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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Review: Deja Vu and Gin by Heather R. Blair




Deja Vu and Gin
by Heather R. Blair


4 stars 
****



This was a great addition to the Toil and Trouble series! This is Anastasia and Tyr's story. Ana was the witchy sister that I knew the least about. She was raised in the revolutionary area, while separated from her mother and sisters. Though she is in the present day now, she still dresses like Marie Antoinette.  Tyr is a gypsy orphan turned assassin for hire. The two have run in the same circles in the fairytale world, but don't know each other well.  But when all of stuff started to go down in the previous books to Seph (Ana's sister), Ana hires Tyr to keep Seph safe. The only trouble is that someone else, someone more powerful, has hired Tyr to kill Seph. He is contracted to do conflicting missions and he doesn't know how to honor both vows.  But he does know that he is attracted to Ana, and vice versa. Ana has had a long dry spell in the romance department (like 100 years). She has never had the pull and attraction to someone that she feels with Tyr. They begin a no-strings, physcal relationship, but soon grow to care for each other and eventually fall in love. They have to deal with Tyr's dilemma, some scary characters, sibling and parent issues, but it all works out in the end.

I really liked both Ana and Tyr. They were both great, complicated characters who had been through a lot in their pasts. They both deserved to find love and happiness with each other. Ana comes off as an ice queen at first, but really she is feisty, caring and selfless, often putting her sisters' happiness first. Tyr never imagined he would have a life beyond being an assassin, but he couldn't get Ana out of his head. They had a great connection and understood each other in a way no one ever had. They also had some very sexy and sweet moments. I loved that they were both new to being in a relationship, but they never really pushed each other away. They accepted that they were falling for each other and let it happen. 

Overall, I did really enjoy this book, but there were a few things that didn't quite work for me.  This was a little tricky to follow at first. This book takes place at the same time as the Seph's books (books 1-3 in the series), but it had been awhile for me since I read those books. There is a lot going on, and I wish I had re-read those books before this one. I was a little confused. I don't think I would consider this book a standalone. There is also a 6 month time jump in the book, which I wasn't too fond of. I wish I had that time to see Ana and Tyr's relationship grow stronger and them become closer. Because of that, I felt the pacing was a little bit off. Also, there were some scary, suspenseful moments going on, but I didn't feel the sense of danger that was implied. Maybe that was because I knew the outcome of most of the conflicts since it was repeated from the previous books. 

But, despite those few things, I really liked the book. I would like to binge-reread the whole series again in order and I think I will like this book even more with the story all fresh in my mind. I have enjoyed this fun series so much. The awesome characters and ongoing story are so original and interesting. I am really looking forward to Carly and Styx's story, as I have loved the glimpses we have gotten of their relationship so far. This is one of my fave paranormal series and I definitely recommend it!


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Cover Reveal: The Darkest Sunrise Duet by Aly Martinez

Today we are sharing the incredible covers for The Darkest Sunrise Duet by Aly Martinez. Check them out below, along with the blurbs for each title. The first book in this contemporary romance duet will be released on July 13th! Be sure to follow Aly's newsletter to be notified when the books are up for pre-order.

     

The Darkest Sunrise (The Darkest Sunrise Duet, #1)

Coming July 13

Synopsis:

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me. Whoever coined that phrase is a bald-faced liar. Words are often the sharpest weapon of all, triggering some of the most powerful emotions a human can experience. “You’re pregnant.” “It’s a boy.” “Your son needs a heart transplant.” Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me. Lies. Syllables and letters may not be tangible, but they can still destroy your entire life faster than a bullet from a gun. Two words—that was all it took to extinguish the sun from my sky. “He’s gone.” For ten years, the darkness consumed me. In the end, it was four deep, gravelly words that gave me hope of another sunrise. “Hi. I’m Porter Reese.”


   
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The Brightest Sunset (The Darkest Sunrise Duet, #2)

Coming July 27th



Synopsis:

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me. Bullshit. Words destroyed me. “I’m sorry. She didn’t make it.” “Daddy, he can’t breathe!” “There’s nothing more we can do for your son.” Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me. Lies. Those syllables and letters became my executioner. I told myself that, if I didn’t acknowledge the pain and the fear, they would have no power over me. But, as the years passed, the hate and the anger left behind began to control me. Two words—that was all it took to plunge my life into darkness. “He’s gone.” In the end, it was four soft, silky words that gave me hope of another sunrise. “Hi. I’m Charlotte Mills.”



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You won't want to miss this amazing series! Click here to get the pre-order links as soon as they're live, and to hear about giveaways and events for this duet.

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AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her four young children. Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and baked feta. It should be known, however, that she hates pizza and ice cream, almost as much as writing her bio in the third person. She passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a super-sized tumbler of wine by her side.    


AUTHOR LINKS:
 
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Cover Reveal: So Good by Nicola Rendell



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On the roof of a house outside Truelove, Maine, master carpenter Max Doyle looks down through a skylight and sees the most beautiful woman he’s ever laid eyes on. She’s naked, she’s gorgeous, and everything about her is perfect, down to the ball-busting tattoo of a rose that wraps around her hip. But it isn’t just any woman making his knees buckle. It’s his best friend, Rosie Madden. And as he stands there, mesmerized and precariously close to toppling off the roof, he knows he’ll never, ever be able to look at her the same way again.

Rosie can’t help but notice that Max is suddenly acting very strange—lots of long stares, totally tongue-tied, and not at all like the slightly cocky hunk she’s proud to call her best friend. She can’t figure it out, until later that night when Max rescues her from the world’s worst date, challenges her to a game of pool, and shows her just exactly what she’s got him thinking about. Repeatedly.

But life is complicated. Rosie’s cat, Julia Caesar, wants to eat Max’s dog Cupcake for an afternoon snack. A dream job threatens to pull them apart. And another glance through the skylight changes everything, one more time. Yet try as they might, they can’t go back to being just friends, because falling in love with the one you’ve always adored?

It feels so good.





Coming August 7th




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Cover Design: Najla Qamber Designs
Cover Photographer: Sara Eirew Photographer
Cover Model: Justin Edwards
Cover Model: Bella/Nikki Sebben

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Nicola Rendell writes dirty, funny, erotic romance. She likes a stiff drink and a well-frosted cake. She is at an unnamed Ivy and prefers to remain mostly anonymous for professional reasons. She has a PhD in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from schools that shall not be named here. She loves to cook, sew, and play the piano. She realizes that her hobbies might make her sound like an old lady and she’s totally okay with that. She lives with her husband and her dogs. She is from Taos, New Mexico.


Author Links





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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

New Release: The King by Skye Warren + Review

King_RBBANNER


The King by Skye Warren is NOW AVAILABLE long live the king...


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BUY IT NOW: ♚ AMAZON → http://amzn.to/2nwxeXq ♚ IBOOKS → http://apple.co/2oR5Bxe ♚ NOOK → http://bit.ly/2o21BZN ♚ KOBO → http://bit.ly/2oUpD71


THEKING_TEASER1


JOIN the Facebook Release Event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/412691165763404


The highest stakes... My father gambles every night, falling deeper and deeper into debt. When he hits the bottom, he places a new bet: his daughter. I'm his entry bet to the biggest underground poker game. Every kind of danger circles the velvet-covered table, but only one man makes me tremble. A trailer park princess. The son of a criminal king. We don't belong together, but I'm caught in a twisted game. His eyes meet mine with dark promise. And when he puts down his cards, I know I'm going to lose more than my body. I'm going to lose everything. * * * * * THE KING is the first book in the new Masterpiece duet about risking your heart and finding yourself. It's a spin-off from the USA Today bestselling trilogy but can be read separately.

  THEKING_nowlive

Review:

                                                                  3.5-3.75 stars
                                         ***

This was a pretty good book. This is Penny and Damon's story. Penny's father is a gambling addict. He is constantly betting more and more money, leaving Penny hungry and alone most of the time. As a child, she meets Damon who is living on the run from his father, a crime lord in the area. Over the years, they become friends and feel a kindred spirit in each other. But Penny's father borrows too much money from Damon's father and the choice is to give him Penny or be killed. So Penny becomes the collateral. She is taken by Damon's father and terrible things happen. Damon is able to save her, but he is fighting his own demons and isn't able to offer her more. Penny is in love with Damon and he probably feels the same, but he thinks it is safer for her to push her away, hurting Penny in the process. 

This book is pretty short. It starts the duet off to a good start, but it doesn't feel like a complete book. I think it would be better reading if the duet was a single standalone book. But the heroine is only 15/16 years old in this book. So maybe in the second book, she will be older. There is a cliffhanger and the book ends mid-scene at 92%. This book has very little steam . It does have good suspense, though, and the story is interesting. I liked Penny. She is so smart (a math genius who helps her father count cards) and strong. She has a good sense of survival in bad circumstances and I look forward to her taking her power back in The Queen. I liked Damon at times, but sometimes I thought he was a jerk. Damon has a bad past and is emotional tormented by everything that has happened. He was trying to protect Penny by pushing her away, but he was cruel, IMO. Nothing that happened was her fault and he treated her like it was. But I think it will work out in the end between them in the next book. I really like this series and I am looking forward to the story's conclusion in The Queen!




*************



Preorder THE QUEEN now!


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About the Author: Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance such as the Chicago Underground series. Her books have been featured in Jezebel, Buzzfeed, USA Today Happily Ever After, Glamour, and Elle Magazine. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, two sweet dogs, and one evil cat. 

  Contact Skye: 
 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/skyewarren 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/skye_warren 
Instagram: https://instagram.com/skyewarrenbooks 
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/SkyeWarrenBooks Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/skyewarren

Saturday, June 24, 2017

New Release: Revenge by Lexi Blake + Excerpt & Review

   


  

Passion and danger collide in the latest contemporary romance featuring the Lawless siblings—from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake. When Drew Lawless discovers a fatal flaw in his plan to avenge his parents’ deaths, he turns to the one woman he promised he wouldn't touch. He offers her a deal, one that will bring her into his investigation, his life, and his bed. Investigative reporter Shelby Gates never dreamed how twisted the case would become—or how fascinated she would be with Drew. Every day they spend together binds them. And every night brings her closer to realizing he might be the man for her. As Drew's feelings for Shelby grow, so does the danger. From the streets of Dallas to Austin’s high-tech business world, Drew and Shelby play a game begun twenty years before—a game they will win, or die trying.  



 


EXCERPT:

Shelby brushed her lips against his, her whole body seeming to come to life. His lips were soft, his hands tight. He was enveloping her and she was completely defenseless against him. She wrapped her arms around him as the kiss deepened, and suddenly she didn’t want to play it safe anymore. She’d been in her shell for so long and she wanted to come out of it, wanted to feel again. She dragged her tongue over his lower lip, and it seemed to awaken the beast in Drew. He took over, the kiss going from sweet to carnal in an instant. His mouth opened, tongue sliding over hers and dominating with strength and a sensuality she’d never come across before. He kissed her long and hard, his hands molding to the curves of her body. Over and over again his tongue danced with hers. Never before had a kiss seemed so effortless. It was like they’d been kissing forever. For a man who claimed he was socially awkward, he sure could kiss like a god. It was getting out of hand, but she didn’t care. Nothing mattered except getting more of him. She could feel his cock under her, hardening, lengthening, getting ready for what it was meant to do. He could ease her back against the table, pull off her jeans and panties. It would be incendiary, like a rocket going off, an explosion she couldn’t contain. She could feel herself getting soft and wet and ready for him, as though her body had recognized its natural mate and wasn’t taking no for an answer. “See, I told you we have chemistry.” His words rumbled along her lips. She couldn’t argue with him. The world around them seemed hazy and unreal. There was nothing except his touch and scent and the sight of his eyes looking at her like he could eat her up. She knew she should stop him, knew it was getting out of control, but she couldn’t find the will. It had been so damn long since she wanted something she could actually have. She wanted him. Shelby let her fingers sink into his hair, drawing him back down. Breakfast could wait. She needed more of him.  

   


REVIEW:

4 stars
**** 

This was a good book! This is Drew and Shelby's book. At the end of the previous book in the series, Satisfaction, a bombshell rocked Drew Lawless and his plans for Revenge on the people who murdered his parents when he was a child.  Now Drew's quest for revenge has a new target and in order to keep his siblings safe, he must hide the truth from them. He decides to hire investigative journalist, Shelby, to help him investigate on the downlow, while posing as his girlfriend. Shelby's brother was murdered after investigating this same case, so Shelby has been investigating in on her own, with plans to write a book. Drew tells Shelby that she can write a book if she poses as his girlfriend. Both Drew and Shelby are attracted to each other, and as they work together, their relationship becomes real. But as the past comes back to threaten the Lawless family, Drew starts to fear for Shelby's safety and pushes her away. Shelby must decide to stay strong and loyal to Drew to help him overcome his past and get over his thirst for Revenge. 

I felt like this book started off very strong and really enjoyed it. But I did think that Drew's behavior started to get annoying after a while. I understood that he was damaged because of his past, but I really needed him to start to grow and communicate more. I wanted more groveling and apologizing from him for his behavior. Shelby was the one who had to compromise and say she'll stay no matter what he did. I wanted him to man up, express his love more, and say why he loved her. He definitely frustrated me, but I did like him in spite of his flaws. I really liked Shelby too, despite her tendency to let Drew treat her like a doormat at times. Otherwise, Shelby was strong and spunky, with a good heart. Drew was loyal and protective of his family. He was so used to being a rock for his orphaned siblings that it made it hard for him to let go and actually feel feelings for someone besides his siblings. Inside though, he was starving for love and he soaked up everything Shelby gave him. I was glad to see them happy together. Shelby healed his internal wounds and helped him see that revenge was not the most important part of life. 

I loved the way the ongoing series story arc concluded. I felt satisfied that everyone got what they deserved. I enjoyed catching up with the other Lawless couples, as well as the introduction of new characters and a cameo by my favorite Taggart, Ian. 

Overall, this book was a good suspenseful and sexy read! I have really enjoyed this series and look forward to more from Lexi Blake!





   
 NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog int eh world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

FACEBOOK / TWITTER / WEBSITE / AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

Friday, June 23, 2017

New Release:The Knocked Up Plan by Lauren Blakely + Giveaway & Excerpt

   

From #1 NYT Bestselling author Lauren Blakely, comes a new and sexy romance…THE KNOCKED UP PLAN! A standalone romance told in dual POV, THE KNOCKED UP PLAN is about all of the fun, hotness, and heartfelt emotions that come when a single woman asks her gorgeous, jaded, sworn-to-be-single-forever good friend to get one particular job done. What happens next when he agrees to provide the bun for her oven are lots of hot sexy times and heartfelt moments.

   

Now available on all retailers! Get your copy delivered now!

   

✮✮✮ THE KNOCKED UP PLAN is here! Grab your copy today! ✮✮✮

There are three little words most guys don't want to hear on the first date. Not those...I mean these... "knock me up."

This single gal has had enough of the games, the BS and the endless chase. I know what I want most, and it's not true love. It's a bun in the oven, and I'm not afraid to hit up my sex-on-a-stick co-worker to do the job. Ryder is gorgeous, witty and charming -- and he's also a notorious commitment-phobe. That makes him the perfect candidate to make a deposit in the bank of me.

I won't fall for him, he won't fall for me, and there's no way baby will make three.

Right?

**** There are four words every guy wants to hear on the first date -- "your place or mine?"

When my hot-as-sin co-worker makes me a no-strings-attached offer that involves her place, my place, any place -- as well as any position -- I can't refuse. Besides, I've got my own reasons to take her up on her deal even with her one BIG condition.

There's no way I'll want more from one woman than any position, any where, any night? Except . . . what if I do?

Be prepared to swoon and fan yourself from the heat! This full-length standalone contains lots of hot baby-making s-e-x, happy tears, playful jokes and a hot, swoon worthy hero you will fall madly in love with. One-click now for pure reading enjoyment!

Kindle US Kindle UK Kindle CA Kindle AU iBooks

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✦The audiobook will be narrated by Sebastian York and Andi Arndt! Link coming soon! ✦



       

"A refreshing take on the baby trope, The Knocked Up Plan is as sweet as it is naughty. Blakely not only balloons Nicole and Ryder’s incredibly powerful chemistry to new heights with their steamy love scenes, but she also infuses sweet emotion into every single one of their interactions."

- USA Today


*****


EXCERPT:


Yanking open the door, I head inside. I stride to the small cafe where Ryder said he’d wait for me.
My chest falls. The man is known for punctuality. I scan the white bakery case and the five round iron tables, but he’s not here. When I spin around and survey the bookshelves, my heart nearly leaps from my chest.
He’s in the . . .
Oh my fucking God, he’s waiting for me in the . . .
I bring my hand to my mouth, and I want to run, to leap into his arms. When he sees me, his blue eyes twinkle with mischief.
I am a teapot about to whistle. I am a dog dancing before dinnertime.
He taps the shelves and holds up a book.
A pregnancy guide.
He’s ten feet from me. But I sprint anyway, and I grin like a fool. I stop two inches from him and clamp my hands on his broad shoulders. “Is that a yes?”
“Yes—”
I tackle-hug him before he can say anything more. I knock the breath from him in an oomph as I rope my arms around his neck and crash into him.
“But I have one condition,” he says, embracing me back.
I’m crying tears of happiness, so I don’t care. “Anything. Name it.”
“You better hear it before you agree.”
The moment screeches to a halt. He’s going to want visitation rights. He’ll want lots of money. He’ll want summers, or weekends, or evenings out.
I unwrap myself from the warmth of his strong chest and swallow. “What’s your condition?”
“I thought it would be best to present it in the form of a column.”
“A column?”
“Top five list and everything.”
I groan inside. He has five conditions? Maybe my mother was right. Maybe asking for baby-mix from someone you know is a big mistake. Anonymous donors request nothing but greenbacks.
I steel myself as he fishes in the back pocket of his jeans. The paper is square, folded in quarters. He hands it to me. “Open it.”
I unfold it then read the headline out loud. “‘Top Five Positions for Getting a Woman Pregnant’?”
I blink and stare at him. The cogs turn slowly in my brain. I part my lips to speak.
He raises a hand to silence me. “Hear me out. You explained how it worked. The room, the cup, the magazines, the videos. The whacking off in a fucking public place. The cost. But most of all . . . the wait.
You’d have to wait for an appointment for me, for the testing, for the jerking off, then for your special date with the turkey baster.” He cups my cheek. His hand is big and warm. “What if we did it the old-fashioned way?


*****

 

“Wildly romantic! Incredibly sexy! Hilarious and sweet! The Knocked Up Plan HAD IT ALL! The PERFECT romance to kick your Summer into HIGH GEAR! Ryder and Nicole are Lauren Blakely's BEST CHARACTERS YET!”

- Shayna at Shayna Renee’s Spicy Reads

       

“The chemistry between Ryder and Nicole is COMBUSTIBLE!!! They are magic together.”

- Bookalicious Babes Blog

Add it to Goodreads here!

http://bit.ly/2r4ml1u

       

✮✮✮Enter to win this amazing THE KNOCKED UP PLAN GIVEAWAY!✮✮✮

Lauren’s Bundle of Joy Special Delivery Giveaway! This bundle is valued at $200 and includes the most delicious cupcakes delivered to your door from Wicked Cupcakes, a $50 gift certificate for luxurious bath products to make your skin baby soft from The Body Shop, and comes wrapped up with a beautiful sterling silver bow bangle bracelet from Pandora ($125 value).

http://laurenblakely.com/knocked-plan-giveaway/



      About Lauren Blakely: 

 A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that's hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than eighty times, and she's sold more than 2 million books. In June she'll release THE KNOCKED UP PLAN, a standalone contemporary romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter    


Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Newsletter ** Goodreads

 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

New Release: Salvaged by Jay Crownover + Excerpt & Review!

   

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jay Crownover continues her delightfully sexy Saints of Denver series with the next thrilling standalone, SALVAGED! Don’t miss this amazing new novel and grab your copy today!

   

Hudson Wheeler is a nice guy. Everyone knows it, including his fiancĂ©e who left him with a canceled wedding and a baby on the way. He’s tired of finishing last and is ready to start living in the moment with nights soaked in whiskey, fast cars, and even faster girls. He’s set to start living on the edge, but when he meets Poppy Cruz, her sad eyes in the most gorgeous face he’s ever seen hook him in right away. Wheeler can see Poppy’s pain and all he wants to do is take care of her and make her smile, whatever it takes.

Poppy can’t remember a time when she didn’t see strangers as the enemy. After a lifetime of being hurt from the men who swore to protect her, Poppy’s determined to keep herself safe by keeping everyone else at arm’s length. Wheeler’s sexy grin and rough hands from hours restoring classic cars shouldn’t captivate her, but every time she’s with him, she can’t help being pulled closer to him. Though she’s terrified to trust again, Poppy soon realizes it might hurt even more to shut Wheeler out—and the intense feelings pulsing through her are making it near impossible to resist him.

The only thing Poppy is sure of is that her heart is in need of some serious repair, and the more time she spends with Wheeler, the more she’s convinced he’s the only man with the tools to fix it.

   

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play

iBooks | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada

 

ADD SALVAGED TO YOUR GOODREADS

        

  EXCERPT: 

 I didn’t want her to be scared of anything ever again. Things at home had been rocky, rougher than class-five rapids in winter, but I was paddling for my life and prepared to ride it out. I couldn’t let go. I wouldn’t let go. I saw Poppy the day she walked through my shop and I started to feel how sore my hands and my heart were from holding on. Her head was down, focused on the tips of her shoes. Her shoulders were hunched over and her long hair hid her face. She was skinny, so skinny, nothing but skin and bones. She was nothing that I should have noticed, not because she was clearly doing everything in her power to be invisible, but because I was supposed to have my eyes locked on my future and doing whatever I could do to salvage it. But I did notice her and I couldn’t look away once I did. She was obviously terrified, clearly out of her element and uncomfortable, but it wasn’t her unease that called to me…it was her loneliness. I could feel it filling up the space that separated us. Stretching, growing, expanding until it was all I was breathing in and exhaling back out. It was bitter on my tongue and heavy across my skin because I knew the feeling well. I lived with it pressing me down and pushing me forward every minute of every day. The reason I was so set on the way things had to be, the reason I was singlemindedly set on settling down and building a life with the girl that was slipping through my fingers was because I never again wanted to be as alone as this girl was. I didn’t want to be left and forgotten. I’d barely survived it the first time. I did my best to sell her a car that was as beautiful as she was…a classic with clean lines and a flawless finish. She picked something practical and boring but that was ultimately safe and reliable. I understood her choice but it grated and annoyed me long after she left the shop. When she wasn’t standing in front of me, she should have been easy to forget; after all, everything in front of me, everything I had been working for and toward, was falling down in front of my eyes. My world was collapsing in on itself and everything I thought I was so goddamn sure about turned out to be nothing more than lies and illusions. In the middle of all of it, I couldn’t forget her sad eyes and shivering, shaking form. Her loneliness clung to me, unshakable and unforgettable. I didn’t think I would see her again and against my better judgment I often found myself wondering how she was doing and if she had gotten a handle on all the things that seemed to be crushing her under their inescapable weight. I was wrong about seeing her again, just like I was wrong about thinking that doing everything in my life differently from how my mother had lived hers would ensure my happiness and a future built on an unshakeable foundation. I was wrong about hard work and sacrifice being enough. I was wrong about holding on when what I was holding on to desperately wanted me to let go. All I was left with was bleeding palms, rope burns around my heart and scars on my soul. The next time I saw Poppy Cruz it was my loneliness that was filling up the space, suffocating me, choking me, making me forget to handle her with care. I was nothing more than a vast, open wound. One that was raw, aching, throbbing, and leaking my heart and shattered emotions out everywhere. I felt like I’d lost everything, like my entire life had been nothing but a waste of time, nothing more than building blocks knocked over with the swipe of a careless hand. The girl I loved didn’t love me back, my future was ultimately nothing more than a fuzzy, fractured blur. I couldn’t see anything clearly other than waste and ruin. But I saw her. And I saw that I scared her. It was the last thing I wanted to do but my loneliness was just as big and just as consuming as hers was. It spread out, hungry and angry, looking to consume anyone that might try and challenge its reign. I tried to pull myself together, apologized because I knew our paths would cross again now that she lived next door to my best friend. I didn’t want to be another man that she was terrified of. I locked the loneliness down, wrestled it into submission, and tried to quiet down the wild inside of me that was howling, screaming at the loss of its mate. I wanted to be nothing more than gnashing teeth and tearing claws but I swallowed those instincts and allowed myself to be like a kicked puppy that just wanted to whimper and cry. Poppy had been through more than I could imagine. She was the one I couldn’t look away from, but even then, she managed to slip past me and disappear. She looked like honey but she moved like a ghost. I memorized everything about her even though she hardly let me see her face. I wasn’t supposed to be looking at anything other than how to salvage the mess my life was in, but she was all I could see.    

   
REVIEW:

3.5-3.75 stars
***


I liked this book but I didn't love it. I was slightly disappointed because I really loved the previous book, Riveted, and was looking forward to Poppy and Wheeler's story. I was looking forward to Poppy getting the HEA she deserved, but too many things bothered me to totally love it. I had to reread this book immediately after I finished so that I could clarify my feelings. 

This is Poppy and Wheeler's story. Poppy has had a hard time. She recently moved to Denver after being kidnapped, raped and beaten by her husband (who then killed himself). She is scared to be around people and leave her house. She is slowly recovering with the help of new friends and her sister. Wheeler is a car mechanic who recently broke up with his long term girlfriend after she cheated on him, only to find out she was actually gay AND pregnant with his baby. Poppy feels bad for him and makes overtures to become friends, bringing him a puppy she got from her job at a vet clinic. Wheeler has been intrigued by Poppy since he met her, but the puppy might be too much responsibility with a baby on the way, so he offers joint-custody of the puppy with Poppy. They begin spending time together, becoming friends, and it gradually leads to more. But things are very messy with Wheeler's ex, the baby on the way, and Poppy's past coming back to haunt her. They manage to make it through all of that together, but it is a rough ride. 

I liked Poppy and Wheeler. They were both good people who had been through a lot in life through no fault of their own. Wheeler never had a father. His mother was a drug addict that left him at a fire station as a small child. He bounced from foster home to foster home. His only "family" figures were his girlfriend's family so when she cheated on him and he called off the wedding, he lost them from his life. Poppy had religious zealot parents who mistreated her. She lost a baby after the father beat her up to make her miscarry. Then she married an abusive husband who beat her. When she ran away to safety, he followed her and beat and raped her, before killing himself in front of her. They just both had a bad time and a lot to recover from. Poppy especially was very damaged and skittish around people, especially men. They really deserved some peace and happiness. 

I did have a few problems that kept me from tipping from like to love for this book:

- At times, I felt like Poppy got the short end of the stick with Wheeler. I felt like Wheeler was too nice to Kallie, his ex who cheated on him. It felt like she still leaned on him a lot and they were still very close. I know they were together for years, but he let her walk on him. He, Kallie and the baby were a family. Poppy felt like an outsider to me. I felt really bad for Poppy because she lost a baby when she wanted it so bad. She had been through so much. She deserved to be someone's number one priority and have her dreams come true. She definitely was not his priority. I felt like Kallie and the baby were such a huge part of the storyline that it overshadowed the romance. I think Wheeler would have stayed with her if he hadn't found out Kallie was gay. He got drunk and very upset on the day that was supposed to be his wedding day with Kallie. I didn't understand why he was so upset if he was over her and moving on. Poppy got the consolation prize of being an "auntie" figure to the baby (her word) and she was going to soak up anything she could get. I felt really sad for her. Wheeler was a nice guy and he had to be careful with Poppy because of her past abuse, so he was timid with her. He did not chase her or go after her, instead let her come to him. I understood why, of course, but he was not the instigator in the relationship. He didn't pursue her and I'm not sure he would have if she hadn't made the first move. I know it was realistic and I understood that intellectually, given everything Poppy had gone through. I just never really felt that epic love between Wheeler and Poppy. 

- I felt like the pacing of the book was a bit off. There are parts where the story skips weeks or months at a time. That made it hard for me to see the couple's relationship growth and comfortableness with each other. At other times, the relationship moved really slowly for me, but it was realistic. 

- The ending left me wanting  more. Again, I understood this intellectually and it was realistic, but I like my romance novels with firm HEA's tied up in a bow. 

But I did like this book. I thought the story was interesting. I liked Poppy and Wheeler. They became friends first and their relationship moved slowly and realistically into more. I loved the addition of their shared dog, Happy. I liked catching up with the gang from the rest of the series. Overall, this was a good read, just not exactly what I was expecting. I still definitely think it is worth reading. And there is a great epilogue to end the series and catch up with all the other couples. 

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GIVEAWAY:





       About Jay Crownover: 

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men, The Point, and the Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she'll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her dogs.        

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Cover Reveal: Souls Unchained by C. C. Wood


  


   

 


 


Title: Souls Unchained (Blood & Bone, #2)

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Release Date: July 18, 2017


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 Rhys Carey spent centuries evading the clutches of his twisted brother, unable to trust anyone. He longs for a home and for the love that he could not have while his brother lived. Now that his twin is dead, he's bound with a different set of chains, those of isolation and self-loathing, and they are impossible to escape.

Savannah Baker is unbearably lonely. Her abilities as an empath have trapped her in a small life, with only a single friend to call her own. She dreams of so much more but holds no hope that she will attain her deepest desires. When Rhys moves in across the street, the attraction between them blossoms into something more — a love neither of them believed they could have.

Yet unbeknownst to Rhys, darkness stalks him, waiting for the opportunity to strike. The evil that shadows his every move will use whatever means necessary to ensnare Rhys, even kill the woman he can no longer live without.

Now that these two lost souls have finally found each other, they are in a battle for survival. And for love.  

*Though this is the second book in the Blood & Bone series, it can be read as a standalone. Rhys was a secondary character in the Bitten series, so if you enjoy this book and you have not read that series, you should check it out!


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Add to your TBR here.


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  Pre-Order on the following retailers

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Other books in this series:

  

 

Blood & Bone (Blood & Bone, #1)

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Amazon AU

iBooks

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Born and raised in Texas, C.C. Wood writes saucy paranormal and contemporary romances featuring strong, sassy women and the men that love them. If you ever meet C.C. in person, keep in mind that many of her characters are based on people she knows, so anything you say or do is likely to end up in a book one day.

A self-professed hermit, C.C. loves to stay home, where she reads, writes, cooks, and watches TV. She can usually be found drinking coffee or wine as she spends time with her hubby, daughter, and two beagles.

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