Friday, May 20, 2016

Release day blitz: Drawing Me In by Tracey Alvarez

Drawing Me In

Drawing Me In (Due South Book 7) by Tracey Alvarez
Genre:Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 20th, 2016
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions 

She’s drawn by his wild spirit…

Bree Findlow’s ordered world slides into chaos when the man who broke her heart arrives back in their small New Zealand home-town. But with years of avoidance tactics under her belt, she figures ignoring the sexy-as-sin artist whose touch colors her red hot, is a practical solution. Until her mother arrives with an announcement jeopardizing Bree’s livelihood, and her sister also shows up…along with the nine-year-old secret Bree has kept hidden from everyone. Especially the father of that secret.

He’s drawn by her quiet strength…

Harley Komeke is back in Oban to rest, regroup and hopefully re-find his missing muse. He also isn’t against rediscovering every inch of the icy-cool treat, Bree Findlow—after falling under her spell in what felt like a lifetime ago at Art College. His pursuit takes an unexpected turn when, hello, insta-fatherhood. Reeling from shock, Harley knows he should despise the woman who allowed her sister to informally adopt their son, but he can’t. Because Bree, more than anyone, understands that with his past, he never, ever wanted to risk having a wife and family.

They’re drawn to each other over and over…

Like the formidable tides that surge around Stewart Island, Bree and Harley can’t resist the heat generated between them. Push and pull, kiss and retreat, touch after breathless touch—until a moment’s recklessness has consequences neither can brush aside.

Passion won’t hold them together when past fears threaten to tear them apart.

Thanks for Tracey Alvarez, every few months I take a virtual trip to the Southern hemisphere, without the hassle of booking flights, packing suitcases and enduring a twenty-four-hour flight to the other end of the world. Drawing Me In has marked my seventh trip to Stewart Island, New Zealand, and every time it feels a little like coming home to a circle of good friends—even though, unfortunately they don’t exist.

I’ll admit Harley and Bree’s story intrigued me from the blurb, since Harley has only briefly appeared in the previous book and I was curious to get to know him a little better. I’m not exactly a fan of playboys, so I wasn’t completely sure I’d warm up to him. As it turned out, I loved discovering the real side of the broken boy hiding behind a playboy mask. There’s so much more to Harley than the usual “successful-artist-who-can-have-everything-and-everyone-he-wants-and-takes-advantage-of-his-celebrity-status” cliché.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover he wasn’t who I had expected, and I loved watching him grow throughout the book, turning into a better version of himself on his quest to his happy ending. He has really done a 180 from page one to the epilogue, and when I reached the last page I was left with a silly smile on my face and a longing for a few more pages.

As much as I (surprisingly) liked Harley (although, Ryan Westlake will always be my favorite), I’m sorry to say I never truly connected with Bree, the heroine. I tried to put myself in her shoes, see the story through her eyes, but at times I only wanted to shake her and ask her to stop acting the way she did. I couldn’t really understand why she kept letting Harley into her bed while she repeated to herself he’d break her heart, and she didn’t want to fall in love or be attracted to him. It was no wonder the poor Harley was a little confused himself. Talk about mixed signals, girlie!

Although I understood she wanted to appear like a strong, independent woman who didn’t need anyone’s help or support (be it financial or just moral support), her determination and strong will annoyed me at times, especially when it was Harley who got hurt by her stubbornness. Eventually, I sort of warmed up to her a little by the end of the book, when she stopped being such a pain in Harley’s… neck. LOL

As it is customary in this series, all the characters from the previous books are back, seeing as the small community of residents is the core of this series—and it’s one of the reasons why I love this series so much. If you’ve read any of my previous reviews, you’ll know I have a soft spot for the hero of book one, In Too Deep, a.k.a. Ryan “West” Westlake, and as much as I enjoyed the other books and liked the other heroes in the series, West will always be my favorite. I L.O.V.E.D. seeing West playing the part of a soon-to-be daddy, and witnessing the birth of baby Westlake was one of my favorite parts in the book (and one of the funniest moments was when Harley is asked to babysit West and Piper’s baby).

The sexy moments between Harley and Bree are downright steamy, and prudish me has a feeling this series is getting steamier with each book (or maybe I’m just getting more prudish?), and if I have to be completely honest, some of them didn’t feel right, seeing as Bree kept convincing herself she should stay away from him and the next minute she was all over him. There were moments when I wanted to jump into the book and yell at her to make up her mind already.

Just like all previous books, Drawing Me In works as a standalone and you don’t need to read the previous books to fully enjoy the story. However, I’m pretty sure that if this is your first book in the series, you’ll want to go back and read all the others once you’ve reached the last page(psst: book one is a perma-free download, so go ahead and discover the world of Due South from the very beginning!).

If you’re a fan of the Due South series, this book won’t disappoint you. All the ingredients that made the previous books special can be found in book 7, too.

Fuelled by copious amounts of coffee, Tracey Alvarez writes steamy but heart-warming contemporary romances set in New Zealand. Her two series, DUE SOUTH and FAR NORTH, both focus on small coastal towns, close communities, and family.

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Blog tour: Love Of The Game by Lori Wilde

Stardust, Texas #3
Lori Wilde
Releasing April 26th, 2016
Avon Books

A sexy sports superstar discovers his body isn’t the only thing that needs healing in this newest Stardust, Texas novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde…

With major league good looks and talent, Dallas Gunslingers relief pitcher Axel Richmond was living the good life. Even if the roar of the crowd could never distract him from the loss of his young son. But now with an injured shoulder and his career on the line, Axel is stuck recuperating at a ranch in Stardust, Texas . . . striking out only with his gorgeous physical therapist.

Kasha Carlyle has one week to get Axel back in action or she can kiss her much-needed job with the Gunslingers goodbye. And any chance to seek custody of the orphaned half-sister she never knew existed. She quickly learns that Axel’s guarded heart also needs healing . . . requiring all kinds of sneaky plays and sexy moves in extra innings.

If you've enjoyed the previous books in the Stardust, Texas series you will enjoy Kasha's story. If you haven't read the previous books, Kasha and Axel's story works as a standalone.

Personally, I'm a little torn about this book. For a book to really sweep me off my feet, it's not just the hero who has to make me fall for him, but I also need to connect with the heroine, relate with her and feel like she could be my friend if she were real. With Love Of The Game, I had a hard time connecting with the heroine, so even though I liked the story, I was never really pulled into it. 
I tried really hard to understand the reasons behind her behavior, but at times I really wanted to slap her. I admired the way she was willing to put her half-sister's needs before her own, and went out of her way to obtain custody of Emma, but at times her determination seemed a little selfish. I never truly connected with her, so I had a hard time following the story and rooting for her happy ending.

Axel, on the other hand, was amazing and the reason for the extra star, when I was torn between 3 or 4 stars. At first I thought, "Here we go: just another cocky ball player," but the more pages I read, the deeper my respect and my liking for him grew. He's a broken man, not only because of an injury that is threatening to end his career, but also because of the loss of his son, that left him devastated and even more determined to make him proud. He's working hard to recover and finally be able to pitch for the Yankees, like he promised his son he would, and in his quest for success he's somehow forgotten how to live. Until he meets Kasha and his quickly escalating feelings for the therapist make it hard for him to remember his ultimate goals.

I liked the sort of insta-attraction between them, the way Axel teased Kasha bringing her to the point she'd rather lose her job than cross a line she wasn't supposed to cross. I liked watching Axel slowly fall in love and opening up, and I liked the way he managed to reach down into Kasha's soul and pull out the ugly secrets of her past, helping her heal. The build up made things more interesting and really nice when they finally surrendered to their feelings.

But, like I said, Kasha just didn't click with me so even the happy ending I was hoping Axel would get didn't leave me as happy as it would have, had I connected more with Kasha. And Axel's decision at the end left me a little disappointed (sorry, can't say more or I'll spoil the ending).

Despite my personal issue with the heroine, if you like sports romance and heroes with a broken heart waiting to be healed, you will enjoy Kasha and Axel's story. 

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Lori Wilde has sold seventy-eight works of fiction to four major New York Publishing houses.

Her first NYT bestseller, the third book in her Twilight, Texas series, The First Love Cookie Club has been optioned for a television movie. The town of Granbury, Texas, upon which her fictional town of Twilight, Texas is loosely based, honors Lori with an annual Twilight, Texas weekend each Christmas.

A popular writing instructor, Lori is a two time RITA finalist and has four times been nominated for Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award. She's won the Colorado Award of Excellence, the Wisconsin Write Touch Award, The Golden Quill, the Lories, and The More than Magic.

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