Tuesday, March 31, 2020

REVIEW: The Redemption by Nikki Sloane


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“I excelled at many things, but the one thing I hadn’t mastered was losing with grace.” Macalister Hale
The Redemption, book four in the Filthy Rich Americans Saga, by USA Today bestselling author, Nikki Sloane, is LIVE!

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OUR REVIEW:

I had no idea this book was coming so what a sinful treat to be able to revisit the Hales, especially the Hale I found so despicable in the initial series: Macalister. I didn't know what to expect but I love a good redemption story and so I jumped right in. Surprising to absolutely no one, Nikki Sloane grabbed my attention and I was immediately hooked into this story of Macalister and a surprising ally: Sophia Alby. This unlikely duo were completely addicting to read--I could not tear myself from the pages (and luckily for me, this pandemic has me with lots of time to fill).

Sophia's seeming confidence and Macalister's arrogance just sparked on the page. The more time they spent together, the more she softened him which meant the more I cheered on their romance. I had my doubts that Macalister could be redeemed so to see him go from a menace to a likeable control freak was a nice surprise. I mean really...who'd think that this guy could grow so much that you'd actually be hoping that he'd come out on top?!!! Anyway, his redemption story arc was well executed and I loved that Sophia was really the maestro in charge of it. Sophia was also a nice surprise. In previous novels, she seemed way more shallow and devious. This novel really fleshed her out and made her someone you wanted to know more and to see only good things for her. Additionally,  I super enjoyed that they both tried to resist what was going on (sort of) but that Nikki Sloane made it impossible for them to not give in to the chemistry--together they were HOT.

I went from surprise that this novel even existed to complete absorption to now where I'm hoping that Nikki Sloane's writing with a swiftness so that the next Hale arrives soon to my kindle.

SYNOPSIS:

Once, the name Macalister Hale was uttered in the boardroom with respect. Now, it’s whispered in disgrace at cocktail parties hosted by Boston’s elite.
Scandal nearly destroyed me, but the one thing larger than my infamy is my bank account, and I’ve learned money can solve anything.
Well—almost anything.
Sophia Alby’s preferred currency is secrets and the way she trades information puts Wall Street to shame.
This girl charges into my life and claims a partnership can restore my reputation. My downfall was swift, but with her, my climb to redemption will be greater.
Our arrangement is professional. Appropriate. It has to be, because she’s half my age. But it doesn’t stop me from wanting . . .
To move on. To control and indulge in her. To hear the name Macalister Hale echo in her breathy moans.
But I can’t. Giving in to temptation led to my undoing before, and I won’t survive it a second time.
To the rest of the world I’m the villain, but to her? I’ll be the hero.
The Redemption is book four in the Filthy Rich Americans Saga and is Macalister Hale's story.


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Download your copy today!
Amazon Universal – http://mybook.to/theredemption

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About Nikki:
USA Today bestselling author Nikki Sloane landed in graphic design after her careers as a waitress, a screenwriter, and a ballroom dance instructor fell through. For eight years she worked for a design firm in that extremely tall, black, and tiered building in Chicago that went through an unfortunate name change during her time there.
Now she lives in Kentucky, is married and has two sons. She is a three-time Romance Writers of America RITA© Finalist, a Passionate Plume winner, a HOLT Medallion finalist, and couldn't be any happier that people enjoy reading her sexy words.

Connect with Nikki:
Stay up to date with Nikki by joining her mailing list: https://www.nikkisloane.com/newsletter

Sunday, March 29, 2020

REVIEW: The Infinite Onion by Alice Archer



The Infinite Onion by Alice Archer

Publisher:

Shine Even If

Release Date:

March 31, 2020

Length (Print & Ebook):

Print: 388 pages

Subgenre:

Contemporary gay romance

Pre-order now:

OUR REVIEW:

An author I follow and respect has been raving about Alice Archer for a while now so when I had the to opportunity to read her latest novel, The Infinite Onion, I didn't hesiate to read it. I'm so glad I did. This novel is the sort of absorbing meditation on loss, hurt, grief, nature, and love that took me away from my current worries and left me hoping and content by the end of my reading.

From the synopsis you can see that one character, Grant, finds himself in the unenviable position of no job and no home and a whole lot time to consider what he'll do next. Oliver, the other main character in this novel, has every comfort imaginable but isn't really living a life that would allow him to reach its fullest potential. In the unlikeliest way, they find each other and lots of interesting things happen that make me love these two sometimes disgruntled, sometimes snarky and prickly men. Let's dig into them a little bit more, shall we?

Grant was at times a petulant frustrating mess but the more I got to know him, the more I appreciated his journey. His love of nature, his ease with the kids, his desire to help and provide a space for people to figure things out were just some of the things that I found to be endearing. Many people in his position might not have taken on the challenges that Oliver provided and really dig into them, but he did and it just made his ending so so so good.  And Oliver? Oliver was a quirky, sometimes controlling, somewhat privileged mess who had so many more layers than I initially suspected. His journey was equally interesting and enjoyable to read. His artistry made me want to make my own art (too bad my talent leveled out at 1st grade) and deep dive into all the artsty things I have. His huge heart and desire to help those around him made him a perfect match for Grant. These two and their antagonistic natures were such a treat to read.

Needless to say, you can count me in as a new fan of Alice Archer. I'm eager to read her debut novel and am crossing my fingers that one day she'll write a short update on Grant and Oliver because I can't seem to stop thinking about them!


Book synopsis:

The truth is harder to hide when someone sharp starts poking around.
Grant Eastbrook hit the ground crawling after his wife kicked him out. Six months later, in Seattle without a job or a place to live, he escapes to the woods of nearby Vashon Island to consider his options. When he’s found sleeping outdoors by a cheerful man who seems bent on irritating him to death, Grant’s plans to resuscitate his life take a peculiar turn.
Oliver Rossi knows how to keep his fears at bay. He’s had years of practice. As a local eccentric and artist, he works from his funky home in the deep woods, where he thinks he has everything he needs. Then he rescues an angry man from a rainy ditch and discovers a present worth fighting the past for.
Amid the buzz of high summer, unwelcome attraction blooms on a playing field of barbs, defenses, and secrets.

Praise for The Infinite Onion:

I loved this book! - Christa D├ęsir, Award-Winning Author
There are writers whose prose is so vivid and so emotionally resonant, that you might briefly forget you’re reading a work of fiction, and while Alice Archer has already proven that her hand is as elegant as it is masterful, her newest novel continues to show real insight into the human soul. - Natasha is a Book Junkie
The Infinite Onion was a powerful and relevant story which touched our hearts immensely. - Totally Booked Blog
I loved this book! This is a brilliant story. So fulfilling. I laughed and cried. I kept sneaking away to read another chapter. I loved the atmosphere and artistry of the characters and the setting. This is exactly the sort of romance novel I look for. The Infinite Onion is the real deal--deep and deeply satisfying. - Kelly Jensen, Award-Winning Author

Teaser Excerpt:

GRANT
Grocery bags thumping against my calves, I’d trudged half a mile down Southwest Bank Road before I got a ride from the young guy, who took me all the way to Mitch’s driveway.
“Best of luck,” he said before he drove off.
Finally. Silence.
Well, not exactly silence. Birds twittered. A breeze sang through the hemlock and pine trees. My feet crunched on the gravel.
It was a long driveway.
My shoulders hurt from all the hauling. I prayed the cabin had a bathtub. A soak and a meal would go a long way toward rebooting my brain. I’d spend what remained of the afternoon in contemplation of my situation. If my crap cell phone could pick up a signal, and if I had enough credit left on my pay-as-you-go phone plan, I’d start a job search. I didn’t expect it to take long to find a new job. All I required was The Zone and enough money to keep my ass out of a homeless shelter. On the other hand, I was a thirty-eight-year-old underachiever who’d been suspended from a menial job and then quit, so maybe the ship of employability had sailed without me.

About Alice Archer:

Alice has questions. Lots of questions. Scheming to put fictional characters through the muck so they can get to a better place helps her heal and find answers. She shares her stories with the hope that others might find some healing too. For decades, Alice has messed about with words professionally, as an editor and writing coach. She also travels a bunch. Her home base is Eugene, Oregon.
Connect with Alice:

Giveaway:

Join us to celebrate the release of THE INFINITE ONION by Alice Archer with this special giveaway. 3 prizes: 1 e-copy of critically acclaimed EVERYDAY HISTORY; 1 e-copy of THE INFINITE ONION; 1 grand prize of a paperback copy of THE INFINITE ONION.
Must be 18 to enter and win. Physical prizes mailed only with the USA; international winners will receive e-copy.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

REVIEW: White Oleander by Janet Fitch

OUR REVIEW:

I don't know how to start writing about this book right now so let me start with some random rambling thoughts.

It's heartbreaking.
It gets inside of you.
The fog of melancholy swirls and settles around you as you read it.
It's beautifully written, lyrical.
It's haunting.
Sad.
Funny.
Observant.
It felt like looking in a mirror at times.

I had to put it down and walk away only to pick it right back up again.

These characters are so real to me.
They're in me.
They're me.

The abandonment.
Fear.
Loneliness.

The mothers. FUCK ME...the mothers. As a mother, this novel terrified me. It made me realize how powerful a mother is.

And the men? Almost a constant source of disappointment.

Thank you Elliot Wake, Jaime, Allen, and Jennifer for being a part of this with me. And Court, always you for supporting my off calendar reads.

ETA: I read this many years ago and forgot to post my review. Enjoy.

BUY IT: https://amzn.to/2sITxSn

SYNOPSIS: The unforgettable story of a young woman's odyssey through a series of Los Angeles foster homes on her journey to redemption.
Astrid is the only child of a single mother, Ingrid, a brilliant, obsessed poet who wields her luminous beauty to intimidate and manipulate men. Astrid worships her mother and cherishes their private world full of ritual and mystery - but their idyll is shattered when Astrid's mother falls apart over a lover. Deranged by rejection, Ingrid murders the man, and is sentenced to life in prison. White Oleander is the unforgettable story of Astrid's journey through a series of foster homes and her efforts to find a place for herself in impossible circumstances. Each home is its own universe, with a new set of laws and lessons to be learned. With determination and humor, Astrid confronts the challenges of loneliness and poverty, and strives to learn who a motherless child in an indifferent world can become. Oprah Winfrey enjoyed this gripping first novel so much that she not only made it her book club pick, she asked if she could narrate the audio release.

Friday, March 20, 2020

COVER REVEAL: Harvest of Sighs by Sierra Simone

 

  HARVEST OF SIGHS (Thornchapel #3) by Sierra Simone 
Release Date: May 1st 
Designer: Hang Le 
Image: Vania Stoyanova 
Models: Shacori Valentine & Keira Leilani     

  PRE-ORDER TODAY! 
Amazon Universal: mybook.to/harvestofsighs 
Apple Books: sierrasim.one/applesighs 
  
    

  Blurb: The genius and the sunshine girl. As children, we fought bitterly and often, bickering every chance we got. But then we grew up. Then we came back. Delphine Dansey carries her heart on the outside of her body; she’s looking for love and chasing dreams. She’s spoiled and selfish, the kind of beautiful that’s made for money and fame. But somehow she’s ended up in my keeping: a pretty submissive I can’t seem to resist, a lover who obsesses and tempts me. I thought I’d locked my heart away a long time ago, along with all my other weaknesses. But some doors won't stay closed, no matter how hard I fight to keep them shut. She unravels me, just like our friends are unraveling, just like Thornchapel itself is unraveling. All year long, we’ve been sowing lust and jealousy and pain, heedless of the consequences. But a harvest is inevitable, and so now we must reap our sorrows. And our sighs. *Harvest of Sighs is Book Three in the Thornchapel series.*  

     
About the Author: Sierra Simone is a USA Today Bestselling former librarian (who spent too much time reading romance novels at the information desk.) She lives with her husband and family in Kansas City.

 

  Connect w/Sierra Simone: 
Goodreads : http://bit.ly/1oo9WEh 

Subscribe to Sierra's newsletter: sierrasim.one/getmyemails  

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

REVIEW: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Paradise in Aruba quickly gets gruesome in this ripped-from-the-headlines thriller (Kirkus Reviews); with a twist that defies the imagination.

It's Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives.

But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations. As Anna sets out to find her friend's killer, she discovers harsh revelations about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.

Awaiting the judge's decree, it becomes clear to Anna that everyone around her thinks she is not only guilty, but also dangerous. And when the whole story comes out, reality is more shocking than anyone could ever imagine...
 



Two of my absolute favorite people on twitter (and off), Elliot Wake and Dahlia Adler , loved Dangerous Girls and I've learned that when these two love a book resistance is futile. So with a teeny tiny opening in my reading schedule, I buddied up with two of my friends (Hi Jennifer and Allen) to read it. The original plan was to read a few chapters at a time and share our thoughts...this plan worked for the first 5 chapters. I tried, I swear I really did TRY, to stop reading at the designated spot but I could NOT help but read 'just one more chapter' (which turned into all of the chapters). 

Honestly, I wasn't expecting to like this novel as much as I did. As a high school teacher, I don't read many YA books for pleasure because I basically live in a YA novel daily and it's nice to escape into the adult world when I read. This book (as well as Unteachable) showed me once again why this is a dumb rule on my part. Seriously. I need to get over my resistance to YA novels. Maybe it's because this was what I think they call "mature" YA, or more likely, because the writing was the perfect combination of intrigue and characterization and the pacing of the plot and dialogue were exactly right, I found myself completely unable to put this novel down. 

Another surprise was the "ripped from the headlines" plot; I don't often like these types of novels because they rarely live up to the hype. This one did. I felt like I was inside of the story at all times--the confusion, horror, sadness, anger and hopelessness that Anna feels are what I felt. As she was trying to figure out what could possible happen next, I was too. 

The way the story was structured--flashbacks mixed intermixed with the trial, transcripts of television shows and text messages, and the mind numbing walls of the cell forcing memories and reflection to float up like dead fish in a stagnant pond--all worked to keep me submerged in this story. At various points I felt heartbroken, outraged, and violent...and then stunned. Mouth open, heart racing, eye brows raised to the ceiling, incredulously laughing stunned. I sat in my bed at 3 AM with the glow of my Kindle and no one to talk to...thank god Dahlia and Leah were awake to talk me down; there was no way I was sleeping until I could commiserate with someone about the state of my brain. 

In case it's not evident, I loved this book. Anna and Elise's relationship was ridiculously spot on--their intimacy, their jealously, their love and support of each other was a lyrical poem to girlfriends everywhere. The way that Anna and Tate came together and Anna + Tate + Elise created their own little world and all of the things that happened because of that seemed so realistically captured, in many ways. And the secondary characters?  I loved them, I hated them, and I loved to hate some of them. All of their interactions and observations were masterfully woven into the fabric of this story.  

Dangerous Girls held me in its thrall and I cannot wait to carve out time to read Dangerous Boys

ETA: I wrote this review FIVE! years ago and neglected to post it. Enjoy?


SYNOPSIS:
Paradise in Aruba quickly gets gruesome in this “ripped-from-the-headlines thriller (Kirkus Reviews)” with a twist that defies the imagination.

It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives.

But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations. As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer, she discovers harsh revelations about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.

Awaiting the judge’s decree, it becomes clear to Anna that everyone around her thinks she is not only guilty, but also dangerous. And when the whole story comes out, reality is more shocking than anyone could ever imagine...


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