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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Interview with Author Jessica Peterson and Giveaway

Jessica Peterson began reading romance to escape the decidedly unromantic awkwardness of her teenage years. Having found solace in the likes of Rhett Butler and Mr. Darcy, it wasn’t long before she began creating tall, dark, and handsome heroes of her own.

A graduate of Duke University, Jessica worked at an investment bank before leaving to pursue her writerly dreams. She lives with her husband, the tall, dark, and handsome Mr. Peterson, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Find Jessica at:

Feature and Giveaway: Unstoppable by Shannon Richard

Some things you don't dare let go . . .

Melanie O'Bryan knows life is too short to be afraid of taking chances. And former Air Force sergeant Bennett Hart is certainly worth taking a chance on. He's agreed to help her students with a school project, but she's hoping the handsome handyman will offer her a whole lot more. Yet despite his heated glances and teasing touches, Mel senses there's something holding him back . . .

Bennett Hart is grateful to be alive and back home in Mirabelle, Florida. Peaceful and uncomplicated-that's all he's looking for. Until a spunky, sexy-as-hell teacher turns his life upside down. After one smoldering kiss, Bennett feels like he's falling without a parachute. But with memories of his past threatening to resurface, he'll have to decide whether to keep playing it safe, or take the biggest risk of all.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |

Check out the Country Roads series:
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Oh God, who was she kidding? She’d never felt this way about any man before. Bennett was…well, infuriating to start with, but he was brave, smart, kind, funny, intense. There was nothing like having his full attention focused on her. He gave her way more than butterflies. It was like eagles were flapping around in her stomach whenever he was around. There were no flutters. They were freaking tidal waves.

Yeah, getting over Bennett was going to be way easier said than done.

Mel headed toward the supply closet at the back of her classroom where she locked up her purse in a filling cabinet. She grabbed the key and unlocked the top drawer, pulled out her purse, and slammed the drawer shut. When she turned around Bennett was standing in the doorway. Filling it completely. Mel stopped short and stared at him. His eyes were focused on her, the determination in them making all of the thoughts vacate her brain.

“I can’t leave you alone.” He came into the room and shut the door behind him. “And I’m not playing games.” He crossed the small space. “Or at least I’m not trying to.” He shook his head. “I think about you all the time.” He stopped in front of her, took the purse out of her hands, and put it on top of the filing cabinet. Then he reached up and touched her cheek. His fingers fanned out as he pushed his hand to the back of her head and tilted her face up.

Holy hell, what is happening?

She looked into his eyes, and her knees went just a little bit weak. She reached back and planted her hands against the wall, trying to find some balance, something to keep her upright, because she really didn’t want to miss this.

“Because I am interested in you, Mel.” He cupped her face with his other hand and ran his thumb across her lower lip. “Very interested.” He leaned forward and pressed his mouth to hers.

The kiss was soft and gentle at first, just his lips against hers. He took another step into her, pushing her back. When she hit the wall she gasped, and Bennett took advantage of her open mouth. He sucked her bottom lip into his mouth, and she couldn’t stop the moan that escaped her throat.

She plastered herself up against him, against every inch of his hard body. Her arms wound around his shoulders; her hands skittered up the back of his head. She opened her mouth further and his tongue touched hers. Bennett groaned as their tongues began a thorough exploration of each other’s mouths.

His hands were at the back of her head, his fingers deftly pulling out the pins that held up her bun. And then he was unwinding her hair, his hands plunging deep into her unruly curls.

“I’ve wanted to do this for so long,” he said against her mouth. “These curls of yours drive me out of my mind.”

“What stopped you?” She nipped at his lower lip.

“Pure stupidity,” he said, as he claimed her mouth again.

Holy cow, can this man kiss. I feel it everywhere, and do I mean everywhere! He had her toes curling in her shoes, all manner of body parts tingling where they were pushed up against his, and his hands were magic in her hair. One of his hands drifted down to her side. He touched her hip for a second before his hand slid to the small of her back. He held her to him, but really, she wasn’t going anywhere.

“Mel,” a voice called out from her classroom. “Are you here?”

There were only a few things that could bring Mel back to reality with the snap of a finger. The sound of her little brother’s voice was definitely one of them.

“Oh crap, it’s Hamilton,” Mel gasped, pulling back. Bennett’s hand was behind her head, and it prevented her from hitting the wall. “I’ll be right out!” she answered Hamilton, unable to completely cover up the breathy edge to her voice.

Bennett nodded. He let go of her reluctantly, and took a step back. “You’re going to have to give me a minute before I can go out there,” he said, clearing his throat uncomfortably.

“Oh,” she said, nodding. “Um, okay.”

Actually, she was going to need a minute, too. She knew her hair was everywhere, and she had a feeling Bennett’s scruffy jaw had left its fair share of marks on her face. Not to mention her thoroughly swollen lips.

Soooo worth it.

Shannon Richard grew up in the Panhandle of Florida as the baby sister of two overly protective but loving brothers. She was raised by a more than somewhat eccentric mother, a self-proclaimed vocabularist who showed her how to get lost in a book, and a father who passed on his love for coffee and really loud music. She graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s in English literature and still lives in Tallahassee, where she battles everyday life with writing, reading, and a rant every once in a while. Okay, so the rants might happen on a regular basis. She’s still waiting for her Southern, scruffy Mr. Darcy, and in the meantime writes love stories to indulge her overactive imagination. Oh, and she’s a pretty big fan of the whimsy.

Places to find Shannon:

Check out what's up for grabs.

Up For Grabs:
  • 10 copies of Unstoppable
  • 1 Forever Summertime Tote Bag filed with Goodies

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  • Must have a NetGalley Account.
  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter form.

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Review: Command Me by Geneva Lee

Command Me is the first book in the Royals Saga by Geneva Lee and was formerly titled For King and Country. I could not wait to get my hands on this book even though this was Geneva Lee's debut novel and I had no idea what to expect. This book was so good, and I absolutely devoured it. I didn't want to put this one down for anything and only did so when absolutely forced! I cannot wait to read more from Geneva Lee and I am already anxious for the next installment Conquer Me. Geneva Lee really impressed me with her writing style, characters and fantastic story and I really can't wait to see what she writes next.

Celebrating her graduation, Clara attends a party and ends up meeting a handsome stranger with who she shares a passionate kiss. She thinks that he looks familiar but never gets his name. She quickly finds out that it was Prince Alexander when a picture of their embrace ends up on the cover of all the tabloids. When Alexander sends for Clara to discuss what happened, they both realize that the other hasn't been able to stop thinking about the kiss they shared. Alexander and Clara begin a relationship based on sex and Clara knows that Alexander doesn't do anything serious. Clara is recovering from a past that she has done her best to move past and keep secret, and Alexander has his own secrets. But when Clara and Alexander's relationship becomes more public, soon things get much more complicated and Clara must come to terms with what being in the public eye means. Can Clara and Alexander save each other from their pasts, or will they destroy each other?

I loved Alexander so much. He was sexy and mysterious, and it doesn't hurt that he is a prince. He was broken and had so many issues, and it was great to see him start something with Clara. Clara was able to really reach him in a way that no one else could, and she was able to help him start to open up to her. He still had a lot that he wouldn't let her in on, but he was able to make a lot of progress with her help. I felt really badly for him because even though it looks like he has everything on the surface, I can't even begin to imagine living the kind of life that he did. He had so many expectations, and until Clara didn't really seem to have anyone that truly cared about him and his needs and she seemed to be the only one in his corner. Clara was struggling with her own issues and had come so far. I loved that she had a great relationship with her best friend and that she was able to be open with her and lean on her for support. I thought she really needed that since her family was so awful. But Clara really needed Alexander, and I thought that he was great for her just like she was for him. She needed his support and encouragement and I though he did a great job of taking her insecurities and showing her how they were actually her strengths. She was stronger than she knew, and Alexander did a great job of helping her realize that. I thought that the chemistry between them was off the charts and they were super hot together. These two really had the steam factor, and I loved that part of their relationship. But I also loved how they took care of each other and I thought that the strongest part of their relationship was really the emotional connection that they were forming.

I knew going into this book that this was the first book in the series, and there are three books total. So the cliffhanger wasn't unexpected, even if it was frustrating. I was prepared, but it still just about killed me. I really need more of Alexander and Clara, and I am not good with being patient. The ending of this one was heartbreaking for me, but knowing that there are still two more books coming eased my fears and feelings after finishing this book. I know that there is so much more story left to tell, and I have faith that Geneva Lee will do the story and the characters justice. After reading this book, I really thought that she did a great job of captivating the reader and telling a unique and different story despite similarities to other stories out there. What made this book so different was Alexander and Clara. Their relationship was special, and is definitely worth the read. I will try to be patient as I wait for the next book, but honestly Conquer Me can't get here soon enough. I highly recommend this story to erotica fans, and I think that this book has something for everyone.

**Review Copy Provided by Inkslinger PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |

Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: Where Words Fail by Katheryn Kiden

I have been trying to write this review and get my thoughts together, and honestly the name of the book seems to be pretty accurate. Where Words Fail by Katheryn Kiden was not at all what I was expecting going in, and even though the blurb is accurate, the book is so much more than just that. I feel like I didn't really have a clue what I was in for because of everything that happened, but I did end up enjoying this story. I think that this book is going to be one of those that people either really get into or they can't get into at all. I will admit that this one was completely over the top and the story to me was really far fetched. But for me even though it was both far fetched and over the top, I didn't have a problem with the story. I took it for what it was and was able to enjoy this one simply as a book with made up characters and situations and a way to spend a few hours of my time.

Abby Irons co-owns Ironsound Records with her twin brother Alex, and she is also the lead singer for the hugely popular band Thirty Ought Six. When her lead guitarist has to leave the band to go to rehab, he hand picks their new guitarist. When Jameson Williams shows up to join the tour of his new band, he is shocked to find the lead singer is his high school girlfriend and also the girl whose heart he broke years ago. He never got a chance to explain why he left her and he has never stopped loving her. At first Abby doesn't recognize him, and it isn't until later that she finds out who he really is. After Jameson had left her, Abby's already hard life fell apart even further. Now she is trying to make it through the tour with Jameson while dealing with her brother's illness and her niece. But when someone from her past shows up and threatens everything she has worked for, will she and Jameson be able to make it through and have a shot at a future together? Or will the past be too much for them to get over?

I really liked Jameson. He had reasons for doing what he had done and unfortunately he wasn't really given much of a choice in how he dealt with everything. It was hard to see him suffer because of things that were beyond his control. I did think that he could have done a few things differently, but it was clear that he really cared about Abby and had done what he thought was best for her after he had broken her heart. He was sweet and kind, and I loved that he was protective of her and always stood up for her. He was a great match for her and he seemed to always see through to who she really was and not just the front that she put up. I also really liked that he had no problem admitting his feelings and taking his time with her. He was patient and was willing to do things how she needed to do them. Abby was vulnerable and had been through so much. This poor girl just couldn't catch a break. She was constantly dealing with a million things, and I felt so bad for her. I liked that she was always such a rock for those around her though, and you could tell that she would do anything for those that she cared about. I will admit that she didn't ever really seem like a huge rock star to me though, she was just this normal girl who happened to sing for a really popular band. I liked that she was a bit rough around the edges though, and that made her easier to relate to. She wasn't afraid to cuss or say what was on her mind, and she had a tendency to fight and get in some trouble. I thought that her and Jameson were really natural together and they just seemed to fit. They were perfect for each other and had a lot of chemistry. I liked that they were able to still have a great connection after being apart for so long.
I did mention that this one was far fetched though, so here is what I had some problems with. I thought that it was pretty ridiculous that she wouldn't have recognized the guy that she was in love with but her brother would. Her brother had only met Jameson a few times, and yet he was still able to see that it was him after all that time but she somehow had no clue. That just didn't make sense to me. She also didn't even remember that his name was actually Jameson and not Jamie like she used to call him. I also felt like there was just too much going on in this story. It was literally one thing after another, and I found it to be completely unbelievable. This girl is only in her twenties, and the amount of things that she had to go through was insane. I really felt like there were several things that came completely out of left field and could have been left out of the story. There was enough drama and obstacles in this book that some of these things could have been left out. There were several times that something would happen and I would roll my eyes because of it. This book was well written though, and I did really like the characters. I loved Alex's little girl Izzy, and she completely stole the show. I'm not sure that a normal six year old would have been as intelligent and self aware at that age, but I loved her regardless. I also really liked the other members of the band, and I can't wait to get to see more of Tuesday and Evan. (Abby's best friend and Jameson's brother) I know it sounds like there was a lot that didn't work for me or that I didn't like, but really these characters were so likable and easy to get invested in that I really was able to lose myself in the story. I would recommend that if you are interested in reading this book that you go into it knowing that this isn't going to be like real life and that there is a lot that goes on that is not believable. Jameson and Abby are worth the read though, and I can't wait to read Freeing Tuesday next.

**Copy Provided by Dreams Come True Promotions**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | The Book Depository |

Audiobook Review: Then Came You by Jill Shalvis, Narrated by Karen White

Jill Shalvis is my contemporary romance crack—whenever I need a break from romantic suspense, I know I can pick up the latest Shalvis book and be in contemporary heaven. Jill consistently delivers the perfect mix of sweet and sexy wrapped in a story that touches on real, relatable issues without being too angsty or heavy and features characters so well-developed and believable they could easily be your lifelong friends. What’s even more impressive, and a testament to her skill as an author, is that she can write two very similarly-themed small-town contemporary series that somehow manage to feel different and fresh with each new instalment. THEN CAME YOU is the fifth entry in the Animal Magnetism series (though it can absolutely be read as a standalone… but you’d be missing the previous four doses of Shalvis book crack!), and it fits perfectly into the comfortable, heartwarming, and fantastically-hilarious-with-a-touch-of-naughty mould that makes Jill such a rock star. Lifelong fans and newbies alike will surely enjoy this delightful tale of the one-night stand that keeps on giving—and the experience is heightened by Karen White’s pitch-perfect narration.

Like most contemporaries, THEN CAME YOU is light on the plot and heavy on the characters and relationships, and Jill is a true master at creating characters that are incredibly well-developed and three-dimensional, and also perfect for each other. Los Angeles-raised veterinarian Emily Stevens is on a yearlong internship at Belle Haven in middle-of-nowhere Sunshine, Idaho as a requirement for her fellowship and can’t count the days until she’s back in L.A. living the life she thinks she’s always wanted fast enough. Having grown up fairly poor with a veterinarian father more fulfilled by pro-bono work than a paycheque and a go-with-the-flow sister, and emotionally ravaged by her mother’s hardship during a terminal illness, Emily clings to The Plan she’s come up with to map out her life for a much-needed sense of security. On The Plan: being a vet in a Hollywood clinic for financial stability, taking care of her absent-minded dad, and marrying John-the-college-study-partner-turned-lawyer-who-doesn’t-really-remember-she’s-alive. Not on The Plan: falling for a quirky small town in the middle of the Bitterroot mountains, working at a job that pays much less, or settling down with the sexy local vet dying to put down deep roots. Emily’s need for meticulous organization, planning, and risk aversion is understandable given her previous life experiences—though she has a bit of a narrow view of those experiences—and relatable (I can definitely see bits of myself in her), but I didn’t always fully “get” or agree with her choices, particularly her stubbornness in clinging to The Plan in the face of markedly changed circumstances. Her refusal to acknowledge her feelings for hero Wyatt Stone got a bit repetitive and made me want to smack her upside the head, but overall I rather liked and could relate to Emily. I especially enjoyed her adorable awkwardness, lack of filter around Wyatt, and inability to keep herself from jumping him despite her constant pledges to remain professional. Major props to Jill for making Emily step out of her comfort zone at a conference and engage in a hot one-night stand with a sexy vet whose surname she doesn’t know only to have said vet be her new supervisor during her yearlong exile in the boonies—their meet-cute at the back end of a birthing sheep when they realise who the other is is hilarious.

Jill generally does a great job writing adorably endearing heroines, but she truly excels with her swoon-worthy heroes with just the right touch of alpha. Wyatt spent his entire life being uprooted and dragged across the globe by his diplomat parents with no say whatsoever, so he is determined to finally remain in one place and put down roots in his grandparents’ home town. What he never expected was to have the hot, no-strings-attached one-night stand from that vet conference three months show up to be his intern for the next year—but when he lays eyes on Emily again and the unavoidable chemistry sparks between them, he’s good with a little no-strings fun. Between his upbringing and having been burnt by a woman who chose Doctors Without Borders over him, he’s sworn to never fall for a woman with one foot out the door again or to ‘force’ her to choose him by asking. Emily’s feet never left L.A. and he won’t take away her choice by asking her to stay, so he knows anything more than sexy fun will inevitably end in heartbreak… but he can’t help himself. Neither can Emily, but it’s hard not to: Wyatt is one of those all-around good guys you just want to take home and snuggle, from his love of—and obvious skill with—animals to his adorably nerdy vet T-shirts to his refreshingly realistic love-hate relationship with the difficult sisters he lives with (their interactions are both hilarious and spot-on for anyone who has siblings) to his determination to never impose his will on anyone the way his parents’ was imposed on him growing up. That determination, coupled with Emily’s need for him to ask her to stay in Sunshine, led to some frustrating moments where I just wanted to toss my Kindle, but it’s also the crux of the novel’s well-executed emotional tension. Jill does a great job getting the readers emotionally invested in Emily and Wyatt so that we can’t help but keep reading to see them get their HEA—even when we feel like smacking both of them upside the head for being idiots.

THEN CAME YOU is vintage Shalvis and another great addition to the Animal Magnetism series. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable, feel-good read with plenty of heat and witty banter that feels like coming home—but Karen White’s narration elevates it to the next level of enjoyment. Ms. White narrates two of my favourite contemporary authors’ series—Julie James’s FBI/US Attorney and Jill’s Animal Magnetism—so I’m a big fan, but she does an excellent job every time. She has a great range of tones and timbre so her male characters have deeper voices that are masculine without being caricatural and can be easily distinguished from each another. She voices Wyatt with a great combination of smoothness and rasp that perfectly complements his laid-back-with-a-core-of-steel-and-a-touch-of-alpha essence and that really brings the delightful banter and scorching sexytimes to life. Emily’s somewhat breathy voice took me a little bit to get into, but it really worked once I got to know her character better—especially in the hilariously embarrassing, throw-herself-at-Wyatt scenes. As with the male voices, Ms. White does a great job giving the various female characters voices that are distinctive and well suited to the characters without being annoying. One of Ms. White’s greatest strengths as an audiobook narrator is her neutral ‘narrator’ voice: in typical audiobook fashion, it’s slower and more enunciative than regular speech, but it’s not so overdone as to be jarring and is infused with the same liveliness and emotion as the dialogue. Another highlight of Ms. White’s Animal Magnetism narrations is her take on the many animals that populate the pages: she gives each the same consideration and treatment as the human characters rather than having them be an afterthought, which is important since the animals play such a crucial role in the series. Even after several books, I still crack up every time Peanut the parrot says “Boner!” in that perfect tone. Karen White is one of my auto-buy narrators, and I hope the Shalvis-White partnership continues for future instalments of this series!

**ARC provided by Tantor**

Purchase: | Audiobook | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |