October 10, 2017

RELEASE DAY REVIEW: Sure Thing


Sure Thing, by Jana Aston
Publish Date:
October 10, 2017
Publisher: Rutherford Press
Format: e-ARC, provided by the author
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4.5 STARS


(Synopsis) Have you ever set out to have a one night stand with a sexy stranger? 
No? I’m the only one?Just kidding, I would never.
Ever. Not usually.

But then I figured, why not? My entire life I’ve been good and it’s gotten me nowhere. No job.
No apartment.
No boyfriend.

I’m owed a little fun, aren’t I? A reward for being good.Sure, a new pair of shoes would be more appropriate, but Mr. Sexy Stranger is more appealing. And when he speaks—in that British accent—it’s a done deal. Every American woman has a hot British guy fantasy. Well, most do. I haven't taken a poll or anything, but I’m pretty sure it’s a fact.

Except…
You know that saying about best-laid plans?
Good, because I don’t either, but I assume they go awry.Like my one night stand…

I've read everything Jana Aston has put out there, and if I've learned one thing about her, it's that she's got the cute awkward girl down PAT. But, she's also nailed the hot, rich, confident guy who gets to bring her out of her shell, so that's a win for all of us. 

Jana has written a lot of awkward girls, but I think Violet might win the prize. She's a girl who has a great degree and a good job until the day she was downsized. Now she has nothing but the love and couch of her extroverted twin sister Daisy. In a very grownup version of the twin switch, Violet takes Daisy's place as a tour guide on a week-long bus tour... and discovers her one-night stand who was supposed to remain a ONE NIGHT stand is one of her charges. 

And cue the awkward. 

And trust me - there's a ton of awkward. Which makes for a completely and utterly enjoyable read for me. Sadly, Violet's pain is definitely my gain. She tries so hard to keep Jennings at arms length, but the sexual tension between them is very real. She's kinda stuck in a big lie with this guy that she really likes, but doesn't want to like, and she can't escape for a week. 

Jennings is fascinated by this girl with secrets. She's strange and awkward and pretty and he had the most amazing night of his life with her. Now he just has to convince her that maybe he doesn't have to be a one-night stand. He's very persuasive, too. I mean, all he has to do is open his mouth and say anything. Violet has a thing for British accents (don't we all?). 

If you like rom-coms, you need to pick up Sure Thing. Violet's love of all things British and her efforts at using quintessential British words and phrases (which backfire almost always) are hilarious. The "com" is definitely there, but so is the "rom." Jennings and Violet are great together. They're complete opposites in so many ways, but their sexy times is off the charts hot and the affection that grows between them with each chapter will make you swoon. 

I'm hoping Jana will write a book about Daisy now, because this sister also has some secrets that I assumed we would discover in Sure Thing. We didn't, however, so now I want to know where Daisy was while Violet was leading her tour. Hopefully that story is coming up sooner rather than later. 

September 28, 2017

BLOG TOUR REVIEW, EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: Mine For The Week (Wild Love #2)




Mine For the Week (Wild Love #2), by Erika Kelly
Publish Date:
October 3, 2017
Publisher: self-published
Format: e-ARC, provided by the author and Inkslinger PR
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS


(Synopsis) From the award-winning author of MINE FOR NOW comes the next sizzling story in her Wild Love series, about a chance meeting that changes the course of two people’s lives.

As the top collegiate shortstop in the country, Ryan O’Donnell’s life is about discipline. But a growing restlessness causes him to bail on his baseball team over spring break to join his buddies at a singles resort. He just needs one week to escape his life, and then he’ll get back on track. But moments after arriving he meets HER, and the world as he knows it changes irrevocably. It should only be a hookup—that’s what spring break’s all about—but one taste of this sexy, vibrant woman isn’t enough. He has to have her. Even if it’s only for a week.

Sophie Valentine—yes, that Valentine—just found out her siblings want to sell off Crazy Hearts—the Peeps of the Valentine’s Day world. Upset, she takes off with her friends on their spring break vacation. She only wanted an escape—she never imagined meeting HIM. But he’s about to start a Major League Baseball career, and she’s launching a fight for her family legacy. They have no future. It’s just…she’s never felt this way for anyone before.

Are they really going to walk away from this kind of connection…this passion?

I feel like I've been waiting forever for the second book in Erika Kelly's Wild Love series, and I'm so glad it's finally here. Ryan was the strong, silent type in book 1, so it was great to get a glimpse inside his head to see why. 

Ryan and Sophie found each other at the perfect moment in their lives. They were both under extreme amounts of pressure and needed a break from it badly. Sophie's siblings are pressuring her to sell off a part of her family's company, and she can't bring herself to agree with that decision. Ryan is on the cusp of baseball greatness and he's just not sure if it's absolutely what he wants to do with the next 10 years of his life, despite being strongly encouraged to stay the course by everyone in his life.

These two meet while on spring break in a tropical location and sparks fly. But, it's a bad time for a new relationship for both of them, and neither of them are the casual hook-up type. Despite that, they have a hard time staying away from each other. And Ryan and Sophie have great chemistry when their lives weren't invading their vacation time, so I was all for them giving in to their baser urges. 

Unlike in most books, these two were prone to talk a lot. There was a lot of communicating going on - at times, it almost felt like too much. Or, rather, I think my problem was with the fact that their conversations were repeated several times with several people. Sophie calls her older sister three or four times, and every single time Sophie tells her she doesn't want to sell part of their family's company. Her sister proceeds to treat Sophie like crap while blaming it on being tired because of just having a baby. Nothing gets resolved.

Sophie repeatedly tells Ryan he has to stop bottling up his thoughts and feelings. He needs to stop being so agreeable and do what he wants. Believe me - it was good advice, even though every time she told him, he humored her for a while, and then blew her off. And Ryan has several convos with both his dad and his coach where they ask him to come home, and he tells them no. Ryan didn't seem to know what he wanted, but he kept calling them to tell them as much.

The times when Ryan and Sophie weren't talking were some of my favorites. They really were great together. And when they weren't internalizing all their troubles or being angry at each other (well, Sophie was mad at Ryan a lot - he was mad at himself a lot), their banter was snarky and cute.

Despite the repetitive dialog, I really did like this book a lot. It was great getting to know where Ryan was coming from and how the situation with his mother and father affected him. It was a completely different experience from his sister, whom we met in book 1. Incidentally, it was also awesome to catch up with her and Dylan at the end of the book. I'm really looking forward to reading Brandon's book next. 
“What’re you thinking about?” she asked.

His attention remained focused on the road. “I’m not.”

“You’re not thinking?”

“Nope.”

“Who doesn’t think? You’re driving along, but you’re not thinking?”

“Nope. I’m just enjoying being with you.”

Warmth flooded her. She looked away from him, letting it spread through her, thick and sweet as caramel. He’d seemed at peace when they’d first started out and she’d told him about the island, the superstitions. She’d even told him about her conversation with her sister. He’d gotten angry at Abby’s attitude, and she’d appreciated his support.

Up ahead she noticed a stand of trees. “Here we go. It’s getting more wooded. We’re close.” She read the information she’d printed out. “Pretty soon we’re going to see a big rock with some graffiti on it, and then we enter a forest.” She leaned into him, their arms brushing, as she reached for the control panel.

“What’re you doing?”

“Resetting the odometer.” She looked for the button. “The path’s exactly two point four miles from the rock.”

He batted her hand away, leaned forward, and hit the button.

“Awesome. I can’t wait.” She gestured to his lap. “You can go in your shorts.”

“That’s okay.”

“Oh, you have to go in. The water has magical properties.”

“So you said.”

“You don’t believe in it?”

He shrugged. “I believe telling people water has magical properties is a great way to get tourists to come out here and spend money. Do they sell it in bottles in roadside kiosks?”

“Well, hello to the itty bitty cynic who lives inside you. Does he come out often? I don’t think I’ve met him before.”

He slowly leveled her a look that said he wasn’t amused.

So she met his with one of her own. “This isn’t a tourist attraction. The islanders actually believe in it.”

“And a tourist guide book told you that?”

“I didn’t buy a tourist guide book.”

“You learned it from an islander?”

“I got it from the Internet.”

And then that serious face blew wide open with laughter. “Okay then.” And that right there was the man she’d fallen for.

And, yep, no doubt about it. She’d fallen for this complicated, moody, sexy man. “You can fester in your cynicism. I choose to believe in magical properties.”

“And what do you hope to get from the magic?”

She quickly turned away from him. “I don’t know.”

“Wait, did you just blush? Are you…embarrassed?”

“Just drive the freaking car. I’m not embarrassed.”

He took his foot off the accelerator, shifting gears. “Not until you tell me what you want the magic for.”

She shoved his thigh. “God, Ryan. I want to eat whatever I want and not gain weight. I want to meet the man of my dreams and drive off into the sunset in a convertible. I want to find my passion and earn a living out of it. What does anyone want?”

And from his very intense expression she had a strong feeling he wanted her.

Award-winning author Erika Kelly has been spinning romantic tales all her life--she just didn't know it. Raised on the classics, she didn't discover romantic fiction until later in life. From that moment on, she's been devouring the genre and has found her true voice as an author. Over three decades she's written poems, screenplays, plays, short stories, and all kinds of women's fiction novels. Married to the love of her life and raising four children, she's lived in two countries and seven states, but give her pen and paper, a stack of good books, and a steaming mug of vanilla chai latte and she can make her home anywhere.

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September 26, 2017

BLOG TOUR REVIEW & EXCERPT: Stud Finder


Lauren Blakely's newest addition to the 1001 Dark Nights collection was the perfect bite-sized fairy tale. Check out my review and an excerpt...

Stud Finder, by Lauren Blakely
Publish Date:
September 26, 2017
Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts, Inc.
Format: e-ARC, provided by the author and Inkslinger PR
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon

Rating: 5 STARS


(Synopsis) Man seeking woman: Hot, rich, smart, witty, self-made multimillionaire Internet genius seeks classy, intelligent, sexy, fun-loving woman who’s interested in settling down and sharing all the good things.


There. Best. Ad. Ever.


I will absolutely find the woman of my dreams, someone who’ll love me for me. Even if my sister thinks I need help dating, I’m confident I can pull this off, courtesy of the great worldwide web.

Let me just hit the upload button right now...


***


No. Just no. As a woman and a professional matchmaker, I can’t let Dylan Parker run this ad. He’s the catch of all catches. That’s why his sister has asked me to help her ridiculously good-looking, insanely rich, but socially clueless brother find a woman. As a broker of happily ever afters, I’m known as the Stud Finder since I make a great living pairing wildly successful women with men who won’t fleece them but will adore them. After all, what woman in her right mind wouldn’t fall in love with Dylan?


I mean, besides me. It totally won’t be me.

Stud Finder was the perfect way to spend a lazy weekend afternoon. It allowed me to return to this Big Rock world that Lauren Blakely has created, if only for a short while. The story went by pretty quickly (it IS a novella, after all), but the humor, heat and heart that I've come to expect from Lauren Blakely was still there. 

Dylan is the most adorable rich nerd. He's this tech genius who has made millions and is now looking to find someone to share it with. This guy is not your typical guy. He's actually looking for a commitment - a wife even. But, wading through the gold diggers is more than he can handle. So, his sister enlists the help of her BFF - the so-called "Stud-Finder." 

Evie has made a living out of being a professional matchmaker. Although she usually works with women, she's willing to do a favor for her best friend and try and match Dylan up with the perfect woman. Shouldn't be hard since he's rich, nice, funny AND totally hot. Evie is in denial from the very beginning - it's adorable. She tells herself all the right things - I don't want a relationship. He's my BFF's brother. He's a client. But, when it's right, it's right. And Dylan and Evie are RIGHT. 

Theirs is a slow, sweet burn. Although Evie and Dylan know each other when he hires her, it's only peripherally. As Evie gathers details about Dylan so that she can match him with the perfect woman, they both have the chance to get to know each other without all the usual pressure. 

Stud Finder was a sweet and sexy addition to the awesome Lauren Blakely line-up. 
What am I doing?

Dylan is my client’s brother.

Dylan is now my client.

I’m not interested in a match for myself. I’m not looking for love. I’m focused on work, and Dylan is my work.

The trouble is, my work turns me on more than I expected, and that’s for one elemental reason—I like him.

I like him so very much.

That’s why I jerk this conversation back to the purpose of these get-togethers—prepping him for his princess charming, whoever she may be.

I brush one palm against the other. “The big question is—are you ready for me to set you up on your first date? Or do you think the fall in yoga has set you back?” I wink.

“You think falling in yoga means I’m not ready to date?”

I laugh. Nervously. “Well, not entirely. But it did remind me what we talked about before we had tea. That we all have a bit of dork in us. So, I didn’t know if you wanted to walk through all the potential topics, moments, pitfalls, and so on.”

“Like a pre-date prep? Or maybe even a practice session?”

“Sure, we can practice now if you’d like,” I offer.

He doesn't answer right away. When he does, he takes his time, like he’s making an offer. “Or maybe we can practice in a true date simulation.”

Tingles race over my shoulders. “Like a practice date?”

His eyes twinkle like stars. “I need a practice date badly. Can I take you on one? It would be so helpful to review everything. Make sure I’m ready.”

When he puts it like that… “Yes, of course.”

I want him to put his best foot forward. I didn’t say yes because I want to date him. I wouldn’t do that, even though when he walks away, all I can think is how on earth did I wind up with a pitter-pattering heart for a man I’m handing off to another woman?

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that's hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than eighty times, and she's sold more than 2 million books. In October she'll release HARD WOOD, a sexy, standalone romantic comedy. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter

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