REVIEW: Princess of Draga by Emma Dean

Princess of Draga Book Cover Princess of Draga
Draga Court #1
Amma Dean
Sci-Fi Romance
October 17, 2017
E-ARC
276
The Author
Jillian Ashe
October 2017

In the first book of the Draga Court series, Princess Adelina's coming-of-age party will declare to the worlds she is finally eligible to wed. All she wants is to serve her people and the crown with honor, but when a dangerously attractive prince from another galaxy - one who they all thought was dead - arrives with warnings of monstrosities and war, will her feelings put her in a position where she has to choose between her people and love?

The Draga Court series is a beautiful combination of fantasy and space opera set in a faraway future where humans have altered their genetics to save their species from their destructive natures. Dominance and rank weave a complicated dance among the galaxy's society where a true submissive has to find her place, and learn the true meaning of power and love.

Review

First – let’s take a moment to swoon over this gorgeous cover. Emma Dean’s covers are legitimately top notch.

Now, I don’t normally read steamy books, but Emma Dean asked me to, so I did. And I don’t regret it.

Warning: Have a fan ready because this one is HOT!

This is a new epic sci-fi romance series by a veteran author (Jillian Ashe) using a pen name for her steamier writing. The sci-fi is light, but the world building is not. It’s an Earth-like feeling, but definitely not the Earth we know and love. In this world, humans have been genetically altered with a dominance gene. This ensures that peace is kept.

The main character is the youngest Princess, Adelina. She’s a submissive, which is odd for a royal, but everyone loves her. She’s a bit annoying for me at first because of her submissive trait, but I promise she does grow as a character and I came to like her more before the end.

There are a number of side plots going on as well (think Game of Thrones style) and I had so many favorites in those subplots it was hard to choose one! The main story though follows Adelina and her family. Her father has fallen ill with one of the VERY FEW illnesses that don’t have a cure. The eldest Princess, Raena, is preparing to step in as queen early. A nearby galaxy has been attacked and overthrown by a mysterious enemy and it’s feared that their Draga Galaxy is next.

The best way to describe this series is probably Game of Thrones in space in the future. Except I’m hoping not everybody will die. 😉


Quotes

“Sometimes the submissives are the ones with the most power. They draw strong dominants to them, incite the age-old instinct to protect and defend. You do not have to be the strongest or the most dominant to wield those who are.”

 

She arched a brow at him and he awkwardly cleared his throat. “I apologize,” he said again. What the gods had this woman done to him? He didn’t normally act like such a fool.

 

Adelina was a master at dissembling. The princess made herself into what she thought those around her wanted or needed. Masks came and went until even Nadyah was unsure of who the female truly was underneath them all.

 

Varan leaned against the guard station and gave her a cocky smile. “I set up my scanner to recognize your retina whenever you’re within a two block radius of my court.”

She narrowed her eyes at him and ground her teeth, not sure whether to be flattered or irritated. “Why in the gods’ name would you do that, simply to annoy me?”

 

Sirus rubbed a hand over his face and shook his head. “No, this is simply moving very fast. I wanted to speak with you, not defile you.”

She smiled at his choice of words, as if she were somehow the innocent and naïve one. “I believe I was the one doing the defiling.” 

 

“I would wait until the stars changed if you asked it of me.”

 


My (Writing) Life

OMG YOU GUYS! PEACE IN FLAMES is going up for preorder next week! If I were a good little girl I’d have already had it up and running, but…. this week got away from me. (Any fellow book bloggers interested in a YA contemporary romance novella, hit me up! I’d love to send you a review copy! Those who already asked will be getting theirs next week.)

This is also my first post since the new year – HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I’m hoping to post next week (on my birthday!) declaring my goals for the new year. I find goals to be easier to meet than resolutions.

SUMMER OF PEACE is coming along. My editor went through it once, even though it’s not done yet. I’m hoping to finish the draft by the end of next week, then go through again before sending back to my editor.

I’ve also started work on my vampire/witch PNR. I’m very excited to see how this goes. If I keep on schedule, the first draft of book one should be finished around the end of February. Ideally I’ll be publishing by early summer. (I want the first draft of book 2 ready before I hit publish on book 1.)

So that’s about it. I’ve got to head to work in less than an hour, so I’m off to get ready!

Catch ya later, happy reading!

 

Blog Tour: Sea of Strangers by Erica Cameron (review + giveaway!)

Sea of Strangers Book Cover Sea of Strangers
The Ryogan Chronicles #2
Erica Cameron
YA Fantasy
Entangled Teen
December 5, 2017
E-ARC
340
NetGalley
Flights of Fantasy
November 26 - December 7, 2017

Know your enemy if you want to survive…

The only way for Khya to get her brother back alive is to kill Varan—the immortal ruler who can’t be killed. But not even Varan knew what he was doing when he perverted magic and humanity to become immortal.

Khya’s leading her group of friends and rebels into the mountains that hold Varan’s secrets, but if risking all their lives is going to be worth it, she has to give up everything else—breaking the spell that holds her brother captive and jeopardizing her deepening relationship with Tessen, the boy who has been by turns her rival and refuge since her brother disappeared. Immortality itself might be her only answer, but if that’s where Khya has to go, she can’t ask Tessen or her friends to follow.

I don’t usually partake in blog tours, because, let’s be honest, I’m not usually organized enough for that!

However, when I learned of this tour for Sea of Strangers by Erica Cameron I had to sign up! I read the first book in The Ryogan Chronicles earlier this year and knew I needed to find out what happened next.

Read on for my review of Sea of Strangers, and some other goodies!

I’ll try to make this as spoiler free as possible, but if you’d rather just check out my review of book 1, Island of Exiles, you can find that HERE.

You can also find the FULL SCHEDULE for all stops on this blog tour HERE.


Review

I received a copy of the first book in the Ryogan Chronicles, Island of Exiles, earlier this year, so I jumped when I had a chance to read the continuation of this story in Sea of Strangers.

If you read and loved Island of Exiles, you will not be disappointed with Sea of Strangers. The stakes are higher, the missions are deadlier, and things start to heat up between Khya and Tessen.

Like the first book, I had trouble keeping up with all the new terminology, but there is a handy glossary in the back for those who really want to get to know the terms, or if you’re too lazy to keep flipping (like me!) you can still enjoy the story even if some of the words make no sense to you.

This book ended with a BANG and left me wanting the third book in the series ASAP. It feels like this might be a trilogy, but I don’t know, it could probably stretch longer if the author chooses.

If you love epic fantasy, pick up this series. It will be well worth your time and money!

 

Special thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.


Quotes

 

 

 

 


About the Author

Erica Cameron is the author of books for young adults including the Ryogan Chronicles, the Assassins duology, and The Dream War Saga. She also co-authored the Laguna Tides novels with Lani Woodland. An advocate for asexuality and emotional abuse awareness, Erica has also worked with teens at a residential rehabilitation facility in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale.

 

 

 


Giveaway

Sea of Strangers Prize Pack, including:**

* A signed copy of Sea of Strangers

* A $20 Visa gift card

* A swag pack

**For international: 1 copy from book depository and a $20 Visa gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

REVIEW: The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

The Broken Girls Book Cover The Broken Girls
Simone St. James
Mystery, Suspense, Paranormal
Berkley
March 20, 2018
E-ARC
336
Penguin First Reads
November 12 - 23, 2017

A breakout suspense novel from the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare.

Vermont, 1950. There's a place for the girls whom no one wants--the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it's located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming--until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she's tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister's death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister's boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can't shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past--and a voice that won't be silenced. . . .

Review

BE STILL MY HEART!!!
If you read just ONE book in 2018, let it be THIS book!

I don’t even know where to begin with this. I finished reading just before Thanksgiving and I tried to tell my family how amazing this book was but I simply could NOT put all my feels into words to describe them! I’ll try my best here.

The Broken Girls is part ghost story, part mystery. It’s a dual timeline, which I loved, because every time we jumped to the other time period, I wanted to keep reading the timeline we had just left. Both story lines were equally compelling.

In 1950 we follow four boarding school girls, we know from the start of the book that one is murdered. Why we don’t know is which girl it is, why, and who did it. Was it the ghost? Was it one or all of the other girls? Another human? You’re literally guessing until almost the end.

Meanwhile, in 2014 we follow Fiona, a 30-something year old woman who’s life was torn asunder years ago when her sister was murdered and her body dumped on the property of the creepy boarding school. With the boarding school property purchased by a mysterious millionaire, Fiona—a journalist—sets out to write a story about the restoration… and maybe find a way to find closure with her own sisters murder.

This is a story filled to the brim with secrets. Every thread of this story is woven so intricately together that if you don’t read closely, you may miss a clue.

Seriously you guys, I can’t even. This book is everything. Upon finishing it, all I could think was, “Damn. I need to read EVERYTHING Simone St. James has ever written.”

Seriously. This is a must read. Though I received a digital ARC for free for review purposes, at some point I will probably go buy the actual book for my bookshelf to reread in the future.

 

I received a copy of this book from Penguin First to Read in exchange for an honest review.


Quotes

* Note: Whittling down the number of passages I highlighted to feature here was HARD. I had so many markups on my digital edition!
Also note these quotes were taken from an advanced copy and
may differ in the final book.

 

She’d always known the monsters were real.
And they were here.

 

“Fee, Fee.” He was clearly laughing at her now. “You’ve spent too long with that policeman of yours. The police don’t have all the answers, and neither does the government. The people are where you find things. Like those records you just found. The people are the ones who keep the memories and the records the powers that be would rather erase.

 

Why do I have the feeling you’re not home in bed right now? Fiona stopped, staring down at the words. How the hell did he know? She wiped tears of cold from her eyes and typed a reply. Wrong. I’m snug under my covers, asleep. His reply was immediate. Oh shit. Where are you?

 

“Anthony,” Fiona managed as they crossed the field. “I think I saw—”

But he tugged her, nearly unbalancing her, and suddenly she was so close her shoulder touched his. “Shh,” he said, his voice lowered. “Please don’t say it. I think she listens.”

 

Deb had been three years older, and Fiona had followed everything she did— she’d worn Deb’s hand‑me‑down clothes, her old shoes, her old winter jackets. She was quieter and more introverted than her outgoing sister, but she’d tried her best not to be. Deb had been a road map of what to be, and when she’d died, that road map had vanished, leaving Fiona adrift. For twenty years and counting.

 

Unable to help herself, she tugged on the first box sitting at eye level and hauled it out, placing it on the cold ground and popping the lid off. Inside were textbooks, old and yellowed. The top was titled Latin Grammar for Girls .

Jamie read the title over her shoulder. “The good old days,” he commented, “when apparently Latin was different if you were a girl.”

 

Sonia laughed, though it was a painful story. She knew that laughing at it was one of Katie’s weapons, a way for her to make the experience smaller, easier to manage.

 

Mary knew everything. Mary saw everything. Everything. Even the things you didn’t say to yourself, deep in your own mind, ever.


My (Writing) Life

We survived Christmas!

Well, mostly. The family spoils my kids so much that it looks like a toy store blew up in my living room and kitchen. I’ve got them doing some organizing their toys right now, but they’re mostly whining and throwing fits. Is it time for them to go back to school yet??? (Parents who homeschool must have infinite patience!)

I had a wonderful holiday, spent lots of time with all of my family, and gave and received all sorts of wonderful gifts. Some highlights: My kids are beyond thrilled to finally own Minecraft, no longer limited to the hour long demo that doesn’t save their progress. Hubby received some delicious Pecan Canadian Whisky and a heater for the garage. And I received a beautiful tea box for all my tea bags, season 2 of Outlander, and a design tablet for my computer. I spent four hours yesterday evening putzing around on the computer and training myself to use the stylus instead of the mouse. I’m far from a professional with the stylus, but I’m getting better. Plus, last night I created a layer mask on a book cover I’m designing in Photoshop and it was the easiest – and quickest! – layer mask today. Also the most accurate. I think I’m in love.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday as well.

Now though, I’m ready for life to go back to normal. However if there’s one really good thing that came from the holiday season it was that it forced me to post a whole bunch of reviews (for the 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge) and now I’m sort of in the habit of posting a review a day. I MIGHT CATCH UP ON MY BOOK REVIEW POSTINGS BEFORE JANUARY!!!

Alright, I’ve got kids to wrangle, a house to clean up, laundry to wash, and a headache to boot.

Until next time! (When maybe I’ll even have some writing updates???)

 

REVIEW: Mr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

Mr. Miracle Book Cover Mr. Miracle
Angelic Intervention #10
Debbie Macomber
Contemporary Romance, Christmas
Ballantine Books
October 7, 2014
Paperback
227
Hotel Lobby
12 Books of Christmas
October 17 - December 23, 2017

Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber celebrates the most wonderful time of the year in this heartwarming Christmas novel of romance, hope, and the comforts of home—coming soon as a Hallmark Channel original movie!

Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help twenty-four-year-old Addie Folsom get her life back on track—and, if the right moment strikes, help her find love. Posing as a teacher at a local college in Tacoma, Washington, Harry is up to the task, but not even he can predict the surprises that lay in store.

After trying to make it on her own, Addie has returned home to Tacoma for the holidays, but this time she plans to stay for good, enrolling in the local community college to earn her degree. What she doesn’t plan to do is run into Erich Simmons.

Addie and her next-door neighbor, Erich, are like night and day. Growing up, he was popular and outgoing while she was rebellious and headstrong, and he never missed an opportunity to tease her. Now she intends to avoid him entirely, yet when they’re suddenly forced to spend Christmas together, Addie braces for trouble.

Perhaps it’s the spirit of the season or the magic of mistletoe, but Addie and Erich soon find they have more in common than they thought—and that two people who seem so wrong for each other may actually be just right. With a little prompting from a certain angelic teacher, the two are in for a holiday miracle they’ll never forget.

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my THIRTEENTH (Bonus!) contribution and the end of the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge.

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


Review

I have now read two holiday novellas by Debbie Macomber and I think it’s safe to say that I am not her target reader.

It was a chore for me to finish this book. I started reading this book on October 17…. and didn’t finish until December 23. That’s over 2 months reading this book.

Where do I even start… I guess I’ll go with character development. Or lack thereof. There were so many characters crammed into this little book and at the end I’m left not caring about a single one of them. Addie and Erich could have been really interesting characters, except Addie was an immature brat. Erich was stubborn and sullen. I was given no reason to like either of them, and I honestly don’t know why they fell for one another either.

To add confusion to this hot mess, there are two storylines sort of connected. Based on the blurb I thought this would be a romance between Addie and Erich with the angel helping push them together. And it is. Except half the book is following the angel, who is on earth posing as a college literature professor named Harry Mills. For an angel who is only God knows how old, he sure had no idea how life on earth worked. I know that experiencing isn’t the same as observing, but it was ridiculous how dumb he was at times.

Writing this review just makes me more annoyed at this book so I’m not going to say much more. In conclusion I’m left with underdeveloped characters I don’t care about and two storylines, neither of which was compelling.

I don’t remember the last time I was so happy to finish a book. I would only read another book by this author if it was recommended by a friend with similar book tastes… and probably only one who has also read and hated this book. Apologies to the author, she’s very popular for her Christmas novels, so maybe she just ran out of inspiration by the time she wrote this one?


Quotes

He’d heard about angels like this, ones who were given an earthly assignment and lost their heavenly perspective. Sadly, they got caught up in the temptations of Earth. That wouldn’t be a problem for him, of course.

 

Grinning like the cat who’d found a bowl of cream, Erich slowly shook his head. “You were jealous.”


My (Writing) Life

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

This post is scheduled in advance, so if you’re reading this on Christmas day, I’m busy spending time with my family.

Until next time!

REVIEW: The Bookworm and the Beast by Charlee James

The Bookworm and the Beast Book Cover The Bookworm and the Beast
Charlee James
Entangled Publishing (Bliss)
December 4, 2017
E-ARC
140
NetGalley
12 Books of Christmas
November 13, 2017

When quiet, bookish Izzy Simon accepts a two-week assignment as an assistant for an author of children’s books, it seems like the perfect way for her to make some much-needed extra money, but the grumpy author claims he doesn’t want or need her services. He might be as handsome as a storybook prince, but his prickly personality and resistance to all things Christmas are sure to make for a chilly holiday season.

Derek Croft never agreed to the cheery temp his staff arranges for him while they’re on vacation. Izzy is his polar opposite, but Derek soon realizes she could be the perfect solution to his interfering family…if he can get her to agree to pretend to be his live-in girlfriend. Before long Izzy’s sweet disposition and unflappable optimism has him decorating a tree and looking forward to late night hot cocoa, but he’s all too aware their time together can’t last.

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my TWELFTH contribution and… I miscounted, so watch for a BONUS Christmas book review TOMORROW!

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


Review

Hands down, this is my favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling. Okay, I think I’ve only read one other, but this one was a total winner in my book.

You have Izzy, the very determined woman who accepts a job through a temp agency working for Derek. Then you have Derek, the man who never wanted a temp, but thanks to his meddling staff (whom he’d given the holidays off) he now has.

Derek was dark and brooding, full of backstory. Izzy was bright and optimistic, with her own sad backstory as well. They were fleshed out enough that they weren’t JUST characters in the book, they had layers and personality.

You know how in the original Disney version of Beauty and the Beast where suddenly he starts to warm up to her and if you blink you miss that moment where annoyance turns to admiration? I saw that little spark in this book.

This book adds and extra layer with a little plot twist in which Izzy is asked by Derek to pretend to be his girlfriend in order to get his stepmother to stop trying to set him up with every girl she can think of. It was great!

For me, this was the perfect holiday romance slash (modern) fairy tale adaptation.

 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Quotes

Why couldn’t the client have been a sweet old man, or bald and frumpy? Instead, she had to trail a dark featured version of Thor, who had the disposition of a porcupine, around the endless mansion while tying to avert her eyes from his backside.

 

He’d tried to get rid of her less than an hour ago, and now he was asking her to stay as his mock girlfriend? There was no way she’d add another layer of frosting to the towering cake of implication currently baking inside the castle’s curved walls.

 

Gosh he was good-looking. And salty—he looked very, very salty.

 

It was the ugliest sandwich she’d ever seen, and it made her grin ear to ear. Maybe part of Derek did care, after all.

 

The castle, the dashing good looks, the spirit of the holidays swarming in the air, those kisses that lit her soul on fire. It wasn’t so cut and dry for her. When she was committed to something, it was one hundred percent. Had she found the one shed dreamed of her entire life in Derek? Or was it just that—a dream that would evaporate in less than two days, no matter how hard she fought to hold on to the edges of it?


My (Writing) Life

I’m writing this in the past (last night) and scheduling this to post in the future (right now!).

I just survived hosting Christmas for my family. It was a lot of fun, a lot of food, and plenty of presents for my parents seven grandchildren.

Tomorrow…er, today… is Christmas Eve and I’m at work. If you’re reading this the day it posts, I’m probably currently folding laundry. Or maybe eating left over pork loin covered in bacon (because how else would you eat pork loin???) Tomorrow is Christmas and I fortunately do not have to work! I get to spend the day with family, enjoying more food and cookies and gift giving.

And then life returns to morning, just with more clutter in the house.

I don’t really have a point to any of this. I’m exhausted and rambling. So I’m going to end this now so that I can play a bit of Long Live the Queen before I crash for the night.

Merry Christmas, everyone! (And if you don’t celebrate, happy Sunday!)

REVIEW: Fallen Crest Christmas by Tijan

Fallen Crest Christmas Book Cover Fallen Crest Christmas
Fallen Crest High #5.25
Tijan
Contemporary, New Adult
Self
December 15, 2015
Kindle
32
Amazon
12 Books of Christmas
December 18 - 20, 2017

This is a very very short novella consisting of one scene that has three parts, and an additional bonus scene. This was written to be a FREE gift to any Fallen Crest readers! And with that said, Happy Holidays from Tijan. (If it is not free, please refrain from purchasing. I am working on making it free.)

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my ELEVENTH contribution and I’m excited to share my final review tomorrow!

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


Review

This was actually the last book I started for my 12 Books of Christmas (but not the last review I’m posting). A couple that I’d started were DNF’s for me, so I didn’t want to count them for this challenge. That left me with less than a week to grab another book and finish it. As luck would have it, I found this one on my Kindle!

So, this is actually a book meant for fans of this series. I’ve never read the series, so this is a review from an outsider’s perspective.

It wasn’t a bad story, and though it was a little confusing at times, it was not enough to pull me out of the story.

Short stories can suffer from lacking plots due to not enough time to build them up, but this wasn’t the case. I was able to dive right in and the author did a wonderful job showing me that Sam’s mom has been….. awful. I’m guessing some kind of abuse, if not physical than emotional, but they don’t really say. I was definitely intrigued and this short story left me wanting to know what happened in the previous book(s) in the series.

Most Christmas stories are happy, or at least have a happy ending, but this one, being more bonus content than a story on its own, left things up in the air. There was no happy ending, but there was a resolution of sorts.

I did notice a few editing things that turned me off toward the writing, but nothing to pull me out of the story. Just enough to bother this reader, but possibly others won’t even notice or care. It also wasn’t enough to make me NOT consider reading this author in the future.

All that said, I think this series might be a bit too gritty for me. I think readers who want to sample this authors reading style and who prefer grittier stories would enjoy this read and might go on to read the previous book(s). There might be spoilers in this to the previous book(s) but I really couldn’t say. You know, because I haven’t read them myself!


Quotes

“You’re going to have to leash the asshole and you’re going to go somewhere else because this is my home. If, and that’s only if, Sam needs someone to step up for her, I’ll get the pleasure of kicking someone out of my home.” She emphasized the ‘my’ before walking away with Logan. Before they were out of earshot, Sam heard Malinda say, “You just got here and I already feel like another drink.”

 

Samantha stared at her mom for a moment. She looked different this night compared to the other times Analise stopped by the house. There’d been a desperation clinging to her mother, but this mother, she looked composed. Calm. Almost serene, in a small way.

 

“…There’s a vast difference between peace and having a relationship. You cannot ask for a relationship. Not with your daughter. Not with your fiance’s sons. You cannot force something we will not give.”

“So what am I supposed to do?”

“Nothing.”

 

All three were silent for a moment, and in that shared quiet, it was three of them versus Analise. But it was more. It went deeper. It was them versus anyone who tired to hurt one of them. It was like this before. It was like this now, and it would be forever.


My (Writing) Life

Literally NO time for an update.

Family will be here for a party in less than 4 hours.

So much to do!!!

Catch ya later!

REVIEW: Married Till Christmas by Christine Rimmer

Married Till Christmas Book Cover Married Till Christmas
The Bravos of Justice Creek #9
Christine Rimmer
Contemporary Romance, Christmas
Harlequin
November 21, 2017
E-ARC
224
NetGalley
12 Books of Christmas
December 2017

An impulse wedding...

Strong, sexy Nell Bravo won't be fooled again. After all, Declan McGrath already shattered her heart into pieces--not once, but twice. When alluring CEO Deck sweeps Nell off her feet in Las Vegas, though, she tumbles headlong into an "only in Vegas" fling with her first love. But Nell sure didn't bargain on a Vegas wedding

...a lifetime of love?

It's taken a long time for Deck to finally capture the one who got away. And this time, he's charmed her straight to the altar. But Nell will stay married to him only until Christmas Day--unless Deck can prove that this time, it's for keeps. With the clock ticking, can Deck convince Nell that he truly is her one and only...or has Mr. Love-'Em-and-Leave-'Em broken a Bravo's heart for the last time?

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my TENTH contribution and I’m excited to share my final four reviews over the next couple days.

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


Review

Right off the bat, I had some problems with this book. Who the hell goes to Vegas and ACCIDENTALLY marries someone? I don’t care how drunk or buzzed she was, Nell knew exactly what she was doing.

Aside from that impulsive choice she tried to pretend she didn’t make… I liked Nell. She was strong and tough and didn’t put up with Deck’s bullshit.

And speaking of Deck, what an alpha male ass. I did not like anything about him. I think he had a sweet side, but it was buried deep, deep down.

Because of my disbelief of the whole plot conflict and my dislike of Deck, I didn’t love this book. There were plenty of lines and scenes that I enjoyed and made me laugh, but this is one that I won’t be remembering. There was also a LOT more sex in this book than anything else.

On a whole, average as best IMO. I think the author probably has better books out there and I just picked a dud to introduce myself to her writing, which style-wise I had no issues with.

So…. take that however you will.

 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Quotes

After a month or so of turning up just about everywhere she went, he’d called her again and asked her straight out for a date. She’d said, “Absolutely not and do not call me again.”

 

She met those eyes and felt as light as a sunbeam, fizzy as a just-opened bottle of Don Perignon. It had to stop. She needed to remind him that they’d said goodbye last night. And then she needed to leave.

 

“You wont get away, Nellie,” he whispered. “I wont blow it this time. You and me. That’s how its supposed to be.”

“Don’t go there.” She made her voice as low and rough as his. “Or I’m leaving.”

They glared at each other, a battle of wills. And then he gave her that slow, dangerous grin.

 

But sometimes, even though you don’t believe it could ever happen when life is crappy, things do get better.

 

He just sat there, looking infuriatingly drool worthy with his bed-messy hair and his scruffy, square jaw, his broad, muscled heat and that mouth that could kiss her like no other mouth ever had. He just sat there and said, “I’ve always loved you.”

 

“How about this, Ma? You tell me that you’re sorry.”

“Why? We both know I’m not.”

 

He left the flower shop grinning. His guess? Nell hadn’t told anyone in her family that shed married him in Vegas. Should that bother him? Probably. But he couldn’t help thinking that he might use that information to his advantage. A better man would do no such thing. But he’d never claimed to be any kind of saint.

 

He flashed her a look—annoyed, but maybe a little abashed, too. Being Deck, he went with annoyed. “You’re pissing me off.”

“Welcome to married life. It’s called compromise, Deck. And we’re both going to be doing a lot of it—oh, and as for your fabled need for control? You’ll have to let some of that g, I’m afraid.”

 

He was branded on her heart, the one shed loved and lost and somehow miraculously found again.

 

“I believe I am mildly offended.”

“Only mildly? Good. I can work with that. This could be hot.”


My (Writing) Life

I literally spent my entire day away from the computer until after 10 pm.

Grocery shopping 3 days before Christmas… with both kids.

Cleaning, and attempting to get the kids to help clean… followed by cookie baking. I figured cookies might take 2 hours? HA! Try 4.5 hours.

Once the kids were in bed it was back to cleaning.

I think we’re nearly ready for the party tomorrow. I hope….

REVIEW: The Christmas Holiday by Maxine Morrey

The Christmas Holiday Book Cover The Christmas Holiday
Maxine Morrey
Contemporary Romance
HarperCollins
September 22, 2017
Digital ARC
384
NetGalley
12 Books of Christmas
November 19 - 26, 2017

Fall in love this winter on a romantic trip around the world ending in a fairy-tale winter wedding!

As winter comes to London, journalist Mia Walker is desperately hoping for her big break as a travel writer, dreaming of exotic locations and sun-soaked beaches. When she’s invited to write a romantic travel piece that ends in a huge winter wedding in London, she jumps at the chance. The only trouble is, the photographer is renowned adventure-junkie Hunter Scott, who Mia last saw five years ago when she ended their engagement.

It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, and Mia knows she’d be mad to say no – even if it does mean spending weeks traveling round the world with the one man she never wanted to see again! But as the wedding approaches, and the magic of Christmas begins to take hold, Mia can’t help looking out for mistletoe – and wishing she hadn’t cancelled her own engagement after all…

 

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my NINTH contribution and I’m excited to share my final three reviews over the next couple days.

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


Review

Imagine getting your dream assignment. And then finding out that you’ll be partnering with your ex. The ex whose heart you broke years ago. That’s what happens to Mia, a journalist, when she’s tasked to write about her boss’s daughter’s pre-wedding trip around the world—while her ex, Hunter, photographs the whole thing.

While billed as a Christmas romance, this felt more like a travel romance. Christmas does occur during the book, as well as Thanksgiving, but most of the story is spent with the characters traveling the world.

I loved Mia. She was sweet and funny and easy to like. Hunter was a little more difficult to like because he came off very Alpha male-like in the beginning. As the story went on, and I learned what had happened to him between his breakup with Mia and the books events, I warmed up to him. Despite his alpha-qualities he was charismatic.

The supporting characters were also great, I really enjoyed Liv (who was a nicely developed sub character) and even Sandeep (though he wasn’t as developed, mostly because the story is told through Mia’s POV and she never spent alone time with him.)

Really, the only negative I can say is that this didn’t feel like a holiday romance… which isn’t a negative unless you really had your heart set on a holiday romance. But it was a very enjoyable romance and I had a lot of fun traveling the world through these characters.

 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Quotes

“Let’s go and sit down. Making a scene in front of a client isn’t my usual style.”

“You started it.”

“Real mature, Mia.”

Shit. Since he put it like that, it did sound childish and that wasn’t how I’d meant to sound at all. Double shit.

 

“Well, he clearly doesn’t want you dead, so that’s a start.”

“Right.” I wasn’t sure that the fact he didn’t mind if I was alive was a whole lot to grab on to but I dint have much else.

 

“Sorry if I spoiled your plans to take your friend.”

“Are you?”

“No. Not in the slightest.” And with that I silently congratulated myself as he’d suggested, pulled out the SkyMall magazine and began window shopping.

 

 

Hunter pulled one leg across the other knee. “Darling Liv is under the impression that if a woman doesn’t want to sleep with me, then it’s because I don’t have the right… let’s say, equipment. Which, although incredibly flattering, is somewhat far from the truth.”

 

The sarong was about the same size as a men’s large handkerchief and pretty much sheer so it was definitely more for show than purpose. But if show was the purpose, it was doing its job spectacularly.

 

I give him a sweet smile and he gave me a look like he wanted to use me as alligator bait.

 

“I swear to God, Mia. If you hit me one more time, I’m absolutely going to turn around, pick you up, and throw you in.”

“I’m not doing it on purpose!”

“I will absolutely be doing it on purpose.”

 

 

“I’d rather you didn’t speak to me right now, if that’s OK with you,” I snapped at Hunter, keeping my eyes on the horizon. “An bearing in mind there’s a two-hundred-foot drop right there, you might refer not to as well.”


My (Writing) Life

Super quick update! I’ve got to get this post set up super fast so that I can go fold some laundry before working this afternoon.

I’ve got a couple reviews left to write… and 10 pages left of my last Christmas book to read! I should be able to get all that done at work tonight.

If it’s as slow as I’m anticipating/hoping, I’m going to start plotting BLOOD & MAGIC. If you haven’t heard me talk about that project yet, here’s the short story. I wrote it in 2013 for NaNoWrimo. I’ve toyed with it multiple times since, but it’s not where I want it to be. I feel the best thing for me to do is tear it apart and rewrite from scratch. It should be easier than writing a brand new story because I already know the characters and I mostly know what happens. But I want to plan for a long game and make this a long series, or at the very least, a trilogy. I also have to decide if I want to write/market it as PNR or Urban Fantasy. I also might age up my character a bit, she’s currently just turned 18 but maybe she’ll just turn 19.

So yeah, that’s the scoop!

I hope everyone who celebrates is done with their Christmas prep and able to relax and enjoy their holiday! (Tomorrow my kids are off school so it’s going to be a baking/last minute grocery shopping day before the party we’re hosting on Saturday with my parents/siblings/nieces & nephews!)

REVIEW: Just a Little Christmas by Janet Dailey

Just a Little Christmas Book Cover Just a Little Christmas
A Cowboy Christmas #3
Janet Dailey
Contemporary Romance
Zebra
September 26, 2017
E-ARC
320
NetGalley
12 Books of Christmas
September 21 - December 7, 2017

Believe in second chances this Christmas . . .
 
Ellie Marsden couldn’t wait to shake the dust of Branding Iron, Texas, off her heels and chase after bright lights, big city, and a wealthy husband. Now she’s come home, divorced, a little disillusioned, and a whole lot pregnant. Leave it to her one-time high school sweetheart, cattle rancher Jubal McFarland, to point out that citified Ellie is as out of place in small-town Texas as her teacup poodle. So why is there something about being back—and being with Jubal—that feels surprisingly right?


Jubal’s eight-year-old daughter, Gracie, needs a mother, but he hasn’t found the perfect woman. Or maybe the problem is that he did find her, and had his heart broken when she left town. Gracie’s already falling hard for Ellie and that ball of fluff she calls a dog. And no matter how hard the rugged cowboy tries to resist, there’s no denying the appeal of first love and sweet new beginnings—especially when there’s a little Christmas magic in the air . . .

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my EIGHT contribution and I’m excited to share reviews for twelve holiday books over the next coming weeks.

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


Review

Just a Little Christmas was a cute, if not very memorable, holiday romance.

Honestly, it’s been awhile since I read this one. I really should have written this review sooner. So I’ll try my best to conjure up some thoughts and feelings for this story.

So basically this is a girl leaves her small town for the big city and breaks her boyfriends heart in the process story. She comes back, divorced and pregnant, and basically it’s a second chance romance.

The characters were mostly not very memorable for me. Except Jubal’s name. It’s not one I’ve heard before and I cringed every time I read it.

The author did a good job of including a kid but not making this a book with an annoying kid in it.

Honestly, I don’t have much else to say about this one! If you’re in the mood for a cute little Christmas romance this could the book do the trick, but for this reader at least, it did not leave a lasting impression.

 

I received an advanced release copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


QUOTES

But come tomorrow morning, the whole town would know that Ellie Rae Marsden, daughter of perfect parents, high school honor student, cheerleader, homecoming queen, and big-city sophisticate, had fallen off her pedestal and landed hard on her butt.

 

It really was Ellie Marsden, or whatever her name was now. Elegant, citified, and—Jubal’s stomach lurched as his gaze moved downward—pregnant. Lord help him, she was as round and ripe as an October pumpkin!

 

Ellie kissed him back, the joyous tingle surging all the way to her toes. The colored lights on Main Street swirled in her head. Carols sang in her ears. For the first time since coming home to Branding Iron, she felt like Christmas.

 

Ellie faced nothing but an uncertain future here. Could she really build a life in a place where she’d never wanted to be, with a man who still had every reason to turn his back on her?

REVIEW: Approximately Yours by Julie Hammerle

Approximately Yours Book Cover Approximately Yours
North Pole, Minnesota #3
Julie Hammerle
YA Contemporary Romance
Entangled: Crush
October 2, 2017
E-ARC
220
NetGalley
12 Books of Christmas
October 5 - 7, 2017

Danny Garland is so out of Holly’s league. And her family is only back in North Pole, Minnesota, long enough to sell Grandma’s house and say “Merry Christmas.” So telling her basketball-star, too-hot-to-be-real long-time crush that she’d like to kiss him under the mistletoe just isn’t going to happen.

And now he’s asked out her cousin, Elda. Elda is a mess at flirting, so when she begs Holly to intervene, she does. Holly helps her flirt with him over text. And then again. And again. Now she’s stuck texting him as her cousin, and Elda is the one going on the date. Holly thought she could settle for just conversation with Danny, but talking with him is some kind of magic. He’s got the perfect comebacks, she makes him laugh, they text until everyone is asleep.

She just can’t ever tell him it’s her he’s really texting.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book has hot texts, gingerbread wars, and a slow-burn romance that could melt a Minnesota winter.

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my SEVENTH contribution and I’m excited to share reviews for twelve holiday books over the next coming weeks.

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


Review

This was a cute holiday book I found on NetGalley that caught my eye because A) it takes place in my home state of Minnesota, and B) it revolves around the plot of a one girl texting a boy to make him like another girl, and C) I’ve basically fallen in love with YA contemporary romances lately.

So yeah, this was a cute book, but it wasn’t unforgettable. I think Holly is pretty relatable, because what girl hasn’t compared herself to a friend/sister/cousin she thought was prettier than her? She clearly suffers from a big case of low self-esteem and has built up some very big walls to prevent herself from getting hurt. Unfortunately, those walls have also done her the disservice of keeping others away.

I also really liked Danny because he was the guy who had it all – he was the hot star of the basketball team with the hot, “perfect”, cheerleader girlfriend. Until he injured himself and his girlfriend dumped him. Then who was he? He really was just a sweetie and it was obvious why Holly liked him. I really loved that the author showed that someone who had it all, like Danny, could also suffer from low self-esteem and self doubt. Feelings of unworthiness run rampant in the teen years.

The way Holly and Danny bonded over the gingerbread competition was pretty adorable, but I was mostly frustrated that Holly would even want to encourage her cousin to date the guy she’s been crushing on her entire life. That just never really made sense to me from the get go. I mean, maybe in the beginning, but when it became pretty clear Elda wasn’t really all that interested in Danny Holly still pushed her cousin into continuing the charade.

In the end, it was a cute story, but like I said above, it just wasn’t entirely memorable. I would read the other books in this series, just to see what happens with the other minor characters, but I wouldn’t buy the books.

 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Quotes

 

(Elda) was the girl next door of every boy’s dreams. Holly was the girl next door who actually lived next door. Of course he was checking out Elda. Anyone with eyes would have done the same.

 

A girl with Holly’s savvy and Elda’s body would be more powerful than Wonder Woman. “We’d rule the freaking world. A guy like Danny Garland wouldn’t know what hit him.”

 

“Let them see how sad you are,” Craig said. “Girls love a wounded guy. They’ll want to help you. Seduction 101.”

Danny blinked at Craig. “What do you know about seduction?”

“I’ve seen a lot of movies.”

 

Maybe she suffered from a mild case of resting bitch face.

 

He got into a bit of a groove, not on his showstopper to do list, but on a list of ways he could stop being so pathetic in front of Holly. He’d just written “Stop whining to her about how she doesn’t like you,” when the bell above the Santabucks door jingled.

 

Man, North Pole loved karaoke almost as much as it loved Mariah Carey.

 

It was the day of his North Pole architecture tour date, and Danny felt a bit like someone was forcing him to eat his vegetables, which was silly. Elda wasn’t broccoli.

 

A whole morning alone with Holly. This day was going to end in tears—his.

 

I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to be honest with someone about how I feel. I’ve been pushing people away for so long that I don’t know how to let anyone in.

 

“Why are you whispering?” she whispered back.

“My mom’s just over by the counter.”

“And she can still hear every word out of your mouth,” came his mom’s voice.


My (Writing) Life

Christmas is nearly here and if I want to get all of my 12 Books of Christmas posted before Christmas Eve, I need to get my rear in gear! I have two left to finish, I should be able to finish both today as I have 10 pages left of one and the other is a very short novella.

I’m hosting Christmas for my immediate family on Saturday so I also need to get the house in gear. That’s going to mean probably little to no writing from me for the time being. Which is okay, because I’m stuck on SUMMER OF PEACE. I have the ending written, but I’m just not sure right now how to bridge the gap between where I currently am and the ending. I’m so close, but I’m drawing a blank. I think I’ll need to go back and pepper in a few lines of dialogue to make the transition smoother.

Other than that, I’ve been trying to work ahead on my publishing work. I want to get ahead and stay ahead! I’ve been formatting books like crazy the last couple days (okay, I formatted four books. That’s not that crazy…) and I’ve been working on covers. Completed two covers and am *THIS CLOSE* to finishing a third. My goal is to complete all of the Jan/Feb releases in December, then move on and complete all of the Feb/March and March/April ones in January. That’ll put me ahead just enough.

Anyway, enough from me. I’ll see you all tomorrow with my EIGHTH book of Christmas. 🙂