The Deepest Well- Juliette Cross

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Re-releasing today for .99! This book is a prequel to the upcoming Dominion series from Juliette Cross which also takes place in the same world she introduced in the Vessel series (starts with Forged in Fire). You can read this as a stand-alone or read the Vessel series first. The benefit of starting with the Vessel series is that you know the outcome, so seeing how the characters get to the outcome you already know is lots of fun. That being said, you will be able to follow completely if you are new to this world of angels and demons.

The Story-
Lady Katherine is going through the motions of her life. When she meets a handsome stranger on the same night that she realizes what a sham her marriage is, her life changes forever.

My Thoughts-
Y’all, this goes dark. It is not fun and flirty. The characters go through hell before they can find their HEA, but that makes it even more satisfying when they do. This is such a beautiful journey, and Cross will rip your heart out along the way. I love everything about this book. I can almost guarantee that it won’t be what you expect: it is so much more. Cross’s prose is beautiful with wonderful imagery and lovingly-crafted characters that you immediately connect with.

The Bottom Line-
This book is paranormal historical, perfect for fans of Karen Marie Moning, Bec Mc Master or high-concept dark romance. An RT top pick, this is an excellent book that didn’t have the release it deserved because of Samhain Publishing’s collapse. This is such a great opportunity for new readers to discover an amazing author and two fabulous series. 5 stars

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The Importance of Being Scandalous – Kimberly Bell


​I have previously read Kimberly Bell and was pleasantly surprised by her shockingly forward heroine in “A Dangerous Damsel”. Well, Bell has surpassed herself in this new historical in every way, and I am giddy with excitement to see this author burst onto the scene with such a strong offering. 

The Story-
Nicholas is home from sowing his wild oats, trying to forget about the “unsuitable” girl next door to whom he has written daily letters for most of his life. Sigh. And now she is engaged. Add to his troubles a declining father, his own “misplaced” ambition, and an unclear path for his life. Amelia’s life has mostly been dictated by her sister’s unfortunate birth defect due to society’s backward notions. When a legit suitor proposes marriage, it appears to be her best option until her best friend comes back into her life. And the “legit suitor” shows his true colors. Now she has to see exactly what kind of scandal it will take to be free of the engagement.

My Thoughts-
Just like my first Bell book, I LOVED the females. These sisters’ interactions remind me of me and my sister, and I loved their wit and sarcasm. Nicholas and Jasper are excellent foils for the girls (JASPER! Swoon). Somehow, Bell has created truly fresh characters in a familiar setting with these four. Even the secondary characters are wonderful: Jasper’s sister, Amelia’s father, the list goes on. The plot caught me from the beginning, and at a certain point, I was not putting the book down until I was done. Just couldn’t stop reading.   The “how to lose a guy” trope felt fresh as it was approached in a completely new way, and the sexy scenes are both hot as fire and sweet and sigh-worthy.

The Bottom Line-
This is an excellent historical that is going to win many fans for Ms. Bell. I can’t wait to read book two and wish that there were more in the series. 5 stars!

The Wicked Heir- Elizabeth Michels

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The Spare Heirs… I just love this concept. This was my first book in the series, but now I want to go back and read them all. It’s such a great idea to focus on those second sons who won’t inherit, but have no jobs or “meaning” in life. Although, I can’t imagine a much better spare heir than Fallon St. James, and I fear the others will pale in comparison.

The Story-
Isabelle is a romantic. She keeps a diary, loves to read romance, and reminded me of the heroine from Northanger Abbey. Since she daydreams her fantasies, of course her ideal man is tall and blonde with worldly interests and charisma. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to realize she is alive, but when his best friend, Fallon St. James, notices her light stalking (like all teenage girls do), they become unlikely friends. There’s a mystery, friends-to-lovers, and other fun stuff that I don’t want to spoil.

My Thoughts-
I could see how someone could become annoyed with the heroine, but I felt such a kinship with her that I forgave her naivete. As for the hero, he was one of my absolute faves of recent reads. The plot is wonderfully captivating, and the characters are well-developed. My mystery feels more high stakes than most in Regency romances with a truly evil bad guy.

The Bottom Line-
If you read Regency, this series is a must, and I suspect that this is one of the best heroes in this series. A very fast read that will have you smiling and sighing. I can’t wait to read about another “Spare Heir” (hopefully Lord Brice). 5 stars

My Hellion, My Heart- Amalie Howard and Angie Morgan

This is the third book in Howard and Morgan’s “Lords of Essex” series. I read and reviewed the first book “My Rogue, My Ruin” and really enjoyed it, but I liked this one even better. Don’t worry: you don’t need to have read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one.

The Story-

Princess Irina is in her third season, and is expected to make a match, but none of her suitors can match up to the man who has always been lurking in the back of her mind, her former guardian Henry. Henry is a different man since the war; he sees himself as unfit for anyone, but he is continually drawn to the one woman he has always considered off limits.

My Thoughts-

I loved Irina in particular. This heroine can keep up with men in all areas, protects herself, and has the wit to match. She is a whisky-drinking, knife-toting, sassy gal, and I wanted to be her friend. Henry, while playing the part of handsome, brooding guy, was sexy and swoon-worthy, but I felt he was somewhat too closed up for too long. Not sure I’d have waited for him if I was Irina. The only other niggle I had was who turned out to be the bad guy. I won’t say more because it would be a spoiler, but I was disappointed. That being said, I loved the plot and characters, and found it cohesive and compelling.

The Bottom Line-

This is an improvement upon an already wonderful series with refreshingly different Regency characters, especially the heroine. I am looking forward to what comes next from Howard and Morgan, and will happily read whatever they write. 4 1/2 stars!

Scandalous Ever After- Theresa Romain

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This was my first book by Theresa Romain, and I was pleasantly surprised at her different take on historical romance. With a great friends-to-lovers trope, a delicious hero, and different settings than most historicals, this one is definitely worth checking out.

The Story-
Evan and Kate are old friends whose relationship ended at the sudden death of her husband a few years ago. Kate has been struggling to put the pieces of her life back together, and Evan has been desperately trying to move forward…and forget about his feelings for Kate. When she seeks him out, they have to figure out who they are to each other now.

My Thoughts-
I loved how different this book was from all of the cookie-cutter historical romances I (admittedly) love to read. First, the backdrops of the horse racing and Anglesey in Wales provided interesting interactions for the characters. Secondly, I have never been a horse person, but I really enjoyed reading about the horses in this book. It’s obvious that the author loves them and can transmit that appeal to the reader. Don’t get me wrong: this book isn’t all about horses or anything, it just effortlessly connects them to the story through the couple’s affinity for them. Lastly, I thought the grown-up approach to this romance was refreshing. These are two adults who have figured some things out and can move forward with eyes wide open.
The best thing about this book, however, is the hero. I loved Evan so much that at some points, I disliked the heroine based on her idiocity with regards to him. Hello!?! Here is a hot, amazing guy who adores you. There was also a bit of a disjointedness with the plot once they got to Ireland and started a murder investigation. It almost felt like two separate books.

The Bottom Line-
The overarching mystery which continues from this book, while interesting, has me less intrigued to come back to the series than Romain’s character development and welcome take on historical romance. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and highly recommend it, especially to fans of horses and well-developed characters and relationships (not instalove). 4 stars

“The Red Lily” Blog Tour and Review- Juliette Cross

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Review- 5 Stars

This is the second book in the Vampire Blood series by Juliette Cross, which is an imaginative spin on fairytales with the best vampire mythology I’ve read in years. Book 1 was a Cinderella retelling setting the scene for a peasant rebellion against the vampire monarchy. This one is Red Riding Hood like you never imagined with the sexy Alpha vampire of your dreams. (Think Eric from True Blood with a tad more smolder and less sarcasm) It continues the story brilliantly and raises the stakes (haha) in ways that you can’t imagine.

The Story-
Sienna has never strayed far from the Sylvane Forest; she finds comfort in her mystical surroundings and the giant hart wolves that protect her. Now, she must venture out to help build a following for the rebellion that is the only hope for the kingdom. Nikolai is risking everything to join the rebellion, but this assignment is putting his heart in danger for the first time.

My Thoughts-
My favorite vampires are the ones that are a little bad, a little snarky and a LOT sexy: Eric from True Blood, Damon from Vampire Diaries, Spike from Buffy. Nikolai is all the smolder and the sexy of those guys without the psychopathic killer thing. The best thing about him, though, is how all-in he is with Sienna. He is completely drawn to her innocence, her kindness, her everything. Their journey is all the feels. This book raises the heat level from book 1 in the series with some super sexy times. And WARNING: Cross will rip your heart out and stomp on it a bit.

The Bottom Line-
Cross does a great job of deepening the rich mythology of this world without overwhelming you with backstory. You should read the first book in this series, but Nik and Sienna’s story is compelling on its own. The series progresses in a major way with this book, and you will be so ready for the next book when you finish. It’s not a cliff-hanger; it just heats the story up in a way that captivates and makes you want to immerse yourself in this world to learn all its secrets. If you like fairytales, paranormal, alpha vampire heroes, and/or bad-ass heroines, you should totally read this book and series. 5 stars

Enter Juliette’s Giveaway for a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

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The Red Lily by Juliette Cross

Release Date: 6/19/17

Genre: Paranormal Romance

About The Red Lily:

When Red falls for the Big Bad Wolf…

The Black Lily resistance needs a larger army if they are to defeat the vampire monarchy. In order to do so, former lieutenant and traitor to the vampire Crown, Nikolai must seek help from the red-hooded temptress he needs to avoid at all costs. The secret he carries could prove dangerous for her if she gets too close…even though keeping her close—very close—is the only thing on his mind.

Sienna will do anything for the Black Lily, and when Nikolai asks for her assistance to gain the trust of the commonwealth, it’s the last thing she wants to do. The thought of leaving her woods and her wolves behind is terrifying…not to mention the danger being with Nikolai poses.

Get Your Copy Today!

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About Juliette Cross:

Juliette lives in lush, moss-laden Louisiana where she lives with her husband, four kids, and black lab, Kona.

Multi-published author of paranormal and urban fantasy romance, she loves reading and writing brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes.

From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance. Even then, she not only longed to read more novels set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.

Connect with Juliette:

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Claim and Protect- Rhenna Morgan

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The main reason I am not the biggest fan of contemporaries is because real life creeps in, and I read for escape. Well, somehow Morgan has won me over to her style of contemporary romance by making the men so amazing, you wish you met them in real life. Book 3 of The Haven Brotherhood not only holds up the crazy high bar set by the first two in the series, but even surpasses the previous ones. The reason? This hero, y’all.

The Story-
Trevor runs a bar, and when his new employee, Natalie, runs into some trouble with her ex, his protective instinct kicks in.

My Thoughts-
Normally, I’m not a huge fan of divorce politics in my romance, but this ex is so yuck, and Trevor is so yum that I thoroughly enjoyed the story. And all the stuff with her little boy and Trevor…swoon. Trevor is just the perfect southern gentleman cowboy with all kinds of sexiness and Alpha simmering under the surface. Natalie is extremely sympathetic and likable, and it is so nice to see her get her happy ending. Can we talk about the sex? OMG. I honestly don’t know how Ms. Morgan does it. Actually, Rhenna, I feel like we should be on a first name basis after reading your sexy scenes. Rhenna, how do you come up with new ways to raise the heat level without ever crossing the line into uncomfortable territory?

The Bottom Line-
Read this book. Read the whole series. These are IMO the best contemporary romance books out there right now, and I believe they will be winning some awards. 5 stars

Review and Blog Tour: Positively Pippa- Sarah Hegger

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Review
When I was in my twenties, I went through a phase where I loved the sweet Harlequin American Romance series and books by Debbie Macomber. But as I got in to my thirties, I abandoned those romances for something a little steamier. I’ve tried to go back to the sweet contemporary a few times, but each time I feel kind of let down by the lack of passion. “Positively Pippa” was the perfect remedy.
Story-
Pippa has just lost her fancy Hollywood television job because of some bad editing on behalf of her jerk ex-boyfriend. No one in Hollywood will stand up for her and tell the truth, so she heads home to Ghost Falls to lick her wounds.  When Pippa left Ghost Falls all those years ago, Matt stayed to take care of his family after tragedy struck. Now that Pippa is back, both need to reevaluate where their lives are headed.
My Thoughts-
I know this sounds like a typical “coming-home” romance, but it is really so much more than that. Even though Pippa seems likes exactly the kind of person I would not like, I totally got her and her motivations and found myself rooting for her hard. Matt is amazing, but he too, became more real as the book went on, and I liked him even more once we saw his weaknesses.  The secondary characters truly bring this novel to another level; I had a completely clear picture of Ghost Falls and the people we were dealing with. I can’t wait to get to know some of them even better in future books. The other thing I want to mention is the heat… These two have great chemistry and this book has some very nice sexy moments.
Bottom Line-
This book went very fast for me; so much so, that I stayed up late reading one night which almost never happens for me and contemporaries. The characters really drew me in, and I really enjoyed it. I think this would make a great movie; it’s a little steamy for Hallmark, but Lifetime or Passionflix would totally work. I would love to see Philomene on screen. This is the perfect blend of sweet, home-town romance and sexy times. 5 stars!

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“Note From Sarah: Thank you for stopping by the Positively Pippa Blog Tour. There’s a lot of goodies up for grabs I want to let you know about. I hope you’ll join me on release day for a very special Facebook Party where fellow author Kristi Rose and I will be giving away a $400 gift card to Stitch Fix! Everyone who signs up for my newsletter right now is also entered to win one of a kind, custom made adornments from local Colorado designer SimaG Jewelry. Finally, to celebrate Pippa on this blog tour, I’m giving away some things she would love – a planner, Ulta Beauty Gift Cards and, of course, books!”
 
Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway Below – One Grand Prize Winner will receive a $150 Gift Card to Ulta + the Pippa’s Favorites Bundle (Planner, Pen and Pouch) and a book, two more winners will receive a $100 and $50 Ulta Beauty Gift Card as well as a book each and 5 winners will get a copy of Positively Pippa!
Gift cards and Bundle are only open to US Residents only, international entrants are eligible to win a Positively Pippa e-book. 

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Pippa Blog Tour Giveaway (1)

New Author Live Blog and Review “Slave to Sensation” Nalini Singh

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This is the first post in a new series where I try an author who is new to me. As a paranormal fan, I feel like my knowledge is lacking, having not read Nalini Singh. A few months ago, I bought “Slave to Sensation” with plans to read it soon, but it has sat on my Kindle unread, partially due to the cover.

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For some reason, this screams ’80’s to me or at least early 90’s. The eyes, the stance, all of it is cheesy and repels me from this book. At least the British covers (above), while somewhat boring, aren’t “Teen Wolf” like this one. I mean, doesn’t this scream “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Wolf Man”?

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Still, over and over all I hear is how wonderful Nalini Singh and the Psy-Changeling Series is.  So, here I go giving it a chance and hopefully getting hooked. I like paranormal, so this should be a slam dunk. I love different worlds and how paranormal worlds transport me to a place where my daily worries don’t exist.

How this works:

I will live blog as I read this book, noting my reactions along the way.  There will likely be spoilers, but I will endeavor to not spoil big surprises that would ruin the book for future readers. Much like Goodreads, I will note the percentage  or chapter I have reached with each reaction. I hope you enjoy, and I look forward to your comments along the way! Here we go!

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1 Chapter in….

I’m interested in the heroine and what this whole “psy” business means. She switched pov in the middle of the chapter with no warning, which was interesting. I’m gonna read more, but it wasn’t the hookiest first chapter I’ve read. Lots of questions….

3 Chapters in…

Singh is brilliantly building a case for her heroine. I have to know what is going on with her; the mystery is wonderful. She is also gradually introducing me to the dichotomy of the changeling world vs. the psy one. Of course, we are meant to identify with the changelings since they are closer to humans. Nice build of sensuality with a simple hair stroke. Yeah, I’m getting hooked…

5 Chapters down…

Brava, Ms. Singh, brava! Sex dreams are my fave, and you turned it on its “head”.  So to speak… 😉 THIS is how you build sexual tension. Sigh.

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61%

Whew! This is going fast. I’ll admit: I got drawn in and couldn’t put it down. It’s so interesting how Singh builds her world through mystery. We find out new things about the world as the characters do, and the rest is assumed knowledge, which is still meted out piece by piece. It’s so interesting how she treats her paranormal characters. I can’t quite place it, but even though they are paranormal, that isn’t what drives the character. Like, sometimes I feel when I read a paranormal, the author is so intent on building that world around that type of creature that everything is about that, whatever it is: vampire, werewolf, something I’ve never heard of, whatever.  Any feelings they have are secondary to that paranormal drive. (the beast within, the lure of blood, etc.) Singh’s characters feel more real to me because their paranormal natures almost serve to illuminate human characteristics and failings that we all deal with.

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Also, there is so much tension and danger throughout that the pace just flies because I am constantly intrigued by what will be discovered next. Yes, I am liking this book quite a lot. More to come!

Finished!

This was the perfect paranormal to get me out of my recent reading funk. Although it got a little much for me toward the end with finding the bad guy etc., I loved this paranormal world and Nalini Singh’s writing. She is the master of building heat and suspense while still stringing you along until she’s ready to let loose. And boy, does she ever let loose! I am so glad I finally read this one, silly cover and all, and I will be delving deeper into the Psy-Changling World soon. 5 stars!

How to Lose a Highlander- Michelle McLean

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This one was an easy read. Light on sexy-times, but still fun. I love Highlander books, so you know I was ready for this one.

The Story-
The Campbells and the MacGregors have hated each other for a long time. Both happen to be visiting the King to ask him to help with the feud, and his solution is for the Campbell daughter to marry the MacGregor laird. Of course it is. Even though these two had a meet-cute at the ball the night before in which they could barely keep their hands off each other, now that they know who the other is, they hate each other and want to drive the other to annul the marriage. Which leads to a fairly quick and predictable plot about how they eventually come together.

My Thoughts-
I liked the hero better than the heroine, but neither character was super developed. Luckily, the plot clicked right along and I was never bored even though I knew where this story was headed. I wish there had been more sexual tension because there was so much that could have been built upon from the initial meeting. That sort of thing doesn’t just disappear overnight, and I think the love/hate would have been more interesting. When the sexy times did come, I felt like they were slightly brief considering how long we had to wait to get there.

Bottom Line-
If you like Highlander books, this one will not disappoint. It is a fun, quick romp that will keep your interest. 3 1/2 stars