And mine. And to honor all those pesky nondisclosures I’d signed.
     Her big brown eyes widened. “Oh, my gosh, is tonight the night? The big night?”
     I nibbled my bottom lip and nodded. “Yes.” My stomach flipped with anticipation for the surprise that waited for me just hours from now.
     She leaned forward, bouncing on her toes with shared excitement. “What do you think it is? Oh, my gosh, what if he proposes?”
     I lifted a shoulder and felt my stomach drop to my toes. Equal parts dread and hope spiraled through me, chasing each other, racing to see which emotion would win. “I have no idea what it is. He’s so excited though. He can barely contain himself. Yesterday, he had outfits spread out on his bed like he was deciding which one to wear.”
     “Oh my god, Clover! This has to be it.”
     I shrugged again. “It could honestly be anything, but a proposal, Maya? For real, that would be crazy.”
     “Would you say yes?”
     I took too long to think about my answer. Maya wanted an easy, breezy yes. She wanted to know that my relationship with Adam Shepherd was a whirlwind romance that had totally and completely swept me off my feet. She wanted a real-life romantic comedy and epic love story wrapped in one. She wanted me to be happy. And it was so sweet of her. But it was also unrealistic.
     I’d already had all of that. And it had ended in the worst kind of tragedy.
     Her question was supposed to have an easy answer. Even if I wasn’t ready for the proposal now, I was supposed to want it sometime, right?
     Meet a normal guy. Fall in love with a normal guy. Marry a normal guy. Live a very normal happily ever after.
     Every girl’s dream. Except mine.
     “We’ve only been dating for six months,” I told her, laughing, playing it off, shining light on her absolutely ridiculous idea. “He hasn’t even told me he loves me yet.” A sick feeling rolled through my stomach, my body wholly rejecting the idea of saying those words to anyone.
     She blinked, her fake lashes fanning over high cheekbones. “Oh.” Maya was a romantic to her bones. She wanted everyone to fall in love. If a man so much as knelt to tie his shoe in front of the makeup counter, she assumed it was some elaborate proposal stunt. “Well, maybe tonight’s the night for I love yous!”
     My heart thrummed with the idea, bossing my nerves back in line. This was an easier question to answer, although she hadn’t asked it. Would I tell Adam I loved him if he said the words first? Yes. Yes, I would.
     At least, I hoped I would.
     Sometimes my mouth had a mind of its own.
     I bat my lashes at her. “Better make me look pretty just in case.”
     She grinned and grabbed the tube of Russian Red. “The good news is, if he doesn’t love you yet, he will after I’m done with you!”
     Jumping up onto one of the high back stools, I set my messenger bag full of sheet music at my feet and waited patiently for Maya to make me gorgeous. The woman was a magician when it came to makeup. Seriously, she could make anything look beautiful.
     Not that she had to try very hard. She was truly one of the most stunning women  I had ever seen. Her dark skin was absolute perfection. Her natural hair, wild and curly and edgy, so perfectly fitting to her larger than life personality. And her curves the kind that every woman wanted, dreamed of, spent hours in the gym to get. She was one of MAC’s bestsellers consistently because everybody wanted to look like her.
     Hell, most women wanted to be her.
     Also, because she could transform anyone from blah to banging with a few mystical strokes of her brushes.
     Thirty minutes later, I barely recognized myself in the small circular mirror on the counter. She’d given me smoky eyes, highlighted cheekbones, and dang that Russian Red if it didn’t look amazing on my lips next to my natural red hair.
     “No way,” I whispered as she grinned over my shoulder. She’d highlight the dusting of freckles over my nose and under my eyes and given me perfectly porcelain skin that seemed to have no blemishes. Although, I knew that to be a lie. I looked better than I ever had.
     I looked even better than when I’d had an actual makeup team.
     “You’re going home with this lipstick,” she ordered. “You need to own it and wear it every damn day.”
     “It makes my hair look so red.” I groaned. My hair and I had been at odds since I could remember. There was a time I did anything to hide the crimson curls. I straightened, I tied it back and hid it under stocking caps and finally, when the PR team got involved, I colored it in crazy vibrant colors like neon pink or bold purple. I loved the fun shades, even if I looked like a Barbie.
     But, I’d given all that up five years ago and went back to my natural shade. The curls were more manageable than trying to straighten this mess every day. Eventually, my new hair stylist had found the perfect red to match my roots. I didn’t even get it dyed anymore. This was just me. Clover Callaway, completely natural. Completely anonymous.
     Nobody expected the red curls. They were my new signature. And I was slowly learning to love them.
     Like I was slowly learning to love this life.
     “You’re welcome,” Maya repeated, laughing. “Tell you what. If I had your hair, I would rock the shit out of it.”
     Now that I believed. “M, if I had your hair, I would never worry about my hair again.”
     She bugged her eyes out at me. “You think this is easy? You have no idea how long this takes me every day.”
     “Same,” I sighed.
      Shaking her head, she murmured, “I guess the grass is always greener.”
     “Now isn’t that the truth.”
     An older woman and a thirty-something younger version of her stepped up to the counter, pointing out eye shadows. “That’s my cue,” Maya whispered, totaling up the lipstick with her employee discount.
     I gave her my credit card. Honestly, whenever she picked out makeup for me, I gave her my money. Maya knew best. “Thanks for this.”
     She grinned at me. “Good luck! I want all the details tomorrow.”
     To be honest, I wasn’t expecting anything as grand as I love yous. Adam and I had met at one of my other jobs—local photographer. He had been a groomsman at a wedding I helped shoot. We’d hit it off when he’d gotten socked in the face with a wayward basketball.
     The groomsmen and groom, while waiting for the bride and her attendants to get ready, had been messing around in the church’s gym. My photographer friend, River, and I had been shooting fun photos of the pickup game in their tuxes when Adam had gotten distracted and taken a ball to the face. Blood had gushed everywhere, spurting out his swollen nose all over his tux.
     His excuse? He’d been staring at me and hadn’t seen it coming. I’d rushed to his aid and helped nurse his poor nose back to semi-normal, so he wouldn’t look like a cartoon for the wedding pictures.
     He’d asked me out before the night was over, and now we were dating.
     Adam was one of those guys that always made things easy. He was laid-back, responsible, and adorable. The last six months had been a surprising whirlwind of romantic dates and constant butterflies. And tonight, he’d planned something epic for our six-month anniversary.
     I had never celebrated relationship anniversaries with anyone before, so my expectations were low. But I was also ridiculously excited. It made me feel special. I loved the idea of celebrating small milestones with this simmering anticipation for more to come.
     And it just fit Adam in every way. Of course, he would make a sweet thing out of our six-month. Of course, he would make me feel cherished. Of course, he would make this about us. And not about himself.
     I left Macy’s in my cool blue Mini Cooper, my favorite of all the cars in the world, and drove directly to his house. We lived across town from each other, so I didn’t have time to go all the way home after my shift before I was supposed to be at Adam’s house in Kansas City suburbia.
     He was thirty-one with a stable job as an IT guy at a tech company, which seemed redundant to me. But he assured me even tech companies have tech problems.
     His house was bigger than what he needed as a single guy. It seemed huge for him alone. When he’d first moved in, he’d shared it with three roommates. They’d all gotten married in the meantime and moved out. Over the last two years, he’d been slowly remodeling and updating. Making it his.
     I didn’t know why I found that attractive, but I did. It showed me how stable he was. How reliable. How invested he was in his life.
     And for those reasons, I loved his house. It was this symbol of responsible adulthood and trustworthiness.
     It was an older one and a half story home with the master bedroom on the main floor and three bedrooms and an adorable terrace that looked out over his sprawling backyard. He’d let me plant a flower garden on the terrace last spring complete with pallet planters he’d built for me and hanging pots. It was my favorite place in the entire world.
     The hot summer air stuck to my skin as I got out of my car and hurried toward his front door. I didn’t want to start sweating and ruin all of Maya’s hard work.
     Pushing through the open door, I stepped inside, feeling a little extra ownership in Adam’s place. Six months was a milestone.
     Six months meant something special.
     “Hello?” I called out, feeling brave that I hadn’t even texted to let him know I was on my way.
     I’d earned the right to show up unannounced, right?
     He stepped out of his bedroom, tugging a t-shirt down at his waist. My eyes lingered on the smooth, stretch of skin across his midsection and I felt a burst of warmth bloom through me. This was going to be a fun night. It had to be.
     “Hey,” he grinned at me. “You’re here.”
     He was so happy to see me. It was written all over his handsome face. My heart swelled in my chest as I realized this was what a normal, healthy relationship felt like. This was what it felt like to be happy.
     “Hey,” I repeated. “I’m here.”
     We moved together across the living room, sidestepping furniture and the big, clunky coffee table he’d built himself on his first try at furniture making. Our arms wrapped around each other and he dipped me into a long, satisfying kiss. Butterflies buzzed beneath my skin at the sensation of his tongue tangling with mine. The scruff of his jaw wasn’t typical, and I shivered at the sensation.
     Maybe we didn’t have plans tonight. Maybe we were going to hang out here instead and find other ways to celebrate six months.
     “Are you ready for this?” he asked when he’d pulled away.
     “Depends,” I laughed. “Are you ready to tell me what we’re doing?”
     He took a step back, barely able to contain his excitement. No offense to my bedroom skills, but any hopes of staying in tonight were dashed in that one uncharacteristic skip in his step.
     Reaching into his back pocket, he pulled out printer paper with barcodes in black ink. “I have tickets to Bright Tragedy! They’re playing at the Uptown Theater tonight.”
     His words were a bullet to my good mood, killing whatever happiness and anticipation had been inside me. My heart dropped like a stone to my stomach, calcifying and fossilizing and drying up all at once. “The Uptown Theater is too small for them,” I heard myself say, my brain relying on logistics to make this not true. To change what he’d said into something different, something that didn’t make me want to run away from his house, from this city... from this country.
     “It’s a more intimate show,” he explained, his grin ticking wider. “This tour they’re doing is all about small shows and private meet and greets. I missed the tickets for the meet and greet, but I managed to grab the main event tonight.”
     His grin stayed in place, waiting for my reaction. I did breathe a small sigh of relief that he’d missed the intimate photo op. God, I couldn’t even imagine the shit show that would have been.
     You wouldn’t have gone, my brain whispered honestly. And it was true. If Adam had tried to drag me to a private event where I would have been forced to interact with the members of his and the entire world’s favorite rock band and take pictures with them and shake their hands… I would have run screaming from his house. That was the worst-case scenario for me.
     But a concert was a different story. Not because I had any interest in watching Bright Tragedy live or seeing them in person ever again. But because I wanted to preserve what I had with Adam.
     I refused to let Bright Tragedy steal any more of my happiness. I refused to let them take anything more from me than they already had.
     But this wasn’t a celebration for me. This was one of the hardest things I would ever have to do.
     And the worst part… I couldn’t even tell Adam why.
     He didn’t need to know that I used to be a member of his favorite band. Or that I had grown up with the guys. Or that the lead singer, Malachi Porter, had been my first boyfriend. My first everything. My only everything until Adam. I had loved him with all that I had in me. I had thought we would get married. That our entire lives would be each other and our band.
     And that Malachi, or Kai as his adoring fans knew him, had hurt me in the worst way possible—that he had let our love burn into the brightest tragedy and left me ashes and dust and wisps of nothing.
     He’d left me barely breathing.
     He’d left me hurting more than I knew was humanly possible.
     With no other choice, I’d fled. I’d disappeared. I’d carved out my normal, safe, happy existence without him. And without the world-famous band I’d helped build.
     But now, my wonderfully normal boyfriend was asking me to go back to that dark place and I didn’t know how to tell him no without exposing all my shadowy secrets.      Secrets he would never forgive me for.
Secrets I could hardly explain fully or reconcile with the girl I was now.
     “Are you okay?” he asked, concern drawing his eyebrows together. His strong hands landed on my shoulders, rubbing soothingly. “Do you not want to go?”
     I tried to smile, but it wobbled. And then it died completely. “I’m sorry, I just don’t love their music like you do.” Panic seized hold of my heart, squeezing it in an iron fist.
     His face fell, crumbling with disappointment. The grip on my heart tightened. “Oh, but it could still be fun? We’re in the balcony. We’ll get drinks…”
     I couldn’t stomach the way he was looking at me. I couldn’t be responsible for ruining this for him. I knew I had to face this. I knew I had to go. It was the only way to save my past from totally screwing up my future.
     If I told Adam the whole truth, he would never look at me the same. He would never treat me the same. He would never…  want me the same.
     I would become an idol. And my past would become a badge of honor. And his feelings for me would become plastic.
     But the band… if they saw me. If Malachi saw me…
     They wouldn’t, I decided. They won’t. They can’t. How many fans did I recognize at any of our concerts? Zero. The stage lights were too bright. The crush of the crowd was too big. The adrenaline of the performance was too intense.
     And besides, Malachi wouldn’t be in the right state of mind anyway. He wouldn’t even notice me.
     I ignored the despair that colored everything inside me black. Death seeped inside my new life, turning everything cold and corpse-like. My bones grew stiff and my muscles weakened. My heartbeat slowed to a crawl. My lungs shook with the effort to draw breath.
     “It’s fine,” I heard myself say, desperation to save this easy new life of mine setting in. I wanted to shake my limbs loose of the rigor mortis. “It will be fun.”
     He squinted at me, trying to make sense of the hollow sound of my voice. “I promise, you’re going to love it. Love them,” he said, overly enthusiastic. “You’ll see why I think they’re amazing. You’ll be a super fan by the end of the night.”
     I smiled, it was paper thin and fake, but it held. He was wrong. I had already been a super fan. I had been their biggest fan. I had wanted them to have the most success. To be the greatest thing that had ever graced the stage.
     Now I knew better. I had loved a broken thing because I wanted to fix it. Instead, it had broken me too.
     “Maybe,” I told Adam, knowing the truth would be the opposite.
     His answering smile restored some of my faith in life. I wasn’t the same girl I was five years ago. I wasn’t a part of Bright Tragedy. And I wasn’t in love with Malachi Porter.
     But I did like Adam. And I could support him this one night. I would slip inside the theater, be a good girlfriend and hang out on the balcony. And then we would leave at the end of the night and life would go on.
     Malachi and the guys would move on to the next city.
     And I would move on with my new normal.


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

Following her passion, Maxym earned her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University.
You can find her on:
Never Fall in Love with a RockstarNever Fall in Love with a Rockstar by Rachel Higginson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to my bestie, Astrid for urging me to try a Rachel Higginson book!! Without a doubt I will be checking out more of her backlist in the future. I have to say, I've read A LOT of rockstar romances. So many in fact, that it's pretty hard to find something to stand apart from the rest at this point. Never Fall in Love with a Rockstar pulled it off with its surprising emotional depth, nuanced characterization, and writing style that's effortless to engage with. If you're in the mood for a slow burn second chance love story, look no further.

Clover and Kai have a complicated and messy past that was left unresolved for the last five years. Once, she was one of the rising stars of Bright Tragedy, a rock band she helped found with her brother and their friends. She and Kai were in love and inseparable until they got a taste of success and all of the temptations that come with the industry. That's when addiction forced its way between the two of them. Self medicating the pain from his tragic past, he lived life on the razor edge of destruction. Every day, she lived with the worry that he would pass the point of no return and be lost to her forever. Somehow the responsibility fell on her shoulders to carry the burden of his recklessness and hold everything together. Until she just didn't have it in her to put herself last anymore and chose a new "normal."

     This had been our battle since I met him—trying to convince him he was good, he was worthy of love, he deserved great things. His parents had beat that truth out of him long ago and filled his head with lies. And then the one person he trusted and loved and loved him back died before he could grow to know better.

Her life was divided in two parts. Chaotic and normal. Removing herself from that unhealthy relationship was undoubtedly the best course of action. However, her life out of the public eye may have been safe, but became more of a safety blanket. Average, mundane jobs she could disappear into while never living up to her full potential. Her boyfriend is sweet, responsible, and stable, but there was no passion or intensity. Was this bland new normal enough for her creative soul in the long run?

Clover reconnects with Kai very early in the book when her boyfriend surprises her with tickets to his favorite band: (you guessed it) Bright Tragedy. Here's a point that I thought wasn't entirely believable. It didn't seem realistic that he wouldn't realize she was an original member of his all time favorite band. The reasoning was that she'd went back to her natural red curly hair so she was unrecognizable? I just didn't see it. Not a big deal overall, but it was worth mentioning. Anyway, of course she doesn't slide in and out of the concert undetected, and things get complicated really fast. This won't be a point of contention for everyone, but I was a little nervous how love triangle-y this would be and if there would be cheating involved that I couldn't deal with. Adam's greatest sin was that he was on the wrong side of boring, and he was genuinely a nice guy. I was really happy with how the relationship was handled in this respect.

I do have to bring up the pacing of her sorting through her feelings between the two men though. As I said before, this is pretty slow burn with the characters. Many will be fine with how long it takes for her to start the second chance portion. The rekindling of Kai and Clover's relationship. But I admit to getting impatient when she was still sleeping with Adam 70% in, and only single and open to trying with Kai at 88%. With 12% of the book left, the actual romance and reconnection between the two of them wasn't that much. Mainly, the book focuses on Clover sorting through her feelings and finding the ability to believe that Kai is a newer, stronger man. Capable of a healthy relationship that she can put her fragile trust in. I do think that the lengthy exploration of their history was needed rather than jumping into anything impulsively. I just wish that she hadn't taken quite so long to let go of Adam. But again, that's my subjective opinion and it won't necessarily be the case with others.

I was so impressed with the refreshingly three dimensional characters, most notably Brennan. The band had a love/hate relationship with him, and he was arguably somewhat of an antagonist. Clover's dealings with him in the past were not good at all, and she was immediately on her guard with him. But she realized that Kai wasn't the only one who had gone through change while she was gone. There were times he was blunt and offensive, but then she would see another side of him and realize that underneath it all he genuinely did care. I really appreciated the fact that he wasn't some caricature villain as it could have easily gone, but a flawed and relatable character who you even grow to like.

I really loved Higginson's style of writing, and her focus on realistic characters, their emotions behind their actions, and her care with the topic of addiction. She's just the kind of author I like, and I'm kind of shocked it took me this long to read one of her books. If you're a fan of rockstar romance and want something fresh to the genre, this is the book for you. I highly recommend it.

     These roots. These roots really did stretch down to my toes. They would never let go. They’d turn me out and upside down and always be in my soul. And I was so okay with that.



Blog Tour with Review: Another Sky by Jayne Frost

ANOTHER SKY by Jayne Frost 
Release Date: June 25th 
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Photographer: Lindee Robinson 

FREE in Kindle Unlimited!





My world stopped turning six years ago. My best friend. My best girl. A burning field in the pouring rain. I survived, but I left the biggest part of me with them. And now I sift through the rubble of my broken life. I didn’t want a second chance. Redemption. Closure. Not for me. Until Gelsey. A dancer. A dreamer. Everything I’m not. She’s the light to my dark. The sun from another sky. But sunny days never last. The storm is coming. And this time when darkness falls, I might surrender.




Gravel crunched under the tires as my truck coasted to a stop on the shoulder of the two-lane highway. Cutting the engine, I sank against the leather upholstery and looked out at the open field. And for a moment, the thin veil separating then and now slipped away, and it was six years ago. On my back beneath the smoke-filled sky, I’d waited for death to claim me. To put an end to the pain.

I was sure it would.

But then I heard the voices. First Rhenn’s—so faint it was nothing more than a whisper.

And then Tori’s.

But not Paige.

Never Paige.

Shifting my gaze to the passenger seat, I almost expected to find her there. But the space was empty. Except for the sealed bottle of Maker’s Mark. Rich, amber liquid whispering promises of peace. Of oblivion.

Lies. All lies. Because no matter what I drank or smoked or swallowed, peace eluded me. Tranquility had died in this field all those years ago. Crushed under the weight of twisted metal and drowned in the pouring rain.

Grimacing, I dug my fingers into the muscle on my thigh, right over the area where the bone had come through the skin. My leg had suffered the worst of the trauma. Broken femur. Dislocated knee cap. A spiral fracture to my tibia. Maybe if I weren’t a drummer, it wouldn’t have mattered. But the injuries had silenced my beat. Sadly, there was no grave to mark its passing. No monument to the lost rhythm. Just this empty field.

I guess that’s why I always ended up here. In the place where the music died. Right alongside my best friend and my best girl.

Blowing out a breath, I stashed the bottle in the inner pocket of my leather jacket. Two stints in the psychiatric ward at Millwood, and I knew better than to dance this close to the fire. But I didn’t care. I wasn’t planning on drinking it.

Throwing open the heavy door, I braced a hand on the steering wheel and slid off the seat, making sure to land on my good leg. I didn’t bother with my cane. There was no need for pretense.

Not here.

As I waded into the dried brush, “Blackbird” blared from my phone’s speaker. Tori. I’d lost track of how many times she’d called.

And yeah, I got it. She was concerned.

Less than twenty-four hours ago, we’d been on stage at Zilker Park, capping off the biggest rock festival Austin had ever seen. A Damaged reunion. One last hurrah for the fans. And closure for Tori and me.


Except…nothing felt closed.

And as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t talk to Tori about it. Not now. She’d finally moved on from her grief. Fallen in love again. And in some strange way, that had brought us back together.

After the accident, we’d drifted apart. And that was a good thing. Something we’d needed to do. Because when we had been together, sharing the same space, it was like the sum of our losses was too big. All-consuming.

Knowing that Tori was out there in the world with a heart as heavy as mine had made my own burden a little easier to bear.

But now I felt the weight of it more acutely than I had in years. A fact I was determined to hide. So, I’d been avoiding her calls.

Reaching the far end of the field, I eased onto the soft ground beneath the burned-out shell of the elm tree where I’d found Rhenn and lost him minutes later.

“Hey, buddy. Guess you know about that gig last night.” My voice fell to a whisper, and I looked down. “Of course you do.” Squeezing my eyes shut, I blew out a staggered breath and pulled the whiskey from my pocket. “It was weird, you know, not having y’all there to celebrate. So I thought I’d bring the celebration to you.”

Twisting off the cap with shaky fingers, I fought the urge to bring the bottle to my lips.

One drink. What could it hurt?

As I pondered throwing away years of sobriety, a gust of wind blew across the field, kicking up topsoil and dust.

Chuckling, I rubbed the sand out of my eyes. “Message received. You don’t have to get all testy about it.”

I wasn’t an alcoholic. Or a drug addict. But booze was still a slippery slope. A year after the crash, I’d landed in rehab from an “accidental” overdose that wasn’t an accident at all. It only took the counselor a week to get to the root of my real problem. Soul-crushing depression—the clinical kind.

They’d fixed me up with medication that kept the dark clouds at bay. Mostly. But I never told anyone about my diagnosis. Somehow it was easier to let people believe I was a drunk.

With a sigh, I turned the bottle upside down. “Miss you, bro.” After the last drop of liquor-soaked into the hallowed ground, I hauled to my feet. “See you on the other side.” Taking a last look around, I stopped breathing when I spotted a little patch of wildflowers some twenty yards away. Most of the blossoms had wilted on the stems. But a few buds remained.

Red, like Paige’s hair.

After all this time, I’d found her.

My feet moved swiftly with little protest from my bad leg. Brushing a hand over the velvety soft petals, tears spilled onto my cheeks, surprising me. Because I’d never cried for Paige. She didn’t visit me in my dreams. And I couldn’t see her face when I closed my eyes.

That was my penance. The price I’d paid for rejecting her that final night. But she was here with me now. Her scent on the breeze, and her warmth on my skin. And she gave me the one thing I’d been searching for, even if I didn’t deserve it.



About the Author

     I grew up in California with a dream of moving to Seattle to become a rock star.
But when the grunge thing didn’t work out (I never even made it to the Washington border) I set my sights on Austin, Texas.
     After quickly becoming immersed in the Sixth Street Music scene…and discovering I couldn’t actually sing, I decided to do the next best thing—write kick-ass romances about hot rockstars and the women that steal their hearts.
Another SkyAnother Sky by Jayne Frost
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some books have an extra something special, and you can feel the care that was put into crafting them. Another Sky was one of those books, a labor of love from beginning to end. The characters are not perfect, they're human in their insecurities, fears, and weaknesses. They are all the more realistic for it. I was not a spectator to Miles and Gelsey's life, I was brought up close and personal. Hurting for their heartache, and rooting for their happy ending.

Miles was once on top of the music world as the drummer of Damaged. They had three hit albums under their belt that brought them to the pinnacle of success. Then on one stormy night, his best friend and the woman he loved were suddenly taken from him. Life as he knew it splintered, never to be the same again. His band, his music were once the center of everything, but the injuries he sustained in the accident took that away from him too. Six years later, the physical and emotional strain still have a grip on him. He's been through a gamut of emotions: grief, depression, anger, and hopelessness. In the back of his mind, he fears that the fragile hold he has over his mental health will not last. That the dark spiral he survived in the past will consume him again. Why allow anyone close when all he will do is hurt them in the end?

    There was only me. Because Reber was right about one thing: I’d pushed everyone else away. Tori. Taryn. All my other friends. Even my mama. Not that she’d minded.

His isolated life is about to be disrupted when Gelsey is assigned to assist him with his physical therapy. Miles is rude during their first meeting, and she doesn't give him a pass because of his fame. Unlike the adoring fans who still get a rush just to get a glimpse of him, she has no idea who he is and is far from impressed. She has her own problems to worry about, the last thing she needs is a bitter ex-rockstar throwing her attitude. So when he offers her a job that could be the solution to her financial difficulties, she refuses to give him the satisfaction and turns him down cold.

Gelsey is a ballerina who has been given the opportunity of a lifetime. To live in New York and train at a prestigious dance school she's been invited to would be a dream come true. She's always been advanced for her age, despite having a permanent back impairment that makes her rigorous training even more challenging. Her father is a scumbag who isn't there for her, in fact, he makes her life even harder by being in it. Suddenly she's homeless, her car is falling apart, and she has no way to pay what's required if she's to go to New York. So she swallows her pride and finally accepts Miles' job offer at his home. After all, she has no one to depend on but herself, if she doesn't take action everything she's worked so hard for will slip through her fingers just when it was almost in her grasp.

Miles has achieved success, Gelsey is on the cusp of reaching hers. She's filled with hope and dreams, his have been crushed into cynicism. Even at Miles' broodiest, he always steps in to help when she's in crisis. Offering her a job and a safe place to stay, use of one of his cars, and moral support. His attraction and respect grow for this tiny slip of a woman who is destined to be a star. But is she just a shooting star, passing his dark sky in a blaze of light and beauty?

One of the things that I loved the most about this book was the fact that we really got to go in depth with Gelsey's dance life. It wasn't just a token prop to make her character appear more interesting, heard but never seen. We're shown her complex relationship with her mentor, her brutal practices and their effect on her body, and her interactions and conflicts with the other dancers. You really get an idea of the sacrifices and challenges a dancer faces. Her career was given the same attention and significance as the hero's which is how it should be. Her talent and the all-consuming passion she had for dance was a beautiful thing to see. But seeing her through Miles' eyes was even more so.

    Long moments passed with nothing but the feel of Gelsey in my arms. The smell of her hair, and the rise and fall of her chest. I feared she might fly away if I released her. Because she could. I’d seen her. And I knewI’d never separate the girl from the dance again. Not after tonight.

Even though this is a complete standalone, if you've read the Sixth Street Bands series, your reading experience will be a little more enriched starting this one. Some of the connected characters make an appearance and you'll be very happy to get some extra time with them. If you're new to Jayne's books, you won't have any issues at all with the history of the group or the individuals. She does a fantastic job easing you in without slowing down the pace. I highly recommend this book if you're looking for an emotional story with plenty of heart. I love this author's eloquent writing style, and really look forward to reading more from her in the future!

    Nine kisses. Nine whispered vows. Nine tiny pieces of my heart that were now his forever.



Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Review: The Lemon Sisters by Jill Shalvis

The New York Times bestselling author of Rainy Day Friends and Lost and Found Sisters returns to Wildstone, California...

Series: Wildstone #3
Publication date: June 18, 2019
Published by: William Morrow
Genre: women's fiction

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Brooke Lemon has always led the life she wanted, wild adventures—and mistakes—included, something her perfect sister, Mindy, never understood. So when Mindy shows up on Brooke’s doorstep in the throes of a break-down with her three little kids in tow, Brooke’s shocked.

Wanting to make amends, Brooke agrees to trade places, taking the kids back to Wildstone for a few days so Mindy can pick up the pieces and put herself back together. What Brooke doesn’t admit is she’s just as broken . . . Also how does one go home after seven years away? It doesn’t take long for Brooke to come face-to-face with her past, in the form of one tall, dark, sexy mistake. But Garrett’s no longer interested. Only his words don’t match his actions, leaving Brooke feeling things she’d shoved deep.

Soon the sisters begin to wonder: Are they lemons in life? In love? All they know is that neither seems to be able to run far enough to outpace her demons. And when secrets surface, they’ll have to learn that sometimes the one person who can help you the most is the one you never thought to ask.

Purchase your copy now!
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Praise for Jill Shalvis:

“Sisterhood takes center stage in this utterly absorbing novel. Jill Shalvis balances her trademark sunny optimism and humor with unforgettable real-life drama. A book to savor--and share.”
- Susan Wiggs, New York Times Bestselling Author

“Jill Shalvis’s books are funny, warm, charming and unforgettable.”
- RaeAnne Thayne, New York Times bestselling author

“The Lemon Sisters is full of Shalvis’ signature verve and wit; it touches on sisterhood and forgiveness while also serving up plenty of romance. The perfect beach read for any romance reader.”
- Booklist


New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras with her family and far too many assorted quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. 

Look for Jill's latest, LOST AND FOUND SISTERS on shelves and e-readers now, and get all her bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold. 

Visit Jill's website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

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


The Lemon Sisters: A NovelThe Lemon Sisters: A Novel by Jill Shalvis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jill Shalvis is one of my auto-buy authors. Whether she's writing women's fiction or contemporary romance, her stories always resonate in some way with me. They're effortless, sexy, and a guaranteed comfort read. Of course I liked some better than others, but I haven't come across one that I didn't enjoy. The Wildstone women's fiction series has a strong influence of romance which isn't always the case in the genre. I like the fact that I can rely on the same things we get in her romances, while exploring the family dynamic and conflict with a little more depth.

The Lemon Sisters is about two sisters, Brooke and Mindy who are estranged and facing a personal crisis. These two women couldn't be more different from one another if they tried. Brooke was always the free-spirited, adventure loving sister. The one who wasn't satisfied with small town life, and left to experience the world through the lens of her camera. She was high on life, adrenaline, and freedom to do what she pleased. Mindy settled down in their hometown, married and started a family, and ran her parents' business in town. She's a people pleaser, organizing everyone and everything around her in the attempt to be perfect. Now she's having a mental health crisis, stressed beyond belief and has nowhere to turn. So she seeks out the sister she hasn't been in contact with for seven years in a desperate plea for help.

    She’d spent most of her life trying to be perfect, which had finally sucked the soul out of her and left her feeling like she was free-falling into an abyss.

From the outside, Brooke seems to have it all: a successful career at a travel reality show, a nice home, and fantastic friends. On the inside she struggles with OCD, anxiety, and crippling guilt over a tragic event in her past. She's completely isolated herself from her family, and won't let the few people in her life know what she struggles with. Everything is internalized, and always has been. Which doesn't do much to solve anything, but she realizes that something finally has to give. She misses her old life, before. Before the accident that led her down the lonely path she's on, and stole her passion for life. Both sisters are burned out, and at their wits end. They know they have to start making some serious changes. So Brooke takes a brave step to mending their broken relationship and heads back to Wildstone.

    It wasn’t adventure that kept her away from Wildstone. Shame, maybe. Okay, definitely. And regrets. Lots of regrets. She’d been haunted by them for seven years, throughout which she’d stayed away from her childhood town, only four hours north of here.

Brooke has two goals in going back home. To reconcile her relationship with her sister and to make peace with the man she ran from without getting closure. Garrett grew up with her and the three of them were close friends, and eventually he became something more. Even back then, she kept her distance emotionally, but deep inside she knows they could have had something permanent if she had reached for it. She has a lot of mistakes to make up for, and she doesn't feel as if she deserves forgiveness necessarily but she knows she can't continue the way things have been. Brooke quickly realizes that stepping into Mindy's life isn't going to be quite as easy as she had planned. The kids, the schedule, and a broody Garrett right next door have her nerves frayed in no time.

I enjoyed Brooke's perspective the most. I was interested to find out what exactly happened after the helicopter crash, and why she felt the need to cut and run from everyone. It was really heartbreaking when she finally opened up to Garrett and shared with him how she had been struggling for so many years. At the same time, I felt worse for him because she had left him in the dark for so long and the woman he once loved was stirring up all kinds of emotions that he was scared to feel again. He didn't trust that she would have the courage to stay and leave herself vulnerable. Beyond their relationship issues, she's also working through her own fears an inability to do the things she once loved. Later on, a conflict crops up with Garrett and his own family and he must do his own soul searching to decide if he's willing to forgive and fight for what he wants.

Mindy I couldn't really connect with as much. I thought she was really judgemental and controlling which kind of got on my nerves a bit. Yes, she was overwhelmed in her family life and trying to keep her head above water. But she was quick to overreact and slow to listen to others. She also seemed pretty ungrateful about what Brooke was doing for her. I get that she was holding onto some resentment, but her jealousy and animosity made her a little more difficult to sympathize with.

Overall, I thought this was solidly entertaining, holding my interest from beginning to end. Shalvis included lots of humor through her usual menagerie of pets as well as some very high energy children. While I didn't feel as emotionally invested in Brooke and Garrett's second chance romance as I should have been, I was still rooting for them to finally break through the pride and hurt that had been keeping them apart for so long.

If you're thinking of starting the series, don't hesitate. I may not have loved this one as much as her others but there is always something substantial to take away from her stories. It's important to note: you do not have to read this series in order. They are very loosely tied together with no overlap in plotlines.