Author: Holly

Sunday Spotlight: Dream On by Stacey Keith

Posted November 19, 2017 by Holly in Features | 2 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

I discovered this book while browsing NetGalley and thought it sounded super cute. I was on a break from contemporary romances for a little while, but now that I’m back this sounds right up my alley.

Sunday Spotlight: Dream On by Stacey KeithDream On by Stacey Keith
Published by Kensington
Publication Date: November 7th 2017
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

Deep in the heart of Texas is a small town where secret wishes have a funny way of coming true . . .

With a nine-year-old daughter, an overdue light bill, and a job slinging burgers while zooming around on roller skates, Cassidy Roby is not living the glamorous life. But Cuervo, Texas, has its charms: quiet streets, loving family, and the down-home familiarity of knowing which of your neighbors are mean as snakes. With Cassidy’s reputation, she knows what will happen if she steps a foot out of line. But how can she help it now that Mason Hannigan’s back in town?

As Cuervo’s high school quarterback ten years ago, Mason was all rock-hard abs and yes-ma’am manners. Now that he’s living the glitz and glory of the NFL, he’s all that plus a couple million bucks. The desire blazing between them is too hot to hide. Cassidy has some experience getting her heart broken by the hometown hero—and having the whole world watch her try to pick up the pieces. Will adding fame, fortune, and paparazzi be a playbook for disaster—or lead to the biggest adventure of her life?

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

Cassidy stood shivering and barefoot on her porch. No one was up this early except the Perkins boy who weaved along the sidewalk on his bike, pitching newspapers.

But the hush of morning made everything beautiful—the silver mist, the dew-covered grass, the gray light of dawn. And she knew with absolute certainty that this one moment, when her body ached so deliciously and her heart felt so full, would stay with her forever.

Behind her, she could hear Mason washing his breakfast dishes in the sink. She’d cooked for him just as though they were any other couple and this were any other morning. There he’d sat grinning up at her from the table, and she was so in love with him, her hands shook when she scraped eggs from the skillet onto his plate. Every piece of toast she buttered was his toast. Every cup of coffee she poured was his coffee. While he ate, she ran her fingers through his thick dark hair and that feeling of delirious happiness moved through her, so intense it felt like pain.

Waiting out on the porch, she heard him close the zippers on his rucksack. Last night, the sound of a zipper had driven her crazy with desire. Now, there was no lonelier sound in the world.

Then Mason walked out on the porch, dropped his rucksack, and gathered her in his arms. Just touching him was enough to make her pulses go haywire, but as he claimed her mouth, heat and urgency and a terrible sense of loss crashed over her. Mason’s kiss deepened. Tears smarted behind her eyelids. All she could do was hope she didn’t fall apart in front of him.

“I don’t want to go,” he muttered against her lips.

“You have to. Practice, remember?”

“I can’t stop touching you.”

“Your coach is going to chop you up into tiny pieces.” Despite her sadness, no way was she going to hold him back or get him in trouble.

With visible reluctance, he released her. He closed his eyes and pressed his forehead against hers. Did he guess her heart was breaking? That no matter how much he said he loved her, she knew enough about the world he inhabited, a world of fame and money and adoration, that would inevitably take him away from her.

Mason lifted his hand and gently stroked one side of her face. “Cassidy…”

“Yes?”

“Come to Dallas. We’re playing the Giants this weekend. Lots of wives and girlfriends will be there. You’ll love it. And that way, you can meet everybody.”

Everybody. She forced herself to smile. Everybody sounded like she would be on the receiving end of a whole lot of what Kayla served, only dressed up and with more money.

But this was for Mason. It came with the package.

“All that matters is getting to see each other,” he said. “I could send you a plane ticket. Or maybe you’d rather have a driver and a limo.”

A limo? She tried to picture one of those shiny black cars like the one she’d ridden in for prom and cringed when she thought what a stir that would cause in Cuervo. “Flying is good. But I don’t know yet if I can make it.” Or how she would make it. She had a daughter. A house. A job.

She forced another smile before he read her thoughts, yet worry intensified. It made her head ache. But then every muscle in her body ached right now from what he’d given her last night and, from the look on his face, wanted to give her again. A car drove by with more than a few faces pressed to the window. Heat crept up to her cheeks. They were out on her porch. Everyone could see it was him and what they were up to.

“I’ll videochat you tonight,” he said. With a glint in his eye, he added, “What do you think my chances are of getting your clothes off?”

Doesn’t that sound cute?

Dreams Come True

Giveaway Alert

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

Stacey Keith

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

Award-winning author Stacey Keith doesn’t own a television, but reads compulsively—and would, in fact, go stark raving bonkers without books, most of which are crammed into every corner of the house. She lives with her jazz musician boyfriend in Civita Castellana, a medieval village in Italy that sits atop a cliff, and she spends her days writing in a nearby abandoned 12th century church. But the two things she is most proud of are her ability to cook pasta alla matriciana without burning down the kitchen, and swearing volubly in Italian with all the appropriate hand gestures.


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Retro-Review: Heart Change by Robin D. Owens

Posted November 15, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 7 Comments

Retro-Review: Heart Change by Robin D. OwensReviewer: Holly
Heart Change by Robin D. Owens
Series: Celta's Heartmates #8
Also in this series: Heart Fate, HeartMate, HeartMate, Heart Dance, Heart Journey, Heart Secret, Heart Legacy
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: November 3rd 2009
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

First time in print?the fantastic new Celta novel from the award-winning author of Heart Fate.
Signet D'Marigold's lonely life is shaken when a prophet reveals she is a catalyst for change. But to accept her new life-and the charge of the noble child Avellana-means embracing a danger that may be fatal for them both. Especially when Signet's attraction to her new bodyguard signals a secret enemy sworn to destroy them.

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: This series is still going strong. I love the world of Celta and look forward to falling into it with each new release.

This review was originally posted on November 2, 2009.

As I recently mentioned, I started this series with book 7, Heart Fate. Over the last month or so I finally caught up on the rest of the series (with the exception of one book I still need to read). I’ve really enjoyed the series up to this point. Owens truly excels at writing strong characters and excellent world-building. Each time I open one of these I can’t wait to fall into her world. I enjoyed some in the series better than others and I’d say Heart Change falls somewhere in the middle.

Signet D’Marigold has pretty much given up on life. She’s the last of her line and she’s practically drowning in loneliness. All of her friends seem to leave her, and because she doesn’t know what her flair is, she doesn’t really have a purpose in life. All that changes when Muin “Vinnie” T’Vine, the teen prophet, shows up and says he knows what her flair is and he needs her help. She’s a catalyst. Just being near her changes the course of other people’s lives for the better.

Vinnie’s heartmate, Avellana, is getting ready to experience her first passage – the time when flair (magical ability) is released for the first time. Because she suffered an accident in the past Vinnie and Avellana’s parents aren’t convinced that she’ll make it through passage safely. Vinnie requests that Avellana move in with Signet because he “saw” that she’d be able to help Avellana.

Avellana’s parents aren’t taking any chances with her safety and hire Cratag Maytree to guard her while she’s with Signet. Cratag has little flair, and ever since landing in Celta he’s been feeling displaced. He’s the captain of the guard for T’Hawthorn, but he knows he isn’t truly one of the family. That’s confirmed when T’Hawthorn assigns him to guard Avellana and Signet. Although he resents being shuffled around, he can’t help but look forward to spending time with Signet, as he’s been attracted to her for some time.

When this book first opens I wasn’t sure I’d like Signet. She was in the middle of a pity party and she didn’t seem like someone I could relate to. As the story progressed she really came alive for me. We come to understand the depth of her loneliness and despair and she really grows, accepting who and what she is. She really opened up throughout the story, not just to Cratag, but also to Avellana, Vinnie and some of the other secondary characters. I really liked watching her come into her own.

As much as I liked Cratag in the previous novels, I wasn’t as impressed with him here. In some regards he was exactly what Signet needed. He was strong and comforting, and I liked that he really let her lean on him when she needed to, but also pushed her when needed to stand up for herself. He really encouraged her to become her own person, which was wonderful. As much as I liked him with Signet, however, I really didn’t care for him on his own.

He doesn’t feel like he’s good enough for Signet. Or really at all. Although he’s the captain of the guard for T’Hawthorn, because he has little flair he doesn’t really feel like he’s been accepted in Celta. So he holds himself back. While I understood this initially, I felt he took it too far. His inner dialogue was focused almost solely on his shortcomings – from his attire to his lack of flair – and it was frustrating. If Signet grew and found herself, Cratag almost seemed to move backward. He seemed more confident and sure of himself in the beginning of the novel than he did at the end.

Having said that, I did enjoy the progression of the relationship. I liked them together and really wanted to see things work between them. Had Cratag been a little faster to realize his own worth I think this could have ended up as one of my favorites.

I really loved the secondary characters. We met all of them earlier in the series, but they played a larger part here. I’ll be curious to see how things develop with Vinnie and Avellana in the future, especially since some of the things that were revealed here still need to be dealt with. I can’t wait to see what happens with Laev, either. He’s Cratag’s young cousin and there was a good amount of the book spent on his story. I hope Owens picks up that thread again soon.

I also really liked both Signet and Cratag’s Fams. I couldn’t help but laugh when Cratag got a rolly-polly kitten as his, but they seemed to fit well together.

I enjoyed the suspense, though it wasn’t hard to figure out who the villain was. I think watching how the characters dealt with it made up for the lack of mystery. I really liked learning more about first passage and experiencing it with Avellana.

Overall I enjoyed the romance, though it had flaws. Despite my issues I feel it’s a good entry to the series and I’ll probably read it again.

3.75 out of 5

The Series

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

three-half-stars


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