Thanks USMilitary.com for the photo!

This Hot Military Romance May Make Your Heart Skip a Beat!

Eyes Turned SkywardIf you found out that you have a life-threatening heart condition, would you get a pacemaker if it meant you’d live a longer life? What if you felt like the pacemaker would limit you to living just a shadow of a normal life? Would it be worth it to sacrifice some of your happiness if it would mean you’d make your loved ones happier by living longer?

That is the main question that Paisley Donovan ponders in Rebecca Yarros’s new release, Eyes Turned Skyward. I can’t say I have read many stories where I wonder if the main character will die on me (ahem, The Fault in Our Stars), but I was genuinely concerned about the sweet character Paisley. Yarros created an excellent character that was both strong and weak, brave and scared all at the same time. As the daughter of an Air Force General, it is no surprise that Paisley has some backbone, but what is surprising is that the bucket list she risks her life over is not filled with goals of her own. I won’t tell you whose goals she is trying to check off since that is would be a plot spoiler! However, I will say that while fulfilling an item on the list, Paisley nearly drowns after a drunk idiot tosses her in the ocean, ignoring Paisley’s protests that she can’t swim. Thankfully, Jagger Bateman, a tattooed “tough” guy, is able to rescue her before she dies. Jagger and Paisley have some serious chemistry, but Paisley is engaged to someone else so they part ways shortly after her rescue. A few months later though, Jagger and Paisley unexpectedly come face-to-face when Jagger becomes a flight school student on General Donovan’s base. Sparks fly again, but Paisley is still with her fiance who sees her as a delicate woman in need of cossetting due to her heart condition. The question is, will Paisley break up with her fiance and begin dating Jagger since he makes her feel alive? Will she ever tell Jagger about her heart condition? You’ll have to pick up this book to find out!

I received this book as an advanced reader from Entangled Publishing. As a whole, my eyes were glued to the page, but I must admit I was a little unsure if I would like it when I first started it. In my opinion, Jagger should have joined the navy because in the beginning of the novel, he swears more impressively than any sailor I’ve heard. His language almost took away my enjoyment of the unique, contemporary story line but his language improves as his character softens and falls in love with Paisley. Perhaps his character changed a bit too much to be 100% believable but you will have to read it to decide that for yourself!

P.S. Can I say how much I love the title? I love how skyward can be interpreted both as Paisley looking up in the sky as perhaps Jagger flies by or how it could reference her looking up to the heavens as she ponders her own mortality. Props to coming up with such an awesome book title!

Watch Out for Aunt Bev’s Discerning Eye… and Cane!

Okay, before getting into the book review, I have a question for you: Would you tell a lie to a dying relative if it would mean they’d die happier?

Me, I’m not so sure it is worth the guilt that would plague my conscience in case my loved one would realize I told them an untruth from Heaven.

Can we say sizzle, sizzle?

Can we say sizzle, sizzle?

In The Surrogate Husband by Wynter Daniels, the contemporary romance novel opens up with a distraught Mama who told her dying Aunt Bev that her daughter, Lucy, had eloped. Lucy, who swore off serious relationships after getting hurt by her father and ex-fiance, suddenly finds herself trapped in a situation not of her own making. She loves her great Aunt Bev who helped finance her lingerie store, yet she isn’t comfortable lying to her great aunt. When her aunt decides to come to town for a family wedding, Lucy decides that it is better to play along with her mama’s lie rather than risk her aunt’s health. The problem–where do you find a husband in a few days?

Well, if you’re Lucy, you happen to have this hottie accountant, Dex, walk in your store at the most opportune time. Lucy had talked to Dex on the phone and had practically melted at his sexy voice, yet this straight-laced accountant reminded her too much of the men who had hurt her in the past. Dex is already attracted to the black and pink-haired, punk beauty but dating a client is a serious no-no–especially when you’re trying to merge your company with another one.old lady with cane

Of course, everything blows up in Lucy’s face when Dex reveals the fabrication. The question is, will Lucy forgive Dex and will Aunt Bev forgive the entire family for lying to her?

If you’ve read a lot of romance novels, like I have, you know that they practically always have a happy ending. It was clear that Dex and Lucy would end up together, just as it was equally clear that Aunt Bev would learn of the deception at some point. It was fun just reading to see how the author would bring the looming disaster to a head. This book was made even more interesting by having a punky but “wounded” heroine. Lucy is definitely a one-of-a-kind character that dresses up in sexy clothing as her personal way of making people think she is much stronger person that she really is. Any reader that has been hurt by previous relationships will definitely feel a kinship with Lucy as she struggles with opening her heart to Dex in order to have a chance at a happy forever after. I received this book as an advanced reader from Entangled Publishing but I would definitely have picked it up off the shelf if I had seen the book on my own. For $.99, you can’t beat this kind of entertainment!

Now, I’m off to read another romance. Being a sick woman is a lot of hard work! 😉

I hope the pirate’s daughter won’t come for me because of this review…

How to Beguile a Duke by Ally Broadfield

hmm…this dress may not be the best cover choice! It’s a beautiful cover, but where are the stays to keep it nice and tight? She could definitely keep her cutlass under her skirt in this loose dress!

The spirited Catherine Malboeuf has just arrived in England to reclaim her ancestral home, Walsley Manor, and a valuable missing heirloom. Nicholas Adair, the attractive and frustratingly inflexible Duke of Boulstridge, however, is quite unwilling to sell the estate back to Catherine. Unless, of course, she accepts a small wager…
Nick will sell Walsley Manor if—and only if—Catherine secures an offer of marriage from an eligible member of the ton before the end of the London season.

You know when you’ve finished a good romance book, but you can’t quite figure out a way to distinguish it from all of the others you’ve read?

That is how I feel about How to Beguile a Duke by Ally Broadfield. It was a good story but it lacked that spark for me in books that are generally published by Entangled Publishing. I was so excited to read this story based on the enticing book summary, but that exciting tension of two people (Catherine and Nick) both fighting to win a wager while struggling to fight their growing attraction..well, that just fell flat for me. It was quite obvious early on in the story how the plot would progress. I also believe the author tried to make the story different from other regency romances by having the two main characters hunt for a missing tiara by reading a journal, yet they never actually did any serious hunting in the manor house in which it was supposedly located. I felt like the sole purpose of the journal was really to make Catherine blush in front of the duke (Nick) for reading salacious entries rather than to honestly offer clues that would allow the missing diamond tiara to be discovered.

Compared to some other Entangled Select novels I’ve read as an advanced reader, I feel like there wasn’t quite as much character development that would have helped me connect to the characters as strongly as I would have liked. At one point, Nick actually ticked me off when he called Catherine “my little impatient one” right when they were about to make love for the first time. That line just struck me wrong–like the two characters weren’t two equal adults consummating their relationship. I know that unmarried women were shielded from knowing about sexual relationships as much as possible in that time period, but I just couldn’t buy that Catherine was THAT innocent when she was reading out loud some juicy sexual exploits written by her great-grandmother. True, she blushed some, but still..

Basically, I’m being tough on this novel, but I would still recommend this novel if you want a quick read, say at the beach or when traveling. It won’t knock your socks off, but it will still help you pass the time in an enjoyable way. For $.99, it is an affordable source of entertainment for a few hours!

At Least He Smells Good.

This Weakness For You

This Weakness For You by Wendy Sparrow

Okay, so what would you do if you walked into a room full of people and all of a sudden fell in love with a person based on their smell alone?

That’s what happens when Jordan, a physically awe-inspiring lycan/werewolf scent-matches to this small, spitfire of a human woman named Christa, who just happens to be the sister of the man he tried to kill…a couple of times. When he realizes whats happening, he pretty much leaves the room with the equivalent of an “Aw, hell.” Of course, after a few chapters, the heroine brings him to heel (haha, get it–a werewolf brought to heel). Even though Christa has multiple sclerosis and is at times physically weak, the spunk and inner strength that romance readers love to have in a heroine is present in full spades. Of course, as the alpha male in a lycan pack, Jordan can be quite sexy in a slightly eye-rolling, domineering sort of way, so it’s nice to have him “trained” by Christa on how to be a more sensitive, loving husband. As every romance reader knows, the man always has to be taken down a peg or two by the female. Don’t worry, Jordan doesn’t get horse–err, wolf-whipped too much.

Just published today, This Weakness For You by Wendy Sparrow is quite the fun read that only got better as the story progressed. I admit there were times I had to stop and reread a few paragraphs since all of a sudden I’d be a little lost, but perhaps in my exuberance to read the novel, I read it a bit too quickly and missed some plot details. I don’t generally have that problem, but who knows? I’d still wholeheartedly recommend this paranormal romance to others–I literally had to stop reading it sometimes so that I could share some hilarious lines with my husband. I’m debating whether or not to paw through the story (I’m having fun with these werewolf puns) to share a couple of my favorite lines–I hate to ruin the surprise and humor for readers though since those lines are like golden nuggets waiting to be discovered.

Aww heck, this one was pretty funny and won’t spoil the plot!

“You know, I thought I’d seen everything in ’Nam, but a naked man running through the forest carrying a semiautomatic…that’s new.”

Apparently this is the second book in the Taming the Pack series, which I didn’t realize when I received my advanced reader’s copy from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  No worries–you don’t have to read the first book to fully understand this book, but it still might be nice to read them in the order they were written!

I hope you enjoy!

(Credit for the wolf feature image goes to here.)

Bookworms Deserve Love, Too

The Love Match Lily Maxton

I love her dress. It reminds me of my senior prom dress!

If you have just a couple of hours to immerse yourself in a regency romance, Lily Maxton’s A Love Match is a great choice that just hit the market. This novella is the third one in Maxton’s Sisters of Scandal series, and it features a delightful bookworm named Olivia Middleton who catches the attention of the charming and slightly infuriating William Cross during a country house party. Now that Olivia’s two older sisters are happily married, Olivia is forced to attend the party by her overbearing mother who can’t wait to have an empty nest. Of course, no country house party can happen without some late night trysts during which someone gets caught. The question is, will it result in a marriage between Olivia and the bachelor who states he will only marry for true love?

If you want something short and sweet, I’m quite impressed by Maxton’s ability to create such lovable/chokable/just-say-that-you-love-her already characters. The only negative I have about this book is that I wish there was more of it, which I’m not even sure that is a bad thing to say. I felt like I was finally getting to know the main characters and be fully drawn into the story and all of a sudden–poof! I’ve reached the last page. As a quick reader, I zipped through this story in under an hour. Olivia is an atypical heroine who isn’t dying to get married, and for that alone, I would have loved to have spent more time with her. It’s nice, too, to have the classic beauty in the story snubbed in favor for someone whose beauty isn’t quite as obvious.

Entangled Publishing gave me this book in exchange for an honest review. You can pick up your copy of it for just $.99 from their site as well as copies of the first two novellas in the series! Dude, three stories for $3 is a steal! You can afford to purchase them and your pumpkin spice latte without feeling too indulgent. 🙂

Evil Lurks Everywhere in “The Shadows of Stormclyffe Hall”

The Shadows of Stormclyffe Hall coverAs I’m sitting here starting this post, lightening is flashing in the sky and thunder keeps rolling above in the heavens. How apt of a time to write a review of The Shadows of Stormclyffe Hall, a book that I had the pleasure of receiving from Entangled Publishing before its release date of today, September 29th. This new sensual romance written by Lauren Smith was a page-turner that I did not want to put down. Seriously, if you love a strong, Byronic hero that happens to be an earl with a haunted castle, add this novel to your must-read list.

Normally, I am the type of person that always goes for the typical historical or contemporary type romances–I don’t like anything that will give me nightmares. However, this modern romance novel that contains just a touch of paranormal was a refreshing change from my typical romance selections, yet it still contained the witty, tongue-in-cheek remarks that make me adore romances. With this novel, Smith did an excellent job of creating an electrifying environment that keeps you on edge without the book being overly scary or just cheesy. Best of all, I couldn’t figure out exactly how the the two main characters (Jane and Bastion) would remove the over 200-year-old curse that otherwise would keep the two ill-fated lovers apart. I had an idea thanks to the hints that Smith supplied, yet Smith managed to still surprise me at the end with how the characters stopped the curse that had been killing off Bastion’s family for centuries. After reading romances for over 20 years, it is nice when an author can still create a plot twist that you don’t see coming.

I’d definitely recommend reading this book, which is the first in Lauren Smith’s Dark Seductions series. It’s only $0.99 and can be purchased here. Lucky for you today (September 29th) is national FREE coffee day in most restaurants around the United States, so what you might normally spend on a cup of joe can be spent on this awesome book instead. 🙂

If you do read it, I’d love to hear what you think of it. Now, I’m off to see what other works Lauren Smith has written to feed my never ending hunger for romance novels!

(On a side note, credit goes here for the cool lightening image, used in my post header, which is available for download!)

Sass, Class, Wildlife, and Romance–What More Could a Girl Want?

Wild About Rachel by Blaire Edens

This is a gorgeous, eye-catching cover. Did you catch the alligator in the background?

Oh my goodness, there is a fabulous new contemporary romance that just hit the book stand this past Monday. Wild About Rachel by Blaire Edens kept me turning the pages (okay, e-reader pages) because I wanted to see what happened next. If you took one of the stars of Gator Boys, made him super hot, and gave him a sexy former-cheerleader-now-broke debutante to work with, you have a rough idea of the plot. Rachel, the main character, is used to wearing Prada and alligator shoes. She’s terrified of almost all wild critters, yet she overcomes this fear to not only make herself a stronger woman but also in an effort to pay off her mortgaged-to-the-hilt ancestral home. It doesn’t hurt that her boss, Mark, is a super buff guy that learned how to become a tough man in the army but still displays heart-breaking gentleness when taking care of his dying mother.

Even though it might seem like a giant leap to turn a waitress into an alligator catcher almost overnight, Eden did an amazing job of building character and keeping the story believable. I love how she also took the time to educate her readers by providing wildlife statistics, such as how many people a year are killed by sharks–a surprisingly low number. As I read the novel, I felt like I became best friends with Rachel. I wish there was a sequel to this story (perhaps starring Rachel’s best friend, Shelley) because I am not quite ready to say goodbye to this amazing group of characters. Their lives were so real and identifiable (hello, please pass that Chick-Fil-A), which is a refreshing change from reading about a bunch of lords and ladies.

I was given an advanced readers copy of this book by Entangled Publishing in exchange for a review, but I highly encourage everyone to go out and buy this book. Right now, you can pick up a copy of this classy romance novel for just $.99. Support this talented author!

Oh, and one final note. Don’t read this novel when you’re hungry. There is a dog named French Toast in it. 😉