“To The Max” (Bowen #3) by Elle Aycart – My Review

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Title: “To The Max” (Bowen #3)

Author: Elle Aycart

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 10th February, 2015.

Publisher: Loose ID

SYNOPSIS

Forensic accountant Annie Griffin has always suspected she’s a bit jinxed, so when she finds herself 35, single, temporarily homeless, and pregnant on a technicality by a gigolo, her fears are confirmed.

Adrenaline junkie and professional stuntman Max Bowen needs a house-sitter to watch after his pets while he’s out of town. Annie needs a place to stay. Standard quid pro quo. No biggie. She can handle that, whatever hellhounds he owns. Until Max, the most sought-after bachelor in the county, comes back ahead of schedule and suddenly she’s roommates with a 27-year old sex God who turns out to be so much more than what she expected.

Max might have had the attention span of a humming bird on crack when it comes to women, but that was before Annie. Her quirkiness and sweet contradictions soon captivate him, not that she’s inclined to give him the time of the day. With his reputation preceding him, he knows the odds are badly stacked against him, but he will do his best to prove her that he’s what she needs, stuck-up socialite grandmothers, doomsday preppers, groupies, pregnancy hormones, and repentant biological dads be damned.

ADD TO GOODREADS

My Review

Complimentary copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

Every reader who has read the previous books about the Bowen brothers (“More than Meets the Ink”, “Heavy Issues”, and “Inked Ever After”) by Elle Aycart has probably been as eager as me about getting the story of Max: the incredibly handsome stuntman and womanizer, and the youngest of the brothers. I was very eager to get beneath the skin and find out what makes Max the way it is, and when I read the blurb about Annie, his love interest, I became even more excited about reading this romance novel.

I do not really see a point in giving you a play-by-play about what happens in this book, because I really believe that you should delve into it and become lost in Annie and Max and everything that takes place without any preconceived notions about it. However, as always, I will do my best in writing my thoughts and feelings about these characters and the story as a whole, and I hope that, in turn, will make you pick up a copy of your own. That is why I write reviews, after all. 😉

Imagine finding yourself pregnant after a random one-night-stand at a time in your life when your biological clock is ticking away. What will you do? I have to say that the way Annie chooses to go about her situation – and the subsequent “issues” many women face as the weeks pass – seems very realistic, and I came to care for her a great deal. She is a smart and pretty down-to-earth character, and I very much enjoyed getting to know her. She has an inner strength that I admire, and although she feels rather insecure about herself at times, the issues she carries within were very easy for me to relate to. Annie grows through the course of the book, and I admit that Max helps her a lot in this aspect – but is that not also what we seek in a partner? One who is able to help us see ourselves in a different light…and help us if we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel?

Max stole my heart rather quickly. Yes, he is hot. Yes, he is well aware of it. But is he conceited about it? No, absolutely not. His honesty regarding his casual encounters with women is, in fact, rather refreshing: obviously, he is a man, and he has certain needs that have to be met on a regular basis, but he is never cruel. And you have to appreciate that in a man. His sense of loyalty, his love for his family, and his pretty alpha-ish ways in the bedroom are all contributing factors in making him a new favourite BBF of mine.

These two people seem to be poles apart when you first meet them, so imagine their surprise when they actually seem to gravitate towards one another as times goes by. Yes, they may still be different in many ways, but they value the same things in life. And that, in my opinion, is all that really matters in a relationship: a certain understanding or regard for each other’s needs, but also the willingness to compromise when that is necessary.

I love Miss Aycart’s storytelling skills: there is just something about it that stands out from other authors writing the same type of novels. Her words bring me to tears one minute, and then flat-out, belly-aching laughing the next. The secondary characters are just as well developed as the main ones, and I particularly enjoyed the scenes when she referred to a certain book club. Those were really cute in a sassy way. That is my viewpoint, anyway.

To sum up: yes, I loved this book. Yes, I would recommend it to all romance lovers who enjoy some laughs amidst the tears. Yes, I will most definitely read it again…and again. Because in giving us the final chapter to the Bowen brothers and their lives, Miss Aycart was able to transport me into another world: and that is why I read and love books. I want to lose myself for a couple of hours at a time. She certainly fulfilled this particular need in me which is why this romance is placed on My Favourite Books list. ❤

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

(from Amazon.com)

After a colorful array of jobs all over Europe ranging from translator to chocolatier to travel agent to sushi chef to flight dispatcher, Elle Aycart is certain of one thing and one thing only: aside from writing romances, she has abso-frigging-lutely no clue what she wants to do when she grows up. Not that it stops her from trying all sorts of crazy stuff. While she is probably now thinking of a new profession, her head never stops churning new plots for her romances. She lives currently in Barcelona, Spain, with her husband and two daughters, although who knows, in no time she could be living at the Arctic Circle in Finland, breeding reindeer.

Elle loves to hear from readers!

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“Withering Hope” by Layla Hagen – My Review

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Title: “Withering Hope”

Author: Layla Hagen

Genre: Contemporary / New Adult Romance

Release Date: 19th February, 2015.

SYNOPSIS

Aimee’s wedding is supposed to turn out perfect. Her dress, her fiancé and the location—the idyllic holiday ranch in Brazil—are perfect.

But all Aimee’s plans come crashing down when the private jet that’s taking her from the U.S. to the ranch—where her fiancé awaits her—defects mid-flight and the pilot is forced to perform an emergency landing in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.

With no way to reach civilisation, being rescued is Aimee and Tristan’s—the pilot—only hope. A slim one that slowly withers away, desperation taking its place. Because death wanders in the jungle under many forms: starvation, diseases. Beasts.

As Aimee and Tristan fight to find ways to survive, they grow closer. Together they discover that facing old, inner agonies carved by painful pasts takes just as much courage, if not even more, than facing the rainforest.

Despite her devotion to her fiancé, Aimee can’t hide her feelings for Tristan—the man for whom she’s slowly becoming everything. You can hide many things in the rainforest. But not lies. Or love.

Withering Hope is the story of a man who desperately needs forgiveness and the woman who brings him hope. It is a story in which hope births wings and blooms into a love that is as beautiful and intense as it is forbidden.  

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My Review

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

This is such an incredibly beautiful love story I hardly know where to begin. It is a story of despair, of love, of hope. And it is about a love story that is filled with beauty amidst a cruel setting. I cried, I laughed, and I swooned while reading “Withering Hope” by Layla Hagen, and I dare you to not do the same when you pick it up.

I have only admiration for the heroine, Aimee Myller: she seems to be a strong, determined young woman, and I think that her zest for life is portrayed really well. She has a deep sense of loyalty, too, and the way she feels guilty as she begins to develop deeper feelings towards Tristan Bress feels very realistic and genuine. I would also like to add that the fact that she does everything in her power to be an asset to Tristan, instead of a liability, in the Amazonian jungle is what made me fall in love with her completely.

“I thought the bond between us here in the rainforest was one of friendship. But maybe it’s more. Maybe I feel more for this man who’s not only the strongest person I’ve met, but who also seems more determined to keep me alive than himself.” (Aimee)

Tristan is a very complex, mysterious, and such a closed-off character – in the beginning of the book, at least – and I admit that I was so invested in peeling away his secrets, layer by layer, that I forgot all about the time and that I simply kept reading until the clock struck two in the morning! (This does not happen often, by the way.) Once Tristan’s past and secrets were revealed, my heart broke for him, and I loved seeing how his love for Aimee changes him in many ways. This man has such a beautiful soul, and I love how the author surprised me: what you see is definitely not what you get when it concerns this man. Not in all matters, anyway.

“I wish I could take care of her and make her happy in the way she deserves. I wish I could start fresh with her.” (Tristan)

I have to say that I was a bit sceptical about the setting of this book when I first started reading it, BUT my doubts were very soon put to shame. The fact that most of this book does not involve any secondary characters at all is a bold move by Miss Hagen, but she managed to keep me enthralled throughout the entire book. The imagery in the book is very vivid and lifelike. Miss Hagen possesses a gift of transporting me into her world, and her storytelling skills are simply amazing: she truly made me believe that I was in the rainforest with Aimee and Tristan. Moreover, I have to applaud her for writing such a unique and well-researched love story.

It should not come as a surprise that being the sole survivors of a plane crash makes Aimee and Tristan form such an incredibly strong bond. The fact that their connection ends up being such a profound and meaningful love – one that defies logic, perhaps – is told in a very unique way, and that is why I give the book my highest rating: 5 stars.

“Those terrifying months in the rainforest were, in a way, a gift. Maybe it’s true what they say, that without darkness, you can never truly appreciate the light.” (Aimee)

I loved every page of this romance novel: it is different, the characters complement each other extremely well, and the environment is portrayed in a realistic way. To me, the pace of the story is perfect, and the manner in which Aimee and Tristan’s love for each other develops is remarkable, yet realistic. The ending and the epilogue made me sob – not something that happens often, I might add – but not in a sad way: no, I was a very happy bookaholic because of the beauty of it.

Miss Hagen, thank you for such a wonderful reading experience! “Withering Hope” is most definitely an all-time favourite book of mine. ❤

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Layla Hagen Profile

My name is Layla Hagen and I am a New Adult Contemporary Romance author.
I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later.
I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world.
And I drink coffee. Lots of it, in case the photo didn’t make it obvious enough

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Book Blitz: The Fading Trilogy by E. K. Blair – Special Box Set Release!

Hello, gorgeous people!
I have loved The Fading Trilogy by E. K. Blair from the very beginning – all three books are on My Favourite Books Shelf – and I am thrilled to see that it is now released in a special box set!
The trilogy box set will release at a special promotional price of only $0.99 for a limited time only, and it includes 3 full-length novels along with 2 bonus short stories!
Below each book, you will find the link to My Review – and if you are new to this series: Read it! Now!
Also, be sure to enter the giveaway!
Enjoy!
Trilogy Blitz
Fading
SYNOPSIS

Can a guilty conscience keep wounds from healing?

Fine arts major, Candace Parker, grew up with a mother who thinks image is everything, and her daughter’s perfection will never be good enough. About to graduate college and pursue her dreams of becoming a professional ballerina, Candace decides it’s time to let go and have a little fun. But fun is short-lived when a brutal attack leaves her completely shattered. 

The memories that consume and torment Candace are starting to destroy her when she meets Ryan Campbell, a successful bar owner. He feels instantly connected and tries to show her that hope is worth fighting for. But is Ryan harboring his own demons? As walls slowly begin to chip away, the secrets that are held within start to become painful burdens. 

At what point do secrets become lies?

MY REVIEW

Fading by E.K. Blair book trailer from Novel Idea Inc. on Vimeo.

Freeing
SYNOPSIS
Knowing who you are and accepting who you are come at different prices. 

Jase Kinrick grew up in your typical, all-American household. But after the death of his sister, his parents shut down, forcing him to deal with everything life throws his way alone. Terrified of the person he’s discovering himself to be, Jase has his way with every willing girl to try and rid himself of what he fears he is—gay. 

Escaping California and moving to Seattle to attend the University of Washington, Jase frees himself to the reality that he likes men. Never staying with any guy long enough to get to know them, he doesn’t realize that he’s still hiding from who he is until he meets Mark. Scared of having real feelings for another guy stirs up the questions and fears he’s fought hard to bury. 

To strip away the barriers to the heart of what is real, and to be okay with what lies underneath, will be Jase’s moment of truth. But he’ll need Mark to lead him there.
 

MY REVIEW

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SYNOPSIS

Sometimes it takes someone else to show us what we are truly capable of becoming.

Suffering from years of violent abuse, Ryan Campbell has learned how to keep people from getting too close. But when you shut yourself off, people get hurt along the way. Never caring much about others, Ryan creates a world in which he doesn’t have to feel.

When Ryan meets Candace Parker, all of his walls slowly begin to crumble. Not sure of the truth of who she is, he feels his mind is playing tricks on him. Unable to force out the thoughts that consume him, Ryan is haunted by visions that torment him every time he looks at her. He finds himself swallowed by guilt and blame, but he’s unwilling to turn his back on the one person that could possibly save him.

 

You’ve heard Candace’s story in Fading, now hear Ryan’s. 

MY REVIEW

Falling by E.K. Blair book trailer from Novel Idea Inc. on Vimeo.

PURCHASE LINKS

iBooks (Still Pending. Check back soon.)

Find The Fading Trilogy on Goodreads

Freeing

Freeing (Fading, #2)

To celebrate the box set release, E. K. Blair is doing a giveaway of an AUTOGRAPHED Trilogy Paperback!

Enter below!

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GOOD LUCK!

Release Day Blitz: “Sometimes Moments” by Len Webster – Excerpt, Teasers & Giveaway

 
 
Title: “Sometimes Moments”
Author:  Len Webster
Release Date : January 12th, 2015
SYNOPSIS
One blink,
One breath of air,
One moment in time …
Could change your life forever.
Growing up, Peyton Spencer fell in love with the boy across the road, Callum Reid. As the years went by, it only made sense that they would wind up being completely and utterly infatuated with each other. That was, until the morning Peyton wakes up to find Callum packing up and leaving the small town they lived in.
Left heartbroken and with no explanation, Peyton spends the next four years of her life without him, ensuring they never cross paths again.
At seventeen and months after Callum leaves her, Peyton buries her parents—feeling more alone than ever before. Now at twenty-one, she’s inherited the Family hotel, The Spencer-Dayle. Just when she thinks life couldn’t get more complicated, the one person that shattered her heart, soul and belief returns.
For Peyton, his return opens up all her old wounds and resurfaces the memories she’s tried to forget.
He’s not the same boy she once fell in love with. He’s guarded and keeps secrets close to him. Peyton knows her life will begin to unravel.
Untold truths will finally come to light. Whether or not Peyton wants to hear it, the truth will undoubtedly break her heart all over again. 
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Enjoy the excerpt! 

 
Peyton listened until Jay’s familiar laugh rang high and then she breathed out. His laugh was a form of remedy for her. Though he was so much like Peyton and Graham, he was far different from them. Jay was comfortable with his life. For Peyton, she was just managing.
Shaking her head, Peyton looked down at the papers sprawled on the table. The sound of a chair scratching caught her attention. When she lifted her gaze, she was irritated to see none other than Callum Reid sitting in front of her, his arms crossed over his chest.
Peyton closed her eyes tight and sat properly in her chair. It was a talk Callum wanted, and Peyton had thoroughly avoided it since his return.
“Peyton,” Callum acknowledged in a dull tone.
“Callum,” she said, mimicking the lifeless pitch in his voice.
His lips pursed and he eyed her. Silence was exchanged between them, suffocating her. When it reached an unbearable quota, Peyton started to collect her work.
“Why does everyone in this town love you so much but hate me? I grew up here too.”
His question startled her, causing Peyton to lift her head and glance at him. His eyes swept over the pub, filled with disbelief.
He really doesn’t get it.
“Because you left, Callum,” Peyton stated.
He slowly turned his head until his eyes met hers. Callum’s jaw locked as if he were attempting to control his emotions around her.
“So did everyone else,” he pointed out.
“Everyone had their reasons.”
Callum’s eyes flashed and he abruptly leant forward. “And I didn’t, Peyton?”
“Yes, you did. But you didn’t give me a reason. They all left because they gave a reason. They told the town. They let people know. But you? You just up and left, Callum. You didn’t tell me.”
Callum flinched like her words had hurt him, which Peyton found ridiculous. “I had my reasons, Peyton,” he said through clenched teeth. “But that doesn’t explain why these people I’ve grown up with can’t even look at me.”
This time, it was Peyton who flinched. Her eyes burned. He still didn’t get it.
“Because you didn’t come back!” she shouted, tears running down her cheeks. That façade she had hid behind crumbled. She no longer used a fake smile. For Peyton, this was as raw and as naked as it got for her.
His eyes grew sadder, but she didn’t care. Around them the voices had started to hush until the pub had silenced around them.
“Look around you, Peyton. Nobody else came back!” Callum raised his voice.
Her heart clenched at the truth he spoke.
“But they did,” she sobbed.
Callum shook his head. “No, they didn’t.”
“But they did when I needed them the most!” Peyton cried before she wiped the tears from her cheeks, hating the weakness she was showing.
“What?” he breathed.
“They all came backevery single one of them. The town hates you because you didn’t come back. Everyone came back, Callum. My parents’ funeralthey were all there…except for you!”
Her lips trembled as the heat burned through her chest.
“Peyton,” he said almost apologetically.
“No! That one day. Their funeral. That was the day you could have redeemed yourself, Callum. I don’t care if you couldn’t love me. I needed you then. I lost them and you didn’t show. It was their funeral, Callum. They died. My parents, they loved you. Don’t you get that? They loved you! They wanted meto forgive you, but I couldn’t, and when they died, I knew I could never forgive you. You didn’t have to be there for me. You could have been there to pay your respects or to say goodbye, but you didn’t. The moment I buried them, I buried any hope of you redeeming yourself.”
“I’m—”
Peyton shook her head. “Save it. If you had just come back, I would have forgiven you for breaking my heart. I don’t care if you couldn’t love me back. I just needed your support and for you to acknowledge their deaths. They all came back. The only person who didn’t show was you.” Peyton sniffed and tucked her hair behind her ear.
That was the day she had vowed she would never let him back into her life. The last glint of hope had died with the very last breath her parents had breathed that day all those years ago.
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AUTHOR BIO

The truth is, Len Webster is a romance-loving Melbournian with dreams of finding her version of ‘The One.’ She calls Australia home, but secretly wishes a man with a beautiful accent would whisk her away. She’s been called a hopeless romantic and a firm believer of happily ever afters, which she doesn’t object to.

Having just completed her Bachelor in Business and Commerce, Len can be found daydreaming of her next Europe adventure or swooning over Mr. Darcy. Her best friends are a hot cup of tea, red velvet cupcakes, a warm jumper and her MacBook, ready to write to her heart’s content.
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Signed Paperback of Somtimes Moments

$25 Amazon Giftcard

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GOOD LUCK!

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“Darker Water” (Once and Forever #1) by Lauren Stewart – My Review

 

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Title: “Darker Water” (Once and Forever #1)

Author: Lauren Stewart

Genre: New Adult / Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 3rd October, 2014.

Publisher: Off the Hook Publishing

SYNOPSIS

After another painful breakup, Laney Temple finally understands that love is a fairytale and sex rarely comes with a happy ending. She’s too busy for it right now anyway–she has a business to run, art to create, and candy to crush. Eventually she’ll be ready to switch from her plastic-or-silicon lover to a flesh-and-blood one. But before that happens, she needs to be sure she won’t feel any of those annoying emotions that make her heart do things it wasn’t meant to do…

Like break

Carson Bennett is completely upfront about what he wants, and it has nothing to do with Laney’s heart. Her lips? Hell yeah. Other parts of her body? You better f*cking believe it. But her heart? Nope, not even a little. Until it does…a lot. But having feelings for someone isn’t allowed. It’s the kind of thing you’re supposed to push down deep and cover up with one-night stands, sarcasm, and booze…

Like secrets

Two people want the same thing–a commitment to nothing more than great sex in a bunch of different positions. Simple. Enjoyable. A win-win. Problem is, those two people have families and fears and pain that spill into every moment of their lives, control what they do and who they are. And if either Carson or Laney can’t free themselves from the past, they’ll both be pulled under by it.

*** Darker Water is a stand-alone contemporary romance that does not end in a cliffhanger.

ADD TO GOODREADS

My Review

Complimentary copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

Every woman has had their heart broken at one point in her life, and I think it is pretty safe to say that many have been told that you have to kiss a lot of frogs in order to find your prince. I know that my own mother imparted this to me when I was younger. Well, kissing a lot of frogs can be exhausting! And for each frog that you come across in your life, you tend to lose a bit of hope as well as a small piece of your heart. At least, that is what I remember feeling, and it is the same for the heroine in “Darker Water” by Lauren Stewart.

Laney Temple has had her fair share of frogs in her life, and after a particularly nasty break-up, she comes to the conclusion that there really is no such thing as Prince Charming – or, rather, she believes that she has turned her past boyfriends into frogs! So she decides that she has had enough with the opposite sex and she refuses to allow herself to become involved with a man again.

Carson Bennett has a long line of hook ups in his past, and even though he wants Laney to simply drop her knickers and let him in – yes, he is that forward in his approach – he is very upfront with her from the beginning: he does not do “love”. He does not cheat or lie, either, but he has his own reasons for avoiding jumping on the “love train”. To Laney, Carson may be exactly what she needs: if she spends enough time with him, can she then teach herself to separate sex from love? Well, time will tell…

A rather peculiar friendship forms between these two jaded people, and I have to say that I really enjoyed getting to know Laney and Carson. They are both hell-bent on keeping their hearts closed from forming any kind of romantic feelings, but that is why I loved this book: as they get to know each other as friends, they inadvertently become a constant fixture in each other’s lives that they cannot – and will not – let go.

“He was so far from being the perfect guy, and that was what made him so perfect for me. No expectations, no emotional crap, no frog.” (Laney)

I have to admit that although I loved Laney a great deal, she sometimes seemed to be a bit too cynical for her age; however, when I remember my own past heartaches, I cannot help but understand her closed-off view of love at the same time. I realise that I may be contradicting myself here, but so be it: I have to be honest. And like I said, I fell for Laney: she is smart, sassy, and strong.

I found Carson to be a very funny guy on the surface; he is rather cocky, yes, but very charming about it, and you cannot help but fall in love with him. Once I got to know him better, and once he revealed his past, I had no trouble understanding his reasoning for keeping his heart intact. You will, of course, have to read the book in order to fully get my meaning, but I refuse to write spoilers in my reviews. Let me just say that my heart was shredded when I learned about the things he has gone through.

“’If it could be anyone,’ he whispered, ‘it would be you.’” (Carson)

The banter between Laney and Carson made me laugh so hard, and I found myself going back to read certain scenes again because of the wit Miss Stewart incorporates in her book. What makes this such a great book in my eyes is the fact that it is written in dual POVs. It is easy to distinguish the voices of the characters, and I feel that Miss Stewart excels at showing her readers how different, yet similar, Laney and Carson are.

“Unlike all the times before, this actually was love and it hurt and it wasn’t going to stop. Because I would never give it up. Because it was worth everything.” (Laney)

I would also like to say that fans of steamy scenes will get their wish granted…Even though they are written in a much different way than we may be used to seeing these days. But, moreover, this is just a really well-written friends-to-lovers romance that I know I will read many times in the future, and I strongly urge you to buy this book. Miss Stewart, thank you for a fantastic reading experience! I cannot wait to read the next book in the series. ❤

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

(from Goodreads Author Profile)

Lauren Stewart lives in Northern California with two of the most amazing children that the world has ever seen. She reads almost every genre so, naturally, her writing reflects that. With every book, every story, you’ll find elements of other genres–fantasy, mystery, romance, paranormal, suspense, YA, women’s literature, all with a touch of humor because what doesn’t kill us should make us laugh.

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Blog Tour: “Shiver” by C. M. Foss – My Review, Excerpt & Playlist

Title: “Shiver”

Author: CM Foss

Genre: New Adult / Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 22nd November, 2014.

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This is a love story.

This is a romantic story.

Except bananas. Bananas are never romantic.

Lissa was a twenty-year-old girl trying to make it in the equestrian world. She was sassy and smart, strong and a little weird. And she had no idea what she was doing.

Ethan was twenty-seven, tattooed, tall, dark, and hot. And lugging some baggage. He’d already made it in the business and brought Lissa on to help get her on her feet. And it turned out, he liked a little weird.

Ethan made it clear that he wasn’t in the market for a relationship. Lissa was happy to learn the ropes and push her attraction aside.

But how do you draw the line when every touch makes you…shiver?

ADD TO GOODREADS

My Review

Complimentary copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

Besides “Shiver” being a really heart-warming, funny, and sweet love story, it is also a very eye-opening one. I will get back to this a little later in my review, but I might as well tell you right now that I ADORE this book! (Yes, an exclamation point is warranted, dear readers.) The story of Lissa and Ethan had me frustrated, sad, happy, and hopeful, and that is why I love it so much: because this story made me feel everything that these characters go through – both the highs and the lows.

Now, this book revolves around the equestrian world, and I have to admit, being a horse lover myself, that is part of why I really enjoyed reading it. However, I can see that people who do not know much about this particular environment may feel the opposite. I would like to say, though, that I feel that the love story is what is important, and I believe that you will become engrossed in it just as much as I did.

When we first meet Lissa, she is a 20-year-old woman trying to make a name for herself in the horse racing business. An accident takes place, though, that forces her to reevaluate her career options, and this is where Ethan comes in. He has a different kind of establishment and, having known Lissa, as well as being aware of her capabilities, he offers her a job at his place in order for her to keep working with the animals she loves.

It is no secret that Lissa has been harboring a bit of a crush on Ethan for some years now, but she chooses to accept his job offer, to put aside these feelings, and to be professional about her being his employee. But what happens when Ethan suddenly begins to behave as if he feels the same? Well, life gets complicated, which is not really surprising, but you will have to read the book and find out what happens next…*wink*

I have to say that Lissa is one of the most interesting heroines I have come across in a while. Despite her young age, she is very mature, hard-working and very professional in her line of work; but she does not seem to be too old for her age. Like other young women, she is a bit unsure about what to do with her life, other than knowing that horses will be involved, and that is why I fell for her. She is quirky – maybe even a bit “weird” – but also a very down-to-earth kind of girl. I really liked how she eventually makes Ethan come clean about why he does not think he can make a relationship work – instead of simply waiting him out, she confronts him. And that is very refreshing: it shows a strong character to me.

As for Ethan…Who, in their right mind, would not find him gorgeous? Tall, tattooed, loving the animals he works with, and this certain air of mystery about him: he is, plain and simple, difficult to resist. His troubles are real, genuine, and you can understand why he holds himself back. Being a typical man, he is under the illusion that he has to fix everything on his own, but, unbeknownst to him, he happens to stumble upon a woman who is not afraid to face them with him. The way he opens himself up to Lissa was very moving to read, and I must admit that he is now on top of my favorite book boyfriends.

Without giving you any spoilers, I want to say that one of the reasons why this book gets my highest rating is because it does not merely ends after Lissa and Ethan work out their issues; no, their story continues, and as they get to know each other completely, thereby allowing the readers the time to connect fully with them, you cannot help but fall head over heels in love with the both of them. That is my honest opinion, anyway. No, all is not well in Paradise, but that is due to the hardships they have to go through together. It shows the difficulty of being parents as well as remaining lovers and friends because the obstacles standing in your way seem too much to bear. (And this part of the book made me shed a couple of tears…not an easy feat, so thank you for that, Miss Foss!)

This may be the first book of Miss Foss, but you really cannot tell that is the case. I love her storytelling skills: they are different, but so engaging, honest, and believable. Lissa’s best friend, Steph, and the southern horse breeder, Lawrence, had me laughing a great deal whenever they were part of a scene, and I really cannot wait to get their story next year.

Like the synopsis of the book says: “This is a love story. This is a romantic story. Except bananas. Bananas are never romantic.” you are in for a truly feel-good romance novel; there are some twists and turns you will not see coming; and there are plenty of swoon, sass, and steam as well. Like I mentioned above, “Shiver” made me cry, but it also made me giggle and laugh out loud on several occasions. All of these are factors contributing to me rating this book 5 stars, thus putting it on My Favorite Books list. Yes, I really cannot recommend this book highly enough, and I am so looking forward to following Miss Foss and her work in the future.
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“Dance with me?” Lawrence’s voice behind me pulled me from my musings.

I turned with a smile. “Why thank you, sir.”

I followed him onto the dance floor, the orchestra playing a Frank Sinatra ballad. He swept me into his arms like, well, like the perfect gay best friend.

“Don’t you say it.”

“Say what?” I asked innocently.

“I am not your gay best friend. I have sisters. They took dance lessons. My mom made me partner them.”

I couldn’t help laughing loudly, drawing some disapproving glances. He quickly spun me and dipped me in playful retaliation. As he drew me back up, I stood staring straight into Ethan’s heated gaze. 

“Can I cut in?” he asked without breaking our eye contact. 

From the corner of my eye, I caught Lawrence nodding and stepping away before I was pulled flush to Ethan and we glided across the floor. 

“You look absolutely stunning.” He breathed softly into my ear, his right hand settling low, really low, on my bare back, and I shivered.

“Cold?” I felt him smile.

“No, I’m not cold,” I stated quietly, enjoying the feel of being in his arms, the texture of him beneath his tuxedo, and the touch of our hands. 

“Are you having fun tonight?”

“I am.” I nodded slowly. “I didn’t know you would be here.”

“I came as a trophy.”

I pulled back to look in his eyes. “Whose trophy? And why?” I was a little irrationally angry and felt stupid that I thought we were having a kind of moment, only to find out he was here with someone else.

“Why are you angry? You do realize you’re here with a date too, right?”

I waved him off. “Lawrence and I are just friends. He’s my arm candy for the night. And maybe a kiss at midnight if I get tipsy enough.”

He glared at me, jaw flexing back and forth. “You’re just friends who sleep together?”

“No. Just friends. As in… actual friends. Nothing more.”

“Why have you both been blatantly flaunting your relationship in front of me then?”

I shrugged. “It tickled me.”

“It tickled you,” he repeated slowly, dangerously. 

“Yes. It did. It tickled me to see your mood swings every day, and I was making bets on when you were going to start your period.”

Despite his irritation, he laughed out loud. “God, you’re weird.” He pulled me closer, wrapping my arms up around his neck and sliding his hands down my bare arms and then down my back, settling them there. “I don’t know what I’m doing with you,” he muttered softly.

 

I Don’t Dance – Lee Brice

Hard to Love – Lee Brice

A Woman Like You – Lee Brice

Power Of A Woman – Lee Brice

Beautiful Every Time – Lee Brice

She Ain’t Right – Lee Brice

Falling Apart Together – Lee Brice

No Better Than This – Lee Brice

I live in beautiful Northern Virginia with my incredible husband, two awesome kids, three dogs, and two budgies. My husband and I both grew up riding and competing horses and have our own equestrian operation that we run together. In my spare time, I read through the hundreds of stories awaiting me on my e-reader.

My love of books started early, and my mom used to ration my reading time so I didn’t go through them too quickly. I love all things romantic, whether it’s dark or light or silly or dirty, but I really love a happy ending!

In my small moments of quiet time, you’ll find me sipping on wine and reading while any movie where people randomly burst into song or dance plays in the background.

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Blog Tour: “The Morbid & Sultry Tales Of Genevieve Clare” by J. B. Hartnett – My Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

 

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the morbid & sultry tales cover

Title: “The Morbid & Sultry Tales of Genevieve Clare”

Author: J. B. Hartnett

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 30th October, 2014.

Cover Designer: LM Creations

SYNOPSIS

My name is Genevieve Clare, professional mourner, destined to spend my days donning a black suit and throwing myself on top of caskets for money. Sometimes I mixed it up and threw myself on top of a willing warm body instead. Finding the right warm body though, that was a different story.

ADD TO GOODREADS

My Review

Complimentary copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

 Death is such a taboo subject when, in fact, it really should not be. Now, do not go into this book thinking that that is everything this story is about: no, this is a love story that makes you feel everything. The love story between Genevieve Clare and Ahren Finnegan is sweet, funny, life affirming, and uplifting. Add to that some great, dry wit delivered by some of the secondary characters, a bit of steaminess, and overall “feel-good-vibes”, and I am positive that you will come to love, maybe even adore, this book as much as I do.

As always, I will not give away any spoilers of the story, but what makes it so much more important than usual is the fact that this is such a different romance novel from what we see on the market these days, and I honestly believe that it will ruin the reading pleasure for you if I reveal too much of it.

Genevieve – Gen – has suffered great loss at a very young age: losing both her parents and grandmother in a horrific way. Needless to say, she is filled with sorrow, but she does not know how to work through it in a “normal” way. She has been in love with Ahren Finnegan since she was a little girl, and even though he admits to feeling the same way about her, fate decides to step in and tear these lovers apart. It does not happen in an overly dramatic way, but, again, I refuse to give any spoilers; suffice it to say, years will pass until Gen and Ahren meet again, and, this time, decide to take a leap of faith in order to find happiness together.

”All the men in my life had been compared, unbeknownst to them, to Ahren Finnegan. They never stood a chance.” (Genevieve)

Gen is a quirky, sweet, and caring person; to say that her line of work is different would be an understatement: I honestly do not know if there exists professional mourners in this day and age, but I kind of hope so. You see, the services Gen offer her clients are compassionate, selfless, and absolutely amazing. Are they eccentric? Yes, absolutely. But is this really such a bad thing? To some, yes – to others, not so much.

As for Ahren: well, he is such a wonderful person. I love him! In some aspects, he is just as scared as Gen, but I love his stubbornness, his humour, and his alpha tendencies (especially in the bedroom *wink*). He understands Gen like no other person does, and he knows how to handle her when she feels afraid and want to bolt. Furthermore, he understands why she has chosen the profession she has, and that means everything.

‘”I wanted to be your first, Gen. All those years, I knew I could say anything, tell you anything, and you would’ve thought it was cool or asked me more, and we would talk. I missed you. I missed talking to you. Not the little girl you; I missed you.”’ (Ahren)

I would also like to add that Ahren is not insecure about opening up the can of worms, and you just have to love a man who does not shy away from disagreeing with his woman – because that, my dear readers, is not an easy task!

‘“No going back,” he said firmly. “I mean it, Gen. It’s you and me, now. Not our pasts. Now. If you ask me to leave, I will not go. Do you understand?”’ (Ahren)

As I said in the beginning of my review: death is not something you want to dwell on – and I do not think that you should, of course – but neither is it a subject to ignore at the same time. It just is. It is a fact of life, plain and simple. But what I feel that Miss Hartnett wants to tell us by writing this story is that one should make the most of one’s life; that it is more than acceptable to be different; and, last, that love is all that matters in the end. True love, in any shape or form, is everything. And that brings me hope.

‘I felt his smile against my own. “What if something happens to me?” I asked. He held my face in his hands and said, “Then you wait for me to join you, baby. I won’t be far behind.”’ (Genevieve & Ahren)

So: yes, I recommend this rather different, but endearing, romance novel: the storyline is unusual; Gen and Ahren are lovely, believable, and genuine characters; Miss Hartnett’s storytelling skills are so unique, and you can really feel that she cares deeply for every single person she introduces us to in her book; finally, the cast of secondary characters in this novel is so much fun! Yes, even when you find yourself bawling your eyes out – and yes, that I did – you will end up smiling because of something a certain person said in a previous chapter.

This has become one of my favourite books this year, so please take a chance, dear reader, and buy it!

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genevieve clare

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ENJOY THE EXCERPT!

I approached Bryce Oskin, with caution, and when I reached his side, he demanded, “Who the fuck are you?”

Charm and disarm. Charm and disarm.

“I’m Genevieve Clare, Mr. Oskin,” I said with a grin. “I believe you hired me to come to your funeral? Mind if I join you?” I brought my own bag of goodies and opened a white baker’s box from Brewster’s.

“You some kind of spooky chick?” he asked, his eyes squinting as he studied me.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think he was… sweet on me already. “Kinda, yeah. If by spooky you mean I get paid to go to funerals, give people a nudge, and check for a heartbeat. Oh, and I live at Eden Hills. Then yeah, I’m spooky.” I grabbed a plastic fork and took a bite of amazing cake. It was always amazing, but today it seemed more amazing than usual.

“There,” I nodded toward the folder I’d set down on a little table to his side. “I just need you to sign on the dotted line. And the bag there is from Ruby. But I’m taking over the goody-bag duties, so tell me what you like and I’ll get it for you.” I licked my lips and did it seductively because I knew this was a man who appreciated a woman. Also known as a dirty old man. “Want a bite?”

“You gonna tell that Nazi Nurse Ratchet on me?” He jerked his head toward Cheryl.

“Are you gonna drop dead from half a slice of cake?” I countered.

“Nope.”

“Then I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship, Mr. Oskin. I visit once a week, unless I have a funeral, usually on Tuesday or Wednesday. I always bring cake for my clients. If there’s something you don’t like, just tell me. But I usually bring a selection.”

“You do this every week?” he asked, disbelief in his voice.

“What do you mean?”

“You eat like that every week? When you see other clients?” His eyes slid up and down the length of my body.

“I have a high metabolism.” I smiled. It really was a miracle I wasn’t as big as a house. But my sweet tooth was limited to sharing with clients. I had to give myself some sort of boundaries.

He grabbed the plastic fork I’d handed him and stabbed the slice of Meyer lemon cake with vanilla bean cream cheese frosting. His eyes closed, and when they opened, he said, “God bless you.” After a few more bites, he asked, “So, you’re gonna open up my box and poke me before they burn me, right?”

“Yes, sir, I’ll make sure you’re good and dead.”

“Spooky chick.” His tone was gruff, but his lip tipped up in the corner.

I saw it with pride. Disarmament, accomplished.

Bryce Oskin had ordered the Shake N Bake. I had permission from most of the mortuaries and crematories to open the casket and check the body. I mean, you could just tell when someone was dead. By the time I had my turn with the deceased, they were most likely already embalmed. But some of them chose not to be, or if they were, they hired me to come to their place of death and make damn sure there was no chance in hell they were coming back to life.

A while back, there was a highly publicized case in Southern California. A woman had been pronounced dead and taken to the hospital morgue. But when they opened the fridge for her to be transported to the funeral home, they saw obvious signs of a struggle. She’d been put in there alive.

Yikes.

I’d never been afraid of death, and, after my family died and the man I loved almost had, I embraced death in my own strange way. I made it my life’s work, I guess. While it took a lot to creep me out, that story gave me the heebie-jeebies something fierce. It was all over the news. Every staff member from the hospital to the morgue was investigated then sued or fired or both. And, of course, old people sitting in the common room of a rest home from the wee a.m. hours to beddy-bye time, saw that story six times in one day, minimum. I ended up receiving so many requests to make sure they weren’t breathing, I added the Shake N Bake to my website

 

Teaser Pics

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

j.b. hartnett

Julie is a Southern California native, a fan of a really good story (preferably romance with a happily ever after), really good pie (preferably pumpkin) and copious amounts of coffee (preferably Folgers).

She has always enjoyed writing and at one time thought she could be a singer songwriter…the ‘writer’ part is the one that stuck.

Julie is obsessed with pi…the equation (and the food). She’s allergic to cats and cantaloupe and hates mushrooms…so if you ever want to give her a gift, those are out for sure. She currently lives with her own romance hero husband and two boys in Melbourne, Australia.

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