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Review: Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker

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The bestselling author of The Simple Wild and Keep Her Safe and “master of steamy romance” (Kirkus Reviews) delivers a sizzling novel about an ambitious and high-powered executive who reconnects with her first love: the boy who broke her heart. 

Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.

On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.

Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group, and coincidentally the first love of her life.

The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counselors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.

Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is still alive and strong, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.

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MY REVIEW

“I snap, because I’m feeling like a fool right now. A sixteen-year-old pining fool. A fool still in love. But, I have to accept that all I’m in love with is a memory.”

Say You Still Love Me is a sweet, second chance romance. It’s a story of firsts and one unforgettable summer.

Say You Still Love Me follows the story of Piper and Kyle. When we first meet up with Piper, we see that she’s made quite a name for herself. She’s prepping to take over her father’s company and shares an amazing apartment with her two best friends. The downside, she’s working in a man’s world and has to try extra hard to prove that she’s got what it takes to get the job done. Piper’s life is filled with challenges, and little does she know that her world is about to get turned upside down one more time. A blast from her past just so happens to be the newest security guard of her office building. The boy who had all of her firsts and disappeared without another word. Now, she has to see him every single day. She’s got a lot of unanswered questions, but can’t get Kyle off of her mind. She’s determined to make him own up to his actions, but only time will tell if she can handle what Kyle has got to tell her….

Say You Still Love Me was a quick and enjoyable read for me. I loved getting swept up in Kyle and Piper’s story. I really enjoyed getting to see their past and seeing how Piper met her current roommates. Who would have known that one summer would not only break her heart, but provide her with long lasting friendships?

I really enjoyed the grown up version of Piper. While she still wanted to prove herself to her father and make him proud, she was much more mature and direct. She didn’t hold back on what she was thinking and wasn’t going to let anyone take advantage of her. And then we have Kyle. I absolutely adored him. He was the boy from the wrong side of town, who had a heart of gold. Even as an adult, his past still haunted him, but that didn’t stop him from trying to be what Piper deserved. Sure, he made some bad decisions, but when I finally got all the answers, I had a better understanding of why Kyle acted the way he did. He wasn’t perfect, and I think that made me love him even more.

As I previously stated, I really enjoyed getting to know Piper and Kyle. Not just as adults, but also as young adults. I loved seeing them fall for one another and then be reunited once again. The second time around, their story had more of a slow burn to it. Yes, they knew each other. Yes, the chemistry was still there. But, both of them were afraid to jump in with both feet and it really felt good watching them try to figure their feelings out.

Overall, I found this book to be a really enjoyable read. It entertained me and had me devouring all the words. I loved the bad bad/wrong side of the tracks vibe. Piper and Kyle couldn’t have been more opposite, but somehow they just worked. The road to happily ever after for these two had quite a few bumps in the road, but I loved every single second of it. In the end, this story left me with a smile on my face and totally satisfied with the story of Piper & Kyle….

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book via the publisher & NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review*

Review: Big Shot by Katy Evans

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“I need you back. Now.” —William Walker

I can’t believe I’m letting my ex-boss talk me into working for him again. He’s arrogant. Domineering. He gets under my skin in ways I don’t want to admit. When I quit, it felt great! But now, seeing the big, bad billionaire rendered helpless by a baby, I give in to his demand. And I’m worried it won’t be the last time… —India Crowley

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MY REVIEW

Big Shot is a fast paced enemies to lovers workplace romance. I was totally hooked from the very first page. It was impossible to not fall for India. India is hard working and good at what she does. While she makes good money, she can’t help but want more from her life. And it doesn’t help that her boss is a jerk with a capital J! William is arrogant and speaks first and thinks later. He’s used to having his way and never having anyone talk back. So, when India quits her job, it throws him totally for a loop. To make matters worse, William has just agreed to watch his baby niece for the next two weeks. He’s struggling to balance work and caring for his niece. He doesn’t know what to do, so ends up calling India and hopes that she will help him out one last time…

Overall, I found this book to be a quick and enjoyable read. I am a sucker for enemies to lovers romances and could not wait to dive into this one. I will say that William and India’s story had a bit of an insta-love quality to it, but I kind of expected that since this was such a quick read. That being said, I did enjoy William & India. I loved their banter and the tension between the two of them. It was a lot of fun watching the two of them and seeing them try to make sense out of the chemistry between them.

Big Shot was a fun read, from beginning to end. I enjoyed the characters and their story-line and had a great time just getting lost in their story. Big Shot had some great tension and banter. I enjoyed the will they/won’t they moments. I loved the romance and sweet moments and the little drama in between. All in all, a fun read to spend your day getting lost in.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book, via Harlequin Romance & NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review* 

Review: Nothing But This (Broken Pieces #2) by Natasha Anders

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A married couple yearns to rediscover lost love in this novel about forgiveness, reconciliation, and emotional growth.

It’s always been complicated between Libby Lawson and Greyson Chapman—and married life isn’t any simpler. But when Libby gets pregnant, she at last sees a bright future ahead. There’s just one problem: Greyson says he’s sterile.

Furious, Greyson abandons the young family. Equally furious and deeply hurt, Libby cuts all ties with him. After all these years, it seems their relationship has finally expired. But love is resilient and endures even when you don’t want it to. Greyson still longs for Libby, and though Libby’s heartbroken by Greyson’s lack of trust, she holds out hope for a complete, happy family.

And so they embark on the journey back to each other, wary of all the obstacles between them. It’s been a long road already—one strewed with fear, doubt, and misunderstandings. Will they keep looking to the past, or will they look to each other and walk hand in hand toward a broad new horizon?

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MY REVIEW

Words can not even begin to express how excited I was to read this book. The synopsis sounded so promising and this author is one that a lot of friends have been raving about. The synopsis for Nothing But This sounded amazing and I just couldn’t wait to dive in.

Nothing But This follows the story of Greyson and Libby. Things between Greyson and Libby have always been complicated. Libby has had a crush on Greyson for as long as she could remember and Greyson never once gave any indication that he felt the same way. It wouldn’t be until years later, when fate reunites Greyson and Libby, that Greyson finally makes his move. Greyson and Libby have a whirlwind romance and before they know it, they find themselves married. The sky’s the limit. That is until Libby ends up getting pregnant. Libby’s happily ever after is anything but. Greyson believes himself to be sterile and his actions and treatment of Libby are inexcusable. Libby is so hurt. The only answer is to leave Greyson….Will Greyson open his eyes and see the mistakes he’s made? Is the damage between Libby and Greyson too much to repair? There’s only one way to find out…..

When I first picked up this book, I was hooked. I couldn’t get enough of Greyson and Libby. I felt like I couldn’t read fast enough. Their story started off so promising. A young couple who fell in love hard and fast and suddenly had the rug pulled out from under them….Yep, I couldn’t get enough. I was angry. I was frustrated. The angst and hopelessness so palpable. I couldn’t wait to see where this story would go.

Unfortunately, things feel apart pretty quickly for me. As much as I loved the angst and frustration. I found myself annoyed with Libby and Greyson. Don’t get me wrong, I totally was team Libby. She was so right in all the decisions she was making and I didn’t mind seeing Greyson grovel. Greyson made some terrible assumptions and his actions were irredeemable. I loved that Libby put him through the paces and didn’t just accept that he pulled his head out of his butt. She made him see how his behavior hurt her and she made him work for it.

However, after a while, the back and forth stopped working for me. It felt repetitive and like the plot was dragging. I wanted to see more from Greyson and Libby. I needed to see some type of a connection other than the baby & good sex. The sexual tension was on point and the angst factor definitely had my heart working overtime. But, I needed more than that. I needed some flashbacks of the good times and moments that would make me root for them. I needed to see these characters connect with their clothes on.  Like show me why these two characters should be together because at the end of the day, sex and a baby are not enough. My other issue was the secondary plot line between Harris and Tina. I found that to be really confusing since their story was the first book in this series. I get that their stories were running parallel with one another, but the way it was done, it felt like we never jumped ahead of their story, if that makes sense. Like I understand that some parts of their story were important to this plot, but it made it feel like this was all four of their stories instead of just Libby & Greyson’s.

Overall, I thought this book was an ok read. I think it will be a hit for some and a miss for others. I’m going to round this one up to 3 stars, because I really did enjoy the first half of the book. I think this story had a lot of good potential, but for me just fell flat. This is my first book by this author, and while I didn’t love it, I would be open to checking out other books from her in the future.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review*

Blog Tour: Making Up by Helena Hunting

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A new standalone, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy by New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting.

Cosy Felton is great at her job—she knows just how to handle the awkwardness that comes with working at an adult toy store. So when the hottest guy she’s ever seen walks into the shop looking completely overwhelmed, she’s more than happy to turn on the charm and help him purchase all of the items on his list.

Griffin Mills is using his business trip in Las Vegas as a chance to escape the broken pieces of his life in New York City. The last thing he wants is to be put in charge of buying gag gifts for his friend’s bachelor party. Despite being totally out of his element, and mortified by the whole experience, Griffin is pleasantly surprised when he finds himself attracted to the sales girl that helped him.

As skeptical as Cosy may be of Griffin’s motivations, there’s something about him that intrigues her. But sometimes what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas and when real life gets in the way, all bets are off. Filled with hilariously awkward situations and enough sexual chemistry to power Sin City, Making Up is the next standalone in the Shacking Up world.

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MY REVIEW

Making Up is a laugh out loud romantic comedy. Told from dual points of view, Making Up follows the story of Griffin and Cosy. Cosy has a some what unconventional job, yet she’s really good at it. If you’re feeling awkward, she knows just how to put you at ease. So, when Griffin walks into her store, for the first time ever, she’s knocked off her feet. He overwhelms her, but that won’t stop her from doing her job. Griffin is in Vegas for business and somehow got the short end of the stick and was stuck having to get gag gifts for his friends’ bachelor party. He’s in way over his head and that’s where Cosy comes into play. Not only is she charming, but she helps him get all the items on his list. Cosy thinks this will be the last she’ll ever see of Griffin, but she couldn’t be more wrong. Griffin is drawn to Cosy in a way he can’t explain or understand. He’ll do anything to get her to take a chance….

Making Up is a hilarious and awkward read…and I mean awkward in the best possible way. Cosy and Griffin couldn’t be more opposite from one another, but neither can deny the pull they feel. Cosy is young and a total free spirit. But don’t let her age fool you, she is a lot wiser than one might expect. And then you’ve got Griffin. He’s older, more mature and is used to getting his way. He makes Cosy feel like a million bucks and will stop at nothing to make her his.

Overall, I thought this book was a really fun read. I loved the awkward moments and the sexy ones too. It’s impossible to not fall head over heels for Cosy and Griffin. These two are just so much fun and I loved getting swept up in their story. Sure the road to happily ever after was filled with some bumps and drama, but what good romance isn’t. At the end of the day, this book had me in stitches with laughter and left me with a huge smile on my face. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book via the publisher & NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review*

Excerpt

We’re a couple of minutes away from my apartment, which also means we’re almost at the end of our date. End-of-date protocol often means a goodnight kiss.

And I’ve eaten onions. Lots of them. What the hell was I thinking? I feel around in my shorts pocket, hoping I have a random stick of gum. I find a tiny square packet and pull it out, along with an old tissue. I shove that back in my pocket and sigh with relief as I carefully open the Listerine Pocketpak. There’s one strip left. I pop it in my mouth, wishing I had water since my mouth is dry and I’m suddenly super nervous.

Griffin pulls up in front of my apartment building. I swallow a bunch of times, trying to get the strip to dissolve on my tongue and glance out the tinted window, seeing it from his perspective. I don’t live in a bad part of town, but I sure as hell wouldn’t leave this car sitting out here for any length of time unless I wanted it keyed or stripped down.

Griffin shifts into park and turns to me, one hand resting on the back of my seat near the headrest. “I had a great time, Cosy.”

“Me too, thanks for dinner.” I tried to fork over my share, but he was quick on the credit card draw.

“It was my pleasure.” He leans in the tiniest bit, a nonverbal cue that he’s going in for a kiss.

I mirror the movement, giving him the go ahead. My stomach flutters in anticipation. I exhale slowly through my nose. Even though the Listerine strip should be doing its job to mask the onions, I don’t want to ruin the moment by breathing that in his face.

His fingertips skim my jaw, and I close my eyes. And then his lips brush my cheek. I wait for them to move a couple of inches to the right, but after what feels like a lot of seconds—and is probably only a few—I crack a lid.

Griffin is still close, a wry smile on his lips and a smolder in his eyes.

“Seriously, that’s it? A kiss on the cheek?”

His smile widens, making his eyes crinkle at the corners. He’s nothing like the guys I usually end up on dates with. College boys don’t take things slow. If I were out with one of the guys from school, I’d be sitting in a beat-up Civic with some stupid music playing, and he’d be all over me with his tongue halfway down my throat, copping a feel.

“I thought all the onions you ate were the equivalent to garlic for vampires.” Griffin fingers my hair near my shoulder. I’d really like him to finger something else. Wait. I mean I’d like to feel his hands on me. Not in my pants. Okay, maybe I’d like them in my pants, but not after date number one.

“I wasn’t thinking, and I really like onions. A lot. In hindsight, it’s not a great date food. I feel kinda dumb. And I guess at first I wasn’t so sure about you. How was I supposed to know you’d actually be kind of normalish?”

“Normalish?”

“Well, you drink club soda on purpose, so you can’t be all there.” I tap his temple.

Griffin circles my wrist with his fingers and drops his head, lips brushing over my knuckle. “We can’t all be perfect, now, can we?”

“I suppose not, and perfect is boring.”

“That it is.” He hums against my skin, and I feel it through my entire body. “I would like to try that kiss again, if you’re still interested.”

Helena Hunting Q&A MAKING UP

  1. What inspired you to write Making Up?

I’d introduced Griffin in the previous Shacking Up Series novels, Shacking Up and Hooking Up—he was a bit of a mystery for readers because he was talked about, but not really present. I had a very clear picture in my mind of who he was, and the kind of woman who would end up being the perfect fit for him, and it was not his fiancé from the previous books.

  1. Introduce us to your main characters!

Griffin Mills is the oldest of the three Mills brothers. At thirty-three he’s had several very long term relationships and was formerly engaged, but that relationship went up in flames. He’s gorgeous, smart, loves the numbers side of the family business he’s part of—a chain of hotels he’s set to inherit with his brothers. Also, he’s a little awkward, which I love, because there’s nothing quite like a hot guy who doesn’t have all the lines and fumbles a bit when he’s dealing with someone he’s attracted to. It makes for some hilarious banter with his love interest, Cosy Felton. Our heroine is a twenty-two year old who has been a bit of a nomad for most of her life, but is finally finishing school and happens to work at an Adult Toy Store part time. It’s definitely not her favourite job, but it pays the bills. She’s sassy, not much of a planner and definitely more than Griffin bargained for.

  1. Lots of aspiring authors out there. Any advice for them?

Just keep writing. Every day put words on the page and surround yourself with positive people who are there to support you. Ask questions, join book groups, be an avid reader and an observer.

  1. How is Making Up different from your other books?

Making Up has a trope I’ve never really explored or played around with before, so it was a lot of fun to write. While I’ve written age gaps before, it hasn’t been a key part of the storyline, or had a significant impact on how the characters perceive the relationship. Griffin and Cosy are from two very different worlds and balancing their expectations and insecurities was one of my favourite parts of writing their story. Making Up has my signature quirky, sassy heroines and I love writing heroes that are sexy, yet a little awkward. While it’s a light read, there’s some drama, and some heavy baggage, which I think grounds the story and balances out the hilarity.

  1. I know asking someone’s all-time favorite book is a loaded question so what’s your current favorite read?

I’ve been so lucky to read so many amazing books this year but I’m going to go with Broken Knight by LJ Shen which releases this August. I love YA/NA romance and angst, and she knows how to deliver both flawlessly.

  1. Alright, the ultimate question: why should we read your book?

We all need a little escape from our own realities once in a while and Making Up is a fun, sexy romance that’s perfect for the summer. Also, Griffin is hot, and not particularly suave at times. I think we can all appreciate a guy who doesn’t have all the lines, especially if he looks like he should.

  1. A famous movie producer wants to make your books into movies and they want you to cast your characters from Making Up. Which actors/actresses make the cut?

This is always a fun question and I’ll be 100% honest, I never actually look at actors prior to writing a story because I generally have a picture of the character in my head. But, I went on a Pinterest mission and Alex Morgan (she’s a soccer player, not an actress) would make a fabulous Cosy if she suddenly switched career paths. Hailee Steinfeld (Bumblebee) is super sassy, and could definitely play up the humor in this story, so she would be a legitimate actress choice. Gabriel Macht has a great smolder and can rock a seriously sexy suit, so I think he’d be great as Griffin.

  1. Favorite quote or scene you wrote in Making Up?

Making Up is definitely a rom-com with some incredibly hilarious moments, but Griffin has some heavy baggage, which means there are also serious moments, and this is one of my favourites: “Talk to me. Fall apart on me. Show me your weakness so I can give you my strength.”

  1. What inspired you to become a writer?

I’ve always loved to write, but finding time was a challenge during university and then afterward I was building a career and we renovated a house down to the studs—which takes up a lot of time and doesn’t leave much of an opportunity for putting down words (but it was an amazing experience). When I gave birth to my daughter she struggled to sleep—or rather stay asleep—and that meant I spent a lot of time awake in the middle of the night. So I started writing again during those late nights, and finally penned my first full novel.

  1. What is a typical writing day like?

I usually start with a run and then copious amounts of coffee while I manage the administrative side of things—ie emails, social media posts etc. But when I sit down to write I have a playlist I put on repeat, more coffee, sparking water (so I can stay hydrated) and my cat Pumpkin generally lies on top of my closed laptop and supervises me for the day.

  1. Do you have any interesting writing quirks or habits?

I listen to the same playlist while I write a novel. So if it takes me two months, then I listen to the same set of songs for two full months. I’ve destroyed A LOT of albums for my husband over the past several years. I just need the background noise, and listening to the radio or unfamiliar songs can be distracting.

  1. What has been one of the most surprising things you’ve learned as a published author?

I’ve only been in the industry for five years and there has been so much change, learning to adjust and adapt and just staying true to your personal goal is really the most important thing I’ve learned. I think when you start out there are just so many unknowns, and taking risks can be scary, but if you don’t take those risks, it’s hard to grow as an author.

  1. Can you tell us about what’s coming up next after this for you writing wise?

I have one more book in The Shacking Up Series, HANDLE WITH CARE, which releases at the end of August! Griffin’s cousin and best friend, Lincoln Moorehead, is the hero and if you didn’t know, he is also Armstrong’s brother. Lincoln is the polar opposite of Armstrong so it was so fun to write. I can’t wait for people to meet Griffin and Cosy and Lincoln and Wren.

  1. How can readers connect with you online?

They can connect with me all over social media!

Website→   http://www.helenahunting.com/

Amazon →  http://amzn.to/1y6OBB7

Twitter → http://bit.ly/HelenaHTwitter

Facebook  → https://www.facebook.com/helena.hunting69/

Pinterest →  http://bit.ly/1oQYRVN

Instagram →  http://instagram.com/helenahunting
Goodreads→ http://bit.ly/GoodReadsHH
NEWSLETTER  → http://bit.ly/HelenaHnewsletter

Bookbub →  http://bit.ly/BookBubHH

Facebook Reader Group  →  http://bit.ly/TheBeaverDenHH

Bio:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

Buy-Book Link: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250253378

Review: Jackson (The McBrides of Texas #1) by Emily March

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Sometimes it takes a new beginning 
Caroline Carruthers married young to a much-older man. Now that he’s gone, she’s lost…until she dares to chase a dream all on her own. Moving to Redemption, Texas, is chapter one in Caroline’s new life story. Opening a bookstore is the next. Finding love is the last thing on her mind as she settles into this new place called home. But when she meets a handsome, soulful man who’s also starting over, all bets are off.
to reach a happily-ever-after 
Jackson McBride came to Redemption looking only to find himself, not someone to love. Ever since his marriage ended, he’s been bitter. Sure, he used to believe in love–he even has the old song lyrics to prove it–but the Jackson of today is all business. That is, until a beautiful young widow who’s moved to town inspires a change of heart. Could it be that the myth of Redemption’s healing magic is true…and Jackson and Caroline can find a second chance at a happy ending after all?

Purchase Links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Kc1V3W

https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250314918

MY REVIEW

Jackson is a cute and sweet small town second chance romance. While technically this book is the first in The McBrides of Texas Series, It is the 16th book in the Eternity Springs Series. So, it is a spin-off that can be read as a stand-alone novel. The author did a good job trying to make it so that you didn’t feel like you were missing anything, but there were a few moments where I felt like I was missing something from the previous series.

Jackson is my first book by this author and it follows the story of Jackson and Caroline. Since losing her husband, Caroline has wanted nothing more than to grieve and have a fresh start. Moving to Redemption, seems like the perfect place to call home and get that fresh start she was looking for. She wasn’t looking for love, but when Jackson enters her life, she doesn’t stand a chance….Ever since his divorce and bitter custody battle, Jackson has been blocked. He’s lost his love for music and belief in true love. A fresh start in Redemption, might just be what the doctor ordered. And when Jackson lays his eyes on Caroline, his whole world gets kicked off its axis. Will Redemption heal these poor lost souls??? There’s only one way to find out….

Overall, I thought this book was an ok read. It’s one of those books that’s going to be great for some and a miss for others. Jackson is built as a romance, and while it does have some romantic elements, this story is more about family, the small town Caroline & Jackson have come to call home, and finding oneself again.

I enjoyed getting to know Caroline and Jackson. I thought their romance was sweet and their story was interesting. However, I felt like something was off with them. They had some really good moments, but at times, I struggled to connect with them. I think they worked well as friends, but as far as romance goes, I guess I just needed more. Maybe see their relationship develop more and maybe add just a touch of steam. I know this is supposed to be a clean romance and that’s fine, but I could have used some really good, heart-clenching kisses.

For me Jackson was a quick and easy read. I thought it was written well and had a nice flow to it. However, there were moments where we were introduced to a lot of characters and it just kind of felt like there was too much going on. I found those moments to be distracting and it made me want to just skim over it. As I previously states, I also had some issues with the overall romance between Jackson and Caroline, but loved the moments with his daughter. It was clear that he was devoted to her and would do anything for her.

Jackson isn’t one of my typical reading styles. It was a lot cleaner than I was used to and this is coming from someone who reads YA books. While I did have some issues with this story, it wasn’t all bad. There were a lot of good moments, I just was left wanting more. All that being said, I’m still glad I picked up this book and gave it a chance.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book via the publisher, in exchange for an honest review*

Chapter One Excerpt

Nashville, Tennessee

Bang. The judge’s gavel fell and officially crushed Jackson McBride’s heart. He closed his eyes. Bleak despair washed over him. Up until this very moment, he hadn’t believed she’d take it this far.

He’d thought she’d come to her senses. He’d thought she would recognize that this proposal was not only nonsense, but truly insane. He’d believed that somewhere deep inside of her, she still had a spark of humanity. That she wouldn’t do this to him. To them. He’d been wrong.

Damn her. Damn her and the yes-men she surrounded herself with. Damn them all to hell and back.

The enormity of what had just happened washed over him. Oh, God, how will

I survive this?

On the heels of his anguish came the rage. It erupted hot as lava, and it fired his blood and blurred his vision with a red haze of fury. He’d never hit a woman in his life. Never come close, despite plenty of provocation from her direction. In that moment had she been within reach, he might have lived up her accusations.

It scared the crap out of him. That’s what she’s brought me to.

Abruptly, he shoved back his chair so hard that it teetered, almost falling over. He strode toward the courtroom exit. “Jackson? Jackson, wait!” his attorney called, hurrying after him.

Jackson waved her off and didn’t stop. There was nothing left to be said. Nothing left to be done. No place left to go.

No little girl waiting at home to hug and cuddle and kiss good night.

The tap on the toes of Jackson’s boots clacked against the tile floor of the courthouse as his long-legged strides ate up the hallway. He shunned the elevator for the stairs and descended three flights at a rapid pace, then headed for the building’s exit. In a foolish bit of positive thinking, he’d driven his SUV to the courthouse this morning. Now the sight of the safety booster seat in the back seat made him want to kick a rock into next week.

He didn’t want to go home to a quiet, empty house. He shouldn’t go to a bar. Alcohol on top of his current mood could be a dangerous combination. Somebody probably would get hurt.

He got into the car and started the engine. For a long moment he sat unmoving, staring blindly through the windshield, his hands squeezing the steering wheel so hard that it should have cracked. When his phone rang, he ignored it.

A couple of minutes later, it rang a second time. Again, he ignored it. When it happened a third time, he finally glanced at the display to see who was calling. His cousin. Okay, maybe he would answer it.

“Hello, Boone.”

“How did the hearing go?”

Jackson couldn’t speak past the lump in his throat, so he said nothing.

Following a moment’s silence, Boone got the message. He muttered a curse, and then said, “I’m sorry, man. So damn sorry.”

“Well, it is what it is.”

“You can take another run at it.”

“Yeah.” In three years. Three years. Might as well be three decades. He cleared his throat and changed the subject. “So, how are things in Eternity Springs?”

“Good. They’re good. My friend Celeste Blessing visited my office a few minutes ago and spoke of her granite-headed cousin. Naturally, I thought of you.”

“Naturally,” Jackson dryly replied. But he felt a little less alone.

“Do you have plans this weekend? I could use your help with something.”

Pretty convenient timing. Knowing Boone, he had a spy in the courtroom. But Jackson wasn’t in the position to ignore the bone he’d been thrown. “I’m free. Whatcha got?”

“I’d like you to meet me at home.”

Jackson straightened in surprise. “You’re going back to the ranch?”

“No. Not there. I’m never going back there. However, I am talking about Texas. The Hill Country in particular. A little town west of Austin called Redemption.”

“Redemption, Texas?” Jackson repeated. For some weird reason, his heart gave a little skip. “Why there?”

“It’s a long story. Too long for a phone call. I’ll give you the entire skinny when I see you. When can you get there?”

After today’s debacle, Jackson had absolutely no reason to remain in Nashville. “When do you want me there?”

“I’ll be in later today. I’m in Austin now. I’ve been helping a friend with a project. I have a flight back to Colorado Sunday evening. The earlier you can get here the better, but I’ll make anything work.”

Jackson figured the distance and the drive time. “I’ll meet you tomorrow afternoon. Where?”

“Great. I’ll text you the info when we hang up. Bring camping gear.”

When a sound behind him had Jackson glancing up into the rearview mirror and the booster seat caught his notice, he made an instant decision. “Can’t. I’ll be on my bike.”

“You’re gonna ride your motorcycle all the way from Nashville?”

“Yes, I think I am.”

“Okay. I’ll bring stuff for both of us.” Boone hesitated a moment and added, “Hang in there,

Jackson. It’ll get better.”

No, I don’t think it will. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Jackson ended the call and finally put his SUV in gear and backed out of the parking place. With the distraction of the call behind him, fury returned, and by the time he reached home, he felt like a volcano about to explode.

He threw a handful of things into his tail bag, filled his wallet with cash from his stash, and ten minutes after his arrival, he fired up his bike and took his broken heart and headed out of Nashville. He left behind his home, his work, and his one reason for living, his six-year-old daughter, Haley.

From Jackson. Copyright © 2019 by Emily March and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

Emily March Q & A 

  1. You wrote a book! That’s pretty awesome. Why don’t you tell us a bit about what inspired Jackson and the rest of the books in the Eternity Springs world?

The saying “Write what you know” says it all in my case. I’m a small-town girl and my family and friendships are center to my world. I write about love and family and friendships. I have roots in both the Colorado Rockies and the Texas Hill Country, so it was natural for me to set Eternity Springs and Redemption there. The idea for JACKSON grew out of my interest in the music currently being written and performed in Texas. I’ve always thought singer/songwriters are romantic figures so I was excited to create a hero with this background. Unfortunately, I’m not a musician and I’m definitely not a singer, but I am creative so it was fun for me to explore that aspect of a character.

  1. Introduce us to your main character!

Okay. Well, Americana singer/songwriter Jackson McBride is a bit damaged when the book begins. His famous, talented and wealthy ex has won a custody battle that severely limits his access to his six-year-old daughter, so Jackson goes home to the Texas Hill Country to nurse his broken heart. He finds solace in Enchanted Canyon hiking the trails with the dog he rescues and working to bring a historic dance hall back to life. The last thing he expects is to find love again with a woman whose heart is as battered as his own.

  1. Walk us through a day in the life of Emily March.

Ready to be bored? Now that my daughter’s and niece’s weddings are behind me—they consumed me for months—I’m boring and happy about it. I split my time between Fort Worth where we have a condo downtown in a 1930’s passenger train station and our lake house in the Texas Hill Country. I recently gave up my office in town because I’m spending more and more time at the lake. My husband also offices out of our condo, so on days when we are both working in town, I’ve started riding the new TexRail train that runs from our building to DFW airport. It’s quiet and comfortable and I don’t have Internet to distract me. And at $5 a day, it’s much cheaper than office rent. 🙂 When I’m at the lake I’m either working or doing yard work. My new favorite toy is my power washer.

  1. Lots of aspiring authors out there. Any advice for them?

I’ve always thought that one of the most important things you can do for your writing is to read. And read. And read some more. Read across genres. You absorb so much about pacing and plotting and character development when you read. Plus, you get to READ! 🙂

  1. How is the Jackson trilogy different than your other series?

I don’t think it’s necessarily different from the rest of the Eternity Springs series. I write about love and family and friendship—that doesn’t change. Readers will still see old friends from Eternity Springs and a few scenes in JACKSON are set in Colorado. What’s new is we get to spend some time in the Texas Hill Country and meet a few new characters—Celeste’s cousin, Angelica, for example.

  1. I know asking someone’s all-time favorite book is a loaded question so what’s your current favorite read?

I’m a big fan of Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson series and I’m reading her latest right now, STORM CURSED.

  1. Alright, the ultimate question: why should we read your book?

My goals as a writer are to touch a reader’s heart, to entertain her and make her laugh, to maybe cry a little and sigh with satisfaction upon reaching the end. With JACKSON, I believe I’ve achieved those goals.

  1. Describe yourself in 3 words.

Family. Family. Family. 🙂

  1. What is your most embarrassing memory?

Walking out of the junior high school cafeteria in seventh grade, not realizing that my very short dress—it was the 70’s—had gotten hung up in my underwear and I inadvertently flashed my rear end to the entire cafeteria—including the tables where the football players sat. Thinking about it even today gives me the hives.

  1. Favorite quote or scene you wrote in JACKSON?

I love the ending.  Jackson is a songwriter who has lost his music and when he finds it again…the song he sings to Caroline…just makes me melt.

  1. What is one piece of advice you would tell everyone?

Call your mother.

  1. What inspired you to become a writer?

I’ve always loved to read, so that is part of it, but my father was my primary inspiration. He was a fabulous storyteller. I grew up sitting at his feet and listening to him tell stories about his youth and his experiences in Europe during World War II. Listening to him tell his stories was my favorite thing to do. I didn’t inherit his talent for verbal storytelling, but I think I learned from him how to tell a good story on the page.

  1. Do you have any interesting writing quirks or habits?

Like I mentioned before, I’m pretty boring. My perks and habits are always evolving. The train writing thing is new for me. I usually write on a laptop and edit on a desktop. I listen to movie soundtracks when I write and always finish a book with The Last of the Mohicans.

  1. What has been one of the most surprising things you’ve learned as a published author

I’m always a little surprised and honored that readers are excited to meet me. Like I said…I’m a boring person.

  1. What is your favorite state to visit?

Colorado, of course, because I must keep returning to Eternity Springs. 🙂

What are hobbies or interests do you have?

We are lake people, so I love waterskiing and boating and fishing. As I write this we’ve just finished Memorial Day weekend at the lake, so I sort of feel like chief cook and sheet-and-towel washer, too. I love, love, love hosting big holiday gatherings of family and friends at the lake house, but I will admit I do tire of the mountain of laundry in the aftermath.

  1. Can you tell us about what’s coming up next after this for you writing wise?

I’m writing Tucker’s story. Fun fact for this—as part of my research I attended a survivalist training school for a weekend. I searched long and hard to find one where I could return to town to spend the night in a comfy hotel rather than sleep on the ground—I’m only willing to go so far for my art. I did learn to start a friction fire, though, something I’me VERY proud of. 🙂

  1. How can readers connect with you online?

My website is www.emilymarch.com. I’m active on Facebook. My Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/emilymarchbooks. You can also reach me by email at emily@emilymarch.com.

Author Bio:

Emily March is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the heartwarming Eternity Springs series. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapeño relish has made her a tailgating legend.

Review: Saint (Knights of Fury #1) by Chantal Fernando

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From the New York Times bestselling author of the Wind Dragons and Cursed Ravens MC series comes sinners, saints and secrets… 

Dear Skylar,

Five years. That’s a long time to go without talking to somebody, especially someone who was such a huge part of your life…

A letter from my first kiss and my childhood everything…from prison.

He may be nicknamed Saint, but this sweet, sexy biker most definitely has a wild streak. Hearing from him draws me right back into the Knights of Fury motorcycle club—the people I’ll always think of as family.

He’s still the only man I’ve ever wanted.

Each good, old-fashioned letter from my “prison pen pal” has my heart racing. Which is nothing compared to how I feel when Saint surprises me in person, as a free man.

I was just a kid the last time we saw each other, but the connection between us now is anything but innocent.

He’s the type of man who would do anything to protect his woman. And with my world crashing down around me, that’s exactly what I’m going to need.

Please note: This book is part of the Knights of Fury MC series but can be read as a stand-alone.
 

MY REVIEW

“If jealousy is that burn in your chest and that feeling of dread in your stomach, then yeah, I’ve got that.”

“Happiness is the wind in my hair and a road trip leading to a fresh start.”

“This is where I’ve always meant to be, this is fate, and this man is my soul mate.”

From the moment I laid eyes on this book, I just knew I had to read it. I mean, not only was the cover fantastic, but the synopsis drew me in. I haven’t read a biker book for a while, so I was more than ready to check this book out.

Saint follows the story of Saint and Skylar. Skylar has had a crush on Saint for as long as she can remember. The only problem was that she was five years younger. So, as much as she felt the pull, she and Saint could never be. Skylar thought she’d always live the MC life, that is until her mom took her away. It will be five years before Skylar is reunited with not only Saint, by her Knights of Fury family. The chemistry between Skylar and Saint burns hotter than ever and now that Skylar is an adult, all bets are off. Saint is everything that Skylar has always wanted and there is nothing Saint wouldn’t do to protect those he loves. And when Skylar is found in a dangerous situation, she can only hope that Saint will rescue her before it’s too late….

Overall, I found this story to be a really enjoyable read. I liked Skylar. She was loyal to her MC family and has been doing the best she could without them. She’s sassy, and super smart. She loves big and loves hard. And then we’ve got Saint. Saint is far from perfect, but is as loyal as they come. There isn’t anything he wouldn’t do to protect the ones he loves and Skylar. He’s fierce and protective, but has a lot of secrets he’s keeping close to his chest. Together these two were a smokin match. I loved their chemistry and their banter. I loved the moments where Saint was oh, so sweet, and then the next he was a total alpha male. Now, I will be honest with you, Skylar did get on my nerves sometimes. She jumped to a lot of conclusions and let her inexperience and immaturity show. Those moments really frustrated me, but I was able to look past it and just enjoy the ride.

Saint kicks off this new series to a really good start. I thought the characters were great and their story certainly sucked you in. I loved the suspense and danger, as well as the steaminess and romance. I loved the twists that kept me on edge and wondering what was going to be thrown at us next. Even though I did have some issues with this book, I think this series has a ton of really good potential and I look forward to checking out the next book in this series.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review*

Review: Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

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Can a romcom-obssessed romantic finally experience the meet-cute she always dreamed of or will reality never compare to fiction, in this charming debut adult novel from Kerry Winfrey.

Annie is twenty-seven years old, single, and obsessed with romantic comedies (she and her mother watched them religiously, before her mom died). Her dating life is limited by the expectations she’s formed from these movies. She is not as open to new experiences as she might be, because she’s waiting for her Tom Hanks–i.e., a guy she’ll find in the perfect, meet-cute romantic comedy way. When Annie does finally meet her perfect match, it’s not quite in the way she expected, and she’s forced to reckon with the walls she’s built around herself over the years.

Purchase on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2MhAUxZ

EXCERPT (Chapter 4)

I blink a few times, staring straight into Drew Danforth’s face. It’s like when you’re a kid and there’s a solar eclipse, and all the teachers are like, “Don’t look directly into the sun! You’ll destroy your retinas!” but there’s always that one kid (Johnny Berger, in our class) who can’t stop staring.

In this situation, I’m Johnny Berger. And I guess Drew Danforth is the sun.

“Are you okay?” he asks again, enunciating his words even more as if me understanding him is the problem. His brown eyes, I notice, are flecked with tiny bits of gold, which is something you can’t see when you watch him on TV. His hair is just as voluminous as it seems in pictures, but in person, I have the almost overwhelming urge to touch it, to reach out and pull on that one lock of hair that hangs over his forehead.

“She’s not responding.” He turns to Chloe. “Is something wrong?”

“She’s French,” Chloe says without missing a beat. “She only speaks French.”

“I’m not French,” I say, breaking my silence. Chloe and Drew’s heads swivel to look at me.

“I’m sorry about your coat,” I whisper, then I run toward Nick’s.

Chloe bursts in the door behind me, the bell jingling in her wake. “I’m not French?” she screeches. “Those are the first words you spoke to Drew Danforth? Really?”

“Well then, why did you tell him I was French?” I shout, ignoring the curious stares of everyone working on their laptops and the calming melody of whatever Nick put on to replace the Doobies.

“I don’t know!” She throws her hands in the air. “You weren’t talking, so I thought I’d give you an interesting backstory!”

I put my hands over my face. “This is ridiculous.”

“No,” Chloe says, grabbing me by the shoulders. “This is your meet-cute, and now you need to go back out there and find him and say something that isn’t a negation of your Frenchness or an apology for destroying his probably very expensive coat.”

“Meet what?”

Nick stares at us from behind the counter, a dishtowel in his hand.

“A meet-cute,” Chloe stands up straight, shoulders back, as if she’s delivering a Romantic Comedy 101 lecture to Nick and his patrons, “is the quirky, adorable, cute way the hero and heroine of a romantic comedy meet.”

Everyone stares at her blankly.

“Or hero and hero. Or heroine and heroine. Not to be heteronormative,” she clarifies.

“Like how me and Martha met at her wedding,” Gary says.

Chloe thinks about it. “I don’t know that I would necessarily call that one a meet-cute, but sure, Gary.”

“Did you just make that up?” Nick asks, arms crossed.

I shake my head. “No. It’s a thing.”

“Watch a romantic comedy, dude,” Tobin says.

Nick rolls his eyes.

“Anyway,” Chloe continues, “Annie straight up ran into Drew Danforth and spilled a cup of coffee all over his coat, which is, like, the cutest of meets.”

“That doesn’t sound very cute,” Nick says skeptically, rubbing the scruff on his chin. “Was it still hot?”

“Scalding,” I say, sinking into my chair and resting my head on the table.

“Sounds like a meet painful,” says Gary, and a few people laugh.

“Thanks,” I mutter. “I’m so glad you all find my embarrassment entertaining.”

“Annie!” Chloe sits down across from me as a customer walks in and the rest of the shop stops paying attention to us. “This isn’t embarrassing. This is merely a story I’ll tell in my toast at your wedding to Drew.”

I lift my head to look at her. “I hate to break this to you, but I don’t think he’s my Tom Hanks. I think he’s just a famous guy with a possible third-degree burn on his chest. And now my first day on set is going to be super awkward because I accidentally assaulted the lead actor with a beverage.”

Chloe’s about to say something, but then a song starts and she closes her mouth, looking up toward the speakers. “I swear to God, I told Nick not to play any more Bon Iver. It makes people look up their exes on Instagram, not buy coffee. I’m gonna go put on some Hall and Oates.”

As she walks away, I rest my head on the table again. As if it wasn’t embarrassing enough to have my uncle get me a job on set, now I have to deal with this.

MY REVIEW

If you are a fan of romantic comedies or obsessed with 90’s romantic comedies featuring Tom Hanks, than look no further, Waiting for Tom Hanks is the book that you’ve been waiting for.

Waiting for Tom Hanks follows the story of Annie and Drew. Annie wants what ever girl wants. She wants the perfect man that she just happens upon and they fall instantly in love. And the rest as they say is history…..Only that perfect guy doesn’t exist. This isn’t a movie, this is real life. And while Annie dreams of finding a man who is just like Tom Hanks, she needs to keep her eyes open or she might not see that Mr. Perfect is right under her nose….

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I loved all the Tom Hanks movie references and the nods to You’ve Got Mail & Sleepless in Seattle. Both of those movies I’ve seen over a million times and still find myself swooning over. I adored Annie. I think she was a little clueless when it came to men and that she did have some rather unrealistic expectations, but you’ve got to give props to the girl for knowing what she wants and not being embarrassed about what she’s looking for.  And in Annie’s case, I love that her match was the total opposite of her. He was everything that she was looking for, just wrapped in a different package.

I have to say, I enjoyed Annie and Drew together. I love that Drew just got Annie. Drew was the kind of guy that didn’t show attraction or affection in the most traditional ways. He’s the grown up version of the boy at the playground who can’t help but pull a little girls hair. So, when it came to Annie, Drew’s flirting skills might not have always hit the mark, but I found it to be funny and when he really did pull out all of the stops, it made those moments that much sweeter.

Waiting for Tom Hanks was a cute and fun read. I loved the idea of the story and was drawn into Annie’s story instantly. I enjoyed watching Annie live out her own romantic comedy and couldn’t wait to see how it would all unfold. I really enjoyed all the almost moments and the tension between the characters. This story was easy to read and light on the drama. In the end, I was hooked on Annie and couldn’t help but root for her to find her happily ever after.

Waiting for Tom Hanks is a terrific debut novel and I’m excited to check out more from this author in the future.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review*