Tuesday, April 30, 2013

It Had to Be You by Jill Shalvis

Ali Winters is not having a good day. Her boyfriend left her, everyone in town thinks she's a thief, and now she's about to be kicked out of her home. Her only shot at keeping a roof over her head and clearing her name is to beg for help from a police detective who's as sexy as he is stern....

After a high-profile case goes wrong, Luke Hanover returns to his hometown for some peace and quiet. Instead he finds a bombshell brunette in a heap of trouble. As he helps Ali put her world back together, the pieces of Luke's own life finally seem to fall into place. Is this the start of a sizzling fling? Or are Luke and Ali on the brink of something big in a little town called Lucky Harbor?


It Had to Be You, the latest addition to my Lucky Harbor addiction, further solidifies Jill Shalvis’ place on my list of top contemporary romance authors. Like all the books in the series, It Had to Be You is romantic, funny, and sexy, with a story that pulls you in and characters who keep you coming back for more, first page to the last.

Whenever I pick up a Lucky Harbor book I’m guaranteed to get a feel good story with people I care about. They make me smile, make me laugh, make me sigh, and sometimes even make me cry and, without a doubt, the time I spend reading is time well spent.

There are many things to love about It Had to Be You, but I think my favorite part of this story is how Luke and Ali, both people who are used to taking care of others and taking nothing for themselves, come together and give to each other exactly what they didn’t even know they were missing. I love their passion, their trials, their triumphs, but most importantly, I love their love!

The bottom line: If you haven’t yet read this series, stop whatever it is you’re doing, pick up the first book, Simply Irresistible, and find out what makes these stories so special. You don’t have to read them in order but so much of the pleasure that comes from these books is getting to know the people and places of Lucky Harbor, and then revisiting them all, time and time again. Trust me on this, you won’t be disappointed!

My thanks to Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy of this wonderful story in exchange for an honest review. As always, my visit to Lucky Harbor has been an absolute delight! 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Lucky Like Us by Jennifer Ryan

On the Cover:

The Hunted series continues as Special Agent Sam Turner discovers that protecting the FBI's star witness is more difficult than he thought!

Bakery owner Elizabeth Hamilton's quiet life is filled with sweet treats, good friends, and a loving family. But all of that is about to turn sour when an odd sound draws her outside. There's a man lying unconscious in the street, a car speeding toward him. Without hesitation, she gets the man out of harm's way before they're run down.

Unwittingly, Elizabeth has put herself in the path of a serial murderer, and as the only one who can identify the FBI's Silver Fox Killer, she's ended up in the hospital with a target on her back.

All that stands between her and death is Special Agent Sam Turner. Against his better judgment, Sam gets emotionally involved, determined to take down the double threat against Elizabeth—an ex desperate to get her back, despite a restraining order, and a psychopath bent on silencing her before she can identify him.

They set a trap to catch the killer—putting Elizabeth in his hands, with Sam desperate to save her. If he's lucky, he'll get his man … and the girl.


Lucky Like Us is the second book in Jennifer Ryan’s The Hunted series. It’s fast paced, intriguing, sexy… a thoroughly engaging story.

I'm just going to get this out of the way, right up front: I wasn’t all that impressed with the first book in the series, so I hadn't planned on reading this one. It's not that it was awful, but it didn't WOW me enough to want to continue, but boy-oh-boy, am I glad I did! The writing is very good, the story and the relationship development flow at a believable pace and once I started reading, I didn’t want to put it down.

I loved Sam and Elizabeth, both apart and as a couple. They’re compassionate, devoted to their friends and family, honorable to a fault, and compelling people with interesting lives who ‘fit’ together perfectly. It was great to revisit Jack and Jenna, and Caleb and Summer, as well as meeting new characters whose stories need to be told.

The bottom line: Ms. Ryan has really found her storytelling mojo with this installment of The Hunted series and I’m excitedly looking forward to reading the next book in the series, The Right Bride.

My thanks to Avon Book and Edelweiss for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Books in the series:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway


In Bee Ridgway’s wonderfully imaginative debut novel, a man and a woman travel through time in a quest to bring down a secret society that controls the past and, thus, the future. 

“You are now a member of the Guild. There is no return.” Two hundred years after he was about to die on a Napoleonic battlefield, Nick Falcott, soldier and aristocrat, wakes up in a hospital bed in modern London. The Guild, an entity that controls time travel, showers him with life's advantages. But Nick yearns for home and for one brown-eyed girl, lost now down the centuries. Then the Guild asks him to break its own rule. It needs Nick to go back to 1815 to fight the Guild’s enemies and to find something called the Talisman.

In 1815, Julia Percy mourns the death of her beloved grandfather, an earl who could play with time. On his deathbed he whispers in her ear: “Pretend!” Pretend what? When Nick returns home as if from the dead, older than he should be and battle scarred, Julia begins to suspect that her very life depends upon the secrets Grandfather never told her. Soon enough Julia and Nick are caught up in an adventure that stretches up and down the river of time. As their knowledge of the Guild and their feelings for each other grow, the fate of the future itself is hanging in the balance.


"We are cowards, really, we time travelers. We cheat death over and over. Jumping away from one story into another. Always pursuing the hope of another day."

When I was contacted and asked to consider reading and reviewing this story, my first reply was something to the effect, “It sounds great, but I don’t do time travel.” The reply I received in return thanked me for my honesty, asking me to reconsider because this time travel story is different. I thought - but kept that thought to myself - “Yes, that’s what they all say,” but I agreed, even though I was certain I’d only make it through five or so chapters before tossing in the towel. And yet, here I am, forty-six chapters later, so very happy that I did reconsider because this turned out to be a very enjoyable, thought provoking story.

The River of No Return is not science fictiony, nor is it steeped in fantasy or magic. And while this is a romance, and there is some steam, the majority of this story is about the Guild, the Ofan, time travel, and how sometimes the things we do, no matter how small, can change the future, for good or for bad. The world Bee Ridgway has created is complex, and if I give my imagination free rein, I can almost believe it’s possible that such a world exists.

There are many players in this story, and all of them are characters who 'fit,' regardless of their time; past, present, or future. Each is a person with a life they left behind through no choice of their own, and that makes them people I feel for, people I wonder about, and people I want to know better.

The bottom line: Ms. Ridgway has taken a genre that has, until now, completely turned me off, and has given it a fascinating plausibility that's more than just entertaining, it's compelling. This isn't a quick read, but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the story. I do wish there had been more time given to Nick and Julia and their growing relationship - what can I say? I'm a hopeless romantic - but the world is so intriguing that I was completely captivated, start to finish.

I'm hoping there will be more books to come because I absolutely must find out what becomes of Jem.

My sincere thanks to Sarah at Dutton Adult, Penguin Group, for offering a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review. I'm sorry I doubted you...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Pursuing the Times by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

All that popular Chick-Lit author Mercury Lauren wants is to have one of her books reviewed by the New York Times Book Review - just one - and she'll do almost anything to get it. In this contemporary romantic comedy, with a nod toward Pride and Prejudice she crosses swords and hearts with the Editor-in-Chief of the NYTBR in a madcap adventure that takes her from her home in Westport to a yoga retreat to a golf course in Florida. Will she get what she wants and will she finally be happy if she does? Only one thing's for certain: nothing will stop her from Pursuing the Times.


From Lauren Baratz-Logsted, author of the laugh-out-loud novel, The Bro-Magnet, comes the laugh-out-louder novel, Pursuing the Times. I haven’t smiled, snickered, giggled or…well, laughed out loud… this much while reading a story in a very long time.

Our heroine, Mercury Lauren, would likely cringe if she heard what I’m about to say, but Chick-Lit really isn’t my cuppa. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the female friendships and their love life ups and downs that are a part of the stories in this genre, but too often there’s not enough time given to romantic relationships to suit my need for a solid happily ever after in my reading. That said, while Chick-Lit isn’t my genre of choice, if more authors wrote it the way Ms. Baratz-Logsted does, it most definitely would be.

Rarely do I find myself enjoying the heroine of a story as much as I do the hero, but this is another something this author managed to pull off. Mercury is intelligent, insightful, dedicated and self deprecating – in a denial-esque kind of way and I loved her outspoken defense of herself and her writing. There’s just something so outrageous about her that, while watching a certain scene unfold on a golf course, had me thinking how much more exciting my own life would be if I had that kind of chutzpah!

Frank D’Arcangelo is a great hero! You may - or may not - have heard that this book at times mimics Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Well, one of my favorite things about Frank is just how “Mr. Darcy” he is, in a thoroughly obnoxious, modern sort of way. But like our beloved Mr. Darcy of old, Frank isn’t completely irredeemable, and even well before the conclusion of the story, I adored him! In fact, even when he was being an utter ass, I was still grinning and cheering him on in the direction I wanted him to go: into Mercury’s arms.

The bottom line: Pursuing the Times is an absolute pleasure to read. It’s light, romantic, funny, steamy… a truly feel good story. Fans of any romance genre will completely relate to Mercury Lauren and her desperation to become recognized as a legitimate author, and you'll laugh at the lengths she'll go to to achieve her goal. I’m looking forward to reading more by this talented author. Even if it is Chick-Lit ;)

My thanks to Ms. Baratz-Logsted for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review. And for her patience during the months it took me to actually pick it up and read it.

I loved this quote:

Of course, by now I'd been branded as an author of Chick-Lit -- well, actually, the first book had served to do that -- even though I thought of what I wrote as satire. Surely, if a man wrote the same things, they wouldn't call it Dick Lit... would they?

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Dangerous Proposal by Jessica Lauryn

Cover Info:

For ten agonizing years, Alec Westwood has been keeping a secret from the world. At nineteen, he nearly committed the most horrific of crimes—murder in cold blood—and narrowly escaped the assigned task with his life. When a stunning young woman crosses his path wearing the insignia for the underground organization that recruited him, he vows not to let fate get a second chance. But when the enchantress gives him a kiss that leaves him spellbound, Alec realizes the power she holds is greater than all his strength and fortitude combined…

On the run from her psychotic fiancé, Lena Benson vows to forge a new life, even if that means befriending a witch, and practicing the craft of the devil. But when her new friend Jack tells her to stay away from Alec Westwood, the man she believes her fiancé hired to track her down, and the handsome stranger she kissed in a tavern, Lena vows to take matters into her own hands. Alec may have the charm, but she’s calling the shots this time, even if that means resisting the man responsible for giving her the most intimate kiss of her life, a man who’s eyes and touch rob her, literally, of sense…


Dangerous Proposal is the first book in Jessica Lauryn's The Pinnacles of Power series. It's a blend of contemporary romance and occult/fantasy/thriller with plenty of good guys and bad guys to keep me wondering; who is actually good, and who is actually bad? I enjoyed this story and getting to know Alec and Lena, but I have to be honest, it took me awhile to like them and not just the story. Dangerous Proposal is well written and full things I didn't see coming. With an added dash of occult/witchcraft, this story is a fresh take on the romantic suspense genre.

The prologue gives us a peek at Alec's life ten years before he meets Lena, and Alec has definitely come a long way from the past he's running from. Lena's relationship with her dangerous ex-fiancé has her running for her life. She's hesitant to get too close to anyone, worried that Lucas will track her down and kill her. But there's something about Alec that keeps drawing her in, even as she's running away from him. Their relationship is rocky and they spend a lot of time not trusting each other - and rightfully so - but that pushing and pulling is big part of why it took me so long to care about them.

The bottom line: While not without some flaws, Jessica Lauryn has created an intriguing, exciting world and Dangerous Proposal is a very good start to what has the makings of an excellent series.

My thanks to Ms. Lauryn for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Charmeine by Emily Guido, Smashwords Promtion - Free April 19th 2013


Free Smashwords Coupon 


Can romance develop between a Heavenly Light-Bearer and a Hellish Vampire Blood-Hunter? Tabbruis is an extremely attractive Blood-Hunter who has reconciled himself to be alone forever. Over millennia Tabbruis has wandered the Earth alone, aimlessly living through many historical events. Charleen (aka Charmeine) was found in 1997 as a teenager, unable to remember where she was from or where her family was. She was sent to an orphanage where she met her best friend, Shane. With determination, she works hard and becomes a school teacher. Tabbruis comes to her aid when she is attacked by a Blood-Hunter. Charmeine’s power as a Light-Bearer, one who throws lightning, is triggered when she meets Tabbruis, and it grows exponentially. When they meet, the attraction is immediate, romantic and passionate. They are polar opposites and clash together in a dramatic way. Will Charmeine and Tabbruis fulfill their destinies? Will they realize their importance in both the Blood-Hunter and Light-Bearer world?

RAVE REVIEWS for “Charmeine” by Author Emily Guido
Romance between a Vampire and a light bearer is something so new, I had to read this book to find out what the buzz and feel is all about …
All I can say is that book didn't disappoint at all! A must read!”
Fathima Amiruddin
This is a great read, and a terrific debut novel!”
Susan Ashcraft
The author's story got me hooked. I think the readers will feel the same.”
Carol Fitzpatrick
This story is a fantastically tender, romantic one of timeless love.
This story is well worth a read!”
Melanie Adkins
The scenes were beautifully described and the plot is creative and intriguing.
The Light-Bearer Series is sure to be the next fabulous Angel series on your
To-Read” shelf!”
Well done Emily, this is a great debut novel!”
Samantha Adams  

Emily Guido is a new Paranormal Romance Author. She was inspired to start writing "Charmeine" because one day she got an idea of two characters that needed to have their story told. Not ever dreaming a week later she would have over a 100,000 words written. When Emily writes, it is similar to you or I watching a movie. She pictures the characters in her head going through vivid descriptions of each scene. There are so many nuances going through her mind that she cannot type fast enough. The novels “Mactus,” “Accendo,” “Seditious,” and “Ransom,” are the continuation of the wonderful adventures of the inhabitants of The Castle Charmeine! Emily is currently writing “Conundrum” the Sixth Novel in “The Light-Bearer Series” She works at a College full time, and pursuing her Master of Business Administration. YA, PNR, Paranormal Romance, Vampire, Angels, Action and Adventure, Historical
Links: Website Goodreads Twitter Facebook

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Selling Out by Amber Lin

Shelly Laurent escapes her life as a high-class escort, but against her better judgment she takes the scared young Ella with her. Framed for murder by her pimp and his dirty cops in retaliation, Shelly turns to the one man who could be her salvation: Detective Luke Cameron. She doesn’t know if she can trust him or if he’s just a mirage, but it's time for her to take a stand. Just one shot, make it count, she’ll fight Ella’s demons—and face her own.

Shelly throws light on the shadows of Chicago’s underworld, challenging everything she knew and the man she’s come to love. Together, a prostitute and a cop fight for truth stronger than secrets, hope deeper than deception, and a bond more enduring than betrayal.


Selling Out is one of those stories that will have you thinking long and hard about your feelings on prostitution, regardless what your stand on it actually is. Through Shelly's experiences, Amber Lin shows us both the harsh, and the not so harsh side of the oldest profession on earth. It's a story told from Shelly's point of view, but we also get up close and personal with what's going on inside Luke's head.

I can't even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this story! Though admittedly, I wasn't Shelly's biggest fan in the beginning. She didn't just have walls built around her heart, it was an entire fortress. But once I "got" where she was coming from, I couldn't help but respect and care for her.

But Luke? He caught my attention right from the start and I couldn't get enough of him. His motivations for the things he was doing, and his reasons for keeping Shelly at arms length, were heartbreaking. He's a solid man, knows what he's about, and even though he has his demons, they do not own him. As the story progressed, Shelly grew on me and surprised me by turning out to be a strong, amazing, compassionate woman, one I'm happy to see paired with Luke.

I really can't say enough about this story, and am looking forward to reading more by Amber Lin, an incredibly gifted writer.

My thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of Selling Out in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Stealing Home by Jennifer Seasons

Mark Cutter has it all: a lucrative baseball career, fast cars, and faster women—and all thanks to his priceless good luck charm. At least, that's what he thinks before Lorelei Littleton shows up. Next thing he knows, he's waking up alone, the sexy brunette has vanished, and his good luck charm is gone. More than a little curious about the wicked-hot cat burglar and determined to get his property back, Mark's going to track down the thief and make her pay—big time.

Maybe Lorelei feels a tiny bit guilty for stealing Mark's good luck charm, but when it's worth $100,000 and the money could save her niece's life? She's not losing sleep over it . . . but him? Lorelei can't get the ballplayer with the bad attitude out of her head. And now he's come after her with more than just revenge in his eyes. Lorelei has a choice: turn over the charm and lose the money, or keep it and risk losing everything . . . including her heart.


 Stealing Home is the first book in Jennifer Seasons’ Diamonds and Dugouts series. It’s fun, romantic, quirky and sexy… a truly entertaining story!

I’m a big fan of Contemporary Romance, and this one is just right. It has all the things I most enjoy in my reads, and a terrific supporting cast as well.

The story line is one that tugs at the heartstrings, and starts a chain of events that can’t be stopped, without someone landing in prison. I enjoyed the way that all played out, and I really enjoyed the time we spent in Mark’s head during his time behind the plate. I’ve never been much of a baseball fan, and don’t know a lot about the sport, but Ms. Seasons didn't get all sport techy and I actually found myself very interested in the game play.

Mark and Lorelei are both great characters, and their chemistry and quick wit made for some great reading. Mark really is the perfect hero… sexy, funny, compassionate - but by no means a pushover… from the start I wanted him to have everything his heart desired. Lorelei annoyed me here and there because she wouldn’t open up and explain why she so desperately needed the money, even though she’d been caught red-handed and had nothing to lose. But still, I couldn’t help but admire her devotion to her family and her determination to help them.

The bottom line: Stealing Home is a great start to the Diamonds and Dugouts series, and sitting here writing this review, I’ve got a grin on my face thinking of some of the stunts Lorelei pulled, and how Mark fought back. It’s safe to say that I’m looking forward to reading more in the series.

My thanks to Avon Books and Edelweiss for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

Books in the Diamonds and Dugouts series:

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Story of Son by J.R. Ward

The Story of Son is found in the anthology, Dead After Dark, and was my introduction into the Black Dagger Brotherhood world a few years ago. After reading Michael and Claire’s story, I had to run out and buy the entire series and it turned out to be my favorite PNR series of all time.

There’s something so compelling about the race of vampires that the WARDen, J.R. Ward, has created. They are incredibly strong males and females, both physically and emotionally, though sometimes it takes awhile for them to find and accept that inner strength.

In the Story of Son  we meet Son, a 68 year old male who is half human, half vampire. We learn that he has been imprisoned by his mother, Miss Eliza Leeds, in the basement of the estate they live on, since he was 12 years old. Once a year his mother has a female brought to the house and held captive for a few days so Son can feed.

Claire Stroughton, Miss Leeds’ family attorney, is the latest “victim” brought to the house to feed Son, then be released like all the other women who have been brought to him over the years. Claire finds such tenderness, such innocence and passion in Son that she can’t help but want to rescue him from the heartache and imprisonment he’s endured for so long, and spend the rest of her life loving him.I was so very happy when Claire took the first step toward making him feel like a real person and  not just an animal meant to be caged up when she gave him a real name; Michael.

One thing that readers of the BDB series will likely question immediately is Michael being able to survive off of feeding only once a year, when we know the warrior vampires require feeding much more often. There’s no indication that Michael is, or will ever be, a Brother. As I said before, he’s a civilian vampire and a half human one at that. I’ve never seen it addressed anywhere by the WARDen as to how often a half human, civilian vampire needs to feed, so it might be very possible that this isn’t an inconsistency at all.

Over the years the WARDen has said she might bring Son/Michael into the BDB world, officially, by introducing his young to the series. I can't tell you how much I'm hoping she'll do exactly that.

Beyond Control by Kit Rocha

She refuses to be owned.

Alexa Parrino escaped a life of servitude and survived danger on the streets to become one of the most trusted, influential people in Sector Four, where the O’Kanes rule with a hedonistic but iron fist. Lex has been at the top for years, and there’s almost nothing she wouldn’t do for the gang…and for its leader. Lie, steal, kill—but she bows to no one, not even Dallas O’Kane.

He’ll settle for nothing less.

Dallas fought long and hard to carve a slice of order out of the chaos of the sectors. Dangers both large and small threaten his people, but it’s nothing he can’t handle. His liquor business is flourishing, and new opportunities fuel his ambition. Lex could help him expand his empire, something he wants almost as much as he wants her. And no one says no to the king of Sector Four.

Falling into bed is easy, but their sexual games are anything but casual. Attraction quickly turns to obsession, and their careful dance of heady dominance and sweet submission uncovers a need so deep, so strong, it could crush them both.

Beyond Control is the second book in Kit Rocha’s Beyond series, and just like the first book, one helluva read. This is Dallas and Lex’s story, and if you read the first book, Beyond Shame, you know their relationship is complicated, to say the least. Again, the dystopian society is incredibly complex, with the politics of The Sectors taking a front row seat in this installment.
My feelings about this book are even stronger than they were about Beyond Shame, in that I find myself even more invested in, and protective of, Sector Four. The people are like a family made up of society’s castoffs, coming together by necessity, but staying together out of love and respect. The entire Post-Flare world is complex and intriguing, but there's something about Sector Four that makes it one of the most amazing worlds I’ve ever read about.

The dynamic between Lex and Dallas is intense, and they have a sexual chemistry that's off the charts. Their passion burns incredibly deep, and even when they aren't having sex, they burn up the pages. Lex is most definitely the perfect Queen for Dallas, the King of Sector Four.

Despite how hard this book pushed some of my sexual comfort zones - even more than Beyond Shame, I can’t wait to read more of this series!

Sexual Content: It's hard to imagine possible, but there's even more sex in this book than the last. This story contains elements of BDSM, ménage, m/f, f/f, m/f/m, m/f/f/m, and another bunch of m's and f's coming together in a tangle of body parts that I can barely keep straight. There's also voyeurism, exhibitionism, orgies and anal play. I think that’s it, but in case I’m forgetting something, just assume there was more but rest assured that the kink not represented in this story is sex with children, with animals, or incest.

My thanks to Kit Rocha and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this amazing story in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Accidentally in Love with A God? by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

Twenty-two-year-old Emma Keane has a secret friend. He’s powerful, mysterious, and devastatingly handsome. In her dreams, anyway.

In real life, he’s an enigma. Maybe just a teensie jealous. Definitely overbearing. He’s also a voice only she can hear.

So who or what is he? He won’t say. But if she wants to be free, to be normal, Emma will have to trek to the jungles once ruled by the Mayans and find the forgotten ruin holding the answers.

However, the ruthless deity she’s about to unknowingly unleash on the modern world might not be so easily extracted from her life. Bottom line, he’s got enemies, and now, so does she.


Accidentally in Love with…A God? is the first book in Mimi Jean Pamfiloff’s Accidentally Yours series. It’s a light read with a fun mix of fantasy and paranormal romance, infused with gods, goddesses, curses, plans for world domination and, most importantly, hot, sexy men! 

This is such an entertaining story! It’s got a great plot, a hot, hunky hero, a sassy heroine, lots of humor and some steam, and there’s a great supporting cast. All those things are a must for me to enjoy a story, but most importantly - and especially so with a series introduction - is that the story easy to follow! That might not be a big deal to everyone, but given the complexity of the world Ms. Pamfiloff has created, it could have been disastrous, but she pulled it off with flying colors.

I did have a problem with the H/h pairing. As I said, they’re great, but only as long as they’re apart. When together? They were constantly at odds. Arguing, bickering, snarking at one another, and that took away from the good-times.

The bottom line: Accidentally in Love with…A God? is a fun, fast paced story, perfect for a day at the beach or anytime you want something easy to read!

3.5 stars

My thanks to Grand Central Publishing and Netgally for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley Blog Tour!

Welcome to my contribution to the Own the Wind Blog Tour! 

Today I'll be sharing my review of Own the Wind, and giving ya'll a peek at my afternoon with Kane "Tack" Allen!

2012 brought me an amazing year of reading, and at the top of the "amazing" is Kristen Ashley and her incredibly romantic, sexy, passionate, edgy, thought provoking stories. And totally blown away, I had the honor of being one of the lucky recipients of a print ARC of  Own the Wind, Shy and Tabby's story, one of the best novels ever!

So go ahead, take a look around, but be sure and keep reading to learn about how my chocolate cake got me a teeny - but totally awesome - tidbit about Hop and Lanie's story in Fire Inside. Getting the information out of Tack wasn't easy, but I love yous so I put it out there and got what I got and now I'm passing it on to you all. So yeah, keep reading!

My keeper shelf just got bigger!!

Those of us who had read Motorcycle Man knew that Shy and Tabby would get their story someday, and it’s a story we’ve been looking forward to. Well, that story came much sooner than I had expected it, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am about that!

Own the Wind is totally, completely, amazing. It’s a beautiful tale filled with growth, passion and the kind of romance we mere mortal readers only dream of. It’s a story of letting go of the past, living in the now, with an eye to a future filled with nothing but the best things life has to offer. It’s sexy, romantic, funny... insightful, thought provoking and inspiring. It truly does not get better than this.

And for those who are concerned, I know a lot of us were worried that going with a publisher would change the way she tells her stories, that we'd lose the voice we've come to adore. I'm telling you now... No worries. Seriously, this is Kristen Ashley at her finest, and you won't be disappointed.

My thanks to Kristen Ashley, Chas, and Forever, an imprint of Grand Central Publishers, for providing BlithelyBookish Reviews with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This was, start to finish, brilliant!

~~~My Afternoon With Tack~~~

So, here I am, standing in my kitchen frosting a cake, when suddenly I feel a presence with me. I look up and standing right there watching me is a tall, built man with messy, overlong salt-and-pepper hair (mostly pepper), a goatee that’s longish at the chin and lots of tats. He’s wearing faded jeans, a tight black t-shirt is spread across his wide chest, and on his feet, dusty motorcycle boots

“Yo,” he greets in his gravelly voice. His deep blue eyes drop to the cake on its stand and then move back to mine. I see his lips, surrounded by that goatee, are twitching. “That smells good.”

My mouth goes suddenly dry, and I have no reply.

He moves closer to me and I bite my bottom lip.

He notices this and smiles. I think he can tell he’s making me nervous!

My heart stops.

“You wanted a word?” he prompts.


His brows go up and his lips are twitching again. “That the word?”


When I hesitate, he says, “Babe, Kit said you want a word. You want a word, you gotta give me a word.”

I clear my throat and say, “Uh… first, maybe we should introduce ourselves. But I know you’re Tack. I’m Ruth.”

He grins again and replies, “Yo, Ruth. Nice to meet cha.” His head tips to the side. “Now, your word?”

“Well,” I start hesitantly, “I wanted… that is to say…” I swallow hard. “I had hoped that maybe you’d teach me how to roast a hog.”

This time, his head jerks in surprise. “Roast a hog?”

“Yeah, like when you have hog roasts at the Compound.”

Slowly, he states, “You want me to teach you to roast a hog.”


Tack interrupts me, “You got a hog you want to roast?”

“Well, no, they don’t sell them at the market and I don’t have a hog hunting license, but that’s okay because I had an even better idea!” I smile real big, and this time, it’s him who appears uneasy.

“A better idea?”

“YES! I want to go for a ride on the back of a bike with a badass biker dude!”

To this, I get a full-blown smile before he replies, “Just sayin’, I can get you a hog. I can also teach you how to roast it. But if you want a ride, I can do that, too.”

I nod eagerly and Tack tips his head to the cake. “So, you wantin’ that ride now or are you gonna finish that? And, I’ll say this, darlin’, I’d prefer you finish that so I can have a slice of it before I put you on the back of my bike.”

Thinking of Tack eating a piece of my oh so fabulous cake, and getting to watch, I tell him, “I’m going to finish it, definitely finish it.”

He moves to a stool, still smiling and orders, “Then get to it, babe. As you know, shit goin’ down with the Club and got a woman and kids to get back to. But we’ll swing you by there if you wanna meet them. I know Red’ll wanna meet you.”

“I’m up for that,” I agree.

“Then get frostin’, woman,” he demands.

I go back to frosting, now finding it somewhat difficult, doing it while Tack Allen is watching.

To take my mind off things, things like Tack, and not just any Tack, but the Tack, watching me frost the cake, I ask, “So, uh… how are you with Tabby and Shy being together?”

“No man finds it easy to give up his girl. But, people read Own the Wind, they’ll get where I’m at,” he answers.

I look up at him. “I’m sorry about what happened to her.”

Tack gives me a soft look. “Thanks, darlin’. Me too. But she bounced back all right.”

“That she did,” I murmur, going back to the cake. “As you know, I’m sharing this with my readers so can I ask you to give me a little something for them?”

“And what little somethin’ would you want?” he asks.

I look at him again and bite my lip as I ponder how much I should ask. I take a deep breath and go for it. “I know Kit isn’t big on spoilers but maybe you can share something about what’s next. Maybe with Lanie and Hop?”

He shakes his head. “You’re right. Kit isn’t real big on spoilers, but, babe, you bake cakes, you’re sweet, I already know I like you so I’ll give you this. Folks got an idea about my brother Hopper. They also got an idea about Red’s girl Lanie. And I think, with both, they’ll be surprised.”

“How so?” I pressed on, hoping for more.

“Bob Seger,” he replies and I feel my brows inch together.

“Bob Seger?”

Tack grins. “All I’m gonna say. You’ll get it soon enough.”

I look back down to the cake, mumbling, “All right.”

I put the finishing touches on the cake and figuring Tack being a badass biker dude would probably like a badass biker dude sized piece of cake, I slice off nearly a quarter of it, put it on a plate and slide it across the breakfast bar.

“Milk?” I ask, then frown, thinking badass biker dudes probably don’t drink milk, so I amend, “Or, tequila?”

His eyes light and his brows shoot up. “You got tequila?”

“Well…no,” I have to admit.

“Beer?” Tack asks.

“Umm. No,” I reply, despondently.

He flashes another grin. “Then I guess milk is gonna have to do.”

After Tack finishes his cake and washes it down with milk, he asks, “You ready to ride?”

I look up, smile, and, channeling my inner Tabby state, “I’m livin’. So, let’s ride!”

So we did, and it turned out to be one of the happiest, most exciting rides of my life!


Thank you, Kristen Ashley, for giving me this very special treat. It was such an awesome experience, and an incredible honor...

...and it turned out to be one of the happiest, most exciting rides of my life!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What Happened at Midnight by Courtney Milan

When John Mason discovers that his fiancée's father has embezzled thousands of pounds from their mutual business, he's furious. When his betrothed, Miss Mary Chartley, flees, taking the money and all the evidence with her, he's outraged. He plans to bring the woman he once loved to account--and he’ll shed no tears when he does.

But when he finds Mary, she's not living a life of luxury. Instead, she's serving as a companion in exchange for a pittance. The more he attempts to untangle the truth, the more he remembers why he first loved Mary...and how much he wishes he could do so again.

What Happened at Midnight was previously published in the anthology Midnight Scandals.


Courtney Milan is one of my favorite historical romance authors, and stories like What Happened at Midnight are why. Sweet, sexy, romantic, and witty, her stories take you on an exciting adventure, sure to leave you with a smile on your face.

From the very first pages I knew this was going to be a story worth reading, and not just for the entertainment value. All of Ms. Milan’s books take us deep into the hearts, minds, and souls of the characters while reminding us again and again of what’s most important in life; loving and being worthy of love in return.

My sincerest thanks to Ms. Milan for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. As always, it was a pleasure!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Honey Pie by Donna Kauffman

Mocha Chocolate Chip… Caramel Fudge…Strawberry Lemonade…Butter Rum…There’s no such thing as guilt when it’s another delicious bitch and bake session with the women of the Cupcake Club…

When Honey D’Amourvell inherits property on tiny Sugarberry Island, she’s prepared to start a whole new life. Her plan is simple—make a home, open a shop, and maybe, finally, find a place to belong. But the building she now owns is leased to none other than the owner of Babycakes, which means her spot is already occupied. Honey isn’t sure how to put down roots when she has nowhere to plant them. But sexy, softhearted mechanic Dylan Ross seems determined to help. He’s everything she never imagined she would find in a man, and each kiss is more persuasive than the last…

Soon enough, Honey is another important ingredient in the spicy mix of the Cupcake Club. But will Dylan convince her that what she craves most is his love?


Honey Pie is the fourth book in Donna Kauffman’s Cupcake Club series and not at all what I was expecting. The cover had me thinking chick-lit meets chock-lit, and the blurb did not do the story justice!

I’m such a fan of small town romances, so when I saw this book I had to grab it! But, like I said, this isn’t at all what I had thought it would be. I began this expecting a light, romantic, feel good read, which it definitely is, but it’s got such a deep, wonderful story to it, too.

I haven’t had the pleasure of reading the previous books, so I'm not sure how much information was given about Aunt Bea other than what we get in Honey Pie. I don’t want to give away anything that might be a spoiler, but Honey turns out to be a very complex, conflicted heroine! Not weak, not mousey, but definitely struggling with what some might consider a blessing, but what she considers a curse.

Luckily for Honey, Dylan Ross isn’t quite the standoffish, unapproachable man he seems to be, even after he realizes that the pretty newcomer to Sugarberry Island is all kinds of trouble. Just a single touch – and what happens because of that touch – is all it takes for Dylan to open up and – whether she wants it or not – help Honey find her footing and put down roots in this tiny community where secrets, especially the kind Honey has, are impossible to keep.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this story! Sweet, sexy, passionate… it’s not so much a story about letting go of your past, but learning to live with what Fate has given you. It’s about opening yourself up to friendship and love, knowing it’s better to take a chance on having it all rather than hide yourself away and living with the regret of knowing you never even tried.

The bottom line: I’m excited to have found another author who knows how to blend the wonderful female friendships of chick-lit with the passion and romance of contemporary romance. I am so looking forward to reading more of the Cupcake Club series!

My thanks to Kensington/Brava for providing me with a copy of this delightful story in exchange for an honest review. It’s been such a treat!