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Saturday, 7 October 2017

Bountiful (True North #4) by Sarina Bowen



Mark your calendars - October 20th...It's apple picking season. It's also time for a brand new True North story. Bountiful is Zara's story. Remember Zara? She is Griff's ex, and the bartender at The Mountain Goat. She has a cute little baby daughter, and hasn't told a soul who the father is. More about Bountiful...

Blurb:

No last names. No life stories. Those were the rules.

Once upon a time a cocky, copper-haired tourist sauntered into Zara’s bar. And even though she knew better, Zara indulged in a cure for the small-town blues. It was supposed to be an uncomplicated fling—a few sizzling weeks before he went back to his life, and she moved on.

Until an accidental pregnancy changed her life.

Two years later, she’s made peace with the notion that Dave No-Last-Name will never be found. Until one summer day when he walks into her coffee shop, leveling her with the same hot smile that always renders her defenseless.

Hockey star Dave Beringer has never forgotten the intense month he spent with prickly Zara. Their nights together were the first true intimacy he’d ever experienced. But the discovery of his child is the shock of a lifetime, and his ugly past puts relationships and family out of reach.

Or does it? Vermont’s countryside has a way of nurturing even tortured souls. The fields and the orchards—and hard won love—are Bountiful.

Pre-order at Amazon US | iBooks | Kobo | Nook  


Excerpt:

“Last call,” she said to me as she wiped down the bar. “Can I get you anything else?”
“Not unless you’ll let me buy you a drink. Seems like you might need to unwind after that last bit of bullshit.”
She gave me a wry smile. “You’re sweet to ask. But I can’t accept. Company policy.”
“Uh-huh.” I took out my wallet and put a fifty on the bar. “First of all, I’m not sweet.”
Her eyes widened a little when I said that. Now I had her attention.
“And secondly, company policy my ass. It’s you who calls the shots in this place. Nobody else but you. I can see why you need a handy excuse, though. If you couldn’t pull the ‘company policy’ out of your pocket sometimes, the men would be buying the sexy bartender drinks left and right all night long, I bet. You’d never get a moment’s peace.”
A smile stole across her features. “Yeah, sure. I have to keep a stick back here behind the bar just to beat back all the men.”
“You don’t need that stick, gorgeous, because you give ’em the evil eye and they run off, knowing they’re not man enough for you. But every guy who drinks in this bar has the secret, fervent wish that fortune would smile down on him just long enough for him to earn an hour of your undivided attention.”
Zara rolled her dark eyes, but a telltale blush splashed her cheekbones. “You know how to lay it on thick.”
“No need.” I shook my head. “Just telling you how it is. Now I think you should do a shot with me, and we’ll toast your unapproachability.”
She laughed, and her eyes lit up for the first time tonight. “You are smooth, mister. I’m almost tempted.”
“Almost? Damn.”
She smiled. “There aren’t any taxis out here in the woods, and I’ve been pouring your beers all night. If you do a shot with me, it won’t be safe to drive away from here. And it’s quitting time.”
“Well. Now that you mention it…” I reached across the bar and laid a hand very gently over her smooth one. Our gazes collided as I stroked my thumb across the back of her hand. “Driving after doing shots with you wouldn’t be such a great plan. I’d have to stick around for a couple hours until it wears off.”
Zara waited a beat before retrieving her hand from beneath mine. “I see.”
“Do you?” I put both elbows on the bar and leaned forward. She was trying to play it cool, but my not-so-subtle message was getting through. I saw the blush beginning to creep across those fine cheekbones. She and I had chemistry, damn it. We’d been eye-fucking each other all night. “Look. I think you had a stressful evening. And I’m really good at stress relief. Like, pro level.”
She braced both hands on the bar and smiled at me. “Are you always this forward?”
“Nope.” I shook my head. “Some women can’t handle the truth. But I’ve watched you run this place. You’re in charge of everything that happens inside these walls, and I’ll bet that gets old. I’m thinking you might like to hand over the reins once in a while. Let someone else take charge. Tonight that someone is gonna be me...”



Friday, 6 October 2017

PUCK LOVE by Carmen Jenner


Blurb:

Stella Hart is the hottest thing in country music. For ten years, she’s been Nashville’s darling. She’s pure, sweet, and a positive role model in an industry rife with scandals, sex, and sequins. Men want to own her, women want to be her—everyone wants a piece of her, and Stella? Well, she wants out.

As the center for the Calgary Crushers, Van Ross isn’t afraid of the spotlight, but he doesn’t much like it either. Despite his reputation as a player, the NHL’s bad boy lives for only two things: the game, and his younger brother. That’s why when he comes across a country music superstar seeking refuge at his home in the Canadian Rockies, he’s not too happy with the media sh*tstorm this surprise houseguest brings.

With a nationwide manhunt, paparazzi dogging their every move, producers of a reality TV show baying for blood, and a record label desperate to see their “good girl” returned safely home, Van and Stella’s lives are snowballing out of control.
While Van would like nothing more than to show the purest of them all how well he handles his er ... stick, Stella is no puck bunny. Nor is she as innocent as she’d have the world believe.

With chemistry like theirs, tension runs high on and off the ice, but the end game is the same for both players: line up the puck, take the shot, and score. If only their hearts understood the play.

Puck fame and fortune.
Puck right and wrong.
Puck love.

Find it on Goodreads


Purchase Links:



Kristine's Review:
Review: October 2017.

When news of Puck Love hit the interwebs I was instantly intrigued, I mean talk of a book from Carmen Jenner without death and destruction... without rape or torture... a book that's fun and light and won't make me shriek or cry.... GET OUT OF TOWN....I knew I *needed* this book like I needed my next breath. It's not secret I've been on a happy book binge of late, give me happy and laugh out loud funny and I'll be all over it like ...well myself at a Tieks sale.

Stella Hart is the undisputed GOOD GIRL of the Country music scene, she's loved by little girls, teenage boys and parents alike, the World is her stage and she *seems* like she's got everything figured out. Unfortunately for Stella, she's just barely holding on. Suffering from crippling anxiety, each SOLD OUT show on her Tour seems harder to get ready for, each night the voices and fears getting louder and louder and harder to hide away. 

When Stella finally has had enough and makes a break for it, hilarity ensues, and for maybe the first time in a long time she can breathe without feeling like drowning. I remember listening people talking about anxiety years ago and not really getting it. I mean sure panic attacks seemed legitimate enough, but it was still in the abstract, I mean surely anxiety couldn't possibly be *that* bad. Funny isn't it, that earlier this year I found myself huddled in the corner of my bedroom mid panic attack trying to remind myself how to breathe with tears running down my face, so anxious over an upcoming signing that the thought of not packing the right clothes left me a bleary eyed mess. As I read the opening chapters of Puck Love I FINALLY *got* it, I understood Stella in my bones, I understood inherently why running was the ONLY option she could live with, I felt a soul deep connection to Jenner's words, it was the most holy of UH HAAAA moments, in the most unlikely of places.

"You wanna try on your own?"
"No, don't let go."
"You looking for an excuse to hold my hand, country?"
"No, I'm afraid of falling."
"But that's the best part." He grins, squeezes my hand tighter, and I have a feeling he's right. 

While I may have had a earth shattering connection to Puck Love in the opening chapters what followed was a fun filled adventure as Van the BADBOY of Ice Hockey crosses paths with Stella the enteral GOODGIRL of country music, and boy did Stella give him a run for his money. Van The Man, strong and stoic, the man who wants nothing more than to flatten anyone who gets in his way on the ice, and keep his life off the ice private. From the outside Van looks like the typical sports star, but beneath the bravado and icy glare - he's a man who's ready for something real away from the ice. And Stella, well Stella has wanted real for as long as she can remember and for the first time in a long time, she might have found someone who will give that to her.

Jenner keeps us enthralled with her trademark blend of snarky banter and tantalising sexual chemistry, but where she truly flexes her muscles is delivering a story that doesn't rely on emotion and angst to deliver something thrilling, from a quirky beginning that had me genuinely invested to a story about two people who as poster children for the lifestyle's of the rich and famous shouldn't be entirely relatable but inherently made Puck Love a book that was not only easy to devour but to love, leaving this reader smiling long after she turned the last page. 








About Carmen Jenner:


Carmen Jenner is a thirty-something, USA Today and international bestselling author.

Her dark romance, KICK (Savage Saints MC #1), won Best Dark Romance Read in the Reader’s Choice Awards at RWDU, 2015.

A tattoo enthusiast, hardcore makeup addict and zombie fangirl, Carmen lives on the sunny North Coast of New South Wales, Australia, where she spends her time indoors wrangling her two wildling children, a dog named Pikelet, and her very own man-child.

A romantic at heart, Carmen strives to give her characters the HEA they deserve, but not before ruining their lives completely first … because what’s a happily ever after without a little torture?








Sunday, 1 October 2017

Logan (Preston Punks #2) by Jay McLean



Blurb:

As a kid, Logan Preston was a brat.
Through his teens, he became the bad boy.
Now, at nineteen, no one knows what the hell to expect.

High school dropout, Logan Preston is a
good-for-nothing stoner.
A black sheep.
A disappointment.
The worst Preston Punk of the lot.
At least that’s how everyone in his small town
makes him feel.
But Logan Preston has secrets.
Secrets so dark and so deep below the surface that the only way he can fight them is to stay high, high, high.
He wears cockiness as a mask.
Arrogance as his armor.
Until one girl, one night, asks one life-changing question:
What's beneath the bravado, Logan Preston?



Purchase Links:




Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: September 2017.

Over a week has passed and I’m no closer to adequately describing the raw and unrelenting beauty this book possesses. From an auspicious beginning to an absolutely breathtaking ending, Logan captured every emotion leaving me desperate for more while delivering the story I craved. Everything about this story had me utterly invested, from the first moments Logan was an enigma, a boy that went off the rails somewhere along the lines and seemed content to remain there. His weekends of  debauchery seem to be early adulthood rebellion at it's finest, until it isn't anymore. The more McLean hinted to demons darkening his door the more his methods of letting go had a sinister twist. 

Keeping secrets isn't exclusive to Logan, Audrey has a past of her own, and much like Logan uses quick wit and sarcasm with a healthy dose of bravado to cover the things she best keep hidden. Two people trying to just be without divulging their past hurts to the world, two people using everything at their disposal to guard their hearts from further devastation. Two people who absolutely and utterly stole my heart.

I wanted this review to scream from the rooftops my absolute adoration for this author, I wanted to tell you how this story shattered me in all the ways a great book can, I wanted to shout my love for these beautifully broken characters and the way they made me feel and the journey they took me on. I wanted to revel in the emotion they wretched from me and tell you at great length how bereft I felt as I turned the last page. More than any of this, I need you to read this story, I need you to allow yourself to be swept away by two young people who asked each other the only important question there is... what if we try?





About Jay McLean:





Jay McLean is an international best-selling author and full-time reader, writer of New Adult Romance, and most of all, procrastinator. When she’s not doing any of those things, she can be found running after her two little boys, playing house and binge watching Netflix.
She writes what she loves to read, which are books that can make her laugh, make her hurt and make her feel.

Jay lives in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, in a forever half-done home where music is loud and laughter is louder.

Connect with Jay on Facebook





Sunday, 20 August 2017

Commitment by KM Golland - Exclusive Excerpt & Review

 

Release Date: 21 August 2018.

Blurb:

Natasha Jones loves her life, her husband and their two young sons. She works hard both at home and as an Events Supervisor at City Towers. But when a relationship with her work colleague unexpectedly progresses, Tash begins to question whether or not her marriage has passed its ‘Use by’ date.

Dean Jones is a numbers man but has no idea that his number could be up where his marriage is concerned. Never one to really speak his mind, he has always opted to just go with the flow in order to keep his wife happy.

Passion, intimacy, and communication have taken a backseat to demanding careers, a mortgage and family life, and it’s not until Tash and Dean stand to lose everything they have built together that the spark between them begins to flicker again.

And boy does it flicker ...
and ignite ...
and nearly burn the entire neighbourhood down!

Can Tash and Dean keep this newly lit flame alive and save their marriage? Or will temptation make the commitment seem too much to bear?

GPI Exclusive Excerpt:

I didn’t want to be disappointed with how our anniversary had panned out, but I was. It had just been another normal day, except that we had sex. Not sexytimes. Just sex. Plain old boring sex that nearly put me to sleep.
After dinner when he’d suggested we watch “Captain America” instead of “Love Actually”, my desire for anything intimate had long passed, and all I’d wanted was to just go to bed and read because, nowadays, the pages in my books gave me more sexual gratification than the man who slept beside me.
It was sad but true.
When he’d mentioned ‘looking for my cat’, ‘my cat’ had figuratively hissed in warning. I hadn’t wanted to play hush-the-kids-are-asleep robotic, shitty sex, even though I’d given in out of guilt in the end and played it. It was disheartening, really, having sex with my husband because I felt guilty for not having it with him. Sex shouldn’t be like that when you love someone. It should be exciting, rewarding … enjoyable. It shouldn’t be an obligation or a score settler. But that was exactly what it had become where I was concerned. And I hated that.
Sighing, the mere thought of feeling that way pained me. I loved Dean wholeheartedly and I always would. He just didn’t push the buttons on my body that I wanted him to press. And I wasn’t sure at what point in our marriage that had changed or why, nor was I sure if it were his fault or mine. Because, although small, my porthole sized libido still existed. I wanted sex. I just wanted something different. Something new. Something surprising.
I wanted something a little less predictable.
Unfortunately, Dean was as predictable as a clock. Rhythmic. Formulaic. He liked routine. Did that make him boring? Yeah, kinda. Yet I couldn’t deny that his consistency was comforting, because he was also dependable and reliable — a double-edged sword with a bittersweet slice.
Lying in bed and staring at the ceiling, I wondered if ‘comfortable’ was what a marriage should be above all else, if ease and the absence of irregularity really were the key to sustaining longevity within a partnership.
“God, I hope not,” I said quietly to myself. That notion didn’t sit well with me at all, but maybe that notion was the answer and my expectations of spontaneity were unreasonable. Maybe I was just greedy.


Purchase Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2uV3trV
Amazon PB: http://amzn.to/2uVjrm5
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2x2PEFc
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2x2UZwa

Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: 2017

There's a point in every wedding ceremony, when saying one's vows that we utter promises to one another, we promise to love each other, in sickness and in health, richer or poorer, we promise to forsake all others, we essentially promise to choose each other, every day, every month, every year of our forever's.

When standing there in front of a priest/officiant, in front of our families and friends it seems so very simple, because for most of us, we chose this person that moment of our first date, first kiss, first intimate moment, we chose them when they got down on one knee or in my case passed me a ring box while overlooking Saddleback Mountain, we chose to spend our remaining days building a life with our partner. As sure as I am that we are so very sure of our vows on that day, I also know that more often than not we find ourselves questioning our choices, our commitment at some point in our marriages. Be it five years, ten years or twenty years, most of us will feel stifled by that tricky bitch complacency, that honeymoon phase we fondly remember seems so long ago, jobs, children, pets, household chores have taken precedent, we forget about who we once were before the dreaded C word, and often we find our once bright and vibrant relationship...stagnant. Getting dressed up for date night is a thing of a past, sexy lingerie sits long forgotten in the back of the draw, the I love you's  still fall quickly from our lips but now out of routine.

Commitment tells the story of Tash and Dean, their story is heady and romantic, over a decade together, a lifetime, two beautiful sons, surrounded by good family and friends, their marriage seems solid,  they say I love you freely, easily, they share a connection that only comes from many years together, even after all the years that have passed Dean still see's the beautiful sexy woman he married, Tash still see's the handsome man who once stole her breath, but she also see's the man who can't for the life of him hang his keys on the hook near the door, and he see's the woman who falls asleep far too quickly and leaves him to jerk off in the dark.

I'll be honest, in true KM Golland style I was expecting a funny, sexy romp with Commitment, a story purely about bringing the sexy back, what I found instead was a poignant tale of two people who truly love each other but aren't quite sure what they are missing that their friends seem to have. That old saying that you can't see the wood for the tree's resonated so deeply for me here, I've had those moments, I've felt unsure in my marriage, I've felt like everyone else must be in on some secret I wasn't privy to, I've felt under appreciated, invisible, like a flatmate instead of a lover or a spouse, I've lost that spark and wondered if marriage is truly supposed to last forever, in truth I still do at times, I had moments reading Tash's thoughts sure that Golland had somehow hijacked my brain and scooped out my most secret thoughts.
It was confronting, and so very real that I found myself sitting in my bathroom quietly crying, because finally I could give voice to these thoughts swirling in my mind, but more than that for once I felt a little less alone.


There's so much beauty in Golland's words, there's a honesty in this story, there's a rawness that is so very confronting, it makes you think, but more importantly, it makes you feel. Mixed in between sassy banter, uproariously funny exchanges, swoon worthy romance and scintillatingly sexy hijinks is a story that needs to be told. I've often regarded author's like Taylor Jenkins Reid as the creator of life lessons instead of a writer, after finishing Commitment, KM Golland has cemented her place as the teacher of truths, the creator of life lessons, a writer of real life.



About KM Golland:


“I'm an author. I am married. I am a mother of two adorable little people. I'm a bookworm, craftworm, movieworm, and sportsworm. I'm also a self-confessed shop-aholic, tea-aholic, car-aholic, and choc-aholic.” Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, K.M. Golland studied law and worked as a conveyancer before putting her career on hold to raise her children. She then traded her legal work for her love of writing and found her dream career.

Connect with KM Golland on Facebook





Thursday, 13 July 2017

Timeless: Andy's Mindsong by Barbara S. Stewart


Blurb:

Andy Stevens is back.
He’s returned to his island to come to terms with a lifetime of memories

Rock God Andy Stevens, lead singer for the band Traveler, has come to a crossroads in his life. He’s living his Golden Years and finds himself torn between the present and the past. One phone call leads him on a determined course to find the answers, and come to terms with his unsettled soul.

His heart leads him to a place where his restless soul is at home – his island - Eleuthera. He digs his toes in the sand, deep in his memories, and relives, remembers, and reconciles a life that brings him the answers to the ‘whys’ i that led to the choices he’s made over the years. Love, lost love, love renewed, family, illness, life, and death... his hope is to find peace. Soul searching, he sifts through all the good, sad, and bad in search of what he longs for.

Take a walk back in time with Andy – for the last time.

Find on Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2vfURI8
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2sTIild
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2tPZsl0

Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: July 2017.

Some books stay with you long after you turn the last page, the characters become imprinted on your heart, their journey stays with you, allowing you to reminisce on their joys and sorrows as if they were a beloved friend. Rock and Roll Never Forgets is one such title, an epic love story spanning years between Andy and Bethy, through joy and heartache and everything in between, Stewart weaved a story that absolutely steals your heart.

Stewarts latest offering is Andy's swansong, deeply reflective, incredibly poignant and intensely personal, Timeless captures the sorrow of heartbreak and regret, and the joy of first loves, last loves, forever loves. Timeless reads as a memoir, a heartfelt reflection of every beautiful memory interlaced with the moments of regret over wasted time and bad decisions.

I was unprepared for the emotional response Stewart's words would elicit, unprepared for the feelings revisiting with Andy would produce, the overwhelming sense of finality that reading Timeless would bring, the absolutely beauty of this story, was the sense of closure it brought with it, the sated smile Stewart's words left on my face, often in life we tell ourselves it's the journey not the destination that's important, I humbly thank this author for so brilliantly reminding me of that once again.

"Each word, each laugh, each revelation made me fall deeper in love with her."




About Barbara S. Stewart:


I'm Barbara, I read. I write. I come from the northeast, born in Havre de Grace, MD, and grew up in Pennsylvania. In my teens we moved to the Space Coast area of Florida. Now I live in Middleburg, Florida (Jacksonville area) with my husband, Gene.

I've worked in the electronics industry, and most recently in healthcare. I give back by volunteering whenever I can, and in 2009, I received The American Cancer Society's HOPE Award for volunteerism.

The stories I write come from my heart. I'm never sure where they are going until I get there. Most often, a song begins to paint a picture that becomes a love story. Sprinkled through my stories are humor and sadness based on real life experiences shared with family and friends. I write with emotion, pulling from memories and events that made me who I am. My readers tell me they feel like they know the characters I share with them. I like to call my writing 'the sound-track of my life.'

A reviewer on Amazon recently said, "This isn't a romance, it's a love story." (readingmaven)

As a writer, I hope you continue this journey, travel with me, see what song inspires me next, and I hope that you see more growth with each page you turn.

I love to read; it's a gift that was shared with me by my mom - Alis. She introduced me to her favorites like Little Women, Christy, and the Nancy Drew books. Books are an escape, a journey into new and different places and I've been many places I never dreamed of. My favorite genre is romance. I to explore and support other authors who paint a picture through words that allow me to feel the story. Some of my favorites are Adriana Trigiani, Maggi Myers, and Nora Roberts.

Connect with Barbara on Facebook






Thursday, 29 June 2017

The Catch (The Player #2) by K. Bromberg



Blurb:

After an unexpected twist of fate, All-Star catcher Easton Wylder is left questioning the loyalty of everyone around him.

Even the woman who shares his bed, Scout Dalton.

But if Easton thought being uprooted to the last place he expected was the only challenge life had to throw at him, he was dead wrong.

With an ailing shoulder and his career in limbo, his decision to make an unexpected change leads him to question everything – Scout’s love, family loyalties, and whether he can conquer the one obstacle he’s never been able to overcome. The secret he’s never shared with anyone.

He may be a man pushed to his limits, but he’s hell-bent on proving his worth no matter the cost.  

Find on Goodreads



Purchase Links:




Kristine's Review:
Review: June 2017

Where do I even begin right now, I'm sitting here typing through bleary eyes, struggling to put into words everything I'm feeling, the swarm of emotions raging within me, mind a mess, heart beating wildly. I am overcome by the author's eloquence, by her ability to craft a beautifully raw story about life and love and pain and forgiveness. I am lost at sea, drowning in my feelings, as every word, every smile, every soft look and furtive glance washes over me one last time.

From the dramatic end of The Player I expected The Catch to begin with a bang, I expected fireworks and drama and that big AH HA moment where everything fell into place, I often forget that is not this particular author's way, Ms Bromberg likes to tease and titillate, I secretly think she likes the build up, the edge of your seat, need to know more feeling, she wants you so deeply invested in her characters and in her story that you're begging to know what comes next, and I was, so utterly invested, so incredibly engaged that I forgot about the journey, that at it's very core this story isn't just about a baseball star and a sports rehab hotshot, it's about families and life and love and despair and hurt and forgiveness, and grief and anguish, about finding someone who will love the parts of you're not even sure how to love yourself.

There were so many moments throughout this book that I found myself staggered by the sheer beauty of Bromberg's words, moments I found myself in awe of her ability to convey in words feelings and emotions I have never been able to...

"Both of their eyes close as she drinks - hers as she gets the fix she needs from the drug that provides it and his from knowing his love for her is not enough to break the cycle."

It's lines like that that make me stop, make me revel in old feelings of loss and despair, it's those moments that remind me of a childhood spent loving a father who loved the bottle more, it's those moments that quiet the buzz of adrenaline running through my veins and leave me spellbound that someone could write something so eloquently beautiful and raw that carve open that long closed part of mind and allow me to feel a little less alone.

"He hates her addiction - that much is obvious - so, he does the only thing he can: love her."
Bromberg quickly became a favourite author for me several years ago, with her witty banter and heartfelt dialogue, her strong heroines and dashing leading men. But beneath all that, what I truly adored was her ability to create characters who were rich and dense, who were flawed and relatable, who showed that we all face darkness in our lives, we all face trials and tribulations that we have to overcome, it was in those quiet moments when her characters were filled with pain and despair that the gravity of her message, the strength of her writing shone through.

"I want you. All of you. Your flaws. Your mistakes. Your achievements. Your shortcomings. Your love."

It's in those moments in The Catch, where Scout and Easton grow as individuals and together that Bromberg shows her talent, it's the small glances, the shy smiles, the looks of longing, of desperation, of passion and of love that show her ability to craft a story where the characters leap off the page and into our hearts. Where this story transcends everything I expected and gave me so much more than I could of hoped for, reminding me that ultimately the very greatest gift we can receive is unconditional love, a love that defies question, a love that knows no limit, that can not be defined.

"someone will love the parts of you that no one else knows how to love."



About K. Bromberg:



New York Times Bestselling author K. Bromberg writes contemporary novels that contain a mixture of sweet, emotional, a whole lot of sexy, and a little bit of real. She likes to write strong heroines, and damaged heroes who we love to hate and hate to love.

A mom of three, she plots her novels in between school runs and soccer practices, more often than not with her laptop in tow.

Since publishing her first book in 2013, Kristy has sold over one million copies of her books and has landed on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestsellers lists over twenty-five times.

Her latest release is a sports romance (two books) titled The Player and The Catch. Up next is The Everyday Heroes series: three books on three brothers who are all emergency responders. And there are many more already outlined and ready to be written.

Connect with Kristy on Facebook



Thursday, 15 June 2017

Bad Penny by Staci Hart



Blurb:

Nothing good comes after the third date.

Date three is the crucial point when things get real, which is exactly why I bounce out the door, twiddling my fingers at whatever poor boy I’ve left behind. Because if I stick around, one of three things will happen: he’ll profess his undying love, he’ll get weird and stalky, or I’ll go crazy. Like, Sid and Nancy crazy. Like, chase-him-through-the-streets-begging-him-to-love-me crazy.

Seriously, it’s better for everyone this way.

So when I meet Bodie, I figure it’ll be the same as it ever was. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t put a single string on me. Doesn’t matter that he’s funny and smart and jacked or that he can play my body like a grand piano. Because even though I’m built for love, love has only carved me up like a Christmas ham.

Resistance is something I can only hang on to for so long, and he has persistence in spades. But my heart isn’t as safe as I want to believe, and neither is his. And the second I ignore my cardinal rule is the second I stand to lose him forever.

Find Bad Penny on Goodreads



Purchase Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2suAw4n
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2torX7F
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2rtA0DG
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2sCtzxR


Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: June 2017.

When Staci Hart announced Bad Penny saying this book would be different from her previous ones she couldn't have been more right, Penny is brash, without filter and truly seems to have mastered the art of giving zero f*cks. She calls it as she see's it, refuses to behave demurely or deny her sexual urges because of societal expectation and says whatever it is she's thinking without fear of judgement or retribution, in saying that she's also inherently good and kind, despite wanting to show the world she's heartless, she has possibly the biggest heart of any of Hart's characters to date. Her bright hair, piercings and tattoo's may give off a don't even try me vibe, but underneath the sass and bravado, underneath the feisty and in control heroine is a young woman who's been burnt one too many times and is just trying to find a way she can navigate her life without ending up as someone's collateral damage.

"Here's the thing, Bodie. When I love, I don't do it halfway, I go all the way into the fire until it burns me up. It's obsessive. I lost myself once to someone else, and I'm not doing it again."

Penny's take on dating, is very clear, she doesn't date, she has short sexual entanglements and she moves on, before the guy can get attached and before she can go crazy, it's a simple rule that's been treating her well, her three hook up rule keeps everyone involved safe, and until she meets Bodie, her plan seems fool proof, when the hot blonde surfer catches her eye she's sure she can put her plan into action and walk away unscathed.

"Penny could take over the world if she wanted to. She could take me over. She kind of already had."

Bodie is tanned and toned to perfection, built in all the right places, with the face of a God and the worlds sexiest dimple he sets Penny's heart racing, chemistry in spades and an instant connection - everything about him screams to Penny's carefree, wild side, lust and attraction bubbling between them, but more than that Brodie is the ultimate nice guy, inherently good and decent, he see's beyond Penny's quirks, past her feisty attitude, to the young woman she hides underneath, he knows in the first meeting that she is exactly who he wants, if he can just figure out how to hold on to her long enough for her to see it too.

"But that was what Bodie did. He anticipated what I required and gave it to me, even when the gift was his silence. He cared for me without demand, without expectation."

Bad Penny is SEXY, and I mean balls to the wall, often times explicit sexy, and I'll be honest here, as my reading preferences have changed over the years I often find myself skimming my way through long or frequent sex scenes, feeling that it fails to propel the story forward and for me ends up feeling more like filler, and from the outset I suspected this book would be heavy on the sex, with Penny and her blatant sexuality I was concerned I'd find myself less engaged and  yet, I found myself so utterly invested in Penny's development and growth that I couldn't look away.

"You are the toughest chick I know, and the very last thing I expect from you is to let fear stop you from doing anything. Jump out the plane , Pen."

Undoubtedly the hero of this story is Penny, it's her journey from somewhat broken and flawed that absolutely grabbed me and demanded my attention. While I may not have always been able to connect with Penny and her behaviour, I inherently understood her fears and shared her pain, because at some point inside most of us lies that frightened girl, who has been burnt one too many times and is just trying to find a way to piece ourselves back together, the girl who refuses to apologise for how she healed herself and the decisions she's made to get where she is, and at the very heart of it, that's what made Penny so damn lovable and relatable, not her sass or bravado, not her wild at heart life mantra, nor her man eater ways, it's how truly unapologetic she is as she goes about her day to day life, it's the number of heartbreaks and dalliances with the crazy train she has endured and said f*ck it to the world, while pulling up her big girl panties and getting on with it. Bad Penny is laugh out loud funny, absolutely inappropriate at times in the best possible way, sinfully sexy while still maintaining that sweet edge, Hart shows her writing chops by delivering a story with the right amount of angst, commensurate to the age of the lead characters, ensuring nothing felt out of place or overdone, making Bad Penny utterly engaging and impossible to put down.






About Staci Hart:


Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life -- a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey.

From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she's not writing, she's reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

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Saturday, 10 June 2017

The Foxe and the Hound by R.S. Grey


Blurb:

A full-length STANDALONE romantic comedy from USA TODAY bestselling author R.S. Grey.

When your life is a hot mess at twenty, it’s cute. At twenty-seven…well, not so much.

It’s just that my lofty dreams—making it as a real estate agent, paying rent on time, showering daily—have stayed just that: dreams. Oh, and love? I’ve decided love might be a little ambitious for me at the moment. Instead, I’ve settled for the two guys who will never leave me: Ben & Jerry.

That is, until Dr. Adam Foxe takes up residence as the town’s new vet.

With his strong jaw, easy confidence, and form-fitting scrubs, it’s not long before every housewife in Hamilton is dragging neglected tomcats in for weekly checkups.

Like everyone else, I’m intrigued. Even after I spoil my chance at a good first impression, he still offers me a proposition I can’t refuse: play his girlfriend at a family function and he’ll hire me as his real estate agent. Welcome to love in the 21st century.

It’s too bad I underestimated Adam’s irresistible charm and the undeniable attraction that burns between us. The day he pins me to the wall and silences me with a kiss, the line between reality and ruse begins to blur. Every teasing touch brings me to my knees. Every kiss promises more.

It looks like my hot mess of a life is about to get a little hotter.

ind on Goodreads

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Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: June 2017.

I fell in love in with R.S. Grey's words way back when with  With This Heart and Behind His Lens, as her back catalogue has grown, so has my affection for her stories, from the quirky and fun, to the heartfelt and serious, Grey has ensnared my heart and captured my mind with her witty dialogue, relatable characters and explosive chemistry, her writing always leaving eager for more, and yet entirely sated. After a period of failing to connect with books, I finally hit my stride, discovering titles that left me giddy and desperate for more, I'll be honest, with each book I finished feeling overjoyed and elated there was also a sense of trepidation, because what if the next book doesn't continue your loved up book spree, what then... I shouldn't have been worried, especially not where Ms Grey is concerned, because while I have been a long time fan of the authors words, The Foxe and the Hound became a new top recommendation.


“I didn't plan to be this dysfunctional at 27, but dysfunctionality has a way of creeping up on you. One second, you're 22, wrapping up your undergraduate degree from a top business school, and then suddenly, you're sitting alone in your car at 27, wondering how five years slipped trough your fingers without so much as a blink.”  

To say Madeleine Thatcher has had a tough run would be an understatement, ever the eternal optimist even Madeline is starting to doubt how long she can continue, perennially single, regularly behind on rent, and working a job she loves but never seems to be making it in is starting to take its toll. Once again running late for work, her life and giant mountain dog of a puppy sends her careening into the newest addition to her small town, unbeknownst to all involved Madeleine's life is about to change.

Adam Foxe relocated from Chicago after some messy personal issues, he's quite content to just jump into his new practice and keep a low profile, after all who needs messy personal entanglements after everything he's just left behind? His first meeting with Madeleine Thatcher left a sour taste in his mouth, unfortunately he can't stop thinking about her either. Adam's not the only one, despite his surely demeanour, Madeleine can't deny the attraction she feels, everything about their tenuous interactions is almost laughable and yet neither seems to be able to stay away.

"I like you. If I were dating right now, I'd want to be with you, okay?
He bends down so his gaze meets mine. Even still, I do my best to focus on the gym floor.
"The reason I've been ignoring your calls  and emails is because I like you too much." 


Grey writes adorkable romantic entanglements like no other, there's a cringe worthy element to Madeleine and Adam's interaction that makes it absolutely impossible to put down, there's a realness there, despite the settings created that allow the reader to truly believe in the story unfolding between not only the hero and heroine but their friends and peers. The push and pull Grey creates is utterly spellbinding, I found myself so enchanted to that I didn't want to put it down, the snarky banter had me laughing out loud, the pure absurdity of certain moments felt so incredibility right that I lapped up her words, telling anyone who would listen to buy this book!

Uproariously funny, scintillatingly sexy and stunningly sweet, The Foxe and the Hound hit all the right notes for me, even with all of that, what I truly adored was the story beneath, the story of a young woman who's quietly questioning her life, and the choices she's made up to this point, the one who's questioning if she should pack up and start again somewhere new, or whether she's destined to stay where she is right now, coupled with the young man, who had thought he had life completely figured out, and had his happily ever after in his sights, who instead if left questioning if all the decisions he made were the right ones, there's a beautiful dichotomy in these two characters, who the reader knows are perfect for each other but can't quite step out of their own heads for long enough to realise it. Hands down a TOP Recommendation of 2017, and a MUST READ for all book lovers.



About R.S. Grey:



I am a lover of books, chocolate, reality TV, metaphors and similes, black labs, and cold weather.

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Dating-ish (Knitting in the Cty #6) by Penny Reid


Blurb:

There are three things you need to know about Marie Harris:
1) She’s fed up with online dating,
2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and
3) She knows how to knit.

After the most bizarre and irritating first date in the history of human kind, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities:

Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation! Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services?
But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different—and crazier—solution to her dilemma . . .
As everyone knows (or will soon come to realize), traditional relations between humans are a thing of the past. Robots are our future. And if robots are our future, then why do we need other people at all?

Find on Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2slZXRI
Amazon PB: http://amzn.to/2ro2PjA
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2slWRNJ
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2rEpUzK
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2sdCenw



Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: June 2017.

Over a week later and I'm still ruminating over Dating-ish, the basis of this story was instantly intriguing, there's something inherently thrilling about diving into a Penny Reid novel, it's filled with a sense of the unknown, never quite sure what you're going to find. For fans of the Knitting in the City series, we finally get to embark on Marie's story, for those new to this crafty bunch, it's a seamless introduction to an old group of friends.

“Whatever happened to taking the time to actually know a person?"

"People don’t do that anymore.” Sandra flicked her wrist toward Ashley’s image on the laptop. “It’s all swipe left for sex or right to murder.”
“Not quite, but, yeah. It’s pretty bad out there.”  


Tinder, eHarmony, Plenty of Fish, HER, Grindr most of us have used some sort of dating app in our quest to meet THE ONE, after all we're busy 20, 30, 40 and beyond somethings, we work chaotic jobs, live in a fast paced world, and we won't say no to a little help when it comes to finding a good match. Before marriage I saw Saturday nights with equal amounts of joy and trepidation, I was happy being single but I saw my coupled off friends and wondered if I was missing out on something, I wanted to meet someone, I wanted the butterflies and the swoony eyes, the elation over receiving that text and trying to figure out how long I had to wait before replying, and don't even get me started on weird first dates, and the sheer horror of some of those blind dates, awkward introductions, stilted conversations, longingly staring at your phone praying it will ring, the entire process is not for the faint of heart, at least in my experience. The worst part of my tale of woe, isn't even the bad first dates, it's what comes after, it's the meeting someone and clicking, it's the hanging out and becoming something else entirely, it's the threat of the dreaded FRIEND ZONE, and for a girl who's lived a great deal of her life in that murky grey area, I've got to tell you, it's tough, because feelings get involved, and you realise the line between friendship and more is actually pretty blurry.

“I’m gonna give you some unsolicited advice, okay?” Dan peered at me, as though making sure I knew to take his words seriously. “But it’s good advice, even though I’m tired as hell, so it might not make much sense.”
“Sure. Go for it.” Even in my muddled state, I couldn’t help but smile at my friend.
“You like that guy, you tell him flat out. You just lay what you want and everything out there. Don’t waste time not saying things that need to be said. He’ll always be in your mind, wrecking the possibility of things with other people, because your heart can’t move on until it knows for sure a door is closed.”
I managed a reassuring smile. “Thanks for the ad—”
“But then, if the door opens, make sure it’s the right door, not a different door. Because then you’ll be in the room, but it’s not the right room. And then you’re stuck in the room, you’ve committed to the room, and you’d be an asshole for trying a new door in the same house when you’re already in a room. And then your f*cking heart won’t stop looking for a window.”  


When Marie goes out on a quasi blind date she's hopeful, surely it's her turn right, she's a good catch, she has a good job, great friends, her own place, sure she's not Rockafeller but she does okay for herself, what has potential soon crumbles, dissolving in the most awkward of first dates, so bad it's entirely laughable, and just when she thinks the whole thing is done and dusted, life has a way of throwing her a curveball, in the form of the socially awkward Matt. As Marie begins her quest to find out if services bought and rendered can make up for a real life intimate relationship, something bizarre happens, the man who was once the enemy, becomes someone who makes her life better.

“Maybe the answer is: Don’t be an asshole, think before you open your trap, take responsibility for your words. Meaning, apologize when you’re wrong and correct yourself moving forward—and don’t constantly look for reasons to be offended and police well-meaning people’s words. We want folks to talk to each other, right? Not just hang out with like-minded people all the time. Everyone is ignorant about something, and everyone is offended by something. If people can’t have a calm, respectful dialogue without being hurt by ignorance, or without offending with insensitivity, then what the hell are we supposed to do? Surround ourselves with robots who don’t challenge our ideas?”



At its heart, Dating-ish is essentially a frienemies/friends to lovers rom com, but like everything Reid writes, it's also so much more than that, with her ability to engage in a moral debate of sorts with the reader, I often find myself, asking more questions, of not just my own thoughts and beliefs but of the world around me. There were so many moments that I found myself stopping to process my emotional response Reid's words, from the outset I found myself drawn to Marie, from her self deprecating humour, to the care she easily bestowed on all lucky enough to be loved by her, but more than that I sympathised with her in the way only someone who has felt the sting of developing feeling for someone who won't or can't reciprocate them, I felt that physical, crushing pain for her in the quiet moments when she allowed herself to break, and because of that I could feel her joy when she smiled and laughed.

“Only you get to decide how you stand, what you stand for, and when you do it.”  


Penny Reid has easily become one of my go to authors, I find myself drawn to her words, like a moth to a flame, her often poignant dialogue and spirited thought provoking prose is what leaves me remarking to book friends "I feel smarter reading her books", there's a simple, unassuming beauty in Marie and Matt's story, one filled with undeniable heart, and a health amount of humour, that had me utterly invested from the very first page, even now I find myself struggling to make sense of everything I felt reading this book, the emotions often too big to adequately describe, and the sucker punch to the gut to real and raw, Dating-ish left an indelible mark on my heart, one I'll wear proudly.





About Penny Reid:


Penny Reid is the USA Today Best Selling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

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