Guest Review: The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

Today I am super happy to be hosting a guest review from my awesome friend, Holly. We met via a Nora Roberts messageboard years ago and well, I’ve just been lucky to stay friends with her! So, I hope you enjoy this review. I’m off to request this book at my library.

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I asked for this ARC after reading an excerpt in the Buzz Books 2017: Romance preview. Katherine Reay is a new to me author, so I’m pleased to see she has a backlist to explore.
The Austen Escape is about Mary Davies, an engineer in Austin, Texas, who decides to go on a trip with her childhood friend Isabel after a major work project was halted. Mary is kind of in a holding pattern in life- cautious about change, particularly when it comes to potential change with Nathan, a consultant at work. They’re blind to each others’ feelings even though her colleague Moira points it out. As a reader it is so easy to see the little clues that give them away but also easy to see how the characters keep missing making the connection.

Mary goes off to the UK with Isabel for the Austen experience and there are some surprising discoveries. First of all, Isabel’s been dating a man on and off for several months and it turns out to be none other than Nathan. And it was deliberate on Isabel’s part. She’s dealing with some mental health issues and immerses herself into the Austen experience, becoming someone Mary doesn’t recognize, though she recognizes her behavior (this has happened with Isabel before). Then Nathan comes to help Mary, and it goes from there.

The character growth – for the main characters, and for the characters who partake in the Austen experience – was excellent, except for Nathan. Part of it is that he doesn’t want to put himself out there until Mary does but he’s not clearing up misconceptions, either.

If you’re looking for a heroine in STEM, Mary is an engineer at a start-up that has become a larger corporation. It’s really interesting to hear about her work in batteries (yes, batteries) and the virtual reality glasses that she’s working on. She’s also close to her electrician father, particularly after her mother’s death a few years earlier.

There is a lot of discussion of Jane Austen’s novels and characters in this book. I chose not to draw parallels between her work and characters, though you’ll definitely see them throughout the book. It was a great introduction to Reay’s work for me and I will happily read more of her books.

 

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After years of following her best friend’s lead, Mary Davies finds a whimsical trip back to Austen’s Regency England paves the way towards a new future.

Mary Davies lives and works in Austin, Texas, as an industrial engineer. She has an orderly and productive life, a job and colleagues that she enjoys—particularly a certain adorable, intelligent, and hilarious consultant. But something is missing for Mary. When her estranged and emotionally fragile childhood friend Isabel Dwyer offers Mary a two-week stay in a gorgeous manor house in Bath, Mary reluctantly agrees to come along, in hopes that the holiday will shake up her quiet life in just the right ways. But Mary gets more than she bargained for when Isabel loses her memory and fully believes that she lives in Regency England. Mary becomes dependent on a household of strangers to take care of Isabel until she wakes up.

With Mary in charge and surrounded by new friends, Isabel rests and enjoys the leisure of a Regency lady. But life gets even more complicated when Mary makes the discovery that her life and Isabel’s have intersected in more ways that she knew, and she finds herself caught between who Isabel was, who she seems to be, and the man who stands between them. Outings are undertaken, misunderstandings play out, and dancing ensues as this triangle works out their lives and hearts among a company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation. (Synopsis via Goodreads)

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Release Blitz: Bennett Witch Chronicles

With her magic restored, her best friends living happily ever after together as humans, and the love of her life waiting patiently for her on the other side, Bonnie Bennett is not going to just sit around and let her life pass her by. She’s off to see the world! Join Bonnie as she journeys around the globe, encountering supernaturals in the most unexpected of places.

SIXTEEN STANDALONE BOOKS.

SIXTEEN BONNIE BENNETT STORIES.

ONE SERIES YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS.

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CHRYSALIS LIGHTS by Lori Titus

Unexpected news reaches Bonnie Bennett in the form of one last gift from her grandmother; a lake house in the small town of Chrysalis, South Carolina. Eager to see her new property, she decides to go see the place where Grams once lived. Chrysalis has its own secrets, a heady magic, and with the coming of the northern lights, the veil between dimensions is growing thin.

Bonnie faces secrets from a past she knows little about. Why hadn’t Grams ever spoken about this town or the time that she spent there? An evil from the past has resurfaced, and it’s up to Bonnie to figure out the connection and save the life of a young witch that hangs in the balance.

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EGYPTIAN CAT EYE by DJ Shaw

When I traveled to Egypt on a mission to rescue a young witch, I thought it would be nothing more than a simple snatch and grab. Instead, what I found was a vengeful god determined to get the attention of the entire world and a girl who was much more than merely a witch. Add a magical cat’s eye gemstone choker to the mix, and things seem pretty dire. But I didn’t volunteer for this mission just to back down when things look like they’re going to be difficult.

Pulling myself up by my boot straps, I follow my locator spell to the Pyramids of Giza, and that’s when things get dicey. I know I need to get this witch back to Mystic Falls and the Salvatore Boarding School for the Young and Gifted, but that’s going to prove to be more tricky than any of us were planning on.

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GHOST TOWN by J.P. Uvalle

For as long as Bonnie Bennett could remember her life had never been normal. With the troubling past of Mystic Falls behind her, she plans to live life to the fullest. A road trip around the world seems like the perfect idea until Bonnie comes across a small town in Georgia. A town which has a dark and troubling past of its own; secrets lay where the eyes cannot see.

A girl.

A ghost.

She won’t let Bonnie leave.

Plagued by the memories of this ghost, Bonnie decides, the only way to free herself from the place of impending doom is to solve its mystery.

Her mystery.

Why do spirits inhabit Westbrook? What does this girl want Bonnie to find?

Damon Salvatore is no stranger to slipping off the deep end, especially after the loss of his brother Stefan Salvatore, and his immortality, he struggles to live life as a human.

When he discovers Bonnie is in danger, and he is the only one who can save her, will he continue to be held back by the demons that haunt him or will Damon become the hero he was always meant to be?

With time running out to save themselves, can Bonnie and Damon work together to escape Westbrook before they become permanent residents?

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GRIMOIRES & LIP GLOSS by Kitten K. Jackson

After Bonnie Bennett prevents the annihilation of Mystic Falls by Hellfire, she’s packed her bags and bought her plane tickets, and she’s off to see the world!

In Milan, Italy, she meets a man who needs assistance… from a witch. Believing that she’s going to rescue his sister from a vampire who is hoarding women, using them as human blood bags, she performs a locator spell and races off with him to find her. When things go awry, will Bonnie’s magic be enough to save her from the fangs of a centuries-old vampire and his cohorts?

Meanwhile, back in Mystic Falls, everything seems more peaceful than usual. That’s never a good sign, as something sinister is always afoot. With Damon and Elena’s wedding and the Halloween party at the Salvatore School for the Young & Gifted approaching, could this be the calm before the storm?

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GROTESQUE by Debbie Cassidy

Leaving Mystic Falls and my friends behind was no easy choice, but I was done looking back. It was time to look forward, to see the world and give magic a rest. There is so much to see in London.

It’s true what they say, the city never sleeps, but I’m about to discover how awake it really is. One wrong turn and I’m right back in the hot seat. An unexpected attack from an unknown creature, an Order of Witches who hide in the London Underground, an Archangel determined to shadow my every move, and suddenly it’s up to me to fix what’s broken.

So much for a magic free vacation.

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HEXE by Brandy Dorsch

Bonnie Bennett never breaks a promise, and she gave Enzo her word that she’d live her life. Rather than staying in Mystic Falls to wallow in her grief over losing the love of her life, she decides on a trip to Germany, the epicenter of the seventeenth century witch hunts. Excited to explore the depths of her magic in a country rich with witch history, she embarks on her journey, able to breathe just a little easier.

From the moment she arrives in Berlin, Bonnie knows something is wrong. Her magic is weakened, and no matter how hard she tries, she can’t access her full power. Desperate to figure out what’s wrong, Bonnie reaches out to a local coven, only to find their powers have been dampened as well.

Resolved to help her new friends and recover her own magic, Bonnie makes it her mission to figure out what’s affecting their powers. As she digs deeper, Bonnie discovers a centuries-old secret threatening an entire line of witches. Together, they must find a way to restore their magic or risk losing it forever.

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NIGHTSHADE by Jena Gregoire

Bourbon, jazz, and streets soaked in magic. New Orleans is an infamous supernatural playground, and the perfect place for a witch to feel right at home.

When Bonnie Bennett travels to The Big Easy for some much needed rest and relaxation, she unexpectedly encounters a few familiar faces. Despite their violent history and her resulting efforts to steer clear of Mikaelson family drama, she soon finds herself agreeing to help Klaus when his brother Elijah goes missing. Assuming they could get a little aid from the local covens, they quickly realize the eldest original vampire isn’t the only mysterious disappearance in the Crescent City.

The clock is ticking. With the help of her unlikely ally and a handful of new friends from the French quarter, Bonnie must face off with a dark force fueled by vengeance and hell bent on wiping out every New Orleans witch in existence.

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PHOENIX GATE by Dylan Keefer

Bonnie Bennett is a witch for hire as she sleuths her way around the world helping those who find themselves in compromised paranormal situations.

While traveling, she is hired to help a couple find their missing son. After infiltrating a secret society, her investigation brings her to Japan where she uncovers a long-hidden family secret.

Imbued with an ancient power carried by Bennett witches for generations, Bonnie must stop the magically enhanced men from summoning the Phoenix Gate or suffer a cruel fate.

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SCHOOLED BY MAGIC by Marissa Farrar

When Bonnie Bennett is invited to London to teach magic at a prestigious London University, she decides it’s the perfect opportunity to see the city, and discover who she is outside of Mystic Falls.

But she soon learns of mysterious events surrounding the departure of the teacher whose job she is filling, and no matter who she asks, no one seems to have any answers.

Bonnie starts to catch shadowy beings out of the corner of her eye… waiting, watching her… and a discovery in her room makes her question if all is not as it seems.

Was Bonnie brought to London just to teach young witches, or is something far more sinister underway?

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SOMETHING WICKED by Sue Harmeling

For Bonnie Bennett, life has been nothing short of chaotic.  It seemed like someone or something was always trying to kill her and her friends, and too many times, she was forced to push her own desires to the back burner so those around her could be safe and happy.

But things were finally looking up for the witch, and the years of bad luck she and her friends had suffered through was coming to an end.

Things are blissfully quiet until a mysterious book is brought into the St. John Armory.

And it didn’t come alone.

Will Bonnie have to once more sacrifice her happiness for the sake of her friends? Or will something wicked overcome them all?

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STONE COLD MAGIC by Rachel Medhurst

Would she betray the coven to see her love?

After losing Enzo, the love of her life, Bonnie Bennett travels to Stonehenge in England, hoping to discover a magic that will allow her to see him again.

The power of the prehistoric monument, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is guarded by the English coven. When someone murders half of that coven, the protection spell is broken, allowing the magic of the stones to bind with Bonnie’s.

If the witches were killed in order to release the power, their assassin would stop at nothing to take it for themselves. Bonnie is the only one strong enough to stand in their way. Will she be their next victim?

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TEMPLE OF THE FORGOTTEN by Alex H. Singh

Unsure of what is drawing her there, Bonnie Bennett’s travel plans take an unexpected turn when she finds herself booking a ticket to India, a land full of mysticism, supernatural creatures, and ancient secrets.

On her journey to the small village of Simla, she meets Manu, a young, powerful witch just beginning to explore her magical abilities. Without anyone to guide her, she fears the girl may have fallen under the influence of something dark.

Bonnie soon learns the legend of a terrible evil believed to be locked away in a nearby temple. Will Bonnie be strong enough to keep the creature confined to its prison? Or will she surrender to the darkness threatening to overpower them all?

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THE CRESCENT CITY by Lexi Ostrow

Bonnie Bennett has finally finished her trip around the world to “find herself”, only to realize that where she’s always belonged is Mystic Falls – and returning home was as eventful as ever. Immediately thrown into the search for Caroline’s girls, the pair find themselves in the Crescent City with none other than the Mikaelsons.

While there a witch offers her everything she’s ever wanted – Enzo. All Bonnie has to do is a small bit of magic that she’s promised won’t unleash hell, sirens or anything else her past self has already extinguished. There is a cost, but the witch won’t share until Bonnie agrees to help the Big Easy with its current debacle.

Nothing is ever without a cost, but life with Enzo is more than Bonnie can walk away from. Bonnie faces her hardest decision yet, and her choice could be New Orleans’ undoing.

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THE STORM by Nicole Zoltack

After losing the love of her life, Bonnie Bennett is trying to move on and get away from all the painful reminders of the past. She’s traveled to several different countries, and after a pit stop in Mystic Falls, she’s off to Hawaii.

There, she discovers ominous apparitions searching for a portal to the next world. When Bonnie makes eye contact with one of them, she inadvertently puts a friend’s life in danger.

It’s up to Bonnie to end their deadly curse, but the storm heralding their approach is growing stronger by the day. Will Bonnie be able to save her friend, or will Maleko become a member of the mysterious Night Marchers for all time?

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THE DREAD OF DUBLIN by A.J. Matthews

Dublin is rife with magic, mystery… and murder.

When Bonnie Bennett stumbles across a dead body with a ghostly form hovering over it, she must discover if the killer is a witch back from the dead—or a monster more vicious than any she’s ever faced.

After more bodies begin to surface, Bonnie finds the murders coincide with the execution of suspected serial killer Doreen Kealy, a madam who was brutally executed centuries ago for crimes too ghastly to speak of.

Teaming up with her friend Matt Donovan, Bonnie searches dark tunnels beneath Dublin Castle and uncovers hidden secrets within the legendary Book of Kells to find out who is committing these heinous murders. But time is against her, and spirits seek vengeance as Bonnie finds herself plummeting further and further into danger.

Who is the real dread of Dublin? Is Doreen Kealy killing again? Or is a creature of the night intent on leading Bonnie to a bloody fate?

NOTE:  Release on this title has been temporarily delayed. More Info

 

 

BONE ORCHARD by Kaiden Klein

Small towns keep secrets well, but restless souls never sleep.

Bayou Lafitte was supposed to be just another stop along the way until Bonnie decided to take a popular swamp tour. Before long, she’s pulled into a decade old missing persons case, haunted by the ghost of a girl she now knows is dead.

With all paths leading to nowhere, Bonnie finds herself trapped. The only way to move on is to find out where the girl’s remains are and put them to rest. But first, she must uncover the truth and doing so won’t be easy.

Secrets kept by the residents of this small, bayou town, will make this endeavor one she’ll likely never forget.

NOTE:  Release on this title has been temporarily delayed. More Info

 

 

 

 

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Review: Alpha Mail by Brenda Rothert

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Alpha Mail is a new book by Brenda Rothert. I’ve read and enjoyed a few of her books in the past so I was excited to be able to participate in this tour.

I’ll be honest. Sometimes books featuring emails and texts between the hero and heroine work for me, and sometimes, they don’t. Unfortunately, in this case, it didn’t work for me. Part of the issue was it took way too long to figure out who the hero was. I had an idea, mind you, but I wanted it to be confirmed far sooner than it happened in the book.

Sienna Mills runs a successful business called Alpha Mail. Clients sign-up for the chance to email and text with “Alphas”, the broody, sexy heroes that all women confess to love just a little bit. (If not A LOT!) Things are going super well in her new business and Sienna is thrilled because it’s giving her options to help out her best friend, Carmen, and her best friend’s young son, Jack, who is suffering from Batten Disease. I had never heard of this illness but it’s really scary and unfortunately, kids don’t really make it into adulthood. So, Sienna is determined to make Jack’s life as great as she can while he is around. That means making sure Alpha Mail is a success.

Then, Sienna starts receiving mysterious emails from someone who claims she doesn’t know what a real alpha male is. Sienna is not impressed at first. Alpha males are her job! But the more Sienna chats and emails with her mystery man, the more intrigued she is to find out who he is and if maybe, they can make a relationship work.

Alpha Mail just didn’t do much for me unfortunately. I didn’t feel the chemistry between the hero and heroine. I felt it took way too long for them to come together. The pacing in the book just felt off to me.

My favorite part of the story was the interactions between Sienna, Carmen and Jack. The friendship between the two women was so warm and loving. It just felt so genuine a connection. Add in Jack who loves Star Wars and baseball and spending time with Sienna, well, it’s hard to not have your heart melt. It was tough to see him deteriorating a bit as the story continued because I had come to care for him too.

If you like romances that take center stage on email and chatting, Alpha Mail is the book for you. If you like romance stories with strong female leads (which I do, I quite liked Sienna), Alpha Mail is the book for you. Unfortunately, the great friendship and liking Sienna and her ambitions just didn’t wow me enough to make this a great story for me. But based on other reviews I have read, I am quite alone in that sentiment so I definitely encourage you to read some other reviews and download an excerpt of the book.

And I know I will still reach for Brenda Rothert books. I like her stories overall!

 

Today we are celebrating the release of ALPHA MAIL by Brenda Rothert. This book is a contemporary romance, standalone title. Check out the purchase links for Amazon, iBooks, and B&N below and some teasers from the book.

 

Use the hashtag #AlphaMail and tell us a dating horror story! A few random winners will get a surprise from Brenda Rothert!

 

Alpha Mail by Brenda Rothert

An adult standalone, contemporary romance

PURCHASE IT NOW!

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble


Book Blurb:

Sienna Mills knows her alpha males.
They brood.
They growl.
They love the word “mine”.
After spending her early twenties in and out of relationships with alphas, Sienna used her knowledge to found Alpha Mail, a booming business that allows women to sign up for emails, letters, and texts from their own brooding, red-blooded man.
Her star is on the rise and Sienna is attracting the interest of investors when a mysterious man starts messaging her about the true nature of an alpha. She’s got it all wrong, he says, and he’s willing to show her how a real man makes women respond.
The more Sienna hears from him, the more aggravated she becomes. Who does this anonymous, supposed alpha think he is, anyway?
And yet…she can’t deny his messages are becoming the best part of her days. Commitment-phobic Sienna finds herself wanting more from her sensei of seduction. But is she willing to trust her heart to an alpha again?

———————

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

BRheadshot

Brenda Rothert is an Illinois native who was a print journalist for nine years. She made the jump from fact to fiction in 2013 and never looked back. From new adult to steamy contemporary romance, Brenda creates fresh characters in every story she tells. She’s a lover of Diet Coke, chocolate, lazy weekends and happily ever afters.

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | | Wattpad | Amazon

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Review: Hangry by Lily Kate

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Today, I am participating in the blog tour for Lily Kate’s new book, Hangry. This book is a fun and cute story. It is my first introduction to Lily Kate’s writing.

Lexi Monroe is coming back from a fun night in with her best friend. She is unfortunately running super late so she takes the elevator in the back of her building, the one that is mostly a maintenance elevator and not to be used by residents. But, she’s in a hurry so she’s got to do what she’s got to do.

Unfortunately, she is not the only person waiting for that elevator. Bradley Hamilton, her brother’s ex-best friend, and someone she hasn’t really spoken to in three years, is also waiting for the elevator. It shouldn’t be a big deal except the elevator gets stuck and Lexi is now stuck with Bradley… and the mouth watering hamburger he is holding in a carry-out bag. Lexi is starving, as a night spent mostly drinking wine will do to a person. She just needs one tiny bite of the burger. But Bradley has his own nefarious deal to make: she can have a bite of the hamburger if she will go out on a date with him. It should not be a big deal but it is! Because this is Bradley Hamilton, the guy she almost, maybe, started something with three years earlier, but then her brother had a big falling out with Bradley, making Bradley persona non grata in their family.

Appearances can be deceiving as Lexi is about to learn. Bradley may want a date with her but there may be something more behind his sudden reappearance in her life.

I quite enjoyed Hangry. It’s an amusing romance centered on two characters that I was excited to finally see get together. There is quite a bit of friction between them, both good and bad. Not only does Lexi’s brother play a role in the friction, but so does Lexi’s business, her restaurant that she loves. It was super fun seeing someone enjoy their career like Lexi does. It wasn’t hugely, overpoweringly ambitious. Rather, just a genuine love for what she does, for her employees. Bradley has ambition enough for both of them but he soon realizes that that won’t necessarily win over Lexi.

Hangry has a nice comic touch to it throughout the story too. Lexi made me laugh several times. Overall, Hangry proved to be just a really sweet (and sexy!) love story. I remember reading about this book beforehand thinking, oh I bet this will be fun. Well, it is fun! And it’s set in Minnesota too which makes my Minnesota heart happy.

Hangry will win you over with its comedic charm and great love story between Lexi and Bradley.

HangryFinalECover

Title: Hangry
Author: Lily Kate
Genre: Contemporary Romance

About Hangry:

han·gry

adjective

informal

  1. bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger.

 

Ladies & Gents,

I sold my soul for a hamburger.

And I have no regrets. When a girl is trapped indefinitely in an elevator with a smoking hot burger and an empty stomach, even the strongest of women will crumble.

The story goes like this: Bradley Hamilton, the most frustrating human alive, offered me half of his hamburger in exchange for a date. I took him up on the offer—while under duress—and now I’m stuck with the consequences. Specifically, the scorching kiss at the end of our date that has me drooling for more.

However, there’s one whopper of a problem. This man has been a thorn in my side for the last twenty years—ever since he moved next door and became my older brother’s best friend. We’ve gone head to head for years, and now, he’s trying to buy out my restaurant in order to plop one of his big fat gyms there instead.

I refuse to let him ruin my business. Unfortunately, Bradley Hamilton is like an order of french fries: you just can’t have one. It appears our lips are addicted to kissing. He’s alarmingly handsome. Deliciously confident. And worst of all? Underneath that salty exterior he’s starting to show signs of sweet.

Brad Hamilton is my guilty pleasure, my cheat meal, my greatest craving.

Which is why he’ll be one habit that’s hard to kick.

hangry ad4

Get Your Copy Today!!

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USA TODAY bestselling author Lily Kate works a pretttttty boring day job and writes books filled with heat, heart, and humor by night. Her debut novel, Delivery Girl, landed instantly on the USA TODAY list, thanks to all of her fabulous readers! 🙂

When she’s not writing books, you may find her watching Christmas movies before Thanksgiving, eating whipped cream from the can, or hanging out with her family.

Connect with Lily:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

Release Day Blitz: Alpha Mail by Brenda Rothert

Today we are celebrating the release of ALPHA MAIL by Brenda Rothert. This book is a contemporary romance, standalone title. Check out the purchase links for Amazon, iBooks, and B&N below and some teasers from the book.

 

Use the hashtag #AlphaMail and tell us a dating horror story! A few random winners will get a surprise from Brenda Rothert! 

 

Alpha Mail by Brenda Rothert

An adult standalone, contemporary romance

PURCHASE IT NOW!

Amazon   |   iBooks   |  Barnes & Noble


Book Blurb:

Sienna Mills knows her alpha males.
They brood.
They growl.
They love the word “mine”.
After spending her early twenties in and out of relationships with alphas, Sienna used her knowledge to found Alpha Mail, a booming business that allows women to sign up for emails, letters, and texts from their own brooding, red-blooded man.
Her star is on the rise and Sienna is attracting the interest of investors when a mysterious man starts messaging her about the true nature of an alpha. She’s got it all wrong, he says, and he’s willing to show her how a real man makes women respond.
The more Sienna hears from him, the more aggravated she becomes. Who does this anonymous, supposed alpha think he is, anyway?
And yet…she can’t deny his messages are becoming the best part of her days. Commitment-phobic Sienna finds herself wanting more from her sensei of seduction. But is she willing to trust her heart to an alpha again?

 

———————

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

BRheadshot

Brenda Rothert is an Illinois native who was a print journalist for nine years. She made the jump from fact to fiction in 2013 and never looked back. From new adult to steamy contemporary romance, Brenda creates fresh characters in every story she tells. She’s a lover of Diet Coke, chocolate, lazy weekends and happily ever afters.

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | | Wattpad | Amazon

InkSlinger Blogger Final

 

Release Day Blitz: Hangry by Lily Kate

Today we have the release day blitz of Hangry by Lily Kate! Check it out and grab your copy today!

Title: Hangry

Author: Lily Kate

Genre: Contemporary Romance

About Hangry:

han·gry

adjective

informal

  1. bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger.

 

Ladies & Gents,

I sold my soul for a hamburger.

And I have no regrets. When a girl is trapped indefinitely in an elevator with a smoking hot burger and an empty stomach, even the strongest of women will crumble.

The story goes like this: Bradley Hamilton, the most frustrating human alive, offered me half of his hamburger in exchange for a date. I took him up on the offer—while under duress—and now I’m stuck with the consequences. Specifically, the scorching kiss at the end of our date that has me drooling for more.

However, there’s one whopper of a problem. This man has been a thorn in my side for the last twenty years—ever since he moved next door and became my older brother’s best friend. We’ve gone head to head for years, and now, he’s trying to buy out my restaurant in order to plop one of his big fat gyms there instead.

I refuse to let him ruin my business. Unfortunately, Bradley Hamilton is like an order of french fries: you just can’t have one. It appears our lips are addicted to kissing. He’s alarmingly handsome. Deliciously confident. And worst of all? Underneath that salty exterior he’s starting to show signs of sweet.

Brad Hamilton is my guilty pleasure, my cheat meal, my greatest craving.

Which is why he’ll be one habit that’s hard to kick.

 

Get Your Copy Today!

Exclusive Excerpt:

“Well, that worked out well.” I give Bradley a smile and wait for the doors to slide open. “That was almost awkward.”

I wait, and I wait a bit longer. I’m trying to be patient, but I’d really intended for that last comment to be a flippant dismissal before I stormed my sequined rear end down the hallway and far away from Bradley Hamilton.

I reach over, press the door-open button.

Tap my toes.

Nothing.

“What did you do?” I whirl to face Bradley. “Why aren’t these doors opening?”

He’s got this odd sort of grimace on his face that’s torn between mild amusement and frustration. “What did I do? I’m not the one lighting up the button panel like a Christmas tree.”

“Why aren’t the doors opening?”

He raises a hand, points to the numbers. “We’re stuck between six and seven, sweetheart.”

I’m stunned. Mostly by his use of the word sweetheart. He’s only called me that once before, and it was just before he almost kissed me. A long time ago.

“Stuck? No, we can’t be stuck.”

“Fine,” he agrees. “We’re not stuck, we’re stalled.”

I glare at the numbers on the elevator. “But I have to be at work like… twenty minutes ago.”

“Tell them you’ll be late.”

“I’m the boss—I can’t be late.”

“The elevator is stuck. There’s not much you can do about it.”

I pull out my phone, glance down reluctantly at the messages to see if there’s a reply from Rick. No reply—and that’s strange. He should be at the diner by now and calling me frantically to see why I haven’t arrived.

That’s when I notice the angry red mark next to the text. A warning exclamation point that tells me the message never sent in the first place, probably thanks to these stupid cement walls blocking out all my service. I should’ve known; I drop calls every time I use the back entrance to our building.

I let out a train of expletives that doesn’t stop until I’ve used every last one in the book.

“It’s fine,” Bradley says, his voice even and cool. “We’ll just call for some help. Five minutes, max.”

“Great. Does your phone have service? Mine doesn’t.”

“Press the call button. That’s what it’s there for.”

“How’d you find out about this elevator, anyway?” I ask as my fingers depress the red button.

“Fred. You?”

“Freaking Fred,” I say. “He told me it was a secret.”

“Fred keeps secrets like a sieve. Especially when a pretty girl is asking for help.”

“A pretty…oh.” I blush at his implication. Then I press the button a hundred more times in rapid succession because I can’t meet his eyes.

“Does it help to press it a million times?” Bradley asks. “Because it looks like it’s not working.”

“It helps with my car and my computer,” I say through gritted teeth. “Do you have any better ideas?”

 

 

About Lily Kate:

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When she’s not writing books, you may find her watching Christmas movies before Thanksgiving, eating whipped cream from the can, or hanging out with her family.

 

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Review: Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt

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Well, not only is today my birthday but it is also a great day because I’m reviewing Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt. She’s one of my favorite writers so I am super excited to be participating in this blog tour.

Lady Iris Jordan has been kidnapped and is about to be raped and then murdered. Then, one of the Lords of Chaos steps in and claims her. Unfortunately this doesn’t make Iris feel any safer. When she finds a gun in the carriage she has been forced into, she shoots her captor. Unfortunately, she quickly learns that her captor is also trying to save her. Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has absconded with Iris to get her to safety. Unfortunately, he is now the person in peril after being shot. Before he succumbs to the pain, he marries Iris.

Iris is shocked by how quickly her life has gone off the rails. After being kidnapped four days ago, she now finds herself newly married to a man she does not know anything about. Iris had always hoped to remarry but she wanted to remarry for affection and perhaps, the possibility of children. She had no desire to marry for safety from the Lords of Chaos. Unfortunately, that is now her situation and she is going to make the best of it. As she nurses Raphael back to health, Iris gains respect and admiration for her new husband. Perhaps their union can be the type of marriage she has always dreamed of?

If you have been following Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series, you’ll be sad to discover that Duke of Desire is the final book in the series. It is the culmination of the Lords of Chaos storyline that has plagued several characters in previous books. The Lords of Chaos are awful and in this book, you get to see just how awful they have been from the very beginning. Their debauchery knows no bounds. It is worth mentioning that Raphael has been sexually abused. It may seem obvious, but if this is a trigger for anyone, it is worth knowing.

Raphael has had a rather awful life. He carries the weight of his father’s evilness and Raphael will do everything he can to end the Lords of Chaos, even if it means that it ends his own life. Iris is the small corner of happiness and light in his life. He will protect her with everything in his being. It is obvious that he fell for her very hard from the moment he saw her (before the meeting with the Lords of Chaos).

Iris does not long for a grandiose life. She wants a companion to love, a dog to sit with her while she reads, and a child. She is sure she can have that with Raphael if only the stubborn man would realize that he doesn’t have to sacrifice their future because of his father’s past deeds. There is a lot of sadness in this book and a lot of darkness given the group Raphael is fighting. But there is also hope and love in a way only Elizabeth Hoyt can do.

Duke of Desire is a darkly romantic historical romance. I always hesitate to recommend books that need to be read in series order but I think in this case, it is important to have the full back story on the Lords of Chaos and just why Raphael and Iris are fighting so hard to rid them from the world. It sounds dramatic but this is a truly evil group of men.

Duke of Desire flew by way too fast as I read it. I was deeply absorbed in Raphael and Iris’s journey from strangers to lovers. Elizabeth Hoyt is wildly successful yet again in making this marriage of convenience a full blown passionate love affair of the heart.

Duke of Desire is available now. Don’t miss out!

 

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DUKE OF DESIRE by Elizabeth Hoyt (October 17, 2017; Grand Central Publishing Mass Market; The Maiden Lane Series #12)

A LADY OF LIGHT
Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping. Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos. When one of the masked-and-nude!-Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him…only to find she may have been a trifle hasty.

A DUKE IN DEEPEST DARKNESS
Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them. Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans. But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe.

CAUGHT IN A WEB OF DANGER…AND DESIRE
Much to Raphael’s irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involes herself in his life—and bed. Soon he’s drawn to both to her quick wit and her fiery passion. But when Iris discovers that Raphael’s past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters. Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael’s own demons?

 

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Desperately she flung herself at the opposite seat and tugged it up. Thrust her hand in.

A pistol.

She cocked it, desperately praying that it was loaded.

She turned and aimed it at the door to the carriage just as the door swung open.

The Wolf loomed in the doorway—still nude—a lantern in one hand. She saw the eyes behind the mask flick to the pistol she held between her bound hands. He turned his head and said something in an incomprehensible language to someone outside.

Iris felt her breath sawing in and out of her chest.

He climbed into the carriage and closed the door, completely ignoring her and the pistol pointed at him. The Wolf hung the lantern on a hook and sat on the seat across from her.

Finally he glanced at her. “Put that down.”

His voice was calm. Quiet.

With just a hint of menace.

She backed into the opposite corner, as far away from him as possible, holding the pistol up. Level with his chest. Her heart was pounding so hard it nearly deafened her. “No.”

The carriage jolted into motion, making her stumble before she caught herself.

“T-tell them to stop the carriage,” she said, stuttering with terror despite her resolve. “Let me go now.”

“So that they can rape you to death out there?” He tilted his head to indicate the Lords. “No.”

“At the next village, then.”

“I think not.”

He reached for her and she knew she had no choice.

She shot him.

The blast blew him into the seat and threw her hands up and back, the pistol narrowly missing her nose.

Iris scrambled to her feet. The bullet was gone, but she could still use the pistol as a bludgeon.

The Wolf was sprawled across the seat, blood streaming from a gaping hole in his right shoulder. His mask had been knocked askew on his face.

She reached forward and snatched it off.

And then gasped.

The face that was revealed had once been as beautiful as an angel’s but was now horribly mutilated. A livid red scar ran from just below his hairline on the right side of his face, bisecting the eyebrow, somehow missing the eye itself but gouging a furrow into the lean cheek and catching the edge of his upper lip, making it twist. The scar ended in a missing divot of flesh in the line of the man’s severe jaw. He had inky black hair and, though they were closed now, Iris knew he had emotionless crystal-gray eyes.

She knew because she recognized him.

He was Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, and when she’d danced with him—once—three months ago at a ball, she’d thought he’d looked like Hades.

God of the underworld.

God of the dead.

She had no reason to change her opinion now.

Then he gasped, those frozen crystal eyes opened, and he glared at her. “You idiot woman. I’m trying to save you.”

About the Author:

Elizabeth Hoyt 2017Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing “mesmerizing.” She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.

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