Review: BAYOU BEAUTY by Lexi Blake

 

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BAYOU BEAUTY (Butterfly Bayou Series Book 4) by Lexi Blake

Publication Date: July 27, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

9521C2F7-4167-47B4-B20D-B92FB1AF3529Love returns to Louisiana’s Butterfly Bayou in a new small-town contemporary romance sure to charm hearts, from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake.

Sylvie Martine was prepared to take Washington D.C. by storm, but she put that dream on hold when her beloved hometown of Papillon, Louisiana, needed her most. Now Sylvie’s the mayor of the tiny town on the bayou that holds her heart. But for Sylvie, this can only be a pit stop on the way to bigger and better things. The last thing she needs is an old love to resurface and threaten her goals.

Rene Darois’s whole life has been about serving his family—no matter how much it hurts. He’s used to sacrificing for his large extended family and the company his grandfather created. But he can’t believe the latest demand: he needs to find a wife and quick or he could lose it all. It would be a horrible situation. But he has just the solution: his high school sweetheart. Sylvie is everything he wants in a wife—smart, funny, and caring—and he planned to woo her anyway.

Now he just has to convince Sylvie that their love is worth it all, or he and the bayou will lose her forever.

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9C0F7809-58BB-4C10-90BE-5BCF72FB53CEThis is my favorite installment in the Butterfly Bayou series. It can be read as a standalone, but why miss out on the other books.  I love the people in Papillon. Quirky yet ready to rally around each other when needed. Their banter and nosiness make for a well-rounded story that pulled me in and held me while the action unfolded. I love when a book makes me wish I lived there.

Sylvie was easy to like. I was just about to get tired of her letting preconceived notions make her snap at Rene when that cleared up and they moved on with their relationship building. Thank heavens because Rene is perfect for her. I thoroughly enjoyed watching them navigate through family drama and their personal hopes and dreams. This story had it all…love, greed, secrets, laughter, and redemption. A fun quick read that still has me smiling.

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

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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About the Author

imageNY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon Author Page

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Review: CLAIMED (Lair of the Wolven, The Book 1) by J.R. Ward

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CLAIMED (Lair of the Wolven, The Book 1) by J.R. Ward

Publication Date: July 27, 2021

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

1104A35F-F01D-446D-BA8B-843B5B550B15A heart-pounding new series set in the Black Dagger Brotherhood world, about a scientist fighting to save the gray wolves—and getting caught in a deadly trap herself…

Lydia Susi is passionate about protecting wolves in their natural habitat. When a hotel chain develops a tract of land next to the preserve, Lydia is one of the most vocal opponents of the project—and becomes a target.

One night, a shadowy figure threatens Lydia’s life in the forest, and a new hire at the Wolf Study Project comes from out of nowhere to save her. Daniel Joseph is both mysterious, and someone she intrinsically wants to trust. But is he hiding something?

As the stakes get higher, and one of Lydia’s colleagues is murdered, she must decide how far she will go to protect the wolves. Then a shocking revelation about Daniel challenges Lydia’s reality in ways she could never have predicted. Some fates demand courage, while others require even more, with no guarantees. Is she destined to have true love…or will a soul-shattering loss ruin her forever?

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This is an exciting start to a new series. I was immediately drawn into the story, liking Lydia and Daniel, their banter, their individual mysterious lives, and their lovely romance. The mystery and danger surrounding them kept shifting and evolving while weaving in a slow-building romance that was touching. Thankfully, the world building didn’t bog down the story – even though it left quite a few questions lingering. That was the main reason for not scoring it a 5. I am not a huge fan of having to wait a year to understand who/what the players are, and if they’re good or bad, even though it kept me glued to the book. Overall, I loved it and will read it again before the next book, to delve deeper into nuances that I may have missed.

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

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

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✿THE BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD WORLD by J.R. WARD✿
AMAZON SERIES LINKS: http://amzn.to/2qf62lo
✦Dark Lover ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/17wcZJV
✦Lover Eternal ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/179BzU8
✦Lover Awakened ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/18Eqmsy
✦Lover Revealed ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/13g9tWr
✦Lover Unbound ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/18tPt2h
✦Lover Enshrined ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/17woxN4
✦ The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider’s Guide ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/17FIm70
✦ Father Mine: Zsadist and Bella’s Story: A Black Dagger Brotherhood Novella (eBook – the printed version of this story is also found in “The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider’s Guide” http://amzn.to/17wqaKE
✦Lover Avenged ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/1I5iTcw
✦Lover Mine ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/1dRq35K
✦Lover Unleashed ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/1dR9pDy
✦Lover Reborn ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/18EjoDX
✦Lover At Last ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/16GUthu
✦The King ➢ Review: http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-1aQ | Kindle http://amzn.to/12CBV4A
✦The Shadows ➢ Review 5 Stars: http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-2gm | Kindle http://amzn.to/1BAHVJT
✦BLOOD KISS (Legacy) ➢ Review 5 Stars: http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-3px | Kindle: http://amzn.to/1BlQjuG
✦The Beast ➢ Review 5 Stars http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-4JB | Kindle http://amzn.to/1KX7Jsj
✦BLOOD VOW (Legacy) ➢ Review 5 Stars: http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-7kK | Kindle: http://amzn.to/1RxpiwG
✦The Chosen ➢ Review 5 Stars http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-8u8 | Kindle http://amzn.to/2nkaHil
✦BLOOD FURY (Legacy) ➢ Review 5 Stars https://wp.me/p3d0RZ-ayS | Kindle http://amzn.to/2oGiaMq
✦Dearest Ivie: A Novella Set in the Black Dagger World ➢ Review 5 Stars https://wp.me/p3d0RZ-aEo | Kindle http://amzn.to/2F2HvUu
✦The Thief ➢ Review 4.5 Stars https://wp.me/p3d0RZ-aHi | Kindle http://amzn.to/2w2pTH5
✦Prisoner of Night (Novella) ➢ Review 5 Stars https://wp.me/p3d0RZ-aZ6 | Kindle https://amzn.to/2U7vxBo
✦The Savior ➢ Review 5 Stars https://wp.me/p3d0RZ-b5b | Kindle https://amzn.to/2q3e6E8
✦BLOOD TRUTH (Legacy) ➢ Kindle https://amzn.to/2VrQ5V8
✦WHERE WINTER FINDS YOU: A CALDWELL CHRISTMAS ➢ Kindle https://amzn.to/2Rtmlqh
✦THE SINNER ➢ Kindle https://amzn.to/31tCaRE
✦ THE JACKAL (Black Dagger Brotherhood: Prison Camp Book 1) ➢ Kindle https://amzn.to/2L3NKNv
✦A Warm Heart in Winter (The Black Dagger Brotherhood World) ➢ Kindle https://amzn.to/2BVIM3x
✦LOVER UNVEILED (Releasing 04/20/2021) ➢ Kindle https://amzn.to/2TY3TIj | Hardback https://amzn.to/3gw0Vnn
✦CLAIMED (Lair of the Wolven, The Book 1) (Releasing 6/29/2021)
Kindle https://amzn.to/321gfDR
✦THE WOLF (Black Dagger Brotherhood: Prison Camp Book 2) (Releasing 11/16/2021) ➢ Kindle https://amzn.to/2MYDk5o | HBK https://amzn.to/39Q3ZKC
✦Lover Arisen (The Black Dagger Brotherhood series Book 20) (Releasing 04/05/2022) ➢ Kindle https://amzn.to/3xqQj1Z | HBK https://amzn.to/3i0SDXl

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About the Author

imageJ.R. Ward is the number one New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series of vampire books. She is a winner of the prestigious Romance Writers of America RITA award for Best Paranormal Romance and is a multiple RITA nominee. A graduate of Smith College, she was a double major in History and Art History with a medieval concentration in both and she still longs at times for a return to those days sitting in dark lecture halls, looking at slides of old triptychs and reliquaries. Prior to becoming a full time writer, she was a corporate attorney, serving for many years as the Chief of Staff of one of Harvard Medical Schools premier teaching sites. Her idea of absolute heaven is a day filled with nothing but her computer, her dog and her coffee pot and the Brothers, of course.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Review: MURDER AT SUNRISE LAKE by Christine Feehan

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MURDER AT SUNRISE LAKE by Christine Feehan

Publication Date: July 29, 2021

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Synopsis

141F339B-4CAF-4836-A5EB-76244ECD856D#1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan reaches new heights of passion and suspense in this thrilling novel that takes readers deep into the California backcountry, where a woman is tormented by visions of a killer. 

It starts in her dreams. Hideous flashes from a nightmare only she can stop. Images of a murderer stalking the ones she cares about most…

Stella Harrison thought she got away from the traumas of her past. Running the Sunrise Lake resort high in the Sierra Nevada mountains has brought her peace, even though she doesn’t truly share her quiet life with anyone. Not even Sam, the hired handyman that notices everything and always seems to know exactly what she needs.

Stella doesn’t know anything about Sam’s past, but somehow over the last two years his slow, steady presence has slipped past her defenses. Still, she knows she can’t tell him about her recent premonitions. So far there’s been no murder. No body. No way to prove what’s about to happen without destroying the life she’s built for herself.

But a killer is out there. And Stella knows that this time she’ll do whatever it takes to stop him.

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3.5 stars Donna

Christine Feehan sure took a turn when she wrote this book. I didn’t recognize her writing style at all, despite the paranormal aspect of precognition. It just didn’t flow well for me. I would get into the mystery only to get slogged down in massive repetition descriptions on things. It is advertised as a thriller, but it was more of a mystery with romantic elements. It is an interesting storyline and I kept reading to see if I was right about the perpetrator.

I enjoyed the easy camaraderie of Stella and her friends. I can picture them laughing and bantering, wishing I were one of them. My only comment is that if they were such close friends, why would they all have deep, dark, and background important secrets from each other. Can’t someone just be normal? It just felt a bit “off”. Stella was easy to like, as was Sam – despite his quiet and almost stalkerish behavior – I liked him. They make a good and believable couple. There wasn’t a romantic/relationship build in this book, and the physical encounters were behind doors. It is a decent mystery, but it left me wanting.

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

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Buy Links

Kindle | Hardback

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image image#1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan has over 40 novels published, including four series. Each of her four series has hit #1 on the NY Times. Her debut novel Dark Prince received 3 of the 9 Paranormal Excellence Awards in Romantic Literature for 1999. Since then she has been published by Leisure Books, Pocket Books, and currently is writing for Berkley/Jove. She also has earned 7 more PEARL awards.

She is pleased to have made numerous bestseller lists including the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, USA Today, Bookscan, B. Daltons, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Waldenbooks, Ingrams, Borders, Rhapsody Book Club, Washington Post, and Walmart. She has received numerous honors throughout her career including being a nominee for the RWA’s RITA. She has received a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times and the Borders 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award.

She has been published in multiple languages and in many formats, including large print, palm pilot, e-book, and hardcover. In October of 2007 her first manga comic, Dark Hunger was released in stores. This was the first ever manga comic released by Berkley Publishing and it made #11 on Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller’s List. Her ground-breaking book trailer commercials have been shown on TV and in the movie theaters. She has been featured on local TV, appeared on the The Montel Williams Show, and her book Dark Legend was featured on the cover of Romantic Times Magazine.

Christine Feehan has also appeared at numerous writers’ conventions and book signings including: Romantic Times Convention, Get Caught Reading at Sea Cruise, Celebrate Romance Conference, Emerald City Conference, and numerous Romance Writers of America Conferences.

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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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Kindle | Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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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.

Website | Facebook | Twitter 

Review: UNDERCOVER WOLF (STAT Book 2) by Paige Tyler

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UNDERCOVER WOLF (STAT Book 2) by Paige Tyler

Publication Date: May 25, 2021

Genre: Paranormal Romantic Suspense

Synopsis

9895ABED-B249-4AF2-B01F-12CF5007FE64An unexpected partnership leads two wolves to reconsider everything they know…

Alpha werewolf Harley Grant isn’t exactly comfortable with her inner wolf. Even though she’s on a STAT Team where she can use her abilities because her teammates know about her, she refuses to do so, putting herself and sometimes them at risk.

Alpha werewolf Sawyer Bishop would give anything for his M16 Team to know about his inner wolf, but his teammates are mistrustful of anyone or anything with inhuman abilities. When he meets Harley on an overlapping case and realizes she’s a fellow wolf, he’s more than a little intrigued.

Now that STAT and MI6 have to team up to stop a crew of supernatural bad guys intent on causing a nuclear meltdown, Harley can no longer deny her wolf and Sawyer can no longer hide his. As they grow closer to resolving the case and grow closer to each other, they discover things aren’t what they seem and revenge could cost them their lives.

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I found this STAT installment to be fast paced and exciting from page one. International intrigue, mystery, danger, and a variety of new paranormals to make things interesting. Although the extent of their globetrotting seemed excessive for the situations, it did make for fun reading and gave time for the romance to blossom.

Harley’s continued issue about shifting bothered me. She had been with STAT long enough to be comfortable in a pack, so I couldn’t reconcile her hang-up with her strength of character. Thankfully, I liked everything else about her. She made a great match for Sawyer. Both were strong and accomplished yet yearning for more and not sure what that more was. Sawyer was a handsome Alpha in MI6 – I could easily imagine his delicious accent as he worked operations or seduced Harley. It was nice that although they were clearly “the one” for each other, they took the time to let their relationship build instead of either fighting it or surrendering to it. That gave the romance a nice depth. There wasn’t a lot of sexy time (what there is, was hot!), but with the story blending in, it worked just fine for me.

This is a romantic globe-trotting, special agent wild ride from beginning to end. Loved it.

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

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

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About the author image

Paige is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sexy romantic suspense and paranormal romance. She graduated from The University of West Florida with a degree in education in 2000, but decided to pursue a full-time career as a writer in 2004. Since then, she’s written over fifty books in several genres, including paranormal, contemporary, western, sci-fi and erotica. She loves writing about strong, sexy, alpha males and the feisty, independent women who fall for them. From verbal foreplay to sexual heat, her stories of romance, adventure, suspense, passion and true love will leave you breathlessly panting for more.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Review: CRAZY ABOUT A COWBOY by Dylann Crush


E1801459-40E2-4058-8EFA-FCD265A82776CRAZY ABOUT A COWBOY (Tying the Knot in Texas Book 3) by Dylann Crush

Publication Date: May 25, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

B8FC9D09-8FD8-4C72-B46F-F1919E593FE3A farmer’s son must convince a beauty queen that his town is the most romantic small town in Texas, all while making sure his rival town doesn’t sabotage the competition—but can win her over without falling head over heels?

While locals know Ido is the most romantic town in Texas, it still has some tough competition from larger, more well-known towns. But when the neighboring town is disqualified from the running, Mayor Lacey Cherish thinks they may finally have a fighting chance…with the right hospitality host, that is. Desperate to save his family farm by garnering more tourism, Jasper Taylor agrees to take on the role. He will do anything it takes to win Ido the title, even if it means catering to a beauty queen’s every whim for a month.

When the panel comes to evaluate the town, former beauty queen-turned-reluctant-judge, Delilah Stone, receives a less than perfect welcome. Everything that could possibly go right goes wrong, and Delilah is more convinced than ever that Ido doesn’t stand a chance against the competition. While it could just be a series of unlucky coincidences, Jasper thinks the root of their misfortunes may be a figure from his past who he hoped was out of his life for good…

Now it’s up to Jasper to show Delilah just how romantic the town of Ido can be, even if it means losing his own heart in the process.

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I was entranced by this small-town romance. The quirky and loveable townspeople invited me to move right in and stay, making the perfect backdrop to the romance between Jasper and Delilah. All the characters were well developed, and the relationships seemed effortless. Jasper and Delilah were instantly relatable and made me yearn for their happily-ever-after. Yes, they both made mistakes that had me groaning, but that just made them seem real. I loved watching their romance grow.

This is a fun romance with enough drama to keep it interesting. I would love to read more about Jasper’s family, and I know some of those townspeople have their own fun stories to tell. I will admit I was worried the whole “Miss Lovin’ Texas on a tour to find the most romantic town in Texas” would become too corny – but it worked out wonderfully. This is a lovely summer read.

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

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Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Dylann Crush is the author of All American Cowboy and Cowboy Christmas Jubilee. A romantic at heart, she loves her heroines spunky and her heroes super sexy. When she’s not dreaming up steamy story lines, she can be found sipping a margarita and searching for the best Tex-Mex food in Minnesota. Although she grew up in Texas, she currently lives in a suburb of Minneapolis/St. Paul with her unflappable husband, three energetic kids, a clumsy Great Dane, a rescue mutt, and a very chill cat. She loves to connect with readers, other authors, and fans of tequila. You can find her at dylanncrush.com.

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Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: SHADOW STORM by Christine Feehan

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SHADOW STORM (A Shadow Riders Novel Book 6) by Christine Feehan

Publication Date: May 25, 2021

Genre: Paranormal Romance/ Romantic Suspense

Synopsis

0D9D97F7-64F8-4CB6-819E-3FC930042A45A long-simmering feud between two families comes to a head in this gripping novel in Christine Feehan’s New York Times bestselling Shadow Riders series.

As the youngest member of the Ferraro family, Emmanuelle has watched each of her brothers find happiness in love while her own heart was shattered by a lover’s betrayal. For two years she’s stayed as far away from Valentino Saldi as possible—until she learns that he’s been shot during a hostile takeover of his family’s territory.

Emme’s first instinct is to call her brother Stefano for help, and soon the entire Ferraro clan arrives to bring Val back from the brink of death and protect the Saldis from further attack. With one choice Emme has re-exposed herself to Val’s intoxicating pull and dragged her family into the Saldis’ private war.

A deadly storm is brewing, and only time will tell who survives…

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This is my favorite Shadow Rider story yet. Emmanuelle is such a deeply complex character from mother-induced abuse, that it would take a strong loving man to help her thrive. I say help her – not make her. Yes, Valentino is all alpha male, but he appreciates Emme’s strengths and intelligence. He’s perfect for her. I also liked how you didn’t quite know if his intentions were good or not at first. Their relationship was intriguing and adds a lovely new arc to the series. They are both well developed characters and I immediately became invested in their happily-ever-after….not just for the smoking hot sex.

The storyline itself was dark and yet exciting. (A warning to those who cannot handle child sex-trafficking stories.) Thankfully, it didn’t dwell on the actual abuse happening, but it was disturbing and deepened my anxiousness while reading. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to keep up with the mystery, violence, excitement, and love. Nor the interesting way the two rival families learned to work together and learn more about each other.  I can honestly say that I did not see that ending coming! Hopefully, we hear more about Dario, Val’s right hand man. I love him!

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

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Excerpt

The shadow took Emmannuelle to the lake. The moon was no more than a sliver, but it was bright enough to cast a ribbon of silver to stream a shadow trail for her. Dark purple clouds shimmered over the lake, an ominous portent of the storm advancing on them. She thought that very fitting. There was a storm brewing between Val and her. Between the two Saldifactions. Between the Saldis and the Ferraros. It was all coming together quite soon in a terrible clash of violence. She was used to violence. She had been raised on it.

She crouched low in the mouth of the shadow tube and stared out over the water, trying not to remember all the times she met Val at this very spot and watched the sun set over the lake, his arms around her. More than once, she had glanced over to see her shadow on the ground and those ropes swirling around it, tying it tight, only now they looked as if they were knots upon knots, impossible to pull loose.

Emmanuelle forced herself to remember looking up at Valentino’s face, catching him looking at their shadows with a look of intense satisfaction. Her heart had suddenly gone crazy with trepidation, an ominous warning rushing through her bloodstream. She’d wanted to pull back and reassess, think things through, but then his mouth was on hers and she wasn’t thinking anymore.

That was the way it always seemed to go. Once Valentino was kissing her or touching her, all her worries disappeared. The lessons she’d learned had been harsh. She couldn’t get near him, because the moment she did, something in his voice, in his eyes, always drew her back, always made her believe, no matter what the evidence showed.

She looked around before she stepped out of the mouth of the tube and then walked to the deck she was so familiar with. She’dspent time with Val here often—their secret hideaway. She’dfantasized more than once that this was her home with Valentino, and they were safe here. No one would ever get to them, tell them they couldn’t be together.

She curled up in one of the beach chairs, pulling her legs up and wrapping her arms around her knees, staring out over the choppy water. She just needed a few minutes to gather herself together, and then she’d be able to handle whatever Miceli Saldithrew at them. The moment she allowed herself to sink into sorrow for everything she lost, she felt it—that melody playing along her nerves, sending it throughout her body.

Emmanuelle gasped and sat up straight. Damn him. She’dmanaged to stop that sensation over the last year. Block it out completely. Somehow, those ties imprisoning her shadow so completely, had connected her nerve endings to his so that along with sexual awareness, a terrible, brutal, merciless need for him, there was this . . . beautiful music that soothed when she was upset. At night, when she was alone and unable to sleep, he would send this music to her. The melody sang along her nerve endings, overcoming her sorrow, and easily, because it moved along her nerves, comforted her body, she would fall asleep.

She didn’t want Valentino to touch her in any way. He didn’thave that right. She wanted to find a way to undo their connection. So far, that hadn’t happened. If shadow riders were divorced, their shadows untangled. There had to be a way for her shadow to be freed from the chains he’d bound hers with. It wasn’t just his melody, it was extremely sensual, bringing her body alive, making her aware of herself as utterly feminine, and his—and him as totally masculine, and hers. That they belonged together.

The ties wrapping her shadow so tightly had prevented any other eligible shadow rider from connecting with her. She had traveled extensively to other countries, and there were many riders looking for a female. Not a single male’s shadow had managed to form one knot with hers. She knew it was because Val had tied her shadow up so tight, she was his prisoner.

Emmanuelle rubbed her chin on the top of her knees. She should have told Stefano. Made him listen. She hadn’t because she was afraid Stefano might kill Val, and she was still protecting him. She told herself she didn’t love Valentino Saldi, she couldn’t love him after all the lies and betrayal, but she knew she did. That humiliated her.

She wasn’t a weak woman. She had self-esteem. Or she used to. Until Val. She had confidence in herself as a woman, until Val. Now she was a rider—a damn good one. One of the best. No one could take that from her, not even Val.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

PAPERBACK COPY of SHADOW STORM by Christine Feehan 

ENTER ON FACEBOOK POST HERE

Winner will be selected Monday (5/31) by 6PM EST. Reading in Pajamas is responsible for this giveaway. This paperback was provided to Reading in Pajamas by Penguin.

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image image#1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan has over 40 novels published, including four series. Each of her four series has hit #1 on the NY Times. Her debut novel Dark Prince received 3 of the 9 Paranormal Excellence Awards in Romantic Literature for 1999. Since then she has been published by Leisure Books, Pocket Books, and currently is writing for Berkley/Jove. She also has earned 7 more PEARL awards.

She is pleased to have made numerous bestseller lists including the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, USA Today, Bookscan, B. Daltons, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Waldenbooks, Ingrams, Borders, Rhapsody Book Club, Washington Post, and Walmart. She has received numerous honors throughout her career including being a nominee for the RWA’s RITA. She has received a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times and the Borders 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award.

She has been published in multiple languages and in many formats, including large print, palm pilot, e-book, and hardcover. In October of 2007 her first manga comic, Dark Hunger was released in stores. This was the first ever manga comic released by Berkley Publishing and it made #11 on Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller’s List. Her ground-breaking book trailer commercials have been shown on TV and in the movie theaters. She has been featured on local TV, appeared on the The Montel Williams Show, and her book Dark Legend was featured on the cover of Romantic Times Magazine.

Christine Feehan has also appeared at numerous writers’ conventions and book signings including: Romantic Times Convention, Get Caught Reading at Sea Cruise, Celebrate Romance Conference, Emerald City Conference, and numerous Romance Writers of America Conferences.

Website | Facebook | TwitterPinterest

Review: PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION by Emily Henry

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PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION by Emily Henry

Publication Date: May 11, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

35984A6D-E8DE-421D-B9FC-9DD30EAF97C7Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love. 

From the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read, a sparkling new novel that will leave you with the warm, hazy afterglow usually reserved for the best vacations.

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

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I enjoyed this quirky light romance. The quick and lighthearted banter was a joy to read. I am not a fan of continual time jumps to the past, but in this case, it served to show their deep friendship, camaraderie, and love rather than just tell me about it. I’m glad the author had the time switching clearly indicated and woven into what was currently going on.

Poppy is a quirky and very outgoing woman who admittedly has her flaws. Alex is an uptight, rather boring introvert with flaws of his own. He seems to find freedom to feel when he is with her, while he grounds her. Complete opposites, but somehow it all works. Warning, it is a slow building friends-to-lovers story…so much so, that I thought it would never happen. The ending made it worth the wait.

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

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

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About the Author

F900C144-AC52-4F56-9630-B63C889A3DE3Emily Henry is the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read and People We Meet on Vacation. She writes stories about love and family for both teens and adults. She studied creative writing at Hope College and the New York Center for Art & Media Studies, and now spends most of her time in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the part of Kentucky just beneath it. Find her on Instagram @EmilyHenryWrites.

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Review: WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARS by C. Chilove

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WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARS by C. Chilove

Publication Date: April 19, 2021

Genre: Military Romance

Synopsis

5D8AECA5-E51C-4014-A4B0-72E8A240AFFCLieutenant Colonel Brenden Jasper lives a life of secrets, danger, and clandestine missions. As commander of the most elite Black Ops unit in the world, nothing is more important to him than protecting the country he loves. But there’s a reason only the toughest, battle-tested, alpha men can call themselves members of the Black 2131 brotherhood. None but those in the highest realms of government even know of its existence, and it’s Brenden’s job to avoid emotional entanglements so he can keep it that way.

Dr. Paige Nichols has spent her life ruled by logic and reason, teaching and analyzing art history, so nothing could have prepared her for the completely overwhelming attraction-at-first-sight when she sets eyes on Brenden. Their chance encounter at a party opens her up to a tantalizing dark side she never knew she had—and leaves her wanting so much more. But a man with a dark side often comes with way too many secrets…ones that could put her life in danger.

Though their chemistry burns hotter than ever, when danger comes knocking on Paige’s door, Brenden will have to walk a fine line between duty, honor, and love.

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I enjoyed this romantic suspense and found a new author. Paige was an intelligent and accomplished woman with pain-shadows from her past. That pain rounded out her character nicely and explained her love of art therapy. I liked learning more about that and how the author didn’t inundate us with too much information. My two complaints about Paige are: 1. With her intelligence and detail-oriented background, how could she have forgotten something so important. (I won’t explain as I don’t post spoilers.) 2. With her family’s military background, her anger with his inability to give her work details frustrated me.

Brenden was a smoking hot Black-Ops member. Tough as nails and hard yet showing a tenderness that was appealing. His combat history has left him with PTSD issues in need of resolving. They made a good couple despite the chaos surrounding them. I enjoyed watching their relationship build, and the spicy hot romance. The storyline seemed unnecessarily chaotic at times, too many tropes thrown in that weren’t needed. However, I did like the tension from issues at her job – and of course the dangers from his Black-Ops work. I can’t wait to see what comes next from Chilove.

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

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Buy Links

Kindle | Hardback

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About the Author

9F25867F-3D1E-4417-A0C0-D7619161904AC. Chilove is a southern girl writing sexy, thought-provoking romance that explores the human condition while proving love transcends societal clichés. Her characters are strong, witty, and prove that diversity is beautiful. When she’s not writing, she’s living out her personal happily-ever-after by rockin’ the stands for her Volleyball star, cheering on her future MLB slugger, or celebrating date night with her hubby.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

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Review: LOVER UNVEILED: Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J. R. Ward

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LOVER UNVEILED: Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J. R. Ward

Publication Date: April 20, 2021

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

C297EE23-A2DF-41E9-B86B-D6AEA7F2919BThe #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series returns with Sahvage, a powerful MMA fighter with a buried secret that can change the world of Caldwell forever.

The next in J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

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I enjoyed this installment in the series. As before, there were several storylines going on that became confusing. Thankfully, they played out well as the story progressed. I loved Sahvage. A past brother living as a ghost and outcast suddenly comes full circle in all his alpha glory. I wish I liked Mae but could not get past her behavior and actions. I understand Sahvage’s love for her, but I couldn’t get there. I realize her motivation was driving the story, it just wasn’t enough for me.

I enjoyed seeing some of my old favorite males involved in the story, making me want to go back and read their books again. Devina is a baddie that I love to hate, and the new characters look to be interesting going forward. Although not as romantic or sexy as some past books, it was just right for the level of suspense and action. I also cannot say how much I’m looking forward to what is to come. The hints were so much fun and enticing.

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

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Buy Links

Kindle | Hardback

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✿THE BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD WORLD by J.R. WARD✿
AMAZON SERIES LINKS: http://amzn.to/2qf62lo
✦Dark Lover ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/17wcZJV
✦Lover Eternal ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/179BzU8
✦Lover Awakened ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/18Eqmsy
✦Lover Revealed ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/13g9tWr
✦Lover Unbound ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/18tPt2h
✦Lover Enshrined ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/17woxN4
✦ The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider’s Guide ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/17FIm70
✦ Father Mine: Zsadist and Bella’s Story: A Black Dagger Brotherhood Novella (eBook – the printed version of this story is also found in “The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider’s Guide” http://amzn.to/17wqaKE
✦Lover Avenged ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/1I5iTcw
✦Lover Mine ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/1dRq35K
✦Lover Unleashed ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/1dR9pDy
✦Lover Reborn ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/18EjoDX
✦Lover At Last ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/16GUthu
✦The King ➢ Review: http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-1aQ | Kindle http://amzn.to/12CBV4A
✦The Shadows ➢ Review 5 Stars: http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-2gm | Kindle http://amzn.to/1BAHVJT
✦BLOOD KISS (Legacy) ➢ Review 5 Stars: http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-3px | Kindle: http://amzn.to/1BlQjuG
✦The Beast ➢ Review 5 Stars http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-4JB | Kindle http://amzn.to/1KX7Jsj
✦BLOOD VOW (Legacy) ➢ Review 5 Stars: http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-7kK | Kindle: http://amzn.to/1RxpiwG
✦The Chosen ➢ Review 5 Stars http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-8u8 | Kindle http://amzn.to/2nkaHil
✦BLOOD FURY (Legacy) ➢ Review 5 Stars https://wp.me/p3d0RZ-ayS | Kindle http://amzn.to/2oGiaMq
✦Dearest Ivie: A Novella Set in the Black Dagger World ➢ Review 5 Stars https://wp.me/p3d0RZ-aEo | Kindle http://amzn.to/2F2HvUu
✦The Thief ➢ Review 4.5 Stars https://wp.me/p3d0RZ-aHi | Kindle http://amzn.to/2w2pTH5
✦Prisoner of Night (Novella) ➢ Review 5 Stars https://wp.me/p3d0RZ-aZ6 | Kindle https://amzn.to/2U7vxBo
✦The Savior ➢ Review 5 Stars https://wp.me/p3d0RZ-b5b | Kindle https://amzn.to/2q3e6E8
✦BLOOD TRUTH (Legacy) ➢ Kindle https://amzn.to/2VrQ5V8
✦WHERE WINTER FINDS YOU: A CALDWELL CHRISTMAS ➢ Kindle https://amzn.to/2Rtmlqh
✦THE SINNER ➢ Kindle https://amzn.to/31tCaRE
✦ THE JACKAL (Black Dagger Brotherhood: Prison Camp Book 1) ➢ Kindle https://amzn.to/2L3NKNv
✦A Warm Heart in Winter (The Black Dagger Brotherhood World) ➢ Kindle https://amzn.to/2BVIM3x
✦LOVER UNVEILED (Releasing 04/20/2021) ➢ Kindle https://amzn.to/2TY3TIj | Hardback https://amzn.to/3gw0Vnn
✦CLAIMED (Lair of the Wolven, The Book 1) (Releasing 6/29/2021)
Kindle https://amzn.to/321gfDR
✦THE WOLF (Black Dagger Brotherhood: Prison Camp Book 2) (Releasing 11/16/2021) ➢ Kindle https://amzn.to/2MYDk5o | HBK https://amzn.to/39Q3ZKC

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About the Author

imageJ.R. Ward is the number one New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series of vampire books. She is a winner of the prestigious Romance Writers of America RITA award for Best Paranormal Romance and is a multiple RITA nominee. A graduate of Smith College, she was a double major in History and Art History with a medieval concentration in both and she still longs at times for a return to those days sitting in dark lecture halls, looking at slides of old triptychs and reliquaries. Prior to becoming a full time writer, she was a corporate attorney, serving for many years as the Chief of Staff of one of Harvard Medical Schools premier teaching sites. Her idea of absolute heaven is a day filled with nothing but her computer, her dog and her coffee pot and the Brothers, of course.

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