Publisher: Kensington

Sunday Spotlight: Her Leading Hero by Maggie Dallen

Posted December 10, 2017 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 3 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

Sunday Spotlight: Her Leading Hero by Maggie DallenHer Leading Hero (A Reel Romance) by Maggie Dallen
Published by Lyrical Press
Publication Date: December 12, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

Is she getting a second take at her Hollywood ending?
Despite her leading lady looks, Tamara Pierce has always been happiest out of the spotlight, especially since a painful breakup drove her away from her society friends. Now she's happily managing a magnificent, historic old movie house that's in danger of being torn down. It's good news when a billionaire buyer shows interest. If only the billionaire in question weren't Gregory Blanchard, who once fueled her fantasies of happily after ever.

Known for his reckless endeavors in romance and business, Gregory's determined to prove his worth with this new project. And he knows how to do it: making Tamara the public face of the Ellen Theater. She's poised, passionate-the perfect partner on his arm at fundraising events. Once he lures her into the limelight, the shy beauty gets under his skin in a way no woman has before. But will a heartbreaker like him be the one to lead her back to love?

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

“Tamara?” His low voice cut through the music and the chatter, stopping her in her tracks.

The original cold fear returned and a shiver raced through her at the sound of his voice.

She turned slowly. There was no escaping it now. Resignation at her fate had her steeling her spine and squaring her shoulders. She had known this day would come eventually.

He was smiling down at her, and the sheer sex appeal behind it stole her breath away. Sweet Jesus, he’d always been hot, even as a teenager. But now, he was literally breathtaking. He’d filled out, his chest and shoulders molding the suit to perfection. His jaw was even more defined, if that was possible. He’d matured into the aristocratic features that had made him seem older as a teenager. Now they made him look like what he was: a whip-smart, highly educated leader in the city. One not to be trifled with by enemies and whose cool elegance made him a favorite match for supermodels and actresses. Last she’d read, he’d been linked to someone famous. Who was it?

What did that matter? A distant voice mocked her for obsessing over his looks and love life at a time like this. But now that the moment she’d feared was finally here, an odd calm came over her. It was almost… Relief.

Maybe that was why she was able to summon a smile when he said her name again. “Tamara Pierce?”

He’d lowered his head a bit and leaned in so they could speak over the noise of the crowd. It was an oddly intimate gesture, like they were part of an exclusive club. She could smell a warm musky cologne as he drew even closer, his eyes fixed on her and filled with warmth.

It was then that his words hit her. Pierce. He’d called her by her mother’s maiden name, the name she’d been using ever since she left Boston.

She blinked up at him as the significance of that one word sank in. “Ms. Pierce,” he continued, apparently not thinking it odd that she was staring at him like a mute idiot. “I’m a friend of Ben’s.” He gestured over his shoulder toward Ben, who was leaning against a wall glaring at the poor man who was speaking to his girlfriend, Caitlyn.

Was it possible Gregory didn’t recognize her? A flicker of hope had her breath quickening and her smile broadening. She looked to Ben—of course, he was a friend of Ben’s, hadn’t Caitlyn told her that? He could be here to support Ben. Or maybe Caitlyn invited him….

Gregory started to speak again, and she turned her attention back to him. She instantly wished she hadn’t done that. His eyes were unnerving. His gaze was too direct. Too intense. Too…sexy.

“He told me you were the expert here,” he said. A smile hovered on his lips as he shoved his hands into his pockets and ducked his head again, in a charmingly self-effacing gesture. As if he was just another guy looking to learn some history and not a freakin’ billionaire playboy.

A billionaire playboy who didn’t recognize her.

A Reel Romance

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.**

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

Maggie Dallen

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

Maggie Dallen is a huge fan of happily-ever-afters. She writes contemporary and YA romance and has been known to rewrite the endings to classic love stories to ensure that they end on a happy note. In Maggie’s version, Ingrid Bergman does not get on the plane. She lives in Northern California and works at a yarn store to support her knitting addiction. For more info please visit maggiedallen.com.

Follow her on Twitter @Mag_Dallen. Or connect with her on Facebook


Tagged: , , , , ,

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.

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

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.


Tagged: , , , ,

Guest Review: My Fair Lord by Wilma Counts

Posted October 17, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: My Fair Lord by Wilma CountsReviewer: Tracy
My Fair Lord by Wilma Counts
Series: Once Upon a Bride #1
Published by Lyrical Press
Publication Date: October 17th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Well-bred, well-dressed, and well-read, Henrietta, Harriet, and Hero are best friends who have bonded over good books since their schooldays. Now these cultured ladies are ready to make their own happy endings—each in her own way . . .

Lady Henrietta Parker, daughter of the Earl of Blakemoor, has turned down many a suitor for fear that the ton’s bachelors are only interested in her wealth. But despite the warnings of her dearest friends, Harriet and Hero, she can’t resist the challenge rudely posed by her stepsister: transform an ordinary London dockworker into a society gentleman suitable for the “marriage mart.” Only after a handshake seals the deal does Retta fear she may have gone too far . . .

When Jake Bolton is swept from the grime of the seaport into the elegance of Blakemoor House, he appears every inch the rough, cockney working man who is to undergo Retta’s training in etiquette, wardrobe, and elocution. But Jake himself is a master of deception—with much more at stake than a drawing room wager. But will his clandestine mission take second place to his irresistible tutor, her intriguing proposal . . . and true love?

Henrietta, in a disagreement with her half-sister, agrees to let her pick out a man from the docks so that Henrietta can turn him into a gentleman.  The stakes are high as if she loses Henrietta, or Retta as she’s known to her family, has to hand over her favorite horse.

The man that Retta’s sister picks ends up being the third son of Duke who is undercover.  Since Retta’s household is under suspicion of handing sensitive information over to the French, Jake takes the chance to get inside the Parker house.  Retta knows that something is not quite right with Jake as he learns extremely quickly, plays the piano and states quotes from philosophers.  She wants to win the bet so she brushes off her misgivings.  Jake is enthralled with Retta from the start but knows that he has to play his part til the end.  He just didn’t plan on falling in love with his teacher.

This was a take on the old the My Fair Lady story.  Teach a lower class person to be one of the nobility and fool the masses.  Only Jake was fooling the Parker’s all along as he was actually nobility already.

The story was cute and I liked Jake but I never felt a connection with either Retta or Jake and didn’t see the connection between the two of them either, I’m sorry to say.

The spy part of the book was more than a bit confusing but in the end was very simple.  I think the author added things in to make things exciting but it felt like filler and, imho, was unnecessary.  It dragged in places and I found that frustrating.  Overall a decent read but not wonderful for me.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: The Scotsman Who Saved Me by Hannah Howell

Posted September 27, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Scotsman Who Saved Me by Hannah HowellReviewer: Tracy
The Scotsman Who Saved Me by Hannah Howell
Series: Seven Brides for Seven Scotsmen #1
Published by Zebra
Publication Date: September 26th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance, Westerns
Pages: 352
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

A brutal attack on Emily Stanton’s family has left her for dead . . . until she is found in the woods by a handsome stranger with a thick brogue who vows to protect her. There’s only one problem: As a woman with a noble English background, she has no business keeping company with such a man.

For Scotsman Iain MacEnroy, Emily’s high-tone accent is a bitter reminder of the oppressive regime he left behind. The last thing he needs is to be burdened by the needs of a beautiful, blue-eyed Englishwoman. But taking care of elegant, educated Emily begins to transform Iain in ways he never imagined. Could it be that the deep divisions from the old world no longer apply in the new—and that Iain and Emily can share a passion as lush and wild as the Scottish highlands themselves?

Iain and his brothers find Emily Stanton hiding with her nephew after they first find her sister and husband slaughtered and their house on fire.  Emily had been shot so the MacEnroy brothers take them back to their homestead and heal her.

Emily knows that once she’s healed that she should leave as she’s putting the MacEnroy’s in danger but she feels so safe with them – especially with Iain – that she just can’t make herself go.  Iain thinks that Emily is the most beautiful woman he’s ever met but when he finds out that she’s English gentry he grows cold.  The English gentry are the ones who forced the MacEnroy’s from their home in Scotland and burned it down.  He has no love for them and because of this has a hard time trusting Emily.  Of course as Iain gets to know Emily he finds that she’s nothing like the woman who forced them to flee their Homeland.  As Emily and Iain gets closer as time goes by they find themselves not only fighting for their lives but fighting their attraction to each other as well.

I’m not normally an American Frontier Historical romance lover but this was Hannah Howell so I needed to give it a shot.  It was definitely an decent read but not one I absolutely loved.

The story is that Emily and her sister and brother-in-law fled England because their cousin was after them.  He wanted the title that would go to Emily and her sister’s sons if they had any.  He wanted to make sure that they never had any so that he would eventually inherit the Dukedom– yeah, the guy was nuts.  I know you’re wondering about the line of succession in this book.  Apparently this wasn’t a Royal Dukedom but one that was bestowed on Emily’s ancestor for some reason.  That ancestor had the balls to negotiate about the line of succession and supposedly won so that it didn’t have to be a direct male line.  Emily’s nephew or her own son (if there ever was one) could inherit before their cousin would.

Anyway, with Emily, and soon all of the MacEnroy’s fighting to keep Emily and little Neddy alive, tensions were running high.  Because of this Iain was forced to look at Emily in a new light and realized she was nothing like the woman who had done his family wrong back in Scotland.  When he finally let himself trust and love her he was a changed man.  They made a cute couple.

The story itself was interesting but the book dragged in places. While I used to absolutely love Howell’s writing I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t a huge fan of it in this book.  In fact, it was quite stilted in the beginning and it was a bit disconcerting.  It just didn’t leave me in a good mindset for the rest of the book.  Despite not loving the book I’ll probably pick up the next book in the series to see what happens with the next MacEnroy brother.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Bring the Heat by G.A. Aiken

Posted September 15, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Bring the Heat by G.A. AikenReviewer: Jen
Bring the Heat by G.A. Aiken
Series: Dragon Kin #9
Also in this series: Light My Fire, Dragon on Top, Bring the Heat
Published by Zebra
Publication Date: August 29th 2017
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 416
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

HE SAYS . . .I, Aidan the Divine, am . . . well, divine. My name was given to me by the Dragon Queen herself! I’m a delight! Cheerful. Charming. And a mighty warrior who is extremely handsome, with a very large and well-hidden hoard of gold. I am also royal-born, despite the fact that most in my family are horrendous beings who don’t deserve to live. And yet, Branwen the Awful—a low-born, no less—either tells me to shut up or, worse, ignores me completely.

SHE SAYS . . .I’ll admit, I ignore Aidan the Divine because it annoys him. A lot. But we have so much to do right now, I can’t worry about why he keeps staring at me, or why he always sits so close, or why he keeps looking at me like he’s thinking about kissing me. We have our nations to save and no time for such bloody foolishness . . . no matter how good Aidan looks or how long his spiked tail is. Because if we’re going to win this war before it destroys everything we love, we’ll have to face our enemies together, side by side and without distractions. But if we make it out alive, who knows what the future will hold . . .

My minute or so of lazy Googling didn’t give me a definitive answer, but this book feels like a partial conclusion (or at least a pivot point) in G.A. Aiken’s long running Dragon Kin series, since it resolves a couple conflicts in the series and checks in with tons of past characters. If you haven’t read the whole series, I’d argue you can still pick up the book and enjoy yourself, but I do think you’ll get more out of it if you’ve read at least a couple other books from the series. (You especially should read book 1 because that’s Annwyl’s book, and I love me some Annwyl!)

This time, the hero is Aidan the Divine, and the heroine is Branwen the Awful. If you’ve ever read a Dragon Kin book you know the names are totally ridiculous (and OMFG so hard to keep track of), but I do love the way the women are usually given brutal and powerful titles while the men often get the pretty and silly ones. In the grand tradition of the series, Branwen does indeed live up to her brutal name. She’s a tough, deadly military leader, but I really loved that she also has a lightness that some of the other heroines of the series don’t have. And Aidan is a cute match for her. He’s gorgeous and kind, and he is clearly smitten with Branwen even at the start of the book. He knows he has to wait patiently for Branwen to come around, though, and it showed how perfect a match he was for her.

But, this series isn’t really about relationship development. There’s no deep dive into characterization, no slow build up of tender feelings. All the books follow a similar formula, with lots of sex and lots of the woman being too busy kicking butt to realize that maybe she actually likes the guy attached to the penis she’s been enjoying, until she finally gets a clue and it’s the end. The appeal of this series for me is the way it’s so female-centric. The tone was set in book 1 with Annwyl, who is the baddest of all the badass warriors. (Seriously, she makes a major appearance in this book and she literally single handedly conquers hell. This lady ain’t messing around.) There’s been a lot of talk about female rage in fiction recently, and this series has that in spades. The women don’t get victimized, don’t get pushed around, don’t get dominated. They are the meanest, the strongest, and the smartest, and they rule the world. It is an incredibly satisfying fantasy, and I love to pick up a Dragon Kin book after I’ve read a few too many books about women getting held back, abused, slut shamed, and murdered. 

I think this book is one of my favorite installments in this series because I liked seeing the past characters and I enjoyed Branwen and Aidan. If you’ve read any of the others I think you might like it too. If you have read some and didn’t enjoy them, or if you don’t like raucous, funny, violent fairytales, you should probably move along.

Grade: 4 out of 5

 

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,