Book Reviews, Post

A Second-Hand Review: The Crazy Rich Davenports: Season One: Series Pilot (The CRD Series Book 1), by Shannyn Leah and Kelly Moore

The Crazy Rich Davenports: Season One: Series Pilot (The CRD Series Book 1),

by Shannyn Leah and Kelly Moore

 

Dare to Enter CoverAbout the book:

Warning: If you are looking for a sweet, sensitive book with a happily ever after, this isn’t it. It is a book about a completely dysfunctional family. if you have a crazy sense of humor and like comedies – you’re in the right place. Join in on the craziness of The Crazy Rich Davenport Family.

Lucy’s husband Mark died a year ago. Her life and her families have been steadily going downhill and things have gotten a little out of control, to say the least. When her daughter plans a birthday party for her half-sister. Lucy decides it’s time they all get their act together, but not everyone is on the same page.

Lucy’s hope for normal in her dysfunctional family will never happen and things only get worse when Mark’s snooty parents drop a bombshell that will only spark more insanity from The Crazy Rich Davenport family.

Hold on for the ride and laughter that ensues.

**Review**

So, let me begin by saying that this is a little bit different from what I normally do. I wish I could call it a guest review, but actually, this is a second-hand review. Why you ask? I was chatting with one of my favorite people, Kelly Moore, and she mentioned that she wished men would read her and Shannyn Leah’s insane books in the Crazy Rich Davenport series. So what did I do? I told her that I would give it to my husband and have him read it. 

You can see my original review here, but I was curious as to what a man would think about it. I truly think that men would love this book (and the entire series), however, it’s a matter of getting it into their hands and having them give it a try. So here is a picture of the hubby (Dave Thomason) smiling joyfully after finishing the first in the CRD series:

IMG_2815

Isn’t he the cutest? 

Anyway, the hubby has a wide range of reading interests, however, being a man, you’re likely to see him with a Mitch Rapp novel by his side, or something else about war, spies, terrorists, murderers, etc. However, he said that he not only liked it quite a bit, but he also plans on starting the second book asap. I guess I will also mention that he expressed great interest in meeting both Kelly and Shannyn after reading this and said that he’s certain that “we all need to get together soon.” Not sure what the hubby was trying to say with that, but I’ll just summarize by saying that I think he is now mildly infatuated with the women that can write the bizarre, inappropriateness that is the Crazy Rich Davenports. 

When I asked him to read this I also asked him to think about how to get other men to read this. Hubby is an Air Force Vet and also prefers to obtain any medical care at VA Medical Centers so he is very cognizant of books that you pick up because of the title and/or cover, as well as, books you grab because they are there. Some of his thoughts (bullet-pointed and paraphrased, of course):

  • These would be great to send to troops overseas. You may have to tear off the cover to get them to pick it up, but once one guy grabbed it and read it, he would be telling all of the other guys about it. 
  • Similar to the above point, people would pick this up and spread it around if it were on a shelf at the VA. 
  • Lastly, the hubby says that if a woman has this book and thinks her husband will like it, she needs to just hand it to them and say “give it a chance.” He suspects that they will like it!

In summary, the hubby likes, approves, and recommends this book to men out there that want some freaky humor written by women. He has implied that it may provoke dirty thoughts from time to time, as well as, a bit of confusion about who is who in the huge cast of characters, but he liked it. O.k., he said he wasn’t implying but stating that there will be straight up dirty thoughts and no need for Yaya’s little blue pills. And dirty thoughts about Slutty Pepper.

* This second-hand review has been read and approved by the hubby.

 

 

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Blog Tour, Book Reviews, Giveaway

Blog tour, review, & giveaway: After They Go, by J. Mercer

After They Go 
J. Mercer
Publication date: May 15th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

“…Mercer’s prose is lucid and her themes of redemption and reinvention are resonant…” — Kirkus Reviews

A large family saga set in a coastal tourist town:

One sister chained by family tradition.

The second stunted by her sister’s shadow.

The youngest propelled by desperation.

Gwen is the oldest of four children in the Aaldenberg family, and the one who seems to have it all. She’s also most desperate to escape. Betta, having nursed their dying grandpa for the past three years, is anxious for Gwen to go, so she can finally have reins to the family business. And Esmerelda, viciously determined to follow in Gwen’s footsteps, vies for popularity as a freshman in high school, only to learn she must sell her soul, reputation, and most prized possession for acceptance.
As their father struggles with retirement and their mother with depression, Gwen discovers the debt her grandfather’s passing left them in–and during a time of year when their coastal town, dependent on tourists, can barely sustain itself. Gwen and their father agree Betta can’t take over the store under such stressful circumstances, not when she’s been carrying the load for so long, and to protect Betta, they play it off that she needs some time to rest.
When Gwen’s fiancé moves to town, Gwen does her best to resign herself to a local life, while Betta struggles for meaning without the store. In order to carve out a place for herself, Betta must decide to what lengths she’ll go in order to become her own person, and Gwen must decide what’s more important: her sister or her future. Can this family pull through their disappointment, jealousy, and regret? Or will they cling so tightly to their desires that it ruins them?

**My Review**

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for J. Mercer’s After They Go! This novel details the inner workings of a family with a husband, wife, three daughters, and a son. Gwen, the oldest daughter, wants nothing but to leave their small town to live in the city. Betta has always longed to take over the family general store, going so far as to leaving college to return home, caring for her dying grandfather, and waiting for the store to be hers. Ezmerelda is trying to figure out adolescence, high school, boys, mean girls, and how to be her own person. Of course, Van – the only boy – has been with the same girl forever, is a football star, and loved by all. Combine all of this with their mother Wanda thinking the Dad, Harvey is cheating on her – this equals a lot of drama, heartache, and emotion.

This is one of those reviews where I could probably type away for hours and still not say everything that is going on in my head and heart. But I will begin with saying that this is a good book. Not just the story, but the writing. J. Mercer did nothing but impress me throughout the entire novel with her raw emotion, imagery, and how she completely exposed her characters down to the bone – even when it wasn’t in a positive way. She made all of the characters human in a way that was at times refreshing and at times, almost cringe-worthy. Nevertheless, she held nothing back. 

Considering my only sibling is an older brother, I couldn’t personally relate to Gwen, Betta, or Ez. Each of them desperately wanted something of their own, longing to be independent and make their own mark separate from one another. However, along with this came so much whining and angst that I wanted to scream. Although they all felt tied to each other, getting each others’ seconds, and so on – they were so incredibly self-centered it blew my mind. Out of the sisters, I think that Betta was my favorite, yet I still struggled with her because of their obsession with either being like the other or being completely different to make a point.

Nevertheless, I was completely engaged in this novel and was burning up the pages. I have to admit that a few things felt unresolved at the end, but after some thought, I am assuming that is how the author intended it to be. I do wish I could have gotten concrete answers regarding Harvey and Mae, as well as, what happens with Betta and either Brennan or Gage. But I still enjoyed this novel a great deal. I definitely recommend this to fans of women’s fiction and especially anyone out there with sisters!

I do have some remaining questions, first, about the title. I’m not sure how it applies. Maybe I’m just overthinking it? And also, Amazon has this categorized as satire. I taught English/Language Arts for thirteen years so I think I have a grip on what satire means, but why the hell is this considered satire? 

*Thanks to Xpresso and the author for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest review!

Goodreads / Amazon

 

Author Bio:

J. Mercer grew up in Wisconsin where she walked home from school with her head in a book, filled notebooks with stories in junior high, then went to college for accounting and psychology only to open a dog daycare. She wishes she were an expert linguist, is pretty much a professional with regards to competitive dance hair (bunhawk, anyone?), and enjoys exploring with her husband–though as much as she loves to travel, she’s also an accomplished hermit. Perfect days include cancelled plans, rain, and endless hours to do with what she pleases. Find her on Facebook @jmercerbooks or online at http://www.jmercerbooks.com.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook

 

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Book Blitz

Supporting Veterans One Book at a Time!

Please check out this cool way to support our veterans!

2018 Auction Banner
2018 SUPPORTING VETERANS
ONE BOOK AT A TIME AUCTION

Supporting Veterans One Book at a Time is an annual auction to benefit various organizations that help our veterans in different ways. In the past, we have worked with an organization that trains service dogs. Last year and this year we are supporting VETSports an organization that uses sports and community service to help veterans transition from military life to civilian life. You can check them out at www.vetsports.org

The auction always takes place over Veterans Day Weekend and is done through a Facebook event. You can join the fun by clicking the link below:

It will begin at 8:00am on Friday, November 9th and will end on Sunday, November 11th at 11:59pm. There are detailed instructions posted in the event.

PRIZE EXAMPLES:

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If you have any further questions please contact Alison Mello atnews@alisonmelloauthor.com

 

Book Blitz, Book Reviews, Giveaway

Book tour, review, & giveaway: Wicked Whiskey Love, by Melissa Foster

Wicked Whiskey Love: Sexy Standalone Romance by [Foster, Melissa]

NEW RELEASE……..

A new, emotionally riveting, sexy standalone romance by New York Times bestselling author Melissa Foster.



Fall in love with Bones Whiskey in WICKED WHISKEY LOVE, an emotionally riveting, sexy new standalone romance by New York Times bestselling author Melissa Foster. A magnificent love story for those who enjoy fiercely loyal and insanely sexy alpha heroes, smart, sassy heroines, families, bikers, babies, and more!


In WICKED WHISKEY LOVE…
After escaping abusive parents and, later, an abusive relationship, Sarah Beckley has spent a lifetime watching snakes shed their skin. With two small children to care for and another on the way, she’s finally found a home in Peaceful Harbor with the brother she hasn’t seen in more than a decade. She’s still searching for her sister, but life is good. If only she could stop thinking about the sinfully sexy doctor/biker who has taken to her children like a loving uncle–and to her like a hungry man.

Trust doesn’t come easily for Sarah, but Bones Whiskey is patient and protective, amazing with her children, and he looks at her like she is the only woman he could ever want–and more. With two little ones underfoot, Sarah expects him to move on quickly, yet with every tender kiss and each trying moment with the children, Bones surprises her. But will the fiercely loyal biker stick around when Sarah’s worst secret is revealed, or will he shed his skin, too?


**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

**My Review**

I’m not sure where to begin my review of Melissa Foster’s latest novel, Wicked Whiskey Love, because I think for the first time in my life, I am completely speechless. This one is going to tug at your heartstrings, make you laugh, make you cry, and touch on just about every emotion possible. This wonderful novel is about Bones Whiskey, the sexy doctor, biker, and overall perfection. Bones takes an instant liking to Sarah and her young children Bradley and Lila but moreover, the fact that Sarah is pregnant does nothing to stop Bones’ feelings from getting stronger and stronger. Sweet, beautiful, and loving Sarah is grateful since meeting the Whiskey family and their significant others, but struggles with trust and security. But the more time she spends with Bones and the more incredible things he does for her and her children, the harder it gets to fight what her heart is telling her.

Sarah, her brother Scott, and their sister Josie had a horrible and abusive upbringing, each of them fleeing their parents’ home at various stages in life. Sarah did things that she wasn’t proud of to survive and also met Lewis. Although he gave her the most precious things in her life – her children – he left Sarah unsure about people and very protective of her heart. Melissa Foster takes the readers on a roller coaster ride of emotions with Sarah in this story. This young woman has suffered several times and at the hands of several different people. The reader gets flashbacks of Sarah’s past, goes through her ever-changing emotions as her relationship with Bones develops, and is front row and center to her struggles and bravery as she finally faces, accepts, and puts her past behind her. 

Don’t let me scare you off of this one thinking it’s just a big emotional trainwreck, because it is not. The signature Whiskey family love, support, and humor are prominent in this one, including several laugh-out-loud moments, as well as, countless moments that will make your heart swell. All of the kids definitely make this one special, especially numerous moments between Bones, Bradley and little Lila. If you already have baby fever, this will make it worse. If you thought you were done wanting children, this will make you question your choices! There is just too much cuteness to take between this big, bad, sexy bikers and all of the little munchkins running around!

Overall, all I can say is, wow. I feel as if Foster stepped a little outside of her own comfort zone with this one, earning even more of my respect then she already had. I am in awe of this woman and the depths of emotion that she reaches within her novels and her characters. I’ve said this before, well actually, several times, but I know without a doubt that this is my favorite book that she has ever written. Wicked Whiskey Love will make you absolutely certain that love can conquer all and that good beats evil. Although it is a fiction novel, I can’t help but think that it might give women hope out there that are in dangerous or unpleasant situations, just as Sarah sharing her story gave hope to so many in the novel. What a fantastic book! 

*Thanks to Melissa Foster and Beck Valley Books for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

Available to buy from …
Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Barnes and Noble KOBO iBooks GPlay Paperback

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WWL

For more hot Whiskey love, check out Melissa’s other Whiskey novels.

TRU BLUE
TRULY MADLY WHISKEY
DRIVING WHISKEY WILD
MAD ABOUT MOON (Releasing April 2019)

And don’t miss RIVER OF LOVE, the first story in which the Whiskeys were introduced!

 

“Melissa Foster is synonymous with sexy, swoony, heartfelt romance!”New York Times Bestseller Lauren Blakely

“You can always rely on Melissa Foster to deliver a story that’s fresh, emotional and entertaining. Make sure you have all night, because once you start you won’t want to stop reading. Every book’s a winner!” NYT Bestselling Author Brenda Novak

“Melissa Foster writes worlds that draw you in, with strong heroes and brave heroines surrounded by a community that makes you want to crawl right on through the page and live there.” – New York Times bestselling author Julia Kent



Tru Blue (Sexy standalone romance) by [Foster, Melissa]
In Tru Blue…

There’s nothing Truman Gritt won’t do to protect his family–Including spending years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. When he’s finally released, the life he knew is turned upside down by his mother’s overdose, and Truman steps in to raise the children she’s left behind. Truman’s hard, he’s secretive, and he’s trying to save a brother who’s even more broken than he is. He’s never needed help in his life, and when beautiful Gemma Wright tries to step in, he’s less than accepting. But Gemma has a way of slithering into people’s lives and eventually, she pierces through his ironclad heart. When Truman’s dark past collides with his future, his loyalties will be tested, and he’ll be faced with his toughest decision yet.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

Available to buy from …
Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Barnes and Noble KOBO iBooks

In TRULY, MADLY, WHISKEY…
Eight months is a long damn time to have the hots for a woman who keeps a guy at arm’s length. But Crystal Moon is no ordinary woman. She’s a sinfully sexy, sass-mouthed badass, and the subject of Bear Whiskey’s midnight fantasies. She’s also one of his closest friends.


Just when Crystal thinks she has her life under control, scorching-hot, possessive, aggressive, and fiercely loyal Bear pushes all her sexual buttons, relentless in his pursuit to make her his.


The more Bear pushes, the hotter their passion burns, unearthing memories for Crystal that are best kept buried. But there’s no stopping the collision of her past and present, catapulting the two lovers down an emotionally charged road that has them questioning all they thought they knew about themselves.


**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

Available to buy from …
Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Barnes and Noble KOBO iBooks GPlay Paperback

Driving Whiskey Wild (A Sexy Standalone Romance): Bullet Whiskey by [Foster, Melissa]In Driving Whiskey Wild…
Special Forces veteran and Dark Knights Motorcycle Club member Bullet Whiskey lives to protect his family, their bar, and the residents of his small hometown. He’s rough, unapologetic, and haunted by a secret, painful past. He’s also a master at keeping people away, and when his sister hires gorgeous and sweet Finlay Wilson to help expand their biker bar, he knows just how to get rid of her.

After losing her boyfriend and her father, Finlay moves back to her hometown to be closer to the little family she has left. She needs her temporary job at Whiskey Bro’s to get her catering business off the ground, and she’s determined not to let the gruff, arrogant mountain of a man Bullet Whiskey scare her off.


Finlay is everything Bullet has never wanted. She’s afraid of his dog, afraid of motorcycles, and sweet enough to give him cavities, but as she weaves her way into the hearts of everyone around him, he’s powerless to resist her charms. Passion ignites, but trust doesn’t come easily, and when their pasts collide, Bullet finds out the true meaning of protecting those he loves.



**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

Available to buy from…
Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Barnes and Noble KOBO iBooks GPlay Paperback

 

 

About the author

Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult romance and women’s fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Readers adore Melissa’s fun, flirty, and sinfully sexy, award-winning big-family romance collection, LOVE IN BLOOM featuring the Snow Sisters, Bradens, Remingtons, Ryders, Seaside Summer, Harborside Nights, Wild Boys and Bad Boys After Dark, and the Montgomerys. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented– perfect beach reads for contemporary romance lovers who enjoy reading about loyal, wealthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines with complex and relatable issues.

Melissa also writes sweet and clean romance under the pen name Addison Cole.

Melissa has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Her interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping others see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.

Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa on Facebook
or her personal website.

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Follow the Book Tour

018836-glossy-silver-icon-symbols-shapes-square-2 I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.

 

Now for the author’s giveaway!

Tru Blue (Sexy standalone romance) by [Foster, Melissa]

 

Win a Tru Blue ebook Two Winners Ending on Sunday 25th November at 11.59pm EST Open Worldwide

 

Enter Here & Good Luck !!

 

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Book Blitz, Book Reviews, Giveaway

Book tour with review and giveaway: Dangerously Delicious, by Denise Swanson

 

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From New York Times best-selling author Denise Swanson comes DANGEROUSLY DELICIOUS, the second installment in her Delicious Love series. It takes one dedicated wildlife veterinarian, plus an impossibly handsome nightclub manager to prove that love always wins. Fans of Jill Shalvis, Bella Andre, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips will devour this sweet and sexy romance.

dangerously delicious-high res

 

Title: Dangerously Delicious

Author: Denise Swanson

Release Date: November 6, 2018

Publisher: Self-published

Series: Delicious Love #2

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Marco Thorne was hired by Club Wilde’s owner to open up the newest, most outrageous venue yet. He is absolutely certain that he can handle all the competition Las Vegas has to offer until his overbearing boss contracts with Lions and Tigers and More sanctuary to have live exotic animals present in the jungle-themed club. Still, he has no choice but to go along with his boss’s idiotic scheme, even if he thinks it’s the worst idea he’s ever heard.

Dr. Sage DeSantis’s entire life is devoted to keeping the animals under her care in the sanctuary healthy and happy. After the sanctuary’s owner announces that he’s renting out some of Sage’s babies to Club Wilde, she’s sickened that they will once again be exploited.

When Marco and Sage meet, the chemistry between them nearly knocks them off their feet. Although they both have experiences in their past that make them leery of love, and Sage is determined to guard her heart, Marco is all in. But will Marco be able to convince Sage to give them a chance?   

**My Review**

Welcome to my stop on the tour for Denise Swanson’s latest in her Delicious Love series, Dangerously Delicious. We first met Marco in book 1, as Nico’s sexy brother that runs the front-of-the-house part of the restaurant business. After Nico and his wife Deanna opened a restaurant of their own, Marco took off for Las Vegas to manage the opening of Club Wilde. Sage, who is Deanna’s best friend, lives in Las Vegas working as a veterinarian at a sanctuary for exotic animals. When the owners of the sanctuary get desperate for funding, they agree to rent out the animals to make appearances at the new Club Wilde.

I liked this novel because it was a fast and steamy read. I loved Sage’s devotion to the animals and her career, as well as, her light-hearted personality. Although I applaud the author’s inclusion of a “real woman with curves,” I was happy to see that Sage didn’t suffer from the same depilating body issues as Deanna did in the first book. I have nothing but love for when a size 16 woman is the main character, but where Deanna overdid it in Sinfully Delicious, Sage was more relatable with her concerns regarding her size.

This a great contemporary romance for readers that want female characters that are flawed and realistic, as well as, for those readers that enjoy an almost Cinderella-like story where the unsure girl gets the sexy and successful boy! 

*Thanks to Barclay for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

Add to Goodreads http://bit.ly/2O3368p

Find out more at: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

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DANGEROUSLY DELICIOUS Excerpt

Copyright © 2018 Denise Swanson

            Sage DeSantis held the rifle loosely in her arms. Charlie had gotten free again. The old rascal had somehow learned to pick the lock on the ranch’s gate and had taken to strolling along the side of the highway.

            Sage worked as a veterinarian at the Lions and Tigers and More wildlife park. It was a nonprofit originally established to take in big cats that had previously worked in movies and live performances. All of the refuge’s guests were well socialized, and as long as no one got stupid, everyone was safe. Well, none of the humans were in danger.

            Lately, Sage had been a bit worried that the animals’ safety, or at least well-being, was at risk. Her bosses had been discussing the diminishing contributions and skyrocketing costs and she had a bad feeling that today’s staff meeting was about that very subject.

            However, all thoughts of the looming announcement fled when Sage reached the end of the driveway and spotted Charlie standing over the prone form of her best friend, Deanna Sloan Thorne.

            Deanna was as still as a princess in a glass coffin and almost as pale. Charlie, on the other hand, was grinning like a fool and licking Deanna’s cheek. Each time his pink tongue made another swipe, Deanna’s beautiful green eyes widened a little bit more, and as Sage got closer, she could hear her friend’s frightened little squeaks.

            Immediately, Sage depressed the button on the tiny device in her pocket. At the sound of the click, Charlie raised his head and glanced around. Another click and he reluctantly trotted over to her. She clipped on his collar and leash, then fed him the treat he expected for responding to the signal.

            As the lion ate the chunk of chicken, Sage heard Deanna’s faint voice ask, “Can I get up now?”

            “Absolutely.” Sage looked at her friend. “Why are you on the ground?”

            Deanna rose to her feet and brushed the dust from her pink capris. “Well, I was waiting for you at the entrance like we arranged and suddenly the gate swung open and that beast ran toward me. When I realized there was a lion coming at me, I think I might have passed out.”

            “Running?” Sage raised a brow. These days, Charlie barely made it to a fast walk.

            “Running.” Deanna nodded firmly, then relented and said, “Okay, maybe trotting.” She put her hands on her hips. “Why weren’t you there? You were supposed to meet me at ten.”

            “Oops!” Sage put her hand over her mouth. “I am so sorry. When I found out that Charlie was missing, I forgot about your tour. Do you still want to see the place?”

            “Definitely!” Deanna refastened her ponytail. “But can I carry the gun?”

            While Sage showed her friend around, they chatted about Deanna’s recent marriage and Sage saw the love shining from her friend’s eyes. Sage was truly thrilled for Deanna, but a small part of her wished she had been the one to find Mr. Right.

            But that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. After her disastrous affair at her last gig, she’d given up on men and completely stopped dating. Her ex had been the director of the zoo where she’d been working, so when things fell apart, she’d not only lost her boyfriend but also her job.

 

Enter to win a signed set of Delicious Love books + $15 Amazon Gift Card!

Nine will win DANGEROUSLY DELICIOUS ebooks!

 

Enter here and good luck!

 

Denise-SwansonAbout Denise Swanson:

New York Times Bestseller author Denise Swanson was a practicing psychologist for twenty-two years. She writes the Delicious Love and Change of Heart contemporary romance series, as well as the Scumble River, Devereaux’s Dime Store, and Chief-to-Go mysteries. Her books all feature small-town heroines with lots of heart.

Denise’s books have been finalists for the Agatha, Mary Higgins Clark, RT Magazine’s Career Achievement, and Daphne du Maurier Awards. She has won the Reviewers Choice Award and was a BookSense 76 Top Pick.

Denise Swanson lives in rural Illinois with her husband, classical composer David Stybr.

Follow:  Website | Reader Group | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub | Pinterest

 

Book Reviews

Book Review: A Letter for My Love, by Anna Mansell

A Letter for My Love, by Anna Mansell

Publication: Bookouture; November 29, 2018

a letter for my loveAbout the book: 

‘My love, sometimes I think that if I’d found a way to talk, we’d be together now…’

Helen had thought she was happy. But then her husband Alex announces he’s leaving, and her life falls apart. All she ever wanted was for their love to last a lifetime. But now he’s gone and she doesn’t even know what she’s done wrong.

Then, as her courage is faltering, Helen happens upon a bundle of unsent love letters, tied with a red ribbon, and signed only ‘the love you wished I could be’. And – even as the letters start to help Helen make sense of her own life – it becomes clear that someone has been keeping some heartbreaking secrets.

But who do the letters belong to? Can the sender ever be reunited with the one they love or is it too late? And when Helen finds out the truth about Alex, can she find it in her heart to forgive him, or will he never be the love she wished for?

**My Review**

What a fabulous novel!!! I have read and enjoyed Anna Mansell before, but oh my goodness, A Letter for My Love just tugged at my heartstrings! This novel is about a woman named Helen who is a bus driver, married to her husband Alex, and they have a late-teen/young adult son, Tom. Since losing his job, Alex has withdrawn from Helen more and more, eventually resulting in his leaving. Meanwhile, Helen has found a notebook on the bus full of love letters to an unnamed person and signed, “from the love you wished I could be,” a younger man is expressing his affections towards her, and her elderly neighbor Geoff is dealing with his wife’s worsening Alzheimer’s. 

This was such a beautiful novel that I’m not sure where to begin. Helen is a fantastic character, pushing forty years old, driving extra shifts as a bus driver, and her husband Alex is sitting in his recliner constantly messing around with his phone. Much of the novel focuses on the decline of their relationship as Alex communicates less and less, eventually leading to his leaving her. Helen struggles, of course, torn between the shock of him leaving, how to fix things, and then finally, the realization that things had reached the point that time apart was probably a good idea. Through the mysterious love letters that she finds on the bus, she starts to see different perspectives of her and Alex’s situation and wonders what, if anything, she could have done differently. Thrown into the already emotional and chaotic time in her life is the younger man, Martin, who serves as a symbol of possibility and what else could there be out there, while also reminding Helen of her love and desire to be with Alex.

Geoff is in his nineties and is dealing with his wife Connie’s failing health, as well as, battling with social services, caretakers, and his daughter about putting Connie into a facility full-time. There are a lot of inner thoughts and flashbacks with Geoff reflecting on his and Connie’s marriage, their love for one another, and how her love for him was the foundation of the life he had led. Geoff’s portions of this novel are absolutely heart-wrenching and Kleenex is required several times.

James is a sweet, but mysterious soul that Helen allows to ride the bus for free to stay out of the cold. In the second half of the novel, James starts opening up to Helen more, encouraging her to do the same, leading to several revelations about James and the life he has led. This underdog of the novel ends up being not only an inspiration but a huge catalyst of acceptance and then change for Helen.

Anna Mansell’s imagery, dialogue, and emotion in this novel is outstanding. A Letter for My Love is happy, funny, sad, regretful, and hopeful all wrapped up into one incredible package. I think that the most important theme in the novel is that, to a great extent, we can’t hold ourselves responsible for the happiness of others. As spouses, family, or friends, we can do our bests to love and support those that are important to us, but ultimately, we can only claim responsibility for ourselves. Although we are stubborn, we can’t fix everyone and every situation, but we can treasure each day, make sure the important people in our lives know that we love them, and just hope for the best!

Bravo the incredibly talented and honest Anna Mansell for this beautiful novel that is and will remain fresh in my mind and heart for quite some time.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

Learn more about author Anna Mansell.

Book Blitz, Book Reviews, Giveaway

Release Blitz, Review, & Giveaway: Three Dates, by Grahame Claire

 

Title: Three Dates

Series: Paths to Love #2

Author: Grahame Claire

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: November 2, 2018

Blurb
MuriellaI’ve never been on a date.

And I intended to keep it that way.

But to save my best friends’ relationship, I agreed to three with the man I secretly long for.

He doesn’t know why we cant be. That chancing a relationship
would bring everything crashing down around us.

Whatever he makes me feel is irrelevant. Wherever he thinks this may lead, hes wrong.

Three dates.

Thats all I have to survive before I can put him back where he belongs

At arms length.

StoneSix years.

Thats how long I’ve waited for her.

Now I’ve got three shots to convince her what I’ve known all along

We belong together.

Despite all of my determination, each new revelation seems to pull us apart.

With everything stacked against us, we may not even make it to date three, let alone forever.

**My Review**

Welcome to my stop on the release blitz tour for Grahame Claire’s Three Dates! We met Muriella and Stone in the previous novel, It’s Not Over, where we learned that Muriella had escaped an awful fate many years earlier thanks to her closest friend, Daniel. Stone, a native Texan rancher turned actor, was also introduced as a friend of Daniel and his wife Vivian. After years of attraction towards one another, Stone convinces Muriella to go on three dates with him and he has no idea how difficult the battle will be for her to let anyone get close to her.

I want to start by saying that by the time I finished this book, I loved it. However, it took several tries for me to get into it because it was physically, mentally, and emotionally impossible for me to like Muriella! I hate to say that about a lead character in a novel, but I struggled to find her positive qualities. Muriella has been through horrible things in her life dealing with the death of a parent, sexual abuse, and being a refugee from a foreign country. In both books, her character has been very quiet and reserved, only being affection and/or showing any kind of emotion with Daniel and Vivian. But for some reason, Stone decided to be patient and try to get her to open up. 

Stone, on the other hand, was fantastic! He’s funny, smart, talented, sexy, cares about his family, and obviously, as patient as a human can be. I think with the right readers, Stone could be the perfect catalyst for getting readers to see Muriella in a more positive light, but for me personally, I just couldn’t get past her odd behaviors. Stone made some mistakes along the way with Muriella and his family, but overall, I felt nothing but love for him!

It took me a while to get into Three Dates, but once I did, this novel was action-packed, emotional, romantic, and at times, suspenseful. Definitely not your run of the mill romance, this novel has many layers that are slowly peeled back as it progresses. I am always fascinated with co-authored books, but I must say that this is some of the best writing I’ve read my two authors. It’s seamless regarding tone, voice, dialogue, descriptions, and everything else you could imagine. Grahame Claire ensures that the reader feels every moment whether funny, angry, sad, awkward, romantic, and so on. They complete transport you into the novel so that you can see what’s happening, hear the voices, feel the tension, and then celebrate the happy moments. 

I highly recommend this novel, despite my issue with Muriella, and hope you will add this one to your TBR. Make sure to read It’s Not Over first so that you will understand everything, but to sum things up, this is a great book with fabulous writing.

*Thanks to Give Me Books for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

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Author Bio
A writer. A blogger. United by our love of stories and all things romance. There was definitely some insta-love. Hello? Books involved. A little courting. A lot of writing. The result…Grahame Claire.


Soulmates. Unashamed of our multiple book boyfriends. Especially the ones
that rooted in our heads and wouldn
t leave us alone. Dont worry.
We
ll share.



Pleased to meet you.

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Book Reviews

Book review: Only in My Dreams (The Ties that Bind Book 2)

Only in My Dreams (The Ties that Bind Book 2), by Ricki Dagosta

Publication: November 1, 2018

About the book:

Bored with men unwilling to commit, thirty-year-old Kristen Dorman has left her wild days behind and transformed into the kind of woman she believes will attract the perfect mate.

Dr. Vince Parker has spent the past three years trying to escape memories from the worst night of his life, even moving across the country. His friends and co-workers aren’t aware of the guilt he harbors or the sleepless nights he endures. To them, he seems funny, charismatic, and an all-around great guy.

When Kristen and Vince turn up at a popular pub on the same night, fate intervenes. He races to her side after she is involved in a bizarre accident, and Kristen falls hard for the good-looking doctor. This time the feeling is mutual.

Will love prevail or must Kristen help Vince break free from his past before they can share a future? 

**My Review**

I’m so excited to review Ricki Dagosta’s second novel in her The Ties that Bind series, Only in My Dreams! This contemporary romance is out tomorrow, and continues with some familiar characters from her debut novel, A New Beginning.  This time around, the story is about Kristen Dorman (from the last novel), and the handsome Dr. Vince Parker. Kristen has some not-so-distant memories and feelings about herself and her behavior with men over the years but has turned over a new leaf. Vince moved to the area and started in the same OB practice as Scott (who has a past with Kristen) and is also running from painful memories in his past. Out on the town one evening, Kristen suffers a series of accidents due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Having already caught his eye, Vince comes to the rescue to help out, leading to a whirlwind of romantic feelings. 

I almost decided that just like in the first novel, I preferred the lead male character to the female lead, but as the novel progressed and I thought about it after – I would have to say I love them both. Vince has suffered a horrible tragedy and has some secrets. Kristen has painful memories of her childhood, as well as, shame about some of her adult behaviors. The interesting thing about their dynamic – other than the instant and easy chemistry between them – is that they sort of switched roles over the course of the novel. Vince starts out as confident, sexy, successful, put-together, romantic, and so on. Kristen, on the other hand, seems very reserved in the beginning, cautious, and at times, ashamed. However, as their relationship progresses and develops, the reader sees Vince admitting to and facing weaknesses, while Kristen seems to grow stronger and surer of herself.

Ricki Dagosta has already demonstrated so much growth in her second novel! Both Kristen and Vince are well-developed with great depth, but the main thing that grabbed my attention was the ease of the flow of dialog (both inner and outer). In the first novel, I found myself struggling with the dialog at times, feeling that it didn’t flow as it should. That was not an issue in Only in My Dreams, where I noticed the dialog as natural and appropriate, providing much more insight into the characters and their emotions.

There are some difficult topics in this novel involving death, addiction, and neglect – however, the overall tone of this novel is one of change, hope, and finding happiness not only in relationships but within yourself. I will warn you that this one was a tear-jerker at times, both happy and sad, but mostly happy. The end of the novel had me steady crying tears of joy and when finished reading, I had a fantastic warm and fuzzy feeling. Also, those that aren’t a huge fan of explicit sex scenes, this is perfect for you. There are numerous romantic and sexy moments, but not in an overly detailed way. Ricki Dagosta sets the tone, lets you know what’s going on, but allows the readers to use their imagination 🙂 I highly recommend Only in My Dreams to fans of contemporary romance that enjoy a strong element of friends and family and just an overall wonderful story. I can’t wait to see what this talented author brings us next!

*Thanks to Ricki Dagosta for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

Pre-Order Only in My Dreams on Amazon!

Book Reviews

Book Review: Everything We Promised (The Hamilton Series Book 6), by Kate Smith

Everything We Promised (The Hamilton Series Book 6), by Kate Smith

Publication: July 21, 2017; updated version September 2018

promisedAbout the book: 

Do you believe in second chances?

After three years overseas, Aiden Hamilton returns to Chicago. During his absence, he thought often of his teenage love, Tiffany, and longs to rekindle their relationship. Except he faces two major hurdles—his acceptance into medical school in another state, and the continued efforts of their families to keep them apart.

Tiffany Baxter has spent the last three years of her life doing her best to remain invisible to her unsupportive parents. The events of her teenage years have created deep emotional scars, and despite the sporadic and secret contact from Aiden, she assumes he is lost to her forever.

Each has struggled to accept the circumstances that separated them. Both want to move on, yet overcoming the obstacles seems to be impossible. Whenever they manage to find their way back to each other, inevitably they are torn apart.

**My Review**

For those of you that regularly follow my blog, thank you 🙂 And if you are one of those people, then you will probably remember a few months back when I had the extraordinary pleasure to read and review Kate Smith’s novels in her Hamilton Series. I gushed and carried on about all of these incredible books and basically, I had an addiction for a while! Anyway, I am finally reviewing the final in the series, Everything We Promised (book 6). This novel is almost a prequel to the rest of the series, as it takes us back to when Aiden and Tiffany were young teenagers and first meet, and then when they meet again after being separated due to Savannah’s birth. Aiden has been overseas and finally reunites with Tiffany after returning to his grandparents’ home right before leaving for medical school. As their families are still trying to keep them apart, these young lovebirds struggle to be together while everything else seems to be working against them.

Having read all of the other installments in this series, I was a bit leery of this one. It has nothing to do with the author or the series, but I am all about Aiden and Emily and have never been a fan of Tiffany. Yes, towards, the end of the series, she began to redeem herself in my eyes, but still, she wasn’t my favorite. However, Kate Smith has completely changed my perception of Tiffany.

This young woman endured a very challenging upbringing, fell in love, endured tragedy, fell in love even more, finally got the guy, but screwed it up. My thoughts have always been that she got what she deserved, and I am still not a fan of infidelity in any way, shape, or form. However, Kate managed to characterize and humanize Tiffany in a way that I didn’t know was possible. There is certainly more to this underdog of a character than what her actions suggest. Which, of course, I always knew this but still chose not to like her.

Anyway, I won’t go into the plot much more because readers of the series already know the outcome of Tiffany and Aiden’s relationship. However, I will mention that not only does Kate Smith show a different side of Tiffany, she also shows a different side of Aiden that at times, was disturbing, but also made me love his character and who he eventually became, all the more. 

Like the others in the series, Everything We Promised is emotional, endearing at times, heartbreaking at times, but most of all – honest. I can’t recall ever being so in love with a series, the characters, the author’s writing, and just the overall feeling I get after reading one of these books. I can’t begin to find the words that would truly encompass my respect of Kate Smith. What an incredible author and an incredible series. I cannot wait to read what she sends me in the future. 

*Many thanks to the incredible Kate Smith for sharing her novel with me in exchange for my honest review.

Purchase Everything We Promised on Amazon!

Learn more about author Kate Smith!

Book Blitz, Book Reviews, Giveaway

Release Blitz, Review, & Giveaway: Reclaiming Brave, by Gina Azzi

 

Title: Reclaiming Brave
Series: The Kane Brothers #3
Author: Gina Azzi
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: October 29, 2018

 

Blurb
It was supposed to be one night. But then it became so
much more. She’s pregnant. 
Sierra:
I never anticipated
the two pink lines, the shock of pregnancy, from one night with Denver Kane.
Sure, I’ve been hot for him since before he realized I existed. But that
doesn’t mean he’s about to become a family man. Even if I’m having his
baby. 
Denver:
She was off-limits,
my little sister’s best friend. Until I crossed the line, not knowing it would
change everything. Now she’s pregnant and my future looks different. I want to
share in her sunny optimism and believe in new beginnings. Except I’m not cut
out for it. Not anymore. 
But I can’t walk
away from her, from them, and the crazy thing is, I don’t want to. 

 

 

**My Review**

So, I have been in love with this series since the beginning I must admit that Denver and Sierra’s book put the others to shame! This was by far my favorite of the Kane Brothers series and my heart and soul are feeling all the feels left over from this one! The eldest of the Kane brothers, Denver, has always had the hots for his sister’s best friend, Sierra. Little did he know, she had also been fighting her attraction for him. She comes to town for a weekend visit with Daisy, can’t seem to fall asleep, and finds herself downstairs in the living room making a move on Denver – finally. But then, a few weeks later, she sees those two pink lines…

Again, I have loved this series. I loved Jax and Evie’s story, I loved Carter and Taylor’s story. But this one is the best! Much like the character of Sierra, I have been quietly swooning over Denver Kane for a while now. To finally see him throw himself out there was a thing of beauty!

Honestly, I didn’t expect this story to go the way that it did. I expected a song and dance around each other before they finally gave in, yet, the fantastic Gina Azzi did not make us wait. Most of the plot, conflict, and so on revolved around Denver and Sierra after she discovered that she was pregnant.

Sierra is an incredible main character that I loved from beginning to end. Yes, I’ve had an ongoing crush on Denver, but he disappointed me once or twice in this installment of the series. No worries, because I forgave him and understood the backstory, and overall, he was fabulous – yet the author really did some digging into Denver throughout this book. It was both refreshingly honest and frustrating, but completely wonderful.

My only criticism of the novel is Sierra’s family. Maybe I’m just jaded from my own dysfunctional upbringing, but it was hard to believe that her family was so incredible from beginning to end. Don’t get me wrong, I loved them all, but found myself thinking a few times, “there are no families that are these loving and laid back.”

Anyway, Reclaiming Brave is amazing. It starts with curiosity and passion, moves onto the hope of new beginnings and new love, suffers through some tough bumps in the road, but ends with a happily-ever-after that brought me to tears multiple times. I loved, loved, loved this book and am on pins and needles waiting for Daisy’s story!

*Thanks to Give Me Books promotions and the author for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

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Author Bio
Gina Azzi loved every moment of college – especially her study abroad experiences,
internships, and travel adventures! She draws from these experiences to create the storylines for her new adult and contemporary romance books. A passionate reader, frequent globetrotter, and aspiring baker, Gina resides in Canada with her family. Her new series, the Kane Brothers, releases in 2018.
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