ARC Review: Steal Me by Lauren Layne

25058352Steal Me (New York’s Finest #2) by Lauren Layne

Publication Date: November 24, 2015

Publisher: Forever

Synopsis:

Captain Anthony Moretti has chosen his path in life. He wants to be the police commissioner one day. Anth knows that becoming commissioner means giving up some of his other dreams: a wife and kids. He’s fine with that until Maggie Walker shows up in his family’s favorite diner.

Maggie didn’t always dream of being a waitress in a diner, but it pays the bills while she writes her first novel. Another added benefit to waitressing at the diner is getting to spend Sundays with the Moretti family — specifically Anthony Moretti. Too bad he hates her.

When Maggie unexpectedly becomes an informant in the toughest case of Anth’s career, he can’t help but throw professionalism out the door.


My rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Steal Me was a light and fun contemporary romance. The chemistry between the characters was great and I liked each character’s backstory. Their separate histories added a lot to the story — especially Maggie’s. I also enjoyed the hunt for the criminal, which turned out to be her ex-husband. (Don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler. It’s in the book blurb.)

It was fun to meet another Moretti cop. Anthony was a little uptight, but it was easy to understand why with his previous relationship history. The frustration he felt when making choices was interesting and understandable.

My favorite thing about Steal Me was Maggie, though. I thought her attraction to the grumpy Captain was cute. I loved the way she reacted to everything he did. I also liked her family history and the way she ended up dealing with them.

Steal Me is the second book in the New York’s Finest series. It can be read as a standalone novel or after reading Frisk Me. You can find my review for Frisk Me by clicking here.

**I received an electronic copy of Steal Me from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Other books in this series:

23507713 25862018

Release Day Blitz & Review: Red Hot Holidays Anthology

Forget shopping. Forget wrapping. Spend the holidays with these 17 gorgeous alpha males.

They have something they’d like to put in your stockings, because they’re definitely on Santa’s naughty list in these 17 all-new stories.

red hot holidays COVER

AVAILABLE NOW

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About the Book:

NYT, USA Today, and top-selling authors have banded together to bring you 17 all-new, sweet to sexy books about love, romance, and the holidays.

Take a break and rip open this boxed set to cuddle up with these romantic comedy, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance books. These authors have pulled out all the stops, bringing back some of your favorite characters from their bestselling series for one more bite at the fruitcake or penning stories about new characters and new love!

For a limited time, you can pick up all 17 of these naughty men for a really great price! Over 1000 pages of love, laughter, and romance! From billionaires and filthy rich rock stars to undercover police and bear shifters, we’ve gathered all 17 passionate stories in one big box with a bow on top. This heart-pounding collection is filled with confident, sexy, and romantic men you’ll want to spend the holidays with.

AVAILABLE NOW

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My Review: 5 out of 5 stars!

The Red Hot Holidays Anthology is a hot and steamy set of books to get you into the holiday spirit. There is a little something for everyone: contemporary romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, second chance romance and more.

One of my favorite stories in the Red Hot Holidays Anthology was Noel by J.C. Valentine. Noel was a nurse trying to avoid falling for her patient, hot cop Hunter. His hot body has her in a tizzy, but she’s going to stick with her oath of not dating patients…or she thinks she is until Hunter convinces her otherwise. Noel was a really fun, steamy read.

My other favorite was Winter Tryst by Mira Bailee. It was a short and sweet second chance romance where a man realizes the mistakes he’s made over the past year with his soon-to-be ex-wife.

Those two were my favorites in the anthology, but all of the others were really good as well! A Cub for Christmas by Ella Dominguez was a fun story about an older woman falling for a younger man. Give and Take by Daisy Prescott was a cute story taking place on Whidbey Island that gives a look at the exciting Christmas happenings of several friends. Black Christmas by JC Andrijeski was an interesting Christmas tale about a couple that is apart but that can read each others minds to communicate and be intimate.

Those are just some of the incredibly fun Christmas-time stories that make up this anthology. I would highly suggest reading the Red Hot Holidays Anthology to put you in the holiday spirit! It’s only $0.99!

Stories Included Are:

Perfectly Kissed ~ Lacey Silks Mistletoes, sneaky best friend and an old lady, coerce best friends and former lovers, Millie and Dave, to reunite for Christmas Holidays.

Montreux ~ Blair Babylon Wulf von Hannover and Rae Stone are about to marry in Montreux, but Wulf’s aristocratic father makes one last attempt to derail the wedding.

Home Bound ~ Olivia Rigal and Shannon Macallan Trapped by a storm, a voluptuous architect and a sexy TV news reporter melt the ice by a roaring fire.

A Band of Heather ~ Sarah M. Cradit Colleen and Noah belong to two very different worlds, but a band of heather changes their lives forever.

Christmas on the Run ~ Daizie Draper Wannabe rock star Tristan runs from a dangerous bookie and falls for the girl he’s only using as his perfect escape.

Noel: A Blue Collar Christmas ~ J.C. Valentine Nurse Noel Walker doesn’t date patients, but Officer Hunter Davis won’t give up until he slaps the cuffs on.

Black Christmas ~ JC Andrijeski Quintin Black vanishes, leaving Miri alone after a harrowing ordeal in Thailand. Will she forgive him in time for Christmas?

Winter Tryst ~ Mira Bailee One destroyed marriage. Two broken hearts. When Sean visits Lyla to say goodbye, winter’s magic forces the lovers to face the painful truth.

Give and Take ~ Daisy Prescott You never know who will show up at the Sip ’n Stroll in Langley. Someone’s pregnant. Someone’s engaged. And someone’s getting a puppy.

Slow and Steady ~ V. J. Chambers When danger interrupts Christmas shopping, Leigh and her husband Griffin sizzle.

Take Me Home ~ Alison Foster All my Christmas wishes were snatched away by an evil brute. What can you do when the man you hate most makes your mouth water?

Bearfield Snowed In ~ Jacqueline Sweet A hunter tracking her prey finds herself snowed in with a sexy shifter. Is he her mortal enemy or her fated mate?

My Cowboy Soldier ~ Gillian Cherry Holidays draw lovers and families together, except when war tears them apart.

A Cub for Christmas ~ Ella Dominguez This May-December romance burns up the pages when Aricelli realizes that unwrapping her Christmas package is only half the fun.

Rosy Cheeks ~ Amity Wilde Good things sometimes come in unlikely packages. When an online flirt stumbles into Karen’s very real life, he might be just what she needs.

A Beary Merry Christmas ~ Jazzmyn Wolfe After a season of frustration and pain, will curvy Kassandra and Brendan finally have a beary merry Christmas?

Alec’s First Christmas ~ Felicia Tatum Daphne and Zander welcomed their baby Alec, and his first Christmas has magical surprises.

Order Now and Start Your Celebration Early

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Review: Dare to Seduce by Carly Phillips

26055768Dare to Seduce (Dare to Love #8) by Carly Phillips

Publication Date: November 17, 2015

Synopsis:

Max Savage has wanted Lucy Dare for as long as he can remember. Age and Lucy’s older brothers have kept Max from making a move until now. Max has a chance to make Lucy his and he’s not going to let anything stop him from making her his. He has the perfect plan to seduce her.


 

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars


Dare to Seduce jumped right into the seduction immediately. Max wanted (to do brazen things to) Lucy. He didn’t hesitate making his move and desires known. Lucy didn’t seem to have a problem with that since they both had harbored secret feelings for each other for years and through other relationships.

Lucy may not have had a problem with the immediate seduction, but I kind of did. I get they had pent up sexual frustration from years of longing but it felt too quick to me. It’s not because I’m against jumping into the sack immediately in books. It happens all the time. But Lucy and Max were supposed to have this amazing connection based on past history. I was told they had this connection, but I didn’t feel the connection. I’m pretty sure it was because I didn’t get to read about their previous interactions except for from their thoughts. I would have liked a flashback or two to make me feel and believe it.

I started to like the story better once I got to know Max and Lucy better and they transitioned into a relationship. It was fun watching Max’s jealous side come out. And the sex scenes…Dang! They were hot.

I wish I would have connected as well with the characters in the first half of the book as I did in the second half of the book. The book was well written, but that initial missing connection made a book that could have been great good.

Dare to Seduce is part of the Dare to Love series but can be read as a standalone novel.

Other books in this series:

           

 

ARC Review: Reckless in Love by Bella Andre & Jennifer Skully

Reckless in Love (The Maverick Billionaires #2) by Bella Andre and Jennifer Skully

Publication Date: November 11, 2015

Publisher: Maverick Oak Press, LLC 

Synopsis:

Media mogul and billionaire Sebastian wants Charlie, a local junk artist, to create a statue for the lobby of his new office building. Her work enchants him and he knows she will create something as amazing as his building.

When Sebastian stops by Charlie’s garage to commission a statue for his lobby, he can’t help but be attracted to the woman who creates such masterpieces. She’s a masterpiece herself. He desperately wants to get to know her. He’ll do everything in his power to make her see he’s not just interested in her for her art.

Junk artist Charlie is happy with her life. Sure, it would be nice to make it big with her art but she’s perfectly happy teaching art at the community college and creating in her free time. She knows her art isn’t anything special. That’s why she can’t believe it when Sebastian shows up in her garage with a huge check.

As Sebastian and Charlie get to know each other, their differences in lifestyle start to overpower their connection. Can Sebastian and Charlie let go of their differences and get a chance at true love?


My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


Bella Andre and Jennifer Skully are back with The Maverick Billionaires series! If you have followed my blog from the beginning, the first book in this series was one of my first reviews! You can read my review for Breathless in Love here. The second book, Reckless in Love, picks up where Breathless in Love left off but with a new Maverick brother. It can be read after the first book or as a standalone novel.

To be completely honest, Reckless in Love started off a little rocky for me. While I loved Charlie and Sebastian’s first meeting, there was something that bugged me a little bit. It was Sebastian’s thoughts.  His insta-love for Charlie kind of weirded me out for a minute. Actually, insta-love isn’t the best way to describe it. He knew he wasn’t in love with her yet. It was more like an insta-I-think-this-is-the-woman-I-could-fall-in-love-with-just-from-seeing-her-once thing. I just wanted to shout, “You don’t even know her! She could be crazy!” at him. But I know it’s a romance novel and things usually move quickly for characters, so it didn’t bother me enough to ruin the story.

From there on, I truly enjoyed reading Reckless in Love. It was a sweet love story filled with real life relationship issues. Both Sebastian and Charlie doubted themselves a lot.

Despite being a billionaire, Sebastian had a lot of past hurt he was dealing with. It affected all of his decisions — especially ones he made about or for Charlie. Poor Charlie knew she was falling for Sebastian but she wasn’t sure if she was enough or if she could be the person he wanted.

I found these parts of the storyline very refreshing and real. I think most people have moments in relationships where they doubt themselves or wonder if they’re enough for the person they love. It was fulfilling to watch them really get to know each other and grow from what they learned about themselves and each other.

Reckless in Love was also filled with gorgeous descriptions. The authors described Charlie and Sebastian’s artwork so thoroughly that I could imagine exactly what it looked like.

If you’re looking for a sweet billionaire love story, this Reckless in Love is for you.

**I received an electronic copy of Restless in Love from the authors in exchange for an honest review.

Other books in this series:

ARC Review: The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams & Lauren Willig

The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig

Publication Date: January 19, 2016

Publisher: NAL

Synopsis:

In 1945, it’s rare for women to be doctors. Dr. Kate Schuyler must dedicate her life to medicine to be taken seriously. She works in Manhattan at an old mansion that has been turned into a hospital.

When injured Captain Cooper Ravenel arrives at the hospital, Kate can’t help but be drawn to him. She feels like she’s known him forever. The feeling is intensified by a portrait in the captain’s possession. A portrait that looks very much like Kate. Not only does the woman look like Kate, she is wearing a ruby necklace exactly like the one Kate’s mother gave her.

As Kate and Cooper start to search for the truth behind the mysterious painting, they begin to uncover stories of the past. The stories involve Kate’s grandmother Olive, her mother Lucy and the wealthy Pratt family.


My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Karen White is one of my favorite authors. Her writing is beautiful. I love how she mixes past and present, mystery, romance and history all into one amazing story. I was very excited to read her collaboration with Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig. I haven’t read these authors before, so I was excited to read their work in combination with an author I love.The combination of the three authors was seamless. Honestly, I couldn’t even tell the story was written by three people.

The Forgotten Room was so interesting to read. I loved the way the three different characters and time frames were woven together. It kept my attention and kept me wondering what had happened in Olive’s Gilded Age and Lucy’s Jazz Age. I wanted to know how all three women were tied together. The authors did an amazing job doling out pieces of information a little at a time to keep the story fresh and entertaining.

My favorite thing about this book was that not all of the secrets were easy to guess. Just when I would think I had something figured out, I would learn something that changed how I saw the characters.

If you’re looking for a wonderful historical romance / mystery to read, I would highly suggest The Forgotten Room.

**I received an electronic copy of The Forgotten Room from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: A Winter Wedding by Brenda Novak

A Winter Wedding (Whiskey Creek #9) by Brenda Novak

Publication Date: October 27, 2015

Publisher: Mira

Synopsis:

Kyle Houseman has given up on love. He’s already married and divorced the wrong woman once. He also knows he’ll never find anyone that compares to his ex-girlfriend, Olivia. Kyle knows it’s his fault they didn’t end up together, but the fact that she married his step-brother is still raw. It makes family dinner tons of fun.

Country music sensation Lourdes Bennett came to Whiskey Creek to escape the spotlight and work on her new album. She was supposed to be spending the Christmas holiday squirreled away in Whiskey Creek with her fiance Derrick. Instead, she’s here alone dealing with the possibility that Derrick might not be as loyal to her as she thought.

When Lourdes can’t get her rental’s furnace to work, she calls her landlord, Kyle. As Lourdes and Kyle begin to get to know each other and become friends, they both notice a spark. But will Lourdes be willing to give up Nashville for a quieter kind of life in Whiskey Creek?


My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Whiskey Creek is one of my favorite contemporary romance series. I love the group of friends Brenda Novak has created the series around. I’m always curious to find out which friend is the next to fall in love and who it will be with.

I was excited when I learned we were finally getting Kyle’s story in A Winter Wedding. I’ve been waiting to see inside his head ever since I read Olivia and Brandon’s story in When We Touch. Since Kyle’s been (not so secretly) in love with Olivia the entire series, I wondered what kind of woman would be able to capture his attention.

Brenda Novak couldn’t have created a better character than Lourdes to win Kyle’s heart. She was strong and independent — everything Kyle needed in a woman after dealing with his ex Noelle. I loved the connection they had and how protective of Lourdes Kyle was.

Since I mentioned Noelle, I have to say I absolutely loved her part in this story. It was fun to get a glimpse into her head and see what she’s been thinking the entire time she’s been pining after the ex-husband who is in love with her sister.

Kyle’s story was everything I was hoping it would be. A Winter Wedding was the perfect Christmas-time contemporary romance  read. It was fun, fast-paced and included all of the Whiskey Creek characters I’ve grown to love. If you love contemporary romance series, I would highly recommend the Whiskey Creek series and A Winter Wedding.

Other books in this series:

        

If You Only Knew

If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins

Publication Date: August 25, 2015

Publisher: HQN Books

Synopsis:

Wedding dress designer Jenny Tate had what she thought was going to be her happily ever after. She had the perfect job, the perfect husband and (hopefully) soon the perfect children. But Jenny’s happily ever after imploded when her husband Owen surprised her by asking for a divorce. Now, a couple of years later, Jenny’s stuck with the perfect ex-husband and a new best friend (Owen’s new wife). Her goal of having a family like her sister Rachel’s is down the drain.

Jenny still wants a happily ever after. Putting some distance between her past life in New York, Jenny moves back to her hometown. She’s starting a new boutique and hoping to find love.

Rachel has the perfect life Jenny’s always dreamed of. Her husband, Adam, is a handsome and successful lawyer. She’s the perfect housewife and stay-at-home mother to three beautiful little girls.

Her life is exactly as she wants it…until one text ruins it all. Rachel no longer knows what to believe. Is her husband having an affair or is it a wrong number? Rachel’s always said she would never stay with a cheater, but will she change her mind if her husband isn’t as perfect as she thought he was? Is she willing to walk away from the perfect life they have created together?

During this time of transition, Jenny and Rachel find themselves leaning on each other more than they ever thought they would. Their strengths will help each other make the tough decisions they never thought they would have to make.


My rating: 5 stars


I was kind of scared to read If You Only Knew. That probably sounds lame, but I had a feeling Kristan Higgins’ journey into Women’s Fiction (That’s actually a genre? Is there a Men’s Fiction, too?) was going to tug at my emotions. I wasn’t ready to (maybe) feel sad.

Now that I’ve read it, I’m glad I let If You Only Knew sit on my Kindle a month before reading it. Not because it wasn’t a good book. It was great. It had the sad stuff I was worried about, but it also had the humorous dialogue I’ve appreciated in Ms. Higgins’ past novels. It’s more a case of perfect timing.

The reason I’m glad I waited to read it is more personal. I’ve hit the time in my life when I have several friends going through marriage problems. There has been adultery, emotional affairs, conflict and loss. It’s been hard to watch friends deal with the emotional ups and downs, as well as the fall out. I ache for my friends.

I also ached for Rachel in this book. Her thoughts captivated me. For her, there was no decision that wasn’t going to hurt. Nothing would ever be perfect again. Not that things would never get better. They would never be the same. And that’s okay. The message of If You Only Knew hit home with me and my feelings this week. It couldn’t have come at a better time.

Rachel is not the only POV in this book, though. There’s also Jenny. I found her POV, while sometimes sad, to be the humor I needed to round out this novel and keep it from being totally depressing. I could totally see her as a character in one of Higgins’ hilarious Blue Heron novels.

So, who would I recommend If You Only Knew to? This book is geared toward adult women. The characters are in their mid-thirties to forties. I think women in that age range or higher will probably be able to relate to If You Only Knew best. Or anyone who has gone through or is going through a crisis in their marriage.

Dietland

Dietland Dietland by Sarai Walker

Publication Date: May 26, 2015

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Synopsis: 

Plum (Alicia) Kettle is struggling with her obesity. She lives her life hiding in the shadows, avoiding being judged and made fun of. Plum yearns for a “thin” life. One that will start when she undergoes weight-loss surgery. Plum is ready for her transformation until she is introduced to a group of women by a girl that has been not so secretly following her. The leader, Verena, and the women want to help Plum change her perception of herself. Meanwhile, a terrorist organization starts acting on behalf of women everywhere and Plum is convinced the girl that was following her is somehow linked to the horrible crimes.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Dietland is not like anything I’ve read before. It was well written and interesting. The author did an amazing job showing how it feels to be overweight. Many people will be able to identify with Plum’s thoughts and feelings about her body. I really liked the story behind Plum’s experience with the Baptists weight-loss group (not to be confused with the religious group), Verena’s book and how it fit into the story.

I have mixed feelings on the twist the story takes with the terrorist plot. I found it very interesting, but I wasn’t fond of the way it impacted Plum. I know the point was for Plum to become a stronger woman, but I didn’t like how angry and negative she got. I also didn’t care for some of Plum’s experiences while under Verena’s influence. On the other hand, I did think that terrorist plot added something to the story that made it more thought provoking than just a story of Plum dealing with her weight.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Dietland. I think a lot of women will identify with Plum and be intrigued by the intertwining stories.

Thank you to Houghton Mufflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read and honestly review Dietland.

The Sound of Glass

The Sound of GlassThe Sound of Glass by Karen White

Publication Date: May 12, 2015

Publisher: NAL

Synopsis:

In The Sound of Glass, young widow Merritt Heyward inherits the childhood home of her dead husband, Cal. Merritt abandons her life in Maine to move to Beaufort, SC, where she hopes to learn more about the husband she lost. Before she can even move into her new home, her step-mother and the half-brother she’s never met show up, complicating Merritt’s life even further. Together, they begin to unravel Cal’s past and learn to be a family again.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It’s hard to pick out one favorite thing about The Sound of Glass. I truly loved everything about it. The narration moved smoothly between the three narrators: Merritt, Loralee and Edith. The combination of the plane mystery and the family relationships made the novel fast paced and hard to put down.

Although, I do have to admit I had a favorite character. I adored Loralee and her Journal of Truths entries. Her wisdom was refreshing. I also liked that she saw the best parts of Merritt and wanted more for her. I was inspired by how Loralee dealt with the hand she was given in life and how she was raising her son, Owen.

Merrit was a character I had a love/hate relationship with. Just when I would be annoyed with her actions and start to dislike her, she would explain herself or Loralee would think of something her husband had told her about Merritt and I would like her again. Seeing her growth throughout the entire novel was very fulfilling.

Edith’s glimpses of the past really shaped how I saw not just Heyward family, but Cal and Merritt’s relationship as well. I liked how her perspective helped tie the whole story together.

The only thing more that I wanted out of Karen White was a chance to hear a part of the story through Gibbes’ POV. There must have been so much running through his mind! He was such a cool character.

The Sound of Glass is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. That doesn’t surprise me, as I always love anything Karen White writes. She truly knows how to mix mystery, romance, family and the Southern landscape into beautifully heartbreaking and fulfilling tales. I would highly recommend any of her novels.