Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Promo Post: Who We Were by Melissa Collins

Who We Were by Melissa Collins - 
Blurb Reveal 
Coming this fall... 
Add to your TBR on Goodreads.
Who We Were...
Two awkward teenagers - the loner and the nerd, trying to find our place in the world. Paired in wood shop, we knew nothing of each other, except that we wanted to know everything. Then one life altering moment changed it all and we were left with shattered dreams and broken hearts.
Who We Are...
Two grown men - braver and smarter than we used to be, trying to heal the damage from that irrevocable moment. Even though the past was behind us, dead and buried long ago, we found it impossible to move on without ripping open the scars of our deep wounds.
With twelve years of unanswered questions fueling our desperate need for the truth, we must figure out if who we were will destroy who we are.
Add to your TBR on Goodreads.

Melissa Collins has always been a book worm. Studying Literature in college ensured that her nose was always stuck in a book. She followed her passion for reading to the most logical career choice: English teacher. Her hope was to share her passion for reading and the escapism of books to her students. Having spent more than a decade in front of a classroom, she can easily say that it’s been a dream. Her passion for writing didn’t start until more recently. When she was home on maternity leave in early 2012, she read her first romance novel and her head filled with the passion, angst and laughter of the characters who she read about it. It wasn’t long before characters of her own took shape in her mind. Their lives took over Melissa’s brain and The Love Series was born.

Under Control by Shannon Stacey

Title: Under Control
Author: Shannon Stacey
My Rating: B+

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Boston Fire #5
Main Characters: Olivia and Derek
Release Date: August 2018
Publisher: Carina Press 
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
When faced with the opportunity to change shifts while staying in the same house, veteran firefighter Derek Gilman jumps at the chance. His new schedule means not working Saturdays, which means more time to spend with his two kids. His divorce may have been amicable, but being a firefighter and a single dad is a lot to juggle. And when fate brings a gorgeous, wealthy woman into his life, he’s pretty sure he can’t handle more than he already is.

Olivia McGovern loves plans. She planned to start her own business and planned its growth. It’s earning her seven figures now, but her personal life simply doesn’t exist. Getting trapped in a broken elevator figures in exactly nowhere, and freaking out in front of a sexy firefighter definitely isn’t on the agenda. Especially not one with two kids and an ex.

What would have been a random incident with an attractive stranger becomes something more when a charity event brings them back together. They’re from different sides of the tracks, literally—with friends, family and careers to consider. But as Derek and Olivia are discovering, chemistry doesn’t allow for plans, and love doesn’t bother with logistics.

My Review:
I am all about a well-organized and sorted planner, but wow...Olivia is on a whole other level of planning. This girl is obsessed. In fact, she's a professional planner. Her life is about efficiency and lists and schedules. It's the pure opposite of the real life Derek is living. 

Derek is a firefighter with a small child that he's sharing custody with his ex. His life is complicated and unpredictable. 

They're also very different on another level. Derek is a blue-collar worker. Olivia lives in the world of power-suits, power views and power meetings. This is a huge difference in their social circles. They are both very aware of these differences, although Derek was more worried throughout the story about them, but neither can deny the chemistry between them.

Olivia's conflict with their relationship is that Derek is something that she never planned for. She's learned throughout her life that whenever she doesn't follow her plan, that bad things happen. She's really rigid with herself and that's who she is. I'll admit that even for me, there was a certain point in the book that I wanted to throw away her planner because she's too rigid about it all. But again, that's where her character growth comes from.

This was an interesting read and I did enjoy it overall. It's a good series and very easy to read. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Don't Close Your Eyes by Christie Craig

Title: Don't Close Your Eyes
Author: Christie Craig
My Rating: A

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Texas Justice #1
Main Characters: Annie and Mark
Release Date: August 2018
Publisher: Forever 
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
What would you do if everything you thought was true about your family turned out to be a lie? 

Annie Lakes has had the same recurring nightmare for years. Her heart pounding in her chest. A panicked voice, begging her to run faster. Her own bloodcurdling scream. But now Annie is starting to realize it's more than just a bad dream. She's starting to remember things about the night her cousin Jenny disappeared all those years ago. Things that make her believe her family was involved--and what they're hiding is much worse than she ever imagined. But she can't unravel this alone. She needs someone she can trust, someone like sexy Detective Mark Sutton ....

Mark has seen enough--too much--to assume that Annie's story is a dead end. It turns out that her family is hiding some killer secrets. A long time ago, Annie was just an innocent little girl who saw something she shouldn't. Now she's a target, and Mark's running out of time to protect the woman he's starting to fall for. But how does Mark face off against a murderer who just may be someone Annie loves?
My Review:
Hands down, this has been one of the best, if not THE BEST, romantic suspense novel I've read so far this year. This was a story that wound in and around, full of twists and turns, and little unexpected revelations that I didn't see coming. It was an amazing read! And there was so much depth to it. 

The story starts with Annie and her nightmares. She's had nightmares of a single night when she was five her entire life, but for the most part, she's never remembered any details, until her mother guilts her into attending her uncle's funeral. Annie has never been around her mother's side of the family. Her father didn't approve of them, so she's never been exposed to them, but the day of the funeral, memories start to come forward and Annie begins to realize that she saw a cousin who'd been murdered. 

Mark has made a few mistakes as a police detective. As a result, he's been demoted down to the cold case department and it seems like every cold case he gets is centered around a dead child. He's good at solving these cases, but the realities of them are slowly sapping his soul and his sobriety. He drinks to forget the dead children. 

When Mark first meets Annie, he's not so sure that she's not crazy and as more and more of her story comes out, he's sure she's nuts. But there's a ton going on with both of these characters. Neither one of them are perfect, but they are both such good characters. I loved them and felt for them and watching them find their way through this difficult obstacle maze was an amazing time. I loved this book. 

I DEFINITELY recommend it and cannot wait to read more of the series. It was an amazing read. It's a long book, but it passed by way too quickly. I didn't want the book to end. 

I received a gift of this book from the publisher with no expectation of a review. The opinions in this review are my own.

Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews

Title: Magic Triumphs
Author: Ilona Andrews
My Rating: A

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Kate Daniels #10
Main Characters: Kate and Curran
Release Date: August 2018
Publisher: Ace
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can't-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She's made friends and enemies. She's found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate's doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.
For Atlanta.

For the world.
My Review:
The last book in this series...gah, that's bittersweet because I love this series so much. BUT yay...Ilona Andrews has set it up so that there can be one or more spin off series and that means even more fun reading to come. I can't wait. But I'm getting ahead of myself...this book.

This book is the final Kate Daniels series...and we can only hope that means that Kate finally gets some peace, because dang this girl has been through a lot. And it's wearing on her. You can see it throughout this story. She just wants some peace. Normally that's found in Curran and home. But in this story there are added difficulties to that happening. 

Roland is building an army, and something else is lurking out there that feels more malevolent than ever. On top of that Kate and Curran have a son...which is amazing news. But he's their offspring...so that means he's "extra" special and talented and magical. And Kate isn't the only one scared. Curran is making questionable decisions to try to keep them all safe, too. 

Wow...it's all crazy. There is so much going on in this book. PLUS...it's the final book in her series, so everything has to be tied up with a pretty knot. 

Well done to Ilona Andrews. They did it. It's a great book. There is a TON happening and everyone throughout the series seems to make an appearance, but it works. It's brilliant. It's bittersweet. I'm only hoping now that Kate and Curran can find a bit of peace to simply live their lives...normally. 

This entire series has been fantastic. I highly, highly recommend it!!!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest and voluntary review.

Going Down Easy by Erin Nicholas

Title: Going Down Easy
Author: Erin Nicholas
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Boys of the Big Easy #1
Main Characters: Gabe and Addison
Release Date: August 2018
Publisher: Montlake
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Hot fling or real thing? There are no Big Easy answers in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Erin Nicholas’s sultry series.
As far as flings go, single dad Gabe Trahan is pretty sure that Addison Sloan is his best bet. Once a month, Addison comes to New Orleans and then…It. Is. On. Until Addison returns to New York, it’s just hot, happily-no-strings-attached sex. And beignets. And jazz. But lately for Gabe, it isn’t nearly enough.
Sure, maybe Addison’s gotten a bit hooked on Gabe. After all, who can resist a guy who’s so sexy, so charming, and so…available? But maybe he’s too available for her right now. Addison’s just moved to New Orleans, and relationships are definitely off the table. Besides, guys always bail when they learn her secret: she’s a single mom.
Only Gabe’s not running. Worse, he’s thrilled. But Addison never signed up for ever-after romance, and Gabe won’t settle for anything less. Now it’s a battle of wills—and when it comes to the woman he’s falling for, Gabe isn’t above playing a little dirty.
My Review:
Wow...I really, really liked this book. From page one I was completely engrossed with the story. The author just perfectly wove the story so that it was engaging and intriguing and I didn't want to stop reading. I loved this slowly developing relationship between Gabe and Addison (although the sex was there and HAWT from page one) and their two five year olds. This book was everything that made me happy.

For six months, Addison and Gabe have been engaging in a hot fling once a month when she's in NOLA on business from NYC. It's hot and sexy and Gabe is starting to realize that he'd really like more, but he owns a bar in NOLA and Addison lives in NYC. That would never work. Oh, and she also has no idea that he has a five year old son. 

But surprise...Addison is relocating and also has a kid that Gabe had no clue about. In his view, this is perfect. He just wasn't counting on Addison's aversion to commitment. She already has a kid, doesn't want another. She also doesn't want anything more than a fling. She got pregnant by accident and was really burned by her ex. She's now a serious commitment-phobe.

But Gabe doesn't give up that quickly. I love how he drew her into his world and eventually the kids became part of it all and this whole little dynamic works so well. I don't think I've ever read a book where the kids in the story worked so well in it to not only enhance the story, but to make that much better and heartwarming. I think I fell just as hard for Cooper and Stella...gah, these kids and how they bonded together...I LOVED THEM!!

Everything about this book worked for me. At first, I couldn't see Addison's view, but then it became clearer and my heart hurt for both her and Gabe. I loved the way that the story played out and didn't want to put my kindle down. This story and the romance was impeccable. I loved it and cannot wait for more in the series. Bring on Logan (Gabe's brother). 

I definitely recommend this book!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest and voluntary review.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Strictly Confidential by Lynda Aicher

Title: Strictly Confidential
Author: Lynda Aicher
My Rating: A

Genre: Erotic Romance
Series: The Boardroom #3
Main Characters: Kennedy and Matt
Release Date: August 2018
Publisher: Carina
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: erotic

Story Overview:
What’s your pleasure?

From Lynda Aicher, author of the bestselling Wicked Play books, comes an exclusive invitation to the Boardroom—where working late has its rewards.

Life is about power—who has it, who doesn’t.

Anyone who says otherwise hasn’t spent time in Kennedy Keller’s business-casual two-point-five-inch heels. A woman in a world very much run by men, Kennedy does whatever it takes to keep her power, in the office and outside of it.

Until she lets her guard down and decides to submit to a man for just one night. He’s everything she doesn’t usually let herself have: sexy, strong…dominant.

Matt Hamilton said goodbye to the Dom life years ago—power games and the delectable push/pull of dominance and submission might start in the bedroom, but it never stays there.

Reunited in the Boardroom, Matt and Kennedy test their desires and boundaries…and learn that one night is never just one night.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!
My Review:
A good measure of how much I loved this book...this is the first book I've read from this series, but immediately upon finishing it, I went online to buy print copies of the other two novels and all the ebook novellas. Yeah, I pretty much loved this story. But that's no surprise since I adored Lynda Aicher's Wicked Play series. So, the only question is...why the heck did I wait so long to pick this series up? Big mistake on my part. 

So, the premise of this book...both Matt and Kennedy are executives. They meet at a convention and have a sizzling one-night encounter. They both think that's the end since there was no exchange of any personal details besides first names, so it's a shock when they meet at the Boardroom. The Boardroom is an exclusive sexual play arrangement for some of the town's most exclusive society members of the business community. 

And things evolve from there.

As you would expect, this book is extremely hot. I loved Matt and Kennedy's interactions. There is a ton of chemistry sizzling between them, but neither one is looking for something more...but we know how that will turn out. Kennedy is focused on pleasing her father and maintaining her power in a man's world. Matt is focused on building his new company but still giving the attention that they need to his two teenagers. He doesn't have time for anything else and he learned the hard way with the kid's mother about how things can go when he indulges his proclivities. He does not engage in kink anymore...period. dot. 

Yeah, best laid plans and all that, but I liked the way the author wrote the characters relationship evolution. It felt very realistic. There was some drama and conflict, but none of it ever felt mechanized. The story is just really well-written and I highly recommend it especially if you looking for something a little bit on the spicier side. 

I received a gift copy of this book from the publisher with no obligation to post or review. This review was voluntary and is purely my honest opinion.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews (audiobook)

Title:  Iron and Magic
Author: Ilona Andrews
My Rating: A
Narrator: Steve West

Genre: Urban Fantasy 
Series: The Iron Covenant #1
Main Characters: Hugh and Elara
Release Date: July 2018 (audiobook)
Publisher: NYLA
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.
Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.
Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.
Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?
As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”
Hugh and Elara may do both. 
(Length: 12 hrs and 51 mins)
My Review:
Overall: 4.5
Performance: 4.75
Story: 4.5

YES! OMG, I'm going to adore this new series. Hugh D'Ambray...even though he's been a bad guy in the Kate Daniels series, I've always kind of liked him and felt sorry for him. Just like Kate, he was caught up in an awful place with Roland as his "mentor/family".

So, to see him in this new series...YES, I am so excited. And Elara is the perfect match for him, because she is just as tough as he is.

Like every Ilona Andrews book, the action is non stop in this story, but so is the chemistry. This is definitely an enemies to lovers story. I love the banter/conflict between Hugh and Elara. They drive each other nuts, but they need one another so they have to just deal. The way they interact kept me laughing because they are very careful to keep up all appearances of being a happy couple, but the whole time they are slinging insults at one another. It's brilliantly done and the narrator of the audiobook rocked the comedic timing between them. I loved this book so, so much.

I loved every minute of listening to this book. It was fun and intense and sexy and completely engrossing. I couldn't listen to it fast enough, but didn't want it to end. I loved it and cannot wait for more installments to Hugh and Elara's story. And I'm really hoping they show up in the final Kate Daniels book that comes out at the end of the month, too.

I highly recommend both this book and the entire Kate Daniels series. Ilona Andrews creates an amazing, imaginative world that it's incredibly easy to get sucked into. I'm ready for more...and dying to know what exactly Elara is...mystery!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Cover Reveal: When Love Surprises by Christi Snow

I am so in love with this cover. It captures Billy and Steven perfectly.
Cover Designer: AM Design Studios
Photographer: Paul Henry Serres
Models: Nicholas and Leonardo Bayne (real-life husbands)

This is a standalone male/male romantic suspense novel, although it is part of the overall When the Mission Ends series.

Story Description
Raised in a religious household, being gay was never an option for Steven, but when an injury left him incapacitated, he was forced to face those urges that he’s been able to ignore for the last thirty-eight years of his life...


Three months ago, Major Steven Hardesty’s life sat on the precipice of perfection. Now he’s trying to come back from a life-threatening injury and a devastating romantic loss all while trying to figure out what he’s going to do after separating from the Air Force.


Billy Starr never planned on running his family ranch by himself. He was supposed to be doing it with his sister, Whitney. But when she died in a freak accident, it sent his life in a tailspin of despair and alcohol.


Steven and Billy were friends. Billy offered the ranch as a good, private place where Steven could recover, but as their friendship deepened, so did other feelings. Is it possible that a love affair between the two of them could heal them both? Or break them even more?

Preorder Information
Releasing September 14th
(This book will be available for preorder and I will update links here as they go live. They should all go live this weekend.)

Next week, I will share Five things about this book in my Friday Five on my author blog (www.christi-snow.com), so stay tuned...

Have a great weekend, everyone!