Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mini Reviews ~ February 2017

Sometimes, I don't have the time or inclination to do a full review for a title. This will typically apply to books that are short stories, part of a mini-series, some novellas, etc. Instead of abandoning these reviews, I will be giving mini reviews. Check them out!

Title: The Stepbrother Surprise
Author: Nicole O'Riley
Genre/Age: Romance/Erotica
Series: Forbidden Fantasies Short Story
Publisher: Self-published
Format: ebook via KindleUnlimited
Rating: ✺✺✺✺.5
Review: Another stepbrother read but this time featuring an adopted brother that our girl falls for during her teen years. Fast forward to several years later and add a newly broken-heart, but when our couple come together, sparks fly off the digital page. 

This short story was a quick and sexy read. But this one really surprised me by being a lot more romantic than I was expecting. Jackson made me swoon, that's for sure. One thing I did notice is that I never saw our heroine's name in the story. I even skimmed it after reading to see if I could find one. I didn't. That was a bit strange but it didn't take anything away from the story.

Title: Kiss My Crown
Author: Alexis Noelle
Genre/Age: Romantic Comedy/Adult
Series: None
Publisher: Self-published
Format: ebook via KindleUnlimited
Rating: ✺✺✺.5
Review: This novella was a quick read with plenty of humor and outrageous situations happening to a woman who works as a fairytale princess at an amusement park.

While I found the first part of the book to be hilarious, our princess' constant pessimistic attitude did begin to irk me. This was a novella so I know I would have grown to dislike the main character if it had been a longer book. Thankfully, there are other characters who I did like and that made up for the terrible decisions that the heroine made. In the end, it was an alright read and I will likely read the follow up novellas.

Title: Flirt
Author: Natalie Rios
Genre/Age: Contemporary Romance/Adult
Series: Carlton University Novella
Publisher: Self-published
Format: ebook via Author
Rating: ✺✺✺✺
Review: I loved this and want more! Give me more!

When a college girl gives a hook-up app a try and somehow gets matched up with her friend's older brother, things get a little sticky... And naughty. Very, very naughty.

I could read another book starring these two characters and probably still not get enough. I absolutely adored this novella. I loved the characters. I enjoyed the plot. I swooned over the romance and feisty chemistry between our couple. I just really, really, liked this story. Unfortunately, the next one doesn't come out until May. Grrrr... 

Title: Crazy Stupid Love
Author: Melissa Toppen
Genre/Age: Contemporary Romance/Adult
Series: Crazy Stupid Series (Book One)
Publisher: Self-published
Format: Paperback via Romance Reveal Book Box 
Rating: ✺✺
Review: This book was a fairly good read with several really steamy moments. The characters had their usual problems: a man with commitment issues and a woman who had an ex who neglected her sexual needs.

But there was nothing here that broke the mold or stood out to me in any real way. The couple come together, have a fight followed by the typical period of regret, and come together, again. If anything, I was disappointed in the predictability of the story. Nothing surprised me. So in all, it was a good read but not one I will probably read again. I will likely still give the rest of the series a chance, though, so all is not lost.

Title: His Virgin Babysitter
Author: Lila Younger
Genre/Age: Romance/Adult
Series: None
Publisher: Self-published
Format: ebook via KindleUnlimited
Rating: ✺✺✺✺
Review: This was a pretty well-rounded read. There was more plot to this one than I am used to seeing in a novella. It had its good points and some I think could be improved on.

Good was the chemistry between our couple. There was a nice amount of passion in the lust-filled relationship. It wasn't just a quick and dirty romp in the hay. It was about a woman who needed a direction in life and a man who needed someone to break him from his workaholic nature. They were good for each other.

On the other hand, I thought the relationship development could have been shown rather than just implied. We know they get to know each other but it's mostly behind the scenes. We see the couple learning how to handle the child but not necessarily how they would handle each other (outside of the bedroom).

I would have rather seen more family scenes than hear about our leading lady's stuck-up mother and her issues with the pairing. Maybe if this had been a full-length novel, I would have expected to see that. But my criticism is minor in the scheme of things. Overall, it was a good story.

Review & Release Blast: Sweet Rivalry by K. Bromberg

Title: Sweet Rivalry
Author: K. Bromberg
Genre/Age: Contemporary Romance/
Series: 1001 Dark Nights
Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts, Inc.
Format: ebook via Author
Rating: ✺✺✺✺.5
SynopsisRyder Rodgers had a plan. 

He was going to stride into the conference room, do the required song and dance over the next five days, and win the biggest contract of his career. But when he walked in and heard the voice of one of his competitors, all his plans were shot to hell. 

Harper Denton. She was always on top. In college. First in their class. Always using every advantage to edge him out to win the coveted positions. The only one who could beat him. His academic rival. More like a constant thorn in his side. And his ego’s. 

When he heard her voice, he was brought back to years before. To the bitter taste of being second best. But the woman who meets his gaze is nothing like the drab wallflower he used to know. Hell no. She was all woman now: curves, confidence, and staggering sex appeal. And no doubt, still brilliant. 

The fact that she’s gorgeous and bright won’t distract him. This time, Ryder’s determined to be the one on top. But not if Harper can help it. 

He takes a step toward me then hesitates, but before I can process anything else, his lips are on mine.

And not just on mine––not just a brush of lips against lips—but I’m talking all in. Hands on my cheeks, tongue licking between my lips, body pressed against mine, groan in the back of his throat, type of all in.

I don’t react at first. I’m stunned. Flabbergasted, my mind reeling from the anger to the surprise to now this without any warning at all.

This is Ryder.

My rival.

My supporter.

My crush.

The thoughts flicker that this is what I’ve wanted. But they soon shift to panic. To insecurity I don’t kiss well enough. That this is all a joke and I’m the butt of it.

But then I feel. Everything. All at once.

And I know this is real.

It’s like I can’t catch my breath and have too much air all at the same time.

My body is on fire. And not just from his touch but from that burn deep inside that feels like it’s exploding and imploding all at once.

So this is what it feels like to really be kissed.

It’s a fleeting thought before the sensations, the moment, the emotions, consume me whole.

His hands move my face to change the angle of the kiss. His fingertips on the line of my jaw singe my skin. His lips move expertly against mine, and all I can do is feel. All I can do is want.

Thinking isn’t an option.

The anger from before has morphed to want. The adrenaline has recharged with desire.

There is no rivalry.

There is no graduation ceremony tomorrow I’m missing to catch my flight.

There is no panic over if I’ll ever see him again.

It’s just him.

And me.

The scent of his cologne in my nose. The heat of his body against mine. The taste of hunger in his kiss.

Book Trailer

New York Times Bestselling author K. Bromberg writes contemporary novels that contain a mixture of sweet, emotional, a whole lot of sexy, and a little bit of real. She likes to write strong heroines, and damaged heroes who we love to hate and hate to love.

She’s a mixture of most of her female characters: sassy, intelligent, stubborn, reserved, outgoing, driven, emotional, strong, and wears her heart on her sleeve. All of which she displays daily with her husband and three children where they live in Southern California.

On a whim, K. Bromberg decided to try her hand at this writing thing. Since then she has written The Driven Series (Driven, Fueled, Crashed, Raced, Aced), the standalone Driven Novels (Slow Burn, Sweet Ache, Hard Beat, and Down Shift), and a novella (UnRaveled). She is currently finishing up Sweet Cheeks a standalone novel out November 14th.

Her plans for 2017 include a sports romance duet (2 books: The Player, The Catch) and the Everyday Heroes series (3 books: Cuffed, Combust, and Cockpit). She’s also writing a novella for the 1,001 Dark Night series that will be out in February 2017.

She loves to hear from her readers so make sure you check her out on social media.


**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book.**

A quick and satisfying read!

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Harper is about to return to the cut-throat business world and make her mark, once again. But in order to do so, she has to win a bid for her new employer and this is her first try since coming back to California. To make matters worse, one of her competitors is none other than the man who left her heart aching thirteen years ago.

Ryder thinks it's just another day of winning bids and kicking ass. However, his world tilts on its axis when he spots the one woman from his past that still haunts him. And while he knows he should be focusing on his work, he can't help but wonder if the spark between them still burns.

This novella was well-rounded and a great single-sitting read. I have two other 1001 Dark Nights novellas on my TBR but this is the first one I'll be reviewing. And what a nice way to start the collection!

Both of our characters were a delight to follow. I loved that each harbored romantic feelings for the other but both were conflicted by their current work situation. The sexual tension was delicious and I laughed out loud a few times, too. The elevator scene? Hilarious.

The romance was hot and I really liked the sweet way our couple interacted with each other. My only qualm was the ending. I didn't really get a sense of how the pair intended to make their relationship work. Sure, they could set aside their competitive nature for a while, but how were they going to stay together when constantly working against each other. I would have liked to see just one line that gave me hope for a HEA versus a HFN. 

In closing... 
A solid read and great addition to the collection. 4.5 suns!

Book Blitz: To Win Her Back by Mackenzie Crowne

Title: To Win Her Back
Author: Mackenzie Crowne
Genre/Age: Contemporary Romance/Adult
Series: Players Series (Book Four)
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
SynopsisWill the mistakes of the past ruin their future?

As public relations coordinator for the Manhattan Marauders pro football team, Victoria “V” Price has the wealth, prestige, and glamour she only dreamed of growing up. All she’s missing is a man to share it with. V thought she gave up her shot at love when she left her childhood sweetheart in the dust of her rural Texas town, along with the painful secrets of her family life. But the past comes roaring back when Sam Fitzpatrick, the only man she ever loved, is hired as the Marauders’ new offensive coordinator.

Despite Sam’s reluctance to work alongside V, his distrust of the woman who broke his young heart is no match for their swiftly rekindling passion. Yet even as V’s tough PR persona gives way to her softer side, Sam wonders if their chemistry is enough to overcome the wounds left unhealed between them. But when the devastating truth of V’s past is exposed, threatening both her career and their second chance, Sam finds himself asking a different question: does he have what it takes to win back her love?

“You’re the last person I’d expect to find in Barlow. Slummin’ it, V?”

She stiffened her spine and refused to wince at the sarcastic bite of his words. His animosity was no more than she’d expected. No more than she deserved.

That didn’t mean she had to like it. If he’d expected more all those years ago, so had she. Her dreams had been crushed right along with his when he’d blown out his knee. And wasn’t life a bitch? Hell. She was a bitch, or so she’d been told on a number of occasions. Sam obviously agreed. She snorted inwardly. She’d take the title bitch over victim any day.

She jacked her chin to an extra snotty angle. “Normally, I wouldn’t be caught dead in this dump of a town, but since you’re here and I need to speak to you, here I am.”

“Speak to me?” He crossed his arms, “That’s a complete turnaround from the last time we saw each other.”

Since his mocking claim was true, she’d give him that one. She pasted on a fake smile. “I have a business proposition for you.”

From the far end of the field, one of the coaches called his name. Sam lifted his hand in a silent wave, then turned back to her. Though he was a foot taller and topped her by nearly 100 pounds, she’d never been afraid of him. Yet, the way he stepped forward, crowding her against the car, made her nervous. She refused to flinch as he lowered his head until his face was less than an inch from hers.

“Baby, any business we might have had together was finished a long time ago.”

The direct hit was like a blow to her belly. She absorbed the pain. Embraced it. Put it behind her, the way she always had, and focused on the business at hand. While a pop in his nose would be more satisfying, in her experience, a dangled carrot normally delivered better results. Sam’s hostility might be justified, but he was a man, and a competitive one at that. She’d bet her favorite Louis Vuitton bag he wouldn’t let her walk away without finding out why she’d come.

With a careless shrug, she pivoted away. “Suit yourself.”

He stepped back as she opened the door and slipped into the seat, the prevented her from slamming the door in his face by propping a forearm on the window frame.

“That’s it?” He leaned down to meet her gaze, his broad chest and shoulders filling the crack of the open door.

“That’s it.” She pushed the sunglasses down her nose to fry him with a pointed glare. “Now, if you don’t mind…” She let the unspoken suggestion he go to hell dangle in the air between them.

“It happens I do mind.” An angry crease marred the tanned skin of his brow.

“Sucks to be you.” She tugged on the armrest, but he held the door firm.

His voice vibrated with an impatient growl. “What’s the proposition?”

Wife, mother and really young grandmother, Mackenzie Crowne shares her home with her high school sweetheart husband, a neurotic Pomeranian, and a blind cat. She calls Arizona home because the southwest feeds her soul. Her love of the romance genre has been a lifelong affair, both as a reader and a writer. A bout with breast cancer sharpened her resolve to see her stories shared with others. Today, she’s a seven-year survivor, living the dream. Her friends call her Mac. She hopes you will too.

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Excerpt & Tour: Dark Promise by Nikki Landis

Title: Dark Promise
Author: Nikki Landis
Genre/Age: Paranormal Romance/Adult
Series: NightWalkers Series (Book One)
Publisher: Dark Arrow Publishing
SynopsisA love story between two people who live in two very different worlds; is it right to keep a promise when it hurts the one you love? Can the darkness survive in the light?

Mare's life is in danger. An unknown enemy seeks to destroy her, only months after her mother's brutal death. When a handsome stranger saves her life everything she has ever known will be put to the test. Dare she trust her life - and her heart - with a man who walks the endless night?

Andre stumbles upon Mare's attack, saving her life, immediately drawn to the innocent beauty. Cursed and soulless, his existence has never meant so much or brought him so close to salvation. His dark promise, hidden in the deep recesses of his heart, becomes his only objective. Can he save Mare in time? Or will he be lost, forever damned, in his pursuit to have her at any cost? 

Nikki Landis is the award winning author of over a dozen novels, mostly in the romance genre. She grew up sneaking her mother's romance novels intrigued with the characters, the stories, and the historical settings from authors that have greatly influenced her writing like Johanna Lindsey, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, and Bertrice Small. 

She is also a fan of the classics and adores Jane Austen. Books like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit have shaped and molded her vision of fantasy and inspired it, contributing to her popular series The Fight for Light novels.

Nikki holds two degrees, in Dietetics and Nutrition, and her Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion and Wellness. She's a wife and mother, spending her free time reading, writing, and enjoying the outdoors.

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Monday, February 27, 2017

Book Blitz: Historical Romances from Lyrical Press

Title: Schooling the Viscount
Author: Maggie Robinson
Genre/Age: Historical Romance/Adult
Series: Cotswold Confidential Series (Book One)
Publisher: Lyrical Press
SynopsisWelcome to Puddling on the Wold, where the sons and daughters of Victorian nobility come for a little rest, recuperation, and “rehab,” in this brand-new series of rebellious romance from Maggie Robinson.

After a harrowing tour of duty abroad, Captain Lord Henry Challoner fought to keep his memories at bay with two of his preferred vices: liquor and ladies. But the gin did more harm than good—as did Henry’s romantic entanglements, since he was supposed to be finding a suitable bride. Next stop: The tiny village of Gloucestershire, where Henry can finally sober up without distraction or temptation. Or so he thinks…

A simple country schoolteacher, Rachel Everett was never meant to cross paths with a gentleman such as Henry. What could such a worldly man ever see in her? As it turns out, everything. Beautiful, fiercely intelligent Rachel is Henry’s dream woman—and wife. Such a match would be scandalous for his family of course, and Rachel has no business meddling with a resident at the famed, rather draconian, Puddling Rehabilitation Foundation. All the better, for two lost souls with nothing to lose—and oh so very much to gain.

Title: Wenna
Author: Virginia Taylor
Genre/Age: Historical Romance/Adult
Series: South Landers Series (Book Four)
Publisher: Lyrical Press
SynopsisThe lady’s maid meets her match…

Wenna Chenoweth’s future is secure, until dashing Devon Courtney’s illicit flirtation gets her dismissed from her job as a lady’s maid. With nowhere to turn, Wenna is forced to accept Devon’s bold proposal: To be his bride. To enter society on the handsome aristocrat’s arm. To give him the heir he requires. It’s a foolproof plan. Except Wenna finds herself falling hard for a man who can never love her for who she is….

Wenna is passionate, mysterious, and ill-suited to the idle life of a society wife. She’s also exactly the kind of woman who could endanger Devon’s hopes to build his own future far from his family’s influence. For the spirited beauty has embarked on an unthinkable plan of her own—one that could lead him to surrender his resolve, and sacrifice everything he believes he holds dear….

Yet amid the wondrous landscape of colonial South Australia, anything is possible. Perhaps even love between two people the boundaries of society would keep apart….

Schooling the Viscount

“Quite right. I haven’t the best reputation. A sensible girl like you is wise to be wary. See, that’s why I want to marry you. You’re sensible.”

Rachel curbed the urge to throw her inkpot at him. She didn’t want to be sensible at the moment! But really, of course Henry didn’t love her. She didn’t love him either. She hardly knew him, and she wasn’t even supposed to know as much as she did. She’d be getting a visit from members of the Puddling Rehabilitation Foundation any second to accuse her of sabotage.

Someone would have noticed him walking down the hill to the school on such a filthy day, and would blame her for being some sort of Circe. Unless he was planning on plunging into the stream and getting even wetter, the school as the final destination.

She stood up. “While I am grateful for both your offer of escort and of marriage, I must decline both. Good day, Lord Challoner.”

He rose too, with a blinding smile. “At least take my umbrella.”

“Did you hear me?” Rachel cried.

“Yes. I have my good ear turned toward you. And I’m getting better at reading lips. Of course, when I look at yours, I forget what you’re saying and just want to kiss you.”

Well, that was almost romantic. Rachel tried not to feel a pleased flutter.

“I insist you take the umbrella.” Henry propped it against her desk. “I assume you don’t wish to be seen with me.”

“You assume correctly.”

“Very well. Shall I leave first?”

“Don’t you have a hat?”

“No, I hate them.”

Blast. He would be soaked by the time he climbed back up the hill.

He was probably used to marching in the rain. Beneath the scorching sun. Under conditions in countries she couldn’t even fathom or find on a map. It wasn’t as if it was an Indian monsoon out there—just a heavy warm English rain. Rachel had not been looking forward to it herself, but hadn’t been afraid to brave the elements. Why should she worry about a strong, healthy man?

Yet she did. She’d worried last night when she’d left him unconscious in the cool night air. Henry needed someone to take care of him. Care for him.

No, Rachel. No. But she picked up the umbrella and took hold of his arm, ignoring the warning voice in her head. Sometimes being sensible was overrated.

Virginia Taylor
After training at the South Australian School of Art, Virginia Taylor worked in an advertising agency. This segued into re-training as a nurse/midwife before meeting the man of her dreams, marrying and producing two children. Over the years Virginia has been a theatre set painter and designer, but now she fills her days as a full-time writer.

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Maggie Robinson
Maggie Robinson didn’t know she wanted to write until she woke up in the middle of the night once really annoyed with her husband. Instead of smothering him with a pillow, she decided to get up and write—to create the perfect man—at least on a computer screen. Only to discover that fictional males can be just as resistant to direction as her husband. The upside is that she’s finally using her English degree and is still married to her original, imperfect hero. Since she’s imperfect, too, that makes them a perfect match. Until her midnight keyboarding, she had been a teacher, librarian, newspaper reporter, administrative assistant to two non-profits, community volunteer, and mother of four in seven different states. Now Maggie can call herself a romance writer in Maine. There’s nothing she likes better than writing about people who make mistakes, but don’t let the mistakes make them.

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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Schooling-Viscount-Cotswold-Confidential-Robinson-ebook/dp/B01FBZXR0S/ref=sr_1_1
Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/schooling-the-viscount/id1125800311?mt=11
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Maggie_Robinson_Schooling_the_Viscount?id=UHQhDAAAQBAJ
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/schooling-the-viscount
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/schooling-the-viscount-maggie-robinson/1123772354

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