Book Review, Books, Romance, series, Uncategorized

Book Review – New Release – Heartland, Truth North series #7 by Sarina Bowen

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5 of 5 emotional stars

I love Sarina Bowen’s books, especially the Truth North series. I’ve read all but book 6, even though I own it; I just haven’t had the opportunity to read it yet. I was selected to be a member of Sarina’s ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) team recently, and was given the opportunity to read and review this 7th book, and I jumped at the chance.

This book is interesting, because it has a connection not only to the Shipley family and the other Vermont folks we’ve met in the rest of the series, but our heroine has a deep personal history with the hero in book 3, Keepsake. Chastity and Zachariah were both raised on a polygamist ranch in Wyoming, but it would be a spoiler for me to say much more than that. One thing I will say is that they each had to overcome seriously messed up views of men and women and sex. It’s one of the things that made Keepsake such an interesting read, as well. Keepsake looks at it from a man’s point of view, and Heartland sees it from a woman’s.

If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts, you may know that I don’t read blurbs, especially when it’s an author I love.  I actually don’t want to know what is going to happen in a book (or movie or TV show) before I read or watch it. If I know something ahead of time, I’ll spend the whole time anticipating when that thing is going to happen, and I won’t be fully present. So I did not know anything about what Heartland was going to be about, except that the main character was Dylan Shipley.

The last book I read as part of an ARC team was Crush, by Mae Wood. I love her books, but I didn’t really like this one because the heroine was 22. It has been a long time since I was 22, and I couldn’t relate, plus I have a daughter who is 20, so I usually avoid books about kids in college. Dylan is 20, and the heroine, Chastity, is 21, and yet I didn’t have a problem with this story. I’m not really sure what the difference was, but I was hooked from the start of this book and I didn’t want to put it down!

Books, cover reveal, New Release, Romance, series, smartypants romance, Uncategorized

Cover Reveal – Smartypants Romance Spring Launch 2020!!!!!!

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Smartypants Romance Spring Launch 2020 is coming soon and we have the all-new covers!

Ten authors. Ten stories.

March-May 2020

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BEEF CAKE by Jiffy Kate

Releasing: March 17, 2020

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If opposites do actually attract, then Gunnar Erickson and Frankie Reeves take the cake.

Frankie Reeves is complicated, even though she won’t admit it. She fills her days working as an ER nurse, taking care of her mom, and searching for the father she never knew. Anything else has no place in her perfectly compartmentalized, purposefully simple life. Attachments? No thank you. She has no time for that.

Gunnar Erickson recently moved to Green Valley to train at Viking MMA with his brother Cage. Being the youngest of the Erickson clan, he’s always felt like he has something to prove, and now that he’s finished with college, it’s his time to shine. But before he can step into the ring, a freak accident sends him to the ER and into the care of one Frankie Reeves.

While he’s immediately smitten, she pretends to be unfazed by this six-foot-three, two hundred and thirty-pound beef cake. Gunnar sets out to prove to Frankie that, not only does she like him more than she wants to admit, but he’s not the uneducated, brute she assumes he is. To Frankie, he’s the worst kind of complication, but that doesn’t make it easy to stay away.

‘Beef Cake’ is a full-length contemporary romantic comedy, can be read as a standalone, and is book #4 in the Donner Bakery series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

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Find Jiffy Kate online: https://smartypantsromance.com/authors/jiffy-kate/

CODE OF HONOR by April White

Releasing: March 24, 2020

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A painting, a panic room, a thief, and her lover … whose job is to catch her.

There are three things you need to know about Anna.

1) She’s a bounty hunter with adrenaline junkie habits,

2) She’s the “awkward” twin, and

3) She’s a thief – kind of.

Darius designs security systems for Cipher Security, and the strange and remarkable woman he met the night the painting was

stolen is as intriguing a mystery as his hunt for the thief is.

But the lady has no filter, and she knows she can’t lie to the man who looks like a Disney Prince and kisses like fairytales are true, so she runs from the one person who may actually see her as the heroine of her own story.

‘Code of Honor’ is a full-length contemporary romantic suspense, can be read as a standalone and is book #2 in the Cipher Security series, Knitting in the City World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

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Find April White online: https://smartypantsromance.com/authors/april-white/

BEEN THERE DONE THAT by Hope Ellis

Releasing: March 31, 2020

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Theirs was a forever kind of love, until it was stolen.

ZORA LEFFERSBEE’S once perfect life is no longer perfect. Her tenure at the University is in question, funding for her employees uncertain, and her faux-fiancé, Jackson James’s unpredictability is wearing on her last nerve. Just when Zora is convinced things can’t get more complicated, life proves her wrong.

What the heck is he doing here?

NICK ROSSI’s complicated life is still extremely complicated. He’s used to fighting for everything he has, but he’s also used to winning. Now a man of power and influence, his return to Green Valley after so many years hasn’t gone according to plan, especially with the woman he’s always wanted.

She can’t know why I left, or why I’m back.

A powerful woman intent on righting the wrongs of the world, Zora doesn’t have time or energy to deal with the man who broke her young heart.

A powerful man intent on righting the wrongs of the past, Nick can’t help wanting to protect Zora, even if his devotion is unrequited.

‘Been There Done That’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #1 in the Leffersbee series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

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Find Hope Ellis online: https://smartypantsromance.com/authors/hope-ellis/

THE TREBLE WITH MEN by Piper Sheldon

Releasing: April 7, 2020

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As far as Green Valley is concerned, Kim Dae disappeared into the Wraiths a decade ago. They were sort of right. Kim has spent her life since Jethro fighting her curious nature and trying to blend into the background. Unfortunately for her, a mysterious Maestro comes to town and takes quick notice of her for reasons unknown to anybody.

The masked conductor, known simply as Devlin, was already a source of much gossip thanks to his reputation for getting fired. Now, his sudden interest in the quiet fourth chair cellist has added fuel to the rumor fire. The new conductor of the symphony needs to learn to control his temper and finish his latest musical masterpiece and only the reluctant star of his symphony can help him do that. If Devlin can’t convince Kim to help to finish his latest composition he’ll lose everything.

Can Devlin and Kim compose without losing composure?

‘The Treble with Men’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #2 in the Scorned Women’s Society series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

PRE-ORDER:

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Find Piper Sheldon online: https://smartypantsromance.com/authors/piper-sheldon/

CUTIE AND THE BEAST by M.E. Carter

Releasing: April 14, 2020

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Living with her mother seemed like a good idea at the time. But Elliott Donovan’s living arrangements are not working for her anymore. Desperate to get back on her financial feet after a divorce and out from under her mother’s thumb, Elliott takes a job in the child care center at Weight Expectations, a local gym.

It has everything she needs – family friendly hours, more pay than she expected, and a super cute trainer who just happens to have part of his house for rent.

Abel DiSoto was living the good life until his wife walked out taking half of the family income with her. The blow to his ego was bad enough, but after a fire at the gym scattered Abel’s clients, and consequently his commissions, he’s stuck figuring out how to make ends meet, too. Renting out the master suite of his house to his new co-worker seems like an easy solution. They’re both mature adults, they both have eight-year-old daughters, and their work schedules coordinate so they can lend each other a helping hand to ease the burden of single parenthood.

The only downside? Living like a blended family when you’re not actually a family can present some challenges.

Welcome back to Weight Expectations, where the unexpected is likely to happen.

‘Cutie and the Beast’ is a full-length contemporary romantic comedy, can be read as a standalone, and is book #3 in the Cipher Office series, Knitting in the City World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

PRE-ORDER:

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Find M.E. Carter online: https://smartypantsromance.com/authors/m-e-carter/

BATTER OF WITS by Karla Sorensen

Releasing: April 21, 2020

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Hate at first sight couldn’t possibly exist, right?

That’s what Grace Buchanan thought, before her useless car stranded her on the side of a deserted road just inside the Green Valley city limits.

When Tucker Haywood—tall and handsome and full of southern charm— shows up to help, her reaction to him is the strongest thing she’s ever felt in her life, and it makes no freaking sense.

It doesn’t make much sense to Tucker either. Not why she hates him, or why he finds her so intriguing. He knows well enough that Grace is moving to Green Valley for a fresh start, not to distract him when he’s got no room for something like her in his life.

The complications between them are endless, but that doesn’t stop her definitely not love-at-first-sight feelings from changing into something else entirely.

Grace and Tucker are about to learn the hard way that in Green Valley, hating someone has never tasted so sweet.

‘Batter of Wits’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #5 in the Donner Bakery series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

PRE-ORDER:

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Find Karla Sorensen online: https://smartypantsromance.com/authors/karla-sorensen/

CARPENTRY AND COCKTAILS by Nora Everly

Releasing: April 28, 2020

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Everett Monroe can’t keep his eyes off his gorgeous tenant.

He’d like to put his hands on her too, but she’s prickly, closed-off, and gives new meaning to the word disgruntled. In other words, she’s his perfect match and he’ll do anything to make her see it too.

Willa Hill has finally left her teen runaway past behind and wants a fresh start—alone. Men are nothing but trouble and she’s had enough man-trouble to last a lifetime.

Too bad her irresistibly sexy, nerdy-hot landlord doesn’t agree.

When their mutual yearning becomes a white-hot fling and passion crosses carefully drawn, albeit one-sided boundaries,

Everett finds himself in love and Willa finds herself in a pickle.

Because, unfortunately, when she returned to Green Valley, her problems came too.

When the past she escaped crashes into the future she finds herself wanting more than anything, will Willa stay in Green Valley?

Or will she run away again?

‘Carpentry and Cocktails’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #5 in the Green Valley Library series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

PRE-ORDER:

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Find Nora Everly online: https://smartypantsromance.com/authors/nora-everly/

UPSY DAISY by Chelsie Edwards

Releasing: May 5, 2020

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College, cookies, capers, Oh my!

Daisy Payton has everything.

Exceptional grades.

Impeccable clothes.

Model family.

But perfection comes at a high cost, and Daisy is wilting. Determined to use college as her chance to bloom anew, she’s focused on only one thing, leaving the Payton name behind and forging her own path—even if she has to tell the teeniest of fibs to do it.

Trevor Boone has nothing.

Abandoned as a child.

Raised by distant relatives.

Constantly reminded he’s a burden.

Trevor’s lived at the edges of opulence for years, having all he’s ever desired dangled just out of reach. But his ambition is finally about to pay off and nothing will distract him from his goal—finishing college top of his class and starting life, on his own terms.

When Daisy and Trevor meet it’s clear from the start that they’ll tempt each other to distraction, can they learn to put their ambitions aside and fall or will they lose it all?

‘Upsy Daisy’ is a full-length romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #1 in the Higher Learning series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

PRE-ORDER:

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Find Chelsie Edwards online: https://smartypantsromance.com/authors/chelsie-edwards/

LOVE IN DEED by L.B. Dunbar

Releasing: May 12, 2020

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Sometimes it takes an outsider to force us to see who we are. The real struggle is accepting what we learn.

For Beverly Townsen, nothing could be closer to the truth. Virtually a shut-in, Beverly has pulled back from Green Valley’s community, preferring the isolation of her farmhouse and her daily routine of viewing home improvement television shows. When the opportunity arises for her own home improvement and a personal re-assessment, she’s not so excited about the reality of real life versus DIY programs.

Jedd Flemming understands physical pain and personal loss, but it’s never stopped him from bucking forward in life. A former military man and rodeo star, his life as a nomad comes to an end with false accusations and a family matter back in the Valley. It’s been a long journey to find his way home and once there, there’s nothing he wants more than to reclaim what he’s lost…and maybe the elusive female reclusive who holds a sliver of his past.

With an unprecedented proposition, Beverly finds a stranger living in her barn, raising horses on borrowed pastures, and plowing his way into her vacant heart. Old hurts linger, but sometimes love in deed is louder than words.

‘Love in Deed’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #6 in the Green Valley Library series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

PRE-ORDER:

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Find L.B. Dunbar online: https://smartypantsromance.com/authors/l-b-dunbar/

STRANGER RANGER by Daisy Prescott

Releasing: May 19, 2020

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New park ranger Daphne Baum is a reformed good girl. Breaking free from her overbearing family as soon as she turned eighteen, she’s been on her own ever since. The life of a park ranger, moving from park to park, suits her just fine. Though still a rule follower, she’s okay with a little sin in her life.

Every generation of Hill men has its black sheep. The general consensus among the family is that Odin Hill is the lucky bastard this go around. At seventeen, he blew out of town like an angry tornado only to return fifteen years later withdrawn and secretive. Living like a recluse in the hollows in the Smoky Mountains, he’s happy to keep to himself and is content to let locals believe he’s the town weirdo. Odin prefers the company of his pet pig to the nosy citizens of Green Valley.

When Daphne discovers Odin might be committing nefarious deeds on park land, she vows to find out the truth behind the handsome, yet chaotic, loner. Will the stranger help the ranger discover the difference between being good and doing the right thing? Or will they find themselves on opposites sides of love?

‘Stranger Ranger’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #2 in the Park Ranger series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

PRE-ORDER:

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Find Daisy Prescott online: https://smartypantsromance.com/authors/daisy-prescott/

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audiobook, Books, New Release, Romance

New Audiobook Release – Blindsided by Amy Daws

HAPPY AUDIO RELEASE DAY TO AMY DAWS! 

BLINDSIDED is a sexy sports romance standalone that was an Amazon Top 100 bestseller for eight weeks straight and is NOW LIVE ON AUDIO! 

 🎧 🎧 

What happens when an almost thirty-year-old virgin agrees to let her Scottish footballer best friend give her some lessons in seduction?

Lots of banter, awkwardness, jealousy, and heat.

Midfielder Maclay “Mac” Logan is a loud-mouthed, tattooed ginger content with focusing on football. But when an adorably-freckled seamstress comes barreling into his life, he finds Netflix-And-Bickering with her to be his new favorite pastime.

Freya Cook is used to being the invisible woman with a needle and thread, offering cheeky punchlines as she helps dress London’s finest. She’s plus-sized in body and spirit, and other than her friendship with Mac, talking to the opposite sex is one skill she never mastered.

However, after one innocent game of Never Have I Ever, Mac offers to play Love Coach for Freya.

What neither of them see coming are the feelings that develop when the clothes come off.

Now they’re both about to learn the biggest lesson of all: Don’t fall in love with your best friend.

 

Check out the duet narration brilliance bringing the action to your ears!

Get the Audiobook now -> http://bit.ly/BlindsidedAudioUS

 Never have I ever…given my virginity to my best friend. 

Plus-sized and quirky, Freya Cook, agrees to let her loud-mouthed, Scottish best friend give her some lessons in seduction. But when professional footballer, Mac Logan finds out his best friend isn’t just inexperienced, she’s also a virgin, he realizes he can help her in more ways than one.

#Blindsided #AmyDaws #Audiobook #ScottishAudioBrilliance #KiltyPleasure#SportsRomance #Standalone #ScottishHero #BritishHeroine #OppositesAttract#FriendsToLovers  

Books, New Release, Romance, series

New Release – Heartland, True North series #7, by Sarina Bowen

CREDITS: Photo by David Vance, Design by Sarah Hansen at Okay Creative

HEARTLAND BY SARINA BOWEN

A standalone romance in the USA Today best-selling True North world.

January 28, 2020

Goodreads: https://geni.us/HeartlandGoodread

Expect: cute goats, college parties, caramels, a hot, broody farm boy and a broken girl who can’t stop loving him.

An emotional friends to lovers romance full of risky secrets and late-night lessons in seduction.

Dylan is my best friend, and the only person in my life who understands me. He doesn’t mind my social awkwardness or my weird history. The only glitch? He doesn’t know that I’ve been hopelessly, desperately in love with him since the first day we picked apples together in his family’s orchard.

But I know better than to confess.

Now that I’ve joined him at college, I’m seeing a new side of him. This Dylan drinks and has a lot of sex. None of it with me.

Until the moment I foolishly ask him to tutor me in more than algebra…and he actually says yes.

One crazy night sets our friendship on fire. But now my heart lies in ashes, and nothing will ever be the same again.

Heartland is a standalone college romance set in the True North world. Expect: a young, broody farmer, a giant crush, tasty caramels, cute goats and late night confessions.  

RELEASE DAY EXCERPT FROM HEARTLAND

“So why were you having a bad day, anyway?” Ellie asks. “Man trouble?”

“Not exactly. It’s more like a lack of man trouble. I kissed my hot algebra tutor. And I wasn’t supposed to.”

Her big eyes widen. “Which hot algebra tutor? You never said.”

“He doesn’t work at the lab,” I say hastily. “He’s a friend. And he wants to stay that way.”

“Oh.” She looks deflated. “That is a bummer.”

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

“No.” She makes a face. “It would be nice, though. This year is kind of lonely. My roommate is a total bitch.”

“Oh, I have one of those, too.” 

“Yeah?” Ellie’s eyes brighten. “Does yours steal your clothes and then lie about it?”

“Um, no. She wouldn’t want any of my things. We have singles, anyway. Just a common bathroom.”

“Lucky! She must be easier to stand, then.”

“You’d think.” I take a gulp of mint tea. 

“My roommate took my brand-new scarf. With the tags still on! And when I called her out on it, she tried to gaslight me.”

“Gaslight?” I feel my cheeks flush like they sometimes do when I don’t understand the idioms that people use.

“You don’t know Gaslight? It’s a movie from the forties.”

“Ingrid Bergman,” says Dylan’s voice. “We haven’t got around to the classics yet.”

I startle, sloshing my tea over my hand. And when I look up, Dylan is right there. Clear brown eyes. Tousled hair. Tight, muscular body that’s clothed in a nice sweater and ripped jeans. A handsome face that I finally kissed.

Pain slices through me. Because I’m never going to get over him. There will never be a day when I look at Dylan and don’t wish for more.

“Can I talk to you for a quick second?” he asks, taking the mug and grabbing a napkin off the table. He wipes the tea off my hand.

“Now is not a good time,” I say quickly. Because I don’t want to cry in the coffee shop in front of my only new friend.

Dylan actually rolls his eyes. “Fifteen seconds, Chass. Give a man a break.”

I’d talk to you.” Ellie raises her hand like a school girl. “Pick me.”

And that’s just what I need—another girl in my life who’s swooning for Dylan. Because that always turns out well. 

“Fine. Fifteen seconds.” I jump to my feet. Let’s get this over with.

Dylan takes my arm and tows me gently over toward the bulletin board, where nobody is currently reading the flyers for meditation circles and ski equipment sales. 

“Look, I’m sorry,” is his opener. “You’re avoiding me. Not that I blame you. I’m sorry things got so out of control.”

“Which things?” I ask warily. Because I don’t want an apology for fooling around with me.

“Pick one!” Dylan raises his hands. “All the things. I shouldn’t have been so inappropriate.”

“But…” I know Dylan was in a serious state of drunken depression when he kissed me. It’s not like I was expecting to hear those kisses made him as happy as they made me. But would it kill him to be a little less patronizing? “Dylan, I’m not twelve years old. It was just a kiss or two. I don’t think I’ll need a full course of therapy to recover.”

He blinks. “Okay. Good?”

“So did you really need to drag me over here to apologize a third time? Did you apologize to all the girls you kissed during Spin the Bottle in seventh grade?” 

I heard about Spin the Bottle and Seven Minutes in Heaven only last year, by eavesdropping on Debbie and her buddies at another bonfire. I’d been transfixed by their tales of who’d kissed whom over the years and how often. 

At thirteen, Spin the Bottle would have sounded like heaven to me. Seven minutes in a closet with a boy? I would have lobbied for eight. I was always the most inappropriate girl in the bunch. 

Yet somehow Dylan sees me as some kind of innocent child. 

“No. Good point.” He crosses his delicious arms and smiles at me. “You are in a feisty mood today.”

“Is that so wrong?”

“No.” He shakes his handsome head. “Not at all. Are we going to hug it out?” He opens his big arms wide.

Oh boy. I can’t resist stepping into them. And when he pulls me in, I experience the familiar hormone rush that always happens when I’m close to him. Rapid heartbeat? Check. Goosebumps? Check. My nose lands against his flannel shirt. 

My mouth is mere inches from his, of course. But this time he has no interest in kissing me. It takes all my willpower to give him a squeeze and then step back.

“Be well, Chass. I’ll leave you to your tutoring session, even if you’re basically cheating on me right now. But we’re still making caramels this weekend, right? I told Griffin we could use six gallons of goat’s milk. Don’t make a liar out of me.”

“I won’t,” I say quickly. I might be slightly irritated at him, but it will blow over. My capacity to forgive him for not loving me back is basically infinite. “We’ll leave right after Friday classes?”

“You got it. And this is for you. Share it with your friend.” He pulls something out of his pocket. “More market research.”

He puts a little box in my hand and then walks away.

As always, it takes me a second to get over my hormone rush. I stand there blinking for a long moment until I realize Ellie is grinning at me from the sofa. So I go back over to her and sit down.

“Wow…” she says, stealing a glance at Dylan’s retreating backside. “Is that hot hunk of Vermont male your algebra tutor?”

“Yes.” My voice is gravel.

“And your future ex-boyfriend?”

“Nope. I’ll never get that chance. He’s my best friend, but…” There’s no tidy explanation.

“But you want more. I would if it were me.”

I nod, miserable. 

VENDOR LINKS

Amazon https://geni.us/HeartlandAmazon 

Apple https://geni.us/HeartlandApple

Kobo https://geni.us/HeartlandKobo 

Nook https://geni.us/HeartlandNook 

Google https://geni.us/HeartlandGoogle

Books, Free book, Romance, series

FREE BOOK – Payback by Amy Daws – Today only!

Payback by Amy Daws is FREE for a limited time!! If you’ve read Blindsided, this is the story of Mac’s best friend – but both can be read as standalones!

⚽ ⚽ ⚽

ALLIE HARRIS WANTS PAYBACK.

Her cheating ex deserves to see her living her best life; a one-night-stand with a hot South African soccer player would be the perfect revenge. Right?

Wrong. Allie is so, so wrong.

ROAN DEWALT HAS ALL THE MOVES.

On and off the field he’s at the top of his game. Roan respects hard-work, dedication—and follow through. He’s not a one and done kind of man, and he’s far from being done with Allie Harris.

One sexy night and two years later, Allie’s job brings her back to town. Opportunity for the perfect replay Roan has been fantasizing about since they slept together.

THE PROBLEM?

Allie Harris has a secret; one she’s been keeping from Roan all this time. Digital proof of their one night together—taken without his consent.

Will Allie’s payback plan come back to bite them both? Or can she erase her past mistake and embrace a new future with Roan?

#OneClick now: https://geni.us/AmyDawsPayback

#Payback #AmyDaws #Free

Books, Free book, Historical Romance, Romance

Genealogy by Mae Wood, free this weekend only!

I was able to read this wonderful book as a part of the Release Launch for the blog back in October. I blogged about its release, and read the book, but it affected me so emotionally that I was unable to write a review without taking some time to think about and reflect on this heart-warming and moving story. A few months have gone by, so it’s definitely past time for me to post my review!

This book is a lovely mix of past and present. It is a love story, without being what my daughters call one of my “shirtless man books.” Mae Wood normally writes books with some excellent sexy times, so when she started to talk about Genealogy, she warned her readers that this would be a different sort of book.

It was different, but it wasn’t. It had all the heart of a “sexy times” book by Mae Wood, but since it takes place in the early 1900s, there were no sexy times. It was a beautiful throwback to when a man courted a woman, when they wrote long handwritten letters that took weeks or months to arrive in the hands of their loved one. These letters are the foundation of this story, and the best part for me is that the letters in this book were based on real, hundred-year-old love letters.

I can’t say enough about this beautiful story. I love historical fiction, and origin stories, and time travel. This book is a bit of all three, and I was honored to be a part of the promotional team.

Buy Genealogy on Amazon for FREE this weekend only!

Books, Romance

Review of The Dating Alternative by Jennifer Woodhull

4.5 of 5 fun, fast-paced stars

This is my first time reading a book by Jennifer Woodhull, and I am very interested in reading more of her work. I read it in about 24 hours, and enjoyed it a lot. The storyline was a new take on an old theme: Friends-with-Benefits, but with a fun twist. I liked “Cheese” and “Max” very much. I enjoyed their relationships with their friends and family, especially “Alexander’s” spunky grandma.

There were a few jaw-dropping “no way!” moments, and an expected twist. A couple of times, something happened that maybe crossed the line into unbelievability. For the most part, this was a fun, interesting, fast-paced story. This author writes “sexy times” really well, and I’ve found that not all authors do. Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this terrific book.

Buy The Dating Alternative on Amazon

Books, Romance

Review of Finally Mine: A Small Town Love Story by Lucy Score

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5 of 5 Small Town Stars

Finally Mine is the second book in a series about the couples in a small town called Benevolence. The first is called Pretend You’re Mine, which was the first Lucy Score book that I ever read. I have been fortunate enough since then to have become a member of her ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) team, and am so happy to have been given the chance to read Finally Mine!

I have to admit, I wish I could have gone back to read PYM before reading FM, but due to time constraints (not to mention the SNEAK ATTACK of this book on us unsuspecting readers!), I was not able to. (I did find a paperback copy of PYM at a used bookstore the other day, though, so a re-read is in my future.)

It had been so long since I’d read PYM, that I only had vague recollections of what happened in that book. I do remember a fun polar plunge and a very sexy office scene, and a mention of Gloria and Aldo here and there, but other than that, I could have used a refresher.

That being said, you could totally read this book as a standalone, without having read PYM. It would give you some spoilers about things that happen in PYM, but I don’t see it as a big problem. I actually loved that it wasn’t really a sequel, as it took place around the same time as the events in PYM were taking place. (Penny Reid does that with her Winston brothers series, and I really enjoy that.)

The bottom line: Aldo and Gloria have a complicated history, which is one of my favorite kinds of couples. They are both damaged, in more ways than one, and the real heart of this book is whether each of them can see past their scars (not wounds!) and allow themselves to love and be loved.

As an Army brat, I really liked the military aspect of this story. There’s also the Small Town feel that Lucy is so good at (see her Blue Moon series), as well as some very fun sexy times. Not every author writes these well, but Lucy really does! This particular book delved into some interesting issues surrounding sexy times, which I won’t spoil, but it was very well handled and I enjoyed it very much.

I will admit that I do hate that inevitable moment when the couple “breaks up,” and I *really* hate when it’s because one or the other of them is being an idiot, and that’s what happens here. But I understand that the conflict has to happen so that they can have their reunion and subsequent HEA.

Lucy Score is one of my favorite authors. She is crack-me-up funny, but oftentimes, she will hit you with a life lesson that is simple but profound. For example, “It doesn’t matter what happens to you. In the end, all we are is our ability to love. That never gets taken away or diminished.” and, “Without pain, there is no joy.” Phew. Deep!! Her writing made me tear up multiple times in this book. I love when that happens.

This may be my new favorite Lucy Score book, and I was especially excited to see that we will be going back to Benevolence sometimes next year to see Lincoln Reed meet his match!

Buy Finally Mine on Amazon, or read for free with Kindle Unlimited!
Continue reading “Review of Finally Mine: A Small Town Love Story by Lucy Score”

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Review of Old Enough: The Age Between Us by Charmaine Pauls

5 of 5 mesmerizing stars

Wow! This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read. It’s the first part of the story of Brian and Jane, a younger man and a MUCH older woman. The story takes place in South Africa, which is only relevant when certain words or phrases are used which are different from the ones we would use in the US. Sometimes it took me out of the story, but only for a moment.

It is EXTREMELY sexy, delving into some practices/proclivities that I’ve not read too much about. It is well-written and interesting. Both Jane and Brian have a complicated backstory, which I always love. Jane is also a mom, which adds a relatable element to the story for me. I’m very anxious to see how things turn out for them , which is why I’m going to jump right in and read part two, called Young Enough.

Buy Old Enough

Books, Romance

Review of Devil’s Cut (The Bourbon Kings Book 3)

This third book in the Bourbon Kings series delivers a satisfying conclusion to the complex challenges faced by the Bradford family. The mystery is solved and unfinished business is resolved. This series is really good. One of the best I’ve read in a long time. So much suspense.  Bourbon, horse racing, murder, complicated relationships, and wealth set the stage for a page turner. J.R. Ward delivers another hit.

Buy on Amazon