Monday, April 27, 2020

REVIEW: Lovewrecked by Karina Halle

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From New York Times bestselling author Karina Halle comes a sexy new standalone romantic comedy about getting stuck on a deserted island with a man you hate to love and love to hate.
Lovewrecked is LIVE!



As a longtime fan of Karina Halle, I know she can create anything and I'll enjoy it. That being said, I'm so used to reading her angsty, intense characters that I forgot how much I enjoyed her lighter works. Lovewrecked gives us a lighter escape from the craziness of our current world. Thai and Daisy seem delightfully opposite from each other from the start and we all know that those couples who are so seemingly different are that much more fun to see fall for each other. It's always interesting to see how similar they are, despite the first impressions they give each other. He's got some interesting and tragic history and she's got some family baggage and together they are able to help each other move past the things that have held them back from the things they want. While their past informs their present, it's not the predominant feature of this novel; no, that would be their epic adventure that has them shipwrecked for a few weeks. It's that forced togetherness that really yields results, lol.

Lovewrecked's last few chapters before the epilogue are timely in their ability to capture how many of us are feeling in this quarantined time and timeless in that surely anyone would feel what they feel, should they find themselves in a similar situation. It's light on angst and heavy on fun characters, laugh out loud moments, and steamy romance--a definite escape from the daily grind.

Daisy Lewis is experiencing a relentless string of bad luck.
Fortunately, Daisy has her sister’s destination wedding coming up. A week of sand, sea, and sun in the South Pacific as the maid-of-honor is exactly what Daisy needs to forget her upturned life and focus on the positive.
That is until Daisy meets the best man.
If you take tall, dark, and handsome, and add a dash of rugged, a pinch of brooding, and a whole lot of sexy, you’ve got Tai Wakefield. Unfortunately he’s also a major grump, total alpha, and seemingly out to antagonize Daisy at every turn.
As if being part of the wedding party with Tai wasn’t bad enough, Daisy’s bad luck soon resurfaces when she ends up on a cramped sailboat with Tai and the newlyweds.
Which then shipwrecks on a deserted island near Fiji.
Okay, so they aren’t completely alone. There’s an oddball research scientist who has been isolated for far too long, they have rundown bungalows as shelter, stores of water and canned food, plus a feral goat named Wilson. It’s Lost…without the smoke monster.
But with rescue weeks away, Tai and Daisy realize the only way they’re going to get through this mess is to stop fighting and start working together.
And with their guards down, they get closer.
A lot closer.
Soon, Daisy realizes that the only thing worse than being stuck on a deserted island, is being stuck on a deserted island with a man she hates to love and loves to hate.
A man that can break her heart.

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Meet Karina:
Karina Halle is a former travel writer, music journalist & screenwriter, and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestselling author of over 55 bestselling novels, ranging from horror and suspense to contemporary romance. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband, and her adopted pitbull Bruce, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.
Halle is represented by the Root Literary Agency and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster, Hachette & Montlake. Her work has been translated and published in 20 languages.
Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more.

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Monday, April 20, 2020

REVIEW: ALL THE RAGE by Courtney Summers

Shel: I was up until 1:30 last night/this morning finishing and thinking about All the Rage. My brain just kept turning over all of the THINGS that this novel immersed me in. This novel feels so important to me--what it says to be a girl/woman/female in this world is so horrifying and true. The daily slights, comments, condescending pats on the head, the fear of being alone in a dark and unfamiliar place--or even a well lit one--the subtle and direct comments about who you are or what you can do because you are a woman in the world, and the actions men feel they have a right to perpetrate...this novel brought all of that to the surface. 

Romy, our heroine, is living in the constant swirling current of what life has become in the "after" stage of what Kellen Turner has done. Her life is one full of slights, of weighing every action and word that comes to her or from her for what they mean. She lives as the pariah of her school and her community. She's the liar. The joke. The trouble maker. She lives this every day while also living as Romy--a daughter who loves her mother and wants to protect her (PROTECT her!) from what her life is really like, a daughter who works hard to make the people she cares about comfortable while she's suffering. Romy lives a life suspended in the before and after; she lives trying to shed her old skin and wear this new one in the best way she can while being constantly confronted with the old and the new. It's a wonder she didn't split wide open or explode one day on the sidewalk--she was carrying so much pain and hurt and shame and anger and yet still functioning and attending to the necessary jobs you must as a daughter, student, worker, friend, and enemy. 

In the midst of all of this functioning, a girl (Penny) goes missing and Romy is closely tied to this case, for various reasons. As the search for Penny intensifies, the scrutiny Romy feels--because of what happened the night Penny went missing and how Romy is associated with it--also intensifies. The memories and whisperings and gossip of that night come in more and more horrifying waves until the final revelation comes out and all we're left with is mindnumbing disgust and deep sadness. 

While I could go on and on about how repulsive many of the people and their actions or lack of action were in this novel (and how true that felt too), I think it's important to take a minute to discuss some of the characters who were bright spots: Leon, Caro, Leanne, and Todd, and Romy's mom, Alice. I thought each of these characters were perfectly imperfect; they enhanced how we came to know Romy. They were warm and honest and kind. They saw Romy and wanted good things for her. No matter how challenging she was or how prickly she would come off, they didn't let her go. I loved that they pushed back or let certain things roll of their backs--but they never let her go. 

It's taking me hours to get this far in this review; I find it hard to commit words to this review because I don't want to fail this book. It was so compelling. The observations of Romy and all of the interactions between characters-from the smallest things to the biggest-felt incredibly realistic and I know without a doubt that girls and women walk around feeling these exact same emotions. They've had to split themselves into various pieces and parts to be able to function in the world and grapple with who they are now-- before and after. 

Another thing that I appreciated about this novel was that it was never prettied up or overly dramatized and the ending didn't offer cliched solutions or loose ends all tied off in pretty bows. We're left with some answers, some conclusions and lots of questions and wonderings and what ifs...

It'd be easy for me to walk away from this and feel hopeless and helpless but Courtney Summers gives us a Romy at the end who takes a chance..refuses to be helpless and because of that, there is hope. 

ETA: I read and wrote this review about five years ago. It feels as relevant as ever.


The sheriff's son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything-friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy's only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn't speak up. Nobody believed her the first time-and they certainly won't now-but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, Courtney Summers' new novel All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women in a culture that refuses to protect them.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

REVIEW: Only Ever You by C.D. Reiss


Having just left the world of Drazen in Pretty Scars, I was ready for whatever C.D. Reiss was creating and while Only Ever You is not anything like the insanity of the Drazens it was equally as compelling and hard to put down: I only stopped reading to sleep and inhaled this novel in a matter of hours.

Only Ever You is a stand out, for me, because it seems rooted in characters and a plot that feels realistic. Rachel and Sebastion are, with a few exceptions, just like you and me. They're weak in some areas, stronger in others, and just so failingly human and I'm here for it. I love everything about their romance--from their teenage contract, their meeting years later, and their falling in love with a raw honesty about who they are and where they are in their lives--it's pitch perfect. Throw in their parents, a sister, and friends who provided humor and sage advice and I found myself smiling and nodding a lot.

I've yet to come across anything from C.D. Reiss that doesn't hold my attention. I appreciate that she can create a completely messed up world like the Drazens and then write something more down to earth like Only Ever You. Fans of her work will find many of the trademarks that are distinctly hers--succinct exposition, good dialogue, steamy sex scenes, and a well paced plot--and I bet they'll be as enamored as this new novel as I am.



From New York Times bestselling author CD Reiss comes a story of friendship, romance, and growing into a love that was always there.
Rachel knew exactly what turning thirty would be like. She had a plan, after all. First college, then a climb up the professional ladder. Love, marriage, children. All of it was on the schedule.
The cheap Hollywood apartment wasn’t on the list. Neither was the string of heartbreaks. Or the effect her mother’s cancer had on her career.
It’s hard to stay practical and on point when everything takes a left turn.
Enter Sebastian, the nerd across the street. The boy she defended when he couldn’t defend himself. The best friend she promised she’d marry if life didn’t go according to plan.
Not only is he successful, confident, and gorgeous, but he also still has their handwritten marriage contract.
No one goes through with childhood wedding pacts.
That’s crazy.
But their families might just be crazy enough to rent a hall and set a date. All Rachel and Sebastian have to do is fall in love.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

REVIEW: Madam Temptress by Meghan March

From New York Times bestselling author Meghan March comes the stunning conclusion to the highly-anticipated Magnolia Duet.

I didn’t choose this path. No one would.

I played the cards I was dealt.

This life made me. This city made me.

I won’t apologize for who I’ve become.

Moses wouldn't have me any other way.

He says he wants forever, and I’m starting to believe him.

But I can’t outrun my past, and my sins are catching up with me.

If it’s time to atone, I’ll gladly pay my penance.

We might be getting our second chance, but we have to make it out alive first.

 Madam Temptress is the conclusion of the Magnolia Duet and should be read after Creole Kingpin.


Madam Temptress is a continuation and conclusion of the story of Magnolia and Moses (first told in Creole King). Meghan March wastes no time picking up right where we left off. We have these two navigating their romance while also trying to figure out how to catch a killer.

Meghan March fans know that she's going to serve up some serious steam and mysterious happenings and that's exactly what happened in the first 80%. We got more of their backstory and much more of them falling in love. It was that last 20% , though, that will have you holding on to your kindle, tightly. This is where Meghan March shines: the action just hits you page after page after page and you don't dare blink until you get to that epilogue because you have no idea what she's going to throw your way.

Of course I enjoyed Moses and Magnolia and their story because why wouldn't it features my home turf--NOLA. I also enjoyed the cross references to some of her other characters and I can't help but wonder if we'll see some of the characters featured here come to life in their own novels.

For those who read Creole King, buckle up and enjoy the ride.

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About the author:

Making the jump from corporate lawyer to romance author was a leap of faith that New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Meghan March will never regret. With over thirty titles published, she has sold millions of books in nearly a dozen languages to fellow romance-lovers around the world. A nomad at heart, she can currently be found in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, living her happily ever after with her real-life alpha hero.

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COVER REVEAL: Muses & Melodies by Rebecca Yarros

  MUSES & MELODIES (Hush Note #3) by Rebecca Yarros 

Release Date: October 6th    

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  Learn More about the Hush Notes Series Here  
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  Blurb: If I can keep Hush Note’s leading guitarist, Nixon Winters, on the straight and narrow for the next six months, I’ll finally get my own band to manage—assuming we don’t kill each other first. The egotistical, irritating rock star is fresh out of rehab, but it’s obvious his demons followed him home—and now I’m sleeping down the hall. I’ve watched him self-destruct every summer, and with album deadlines and tour dates looming, I can’t let it happen again. My career is in his hands. But tattoos can’t cover every scar, and I’m starting to see through his trademark, irresistible charm to the damage beneath. Everyone wants the rock star. I’m falling for the man. If he doesn’t let me in, he’ll never break the cycle— And when these six months are up, I might be the one left broken.


  About the Author: Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and a lover of all things coffee, chocolate, and Paleo. She is the author of the Flight & Glory series, including Full Measures, the award-winning Eyes Turned Skyward, Beyond What is Given, and Hallowed Ground. Her new Renegade Series features Wilder and the upcoming Nova, and is sure to keep your heart pounding. She loves military heroes, and has been blissfully married to hers for fourteen years. When she’s not writing, she’s tying hockey skates for her four sons, sneaking in some guitar time, or watching brat-pack movies with her two daughters. She lives in Colorado with the hottest Apache pilot ever, their rambunctious gaggle of kids, an English bulldog who is more stubborn than sweet, and a bunny named General Fluffy Pants who torments the aforementioned bulldog. They recently adopted their youngest daughter from the foster system, and Rebecca is passionate about helping others do the same.  

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Friday, April 10, 2020

Review: Kiss the Sky by Krista and Becca Ritchie


Shel: The problem with reading any book in the Addicted series is that once you finish it, you immediately want to pick up the next one; I seriously need to remember this for next time so that I'll make more time to read more books.

In this installment, we get into the inner workings of Rose and Connor and these two are very interesting. I like that we get to know what's going on in Connor's head because he's been such a mystery up to this point---and he's seriously like this super great guy, albeit a bit arrogant, but still all in all a really good person. And, I like that we get to see that while Rose owns her bitchy behavior, what we really see is that she is loyal and loving underneath her hard exterior. 

We get to know all of this stuff while all of the six main characters in this series undergo an extremely stressful living situation-- being filmed for a reality tv show; I was stressed FOR them as I read the different awful things that kept happening(FUCKING DOUCHE, SCOTT!! and Rose and Connor's mothers, and JULIAN...gahhhhhh). To their credit, though, all six of these characters held strong and didn't let the bad things get them down. What's intriguing to me about this whole scenario is the reason behind it--to salvage the name and brand of Rose and Lo's families. I'll admit that I was a smidge not cool with this idea (like I have a choice, hahaha) because it felt a little self serving for Rose and super stressful for the two people who had already lost so much (Lily and Lo). But, Rose does discuss her reasons for it and I suppose the strength to endure it, showed them that they could.

Before I end this and tell you that you should definitely buy it, I will say that there a few times that the pieces and parts of the characters felt a little disjointed or maybe I wasn't always sure what the motivation for an action was and it threw me a little. BUT!, this was something that I'd ponder for a moment and then I'd plunge right back in because the story was interesting and I wanted to see what the hell Scott was up to. I think, so far, this is my favorite book in the series and I highly recommend it. I read it during a work week in less than 24 hours!

And I just had to come back and say...that Connor, he's super sneaky the way he wormed his way into my heart, same with Rose. Those two are people I'd want in my life. Thank you TwinPens for writing these two. Love them!

NOTE: this was written many years ago and got stuffed in a drafts folder and is only now seeing the light of day. 


A virgin "ice queen" heiress & The arrogant god who wants to melt her 

Rose Calloway thought she had everything under control. At twenty-three, she's a Princeton graduate, an Academic Bowl champion, a fashion designer and the daughter of a Fortune 500 mogul. But with a sex addict as a sister and roommate, nothing comes easy. 
When Rose's fashion line is in peril, she plans an unconventional solution to save it. Making matters more intense, she agreed to be in a real relationship with her "godly" college rival.
And now they're living together.
​For the first time.
At twenty-four, Connor Cobalt bulldozes weak men. Confident and smart-as-hell, Connor vows to help Rose outside of the bedroom and inside. But melting this ice queen is a challenge no one has been able to win. 

This Romance can be described as Friends meets The Real World. Expect fist fights, sex of varying degrees, crude humor and competitive alpha males. Definitely for mature audiences only.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

REVIEW: Brazen and the Beast by Sarah Maclean


You know what? Every time I read a historical romance I love it and immediately wonder why I don't read more, more often. I definitely need to broaden my horizons and read more in this genre because it is such a delicious escape from the trials and troubles of the modern world. 

Brazen and the Beast was a wonderful escape into the world of Covent Garden and the escapes of Hattie and her bestie and Whit and his comrades. I loved how bold and independent both of these characters were --they definitely smashed the mold of what I normally think of when I think of historical romance. I also loved how they clashed and sparked on the page. Their interactions had me smiling and wanting more. 

I loved everything about this novel and look forward to reading more of the series!


New York Times Bestselling Author Sarah MacLean returns with the next book in the Bareknuckle Bastards series about three brothers bound by a secret that they cannot escapeand the women who bring them to their knees.
The Lady’s Plan
When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly…until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.
The Bastard’s Proposal
When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure . . . on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires…for a price.
An Unexpected Passion
Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power . . . and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything . . . including their hearts.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

REVIEW: Mum's the Word by Staci Hart

Mum's The Word, the third in the Bennet Brothers series from Staci Hart, is LIVE! Grab your copy of this new release today from your favorite online book retailer!

I remember reading the first chapter of Marcus and Maisie's story and it just felt so romantic. The chance meeting, the rain, the instant connection--all of it hooked me and had me excited to read more. Their story was the epitome of "forbidden" and "instant". There's no way Marcus and Maisie should've been together since their families seemed to be mortal enemies but the heart wants what the heart wants and their hearts wanted each other, despite what their families past seemed to predict. And as far as instant...well from the first moment they ran into each other, they were addicted to each other and that remained a constant for them both. 

These two were an interesting pair. Marcus, the Bennet I thought was so cold and stoic, was really emotive underneath that cool exterior. He was romantic and mushy and, in my mind, the more Austenian of all of the Bennets so far. The way Staci Hart wrote him was definitely in the vein of Austen--his language was flowery and romantic and thoughtful. He was the real heart of this novel which is not to say that Maisie didn't also have aspects of this but her journey was different. She had the epitome of the wicked witch as a mother and while she was warm and kind and the perfect counterpart to Marcus, her journey to happier days required her to be a little less dreamy and a little more real. Which now that I'm thinking about doesn't mean she didn't have this ethereal quality about her but I think I was just surprised at what a big softie Marcus was that I attribute that more to him than to her? 

Mum's the Word was such a pleasant surprise. Marcus wasn't what I expected at all. Their forbidden insta-love is perfect for someone who wants a modernized Austen novel. Annnnnd, the chapter for the upcoming love story of Laney (and Jett) have me super excited to see how they'll be the next to fall under at the hands of Staci Hart. 
He’s so emotive underneath that cold stoic exterior

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Falling in love with a Bennet is not an option.

My mother has summoned me home to take my place at Bower Bouquets, and as the heiress, I’m expected to do as I’m told. I’m expected to sit by her side as she does her best to decimate the Bennet family and their flower shop, Longbourne. I’m expected to play by her rules, or she’ll ruin me too.

But the day I crash into Marcus Bennet changes everything. And the kiss seals the deal. If my mother finds out, I’ll lose everything—my family, my life, my security. Worse, she’ll make sure the Bennets pay for my mistakes.

Falling in love with a Bennet is not an option.

But I might not have a choice.

Need to catch up on the series? The first two standalone books in the Bennet Brothers series are both LIVE and available from your favorite online book retailer!

Everyone hates parts of their job.

Maybe it’s the paperwork. Maybe it’s the day-to-day grind. Maybe it’s that client who never knows what they want, or the guy who always cooks fish in the microwave.

But not me. I love every corner of the Longbourne Flower Shop, every flower, every petal, every stem. I love the greenhouse, and I love Mrs. Bennet, my boss. I love creating, and I love being a florist. I don’t hate anything at all.

Except for Luke Bennet.

The Bennet brothers have come home to help their mom save the flower shop, and Luke is at the helm. His smile tells a tale of lust, loose and easy. He moves with the grace of a predator, feral and wild. A thing unbridled, without rules or constraint. When he comes home to save Longbourne, I almost can’t be mad at him. Almost.

He doesn’t remember that night I’ll never forget. That kiss, touched with whiskey and fire. It branded me like a red-hot iron. But it meant nothing to him.

Everyone hates part of their job, and I hate Luke Bennet.

Because if I don’t, I’ll fall in love with him.

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They say there’s no such thing as perfect.

But I’ve built my life to perfection—the perfect boyfriend, the perfect apartment, the perfect career planning celebrity weddings. My job—my only job—is to make sure every event is absolutely and completely perfect.

What’s not perfect? Kash Bennet.

And I wish I didn’t find that so appealing.

I could have told you every perfectly imperfect thing about the gardener at Longbourne. Like his hair, lush and black and far too long. Or his nose, the flat bridge of a Greek god, bent a little like it’s been broken. Or his size. Beastly. Roped and corded with muscles, gleaming with sweat and peppered with dirt. There’s no escaping him, not if I’m going to use his family’s flower shop for my events.

But nothing is what it seems. And in the span of a heartbeat, my perfect life is turned inside out. They say the best way to get over somebody is to get under somebody new. When Kash offers his services to the cause, it sounds like the perfect plan.

What’s not part of the plan? Falling in love with the gardener.

But they were right—there’s no such thing as perfect.

And I’m the fool who finds out the hard way.

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Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life -- a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey. When she's not writing, she's reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

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