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, July 31, 2019

Blog Tour with Excerpt: Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins

From the New York Times bestselling author of Good Luck with That comes a new novel about a blue-blood grandmother and her black-sheep granddaughter who discover they are truly two sides of the same coin.


Series: Standalone
Publication Date: July 31th 
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Publisher: Berkley



Emma London never thought she had anything in common with her grandmother Genevieve London. The regal old woman came from wealthy and bluest-blood New England stock, but that didn’t protect her from life’s cruelest blows: the disappearance of Genevieve’s young son, followed by the premature death of her husband. But Genevieve rose from those ashes of grief and built a fashion empire that was respected the world over, even when it meant neglecting her other son.

When Emma’s own mother died, her father abandoned her on his mother’s doorstep. Genevieve took Emma in and reluctantly raised her–until Emma got pregnant her senior year of high school. Genevieve kicked her out with nothing but the clothes on her back…but Emma took with her the most important London possession: the strength not just to survive but to thrive. And indeed, Emma has built a wonderful life for herself and her teenage daughter, Riley.

So what is Emma to do when Genevieve does the one thing Emma never expected of her and, after not speaking to her for nearly two decades, calls and asks for help?

Praise for Life and Other Inconveniences:

“Higgins writes with uncommon grace and empathy.”—Publishers Weekly

“Higgins explores another set of deeply affecting topics using engaging characters and a full spectrum of realistic emotions: humor, anger, anguish, and pride, among others, but above all, hope.Funny, heart-wrenching, insightful, and lovely.”—Kirkus

“Deeply touching, real and raw, but infused with the love and hope that make life possible, despite everything.”—Abbi Waxman, author of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

“Master storyteller Kristan Higgins deftly balances humor and heart in this latest tale of a young woman navigating her relationship with a dying grandmother who long-ago abandoned her when she needed her most…another must-read from Higgins, who has long been an auto-buy for me.”—Colleen Oakley, author of Before I Go and Close Enough to Touch

“Higgins is a mastermind of family dynamics in this poignant novel about two different generations of women struggling to find common ground. I couldn’t put it down!”—Emily Liebert, author of Some Women

“Readers will be riveted as the well-drawn characters uncover one another’s hidden depths and heal old wounds. This rich and memorable story will instantly win readers over.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“A shining star, Higgins writes with heart, humor, and honesty about women’s real lives.”—Susan Elizabeth Phillips, #1 New York Times bestselling author of First Star I See Tonight

“Kristan Higgins’s New Book Life and Other Inconveniences Already Has Us Hooked.”—PopSugar


Life and Other Inconveniences
Chapter 7

When I called Genevieve back and told her we were coming—including Pop, who would be staying elsewhere—there’d been a long pause. “Thank you,” she finally said.

“On one condition, Genevieve,” I said. “You do not mention money or inheritance to Riley. Not a whisper, not a hint. I don’t want you dangling your bank accounts in front of my daughter and snatching them away if she uses the wrong fork.”

“By which I assume you’re referring to the fact that I didn’t fund your teenage folly.”

“Teenage folly? You mean your great-granddaughter? Yes. This summer isn’t about the money. It’s us giving you a chance to make amends, and you making me Hope’s guardian.”

“How very gracious you are, my dear,” she said, and I heard a slurp. Five o’clock somewhere.

But she agreed, and here we were.

My clients, the ones I saw in person, were fine with me leaving for two months. I’d TheraTalk with most of them; two were about done anyway, and said they’d call me if they needed me. I’d had to give up my office space, though; luckily, a classmate from my PhD program had sublet it. Once I got back, I’d have to find another space, but I’d deal with that later.

Pop had found himself a little apartment over an antiques shop on Water Street. I was unspeakably grateful that he’d be nearby. He’d always hated Genevieve, who had viewed my mother as insufficient wife material for her wretched son.

Then again, she had a point. My mother had taken her own life. Maybe Genevieve had sensed something, even back then. She was many things, but she wasn’t stupid.

We crossed the Connecticut River, then the Thames. “There’s the Coast Guard Academy, Pop,” I said, pointing. He was an Air Force man himself, but he nodded. We went through Mystic, and I remembered going to the aquarium with Jason on a date. Or a field trip, maybe, but we’d held hands. Kissed in the dim light of the myriad fish tanks, and it had felt like the most romantic thing in the world.

He knew we were coming, of course. He was excited, he’d said on the phone. Talked about being separated, wasn’t sure where things were headed there. The boys couldn’t wait to meet Riley in person, though they knew her from Skype and phone calls.

My heart leaped into overdrive when, just before we hit Rhode Island, Charles exited the highway and entered the land of stone walls and gracious houses, tall oaks and two-hundred-year-old farms. The woods and fields gave way to narrower streets, and we went over the bridge that led to the borough.

Welcome to Stoningham, the sign said.

I found that I was holding my grandfather’s thumb, same as I had when I was little, back before my mother died, when seeing my grandparents was the happiest thing ever. He gave my hand a squeeze.

“Oh, my gosh, this town is so cute!” Riley said.

And it was. The sky was Maxfield Parrish blue, the lights of the Colonials that lined the streets glowing in what seemed to be a welcome. People were out, walking their dogs. At the library green, some kids tossed a football. As we came onto Water Street, Riley exclaimed over the little shops and restaurants. “There’s a café, Mom! Hooray! Oh, and an ice cream place! Even better!”

I smiled, but my stomach cramped again. It felt like I had never left.

The town hadn’t changed much. Still adorable with its colorful buildings and crooked streets. I caught glimpses of Long Island Sound as we drove, smelled garlic and seafood. Would Genevieve have dinner for us? Would she hug me? I swore if she made Riley feel one iota of shame, we’d be out of Connecticut forever.

Charles turned onto Bleak Point Road, where the most expensive houses in town sat like grand old ladies, weathered and gracious. All had names, which Riley read aloud as we passed.

“Thrush Hill. Summerly. Wisteria Cottage. Cliff View. Pop, we have to name our house when we get back!”

“Name it what? Crabgrass?” Pop asked.

“That’s kind of perfect, actually,” I murmured, having gone to war many times with weeds in our small yard.

“Oh, Sheerwater! We’re here!”

The iron gates (yes, gates) opened, and we turned onto the crushed shell drive. Sheerwater had ten acres of land, the very tip of Bleak Point, and it looked like a park, with beautifully gnarled dogwood trees on either side of the driveway, their intertwined branches making a tunnel of white blossoms. Spring was late this year.

We rounded the gentle curve, and my hands were sweating now.

“Holy guacamole,” my daughter breathed. “It’s even prettier than the pictures!” In the rearview mirror, I saw Charles smile. Beside me, Pop stiffened. He’d never been here, of course.

There it was—my grandmother’s twenty-room cottage, pristine and gracious and lit up like the fires of hell.

About the Author

     Kristan Higgins is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of more than a dozen novels. Her books have been honored with dozens of awards and accolades, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Library Journal, the New York Journal of Books and Romantic Times. She is a two-time winner of the RITA award from Romance Writers of America and a five-time nominee for the Kirkus Prize for best work of fiction. She is happily married to a heroic firefighter and the mother of two fine children.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Review: The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

One way or another, we always feed the crows.

Series: Frozen Sun Saga #1
Publication date: July 30, 2019
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Genre: YA fantasy

 Add on Goodreads


A future chieftain

Fie abides by one rule: look after your own. Her Crow caste of undertakers and mercy-killers takes more abuse than coin, but when they’re called to collect royal dead, she’s hoping they’ll find the payout of a lifetime.

A fugitive prince

When Crown Prince Jasimir turns out to have faked his death, Fie’s ready to cut her losses—and perhaps his throat. But he offers a wager that she can’t refuse: protect him from a ruthless queen, and he’ll protect the Crows when he reigns.

A too-cunning bodyguard

Hawk warrior Tavin has always put Jas’s life before his, magically assuming the prince’s appearance and shadowing his every step. But what happens when Tavin begins to want something to call his own?

Purchase your copy now: 
Amazon | B&N BAM | IndieBound

Praise for The Merciful Crow:

"Packed to the teeth with fresh worldbuilding and righteous fury...It's a ride that is wildly fun."—Emily A. Duncan, New York Times-bestselling author of Wicked Saints

"Rich, harrowing, and unafraid to tackle discrimination—perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Tomi Adeyemi."—Kirkus, Starred Review 


Born and raised at the end of the Oregon Trail, Margaret Owen spent her childhood haunting the halls of Powell’s Books. After earning her degree in Japanese, her love of espresso called her north to Seattle, where she worked in everything from thrift stores to presidential campaigns. The common thread between every job can be summed up as: lessons were learned.

She now spends her days wrestling disgruntled characters onto the page, and negotiating a long-term hostage situation with her two monstrous cats. (There is surprisingly little difference between the two.)
You can find her on:
Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Website | Goodreads


The Merciful Crow (The Merciful Crow, #1)The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It took me five days to get through this book. Four days for the first half, and then I crammed the entire second half into one night so I could write this review by publication day. To be honest, I considered giving up several times because finishing felt like a chore. I tried. I really tried to like this book, holding on to the bitter end but I found it difficult to connect to these characters or their LONG journey. The world was not adequately explained and you're just thrown into the world, fictitious words, and magic system with pieces of information liberally offered.

The various castes, their origin, the Covenant and their religious beliefs could have used a lot more detailing. The Covenant was a large component of the worldbuilding, yet it didn't seem to be very consistent among other things. Being told that the Covenant was struck by the thousand gods, and it brought death, judgement, free will, and rebirth into the world isn't sufficient. That doesn't exactly tell me what it is, and I spent a lot of the book trying to make it work. Scummers/scum/scummed was used in so many different ways I still am not entirely sure of the true definition. I was continually having to re-read things to figure things out by context.

The crows were an oppressed line of people in this world of bird castes created by the gods. Prejudice and classism were the central themes, where a supremacist-like group called the Oleander Gentry hunted them, and they lived every day in fear for their lives. You couldn't help but make an obvious comparison when this group of white dusted, white robed people came for the unarmed and powerless crows during the night to murder and terrorize. The crows are despised for their lack of magic birthright, and blamed for the spread of the Sinner's Plague because they remain untouched by it. The finger must be pointed somewhere, and where else than those where hate can easily be swayed?

The heroine Fie and her people are seen as a necessary evil. They're mercy killers, called on to finish off the barely living, plague infected in order to appease the gods and save the rest of the city. If they are not killed, the entire population will be wiped out in days. Fie's father is the chief in charge of these killings, and one day Fie will step into his bloody shoes. She's dreading the day that happens, often wishing she could escape her fate, but bound to do her duty for her people. They live by loyalty for their own, because all they have in their cruel world is each other. I have to admit her thoughts on this became repetitive through the book. When, not if. That was her internal dialogue every time she saw something she would be responsible for in the future she didn't want to do.

The journey with Fie, Prince Jasimir, and Tavin seemed never-ending rather than an exciting adventure. They were hunted by a group, they hid with invisibility, big fiery explosion to escape, bickering amongst themselves over the social injustice, they're discovered again, and repeat. Jasimir was not likable at all based on his privilege and blindness to the Crow's true plight. Even after donning the crow life and spending weeks in their reality, he stubbornly lacked any empathy for much of the book. Fie was prickly and angry, and rightfully so after being dehumanized and hated her whole life. But her bitterness was a hard pill to swallow, jagged and unpleasant on the palate. I actually did enjoy Tavin, the Hawk protector and body double for the prince. He was the peacemaker between Fie and Jasimir, he had a great sense of humor, and he truly wanted change for the crows.

There were things that I thought were original such as the bone magic used by the dead's teeth, the gruesome plague scenes, and the mammoth warriors. As a whole though there was too much that didn't work for me. The pace, the repetition, and the lack of clarity on important things made for quite a dragging read. I see many others enjoying this one, so you may not feel the same.



Release Day Blast: Drummer Girl by Ginger Scott

We're celebrating the release of DRUMMER GIRL by Ginger Scott! One-click your copy on all platforms today!

Drummer Girl by Ginger Scott
Mature YA/New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release day: July 30, 2019


Arizona Wakefield was a beat without a melody. Living a half-breathing life in a half-finished neighborhood with parents who always wore half-hearted smiles, the high school senior only had one thing that let her color outside her family’s perfectly drawn lines—her drums.

Jesse Barringer was a song without a chorus. The son of a washed-up rock star who’s also one hell of a deadbeat dad, he was given two things from his father—musical genius and a genetic link to the bipolar disorder that drives him mad.

One night in a garage at the end of a cul-de-sac in the middle of a bankrupt California neighborhood, Jesse’s melody found Arizona’s rhythm. An angry boy with storm-colored eyes found a blonde angel in Doc Martens with missing lines in her own story. Where her rhythm stopped, his words took over, and together, they wrote one hell of a story.

** Drummer Girl is a mature YA/New Adult romance that touches on mental health, drug abuse and includes mature sexual situations.

Drummer Girl, Copyright Ginger Scott 2019
“That’s the first time I’ve played that song. I like it. We should add it to our set,” he says, pulling the strap from around his neck before setting his guitar at the foot of his bed. “What do you think?”

He twists so our knees are touching and our shoulders are squared.

“I think you’re a showoff, one. And two…I totally think we should close with that at our gig. People love retro shit like that at shows.” I don’t really know what people like at shows because the only kinds I’ve ever been to have been for high school marching nerds or jazz geeks. I probably don’t even deserve to utter the word gig yet. I’m a gig virgin. I do know movies, though, and if this life was a movie, our band would close with that.

Jesse’s eyes linger on my face, making me warm.

“Okay then,” he says, finally. “And I’m not a showoff.”

His lips pucker with his smirk and mine follow suit until a laugh seeps through.

“You so are!” I shove at him playfully, and his hands wrap around my wrists and shove back gently but don’t let go.

“No, I’m a great example. That’s a totally different thing,” he says, pulling me toward his chest until my fingertips meet the hard surface of his pecs under a well-worn white T-shirt.

“I’m pretty sure it’s just a synonym for showoff how you’re using it. In fact, now you’re just being arrogant!” I gripe back through laughter, a wry smile playing at one side of my mouth. Jesse remains quiet, though. His head leaned a tick to the right. My lips vibrate with this sudden change in atmosphere, and without even helping myself, I bite my bottom lip. There is just enough light in the room to see these small things we’re doing, these…signs. At least, I’m giving a sign. I hope I’m not imagining Jesse’s.

At least three full breaths pass between us without words. I count mine, and I guess how many he takes because really, I can’t see much beyond the dark centers of his eyes and the top curl of his lip. I wait for him. Even though I’m dizzy and happy and excited, I don’t want to be eager and desperate. I wait for him to move closer…to do something.

I wish for him.

“Would it be okay if I kissed you now?”

About the Author:

Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams, The Hard Count, Hold My Breath, and A Boy Like You.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.

When she's not writing, the odds are high that she's somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork 'em, Devils).

Social Media Links:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/GingerScottAuthor
Twitter: @TheGingerScott
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/thegingerscott/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/GingerScottAuthor
Google: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+GingerScottAuthor/posts
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/GingerScott
Website: http://www.littlemisswrite.com

Monday, July 29, 2019

Release Day Blast: The Guy on the Right by Kate Stewart

We're celebrating the release of The Guy on the Right by Kate Stewart! Fall in love with Theo and Laney today!

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Dramedy
Stand Alone
Designer: Q Design
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2LyFdTR
Links coming soon!
Paperback: https://amzn.to/2SFt3dc


Strike One-My mother named me Theodore after her favorite chipmunk.

Not cool, Mom.

I‘ve spent most of my life answering to Teddy, because I couldn’t make Theo work.

Except for here. College. The place where all bets are off, and I’ve managed to redeem myself.
There’s only one problem, my new roommate, Troy, is football royalty and looks like he stepped off the set of an Abercrombie shoot.

Doesn’t matter, I cook a mean breakfast for his panty parade, and we get along well.
And anyway, this year I got the girl. And she’s perfect.

That’s right. Theodore Houseman, former band geek, now marching band rock star has finally landed the girl of his dreams.

Everything is perfect.

That is, until Troy takes a good look at her.

I’m not going down without a fight. As a matter of fact, I’m not going down at all. As glorious as these days may be for my all-star roommate, Laney is my end game.

I may not know much about play strategy, but I’ve been the good guy my whole life. I’ve been listening and I know exactly what women want. Framed in a picture standing next to me, Troy may seem like Mr. Perfect, but he’s underestimating the guy on the right.

Spoiler alert: In this story, the underdog is going to win.

About the Author:

A Texas native, Kate Stewart lives in North Carolina with her husband, Nick, and her naughty beagle, Sadie. She pens messy, sexy, angst-filled contemporary romance as well as romantic comedy and erotic suspense because it's what she loves as a reader. Kate is a lover of all things '80s and '90s, especially John Hughes films and rap. She dabbles a little in photography, can knit a simple stitch scarf for necessity, and on occasion, does very well at whiskey.

Contact Kate- Email-authorkatestewart@gmail.com

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Friday, July 26, 2019

Review: Beasts of the Frozen Sun by Jill Criswell

Burn brightly. Love fiercely. For all else is dust. 

Series: Frozen Sun Saga #1
Publication date: August 6, 2019
Publisher: Blackstone
Genre: YA fantasy

 Add on Goodreads


Every child of Glasnith learns the last words of Aillira, the god-gifted mortal whose doomed love affair sparked a war of gods and men, and Lira of clan Stone knows the story better than most. As a descendant of Aillira and god-gifted in her own right, she has the power to read people’s souls, to see someone’s true essence with only a touch of her hand.

When a golden-haired warrior washes up on the shores of her homeland—one of the fearful marauders from the land of the Frozen Sun—Lira helps the wounded man instead of turning him in. After reading his soul, she realizes Reyker is different than his brethren who attack the coasts of Glasnith. He confides in her that he’s been cursed with what his people call battle-madness, forced to fight for the warlord known as the Dragon, a powerful tyrant determined to reignite the ancient war that Aillira started.

As Lira and Reyker form a bond forbidden by both their clans, the wrath of the Dragon falls upon them and all of Glasnith, and Lira finds herself facing the same tragic fate as her ancestor. The battle for Lira’s life, for Reyker’s soul, and for their peoples’ freedom has only just begun …

Purchase your copy now: 
Amazon | B&N BAM | IndieBound

Praise for Beasts of the Frozen Sun:

“This intense, action-packed start to a series offers star-crossed lovers against a brutal backdrop and violent tests of loyalty. Criswell’s world-building is particularly noteworthy, and the mythology and reality of Lira and Reyker’s world are captivating. VERDICT Purchase for fans of Game of Thrones–inspired fantasy.” –School Library Journal

“Beasts of the Frozen Sun sweeps the reader into a lush and vivid world of magic and betrayal, crowned by a heroine who captivates from the first pages and a love story powerful enough to bring time to a standstill. An amazing debut.” –Erin Beaty, author of The Traitor’s Trilogy

“Beasts of the Frozen Sun is a fierce saga, beautifully told, that will transport readers to a time of magic and gods, battles and clan warfare. A totally engrossing and epic adventure—I couldn’t get enough of Lira and Reyker’s story.” –Jessica Leake, author of Through the White Wood and Beyond a Darkened Shore


Jill Criswell is a writer of Young Adult Historical Fantasy. She was born and raised in the swamps of northeastern Florida. She earned degrees in English and Psychology and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida. Her greatest passion, besides reading and writing, is traveling the world; she’s visited fifty countries across six continents, falling in love with places like Iceland, Namibia, and Cambodia. She works as a university English teacher and lives in South Carolina, near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with her husband and daughter (who is named after a volcano in Iceland).
You can find her on:
Beasts of the Frozen Sun (The Frozen Sun Saga Book 1)Beasts of the Frozen Sun by Jill Criswell
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

    You wield the lost sword of the Frozen Sun. A weapon of the Ice Gods in the hands of the Green Gods’ soul-reader. ’Tis a story poets will pen, a tale fit for the scriptures.”

This book sounded right up my alley and I couldn't wait to get started on it. A historical setting with clans, warriors, forbidden love, God gifted women with unique powers, and an epic battle for freedom? Sounded like a grand adventure. It started out very strong, and while I liked a lot of elements in the plot, from a technical standpoint there were some things that didn't add up. One thing that did work in a big way was the forbidden romance, which ended up being my favorite thing about the book.

Lira lives in Glasnith, a community composed of many clans. Her grandfather is the chieftan of clan Stone, and upon his death, it will pass on to another male in her family. There is a lot of speculation who that will be, but as a female, Lira has two "options." Marry a highborn man of her father's choosing, or pledge herself to Aillira's Temple, a sanctuary where god-gifted women could study and hone their abilities. So though many women were clearly honored by their gods, the men failed to do so. They were simply used for their own gain. Lira in particular is used cruelly by her father for her gift of reading souls. She's nothing more than a tool for him to ascertain whether an accused is guilty or innocent, and she feels tremendous guilt for her part in condemning people to death.

Reyker is a savage marauder who has taken part in raids along the coast of Lira's land. In the prologue you see the devastation he causes along with the other warriors fighting for "the Dragon." Right away you realize that he's there against his will, and there is a glimmer of good inside him. It's just been suppressed under years of death and darkness and he no longer knows how to find his way out. When he washes ashore after his ship is attacked by a sea creature, Lira recognizes him as the man who once helped her escape the Dragon. Out of obligation she reluctantly takes him to a secluded place to nurse him back to health. Theirs wasn't an instant friendship, there was naturally a lot of distrust and animosity on her part. Knowing he was a Westlander, or what her people call a beast of the frozen sun, his kind is reviled by her clans. Legends called them monsters birthed by leviathans, not even considered human.

As Drakon starts to infiltrate their land, pillaging with the intent to conquer, her clan is suddenly in need of a new chieftan. This is where everything starts to implode. The god they worship is summoned to choose a new leader, but with that choice, dissent and scheming runs rampant under the surface. The whole foundation of the gods they worship could be crumbling under their feet.

    “You follow the Forbidden Scriptures. You worship the Fallen Ones. How do you know their version of the stories is true?” Were Aillira and Veronis heroes and Gwylor the villain, or was it the other way around?

Glasnith's only hope of protecting themselves is the man they call a Beast. A man who knows more about the enemy than anyone else and could help mobilize allies to come to their aid. I loved that he was a bit of an anti-hero. I think he was developed really well, and the author did a very good job of showing him in a way that draws your empathy. He's survived lots of tragedy, loss, and betrayal, and he was consumed with darkness because of it. Lira is a conduit back to the light. She digs through his layers and helps him to find the man he once was. Their faith and loyalty to each other in the face of her people's hatred was heartwarming.

This was more violent and bloody than I was expecting. The villain is a pretty chilling guy whom you can't wait to see brought down. As this is the first book in the series, of course we leave things at an unresolved place. It's a pretty strong cliffhanger, so be warned. Overall, there were a few things I loved, and some things that I felt could have used a better explanation or detail. However, the plot was fairly original and kept me guessing, so I really appreciated that. This was not a tame YA fantasy, so if you're looking for something a little grittier, this could be the book for you. Book two in the saga is set to release sometime next year.



Monday, July 22, 2019

Review: The Rogue to Ruin by Vivienne Lorrett

The Bourne Matrimonial Agency has one rule: Never fall in love with a client, which shouldn't be a problem when one’s faking an engagement to the rogue across the street . . .

Series: Misadventures in Matchmaking #3
Publication date: July 30, 2019
Published by: Avon
Genre: historical romance

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Ainsley Bourne needs the family business to succeed. But one obstacle stands in her way—Reed Sterling, the huge, handsome, former prize fighter and owner of the gaming hell across the street. His scandalous customers scare off all her marriage-minded patrons and since the devilish brute has no intention of relocating, she sets out to ruin his unsavory establishment. Yet when a vile suitor from her past reappears, Ainsley hastily claims an attachment to the first man who comes to mind . . . Mr. Sterling, to be exact.

Reed doesn’t know who is more surprised by Miss Bourne’s declaration. She clearly hates him, and he’d never admit their arguments simmer with unrequited attraction. Something about the pleading look in her eyes calls to Reed, and against his better judgment, he quickly plays the part of the besotted fiancé.

Pretending to be in love requires a convincing charade. But with each tantalizing touch and every scandalous kiss, Ainsley starts to wonder if Reed was ever really the enemy at all.

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

Praise for Vivienne Lorret:

“With clever wit, heady sexuality, and lush description, Lorret’s title puts an enticing spin on the classic amnesia trop and launches a series (the author’s Avon print debut) in fine style.”
Library Journal

“Viv Lorret is up there with Sarah MacLean and Lisa Kleypas on my historical auto-buy list!”
Lauren Layne, USA Today bestselling author

“a sexy page-turner... you can’t help but root for these two stubborn, persistent characters to fall for each other... the novel draws you in and leaves a satisfied smile on your face.”
Entertainment Weekly

“The third Misadventures in Matchmaking series title is just as delightful as the first two, with a slightly darker subtext that only makes its effervescence more uplifting.Another clever, charming historical romance from Lorret.”
Kirkus Reviews


USA Today bestselling author VIVIENNE LORRET transforms copious amounts of tea into words. She is an Avon author of works including the Wallflower Wedding series, the Rakes of Fallow Hall series, the Season’s Original series, and the Misadventures in Matchmaking series.

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


The Rogue to Ruin (Misadventures in Matchmaking, #3)The Rogue to Ruin by Vivienne Lorret
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Ainsley is the oldest and third sister to have her story told in the Misadventures of Matchmaking series. If you're like me and haven't read any in the series before, you can read this installment with no difficulties at all. There is a simple refresher on the characters and you quickly catch on to how everyone plays a part in the Bourne Matrimonial Agency. This is actually my first read by the author, and while it didn't fully live up to my hopes, I still found a lot to enjoy.

The Bourne sisters are matchmakers who haven't quite found the success they desire. They are seen as somewhat of a mockery by their peers, and have yet to prove themselves as serious businesswomen. Of course, just being women during that time was a strike against them in their chosen career. The nobility seemed to think they were only putting up a front in order to find themselves a husband. They couldn't have been more wrong. They've been financially strapped for a long time, ever since their philandering father abandoned them and they had to live with their spendthrift Uncle. But it was the abandonment that marked Ainsley the most and shaped her into a woman who doesn't believe in marriage. This, along with her abusive ex-fiancè were all the poor examples of love she needed to make her keep her distance.

I must admit, I had some difficulty understanding or liking the heroine very much in the beginning. While I felt sympathetic for what she had overcome, I didn't agree with her actions towards the hero. I knew going in that this would have a fake engagement and an enemies to lovers trope, which I was really excited about. However, the antagonism between the main characters was frustrating at times. Ainsley has developed a prejudice against fighters and judges Reed simply because he is a former prize fighter. I have to give her credit for not being snobby about his lower social standing than her, but the way she insulted him and blamed him for the agency's failures went a little too far.

You can tell from the very beginning that there's a strong attraction between them, and I certainly felt the chemistry. And then she'd smack a flower to the ground he was about to give her, or say something hurtful when she got scared that he read her too well. I just felt that he was being treated unfairly, especially since he was so concerned over her safety and protective of her. Luckily I did start to warm up to her in the second half once she started seeing him for the man he was.

    There was always something between them—class, profession, animosity, frustration. Yet when his bare hand had been on hers, there was something there.

Reed is a hardworking man who survived an abusive home as a child, and earned every penny of his fortune through grit and determination. Though he earned his money using his fists, he takes no joy in the violence. It was simply a means to an end in order to move on to bigger and better things. He's a big softie who takes in "strays" and gives them the opportunity to better themselves. Even a roughed up, cantankerous cat finds a place in his home. There is quite a bit to love about this hero. However, he's not without his own faults. For the longest time, he views Ainsley as a pampered princess who's never known what it's like to struggle. There was plenty of evidence to the contrary, so it was odd that he continued to judge her based on being born in the upper class. I know that his stepfather was a horrible man, but to judge someone on superficial things rather than what you've witnessed of them is just as bad as her prejudice.

These two had a lot of banter back in forth in the beginning that I enjoyed. He deliberately pushed her buttons to get underneath her skin. She put on a waspish air with him, so it absolutely delighted him when he was able to fluster her. The more he picked away at her tough exterior, the more he'd reveal the soft vulnerabilities she didn't want anyone to see. She saw her past relationship as a weakness, something she was extremely ashamed over. Not even her sisters knew the extent of the physical and mental abuse she was subjected to. When her ex shows up unexpectedly, Reed steps right in to give her assistance. Will their battle of wills continue, or will their fake engagement provide more than protection? Love perhaps?

    Whenever Reed held Ainsley, he didn’t only push past her boundaries but seemed to push some of his strength and certainty into her as well. In his arms, the doubts she’d always carried with her weighed nothing at all.
Despite having some issues with this particular installment, I really enjoyed the author's writing. I think one of the previous books in the series would work out much better for me and I plan to check them out as soon as I get a chance. Even with the heavier theme, it still managed to be a pretty light book overall and a fast read. I enjoyed seeing Ainsley grow in confidence as she dealt with the darkness of her past returning. I ended up liking her more than I thought I would. I recommend this to readers looking for a moderately steamy historical romance with some fun bantering and rivalry.