Tuesday, December 28, 2021

REVIEW: Take Me by C.D. Reiss


Kidnapped on my wedding day.
Held by a monster who wants vengeance on my father.
Married to him against my will.

Take Me, the delicious and dangerously dark mafia romance from New York Times bestselling author C.D. Reiss is available now!

OUR REVIEW:

C.D. Reiss gets me EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. Every time, without fail, I pick up her latest release, quickly find myself absorbed into the world she's created, can't put it down, and find myself tied in all sorts of anxious knots by the time I get to the end. 


Take Me did all of those things. I was immediately hooked into Sarah and Dario's story. Initially it was just the shock of the kidnapping that pulled me in but as I got further in, I found myself intrigued by her upbringing in the Colonia world and curious about the source of his vengeance. The more I came to know them, the more I liked them--they're an interesting clash of personalities and perspectives and their evolution from page one to the 'to be continued' ending has me very interested in how in the world they're going to work. 

As expected (though I always seem to delude myself into thinking maybe THIS time, the ending won't be so cliffie, le sigh), the cliffhanger was GAHHHHHHHHHHHHH and having to wait until the next one is going to be hard but so worth it to get to the next one.

This is not a sweet and tender romance--it's darker and more salacious and violent and harsh, at times, and exactly what I love about Reiss's mafia romances. So, if you too love her as we do, don't wait, grab Take Me and be an anxious puddle of goo with us.



Mafia King, Dario Lucari spent years planning his revenge. Today, he executes it.
Kidnapped on my wedding day.
Held by a monster who wants vengeance on my father.
Married to him against my will.
Suddenly thrust into a world of betrayal, lies and deviance, all I have to do to escape is destroy everything I’ve ever loved, and love the man I must destroy.

Grab your copy today!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3n76XkM
Amazon Worldwide: https://mybook.to/TakeMeCDR
Nook: https://bit.ly/30jTjSs
Kobo: https://bit.ly/3HgLoGg
Google Play: https://bit.ly/3qu49jN

Excerpt


How can I still be here? I clutch the sharp piece of pottery under my glove. It’s a safety blanket. A choice I can make in a situation where my decisions are meaningless.
Hovering in half consciousness, my eyes are closed when the door bangs open again and Dario enters, carrying a tall glass of water. He sets it on a dirty counter in front of me, then leans against the table, crossing one long leg over the other.
I get to my feet and approach the glass, wary but unable to stay away from it. I’ve never been this thirsty in my life; my eyeballs burn, and my tongue is cracked into layers of plaster.
Dario watches me silently, but as I reach out to take the glass, he slaps my hand away. I’m already weak and dizzy, and the force of the blow makes me stumble and spin.
“Please!” I cry. I realize I’m on my knees. I had intended to be strong, to refuse to let him see me suffer any more, but I am so, so thirsty.
“Take that stupid dress off.”
I shake my head. I’m past caring about modesty. I care about the dress. It’s ruined, but it’s mine. I worked on it for months, my fingers numb from stitching, my eyes and back aching as I labored into the night. It may be the only piece of home left to me besides my own body, and I will not take it off.
He shrugs and picks up the glass of water.
I remain defiant.
He turns to go.
And when I feel the triangle of clay inside the wrist of my glove, I think, with blinding clarity, I cannot die here.
“Okay,” I say.
He stops, turns around, but does not put down the glass.
I slip the dress off slowly, regretfully, because as awful as it looks, the fabric is still fine, soft and sweet, a reminder of who I was and what I expected so few sunrises ago. The gloves stay and so do the undergarments I wore to please Sergio because Dario just said to take off the dress and I’m weak but not dead. I’m not giving him anything he doesn’t ask for.
He places the glass back on the table. Then he sweeps a hand through the dust and dirt on its surface and sprinkles them into the water. I watch helplessly as it clouds over in the sunlight.
“Down to the skin,” he says. “Show me every inch.”
The suggestion in his command floods my dry veins with resistance.
“You said the dress.” I hold out my left hand—the one without the distorting piece of pottery under the glove. “Give it to me.”
This time, he takes a discarded nursery container and pinches out white-flecked potting soil. He drops it in the water like a chef seasoning too heavily.
“It’s going to be mud soon,” he says. “If you aren’t naked.”
“Where’s my father?” I squeak without spit. “Did he give you what you want?”
“Haven’t spoken to him since the car.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“We tried. He won’t negotiate with outsiders . . . so . . . take off all your fucking clothes.”
I do everything I can not to keep from crying as I lower my white lace underpants and slip out of my matching bra, hands shaking the entire time. I leave the gloves and garter, hoping they’re beside the point.
“I know what you’re hiding in your glove. You’re not going to kill me with a broken flower pot.”
“It wasn’t for you.”
He nods with understanding but not compassion, as if knowing suicide is on the table adds to a data point and no more, then flicks his finger at me. I peel off the gloves. The shard clatters to the floor. I am now naked except for one thing.
“The garter.”
“Not that.” I ball my hands into fists and look at the floor. “Please.”
He says nothing. I can’t see him, so I let myself hope that he’s considering letting me keep this one strip of fabric and elastic that’s tying me to this earth, to my identity, to the one person who loved me like no other. Maybe he’ll find it arousing.
I’ll risk it, even embrace it, for that glass of cloudy water.
The sound of a plop and a splash catches my attention, and I look up to see him slowly pouring a thin line of water onto the tile.
With a gasp, thoughts of my mother are gone, and I rip off the garter before I lose another precious drop, throwing it at his feet.
“There,” I say, finally bare before him, exposed as I have never been before a man.
My breath skips, and I finally cry, but I don’t have enough water in my body to make tears or snot over this destroyed moment—the first time a man’s eyes see my skin, my nipples, my utter vulnerability.
The moment I took that dress off was supposed to be one of the most beautiful of my life. Instead, it is a violation.
He isn’t satisfied yet though.
“Stay still,” he commands.
He walks behind me, hovering for a moment before grabbing my hair and yanking it back so that I’m gazing up into the camera’s merciless eye.
“Can you imagine how good it will feel,” he murmurs, his breath hot against my neck, “when I let you drink?” He lays his other hand under my chin and slides it down as he speaks. “That cold, sweet water sliding down your throat?”
I nod helplessly, gulping what feels like a lump of garden pebbles.
“Even with a little dirt, a little dust, you’ll take it all down, won’t you? You’re just about ready to beg for it.”
“I’ll beg,” I agree with a voice I don’t recognize. “I’ll do it.”
“You need it,” he says, and I can feel the cruelty of the smile in his voice.
“Please,” I whisper. “Please… please…”
“Say it for the camera.”
Who’s on the other side? His boss? My family? The entire world?
“Please give it to me.”
“Let me swallow it,” he whispers thickly. “Beg.”
“Let . . . let me swallow it all. Please.”
“I know what your body needs. And what you’ll do to get it.”
And then, just as abruptly as he’d grabbed me, he spins me around so that I’m facing him and he pushes me to my knees.
“This will go much easier for you if you play along,” he murmurs.
I’m so weak and dizzy I almost tip over before he pulls me up by the hair on top of my head.
“Steady, principessa.” With his free hand, he opens the fly of his pants, exposing the thick bulge beneath cotton underwear.
He’s going to take it out and force me to taste his cock. Take it down my throat. Swallow his come.
I’ve spent my life waiting for this, and I don’t want it this way . . . but I want it. My body aches to just give up, taste whatever he puts on my tongue. I look up at him, offering whatever he’s willing to take as long as he gives me something to drink.
But he does not release his erection.
Instead, he pulls my head into his crotch. The fabric is damp on my lips, heavy and musty on my nose as he grinds into my face. And he’s hard. So hard. He forces the shape of his shaft along the opening between my lips, and I taste no more than an essence of him . . . but it’s enough. My clit fills and drops, weighted by a constant, brutal pulse of arousal that’s timed to the way he pushes into my face, holding my head still.
My hands steady me against his thighs, then pull him closer.
I want it.
I surrender.
I’ll suck him for water or a glass of sand.
Why is he keeping it behind his clothes?
“Yes,” he growls, putting both hands behind my head and pushing me into his crotch so hard his erection feels like stone on my chin.
I put out my tongue, licking the damp fabric. He stops for a moment. His growl turns into a gasp, and the clothed organ against me pulses. A warm wetness gathers at my cheek.
Then he lets me go, and I fall back on my hands, gasping as I notice the thick wet stain where he came as I licked him.
“Okay,” he says, zipping up. He’s bored again, casual as he hands the glass to me by the top. “You can drink now.”
I do. I am shameless and desperate. I hold it with both hands and savor every drop, dirt and all.
He leaves before I finish, apparently not interested in watching me debase myself further.
I lie naked where he left me, legs in the letter K, bare skin on cold tile, the empty glass a few inches from my hand, watching the clouds form in the grid above me.
The door clicks and whooshes open. The room spins when I bolt to a sitting position. A tray of food, accompanied by a whole pitcher of water, is pushed across the threshold.
The door claps shut again, and the deadbolt smacked home.
I glance at the camera. He’s watching. He has to be.
I should stand up and walk like a human, but by the time I finish making that decision, I’m already crawling on my hands and knees like an animal.
The tray contains a plastic clamshell with a sandwich inside—pink meat spills from a circle of bread split into a pocket. Hushing the raging hunger for a moment, I peek into the pocket and find cheese and the familiarity of mayonnaise. A pink container of yogurt proudly proclaims—next to a bulbous strawberry—that it has REAL FRUIT inside.
I rip it open, ready to suck it down, but I stop.
I stand carefully, my head still swimming not just from my hunger and thirst and poor night’s sleep, but from what just happened. I walk over to my discarded pile of garments and put them on again: the underwear and bra, the ruined dress, my shoes—one close by and one under the camera. I slide the garter up my leg.
I leave the gloves and shard.
Then I put the tray on the counter, right a white plastic chair that matches the one on the roof, and—dressed in silk garments that were once a hopeful symbol of my purity but are now nothing more than a painful, ridiculous reminder of everything I have lost—I hydrate and nourish myself, dreaming of the day I escape the man named Dario with shadow eyes and an empty heart.

Add TAKE ME to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3C4wA9X

About CD Reiss
CD Reiss is a New York Times bestseller. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn't pick up she's at the well hauling buckets.
Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master's degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere but it did give her a big enough ego to write novels.
She's frequently referred to as the Shakespeare of Smut which is flattering but hasn't ever gotten her out of chopping that cord of wood.
If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine.

Connect with Christine
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2iwpkPQ
Bookbub: http://bit.ly/37rKgNO
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2RoX1TL
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cdreisswriter
Instagram: http://bit.ly/2ROqFkn
Website: www.cdreiss.com
Stay up to date with Christine by joining her mailing list: http://bit.ly/2NVIehg
Sign up to hear exclusively about audio releases and sales: https://cdreiss.com/AudioAlerts

Monday, December 27, 2021

NEW REVIEW: Bombshell by Sarah MacLean

Honestly one of the best things I did in the recent past was regain an interest in historical romance, read my first Sarah MacLean novel, and find a whole bunch of novels and new to me writers. One thing I know for certain, is that if I'm ever in a reading slump, Sarah MacLean has got my back. 


OUR REVIEW:

If you're new to historical romance, Bombshell is a great novel to read: it's the first in a series and you'll find yourself consumed within pages. As with all of Sarah MacLean novels (that I've read), the heroine, Sesily, is ahhhhmazing. She's interesting, clever, funny, strong, and stubborn as hell. She has the best taste in friends (so excited to know all of the sisterhood in this series) and the things they get into are absolutely insane and incredibly laudable. I love these ladies!! The hero in this novel, Caleb, is also very MacLean-esque in that he needs to get his mind right before he'll be right for Sesily. Like her, he's stubborn, clever, kind, and loyal but his secrets and disappearing acts are not doing him any favors when it comes to his love life...and really his life, in general. Even with his flaws, you can't help but like him and as you get to know him better, you can't help but hope he gets his act together because she deserves better than he's giving her and you just KNOW he wants her!


Absolutely fun read complete with hijinks, great banter, fantastic secondary characters, and steamy romance. Loved Bombshell and am so eager for the next novels in this series.


SIDE NOTE: Since I haven't read all of MacLean's novels, I don't know for sure, but it *seems* like some of these characters may have been in other novels/series? Does anyone know? I'd love to read them. It just seems like Sesily's sisters may have novels? Help!

BUY IT: https://amzn.to/3o2XECY

SYNOPSIS:

New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean returns with a blazingly sexy, unapologetically feminist new series, Hell’s Belles, beginning with a bold, bombshell of a heroine, able to dispose of a scoundrel—or seduce one—in a single night.

After years of living as London’s brightest scandal, Lady Sesily Talbot has embraced the reputation and the freedom that comes with the title. No one looks twice when she lures a gentleman into the dark gardens beyond a Mayfair ballroom…and no one realizes those trysts are not what they seem.

No one, that is, but Caleb Calhoun, who has spent years trying not to notice his best friend’s beautiful, brash, brilliant sister. If you ask him, he’s been a saint about it, considering the way she looks at him…and the way she talks to him…and the way she’d felt in his arms during their one ill-advised kiss.

Except someone has to keep Sesily from tumbling into trouble during her dangerous late-night escapades, and maybe close proximity is exactly what Caleb needs to get this infuriating, outrageous woman out of his system. But now Caleb is the one in trouble, because he’s fast realizing that Sesily isn’t for forgetting…she’s forever. And forever isn’t something he can risk.



Wednesday, December 22, 2021

SNEAK PEEK: Take Me by C.D. Reiss

 

Mafia King, Dario Lucari spent years planning his revenge.
Today, he executes it.

Take Me, an all-new sexy and addictive, dark mafia romance from New York Times bestselling author C.D. Reiss is releasing December 25th, and we have your first look!

How can I still be here? I clutch the sharp piece of pottery under my glove. It’s a safety blanket. A choice I can make in a situation where my decisions are meaningless.
Hovering in half consciousness, my eyes are closed when the door bangs open again and Dario enters, carrying a tall glass of water. He sets it on a dirty counter in front of me, then leans against the table, crossing one long leg over the other.
I get to my feet and approach the glass, wary but unable to stay away from it. I’ve never been this thirsty in my life; my eyeballs burn, and my tongue is cracked into layers of plaster.
Dario watches me silently, but as I reach out to take the glass, he slaps my hand away. I’m already weak and dizzy, and the force of the blow makes me stumble and spin.
“Please!” I cry. I realize I’m on my knees. I had intended to be strong, to refuse to let him see me suffer any more, but I am so, so thirsty.
“Take that stupid dress off.”
I shake my head. I’m past caring about modesty. I care about the dress. It’s ruined, but it’s mine. I worked on it for months, my fingers numb from stitching, my eyes and back aching as I labored into the night. It may be the only piece of home left to me besides my own body, and I will not take it off.
He shrugs and picks up the glass of water.
I remain defiant.
He turns to go.
And when I feel the triangle of clay inside the wrist of my glove, I think, with blinding clarity, I cannot die here.
“Okay,” I say.
He stops, turns around, but does not put down the glass.
I slip the dress off slowly, regretfully, because as awful as it looks, the fabric is still fine, soft and sweet, a reminder of who I was and what I expected so few sunrises ago. The gloves stay and so do the undergarments I wore to please Sergio because Dario just said to take off the dress and I’m weak but not dead. I’m not giving him anything he doesn’t ask for.
He places the glass back on the table. Then he sweeps a hand through the dust and dirt on its surface and sprinkles them into the water. I watch helplessly as it clouds over in the sunlight.
“Down to the skin,” he says. “Show me every inch.”
The suggestion in his command floods my dry veins with resistance.
“You said the dress.” I hold out my left hand—the one without the distorting piece of pottery under the glove. “Give it to me.”
This time, he takes a discarded nursery container and pinches out white-flecked potting soil. He drops it in the water like a chef seasoning too heavily.
“It’s going to be mud soon,” he says. “If you aren’t naked.”
“Where’s my father?” I squeak without spit. “Did he give you what you want?”
“Haven’t spoken to him since the car.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“We tried. He won’t negotiate with outsiders . . . so . . . take off all your fucking clothes.”
I do everything I can not to keep from crying as I lower my white lace underpants and slip out of my matching bra, hands shaking the entire time. I leave the gloves and garter, hoping they’re beside the point.
“I know what you’re hiding in your glove. You’re not going to kill me with a broken flower pot.”
“It wasn’t for you.”
He nods with understanding but not compassion, as if knowing suicide is on the table adds to a data point and no more, then flicks his finger at me. I peel off the gloves. The shard clatters to the floor. I am now naked except for one thing.
“The garter.”
“Not that.” I ball my hands into fists and look at the floor. “Please.”
He says nothing. I can’t see him, so I let myself hope that he’s considering letting me keep this one strip of fabric and elastic that’s tying me to this earth, to my identity, to the one person who loved me like no other. Maybe he’ll find it arousing.
I’ll risk it, even embrace it, for that glass of cloudy water.
The sound of a plop and a splash catches my attention, and I look up to see him slowly pouring a thin line of water onto the tile.
With a gasp, thoughts of my mother are gone, and I rip off the garter before I lose another precious drop, throwing it at his feet.
“There,” I say, finally bare before him, exposed as I have never been before a man.
My breath skips, and I finally cry, but I don’t have enough water in my body to make tears or snot over this destroyed moment—the first time a man’s eyes see my skin, my nipples, my utter vulnerability.
The moment I took that dress off was supposed to be one of the most beautiful of my life. Instead, it is a violation.
He isn’t satisfied yet though.
“Stay still,” he commands.
He walks behind me, hovering for a moment before grabbing my hair and yanking it back so that I’m gazing up into the camera’s merciless eye.
“Can you imagine how good it will feel,” he murmurs, his breath hot against my neck, “when I let you drink?” He lays his other hand under my chin and slides it down as he speaks. “That cold, sweet water sliding down your throat?”
I nod helplessly, gulping what feels like a lump of garden pebbles.
“Even with a little dirt, a little dust, you’ll take it all down, won’t you? You’re just about ready to beg for it.”
“I’ll beg,” I agree with a voice I don’t recognize. “I’ll do it.”
“You need it,” he says, and I can feel the cruelty of the smile in his voice.
“Please,” I whisper. “Please… please…”
“Say it for the camera.”
Who’s on the other side? His boss? My family? The entire world?
“Please give it to me.”
“Let me swallow it,” he whispers thickly. “Beg.”
“Let . . . let me swallow it all. Please.”
“I know what your body needs. And what you’ll do to get it.”
And then, just as abruptly as he’d grabbed me, he spins me around so that I’m facing him and he pushes me to my knees.
“This will go much easier for you if you play along,” he murmurs.
I’m so weak and dizzy I almost tip over before he pulls me up by the hair on top of my head.
“Steady, principessa.” With his free hand, he opens the fly of his pants, exposing the thick bulge beneath cotton underwear.
He’s going to take it out and force me to taste his cock. Take it down my throat. Swallow his come.
I’ve spent my life waiting for this, and I don’t want it this way . . . but I want it. My body aches to just give up, taste whatever he puts on my tongue. I look up at him, offering whatever he’s willing to take as long as he gives me something to drink.
But he does not release his erection.
Instead, he pulls my head into his crotch. The fabric is damp on my lips, heavy and musty on my nose as he grinds into my face. And he’s hard. So hard. He forces the shape of his shaft along the opening between my lips, and I taste no more than an essence of him . . . but it’s enough. My clit fills and drops, weighted by a constant, brutal pulse of arousal that’s timed to the way he pushes into my face, holding my head still.
My hands steady me against his thighs, then pull him closer.
I want it.
I surrender.
I’ll suck him for water or a glass of sand.
Why is he keeping it behind his clothes?
“Yes,” he growls, putting both hands behind my head and pushing me into his crotch so hard his erection feels like stone on my chin.
I put out my tongue, licking the damp fabric. He stops for a moment. His growl turns into a gasp, and the clothed organ against me pulses. A warm wetness gathers at my cheek.
Then he lets me go, and I fall back on my hands, gasping as I notice the thick wet stain where he came as I licked him.
“Okay,” he says, zipping up. He’s bored again, casual as he hands the glass to me by the top. “You can drink now.”
I do. I am shameless and desperate. I hold it with both hands and savor every drop, dirt and all.
He leaves before I finish, apparently not interested in watching me debase myself further.
I lie naked where he left me, legs in the letter K, bare skin on cold tile, the empty glass a few inches from my hand, watching the clouds form in the grid above me.
The door clicks and whooshes open. The room spins when I bolt to a sitting position. A tray of food, accompanied by a whole pitcher of water, is pushed across the threshold.
The door claps shut again, and the deadbolt smacked home.
I glance at the camera. He’s watching. He has to be.
I should stand up and walk like a human, but by the time I finish making that decision, I’m already crawling on my hands and knees like an animal.
The tray contains a plastic clamshell with a sandwich inside—pink meat spills from a circle of bread split into a pocket. Hushing the raging hunger for a moment, I peek into the pocket and find cheese and the familiarity of mayonnaise. A pink container of yogurt proudly proclaims—next to a bulbous strawberry—that it has REAL FRUIT inside.
I rip it open, ready to suck it down, but I stop.
I stand carefully, my head still swimming not just from my hunger and thirst and poor night’s sleep, but from what just happened. I walk over to my discarded pile of garments and put them on again: the underwear and bra, the ruined dress, my shoes—one close by and one under the camera. I slide the garter up my leg.
I leave the gloves and shard.
Then I put the tray on the counter, right a white plastic chair that matches the one on the roof, and—dressed in silk garments that were once a hopeful symbol of my purity but are now nothing more than a painful, ridiculous reminder of everything I have lost—I hydrate and nourish myself, dreaming of the day I escape the man named Dario with shadow eyes and an empty heart.

Reserve your copy today!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3n76XkM
Amazon Worldwide: https://mybook.to/TakeMeCDR
AppleBooks: https://apple.co/3e4JtY3
Nook: https://bit.ly/30jTjSs
Kobo: https://bit.ly/3HgLoGg
Google Play: https://bit.ly/3qu49jN

Synopsis
A dark and twisted mafia romance from New York Times bestselling author CD Reiss.
Mafia King, Dario Lucari spent years planning his revenge. Today, he executes it.
Kidnapped on my wedding day.
Held by a monster who wants vengeance on my father.
Married to him against my will.
Suddenly thrust into a world of betrayal, lies and deviance, all I have to do to escape is destroy everything I’ve ever loved, and love the man I must destroy.

Add TAKE ME to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3C4wA9X


About CD Reiss
CD Reiss is a New York Times bestseller. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn't pick up she's at the well hauling buckets.
Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master's degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere but it did give her a big enough ego to write novels.
She's frequently referred to as the Shakespeare of Smut which is flattering but hasn't ever gotten her out of chopping that cord of wood.
If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine.

Connect with Christine
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2iwpkPQ
Bookbub: http://bit.ly/37rKgNO
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2RoX1TL
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cdreisswriter
Instagram: http://bit.ly/2ROqFkn
Website: www.cdreiss.com
Stay up to date with Christine by joining her mailing list: http://bit.ly/2NVIehg
Sign up to hear exclusively about audio releases and sales: https://cdreiss.com/AudioAlerts

Monday, December 20, 2021

NEW REVIEW: Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

 

REVIEW:

One of my favorite humans, Kennedy Ryan, was recently raving about Seven Days in June and since she's never led me wrong, I took the first opportunity I could to read it. 


Being completely unfamiliar with the premise of the novel, I had no idea what, exactly, I was getting into and I really enjoyed the unique way the narrative of Eve and Shane was built around a crazy seven days they spent together in their teens woven with their present adult lives. As you got to know who they'd become, you slowly became aware of *why* they'd left such a lasting impact on each other. Both of them came from challenging (such an understatement) childhood and it seemed like they were finally finding some security and stability and yet...yet they both had this undercurrent of yearning for the other (though I think at the beginning both of them would deny it). It was both absorbing and entertaining to 'see' them interact as their adult selves and fight reverting back to their teenage selves. Their connection, denials, and ultimate capitulation to the feelings that would not let go made you want to push them together, no matter how much they didn't think it was a good idea, because their need for each other was so very obvious to us all (I'm including all the secondary characters in that 'us'). 


This novel is a testament to the intensity of young love. So many people scoff that those young loves and doubt that those emotions have any staying power. As a daughter of parents who've been married since my mom was 18, I am living proof that those emotions can stay. As a teacher of teen students, I can definitely see the power and influence love can have--in good and bad ways (and I'm so glad we got to see both). I liked that this novel explored that often wondered "what if". We got to see the "what if" come to life, with all its humor, complications, and the best part--a happy ending.  


Other things I enjoyed: the secondary characters--they were complex and added value to the overall narrative--and the little bit of Louisiana spice that was thrown in. As someone who has lived most of my life in Louisiana, it's always a pleasant surprise to see it play a role in a novel, even if most people just play with the stereotypes (I get it! My state has a mysterious allure that is hard to resist).  


All in all, I enjoyed this novel very much and am eager to read more from Tia Williams.


BUY IT: https://amzn.to/3DXh6X7


SYNOPSIS:

A REESE WITHERSPOON BOOK CLUB PICK!

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER


Named A Best Book by USA Today • Harper’s Bazaar • Oprah Daily • PopSugar • Shondaland • The Los Angeles Times • Bustle • Good Housekeeping • PureWow • CBS News • People • BuzzFeed • Reader’s Digest 

Named A Most Anticipated Book of 2021 by CNN • Essence • Travel + Leisure • She Reads • Women.com • Scary Mommy

Seven days to fall in love, fifteen years to forget, and seven days to get it all back again...

Eva Mercy is a single mom and bestselling erotica writer who is feeling pressed from all sides. Shane Hall is a reclusive, enigmatic, award‑winning novelist, who, to everyone's surprise, shows up in New York.

When Shane and Eva meet unexpectedly at a literary event, sparks fly, raising not only their buried traumas, but the eyebrows of the Black literati. What no one knows is that fifteen years earlier, teenage Eva and Shane spent one crazy, torrid week madly in love. While they may be pretending not to know each other, they can't deny their chemistry—or the fact that they've been secretly writing to each other in their books through the years.

Over the next seven days, amidst a steamy Brooklyn summer, Eva and Shane reconnect—but Eva's wary of the man who broke her heart, and wants him out of the city so her life can return to normal. Before Shane disappears though, she needs a few questions answered...

With its keen observations of creative life in America today, as well as the joys and complications of being a mother and a daughter, Seven Days in June is a hilarious, romantic, and sexy‑as‑hell story of two writers discovering their second chance at love.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

NEW: The Plight Before Christmas by Kate Stewart


OUR REVIEW:

Shel: The Plight Before Christmas is a wonderful Christmastime second chance romance that will have you crying with laughter and with all the feels. Whitney and her family are a huge source of hilarity; her siblings and their sibling shenanigans capture the perfect blend of sibling rivalry and love--most of us who have close sibling relationships will recognize many aspects of their relationships and appreciate who perfectly Kate Stewart captured them. That being said, Whitney's dad and his relationship with Alexa (and the family emails) just cracked me up and added a lot of levity. The comedy was much needed because the romance between Whitney and Eli was truly a slow burning one, filled with flashbacks and angst. I have to say, though, that I really appreciated Whitney's hesitancy and I actually liked how long she fought off her impulses; her reluctance made sense and made their happily ever after that much more happy, especially with the way their prior relationship ended. I also really appreciated the way Eli approached the entire set up--from scoring an invite with to spend Christmas with Whitney's family to waiting out her anger and fear and winning every member of the family over. 
 
Court: Insta love this was not, and the journey really hit me in the feels. I agree with Shel, and this is exactly why Kate Stewart is one of our absolute favorites because she has the ability to write such a well rounded world where we love the main characters, and secondary characters and everything in between because we just get SO MUCH! But also, the laughs, the tears...ugh, I did not want this book to end. (I too especially loved how much I loved Whitney's Dad, and everyone's ability to eavesdrop on each other was pretty hystical!) 

Shel: All in all a fun romantic comedy that will have you smiling and tearful and happy by the end--a great read for the Christmas break. Court: Right! And do not assume this is a fluffy Christmas book...this is a meaty story, and I truly loved it! It had elements I didn't expect, and hit all of my buttons on what I love in a great book! Check it out as soon as you can!

๐ŸŽ„NOW AVAILABLE๐ŸŽ„

๐“๐ก๐ž ๐๐ฅ๐ข๐ ๐ก๐ญ ๐๐ž๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ž ๐‚๐ก๐ซ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐ฆ๐š๐ฌ, a full-length romantic dramedy by USA Today bestselling author Kate Stewart, is live! 


Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited or one-click for $3.99 ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป 

Amazon Universal Link: http://mybook.to/PlightKindle

Paperback: mybook.to/Plightpaperback

๐ŸŽ„ This is an un-EX-pected, Christmas themed, 2nd chance romance.

๐Ÿคฃ LOL 

๐Ÿ”ฅ Slow Burn

๐ŸŽ Heartwarming feels 

๐Ÿ˜ Swoon and ๐ŸŒถSpice and everything nice but most definitely on ๐ŸŽ… Santa’s NAUGHTY LIST!!


๐”ธ๐••๐•• ๐•š๐•ฅ ๐•ฅ๐•  ๐•ช๐• ๐•ฆ๐•ฃ ๐•‹๐”นโ„→ https://bit.ly/3EaaHI1


๐™†๐™–๐™ฉ๐™š ๐™Ž๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ฌ๐™–๐™ง๐™ฉ ๐™ฅ๐™–๐™˜๐™ ๐™š๐™™ ๐™จ๐™ค ๐™ข๐™ช๐™˜๐™ ๐™ก๐™ค๐™ซ๐™š, ๐™๐™ช๐™ข๐™ค๐™ง ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™›๐™š๐™š๐™ก๐™จ ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™๐™๐™š ๐™‹๐™ก๐™ž๐™œ๐™๐™ฉ ๐˜ฝ๐™š๐™›๐™ค๐™ง๐™š ๐˜พ๐™๐™ง๐™ž๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™ข๐™–๐™จ, ๐™„ ๐™™๐™ž๐™™๐™ฃ๐™ฉ ๐™ฌ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ฉ ๐™ž๐™ฉ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™š๐™ฃ๐™™. ๐™’๐™๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ฃ๐™š๐™ฎ, ๐™€๐™ก๐™ž ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ฌ๐™๐™ค๐™ก๐™š ๐˜พ๐™ค๐™ก๐™ก๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™จ ๐™˜๐™ง๐™š๐™ฌ ๐™ฌ๐™š๐™ง๐™š ๐™š๐™ญ๐™–๐™˜๐™ฉ๐™ก๐™ฎ ๐™ฌ๐™๐™–๐™ฉ ๐™„ ๐™ฃ๐™š๐™š๐™™๐™š๐™™ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™ž๐™จ ๐™๐™ค๐™ก๐™ž๐™™๐™–๐™ฎ ๐™จ๐™š๐™–๐™จ๐™ค๐™ฃ!”- ๐™ˆ๐™–๐™ง๐™ž๐™จ๐™จ๐™–, ๐™‚๐™ค๐™ค๐™™๐™ง๐™š๐™–๐™™๐™จ


BLURB:

Clark Griswold was onto something, at least with his annual holiday meltdown. And since the last three weeks of my life have been riddled with humbug—another breakup, a broken toe, an office promotion I deserved and didn’t get—I’m not at all in the mood to celebrate nor have the happ, happ, happiest Christmas EVER. 


When Mom insisted that we all gather at my Grandparent’s ancient cabin for an old school family Christmas, I fully intended to get into the holiday spirit with the help of the three wise men, Johnnie Walker, Jack Daniels, and Jim Beam. But those boys did absolutely nothing to offset the shock or temper the sting of seeing my EX on our doorstep the first day of our holiday soiree. 


Apparently, Santa missed the memo, and this elf is pissed.


Stuck for a week with the man who obliterated my heart nearly two decades ago, I did the only thing I could do and put on my game face, thankful for the home advantage.


I knew better than to drink that last cup of eggnog.


I knew better than to get tongue tangled beneath the mistletoe with the only man to ever break my heart.


I knew better than to sleep with Satan’s wingman on the eve of the Lord’s birthday.


I could blame the nog. I could blame the deceitful light blue eyes, thick, angelic hair, and panty evaporating smirk…but mostly, I blame Eli because he always knew exactly which of my buttons to push.


I foolishly thought a family Christmas filled with nostalgia was going to turn my inner Scrooge around, but this year’s festivities went up in flames. Leave it to the ghost of my Christmas past to be the one to light the match. 


Fa la la la la, la FML. 


Find more books by Kate Stewart here: katestewartwrites.com

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

REVIEW: Homecoming King by Penny Reid





Title: Homecoming King
Series: Three Kings #1
Author: Penny Reid
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Release Date: December 14, 2021

OUR REVIEW:

I absolutely adored Homecoming King. It's one of those books that you start, thinking you'll just kinda get a feel for what it's all about and then you'll put it down and pick it up a few hours later, but in reality, you start it and find yourself up until you have to go to work the next morning, desperate to not have to put it down, but also money must be made to pay the bills. 0.0


Homecoming King is a new world in the Penny Reid worlds and after reading about Abby and Rex, I cannot wait to read the other two Three Kings novels. So what made this novel so engaging? Well, first and foremost, Penny Reid writes such smart, funny, and wise characters and so it's impossible not to love her novels, right?! Even knowing that, I have to say, I absolutely fell in love with Abby. She has to be one of the kindest, most honest, sweetest characters ever. She was humble and quirky and fun and even though I wanted to throttle her for how blind she was to Rex's emotions, I loved her. She really was a great foil to Rex--a character I imagined to be a lot like Grumpy Cat. He was such a grump. And seemingly stoic. And so closed mouth about how he felt...until he wasn't. And then, of course, I loved him too.


These two former childhood classmates, bartender and pro footballer, unlikeliest of sweethearts, were so good that I willingly lost precious sleep to just see how and why and where they'd end up. Snatch up this latest Penny Reid novel and try to savor it more than I did, if you can. Though, you'll probably be a lot like me--completely unable to stop reading once you start.



BLURB

Rex “TW” McMurtry’s perpetual single-hood wouldn’t bother him so much if all his ex-girlfriends didn’t keep marrying the very next person they dated, especially when so many of those grooms are his closest friends. He may be a pro-football defensive end for the Chicago Squalls, but the press only wants to talk about how he’s always a groomsman and never a groom. Rex is sick of being the guy before the husband, and he’s most definitely sick of being the best man at all their weddings.

Bartender Abigail McNerny is the gal-pal, the wing-woman, the she-BFF. She’s dated. Once. And once was more than enough. Privy to all the sad stories of her customers, ‘contentment over commitment’ is her motto, and Abby is convinced no one on earth could ever entice her into a romantic relationship . . . except that one guy she’s loved since preschool.

The guy who just walked into her bar.

The guy who doesn’t recognize her.

The guy who is drunk and needs a ride home.

The guy who has a proposition she should definitely refuse.



PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU






AUTHOR BIO


Sign up for the newsletter of awesome: www.pennyreid.ninja/newsletter

Penny Reid is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Best Selling Author of the Winston Brothers, Knitting in the City, Rugby, and Hypothesis series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she just writes books. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.


AUTHOR LINKS




REVIEW: Beard in Hiding by Penny Reid



OUR REVIEW:

Here's the thing about Penny Reid novels. Once you read one, you can't help but want to read them all. And then once you've read them all, you find yourself very impatient for the next one because they are THAT GOOD. Fortunately for me, I still have a few novels that I need to read, and I while my tendency is to binge them, I've learned that if I can just try to space them out, I can usually get my much needed fix between new releases.


In Beard in Hiding, she takes characters that you don't think you could possible forgive and you find yourself not only forgiving them but rooting for them to get all the things. This is absolutely the case for Diane Donner (Jennifer's mom) and Jason (Mr. Repo). After having such a strong disliking for her in Jennifer and Cletus' first novel together, I had softened to her in the spin off novels, but this novel melted all the ice I had in my heart for her. Seeing the world from her eyes really changed a lot of things and actively made me feel for her. It helps that she takes full responsibility for her mistakes and is making steps to rectify them. 


And then there's Repo. I don't know that I especially felt one way or the other about him. I was curious--he seemed different than the other Wraiths. Turns out he is, though he might not fully cop to that. For someone who thinks of himself as a 'bad guy', he has a strong set of ethics and an interesting moral compass, that somehow works. While we don't get to know his entire history, we learn enough to have some understanding of why he is the way he is and you can't help but really like him, especially when he 's with Diane. Their love story is a bit unconventional and yet totally works--I really couldn't image it any other way.


Beard in Hiding goes a long way in answering some questions and showing another point of view, compared to the timeline of events in Marriage and Murder, that makes even more sense of the events in that novel. 


I have to admit that I'm so very curious about them and where they go next and I can only hope that as time goes on, we get a little more of their story..of their in between times.


BUY IT: https://amzn.to/3IIs6KC


SYPNOPSIS:

Propositioning the Iron Wraiths’ money man seemed like a good idea at the time…

Diane Donner—recently divorced pillar of polite society—is craving danger. She’s tired of playing it safe and she knows just the sexy criminal motorcycle man to proposition for a good time. Problem is, she doesn’t actually know his name.

Jason “Repo” Doe never takes risks. So when the queen of local commerce walks into his club, looking to get risky and frisky, Jason knows the smartest thing to do is save himself a headache while saving the new divorcee from her worst impulses.

But then one thing leads to another, and the memory of just-one-night doesn’t feel like enough.

Theirs is a story with no future, because how can a dangerous criminal win (and keep) a queen?

‘Beard In Hiding’ is book #4.5 in the Winston Brothers series, is a full length contemporary romantic comedy about two lost souls in their 40s, and is a companion novel to the Winston Brothers and Solving for Pie series.

If you want to get the full immersive Green Valley world experience, I recommend reading ‘Truth or Beard,’ ‘Beard Science,’ ‘Engagement and Espionage,’ and ‘Marriage and Murder’ beforehand. ‘Beard In Hiding’ contains spoilers for these four books (in specific).

Monday, December 13, 2021

REVIEW: The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale


OUR REVIEW:

The premise of The Ballerinas intrigued me; it was a pallet cleanser from all of the academic things I'd been reading lately. It had several moving parts but I think the main story arc was one many people would relate to: the longing for something that once was and trying to reconcile that with where you are now. In the case of The Ballerinas, Delphine leads us through her story of best friendship with Lindsay and Margaux, her failed love affairs, and her unbreakable connection to ballet all with Paris and Russia as the backdrop to these important years. The story takes place over the course of more than a decade with alternating chapters of present and past which helps us contextualize how she got here and why she felt the way she did.


Rather than focus on the twists and turns of this novel, I'd rather mull over what Kapelke-Dale shows us in the evolution of Delphine and her friendships. As strange as it may sound, I really enjoyed the honest pain and loneliness that often came through on the page; it felt real and raw--and not something I come across every day. I also really enjoyed how these friends worked through some of their challenges (in their adulthood) and called each other out on their crap, when needed. But the thing that I wasn't really expecting and was such a nice surprise what Delphine's evolution into a strong women's advocate. Her contemplations on women and men and how our society works were interesting and powerful in their full throated support for all things woman. 


All in all, The Ballerinas was a really pleasant surprise. The blend of childhood and adulthood friendship and the messy ways it can evolve was thoughtful and honest and interesting. Throw in Paris and the inner workings of a world renowned ballet powerhouse and you have the makings of a fine weekend read. 


BUY IT: https://amzn.to/3E7auFF

SYNOPSIS: 


Dare Me meets Black Swan and Luckiest Girl Alive in a captivating, voice-driven debut novel about a trio of ballerinas who meet as students at the Paris Opera Ballet School.

Thirteen years ago, Delphine abandoned her prestigious soloist spot at the Paris Opera Ballet for a new life in St. Petersburg––taking with her a secret that could upend the lives of her best friends, fellow dancers Lindsay and Margaux. Now 36 years old, Delphine has returned to her former home and to the legendary Palais Garnier Opera House, to choreograph the ballet that will kickstart the next phase of her career––and, she hopes, finally make things right with her former friends. But Delphine quickly discovers that things have changed while she's been away...and some secrets can't stay buried forever.

Moving between the trio's adolescent years and the present day, Rachel Kapelke-Dale's The Ballerinas explores the complexities of female friendship, the dark drive towards physical perfection in the name of artistic expression, the double-edged sword of ambition and passion, and the sublimated rage that so many women hold inside––all culminating in a twist you won't see coming, with magnetic characters you won't soon forget.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

REVIEW: Lucky by Marissa Stapley

OUR REVIEW:


I took a chance Lucky because I needed something different and it was a nice escape. The novel switches between the current day narrative of Lucky and that of her past and upbringing. You quickly learn that Lucky isn't really a grifter at heart--she was a victim of her upbringing and really only used crime as a last resort. Poor Lucky. It seemed that all she wanted was to live in one place, grow roots, have a normal life, and find out more about her mother. At every turn, though, she was thwarted. At first her father denied her the normalcy she desired. Later it was her slimy significant other. 


As her story unfurls and the past and the present meet in her narrative, everything about who she is, where she is, and why she is becomes glaringly clear and you just can't help but hope she'll find a way to make it out unscathed. 


While I was ultimately happy with how it all ended, I was a little bemused at the almost deus ex machina type of ending. All in all, though, a good read. 


BUY IT: https://amzn.to/3cXKUXN

SYNOPSIS:

A thrilling roller-coaster ride about a heist gone terribly wrong, with a plucky protagonist who will win readers’ hearts.

What if you had the winning ticket that would change your life forever, but you couldn’t cash it in?

Lucky Armstrong is a tough, talented grifter who has just pulled off a million-dollar heist with her boyfriend, Cary. She’s ready to start a brand-new life, with a new identity—when things go sideways. Lucky finds herself alone for the first time, navigating the world without the help of either her father or her boyfriend, the two figures from whom she’s learned the art of the scam.

When she discovers that a lottery ticket she bought on a whim is worth millions, her elation is tempered by one big problem: cashing in the winning ticket means she’ll be arrested for her crimes. She’ll go to prison, with no chance to redeem her fortune.

As Lucky tries to avoid capture and make a future for herself, she must confront her past by reconciling with her father; finding her mother, who abandoned her when she was just a baby; and coming to terms with the man she thought she loved—whose dark past is catching up with her, too.

This is a novel about truth, personal redemption, and the complexity of being good. It introduces a singularly gifted, multilayered character who must learn what it means to be independent and honest...before her luck runs out.

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