Genre: Contemporary Romance

Sunday Spotlight: The Accidental Fiancé by Christi Barth

Posted February 21, 2021 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 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: The Accidental Fiancé by Christi BarthThe Accidental Fiancé by Christi Barth
Series: Love Lottery #1
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Is it the chance of a lifetime or his biggest mistake?

When former hotel manager Alex Kirkland, his sister and their best friends pooled their money for an unusual lottery prize—a historic, dilapidated inn on the Maryland shore—as a last-ditch attempt to escape rotten circumstances, they never expected to win. But they’re all looking for a fresh start and a second chance, so Alex convinces everyone to move in and repair the building in time for the spring wedding season.

Sydney Darrow never planned to return to her hometown. But her family needs her and Sydney can endure anything for 90 days—including making sandwiches and serving coffee with a smile until she returns to her jet-setter career. When her grandma mistakes a handsome customer for the “fiancé” Sydney created when she thought her grandma was on death’s door, well...Sydney will do anything to keep her spirits up during treatment. She can persuade him to keep up the charade for a few months, right?

But when Alex agrees to play along, will they both fall for their own fiction?

Excerpt

Alex’s expression morphed into straight-up solemnity, like he’d slipped on a mask. “The four of us have no incoming income until we get this inn running. Damn straight I’m all about the bottom line.”

“I guess I can add practical to your list of traits.” Which she appreciated. It was the people who pretended not to care about money but pinched every penny in secret that were difficult. Hiding things—anything, big or small—never turned out well.

In a tone drier than Death Valley, Alex said, “That is just what every man longs to hear during a proposal. That practicality came in ahead of good looks and sex appeal.”

“I didn’t say that.” Did he truly not know that he smoldered with sex appeal? That he could be the man in a cologne/watch/champagne ad? It was actually endearing that he needed a bit of an ego stroke. “Alex, you’re suavely handsome. Your smiles are rare, and all the more potent because of it.”

Those icy eyes widened in…disbelief? Appreciation? Hard to tell. But then he dipped his chin. “Nice to hear. Was that so hard?”

“I didn’t realize you needed a bit of flirting to consider this favor. It seemed…forward to lead off with cataloging your physical traits.”

“Forward?” A huge belly laugh rolled out of him. It was warm and contagious, even though Sydney knew it was aimed at her. “You just proposed after a grand total of ten minutes of conversation, over two days.”

Men had a tendency to be so darned literal. “I’m not proposing for real. I’m asking for your help. You will, in no way, be obligated to follow through into a fake marriage.”

“Then where does the line get drawn?” Alex braced a hand on the back of the couch and leaned forward. He leaned in so close that his breath warmed her ear. “How interesting does this get?”

For a moment—okay, three—Sydney let herself enjoy the closeness. The heat pumping off him through the waffle-weave shirt onto her chest. The brush of his biceps against the back of her head. How their knees pressed together. It was all intimate and on the edge of…something. She just wasn’t sure what.

Love Lottery

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: February 2021

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 Christi Barth

Christi Barth Author Photo

Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage.

A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning. Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes award-winning contemporary romance, including the Naked Men and Aisle Bound series. Christi can always be found whipping up gourmet meals (for fun, honest!) or with her nose in a book. She lives in Maryland with the best husband in the world.


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Review: Lucky Stars by Kristen Ashley

Posted February 19, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Lucky Stars by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Lucky Stars by Kristen Ashley
Series: Ghosts and Reincarnation #5
Also in this series: Fairytale Come Alive, Sommersgate House, Lacybourne Manor, Penmort Castle
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 20, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 520
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

This is an alternate cover edition for ASIN B008DDW4OQ

Belle Abbot is pathologically shy and because of this, she’s living a nightmare due to the fact that she’s also a national treasure hounded by the media. James Bennett is known the world over as the perfect catch, handsome, wealthy and the owner of an intimidating castle on a Cornish Cliff, Chy An Als Point.

Belle and James meet and in one night, they fall in love. The problem is, Belle’s dating James’s brother.

As quickly as they fall together, Belle and James are torn apart. Not long after, circumstances throw them back into each other’s lives and they find they were right that first romantic night, they were meant to be.

Even if their families want them together, James’s brother Miles does not. Dogged by a rabid media who are fascinated by their love triangle, as well as Belle’s hidden demons, James and Belle find they have yet another problem to solve. The Point is haunted by the ghosts of two children murdered in the castle. Their murderer will stop at nothing to keep their souls tethered to The Point instead of letting them live eternity with their mother and father.

Belle is determined to find her courage and help them and she enlists her loopy mother, loopier grandmother, James’s even loopier ex-girlfriend and the dubious (but talented) team of rock ‘n’ roll witch Cassandra McNabb and Scottish ghost hunter extraordinaire Angus McPherson to help the children find their way back home.

James “Jack” Bennett has always known his brother, Miles, has an unhealthy obsession with one-upping him. It’s something that has been going on since they were kids. When Jack and Belle first meet, Belle is seeing Miles. She knows it won’t work with Miles, but before she can do anything about it, she meets Jack. After one night together the two fall in love. They make plans. Then Belle overhears something about Jack trying to get one on Miles by sleeping with her. Belle is devastated and doesn’t give Jack time to explain.

Fast forward a few months…Belle is pregnant but insistent that she doesn’t want anything to do with Jack. Belle’s mother and grandmother take matters into their own hands and go to Jack’s office to tell him. Jack doesn’t want anything to do with Belle nor is he sure that the child she is carrying is his. He’s quickly disabused of that line of thinking. It seems that now he has a second chance with the woman that he hasn’t been able to forget. He moves Belle into his home, on Cornish Cliff, determined to make things right.

Belle is leery of Jack’s intentions, though it doesn’t take long for her to soften up. When she realizes what a horrible mistake she made by not believing Jack, she’s not sure she can make it right. She’s determined to try. Enter the ghosts. The ghost part of the book was, er, interesting. Each book in this series took the ghost angle a little further than the prior book. I really enjoyed all the twists and turns in this book. I really find the heroes in this series heroes of the “old”. Meaning that they are more alpha, less apologetic for what they want. Just more everything.

This is the fifth and final book in the series. I have to say that it doesn’t make me happy knowing that. There was a cliffhanger at the end of the book and KA has no intention of writing the story. So fucked up.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Ghosts and Reincarnation

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: A Lot Like Love by Julie James

Posted February 18, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 11 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: A Lot Like Love by Julie JamesReviewer: Rowena
A Lot Like Love by Julie James
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars

Previous edition for this ISBN found here

The FBI wants her cooperation. As the daughter of a billionaire and the owner of the city's top wine store, Jordan Rhodes is invited to the most exclusive parties in Chicago. But there's only one party the FBI wants to crash: the charity fundraiser of a famous restaurateur, who also happens to launder money for the mob. In exchange for her brother's release from prison, Jordan is going to be there—with a date supplied by the Bureau.

Agent McCall just wants her. As the top undercover agent in Chicago, Nick McCall has one rule: never get personal. This "date" with Jordan Rhodes is merely an assignment— one they're both determined to pull off even if they can't be together for five minutes before the sarcasm and sparks begin to fly. But when Nick's investigation is compromised, he and Jordan have no choice but to pretend they're a couple, and what starts out as a simple assignment begins to feel a lot like something more.

This review was originally posted on February 23, 2021.

Julie James has written another contemporary romance novel that I thought was fantastic. This book follows Special Agent Nick McCall and billionaire heiress Jordan Rhodes as they go undercover as a couple to try to bring down more of Roberto Martino’s minions who are trafficking his drug money through legit businesses and the guy that they’re targeting and going after is Xander Eckhart, a business friend of Jordan.

How did they get Jordan to take part? They offered her a deal that she couldn’t and wouldn’t walk away from.

Once again, James has written a heroine who is both strong, smart, and totally capable and I adored her. I thought Jordan was a great part of this book, her character might have been totally loaded but I connected with her dilemma and I connected with her as a person. Watching her fall in love with Nick was a delight to read about and she was a fun person to get to know.

Then there’s Nick. I’m a sucker for the name Nick. If you want me to love your hero, you’ll get off to a great start by naming him Nick because there’s something about that name that totally gets me. Nick McCall was a sexy beast that I enjoyed getting to know. I loved his manly man attitude and while some might find him a little over the edge (because of his refusal to drink anything pink, haha), I adored him. I loved his overt manliness and I adored that he called Jordan, Rhodes. The way that he said Rhodes, got me each and every single time.

Julie James does such a great job of making the reader feel like they’re apart of the stories she writes and this book was no exception. When everything is going down, I can see it all coming together like I’m apart of the action and I appreciated that. I loved that I could feel Jordan and Nick falling for each other. I was right there, anxious and nervous when Nick and Jordan arrived at Xander’s party. My heart was pounding when the shit hit the fan and I was annoyed as all get out Lisa came back into the picture.

Another thing that I absolutely loved about the story was the inclusion of Jack and Cameron. They were a part of the story but they didn’t take over the story and I liked that. It was so good to see them again and see how they’re doing so I loved that James included them.

I’m a blood-thirsty bitch and I wanted something to happen to Lisa. I wanted to see Nick tell her where to shove her love for him and I wanted to see Nick with his Mom. It would have been nice to see Nick with his family but aside from wanting those things, I still enjoyed the book quite a bit and am sure that fans of Julie James will not be disappointed with this new book. Julie James wrote another winner for me and it was such a fast read that I’m already anxious for more from Julie and I cannot freaking wait for Kyle’s book. Holy goodness, I was so excited to see that Kyle’s story is next. Woo hoo!

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

FBI-US Attorney

four-half-stars


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Review: Penmort Castle by Kristen Ashley

Posted February 12, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Penmort Castle by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Penmort Castle by Kristen Ashley
Series: Ghosts and Reincarnation #3
Also in this series: Fairytale Come Alive, Sommersgate House, Lacybourne Manor, Lucky Stars
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 2, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Gifted
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 485
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Cash Fraser is planning revenge and to get it he needs the perfect woman. So he hires her. Abigail Butler has lost nearly everything in her life and she's about to lose the home she loves.

Cash meets Abby, who's posing as a paid escort, and the minute he does he knows he's willing to pay for more than Abby being his pretend girlfriend. A lot more. Abby needs the money or the last thing that links her to her dead family and husband will be gone. The deal is struck. But both Cash and Abby get more than they bargained for.

Cash realizes very quickly that Abby isn't what she seems. And while he changes strategies, Abby finds out that Cash's legacy, Penmort Castle, is like all the tales say-very, very haunted. Making matters worse, the ghost in residence wants her dead.

Abby's found herself in the battle of her life (literally) so she enlists Mrs. Truman, her nosy neighbor, Jenny, her no-nonsense friend, Cassandra McNabb, white witch and clairvoyant with a penchant for wearing scarves (and lots of them) and Angus McPherson, dyed-in-the-wool Scot (which means he hunts ghosts in a kilt) to fight the vicious ghost who has vowed that she will rest at nothing to kill the true, abiding love of the master of Penmort.

Cash Fraser needs a woman. Abigail Butler needs money. When the two meet, Cash knows instantly that Abby is not what she seems. She tries to act like an escort but Cash knows that she’s anything but. What he does know is that she’s desperate. Desperation is what brought Abby to Cash and he’s going to take advantage of every minute of it. Cash needs a fake girlfriend so he can get his uncle out of Penmort Castle, his family’s ancestral home. The problem is that Cash wants his relationship with Abby to be anything but pretend.

Abby has lost everything. She lost her parents, she lost her husband, then she lost her grandmother. The only thing she has left is the house that has been in her family for generations. Unfortunately for Abby the place is falling down around her. It’s a big house that needs a lot of work. Problem is she doesn’t have the money. She and her friend Jenny come up with a scheme; she will pose as an escort and play Cash’s fake girlfriend so she can get the money that she needs. She doesn’t expect the sheer magnetism that is Cash Fraser. Abby is sure she is in over her head, but she continues on with her plan.

When Abby accompanies Cash to Penmort Castle, she knows the rumors are true; the castle is very haunted and not by a happy ghost. This one is furious and is able to physically hurt anyone she wants. And who she wants to hurt is Abby for daring to try to take away the man she loves. Never mind that she killed the man she loved and this is his ancestor. Abby is soon fighting for her life. She has the wackiest team, but who she really wants on her team is Cash.

Cash knows that the idea of ghosts is ludicrous, yet he’s unable to discount Abby’s fears especially when she shows him how many women have died at Penmort. Before long he has a witch, a ghost hunter, Abby’s best friend, and her crazy neighbor. As unbelievable as it seems, Cash is all in and he’ll do anything to protect Abby.

After reading the first two books in this series, I was super excited to read this one. It seems as each book gets a little more of a ghost aspect to it. I was really enjoying this book. A lot. Then Cassandra (the witch) and her coven calls Ben (Abby’s dead husband) back from whatever plane he’s on to help. Abby is still devastated by Ben’s death though being with Cash has started the healing process. Cash gets jealous of a ghost. I’m not really sure how I feel about that but I was pretty annoyed at the time. It just took the story a little too far.

I really enjoyed the secondary characters though Jenny was a bit odd. Other than that and the excessive ghost weirdness, I thought this was a well-written story.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Ghosts and Reincarnation

four-stars


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Review: Reckless Road by Christine Feehan

Posted February 10, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Reckless Road by Christine FeehanReviewer: Casee
Reckless Road by Christine Feehan
Series: Torpedo Ink #5
Also in this series: Judgment Road , Judgment Road, Vengeance Road, Vendetta Road, Desolation Road
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 480
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Refuel your passion with a new installment of the Torpedo Ink series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.

While Gedeon "Player" Lazaroff is one of Torpedo Ink motorcycle club's roughest members, he's also one of the calmest. Little rattles Player, except for the times his gift gets the better of him. When that happens, he has to just lie down in the dark and hope for the best. But on a night when he's on the verge of losing it, he meets a woman who manages to soothe his fractured mind.

Zyah is a striking, ethereal beauty who seduces him with every word and move. Their night together is one of pure, exquisite bliss. But when Player gets confused and thinks their intimate encounter was nothing more than a dream, his careless dismissal leaves her humiliated and angry.

Now, Player will have to devote his every breath to convincing Zyah to give him a second chance. Because she might be the only one who can save him from himself....

I think I’m done with this series. Actually, I’m not going to lie to myself. I’ve been dying to read Savage’s book since the beginning of this series. I had a very hard time reading Desolation Road, which I was really excited about. I wasn’t really expecting much from Reckless Road and I’m glad I didn’t because I could hardly stand reading it.

Player has always been the upbeat member of Torpedo Ink. He’s able to cast illusions and did so to give himself and the other kids in the prison hope. Then his psychic power started to morph into something else; something far more dangerous. Not only could Player cast illusions, but his illusions could turn into an alternate reality. When he’s in an alternate reality, it changes what happens in the real world, which is dangerous for everyone in the actual world.

Zyah was actually a very likable heroine. I enjoyed her immensely. That doesn’t mean I liked the book. See, Zyah can literally feel the earth under her feet. The day she meets Player, she knows he’s the one for her. Unfortunately he treats her like a piece of ass and Zyah wants nothing more to do with him.

Player realizes that he messed up the next morning. He remembers how he sent the woman away, but he thought it was all a dream. He had never had anything so beautiful come into his life and he wrecked it. It doesn’t matter what Zyah thinks of him, he will protect her and her grandmother at all costs when a group of roaming thieves start targeting the elderly in Caspar. Caspar is protected by Torpedo Ink and that means its residents are protected too.

I did enjoy the romance between Player and Zyah, but there were so many big misunderstandings that it was like reading a Judith McNaught book. Sweet baby Jesus, just get on the same page. I still have this niggling feeling in the back of my mind that Christine Feehan has turned her writing over to a ghost writer or someone is assisting her in writing. The writing just isn’t the same. I realize that writing may change over the course of an author’s career, but this much? I’m a sceptic.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Torpedo Ink

two-half-stars


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