Author: Holly

Joint Review: Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

Posted April 24, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 7 Comments

Joint Review: Devil in Spring by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #3
Also in this series: Cold-Hearted Rake
Published by Avon Romance
Publication Date: February 21 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 288
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four-half-stars

An eccentric wallflower…

Most debutantes dream of finding a husband. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger.

A cynical rake…

After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, has finally been caught-by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain.

A perilous plot…

After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy-and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realize their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven...

Holly: It’s been ages since I read a historical romance, but Sybil told me I needed to read Devil in Spring, because it featured Sebastian and Evie’s oldest son (they’re our favorite Kleypas couple). So I read it. Then I told Rowena she had to read it, too, because it was so good. We both ended up reading all three books, and we agree Devil in Spring is the best of the series so far.

Lady Pandora and her twin sister, Cassandra, were basically left alone to run free on their country estate. Their parents really wanted nothing to do with them, and didn’t bother to hire the proper governesses or tutors for them. As a result they’re both a little wild and not at all ready to enter society, despite the fact that they’re 19. After three years of proper tutelage from her step-sister’s very upright foster mother

When Pandora gets caught in a compromising position with Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, she’s devastated. She has no intention of ever marrying. She doesn’t want to give up her independence for a man, especially one with a title and all the duties that accompany it. But she also wants to do what’s best for her family, so she agrees to spend a week with him and his family at their country estate to get to know one another.

For his part, Gabriel knows he has to marry someday, but he has no desire to marry a wild little savage like Pandora. He needs a proper wife who will be an asset to him as the future Duke. Still, honor demands he do the right thing…and the longer he spends with her, the more he wants her, in spite of the way her mind works.

Girl, I loved this book. I loved how unconventional Pandora was, and how Gabriel came to love her quirks in spite of himself.

Rowena: I really enjoyed this one too. I’m glad that St. Vincent’s kid ended up with Pandora because she’s a special one. I knew that I was going to love her the most in this series and that didn’t change after reading her book. If anything, I loved her even more.

Devil in Spring was my favorite book in this series, so far. I loved seeing familiar characters, enjoyed getting to know the new ones and it was even good to see St. Vincent, Sebastian, that is.

I loved that there wasn’t anything about Pandora that Gabriel didn’t love. The way that he wanted to be sure that she knew how special she was to him, no matter how bad her hearing was, how bad her vertigo was, or how independent she wanted to be, none of that mattered to him. She was perfect the way that she was to him and I melted into a puddle of lust for him every time he showed her how much he loved her.

Holly: She is. I meant to add that three years later she wasn’t much more civilized.

I totally cracked up in the beginning when she was trying to convince him he didn’t want to marry her.

“You do not want to marry me, my lord. I would be the worst wife imaginable. I’m forgetful and stubborn, and I can never sit still for more than five minutes. I’m always doing things I shouldn’t. I eavesdrop on other people, I shout and run in public, and I’m a clumsy dancer. And I’ve lowered my character with a great deal of unwholesome reading material.” Pausing to draw breath, she noticed that Lord St. Vincent didn’t appear properly impressed by her list of faults. “Also, my legs are skinny. Like a stork’s.”

Pandora was definitely the best part of this book. I love how unconventional she was. She didn’t think in straight lines and always seemed to be going in 8 different directions. Gabriel was great with her. I like how he was all about keeping her right from the beginning, even though he knew he should want a more proper wife.

Rowena: Okay, yeah they were 19 in the other books.

Yes!! She had me laughing so much throughout the entire series but more so in this book. Gosh, she’s one of those characters that I will remember for a long time. She’s got a distinct personality that I just love to pieces. I will probably incorporate some of her made up words into my vocabulary because some of her words were fantastic! I’ll definitely be using, “This is horriculous!” from time to time. I just know it.

More than her personality, I really loved her drive to be successful in her board game business. You don’t see historical heroines that serious about their own business endeavors very often so it was a refreshing change for me.

There wasn’t much that I didn’t like about this book. If I had to pick a gripe, it would probably be all of that nonsense with Mrs. Black. Was that her name? Nola Black? I’m glad that Pandora was able to rise above such pettiness and I even understood why Gabriel was so blinded by keeping them apart but I didn’t really think it was necessary because there was so many other things going on to keep the story going but whatever, it was still a damn good romance.

What about you?

Holly: I loved her board game business, too. It was wonderful to read about a heroine who was more concerned with her independence than catching a gentleman’s eye.

I didn’t like the nonsense with Mrs. Black, either. It seemed rather ridiculous to include it when there was already the business with the Irish Anarchists Pandora came into contact with. Not to mention, the whole thing felt very unfinished. There was no mention of her after Gabriel admitted to having a mistress, until all of a sudden she shows up at the theater while Pandora is there? It really seemed to come out of nowhere. And what happened afterward? Aside from Gabriel being pissed and worried about Pandora’s reaction, there was no closure. He didn’t mention speaking to her again, or even refusing to give her the satisfaction of speaking to her again. The whole thing was silly.

What did you think about the Irish Anarchist bit? That, too, felt very unfinished to me. I’m sure she’s leading into what will happen in the next book (possibly Dr. Gibson and Ransom?), but I wish there had been something more.

Rowena: I was thinking that Gibson and Ransom would get like a secondary romance in someone else’s book since the series is about the Ravenels. I figured Cassandra and West were left and then we’d be done with this lot.

The Black thing felt unfinished because after Pandora gets stabbed, she fell by the wayside. I guess she served her purpose of distracting Gabriel so the stabber can get close to Pandora. I also thought it was dumb that Dragon’s whole purpose for being there was to be Pandora’s bodyguard but he was so far away from her when the Irish lady knifed her ass. Seriously, dude? Falling down on the job.

The Irish thing didn’t feel unfinished, but more anti-climatic. All of that and then they take him down, easy peasy. Meh. I was much more interested in seeing Gabriel and Pandora together and seeing them figure their shit out together. All of the other stuff was extra stuff that didn’t really do anything for me.

All in all, it was a solid romance and I enjoyed getting to know Gabriel and Pandora. I loved seeing Gabriel’s family and Pandora’s again because they were such a fun bunch. I loved Pandora’s made up words. I loved watching Gabriel fall under Pandora’s spell even when she was trying to push him away. Lisa Kleypas shines with her characters and the dialogue in this one and I give it 4.25 out of 5. You?

Holly: Right, but Ransom is a Ravenal, so if he gets his own book, it would apply to the series. (It was implied he was a bastard child or something).

The Irish thing wasn’t cleared up at all. They discovered it was dude from the Home Office, but he killed himself before he could be questioned, so it was just left open ended.

The romance was really great. I loved Gabriel and Pandora together, I loved both families, and I loved the way Gabriel loved her. I’m giving it a 4.25 also.

four-half-stars

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Sunday Spotlight: Tempted by Fate by Cynthia Eden

Posted April 23, 2017 by Holly in Features | 5 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be  raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Today’s spotlight is Tempted by Fate by Cynthia Eden. This is book 6 in her Bad Things series. Eden writes both paranormal and romantic suspense. I’m always entertained by her novels. I’m looking forward to this one.

Sunday Spotlight: Tempted by Fate by Cynthia EdenTempted By Fate (Bad Things, #6) by Cynthia Eden
Series: Bad Things #6
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: April 25th 2017
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 259
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You can't cheat Fate...and for the record, she really doesn't like it when you betray her, either.

Leo is used to having power. After all, he carries the title Lord of the Light for a reason--he's a supernatural powerhouse and his job is protect all of the "light" paranormals in the world. He's used to snapping his fingers and getting anything--or anyone--he wants. 

But when he fell for Fate, Leo learned that power didn't get a man everything. 

In fact, it didn't even get him the one woman he wanted most...

Fate...AKA Mora (that's the name she prefers to use--a lot less weighty on her shoulders) has spent centuries hiding from her supernatural ex-lover, Leo. Most people fear Leo and rightly so. 

He's got immense power and a definite date with an unfortunate end-of-the-world calamity.   

When Leo seduced Mora and promised to put the world at her feet, she actually thought the guy had fallen for her. Too late, she discovered he was just using her in an attempt to change his destiny.

And Leo's destiny? It's not pretty. Some very, very bad things are coming for him. Mora shouldn't care about the danger he faces. She should turn her back on her ex. His heart is ice cold, she knows that, but her own heart...it's still a little weak where Leo is concerned. 

Leo has tried to walk on the side of good for a long time...but his sins are coming back to haunt him. A darkness is trying to consume him, and if Mora can't help him...then it's not just Leo who will pay the price for his past. The whole world will change.

You think you know the Lord of the Light? Think again.

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Excerpt

TEMPTED BY FATE – Excerpt – Cynthia Eden
“I’m not letting you go.” Enough games. “I won’t ever let you go again.”

Her eyelids flickered. “Leo?”

“You hid from me for centuries. I tore this world apart looking for you.” He shook his head. “But you weren’t there. The whole planet went dark, and I nearly lost my sanity…because you weren’t there.”

She paled. “I meant nothing to you, remember? Just insignificant little Fate.”

“There is nothing insignificant about Fate.” He knew that all too well. “You will not leave again. You will not vanish, not even if I have to chain you to my side.”

Her slightly pointed chin shot into the air. “Don’t even think it.”

If she only knew…“Love, I’ve fantasized about it.”

He saw the surprise on her face.

“But I am trying to give you a choice,” he continued doggedly. “I want you with me willingly.”

She laughed, and it was a mocking sound. Once, he’d heard her real laughter. It had sounded like music. Sweet bells. Now her laughter held the ring of bitterness. “Bull,” Mora told him. “You don’t give choices. You take them away. You order your light paranormals about and you try to control the world.” She leaned closer to him, absolutely shocking Leo. “But I’ve got a newsflash for you. You don’t control me. And neither does your brother. I’m not a pawn in your war.”

She’d always been more than a pawn.

“You think you can use me.” Her mouth was inches from him. “Use me up and then walk away again? It’s not going to happen.”

No, it wasn’t. Because he didn’t plan to walk away. Not this time. Never again. “The dark is closing in on me.”

She blinked.

“I’m being hunted. The past is catching up to me. The end will come, and when it does, do you want to just stand there and watch as the world is destroyed around you?”

But she shook her head. “It’s…it’s not time yet.”

Excitement burned inside of him. Mora had always known what the end would be. How could she not know? She was Fate. Only…

He knew that she kept secrets. He knew that she could change the fates of humans and paranormals. For the right price, she would alter lives.

“You need to look into the future again,” he told her grimly. “You need to look into my future. Because that big battle? The one you told everyone would come?”

She shivered. “I told everyone…what I saw. You will fight your brother to the death. Light and Dark will battle, and only one will survive. Then the earth will fall to chaos.”

“Right. Yes. Thanks for that bit of sunshine news.” His fingers were still wrapped around her shoulders. “My time is up. Unless you help me, everyone’s time is up.”


Bad Things

Giveaway: We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

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Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | GOODREADS

Award-winning author Cynthia Eden writes dark tales of paranormal romance and romantic suspense. She is a New York Times, USA Today, Digital Book World, and IndieReader best-seller. Cynthia is also a three-time finalist for the prestigious RITA® award . Since she began writing full-time in 2005, Cynthia has written over eighty novels and novellas.

Cynthia is a “hybrid” author. She has published extensively with New York (her New York publishers include Avon, Kensington, Grand Central, and Harlequin), and she has also enjoyed success in her indie writing career.

Cynthia lives along the Alabama Gulf Coast. She loves romance novels, horror movies, and chocolate. Her favorite hobbies including hiking in the mountains (searching for waterfalls) and spelunking.

You can find Cynthia chatting daily on Twitter or on her Facebook page.

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Book Binge Turns 10: April 2017 Week 4 Giveaway

Posted April 22, 2017 by Holly in Giveaways | 13 Comments

It all started for us in April of 2007. 10 years ago this month! To celebrate, instead of giving one prize away for the month, we’re giving away one each week!

Autographed copy of Back to You by Lauren Dane,
His Wicked Wish and Bella and the Beast by Olivia Drake,
The Hero and The Protector by Donna Grant,
Tiger Magic and an autographed copy of Wild Wolf by Jennifer Ashley,
Autographed copy of Midnight’s Kiss by Thea Harrison,
Autographed copy of Forged in Fire by Jessica Scott,
Dirty for Me by Jackie Ashenden,
Still Life with Shifter by Sharon Shinn,
Swag and “Book Lovers Never Go To Bed Alone” Forever Romance tote
(not pictured)

Use the rafflecopter widget to enter!

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What Are You Reading? (328)

Posted April 21, 2017 by Holly in Features | 3 Comments

WAYR-New

Casee: I’m still reading Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti. Reading is not going well this month. Send help.

Holly: This week I ended up re-reading Magic Bites, Magic Burns and Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews. I didn’t really intend to re-read the series, but here we are. I started several other books, but none held my attention.

Rowena: I only read one book this week and it was a re-read of Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas. I adored reading it again and am looking forward to discussing it with Ames. Now, I’m reading Moon Called by Patricia Briggs so that I can review it with Holly. It’s the first book in the Mercy Thompson series and I hear it’s a great series so I’m looking forward to it and so far, it’s pretty good. I should be done with it tomorrow. That’s it for me though. I hope this is a sign that my reading is going to pick up next week because so far, April has been really bad for me.

What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!

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Author Interview: Julie James Dishes About the FBI and The Thing About Love!

Posted April 17, 2017 by Holly in Giveaways, Promotions | 10 Comments

Today we’re excited to have Julie James here to answer some questions about THE THING ABOUT LOVE (Berkley Romance, April 18, 2017). If you haven’t pre-ordered it, you must! It was such a wonderful read. Full of witty banter, with an exciting plot, it’s not to be missed.

Author Interview: Julie James Dishes About the FBI and The Thing About Love!The Thing About Love by Julie James
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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Two undercover FBI agents can hide who they are from everyone but each other in the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Suddenly One Summer.

FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army ranger clashed during their training at Quantico, gladly going their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to run into each other again–assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.

For both of them, being paired with a former rival couldn’t come at a worse time. Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work as a team–a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic, beachfront resort as part of the investigation.

Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a whole lot more complicated. . .

 

 

 

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Interview

Is it true that you were once interested in a career with the FBI?
Yes! I went to law school with the thought of possibly becoming an FBI agent. My first semester of law school, I met with an FBI recruiter, and he told me I was ineligible because I didn’t meet the vision requirements. (I’d planned to have Lasix surgery, but back then, that didn’t count—a rule that has since been changed.) While I was discouraged at the time, becoming a trial lawyer turned out to be a good fit for me. And, knowing what I do now, I’m not sure I would’ve made it through the PT part of the FBI Academy. 🙂

What research did you do for THE THING ABOUT LOVE?
I had to do research into the FBI Academy, and the Hostage Rescue Team. The FBI has some information about Selection and HRT on their website, but I also had to rely on news articles about the Team, and I read a memoir written by a former HRT operator.

I also had to do research on the specifics of the undercover investigation in the book, so that I knew what my heroine and hero would actually be doing. The case in the book is loosely based on a real-life case: the mayor of Charlotte, NC was arrested and convicted for accepting bribes in a manner similar to the mayor in my case. For research, I pulled news stories about the Charlotte mayor’s trial, court hearing transcripts, and press releases from the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office.

Your female characters always have the best quips and comebacks. What inspires your dialogue?
I’m a film buff, and I started my writing career with screenplays. I think my focus on dialogue stems from that. And I think all of my heroine/hero pairings have a dynamic that’s one part Elizabeth Bennet/Mr. Darcy and one-part Princess Leia/Han Solo.

Why do you enjoy about writing about talented, career-focused women who find love?
I write women who are like the women I know. The “finding love” part of those stories comes from being a longtime fan of romantic comedies.

 

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About the Author

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | GOODREADS

Julie James is the New York Times bestselling author of six previous novels. James graduated from the University of Illinois College of Law and clerked for the United States Court of Appeals in Jacksonville, FL. She lives in Chicago with her family. Learn more at juliejames.com, Facebook.com/JulieJamesFanPage, and Twitter.com/juljames.

 

Meet Julie

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