Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman - Review by Olivia and Mom



In anticipation of the release of 
The Book of Dust on 19 October, 2017  
my 11 year old, Olivia and I read The Golden Compass. Below you will find her review as well as some notes from mom! 
 We can't wait for this coming release and new spin-off series! 



Author:  Philip Pullman
Publication Date:  13 November 2001
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Series:  His Dark Material, book 1
Genre:  Middle Grade/Young Adult Fantasy
Age Recommendation: 10 and up
Rating: 4-5 Stars

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


Book Description:

Lyra Belacqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jodan College, with her daemon familiar always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle—a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armored bears. And as she hurtles toward danger in the cold far North, Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is destined to win, or to lose, this more-than-mortal battle.


Olivia's Review: (5 Stars)

The Golden Compass is a book that takes place in Philip Pullman's own version of the real world.  In this world humans live together with daemons, every human has their own daemon and they can never go far from each other.  Daemons take on the forms of animals, like cats and dogs, only children's daemons can shift between forms.  One day a girl at Jordan College, named Lyra, goes on an incredible journey all because of a series of unfortunate events (hahahahaha).  She and her daemon, Pantalaiomon, end up meeting all sorts of people, also some armored bears.  

The writing in The Golden Compass is great and in my opinion it is a similar style to Watership Down. [Mom Note: This is a huge compliment because Watership Down is Olivia's favorite book, period]  The characters are very interesting and for some of the evil ones I felt almost as angry as Lyra herself.  

Since it is the first book in the series, the outcome is a bit of a cliffhanger, it made me really eager to read the next book!  

Mom's Review: (4 Stars)

I truly adored this book.  As Olivia mentioned the world building is the real world yet not.  In the beginning I struggled a little to grasp that while everything seemed familiar to me, this is not the world that I am used to.  The world building gave me vibes of a parallel universe and once you let that settle in your soul it is so easy to get lost in this world of mystery and magic.  

I know as I read the book after Olivia I kept asking her, but why is this happening, where did they go, etc and she just kept telling me 'Mom, read the book.  I can't tell you with out going you spoilers!' and it was so true.  You have to trust that this book is going to take you where you need to go, it is going to wind you down a path with several surprises but ultimately and satisfyingly get you to the 'end' (as much of an end as the first book in a trilogy can be) and answer the majority of your questions.  I loved that I wanted more all the time, I wanted to flip to the middle of the book, then I wanted to flip to the end...but I am telling you now do not do that.  Ride this book out page by page and let yourself go in it's beauty.

Now with all that said I know that this book is not for everyone.  This is a book that will challenge your thoughts on adults and children.  It will challenge your ideas on how you see the world, on your thoughts about large government or religion having power over the masses.  It will make you think about the purity of children and their inherent goodness and how the choices they make and the choices the adults around them make will shape them.  These aren't things that most young children are going to pick up on.  As you saw in Olivia's review, her thoughts while reading the book leaned more to the magical aspects of the daemons, the action, and of course the bears.  I loved train theme (to me) in the story, the growth in Lyra as she begins to discover just who she is and who the people around her are.  Do I always like the choices she makes, certainly not but I am coming at this from an adult with children stand point and while I would like them to be brave and to find their own path, I wouldn't like how Lyra spends a good portion of her time lying to discover what she wants to know.  Does it get us to the end and is she better than what we see at times, yes, but as an adult mom it made me cringe now and again. These same things aren't aspects that a young reader will really pick up on.  What they will see is her desire to find answers, her bravery, her protection of her friend, her understanding that people are people no matter their wealth, ability, etc and of course the bears...because seriously the bears are freaking awesome.  

The Golden Compass will turn some readers away.  Philip Pullman is unabashed in his agnostic beliefs and that comes through in this book.  Again, this isn't something that most children will pick up on with out the guidance of an adult in their ear but it is certainly a heavy part of the book and you should be aware of that before going in.  Think of the Golden Compass as the antithesis of The Chronicles of Narnia.  The Golden Compass is a beautifully written story full of adventure and daring and a truly wonderful read.  

~ HAPPY READING ~ 

Connect with the Author:

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Hope Restored by Carrie Ann Ryan - Release Day Review and Trailer






GoodReads ~ Amazon ~ iBooks ~ Barnes&Noble ~ Kobo



Author:  Carrie Ann Ryan
Publication Date:  25 July, 2017
Publisher:  Self-Published
Series:  Gallagher Brothers, book 3
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Age Recommendation: 17 and Up
Rating: 5 Stars
~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~ 


Book Description:

The Gallagher Brothers series from NYT Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan concludes with the final brother who thought he had everything to look forward to, and the one woman who can handle him.

Life isn’t worth living if you don’t fight to live. That’s what Murphy Gallagher learned at a young age when cancer ravaged his body not once, but twice. Over the course of his survival, he lost his parents and his childhood, but he’s been healthy for years and has become a man he hopes his family is proud of. But when his world tilts on its axis yet again, he’ll have to learn what it means to fight not only the unknown but also his attraction to his best friend.

Tessa Stone works hard and plays harder. She’s spent her life trying to figure out who she is in the present rather than looking back. Yet when she’s forced into close proximity with Murphy, she’ll have to not only be his rock but learn how to relax enough to maybe let him be hers, as well. But seduction doesn’t stop when the world seems to, and close encounters of the naked kind might just be the first step in something much more complicated than either of them bargained for. Life, though, is for living, after all.




My Review:

I can't believe we're here.  We are at the end of the Gallagher Brothers series and  Carrie Ann Ryan saved the very best for last.  I have really enjoyed getting to know these brothers, their ladies, and having the chance to keep up with my favorite Montgomery clan through them.  I feel content with the end and with the belief that we haven't seen the end of these characters either. With Carrie Ann Ryan's coming spin off series I think that we will get our peek into the Gallagher's lives like we did with the Montgomery but while being content I am sad that it is over.  This is one of those series that you would like to go on and on because these characters become more than just 'some character' in a book they become a part of your book family.  They are the characters that stay close to your heart, that leave their mark in one way or another and no Gallagher more than Murphy gave that to me. Murphy and Tessa's story is a challenging one to read.  It is an emotional roller coaster and it is beautiful.  it is a story about living life to it's fullest and following your heart even when it is scary. 

Hope Restored was such a dichotomy for me.  It is a book full of both fear and hope.  A book about laughter and tears, it is a book about hate and love.  Each of these elements play off one another in such a way that you, the reader, are constantly up and then down with your emotions, but Carrie Ann is able to capture all these feelings in such a way that you know this is how life must feel when you are battling for your future.  It can't always be sadness but neither can it all be happy.  How unsatisfied as readers would we have been if the author had filled this book with depression and regret, or had she ignored the sad parts and tried to turn a life threatening situation into a comedy?  We would not have been able to connect because whether it is a situation we had personally gone through or not there would have been no truth behind the thoughts and feelings of the characters.  Carrie Ann Ryan pulled it all together seamlessly, she gives use peek int o the hard reality of life with cancer, the desire to be strong when you are at your weakest, the fear that you won't make it, and the belief that you can and must.  I loved how we were able to see these feelings from all sides, from Murphy as he personally battles, from Tessa as she stands beside him, loving him and fearing that if she loves him she may lose him but that if she doesn't she will lose everything.  From the family who have been here with him before and know the roles they need to play but are terrified that this will be the time where treatment doesn't work.  At the base of Hope Restored is a beautiful story that I believe Carrie Ann wrote in a desire to give us all a sense of hope, whether it is to fight an immense battle or just the hope and courage to smile on a Monday, or if you are me, Tuesday.  Seriously Tuesday's are the worst, except for the book releases, ha.

Of course there is more to the book than a lesson in hope, there is the relationship between Tessa and Murphy, which is honestly so adorable, they have that easy going ability that allows them to joke and be silly all while being completely open and honest with one another.  They are so SO swoon-worthy, hellooooooo there Mr. Murphy.  You know how these Gallagher boys are and Murphy WILL NOT disappoint.  There is the little bit of suspense that you have come to know and love in a Carrie Ann Ryan book.  I will say that I caught on fairly quickly to the idea of what was happening but once we get down into the nitty gritty of it all it is still pretty shocking.  I loved the growth of Tessa the most.  While Murphy's battle is the central role in the book he knows deep down who he is. Tessa on the other hand is still unsure of herself and of how to move on from her past, leaving behind years of regret and pain. Tessa's character development is powerful.  Watching her realize certain things about her life as she goes through this struggle with Murphy is a reminder that it is never too late to discover who you are and be who you were always meant to be.  

Hope Restored is hands down my favorite Gallagher story, I think most people will be hard pressed not to find that as their outcome as well after reading it.  It is a moving story of love and hope with all the trademark sexiness and suspense that you want from a Carrie Ann Ryan book.  


~ HAPPY READING ~ 







Trailer:









About Carrie Ann Ryan:


Carrie Ann Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Redwood Pack, Talon Pack, and Gallagher Brothers series, which have sold over 2.0 million books worldwide. She started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over fifty novels and novellas with more in the works. When she’s not writing about bearded tattooed men or alpha wolves that need to find their mates, she’s reading as much as she can and exploring the world of baking and gourmet cooking.


Friday, July 21, 2017

The Beauty of Us by Kristen Proby - Excerpt Reveal

   

From New York Times bestselling author Kristen Proby comes a sexy, new standalone contemporary romance in her Fusion Series, THE BEAUTY OF US, releasing August 22, 2017! 

Check out the chapter below and get to know Trevor and Riley!

   

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes&Noble ~ iBooks ~ Kobo 



Book Description:

New York Times bestselling author Kristen Proby delivers another sizzling novel in her delectable and sexy Fusion series.

Riley Gibson is over the moon at the prospect of having her restaurant, Seduction, on the Best Bites TV network. This could be the big break she’s been waiting for. But the idea of having an in-house show on a regular basis is a whole other matter. Their lives would be turned upside down, and convincing Mia, her best friend and head chef of Seduction, that having cameras in her kitchen every day is a good idea is daunting. Still, Riley knows it’s an opportunity she can’t afford to pass on. And when she meets Trevor Cooper, the show’s executive producer, she’s stunned by their intense chemistry.

Trevor’s sole intention is to persuade Riley to allow Best Bites TV to do a show on her restaurant. But when he walks into Riley’s office, he stops dead in his tracks. The professional, aloof woman on the phone is incredibly beautiful and funny. But can he convince her that he’s interested in Riley for himself? Or is he using the undeniable pull between them to persuade her to agree to his offer?

      

And Don’t Miss the First Three Novels in the Fusion Series, LISTEN TO ME, CLOSE TO YOU, and BLUSH FOR ME!


       

  Chapter 2 Reveal

  ~Trevor~

 I didn’t sleep worth shit last night. I waited for a response to my e-mail from Riley for a while; I’m not exactly sure why. I just don’t like the thought of her being embarrassed. Because she has no reason to be. She didn’t know who I was, and it was closing time. She was venting to her friends. It’s really no big deal. But I could see the mortification in her big blue eyes when she realized who I was, and that doesn’t sit well with me. When no response came, and for all I know she hasn’t even read the e-mail yet, I sat down for a game on the PS4. I don’t travel anywhere without it. Some people read to unwind. Some go to the gym, and there are times I do the same. But to truly relax, I enjoy gaming. I have since I was a kid. So I settled in the apartment the network has rented for me this month and played online with my friends, talking about our days and shooting the enemy. We played well past midnight, and I usually would have gone right to bed afterward, but my mind was still turning, making falling asleep impossible. The restaurant is better than I imagined through my research on their website and customer reviews. It’s visually stunning, the food is fantastic, and they’ve hit the mark on the sexy factor. But added to that, the five women who own the place are all beautiful, smart, and will make for great TV. Viewers will eat this show up, pun intended. I lean over the sink and wash my face, not bothering to shave today, and as I dry off, I reach for my phone. I have several new e-mails. The most recent is from Riley Gibson. Trevor, Thank you for your kind email. I apologize again for the conversation last night. I would like to promise that we don’t always talk like that at work, but that would be a lie. At least we keep it to closing time over a glass of wine. Enjoy Portland, Riley I grin and sling the towel over my bare shoulders. Riley isn’t what I had pictured in my head before I got here. I knew that she was pretty because their photos are on their website, but she’s much prettier in person. And animated. Working with her will be fun. And a test to my libido. Because Riley is fucking sexy. I’ve never mixed business and sex before, and I don’t plan to start now, but keeping my hands off her will be a test of wills. And that too should be fun. After my run this morning, I stopped by a bagel place to eat and read a newspaper, came back to the apartment for a shower, and I think I’ll go to Seduction for lunch. I hadn’t planned to go back there until my meeting with Riley tomorrow, but I also haven’t had lunch there yet. I dress quickly in jeans and a red T-shirt and walk the six or so blocks to the restaurant. They’ve just opened, so they’re not busy yet. The atmosphere is calm, the lighting a bit brighter than last night, making it a fun spot to meet with colleagues or friends for lunch. I’m seated on the far side of the restaurant, where it meets the bar, and I can see Riley and the other women sitting around a high table, talking. Loud enough for me to hear. “So, he’ll be here tomorrow. Filming doesn’t start for another week, unless the timetable has been moved up,” Riley says, studying her iPad and checking things off a list. “It would be great if we could watch our language.” “Right,” Mia says, rolling her eyes. “Because that’s gonna happen.” “Just watch the F-bombs then,” Riley says with a grin. “And I’ll do my best not to vent to him about my horrible dating experiences. Not that I’ll be having any more of those.” “I wish I’d been here for that,” Addie says with a smile. “It’s hilarious.” “No, it’s not,” Riley says, but smiles and covers her lips with her fingers. “Okay, it’s a little funny. I’ll be working from home today.” “Why?” The blonde speaking, I presume Cami, asks. “Because I have a roofer coming today,” Riley says. “But if you need me, just call. I can come back after he leaves.” “Go.” Mia waves her off. “We’ve got this.” The girls all stand, about to go their own ways to get their day started. They’re clearly good friends, which will come across well on film. Riley walks out of the bar and glances up, spotting me. “Hi.” I offer her a smile and motion for her to join me. She sits, sets her iPad aside, and squares her shoulders. I love a woman with grit. “Why are you here?” she asks. “I’m having lunch,” I reply, and gesture to the salad sitting in front of me. “It’s delicious. Adding the brussels sprouts is smart.” “I’ll pass that along to Mia,” she says, and then laughs. “I guess you heard the part where I asked the girls to not swear.” “I did,” I reply, and patiently butter a piece of warm bread. “Don’t worry about that stuff. They’re adults.” “With potty mouths,” she says. “And we can bleep stuff out, or ask them to rephrase. You’ve already got the gig, Riley. I wouldn’t be here otherwise. This isn’t an audition.” “I know.” She sighs and reaches over to take a piece of my bread, surprising and delighting me. “I just want things to go smoothly.” “Perhaps you should order lunch too.” “I don’t have time,” she says, and then her blue eyes widen as she realizes what she just did. “I’m so sorry. I eat when I’m stressed out, and I didn’t—” “No.” I hold my hand up to stop her. “It’s fine. I like that you’re relaxed with me. I think you need to relax more often.” “What are you, my life coach now?” “If you like. Did you cancel those dating sites like I suggested?” She bites her lip and looks to the side, then nods. “I did.” “Good.” I take a bite of salad and nod. “Are you sure you don’t want some food?” “I rarely have time to eat,” Riley says, and checks the time on her phone. “In fact, I should go. I have to meet the roofer at my house.” “What’s wrong with your roof?” “It’s old,” she says with a shrug. “That’s what happens when you buy an old house. I’m fixing it up a little at a time.” I nod, and find that I don’t want her to go quite yet. I want to talk more, to learn more about her. “Why don’t you come to my apartment tonight and I’ll cook you dinner?” She pauses and stares at me for a moment. “Why?” I laugh and set my fork down. “Because I asked you to. We’re going to be working closely over the next few weeks, we might as well get to know each other a little better. Also, we can discuss my new duties as your life coach.” “Well.” Her lips twitch as she thinks it over for a moment, a myriad of emotions moving across her beautiful face, and finally she says, “Okay. Do you mind texting me the address and the time?” “Not at all,” I reply, and immediately pass her my phone. “Plug in your number and I’ll text you this afternoon.” She complies, passes it back, and smiles. “Okay, see you later.” And with that, she’s off. Her ass swaying enticingly in her tight skirt, calves flexing from the height of her heels, and the food I’m currently chewing immediately tastes like cardboard. Jesus. And I just voluntarily offered to spend time with her. Alone. I’m a fucking glutton for punishment. [no ornament] “I’m starving,” Riley immediately says as I open the door. She’s in jeans and a well-loved University of Oregon sweatshirt, her hair is pulled up in a ponytail, and she looks like she could be a co-ed herself. “I forgot to eat today.” “Does that happen every day?” I ask as I gesture for her to come inside and close the door behind her. “Most days,” she admits. “Is this one of those bad choices that you’re gonna coach me through?” “Yes,” I reply, and lead her into the kitchen. “You have to eat.” “I know, I just get focused on other things, and the next thing I know, the day is gone and I’m starving.” She passes me two bottles of wine. “I didn’t know what we were having, so I brought red and white.” “Thanks.” I grin and set them both on the counter. “I made salmon and asparagus with baby red potatoes. What goes best with that?” Her eyes light up. “The white. Holy shit, are you a chef yourself?” “I went to culinary school,” I reply, and squeeze some lemon on the salmon before plating it. “But I discovered I was better at a desk job.” “That’s unusual,” she says, her head tilted to the side as she listens. “Most people fight to get out of a desk job.” “Not me. I have a ton of respect for Mia, because being a chef isn’t easy, and pleasing people sucks.” “True.” Riley nods. “She doesn’t get many plates sent back to her, but there are a few. Can I pour you a glass?” “No thanks,” I reply, and reach in the fridge for a bottle of water. “I don’t drink alcohol.” “Oh.” She frowns. “I’m sorry. I can drink water too.” “It’s fine,” I reply, and pat her shoulder. “I don’t mind if you drink. I just don’t.” “But last night, you were drinking Jack and Coke.” “Nope, just Coke.” She sits at the table, still frowning. “I’m sorry.” “There’s nothing to be sorry for.” I set our plates down. “I’ve been sober for ten years. I’m not the kind of alcoholic who can’t be around others having a drink. It was never that bad for me. I’m just a better person if I don’t drink.” “Good for you for knowing that,” she says, holding her glass out to clink against my water. “This looks delicious.” “You sound surprised.” “I expected pizza or Chinese takeout,” she says. “Honestly, that’s probably what you would have gotten from me. I’m also surprised that you’re not staying in a hotel.” “I’m here long enough that the network sprung for the apartment. They usually do when I’m somewhere longer than a week or so.” “You must travel a lot for this job,” she says, eating her food like a starving child. I don’t know if she even tastes it, she’s eating so fast. “I travel often,” I reply, and grin when she takes the last bite. “Are you going to lick the plate?” “Maybe,” she says with a grin. “I’m not even embarrassed that I ate that so fast. It was delicious.” “I’m glad you liked it. There’s more.” “No, I’m good,” she says, and reaches in her bag, pulling out a pad of paper and a pen. “You can eat while I interview you.” “For what?” “For the position of life coach,” she says with a sassy grin. I want to kiss that grin right off her face, but instead I take a bite of potato and gesture for her to begin. “Okay, first question: What qualifications do you have that make you a good fit for this position?” “Well, I have a few years on you, so I would say wisdom with age.” She tilts her head to the side, the way she does when she’s turning something over in her head. “You can’t be that much older than me.” “I’m thirty-seven.” “Seven years,” she says, rolling her eyes. “A lot can happen in seven years,” I reply, and sip my water. “Okay, I’ll give you that.” She checks something off on her paper. “Did you really write down questions?” “Of course. I’m the queen of lists and the roofer was at my house forever.” She bites her lip as she looks at her list. “How many women have you life-coached in the past?” “Well, I didn’t have an official job title, but I have two younger sisters, and an ex-wife, so I would say three.” “But the wife is an ex, so maybe that did go well?” Riley asks. “And are your sisters productive members of society?” “As opposed to being in jail?” I ask, laughing. “You’re hilarious, Riley.” “You didn’t answer the question.” “My sisters are great. The older one is married, a stay-at-home mom with two kids, and the younger one is a waitress.” “But the ex-wife thing didn’t work out.” “She’s not a mess, we just both decided that she shouldn’t be my wife anymore.” “Why?” I sit back in my chair and wipe my mouth on my napkin. “Because she thought it was a good idea to have sex with other men.” Her eyebrows climb on her forehead and she blinks twice. “That’s a good reason.” “I thought so.” “Okay, next question.” She checks something on her paper and looks up at me with a smile. “How do you intend to be compensated for your work?” “I’m working pro bono,” I reply with a wink. “Why?” “Because I’m going to be here anyway, and why not.” I shrug and finish the food on my plate. “What else do you want to know?” “Is my coming to a virtual stranger’s apartment by myself one of the bad decisions you should have coached me on?” I smile and set my plate aside so I can lean on the table. “Did the girls tell you that coming here by yourself was a bad idea?” “I only talked to Cami and she thought I should come. Plus, I have a concealed carry, so I feel pretty confident that I’m safe.” I raise a brow and cross my arms over my chest. “You carry a gun with you?” “Hell to the yes,” she replies, and offers me a sweet smile. “I’ve been meeting strange men on the Internet. You bet your ass I’ve been armed.” “Good idea,” I reply with a nod. “There are a lot of crazies out there.” “Yes. But I think that if you’re gonna meet a crazy, it could be anywhere. Online, in a bar, at the gas station. They’re everywhere.” “That’s true too,” I reply, and nod. “Well, I’m glad you’re being cautious.” “I’m nobody’s victim,” she says, as casually as if she’s telling me her shoe size. That’s fucking sexy. “Do you have any other questions?” “Not really,” she says, and shrugs. “I didn’t really write anything down. But it was fun to interrogate you a bit.” “Now I have questions,” I reply, and smile when she cocks her head and purses her lips. “Do you really think you need a life coach?” “No, I have my shit together,” she says with a grin. “Why were you really on all of those sites?” She shrugs. “Because it’s not easy meeting people. And sometimes a girl wants to go out on a date.” “You don’t need me,” I reply, and smile. “But I’ll be around for a while, just in case.” “Just in case I slip and fall back into the online dating?” “That, or if you just want to have dinner, or chat. And I think we should watch a marathon of Star Wars. Your lack of knowledge is cause for concern.” “It’s kind of a guy thing,” she says. “I know many women who like Star Wars.” “Well, I would watch one or two.” “You need to see them all to understand what’s happening.” “That’s a lot of hours of my life that I’ll never get back,” she says with a frown. “Aren’t there CliffsNotes somewhere? A speedy way to get caught up?” “No,” I reply, and fist my hands in my lap so I don’t reach out and tuck her hair behind her ear. Or yank her against me so I can kiss the fuck out of her. “Are you okay?” she asks. “Are you always this observant?” “I’m an overthinker,” she says. “So yeah, I’m an observer.” “I’ve been labeled an overthinker too,” I say with a grin. “Would you say it’s an accurate assessment?” “Oh yeah,” I say with a nod, and stand to clear our plates away. She stands to help. “I’ve got this.” “No way, you cooked, so I’ll help clean.” She walks ahead of me, her empty glass in one hand and her plate in the other. “Do you use the dishwasher, or do you wash by hand?” “There are people who still wash by hand?” “I’ve heard of them, but I’ve never seen them in the wild,” she says, and smiles up at me when I join her. “So I guess that means we use the dishwasher?” “Yes.” She rinses and I load, and a few short minutes later, we’re done. “Well, I suppose I should go,” she says, and checks the time on her phone. “Oh, Cami texted. I guess I should reply so she doesn’t think you killed me after the entrée.” She smirks and types on her phone, then turns it off and looks up at me. “Thanks for dinner.” “You’re welcome.” “I’ll see you tomorrow morning.” Unfortunately, it won’t be in my bed. “You will.” “Okay.” She gathers her bag, notepad and pen, and walks to the door. “Sleep well tonight.” I grin and congratulate myself for not dragging my fingertips down her cheek. “You sleep well tonight, Riley.” “Okay. Bye.” She leaves and I close the door, letting out a slow breath. Jesus, she’s sexy and funny and smart as fuck. And I’m not going to touch her while I’m here. How the fuck am I going to do that?  

Don’t miss the first chapter of THE BEAUTY OF US! You can read it here!

   

About Kristen Proby: New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.   Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.    

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Drunk Dial by Penelope Ward - Cover Reveal

We are excited to bring you the upcoming standalone from New York Times, USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Penelope Ward.

 DRUNK DIAL will release on AUGUST 21!

   
Cover designer: Letitia Hasser,  RBA designs Cover Model: Vadim Ivanov, Cover Photography: Kevin Roldan
 (No Amazon e-book preorder. Will go live on/around release day.)


Book Description:

    From New York Times bestselling author Penelope Ward, comes a new, sexy standalone novel.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Look up Landon Roderick, that boy from childhood whom I’d never been able to forget—even though he so easily forgot about me—and call him. Then again, anything sounds like a good idea when you’ve had a little too much wine before bed, right? It was supposed to be just a quick, meaningless, prank call. Instead, I went off on him—unloading thirteen years of pent-up emotions. I didn’t think he’d call me back. I certainly could never have anticipated the weeks of sexually tense phone conversations that followed as I got to know the man he’d become. Turned out, Landon had never really forgotten me, either. That special connection we had was still there. I opened up to him, but there were also things about me he didn’t know. And he had his own secrets. Over the countless hours we talked on the phone, I wondered what would happen if we actually saw each other. One night, I did something impulsive again. Only this time, I went to the airport and booked a ticket to California. We were about to find out if one phone call could bring two lost souls together or if my drunk dial really was all just a big mistake. 

A complete STANDALONE.



     



 Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author of thirteen novels. With over a million books sold, her titles have placed on the New York Times Bestseller list sixteen times. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 12-year-old girl with autism (the inspiration for the character Callie in Gemini) and a 10-year-old boy. Penelope, her husband, and kids reside in Rhode Island.   




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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hard Wood by Lauren Blakely - Cover Reveal

   

HARD WOOD is coming October 23, 2017! 

A standalone romance told from the male Point-of-View, HARD WOOD is the final hot and hilarious book in the Big Rock series.

 Pre-order your copy today! Kindle users—stay tuned for the preorder right before release! And don’t miss the hot, new cover below!

   
Cover Design by Helen Williams with Photography by Wander Aguiar Photography

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Book Description:

Women often say a good man is hard to find. And a hard man is even better.

That’s why I’m quite a catch— good, hard, loaded, and wait for it…I’m ready to settle down too. But the woman I want to pitch my tent with is precisely the one I need to stay far away from.

After that fantastic night with Mia Summers, I’m ready to give her many more. But there’s a hitch in my plans — she just hired my company. If there’s one thing I’m committed to, it’s running a squeaky clean adventure tour business. One of the iron-clad rules?

Don’t screw your customers.

I can follow my own guidelines. After all, it’s only a week-long trip with Mia and her employees over the trails and down the hills I guide them on. I can obey the rules—even if it’s hard in the woods.

I’m about to give myself a badge of honor when the storm of the century hits, sending everyone else running for cover, but us—my biggest temptation and me, alone for a long weekend. You don’t screw the client, especially when you’re already in love with her . . .

But what’s a guy to do when she’s so hard to resist?

       

PREORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!

     


About Lauren Blakely: 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 September, she'll release MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY, a standalone sports romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter      

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Eyes On You by Laura Kaye - Review, Excerpt, and Trailer

   

From New York Times Bestselling author Laura Kaye, comes EYES ON YOU, a new novella in her Blasphemy Series, brought to you by 1,001 Dark Nights! Be sure to grab your copy today!

   

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Author:  Laura Kaye
Publication Date:  18 July 2017
Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts
Series: Blasphemy, book 3 
Genre:  Contemporary Erotic Romance
Age Recommendation: 18 and Up
Rating: 5 Stars
~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~ 



Book Description:

She wants to explore her true desires, and he wants to watch… When a sexy stranger asks Wolf Henrikson to rescue her from a bad date, he never expected to want the woman for himself. But their playful conversation turns into a scorching one-night stand that reveals the shy beauty gets off on the idea of being seen, even if she’s a little scared of it, too. And Wolf loves to watch.

In the wake of discovering her fiancé’s infidelity, florist Olivia Foster never expected to find someone who not only understood her wildest, darkest fantasies, but would bring them to life. As Wolf introduces her to his world at the play club, Blasphemy, Liv finds herself tempted to explore submission and exhibitionism with the hard-bodied Dom even as she’s scared to trust again.

But Wolf is a master of getting what he wants—and he’s got his eyes set on her…

 
     


My Review:

It's always funny to me that with the books I love the most I never know how to truly review them.  I suppose it's this strange conundrum of wanting to boast about them with out gushing so much you turn away from the sappiness of it all and the desire to tell you everything while still telling you very little so I don't spoil it, which is especially challenging when the review is on a novella length book  So here I sit staring at my computer screen thinking about how much I loved Eyes On You, how much I adored Wolf and Olivia, how much Blasphemy is one of my favorite Erotic Romance series and yet not being able to put those thoughts down in review form. 

However, here we are and here we go...

Olivia is on the worst date of her life with no escape in sight until she bumps into 'the hottest man Liv had ever seen." when returning grudgingly from a much needed escape to the bathroom.  I loved Olivia.  I loved her humor, her wit, her desire to be who she is deep down, to not let others perceptions of what they believe is right or wrong stop her from being who she is. 

Wolf, oh sweet Wolf.  He may be one of my favorite Master's so far, Quinton from Mastering Her Senses has top honors, but Wolf is right there.  I loved his care, his sweetness, his strength, (physically and emotionally) and well lets just be honest here, his sexiness.  Things happen fast for he and Olivia but Laura writes these feelings so honestly that they are believable.  You know that this couple is meant to be.  I love that Wolf doesn't struggle not put his feelings right out on the table, that he goes all in and he has no problem waiting (thankfully not long) for Olivia to recognize (or at least admit) to having the same feelings and desires.  

My favorite part about this book is that the story revolves around how Olivia had been shamed of her desires and ultimately ashamed of them, but how she came to realize that what she wants for herself isn't anything to be ashamed of and how Wolf helps her find peace with herself and what she craves for herself.  Through his acceptance of her, which is exactly what he needs as well, she finds the peace that has eluded her for years and with peace, love and happiness.  I love the idea that we can all be who we are meant to be when we just accept who we are, when we accept that voice in our souls that has been tying to tell us what we need.  This is a story that is about more than an erotic moment. It is one of the reasons I love the Blasphemy series so much,  each book is about discovering who you are, being open to who you are, being accepting of who you are, who others are and not in terms of BDSM but in terms of YOU and your happiness! 

Laura Kaye always knows how to give me the book I want and when I need it most.  Her stories are beautiful stories of love and acceptance, plus a whole lot of sexy moments that make me swoon and humor to make me smile even when I want to be grumpy.  After reading Eyes On You I also can not wait for Master Alex's story, his is going to be quite the emotional roller coaster I think!  If you are looking for a sweet story, with a well done side of BDSM look no further than Eyes On You.  As always with the 1,001 Dark Nights novellas this is one you can pick up with out having read any other the others in the series, you won't be lost at all, you'll just b using that one click finger for the rest as soon as you're done.  


~ Happy Reading ~ 




Excerpt:


Wolf Henrikson watched the sexy stranger flee her table like it was the Titanic and the bathroom was the last available lifeboat. And he couldn’t say that he blamed her. He hadn’t been trying to eavesdrop on the couple’s conversation; it was only that every time the man spoke to anyone from the restaurant’s staff, he shouted like he wanted to make the scene he was in fact making.

What the hell was the cute brunette doing with such an a**hole anyway? The few times he’d looked around to see if his dinner companion had arrived, he’d noticed the woman sitting not too far away—and she’d made him do a double take every time. Between her glossy chocolate waves, the bright red paint on her bow-tie lips, and the vintage-style red dress with the plunging neckline and the full knee-length skirt, she had the sex appeal of a pinup girl. He couldn’t help wondering if she wore garters and thigh-highs beneath that skirt.

Wolf almost regretted that he no longer had any reason to stay at the bar because the scene playing out at the nearby table was like a train wreck he couldn’t stop watching. And, oh, he did enjoy watching. People were just so fucking interesting, even when they were off their damn rockers.

But the prospective submissive he’d been planning to meet—in public, at her request—had just called to let him know she’d gotten cold feet. He respected the honesty. The BDSM lifestyle wasn’t for everyone, and it wasn’t something he recommended anyone explore frivolously. But the change in plans left him at loose ends.

Actually, that feeling was a constant presence in his blood these days. Restlessness. Boredom. 

Dissatisfaction without really being able to pinpoint why.

In anticipation of the meeting, he’d only had water, but he dropped a few dollars on the bar anyway, then pushed off the stool and made for the restrooms at the back. Blasphemy would be hopping soon, and even though he wasn’t scheduled to work a shift, he could no doubt find a willing partner to play with there. Though he was one of the twelve Master Dominants and a one-twelfth owner of the city’s most exclusive BDSM club, Wolf’s particular kink didn’t require all the equipment and special rooms that some did. Really, voyeurism and exhibitionism could be enjoyed anywhere. Which was kinda the point.

As long as he could watch, or knew others were watching, or was with someone who got off on being watched, he was all kinds of good.

Or, at least, he used to be.

    

       




About Laura Kaye: New York Times and USA Today bestseller Laura Kaye is the author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Laura grew up amid family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses, cementing her life-long fascination with storytelling and the supernatural. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day. Laura is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the Maryland Romance Writers, and she is past president of the RWA-Contemporary Romance Writers.    

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Laura Kaye’s EYES ON YOU – 
Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

July 19th
Booked All Night – Review & Excerpt
EDGy Reviews – Review & Excerpt
JordansBookReviews – Review & Excerpt
My Girlfriends Couch – Review & Excerpt
Only One More Page – Review & Excerpt
Reads All the Books – Review & Excerpt
The Book Hammock – Review & Excerpt
July 20th
Four Chicks Flipping Pages – Review & Excerpt
Krista's Dust Jacket – Review & Excerpt
Lightning City Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Mybookarcsblogspot – Review
Shayna Renee's Spicy Reads – Review & Excerpt
July 21st
Books Need TLC – Review
DC Book Lovers – Review & Excerpt
Novel Addiction – Review
Oh My Growing TBR – Review & Excerpt
Ripe For Reader – Review
July 22nd
Brittany's Book Blog – Excerpt
Evermore Books – Review & Excerpt
Knotty Girl Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Lynn's Romance Enthusiasm – Review & Excerpt
The Reading Cafe – Review & Excerpt
July 23rd
Bookgasms Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Dog-Eared Daydreams – Review & Excerpt
Lovinghotbooks – Review & Excerpt
Reads & Reviews – Review
Renee Entress's Blog – Review & Excerpt
Shellby – Excerpt
Sweet Red Reads – Review & Excerpt
July 24th
Bobo's Book Bank – Review & Excerpt
Deluged with Books Cafe – Review & Excerpt
Lit. 4 Ladies – Review & Excerpt
MammieBabbie – Review & Excerpt
Red Hot + Blue Reads – Review & Excerpt
Sofia Loves Books – Review & Excerpt
Wickedcoolflight – Review & Excerpt
July 25th
Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt
Literary Gossip – Excerpt
Pardon My Blurb – Review & Excerpt
Roxs Reads – Review & Excerpt
Wicked Babes Blog Reviews – Review & Excerpt
July 26th
Books According to Abby – Review & Excerpt
Cara's Book Boudoir – Review & Excerpt
Feeling Fictional – Review & Excerpt
Jax's Book Magic – Excerpt
Tanya the book obsessed momma – Review & Excerpt
July 27th
Cocktails and Books – Review
Provocative Pages – Review
Spoons, Hooks, and Books – Review & Excerpt
The Romance Reviews – Review
WickedGoodReads – Review
July 28th
A Naughty Girl's Novel World – Review & Excerpt
Kdrbck – Review
Kick Back & Review – Review
Love Drug Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Love Notes Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Romance Reviews and More – Review & Excerpt
True Story Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Wicked Reads – Review & Excerpt

 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Kiss My Boots by Harper Sloan - Release Day Review

    



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Author: Harper Slaon
Publication Date:  18 July 2017
Publisher: Pocket Books
Series:  Coming Home, book 2
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Age Recommendation: 18 and Up
Rating: 4.5 Stars

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


Book Description:



In this second of the sultry, Western-set Coming Home series from New York Times bestselling author Harper Sloan, Quinn Davis might finally have a shot at her own happily-ever-after—but will she let love in, or will she tell it to go ahead and kiss her boots?

Quinn Davis prefers to live her life quietly. She’s the stereotypical tomboy with two overprotective big brothers who have always been there to protect her, especially from devilishly handsome cowboys with silver tongues. That is, until Tate Montgomery comes riding into town. Their first meeting, however, is far from something out of a fairy tale and only further convinces Quinn that men aren’t worth her time.

The only place Tate Montgomery ever truly felt at home growing up was during the long, sweltering summer months he spent at his Gram and Paw’s farm in Pine Oak, Texas. Now, Tate has returned to his childhood sanctuary seeking a fresh start—but if he’s being entirely honest, he’s not just back for the wranglers and Stetsons. During those summers, Quinn was a friend-turned-young-love who Tate lost when life threw him a curveball and he cut all ties to his past; but all it takes is one glance at the raven-haired beauty he did his best to forget for him to realize just how much he’s been missing….

   


My Review:

I was so excited to get my hands on this book.  I adored the first in the series, Lost Rider.  It was the book that brought me out of a huge contemporary romance book funk, heck I wasn't even in a contemporary romance genre funk truth be told it was all books.  I had lost my love for reading them and Lost Rider gave me back that joy, so you can well imagine how anxious I had been for Kiss My Boots and I can say I was not disappointed.  Did Kiss My Boots make me lose my mind like Lost Rider did, not quite and I will tell you why in a little bit, but it is still going to end up being one of my favorite reads this year.  

What happens to the girl who has hardened her heart after years of having it broken when the first boy to break it returns to town?  Quinn Davis is a powerful heroine and yet she is also one of the most broken and fragile heroines I have seen in a while.  She has spent years trying to just get through each day with a heart that no longer knows how to function.  Her mother abandoned her family, her father was a terrible man, a beloved brother runs from home to save himself, and the one boy who could give her hope up and leaves her with out an explanation or a glance back.  So how does the girl who is now a bad ass, spirited, quirky, sessy, (sexy and sassy together, no...yea, didn't work for me either, ha) and broken woman survive the return of her one true love?  

Tate Montgomery left everything good, left his heart in Pine Oak, Texas. He left not because he wanted to but because he had no choice.  It was either his heart or her 'safety' and as always Quinn Davis won.  She may never understand why he did what he did, she may never be able to forgive him for it either but with the threat gone he no longer has reason left to stay away.  

I knew going in that this would be an explosive relationship, how could it not be with a woman as independent and set in her ways as Quinn.  It's easy to see why Tate Montgomery so easily fell in love with her and why years later he can't stay away, why he knows he has to come and try to win her heart back.  Tate and Quinn are going to have you falling head over heels in love with them both as a couple and individually.  I loved that this is ultimately a story about fighting for those you love.  Did Tate go about that in the best way, nah...but what's a boy to do when he is placed in the awful position  Tate found himself in.  No, I'm not going to spoil it and tell you what that position is because I don't want to spoil the story, but it was harsh.  The anger that Quinn felt, the betrayal was absolutely believable and I loved that she didn't give in to Tate right away. That she fought him, knowing if she opened up her heart to him again he could completely destroy her.  She gave him hell and he deserved every lick of it and thankfully he took it respectfully and gracefully.  When these two finally decide to try again, swoon, it is everything.  Harper Sloan knows how to open up our hearts to her characters, she knows how to give us every ounce of passion, rage, lust, sadness, anger...she will give you all the feels.

Now, why didn't I give it a full on 5 stars after talking about how much I loved it?  Well for me it was because the story felt very similar in its basics as the Lost Rider.  It is a story about a boy who left a broken girl behind for unknown reasons and then returns years later trying/needing to make amends and win her back.  Does that make me unsatisfied with either Lost Rider or Kiss My Boots, heck no.  I still would tell everyone that wants an amazing romance and heartfelt story to pick these books up.  I just wanted a little something different, ultimately it didn't take anything away from the beauty or feeling behind Kiss My Boots so take that little bit of 'frustration' on my part with a grain of salt.  

If you are looking for a heart melting romance and a reason to go out and grab yourself a pair of Wranglers, Ropers and a fabulous Stetson then look no further.  This series will go out as one of my all-time favorites and I think that you will fall as deeply in love with these characters as I did.  Clay's story is on its way and it is going to be one heck of a doozy I think, so let's Cowboy Up readers, we are in for quite the ride!  

~ HAPPY READING ~         


 



harper1
Harper is a NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL and USA TODAY bestselling author residing in Georgia with her husband and three daughters. She has a borderline unhealthy obsession with books, hibachi, tattoos and Game of Thrones. When she isn't writing you can almost always find her with a book in hand.

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