Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Blog Tour: Forevermore by Kristen Callihan

I absolutely love Kristen Callihan's Darkest London series. It's a unique, gorgeously written series and it comes to a fantastic end with Forevermore. I'm so excited to be part of the Forevermore blog tour and Forever have provided me with some great things to share. Check out my review of Forevermore, but make sure to come back and scroll down for an excerpt from Forevermore, information about the Darkest London series, and a giveaway from Ms. Callihan’s publisher, Forever!

About Forevermore:

Isolated and alone, Sin Evernight is one of the most powerful supernatural creatures in heaven and on earth. As an angel of vengeance, he hunts down the darkest evil, but when his long-lost friend, Layla Starling, needs him, he vows to become her protector. Even though she will be horrified by the man he has become.

Now a famous singer and the toast of London, Layla believes that Sin is only here to guard her from rabid fans and ardent suitors. However, the truth is far more sinister. Desperate to avoid losing Layla a second time, Sin will face a test of all his powers to defeat an unstoppable foe - and win an eternity with the woman he loves.

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The Darkest London Series

0.5. Ember
1. Firelight
2. Moonglow
3. Winterblaze
3.5. Entwined
4. Shadowdance
5. Evernight
6. Soulbound
7. Forevermore

Series page on Goodreads

Excerpt from Forevermore

One might think being an immortal was a blessing, never grow old, never grow sick, never die. At one time in St. John Evernight’s life, he considered it a blessing too. He would be around long after the simple humans who surrounded him were nothing but dust. They could stare all they liked at his “strange” hair and frosty green eyes. They could gossip and speculate about him until they lost their voices. It didn’t matter. He was untouchable, and they were but fragile sacks of blood and bone.

How naive he’d been. Because living forever merely meant a lack of escape from the desolation of regret and loneliness. He knew now that he could walk down Jermyn Street endlessly, see the sands of time shift and rearrange before him, and never be a part of life.

“Brooding, Mr. Evernight?”
Sin almost jumped at the sudden sound of Augustus’s voice by his side. Damn, the blasted man loved to startle him. He gave Augustus a passing glance. Dressed in conservative brown tweed and a bowler hat, the angel appeared every inch the English gentlemen, save for his dark coloring that marked him to be from Southern climes.

“It’s really quite the trick, popping up like a soap bubble whenever you choose, Augustus. You must teach me how one day.”

The man’s mouth twitched. “With your luck, you’d pop up in the middle of a parliamentary session.”

Yes, Sin had abominable luck. Or perhaps it was more a matter of making abominable choices.

“You’re brooding again,” Augustus remarked.

“I’m not brooding. This is simply my face.”

Augustus snorted but remained silent as they walked along, past Trafalgar Square and down Whitehall.

“Care to tell me why you called me here?” Sin asked, when they came upon the grounds of Westminster. For the past year, Sin had been in Rome, soaking in the warmer temperatures, drinking espresso in cafes along the Piazza della Rotunda, under the shade of the ancient Pantheon. He’d eaten simple but delicious food, and listened to the rapid fire of Italian, and felt…well, not peace, but a measure of contentment.

Until Augustus had sent for him. Returning to England sat like a stone in his gut. But he would obey. Augustus was his mentor, and the man who’d given him salvation. The price was a lifetime of servitude. To be fair, his role was for justice, not evil, which was a nice change of pace.

A massive dray rattled past, kicking up dust and sending a fug of stale manure into the air. They hurried past the cloud and headed for Westminster Abbey. Sin hadn’t planned on visiting today, but here they were all the same. He wondered if Augustus somehow had led him to their usual meeting place or if Sin had merely headed that way because of the man’s sudden arrival.

He’d like to think the latter. It did not sit well with him having another control his actions. Not since a certain evil fae had kept Sin as a blood slave for years. Even now, the memory made his stomach turn.
Not a soul acknowledged them as they walked through the abbey and into the cloisters. Here, a rare bit of sunlight peeked through the constant cloud cover and cast lacy shadows along the walkway. The sound of their boot heels clacked out a steady rhythm as they strolled along.

“Layla returns to London tonight.”

At the mention of her name, Sin’s heart stilled within his breast. He’d tried his best to ward off all finer feelings, to remain numb, detached from life. And yet he could not, for the life of him, remain immune to Layla Starling. His childhood friend. The one woman who could take his breath, his reason, simply by laying eyes upon her.

Stuffing his shaking hands into his trouser pockets, Sin forced himself to keep an even tone. “So then I am to begin watching over her?”

God, but he did not want to. It would be agony, staying so close to her and never being allowed to show his true feelings. And yet a thrum of anticipation went through him at the mere prospect of seeing Layla once more.

“Are you ready?” Augustus asked, though his expression told Sin he fully expected an affirmative answer.

So Sin told him the only truth left to him. “I will not fail her.”

About Kristen Callihan:

USA Today bestselling author Kristen Callihan is a writer because there is nothing else she'd rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewers' Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book, Firelight, received RT Book Reviews' Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher's Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

Find Kristen Callihan on the Web: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Review: Forevermore by Kristen Callihan

Forevermore by Kristen Callihan
Series: Darkest London, Book 7
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 9781455581702
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Kristen Callihan Reading Order

Isolated and alone, Sin Evernight is one of the most powerful supernatural creatures in heaven and on earth. As an angel of vengeance, he hunts down the darkest evil, but when his long-lost friend, Layla Starling, needs him, he vows to become her protector. Even though she will be horrified by the man he has become.

Now a famous singer and the toast of London, Layla believes that Sin is only here to guard her from rabid fans and ardent suitors. However, the truth is far more sinister. Desperate to avoid losing Layla a second time, Sin will face a test of all his powers to defeat an unstoppable foe - and win an eternity with the woman he loves.

Sin Evernight is Judgment, an angel who takes the souls of supernaturals who have gone evil. Before that, he was a blood slave, used and abused in every way possible, and then separated from his family just as he found freedom. Now he’s isolated and apart from the world, save for his mentor, Augustus. At least, he is until his new mission brings Layla Starling back into his life and turns his world upside down. Sin and Layla met as children, forming a bond that no amount of time apart could break. She’s the only person who has ever been his true champion and seen the best in him. And she’s in danger. She’s coming into her immortality, into powers evil beings would hunt her to possess. Sin will stop at nothing to protect her, even if being close to Layla means risking the heart he’s afraid to give.

Kristen Callihan wraps up her dazzling Darkest London series with the oh-so-enchanting Forevermore. As much as I hate seeing the series end, Layla and Sin’s book is an exciting, emotional finale that I absolutely adored.

Layla is a ray of sunshine in the sometimes dark and twisted world of the supernatural. She’s a sweet, adventurous woman willing to fight for Sin no matter what, so of course I absolutely loved her. She’s got spirit, and even when someone tries to knock her down, she bravely faces what’s coming. As for Sin, he’s been through hell and bears the emotional scars to prove it. Yet despite all this, he fights for the side of good. When he learns that Layla is in danger, he doesn’t hesitate to protect her, even knowing what being close to – but unable to touch her – would do to him. He doesn’t want to open his heart, believes he can’t be the man for Layla, and yet it’s clear to see they are utterly perfect for one another. Their romance grabbed my heart and the fantastic chemistry they had had me practically devouring Forevermore. Quite simply, this was an excellent pairing of two characters who complemented each other perfectly and gave the book its heart.

As the final book in the series, Forevermore splits its time between Sin and Layla’s love story and the overarching Darkest London world. Augustus has long been an important background player in the series and we get to see the full scope of his planning, along with an unexpectedly powerful secondary romance between him and another familiar face. Fans of the series will also surely be delighted that a significant number of past heroes and heroines reappear for this final chapter, and they add further emotional weight to the tale. It’s difficult to talk about much of the plot of Forevermore without spoiling the joy of discovery for readers. Suffice it to say that Ms. Callihan seamlessly blends love, longing, action, danger, and magic in this beautifully crafted story. So as much as I hate to say good-bye to the intelligent, imaginative world Ms. Callihan has created in the Darkest London series, I’m thrilled that it’s capped off by such a satisfying story.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Review: Stormswept by Sabrina Jeffries

Stormswept by Sabrina Jeffries writing as Deborah Martin
Series: Wales, Book 1
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN: 9781451665543
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Sabrina Jeffries Reading Order

New York Times bestseller Sabrina Jeffries reignites a daring love affair in this intriguing tale of desire and deception—originally written as Deborah Martin and newly revised for today’s audience.

The first wedding night that Lady Juliana St. Albans spent with the dark and daring Rhys Vaughan was intoxicating, the heady culmination of her new husband’s driving hunger and her own awakened sensuality. When he mysteriously disappeared the next morning, she waited for him in hope and desperation. And when he was finally proclaimed dead in a shipwreck, she bitterly mourned the loss of her love.

The second wedding night that Juliana spent with Rhys Vaughan was six years later, after he returned to claim her just as she was about to wed another. This Rhys was different—bolder, harder, and convinced that she’d betrayed him. Only their blazing passion remains from their years apart. But is it enough to light their way through the maze of mystery, menace, and mistrust—to the love they once shared and would have to find again?

I love a good second chance romance, and Stormswept is a passionate, compelling one. Rhys and Juliana’s story is one of love, betrayal, heartbreak, bitterness, and hope.

When they first meet, Rhys is a Welsh radical and the son of a disgraced squire and Juliana is a young English lady and the daughter of the man who stole Rhys’s family estate. The attraction is instantaneous and the two of them are so young and sweet you can’t help but smile as they fall in love. It’s their innocence – Juliana’s in particular – that is also their downfall, as Juliana’s brothers have Rhys impressed in the navy and she is manipulated into keeping her marriage a secret. I’m so glad we spend a significant amount of time with Juliana and Rhys when they were younger, because that brief happy period for them sets the foundation for the book and brings hope to the dark road ahead.

When Rhys returns six years later, he’s got vengeance on his mind and he blames Juliana for what was done to him. Rhys’s anger and his determination to believe the worst of Juliana makes the road to happily ever after turn into an uphill battle for our kind heroine. Juliana is sweet and generous, but she isn’t crushed by the force of her husband’s bitterness. She goes toe-to-toe with him, and can out-stubborn him when she needs to. Their battle of wills is tempered slightly by the attraction between them that neither can deny. It’s that passion, that great chemistry between them, that keeps Stormswept moving at a fast pace. Add in the infrequently seen (in historical romance) backdrop of Wales and the bits of Welsh history and poetry woven into the story, and I was hooked.

I’m a big fan of Sabrina Jeffries’s writing, so of course I was delighted to read this story, which was first published in 1995 when Ms. Jeffries was writing as Deborah Martin. I haven’t read the original, so I’m not sure how much was revised for this reissue, but the tone of this story is markedly different from Ms. Jeffries’s more modern works. Stormswept still has that 90s historical romance feel, with its darker, less endearing heroes, and I enjoyed the change of pace. I may never have adored Rhys, but I still thoroughly enjoyed his and Juliana’s romance. Stormswept is a rich, emotional read with interesting characters and a heroine you have to cheer on as she fights for the man she loves and the life they could have together. I thoroughly enjoyed Stormswept and I hope to read more of Ms. Jeffries’s Deborah Martin titles.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Body Rocks by A.M. Arthur

Body Rocks by A.M. Arthur
Series: Off Beat, Book 1
Publisher: Swerve
Genre: New Adult Erotic Contemporary Male/Male Romance Body Rocks Cover
ISBN: 9781250105851
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Everything is finally falling into place for Trey Cooper: his band has been accepted into one of the biggest music competitions in the country…too bad their drummer just quit to play with XYZ, their biggest rival. When Trey has a mind-blowingly hot hookup with a mysterious violinist, Trey definitely plans to see him again – just not on stage as a member of XYZ.

Dominic Bounds’ time to make his musical dreams come true is running out. If something doesn’t happen fast, he has to head home to find a real job. This competition is his last chance, and Dom needs to come out on top – but he never expected to fall for his rival. As Dom and Trey risk everything to begin a secret affair, there’s no denying their chemistry is off the charts – but could their band rivalry turn their romance into a one-hit wonder?

Body Rocks is a great mix of sweetness, eroticism, and angst. What starts out as a sexy story about two young men from rival bands develops into something much more. Trey and Dom are endearing heroes who both possess an innate goodness and optimism that made me smile more than once over the course of the story. It’s easy to root for them because they’re likeable, and I became invested in the story because there’s so much joy to be found in their burgeoning romance. When they meet onstage at an open mic night – not knowing they’re each from rival bands – things heat up fast. Yet even though Body Rocks is a hot and heavy story, there’s an innocence about Trey and Dom, and the lack of cynicism keeps the story buoyant even through its darker moments.

Trey and Dom fall fast and hard for one another, but the rivalry between their bands isn’t all that threatens to keep them apart. This is where (strangely enough) the story’s strongest point is also its weakest. A.M. Arthur makes this book stand apart with her diverse cast and how they cope with heavy issues. However, though I loved this about the book, the sheer abundance of issues Dom and Trey face also took the story down a notch for me. Body Rocks tackles abuse, sexual assault, attempted suicide, blackmail, self-harm, special needs, coming out, and more. Don’t get me wrong: I loved that Ms. Arthur isn’t afraid to approach serious topics and she treated each one with honesty, emotion, and respect. However, with so many serious issues packed into the story, I didn’t feel like any of them were given the depth they deserved; there were simply too many topics and not enough time to delve into them properly.

Body Rocks is a compelling read that’s packed with action and emotion. Even with all the hard topics woven into the story, Body Rocks never feels weighed down by angst. This is a story of love (romantic, familial, and between friends) and healing. Trey and Dom are such vibrant characters that the book moves at a fast pace and the families they have made for themselves are simply wonderful. I can’t wait to read the next Off Beat book, Steady Stroke!

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Review: Addicted by Elle Kennedy

Addicted by Elle Kennedy
Series: Outlaws, Book 2
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Erotic Dystopian Romance
ISBN: 9780451474452
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Elle Kennedy Reading Order

Lennox used to live in a paradise on earth with his best friend Jamie, in a place where visitors came and went, allowing their desires to run free. But everything changes when a deadly attack forces them to take up with Connor Mackenzie’s band of Outlaws. Lennox knows Jamie is hung up on someone else, but he’s always believed he’s the man for her—and won’t let her go without a fight.

Even though Jamie is well aware that Lennox is one hot specimen of a man, she refuses to let sex ruin the most important relationship in her life. But when the object of her interest spurns her, she indulges in a little pleasure-filled revenge with her very magnetic, very willing best friend. One thrilling night with Lennox is enough to awaken Jamie’s unexpected desires for him. And now that she’s had a taste, she’s not sure she can ever give him up…

Elle Kennedy turns the action – and the heat – on high in Addicted. The second book in the edgy, erotic, dystopian Outlaws series definitely has the right title; it’s so addictive I read it in one sitting.

In a world where people are forced to live in colonies controlled by the Global Council, Jamie and Lennox have always lived free as outlaws. They’ve been best friends all their lives, and in the harsh world they live in they know they can always count on one another to have each other’s backs. Neither wants to ruin what they have by getting sexually involved, so both Jamie and Lennox tamp down on their mutual attraction and pretend it doesn’t exist. Until one night when their wills are stretched too thin and everything changes.

I absolutely adore a good friends to lovers story and Addicted is an excellent one. The love Lennox and Jamie have for one another is so strong and clear from the start that you can’t help but root for these two to get together. The sexual tension between them is out of control and too hot for words, and when they give into their desires… Well, Ms. Kennedy is a master of erotic romance so suffice it to say you’re in for one heck of a treat. The Outlaws series is set in a world where people live knowing any moment could be their last, so sex is frequent, sizzling, and ménages aren’t off the table. Simply put, this story isn’t for the faint of heart.

Heat factor aside, Addicted is compelling because Lennox and Jamie are an incredibly good fit and it’s clear to anyone that it would only take a light breeze to push them both over the line from “love” to “in love.” Their shared history makes the romance strong, but that doesn’t mean things are easy for them. Falling into bed changes the dynamic of their relationship and neither of them handles it well all the time. Both of them make mistakes, inadvertently hurt one another, and have to be brave enough to open themselves completely if they have a hope of making a life together as more than friends.

The world of the outlaws that Ms. Kennedy first introduced in Claimed intrigued me, and I loved getting to dive further into it in this story. It’s a dark, sometimes bleak world where good people are forced to be ruthless in order to survive. And survival doesn’t come without cost – Ms. Kennedy keeps you on the edge of your seat, wondering if the characters who grab your heart will make it through. In many ways, Addicted is a bridge book, bringing readers further into the world and setting up for big events that are to occur in the future. It’s difficult to say more without spoiling the story, so I’ll leave it by saying the events of Addicted left me desperate to get my hands on the next Outlaws book, Ruled.

Addicted is an exciting story with incredibly strong, interesting, passionate characters and a wickedly hot romance. I loved it and I cannot wait to see where Ms. Kennedy takes readers next!

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Review: Heat it Up by Stina Lindenblatt

Heat it Up by Stina Lindenblatt
Series: Off the Ice, Book 1
Publisher: Diversion Books
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance Heat it Up Cover
ISBN: 9781626818743
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Some games are hotter off the ice…

Sofia Phillips feels cursed. Her father cheated on her mother, her boyfriend cheated on her—she’s done with dating. A summer work-exchange program in Finland is the perfect escape. But instead of gaining experience as an athletic trainer, she’s cleaning toilets. Awesome. The trip is a disaster, and even better, she meets Kyle Bennett. In the sauna. Naked.

Sexy hockey player Kyle was the star right wing for an NHL team. But after an accident killed his wife and left him injured, Kyle has appreciated the “therapeutic” benefits of booze and puck bunnies. Now in Finland for the summer, he’s coaching in an elite hockey-training camp for teens. When Sofia's grandmother decides to set her up with a nice Finnish man, Sofia recruits Kyle as her make-believe boyfriend. Neither expects their first kiss to sizzle. And neither expects, while stranded on an island during a storm, to have a scorching night of passion.

But as their charade, and then their attraction, develops into something deeper, the past comes back, threatening to destroy them. They must decide if their feelings for each other are strong enough to survive—or it will be game over.

Heat it Up is a story I wanted to like a lot more than I did. This first installment of Stina Lindenblatt’s Off the Ice series had a lot of potential, but ultimately ranged from cute (if forgettable) to frustrating.

I’m a sucker for a hockey player hero, and even though Kyle is ex-NHL and there wasn’t a lot of ice action, he was the strongest part of the story for me. He’s a widower who married young then lost his wife in a car accident that also ended his career. In the beginning, Kyle is in a downward spiral, drinking and sleeping his way through Finland. Meeting Sofia changes him for the better, and I liked when party boy Kyle went away and the nerdy, physics-loving Kyle came out. He can be incredibly sweet, and my favorite moments of the book were watching him teach children. Sofia, in turn, is a rather lackluster heroine. She possesses a bunch of vague qualities that would have made her a more appealing character if she’d been better fleshed out. However, at best she’s a bland sort of likeable in the beginning of the story, then devolves into the oh-so-annoying “too stupid to live” type of heroine about halfway through the book.

Sofia has trust issues thanks to the men in her life, and she doesn’t want her grandmother to keep trying to set her up with her friend’s son, Joni. Meeting Kyle offers the perfect solution: he’ll pretend to be her boyfriend and she’ll take him around Finland. The more time they spend together, the less either is able to deny their mutual attraction. Yet while Sofia and Kyle are cute together, they never drew me in. In fact, I got a quarter of the way through the book and then put it down for over two months because I wasn’t invested in the story. When Kyle and Sofia do get together, the pace picks up, but unfortunately this is also the point where Heat it Up falters. The burgeoning romance between Sofia and Kyle takes a back seat to a poorly executed love triangle involving Joni, the Finnish boy Sofia’s grandmother wants her to date. It’s clear that Sofia has no romantic interest in Joni, but she has to be the most oblivious person on the planet not to notice Joni’s repeated attempts to win her. Joni’s attempts at sabotaging Kyle and Sofia’s relationship go from mildly annoying to unbelievably irritating, as Sofia continues to be completely clueless – and indeed plays into – Joni’s increasingly ridiculous machinations. Add in a last-minute plot twist that strains credulity and sends Sofia running, and any chance there was of me rooting for her was completely gone.

Heat it Up isn’t altogether a bad read, but it wasn’t my cup of tea. I’d have loved to see a bit more chemistry between Sofia and Kyle and a bit less pointless drama. Though it ultimately missed the mark for me, the book had potential and I liked Ms. Lindenblatt’s writing enough that I would try another story of hers.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Review: Beauty and the Highland Beast by Lecia Cornwall

Beauty and the Highland Beast by Lecia Cornwall
Series: Highland Fairy Tale, Book 1
Publisher: Swerve
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN: 9781250111616
Release Date: June 21, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Powerful and dangerous highlander Dair Sinclair was once the favored son of his clan, The Sinclairs of Carraig Brigh. With Dair at the helm, Sinclair ships circled the globe bringing home incredible fortune. Until one deadly mission when Dair is captured, tortured and is unable to save his young cousin. He returns home breaking under the weight of his guilt and becomes known as the Madman of Carraig Brigh.

When a pagan healer predicts that only a virgin bride can heal his son’s body and mind, Dair’s father sets off to find the perfect wife for his son. At the castle of the fearsome McLeods, he meets lovely and kind Fia MacLeod.

Although Dair does his best to frighten Fia, she sees the man underneath the damage and uses her charm and special gifts to heal his mind and heart. Will Dair let Fia love him or is he cursed with madness forever?

Dair Sinclair was once a sailor, brave and bold, until he and his cousin were taken captive, his men were killed, and he was forced to watch his cousin be raped, tortured, and murdered. Dair barely survived his imprisonment, but his physical wounds are the least of his problems. People believe him to be mad, and he doesn’t think they’re wrong. His father is determined to heal him, so determined he takes the advice of a healer who says that only a virgin can cure his son.

Fia is the overlooked daughter of the McLeod brood. A childhood accident left her with scars and a limp, and she’s mostly forgotten about, left to tend wounded animals. When she’s offered the chance of an adventure, she takes it, hoping she can help. The attraction she feels for Dair is surprising, as is the fact that, for once, someone truly seems to see her. But Dair’s demons aren’t the only obstacles the two must overcome if they hope to have a fairytale happily ever after.

The classic tale of a beauty who saves her beast is given an eighteenth century Scottish twist in Beauty and the Highland Beast. Lecia Cornwall mixes fairytale romance with darker elements in this fast-paced first installment of her Highland Fairy Tale series.

Fia is a charming heroine with a kind heart and a gift for healing. She’s so sweet, it’s not surprising animals and people flock to her, but I liked that Ms. Cornwall never entered saccharine territory with Fia. She’s got a backbone that goes with the giving heart, making her a heroine you can root for. Dair is a man who isn’t cursed, but rather coping with psychological trauma in a time when no one understood such things. He’s drowning in the past until Fia gives him a reason to look to the future. I liked Dair, was intrigued by the glimpses of his character that we were given, but I never felt I truly got to know who he was as a man. This made it slightly difficult to become invested in the romance; with only one character feeling truly formed, the love story is enjoyable, but never felt like it reached its true potential.

Beauty and the Highland Beast has both lighthearted humor (mostly in the form of Fia’s beast of a cat) and incredibly dark elements, and the two don’t blend together as well as they could or should. Rather than blending the light and the dark, the story went back and forth between the two. Without giving spoilers, I can only say that individually, the brighter moments were charming and fun, and the darker elements were ominous and left me with a vague feeling of disquiet even after all was said and done. In other words, all the right pieces of an engaging tale were there – they simply could have fit together smoother. Still, as it stands, Ms. Cornwall has delivered an enjoyable twist on a fairytale with a likeable hero and heroine and a story where love conquers all. Even though the story was a bit uneven, I liked Beauty and the Highland Beast well enough that I’m looking forward to reading the next Highland Fairy Tale book.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Cover Reveal: The Deep End by Kristen Ashley

I became a Kristen Ashley convert last year when I fell in love with her marvelous Rock Chick series. Next year brings with it the start of Ms. Ashley's Honey series, and I cannot wait to enter this incredibly sexy world. I'm thrilled to be a part of the cover reveal for the first Honey book, The Deep End. Scroll down for a peek at the gorgeous tease of a cover and then keep scrolling (if you can tear your eyes away :)) to learn more about The Deep End.

THE DEEP END by Kristen Ashley (March 7, 2017); The Honey Series #1
Enter a decadent sensual world where gorgeous alpha males are pleasure slaves committed to fulfilling a woman’s every desire. At the elite Honey club, no boundary will be left untested, and one’s darkest desires will become a sensual reality.

Olivier isn’t sure what he’s gotten himself into when he joins the Honey Club, only that a dark part of him craves the lifestyle offered by this secret, exclusive club.

When Amèlie invites Olivier to surrender, she pushes him to explore his deepest desires as a submissive. As they grow closer and find themselves falling harder than either of them anticipated, the truth about Olivier’s past could threaten the budding relationship they both long for.

Gripping and seductive, The Deep End is the first book in a sensational new series from bestselling author Kristen Ashley.

Pre-Order The Deep End: Amazon | iBooks | Books a Million | GooglePlay | Kobo

About the author:
Kristen Ashley is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels. She grew up in Indiana, but has lived in Colorado and the West Country of England. Visit her online at www.KristenAshley.net.

Connect with Kristen Ashley: Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram

Monday, June 13, 2016

Review: Bay of Sighs by Nora Roberts

Bay of Sighs by Nora Roberts
Series: The Guardians Trilogy, Book 2
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 9780425280119
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

To celebrate the rise of their new queen, three goddesses of the moon created three stars, one of fire, one of ice, one of water. But then they fell from the sky, putting the fate of all worlds in danger. And now three women and three men join forces to pick up the pieces…

Mermaid Annika is from the sea, and it is there she must return after her quest to find the stars. New to this world, her purity and beauty are nothing less than breathtaking, along with her graceful athleticism, as her five new friends discovered when they retrieved the fire star.

Now, through space and time, traveler Sawyer King has brought the guardians to the island of Capri, where the water star is hidden. And as he watches Annika in her element, he finds himself drawn to her joyful spirit. But Sawyer knows that if he allows her into his heart, no compass could ever guide him back to solid ground…

And in the darkness, their enemy broods. She lost one star to the guardians, but there is still time for blood to be spilled—the mermaid’s in the water and the traveler’s on the land. For she has forged a dangerous new weapon. Something deadly and unpredictable. Something human.

The search for the water star is on in Bay of Sighs. Now that all their gifts are out in the open, Sawyer, Annika, Sasha, Bran, Riley, and Doyle will have to hone their talents and teamwork if they hope to take down an evil goddess who won’t underestimate them a second time.

As our protagonists are hunting for the water star, it’s only fit that the heroine of the story is from the sea herself. And Annika is one delightfully unique heroine. She’s a mermaid who only has three turns of the moon to walk on land and help retrieve all three stars before she must return to the sea. But it isn’t her supernatural status that makes her stand out. Rather it’s the absolute joy that simply radiates from her and how open and giving of heart she is. The world we take for granted is a wonder to her, and even with all that she and her newfound friends go through, nothing can dull the shine of her. She’s not a heroine I can relate to because there is an otherworldly aspect to her perpetually sunny nature. Annika isn’t childlike, but there is an innocence to her that makes others want to shelter her. However, this is a fight where Annika can’t be sheltered, and she does stand up for those she loves. She also isn’t afraid to go for the man she loves. Sawyer is a traveler through space and time, and it was marvelous watching him fall for Annika. Sawyer is a genuinely good man, and though he’s attracted to Annika, he worries he’ll take advantage of her and thus tries to keep her at a distance. He can’t hold out against her for long, and their slide into love is, quite simply, sweet. That being said, there’s a spark, an energy usually present in Nora Roberts’s love stories that was missing between Annika and Sawyer, and perhaps that stems from the fact that Annika is so otherworldly.

Sawyer and Annika charmed me, but as with the first Guardians book, Stars of Fortune, one of my favorite things was watching our six main characters interact with one another. The bonds between these six new friends are every bit as important as the romantic relationships and offer a lot of entertainment. So while Bay of Sighs is definitely a bridge book, where more time is put into setting the stage than seeing results, I still didn’t want to put the book down. And though I won’t spoil what happens, I will say that the action sequences that do appear in the book are exciting.

Bay of Sighs is a comforting read. Like Annika, much of the story is sunny and optimistic, so it’s impossible not to be charmed. So even though it’s not my favorite Nora Roberts book, I still finished Bay of Sighs a satisfied reader. What’s more, the book left me incredibly eager to read the final Guardians tale. Riley and Doyle have been the most interesting, dynamic characters in the trilogy (at least to me), and I can’t wait to see them fall in love in Island of Glass!

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the Penguin First to Read program in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Review: Hanging by a Thread by Jenna Sutton

Hanging by a Thread by Jenna Sutton
Series: Riley O’Brien & Co., Book 3
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9780425279977
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Jenna Sutton Reading Order

Love is not one size fits all…

Thirty-year-old Bebe Banerjee is desperate to get rid of two things: her fiancé and her virginity. Escaping her arranged marriage might be impossible, but she refuses to give her firsts to an entitled jerk who lives on another continent. Instead, she devises a plan that guarantees another man will get her momentous firsts. But she never imagined that man would be Cal O’Brien, the gorgeous heir to the Riley O’Brien & Co. denim empire…

Although Cal has always been fascinated by Bebe’s brilliant mind and beautiful eyes, he’s never pursued her. She can’t stand the sight of him, and every time they’re in the same room, they end up trading insults. Yet when he finds out about Bebe’s bold plan, he makes his move, unaware of her upcoming nuptials. He promises to make her firsts unforgettable, but he doesn’t know how hard it will be to forget her when their arrangement ends.

Sparks fly right and left in Hanging by a Thread. I was so excited to see Bebe and Cal finally give into their mutual attraction that has long been obvious to everyone but them. Author Jenna Sutton does not disappoint. Bebe and Cal’s story is romantic, sensual, and simply lovely to read.

I absolutely adored Bebe. She is utterly brilliant, but all her life she’s focused her studies and then her work at the cost of her personal life. She’s also someone who has been beaten down by those who should have loved her, and thus she doesn’t see the true value of all that she is (which broke my heart). Yet though Bebe is a bit vulnerable, she doesn’t cave under pressure. When she finds she cannot escape her arranged marriage (for reasons I won’t spoil), she doesn’t meekly give into her jerk of a fiancé’s wishes. Rather, she uses the little bit of time she has to claim her sexuality. She wants to find a man to be her first, but she never imagined that man would be her best friend’s brother…

It’s easy to see why Bebe has been attracted to Cal for years. He’s pretty much the perfect hero. Cal is smart, hardworking, sexy, caring, and heck, he’s even a talented chef – what more could you ask for? I loved the way he was completely gone over Bebe, even before he realized it. The two of them have been circling each other for years, trading barbs to mask the attraction each is too afraid to reveal to the other. When Cal offers to be Bebe’s lover, everything between them changes in the very best way. I loved watching their relationship unfold, because despite their attraction and the deal they make, Ms. Sutton lets things develop organically. While there are plenty of heated encounters in Hanging by a Thread, Cal and Bebe’s relationship isn’t all about sex. Cal doesn’t just want to be her first lover; he wants to be the one to show her a number of firsts. Their romance is a great mix of sensual highs and quietly sweet moments that made me smile more than once.

Normally I’m not a fan of the dreaded “big secret,” in this case Bebe hiding her engagement. However, Ms. Sutton handled Bebe’s predicament in such a way that while it was important to the tale, it never dragged the story down. My only wish is that we’d seen more of the climax of the story, as I think it would have made Bebe’s personal journey stronger. Even with this minor quibble, I adored Hanging by a Thread because Cal and Bebe are just that great together.

Hanging by a Thread is the third Riley O’Brien & Co. book, but it can easily be read as a standalone. That being said, the O’Brien family is definitely out in full force, much to my delight. The love the characters have for one another in this series – whether it’s romantic, familial, or the love between friends – adds an extra layer to the stories, making them that much more appealing. Even though the final O’Brien sibling has fallen in love, I hope this isn’t the last of the Riley O’Brien & Co. stories, because I’m just not ready to leave this world or these characters behind.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Jenna Sutton Book Order

Click on series title to jump to a particular reading order:

Trinity Distillery
Riley O’Brien & Co.
House of Trioni

Trinity Distillery

1. Barreled Over
Jonah Beck and Ava Grace Landy

2. Tipsy-Turvey (release date unknown)

3. Bottled Up (release date unknown)

4. Chased Down (release date unknown)


Riley O’Brien & Co.

1. All the Right Places
Quinn O’Brien and Amelia Winger

2. Coming Apart at the Seams
Nick Priest and Teagan O’Brien
My Review

2.5. The Perfect Fit
Zeke May and Margo Lange
My Review

3. Hanging by a Thread
Cal O’Brien and Bebe Banerjee
My Review

3.5 A Kick in the Pants
Jake Lilliard and Kyla Andrews

3.75. Will Never Fade
Garrett Gale and Phoebe Werner


House of Trioni

1. Royal Match
Leo and Tessa

2. Royal Catch
Marco and Cassie


Please note: This page was written by me, so as always, please visit the author’s website for up-to-date, author-verified information as well as for information books that have not yet been included to this list.


Review: Foolproof Love by Katee Robert

Foolproof Love by Katee Robert
Series: Foolproof Love, Book 1
Publisher: Entangled: Brazen
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance Foolproof Love Cover
ISBN: 9781633756489
Release Date: June 6, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Bull rider Adam Meyer put Devil’s Falls in his rearview mirror years ago and hasn’t stopped running since. Now he’s back—temporarily, if he has any say about it. Restless, he finds himself kissing the sexiest girl in town…and agreeing to be the fake boyfriend in her little revenge scheme.

Jules Rodrigez isn’t interested in the role of town spinster. Being seen with a hell raiser like Adam is the perfect way to scandalize the residents, make her ex jealous, and prove she’s a sexy, desirable woman. And if their plan includes ridiculously hot sex—in public, of course—all the better.

But this thing between them has an expiration date. Putting down roots isn’t in Adam’s blood, and Jules’s roots in Devil’s Falls are bedrock deep. He’ll leave, even if it rips out his heart. But this time, he’s not sure he’ll survive it…

Jules is the town good girl, the one who has somehow landed herself a reputation as town spinster, despite the fact that she’s not yet thirty. When her ex walks back into town and expects Jules to throw herself at him, it’s the last straw. What’s a single, cat café owner to do? Pretend her cousin’s wild child best friend is her boyfriend and start a scandal, of course.

Adam is a bull rider who can never stay in one place for long. He’s only back in town to care for his ill mother, and then he’s back on the road and not looking back. But he can’t turn down Jules’s plea for his help. And despite himself, he can’t help but be attracted to the gorgeous, sexy woman who wants to shock the town. But the longer they spend together, the harder it is to remember that this is one relationship can’t last…

Foolproof Love is tons of fun! Author Katee Robert takes the pretend relationship trope and makes it feel fresh and new in this steamy, sweet, incredibly addictive tale.

Jules is easy to adore. She’s got a sunny disposition and owns and runs a cat café, where people can stop in for coffee and cuddle some cats. How sweet is that? Jules loves her café, enjoys making people happy, and has a good life for herself, but she’s not pleased with the label of town spinster that has been slapped on her. She wants to break out of the mold, and Adam is just the man to help her. Adam has grown up thinking he’s the leaving type of guy. He gets an itch under his skin and just can’t seem to put down roots, nor does he want to try. Helping Jules shake things up may sound good at the start, but it’s clear that a pretend relationship can never hold up against the very real pull between them. Their desire for one another is palpable and isn’t something that’s going to burn out by the time Adam feels he has to leave. Jules and Adam have fantastic chemistry and because they’re both so likeable, it’s easy to be caught up in their story and root for them to find happiness. Their romance is both sweet and sexy; Adam is one deliciously wicked cowboy and it was fun to watch him bring out Jules’s naughty side.

Romance aside, Foolproof Love also shines when it comes to friendships. Adam’s friendship with Quinn and Daniel (future series heroes) grounds him and made me eager to learn more about the guys. But it’s Jules’s relationship with her best friend, Aubry, that threatens to steal the show. Aubry is a smart-mouthed, antisocial gamer who made me grin every time she was on the page. She and Jules cracked me up and their friendship was one I could easily relate to.

Foolproof Love is a fast-paced romance that’ll charm contemporary romance fans. Whether you’ve got a thing for dirty-talking cowboys, or just love a sensual and fun romance with characters who are easy to adore, Jules and Adam’s story is sure to entertain. I loved it and I cannot wait to read Aubry’s book, Fool Me Once!

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Review: The Harder He Falls by Lynda Aicher

The Harder He Falls by Lynda Aicher
Series: Kick, Book 1
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Male/Male Erotic Contemporary Romance with Light D/s
ISBN: 9780425285121
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Expert whitewater-rafting guide Grady Kelley lives for that rush of adrenaline: at work, as the newest employee of a Portland-based outdoor-adventure sports company, and off the river, where liaisons with anonymous men keep him satisfied. Grady prefers no drama and no strings attached, but when tragedy strikes, fate leads him to Micah Swaine. He’s hot, masculine, distracting—and offers the kind of deeper connection Grady has sworn off, no matter how badly he craves it.

Working at a leather bar, Micah meets a lot of guys, but Grady’s different—and he seems to feel the same way. The trouble is, anything beyond casual sex is too risky for Micah. He’s got secrets he doesn’t know how to share, secrets that would make any relationship a battlefield. No man, even one as compassionate as Grady, would stick around for that kind of trouble. And yet, as physical desire melts the walls they’ve put up, Micah and Grady discover that trusting each other is the most exhilarating adventure of all.

The Harder He Falls is sexy, angsty, and features two wonderfully flawed heroes. Grady is a whitewater rafting guide who is floundering after an accident on the river lands his cousin in a coma. While visiting his cousin in the hospital, Grady meets Micah, a bartender who gets under his skin from the moment they meet. Their attraction is red-hot, but both men carry baggage that could crush any hope of a relationship before it even starts. It’ll take courage, trust, and patience on both their parts if they ever want to move beyond casual sex.

Micah is easy to love. He’s strong, protective, and patient, but he’s also a bit vulnerable. He was in a coma himself years ago, and though he has mostly recovered, he suffers from permanent side effects that he feels would be a burden to others. Micah likes to stick to brief encounters, but something about Grady calls to him, and he wants to help the other man just as much as he’d like to go to bed with him. As for Grady, his torment over what happened to his cousin is only the beginning of his problems. Grady’s formative years were shaped by abusers, he’s never had a support system, the only person he could possibly ask for advice (his cousin) is in the hospital, and Grady has a negative view of the submissive side of his sexuality. Grady isn’t a sub in the traditional BDSM sense, but he does like to submit in bed, which makes him a great match for Micah, who is a strong top. But it’s been ground into Grady that submitting in any sense of the word makes him weak, and that makes him fearful of what he gives to Micah. There’s a lot of push-pull in The Harder He Falls, but for me it was understandable given what Grady has been through.

When Grady and Micah aren’t battling their demons, they can be hot as hell. Lynda Aicher cranks up the heat in sex scenes that blur the line between kink and light BDSM. And while Micah and Grady’s erotic encounters sizzle, what really grabbed me about the story was the heart. Grady is troubled and gets wrapped up in his problems, but he’s also incredibly caring toward Micah. He never treats Micah differently because of his medical condition and he never makes it a defining characteristic of the man either (which I loved). Instead, Grady adapts and helps Micah when and how he needs it, and he creates a safe space for Micah to push his boundaries. The two of them are a great match and both have a lot of love to give, which makes every obstacle they have to overcome worth it.

The Harder He Falls is the first book in the Kick series, which is about an outdoor adventure company and the sexy gay Doms who run it. We don’t see much of the company in this story, but I can’t wait to learn more about it and the men who work there. I finished Grady and Micah’s story a well-satisfied reader and I can’t wait to read the next Kick book, The Deeper He Hurts.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.