Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review: Only with You by Lauren Layne

Posted October 19, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Only with You by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Only with You (The Best Mistake, #1) by Lauren Layne
Series: The Best Mistake #1
Published by Grand Central Publishing, Forever Yours
Publication Date: July 29th 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 369
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four-stars

Love is the Biggest Gamble of All . . .

Cocktail waitress Sophie Dalton doesn't exactly have a life plan. She's perfectly happy being everyone's favorite party girl. But when a Las Vegas bachelorette party goes awry and an uptight businessman mistakes Sophie for a prostitute . . . well, Sophie wonders if it's time to reevaluate her priorities. Swearing off her thigh-high boots for good, Sophie slinks back home with damaged pride-and a jackpot of a hangover.

Yet what happens in Vegas doesn't always stay there. On a trip to Seattle to open a new office, Grayson Wyatt meets his latest employee-who turns out to be the same woman he recently called a hooker. Wealthy and gorgeous, Gray is a man used to getting what he wants. And it doesn't take long to figure out that smart, sassy, sexy Sophie is everything he's been looking for. As their late nights at the office turn into hot morning-afters, they realize their Vegas misunderstanding may lead to the real thing . . .

I picked this series up because in one of her Lauren Layne’s newsletter, she mentions the hero in the second book of this series is her favorite hero (that she wrote) so of course I had to pick both books up so that I can meet this William Thatcher and boy am I glad that I did. This series was great!

Sophie Dalton is a waitress who known in her family as the flighty one. She’s never really settled into a career path and compared to her perfect sister, she needs to get her life together. That fact is smacked into her face when she in Vegas for her cousin’s bachelorette party and gets stuck in an elevator with a guy who mistakes her as a prostitute. The guy is perfectly put together and he’s a rude jerk who acts like he’s too good to make small talk with her so when they get out of the elevator, she’s glad to never see him again.

Grayson Wyatt spends his days saving hotels from ruin and making money. He works and works and works and goes home and works some more. He’s a loner by nature and he’s never really felt comfortable around others so he’s awkward and that fact is driven home when he gets stuck in an elevator with a gorgeous woman who is dressed like a prostitute and he behaves like an ass. Since he’s not all that interested in making things better, he walks away from the experience figuring he’ll never see her again. Only when he moves to Seattle and the first person he makes friends with is his elevator companions sister, things get really interesting.

The last person Sophie expected to see at Sunday dinner was the jerk from the elevator and she’s not at all happy that the hot elevator guy is dating her sister. She may not have wanted him for herself but she didn’t him for her sister. She’s not happy that he’s back in her world and if the glare he’s shooting her way is any indication, he’s not happy either. But one family dinner can’t be all that hard to get through, can it?

Well, that family dinner got Sophie a job working with Gray every day of the work week and they went from not wanting to see each other again to seeing each other every single day. The sparks fly every time they’re within spitting distance of each other and it was such fun getting to know these two.

Gray was a bit hard to like in the beginning because his attitude was so off-putting but I’m glad that I stuck around because boy does he change from beginning to end. He doesn’t have everything together and he’s so damn lonely and he doesn’t know why he keeps saying the wrong things and seeing him finally get his shit together and tell Sophie that she’s his was freaking fantastic. I just adored him to pieces and I completely bought his feelings for Sophie and her feelings for him.

Sophie was such a fun heroine. She was a good person who didn’t have her life together but she wanted to figure things out for herself. She didn’t have the highest self-esteem, something that her family contributed in but she was smart and she was strong and I really liked seeing her come into her own.

Lauren Layne writes sexual tension really well and it showed in this book. The romance between Gray and Sophie was at times frustrating but no less fun because these characters were funny and they were normal and real. I know plenty of Gray’s and Sophie’s and even Brynn’s and Will’s in my real life so I really connected with their characters here.

All in all, this was a fun story that I zipped right through and it’s another winner for me from Lauren Layne. She writes the good stuff, what can I say? I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt

Posted October 16, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Duke of Desire by Elizabeth HoytReviewer: Tracy
Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Maiden Lane series #12
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: October 17th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 364
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Goodreads
four-stars

A LADY OF LIGHT

Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping. Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos. When one of the masked-and nude!-Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him . . . only to find she may have been a trifle hasty.

A DUKE IN DEEPEST DARKNESS

Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them. Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans. But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe.

CAUGHT IN A WEB OF DANGER . . . AND DESIRE

Much to Raphael's irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involves herself in his life-and bed. Soon he's drawn both to her quick wit and her fiery passion. But when Iris discovers that Raphael's past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters. Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael's own demons?

Lady Iris Jordan is a widow who is on her way back from a friend’s wedding when she is kidnapped by a group called the Lords of Chaos.  They kidnapped her because they thought that she had just married the Duke of Kyle and they wanted to use, abuse and then murder her to get back at him for trying to break their group up.  Unfortunately for them, she didn’t.  Luckily she is saved by the Duke of Dyemore as he claims her for himself.  He promises the Lords of Chaos that she’ll be dead by morning just so he can get her away.  Not knowing that he’s there to save her Iris takes it upon herself to shoot him.

Despite being shot, Raphael, the Duke of Dyemore, insists on marrying Iris to save her from the Lords.  He knows that once they find out that he didn’t kill her that they’ll come after them both.  Iris isn’t too willing but knows that it has to happen.  She ends up spending her wedding night and more than a few nights after that nursing her new husband back to health.  Unfortunately the Lords find out she isn’t dead and come after them both.

While Iris and Raphael are hiding out she learns more about her husband.  She knows that his father was the leader of the Lords of Chaos until his death.  He manages to tell her about what a perverted, sick man his father was and what he had done to Raphael before he was whisked away to Corsica by his aunt in order to save him. Iris starts to fall in love with her broken husband but wants a child.  He refuses to continue his tainted bloodline.  Raphael’s determined to bring the Lords of Chaos down from the inside out and will stop at nothing to do so.  He just didn’t plan for his life or his feelings to change so much once Iris was in his life.

I’ve always enjoyed Hoyt’s writing and this book was another great read.  The subject matter was a bit dark and I wish it had been a bit lighter for the last book in the series but it was still good.

Raphael had been molested by his father one night when he was 12.  Luckily his aunt took him away to Corsica and kept him from becoming his father.  Raphael, however, had been forever changed by that one night and it had directed the course of his life.  He never planned on getting married and didn’t actually plan on being a true husband to Iris once he did marry.  Things and feelings shift and this happened with Raphael.  I was so happy that he finally had a change of heart.  I do wish that it hadn’t happened so quickly, however.  One minute he was saying, more or less, “I’m outta here” and the next he was all, “I love you!” It was still sweet and lovely but definitely rushed.

Iris was a great heroine and I liked her a lot.  She had been through a loveless marriage and though she didn’t really know Raphael she was resolute in having a good and decent marriage with him.  One where he didn’t ignore her as her first husband did.  She did a lovely job of bringing him out of the dark and I enjoyed reading how she did it.

I’m so sad that the Maiden Lane series has come to an end.  It was truly one of my favorite historical romance series and I will miss it greatly.  Though this wasn’t my favorite book in the series it was still a great one and definitely one I recommend.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt

Posted October 15, 2017 by Holly in Features | 4 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

This is it, the last Maiden Lane book. I’m so sad to see the series ending. As part of the blog tour, we’re sharing an excerpt for our Sunday Spotlight this week. I can’t wait to read this book.

Sunday Spotlight: Duke of Desire by Elizabeth HoytDuke of Desire (Maiden Lane, #12) by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Maiden Lane #12
Also in this series: Wicked Intentions, Wicked Intentions, Lord of Darkness, Darling Beast, Dearest Rogue, Sweetest Scoundrel, Duke of Sin, Once Upon a Moonlit Night (Maiden Lane #10.5), Duke of Pleasure
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: October 17th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 364
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

A LADY OF LIGHT

Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping. Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos. When one of the masked-and nude!-Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him . . . only to find she may have been a trifle hasty.

A DUKE IN DEEPEST DARKNESS

Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them. Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans. But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe.

CAUGHT IN A WEB OF DANGER . . . AND DESIRE

Much to Raphael's irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involves herself in his life-and bed. Soon he's drawn both to her quick wit and her fiery passion. But when Iris discovers that Raphael's past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters. Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael's own demons?

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO
 

Excerpt

DUKE OF DESIRE– Short Excerpt

Desperately she flung herself at the opposite seat and tugged it up. Thrust her hand in.

A pistol.

She cocked it, desperately praying that it was loaded.

She turned and aimed it at the door to the carriage just as the door swung open.

The Wolf loomed in the doorway—still nude—a lantern in one hand. She saw the eyes behind the mask flick to the pistol she held between her bound hands. He turned his head and said something in an incomprehensible language to someone outside.

Iris felt her breath sawing in and out of her chest.

He climbed into the carriage and closed the door, completely ignoring her and the pistol pointed at him. The Wolf hung the lantern on a hook and sat on the seat across from her.

Finally he glanced at her. “Put that down.”

His voice was calm. Quiet.

With just a hint of menace.

She backed into the opposite corner, as far away from him as possible, holding the pistol up. Level with his chest. Her heart was pounding so hard it nearly deafened her. “No.”

The carriage jolted into motion, making her stumble before she caught herself.

“T-tell them to stop the carriage,” she said, stuttering with terror despite her resolve. “Let me go now.”

“So that they can rape you to death out there?” He tilted his head to indicate the Lords. “No.”

“At the next village, then.”

“I think not.”

He reached for her and she knew she had no choice.

She shot him.

The blast blew him into the seat and threw her hands up and back, the pistol narrowly missing her nose.

Iris scrambled to her feet. The bullet was gone, but she could still use the pistol as a bludgeon.

The Wolf was sprawled across the seat, blood streaming from a gaping hole in his right shoulder. His mask had been knocked askew on his face.

She reached forward and snatched it off.

And then gasped.

The face that was revealed had once been as beautiful as an angel’s but was now horribly mutilated. A livid red scar ran from just below his hairline on the right side of his face, bisecting the eyebrow, somehow missing the eye itself but gouging a furrow into the lean cheek and catching the edge of his upper lip, making it twist. The scar ended in a missing divot of flesh in the line of the man’s severe jaw. He had inky black hair and, though they were closed now, Iris knew he had emotionless crystal-gray eyes.

She knew because she recognized him.

He was Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, and when she’d danced with him—once—three months ago at a ball, she’d thought he’d looked like Hades.

God of the underworld.

God of the dead.

She had no reason to change her opinion now.

Then he gasped, those frozen crystal eyes opened, and he glared at her. “You idiot woman. I’m trying to save you.”


You guys! Ahhh!

Maiden Lane

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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 | GOODREADS

Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing “mesmerizing.” She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.

Enter the publisher sponsored giveaway as well! They’re giving away 10 copies of Duke of Desire!


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Guest Review: Can’t Walk Away by Sandy James

Posted October 10, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Can’t Walk Away by Sandy JamesReviewer: Tracy
Can't Walk Away by Sandy James
Series: Nashville Dreams #1
Published by Forever Yours
Publication Date: October 10th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
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three-half-stars

In Nashville the stars shine a little brighter, songs sound a little sweeter, and love lasts a lifetime.

Young, rich, and better looking than a man has a right to be, successful songwriter Brad "Hitman" Maxwell was once Nashville's biggest celebrity. Then a heartbreaking loss and a shocking betrayal caused his light to go out. Now, instead of pouring his soul into song, he pours beers at Words & Music. His bar is the perfect escape--a place to forget his past--until the night she takes the stage...

Savannah Wolf used to dream of becoming Nashville's hottest star. Now, as a young single mom, she dreams of a steady income and being home to tuck her daughter into bed. So when Brad Maxwell offers her the gig of a lifetime--playing as the headliner at Words & Music--Savannah discovers the best of both worlds. And she refuses to ruin this opportunity by falling for her sexy boss. Except that Brad suddenly starts writing music again... music inspired by her.

Brad Maxwell owns and runs a bar/restaurant with his friends.  He used to be one of Nashville’s greatest songwriters but after the death of his wife he gave that all up.  The music stopped showing up in his head and he was fine with that.

On Indie night at his place, Words & Music, he hears the most beautiful music from a woman named Savannah Wolf.  She’s actually a waitress at Words & Music but they’d never had much interaction.  Immediately a song starts flowing in his head and he knows it’s for Savannah.  Brad knows that Savannah is a star and starts to push her toward that stardom.  Unfortunately that’s not what Savannah wants at all and it causes issues.

Brad falls for Savannah at first sight but it takes longer for Savannah to get to the “love” part of their relationship.  She’s a single mother who had been burned by her previous agent – who was also her daughter’s father.  She’s slow to trust and Brad moves a little too quickly.  When things start getting out of hand with the whole business Savannah takes matters into her own hands and that decision makes her want to walk away from everything.

This was a cute book.  I really liked James’s writing and her books always put a smile on my face.  In this book Savannah was amazing.  She was smart and level-headed and knew exactly what she wanted and what she didn’t want.  She put her family and her daughter first and wasn’t willing to budge on that.  I had to admire the woman for standing up for herself on many different occasions in the book.

Brad was a little bit of a different story.  He fell in love with Savannah at first sight and was all in.  He moved way too fast for my liking and I actually found it a bit creepy.  Sure there was an age difference between them, but that wasn’t it.  I think it was just because he moved so fast without knowing this girl from Adam – just because she was beautiful and had a gorgeous voice.  I found that weird. Because of my feelings toward Brad and his over abundance of immediate feelings for Savannah I had a hard time with the romance portion of the book.  It was nice, but I couldn’t get fully invested.  The musical part of the book and the portion of the story where Savannah’s past came back to haunt her were very good and that’s what raised the rating on this book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

Posted September 12, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Just Like Heaven by Julia QuinnReviewer: Holly
Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith Quartet #1) by Julia Quinn
Series: Smythe-Smith Quartet #1
Also in this series: The Sum of All Kisses, A Night Like This (Smythe-Smith Quartet #2)
Published by Piatkus
Publication Date: June 2011
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 374
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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four-stars

Honoria Smythe-Smith is:

A) a really bad violinist B) still miffed at being nicknamed “Bug” as a child C) not in love with her older brother’s best friend D) all of the above

Marcus Holroyd is:

A) the Earl of Chatteris B) regrettably prone to sprained ankles C) not in love with his best friend’s younger sister D) all of the above

Together they:

A) eat quite a bit of chocolate cake B) survive a deadly fever and the world’s worst musical performance C) fall quite desperately in love

It’s Julia Quinn at her best, so you know the answer is . . .

D) all of the above

Just Like Heaven, the Smythe-Smith Quartet, book 1 by Julia Quinn,, is such a fun, witty novel.

This series isn’t as quirky as the Bridgerton series, but there was still a lot of humor. The antics of the main characters, as well as the secondary, made for a quick, fun read.

Daniel, Marcus’s best friend is living in exile out of the country, and he charges Marcus with watching over his younger sister. Marcus takes the duty seriously. All is well until Honoria decides she’s going to do what she needs to do to marry by the end of the Season. She has someone in mind and she isn’t going to let anything get in the way of her snaring him…not even her brother’s annoying best friend. As Marcus chases her around, foiling her plans and being a general pain, they find themselves developing a mutual attraction.

Honoria has a sunny disposition and doesn’t let life get her down. I loved her outlook on life and how determined she is to take her future into her own hands. Marcus isn’t used to having anyone in his life to care for – or who cares about him. Honoria surprised him. Their romance was super sweet. I adored it.

As expected Quinn delivers a fun, fresh romp. This is Quinn at her best.

4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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