The Long Way Home (The One #1) by Jasinda Wilder-a review

THE LONG WAY HOME (The One #1) by Jasinda Wilder-a review

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The Long Way Home

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date June 30, 2017

I need you, Ava.

I am desperate. For you. For touch. For a kiss. For the scrape of your hand down my stomach. For the slide of your lips across my hipbone. The sweep of your thigh against mine in the dulcet, drowning darkness. For the warm huff of your breath on my skin and the wet suck of your mouth around me and the building pressure of need reaching release…I am mad with need.

Wild with it.

I cannot have you. I have lost you, as I have lost myself.

And so I go in search. Of myself, and thus the man who might return to you, and take you in his arms.

I loathe each of the thousands of miles between us, but I cannot wish them away, for I hope at the end of my journey I shall find you. Or rather, find myself, and thus…you. Myself, and thus us.

I am taking the long way home, Ava.

***

Christian,

I’m losing my mind, and I don’t know how to stop it. I shouldn’t be writing to you, but I am. I’m friendless, loveless, and lifeless. You’re out there somewhere, and still you’re all I really have. I hate my reliance and dependence on you, emotionally and otherwise, and that reliance is something I’m coming to recognize. I hate that I can’t hate you as much as I want to. I hate that I still love you so much.

I hate that there’s no clear solution to our conundrum. Even if we could forgive each other, what then?

I hate you, Christian. I really do.

But most of all, I don’t.

It’s complicated.

Complicatedly (still) yours,

Ava

THE LONG WAY HOME is the story of a married couple, Christian and Ava, both writers, as they cope with the loss of their son and the damage that loss causes to their marriage. This moving story, alternately heartbreaking and heartwarming, is the first in a brand-new contemporary romance series by bestselling author Jasinda Wilder.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: Like the story line itself, my review will be differ from the norm-my norm-or how I usually put my thoughts to words. Like most reviewers I follow an outline, rarely depart from a prescribed pattern but there are occasions when a reviewer, and in this case, an author, follows a path that is both familiar and yet, not. Such is the case with Jasinda Wilder’s THE LONG WAY HOME focusing on Ava and Christian St. Pierre, a married couple who barely survived a devastating loss- a death that destroyed their marriage but not their love.

THE LONG WAY HOME follows Christian as he embarks on a journey around the world to escape the desperation and heartbreaking grief that has consumed the woman he once loved. A voyage of discovery that will help Christian St. Pierre find the person he once was or the man that he should be. Told from first, second and third person points of view through introspective thoughts, email, journal entries, blogs, present day, past, and the memories of what was and what may never be, THE LONG WAY HOME is a story about death and loss; grief and heartache; and one couple’s struggle to survive the fall out of their marriage, their friendship, their relationship, their love.

Jasinda Wilder’s use of symbolism, amplification, imagery and metaphors sets the mood and tone for a story that reads more like poetry than prose. Ava and Christian’s stream of consciousness, represented through correspondence, emails and letters illustrate the pain and the depth of emotion of one couple’s spiral into the depths of grief, not only over their mutual loss and heartache, but the loss of affection, understanding, compassion and love. There is a fine line between love and hate, and it is this line that our couple traverses throughout the story. Together our couple is unable to move forward; separately, they will learn that loneliness is better than being alone.

THE LONG WAY HOME is an emotional story line; a tragic look at grief and loss; a profound, intense and dramatic tale. Poetic in its’ presentation THE LONG WAY HOME is a thought provoking and heartbreaking essay about one couple trying to find their way back home.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

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Jasinda Wilder

 

Jasinda Wilder is a New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and international bestselling author. She is a Michigan native and currently lives there with her family. Visit her official website at jasindawilder.com.

 

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Fuel for Fire (Black Knights Inc #10) by Julie Ann Walker-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

FUEL FOR FIRE (Black Knights Inc #10 ) by Julie Ann Walker-Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

Fuel For Fire

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 4, 2017

A brooding covert operative and a spunky CIA agent discover a burning passion in the next installment of Julie Ann Walker’s red-hot BKI series

Dagan Zoelner has made three huge mistakes
The first two left blood on his hands.
The third left him wondering…what if? What if he had told the woman of his dreams how he felt before his world fell apart?

Spitfire CIA agent Chelsea Duvall has always had a thing for bossy, brooding Dagan. It’s just as well that he’s never given her a second look, since she carries a combustible secret about his past that threatens to torch their lives…

••••••••••

REVIEW: FUEL FOR FIRE is the tenth installment in Julie Ann Walker’s contemporary, adult BLACK KNIGHTS INC romantic suspense /military, action series focusing on an elite group of ex Navy SEALS, FBI, CIA and military heroes headquartered at a custom motorcycle shop known as Black Knights Inc. The men and women of Black Knights Inc are so far under the radar that they are blacker than Black Ops. This is former CIA agent Dagan Zoelner, and current CIA counterterrorism analyst (on loan to BKI) Chelsea Duvall’s story line. FUEL FOR FIRE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from previous story lines is revealed where necessary. Dagan and Chelsea’s relationship begins in TOO HARD TO HANDLE #8.

Told from several third person perspectives including Dagan and Chelsea FUEL FOR FIRE takes the BKI team to Europe as they search for the mysterious person known as the ‘Spider’. Along with former British SAS agent Christian Watson, and one time CIA operative Emily Scott, former Navy pilot Colby Ace Ventura, Dagan Zoelner and Chelsea Duvall embark on a mission to ferret out the true identity of a man whose illegal and business ties reach around the world. But when their plan begins to crumble, and Chelsea is identified as the source of stolen computer information, the group find themselves on the run from the SAS, Scotland Yard, and numerous ‘men in black’. What ensues is the building romance, between Chelsea and Dagan, and the fall out when Chelsea reveals the truth about a former mission that went horribly wrong.

FUEL FOR FIRE is a friends to lovers story line that sees Chelsea and Dagan’s worlds implode when Chelsea confesses to sins of the past. As former colleagues in the CIA Chelsea has access to information that if revealed may have saved Dagan years of guilt and shame. With Chelsea’s revelations Dagan’s reaction to the woman he thought he loved is heartbreaking and sad. The $ex scenes are limited, seductive and intense without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text. The palpable sexual energy does not go unnoticed by the other members of the group including Emily and Christian, whose own back and forth verbal bickering is fraught with angry sexual tension.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including the previously mentioned BKI agents as well as the addition of another potential member of the Black Ops team- Rusty Parker-another former member of the CIA currently running a fishing trawler in the English Channel. The requisite evil has many faces including British businessman Roper Morrison, and Morrison’s head of security Steven Surry whose love for his mother proves desperation comes at a cost.

The world building takes the BKI team through Britain, France and back to the USA but their search for the elusive person known only as the ‘Spider’ is fraught with too many dead ends and bodies.

FUEL FOR FIRE is a fast paced story of action, suspense, romance and heartbreak. The premise is engaging and energetic; the romance is provocative; the characters are lively, spirited and emotional. The majority of the story line covers less than 24 hours in the life but there is plenty of activity to push the team forward towards the next installment. My only issue, once again, are the inner monologues and thoughts filled with euphemisms, colloquialisms and figures of speech meant to add humor but I found myself cringing one too many times.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Excerpt 2

 

Tell us!” Surry demanded again, giving her head a hard shake. Her brain banged around inside her skull, making her see stars. Since she was tied with a length of electrical cord to one of the chairs in front of Morrison’s desk, her hands duct-taped behind her back, there was little she could do to defend herself.
Then again, she still had her smart mouth. “Screw you, buddy,” she snarled. Those three words were all she allowed herself before she clenched her teeth and sealed her lips shut.
The violence that clouded Surry’s face and glinted in his hell-black eyes made her want to curl into a protective ball. He leaned down so that his nose was an inch from hers. His hot breath smelled of coffee and buttered croissants, and the thought of him actually eating struck her as weird. She had assumed he sustained himself by devouring the souls of Morrison’s enemies.
“You will bloody well tell us what we want to know, Miss Duvall.” When he spoke all low and menacing in that thick English accent, she got the unsettling feeling that something dark moved in the shadows just out of sight. “Or I will jab this letter opener into your carotid.” He pulled back to wield the weapon he had taken from Morrison’s desktop. The sterling-silver letter opener glinted in the golden glow cast by the overhead chandelier.
Releasing her face, Surry cocked his head. “So, what shall it be? The truth? Or the knife? The choice is yours.” There was an emptiness in his voice when he asked the questions. Like he didn’t really care what the answers would be. Like he was tired or bored or maybe…resigned?
Oh, that doesn’t bode well.
Of course, the truth was out of the question. She would never rat on the Black Knights. No telling what Morrison, a.k.a Spider, with all his power and connections, could do with that information. So that left…the knife.
But there’s still so much I want to do!
She had never learned to make her mother’s she-crab soup. She had never tried her hand at writing fiction like that of Tolkien or Rowling or Martin. She had never married the love of her life and given him two bouncing, chubby-cheeked babies.
A cold finger of terror dragged up her spine, and for a second she considered spilling her guts and saving her hide. But then, from somewhere deep inside, a well of strength erupted, filling her with determination and the will to do what must be done.
Her mind briefly touched on her mother, and a great sadness weighed down her heart. Grace Duvall would be devastated by the death of her only child. But Chelsea took comfort—cold comfort, but comfort all the same—in knowing that her life insurance policy would be enough to pay her mother’s debts. That was something. Something to hold on to.
“Well?” Surry demanded. “What will it be?”
Chelsea licked her lips. Fear was a living thing inside her, crawling through her chest like a centipede on prickly legs. She squashed it and sealed her own fate. “Do your worst, you sorry, low-life sonofagun!”
Surry’s beard-stubbled chin jerked back as if he couldn’t believe the choice she’d made. Then his eyes narrowed, and grim determination transformed his face.
Closing her eyes, Chelsea waited on the inevitable. That centipede was going crazy inside her, making her chest ache and raising the hair on her head. She braced herself for the deathblow as a million regrets, a million joys, a million memories flittered through her brain.
Funny how many of those regrets and joys and memories feature Dagan.
She held her breath, savoring it, knowing it was her last and—
“Drop. The. Knife.”
With a cry, she blinked open her eyes and craned her head around to see three figures dressed from head to toe in black. Each of them wielded a weapon as if it were an extension of himself.
The Black Knights…
Even had Dagan not spoken the three most beautiful words she’d ever heard in that smooth moonshine voice, she would have known the trio anywhere. There was no mistaking those broad shoulders or those defiant, cocksure stances.
Her eyes homed in on Dagan. He was in the middle and slightly forward of the other two. It wasn’t his height or carriage that gave him away. It was his stillness. Ace and Christian seemed to vibrate with barely leashed power. But Dagan was a statue. Not a muscle quivered. Not a tendon or ligament cracked. Chelsea was reminded of a pair of tectonic plates under intense pressure. She knew what came next. The earth would rip open, and hell would spew forth.
Surry must have felt the doom behind Dagan’s stillness, because his voice sounded wheezy when he demanded, “And who the fuck are you?”
“Worry less about who we are,” Dagan snarled, “and more about what we’ll do if you don’t drop the knife.”
Proving he had more balls than brains, Surry spun Chelsea’s chair around and palmed her forehead to wrench her head back. The sharp tip of the letter opener nicked at the skin pulsing over the large vein in her neck. She hadn’t had time to scream, and now she didn’t dare breathe.
“Ring up the police, sir,” Surry said. From the corner of her eye, Chelsea saw Morrison/Spider make a move toward the desk.
“Take one step in the direction of that phone, and you’ll be eating a bullet for breakfast.” There was no mistaking Dagan’s words or his tone. He meant what he said.
Morrison must have come to the same realization. The old man stopped in his tracks.
“Good man,” Dagan acknowledged. “Now, there’s one thing you both need to understand. We’re leaving here with Chelsea. That can be over your dead bodies or your live ones.” Even though his words were calm and his body as motionless as a mountain, rage burned inside him. It was there in his eyes, glowing red like the fires of Mordor. “So what will it be? The choice is yours.”
It was the same option Surry had given her, spoken in the same words. How long had the three of them been outside listening?
“You have no bloody idea who you’re fucking with,” Morrison snarled, his chest heaving with every furious breath. “I have—”
That’s all he managed. In a flash, the statue, a.k.a. Dagan Zoelner, came to life. He moved faster than the human eye could follow, certainly faster than Chelsea could track with her head angled back in Surry’s grip. One second he was staring at her and Surry, and the next he aimed at Morrison and pulled his trigger.
The gunshot was oddly muffled and Morrison stumbled back, hitting his hip on the edge of the desk. Surry bellowed his outrage and released her head. Free from his brutal grip, she turned to Morrison and understood the strangeness of the weapon’s sound.
It wasn’t a bullet that had exploded from the end of Dagan’s gun. It was a dart. She had just enough time to catch a glimpse of the fuzzy yellow end protruding from the center of Morrison’s chest before Dagan fired again. This time the dart whizzed over her head. Surry made an awful gurgling noise. When she pulled her chin back, she saw the projectile sticking from his neck.
He reached for the dart, stumbling into her chair. His hand hit the back of her head, looking for leverage and forcing her chin into her chest as every vertebra in her neck threatened to crack under the pressure. She couldn’t see what happened next. But she heard it. Heard the boots that pounded against the tiles as the Black Knights raced into the room.
Surry released her head when Christian tackled him. From the corner of her eye, she watched Ace catch Morrison right before the old man toppled face-first onto the floor. And Dagan? Well, Dagan knelt in front of her.
She gasped when his big, warm hands cupped her cheeks, gently lifting her head. Her neck ached, but it wasn’t broken. All her fingers and toes still worked when she gave them an experimental wiggle.
“Chels… Christ. Are you okay?” His stormy eyes searched her face.
She nodded her head. That’s all she could manage because a giant lump was centered in her throat. She had put on a brave face throughout the entire ordeal, but now that it looked like she was saved, all her shock and terror rose to the surface, crumbling her mask of courage.
“Thank God.” He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close.
It was the first time he had hugged her. The first time she had been in his arms. Oh, how she wanted to hold him tight in return. But with her hands still trapped behind her back, the only thing she could do was turn her face into his warm neck and breathe him in.
She had always loved the way he smelled. A mixture of worn leather, dryer sheets, and shampoo. All clean and healthy and…male.
“I was afraid m-maybe I didn’t press the button long enough to send out the Mayday,” she said in a rush, her lips moving against the rough fabric of his ski mask. “And th-then they found the thumb drive. But they were so quick to stop questioning me and…and…” She had to stop. “Thank you. Thank you for coming for me.”
His wide palm cupped the back of her head, holding her close. Was it trembling? “Always, Chels. Never doubt it.”
Oh great. Now the lump in her throat had grown to the size of a Carolina pine.
She wanted the moment to last forever, to stay just like this, safe in his arms. But all too soon, he pulled back. “What were you thinking, telling them to do their worst? You were baiting them, egging them on. You stupid, stubborn, self-sacrificing fool.”
And just like that, happiness and relief morphed into incredulity that slid quick as a whistle into anger. Seriously? He was going to stand there—er, squat there—and call her names?
He may be hotter than the door handles of hell, but when he gets all Me Tarzan, You Jane, I want to dump his limp body in the River Thames and feed him to the fishes. After she’d killed him with mind-blowing sex and multiple orgasms, natch. And she could probably cop to his last two accusations. She was stubborn, and in that instant she had been willing to sacrifice herself. But the first one?
“S-stupid?” she sputtered. And good news! The lump in her throat vanished. “Screw you, Dagan! In case you’ve forgotten, I pulled off this op w-with…”
She stumbled to a stop because he’d ripped off his mask. And there it was. The Beard.
Looking at him dressed all in black, shoulders as broad as the Lowcountry, she couldn’t help but think he resembled a god. One of the mythical beings she read about in her fantasy novels. Formidable. Powerful. Gorgeous.
And here I am, a mere mortal.
The look he pinned on her was one she recognized. She liked to call it his Clint Eastwood gunfighter squint. He tended to whip it out right before he laid into her for something. She braced herself, mentally running through her standard list of comebacks. But he didn’t give her a tongue-lashing. At least not a verbal one. Instead, he took her face in his hands and sealed his lips to hers.
She was so surprised that her mouth formed a startled O. Dagan took advantage, his tongue surging between her teeth. His lips were firm yet amazingly soft, and his beard abraded the tender flesh of her cheeks.
Holy mother! Dagan Zoelner was…kissing her!
Oh. My!


 

 

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Pre-order Fuel for Fire or Hot Pursuit and receive another Black Knights Inc. novel of your choice!

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Julie Ann WalkerFOLLOW Julie: Facebook / Goodreads / Website / Twitter

Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense. She has won the Book Buyers Best Award, been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award. Her latest release was named a Top Ten Romance of 2014 by Booklist. Her books have been described as “alpha, edgy, and downright hot.” Most days you can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.

Be sure to sign up for Julie’s occasional newsletter at: http://julieannwalker.com

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The Legend (Sons of Texas #3) by Donna Grant-Review tour

THE LEGEND (Sons of Texas #3) by Donna Grant-Review tour

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THE LEGEND
Sons of Texas #3
by Donna Grant
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, romantic,suspense

The Legend

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date June 27, 2017

A LONE STAR LOVER

Callie Reed doesn’t need a man to protect her. An expert sharpshooter and renegade hacker, this Texas-born spitfire’s got the skills and the courage to stand up to any danger―no matter how deadly. But when she becomes the target of a shadowy organization known as the Saints, Callie is forced to team up with the one man she can’t outshoot: the gorgeous, and infuriating, Lone Star legend named Wyatt Loughman…

A Delta Force Colonel with a rock-hard body and stone-cold heart, Wyatt has been teasing and tormenting Callie since they were playmates on his family’s ranch. Of course, he’s wildly attracted to the fiery, strong-willed Callie. But he’s always hidden his feelings behind a wall of Texas tough and military cool, even as he’s burning up with desire. Can Wyatt save Callie’s life―without putting her love in the line of fire?

•••••••••••

REVIEW: THE LEGEND is the third installment in Donna Grant’s contemporary, adult SONS OF TEXAS romantic, military suspense series focusing on focusing on the Loughman brothers-Navy SEAL Owen; eldest brother Delta Force Colonel Wyatt, and youngest brother/Marine Force Recon Captain Cullen- and their Navy SEAL / Black Ops father Orrin Loughman. This is eldest brother Delta Force Colonel Wyatt Loughman, and computer hacker Callie Reed’s story line. THE PROTECTOR can be read as a stand alone but for cohesion and backstory I recommend reading the series in order as each installment continues upon the events of the previous story line as the brothers search for their missing father.

NOTE: If you have not read the previous installments, there may be some spoiler in my review.

SOME BACKGROUND: While on assignment overseas, all three Loughman brothers are called home to Texas to discover that their beloved Aunt and Uncle have been murdered, and their Navy SEAL father Orrin is missing. The US government (or someone claiming to be) has tasked the brothers in locating their Black Ops agent father; and the retrieval of a biological weapon known as Ragnarok.

Told from several third person points of view including Wyatt and Callie THE LEGEND continues to follow the search for Orrin Loughman, and the people responsible for the death of the Loughman’s aunt and uncle. With the revelation that Orrin Loughman is alive, eldest son Wyatt Loughman begins to focus on flushing out the people h*ll bent on destroying so many lives but Wyatt suspects that that the family has been betrayed by more than one source. His continued hatred of the man he believes responsible for his mother’s death, Wyatt has a difficult time forgiving his father for sins of the past. Returning home to find the one woman that could break through his hardened heart Wyatt continues to push away Callie Reed in an effort to keep focused on the coming war. What ensues is the rekindling romance between Callie and Wyatt, and their battle to stay one step ahead of three different outside factions intent on taking down the Loughman clan.

THE LEGEND is an intense, revealing and detailed story about family, betrayal, revenge and trust. There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including Owen and Natalie (The Hero), and Cullen and Mia (The Protector), and an assortment of former Black Ops undercover operators. The requisite evil has many faces-some familiar to our story line couple.

Donna Grant pulls the reader into an energetic, passionate and tragic story of greed and power, and the ultimate battle for control. The premise is engaging, startling and dramatic; the characters are colorful, passionate and inspiring; the romance is seductive and fated. THE LEGEND looks at one man’s struggle to move on from the past, and one woman’s need to save the man that calls to her heart.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
The Hero
The Protector
The Legend

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

About The Author beige

donna_grant_newDonna Grant is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the sizzling Dark King series featuring dragons, immortal Highlanders, and the Fae.

She was born and raised in Texas but loves to travel. Her adventures have taken her throughout the United States as well as to Jamaica, Mexico, and Scotland. Growing up on the Texas/Louisiana border, Donna’s Cajun side of the family taught her the “spicy” side of life while her Texas roots gave her two-steppin’ and bareback riding.

Despite deadlines and voracious reading, Donna still manages to keep up with her two children, four cats, and one long haired Chihuahua.

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Storming the Castle by Arianna Hart – a Review

Storming the Castle by Arianna Hart – a Review

 

Storming the CastleAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
Sam Castleton has fame, houses all over the world, and one really big problem—he’s got an album due and he can’t write. All he wants is a quiet place to get his head straight. Dale, Georgia, seems like the perfect quiet spot to try to hear the music again and get some lyrics down on paper.

With her daughter’s paternal grandparents making a sudden appearance and the difficulties of running her own lodge and being a single mom, Faith Adams doesn’t have the time to worry about the mysterious stranger staying in one of her cottages, no matter how sexy he is.

Her newest guest may be surly, but his money is good, so she’s willing to overlook his surly nature. If only she could ignore the way he awakens a searing hunger in her…

Each book in the Dale series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Series Order:
Book #1 Giving It All
Book #2 Going Home
Book #3 Storming the Castle

 

Review:

Storming The Castle is book three in The Dale Series by Arianna Hart. Rock star Sam Castleton is fresh off of tour.  And if he doesn’t start writing his next album he is afraid that he will drift off into obscurity.  His rough tour schedule and drinking has taken its toll and he knows that he needs to get himself cleaned up and sober in order tofulfill his obligation to his next album.  He decides instead of rehab he would like to go away to some place secluded – where he isn’t known andwhere he can find himself again and hopefully his muse while he is at it. 

Faith Adams has had some hard times.  Losing her husband to a car accident while she was pregnant with her daughter has left her as a single mother.She has bought a bed & breakfast in Dale, Georgia with the hopes that she can keep her daughter Piper, out of daycare and with her during the day and still run the bed & breakfast at the same time.  It is an ideal situation, Faith truly loves the work and meeting interesting people and she is quite handy to have around.

 But when a manager contacts her and tells her that he will pay in advance for a nice cottage for a guest who wishes to remain private. All expenses paid in advance.  All she has to do is ensure that the guest is left alone and not bothered by anyone. 

Sounds simple right?  Not when the guest is drop dead gorgeous and mysterious all at the same time.  Sam brings to her emotions that she hasn’t felt in quite some time.  And when Piper hears the new guest playing music – she is drawn to it and when she sneaks to peak in his window he sees her and loses it – slightly.But Piper apologizes in the sweetest way and even points out that the music was really good.  Which makes Sam quite happy. He realizes he is onto something withthis new music.  But when Piper goes away for two weeks with her grandparents – that lets Faith and Sam all alone at the bed & breakfast and soon sparks begin to fly.

I enjoyed this story from page one.  Sam was slightly obnoxious at first, but hey what rock star isn’t that way sometimes.  But once he was at the bed & breakfast and started to find himself again, I quickly fell for him.  And I wanted more than anything to hear his music.  When he starts to realize how attracted he is to Faith and when he makes thefirst move – my heart skipped a beat.  I couldn’t wait to continue reading to see what was going to happen next.

Faith obviously has had some ups and downs in her adult life.  But she is good mother and doing right by her daughter.  When her husbands parents decide that theywant to start seeing Piper after they haven’t wanted to be bothered with her before, my heart broke for her.  I understood her pain and fear of what these people weretrying to do.  When she finally starts to see how attractive Sam is and realizes that her body betrays her every time he is around, I couldn’t wait for them to get together.

An enjoyable read that was perfect while on summer vacation. Highly recommend as a stand alone or part of the series.

Reviewed by Erin

Copy provided by Publisher

 

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A New Leash on Love by Debbie Burns – Promotion Excerpt & Giveaway

A New Leash on Love by Debbie Burns – Promotion Excerpt & Giveaway

 

A New Leash on Love STARRED review(1)

 

 

Title:A New Leash on Love
Series:Rescue Me #1
Author: Debbie Burns
Pub Date:July 4, 2017

A New Leash on Love

First in a fresh contemporary romance series from award-winning debut author Debbie Burns.

Every heart has a forever home.

Megan Anderson loves the animals at her no-kill shelter. She’ll do anything for them—even go toe-to-toe with a handsome man who’s in way over his head. She’ll help him sort out his troubles, but getting too close to an adorable puppy’s human counterpart? Been there, done that, got burned.

When Craig Williams arrived at the local shelter for help, he didn’t expect a fiery young woman to blaze into his life. But the more time they spend together, the more he realizes it’s not just animals Megan is adept at saving—she could be the one to rescue his heart.

Soon, Craig and Megan find that the magic of unconditional love can do anything…even lead to their forever home.

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NOTE: The review for A New Leash on Love will post on July 4th.

 

excerpt

 

[Craig] stood in Megan’s kitchen, watching her twist a mass of wavy hair up into a knot, leaving lone strands clinging to her neck, and he felt it again. His world was full of women who would be less complicated. Women who wouldn’t tie up his core and make him ache until his lungs seemed to scrape against his ribs.
What was he doing? He’d sworn to himself he’d stay away, but he’d driven here as if on autopilot rather than waiting for another time to give her the silly little present. Being with her was a mistake, even under the pretense of friendship, when he knew she wanted him as much as he wanted her. He’d make a bigger mess of a disaster.

She was unpacking groceries and making small talk he couldn’t process. Pulling out a colander, she filled it with fruit and washed it in the sink. When she turned off the water, she looked his way for the first time since he’d followed her inside carrying her packed-full reusable shopping bags.

“You okay?” She wiped her wet hands on her hips. “You look, I don’t know, confused.” She grinned suddenly and made air quotes as she continued. “Is it your lack of domesticity? Did I blunder by bringing you into my kitchen?”
Craig shook his head, surprised by the laugh that erupted from his chest. “No, you didn’t blunder.”
“Good, because I’m going to let you put together a plate of cheese and fruit while I take a shower. And don’t think that’s anything special because I always shower after I work in the kennels. I hate smelling like bleach and God knows what else.”
He felt his tension easing away as she spoke. He could do this. He could handle being with her. Tonight at least. A salve for wounds so raw he couldn’t ignore them any longer.
Megan pointed to one of the bags. “There’s fresh bread in that one. And crackers in the cupboard if you prefer.” She walked over to a cabinet beside the fridge and made a ta-da gesture as she opened it to reveal a latticed assortment of wines. “You can choose the wine, if there’s any you can stomach. I’m sure you don’t know any of the brands because they’re all under eight bucks a bottle.”
“Funny,” he said, “but most likely true.”
She shrugged, clearly unoffended. “Make yourself at home. I won’t be long.”
Under the watchful gaze of the cat that had scratched him, Craig pulled the rest of the contents from the bags after she left, then searched through cabinets and drawers to find a cutting board, a plate, and a knife.
By the time he’d chosen the wine, opened it, and laid out a decent-looking arrangement of cheese, fruit, and crackers, Megan was back, filling the small room with the scent of shea and lavender. She was dressed in a long-sleeved Henley and lounge pants, her hair still dry but free again. It was full, wavy, and beautiful, and made him want to lose his hands in it.
“Impressive.” She eyed his plate and cocked an eyebrow. “So there’s more to Craig Williams than marketer and entrepreneur extraordinaire.”
“You forgot abandoner of dogs.” He leaned back against the counter, trying not to focus on the small patch of skin between the rim of her shirt and the elastic-waisted pants that would be very easy to slide off.
“I didn’t forget. I’m officially forgiving you for that. And excuse the pants,” she said, noticing the direction of his gaze. “But your little slate came with the call for friendship, and there’s nothing like a pair of look-I’ve-added-ten-pounds cozy pants to meet that call, if you want my opinion. That and they’re comfortable.”
He passed her a glass of the wine. “As long as they’re comfortable.”
“Ha, are they that bad? On second thought, don’t answer that.”
“I won’t, but for the opposite reason of what you’re thinking. After asking for friendship, I don’t want to come across as if I’m hitting on you.”
A blush lit her cheeks as she sipped the wine. “Okay then. So, since you made the first course, I’ll get busy with the pizza. I’ve been told I make a killer pizza. In fact, it’s one of my best dishes.” She gave an exaggerated toss of her hair. “All it takes is one slice to become a true believer.”
Craig refilled his glass, noting the buzz washing over him. A buzz he realized he desperately wanted. Letting the halfway decent Syrah roll across his tongue, he sank to a chair at her table and watched her move about her kitchen with the confidence of someone who not only had committed everything about it to memory, but enjoyed it.
“I didn’t know you liked to cook.”
“You mean in my shoe filled with dogs?” Megan wrinkled her nose at him, remembering a joke he’d made about his thoughts on her home life during his and Sophie’s tour. “I do actually. I love it.”
“What’s your favorite dish?”
“To bake or cook?”
“Is there a difference?”
“A huge one. My favorite thing to bake is an in-season pie from fruit I’ve actually picked. To cook… That’s a hard one. I like to mix it up.”
“I’m sold on the pie.” He ran his fingertips over the smooth top of her table. “Let me know if I can help with anything.”
“You’re good for a bit. I’m going to teach you how to toss a crust. Everyone should learn to toss a crust.”
Craig chuckled. “Like they do in Italian kitchens? Don’t tell me some of those Europeans you mentioned at the coffee shop were Italian. You don’t look it.”
“I’m like an eighth or something. My dad worked his way through college in a pizzeria. I think I could toss a crust before my training wheels were off.”
He sank back in his chair and shook his head. Maybe it was the wine. Maybe it was her. Most likely it was her.
The cuts and scrapes and bruises that filled his insides had fallen silent for the first time in a long while. Finishing off his wine, he savored the peace washing over him.




About the Author

Debbie Burns
Debbie Burn resides in St. Louis, Missouri. Shelter is her first contemporary romance and has finaled in multiple contests. Her writing commendations include first place awards for short stories, flash fiction, and longer selections from the Missouri RWA and the Missouri Writers’ Guild.

You can find her on Twitter  and at debbiecausevic.com.

 

Giveaway

Debbie’s publisher is offering a paper copy of A NEW LEASH ON LOVE to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

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The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon – a Review

The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon – a Review

 

The Confusion of LanguagesAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
Both Cassie Hugo and Margaret Brickshaw dutifully followed their soldier husbands to the U.S. embassy in Jordan, but that’s about all the women have in common. After two years, Cassie’s become an expert on the rules, but newly arrived Margaret sees only her chance to explore. So when a fender-bender sends Margaret to the local police station, Cassie reluctantly agrees to watch Margaret’s toddler son. But as the hours pass, Cassie’s boredom and frustration turn to fear: Why isn’t Margaret answering her phone, and why is it taking so long to sort out a routine accident? Snooping around Margaret’s apartment, Cassie begins to question not only her friend’s whereabouts but also her own role in Margaret’s disappearance.

Written with emotional insight and stunning prose, The Confusion of Languages is a shattering portrait of a collision between two women and two worlds, as well as a poignant glimpse into the private lives of American military families living overseas.

 

Review:

The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon is a story about two military families, centering on two wives, living overseas in the Middle East (Jordan); the time is around 2011, when Osama Bin Laden was killed.  The two women are Cassie Hugo and Margaret Brickshaw.  Cassie and her husband Dan, are considered veterans living in the US Embassy for about two years.  When Margaret arrives in Jordan with her husband, Crick, Cassie will try to help her get acclimated to this way of life.  The two women are complete opposites, with Cassie, a stickler for following the rules and Margaret, a rule breaker talking to everyone, even those she should not be mingling with.  The other detail is that Margaret has a young son, Mather, and Cassie, who wants desperately to have children, is childless.

When their husbands are sent to Rome on an assignment, they tell Cassie to keep an eye on Margaret.  When there is a vendor bender accident, Margaret goes to report her accident to the police, while Cassie stays back to watch Mather.  As the hours pass, and Margaret has not returned, Cassie becomes worried, and contacts Crick to have the embassy find her.   While waiting, she comes across Margaret’s diary and we learn more about her life, as well as what Margaret has been doing during her stay in Jordan.  Margaret, being her careless self, will befriend some Jordanian people, which will cause problems for all, as the Jordanian rules do not allow for this. 

What follows is an interesting and somewhat complex storyline of two women so different, yet thrown together in a dangerous and different environment.  The two main protagonists, Cassie & Margaret were to me not really likable.  Cassie, being lonely and taught to follow rules came across as sarcastic at times.  Margaret was a bit too flighty and not responsible.  There were some surprises and twists along the way, which did help the story line.

The Confusion of Languages was a different type of read for me.  I thought it was interesting, but not sure I would read this type of book again.   Though I will say that the writing of Siobhan Fallon was very well done, and I did read that she has experienced military life abroad.  If you enjoy these types of stories, you can’t go wrong with this book, especially so well written by Fallon.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

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The Child by Fiona Barton – Review & Tour

The Child by Fiona Barton – Review & Tour

 

The ChildAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…

 

 

Review:

The Child by Fiona Barton is a psychological thriller.   I have read quite of few psychological thrillers this year, with many of them simply ok reads, with the authors using the same multi character POV’s, which can get confusing.  The Child started off a bit slow and somewhat confusing with multiple POV’s and I thought “here we go again”.  But things changed about a ¼ into the story, when it caught hold of me, and I could not let go; that being said, I loved The Child.

The story revolves around the discovery of a baby’s skeleton on a construction site of a torn down building.  Kate Waters, an investigative reporter, sees the notice about the finding of the “Building Site Baby” and decides to do some investigating.  The POV’s of this story are Kate; Emma and Angela, with a 4th, Jude, having an occasional narration. 

As Kate does her investigation, she will indirectly become involved with the other two ladies.  Angela gave birth to a girl over 20 years ago, only to have her child stolen out of the hospital room.  Angela and her husband Nick, have been living a nightmare all these years, especially in the beginning when Angela was an initial suspect. Emma is young lady who is emotionally disturbed, which was caused by nightmares from her harsh childhood.  Emma used to live with her mother, Jude, near the site where the baby was found.    

Kate is in the center of this novel, as she makes discoveries along the way that will bring her into contact with various people, including those who lived near the site all those years before.  When the body has been identified as having been buried for decades, Kate will find herself researching missing children from that time period.  This will bring her to Angela and her missing baby, Alice.  When DNA confirms the child is Alice, both Angela and Nick feel they finally have closure.  Then a strange turn of events will open the door for further investigation, as the lab informs the authorities that the things wrapped around the burial of the body was only 10 years old.  Was the baby’s body moved? Will Angela get closure?

The story becomes exciting & intense as Kate’s in depth investigation will come across more secrets along the way.  Emma’s emotional stability plays a major part of the ongoing story, which will introduce us to many of the other characters we get to meet, all whom were living near the site a decade earlier.  I loved the character of Kate, who was an awesome and caring reporter.  Her persistence and determination will help bring out the truths.

Once we get past the first quarter, which leads the way into meeting the main characters, it was such a captivating story.  I could not put the book down, as I needed to know what happened. What a tangled web it weaves.  To tell too much more would be spoilers.

The Child was an awesome thriller, with some great characters, and many amazing twists.  Fiona Barton has written a fantastic story, and I loved how things came to a very good and satisfactory conclusion.  Certainly not like most the psychological thrillers we have read that leave things to the imagination.  If you enjoy thrillers, The Child is a must read.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

THE CHILD by Fiona Barton

*One of Publishers Weekly and Bustle’s Most Anticipated Books of 2017*

*A TIME “Top 10” Summer Thriller*

*Pre-publication exclusives featured by Entertainment Weekly and theSkimm*

*Praise from Lee Child, Shari Lapena, and Clare Mackintosh *

*Starred Reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal*

*A June 2017 Library Reads Selection*

 

Fiona Barton credit Jenny LewisThis summer FIONA BARTON is back with a second novel that proves lightning can strike twice.

Barton’s 2016 debut, The Widow, was an instant global bestseller, captivating readers around the world and setting the publishing industry abuzz.

The highly-anticipated release of THE CHILD (Berkley Hardcover; June 27, 2017) reaffirms Barton’s growing reputation as a writer of rich, character-driven suspense novels. Like Tana French, Louise Penny, and Megan Abbott, Barton’s stories do more than thrill: they explore the complexities of a changing world.

The Widow delved into the secrets that exist within a marriage and the reporter’s role as voyeur. Here Barton continues to mine those themes. THE CHILD tackles the 24/7 news cycle, and lays bare the intricacies of a different but equally fascinating relationship—mother and child.

Says Barton: “The emotions, responsibilities—and the pain—of motherhood are unique to each of us with children. Ask any woman and she will have her own story to tell.”

In a working class neighborhood of London, construction workers make a grisly discovery: the long-buried remains of a baby. When a newspaper mention reveals the find, most readers barely give it a glance. But for two women, its threat to unearth hidden stories is impossible to ignore. For veteran reporter, Kate Waters (introduced in The Widow), it sparks the question “Who would bury a baby?” and starts a hunt for the truth about the nameless child. The story unfolds via the women’s alternating perspectives to eventually reveal: Who is Building Site Baby?

In fact, it was the allure of a hidden story that propelled Barton to her long-time career in news. A journalist and British Press Awards “Reporter of the Year,” she has worked at the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph, and brings that experience to bear in her novels.

In THE CHILD she details how Kate’s lengthy investigation into Building Site Baby’s death represents a perilous breach of the newsroom’s new culture of 24/7 online news. Says Barton: “The danger for Kate is that she risks becoming one of the dinosaurs—sidelined because she is unable and unwilling to be part of the revolution. And I feel for her.”

Though THE CHILD delivers an evocative look at the changing face of journalism, and a delicious plot twist, it is the characters’ haunting and rich emotional lives that set Barton apart and confirm her stature as a crime novelist of the first order.

Visit Fiona Barton online at fionabartonauthor.com and on Twitter @figbarton. Join the conversation using #TheChild.

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Make Me Stay (Panic #2) by Sidney Halston-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

MAKE ME STAY ( Panic #2) by Sidney Halston -Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

Make Me Stay Banner

MAKE ME STAY
Panic #2
by Sidney Halston
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance

Make Me Stay

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date June 27, 2017

April: Walking away from Matt Moreno was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Lying to him was a close second, but for his safety, I had no other choice. I was undercover, working to put some nasty people behind bars. But when Matt nearly recognizes me on Lincoln Road a year later, all those very real feelings come rushing back. Now that my assignment’s almost over, will he understand why I lied? Why I had to leave? Most important, can he ever forgive me?

Matt: I was madly in love with June Simpson . . . or, at least, with the woman I thought was June. Then she just disappeared while my family’s nightclub went through hell. And after months of searching, when I think I’ve finally found that sexy, raspy voice and those exquisite blue eyes, she slips away once more. Turns out, “June” is actually Detective April White. She’s been playing me the whole time. And she’s about to rock my world all over again.

•••••••••

REVIEW: MAKE ME STAY is the second installment in Sidney Halston’s contemporary, adult PANIC erotic, romance series focusing on the men and women of the Miami nightclub Panic. This is nightclub co-owner Matt Moreno, and undercover police detective April White’s story line. MAKE ME STAY can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary. Some of the events of MAKE ME STAY run parallel and cross over with the events of book one PULL ME CLOSE.

Told from dual first person points of view (Matt and April/June) and divided into two parts (the present and the past) MAKE ME STAY follows two paths: eighteen months earlier Matt Moreno fell in love with ‘pharmaceutical rep’ June Simpson only to be blindsided when the woman he loved disappeared five months later without a trace. Not only did June disappear but Matt, his brother Nick and their father Victor found themselves on the receiving end of a police investigation that resulted in the imprisonment of Victor Moreno, and Matt spiraling out of control. Fast forward to present day wherein Matt believes he has found June Simpson only to discover that June is an undercover detective known as April White, and April was part of the investigation that landed his father in prison for the rest of his life. What ensues is the breakdown of a relationship and friendship, that will be given a second chance when April finds herself the victim of a near-fatal assault that leaves her without any memories of the past or her relationship with Matt Moreno.

The relationship between Matt and April is one of second chances but Matt’s hatred and anger towards April is caustic and unforgiving. April was only doing her job but Matt’s inability to forgive April finds our heroine looking towards a future without the man that she loves. The $ex scenes are intimate, erotic, and intense.

Nick Moreno and Katherine (Katie) Wilson (Pull Me Close #1) play secondary and supporting roles, as well as April’s partner Detective Dean Scott, Panic bartender Lola, head of security (bouncer) Fox, and Matt’s friends David and Geo. There is a developing story line between Fox and Lola, one I am hoping will be revealed in the next installment-KISS ME BACK.

MAKE ME STAY is a story of second chances; a rekindling romance that was predicated on a lie that all but destroyed our story line hero. The premise is entertaining, sexy and intoxicating; the romance is sensual and provocative; the characters are colorful, dynamic and spirited. The conflict resolution felt a little rushed-for all of the hatred and vitriol spewed by the leading character, his about face was rather abrupt under the circumstances. MAKE ME STAY is an energetic story about two people torn apart by secrets and lies, and brought together by circumstance and tragedy.

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of book one -PULL ME CLOSE

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

Make Me Stay teaser

 

Excerpt

NOTE: Excerpt contains mature, adult content and may not be suitable for all readers

“Slide over, will ya? I need to order a drink.” He sounds as if he’s already had enough drinks and doesn’t need another one. I’m about to tell the guy where he can stick his drink when I see her reach into her purse and pull out her phone. I’m mesmerized. What is she doing? The jerk is staring at her, waiting for her to move, but she’s reading a text instead, completely ignoring him.
But then the man makes the wrong decision. He grabs her elbow and pulls her up from the stool.
“Hey! Get your hands off me!” she shrieks. Her eyes, a piercing light blue that’s almost translucent, glare at the man.
“Is everything okay?” I ask loudly, to be heard over the music.
“Miller Lite,” the guy has the fucking nerve to call out.
But she speaks over him. “No. Everything’s not okay. This guy grabbed me.”
“Calm down, honey. You’ve been sitting here all night. Some of us need room.”
“Well, you could say ‘excuse me.’”
“And you can move your fat ass,” he spits back. “It’s not like you need any more drinks.” At that, her mouth opens wide and she gasps. From what I can see there is nothing fat about this woman, but even if there was, the guy’s totally out of line. With both palms on the bar I lean forward and get in the man’s face. “Outta my bar—” But I don’t have a chance to finish before she lifts her glass, stands up, and slowly and deliberately pours the entire drink over the guy’s head, olives and all.
Swear to God—swear to fucking God—all the lights, the music, and the people dancing come to a screeching halt as she slams her empty glass on the table and calmly sits back down. “Another martini, please,” she says sweetly, batting her lashes.
Fucking spectacular.
I think I might be in love.

About the author

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Sidney_HalstonUSA Today bestselling author, Sidney Halston lives her life with one simple rule: “Just Do It”–Nike. And that’s exactly what she did.

After working hard as an attorney, Sidney picked up a pen for the first time at thirty years old to begin her dream of writing. Having never written anything other than very exciting legal briefs, she found an outlet for her imaginative, romantic side and wrote Seeing Red. That first pen stroke sealed the deal, and she fell in love with writing. Sidney lives in South Florida with her husband and children. She loves her family above all else, and reading follows a close second. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading and reading and reading. She’s a reader first and a writer second. When she’s not writing or reading, her life is complete and utter chaos, trying to balance family life with work and writing (and reading). But she wouldn’t have it any other way.

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