Monday, October 17, 2016

Blog tour: Mistletoe Cottage by Debbie Mason

Harmony Harbor #1
Debbie Mason
Releasing Oct 25th, 2016

'Tis the season for love . . .

Sophie DiRossi loved growing up in Harmony Harbor. But after fleeing in disgrace many years ago, it is the last place she wants to be. Left homeless by a fire, she's forced to go back to the small coastal town that harbors a million secrets, including her own. Sophie sees this secret reflected every day in her daughter's blue eyes-and she must keep it hidden from the only man she has ever loved.

Sophie's return is a shock for everyone . . . especially Liam Gallagher. The firefighter had some serious feelings for Sophie-and seeing her again sparks a desire so fierce it takes his breath away. Now Liam will do whatever it takes to show Sophie that they deserve a second chance at love, even if everything they've concealed threatens to keep them apart. In this special town at this special time of the year, Sophie and Liam can only hope for a little holiday magic . . .

Wow. What an amazing book! I'd give it 10 stars if it were possible, but I'll have to settle for 5. If you’re looking for a sweet Christmas romance and a beautiful series starter that will have you hooked by chapter one, you should definitely pick up Debbie Mason’s latest release.

I’m a big fan of the “Christmas, Colorado” series and, even though I’ve loved every single book Debbie Mason has written, the start of a new series is always a big question mark for me. Will I like the new characters? Will I miss the old ones? What if I don’t warm up to them? What if I can’t stop comparing the two series?
All my doubts dissipated like morning mist by the end of page two. By the end of chapter one, I was hooked. By the end of chapter two, I was already half-way in love with Liam Gallagher. And the more I read, the more I enjoyed meeting every new character, and fell a little more in love with this new series. Needless to say, when I reached the last page I wanted the next book in the series, like, yesterday!

What I love about this author is her ability to pull you into the book, making you feel as if you’re right there next to the characters. There were moments when I imagined that, if I closed my eyes, I could be right there in Harmony Harbor, hearing, smelling and feeling everything the characters did. It’s not often I’m pulled so completely into a book that it’s hard to come back to reality afterward; Debbie Mason is one of the very few authors that always manages to do that for me. Every new book is a new life I can’t wait to start living alongside the characters featured in the story. And when I reach the last page, I feel like I have to say good-bye (even if only temporarily) to a group of friends I’ve had so much fun with. Crazy? Maybe, but that’s one of the things I love the most about Debbie’s books. 

I usually tend to ramble on and on about a book I’ve liked, but not even all the words in the world could express how much I loved this book and how it touched my heart deeply. I just want you to please trust me on this and go buy your own copy of Mistletoe Cottage right now.

If you’ve enjoyed the books in the Christmas series, you’ll love the people of Harmony Harbor just as much. The small-town setting, the camaraderie, the funny scenes that will have you laugh out loud, the chemistry that’s always kept on the clean side of the spectrum—all the distinctive elements that made me (and all the other fans of Christmas) love the previous books are all included in this new series. Add a crazy (and super funny) Italian matriarch, an Irish family with a meddling great-grandmother who can’t stop meddling even after her heart’s stopped beating, a family feud between the hero’s and the heroine’s families, and an adorable little girl that will steal your heart from the very first scene. Not to mention a very handsome, very Irish, and very romantic firefighter. And here’s the recipe for another best-selling series you’ll never get enough of.

If you’ve yet to discover Debbie Mason’s books, this will be the perfect first book. I have no doubt you’ll fall in love with the people of Harmony Harbor.

The paramedic removed the tube from Mia’s mouth and smiled. “All good. In the normal range.” Sophie’s daughter jumped off the back of the ambulance, and Liam went to stand up. “Oh no you don’t,” the thirtysomething brunette said to Liam. “Lift your shirt, hot stuff, and let me have a look.”

Liam laughed. “Yeah, not happening. I’m good, Kris.”

“So I’ve heard.” She gave him a flirty wink. Then, with gloved fingers, motioned for him to lift his T-shirt. “Your dad asked me to check you out. Don’t be embarrassed if you got a little flabby while you were convalescing. We won’t tell anyone, will we, Daff?” she said to the other paramedic who approached the ambulance.

“My lips are sealed. But just hang on a sec, and I’ll give you a hand.” The woman grinned as she started to unload her supplies in the ambulance.

Sophie’s irritation with Liam for Mia’s reproachful look faded at the reminder he’d been shot. 

 “You two so hard up you’re getting unsuspecting men to strip for you now? You know, there’s a club—” He winced as though remembering Mia was there and hanging on his every word.   

Sophie needed to know he was okay and intervened. “Liam, maybe you should let them check you over. You were carrying Mia, and with all your equipment . . .”

 “Soph, Mia probably weighs—” Giving his head a slight, frustrated shake, he tugged up his T-shirt. “Happy now?” 

Sophie hoped his question wasn’t directed at her. She doubted she could respond even if she wanted to. And it wasn’t because of the small, puckered pink scar on the left side of his stomach. The ridges of taut muscle and a tantalizing, narrow trail of dark hair that disappeared beneath his turnout pants were messing with her head . . . and other parts of her anatomy. Parts that hadn’t been messed with in a long time. 

The paramedics moved in, spoiling the sigh-inducing view. Sophie leaned to the left. 

Kris glanced over her shoulder with a knowing grin. “Looks pretty good, don’t you think?” the paramedic asked Sophie.

“Yes.” The word came out as an embarrassing croak, and she cleared her throat. “Really, really good.”

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Debbie Mason is the bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado series and Harmony Harbor series. Her books have been praised for their "likable characters, clever dialogue and juicy plots" (RT Book Reviews). She also writes historical paranormals as Debbie Mazzuca. Her MacLeod series has received several nominations for best paranormal as well as a Holt Medallion Award of Merit. When she isn't writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, their three wonderful children, two adorable grandbabies, and a yappy Yorkie named Bella.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Book review: Unlucky In Love by Maggie McGinnis

Holy Guacamole!!! With each new book in the Whisper Creek series I hate this author a little more... because every time she manages to make me fall head over heels in love with a new, very handsome and, alas! very fictional, cowboy. Her books always give me a bad cowboy hangover I need days to recover from... So, yes, I love her books but I hate that Whisper Creek doesn't exist - nor do the cowboys!

In the first three books in the Whisper Creek Series, we got to meet the two Driscoll brothers (Decker and Cole) and their handsome friend Daniel, the town vet. In Unlucky In Love, we meet two characters who are new to the fans of the series—and this might be a good reason to grab the book even if you haven’t read the previous ones.

Alexis is a school nurse from Maine who got jilted weeks before her wedding—two weeks to be precise—which reinforces her idea that she’s cursed as far as love is concerned. She always got dumped two weeks before some event and always considered herself the good-for-now girl, just until someone better came along.

Gunnar is a handsome cowboy (no surprise there), who’s moved around the country all his life, following his military family even though his parents weren’t exactly the picture-perfect couple. When he had to leave Whisper Creek as a teenager, he left his heart there, so he promised himself one day he’d settle down in Carefree, Montana, buy a piece of land, build stables and start a family.

When Alexis’ sister, Katie, sends off an application to fill the position for the summer ranch nurse at Whisper Creek, Alexis isn’t sure this is a good idea. Their mother, who has a penchant for drama and for thinking she’s always on the verge of a heart attack, has always depended on responsible, caring Alexis. So while Katie enjoyed her life, Alexis had to put her mother first for most of her adult life. Now is time for Katie to step in and take care of their mother while Alexis goes and tries every other experience she’s been too scared to try before.
While Katie just wants her sister to become a new person and get over her ex, Alexis thinks this might be a good idea to show Tristan (said ex) what he lost and what a fun person she can be, so she can get him back.

When Gunnar is picked as the official welcome committee member who’ll have to pick up Alexis at the airport, he isn’t exactly thrilled. He’s imagining a middle-aged nurse he’ll have to sit next to for two hours on the ride back to the ranch. But his world is thrown slightly off-kilter when he sets eyes on Alexis—and the feeling is mutual.

Alexis had seen pictures of the cowboys on the ranch website, but she’d been pretty sure they were all professional models playing cowboy. To her utmost delight, she was sorely mistaken and Gunnar is one of the handsome cowboys she and her sister drooled over while checking out the website.

Lexi looked shyly up at him. “So. You’re… wow.” Then her face flushed. “I’m sorry. I mean, I saw your picture on the website, and I thought, no way this is a real cowboy, and now here you are. Real. And… cowboy.”

This is a sort of attraction at first sight kind of story. Both the hero and the heroine feel something spark the moment they meet, but they obviously refrain from acting on the attraction, seeing as Alexis wants her ex-fiancé back and Gunnar wants a family, not a summer fling.

“I’m not kidding. She doesn’t know a soul out here. I’m just trying to be a friendly face.”“Of course you are.” Cole smiled. “What color are her eyes?”“Scotch on the rocks.”Cole laughed out loud. “So, brown, then?”“No. Definitely not just brown.”“Oh, buddy.” Cole clapped him on the back. “Less than twenty-four hours, and you’re already a goner.”

Their time together on the ranch is beautifully described and, just like in the previous books, you’ll be pulled into the story and will be able to see, smell and feel life on the ranch. You’ll become another member of the Driscoll family, you’ll laugh at Alexis’ antics and suffer with her, you’ll fall in love with Gunnar page after page, and by chapter three you’ll already be rooting for their happily ever after.

He grinned. “Sorry. But there are way too many guys eyeing you, and I know you’re still hung up on The Idiot, and I know you’re not staying, and I know it’s all a bad idea, all the way around to kiss you… but for tonight, you’re with me, and I’m going to make the most of it.”

Once again, Mrs. McGinnis has crafted a beautiful story filled with the best elements of romance, without the annoying sex scenes that most of the time take away from the story (at least, as far as I’m concerned). There is absolutely no lack of chemistry, and you won’t be noticing the lack of sex because the writing is so compelling, you just won’t be able to put the book down for a moment. 

Coming back to real life after spending a few dreamy hours on the Whisper Creek ranch was a tough task, just like it happened with every book in the series. This is one of those books you don’t want to put down (not even for a snack or to get some sleep) but you also never want to finish. If it were possible to have the Whisper Creek series be something like The Neverending Story book/movie, I’d totally volunteer to be a beta tester!

So, well, I hope this explains why I started my review saying I hate this author (although she’s one of my favorite ones). After being enthralled by the beauty and the peace of Whisper Creek, coming back to reality sucks. Big time.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Book review: Lured In by Laura Drewry

Another page turner in the Fishing for Trouble series. Laura Drewry gives fishing (and fishermen) a whole new level of sexiness! I loved every minute of this book, I just couldn't put it down. I loved book one but I have to say I ADORED book two!

The latest chapter of this romantic and sexy trilogy set at The Buoys, a fishing lodge on a secluded piece of land surrounded by water and nature, is all about Finn and Jessie, two characters who starred in the previous book as secondary characters.

Finn is the youngest of the O’Donnell brothers, and probably the most troubled one. The boys' mother left the lodge when they were young, and Finn has always been harboring a secret sense of guilt, feeling responsible for their mother’s departure and their father’s behavior that came as a consequence of his broken heart. And this is one of the reasons why he can’t commit, the reason why he’s never wanted to get serious with girls.

Jessie has been working at The Buoys since she was a teenager; she left her own home and family to escape from a difficult home situation caused by the tragic death of her older sister. Since that day, Jess has been scared of even just setting a foot in the water, which is quite inconvenient seeing as she’s been living on a piece of land completely surrounded by water. The O’Donnell brothers know she’s scared of water but none of them has ever dared ask why and they’ve just let her be.

When a famous fishing show is set to come film at The Buoys, Jessie knows she’ll have to face her fears, one way or another. The host, Sam, is a guy Jessie dated for a few months and back then, she might have omitted her crazy fear of water. If she wants to have a chance with Sam, she knows she’ll have to learn to get in the water and on a boat without freaking out.
So when the time comes to find someone who’ll help her with her mission, there’s only one person who can do it: Finn O’Donnell.

And just like that, a tiny wave of calm flowed through her. She’d trust any of those three with her life, but there’d always been something about Finn and that quick wink of his that set her at ease and made her smile back no matter what.

Yup, he was the one. Of course he was.

Finn and Jessie have always been close, ever since she arrived at The Buoys, but their relationship has always been a platonic friendship. But as they spend time alone together to make sure Jessie can get over her fears, something changes…

Finn and Jessie's story is truly amazing. I’ve always loved a good friends-to-lovers story, and this one has the best elements of the trope. I loved the camaraderie and the chemistry between the two, the way they’re always comfortable around each other as if they were family, and how things suddenly change when they realize their true feelings.

Finn made her feel things she’d only read about in books; her heart beat faster, everything inside her seemed to ignite whenever she was anywhere near him, and God help her when they actually touched each other. And that smile… sweet Lord.

I loved seeing how they trusted each other enough to open up and disclose their deepest secrets and fears, knowing without doubt the other person would listen without judgment and would be able to help.

The banter and the funny moments between the two brothers (Liam and Finn together are hilarious!) were the perfect interludes between the romantic moments, and made the book not only romantic and sexy, but also quite entertaining.

When I read book one, I thought Liam was my favorite O'Donnell brother, but after reading Lured In I've changed my mind: The Fish Whisperer is my new book boyfriend! Finn is a tortured hero but at the same time, he’s super cute, loving and even when he thinks he’ll never be able to be what Jessie needs, he can’t bring himself to stay away from her. More than once I wanted to give him a bear hug!

But now, every time she so much as glanced his way, he swore his heart got a little bit bigger, and that made him smile, which made her blush, which made them both smile more. And every time they “accidentally” brushed up against each other—God help him—it was as if she ignited something inside him that burned hotter and longer each time.

Lured In is a gripping romance that will make you swoon, laugh and wish The Buoys really existed. I don't fish but I wouldn't mind spending a week or two there! Fans of Laura Drewry, go grab your copy today and get ready to be swept off your feet by the fish whisperer!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Release day event: The Trouble With Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis

From New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis 
comes a captivating story of love, second chances 
and new beginnings...

If she has her way ...

Willa Davis is wrangling puppies when Keane Winters stalks into her pet shop with frustration in his chocolate-brown eyes and a pink bedazzled cat carrier in his hand. He needs a kitty sitter, stat. But the last thing Willa needs is to rescue a guy who doesn’t even remember her ...

He’ll get nothing but coal in his stocking.

Saddled with his great-aunt’s Feline from Hell, Keane is desperate to leave her in someone else’s capable hands. But in spite of the fact that he’s sure he’s never seen the drop-dead-gorgeous pet shop owner before, she seems to be mad at him ...

Unless he tempers “naughty” with a special kind of nice ...

Willa can’t deny that Keane’s changed since high school: he’s less arrogant, for one thing—but can she trust him not to break her heart again? It’s time to throw a coin in the fountain, make a Christmas wish—and let the mistletoe do its work ... 

A Christmas romance with a side of naughty and a whole lot of nice.

This was my first book by Jill Shalvis and I was immediately pulled into the book by the entertaining and intriguing writing. 

Willa is a woman with a tough childhood. She spent most of her life moving from one foster family to another, so even after she finally got free from the system and started to build a life for herself, she still had trust and attachment issues. She owns a pet grooming shop in San Francisco and the only family she has is the group of close friends who spend a lot of time in the O’Riley Pub. She doesn’t want to give her heart away to anyone, and she’s sworn off men.

She kept pet treats in her pockets, making her irresistible to any and all four-legged creatures within scent range. A shame though that a treat hadn’t yet been invented to make her irresistible to two-legged male creatures as well. Now that would’ve been handy.

Keane was a late child, and the fact his parents were too focused on their academical careers to care about him or show any emotions turned him into a man who doesn’t know how to belong. His job in the estate business, flipping houses to make a profit, is perfect for his sort of gypsy lifestyle. No commitment, no feelings, just work and a good time with women who don’t want to get attached. That’s his philosophy.

It takes the devil’s cat to bring these two together. Wait, what? Yes, the most hilarious parts in the books are courtesy of Petunia—or Pita, Keane’s nickname for the Siamese cat he’s stuck with after his great-aunt has to move into a rehab facility. Problem is: Keane doesn’t like Pita, and the feeling is mutual, seeing as the cat loves driving her new master crazy any way she can.

When he shows up at Willa’s shop to leave Pita in kitty daycare, he doesn’t recognize the girl he stood up back when he was in high school, but Willa hasn’t forgotten the boy who humiliated her when he didn’t show up at the high school ball. 

Sparks fly, but the “I hate your guts” kind of sparks—at least as far as Willa is concerned, while Keane is none the wiser about the reasons of her dislike. 

He was smiling now, and of course the rat-fink bastard had a sexy-as-hell smile. And unbelievably her good parts stood up and took notice. Clearly her body hadn’t gotten the memo on the no-man thing. Especially not this man.

Little by little the sparks turn into something different and… well, I can’t say more without spoilers, so if you want to know what happens, you’ll have to find out for yourself!

I loved both characters and the instant chemistry between them, as well as the way they both fought against their feelings. Willa is stubborn and at times I wanted to slap her for pushing Keane away and then giving the poor man mixed signals, but then again, her past caused her to be wary of people, so eventually I couldn’t help but root for her.

When Keane first showed up, I thought: here we go again, another commitment-phobic playboy. But with every new page, he turned out to be quite a charming hero and between the two, I think he was the one with the biggest character growth in the story.

Keane prided himself on being cool, calm, logical. Emotions didn’t have a place in his everyday life. But ever since he’d walked into Willa’s shop that first time, he’d been having emotions. Deep ones.

There were a few steamy moments, especially since for most of the book all they have is “animal magnetism”, as Keane calls it. But it went to show that all they wanted to have was physical attraction, without their hearts getting involved.

There’s a whole crew of side characters that made the book even more pleasant to read. Willa’s group of friends play an important role in the story, especially since they’re the only people Willa has let close and into her heart. I loved the camaraderie and the way they all had each other's backs—as well as the banter. I haven't read book one but I'm definitely curious to know how Finn and Pru got together. I'll be looking forward to the next books in the series.

The book is set at Christmas time, and Willa is a Christmas-holic so, yeah, you’ll probably enjoy it that little bit more if you read it close to the holidays, but all in all it’s a very enjoyable read throughout the year (I read it in August, with the summer heat at its highest peak and still managed to feel the Christmas atmosphere all around me).

“Why aren’t there any holiday decorations up at your place?” she asked.
“Because you bought out all the decorations in the entire city.”
Okay, so she had to laugh at that. “Elle thinks my shop looks like Christmas and New Year had a baby who threw up on everything.”

Fans of Jill Shalvis will not be disappointed, and new readers will surely enjoy this sexy and funny Christmas romance.

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Willa sighed and headed to the door.
              Again Keane held the pink bedazzled cat carrier, which should have made him look ridiculous. Instead it somehow upped his testosterone levels. His sharp eyes were on her but they turned warm in a way that melted her right through her center as she moved toward him. She stopped with the glass door between them, hands on hips, hoping she looked irritated even if that wasn’t quite what she was feeling.
              His gaze lowered from her face to run over her body, which gave her another unwelcome rush of heat. Dammit. Now she was irritated and aroused—not a good combo.
              His mouth quirked at the saying on her apron that read Dear Santa, I Can Explain.
              Drawing a deep breath, she opened the door. “You’ve got Petunia again. I hope that means your great-aunt Sally isn’t still sick.”
              He looked surprised that she’d remembered his aunt’s name, or that she’d care. “I don’t know,” he said a little gruffly. “She left me a message saying that I was in charge for the rest of the week but for two days now Pita’s been happily destroying my jobsite. I’m throwing myself on your mercy here. Can you help?”
              Wow. He must be really desperate since he was actually asking and not assuming. But since Petunia was a sweetheart, she knew she’d do it.
              “I’ll even tell you where I went to high school,” he said, adding a smile that was shockingly charming.
              Wow. He hadn’t lost his touch when it came to turning it on. “Not necessary,” she said, painfully aware of their audience.
              Keane’s attention was suddenly directed upward, just above her head. She followed his line of sight and found a sprig of mistletoe hanging from the overhead display of small portable doggy pools. Mistletoe? What the hell? She glanced behind her and what do you know, suddenly Rory and Cara were a flurry of movement racing around looking very, very busy. “When did the mistletoe go up?” she asked them. “And why?”
              “FOMO,” Cara said from behind the counter.
              “Fear of missing out,” Rory translated. “She was hoping a hot guy would come in and the mistletoe would give her an excuse.”
              Willa narrowed her eyes and her two soon-to-be-dead employees scattered again.
              “Interesting,” Keane said, looking amused.
              “I’m not kissing you.”
              His mouth curved. “If you take Pita for the day, I’ll kiss you.”
              “Not necessary,” she said, gratified no one could see her heart during the two-step in her ears. “I’ll take Petunia for the day. No kiss required or wanted.”
              Liar, liar…

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s sexy contemporary and award-winning books wherever romances are sold and click on the blog button above for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Book review - She's Got A Way by Maggie McGinnis

Just another brilliant story by Maggie McGinnis. If you’ve yet to discover the author or the Echo Lake series, She’s Got A Way is a perfect pick. Although this is book three in said series, the story totally works as a standalone, and no previous knowledge of setting or characters is required. 

I truly adored this book, and it caught me by surprise because I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was so much more than I would’ve thought, even though the author is one of my favorites so I had little doubt about whether or not I’d like it. But well, great job, Mrs. McGinnis! You left me slightly speechless this time. The settings alone made me want to pack up my bags and go camping myself. It was hard to put down the book and return to reality!

When Gabriela O’Brien is forced to spend the summer in a rundown camping resort in the middle of the woods, as a punishment for her four students’ latest stunt, little does she know that the camp is not exactly up to the standards her Briarwood boarding school students are used to. Coming from a rich family herself and having spent most of her life in the same boarding school, having to sleep in a tent in woods, with wildlife sneaking inside it at night, isn’t exactly how she’d envisioned her summer. Not to mention, the four teenagers’ attitude that’s driving her crazy.

Luke Magellan was a troubled kid, going from foster home to foster home until he was rescued by Oliver, the director of Camp Echo. Thanks to his trust, Luke made a life for himself and he’s been helping troubled kids ever since. But now that Camp Echo has been acquired by Briarwood boarding school, he’s afraid his mission will soon go to waste, as soon as it becomes clear that the wealthy school is planning to turn the rundown camp into some sort of high-profile summer resort for their students. So when the good-looking housemother shows up in the Briarwood van with four grumpy teenagers in tow, he braces himself for four weeks in hell.

When he caught sight of the woman stepping out, though, he stopped short. This was no steely-haired old bird in a flowered dress. No. She had sleek, dark hair, a wrist full of gold bangles, and curves in all the right places. He blinked, then peered into the backseat, searching for the housemother. Had Briarwood sent them with a hottie driver?

And then there are four rebellious teenagers who are used to a cushy life and end up having to set up a tent, use the freezing cold lake water as their personal shower and have no access to any of the amenities they’re used to. Well, Luke and Gabriela have their work cut out for them as they’ll have to figure out how to keep the girls in the camp for four, excruciatingly long weeks…

This turned out to be one of the funniest, most entertaining, and most romantic stories I’ve read in months—if not ever. If I could give it ten stars, I would! I can’t quite pinpoint what exactly made me love this book so much because, truth be told, there isn’t a single chapter, scene or even paragraph I didn’t like. You know when you just “feel” a book? When it hooks you from the very beginning and the more you read, the more involved you become with the story and the characters? This was it for me. This book pulled me in from the first page and held me captive in Camp Echo until the last page—and even then, I didn’t really feel like leaving at all.

Luke is a dreamy hero, the tall, dark and terribly handsome man every woman in her right state of mind would want to call her own—I most definitely would. In spite of his troubled past, he managed to pull himself together and do something useful with his life, and when he tried to act all humble around Gabriela, to give her time to adjust and decide how to manage the girls in such a new environment, he was simply adorable!

Gabriela is very easy to like; she’s down-to-earth, despite her wealthy childhood, and her determination to help her students succeed is admirable. I even liked her stubbornness when she tried to do everything without needing Luke’s help. She’s a heroine you can’t help but like and root for. 

Yes, she watched rom-coms every weekend. Yes, she loved the whole knight-in-shining-armor shtick, just like the rest of Hollywood's target audience. But she didn't need one. She'd figure this out. 

The four girls are hilarious, and probably the thread that keeps the whole story together and keeps it moving at an entertaining pace. At first, they come off as your usual spoiled brats who can’t even contemplate living in a place where there’s not even a toilet. The fact they can’t stand one another and keep bickering gives the reader a clue about what to expect—I mean, come on, you put four rich girls together and leave them to build a tent and learn how to build an actual bathroom: wouldn’t it spell disaster? Yeah, just a little—but it’s the hilarious kind. As much as I rooted for Luke and Gabi to get their happy ever after, I couldn’t help rooting just as much for the girls. 

Waverly wagged a finger. "What happens at camp stays at camp. No one will know we got excited about toilets, understand?" She turned a slow circle, pointing at each of the other girls, and Gabi and Luke laughed. 

You could say there’s an enormous amount of character growth in this book, for all the characters involved. And it’s something that left me with a broad grin at the end of the book and, as usual with the books by this author, wanting a few more chapters just so I didn’t have to leave Camp Echo and these new, fictional friends whose stories and adventures made me laugh, swoon, hold my breath and truly warmed my heart.

Once again Maggie McGinnis has crafted a beautiful, awfully romantic and funny story that will keep you turning page after page, with a smile on your face and fuzzy feelings.

If you’ve yet to discover the Echo Lake series, please do yourself a favor and pick up this book. If you like heart-warming romance, this is it—at its best.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Book review: Fearless - Kimberly Kincaid

If you love a hunky hero, a stubborn, not exactly damsel in distress kind of heroine, and quite a lot of steam, I'm positive this book will easily be a 5 star read for you.

I’ll admit it. I have a thing for firefighters. I’m a fan of the Chicago Fire TV series, so when I read the blurb of Fearless I knew I had to read it.

Cole is a hero you can’t help but love—even if you don’t like alpha heroes, you can’t help loving a handsome, strong and protective firefighter. Leaving his family ranch, and cutting all ties with his family, the fire station is his home, the crew his new family and he’s focused on proving he can be the best firefighter and earn the spot on the squad. In order to move from the engine to the squad, he’ll have to train a new candidate coming from the academy. If he can manage to turn a candidate into a real firefighter, he can move up to the squad and get the reward he’s been working hard for.

Everett's mouth pressed into a hard line, his eyes not budging from the stopwatch in his grip. "Emotions are dangerous, especially on this job." God, he was so serious. It had to be painful. 

Problem is… the candidate is a she. And an attractive she, on top of it all. But Cole needs to remain focused on his goal, and won’t let the attraction for the newbie get in the way.

Savannah grew up in a family of firefighters. Every man in the family—father, brothers, and cousins—is or has been a firefighter. As the only female in the whole clan, she wants to follow in her father and brothers’ footsteps, but she needs to prove herself. Knowing she’ll have it easy if she stays in her hometown, she ups and leaves her family behind, moving to the other side of the country where one of her brothers works. When she’s faced with the fact that handsome Cole Everett will be her mentor, she needs to put out whatever fire is building between them, even though it’s easier said than done. 

"You still shouldn't tempt fate."Her laugh coasted past his cheek on little more than a breathy sigh. "In case you haven't noticed, I'm not really a play-it-safe kind of girl. I'm fearless, remember? I think fate shouldn't tempt me."

I was immediately pulled into the story, playing the images in my head thanks to a little help from said TV series I’ve become addicted to. I haven’t read the previous book in the series, but I had no trouble following the story. I actually enjoyed the idea of a female firefighter in a man’s world. The plot was intriguing enough to keep me turning page after page, especially when it became clear that something big was going on at the station—in some parts, this felt a little like a romantic suspense novel, and there were a few edge-of-your-seat moments that left me holding my breath.

And with each passing minute she spent in his presence, resisting the urge to combust with Cole Everett was becoming more and more difficult.

My one pet peeve was that there was too much sex, and in too much detail (at some point almost a whole chapter was a very graphic description of the two of them having sex. Yeah, I get it, I’m being prudish, but really, I just wanted to solve the mystery and know if they’d ever have more than just a good time between the sheets). This could have easily been a 5* read for me if the sex scenes had been fade-to- black. Because of this, when the "L" word was said out loud, it came almost as a surprise, since it seemed all there was between them was a strong physical attraction in the I-can't-keep-my-hands-off-you kind of way but neither had any interest in having more.

If you don’t mind a steamy read, I recommend getting this book, even if you haven’t read the previous one.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Blog tour: Welcoming The Bad Boy by Annie Rains

Hero's Welcome #3
Annie Rains
Releasing August 2nd, 2016

From the bestselling author of Welcome to Forever (“Full of heart and emotion!”—Lori Wilde) comes a sweet, sexy novel about breaking all the rules. In Seaside, North Carolina, the boys on the base are heroes—but that doesn’t mean they’re always well-behaved.

As a preacher’s daughter, Valerie Hunt only dates the very respectable, very boring men who meet her father’s strict standards. In private, however, she leads a double life as a romance writer of steamy stories about the least respectable sorts of men. Valerie has always kept her hottest fantasies separate from her real life, but when she nearly runs a hot-blooded biker off the road, the lines begin to blur.

Even though Valerie almost killed him, Griffin Black can’t be angry after he learns the reason for her distracted driving: an unruly puppy belonging to her ailing friend. As a member of the military police K-9 unit, Griffin insists on training the dog himself. But he soon wonders how he’s ever going to stay disciplined around the most alluring, down-to-earth, and totally unattainable woman he’s ever met. Valerie is the ultimate good girl. And Griffin is going to need all his old tricks to unleash her wild side.

Wow. Another amazing book by the author of Welcome To Forever and Welcome Home Cowboy. If you've enjoyed the previous books in this beautiful series, you will definitely love Griffin and Valerie's story. If you haven't, this could be your chance to discover a wonderful series that will have you swoon, laugh, maybe even shed a tear or two at some points, and warm your heart and all the way down to your toes (watch out for a bit of heat here and there, too!).

I'll start this review by saying I'm not a fan of bad boys-the tattooed, heart-breaking, badass heroes that so many women drool after, both in books and in real life aren't usually my cup of tea. Growing up watching Disney movies, I've always loved the idea of a real Prince Charming who'd come trotting on his white horse and sweep me off my feet. Apparently, Annie Rains proved that Prince Charming can also be a tattooed, ex-military riding a Harley and still be absolutely adorable. Well, Griffin Black, even though he's all of the above, technically isn't really a bad boy at all, and I just couldn't help falling for him from the very first scene and a little more with every page I read. 

I liked Valerie back in book one, so I was looking forward to her story, and I'm happy the author didn't disappoint my expectations.  She is a romance author, so I immediately felt a connection with her-but that's not the only reason I liked her. I knew she was funny and a little crazy, but I wasn't expecting the softer, more romantic and naughtier side that comes out in this book, and that made me root for her from the very beginning. I suffered with her, felt her frustration and insecurities, and by seeing Griffin through her writer's eyes and imagination, I couldn't help falling for him alongside with her. 

The story, as it's customary in this series, is a mix of heart-warming, emotional, funny and sexy moments all woven together to create a book you just won't be able to put down until you've reached the last page - and even then, you might end up wishing for a few more pages (or chapters). I know I did! From the very first chapter to the last page, I laughed, swooned, was close to tears, blushed a little and eventually was left with fuzzy feelings enveloping me. 

The characters from book one and book two are back (yay for Micah and Lawson, Kat and Julie!) and new characters are introduced - including some adorable police dogs that stole my heart almost as fast as Griffin did.

I have to say, this book is way sexier than the others, but well, Griffin is supposedly a bad boy and Valerie is a romance author who needs real-life inspiration to get over writer's block, so... desperate times call for desperate measures!

In short, if you're looking for a sexy book boyfriend and a relatable heroine, an intense story and a beautiful happy ending, look no further: Welcoming The Bad Boy is the book for you! And if you haven't, go back and read the previous books, too. I promise the men of Seaside will sweep you off your feet.

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Annie Rains is a contemporary romance author who writes small town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of America’s largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and 3 children, or reading a book by one of her favorite authors.

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