Five Books Everyone Should Read: Reader Tori of Smexy Books

Posted November 29, 2015 by Holly in Five Books, Five Books Everyone Should Read | 0 Comments

Five Books Everyone Should Read is a feature we’re running in 2015. We’ve asked some of our favorite authors, readers and bloggers to share five books that touched them or have stayed with them throughout the years.

5 Books Project

Today we have Tori from Smexy Books here to share her list of five books. Her list includes a couple I wish I’d included in my own list.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

In the world of the near future, who will control women’s bodies?

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now….

Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.

I first read this when I was bored and stuck at a symposium with my mom. She handed it to me and told me to stop annoying her. This dystopian speculative fiction tells the story of a young woman’s life (from her POV) in a Christian totalitarian society after they overthrew the U.S. government. Everyone should read this book; especially those who don’t see the attempted subjugation of women by certain government parties as an issue we are facing right now. Atwood writes a poignant yet curiously disconnected story that shows the use of religion to justify the systematic repression of rights and individualism (using language and patriotic fervor) to force people into tidy little boxes labeled duties and to cull the herd to make persecution of undesirables easier. It shows the subtle rebellions that will almost always occur when a group of people are left with little to nothing. It’s as if Atwood looked into the future and wrote us a prophetic warning.

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
2. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

A teen plunges into a downward spiral of addiction in this classic cautionary tale.

January 24th

After you’ve had it, there isn’t even life without drugs….

It started when she was served a soft drink laced with LSD in a dangerous party game. Within months, she was hooked, trapped in a downward spiral that took her from her comfortable home and loving family to the mean streets of an unforgiving city. It was a journey that would rob her of her innocence, her youth — and ultimately her life.

Read her diary.

Enter her world.

You will never forget her.

For thirty-five years, the acclaimed, bestselling first-person account of a teenage girl’s harrowing decent into the nightmarish world of drugs has left an indelible mark on generations of teen readers. As powerful — and as timely — today as ever, Go Ask Alice remains the definitive book on the horrors of addiction

I read this as a teenager and it impacted my life. This presumed diary chronicles a young girl’s descent into drugs, addiction, and eventual death. Raw, poignant, and heartbreaking, her voice cuts deep into you as she opens the doorway to the realities of drug addiction and the serious consequences that occur because of it. She touches on the difficulties of adolescence and the extreme pressures one must deal both socially and personally. You feel her confusion, sorrow, and happiness, and eventual acceptance. Even with it’s dated references, it maintains a classic presence.

Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon
3. Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon

Don’t miss the thrilling novel from #1 New York Times bestselling award-winning author Robert McCammon, in a book that Publishers Weekly calls “both a mystery that will satisfy the most finicky aficionado and a boisterous travelogue.”

Zephyr, Alabama, is an idyllic hometown for eleven-year-old Cory Mackenson—a place where monsters swim the river deep and friends are forever. Then, one cold spring morning, Cory and his father witness a car plunge into a lake—and a desperate rescue attempt brings his father face-to-face with a terrible vision of death that will haunt him forever.

As Cory struggles to understand his father’s pain, his eyes are slowly opened to the forces of good and evil that are manifested in Zephyr. From an ancient, mystical woman who can hear the dead and bewitch the living, to a violent clan of moonshiners, Cory must confront the secrets that hide in the shadows of his hometown—for his father’s sanity and his own life hang in the balance.

Southern fiction that appeals to the imaginative child in all of us. An entertaining coming of age story wrapped in an engaging veneer of mysticism, mystery, and love. The narrative is that of a young boy named Cory. We watch him as he struggles to understand the undercurrents of racism, jealousy, and murder that has infiltrated his life and his beloved small town. I love the blending of realism and fantasy that McCammon uses to help Cory. From a voodoo queen with a secret recipe for courage to a monster who lives in the local canal and demands tribute, McCammon shows us the joy and sorrow of life through the eyes of a child.

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle
4. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle

This is Book 1 of the Time Quintet Series

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I’ll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract.”

A tesseract (in case the reader doesn’t know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L’Engle’s unusual book. A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg’s father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem.

A Wrinkle in Time is the winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal.

This coming of age story revolves around a young girl trying to cope with being the oddball in a family of extremely talented geniuses. I do believe this may have been my first time reading science fiction. The story is unique not just for the fantastical subject matter, outstanding world building, and realistic characters but because it had a female protagonist (Meg Murry) in a science fiction novel which was almost unheard of at that time. I loved the many sides of Meg Murray. Her fearlessness. Her need to question the world around her. Her unwillingness to change in order to fit in. Her unfailing love for her family. Meg never gave up, no matter how many times someone tried to convince her she was a failure. To this day it remains one of my most treasured childhood reads.

Heir to the Shadows by Anne Bishop
5. Heir to the Shadows by Anne Bishop

Enough time has passed for the young girl Jaenelle, heir to the magical Darkness, for her physical wounds to heal, while amnesia keeps her frightening memories at bay. But with Saetan–a Black-Jewelled Warlord Prince and Jaenelle’s foster-father–to protect her, she will continue to grow. Her magic will mature. Her memories will return. And Jaenelle will face her destiny when she remembers Daemon, Saetan’s son, who made the ultimate sacrifice for her love….

Dark fantasy at its finest; I reread (the series) at least once a year. The second book in Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy is the most exciting and outstanding of the three in my opinion. Though I do recommend reading the entire trilogy for a story that will elicit the strongest of emotions from you-love, laughter, fear, hope, hatred, and soul-crushing heartbreak. It’s strong modern base blends well with the fantasy, giving us a world that mirrors ours in some ways yet differs in others. For me it embodies everything a book should have. Adventure, romance, laughter, sorrow, action, suspense, ordinary events, unforgettable characters, and an arc that leaves you enthralled. I honestly don’t have enough words in my vocabulary to express just how much I love this series.

About Tori:

I am a biblio-bimbo, booze hound, and blasphemer who reviews for SmexyBooks, Heroes & Heartbreakers, and RT Book Reviews. I support mediocrity because we can’t all be 5 stars.

Visit her on the web: SmexyBooks | Twitter | Goodreads

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WTF Cover Saturday (136)

Posted November 28, 2015 by Holly in WTF, WTF Cover Saturdays | 0 Comments


Today’s cover comes to us from reader Stacy.

gracie wtf


I love the shadow cat. It’s the best part about this cover. I mean, who doesn’t want to be strolling down the lane, only to come across this crumbling old wall and BAM, It’s a ghost cat!

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Guest Review: Stars in Your Eyes by Lynn Kurland

Posted November 27, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Stars in Your Eyes by Lynn KurlandReviewer: Tracy
Stars in You Eyes by Lynn Kurland
Series: de Piaget series #14
Published by Jove on November 24, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Historical, Medieval, Time Travel
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Imogen Maxwell is on a hunt for rare, antique items to use on a period movie set. The last thing she expects to discover in the peaceful Scottish countryside is a pristine medieval sword...or to suddenly find herself facing its very vintage owner in a far too authentic castle.

Phillip de Piaget has run out of patience with his recalcitrant Scottish betrothed and is determined that she will join him, once and for all, in front of the altar. Only the lass he captures fleeing his would-be keep seems more interested in running away from him than talking to him. In fact, she seems to have no idea who he is.

Imogen finally gets to Scotland after an incredibly long journey from America.  She is in Scotland to try and find inexpensive yet authentic looking medieval antiques for use in a movie that she’s a part of.  She heads into one store and is approached by a woman who she learns is named Heather.  Heather invites her to her castle which she says is chock full of authentic medieval antiques.  Imogen is excited and takes her up on her offer to visit. At one point in the tour of the castle Heather invites Imogen to touch a sword that’s been stuck in the floor of the great hall since (supposedly) the 13th century.  Imogen again takes Heather up on her offer and ends up being knocked over.

Imogen has been transported to a different time but her brain can’t even think that way.  She thinks, for a bit too long imho, that she’s on a movie set and that eveyone is method acting and not breaking character. The other possibility is that her evil siblings have once again played a trick on her and their filming the prank.  She finally has to come to realize that she’s been transported in time but it’s almost too much for her mind to contemplate.

Phillip de Piaget is the eldest son of Robin and Anne de Piaget and has been engaged to Heather of Haemesburgh for the past seven years.  He made the contracts with her father and without even meeting Heather in person.  Phillip is interested in the Haemesburgh castle and it’s position long the border of Scotland and England more than anything else.  He has tried to see Heather over the years but he’s gotten nothing but flack and even how dung thrown at him. He’s ready to marry and he’s not taking no for an answer this time.

When Phillip arrives at Haemesburgh right when a woman, who he at first thinks is Heather, hanging from the drawbridge that is going up.  He saves the woman, who is Imogen, and ends up watching over her.  Phillip is mystified by everything he finds at Haemesburgh  – including the absence of Heather – and then even more mystified when he heads to his uncle’s house and finds out that the “paranormal oddities” that he’s heard about most of his life are much more involved in his family than he ever would have thought possible.

This was a cute book.  With Imogen and Phillip falling in love pretty quickly I found it to be more about Phillip’s discovery of time travel and what that meant for his family than I would have expected.  Yes, the romance was sweet and I loved Phillip to death but I didn’t feel it as strongly as I have in past de Piaget books.

Imogen was an interesting woman.  She thought non-stop about being in a movie (as that’s what she thought happened when she time-traveled) but she did it for so long I found it to get a little old after a while.  I was happy when she finally started accepting the facts and seeing the incredible opportunity for what it was – a chance to see medieval life in person.

Overall it was pleasant read but I definitely had my issues with the blending of the romance with the rest of the story.

Rating: 3 out of 5


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Guest Review: The Alpha’s Temporary Mate by Victoria Davies

Posted November 25, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Alpha’s Temporary Mate by Victoria DaviesReviewer: Tracy
The Alpha's Temporary Mate by Victoria Davies
Series: Fated Match #3
Published by Entangled on November 9, 2015
Genres: Paranormal
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Fated Match has spent centuries pairing supernatural mates together. Witch and matchmaker, Chloe Donovan, takes pride in helping her clients find their happy endings. But when werewolf alpha and millionaire playboy Kieran Clearwater stalks into her office, she may have finally met the one man she can’t help.

Kieran has no intention of finding his mate. Love is a weakness he can’t afford. But with his pack growing more concerned over his single status he, needs to assure them all is well. What better way to do so than to hire a fake girlfriend he can parade around at the annual pack retreat?

Chloe is coerced into becoming the wolf’s temporary mate, but she’s determined to keep their agreement professional. But her seductive partner in crime has other ideas, and his considerable charm makes it difficult for her to keep her eye on the prize. While these two burn hot when they’re together, behind-the-scenes politics work to rip them apart.

Chloe has worked at Fated Match for many years and loves that she gets to put fated pairs together and have a hand in starting a family. She was an orphan herself so families are very important to her. When Kieran Clearwater, the alpha of the Clearwater pack, comes into Fated Match and tells Chloe that he’s looking for a temporary girlfriend she gives him an adamant no. That’s not what they’re there for! Even the owner of the company says no until Kieran flashes a check with a ton of zeroes on it in front of her.

Chloe tries hard to find someone to take the place of Kieran’s fake girlfriend but no one is right for the part – according to Kieran. He decides that Chloe is the one that should play the part and he finally talks her into it. Chloe knows that Kieran is just a playboy so she tries to protect her heart but moving in with him and playing a role that she wants to play in real life just makes her want it that much more. Kieran wants Chloe in his bed but he was once hurt from falling in love so believes that he’s a man that’s not capable of it once again.

This story had a cute premise to it and I have to give it high marks for creativity. The paranormal characters that were involved weren’t all of your average wolf and vampire. There were griffins, succubi and even a siren and necromancer and they brought a different and fun element into the story.

Kieran’s request for a temporary girlfriend was a bit far-fetched but was explained in more detail later in the book. Had it been explained that way earlier it would been appreciated. Of course he was supposedly this great playboy but we saw no evidence of that except from pictures that Chloe found online. He wasn’t too deep of a character, unfortunately, and that put a bit of a damper on my overall enjoyment of the book.

Chloe was a fun and energetic character. I liked her inner strength and hearing what she had lived through throughout her life – and come out with flying colors – made me like her that much more. I didn’t care for her giving up near the end of the book but she quickly made up for that in the end.

Overall it was a fun book with a few sexy times thrown in. It was a quick read as well so if you’re looking for something light with a bit of the paranormal involved then this one is perfect.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5


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Review: Redemption Road by Katie Ashley

Posted November 24, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Redemption Road by Katie AshleyReviewer: Rowena
Redemption Road by Katie Ashley
Series: Vicious Cycle #2
Published by Penguin on October 6th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, General
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The New York Times bestselling author of Vicious Cycle plunges readers into a world of danger and desire in her newest in the Vicious Cycle motorcycle club romance series.

Looking for a walk on the wild side, Annabel Percy, the daughter of a powerful politician, gives in to an attraction to a sexy biker she meets one night.

But she finds herself living a nightmare when she’s kidnapped and transported into a hell on earth she never could have imagined.
Born and bred into the Hells Raiders MC, Nathaniel “Reverend” Malloy lives and dies for his brothers. But when he becomes the unexpected savior of a rival club’s captive, Rev makes it his personal mission to nurse Annabel back to health—and to shelter her from the nightmares that torment her.

Once Annabel heals, she’s stunned to realize she is falling for the seductive man who saved her. Faced with their impossible attraction, can she accept the life he leads, or will Rev walk away from the only life he’s ever known for the woman he was never supposed to love?

From the Trade Paperback edition.

This is Book 2 in the Vicious Cycle series by Katie Ashley and it follows Deacon Malloy’s (hero from Book 1) brother Nathaniel “Rev” Malloy as he makes that trek toward true love. Rev’s story starts at the end of Vicious Cycle. At Deacon and Alex’s wedding, Rev gets a phone call from their brother Breakneck (what a name), the MC doctor who informs him that he needs help. Breakneck’s daughter is a freshman in college at Texas A&M, she’s been kidnapped and Breakneck needs Rev’s help in getting her back because the guys that took her? They’re bad news and in the sex trafficking business. A business his daughter might be sold into if he doesn’t get her back soon.

Rev leaves the reception with his younger brother Bishop and they set off to try and get Sarah back. With the help of the local chapter of the Hell Raiders MC, they storm the compound to save Sarah and end up saving another red-headed captive named Annabel Percy. Rev ends up nursing Annabel back to health and she ends up becoming a bigger part of his life than he anticipated.

With each passing day, Annabel gets better and healthier and she gets even closer to Rev. She can’t imagine her life without him and he’s starting to wonder if she’s falling in love with him or is suffering from some kind of hero worship because he saved her from being the sex slave.

The story itself had the potential to be really good but I don’t know, I just didn’t connect with anything or anyone.

Rev’s head was in the right place but holy cow did he get on my nerves. Same with Annabel. I don’t know what it is about the heroines in this series but I could not for the life of me connect with either of them. I thought Annabel would come out strong and in some ways she did but the jealousy, the attitudes toward MC life, the wanting to change their men and the MC rules to suit their lives didn’t really sit well with me.

I wish that wanting the MC to go straight was handled better. The way that it came about didn’t sit right with me. It was a stipulation of Alex’s to Deacon. If they were going to work as a couple, he had to make sure that the MC went straight. I get that she couldn’t accept the lifestyle that being associated with the MC would bring but why was she so important to the MC? Deacon wasn’t the President of the club. He wasn’t even the VP of the MC. And another thing, why was it so easy for them to go straight? Everything was handled so conveniently.

Even with all of that stuff bothering me, the book was slow. It was like chapter and chapter of Annabel living with Rev and that’s it…and then Rev calls her parents and she goes home, pissed off. And that’s it. I felt like I was waiting for something big to happen and it took too long for it to happen because when everything finally does go down, it felt like it was too late. I was already checking out of the story.

It was good to see Bishop, Willow and Mama Beth again. I was sad for Kim but it was good to see her too but I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t care for Deacon and Alex even in this book. OMG, they got on my nerves. Deacon is just a flat out dickhead and Alex, ehh she still annoyed me.

Willow was just as much as delight in this story as she was in Book 1. I really enjoyed seeing how resilient she’s been. You can see her coming into her own as part of the MC family and I really like seeing her happy. She’s come a long way from the girl hiding under her bed in Book 1. She’s stronger now and that’s a good thing. I love her relationship with Rev and Bishop. She’s just a cute little thing. Mama Beth was great too. I just love her to pieces. I think she’s a good Mom who is just accepting and loving and everything that a Mom should be. She supports her kids no matter what they do and when she finds out what happened to Rev all those years ago, my heart hurt for her. She’s not perfect but she’s damn near close.

I read the first chapter of Bishops book that was provided at the end of Redemption Road and I wasn’t a fan of what I read but then I went over to Goodreads and read the blurb and it doesn’t seem that bad but I’m still on the fence on whether to read it or not. I just don’t know.

In the end, I wanted to like these books but I just couldn’t. Ugh.

Grade: 1.5 out of 5

This book is available from NAL Trade. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Guest Review: So I Married a Highlander by Kate McKinley

Posted November 24, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: So I Married a Highlander by Kate McKinleyReviewer: Tracy
So I Married a Highlander by Kate McKinley
Series: What Happens in Scotland #2
Published by Self-Published on October 30, 2015
Genres: Historical
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

A Lady’s Rules of Etiquette When Eloping:

1. A lady should never leave a note behind explaining her intentions.

2. If by chance a note has been left behind, a lady must prepare to be hunted down and the ceremony thwarted.

3. In such a case, seeking consolation with a night of excessive drinking will be tempting, but ill advised.

4. And lastly, a lady must never, under any
circumstances, wake up manacled to a deliciously handsome Highlander.

Lady Evelyn Alexander has managed to break all four rules in the space of an evening—and the tall, virile Highlander she accidentally married is only the beginning. Her fiancé has also mysteriously gone missing and the threat of scandal is hot on their heels…

Alec McAllister has no use for a wife, but when he wakes up entwined with the lovely and spirited Evelyn, he’s willing to reconsider. He’ll help her find her fiancé, but when the passions ignite between them, it’s only a matter of time before the Highlander claims what’s his…


Evelyn and her fiance Stephen have eloped to Gretna Green. She’s anxious to get the wedding over with before her brother, a very powerful duke, comes and stops it. The regular balcksmith that does the marriages is quite busy and so Evelyn asks if there’s another blacksmith in town. She’s told yes but she doesn’t find a man willing to marry her – she finds a surly shirtless guy who’s will only perform the ceremony for a kiss. Evelyn complies and when Stephen shows up the blacksmith, Alec McAllister, starts to marry them. They are thwarted by Evelyn’s best friend and her brother’s best friend and end up NOT getting married.

Back at the inn that evening Evelyn is pissed that the wedding didn’t happen so has decided to drown her sorrows in whiskey. Is it the done thing in London for a lady to get drunk? Not at all but here in Scotland Evelyn feels like anything goes. She confronts Alec, who’s also in the pub, for staring at her and he ends up taking her up to her room before something bad can happen to her. One thing leads to another and the pair wake up naked in her room – and married.

Alec was attracted to Evelyn when he first saw her so isn’t having that hard of a time imagining himself married to her. Evelyn finds out that her betrothed, Stephen, was shot and then taken to a hospital in Glasgow so wants to make sure he’s ok. She heads off with Alec to see to Stephen and the couple find their share of troubles along the way. They also find that their compatability is much higher than either of them thought. When Evelyn’s brother shows up, however, he immediately rushes her back to London and away from Alec.

This was a very cute story if a little unlikely. Yes, things tend to happen quickly in a romance (there are only so many pages in a book) but this one happened rather quickly.

Evelyn is sick of being under her brothers thumb and is anxious to start her own family. Her brother married and she feels like it’s her turn. Her brother refused Stephen’s suit so they took it upong themselves to elope. Actually Evelyn talked Stephen into it. She really just wants to get married but when she finds herself married to Alec it’s not something she’s happy about. I found that strange. She really didn’t know a whole lot more about Stephen than she did Alec. She was a sweet girl though and I could see how Alec would fall for her. Alec fell hard and fast for Evelyn and I was surprised at how fast it happened. He was more than willing to stay married – especially after spending time with her and falling in love.

I felt the wrap up at the end of the book happened way too quickly and easily and that bothered me a bit. I wanted to see Evelyn stand up to her brother but she didn’t – or if she was planning on it they never showed it. I would have liked to have seen a few more pages devoted to the HEA in the end as it would have made it all the more believable.

Overall a fun book, an easy read, that’s not too deep or angsty.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


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ARC Giveaway for Paige Tyler’s In the Company of Wolves

Posted November 23, 2015 by Rowena in Giveaways | 8 Comments

Title: In the Company of Wolves
Series: SWAT, #3
Author: Paige Tyler
ISBN: 9781492608530

He opened his mouth to order her to drop the MP5 she had aimed at him, but nothing would come out. It was like she’d robbed him of the ability to speak. Shooting her wasn’t an option, though. And the idea of arresting her didn’t make him feel any better.

There’s a new gang of criminals in town who are organized and ruthless in the extreme. When Eric Becker, along with the rest of the Dallas SWAT team, ends up in the middle of a shootout, he immediately senses werewolves-a lot of them. Turns out, the new bad guys are a pack of wolf shifters.

In a spray of gunfire, Becker comes face-to-face with the most gorgeous woman he’s ever seen. Becker does the logical thing. He hides her and leaves the scene with the rest of his team.

Jayna Winston has no idea why that SWAT guy helped her, but she’s glad he did. Ever since she and her pack mates got mixed up with those Eastern European mobsters, everything had pretty much fallen apart.

So what’s a street-savvy thief like Jayna going to do with a hot alpha-male wolf who’s a police officer?

SWAT (Special Wolf Alpha Team) Series

Hungry Like the Wolf
Wolf Trouble
In the Company of Wolves

Buy Links:

Barnes and Noble:

Promotional copy:

The latest in Paige Tyler’s hot SWAT series is out this December! But you don’t have to wait until then to get a copy – we’re hosting a giveaway for 1 advanced print copy of In the Company of Wolves all week long.

If that isn’t enough to feed your #SWATlove, Paige will also be sending out an original bonus scene from the series to her newsletter list on 11/23. The scene will only be available to newsletter subscribers so sign-up here before 11/23 to receive it:


Our friends over at Sourcebooks Casablanca are giving away an Advanced Readers Copy of IN THE COMPANY OF WOLVES. To enter, use the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Guest Review: Vindicate by Beth Yarnell

Posted November 23, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Vindicate by Beth YarnellReviewer: Tracy
Vindicate by Beth Yarnell
Series: Recovered Innocence series #1
Published by Loveswept on November 17, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Cora. . . . I got my driver’s license on my sixteenth birthday so I could visit my brother in prison. Five and a half years later, he’s still locked up for a murder he didn’t commit and I’m still trying to find a way to set him free. Then I hear about Nash Security and Investigation, a private detective agency that helped exonerate a wrongfully convicted man after thirty-nine years in prison. The problem? They’ve already taken on the one pro-bono case they’ll accept this year.

Leo. . . . I’m this close to finishing law school—and never working another day at my dad’s P.I. office—when Cora Hollis walks through the door. She’s got a box of files, a handful of leads, and an independent streak a mile wide. She fascinates me and I can’t say no. Suddenly I’m volunteering to help her find a missing witness who could be the key to her brother’s case. But nothing is what it seems and giving in to the attraction between us could be more dangerous than finding the real murderer.


Cora is 21 years old and has spent the last 5 years trying to get her brother out of prison for brutally killing his girlfriend, a crime he didn’t commit. On her way back from visiting him on day she hears about a thing called Project Freedom that got a guy out of prison who had been wrongly incarcerated for 39 years. Cora immediately looks them up and heads to their offices. The head of the office, Ed Nash, is busy but his son, law student Leo Nash, talks him into talking to Cora (because he thinks she’s hot). When they hear the case they are intrigued but can’t really take it. When Ed gets a look at Cora’s notes and investigation so far he’s impressed enough to not turn her away. When Leo offers to work with her on the case it’s a done deal.

Cora is only interested in getting her brother out of prison – not in starting anything with Leo – but he works his charm and she realizes there’s more to him than a pretty face. He’s got brains behind the charm and she’s impressed. As they work the case and get closer to finding the real killer the pair find themselves inseparable. The problem comes when Leo figures out that Cora won’t allow herself to live and love until her brother is free and that may be never.

I really liked both Leo and Cora in this book. I loved the banter between the two as well as the intelligence that they both showed on a regular basis. The common goal of getting Beau Hollis out of prison helped place them together daily but it was their personalities and attraction that took the friendship farther.

I understood Cora’s desire to get her brother out of prison and the fact that it was hard for her to think of a life for herself when he had none. Saying that I was happy to see when she finally pulled her head out of her ass and realized that she was only hurting herself by cutting herself off. I was happy to see that Leo was the one that realized his feelings first and helped her to see the error of her ways. :)
This was a different sort of romance for me but a nice blend of romance and suspense. I don’t read too many romantic suspense stories but this was a good one to add to my collection.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5


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Five Books Everyone Should Read: Reader Tasha

Posted November 22, 2015 by Rowena in 5 Book Projects, Five Books, Five Books Everyone Should Read | 1 Comment

Five Books Everyone Should Read is a feature we’re running in 2015. We’ve asked some of our favorite authors, readers and bloggers to share five books that touched them or have stayed with them throughout the years.

5 Books Project

This week, we have one of my good friends sharing the books she thinks everyone should read. Tasha is a busy mother of six who still finds time to read a whole lot of books. She’s also one of the coolest Moms you’ll ever meet. Check out her picks:

9992532Tasha: Wow, when you asked me to choose 5 books, I hadn’t realise how hard it was going to be. I found myself adding more and more titles and then I’d have to go back and cross some of them off and really narrow it down. So for now, at this moment, here are the five books I’ve chosen that you must pick up…

Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh1. Slave To Sensation (Psy-Changeling #1) by Nalini Singh

Nalini Singh dives into a world torn apart by a powerful race with phenomenal powers of the mind-and none of the heart.

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation” – the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was…

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion – and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities – or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation.

Aside from the Twilight Saga, this was one of the first sci-fi/paranormal romance I read and I fell in love with it. It was completely out of my norm type of reading, which was mostly historical romances and all the ones with the fairytale happily ever after type of books. If you’re looking for something thats different and out of the norm, this is the one for you. You’ve got a big bad alpha shifter who falls in love with a psy – a person incapable of feelings or emotions. Can you see where I’m going with this? Exactly, these two come from completely different worlds, brought up to view the other as the enemy and here they are with this unexplainable attraction towards one another…what to do, what to do! There’s so much going on around them added the the chemistry these two ignite, this is surely one read you won’t soon forget.

1077742. Honor’s Splendor by Julie Garwood

In the feuding English court, gentle Lady Madelyne suffered the cruel whims of her ruthless brother, Baron Louddon. Then, in vengeance for a bitter crime, Baron Duncan of Wexton—the Wolf—unleashed his warriors against Louddon’s main. Exquisite Madelyne was the prize he catured…but when he gazed upon the proud beauty, he pledged to protect her with his life. In his rough-hewn castle, Duncan proved true to his honor. But when at last their noble passion conquered them both, she surrendered with all her soul. Now, for love, Madelyne would stand fast…as bravely as her Lord, the powerful Wolf who fought for…Honor’s Splendour.

Julie Garwood has to be one of my most favorite historical romance authors of all time and after reading this book, you’ll need no further explanation. In this books, I found myself laughing at the outrageous-ness of the scenes to wanting to club the hero in the back of his head for being such a big bonehead. By the time I finished this book, I felt all warm and fuzzy and was ready to cuddle up to my husband. Looking for one of those happily-ever-after-fairytale-endings, with a bit of humor here and there, this is the one for you!

136288123. The Rent Collector by Camron Wright

Survival for Ki Lim and Sang Ly is a daily battle at Stung Meanchey, the largest municipal waste dump in all of Cambodia. They make their living scavenging recyclables from the trash. Life would be hard enough without the worry for their chronically ill child, Nisay, and the added expense of medicines that are not working. Just when things seem worst, Sang Ly learns a secret about the bad-tempered rent collector who comes demanding money–a secret that sets in motion a tide that will change the life of everyone it sweeps past. The Rent Collector is a story of hope, of one woman’s journey to save her son and another woman’s chance at redemption.

This was not a book I would’ve picked up on my own. Actually, this was one of the books I had to read for a book club discussion and it was a phenomenal read to say the least. Reading this book made me want to stop for a moment, take a look at my life and really appreciate all that I have-no matter how little or how irrelevant it may seem. Before you start complaining about how terrible things in your life, pick up this book and see if you can still whine about your troubles afterwards. I must warn you, there are moments in the book where it may seem to drag, but once you get past those parts, you’ll be glad you pushed through. I was so grateful for the opportunity to have read this book and hopefully you’ll understand why some day.

austenland4. Austenland by Shannon Hale

Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen;or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It’s all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

Okay, I’m not a big fan of the “ton” period, with the men going about doing whatever the heck they want without any consequences to worry about, while the ladies must sit around and learn how to sew, sing or play a musical instrument as a means of entertainment. Ugh, not sure if I would’ve been able to survive living like that. But here in this adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, she made this totally worth the read. It was funny, quirky and oh so swoon worthy (sigh). The setting is during modern times but all the action and drama happens when they are on a retreat that’s set up for those who wish to live the experience as if they were part of the “ton”.

TheGamePlanbyKristenCallihan5. The Game Plan (Game On #3) by Kristen Callihan

A beard-related dare and one hot-as-hell kiss changes everything.

NFL center Ethan Dexter’s focus has always been on playing football and little else. Except when it comes to one particular woman. The lovely Fiona Mackenzie might not care about his fame, but she’s also never looked at him as anything more than one of her brother-in-law’s best friend. That ends now.

Fi doesn’t know what to make of Dex. The bearded, tattooed, mountain of man-muscle looks more like a biker than a football player. Rumor has it he’s a virgin, but she finds that hard to believe. Because from the moment he decides to turn his quiet intensity on her she’s left weak at the knees and aching to see his famous control fully unleashed.

Dex is looking for a forever girl, but they live vastly different lives in separate cities. Fi ought to guard her heart and walk away. But Dex has upped his game and is using all his considerable charm to convince Fi he’s her forever man.

And finally, this one! There’s no way I couldn’t add this one to the list especially since I’ve just finished it and absolutely loved it!!! I read a lot of romance novels with the hot dominating alphas, or the scary bikers and even some of the tall slim languid rock super stars but not often do you read about big, bearded, professional football players who are as humble as they come.He’s quiet, caring, very protective of what belongs to him and you can’t help but want to cuddle up to this beautiful specimen. And doesn’t that just make him even more sexy-MY GOSH!! Guy crushes on girl for 2 years and doesn’t say a thing. Also, they couldn’t be more opposites, he’s super tall and bulky (like the Incredible Hulk) and she’s so short, dainty with curves (like Tinkerbell). He’s more likely to hide off in the corner with his bottle of water, where she’s out there having the time of her life. Watching these two come together and face their fears made for an awesome read!

So there you have it! My five choices :) Hope this works out for ya! Thanks for thinking of me…I really enjoyed it!

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What Are You Reading? (263)

Posted November 20, 2015 by Rowena in What Are You Reading | 4 Comments


Rowena: This week has been a really slow reading week for me. I can’t seem to move past Sustained by Emma Chase. I really loved that book. Like, a lot. I loved Jake, Chelsea and all of the kids and just everything. It’s a modern day romance that truly feels modern and real. I’ve read and re-read this book three times this week. And that’s it. I haven’t touched another book yet. I’m hoping that changes over the weekend so wish me luck.

Holly: I’m still binge-reading the Kate Daniels series. I read Magic Mourns, Magic Bleeds, Magic Slays, Magic Dreams, Gummental Magic, Magic Rises and I started Magic Breaks. I’m really enjoying the series, but I think I’m going to set Magic Breaks aside and read something else. I need to take a break before I burnout on it. Besides, the next book isn’t out until February and I don’t want to have wait that long to find out that happens.

I think I’m going to read Cold Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas. I’ve been putting it off because I’m scared it isn’t going to live up to my expectations, but I’ve seen some good reviews for it.

What are you reading this week? Anything good? Bad?

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Guest Review: Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt

Posted November 20, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth HoytReviewer: Tracy
Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Maiden Lane series #9
Published by Forever on November 24, 2015
Genres: Historical
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Prim, proper, and thrifty, Eve Dinwoody is all business when it comes to protecting her brother's investment. But when she agrees to control the purse strings of London's premier pleasure garden, Harte's Folly, she finds herself butting heads with an infuriating scoundrel who can't be controlled.


Bawdy and bold, Asa Makepeace doesn't have time for a penny-pinching prude like Eve. As the garden's larger-than-life owner, he's already dealing with self-centered sopranos and temperamental tenors. He's not about to let an aristocratic woman boss him around . . . no matter how enticing she is.


In spite of her lack of theatrical experience—and her fiery clashes with Asa—Eve is determined to turn Harte's Folly into a smashing success. But the harder she tries to manage the stubborn rake, the harder it is to ignore his seductive charm and raw magnetism. There's no denying the smoldering fire between them—and trying to put it out would be the greatest folly of all.

Eve Dinwoody is the illegitimate sister of the Duke of Montgomery, and is his “man” of business as well. She’s holding the purse strings to her brother’s investment into the reconstruction of Harte’s Folly and Eve isn’t thrilled with Mr. Harte and the money he’s been – at least to her thoughts – spending recklessly.

When Eve first confronts Harte he is in dishabille with the woman hired to sing in the opera on opening night at Harte’s Folly. She’s not taken with the man at all but when he shows her the garden and is so very passionate about it she starts to see a different person. Mr. Harte, who’s real name is Asa Makepeace, lives for the theatre. He loves it so much that he became disowned by his father because of it. He lives, eats and breathes the Folly and won’t allow Eve to cut off his funds. Eve agrees, because of her brother’s goading, to contin ue to supply Asa with funds but strange things start happening around the garden and lives get put into danger.

Asa gets to know Eve and the more he’s around her the more he likes her. He doesn’t understand his feelings but he’s not a stupid man and isn’t willing to question them too deeply. He knows he wants her but even he can’t predict how much he’ll end up caring for the lady.

This was a wonderful story. I have long waited for Asa’s story and reading about Eve in the last book piqued my interest even more. I love this pairing as it was just so very unlikely!

Eve, though she has some emotional scarring from her past deals with Asa beautifully. She pushes him to levels he didn’t think anyone could and is happy to do it for her. She, at first, can’t stand for any man to touch her other than her bodyguard but soon Asa has gotten under her skin and she’s enjoying his touch.

The story is a bit suspenseful and very sexy – as I find all of Elizabeth Hoyt’s books – and that’s a definite plus in my book. I am intrigued by the Duke of Montgomery and what he’s up to, that’s for sure.

It was great to see the other members of the Makepeace family in this story as well and catch up with them a bit. It wasn’t for long but just enough that it made me want to go back and start the series over again.

I found Sweetest Scoundrel to be a great addition to the Maiden Lane series and can’t wait for the next book!


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Review: True North by Liora Blake

Posted November 19, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: True North by Liora BlakeReviewer: Rowena
True North by Liora Blake
Series: True Series #1
Published by Simon and Schuster on April 6th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, General, Thrillers, Suspense
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

What happens when a bad-boy celebrity rocker meets a small-town bestselling novelist? Find out in this first book in the sizzling new True series by Liora Blake!

While most novelists would consider jetting off to Hollywood for a TV interview rather exciting, small-town Montana writer Kate Mosely finds it all a bit exhausting. After losing her husband in a car accident where she was behind the wheel, Kate has finally found her bearings in the world again, rebuilding a simple but stable life. And even if that means a lot of lonely nights watching old movies and quiet days writing obituaries for her hometown newspaper, Kate’s not sure she’s ready for her life to change—again.

Until she shares the stage—and a whole heap of carnal gazes—with rock star Trevor “Trax” Jenkins. Despite his intimidating on-stage bravado, underneath it Kate discovers a man with a Rilke poem tattooed on his arm, an appreciation for cronuts, and a snarky wit that matches her own.

As she and Trevor explore their heated chemistry, the scarred parts of Kate’s heart begin to heal, making room for a love so passionate it makes her want long-forgotten things equal parts naughty, heart-swelling, and joyful. But when a searing exposé in a trashy gossip magazine sends Kate running, will it threaten their chances at forever?

This series came to my attention when I read the blurb for the third and last book. I knew that both Tracy and Ames read and enjoyed the previous books so I requested the third book for review and then went back and read the first two before digging into the third.

What a great series this turned out to be. I read all three books back to back to back. I couldn’t stop. It was too freaking cute.

True North is the first book in the True series and it was a solid start to the series.

Kate Mosely is a writer from Montana who is doing the talk show circuit to promote her book when she comes across Trevor “Trax” Jenkins on one of the shows she’s scheduled for. She makes quite the impression because before she heads back home, Trevor tracks her down (with the help of his agent or manager) and asks her out. They go to dinner and when Kate goes back home, she’s surprised that Trevor is continuing whatever it is they started in L.A.

She’s a bit confused over that, since they’re from totally different worlds and she doesn’t understand why someone like Trevor would like some country girl like her. But he does and as he continues to pursue Kate, I fell a little more in love with him with every passing page.

Trevor was a great hero. He knew that his life was complicated and not at all something that Kate was used to and I loved how patient he was with her. I loved that even though she didn’t understand why he kept coming around, he still came around. He wouldn’t let her disappear from his life because he knew that she felt was he was feeling. I loved seeing the efforts that Trevor put into his courtship of Kate. I loved how he was with Kate, his family and his friends. He was an all around solid hero and I adored him.

Kate was a good heroine as well. There were times when I thought she took too long to come around but for the most part, I enjoyed getting to know her. I enjoyed her back story and I enjoyed seeing her fall for Trevor and find her place in his life. I also enjoyed her love of cronuts. Ha! I wish she would have stood up for herself more where Lacey was concerned because there were times when I wanted to strangle Lacey for her attitude toward Trevor, her high-handedness where Kate was concerned and at the same time, I wanted to strangle Kate for letting Lacey get away with saying and doing stupid crap.

The romance between Trevor and Kate was cute and sigh worthy. Oh man, what I wouldn’t give to have a rich guy like Trevor who was sweet on top of that pursuing me. I loved the things he did for Kate. I loved that his home was wherever she was and ehh, I just loved him.

I also really enjoyed the secondary characters. From Trevor’s Mom, sister and niece to Simon. When I found out that the next book was Simon and Devon’s book, I couldn’t start that book fast enough. So good. This was a great start to a great series. You should definitely read this one.

Grade: 4 out of 5


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Guest Review: A Mackenzie Clan Gathering by Jennifer Ashley

Posted November 19, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: A Mackenzie Clan Gathering by Jennifer AshleyReviewer: Tracy
A Mackenzie Clan Gathering by Jennifer Ashley
Published by Penguin on November 17th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Historical, General
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Ian Mackenzie is awakened at Kilmorgan Castle one night to find robbers stealing the priceless art collection of his oldest brother, Hart. Since Ian and Beth are the only ones in resident at Kilmorgan at the moment, Ian decides he must find the art and the culprits before the family shows up for Hart's birthday gathering. With Inspector Fellows and Beth, he investigates, though Ian is somewhat worried by Beth's late husband's brother, a retired missionary, who decides to visit. Does John Ackerley hold the "cure" to Ian's madness? And can Ian discover what has happened to Hart's treasures, and who is targeting the Mackenzies before the enemy strikes again?

Return to Kilmorgan Castle to visit the Victorian branch of the Mackenzie family, and catch up on the brothers and friends, their children, and their lives.

Ian Mackenzie is at Kilmorgan Castle in preparation for his brother Hart’s birthday gathering when the castle is robbed. The authorities are alerted as well as his half-brother, Inspector Lloyd Fellows in London. Fellows arrives at the house to investigate but that doesn’t stop Ian from making his own deductions about the case.

In the chaos John Ackerley, Beth’s late husband’s brother, shows up and tells Ian that he thinks he can “cure” Ian from his madness. Ian thinks about the fact that Beth is a social person while he is not and wants to be able to be social for her. He agrees to John’s “cure” and they start. The cure consists of going back in his memory to try and figure out what triggered the madness and this brings up some terrifying memories for Ian. The memories also bring up a memory that may help them solve the robbery case. When someone threatens Ian’s child, Jamie, Ian is determined to catch the criminals and get to the bottom of everything.

I loved the book The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. I loved almost everything about it but Ian was really the one that made the book for me. While we’ve had bits and pieces of Ian in the books released since then it was never in full doses. This book was all Ian, all the time and that was perfect for me.

Ian knows himself. He knows that he goes into “muddles” as he calls them but Beth can usually get him out of them. He loves her and his children with all his heart and wants to be the best he can be because of them. When John Ackerley offers this cure he goes for it but doesn’t really believe that anything can be done. And frankly, he doesn’t need to be cured. His family loves him just the way he is and because of his brilliance and despite his “madness” he manages to solve the case along with Inspector Fellows. I loved when Ian finally realized that he was who he was and that there was no changing him – nor did he want to. Seeing him embrace that knowledge was really wonderful. He had grown considerably over the years and was much more…there than he had been before.

The gathering that the book title mentions is for Hart’s birthday and Hart shows up after the robbery. Unfortunately we don’t get to see too much of Mac, Cameron and Daniel and their wives but that was ok as we got a wonderful book even without their presence. :-)

Overall I really enjoyed the book and getting to know Ian as he is now. A good man with a good family who loves him – my kind of story.



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