Tag: Giveaways

Sunday Spotlight: The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland

Posted November 10, 2019 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. 🙂

What to do when everyone you’ve always relied on seem to disappear at the moment you need them the most? Look to yourself for the answers. From Stephanie Butland, the author of The Lost for Words Bookshop, THE CURIOUS HEART OF AILSA RAE (St. Martin’s Griffin, October 29, 2019, $17.99), will warm readers from the inside out. An emotional story about love and loss, Butland’s thoughtful imagination will tug at the heartstrings of all readers.

Sunday Spotlight: The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie ButlandThe Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction
Pages: 397
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Ailsa Rae is learning how to live. She's only a few months past the heart transplant that - just in time - saved her life. Life should be a joyful adventure. But . . .

Her relationship with her mother is at breaking point. She knows she needs to find her father. She's missed so much that her friends have left her behind. She's felt so helpless for so long that she's let polls on her blog make her decisions for her. And now she barely knows where to start on her own.

And then there's Lennox. Her best friend and one time lover. He was sick too. He didn't make it. And now she's supposed to face all of this without him.

But her new heart is a bold heart.

She just needs to learn to listen to it . . .

Excerpt

9 October, 2017

Ailsa is alone when it happens.

‘We think we have your heart.’ Bryony, the transplant coordinator, is smiling from ear to ear, for once. Given that her usual message is No News Yet, that’s hardly surprising.

Ailsa feels her hands fly to her chest, as though to protect what’s in there, hold it before it dies. She makes herself move them to her lap. They are shaking. So is her voice.

‘A new heart?’ And then she feels the patched-up heart she has summon up the life to expand with hope: with permission.

Her head is a scramble of thoughts, the practical and the terrible. She needs to be nil by mouth, so when did she last eat? Where is her mum? If she’s getting a heart, that means someone, somewhere has died.

Ailsa’s mother rushes in behind Bryony, breathless, bringing cold air and cigarette smoke with her. They fight the stuffiness of the room for a second before being absorbed. ‘They told me at the nurses’ station to get along here fast. What’s happened?’ She steps across the room; her hand is in her daughter’s. All Ailsa can do is nod at her, squeeze her fingers, because her throat has tightened and her mouth is drier than usual. She wants to say: I wish you had been here when Bryony came in. You deserved to hear it with me. But that’s silly, and unimportant, and anyway, you don’t get to choose these things. You get to accept them.

‘We need to have you prepped and in theatre in three hours,’ Bryony says. ‘Hold onto your hats.’ She flips open the file in her hand, picks up Ailsa’s notes from the bottom of the bed, and so it begins.

Or ends, depending on which way you look at it.

From The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland. Copyright © 2019 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Publishing Group.

Giveaway Alert

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

Sunday Spotlight: November 2019

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 Stephanie Butland

Author Photo

Stephanie Butland is a writer, who is thriving after breast cancer. (She used to say she was a survivor, but that was a bit lacking in joie de vivre.)
Although she’d never have chosen it, her dance with cancer has changed her life in many positive ways. Now she is happier, healthier, and more careful with her precious life and the precious people and things in it.

Her writing career began with her dance with cancer, and now she is a novelist.

Aside from writing, she works as a speaker and trainer, and she works with charities to help raise awareness and money in the hope that cancer will soon be about as scary as a wart.

She lives in Northumberland.


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Monthly Reads: October 2019

Posted November 5, 2019 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 7 Comments

Casee: October was a pretty pathetic month for me. I only read five books and that included one reread. Here’s hoping that November is a better reading month for me.

Live For You by Michele Mills | 2.5 out of 5
Drowning to Breathe by A.L. Jackson (audio) | 4.5 out of 5
Where Lightning Strikes by A.L. Jackson (audio) | 4 out of 5
Hold on to Hope by A.L. Jackson | 4.5 out of 5
Saving Grace by Julie Garwood (reread) | 5 out of 5 (every day, all day)

My favorite read of the month, hands down was Hold on to Hope. I adore that book. I couldn’t get enough of Evan and Frankie Leigh. My least favorite was Live For You by Michele Mills. It was just over the top, even for a dystopian. Like way over.

Holly: I had intended to read a lot more than I did, but the month kind of got away from me. I finished 18 books.

Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James (audio) | 4.5 out of 5
The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St. James (audio) | 4 out of 5
Shopping for a Billionaire by Julia Kent (audio) | DNF
Heartbreaker by Linda Howard (reread) | 3.5 out of 5
The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith (audio) | 4.25 out of 5
Saving Grace by Julie Garwood (reread) | 5 out of 5
Heart Thief by Robin D. Owens (audio) (reread) | 4.25 out of 5
Heart Fate by Robin D. Owens (audio) (reread) | 4 out of 5
Heart Change by Robin D. Owens (audio) (reread) | 3.75 out of 5
Heart Choice by Robin D. Owens (audio) (reread) | 3.75 out of 5
Angel in a Devil’s Arms by Julie Anne Long | 4 out of 5
Quiet Man by Kristen Ashley | 4 out of 5
Heart Sight by Robin D. Owens (audio) (reread) | 3.5 out of 5
Fairytale Come Alive by Kristen Ashley (reread) | 3.75 out of 5
Warrior Fae Trapped by K.F. Breene (audio) | 4 out of 5
Warrior Fae Princess by K.F. Breene (audio) | 3.5 out of 5
The Gamble by Kristen Ashley (reread) | 3.25 out of 5
The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare (audio) | 4.25 out of 5

My favorite read of the month was Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James. It was just the book I was looking for. Honorable mentions go to The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare and The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith. I enjoyed both (and the narrators, as well). My least favorite was Warrior Fae Princess by K.F. Breene. It wasn’t a bad book, but it didn’t compare to the other books in the series.

Rowena: October was a busy month for me at work and at home but I still managed to get some reading done. I read 13 books and I counted Saving Grace twice because I read it twice. I love that book so much that I read it at the beginning of the month and at the end of the month to prepare for our team review. Man, I love that book.

Saving Grace by Julie Garwood (eBook) (Re-read) | 5 out of 5
The Wedding (Laird’s Fiancees #2) by Julie Garwood (eBook) (Re-read) | 5 out of 5
Moonlighter (The Company #1) by Sarina Bowen (eARC) | 4.25 out of 5
Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren (eARC) | 3.75 out of 5
The Bride (Laird’s Fiancees #1) by Julie Garwood (eBook) (Re-read) | 4 out of 5
The Bromance Book Club (The Bromance Book Club #1) by Lyssa Kay Adams (eARC) | 4 out of 5
Huge Deal (21 Wall Street #3) by Lauren Layne (Re-Read) (Audiobook) | 4.5 out of 5
Marriage on Madison Avenue (The Central Park Pact #3) by Lauren Layne (eARC) | 3.75 out of 5
Blitzed (The Play Book #3) by Alexa Martin (eARC) | 3 out of 5
Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally (eARC) | 4 out of 5
Saving Grace by Julie Garwood (eBook) | 5 out of 5
Getting Played (Getting Some #2) by Emma Chase (Audiobook) | 4.25 out of 5
A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh (eARC) | 3.75 out of 5

My favorite read of the month goes to Moonlighter by Sarina Bowen and Getting Played by Emma Chase. Honorable mentions go out to The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams and Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally. All of these books were fabulous reads and I can’t wait for everyone to read them. My least favorite read of the month goes to Blitzed by Alexa Martin. I wanted to love it but it was too slow in parts and I wasn’t as connected to Brynn and Maxwell the way that I was with TK and Poppy and that bummed me out.

Giveaway Alert

Three lucky winners will choose their prize (one book) from any of the books we logged this month. If you want to be entered to win, leave a comment on this post telling us what your favorite – and least favorite – reads of the month were.

Monthly Reads: October 2019

So…what was your favorite read of the month? And your least favorite? Use the Gleam Widget to enter! Good luck!


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Sunday Spotlight: The Play by Elle Kennedy

Posted October 13, 2019 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 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. 🙂

Elle Kennedy writes such smart romances. I love the witty banter and smart women. I always get sucked right in. But I’ll be honest. I didn’t love how my boy Hunter was treated in the first book. I’m so excited to see him get his story.

Sunday Spotlight: The Play by Elle KennedyThe Play by Elle Kennedy
Series: Briar U #3
Also in this series: The Chase (Briar U, #1), The Risk (Briar U #2), The Play
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 7, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 422
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

A brand-new standalone in the New York Times bestselling Briar U series!

She’s the player he never saw coming…

What I learned after last year’s distractions cost my hockey team our entire season? No more screwing up. No more screwing, period. As the new team captain, I need a new philosophy: hockey and school now, women later. Which means that I, Hunter Davenport, am officially going celibate…no matter how hard that makes things.

But there’s nothing in the rulebook that says I can’t be friends with a woman. And I won’t lie—my new classmate Demi Davis is one cool chick. Her smart mouth is hot as hell, and so is the rest of her, but the fact that she’s got a boyfriend eliminates the temptation to touch her.

Except three months into our friendship, Demi is single and looking for a rebound.

And she’s making a play for me.

Avoiding her is impossible. We’re paired up on a yearlong school project, but I’m confident I can resist her. We’d never work, anyway. Our backgrounds are too different, our goals aren’t aligned, and her parents hate my guts.

Hooking up is a very bad idea. Now I just have to convince my body—and my heart.

Excerpt

He’s obviously hiding something as he presses a few buttons on the machine to trigger the cool-down setting. When he glances at me again, his expression is sheepish. “I have a confession to make, but you have to promise not to be mad.”

“I will never promise that. Ever.”

“Seriously?

“Seriously. Tell me at your own peril.”

“Fine. I jerked off the other night—”

“Congratulations. Did your penis tingle when you came?”

“I wasn’t finished.”

“So you didn’t come?”

“I meant I wasn’t finished speaking,” he growls. “I jerked off the other night…fantasizing about you.”

My jaw drops.

Um. What?

“Oh. My. God.” I stare at him in utter disbelief. “Why would you ever tell me that?”

“Because I felt guilty about it. Like I needed to go to church and confess.”

I can feel myself blushing, and I suspect I’m redder than a tomato. Yes, I have many male friends, but this is the first time one of them has confessed to pleasuring themselves while fantasizing about me. I mean…it’s flattering, I guess? If TJ or Darius or—
I shudder at the mere thought of it.

Okay. Interesting response. The idea of my other guy friends masturbating to me is extremely unappealing. But the idea of Hunter stroking his cock and fantasizing about me is…

My thighs actually clench together at the dirty image.

Oh my God.

No.

Nope.

In. Ap. Propriate.

Hunter heaves a big sigh. “I feel so much better now that I got that off my chest.”

“Well, I don’t!” I can’t get the image out of my mind now, and that is so, so wrong.

His dark eyes twinkle. “Take it as a compliment.”

“No, thanks.”

He uses the hem of his shirt to mop up the sweat on his brow, which means he literally just flashed his entire chest to me and the rest of the gym. His washboard abs are glistening.

“Anyway, aside from the teeny little hiccup of me yanking it with you in mind, I’m truly digging this thing we have.” He gestures between us. “Promise me this will never change.”

“That what will never change?”

“That you’ll never want to sleep with me,” he says dramatically.

The sheer arrogance… I release a sigh of my own and reach over to pat his stupidly muscular arm. “I promise I will never want to sleep with you, Hunter.”

BONUS! Want more story? Get the bonus epilogue for The Play here.

Briar U

Giveaway Alert

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

Sunday Spotlight: October 2019

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 Elle Kennedy

A New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.

Elle writes romantic suspense and erotic contemporary romance for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!


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Monthly Reads: September 2019

Posted October 2, 2019 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 9 Comments

Casee: After a really great reading month August was for me, I had high hopes for myself for September. Alas, it wasn’t to be. I read/listened to nine book in September.

Follow Me Back by A.L. Jackson (audio) | 3.5 out of 5
Lead Me Home by A.L. Jackson (audio) | 4 out of 5
Lost to You by A.L. Jackson (audio) | 4 out of 5
Lethal Nights by Lora Leigh | 4 out of 5
Take This Regret by A.L. Jackson (audio) | 4.25 out of 5
If Forever Comes by A.L. Jackson (audio) | 4.5 out of 5
Die For You by Michele Mills | 4 out of 5
Kill For You by Michele Mills | 4.25 out of 5
A Stone in the Sea by A.L. Jackson (audio) | 4 out of 5

As you can see, I listened to a lot of A.L. Jackson. My favorite book of the month was If Forever Comes by A.L. Jackson, followed closely by Kill For You by Michele Mills.

Holly: September was a sad, sad reading month for me. I had so many things going on I just couldn’t concentrate. I finished 9 books, and the majority were re-reads.

The Secret by Julie Garwood (reread) (audio) | 4.5 out of 5
Ransom by Julie Garwood (reread) (audio) | 2.75 out of 5
The Wedding by Julie Garwood (reread) (audio) | 4.25 out of 5
Honor’s Splendour by Julie Garwood (reread) (audio)| 4 out of 5
Now You See Her by Linda Howard (reread) | 3.75 out of 5
Selkies are a Girl’s Best Friend by Molly Harper (audio) | 3.75 out of 5
Death Knell by Hailey Edwards (audio) | 3.5 out of 5
Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane (audio) | 4 out of 5
First Contact by Kat Green (audio) | 1.5 out of 5

My favorite new book of the month was Selkies Are a Girl’s Best Friend by Molly Harper, with an honorable mention to Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane. My least favorite was First Contact by Kat Green.

Rowena: It’s been an okay reading month for me, considering all of the personal stuff that went down in the last couple of months in my family. My Dad is finally out of the hospital and whatever has been bugging him the last few months seems to be doing a lot better so I’m not so worried all the time about him and that’s a good thing. I managed to get some reading in while taking my turn at the hospital, while sitting with him at follow up appointments and just on my own so that makes me happy.

Here’s what I read last month:

Heidi’s Guide to Four Letter Words by Tara Sivec & Andi Arndt (Audiobook) | 1.5 out of 5
Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane (eARC) | 4.5 out of 5
Love on Lexington Avenue (The Central Park Pact #2) by Lauren Layne (eARC) | 4.25 out of 5
No Judgments (Little Bridge Island #1) by Meg Cabot (eARC) | 3.25 out of 5
Heiress Gone Wild (Dear Lady Truelove #4) by Laura Lee Guhrke (eARC) | 4 out of 5
Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women #1) by Evie Dunmore (eBook) | 4 out of 5
Shadow Music (Highland Lairds #3) by Julie Garwood (eBook) | 4 out of 5
We Met in December by Rosie Curtis (eARC) | 3.75 out of 5
The Secret (Highland Lairds #1) by Julie Garwood (eBook) (Re-read) | 4.25 out of 5
Ransom (Highland Lairds #2) by Julie Garwood (eBook) (Re-read) | 4.5 out of 5
The Play (Briar U #3) by Elle Kennedy (eARC) | 4.25 out of 5
The Prize by Julie Garwood (eBook) (Re-read) | 4.25 out of 5
10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston (eARC) | 4 out of 5

My favorite reads of the month go to Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane and The Play (Briar U #3) by Elle Kennedy. Both books were fantastic and I cried during Don’t You Forget About Me and swooned at every turn in The Play. Great reads!

My least favorite read of the month goes to Heidi’s Guide to Four Letter Words by Tara Sivec and Andi Arndt. The heroine got on my nerves. I think her quirkiness was supposed to be cute and funny but I didn’t get it. She was too old to be that naive and I rolled my eyes all the way to San Diego with every chapter. I’m not the audience for that one and it bummed me out because I thought it would be super cute. Oh well.

Giveaway Alert

Three lucky winners will choose their prize (one book) from any of the books we logged this month. If you want to be entered to win, leave a comment on this post telling us what your favorite – and least favorite – reads of the month were.

Monthly Reads: September 2019

So…what was your favorite read of the month? And your least favorite? Use the Gleam Widget to enter! Good luck!


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Sunday Spotlight: Lethal Nights by Lora Leigh

Posted September 29, 2019 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 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. 🙂

I cannot quit Lora Leigh. There are certain things about her books & writing that drive me bonkers, but her stories and characters are incredibly compelling. Lethal Nights is no exception. Emma Jane and Ilya’s story was really good. As usual, I was sucked right in & didn’t get spit out until the last word. If you like romantic suspense and steamy sex, this book is definitely for you.

Sunday Spotlight: Lethal Nights by Lora LeighLethal Nights by Lora Leigh
Series: Brute Force #3
Also in this series: Lethal Nights
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 294
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

Ilya Dragonovich is no stranger to the dark side. As a safe-house owner for security agency Brute Force, Dragon knows that the battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man―and, sometimes, a beautiful woman…

Emma Jane Preston needs help. After her marriage crumbled, she believed she could get back to a normal, happy life. But her ex-husband moved among some shady characters, and now she needs the kind of protection that comes at a cost―one that only someone like Dragon can provide. But can Emma Jane trust this handsome, undercover operator to keep her safe when she is in danger of falling into the arms of the deeply seductive, fiery Dragon. . .and never letting go?

 
 

Excerpt

Excerpt from Lethal Nights by Lora Leigh

Ilya Nicholas Dragonovich.

Son of the Dragon. She thought she’d heard somewhere that that was the literal translation of his surname. If so, it fit him from head to toe.

Emma Jane stared back at the tall, dark vision of pure danger and dark, carnal sex appeal and wondered why she wasn’t shaking in her size 6 sneakers. A normal, everyday woman should never be forced to face such men. Just being in their presence drove home the fact that there might be pleasures, experiences, and hungers that would always be denied.

His sunbronzed face was covered on one side by a menacing tattoo of a dragon, red eyes glaring at her from just above his left brow. Rough-hewn features were arranged with a hint of aristocracy, but for the evidence of a once-broken nose and the shadow of scars beneath the dragon. The icy stoicism in his pale green eyes and expression called to her and made her heart ache as he stood before her, made her want to reach out and touch him.

She wanted to stroke him.

There was something about him that was just so primal, elemental. He was a force of nature. He made her heart race.

He expected her to be frightened. The man she’d always called Dragon when she saw him in the society pages stood on her front porch, all but glaring down at her. He seemed to be awaiting a less than welcoming response. She probably should be frightened. Would have been, but instead she was charmed.

“How can I help you, Mr. Dragonovich?” Was that surprise in his gaze? If so, she’d better hurry and relish the victory, because she had a feeling it wouldn’t last long. “The society pages precede you,” she assured him with a grin, pushing back her nerves. “I recognize you.” She wagged her brows. “‘Russian Lothario on the Loose’! I believe you had two young women of European royalty on your arm that night.”

The slash of his dark brow arched slowly, causing the head of that tattoo to tilt its snout just enough to look curious.

She decided in that moment she was in love with this man’s ink.

“If you recognize me, then perhaps you could invite me inside,” he suggested, the subtle flavor of his Russian accent sending a tingle up her spine. “I have an offer I’d like to discuss with you.”

An offer? For her?

She was ordinary. Men like him did not offer women like her anything.

“What kind of offer?” She couldn’t exactly hold back her suspicion.

Was that a grin edging his lips? A hint of amusement in a man who the paparazzi swore never smiled?

“The kind that ensures you keep your home when your divorce is final, and one that aids an agency I represent. I refuse to stand on your doorstep while you consider it though.”

An offer to save her home when she was certain her estranged husband was indeed going to be able to force her to sell it? Okay, she might want to hear this.

She stepped back. Not that she trusted him, but the call she’d put through to her cousin Mikayla Steele’s husband ensured help was on its way. It wasn’t every day a dragon stood on a girl’s doorstep and she couldn’t be too careful.

“I called my cousin’s husband, Nikolei Steele, when you stepped from your car,” she warned him. “He’s a badass and he’ll mess up your pretty face if I ask him to.” He stepped inside, and the once-spacious hallway suddenly seemed much smaller. He towered over her, surrounded her, the warmth of his body sinking into hers in a way that sent a shiver up her spine.

“Good choice.” He nodded, his gaze direct, as curious as his ink now appeared to be. “Nik Steele’s a good man. We’ll just wait for him . . .” He tilted his head to the side, causing his dragon to watch her as though with interest. “I must admit though, I don’t think I’ve ever had a beautiful woman call me pretty.”

Was that amusement gleaming in his eyes? The faintest hint of a smile at his lips?

“It’s the dragon.” She shrugged, narrowing her eyes on the iridescent scaled face. “I think he’s flirting with me.”

Brute Force

Giveaway Alert

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

Sunday Spotlight: September 2019

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 Lora Leigh

Lora Leigh dreams in bright, vivid images of the characters’ intent on taking over her writing life, and fights a constant battle to put them on the hard drive of her computer before they can disappear as fast as they appeared.

Lora’s family and her writing life coexist, if not in harmony, in relative peace with each other. Surrounded by a menagerie of pets, friends, and a son who keeps her quick wit engaged, Lora finds her life filled with joys, aided by her fans whose hearts remind her daily why she writes.


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