Publisher: Self-Published

Guest Review: Faking it by Christina Ross

Posted March 7, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Faking it by Christina RossReviewer: Tracy
Faking It by Christina Ross
Series: The Making It series #1
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: December 2nd 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 230
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Jackson Cruise is super hot, super successful, and his movies have made billions at the box office. But when the paparazzi photograph him kissing another man, Jackson’s true sexuality quickly comes into question in ways that might destroy his career.

Start the damage control now.

Enter emerging actress Sienna Jones, who is offered millions to become Jackson’s new girlfriend. Sienna decides to take the job and fake it, and before long, her star starts to rise as her and Jackson’s fake relationship begins to trend on Twitter.

All while the actor’s hunky security guard, Austin Black, looks on at Sienna in lust.

As Sienna and Austin become friends—and then a whole lot more after one steamy night of passion—the question is simple: How long can Sienna continue to fake it when she realizes that she’s falling in love.

Sienna Jones is about to make it big.  She just won a coveted award at the Cannes Film Festival but before anything else can happen she has a meeting with her agent who has another part for her to play.  Jackson Cruise is gay and in the closet.  He’s an action star and doesn’t want his sexuality known but was just captured on film kissing another man.  In order to turn the tide of the public Jackson and his agent are proposing that Sienna pose as his girlfriend for 8 months and then break it off.  They feel that’s good amount of time and Sienna will be paid 10 million dollars. Sienna feels for Jackson and agrees.

Almost the minute that Sienna signs on the dotted line she meets Austin Black, Jackson’s head of security.  The man is amazing and Sienna can’t manage to keep her eyes off of him.  The sexual tension continues to build on both Sienna’s and Austin’s part but they can’t be together.  If they are seen together or even there’s even a hint of them together then Sienna loses the money.  After being poor her whole life she’s not about to let that happen.  Sienna’s determined to make Austin see that they can’t be together for another few months but instead she ends up in bed with him.

Will they be able to wait 7 more months to be together?  Austin says he’ll wait but anything could happen.

Faking It has an interesting premise that immediately caught my eye.  I was excited to read about these two and how they would handle everything.  The book was well written and I liked a lot of the book but Austin and Sienna spent so much time apart in the book it was hard to feel they were falling in love – it felt more like lust to me.

Sienna was a great character.  I liked her a lot and I loved that she wasn’t letting her insta-fame go to her head.  She was a smart girl and her word was her bond.  Except she did accept Austin’s dinner invitation which of course was a huge mistake (as I knew it would be).

The thing I really didn’t understand is that supposedly the only people who knew about the fake relationship is just few people but as the book went on there were so many people that would have had to have known what was going on in order to do their work that I was a bit baffled by it all.  For a “secret” relationship it really wasn’t that much of a secret.  SO many people could have easily ratted on them – it was a little disconcerting.

Jackson was a good guy and I liked him (except for their first date when he was a mess).  Austin was a good man too but honestly I hardly got to know him so it was hard for me to want him and Sienna to get together.

Despite my issues I thought it was cute story and will definitely read the next book in the series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


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Joint Review: Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews

Posted February 28, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Joint Review: Sweep in Peace by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles, #2) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #2
Also in this series: Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1), Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1)
Published by Ilona Andrews
Publication Date: November 13th 2015
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 237
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Dina DeMille doesn’t run your typical Bed and Breakfast. Her inn defies laws of physics, her fluffy dog is secretly a monster, and the only paying guest is a former Galactic tyrant with a price on her head. But the inn needs guests to thrive, and guests have been scarce, so when an Arbitrator shows up at Dina's door and asks her to host a peace summit between three warring species, she jumps on the chance.

Unfortunately, for Dina, keeping the peace between Space Vampires, the Hope-Crushing Horde, and the devious Merchants of Baha-char is much easier said than done. On top of keeping her guests from murdering each other, she must find a chef, remodel the inn...and risk everything, even her life, to save the man she might fall in love with. But then it's all in the day's work for an Innkeeper…

Dina Demille runs an intergalactic B&B, an Inn, that caters to more difficult guests. When the Inn was built it sat at a busy crossroads, but since the new highway was built it’s fallen off the map, so to speak, and guests are few and far between. Since the Inn needs guests to survive, Dina agrees to host a Peace Treaty between 3 very dangerous species. She knows it’s risky, but desperate times and all that. Only she didn’t predict just how terribly wrong things would go.

Holly: I seriously love that you’re reading this series. I’m giving myself a pat on the back for forcing you to read outside your comfort zone. Were you happy to be back visiting Dina in her Inn?

Rowena: This is a good series. I’m not all that into paranormals or urban fantasy, not like you are anyway, but I’m glad you’re making me read these books. I’m really enjoying them. I was really happy being back in this world, but I really missed Sean, at least in the beginning. Holy cow, Dina really does get the difficult guest, right?

Holly: She really does. I love how calm she is under pressure. Vampires and the Hope-Crushing Horde about to rip each other’s faces off? No big deal. Let’s all have some tea. I definitely missed Sean in this book, too, but Dina is a fantastic heroine. I was totally wrapped up in her struggles to get everything ready for the summit.

Rowena: Yessss! She is a really good innkeeper, too. She genuinely cares about people and she takes her job very seriously. I admire the hell out of her for doing her job, even when it’s hard and still doing what she feels is right for her Inn, for her guests and for the people she cares about.

Holly: I do think the story was kind of slow in the middle. I liked this book a lot, but it isn’t my favorite. One Fell Sweep, book 3, is.

Rowena: I didn’t think the story was slow, maybe because this was all new to me? I’m not sure. I just know that as soon as I finished it, I wanted to read the next book pronto so I did.

There was a lot going on in this book and I thought that Andrews did a great job of bringing all of those individual stories together and still giving us romance fans that little, tiny romance that I was itching for from the beginning. I enjoyed this book so much that I couldn’t wait to start the next book…and I did.

Holly: Let’s talk about the individual characters for a minute. What did you think of Orro, the disgraced Red Cleaver Chef Dina hired? Did you adore him like I did?

Rowena: Of course, I did. I loved how ornery and dramatic he was, but I also loved that he took care of Dina and was able to find himself a home at Gertrude Hunt. I’m not going to lie, I was low key hungry after reading every scene he was in….I also wanted to be a guest at the summit so that I can eat the food he prepared. Everything sounded so delicious.

Holly: What about the Arbitrator, George, and his companions, Jack, Gaston and Sophie (for those who are familiar with Andrews’ other works, they’re crossover characters from the The Edge series)? George made me so angry, but in the end I couldn’t hate him.

Rowena: As for George, I was just as mad at him as Dina was at first but in the end, I really liked him and am curious about his story. He makes the hard decisions that nobody wants to make and he really took a lot on himself, as well. That can’t be an easy life to live and yet, he does it. Throw in the drama between him and Sophie, it made my heart go even softer on him.

Holly: Yep, that’s how I felt about George, too. I knew him from the other series, but even so..he made me so angry! In the end, I couldn’t help but love him. I actually liked Jack a lot more than George after reading The Edge series. But here George was the star. I hope we see more from him and his crew later.

Holly: I loved it when Jack sprayed Officer Marais. I almost died laughing.

Rowena: Jack, Gaston and Sophie were good characters but I wasn’t as invested in them as I was George, Arland and that thing that came in and killed those vampires. What was he called again?

Holly: Turin Adin, the Merchants ace. His story broke my heart. I loved him.

Rowena: Also??? Turin Adin, I knew exactly who he was not long after he came onto the scene. The minute he said, “Thank you” all soft like to Dina after she apologized for not protecting him as she should have, I was like, there he is. He’s home…and then I squeed like a little schoolgirl with a crush.

Holly: I knew right away who he really was, too, but Dina’s moment of discovery was so awesome. I loved her reaction and how determined she was to save him.

Rowena: My favorite quote from the entire book was, “Nothing I regret. You’re alive. That makes me happy.” Excuse me while I swoon.

Holly: Oh, how I melted when he said that. My heart got all happy when Dina was like “Oh hell no, you can’t have him”. Sigh.

Rowena: Dude, what about the lengths Dina went to save the Turin Adin??? Talk about heady stuff. I’m so here for that.

Holly: I love how nuanced these characters are. Like Nuan Cee, the head Merchant. I wanted to hate him for refusing to let Turin Adin go, but I couldn’t. His reason for needing Turin Adin was such a good one.

Rowena: Yesss!! I liked that about everyone in the book. They were all driven by something that wasn’t greed (well except for that one house but Turin Adin took care of them real quick like), reasons that were understandable. It would have been so easy to just make them all greedy bastards but I liked how fleshed out each house and each character in this book is.

I’m really coming to love these characters and the world that Ilona Andrews has built for Dina. I love the drawings that are included and all of the drama that comes Dina’s way when she accepts new guests. I felt every emotion that Dina (I was pissed at the damn vampires for coming in the front, I was exasperated with Officer Marais for making things harder for Dina to conduct business and I was nosy as all get out to find out everyone’s stories) felt and that scene where Dina makes them all feel what each other was feeling?? That was pretty awesome. There wasn’t much that I didn’t enjoy about this book. The characters, the stories, the setting, it all worked for me. Great book pimp!

Holly: I love this whole series. Dina is wonderful, so is Gertrude Hunt and all who inhabit or visit. I’m so glad you loved it (is now a good time to say I Told You So?). I’m going to give it a 4.5 out of 5. You?

Rowena: I’m really loving the hell out of these books. I love Dina. I love Sean. Hell, I even love Arland and Gertrude Hunt is the bomb too. I really like that the Inn is a character itself. So much goodness in this book, I give it 4.5 out of 5 too.

Final Grades

Holly: 4.5 out of 5
Rowena: 4.5 out of 5

Innkeeper Chronicles


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Review: Cherish Hard by Nalini Singh

Posted February 27, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Cherish Hard by Nalini SinghReviewer: Holly
Cherish Hard (Hard Play, #1) by Nalini Singh
Series: Hard Play #1
Also in this series: Cherish Hard, Cherish Hard (Hard Play, #1)
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: November 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 372
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh kicks off her new Hard Play contemporary romance series with a sizzling story that’ll leave you smiling…

Sailor Bishop has only one goal for his future – to create a successful landscaping business. No distractions allowed. Then he comes face-to-face and lips-to-lips with a woman who blushes like an innocent… and kisses like pure sin.

Ísa Rain craves a man who will cherish her, aches to create a loving family of her own. Trading steamy kisses with a hot gardener in a parking lot? Not the way to true love. Then a deal with the devil (aka her CEO-mother) makes Ísa a corporate VP for the summer. Her main task? Working closely with a certain hot gardener.

And Sailor Bishop has wickedness on his mind.

As Ísa starts to fall for a man who makes her want to throttle and pounce on him at the same time, she knows she has to choose – play it safe and steady, or risk all her dreams and hope Sailor doesn’t destroy her heart.

We were first introduced to Sailor Bishop in Rock Hard, which was released first but comes later in the timeline. Sailor is determined to make his own way in the world and prove that he isn’t like his deadbeat father. He’s been working hard to build his landscaping business and he knows what he needs to give him his next big push is a contract with a big corporation. Years ago he had a crush on Isa, but he lost track of her. When she turns up and unexpectedly starts making out with him at the school where he does landscaping, he’s shocked..and thrilled. She tries to disappear again, but Sailor isn’t letting her go. The timing couldn’t be worse since he needs to focus on his business, but he knows Isa is worth fighting for.

Isa spent her childhood being neglected by her parents while they spent their time building corporate empires. She has no interest in the corporate life, nor does she want to date someone who is married to his job. In a moment of sheer insanity after running into her ex-fiance and his new love, she jumps on Sailor. She can’t deny he’s smoking hot, but she won’t come second to a career again.

When Isa is blackmailed by her mother into acting as the company VP for the summer, she ends up working directly with Sailor as he’s just been hired to kickstart the landscaping on a new project. They have chemistry in spades and Isa really likes Sailor as a person. He wants more than a fling, but Isa isn’t sure she can take a chance on a guy who can’t commit to putting her first.

This book wasn’t as successful for me as others Singh has written. While I didn’t dislike it, necessarily, I didn’t love it. I wasn’t swept up in the story, nor did I connect with either of the main characters. I didn’t really understand Isa’s drive to keep her mother in the lives of her younger siblings. If her mother was that distant, why push to keep her involved? Her hot-and-cold attitude toward Sailor made sense based on her past, but I felt like she used it as a roadblock long after she should have let it go.

I liked Sailor’s ambition and his determination to explore things with Isa. I also liked seeing him with his family, and the way Isa was with her siblings. The friendships they had outside each other were great as well.

While this isn’t my favorite of Singh’s novels, it was well written and I enjoyed parts of it.

Grade: 3 out of 5


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Guest Review: Merry Christmas, My Viscount by Emily Windsor

Posted February 14, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Merry Christmas, My Viscount by Emily WindsorReviewer: Tracy
Merry Christmas, My Viscount (Rules of the Rogue #2) by Emily Windsor
Series: Rules of the Rogue #2
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: November 27th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Mrs Lily Mereworth’s List of Bold New Life Resolutions. To be completed by Christmas Eve, 1814.

• Burn Miss Pikesworth’s Guide to Etiquette – Achieved.
• Visit a gaming hell and win oneself lots of money – Achieved.
• Imbibe new-fangled absinthe – Preparations underway
• Seduce a rogue – ?

Attending a Christmastide gathering is surely the best way for the most proper widow Mrs Lily Mereworth to complete her list and banish her past. After all, there will be more than a few suitable gentlemen present.If only a shrewd, hazel-eyed viscount didn’t keep disrupting her plans…

Newly ennobled Viscount Asher Rainham has no schedule for seduction, Christmas or dallying with women. He has merely turned up for the good company, intelligent card playing and excellent brandy. But as snow swathes the land, a certain Mrs Mereworth confounds his expectations and assaults his methodical senses.Asher, spymaster, a man who never takes risks, finds himself in need of some Rules of the Rogue…

Ghost stories on a windy night, swordplay down the Great Portrait Gallery, snapdragon in the dark – a lady and a gentleman with no thought to love… Merry Christmas.

Lily Mereworth had been under her husband’s thumb for so long that when he died she decided she wanted to be the improper lady he never allowed her to be.  She makes a list of things she’d like to accomplish and as of the start of this book she’d checked off all but two of them.  The two that remained were to drink absinthe and to seduce a rogue.  She was inspecting the male guests at the Christmas house party she was attending to see if any of them caught her fancy enough to actually seduce.  The man who seemed the most likely candidate just didn’t do anything for her.  The one who did, Viscount Rainham, seemed like a man who would want more than one night – a relationship even. Lily wasn’t about to give up her independence just to have sex.

Asher Rainham is perplexed by Lily Mereworth. He can’t quite figure her out, but he likes what he sees after their rough start. The more time he spends with Lily the more he likes her and actually finds himself falling in love with her. She wants to bed him but doesn’t want a relationship.  Can she take the chance of losing her independence by going forward with her seduction plans?

Let me start by saying that I enjoyed the premise of this story.  I thought that Lily’s character was wonderful and I was pulling for her to become the independent woman she dreamed of being. Asher was a guy with a totally analytical mind who had little to no control over his mouth.  He liked to babble facts and luckily Lily enjoyed that fact about him.  I thought they were great together and was happy that they finally worked things out and got their HEA.

Unfortunately, what I didn’t like about this book was the writing.  I felt like the author tried too hard to impress the reader with words.  I know that sounds strange, this is a book after all, but I felt the story got lost in the over-use of a thesaurus. Or, sometimes, the non-use of the thesaurus. At one point it was written that the hero didn’t “waver or vacillate” which threw me as that just means that he doesn’t waver or waver.  It’s the same thing.  She also said he felt annoyance and exasperation – again, the same thing.  Then there were the times when she would use awkward words and I just felt like she was trying to impress me with her vocabulary.  Why use stingy, cheap, or even thrifty when you can use parsimonious?  Obviously I know the definition of these words, and didn’t find the book difficult to read, but that doesn’t mean that I want them used regularly (this was just one example).  They just don’t roll off the tongue – or the eyeball in this case.  Making use of common words doesn’t dumb down a book, imho, but in this case utilizing ones not normally used in conversation threw me out of the book time after time.  I found it frustrating, as well as highly amusing. Maybe I’m the only one who found this bothersome as there are quite a few high star reviews on this book on Goodreads, IDK.  I believe this is a book that you’d have to read and decide for yourself what you think.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Rules of the Rogue Series


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Weekly Wrap Up: January 29 – February 4, 2018

Posted February 4, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Promotions | 1 Comment

What We Reviewed

Tracy’s review of A Devil in Scotland (No Ordinary Hero #3) by Suzanne Enoch | 4 out of 5
Holly’s review of Whiskey Sharp: Unraveled (Whiskey Sharp #1) by Lauren Dane | 3.5 out of 5
Tracy’s review of Baby I’m Howling for You (Alphaville #1) by Christine Warren | 3 out of 5
Tracy’s review of A Scandal by Any Other Name (A Tale of Two Sisters #2) by Kimberly Bell | 1 out of 5
Casee’s retro-review of Memories of Us (Hearts of the South #5) by Linda Winfree | 4.5 out of 5
Tracy’s review of #starstruck by Sariah Wilson | 4 out of 5

What We Posted

Books to Binge On: February 2018
Monthly Reads: January 2018
What Are You Reading? (+ Historical Giveaway)
WTF Cover Saturday (246)
Sunday Spotlight: The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Book News

Emma Chase dropped a cover reveal for a book that I didn’t even know she was writing but…I’m hella excited for it because it looks like just my kind of book. Check it out.

Weekly Wrap Up: January 29 – February 4, 2018Getting Schooled by Emma Chase
Published by Self-Published, Emma Chase
Publication Date: June 26th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The newest novel from New York Times bestselling author Emma Chase.

Head of the class...

Garrett Daniels has this whole life thing figured out.

The cocky, charismatic former high school star quarterback is an idolized football coach and "cool" teacher in the hometown where he's not just a golden boy — he's platinum. He has good friends, a great house on the lake, and the best damn sidekick a man could ask for: Snoopy, the albino beagle.

Then...Callie Carpenter comes home.

And knocks him right on his tight end zone.

Back to school...

Callie has a pretty sweet life herself...on the other side of the country. But circumstances — that she'd prefer to never speak of again — have brought her back home, helping out her parents and substitute teaching at her old high school.

Now she's facing bickering, raging hormones, constant gossip, awkward weirdness, and drama galore...and that's just the teachers.

Just like old times...

When Garrett offers to show his former high school sweetheart the secrets of his winning teacher ways, Callie jumps at the chance - and then has to stop herself from jumping him.

Good friends are all they can ever be.

Or...these teachers just might end up getting schooled — by love.

Yeah, this sounds like my cup of tea so I’m going to be all over this one, once it comes out. Seeing this in her newsletter this week was like waking up on Christmas morning and getting the one thing that your parents told you, you weren’t getting. What a delightful treat and I’m really digging that cover. What a hottie!

Weekly Wrap Up: January 29 – February 4, 2018The Governess Game (Girl Meets Duke, #2) by Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke #2
Also in this series: The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1), The Duchess Deal
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: August 28th 2018
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson

The accidental governess.

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart... without risking her own.

The infamous rake.

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling... and he’s in danger of falling, hard.

Ooh, another Tessa Dare release. I adored the first book in this series so I’m really looking forward to digging into this one. The cover is super cute even if the guy on the cover looks more appropriate for a contemporary romance with that hair cut…still, the way that they’re looking at each other? Hot!

Current Giveaways

Monthly Reads: January 2018

What Are You Reading? (+ Historical Giveaway)

Sunday Spotlight: February 2018

Giveaway Winners

We have some winners to announce this week! Congratulations to the following…

What Are You Reading? (+ Contemporary Giveaway)


Sunday Spotlight: January 2018


Monthly Reads: December 2017


Winners: An email will be sent to you shortly. Please let us know where you would like us to send your prize. You have two weeks to get back to us before we choose another winner. Check back on Sundays to see if you’re a winner in one of our giveaways.

That does it for this week’s weekly wrap up. How was your week in books? Hear any book news that you’d like to share? Get any new books you want to share? Review any books we should check out? Please share.

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