Friday, June 30, 2017

Reading Update: 10%


The Perfect Play - Jaci Burton


I've only read chapter 1! Not sure the tone of this book is going to be for me.

She sure was beautiful, but not in the way he was used to. She wasn’t overly made up, so her beauty was natural.

She’d been polite but hadn’t fallen all over him when he’d introduced himself. And oh man, had he liked that. A lot. Surprisingly, a lot. Especially when she’d walked away from him. Women tended to latch onto him like he was the Holy Grail, and once they did, they never let go. That, he didn’t like. But Tara actually seemed more interested in doing her job than in being with
him. It was damned refreshing.

She was slender, but not too much. She looked like she actually ate three meals a day, unlike a lot of the women he’d been forced to spend time with.
He’d bet she usually wore her hair down or in a ponytail or in one of those messy hair clip things. She didn’t seem the type of woman who messed with her hair so that it had to be perfect.

There was something about her that made him want to do more than just fuck her.

Spare me the "not like the others" woman sentiment.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Review: The Duke of Daring

The Duke of Daring The Duke of Daring by Darcy Burke
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I didn't feel the romance between the couple and too be honest, this kind of felt like a paint-by-numbers. Heroine dresses as a man, hero is only one who notices, helps her on her adventures, hero and heroine committed to never marrying, hero has sad past, and then heroine gives hero a bj. Err, what? Yeah, that part kind of woke me up, lol. Felt a bit out of place, heroine seemed a bit more modern in the bedroom. I've read better by the author. I don't know, the whole thing left me uninspired with how often I've tread these same storylines. Maybe chalk it up to my been there, done that private island of regency genre t-shirts.

View all my reviews

Review: Wired

Wired Wired by Julie Garwood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

2.5 stars

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

Allison is close to finally graduating and after carrying the weight of taking care of her aunt, uncle, and cousin, she is ready to move cross country and start her life anew. Her life seems on track until the FBI comes knocking on her door wanting to know just how good of a hacker she really is.
Special Agent Liam has been so dedicated to his job, he wouldn't even know how to have a normal relationship but when he sets eyes on Allison, he wants some changes. Her brains and beauty pack a punch while her sweetness has his protective side flaring to life.
Cousins, jealous colleagues, and traitors try to derail these two but Allison and Liam make quite the team.

The thirteenth installment in the Buchanan-Renard series, Wired, immerses us back into the world of FBI agents and life and death action. There were a couple appearances by past couples but newcomers to the series could start here and be ok.

The beginning starts the reader right off into the action but with a timeline that fast forwarded awkwardly, it all felt a bit jumbled. We get some information dumps to thrust us into the story and with some repeats, the editing felt a bit off. As the story went on, it started to smooth out as our leads and characters took over.

Being with him even topped writing code, and how freaky was that?

Allison is a likeable heroine but with every reminder about how gorgeous she is, models high fashion on the side, and how amazingly brilliant she is at hacking along with her overly sweet "I must do everything for everybody" attitude, she became a bit eye-rolling. Her awkwardness is cute and empathetic to a point, about the millionth time I heard about her amazing legs and how she doesn’t need make-up point. Her inability for most of the story to stand-up to her over-the-top villainous aunt and uncle was also a bit much; it started to feel like unnecessary conflict that was dragged out.

Letting out a low whistle, he shook his head.
"She's gonna be trouble."


Liam for all his protective man in charge attitude still came off somewhat wooden. I never felt like his personality was too delved into, he was always on the go without the reader having time to really get to know him, let alone Allison. After I finished the book I can't even say for sure if they had an extended conversation. They did have moments of chemistry but their interactions were such hit and runs, nothing ever felt flushed out. The beat in their relationship just felt off.

Allison and Liam were two very analytical characters and that could be why they were harder to connect with as their thought patterns were pretty decisive but it also had them coming off a bit stiff. The over abundance of villains and obstacles thrown in their way was too much and clogged up the story. Allison had to battle her aunt and uncle, a jealous fellow student, and the FBI, all too much for only 300pgs.

Even though I felt the heroine was too sweet, the hero was a bit cardboard cut-out, and one too many bad guys running around, Garwood's writing still has a readability that can't be denied. The story was interesting with action and intensity but our hero and heroine didn't get a chance to rise a bit above the antics and emotionally shine.


View all my reviews

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Review: Some Kind of Hero

Some Kind of Hero Some Kind of Hero by Suzanne Brockmann
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

2.5 stars

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

When Shay recognizes the crazy man trying to flag down a car as her sexy Navy SEAL neighbor, she pulls over and thus begins the ride of her life.
Peter is desperate to find his daughter and when he thinks he sees her get into a van, he knows this is his chance to get her. After an unsuccessful car chase, he finds surprising help from his neighbor.
Drug deals gone bad, the pain of loss, hurtful memories, and relationships being born and mended, Shay and Peter have quite the journey ahead of them.

The nineteenth installment in the long popular Troubleshooters series, this can be read as a standalone, as long as you don't mind missing out on the numerous in and outs of the wide cast characters. Our main couple, Shay and Peter, along with a small secondary romance involving Peter’s daughter and her older guy friend, starts fresh here so you wouldn't miss out on any details there. One of the strengths of Ms. Brockmann's stories is her ability to juggle and incorporate characters, romance, and storylines. Those components were numerous here but I'm not sure they were all pulled off.

Our hero's daughter, Maddie, is coming to live with him after her mother died; she's fifteen and hasn't seen her father in years. This is due to Peter being a Navy SEAL and what appears to be a mother who wanted to somewhat color Peter in a less than flattering light. Maddie gets caught up in a missing ten thousand dollars owed to a drug dealer and takes off to find her friend, who got her into trouble, with the friend's ex-boyfriend. This situation simply felt too forced, Maddie has a Navy SEAL father, yes, she's a sullen teenager of fifteen and doesn't have a strong relationship with him, but her life was threatened, it was a stretch to think she would take off on her own. The author provides us an outline of how mature Maddie is in some aspects, taking care of her mother and having more common sense than the twenty year old she is with, and flips the coin to show how immaturely she thinks her father is "stupid". It felt like the author was trying to have it both ways to force the storyline the way she wanted. As this is the backbone for the book, it set-up a wobbly premise with me that I don't think the story ever overcame.

Our heroine is a romance writer and when we are first introduced to her, one of her characters likes to "speak" to her and had her continuously saying "shh" out loud. It levels off as the story continues but I personally found it somewhat intrusive, I'm trying to get to know the "real" characters in the beginning, and annoying, Shay's speaking out loud to a fictional character gave a tint of corniness. I also found it a bit odd her full throttle willingness to involve herself in Peter's situation but romantic suspense usually requires a bit of lenience. Shay's character as a whole, though, was fun, capable, interesting, and someone I'd definitely want as a friend.

Peter's attitude and actions had him coming off as a genuine good guy, with a wonderful dash of wit and charisma. There was a lack of usual rom suspense action (until the very end) that had me missing him showcasing his special ops skills. He wonderfully wears his dress whites but that's almost the full extent we get of any Navy SEAL-ness. His and Shay's romance is a whirlwind that takes place over 5-6 days, so insta-lust/love does play a part here.

In order to bring Peter and Maddie together, the author has Peter tell Shay how Maddie's mother and he got together. It's a sweet way to bond father and daughter but having it go through Shay, she types up the story segments and sends them to Maddie, had it feeling a little weird and not coming off quite right. I would have liked to have Shay and Peter bonding moments over the inclusion of these stories.

Overall, this had the multi-faceted, all inclusive plethora of characters and storyline offshoots Ms. Brockmann excels at but I also did feel the romance was lacking and I missed a bit more action. If you're a Troubleshooters reader, you'll probably enjoy seeing past cast members and everyone won't want to miss Peter and Shay try to "myth bust" one of her book's sex scenes.
 

View all my reviews

New Release - A Stardance Summer by Emily March




Summary:
Return to the beloved small town of Eternity Springs in the newest installment of Emily March’s New York Times bestselling series with A Stardance Summer

Sometimes the end of one road
Brick Callahan enjoys every minute of chaos at his campground, Stardance Ranch, especially after the Tornado Alleycats arrive for an extended summer stay. The members of the all-female glamorous camping club are primarily seniors—active and adventurous, friendly and fun. But when he discovers Liliana Howe frolicking with the glamping grannies in a late night skinny-dipping session, he fears he's in for a summer of trouble. Because his best friend's kid sister has grown up to be drop-dead gorgeous.

. . .is the start of another

Betrayed by those she trusted, Lili decides she's put her career first for too long. She sells her practical sedan, buys a travel trailer, and heads to Eternity Springs for a summer of rest, relaxation, and reassessment as the newest member of the Alleycats. The last person she expects to find running an RV resort is her high school crush. Their undeniable mutual attraction is a reminder that life is full of surprises. But when the past comes calling, will their summer romance stand the test of time?

Excerpt:
Twenty years later
I won’t cry. I absolutely, positively will not cry.
Liliana Howe silently repeated the mantra as she rang the doorbell of her parents’ home in Norman, Oklahoma. She still had a key to the house, but her arms were full with two large white paper bags of her father’s favorite Tex-Mex from the taqueria over by Oklahoma University.
Brian and Stephanie Howe met at home for lunch every day, but it was rare for Lili to join them. She usually worked through lunch. But then, today was not a usual day, was it?
Her father answered the door. His gray eyes rounded in surprise. “Lili? Did we forget a lunch date?”
“No, Dad. I was in the neighborhood. Thought I’d surprise you with lunch from Miguelito’s.”
 “Well, that’s nice.” He opened the screen door. “Come on in. Let me help you with those bags.”
He led her through the house back toward the kitchen. “That smells wonderful. This is a real treat, Liliana. Your mother doesn’t let me have Mexican too often.”
“It’s been too long since I’ve seen you guys.”
They walked into the kitchen to find her mother seated at the table staring intently at her computer. Typical Stephanie Howe. Always working. Without looking up, she said, “Stevenson has the best rating, but—”
“Look who’s here, honey,” Lili’s father interrupted.
Stephanie Howe finally glanced up, her thoughts obviously somewhere else, because she gazed at Lili as if she didn’t recognize her. Lili waved her fingers. “Surprise.”
“Oh.” Stephanie gave her head a little shake. “Lili. Hello. Did we forget a lunch date?”
Inwardly, Lili sighed. “No. I was in the mood for Mexican and I thought of Dad.”
“It’s not good for his cholesterol.”
“No, but once in a blue moon won’t hurt him. Dr. Derek told me that himself.”
She unloaded the bags, setting tacos, cheese enchiladas, refried beans, guacamole, and tortilla chips in the center of the table. Her mother brought plates and silverware from the cabinet. “Nevertheless, it’s nice to see you. It’s been too long. How are you, Lili? Have you recovered from tax season?”
“It’s definitely behind me,” she replied with a wry twist of her lips.
They all filled their plates. Not anxious to spill her own beans, Lili took an extra spoonful of refried and asked, “So, what do you hear from Derek?”
Her parents spent quite a bit of time talking about their renowned heart surgeon son. Nerves caused Lili to make a pig of herself on chips and guacamole, and she didn’t miss her mother’s judgmental frown.
Finally, after extolling Derek’s most recent peer recognition award, her father asked Lili what was new with her work and the moment was at hand.
She sipped her water, wished it were a beer, and summarized the sequence of events that had led her to this crisis point. Then she waited for them to react.
And she waited.
And waited.
Her parents shared one of those long, hard-to-read looks that made Lili’s stomach do a bit of a sick flip. Her father cleared his throat. “It’s an incredible tale.”
Her mother nodded. “Unbelievable.”
Lili sucked salt off her bottom lip. She hadn’t expected them to jump to their feet and vow to make the villains pay, but she’d thought they’d be angry on her behalf. Not . . . reserved.
Deep within her, despair kindled to life. They were her parents. She was counting on them. Nevertheless, she pressed ahead, calmly and logically laying out the approach she wanted to take and the assistance she needed from her mother and father.
Again, her parents shared one of those inscrutable looks. Lili’s heart began to pound. “I don’t know, Liliana,” her father said, rubbing the back of his neck. “It would be hard to fight them. They’re powerful people. I hate to say it because it’s not the way this country was supposed to work, but if a Normal Joe tries to go up against powerful people, most often he loses.
“I don’t want to see you get involved with making a charge against the police. That could turn nasty real fast. This cop . . . you said you think your bosses might have threatened him, too? He might be in an even tougher position than you.”
“But he lied, Dad! He falsified records.”
“But you have no proof of that, do you?”
“Just my word.” Isn’t that enough, Dad? At least for you?
“Maybe you should let things lie for a while. Give it some time. See how things work out. I think it’s simply too soon to call the governor and ask for a personal favor.”
That, Lili knew, was a no. A no and a verbal punch to the gut. After her father’s heroic efforts during Central Oklahoma’s most recent tornado outbreak, hadn’t the governor given Brian Howe her direct phone number and instructions to call if he ever needed help with anything? Lili could think of only one reason why he denied her request, and it made her want to toss her guaco.
“Maybe later on when everything settles down we can look at the situation again.”
He didn’t believe her. He didn’t believe in her. Neither did her mother. Lili’s heart twisted. She knew her parents. They wouldn’t come right out and say it, but she saw the significant looks they’d exchanged. Noticed the way they wouldn’t meet her eyes.
They believed she’d been driving drunk last night and the DUI was legit. They did not believe that she’d been set up.
They thought she’d lied.
Lied!
Hurt like nothing she’d ever known washed through her. Lili had never been a liar. Even as a child she’d been frightfully honest. Hadn’t that been her way of attempting to gain favor with her parents? Her brilliant older brother spun stories that had fooled her equally brilliant parents, but eagle-eyed little sister often knew the truth. And tattled. But always with the truth.
Always.
Yet now, they doubted her? They believed her so irresponsible that she would climb behind the wheel of a car after she’d been drinking, thus risking her life, the lives of others, and her license to practice her profession?
Good grief, did they think she’d embezzled money from senior citizens, too?
Lili swallowed hard. Inside, her heart was bleeding. I will not cry. I will not cry. She couldn’t believe this. What was she going to do now?
The only thing she was certain of was that she needed to leave. Immediately. Before she lost her enchiladas all over her mother’s Italian tile.
But Lili couldn’t make herself stand up. Her knees were too weak.
“I think your father is right.” Stephanie Howe reached over and patted Lili’s hand. “You know, dear, maybe this is for the best. You haven’t been happy in your work for some time now.”
“You never liked accounting,” her father added helpfully. “Perhaps it’s best that you look on this event as an opportunity.”
An opportunity? For what? Prison? Hysterical laughter bubbled up inside her, but Lili swallowed it down.
Lili’s mother rose from the table and removed a glass pitcher of iced tea from the refrigerator. She topped off her husband’s glass and changed the subject.
Lili didn’t really care about the plans for their next-door neighbor’s upcoming retirement party. Nor did she give a fig about OU football recruiting rumors. She spent the rest of the meal in a distracted fog.
Finally, having cleaned his plate—twice—Brian Howe set down his fork, wiped his mouth with a napkin, then checked his watch. “I’ve gotta run. I have a one o’clock conference call.”
Standing, he leaned over and pressed a kiss against Lili’s hair. “It was nice to see you, sweetheart. Don’t be such a stranger.”
Minutes later, he walked out the door and Stephanie was preparing to follow. “I hate to rush you, Lili, but I have office hours before my two o’clock lecture.”
Stephanie Howe taught advanced mathematics at OU. “That’s okay, Mom. Why don’t you go on? I’ll stay and load the dishwasher.”
“Thank you. You’ll lock up when you’re done?”
“I will.”
Her mother ducked into the master bedroom and returned a few moments later with her hair and teeth brushed and wearing new lipstick. On the way out the door, she paused. “Lili, things happen for a reason, and often, we don’t know what that reason is. Sometimes you simply need to give it a little time.”
She gave a little finger wave, then exited the house. Lili stood in the center of her parents’ kitchen, her arms hanging limply at her sides. She heard her mother’s car start, then back out of the driveway. Lili was alone. Alone and . . . lost.
Her parents didn’t believe her. Why not? What had she ever done to earn this lack of faith?
 Nothing. She might not have been the smartest Howe sibling, but she’d made it a point to be the one who never screwed up. Derek the Favorite couldn’t say that. The time her brother had come within a phone call of getting an MIP, he’d deserved one. He and his trouble-magnet best friend had celebrated the no-hitter Mark had thrown in the regionals of the state baseball tournament by buying a fifth of bourbon with fake IDs and drinking themselves silly in a public park. Neither had gone near a car, but still.
Derek’s good luck was that their father’s administrative assistant’s husband was the chief of police. Dad had called the chief on Derek’s behalf and worked out a deal. Derek would pay the required fine and do the required community service, but it wouldn’t go on his record. Gotta protect the college applications, you know.
He’d called for Derek.
He won’t go near the phone for me.
Pressure filled Lili’s chest. It reminded her of that achy feeling she got when reading a novel where the protagonist discovers that her loved one has betrayed her. At that point in a book, Lili invariably skipped ahead to read the ending. Lili needed happy endings.
Satisfying endings didn’t work for her. She wanted happy-ever-after.
Once she knew the book was a safe read, the emotional grief she experienced eased. Then she invariably read the rest of the book backward. She was weird that way.
She’d never expected to be the wronged character in a real-life novel. Not with her parents cast as the betrayers, anyway. She wished she could skip to the end of this story. Maybe then she’d discover that her parents had believed her and believed in her all along and they had a really good reason for doing what they’d just done.
Yeah. Right. And I’ll win the next season of Who’s Got Talent because of my spreadsheet expertise.
Ordinarily, pity parties were not Liliana’s style. Today as she picked up her father’s plate from the table, she had a star-studded gala going on.
Mom and Dad didn’t believe her.
She took two steps toward the sink, then abruptly stopped. She dropped the plate.
Actually, she threw the plate. With both hands. Hard.
It smashed against the floor, shattering into dozens of pieces. Next she threw his glass and her mother’s plate and her own plate and glass. And Liliana realized she was panting as if she’d run five miles. Tears pooled in her eyes, but she blinked them away.
Then, because she was Liliana, she got a broom and dustpan and cleaned up her mess. About the time her mother would be pulling into the faculty parking lot at OU, Lili exited the house and locked the door behind her. Then she removed her parents’ house key from her key ring and dropped it through the mail slot in their front door.
As she walked down the sidewalk toward the slate-gray sedan she’d parked at the curb, the soon-to-be-retired neighbor drove into his driveway. They exchanged waves and Lili extended a trembling hand toward her car door.
“I absolutely, positively won’t cry.”
Maintaining her composure, she slid into the driver’s seat and calmly buckled the safety belt. She started her engine, shifted into drive, and slowly pulled away from her childhood home. She wouldn’t cry. She wouldn’t curse. She wouldn’t break any more dishes or squeal her tires in a fit of temper.
Lili wasn’t reckless. She didn’t act rashly and seldom lost control of her temper or emotions. She was logical and deliberate and controlled.
And honest. Totally honest.
Just the way a good accountant should be.
The faintest of sobs escaped her at the thought.
She’d broken her mother’s Fiesta. And yes, she had goosed the gas on her practical sedan, though not enough to squeal the tires. She wasn’t certain that her engine even had enough power to do it.
Her landlady’s voice echoed through her mind. I think this car’s get-up-and-go got up and went before it ever left the showroom floor.
“I bought it used,” Lili had defended.
Patsy Schaffer clicked her tongue and shook her head. “Oh, honey. Of course you did.”
Buying this car had been a good decision, Lili told herself now. A practical purchase. Cars lost value the moment they were driven off the lot. The last thing she needed was a big car payment.
Especially since as of today, she didn’t have a job.
She sucked in a shuddering breath. What am I going to do?
“Fight.” That’s what she needed to do. That’s what she’d come to her parents’ house to do. To gather her resources. To prepare for war. This injustice could not be allowed to stand!
So fine. She’d go into battle by herself. Work from the bottom up instead of the top down. She could do it. She was a grown-up. She didn’t need her parents to fight her battles. She was accustomed to doing things alone, wasn’t she?
She’d go back to the office. Today. Now. What could it hurt? They couldn’t fire her again. She’d demand to speak to Fred Ormsby, the other founding partner. She’d outline her case and demand that the situation be investigated by an independent party. Then she’d go to the police and do the same thing with them.
She could do this. She was strong.
She was scared.
By the time she pulled onto I-35 headed north to her office building in downtown Oklahoma City, she’d lost the battle to hold back tears. Soon she’d soaked four tissues and was on to drowning her fifth.
Then, just as she signaled her intention to take the upcoming exit, a motorcycle screamed by, passing on the right. Only by the grace of God did she avoid hitting him.
In that instant, the blaze of Lili’s temper evaporated her fears. If she’d had another dinner plate, she’d have thrown it at the fool. She was furious that the rider had endangered himself by riding recklessly without a helmet. She was incensed at her former friend and mentor in the firm and at his criminal connections in the police department who were able to create false DUI charges out of nothing.
 And her parents . . . Lili swallowed hard. Her parents. For them, she had no words.
Downtown, she found a parking spot two blocks from her building, so she took it. She grabbed a fresh tissue, flipped down the visor mirror, and wiped away mascara tracks. She blew her nose, put on fresh lipstick, and pinched some color into her wan cheeks.
Drawing two calming, bracing breaths, she stepped outside and prepared to go to war.
Lili marched up the street. You can do this. You can do this. Right is on your side. Justice will prevail.
She was halfway to her building’s front door when the problem occurred to her. They’d taken away her credentials. She wouldn’t be allowed upstairs.
They’d taken her credentials. They’d taken her reputation. They’d taken her license. A great yawning sense of despair opened up inside her. I’m powerless.
The door to her building opened and her former mentor and the firm’s other founding partner stepped outside. Okay. Okay. Her luck was turning. Here was an opportunity. Approaching them on a public street wouldn’t be her first choice, but the fact that they’d come out of the building right at this particular moment was a sign, was it not?
She took one more step forward, then stopped abruptly. A third person had joined them. A third person smiled and laughed and flirted up at the two men old enough to be her father.
Tiffany Lambeau.
Lili’s nemesis.
When Tiffany had followed Mark Christopher to the University of Hawaii, Lili had hoped Norman, Oklahoma, had seen the last of her. Instead, Tiffany had come home with an MBA and a “broken” heart quickly healed by a prominent banker. Now Tiffany was on the prowl again, and she’d started working at the firm late last year as a consultant. She knew everyone of consequence in town— maybe the entire state—and she’d quickly weaseled her way into visiting the corner offices. Often.
Lili watched the trio turn the other direction and stroll up the sidewalk, arm in arm, and she had no doubt that she was looking at Ormsby, Harbaugh, and Stole’s newest partner.
The guacamole in Lili’s stomach made a threatening rumble. “Oh yes,” she murmured. “Talk about a sign.”
She could possibly face the powers that be at the firm. She might even be able to hold her own while presenting her case to the cops. But Tiffany Lambeau? Forget about it.
Some parts of high school a girl simply couldn’t leave behind.
Lili pivoted and returned to her car. She thumbed the lock, opened the door, slid inside, and calmly fastened her seat belt. She sat with her hands on the wheel for a full five minutes, the events of the day running through her mind like a bad movie. How many times today had she asked herself, What am I going to do?
Now, finally, at—she glanced at the clock on her dash— 2:27 p.m., she knew the answer. “That’s it. I’m done. I quit.”
Lili switched on her ignition, shifted her car into drive, and spoke her life-changing decision aloud. “I’m going to join the Tornado Alleycats.”

Copyright © 2017 by Emily March and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.

Buy Links:







 Author Bio:

Emily March is the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series. Publishers Weekly calls March a "master of delightful banter," and her heartwarming, emotionally charged stories have been named to Best of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Romance Writers of America. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapeƱo relish has made her a tailgating legend.


Social Links:
Twitter @emilymarchbooks








New Release - The Highland Commander by Amy Jarecki #Giveaway



Excerpt:
As in the Highland custom, Aiden wore the plaid belted at his waist, the length pulled from the lower right opening of his doublet, around his back and pinned at his left shoulder with a silver brooch bearing the Atholl arms. The valet had put forth a good effort ensuring there was neither wrinkle nor hair out of place.
He regarded himself in the looking glass above the mantle in the drawing room, sliding one foot forward as he would do for a portrait. Not liking the image, he puffed out his chest and moved a hand to his lapel.
God’s bones, take me to sea where I can cast aside these frills.
Tuning his back to the looking glass, Aiden resorted to pacing and pulling out his pocket watch. The coach would arrive in five minutes, and Maddie hadn’t yet made an appearance.
At least a light glowed from beneath her door indicating she was within. It cast a hazy glow in the otherwise dark passageway. After pacing around the chamber half-dozen times, he again eyed his timepiece. Another minute had passed. Perhaps he should knock on the door—perhaps Maddie’s mantle clock had stopped and she was unaware of the time. Just as he started off, her door opened. A burst of light flooded the passageway, and with the tap of dainty footsteps, an angel emerged.
Aiden knew she’d purchased a new gown, but he hadn’t expected this. His mouth went dry and he suddenly needed to take in two stuttered breaths to steady the thumping of his heart.
Christ, men aren’t supposed to experience such heart hammering. Especially men bred for the sea. Damnation.
She smiled, and his goddamned knees wobbled. He should have taken a healthy tot whilst he was pacing in the drawing room.
Her golden gown rustled as she walked forward, with a matching fan in her hand. She moved the fan to her waist…just below her breasts. Creamy skin Aiden knew to be softer than spun silk swelled above a dangerously plunging neckline. His mouth went completely dry. If Maddie’s serving maid had been anywhere but behind her lady, Aiden would have taken the lassie into his arms, pushed through his bedchamber door and damned the recital.
“I hope I haven’t made us late.” Maddie batted her eyelashes as if she had no idea of the effect she had on his aching cods. “Miss Agnes spent ever so long curling my hair.”
Aiden’s tongue slipped over his bottom lip. “Your curls are exquisite. You are exquisite, m’lady.”
Agnes cleared her throat, coming up behind with a cloak over her arm. “You’d best say so, m’lord. It took the greater part of the afternoon to make those ringlets.”
Nay, there’d be no slipping into the bedchamber for a hasty sampling of those pearl-tipped bosoms.
Aiden glanced to his pocket watch—they still had a few minutes—and now that he knew Maddie was ready, there’d be no harm in making the coach wait for a minute or two. “Fine job, Miss Agnes,” he said with more sobriety than he felt. “I think you deserve a healthy tot of fine spirit for taking such fine care of her ladyship.”
“Have we time?” asked Maddie.
Aiden led them into the drawing room and gestured to the settee. “A stolen moment will not set us behind overmuch.”
Agnes gave a firm shake of her head. “You needn’t make a fuss for the likes of me.”
“It is no fuss. You take good care of your lady, and for that I want to thank you.” Aiden poured three tots of sherry and offered each of the ladies a glass. “Shall we drink to Miss Agnes?”
Blinking, the woman drew a hand over her mouth, dipping her head and smiling broadly. “Heavens.”
“Aye, we should.” Maddie patted her chambermaid’s knee and raised her glass. “To the woman who has seen me through one and twenty years of happiness. I have no idea what would have become of me if you hadn’t been by my side. Sometimes I’ve felt as if you’re the only person in all of Christendom who cares.”
Aiden’s gut twisted. He cared a great deal, but it was inconceivable that Maddie had been made to feel like an outcast from such a young age. He drank thoughtfully, watching the two women as they sipped. Even their mannerisms had become similar. “Miss Agnes, how long have you been serving Lady Magdalen?”
The woman’s eyes glistened with pride. “Since the day she was born. The moment I held her in my arms I knew my purpose.”
Aiden glanced to Maddie and knitted his brows. “Did your mother pass in childbirth?”
Shaking her head, the lass bit her bottom lip. “Nay. My mother knew I would have a better life if she gave me to my father. Only…” Maddie looked away, and took another sip.
“What?”
“The one caveat was that she could never set eyes on me again.”
Grumbling under her breath, Agnes guzzled the remainder of her sherry. “We shan’t discuss the countess any longer. It sets both of our hackles to standing on end.”
“Agreed.” Aiden set his glass on the mantel and offered Maddie his hand. “Shall we be off, m’lady? We do not want to miss the opening. I hear it will be most spectacular.”
Maddie tapped the chambermaid’s shoulder before they strolled toward the door. “I want you to take some time for yourself this night. Do something that will make you happy. You have nothing to worry about, my pet. I’ll be in Lord Aiden’s capable hands.”

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: THE HIGHLAND COMMANDER
Author: Amy Jarecki
Series: Lords of the Highlands, #2
On Sale: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Mass Market: $7.99 USD
eBook: $3.99 USD
Audio: $22.98 USD

She cannot resist the man behind the mask...

As the illegitimate daughter of a Scottish earl, Lady Magdalen Keith is not one to partake in lavish balls or other frivolities. Yet at her father's urging, she agrees to dance with the battle-weary officers at this year's holiday masquerade. It's practically her civic duty! But when one such officer—whose dashing good looks cannot be disguised by a mere mask—sweeps her off her feet and into his arms, the innocent lass can't help herself. Her lips are his for the taking.

But will he betray his country for a kiss?

Navy lieutenant Aiden Murray has spent too many months at sea to be immune to the charms of this lovely beauty. Even after he returns to his ship, she lives in his dreams. But when he discovers Maddie's true identity—and learns that her father is accused of treason—will the brawny Scot risk his life to follow his heart?


 ORDER THE BOOK HERE

















THE LORDS OF THE HIGHLANDS SERIES

THE HIGHLAND DUKE, #1
THE HIGHLAND COMMANDER, #2
THE HIGHLAND GUARDIAN, #3


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amy Jarecki is a descendant of an ancient Lowland clan and adores Scotland. Though she now resides in southwest Utah, she received her MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Winning multiple writing awards, she found her niche in the genre of Scottish historical romance. Amy writes steamy edge-of-your-seat action adventures with rugged men and fascinating women who weave their paths through the brutal eras of centuries past.




FOLLOW FOREVER ONLINE





Sunday, June 25, 2017

Review: Fit for a King

Fit for a King Fit for a King by Diana Palmer
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

1.5 stars
Not fine wine

Before reading this I had no idea a whole book could be about a "sheltered, naive, innocent" woman holding on to her virginity into mid-twenties because the proper thing to do is get married first but suddenly lose control of her body around the almost forty tall, dark, and handsome oil man after being "friends" with him for two years.



The bonus part of this story? The storyline to get these two wacky kids together is that our "hero" wants Virgin (referring not to disparage but it was quite honestly the only identity the author gave this character ) to pretend to be his girlfriend to not only help dissuade his sister-in-law from hitting on him but to help HIM keep away from SIL, too. Y'all, he wants to bang his SIL.



The whole book is "hero" and Virgin getting hot and bothered but breaking apart because they're not married. I know, I know, there are modern people with same sentiment. God love you! I, however, am not into reading 250ish pages of people giving themselves blue balls because of a guy in the sky. "Hero" also smokes.



View all my reviews

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Review: A Stardance Summer

A Stardance Summer A Stardance Summer by Emily March
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

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

When Liliana goes to her parents for emotional support and they shut her down, she decides a life shake-up is in order. She joins the all women's group the Tornado Alleycats and takes off on a camping trip with them. Except, she doesn’t get to fully escape as the owner of the camp turns out to be Mark "Brick" Callahan, her brother's high school best friend and her lifelong crush.
Brick can't believe his best friend's skinny sister turned out so hot but after being burned hard by his high school sweetheart, he's turned into a three date max man. However, the summer is long and his and Liliana's chemistry can't be denied.

Thirteenth in the Eternity Springs series, A Stardance Summer, is full of past couples as the series centers around the Callahan family. As a newcomer to the series it was pretty overwhelming and as the Callahan family is full of lost children, adoptive members, and spouses, relationships and whose who was a bit confusing. On the other side of the coin, if you are a longtime reader of the series, you'd probably enjoy the whole big messy loving family appearances and interactions. I also felt this had a bit of a women's fiction vibe to it as the romance between our leads didn't exactly feel like the focus so much as their individual personal struggles.

Our heroine Liliana was a fun plucky character. She grew up in her brother's shadow a bit and seemed to follow what her parents wanted for her life more than her own desires. When she uncovers something illegal at work and then gets framed for a DUI, it was the eye opener she needed to take charge of her own life. I liked following her journey as she went from unsure to solid in her own convictions. She was also very sympathetic with her wallflower crush on big brother's best friend.

Brick and his many names, was harder for me to connect with. He had the overused burned once, forever and ever shy syndrome that more often than not comes off a bit immature and dragged out. I never felt like I truly got to know him. I think my main problem stemmed from him and Liliana not really having much romantic or emotional relationship bonding and scenes. We see most of their relationship from Liliana's past recollections of crushing on him and what we do get in the present is colored by Brick's constant stonewalling any thoughts of love or future with Liliana because of his past highschool girlfriend. I was disappointed in the lack of scenes of the two just being together and seeing them grow closer.

There was a lot happening in this book with a huge cast of characters. It seemed like some minor storyline was introduced, lasted for a couple pages, and then disappeared quickly. Liliana's work drama could have easily carried the drama but instead it's brought up in the beginning and then completely ignored until the very end, kind of a big deal for her character to just be ignored. There was also a pretty big character action reveal at the very end that felt out of nowhere and the wrap up with Liliana’s parents was extremely pat. The actress drama could have been completely cut out as the only thing it added was to seemingly throw a superfluous sneer at Hollywood types. There was also a slight twinge of sexist comments and tone that I wish would disappear from women's fiction and romance. Liliana talks about wanting to have a one night stand to be a "wild girl" and words like slutty and ho (after thinking she slept with someone the hero calls her a ho, does apologize right away but the thinking and sentiment are there) are thrown around. After getting into a fight with the actress, Liliana also derogatorily says, "she fought like a girl." Somewhat small but in what are supposed to be books for women, could we not?

If you're a reader of the series, you'll probably enjoy the large cast of past characters interactions and appearances and if you're looking for a clean (a kiss scene or two and the sex scene is completely fade to black) more leaning women's fiction, the writing is clean and crisp here.


View all my reviews

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Reading Update: 50%


A Stardance Summer (Eternity Springs) - Emily MarchHe gave her a slow, hot once-over. “You do it for me, Lili-fair. It’s all I can manage not to jump you right this second and finish what we started earlier. But you’re a line I can’t cross.”

Doggy on cover of book. No doggy 50% in yet. I cry, Foul!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Review: The Highland Commander

The Highland Commander The Highland Commander by Amy Jarecki
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

***Full Review***

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

Lady Magdalen's father has been imprisoned in the Tower and charged with treason against Queen Anne. Magdalen's step-mother is pregnant and even though she's shunned Magdalen for being a bastard, she begs her to go to London and plead for her father's case. Magdalen would do anything for her father so she takes off with her maid Agnes.
Commander Lord Aiden has leave from his ship for the first time in two years and plans to finally live life to the fullest at Whitehall. However, on his way there he comes across a Lady and her maid needing help.
Magdalen and Aiden have met before but court intrigues and war may keep them from their true destinies.

Second in the Lords of the Highlands series, The Highland Commander can be read as a standalone. When we are first introduced to Magdalen and Aiden they came off as gently sweet characters; they were a bit Garwood-esqu in their feel. Magdalen was the slightly outcast heroine because of her label as bastard but she had cultivated a role with the people of her town by running a hospital for battered women. Aiden is a second son of a duke and in the Royal Navy, is very young (early twenties), and the exact opposite of a rake. While we've seen the essence of Magdalen many times in romance, Aiden was sweetly different.

As the story went on I thought it lost some of its focus on Magdalen and Aiden together and instead kept hammering on Aiden's virginity. I wished the focus hadn't been on Aiden simply wanting to lose it and instead his growing attraction and affection for Magdalen for the sake of herself; missed more of an emotional bond. Don’t let Aiden’s lack of experience fool you though, towards the middle and end, sexual escapades are had. The court intrigue and Magdalen trying to find a way to free her father and later trying to work for her father lacked some details and progression that could have kept it from feeling like Magdalen only bemoaning her circumstances instead of making moves to change it.

There's a plethora of secondary characters, real and historical, that the author did a good job of incorporating that helped shaped the world and setting. The ending did seem extremely rushed and the fate and revealing of some characters lacked the emotional punch it was supposed to have because of the lack of previously laid groundwork. The first half was a bit slow while the ending was rushed as a jumble of ideas and story plots got thrown at the reader and wrapped up with perfect bows. Magdalen and Aiden were two very sweet characters but their story was lacking support.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Kristen Ashley in Paperback! #Giveaway


THE GAMBLE by Kristen Ashley (June 20, 2017; Forever Trade Paperback; $9.99)
SWEET DREAMS by Kristen Ashley (June 20, 2017; Forever Trade Paperback; $9.99)
LADY LUCK by Kristen Ashley (June 20, 2017; Forever Trade Paperback; $9.99)

ANNOUNCING THREE BEAUTIFUL NEW TRADE PAPERBACK EDITIONS FROM THE COLORADO MOUNTAIN SERIES!


THE GAMBLE
Life isn't meant to be perfect. It's meant to be lived . . .

Nina Sheridan thought she'd found the perfect man who would become the perfect husband. She was wrong. When Nina realizes the man she planned to grow old with doesn't know her at all, it's time to rethink her idea of perfect. And what better place to get her life in order than a remote Colorado mountain town halfway around the world?

Gnaw Bone, Colorado, may not be flashy or cosmopolitan, but it's got a brand of hospitality all its own. Nina isn't entirely sure she's ready to trade the life she thought she wanted in England for cozy evenings in her mountain retreat, and she definitely isn't sure she's ready to handle the connection she feels to the owner of her rental house, Max Holden . . .

Nina didn't come to Colorado to find love, but even the best-laid plans can go awry. Now, if Nina can let go of her past, Max-and a future in Gnaw Bone-might just be the perfect second chance she's been waiting for.

Buy the Book!
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2qbOF44
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2raSZ28

Add The Gamble to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2ptNSwR


SWEET DREAMS
When you lose everything, anything is possible.

Lauren Grahame needs a whole new life. A simpler life. After leaving her cheating husband, she moves to Carnal, Colorado, takes a job as a waitress, and realizes she might have finally found the hometown she'd been searching for. Except things are about to get a lot more complicated . . .

Lauren's fresh start does not include her growing feelings for her boss, Tate Jackson. She'll take the new friends, the new job, not to mention the incredible banana bread from the local coffee shop, but love is not on the agenda.

However, the people of Carnal know chemistry when they see it, and they're not about to let Tate and Lauren miss their chance.

Buy the Book!
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2pGOESz
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2qb20Ky

Add Sweet Dreams to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2ptNlLd


LADY LUCK
All you need is a little luck.

Lexie Berry has had nothing but bad luck. You name it, Lexie has probably survived it-or worse. But there's only so much bad luck a girl can take, and now one promise is all that stands between her and a brand-new life.

When that promise brings her to Carnal, Colorado, Lexie isn't sure the rough, yet strangely charming, town is for her. But there's something Carnal has that might just make staying around worth it . . . and that's Ty Walker.

For five years, Ty was imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit. Now he wants revenge on the people who framed him. Lexie knows there's a difference between vengeance and justice, and she'll do everything she can to make sure Ty gets the latter. And with the good people of Carnal on their side, Lexie and Ty might finally find their luck is changing for the better.

Buy the Book!
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2r9wr13
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2qbXAmt

Add Lady Luck to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2qBpB8d


About the Author
Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake.

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

Social Media Links

                                                                                                                                                                 


Giveaway
Enter to win 1 of 5 sets of The Gamble, Sweet Dreams, and Lady Luckhttp://bit.ly/2r26Avw