Review: A COSMIC KIND OF LOVE by Samantha Young

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A COSMIC KIND OF LOVE by Samantha Young

Publication Date: October 18, 2022

Genre: Contemporary Romance

SynopsisEE7F6641-F129-4F6A-8541-311117489733Space is the last thing an event planner and an astronaut need in this charming new romantic comedy from New York Timesbestselling author Samantha Young.

When event planner Hallie Goodman receives party-inspiration material from the bride of her latest wedding project, the last thing she expects to find is a collection of digital videos from Darcy’s ex-boyfriend. Hallie knows it’s wrong to keep watching these personal videos, but this guy is cute, funny, and an astronaut on the International Space Station to boot. She’s only human. And it’s not long until she starts sending e-mails and video diaries to his discontinued NASA address. Since they’re bouncing back, there’s no way anyone will ever be able to see them…right?

Christopher Ortiz is readjusting to life on earth and being constantly in the shadow of his deceased older brother. When a friend from NASA’s IT department forwards him the e-mails and video messages Hallie has sent, he can’t help but notice how much her sense of humor and pink hair make his heart race.

Separated by screens, Hallie and Chris are falling in love with each other, one transmission at a time. But can they make their star-crossed romance work when they each learn the other’s baggage?

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I enjoyed this sweet contemporary romance. The writing flowed and it was easy to switch from each first-person viewpoint. Chris was the astronaut yet didn’t have the cockiness that I thought he would have. He was likeable with a vulnerability that I found endearing. Hallie was not only an over-the-top people pleaser, she was also a magnet for mayhem. Despite seeming a bit immature at times, it made me chuckle. They were each successful in their careers while being unsure of their futures. In other words….normal. They made a lovely couple.

I enjoyed watching their relationship grow into a sexy romance. Nothing felt rushed or forced. There were some predictable parts that made my eyes roll (especially her parents), however it did not ruin the story for me. Overall, it is a feel-good and charming romance.

*Review copy provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.  

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

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About the author

Samantha Young is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series, including Moonlight on Nightingale Way, Echoes of Scotland Street, and Fall from India Place, as well as the standalone novel Hero. She resides in Scotland.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Review: THE HONEYMOON COTTAGE: A Novel by Lori Foster


THE HONEYMOON COTTAGE: A Novel by Lori Foster

Publication Date: May 24, 2022

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

2BC783C8-45E5-46B9-9329-D0447196295FFrom New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster comes a heartwarming, romantic story for fans of Jill Shalvis, Lori Wilde and Sarah Morgan. In The Honeymoon Cottage, locals of a quirky small town help their favorite wedding planner find her own happily-ever-after.

She was fine arranging other people’s weddings… But life had other plans.

When it comes to creating the perfect happily-ever-after, Yardley Belanger is a bona fide miracle worker. From bridal bouquets to matching cowboy boots, the quirky wedding planner’s country-chic affairs have caused quite a stir in the small town of Cemetery. But when it comes to her own love life? She’s clueless.

Completely clueless.

Perhaps it’s for the best. The thirty-one-year-old has poured her heart and soul into her business and doesn’t have time for anything—or anyone—else. And that’s something not even the gorgeous older brother of her newest client can change…right?

All Travis Long wanted was to give his little sister, Sheena, the wedding of her dreams. Ever since the tragic death of their parents, he’s done everything he can to make her feel loved and give her everything she needs. Still…a country wedding? In a place called Cemetery? But Yardley seems to know exactly what to do and how to do it—and Travis finds himself falling for her a little more each day.

Soon Yardley and Travis find themselves being nudged together by well-meaning locals who want to see the town’s favorite wedding planner get her own happy ending.

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This book is a lovely contemporary romance that will leave me smiling for a while. It centers around Yardley, a wedding planner that dreams of carving out a happy place for herself while catering to the needs of everyone else. I have to comment that she was a little too sweet and perfect for me. She reminded me of an old-time Disney princess. Thankfully her best friend gave the angst I needed. Travis leaned toward the “too good to be true” vibe as well. But hey, they made a great couple and along with the quirky town, fun banter, and a roving mannequin, it all blended into a delightful summer romance. I’m curious about who will be next in the series.

*Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

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Synopsis

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Lori Foster is a New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than 100 titles. She’s known for her fun, very sexy contemporary romance novels revolving around alpha males and meet (and fall in love with) strong, independent women. Lori’s been a recipient of the prestigious RT Book ReviewsCareer Achievement Award for Series Romantic Fantasy, and for Contemporary Romance. Even more fun, Lori’s been a clue in the New York Times crossword puzzle, a clue in the USA Today Quick-cross puzzle, and the sensual and sexy Too Much Temptation was Amazon’s 2002 top-selling title in Romance.

Lori has a super-active Facebook page where she regularly gives away reader goodies like books (of course), T-shirts, ARCs (advance reviewers’ copies), tote bags and lots of fun swag. LIKE her Facebook page so you never miss out!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

Review: GO HEX YOURSELF by Jessica Clare

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GO HEX YOURSELF by Jessica Clare

Publication Date: April 19, 2022

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

A9C01109-CD43-4190-8FC4-A7721F71BD5FIt’s one hex of an attraction in this romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Jessica Clare.

When Reggie Johnson answers a job ad in the paper, she’s astonished to find that she’s not applying to work at her favorite card game, Spellcraft: The Magicking. Instead, she’s applying to be an actual familiar for an actual witch. As in, real magic.

The new job has a few perks – great room and board, excellent pay, and she’s apprenticing to a powerful witch. Sure, the witch is a biteccentric. And sure, there was that issue with the black cat Reggie would prefer to forget about. The biggest problem, however, is warlock Ben Magnus, her employer’s nephew and the most arrogant, insufferable, maddening man to ever cast a spell.

Reggie absolutely hates him. He’s handsome, but he’s also bossy and irritating and orders her around. Ben’s butt might look great in a crystal ball vision, but that’s as far as it goes. But when someone with a vendetta targets the household, she finds herself working with Ben to break a deadly curse. Apparently, when they’re not fighting like cats and dogs, things get downright…bewitching.

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This was such a fun witchy rom-com. Reggie’s cluelessness about the witching world, the eccentric wackiness of her elderly employer, and the taciturn Ben’s behavior made me laugh. It all blended into a charming, sexy and fun mystery. The romance was a slow burn that thankfully became nicely heated. The mystery was fun and let the reader delve deeper into the magical world while the story unfolded. Part of me wishes we could have delved a bit deeper into the characters and their lives, but part of me just enjoyed the quick-read aspect of it all. I was charmed.

*Review copy provided by Berkley Romance in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Author
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New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Jessica Clare writes under three pen names. As Jessica Clare, she writes erotic contemporary romance. As Jessica Sims, she writes fun, sexy shifter paranormals. She also has a third pen name, because three is more fun than two. As Jill Myles, she writes a little bit of everything, from sexy, comedic urban fantasy to fairy tales gone wrong.

She lives in a teeny tiny town in North Texas that has no Starbucks, which is a cruel and unusual punishment. She spends her time with her husband, pets, and Keurig. Because, coffee.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Review: THE NIGHTSLAYER by Zoe Forward

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THE NIGHTSLAYER by Zoe Forward

Publication Date: March 30, 2022

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

732346E9-25F0-4E16-A65E-58A196ED531AGemma Leight doesn’t believe in magic—not after years of witnessing senseless tragedy as an ER nurse. But the sexy vampire anti-hero in her new favorite medieval-esque TV show speaks to her. As in, he says her name while looking at her through the screen. Just when Gemma’s convinced she hallucinated the whole thing, she gets pulled into his world.

For over a century, Skarde Blackmann has roamed as a hunter-for-hire against evil creatures. The moment he begins to believe the prophecy about him is bogus, Gemma comes through a mirror. One slip up, one bite to the sassy woman who makes him laugh, and she’ll become a vampire—and condemn his soul to damnation. Not a problem; he’ll just keep his distance.

But when Gemma’s life is at stake, staying away is no longer an option…

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This is my first novel by Zoe Forward, and it won’t be my last. I found Nightslayer to be a fun and quick paranormal romance. Gemma’s life was rooted in gritty reality despite her friend being a witch. I liked that about her – that friendship helped her deal with the odd circumstances that propelled her into a new reality. It was a hoot watching her ramble on about things and sayings we would understand but were completely foreign to those on the other side. That made it fun to watch the taciturn  Skarde struggle to maintain his reputation as the biggest badass around. The storyline seemed a bit rushed at parts, and some behavior made me want to smack them upside the head, but I still enjoyed the dangerous twists and turns around their friends and foes…especially the characters I wasn’t sure about. I hope the next books is about Skarde’s brother. That I would like to see.

*Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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AE2FEC1B-5C5B-470D-83EB-FF29B84EFCA8USA Today bestselling author, parent, wife, veterinarian, chocolate lover. Author of spicy paranormal and contemporary romances. Zoe Forward brings readers the perfect combination of action adventure, romance, humor and a bit of magic.

Her novels have won numerous awards including the Prism, Readers’ Choice Heart of Excellence, Golden Quill, Carolyn Readers Choice Award, and the Booksellers’ Best Award.

You can find her residing in the South with a menagerie of four-legged beasts and two wild kids.

See the latest on Zoe’s website: http://www.zoeforward.com

Don’t miss the newsletter: http://www.zoeforward.com/contact/

Review: ONCE UPON A CABIN by Patience Griffin

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ONCE UPON A CABIN (Sweet Home, Alaska Book 2) by Patience Griffin

Publication Date: November 30, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

F84830E5-4777-4B8A-9EF4-FA205770F364Two sisters from Texas find themselves exiled to Alaska . . . and thrown into the arms of two very different men.

Tori and McKenna St. James have been living comfortably on their trust funds in Dallas. But their uncle Monty, keeper of the purse strings, decides to push them out of their comfort zones by requiring them to spend one year in Alaska or lose their inheritance. Initially the sisters are stunned, but they aren’t willing to back down from the challenge.

Tori is sent to a primitive homestead outside the tiny town of Sweet Home. She had been prepared to forego fashion magazines and lattes, but not electricity and running water! Will her rugged wilderness guide, Jesse Montana, teach her to survive, or send her fleeing back to civilization? Meanwhile, outdoorsy McKenna is stuck within the concrete walls of an Anchorage bank. Her sexy boss Luke McAvoy is tasked with teaching her the business but what he’s really doing is tempting her. Not that she’s the type to fall for a stuffed suit like him.

Tori and McKenna find much needed solace with Sweet Home’s Sisterhood of the Quilt. Will this crafty group of women be up to the challenge of teaching two outsiders how to sew—and perhaps how to love?

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I enjoyed this book, it captivated me even through the holiday season chaos. Granted, the situation the women were thrust into seemed rather extreme – but it made for a fun escape. Tori was a prissy city girl that I planned to dislike and failed. I liked her and how she pushed herself to rough it in the wilderness despite obvious limitations. Jesse was her “teacher” for the adventure and a perfect match for her. He taught her how to survive without a feeling of rescuing or pampering her. He let her be strong. (I loved the homesteading tips strewn into the storyline.) Tori’s sister McKenna was a secondary romance within the story. This outdoorsy woman had to spend a year in the city to learn the banking business. Personally, I thought she got off easy, especially with Luke there to be her mentor. I wish both romances had a bit more depth in the emotions. It felt like I was told they were falling for each other instead of shown.

I love small town romances that also showcase the people that live there. How others treat the couples reinforces the character’s worthiness of caring. It also helps when the townspeople are fun and engaging. In closing, this is a fun romance. No sexy-time, but I didn’t miss it. I’ve found a new author.

*Review copy provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.

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93D84FA6-99DF-491D-BA4E-D0182D30FAF9Patience Griffin grew up in a small town along the Mississippi River. The author of the Quilts and Kilts and Sweet Home, Alaska novels, she has a master’s degree in nuclear engineering but spends her days writing stories about hearth and home and dreaming about the fictional small town of Gandiegow, Scotland.

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Review: SWEET LOVE (Forever Adirondacks) by Lauren Accardo 

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SWEET LOVE (Forever Adirondacks Book 2) by Lauren Accardo 

Publication Date: September 28, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

45E82450-511C-4E69-ACF9-2C02CF16FDEBFalling for your best friend might be a recipe for disaster, but this small-town baker can’t help jumping from her pie pan into the fire.

Mila Bailey has always had a special talent for creating unique, show-stopping pies. But until her great-aunt leaves her the entry fee to the Pine Ridge Spring Bake-Off, she’s only ever shared them with friends and family. Thrust into the spotlight, Mila is determined to prove to everyone—but mostly herself—that she has what it takes to compete with top-level bakers. There’s only one flaw in her plan: The not-so-half-baked feelings she’s starting to develop for her best friend, Jared Kirkland.

Jared has always believed in Mila’s gifts, but lately he’s struggling not to fantasize about sampling more than just the spoon from the batter. No matter how much he tries to tell himself that Mila is not for him—his dreams have always reached beyond Pine Ridge—he can’t deny this new spark between them.

Mila embodies Pine Ridge, and Jared wants to break free. How can either of them move on knowing the loves of their lives have been right under their noses all along?

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I enjoyed this contemporary romance. A friends-to-lovers story is always fun when the author can clearly show their long relationship without it feeling forced. The banter and camaraderie between them, and their friends, made me smile. I did get quite frustrated with both Jared and Mila during the progression of their romance. His visceral reaction to anything leading to marriage – his and others – was a bit absurd to me. At times, Mila’s reactions to Jared made me growl. However, they managed to have a steamy build to their relationship that I enjoyed. I liked my trip to Pine Ridge and look forward to visiting again. I’m hoping the next installment is for a certain new addition to this lovely town.

*Review copy provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.

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Lauren Accardo is a romance novelist based in New York City and represented by Eva Scalzo at Speilburg Literary Agency. She loves pancakes, print magazines, karaoke, and her stand-up-comic husband. Not necessarily in that order. Her debut novel WILD LOVE is available from Berkley Romance.

Website | Facebook | Twitter 

Review: CHRISTMAS IN ROSE BEND by Naima Simone

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CHRISTMAS IN ROSE BEND (Rose Bend Series, Book 2) by Naima Simone

Publication Date: October 26, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

E965B88A-BFB2-4849-A68A-1DDAEB57DF61The holidays have never been her thing. But Christmas in Rose Bend has more than one surprise in store…

Grieving ER nurse Nessa Hunt is on a road trip with her sullen teen half sister, Ivy, and still reeling from her mother’s deathbed confession: Nessa’s dad wasn’t really her dad. Seeking answers, they arrive in Rose Bend to find a small town teeming with the kind of Christmas cheer Nessa usually avoids. But then she meets the innkeeper’s ruggedly sexy son, Wolfgang Dennison.

Wolf’s big, boisterous family is like a picture-perfect holiday card. Nessa has too much weighing on her to feel like she fits—even though the heat between her and Wolf is undeniable. And the merriment bringing an overdue smile to Ivy’s face is almost enough to make Nessa believe in the Christmas spirit. But with all her parental baggage, including lingering questions about her birth father, is there room in Nessa’s life for happy holidays and happily-ever-after?

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Donna 4 stars

This was my first trip to Rose Bend, and happily did not have to read book one to become immersed in the town. (I will be purchasing book one for enjoyment.) I truly enjoyed the town and family members, having that kind of ensemble gives the main characters more depth and made knowing Wolf easier. Nessa was harder. She was visiting from Boston with her little sister and came across as cold and brittle. I’m glad there was enough insight into her character to keep me reading, mainly in regard to the relationship with her sister, Ivy and that resolution.  I did find both her and Wolf’s pasts and how they were dealing with it, rather depressing at times, but appreciated how they helped each other heal. I loved the building trust, friendship, and romance in their story. The few steamy scenes were just right. I once again have to mention the town and the numerous Christmas activities that made me smile. I couldn’t stop reading and although the ending happened rather quickly – I was totally satisfied.

*Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Series Link 

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USA Today Bestselling author Naima Simone’s love of romance was first stirred by Johanna Lindsey, Sandra Brown and Linda Howard many years ago. Well not that many. She is only eighteen…ish. Though her first attempt at a romance novel starring Ralph Tresvant from New Edition never saw the light of day, her love of romance, reading and writing has endured. Published since 2009, she spends her days–and nights– writing sizzling romances with a touch of humor and snark.

She is wife to Superman, or his non-Kryptonian, less bullet proof equivalent, and mother to the most awesome kids ever. They all live in perfect, sometimes domestically-challenged bliss in the southern United States.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Review: HOME FOR A COWBOY CHRISTMAS by Donna Grant

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HOME FOR A COWBOY CHRISTMAS by Donna Grant

Publication Date: October 26, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance 

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CC2C2735-77BD-4AB1-8038-8591FA4A27FAThe most wonderful time of the year has arrived for this cowboy in New York Times bestseller Donna Grant’s newest novel, Home for a Cowboy Christmas.

Tis the season—for everyone except Emmy Garrett. She’s on the run after witnessing a crime. But when it becomes clear that trouble will continue following her, the US Marshal in charge takes her somewhere no one will think to look–Montana. Not only is Emmy in a new place for her protection, but now, she’s stuck with a handsome cowboy as her bodyguard…and she wants to do more than kiss him under the mistletoe.

Dwight Reynolds left behind his old career, but it’s still in his blood. When an old friend calls in a favor, Dwight opens his home to a woman on the run. He tries to keep his distance, but there’s something about Emmy he can’t resist. She stokes his passion and turns his cold nights into warm ones. When danger shows up looking for Emmy, Dwight risks everything to keep her safe.

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Donna 4 stars

I liked this story. Emmy and Dwight were both people easy to like and understand. Their romance built smoothly and wasn’t bogged down with reluctance or misconceptions. The turmoil was from outside influences that both helped and added tension. The suspenseful danger of the story didn’t fully come into play until later in the book. By then, their romance had blossomed into a deep and sexy relationship. I enjoyed how it all flowed together seamlessly. Granted, the title had me expecting more of a Christmas story, but it did not disappoint in the happily-ever-after. It was a lovely feel-good story with just enough danger to keep my pulse up.

This book also has a bonus short story called WISH UPON A COWBOY. Cady and Zane were caught in a blizzard together. Their time in a cozy cabin was a whirlwind of hot insta-love. It was short, sweet and had me smiling after the story was over.

*Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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image942B37E0-FFC7-4799-BA44-10E8996BE8F6Donna Grant is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the sizzling Dark King series featuring dragons, immortal Highlanders, and the Fae.

She was born and raised in Texas but loves to travel. Her adventures have taken her throughout the United States as well as to Jamaica, Mexico, and Scotland. Growing up on the Texas/Louisiana border, Donna’s Cajun side of the family taught her the “spicy” side of life while her Texas roots gave her two-steppin’ and bareback riding.

Despite deadlines and voracious reading, Donna still manages to keep up with her two children, four cats, and one long haired Chihuahua.

Website ** Instagram ** Facebook ** Author Goodreads **

Review: BREAKING BADGER (The Honey Badger Chronicles Book 4) by Shelly Laurenston

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BREAKING BADGER (The Honey Badger Chronicles Book 4) by Shelly Laurenston

Publication Date: August 31, 2021

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

E8348660-B0A3-4934-A769-E998CF4176C9Fans of Thea Harrison and Nalini Singh won’t want to miss this exciting, funny, and sexy novel in the mega-popular series.

“Shelly Laurenston’s shifter books are full of oddball characters, strong females with attitude and dialogue that can have you laughing out loud.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer

It’s instinct that drives Finn Malone to rescue a bunch of hard battling honey badgers. The Siberian tiger shifter just can’t bear to see his fellow shifters harmed. But no way can Finn have a houseful of honey badgers when he also has two brothers with no patience. Things just go from bad to worse when the badgers rudely ejected from his home turn out to be the only ones who can help him solve a family tragedy. He’s just not sure he can even get back into the badgers’ good graces. Since badgers lack graces of any kind . . .

Mads knows her teammates aren’t about to forgive the cats that were so rude to them, but moody Finn isn’t so bad. And he’s cute! The badger part of her understands Finn’s burning need to avenge his father’s death—after all, vengeance is her favorite pastime. So Mads sets about helping Finn settle his family’s score, which has its perks, since she gets to avoid her own family drama. Besides, fighting side by side with Finn is her kind of fun—especially when she can get in a hot and heavy snuggle with her very own growling, eye-rolling, and utterly irresistible kitty-cat . . .

“Filled with high-octane action, some serious snark, and a plethora of humor.. the resulting madcap adventures are sure to please series fans.”
Publishers Weekly

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I enjoyed this wild ride of a story. Granted it had a lot of things going on with a lot of different point of views, but it was fun. Mads and Finn made an unlikely pair, which is a hallmark of this series, I think. The romance itself was more of an afterthought, building super slowly and only became physical once. I am not complaining about that as it was hot. I can’t really explain about the basic storyline of this installment as it had so many different things going on. I am guessing that this was to lead into backstories for future books. As with all Laurenston’s books, it is filled with a ton of snarky humor, wild and crazy action, and the camaraderie that comes from a tight knit group. I can’t wait to get this on audio…I love the banter.

*Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

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✦The Honey Badgers Chronicles by Shelly Laurenston✦
✦Book 1: HOT AND BADGERED ➢ Kindle | Review 5 Stars
✦Book 2: IN A BADGER WAY ➢ Kindle | Review 5 Stars
✦Book 3: BADGER TO THE BONE ➢ Kindle | Review 5 Stars
✦Book 4: BREAKING BADGER ➢ Kindle

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The Honey Badger Series is a spin-off of Shelly Laurenston’s Pride Series. Here’s the series link and a link to a blog post with some of our favorite quotes.

The Pride Series by Shelly Laurenston
Amazon Series Link: https://amzn.to/2unBuRM
Blog Post Fav Quotes: http://bit.ly/2Ggy4BY

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About the Author

Originally from Long Island, New York, Shelly Laurenston has resigned herself to West Coast living, which involves healthy food, mostly sunny days, and lots of guys not wearing shirts when they really should. Shelly is also the New York Times bestselling author G.A. Aiken, creator of the Dragon Kin series. For more info about Shelly’s books go to www.shellylaurenston.com. Or to check out G.A.’s dangerously and arrogantly sexy dragons go to www.gaaiken.com

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Review & Excerpt: PAWS AND PREJUDICE by Alanna Martin

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PAWS AND PREJUDICE (Hearts of Alaska Book 2) by Alanna Martin

Publication Date: June 29, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

C9AD47FB-E381-4A6A-AB40-D0F756542E09It’s up to a trio of adorable rescue huskies to make two lonely hearts in a coastal Alaskan town realize that true love is worth too much to turn tail and run.

Glaciers have nothing on Kelsey Porter when she decides to freeze someone out. After getting burned once, she’s not about to let it happen again. And right now all that icy contempt is focused on one annoyingly attractive and entitled interloper: Ian Roth. Not only is he looking to take advantage of her quaint, coastal community, tainting the small-town charm of Helen, Alaska, but he has committed the one crime she can never forgive–he doesn’t like her dogs.

Unlike what Kelsey believes, Ian loves Helen’s charms as much as she does. That’s partly why he’s determined to open a brewery there, and he’s not about to let anything or anyone stop his dream from coming true. But he didn’t count on the beautiful, prickly woman getting under his skin. Or having to be within hand-biting proximity of her three huge huskies.

When Kelsey’s family conscripts her into helping Ian get his brewery off the ground, she finds herself caught between a rock and a hard . . . muscular . . . man who has a fear of dogs. But the longer they work together, the more she can feel herself begin to thaw. Now she’ll have to choose: let sleeping dogs lie to protect her heart, or mush head-on toward love.

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I enjoyed this romance more than I thought I would. Kelsey rubbed me the wrong way at first. Her behavior and attitude for the first quarter of the story made no sense to me and I could not understand his attraction to her. I honestly thought Ian was too good for her. I’m glad I read on. Each of them carried baggage from their pasts that clouded their perception of others, but hers was more caustic. It was lovely to watch them chip through their barriers and see the other person, then ultimately bring out the best in each other.

I did not understand nor like the town feud issue. It prevented me from picturing myself there or caring about the townspeople. Thankfully, Ian’s brother and Kelsey’s inner-circle provided a sense of camaraderie to show that the two of them were worthy of friendship and love. The witty banter was enjoyable and well written.

This is a fun and sexy romance that made me smile.

*Review copy provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.

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Kelsey Porter had always feared that the lies she told would one day come back to bite her in the ass. She’d just never expected the bite would come in the form of work she had no business doing for a man she wanted nothing to do with. But lies were cruel. They built on themselves-words turning into sentences and sentences into paragraphs, until Kelsey had written a novel of falsehoods about who she was and what she did for a living. So when her father volunteered her labor to Ian Roth, Kelsey was triply screwed.

One, she wasn’t about to confess that her alleged work experience was a lie.

Two, she was already extremely busy.

Three, and perhaps most important, Ian was a jerk who didn’t deserve what little free time she had.

Despite never having spoken to Ian, Kelsey was absolutely positive of number three. The man had shown zero interest in her dogs, and that spoke of a cold, unfeeling heart.

Kelsey had tried convincing her father she was too busy to help Ian, but her reasoning had been brushed off as easily as the death glare she’d given him. That was no surprise. Kelsey’s glare had a tendency to make people, particularly male people, want to pat her on the head and tell her how cute she was. Cherubic, even. Being taken seriously was hard when you were short. Add in her blond curls and blue eyes and it was damn near impossible. Her twin brother, Kevin, who shared her general appearance, at least had the advantage of being male. No one thought Kevin was cute when he scowled at them.

And no question, her father wouldn’t have volunteered Kevin to do unpaid labor. That was the sort of BS demanded only of women. Her father hadn’t cared one bit that Kelsey had deadlines to meet and a house she was renovating. Making Ian happy had been more important to him.

“You know I’m right,” Kelsey said as she pointed out this last incontrovertible fact.

Josh had the good sense not to argue, which was why he was her favorite cousin. “You’re probably right, yes. But try not to be so negative. Ian doesn’t know your situation. It’s not his fault.”

So that was who the nagging Be nice voice in her head sounded like. She’d been telling it to shut up since her father had dropped this bomb on her yesterday, and Kelsey turned the full force of her glare on her cousin. It was a combination of displeased, dismissive, and disgusted that on another face might have been lethal. “Excuse me?”

Like her father had, Josh ignored the glare. Freaking men.

They had embarked on their semi-regular afternoon ritual, walking their combined six huskies around the park in downtown Helen. Kelsey had given Josh his three dogs when he moved here a couple of years ago, and they mingled with hers-Romeo, Juliet, and Puck-as they made a circuit around the park’s perimeter.

What a difference a few weeks made. Helen hadn’t entirely shut down for the winter yet, but the number of tourists had so rapidly declined, it was like someone had shut off a spigot. The park, just a couple of weeks ago, had been a maze to navigate with six dogs, but now it was an easy stroll. That was good, because the chillier weather made Kelsey want to keep a faster pace even as she delighted in the scent of the wet grass and salty bay water. Anything smelled better than the drywall compound she’d been inhaling all morning.

Well, almost anything. She was supposed to meet with Ian at his brewery in an hour, and Kelsey assumed the place would smell like beer. She hated beer. Even if she did have experience writing marketing materials, which she most certainly did not, she still would be the worst person in the world to help Ian.

“I’m not saying it was cool of your father to volunteer you,” Josh said as he attempted to detangle a couple of leashes. “But how long can it take you to write some stuff for the brewery’s website?”

“It’s not only the website. It’s also press releases, and a puff piece for the local paper. Maybe even a longer article to submit to some travel zines.”

“And that.” Josh winced, and Kelsey hoped it was dawning on him why she was being so negative.

Lies-spinning them for a living was called fiction. Living them was turning out to be a pain in the ass. Everyone in town, including Josh, believed Kelsey was a freelance writer, and they all had their own ideas as to what that meant. She’d never bothered to correct them, since it hadn’t mattered. Until now.

Kelsey hadn’t the faintest clue what the website work might entail, but she did have an idea how much time it took to write for the Helen Weekly Herald, because she did it on occasion. It helped keep her cover and paid for the occasional new doggie toy, but she hated it. The only thing Kelsey enjoyed writing was novels. Steamy paranormal romance novels about a pack of husky shifters living in the Alaskan bush, to be 100 percent precise, because romance readers knew exactly what sort of stories they wanted, and Kelsey aimed to provide them for the ones who liked hers. It wasn’t what she’d planned to do with her life, but she enjoyed it, was apparently good at it, and had gotten extremely lucky to be able to support herself with it.

And there was no way in hell she could tell anyone in Helen about it. Thank goodness for pen names.

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3EEC3F29-FCBF-4C4A-AF62-6BF214171112Growing up, Alanna Martin wanted to be an astronaut, a doctor, and an actor – possibly all at once. After nine years of studying psychology, she somehow became a writer instead. This turned out to be the best career choice of all because she can work in her pajamas while drinking wine. She firmly believes in the power of fluffy books, long walks in the woods, and that there’s no such thing as too much coffee.

Represented by Rebecca Strauss at DeFiore & Company.

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