Monday, August 22, 2016

The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale - A Mom Monday Review


A Mom Monday Review





Author: Shannon Hale
Publication Date:  14 April, 2015
Publisher: Candlewick
Series:  The Princess in Black, book 1
Genre:  Children's Fantasy
Age Recommendation: 5 and Up
Rating: 5 stars

~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~ 

Book Description:

Princess Magnolia is having hot chocolate and scones with Duchess Wigtower when . . . Brring! Brring! The monster alarm! A big blue monster is threatening the goats! Stopping monsters is no job for dainty Princess Magnolia. But luckily Princess Magnolia has a secret —she’s also the Princess in Black, and stopping monsters is the perfect job for her! Can the princess sneak away, transform into her alter ego, and defeat the monster before the nosy duchess discovers her secret? From award-winning writing team of Shannon and Dean Hale and illustrator LeUyen Pham, here is the first in a humorous and action-packed chapter book series for young readers who like their princesses not only prim and perfect, but also dressed in black.

My Review:


This is a very special book to me because it is the first book that made my youngest daughter fall in love with reading. My older daughter never struggled to read, once she started she's just never quit. She is almost as much of a book nerd as me, plenty of nights I find her up reading well after midnight. *gasp* My younger however was a 'late reader'. She struggled learning to put letters together, to understand how to sound them out, how to make them into words. She wanted to be a reader so badly, her sister, her mom, her dad, all of us are huge readers, she would see us sitting around with our books and she wanted to be a part of that but became discouraged when she just couldn't grasp the concepts and find a book that caught her interest enough to make her want to read fully on her own...until The Princess in Black. 

Pink frilly dress wearing, tea making Princess Magnolia is exactly the princess you expect her to be. She's proper, she's poised, she is regal but; it's all a cover up. What no one knows is that Princess Magnolia also dons a black mask and cape and instead of just making tea and being a princess she is the hero her land needs and saves them all from the monsters that live a bit to close.

Besides the reason I stated above I love this book because I love the lesson that a girl can be who ever she wants to be even when she's expected to do certain things, act certain ways. The lesson that a girl can be more than just one thing, she can be both a princess and a secret dare-doing hero. The lesson that a girl is more than what society expects and she doesn't HAVE to play by society's rules. 

We loved the action and adventure contained in the book. There is a real story here, not just simple sentences and words created to make a child read... This is a book created to make a child LOVE to read. To give them a story that is interesting, fun, and exciting. I loved that when my youngest would read a chapter she would run to me to tell me all about it right away. It excited her and had her going back to read over and over. She's a child who went from wanting to read on her own but struggling and getting discouraged by it to reading a book in three days, imagine the excitement of that. Of her knowing she can do it and the joy of getting to share it with her family! 

Finally the last thing I loved is the pages. I loved the feel and thickness of the pages. I love the illustrations, bright, engaging, and fun. The pages are glossy and thick making them very tactile and easy for little hands, a good transition from the thickness of a board book.

This is a great read for any early reader but also most middle grade readers. It may be a quick book for them but it's totally fun and enjoyable and who doesn't need just a quick fun read every now and again? I suggest this for anyone with little readers in their house but highly suggest the series for those that have readers who are struggling. 


~ HAPPY READING ~

Shannon's mother says she was a storyteller from birth, jabbering endlessly in nonsensical baby-talk. Once she could speak, she made up stories and bribed younger siblings to perform them in mini-plays until, thankfully, an elementary school teacher introduced her to the wonder of written fiction. At age 10, she began to write books, mostly fantasy stories where she was the heroine.

She continued to write secretly for years while pursuing acting in television, stage, and improv comedy and a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Utah. Shannon was finally forced out of the writers' closet when she received her Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Montana.

A few years and many rejections later, she published her first book, The Goose Girl, an ALA Teens' Top Ten and Josette Frank Award winner. Enna Burning, River Secrets, and Forest Born continue the award-winning Books of Bayern series. Newbery Honor winner Princess Academy is followed by New York Times best seller Princess Academy: Palace of Stone and the upcoming Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters. She is currently writing a third book to complete the series. Book of a Thousand Days received a Cybils award and was featured on many best of the year lists. Her first book for adults, Austenland, spawned a film which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. The movie was released theatrically and on video by Sony Pictures Classics. Shannon co-wrote the screenplay with director Jerusha Hess. A companion novel, Midnight in Austenland, is now in paperback. Her third book for adults, The Actor and the Housewife, was the City Weekly readers' choice winner for best novel of the year. She and her husband Dean Hale co-wrote the graphic novels Rapunzel's Revenge, an Al Roker's Book Club for Kids selection, and its sequel, Utah Book Award winner Calamity Jack, both illustrated by Nathan Hale. They're launching an illustrated chapter book series with the upcoming Princes in Black, illustrated by LeUyen Pham.

Shannon's Ever After High books have been runaway bestsellers, supported by Mattel's animated series and doll line. She makes her home near Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, with her super-human husband, their four young children, and their pet, a small plastic pig.


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Monday, August 15, 2016

Midnight Soul by Kristen Ashley - Release Day Launch, Excerpt, Giveaway!

Midnight Soul - RDL banner    

MIDNIGHT SOUL is here! This amazing fantasy takes place in our world and a parallel universe where fantasies are true…but perhaps not all you would expect. 

MIDNIGHT SOUL is the highly anticipated finale to Kristen Ashley’s bestselling Fantasyland Series

Be sure you check out the excerpt and giveaway below and order the final novel in this amazing series today!

Midnight Soul - cover

Book Description:

Against his will, Noctorno Hawthorne, an undercover vice cop, finds himself embroiled in magic, mayhem and parallel universes. Too late, he meets an amazing woman only to find she’s destined for his identical twin in another world.

And things aren’t going real great there.

Noc is recruited to help save that world.

What he doesn’t know is his destined love resides there.

Franka Drakkar wears a mask. A mask she never takes off to protect herself in a world of malice, intrigue and danger.

When Franka meets Noc and he discovers her secrets, convinced she carries a midnight soul, having shielded herself from forming bonds with anyone, she struggles with accepting his tenderness and care.

When Noc meets Franka, over wine and whiskey, her mask slips and Noc knows it’s her—only her—and he has to find a way to get her to come home with him.

And then make her want to stay.



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EXCERPT:

  ~Franka~
I remembered that look. I relished that look. Not only on my Antoine but any lover I’d had (but, obviously, getting it from Antione was far more rewarding). It was a look I worked toward, putting great energy and imagination into it, losing myself in these endeavors, feeling free of my name, my history, my secrets, my responsibilities, and reveling in my success as if I’d scaled mountains. It was my greatest talent outside, of course (as any good Drakkar would excel), honing in on any vulnerability and manipulating it for the greatest possible gain—coin, jewels, furs, favors, silence, information, or simply for amusement. Seeing the look on Noctorno at that moment, I knew Circe too had performed well (admirably well, I might add, considering her dismal past). I also recognized—focusing on it keenly—what Circe might have missed, or perhaps what Noctorno hid from her understanding, or simply just sensing, how she came to him. He was not done. Oh no. If she had not given indication she wished him out of her bedchamber, he’d still be in it. Indeed, he might be in it all night, and not to sleep. He might have been in it, perhaps, for days. As these thoughts flitted in my mind, I became aware he’d fully entered the room, was stopped not far from my chair, and was standing, chin tipped down, eyes regarding me with a scrutiny that I found so uncomfortable I actually shifted in my seat. I ceased this reaction the instant I became aware of it, appalled at myself. Giving something away so easily? Especially something like discomfiture? You’ve ruined me, I snapped silently at Antoine. My dead lover had no rejoinder. “You okay?” Noctorno asked. “Am I what?” I asked in return. His head gave a slight twitch before he went on, “You okay? All right?” His voice lowered. “It’s been a tough day, babe, for all of us. Including you.” I looked beyond him to the fire, lifting my wine to my lips but not sipping it until after I murmured, “I’m perfectly fine.” “Yeah, right,” he stated, and the disbelief veritably dripping from his tone made my gaze flick immediately back to him. This meant I watched as he sauntered right in front of me to the chair accompanying mine, threw his lengthy frame in it and reached for the wine at the table that separated our seats. He also reached for the extra glass. These were seats, I shall add, that were turned at corners to each other with a small, round table in between, so  my knee was nearly touching his. He poured. It was on the tip of my tongue to share that I had not invited him to attend me. Alas, I became distracted by his long fingers, and the words died in my mouth.      

       
Midnight Soul - RDL teaser 2


GIVEAWAY:


And Don’t Miss the First Books in the Fantasyland Series!

WILDEST DREAMS

THE GOLDEN DYNASTY

FANTASTICAL

BROKEN DOVE

     

Kristin Ashley - headshotKristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen’s Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning. Nothing’s changed. Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she’s blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched). Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up. And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.  

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Kayden/Simon by Alexandra Ivy and Laura Wright - Review





Author: Alexandra Ivy and Laura Wright
Publication Date:  9 August, 2016
Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts
Series:  Bayou Heat, books 21 and 22
Genre:  Paranormal Romance, Shifter
Age Recommendation: 18 and up
Rating: 4 stars

~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~ 



Book Description:

ENEMY TO LOVER
Kayden is obsessed with revenge after his parents disappeared when he was just a cub. Now the gorgeous Hunter has discovered the man responsible for betraying them - Joshua Ford - and it’s time for payback. Beginning with the kidnapping of Joshua’s daughter, Bianca. But last thing he expects is to be confronted with the horrifying realization that Bianca is his mate. Will he put revenge before his chance for eternal happiness?

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Sexy male model, Simon refuses to give up his exciting life in New York City to return to the slow heat of the Wildlands. For a decade, many pantera have tried to capture the rogue Diplomat and bring him home, but all have failed. Now it’s Tryst’s turn. The hard, brilliant, and gorgeous, Hunter is the ultimate tracker. But can the admitted beast-girl of the Wildlands capture her prey without losing her heart in the process?


My Review:

I always enjoy coming back to the world of the Pantera and this time was no different.  In fact I think i can safely say that Kayden and Simon's stories easily became two of my favorite stories in the entire series.  I haven't felt this good about the couples since the first few stories when we were just becoming a part of the world of the Pantera.  Since Raphael and Parish.

After so many stories, we are up to 22 now, even just novellas it is easy to start to get lost in the world being built.  To lose the connection you made when you first began to read the series, to have things start to feel stale and replayed.  That isn't  the case with this release.  I will admit that mid way through the series I started to feel a bit bogged down by it all, never enough to stop reading them though because I truly love this world, but these two stories felt new and refreshing.  Yes, the back story is still there...the Pantera are still fighting against Christopher and his terrible actions against the Pantera, but we only got a small glimpse of that battle in Kayden  and Simon's stories.  These two books revolved almost strictly around the relationship between the two couples and I think it was much like a palate cleaner.  The will leave you feeling satisfied while still wanting more.  They will leave you invested but refreshed.  

Something else that I find keeps happening to me more and more as we get deeper into the series is that I want longer stories.  I could have had a full length story about Simon and Tryst and still wanted more I think.  I am particularly in love with their story, I am not at all let down by the story itself but wow, how amazing would it have been if they had 400+ pages instead of 75?  I am all anxious just thinking about it, and anxious in a very good way.

If you are a fan of the Bayou Heat series you will not be disappointed in these two stories!  If you are new...once again the authors and 1,001 Dark Nights pull off a perfect opener to a new world in the middle of its own story.  They give you a beautiful glimpse into something new to you with out spoiling the story for you.  You can safely read this novella with out having read the previous books but you will want to and if you decide you do want to make sure you go back to the beginning.  The Pantera have been on a wild ride for 22 books now, every book has built upon the ones that have come before it, you most definitely want to start at the beginning.  These are great books because you can pick them up anytime you need a quick read and walk away feeling like you got the entire story, perfect for your busy summer days when you just need some downtime.  If you are a fan of shifter books this series is a must read!  

~ HAPPY READING ~ 



I'm not exactly sure when I fell in love with books. Probably on my mother's knee listening to her read Dr. Seuss to me. I do remember that I was barely old enough to cross the street by myself when I discovered the delights of the local library. Could anything be more wonderful than spending summer days surrounded by stacks of Nancy Drew mysteries? Over the years I fell in love with Victoria Holt, Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, and J.R.R. Tolkien just to name a few. I read poetry, essays, biographies, and plays. In fact, I read anything I could get my hands on.

Years later (no, I'm not admitting how many) I'm still an avid reader, and my tastes are still as varied as they were in my youth, which I suppose helps to explain why I enjoy writing regency historicals under the name of Deborah Raleigh, as well as my contemporary paranormals as Alexandra Ivy. For now that is enough to keep me busy, but who knows what the future might hold!

I do have a few other loves in my life besides reading and writing, the most important being my unbelievably patient husband, David, and my two sons, Chance and Alexander. Without their constant support and belief in me, I never could have been able to follow my dreams. They are truly my heroes.





Unlike many of my peers in the writing world, I wasn’t a writer or a reader until I left high school. During my youth I was into theater, song and dance, commercials and boys. I loved romance surely, but I had never read a romance novel until my late teens. With that said, I remember the day I did like it was a moment ago – my aunt gave me the Jude Deveraux novel, Knight in Shining Armor and I couldn’t put it down until the very last word. Then I went straight to the library and got another – then another until I’d read everything she’d ever written. After that, it was McNaught, Howard, Schone, Kleypas, and the Silhouette line, Desire. I instantly loved those emotional, sexy reads, so much so that I began to carve out ideas for my own stories, themes that were unique to me and moved me. In 1997 I enrolled in UCLA extension writing classes, met my mentor and critique partners and since have never stopped writing. I was committed then and I still am now; the need to tell my own romantic stories a full on obsession. My first manuscript was rejected, and though the second one was as well the editor who’d rejected it wanted to see something else from me. I had something (note to authors; always keep working, even after you’ve sent in a proposal) and sent it right away. The day I got the call telling me Desire wanted to buy Cinderella and the Playboy was the best day of my life. That is until I married my husband, and had my two beautiful children. But I must say, writing is much like motherhood – tough, grueling, surprising, delicious and for me, a dream come true.

I was born and raised in Minnesota. It’s where my love of all things green, wet and grown in the ground comes from. As you read above, before writing I was an actor, singer and dancer, specifically a BALLROOM dancer – an instructor and competitor as well. That work took me to many places like New York, Ohio and Wisconsin. I live in Los Angeles now, but I’m always thinking about greener pastures – literally.



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Holding on Tighter by Shayla Black- Cover Reveal

I am so happy to help bring you the next cover in the Wicked Lovers Series,  HOLDING ON TIGHTER. 

This standalone novel will release on February 7, 2017.

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Kindle ~ KindleUK ~ KindleCA ~ KindleAUS ~ 

 iBooks ~ Kobo ~ GooglePlay ~ 

AmazonPrint ~ AmazonCAPrint


Book Description:

Jolie Quinn is a woman in charge. Her no-nonsense attitude has made her a rising star in the fashion world and her brand a household name among the Dallas elite. Nothing will stop her from achieving her goals—not even the gorgeous British security contractor who seems just as interested in seeing her personal assets as he is in protecting her professional ones.

After a tragedy left him broken, Heath Powell made a rule of staying unattached. But Jolie challenges him in a way he can’t ignore, and he isn’t used to backing down from a confrontation—especially when the reward for winning could feel so good. As passion blazes between them, the stubborn, confident beauty arouses more than his desire. She touches his heart.

When a mysterious enemy threatens Jolie and her company, Heath is the only person Jolie can trust to help. But working with him to save her business might put her dangerously at risk of falling in love…




     
ShaylaBlack highres       Shayla Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than forty novels. For over fifteen years, she’s written contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances via traditional, independent, foreign, and audio publishers. Her books have sold well over a million copies and been published in a dozen languages. Raised an only child, Shayla occupied herself with lots of daydreaming, much to the chagrin of her teachers. In college, she found her love for reading and realized that she could have a career publishing the stories spinning in her imagination. Though she graduated with a degree in Marketing/Advertising and embarked on a stint in corporate America to pay the bills, her heart has always been with her characters. She’s thrilled that she’s been living her dream as a full-time author for the past seven years. Shayla currently lives in North Texas with her wonderfully supportive husband, her teenage daughter, and a very spoiled cat. In her “free” time, she enjoys reality TV, reading, and listening to an eclectic blend of music.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Unknown by Wendy Higgins - Waiting on Wednesday



Wendy Higgins is dipping her toes into the New Adult genre and I couldn't be more excited.  There is always so much fantastic tension between her romantic characters (remember Kai and Anna, swoon, I mean how can we forget!) and I am looking forward to where she takes her characters when she has a little more 'freedom'.  On top of that this is an apocalyptic tale and I need a grungy, deep, crazy world to delve into now.  I need characters that are everyday superheroes who band together because they have no other choice; characters that I can connect to at a basic human level.  Wendy writes wonderfully 'human' (even when they aren't exactly human, haha) characters, she gives them huge hearts and deep flaws so  I have no doubt that I'll find all of  that in Unknown.  
So if you are looking for something like this too you don't have long to wait.  
Unknown Releases:
16 August, 2016  

Unknown is available for pre-order now and at a special price only $2.99 until 17 August, 2016




Book Description:

Amber Tate believes the worst thing she’ll suffer in life is dealing with the unrequited love she feels for her brother’s best friend, Rylen Fite. She also believes war is something unfortunate that happens places far, far away from her rural Nevada town. She’s wrong on both counts.

When an unknown organization meticulously bombs major cities in the United States and across the globe, a trickle-down effect spreads to remaining towns at an alarming speed—everything from food and water sources to technology and communications are compromised. Without leadership, the nation is split between paralysis and panic, but Amber isn’t one to hide or watch helplessly. She’s determined to put her nursing skills to use, despite the danger, even if it means working alongside the man she can never have.

In this first installment of NY Times bestselling author, Wendy Higgins’s debut New Adult series, a frighteningly realistic apocalyptic America is brought to life, entwined with searing romantic tension that will leave you eager for more.









Wendy Higgins is the USA Today and NY Times bestselling author of the SWEET EVIL series from HarperTeen, the high fantasy duology THE GREAT HUNT, and her independently published Irish Fantasy SEE ME.
After earning a Creative Writing degree from George Mason University and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Radford, Wendy taught high school English until achieving her dream job as a full-time writer.
Wend lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with her husband, daughter, son, and little doggie Rue.
GoodReads ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Website  ~ Instagram

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Matchmaker's Replacement by Rachel Van Dyken - Release Day Launch, Giveaway, and Excerpt!

Replacement Now Available Banner

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AmazonUS ~ AmazonUK ~ AmazonCA ~ AmazonAU


Book Description:

Wingman rule number two: never reveal how much you want them.

 Lex hates Gabi. Gabi hates Lex. But, hey, at least the hate is mutual, right? All Lex has to do is survive the next few weeks training Gabi in all the ways of Wingmen Inc. and then he can be done with her. But now that they have to work together, the sexual tension and fighting is off the charts. He isn’t sure if he wants to strangle her or throw her against the nearest sturdy table and have his way with her. But Gabi has a secret, something she’s keeping from not just her best friend but her nemesis too. Lines are blurred as Lex becomes less the villain she’s always painted him to be…and starts turning into something more. Gabi has always hated the way she’s been just a little bit attracted to him—no computer-science major should have that nice of a body or look that good in glasses—but “Lex Luthor” is an evil womanizer. He’s dangerous. Gabi should stay far, far away. Then again, she’s always wanted a little danger.


Kindle in Motion refers to Kindle books that include added visual features, such as art, animation and video. The features can be viewed on compatible Fire tablets and the free Kindle app for iOS and Android. You can switch features on or off at any time.  
 Exclusive EPIC news about this AMAZING
 RELEASE HERE   



Excerpt:

“So,” a familiar voice said above the music. “New job?”

Damn it! “I didn’t even say your name three times!” I whined, turning around to face Lex. He was wearing a tight vintage black T-shirt with low-slung jeans on his hips and the ever-present sex-oozing smile.

“Three times?” He smiled wider. “You said my name three times out loud? Is it your new curse word? You know, like ‘Oh, Lex! Good Lex! Mighty Lex . . .’” His eyebrows drew together. “Somehow all of those sound like very familiar noises women make in my presence.”

“Die, Lex,” I said in an annoyed tone. “How about that one?”

“That’s new.” He snapped his fingers. “But it’s growing on me. Maybe it’s the way you say it, like you want me to die in your arms all Romeo and Juliet style . . .”

“Wow, ten at night and you’re already wasted.” I slapped him on the shoulder. “Take a cab.” I tried to move past him, but he grabbed my wrist and pulled me back, pressing us together. Whether it was on purpose or not I wasn’t sure, but he was warm.

And he felt . . . safe, familiar. My body was playing tricks on me; it was because I was vulnerable.

Like that night when . . .

I locked down my memories, especially that one, and threw away the key. “Lex, what do you want?”

“You,” he said in a serious tone. “Now get up on stage and take off your clothes. I paid for a show.”

I rolled my eyes. “Waitress, Lex. You’ll have to call one of the many numbers on your phone to get a free lap dance.”

“What if I pay?” His breath tickled my ear as my eyes burned with unshed tears. Normally, I wouldn’t let what he did affect me. Normally, I brushed him off, but my armor had already been stripped. Call it exhaustion or maybe just the last remnants of pride I had toppling to the floor.

But I couldn’t hold them in any longer.

One tear fell.

Then another.

I tried to wipe them, tried to jerk free from Lex’s strong arms, but he turned me so abruptly that all I managed to do was soak the front of his shirt with my tears and smear it with mascara.

“Gabs?” His voice rasped as he hugged me tighter. “Come on, we’re going.”

“No.” Panic surged through me as I tried to pull away. “You don’t understand!” I’d given the last of my paychecks to my mom so she could pay the bills at the house, leaving me completely broke for this week’s rent check. I was hoping to make enough money in tips for the rent.

Lex’s eyes crinkled at the sides as he took one look at me and the rest of the seedy bar. I knew what he saw: girls dancing on poles, guys getting drunk and shouting at the girls while they threw dollar bills onto the stage, and a scared, stupid girl clinging to him like her lifeline.

Finally, he released me. “Gabs, I’m sorry, I was joking. We always—” He licked his lips and glanced down at the filthy floor, cursing. “Where’s the money going?”

“Money?”

“New girl!” Dean, my boss, never called me by name, the idiot. “You working or flirting? If he wants time with you, he’s gotta pay.”

“Still a waitress?” Lex’s eyebrows shot up.

I held up my fingers to indicate I needed a few more seconds, but Dean was apparently in a mood and stomped over to us.

“Problem?” he asked, crossing his arms over his skinny chest. The guy was small; Lex could probably break his face blindfolded.

“Yeah,” Lex said, surprising me. “Your waitress just refused to dance with me because you guys are out of private rooms . . . so.”

Dean’s eyes narrowed. “You her boyfriend?”

“Do I look like a man who wants to commit to crazy?” Lex fired back. “But I do have this . . .” He reached into his back pocket and pulled out what looked like at least six hundred dollars in cash. “How long will that get me with your waitress?”

Dean’s eyebrows kissed his hairline as he sputtered out, “At least three hours.”

“I’ll add in another six hundred if I can have table service and a private room, no interruptions.”

“Done.” Dean snapped his fingers above his head as one of his security guards came barreling over. “Please take them to the Diamond Room, no interruptions. Stand outside the door. One waitress goes in and out to provide drinks.”

The security guard nodded.

And five minutes later I was stuck in a personal nightmare. A bottle of champagne rested on ice; two glasses were left on the table. Music pumped through the speaker system. A small stage was set up in the middle of the room, with two poles and some sort of swing that dropped down from the ceiling. I seriously didn’t even want to know what it was for.

“That will be all,” Lex said in a gruff tone. The waitress—I think her name was Holly—bobbed her head, then looked at me out of the corners of her eyes as if scared to leave me alone with the giant.

“It’s fine.” I waved her off and forced a smile.

The door closed.

“Stop pacing.” Lex grabbed a bottle of champagne. “And that ass better give you part of that money . . .”

“Huh?” I turned. Lex had his feet up on the table and was texting. TEXTING!

He glanced up. “What? Something wrong?”

“Uh . . .” I lifted my arms into the air. “You sick bastard, you just paid for private dancing! From me!”

“No I didn’t,” he said calmly. “Nobody knows what goes on in here. Take a nap for all I care, drink some champagne—or you can shock the hell out of me and cry again, but fair warning, I only had one hug in me tonight and you stole it, so . . . I’ll be reverting to the back pat.”

“Who are you?”

“Lex Luthor, philanthropist by day and rescuer of hot waitresses by night.” He smirked and held up the bottle. “Champagne?”

“Unbelievable.” I choked out a laugh. “You just paid over one grand to sit in a crappy club and drink champagne with someone you hate.”

“It’s my good deed for the decade. Just don’t tell Ian. He’ll think I’m sick or something, and the last thing I need is Mother Hen helicoptering around my inner sanctum. He’ll get pissed all over again if he finds out that I’m hacking.”

My skin felt sticky and sweaty, and my feet ached. With slow movements, I made my way over to the couch and sat, not even wanting to know how many germs were on the leather.

“So,” Lex said above the music. “Champagne? Or want me to order you something else?”

“Champagne’s good.” I swallowed and looked down at my hands. “I’m sorry I cried.”

“As you should be. Big girls don’t cry . . . they kick ass. Don’t freak me out like that again, it’s not good for my heart.”

“Finally admitting you have one?”

Lex spread his arms wide. “Clearly, otherwise you’d still be waiting tables.”

“Or dancing,” I muttered.

“Hah.” Lex laughed, actually laughed as if it was funny. “No offense, Gabs, but you’re not like those girls on stage. You can’t . . . you just can’t.”

“I can’t?” Why the hell was I getting offended? “What do you mean I can’t?”

Lex laughed harder. “Gabs, look, there’s nothing wrong with being innocent. Lots of guys dig a girl who has fields that have never been touched, watered, planted, plowed—”

I held up my hand. “I get it.”

“But those types of girls, the good girls, the ones who’ve never been . . .” He smirked. “Conquered? They don’t typically know how to use their bodies in a way that mimics sex on stage. Get it?”

“No.” I crossed my arms. “I don’t get it! Dancing is dancing! A two-year-old can do it!”

“Bad example, bad mental picture all around, Gabs, again solidifying my point. Good girls don’t dance, not like that.” When I didn’t say anything, he added, “Embrace your goodness, don’t get pissed. It’s a compliment.”

“The hell it is!”

“Damn, I love it when you swear,” Lex murmured, taking a long draw of champagne. “See, at least you do that right.”

“I can’t last in here for three hours,” I muttered, jumping to my feet and starting my pacing all over again.

“Want to play games on my cell phone?”

“Like a child!” I blurted. “That’s it! You’re treating me like I’m . . . a toddler! Like I should be thankful you just saved me from hell. Be honest: if you had a sticker and a sucker, would you give them to me if I shut my mouth the entire time?”

Lex gave me a guilty look.

“I’m a woman!”

“Well, if you were a dude, we’d be having a different conversation and you probably would have punched the guys grabbing your ass earlier . . .”

Without thinking, I grabbed my glass of champagne, chugged it, poured another, chugged that one, then with shaky hands grabbed the little remote, turned up the music, and jumped on stage.

I expected Lex to say something inappropriate or at least roll his eyes. Instead, he looked . . . panicked.

“Gabs!” he yelled above the music. “Look, I’m sorry! Just get down!!”

“Oh, I’ll get down!” I grabbed the pole with one hand and leaned back. “Just wait.”



                    

VanDyken-TheMatchmakersPlaybook-21818-CV-FT-v5

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Book Description:

Wingman rule number one: don’t fall for a client.

After a career-ending accident, former NFL recruit Ian Hunter is back on campus—and he’s ready to get his new game on. As one of the masterminds behind Wingmen, Inc., a successful and secretive word-of-mouth dating service, he’s putting his extensive skills with women to work for the lovelorn. But when Blake Olson requests the services of Wingmen, Inc., Ian may have landed his most hopeless client yet.

From her frumpy athletic gear to her unfortunate choice of footwear, Blake is going to need a miracle if she wants to land her crush. At least with a professional matchmaker by her side she has a fighting chance. Ian knows that his advice and a makeover can turn Blake into another successful match. But as Blake begins the transformation from hot mess to smokin’ hot, Ian realizes he’s in danger of breaking his cardinal rule…

   
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GIVEAWAY:



rachelborder  Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers! Want to be kept up to date on new releases? Text MAFIA to 66866! You can connect with her on Facebook www.facebook.com/rachelvandyken or join her fan group Rachel's New Rockin Readers. Her website is www.rachelvandykenauthor.com

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Fool Me Once by Katee Robert - Review





Author: Katee Robert
Publication Date:  1 August, 2016
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Series:  Foolproof Love, book 2
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Age Recommendation: 18 and Up
Rating: 4 Stars
~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~ 


Book Description:

They say opposites attract, but this is just ridiculous.

Aubry Kaiser doesn’t like people—actually, that’s not right. She loathes people. With her crippling anxiety, there’s no way she can demo her favorite video game at a convention with five thousand other people. Maybe if she brings someone to act as a shield…

But the only person available is the sexy cowboy she can’t stand.

Quinn Baldwyn is in a mess of his own. He’s been dodging his wealthy family’s matchmaking attempts—and life advice—for years, but with his sister’s wedding on the horizon, he needs of a shield of his own.

He and Aubry can barely hold down a civil conversation, but in bed…fireworks. And the closer they get to Quinn’s sister’s wedding, the more he realizes that he might actually like Aubry.

Now it’s up to him to convince her she might actually like him, too.


My Review:

So I am finding that one of my favorite tropes is the fake relationship into real relationship story and Fool Me Once plays it out perfectly.

When two people who despise each other turn out needing one another for support you get a snarky, engaging, and sexy read.

I am a big fan of Aubry.  She's a geeky, anxious, strong-willed, introvert...she feels a bit like me and that makes her completely relatable.  I just wish I had her snark ability, she could flay a person as easily as flaying a fish...something she would never EVER do...that person though, they best walk with care around her, she isn't going to put up with crap.  I really appreciated the realistic portrayal into what it's like for female gamers.  I could have been even happier if the author may have spent a little more time delving into the difficulties that Aubry faces everyday from the male dominated gaming community.

Quinn, how can you not fall for the quiet caring cowboy who can give as good as he gets.  The guy that takes the time to listen to Aubry, to understand her challenges both personally and professionally.  They guy who would walk away from wealth because he can't abide by the community he would have to become a part of.  The guy who will bear that community and their nastiness just so he could be there for a loving sister.

I love the tension and play between Quinn and Aubry and can say that I am really sad now that have missed out on them in the first book in the series, I will definitely need to go back and read it just so I can go back to the beginning of their long and complicated relationship.

The only two things I could have wanted to make this a 5 star for me would have been what I talked about above as far as Aubry's professional challenges and seeing Quinn's family get their freaking comeuppance, a pet peeve of mine is nasty people not getting their due.  I always feel like if an author is going to make a point out of showing that nastiness then there needs to be some sort of resolution and my go to is a public putdown that shames them.  I carry a vindictive streak though so I think that may just be me, haha.

I am really looking forward to the next book in there series, A Fool for Love, 9scheduled to release 3 October) which is Daniel and Hope's story and I am most certainly going back to read the first book Fool Proof Love because I am definitely a fool in love with this series!  This is a wonderful Contemporary Romance read that would be a great addition to your summer reading list.  It's a fairly quick read that will lead you completely fulfilled in the story and the couples HEA.


~ HAPPY READING ~ 



Katee Robert learned to tell stories at her grandpa’s knee. Her favorites then were the rather epic adventures of The Three Bears, but at age twelve she discovered romance novels and never looked back.
Though she dabbled in writing, life got in the way—as it often does—and she spent a few years traveling, living in both Philadelphia and Germany. In between traveling and raising her two wee ones, she had the crazy idea that she’d like to write a book and try to get published.
Her first novel was an epic fantasy that, God willing, will never see the light of day. From there, she dabbled in YA and horror, before finally finding speculative romance. Because, really, who wouldn’t want to write entire books about the smoking-hot relationships between two people?
She now spends her time—when not lost in Far Reach worlds—playing imaginary games with her wee ones, writing, ogling men, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

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