Monthly Archives: April 2017

Review: Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen

Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen

Brooklyn Bruisers #3

The Brooklyn Bruisers hockey series by Sarina Bowen is turning out to be, well, so far it’s mostly a hat trick for me! Each book keeps getting better and better. I was super excited for Mike and Lauren’s story because I really liked the excerpt at the back of the previous book (Brooklyn Bruisers #2 Hard Hitter). And the rest of the book definitely lived up to that excerpt for me.

Lauren and goalie Mike Beacon had a very serious relationship. They started off as friends when Lauren started working in the office of the Brooklyn Bruisers. That friendship was filled with longing until it finally exploded with passion. Mike leaves his wife after discovering she cheated on him. He plans on a divorce, tough as it may be. But then life throws him a major, major curveball with his wife’s health. Needless to say, Mike had to make some very tough decisions on short notice and that meant ending his relationship with Lauren.

Does he tell her this when it ends though? Well, if you’re thinking no, you’re right. One day they are planning to move in together, the next, Lauren is devastated. And now that the Brooklyn Bruisers are in the Stanley Cup play-offs, she is forced to be around Mike once again since the team owner’s usual assistant is suffering from a head injury. Lauren is not thrilled at all.

Mike however sees this as a chance to set things right with Lauren. But, like most men, he doesn’t quite realize just how difficult that will be. Lauren is almost done with college. She is a business woman to be reckoned with and her current boss, and Brooklyn Bruisers team owner, Nate, realizes this. He wants her to shine in his organization and put her new skills to use. I really loved seeing Lauren thrive as a professional. She has been working hard to build a career for herself and it is obvious she is respected at Nate’s organization, even if she is a bit abrupt with her coworkers sometimes. Lauren has a hard shell protecting herself, with good reason.

That being said, I really enjoyed seeing Mike put himself out there to woo Lauren back. He has big dreams of a happily-ever-after with her, FINALLY, and he is not going to sit back any longer. Seeing her again, traveling with her for games, he is reminded of one of the most painful decisions of his life, but also, that maybe he is being granted a second chance. Mike is not looking this gift horse in the mouth.

Mike is actually just an all-around nice guy. He is a single father now to a thirteen-year-old. He makes every effort to be part of her life and have her be part of his. But now he is ready to make some changes. Lauren is hesitant to let him back in again but I felt like she soon realized the reward was far greater than the risk. That being said, I really liked that she didn’t just jump at the second chance. Lauren knew a happy ending isn’t guaranteed but Mike manages to show her that this time around, nothing will stand in their way.

Couple this great romance with a great hockey team and it’s just a win-win all around. Sarina Bowen continues to write male characters and friendships that shine. There is camaraderie but there are of course quite a few scenes of the guys razzing on each other.

Pipe Dreams also lays out a few clues for Nate and Becca’s potential romance (I hope anyway!). It certainly whets the appetite for their story.

Pipe Dreams satisfies big time. This is my favorite of the series so far and I feel like everything really connected. The hockey scenes, the romance, the characters, it all felt cohesive and well done. Though there are quite a few secondary characters in this book (from the previous installments), I feel Lauren and Mike’s story shines through it all and provides a satisfying and deeply powerful romance. Any reader can pick this book up and fall in love with their story, whether they are new to the Brooklyn Bruisers team or not.

Pipe Dreams is available May 2!

ARC provided by publisher for review.

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Cover Reveal: Royally Endowed by Emma Chase

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It’s here! The cover for Emma Chase’s upcoming book, Royally Endowed. And PHEW OMG it is hot. I was super excited for the book before I saw the cover but now I’m just super antsy for August to get here. Look at this beauty!

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ROYALLY ENDOWED
The Royally Series Book 3
By Emma Chase
Release Day: August 14th 2017

Pre-order: Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | B&N | iBooks |

Logan St. James is a smoldering, sexy beast. Sure, he can be a little broody at times—but Ellie Hammond’s willing to overlook that. Because, have you seen him??

Sexy. As. Hell.

And Ellie’s perky enough for both of them.

For years, she’s had a crush on the intense, protective royal security guard—but she doesn’t think he ever saw her, not really.

To Logan, Ellie was just part of the job—a relative of the royal family he’d sworn to protect. Now, at 22 years old and fresh out of college, she’s determined to put aside her X-rated dreams of pat-downs and pillow talk, and find a real life happily ever after.

The Queen of Wessco encourages Ellie to follow in her sister’s footsteps and settle down with a prince of her own. Or a duke, a marquis…a viscount would also do nicely.

But in the pursuit of a fairy tale ending, Ellie learns that the sweetest crushes can be the hardest to let go.
***
Logan St. James grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, in a family on the wrong side of the law. But these days, he covers his tattoos and scars with a respectable suit. He’s handsome, loyal, brave, skilled with his hands and…other body parts.

Any woman would be proud to bring him home to her family.

But there’s only one woman he wants.

For years he’s watched over her, protected her, held her hair back when she was sick, taught her how to throw a punch, and spot a liar.

He dreams of her. Would lay down his life for her.

But beautiful Ellie Hammond’s off-limits.

Everybody knows the bodyguard rules: Never lose focus, never let them out of your sight, and never, ever fall in love.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEmma Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the hot and hilarious Tangled series and The Legal Briefs series. Emma lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children and two naughty (but really cute) dogs. She has a long-standing love/hate relationship with caffeine.

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Cover Reveal: Illegal Contact by Santino Hassel

Ta da! Look at this beauty of a cover!

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PRE-ORDER ILLEGAL CONTACT

The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel. 

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over…

About the author…

Santino Hassell was raised in Brooklyn by a strict Catholic family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school-cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Review: The Thing About Love by Julie James

thethingaboutloveA new Julie James book is always a reason for celebration. She is one of my favorite writers and since she takes her time with her books (with good reason!), I have to savor the new books when they come out. AND… when the book features two characters who have an antagonistic past together, well, it’s just more reason for me to dive in headfirst into this book as soon as it is available.

FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd don’t like each other. At all. When they are assigned to work together on a short case out of the Florida branch of the FBI, they aren’t pleased but they are both professionals, so they swear anyway. Heading into Florida, they keep trying to one-up each other, making sniping comments about their work and their past with each other. Yes, it was a little reminiscent of a badly concealed college crush, but it worked for me. I love a drawn out antagonism in my relationships sometimes so this worked for me quite nicely.

Once on the case though, Jessica and John are committed to catching this politically corrupt politician. They will stay in character and end this case with another criminal caught.

I liked quite a lot about this book. I really enjoyed seeing how committed both John and Jessica were to their careers. Julie James continues to do her research and the FBI setting in Chicago comes alive. These two characters know their stuff and aren’t afraid to show off to each other just a bit. But they are both some of the best agents in the field because they do the work needed (the research, the questions) to make their cases air tight. Julie James shows that as these two get to know each other again, they clearly admire the other’s work ethic.

One of my favorite parts of the book were the “he said” and “she said” chapters where John and Jessica thought about their past training together to join the FBI. They both have skewed versions of each other because of this.

They are also both facing recent heartbreak. Jessica is newly divorced. John recently caught his girlfriend sleeping with a good friend. Neither is ready to put their heart on the line again needless to say. But sometimes, you can only fight chemistry for so long. Even when that chemistry has a time limit, since John is heading down to Virginia to join an elite Hostage Rescue Team. Even as Jessica and John get closer, they know their days together are numbered.

There is a lot of emotion packed into this book but Julie James handles the story like a typical pro. I fell really hard for both of these characters and came to like and respect them so much. Jessica in particular is a new favorite Julie James heroine for me. I love seeing a woman succeed in a male dominated field and the FBI is definitely that. All of Julie James’ female characters are intelligent and determined. These are no shrinking wallflower women.

The Thing About Love is fun and sexy. There are few authors who can pull me away from my cellphone sometimes but Julie James remains one of those rare finds. She is an author who compels the reader to keep reading. Fully fleshed out characters, exciting character arcs, and sizzling love scenes combine to make for a fantastic reading experience.

The Thing About Love is available now!

ARC provided by publisher.

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Release Blitz: Too Hard to Forget by Tessa Bailey

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TOO HARD TO FORGET
Author: Tessa Bailey
Series: Romancing The Clarksons, #3
On Sale: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Mass Market: $7.99 USD
eBook: $5.99 USD
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Clarksons Series page on Goodreads

The third book in New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey’s Romancing the Clarksons series about four siblings on a cross-country road trip, perfect for fans of Gena Showalter and Julie James!

This time, she’s calling the shots.

Peggy Clarkson is returning to her alma mater with one goal in mind: confront Elliott Brooks, the man who ruined her for all others, and remind him of what he’s been missing. Even after three years, seeing him again is like a punch in the gut, but Peggy’s determined to stick to her plan. Maybe then, once she has the upper hand, she’ll finally be able to move on.

In the years since Peggy left Cincinnati, Elliott has kept his focus on football. No distractions and no complications. But when Peggy walks back onto his practice field and into his life, he knows she could unravel everything in his carefully controlled world. Because the girl who was hard to forget is now a woman

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Win a Paperback Copy of Too Hard to Forget!

Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, Author Tessa Baileyshe packed her yearbook, ripped jeans, and laptop, and drove cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend, and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.

She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

Follow Tessa: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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Release Blitz: The Right Fit by Daphne Dubois

Maxine and Antony are about to discover a game of casual hook ups can 
lead to something neither one of them thought they deserved—the right fit.

 

THE RIGHT FIT
Daphne Dubois
Released April 12th, 2017
The Wild Rose Press

 

When Maxine Nicholls discovers her fiancé is cheating, she turns to fast food and nighttime soap operas, but her sister has a plan—unbridled rebound sex with a stranger.
 
As one of Toronto’s hottest players, Antony Laurent tallies scores on and off the ice, but when the chiseled defense man hits a slump, rumors of a trade to the minor league send him to ambush a managers meeting at a posh club.
That night a chance encounter ends up as an unforgettable evening of passion. But Maxine and Antony are about to discover a game of casual hook ups can lead to something neither one of them thought they deserved—the right fit.
 

Daphne Dubois writes contemporary romance and believes the right book at the right time can make all the difference. When she’s not putting her characters in compromising positions (ahem), she works as a registered nurse. A member of the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia, she lives in Eastern Canada, the most romantic place in the world.

 

Review & Blitz: Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

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A new Lauren Layne book? It makes my heart leap for joy because I just tend to fall in love with everything she writes. And well, I am a total cliche because I definitely fell hard for Andrew Mulroney and Georgie Watkins in Walk of Shame. There is just such a boundless energy of bliss between these two (much as Andrew would like to deny it). Their first meeting sets the stage for the book as these two battle their growing affections for each other.

Georgie is a bit of a party girl, a rich heiress who does not need to work for a living. Yes, she has that Kim Kardashian vibe about her, she even admits it. But if that is not your typical favorite kind of character, don’t despair because I just about guarantee that Georgie will win you over. She is smart-mouthed, funny, sweet, and kind. She knows she has the world at her feet but she isn’t going to brag about it.

Andrew is pretty much her exact opposite. He is THE up-and-coming divorce lawyer to the stars and is very much in demand. Which is why he has to workout at 5:00AM. That is when Andrew and Georgie’s morning run-ins start taking place. She’s coming in from a night at the clubs, he is heading out to get his day started. Totally night and day as it were! The crackling tension between them definitely belies the fact that they supposedly don’t like each other very much.

When Andrew and Georgie are caught kissing by a paparazzi, their worlds truly do collide. What begins as a bit of a fake-out gets real all too quickly.

There is just so much to love about this book. I thoroughly enjoyed Georgie. She is irreverent, smart, works hard and plays hard, and is all around charming. She screams vivacious but not in an annoying way. She appreciates life, loves her family, and adores being around her friends. Fitting Andrew into that picture is not easy at first but she soon realizes that it is crucial to her happiness.

Andrew is definitely more closed-off. He seems a bit mysterious at first until Lauren Layne digs into his character a bit more. It’s hard to imagine when he has time to sleep because it seems like he is working or exercising most of the time! (Not that the exercise can’t be appreciated, believe Georgie). Lauren Layne wrote one of my most favorite romance book quotes in sometime when she has Georgie describe Andrew thusly:

“If you’re wondering what Andrew Mulroney looks like while he’s in workout mode, picture this: Thor and Captain America somehow defeat biology and have a love child together. And call him Andrew.”

Andrew may look like a superhero but he doesn’t always have the right words to articulate his feelings for Georgiana. He makes mistakes, so does she. There is a great growth to their feelings for each other. And even though their romance takes place in a short span of time, for me, it felt very believable.

I really liked both of these characters. There is so much warmth to Georgie that it really does draw you in as a reader. She’s not a ditz, she’s not stupid, or any other stereotype you might believe about socialites. In fact, she’s a woman looking to shake things up in her own life. As for Andrew, I love the strong and silent type in my romance stories and while Layne plays up this aspect of his character in the beginning, by the end, Andrew’s own warmth and caring shows through. It’s not as in your face as Georgiana’s version but it is clear as a bell that when he cares, he cares deeply.

Walk of Shame is a feel-good romance with sex appeal coming out of the pages. Walk of Shame is available now and it deserves a place on your to-be-read pile.

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Walk of Shame
Love Unexpectedly #4
By: Lauren Layne
Releasing April 18, 2017
Loveswept

Add to Goodreads | Love Unexpectedly Series | Follow the Release Blast!

Sparks fly between a misunderstood New York socialite and a cynical divorce lawyer in this lively standalone rom-com from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Love Story.

Pampered heiress Georgianna Watkins has a party-girl image to maintain, but all the shopping and clubbing is starting to feel a little bit hollow—and a whole lot lonely. Though Georgie would never admit it, the highlights of her week are the mornings when she comes home at the same time as her uptight, workaholic neighbor is leaving to hit the gym and put in a long day at the office. Teasing him is the most fun Georgie’s had in years—and the fuel for all her naughtiest daydreams.

Celebrity divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney doesn’t have much time for women, especially spoiled tabloid princesses who spend more time on Page Six than at an actual job. Although Georgie’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also everything Andrew resents: the type of girl who inherited her penthouse instead of earning it. But after Andrew caps one of their predawn sparring sessions with a surprise kiss—a kiss that’s caught on camera—all of Manhattan is gossiping about whether they’re a real couple. And nobody’s more surprised than Andrew to find that the answer just might be yes.

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Buy Walk of Shame: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Google | Kobo

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Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies.

A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.

She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL’s ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

Author Links:  WEBSITE   |   FACEBOOK  |   TWITTER  |   GOODREADS