<i>Rank & File</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Rank & File: Exclusive Excerpt L.A. Witt "Will can retire, Brent can resign, or they'll both face court-martial." <i>The Love Song of Sawyer Bell</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Love Song of Sawyer Bell: Exclusive Excerpt Avon Gale "A tough decision about her future—and what it means to follow her heart." <i>The Rogue's Conquest</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Rogue's Conquest: Exclusive Excerpt Lily Maxton "There's too much at stake for James to give in to his growing attraction." <i>Jaw Dropping</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Jaw Dropping: Exclusive Excerpt L.P. Maxa "It’s the reality she was sure she never wanted but now craves."
From The Blog
September 23, 2017
ICYMI: Bittersweet Book Club, Nalini Singh Excerpt, Indie Romances, and more!
Team H & H
September 22, 2017
Happy Endings for Susan Mallery's You Say It First
Janet Webb
September 21, 2017
3 Books That Put the Romance Back in Fiction
Keira Soleore
September 21, 2017
Victorian Women & the Periodical Press
Sandra Schwab
September 21, 2017
4 Moments That Prove 10 Things I Hate About You Is The Best
Cerestheories
Showing posts tagged: First Looks click to see more stuff tagged with First Looks
Sat
Sep 23 2017 11:00am

First Look: Cecy Robson’s Of Flame and Fate (September 26, 2017)

Of Flame and Fate by Cecy Robson

Cecy Robson
Of Flame and Fate (Weird Girls #2)
Cecy Robson / September 26, 2017 / $3.99 digital

Cecy Robson shows us that Fate and Destiny are not one and the same in her latest Weird Girls novel.  In Of Flame and Fate, Destiny and Fate collide. No, really.  Like BANG, right into each other.  The seer of Destiny—known as Destiny—and the seer of the Fate—known as…um, Johnny—actually collide at a rock concert. 

Well however they meet, it is not a good thing. Whenever a seer of Fate or Destiny are born at the same time, very bad things happen. Very bad! Cataclysmic! That could be why the forces of evil are suddenly swarming on Lake Tahoe.

“What’s the problem with having Fate and Destiny?”  I ask, seeing that there obviously is.  “Aren’t they the same thing?”

“They are, and they’re not,” Gemini replies, his expression darkening further.  “They’re not supposed to coexist.  They can’t actually, not in the same lifetime.”

“Because they’re anomalies?” I ask.  That’s my guess.  But there’s more, obviously.

“In part,” he answers. “But it’s what happens when they’re together that’s the real issue.”  He releases a harsh breath. “According to mystical beliefs, their powers brutally clash, interfering with the natural balance of the earth and triggering the start of unspoken evils.”

Everyone thought it was simply Destiny’s prophecy that Celia and Aric’s child would destroy all evil which is causing demons and shapeshifters to swarm the area bringing mayhem and death.  Maybe it’s not. 

If a Fate or a Destiny already exists, the witch’s law states that the second child born with the same power must be killed within its first year of life. Johnny’s parents knew this so they took their son and ran, raising him among the humans and keeping him away from any paranormals who would have sensed his powers. The law only decrees that Johnny should have been killed before he turned one. Since Johnny is now 20, the various counsels are at a loss as to what to do. 

[Read more...]

Wed
Sep 20 2017 9:30am

First Look: Nalini Singh’s Archangel’s Viper (September 26, 2017)

Archangel's Viper by Nalini Singh

Nalini Singh
Archangel's Viper (A Guild Hunter Novel #10)
Berkley / September 26, 2017 / $7.99 print & digital

Venom has to be one of the most intriguing characters introduced by Nalini Singh in her Guild Hunter series so it is only fitting that he be given a heroine who is as unique as he is.

Venom is one of Archangel Raphael’s seven; his most trusted circle of advisors, protectors, and friends.  He is a vampire who was made by Neha, the Archangel of India, also known as the Queen of Poisons and Snakes, and as his name suggests, Venom’s bite is toxic.  It is not just his bite and his cool demeanor that makes him so captivating.  There is no confusing Venom for any other vampire since there is only one man alive with eyes like a snake. He knows how to use his unusual gaze to unbalance his opponents and captivate women.

Wraparound mirrored sunglasses obscured his eyes. Holly still hadn’t figured out if he wore the sunglasses because his eyes were sensitive to light, so people wouldn’t freak out, or simply because he was an asshole who like to look impenetrable.

She bet on the last.

A character as unusual and unforgettable as Venom needs a heroine who can stand up to him and not fade into the background whenever he is around. She has to be someone who can accept him and his odd characteristics.  Neither he, nor the fans of the series, would be satisfied with a demure woman, and Nalini doesn’t fail in giving us all just what we need in Holly Chang.

[Read more...]

Mon
Sep 18 2017 9:30am

First Look: Chantal Fernando’s Breaching the Contract (September 18, 2017)

Breaching the Contract by Chantal Fernando

Chantal Fernando
Breaching the Contract (Conflict of Interest Series #1)
Pocket Star / September 18, 2017 / $2.99 digital

In Breaching the Contract by Chantal Fernando, we meet Kat and Tristan who find themselves in an inappropriate office romance and I was here for every tense second of it! I do love a good secret relationship, and Kat and Tristan are pretty hot.

Kat is a hard-working new associate in Tristan’s law firm. His partner, Jaxon, was acting as her mentor until he had to take a sudden leave of absence and left Tristan to take over some of his cases...and the mentoring of Kat. Their mutual attraction makes the transition awkward, and add that the fact that Jaxon and Tristan have much different styles in mentorship, Kat is initially nervous about working under Tristan. Her fears are confirmed when he has her going on coffee runs and babysitting his two kids as opposed to directly helping with cases like she did with Jaxon. Despite all of this, there is some dynamic chemistry sizzling between these two and as Kat spends more time with Tristan and his family, she sees a vulnerable side to him. Likewise, Tristan sees the sharp wit and intelligence that will make Kat a great lawyer one day.

[Read more...]

Sat
Sep 16 2017 11:00am

First Look: Rebecca Zanetti’s Storm Gathering (September 19, 2017)

Storm Gathering by Rebecca Zanetti

Rebecca Zanetti
Storm Gathering (Scorpius Syndrome #4)
Raz Ink / September 19, 2017 / $4.99 digital

When I cracked open Rebecca Zanetti’s newest installation of the Scorpius Syndrome series, I said to the Universe what I typically do when I start one of her books: hello great story, goodbye productivity.

I’m not typically a sci-fi or futuristic reader. I pretty much keep my timelines in the here and now, but I picked up a copy of Mercury Striking at a Romance Writers of America conference a while back because I love everything she writes (the man on the cover was so hot, but I really didn’t know what it was about). I cracked it open on the plane and was hooked right away. So much, that I have since read everything on her paranormal list. Who knew it was so good? Who knew! I’m particularly fond of the chapter headers, which serve as the diary entries for different characters.

The only way civilization will survive is if the women just take over. Duh.

- Maureen Shadow, Notes

[Read more...]

Thu
Sep 14 2017 9:30am

First Look: Susan Mallery’s Second Chance Girl (September 26, 2017)

Second Chance Girl by Susan Mallery

Susan Mallery
Second Chance Girl (Happily, Inc. #2)
HQN / September 26, 2017 / $8.99 print, $6.99 digital 

Badda bing, badda boom, it’s another of Susan Mallery’s trademark, unforgettable opening scenes. It’s one-thirty in the morning and injured gazelle Bronwen decides to kick gamekeeper Carol Lund in the stomach.

Carol Lund glared at Bronwen and the gazelle glared right back.

“You don’t get to have attitude, young lady,” Carol told her. “I’m not the one who insisted on going out by the rocks. I’m not the one who got scraped up, yet here I am, in the middle of the night, checking on your leg to make sure you don’t have an infection.”

The “compensation” for visiting Bronwen after midnight is “the perfect sky” above, twinkling with a million stars. When Carol’s almost home, she gets out of her Jeep and lies back on her jacket, in order to “get the best view of the wonder above.” Not a typical time to be visited by her neighbor but suddenly a “swoopy midnight-blue Mercedes sedan” pulls up.

Of all the gin joints in all the world, she thought. She watched a tall, dark-haired man step out of his car and walk toward her. It had to be after two in the morning, yet Mathias Mitchell looked more alert than sleepy. No doubt the lingering effects of the hunt, takedown and getting laid.

[Read more...]

Tue
Sep 12 2017 1:30pm

First Look: Karen Hawkins’ Caught by the Scot (September 26, 2017)

Caught by the Scot by Karen Hawkins

Karen Hawkins
Caught by the Scot (Made to Marry #1)
Pocket Books / September 26, 2017 / $6.99 print & digital

With Caught by the Scot, Karen Hawkins begins a new series about three brothers who must marry fairly quickly in order to gain their inheritances. Privateer Conner Douglas doesn’t think this will be a problem for him, for he knows the perfect candidate: childhood friend and spinster Theodora Cumberbatch-Snowe. However, when he finally goes to propose, he finds that she has just eloped the handsome neighborhood squire. He rushes off in pursuit and catches up with them at an inn having transportation problems. There he puts his case before Thea.

“So...you must marry. All of you.”

“We’ve only a few months to do so. And it must be to a lady of quality.” Conner rested his elbows on his knees and leaned forward. “And that, Thea, lass, is why I came. As soon as I found oot aboot the will, I thought of you.”

“Of me.” She said the words flatly, as if she couldn’t believe them herself.

“Of course you,” he said impatiently. “You know me, and you’re a sensible sort, so we’d do well together. We’d have reasonable expectations of one another, with nae silly drama. Surely that is a guid foundation for a marriage.”

“No. You can’t be—" She stopped, took a deep breath, and placed her whiskey glass at the table at her elbow. Then she said in a slow, calm voice, “Conner, you’re not proposing to me while I’m eloping with another man.”

His smile slipped.

[Read more...]

Tue
Sep 12 2017 9:30am

First Look: Megan Erickson’s Blood Guard (September 12, 2017)

Blood Guard by Megan Erickson

Megan Erickson
Blood Guard (A Mission Novel #1)
LoveSwept / September 12, 2017 / $4.99 digital

Blood Guard is a book that desperately wants to be a movie. It's like a cross between Sin City, The Book of Eli, and ... Underworld—just without werewolves. (Yet?) You have the gritty “post apocalyptic America” feel, and you can almost see the city in black and white when Tendra walks to and from work. (Or really any time they're in the city...) But you also have the beauty and drama of the paranormal beings and their world. Complete with the club and orgy scene. The beginning especially underlines that harsh, gritty, angry feeling.

It almost felt as if the scenery and world building changed and developed as Tendra and Athan's relationship grew more established. What helps is their constant movement, and need to depend upon each other. Also going from the city, to the underground, to the woods and beyond. It's a massive journey and undertaking, that has been the entire purpose of Athan's life. I did feel that Tendra accepted her “fate” a bit too... well easily isn't the precise word, but she just accepts the vampires and her being the intended mate of the ruler after almost a token protest. Granted elite assassins coming after you I imagine is extremely persuasive. Tendra accepts everything so easily (yes even with the letter from her mother - I guess I'm just that suspicious), but there's so much going on you're always engaged and entertained. Even when it she veers into TSTL-land, Blood Guard takes a sharp turn, and sometimes the quiet moments are the ones that are most unexpected.

[Read more...]

Sun
Sep 10 2017 11:00am

First Look: The Duke’s Bridle Path Anthology (September 12, 2017)

The Duke's Bridle Path by Grace Burrowes and Theresa Romain

Grace Burrowes and Theresa Romain
The Duke's Bridle Path
Grace Burrowes / September 12, 2017 / $3.99 digital

The Duke's Bridle Path by Grace Burrowes and Theresa Romain, is billed as a “duet,” which I find to be an entirely charming descriptor. The more I think about it, it’s also an entirely accurate descriptor. These two authors have written stories that, well, work in harmony with each other.

This duet pairs two writers who have similar, but markedly different voices. (All hail “The Boy is Mine” by Monica and Brandy.) Both write historical romances featuring emotionally intelligent characters and, often, the forces conspiring against them are external. In these two stories, Burrowes and Romain each pair off one of set of siblings, a duke and his sister, and use a different trope to do so. It works brilliantly. With common threads of family, history, and location, readers don’t have to disengage and reengage with the story. Rather, we are seamlessly shifting our attention to Ada (that’s the sister) while her brother (the duke) is off on honeymoon with his new bride.

[Read more...]

Sat
Sep 9 2017 11:00am

First Look: Maeve Greyson’s Sadie’s Highlander (September 12, 2017)

Sadie's Highlander by Maeve Greyson

Maeve Greyson
Sadie's Highlander (Highland Protectors #1)
LoveSwept / September 12, 2017 / $4.99 digital

Sadie’s Highlander opens with a bang as the entire MacDara clan is transported through time, extracted from a fierce 10th century battle by protective goddesses, in order to keep safe the sacred Heartstone. The first person Alec MacDara meets is Dwyn MacKay.

“I am guardian and tutor to all the druids here. I shall see to it that the MacDara clan does well and continues their legacy to the goddesses and humanity as the protectors of the Heartstone—the sacred stone of hope and love itself.”

“And this place is?” Alec asked, still squinting against the blinding light.

“Twenty-first century North Carolina. Welcome to the future, m’lad.”

In the fifteen years since their arrival in North Carolina, Alec MacDara and his three brothers have become extremely successful, parleying their past into the creation of modern theme park. Alec is the chairman of Highland Life and Legends.

Forget the roller coaster. Where do I get a ticket to ride him? Sadie Williams peered over the tops of her sunglasses, inching them lower to get an unobstructed view of the man currently flexing his assets. Damn. What an import. I bet he’s one of Scotland’s finest.

[Read more...]

Tue
Sep 5 2017 9:30am

First Look: J.D. Robb’s Secrets in Death (September 5, 2017)

Secrets in Death by J.D. Robb

J.D. Robb
Secrets in Death (In Death #45)
St. Martin's Press / September 5, 2017 / $27.99 print, $14.99 digital

Secrets. We all have them. We all keep them. Little ones. Big ones. But knowing someone else’s deepest, darkest secrets might just get you killed. 

The latest novel in J.D. Robb’s In Death series is all about secrets and what people with do to keep them buried. Someone has killed Channel 75’s top entertainment reporter, Larinda Mars at a trendy NY bar, even though Lt. Eve Dallas was only tables away. Eve isn’t sure what is pissing her off the most: that the murder happened under her nose or that the murderer gets out before she can shut down the scene.  

During her investigation, Eve finds out that Mars was an expert in more than just digging for celebrity gossip. Was it poetic justice that someone let Larinda bleed to death since she has spent the past few years bleeding rich people for money?  Blackmail is an ugly business and Mars was an expert on squeezing the beautiful people.  Was someone tired of paying, or were they so afraid their secret would leak? 

[Read more...]

Mon
Sep 4 2017 9:30am

First Look: Katie Ruggle’s On the Chase (September 5, 2017)

On the Chase by Katie Ruggle

Katie Ruggle
On the Chase (Rocky Mountain K-9 Unit Series #2)
Sourcebooks / September 5, 2017 / $7.99 print & digital 

Katie Ruggle has brought us some intriguing mysteries so far, but in her latest Rocky Mountain K-9 Unit novel, even the characters aren’t sure what is happening and who is truly in danger.

Grace Robinson (not her real name) is in hiding in the small town of Monroe, Colorado, because of a dinner party gone wrong.  No, she didn’t use the wrong fork.  Grace thought she had met a real life Disney prince until she got lost looking for the bathroom and stumbled upon a nightmare hiding in the beautiful mansion.  That one wrong turn has her abandoning everything, changing her name and running for her life from a powerful man who has people everywhere, including the local California police department.  

Right before they reached the end of the corridor, the cop steered her toward a door marked Stairs.  Just as she’d known she wouldn’t survive if she’d gone back into Martin’s mansion, Kaylee knew, deep in her gut, not to enter the stairway with L. Javanovic.

Leaving everything she worked so hard for is bad enough.  Now she is forced to share a run down house and one bathroom with five other people. And since she can’t use the several degrees she worked so hard to earn, she should be just happy she has a job even if it is cleaning up poop at the local kennel in this teeny, tiny town.  Right?   It has to be better than being dead.  At least that’s what she keeps telling herself.

[Read more...]

Tue
Aug 29 2017 9:30am

First Look: Dawn Ryder’s Take to the Limit (August 29, 2017)

Take to the Limit by Dawn Ryder

Dawn Ryder
Take to the Limit (Unbroken Heroes #4)
St. Martin's Press / August 29, 2017 / $7.99 print & digital

Sometimes in life, we don’t get it right the first time around. Neil Armstrong would’ve never walked on the moon if Pioneer 4 hadn’t made it past Earth’s orbit. The world would’ve never experienced the pleasure of ice cream if refrigeration hadn’t been invented. And Bram Magnus would never have fallen in love with Jaelyn if he hadn’t snuck a kiss.

Kisses …” She closed the gap between them, captivating him with the way her hips swayed. She stepped up to him and settled her hands on his chest. “… aren’t meant to be one-sided.”

Taken to the Limit is a dichotomy. On the one hand, it’s a story of retribution for Rick Sullivan, left to die in a filthy prison with a hatred burning in his gut for “members of the Shadow ops team that had taken down the Raven.” It’s also a creepy stalker story, centering on a guy named Gideon who worked with Bram’s team at Cobra Fire Base, Afghanistan.

When Bram shipped out for duty, he brought with him a photo of Jaelyn and her sister, LeAnn. He and LeAnn had been hooking up casually for a while, though it was Jaelyn he really wanted. The night before shipping out to Afghanistan, he discovered LeAnn cheating on him and finally gave into temptation with Jaelyn … their kiss rocked his world. But Bram wasn’t the only person affected by this new attraction.

[Read more...]

Mon
Aug 28 2017 1:00pm

First Look: Lisa Berne’s The Laird Takes a Bride (August 29, 2017)

The Laird Takes a Bride by Lisa Berne

Lisa Berne
The Laird Takes a Bride (Penhallow Dynasty #2)
Avon / August 29, 2017 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital

Lisa Berne’s second novel, The Laird Takes a Bride, is a marriage-of-convenience that pairs two older protagonists (for 1811 Scotland) in a most inconvenient way.

At his 35th birthday feast, Alasdair Penhallow is presented with an obscure clan law, one that forces him to marry an eligible young woman from one of eight clans within 35 days. At this “advanced” age, Alasdair is quite set in his bachelor lifestyle and, naturally, has no desire to take a bride. Fiona Douglass, the oldest and only unmarried daughter in her family is, at 27, determined that she will stay on at her family’s home to manage things as she’s been doing.

The book opens with Fiona attending yet another family wedding, her 71st by her count. She’s an utterly sensible woman, concerned with the wellbeing of her family and the families on their lands. She makes lists, editing them as she accomplishes tasks, propelling herself through her days with an efficiency that is sufficiently distracting… or so she thinks. Early in the story, we see a glimpse of the emotion Fiona works to suppress. Her younger sister, who married Fiona’s own beau some time prior, is pregnant, and Fiona is rather crushed, feeling the keen loss of a life that could have been hers. (Logan is a cad and she’s well rid of him.) None of this, however, prevents her from turning down the abusive, awful men who offer for her.

[Read more...]

Sun
Aug 27 2017 11:00am

First Look: Robyn Carr’s The Summer That Made Us (September 5, 2017)

The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr

Robyn Carr
The Summer That Made Us
MIRA / September 5, 2017 / $15.99 print, $9.99 digital

Robyn Carr’s new release, The Summer That Made Us is very different from her previous releases. Not in a bad way – I’ll read anything that Carr writes. Still, the family structure seems more dysfunctional than any other book that she has written. Of course, that makes for fascinating reading because you think “wow this one incident really screw-up this family.”

And while the story is about two sisters, Louise and Jo, married to two brothers, Carl and Roy and their girls: Charlene, Hope, Megan, Krista, Beverly, and Mary Verna, the family dysfunctional started with their parents’ marriage:

Grandma said the judge was bought and paid for. And she was angry about it.”

“What kind of business did your grandfather run in Chicago?” Krista asked.

“He was a mortician!” Jo said. “A very successful mortician! And, after they got married and were living in St. Paul, Grandma said the judge got mean. He had a temper, she said. He slapped her around and threw things. Back in those days one never talked about domestic abuse, never. But Grandma was too smart for the judge. She called her father. And her father had what she called connections. Grandma said a couple of men visited the judge and explained, very carefully, that her parents were worried about her and didn’t want to think for one second that she wasn’t being well cared for. After listening to her talk like this for a couple of years, I got the idea my grandfather, Grandma’s daddy, was connected to the mob in Chicago. But your aunt Lou thought Grandma was senile. That’s when Grandma said, “Senile, eh? You’re lucky to have been born. The judge hit me, knocked me down and kicked in the stomach when I was pregnant with you!”

[Read more...]

Sat
Aug 26 2017 2:00pm

First Look: Maisey Yates’s Wild Ride Cowboy (August 29, 2017)

Wild Ride Cowboy by Maisey YatesMaisey Yates
Wild Ride Cowboy (Copper Ridge #9)
HQN Books / August 29, 2017 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital 

How can a story be both angsty to the core and delightfully silly, often concurrently? Not to mention passionate and poignant. Welcome to Maisey Yates’s latest Wild Ride Cowboy, the ninth in her Copper Ridge series.

Clara Campbell is in the throes of a massive addiction—to caffeine.

He was perfect in every way.

Clara Campbell didn’t even bother to hide the look of longing she knew was currently etched on her face. Asher was facing away from her anyway, working on making a cappuccino behind the bar—for her—so he wouldn’t notice if she spent a little while admiring the elegant way he moved while he steamed the milk.

Okay, maybe most people wouldn’t be applying words like elegant to the process of steaming milk. But in her mind, Asher could do no wrong, and everything he did was poetry. Including his work as a barista at Copper Ridge’s newest artisan coffeehouse, Stim.

Is it Clara’s desperate need for caffeine that leads her to soak up the magic of Asher’s moves? Nope. She doesn’t even like coffee, a fact that her late brother Jason’s friend, Alex Donnelly, finds both odd and intriguing. Clara is looking for love and affection and she’s built up a whole fantasy around the new barista in town.

[Read more...]

Thu
Aug 24 2017 1:00pm

First Look: Julie Anne Long’s Dirty Dancing at Devil’s Leap (August 29, 2017)

Dirty Dancing at Devil’s Leap by Julie Anne Long

Julie Anne Long
Dirty Dancing at Devil’s Leap (Hellcat Canyon #3)
Avon / August 29, 2017 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital

Julie Anne Long’s third Hellcat Canyon book is a reunion tale that brings together Avalon Harwood and Maximilian Coltrane more than a decade after they last saw each other. Avalon fled the scene after overhearing Mac’s cruel dismissal of her, leaving him without the friend who had been his anchor and his moral compass. The catalyst for their reunion is a house—a Victorian mansion at Devil’s Leap that was the summer home of billionaire Dixon Coltrane and his family before he was convicted of fraud and sentenced to prison. The house is a presence, a symbol, and a source of contention that forces Avalon and Mac into each other’s company. From the pivotal moment in the past that caused Avalon to disappear from Mac’s life to the final scene, the house is central.

Mac is the first to return to Hellcat Canyon. Three years ago, after serving as an engineer in the national guard and some time traveling in Europe, he accepted a job as a groundskeeper on the estate his father once owned.  It was the house that brought him back: “For about two decades he’d been untangling the skein of his life as if it were a wad of Christmas tree lights, all of them burned out save one. That one was the house at Devil’s Leap.” Even though Mac’s time at Devil’s Leap was brief—only about eight summers—it represents a time of freedom and joy before his life fell into chaos with his father’s indictment. Mac knows the house is important to him but it takes him a while to admit that his feelings about the house are inextricably entangled with his feelings for Avalon.

[Read more...]

Wed
Aug 23 2017 9:30am

First Look: Gena Showalter Can’t Hardly Breathe (August 29, 2017)

Can't Hardly Breathe by Gena Showalter

Gena Showalter
Can't Hardly Breathe (Original Heartbreakers #4)
HQN Books  / August 29, 2017 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital 

I love a good Ugly Duckling story, and book four in Gena Showalter’s Original Heartbreakers series delivers the goods. In Can’t Hardly Breathe, we meet Dorothea Mathis and Daniel Porter.

After a childhood of torment for being overweight and uncool, and just generally everything the cool, beautiful kids were not, Dorothea is her best hype man, constantly finding it within herself to think positively: “Want change? You have to be the change.” Or “Be strong. Be brave. Stand up for yourself.” Her brightest moment was at the beginning of tenth grade when, in the throes of being bullied, Daniel stepped in and broke up the interaction … and told her, “I think you’re perfect just the way you are.” Sigh… Daniel was two years older and had been her lifelong crush. Over the summer his skin cleared up and his body filled out into a thing of beauty. But his teenage boy hormones ruled him, and he never knew Dorothea liked him.

She had two long-term goals: become a meteorologist, and have a large family. She’d always been fascinated by weather, in all its many forms, and the more kids she had, the more people who would be obligated to adore her. Now, however, she added a third goal: enchant Daniel.

[Read more...]

Tue
Aug 22 2017 12:00pm

First Look: Lauren Layne’s Ready to Run (August 22, 2017)

Ready to Run by Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne
Ready to Run (I Do, I Don't #1)
Loveswept / August 22, 2017 / $4.99 digital

As someone who enjoys The Bachelor/The Bachelorette despite all of their horrible qualities, Lauren Layne’s new series is everything I could want in a contemporary romance. The series centers around characters connected to a new TV show, Jilted, which is similar to The Bachelor but with a hero who has left multiple women at the altar. Layne uses this theme in the first book to weave a story of second-chances, complications, and sexual tension, making for a book that bursts with energy and excitement. In the acknowledgments, Layne says this idea excited her to no end, and as a reader, it’s easy to believe. Ready to Run is easily one of the most enjoyable contemporary romances I’ve read in a long time.

Upcoming television producer Jordan Carpenter believes that Jilted is what will take her career to the next level. Her boss loves the idea of a reality show that takes The Bachelor and turns it into a hero redemption story. The trick is finding a candidate that viewers will fall in love with despite leaving multiple women at the altar. After some hardcore Googling, Jordan finds her perfect candidate: Luke Elliott, a Montana firefighter who left three women just before marrying them and still remains a beloved part of his small Montana town.

[Read more...]

Mon
Aug 21 2017 9:30am

First Look: Scarlett Cole’s Elliott Redeemed (August 29, 2017)

Elliott Redeemed by Scarlett Cole

Scarlett Cole
Elliott Redeemed (Preload #2)
Swerve / August 29, 2017 / $15.99 print, $4.99 digital 

Scarlett Cole skillfully writes heartrending, emotionally wounded heroes with tragic pasts, and if you’re a fan of broody, haunted, angsty men, you’ll fall in love with Elliott Dawson in Elliott Redeemed, the second, stand-alone book in the Preload series. Elliott is complicated, flawed, enigmatic, and sensitive, and he will both break and win your heart. He’s brought to life by Ms. Cole’s evocative writing style, and this happily-ever-after is particularly memorable and deeply satisfying.

Elliott had a horrific childhood in which he experienced unimaginable cruelties. He found stability and friendship in a group home when he was a teenager and he’s now twenty-seven and a famous guitarist for the mega-successful rock band Preload. On the surface, he has everything anyone could ever ask for, but he’s physically and emotionally scarred, burdened by the weight of bad memories, and struggles to cope when he feels overwhelmed. He’s living with intense internal chaos, and readers will find themselves overcome with emotion as we are allowed into Elliott’s inner turmoil.

[Read more...]

Fri
Aug 18 2017 9:30am

First Look: Kerrelyn Sparks’ So I Married a Sorcerer (August 29, 2017)

So I Married a Sorcerer by Kerrelyn Sparks

Kerrelyn Sparks
So I Married a Sorcerer (The Embraced #2)
St. Martin's Press / August 29, 2017 / $7.99 print & digital

Kerrelyn Sparks delights readers with her newest fantasy novel which leaves us laughing and crying, and sometimes both at once. 

When seven-year-old Prince Ulfred swore an oath to protect the baby girl who would someday be his bride, he had no idea just how life changing his oath would be. In a country constantly torn by civil war, King Manfrid of the House of Trepurin agreed to the betrothal of his oldest son to the young daughter of the House of Grian to the South. This should have been the first step to uniting the warring clans, but Brigitta’s father betrayed the newly forged trust by murdering the King and Queen, stealing the crown and setting the stage for a sensational adventure of love and revenge—but only one can prevail.  

Prince Ulfred barely managed to survive the ambush which killed his father. After years of hiding in fear of discovery, he now sails the seas known only as the pirate Rupert. Rupert is Embraced and has the ability to harness the winds, making his fleet of ships unstoppable. Rupert has plagued the Tourinian Navy and their King, capturing their ships and stealing their gold. Bankrupting the current king, Brigitta’s brother Gunther, is Rupert’s first step in his strategy to take back the Kingdom.

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