How to Marry a Royal Highlander by Vanessa Kelly

June 30, 2015 Historical Romance, Reviews 0 ★★★★½

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

How to Marry a Royal Highlander by Vanessa KellyHow to Marry a Royal Highlander by Vanessa Kelly
Series: The Renegade Royals #4
Published by Zebra Books on June 30, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
four-half-stars
Illegitimate yet thoroughly irresistible, the Renegade Royals are leaving behind their careers as daring spies for the greatest adventure of all…

At sixteen, Alasdair Gilbride, heir to a Scottish earldom, fled the Highlands and an arranged betrothal. Ten years later, Alasdair must travel home to face his responsibilities. It’s a task that would be much easier without the distracting presence of the most enticing woman he’s ever met…

After one escapade too many, Eden Whitney has been snubbed by the ton. The solution: rusticating in the Scottish wilderness, miles from all temptation. Except, of course, for brawny, charming Alasdair. The man is so exasperating she’d likely kill him before they reach the border—if someone else weren’t trying to do just that. Now Eden and Alasdair are plunging into a scandalous affair with his life and her reputation at stake—and their hearts already irreparably lost…

Miss Eden Whitney is vivacious, confident, and able to charm even the sourest of elderly matrons.  She never lacks for a dance partner and can often be found in the midst of a circle of young men at parties, all of whom clamor for her attentions.  Until one scandal too many results in Edie forced to spend the rest of the season “rusticating” in Scotland with her brother-in-law’s friend, Alasdair Gilbride.  Alec is a charming rake who enjoys pushing all of Edie’s buttons and seeing her face light up with frustration and delight at their shared verbal banter.  The pair quickly realize they’ve been in love with each other for some time, but matters turn complicated when Alec reveals he’s technically been engaged for the past ten years!  To add fuel to the fire, when Edie and Alec reach the highlands, they must not only face Alec’s formidable family, but also the realization that someone is trying to kill them.

There are quite a few fantastic one-liners interspersed throughout and many parts had me quite literally laughing out loud as I read.  Edie and Alec match each other not only in passion and devotion, but also in their quick wit and repartee.  The plot was a little slow, but I really didn’t mind since this allowed the novel to focus more on Edie and Alec’s growing relationship and their individual emotions rather than a constant reaction to outside events.  However, with the exception of Edie’s mother, I thought some of the secondary characters were a little flat until right towards the end.  (I’m thinking specifically of Donatella, Fergus, and their mother.)  But putting that aside, I though the writing in this novel is absolutely superb!  Descriptions are vivid, the romantic plot engaging, and the emotions Ms. Kelly evokes are done so effortlessly.

This novel is part of a series.  While you don’t need to have read the other novels in the series to enjoy this one, I do think reading at least Eden’s sister’s novel, HOW TO PLAN A WEDDING FOR A ROYAL SPY, would be helpful as HOW TO MARRY A ROYAL HIGHLANDER makes several references to the previous book that might be more fully enjoyed and understood if you’ve read the prior novel.

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Gambling on the Outlaw by Margaret Madigan

June 26, 2015 Historical Romance, Reviews 0 ★★★½

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Gambling on the Outlaw by Margaret MadiganGambling on the Outlaw by Margaret Madigan
Series: Nevada Bounty #1
Published by Entangled Publishing on June 23, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 251
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Nevada is no easy place for a woman, especially for Beth Caldwell, a gambler's widow with an independent streak. When she refuses to marry the local cattle baron-who wants to add her land to his empire-Beth ends up with a powerful enemy. But it's not until she finds a handsome outlaw hiding in her barn that her trouble really begins.

Isaac Collins survived the Civil War only to find himself the scapegoat for stagecoach robbery and murder. With nothing left to lose, he gambles everything on revenge...and barely escapes with his life. He stumbles back to Beth's place, and as she nurses him back to health something tender and heated grows between them.

But in Nevada, sometimes everything can ride on one high-stakes game of chance...and Beth's rejected suitor will do whatever it takes to get what he wants.

Several years ago, Beth Caldwell lost her card-shark husband to a bad game of cards.  Since then, she’s run her homestead and taken care of the local misfits – a Native American woman raped and left for dead with a child on the way, another woman abandoned by her family and deserted at the altar, and a retired prostitute.  Beth has a big heart, but she’s practical too with a spine of steel.  When the neighboring cattle-baron comes sniffing around demanding Beth marry him, it’s easy to reject the sleezy, but powerful tycoon.  But that same tycoon has also framed Issac Collins for multiple-murder and stagecoach robbery, so when Beth finds Issac hiding in her barn she believes his story of innocence and helps him escape the sheriff’s posse on his tail.

Beth is one determined woman!  When she sets her mind to something, there is absolutely no wavering from her path.  She will make whatever-it-is happen and woe-be-tide anyone who has the misfortune to get in her way.  Beth’s nerves of steel and stead-fast nature allow her to thrive in the tough Nevada desert, not just against the harsh climate but also against the equally-harsh men who run the town.  She’s also as great a card-player as her late husband and the men in the story all underestimate her and her abilities, which comes in handy when later gambling with Issac’s life.

Issac also possesses a very determined nature, but in a very different way from Beth.  Issac’s near-single-minded focus throughout the novel was the murder of the cattle-baron tycoon who framed him for murder at the beginning of the novel.  This focus clouds everything he does until very slowly, his love for Beth begins to take root and weed out the hatred in Issac’s heart.  Issac is quite heroic and a take-charge kind of guy, ready to ride in and rescue his damsel in distress.  Except he quickly learns that while Beth may be a damsel, she can get herself out of her own distress thank you very much!

I really enjoyed watching Issac and Beth learn how to work together.  Issac needed a goal and focus beyond the tycoon’s murder and Beth needed to learn how to let others take care of her, that she didn’t always have to have all the answers.  A good read, especially if you enjoy novels set in the wild west.

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Book Blitz and GIVEAWAY! On My Knees by J Kenner

June 25, 2015 Uncategorized 1

Book Blitz and GIVEAWAY!  On My Knees by J Kenner

INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY

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ON MY KNEES (Stark International #2) by J. Kenner

Published on June 23rd, 2015

I never thought I’d lose control, but his desire took me right to the edge.

Powerful, ambitious, and devastatingly sexy, Jackson Steele was unlike any other man I’d ever known. He went after what he wanted with his whole mind, body, and soul—and I was the woman in his sights. One touch and I surrendered, one night together and I was undone.

Jackson and I had secrets, dark pieces of our pasts that threatened to swallow us both. We couldn’t outrun our demons, or the people trying to tear us apart. But in our passion we found salvation, and in each other’s arms we found release.

I was scared to trust Jackson fully, to finally let go. Yet no matter the dangers that lay ahead, I knew I was his—and now that we’ve laid claim, there’s no more holding back.

On My Knees is intended for mature audiences.

Amazon
Add it to your Goodreads list!

_________________________

Read more of Jackson Steele and Sylvia Brooks
in Say My Name (Stark International #1)!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julie KennerJ. Kenner (aka Julie Kenner) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal and International bestselling author of over seventy novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres. Though known primarily for her award-winning and international bestselling erotic romances (including the Stark and Most Wanted series) that have reached as high as #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, JK has been writing full time for over a decade in a variety of genres including paranormal and contemporary romance, “chicklit” suspense, urban fantasy, Victorian-era thrillers (coming soon), and paranormal mommy lit. Her foray into the latter, Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner, has been consistently in development in Hollywood since prior to publication. Most recently, it has been optioned by Warner Brothers Television for development as series on the CW Network with Alloy Entertainment producing. JK has been praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations” and by RT Bookclub for having “cornered the market on sinfully attractive, dominant antiheroes and the women who swoon for him.” A three time finalist for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award, JK took home the first RITA trophy awarded in the category of erotic romance in 2014 for her novel, Claim Me (book 2 of her Stark Trilogy). Her books have sold well over a million copies and are published in over over twenty countries. In her previous career as an attorney, JK worked as a clerk on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and practiced primarily civil, entertainment and First Amendment litigation in Los Angeles and Irvine, California, as well as in Austin, Texas. She currently lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and two rather spastic cats.

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On My Knees by J Kenner

June 23, 2015 Contemporary Romance, Erotica, Reviews 0 ★★★★★

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

On My Knees by J KennerOny My Knees by J Kenner
Series: Stark International Trilogy #2
Published by Bantam on June 23, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 305
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
five-stars
I never thought I’d lose control, but his desire took me right to the edge.

Powerful, ambitious, and devastatingly sexy, Jackson Steele was unlike any other man I’d ever known. He went after what he wanted with his whole mind, body, and soul—and I was the woman in his sights. One touch and I surrendered, one night together and I was undone.

Jackson and I had secrets, dark pieces of our pasts that threatened to swallow us both. We couldn’t outrun our demons, or the people trying to tear us apart. But in our passion we found salvation, and in each other’s arms we found release.

I was scared to trust Jackson fully, to finally let go. Yet no matter the dangers that lay ahead, I knew I was his—and now that we’ve laid claim, there’s no more holding back.

J. Kenner is on my automatic-purchase list and with very good reason.  Her eloquence and command of the written word is truly stellar.  She crafts well-rounded, flawed characters with secrets and passions that make you just want to reach into the pages and give them a hug.  Or smack some sense into them, whichever is appropriate for the moment.  And, of course, she delivers scorching hot erotica that sizzles with both sensuality and a complex plot-line!  Porn WITH plot, if you will.  My favorite combination.

Since their whirlwind weekend of passion ended in heartbreak, Jackson Steele and Sylvia Brooks have lost five years to avoidance and building their own business platforms.  Jackson is a star architect, sought after by all the best in the business and hounded by Hollywood.  Sylvia is Damien Stark’s assistant who just landed herself a pet real estate project all her own building a island resort getaway for the rich and famous.  Picking up where the last book left off, the resort project is progressing but Hollywood is hounding Jackson to green-light the movie based on his infamous house and Sylvia’s dark modeling past is starting to catch up with her.  Jackson and Sylvia each have their own ways to dealing with pain and frustration, but they will need to learn how to work out their problems together if there is to be any hope of making their relationship last this time.

Wow, so much happened in this middle-novel that I do even know where to start!  Jackson and Sylvia finally opens up to each other about their past demons, but they have both been so used to dealing with those demons on their own that neither knows quite how to handle the information.  Sylvia needs time to process and Jackson just wants to fix everything.  Watching these two work out real-life relationship problems lead to some scorching hot sex scenes, but also a handful of heartbreaking ones too.  Some of the sex scenes in this novel actually made me blush – and that’s very hard to do!  Sylvia begins to rely on Jackson more than before and Jackson refuses to live without her.  Their romance is fierce and passionate, but also sweet in that I’ll-do-anything-for-you sort of way.

There is a lot to process in this second installment.  Many secrets are revealed (so many!), but sometimes this leads to even more questions.  And this *does* end on a cliffhanger, so be prepared.  But definitely pick up a copy of ON MY KNEES as soon as possible!

ON MY KNEES is written within the Stark trilogy universe (Damien & Nikki), but you do NOT have to have read the Stark trilogy to enjoy this novel.  However, I DO recommend reading the first novel in the Stark International trilogy (Jackson & Sylvia) – SAY MY NAME – before reading this second installment as the plot of ON MY KNEES builds heavily upon the plot of the first novel and there are major plot points that you will not understand without having read SAY MY NAME.

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Beauty’s Curse by Tamara Hughes

June 19, 2015 Historical Romance, Reviews 0 ★★★½

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Beauty’s Curse by Tamara HughesBeauty's Curse by Tamara Hughes
Published by Entangled Publishing on June 9, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 175
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
three-half-stars
England, 1722

Amelia Archer will be the ruin of her family. Her extraordinary bad luck is burden enough, but her sweet, trusting nature often lands her in impossible scrapes. After the last straw, Amelia's harried father ships his unfortunate daughter off to the Colonies to live with her aunt. But wherever Amelia goes, bad luck is sure to follow...

Pirate David Lamont is taken with the lovely young Englishwoman the moment she's pulled aboard from her sinking vessel. But sailors are already a superstitious lot and Amelia is unwelcome. In a feat of chivalry, David defends and claims her for himself...

Now their fortunes—for good or ill—are invariably tied. But as much as she longs for him, Amelia cannot allow a romance. For a lady of misfortune can only bring ruin to those she loves…

Miss Amelia Archer is bad luck.  Stomach bug?  Her fault.  Ship attacked by pirates?  Her fault.  The wind fails to blow?  Her fault.  Disaster follows where ever she goes and Amelia simply can’t stand to watch the rest of her family suffer, so she books passage to the Virginia colonies to start her life anew.  But halfway into the journey, the ship is attacked by pirates and Amelia must convince her new shipmates that she’s not as bad as the others claim.  Thankfully, the pirates’ musician, David Lamont, speaks up for her amongst the crew and manages to calm their superstitious minds.  For now.

This story has everything you would expect in a good pirate adventure novel – sword fights, deserted (sort of) islands, the fight for survival, and, of course, rum!  Or something like it anyways.  Amelia and David had an instant-love attraction that quickly manifested in the form of David’s intense desire to protect and care for Amelia.  Together, they acted as each other’s sounding board and counselor.  Amelia convinces David to return to a family he believed abandoned him and David helps Amelia see that her “curse” of bad luck was really just the jealous ravings of her step-mother.

The plot was one adventure after another and there were more than a few times I had to remind myself this was a romance novel and our heroes would be just fine.  (or would they!?  Oh no, keep reading and find out!)  I really wish this novel could have been longer to allow those plot lines to develop further.  I would have loved to learn more about Issac and Ruth as well and how their story more fully tied into Amelia and David’s story.  Overall a very entertaining read!

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Spotlight Feature: Lone Rider by B. J. Daniels

June 17, 2015 Historical Romance 0

Spotlight Feature: Lone Rider by B. J. Daniels

Lone Rider by B. J. Daniels – publishing August 1, 2015

A cowgirl at heart, Bo Hamilton does her best thinking in wide-open spaces. So when money goes missing from the family foundation, Bo rides into the Crazy Mountains to figure things out. But a killer hiding among the sawtooth ridges takes her captive and isn’t planning on ever letting her go.

Bo’s disappearance gets folks thinking she’s the guilty one who’s run off with the money, but Jace Calder would bet his ranch that she’s innocent. Not that he has any reason to trust the beautiful, spoiled senator’s daughter. Still, Jace is going after Bo and bringing her home to face the truth. But in the wild, rugged Crazy Mountains, he finds Bo at the mercy of a suspected murderer. Jace is her only hope, and he’s about to find out what they’re both made of.


About the Authorimage003

B.J. DANIELS, a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author, wrote her first book after a career as an award-winning newspaper journalist and author of 37 published short stories. That first book, Odd Man Out, received a four and a half star review from Romantic Times magazine and went on to be nominated for Best Intrigue for that year. Since then she has won numerous awards including a career achievement award for romantic suspense and numerous nominations and awards for best book. Daniels lives in Montana with her husband, Parker, and two springer spaniels, Spot and Jem. When she isn’t writing, she snowboards, camps, boats and plays tennis. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Thriller Writers, Kiss of Death and Romance Writers of America.


Praise for B.J. Daniels

“B.J. Daniels writes the best western suspense. I love her Montana setting, a state I fell madly in love with the moment I stepped onto its soil. Ms. Daniels’ male characters are real men, strong and protective, with plenty of love to give to the right women.” –Romance Junkies

“…Daniels’ new Montana Hamiltons series will draw readers in with its genuine characters, multiple storylines and intense conflict set against the beautiful Montana landscape –RT Book Reviews

“B.J. Daniels has done it again! Just when I think her books couldn’t get any better, she obliterates all my expectations. A true storyteller in every sense of the word.”

–Cocktails and Books

“B.J. Daniels will absolutely move to the top of your list of must-read authors.”

Fresh Fiction

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Turning the Tables by Joan Kilby

June 16, 2015 Contemporary Romance, Erotica, Reviews 0 ★★★½

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Turning the Tables by Joan KilbyTurning the Tables by Joan Kilby
Series: Italian Connection
Published by Entangled Publishing on June 9, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 147
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Tina Borlenghi is a billionaire businesswoman, heiress to the Borlenghi fortune, and living la dolce vita. She's also a magnet for men who crave fame and celebrity. So while in New York City launching a new fashion boutique, Tina is more than intrigued when sports bar owner Luke Pederson mistakes her for a sales assistant. He's sexier than sin and only interested in her. What's the harm in a little steamy role-playing?

Luke can't get enough of Tina. And yet, something feels…off. Why is she so secretive? As their role-playing encounters become more erotic, Luke’s suspicions grow. The woman rocking his world is hiding something. Something big. He’s ready to play for keeps, but finding out who Tina really is may just turn the tables on everything he thought he knew about love.

Betinna Borlenghi is one of the famous Borlenghis.  Her family is known for excelling in their chosen fields and together generate the prime capital of the Borlenghi fortune.  Tina herself is best known for her innovative and exciting fashion designs.  But with this fortune comes doubt – who is a true friend and who just wants to be close in order to feed off of the fame and fortune?  Tina protects her heart with an iron wall, but when she encounters Luke Pederson in her NYC boutique, she discovers someone she may just wish to lower that wall for.  Determined to enjoy a relationship that is strictly about Tina and not about her money, Tina hides her identity from the charming Luke.  But lies, even by omission, are no way to start a relationship and eventually the truth will come out.  Right?

This was pure, fantasy fun.  Tina and Luke hit it off right away and the instant attraction leads to some scandalous encounters right there in the middle of Tina’s fancy boutique!  Tina has lots of cute little Italian phrases that weave into her everyday language, which I thought made her a rounder, more relatable character.  (I have foreign friends who do this regularly, so it was a charming, well-planned addition to Tina’s character.)  Luke is no stranger to the lime light either, having played professional hockey.  His heart-of-gold and involvement with the disabled children’s hockey team skyrockets him firmly into the “hero” category and is sure to make your heart melt.

Together, Tina and Luke must decide if what they have is worth the agony of maintaining a long-term relationship and makes each of them seriously consider what they need in their lives to make them happy.  Tina’s excellent relationship with her family highlights the problems Luke has with his mother and Tina’s ability to mend that relationship helps balance out the fact that she lies (by omission) throughout most of the book as to who she really is.

This book is full of charming, well-thought-out characters.  I really enjoyed the plot and so this made for a very entertaining read.

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Guest Post: Jackie Braun

June 15, 2015 Guest Post 1

Joining us today is Jackie Braun, author of REVENGE BEST SERVED HOT published June 9, 2015 by Entangled Publishing.  Here, Ms. Braun talks about the Half the Sky Foundation, a charity for Chinese orphans and their adoptive parents.

For my review of REVENGE BEST SERVED HOT, please click here.

For more information on the Half the Sky Foundation and how you can get involved, please click here.


Good can come from bad situations

By Jackie Braun

I’m inspired by people who take a tragedy and turn it into something positive or who see a need and step in to make a difference. In “Revenge Best Served Hot,” my hero Brody Flynn is compelled not only to avenge his parents’ death, but to uses his resources to build a state-of-the-art trauma unit at the hospital that was unable to save them.

In real life, a charity called Half the Sky Foundation was started by an adoptive mom who saw the difference basic human interaction makes for orphaned children and started a set of programs and protocols used in China’s orphanages today.

Jenny Bowen’s organization teaches caregivers the importance of touching, making eye contact and engaging the children they are charged with. It sounds simple, but it wasn’t being done. The results are amazing.

I know firsthand the difference Half the Sky can make. My husband and I adopted our younger son from a Half the Sky-sponsored orphanage in December 2007. He was almost 3 years old and we were warned by our social worker that attachment might not go smoothly. Well, we walked into the civil affairs office in Zhengzhou as a family of three and walked out a family of four. I believe our smooth transition was because our son had been so well-loved by his nannies at the orphanage. He knew he could trust us to meet his basic needs. Love came later.

Here’s the thing: a child who bonds with his caregiver is able to form healthy attachments to others. I am forever grateful for what one adoptive mom has made her life’s work. And I am forever grateful for my son, who amazes me every day.

People such as Jenny Bowen are who I draw on when I am drafting characters for my books.

 

About Revenge Best Served Hot:

Sign: Virgo
He’s all business…until he’s all hers

Brody Flynn waited years to get his revenge on Douglass Shipping for his parents’ accidental deaths. Now the company is fumbling, profits are down, and it’s the perfect time for a hostile takeover. Vengeance. But the former CEO’s daughter Kate Douglass has other plans…

Kate’s been waiting for her chance to take on a real role at Douglass and prove to her family that she’s not the fragile piece of glass they all think she is. There’s no way she’ll give up without a fight. All she has to do is convince the gorgeous new CEO to hire her…and not fall for him.

But Brody was never supposed to feel attracted to the daughter of his enemy. He was never supposed to want her as hard as he does. And the only thing stronger than his hunger for revenge is his hunger for her

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