Tuesday, 17 January 2017

REVIEW: CROSSING HEARTS by KIMBERLY KINCAID


Crossing Hearts
Cross Creek #1
By: Kimberly Kincaid
Releasing February 7th, 2017
Montlake Romance
 
 
 

In Crossing Hearts (Cross Creek #1) by Kimberly Kincaid, Emerson Montgomery never thought she'd return to her hometown. But with the diagnosis she received a few months ago, she can no longer handle the long hours she once worked. Accepting a position with the town's doctor working as a physical therapist, she never expected her first patient to be her high school sweetheart, Hunter Cross. Forced to face the past, she and Hunter begin to get close again, even when it's obvious she's hiding something. Can she trust him with her secret, so they can have a second chance at love?

Ever since reading my first book by the amazing Kimberly Kincaid, I have eagerly awaited each time she releases a new book. But with this story encompassing the second chance romance trope; a trope that I love, I especially couldn't wait to dive into this first book of her new Cross Creek series. From start to finish, this book was a captivating, fast-paced, emotional read that left me wanting more of the Cross brothers.

The dialogue was well-written and a nice combination of intense and emotional due to the main characters back stories, especially that of the heroine; what Emerson is going through with her illness and the history between these two that has left Hunter wary of being able to forgive Emerson for the past. The heroine had her reasons for doing what she did to Hunter, never having felt good enough in her parents eyes. Will he understand once she explains her reasons? Will he be able to forgive her?

Both the main characters along with the plot had me spellbound, and I loved the growing relationship between Emerson and Hunter. At first, it's hard for either to comprehend that they're back in the same town together, but as Emerson helps Hunter to recover from his injury, it starts to feel like they've never been apart.

As for Emerson, she's strong and brave with all she has to deal with when it comes to her illness and keeping as busy as she can may seem like a good idea to her. But trusting someone is even better, especially when that someone is Hunter; a gorgeous man that still loves her and is willing to support her through the hard times she's likely to face.

While Hunter, he's hard-working, a good peace-keeper between his brothers and I liked how supportive he was of Emerson once he learned the truth about why she's returned and why she left town years ago. Never did he once suspect things were so tense between her and her parents, so she needs his support now more than ever.

Overall, Ms. Kincaid has penned a fantastic read in this book where the secondary characters entertained me just as much as the main ones and the strong romance between Emerson and Hunter did justice to this couple's intense chemistry. The way this story ended had me shaking my head at what Hunter did by betraying the heroine's trust, but I liked how he made things right between them. No way was he going to let Emerson get away a second time because they're a couple meant to be. I would highly recommend Crossing Hearts by Kimberly Kincaid, especially if you enjoy second chance romances.


OVERALL RATING:
 


BLURB:
Hunter Cross has no regrets. Having left his football prospects behind the day he graduated high school, he’s happy to carry out his legacy on his family’s farm in the foothills of the Shenandoah. But when a shoulder injury puts him face-to-face with the high school sweetheart who abandoned town—and him—twelve years ago, Hunter’s simple life gets a lot more complicated.

Emerson Montgomery has secrets. Refusing to divulge why she left her job as a hotshot physical therapist for a pro football team, she struggles to readjust to life in the hometown she left behind. The more time she spends with Hunter, the more Emerson finds herself wanting to trust him with the diagnosis of MS that has turned her world upside down.

But revealing secrets comes with a price. Can Hunter and Emerson rekindle their past love? Or will the realities of the present—and the trust that goes with them—burn that bridge for good?

BUY LINK: Amazon 


 

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: FALLING FOR THE BEST MAN by AMANDA ASHBY


Enter to Win 1 of 2 eBook copies of Dating the Guy Upstairs
 
 
Falling for the Best Man
Sisters of the Wishing Bridge Farm #1
By: Amanda Ashby
Releasing: January 9, 2017
Entangled Bliss
 


In Falling for the Best Man (Sisters of the Wishing Bridge Farm #1) by Amanda Ashby, wanting to keep Wishing Bridge Farm in her family; the farm that she inherited with her two sisters, Emmy Watson is planning her first wedding as a wedding planner to be hosted at the farm. But with a hysterical bride, the groom's brother being a handful and the best man being her house-guest; a guest she'd rather not have, Emmy doesn't know whether she can pull it off or not. 
 
Christopher Henderson can't believe that the woman he hooked up with two years ago is the wedding planner for his best friend's wedding. Either it's his lucky day or his worst nightmare, depending on her reaction to his news that he needs a fake girlfriend to land his dream job. Yet, when Emmy starts interfering in his chance at finding a fake girlfriend amongst the women guests at the wedding, he begins to realize that Emmy herself may just be the perfect woman woman for the job. Can he convince her to give him another chance, or will their second chance at forever after slip away?
 
This is the first book I've read by Ms. Ashby, and I've got to say that I absolutely loved it. Not only because it's a second chance romance, but because Emmy and Chris are two fantastic characters that hooked me from the moment they came face-to-face again for the first time in two years. Will she be able to handle the fact that he's the best man and will be staying with her at the farm? Will Chris be able to forgive her for the past when he learns the truth of why she deserted their plans?
  
As for the dialogue, it was intense due to what happens to Emmy's sister, and of course, the main characters back stories, especially that of the hero. He's an adventurer, never sticking to the one location very long, for fear he'll end up as bitter and unhappy with his life as his father was with his. He's also hard-working, confident and I liked how determined he was to find the woman that can help him achieve his newest career dream. Although, Emmy is good at thwarting his plans and those moments when she did made me laugh. While Emmy, she was a wonderful heroine. She's strong and brave with how she handles everything thrown her way. She's also hard-working and I liked how determined she was to achieve her dream and prove to her sisters that the farm is important. That they should keep it in the family, instead of selling it. But what I liked most about the hero and heroine was the playful banter between them. Any time they conversed increased the sexual tension, which spilled over onto the pages sweetly In other words, closed bedroom intimacy.

Overall, Ms. Ashby has penned a really good read in this first story of her Wishing Bridge Farm series, which has me looking forward to reading Emmy's sisters stories when they're released. As both Bec and Piper, Emmy's sisters have returned for their own reasons; reasons that I desperately want to know what they are. The way this story ended made me want to scream at Emmy. Why couldn't she have both Chris and her dream? Yet, in saying that, I liked how she made things right with the hero. Because it was the only way they both could fathom how serious the other was about their relationship and that there's no way they'll let the other get away a second time. I would recommend Falling for the Best Man by Amanda Ashby, if you enjoy the second chance romance trope or have read and enjoyed books by authors Marissa Clarke, Boone Brux or Teri Anne Stanley.

OVERALL RATING:   
 
 
BLURB:
He’s the best man and her secret fling—who said being a wedding planner was easy?
What's worse than running into your ex-hookup at the airport? When said 'hookup" is the best man for the most important wedding of your career, and he's on the hunt for a fake girlfriend. Between a hysterical bride and a wedding party gone wild, wedding planner Emmy Watson can’t afford any more disasters if she wants to save her beloved Wishing Bridge Farm. Which is why she puts the best man on lockdown. Unfortunately, he also happens to be the one guy who can make her forget everything except the way his kisses make her feel.
 
All Christopher Henderson needs is a fake girlfriend to convince his bosses that his bad boy reputation is a thing of the past so he can land his dream job. What better place to find said companion than at a wholesome vintage wedding. The only thing he didn't count on was seeing Emmy, the woman who dumped him. The one he hasn’t been able to get off his mind.
There's no denying the spark between them, but he’s a globetrotter and she’s a homebody, and falling in love is something neither of them has in their plans.
 
BUY LINKS: Amazon / B & N / iTunes / Kobo
 
 
“Emmy,” he countered, trying not to be distracted by the delectable sight of her chest rising and falling. “One dance. That’s all I’m asking. For old time’s sake.”
Emmy’s lips twitched, and Christopher could almost see the two sides of her battling before the carefree smile he recognized from their time together in New York appeared. It changed the shape of her face and brought everything about their first meeting slamming into his mind. She stood up, so close that his skin prickled with desire.
“Fine. One dance.”
“Great.” He led her to the small wooden dance floor to the left of where the jazz band was playing. Lewis and Miranda were in the middle, and fanned out all around them were the rest of the bridal party, but all Christopher could see was Emmy.
The music pulsated around them, and even the pale yellow moon above swayed to the beat. He sucked in a breath and pulled her toward him. It was a mistake, and his lungs were filled with the smell of her freshly washed hair and the evening clematis climbing up the crumbling brickwork of the courtyard walls. His arms tightened around her waist, and her bunched, tense muscles seemed to relax as she melted into him. The rest of the world disappeared, and all he was conscious of was her pounding heart as it pressed against his.
This was the woman he’d met two years ago.
And it seems I’m just as helpless around her as I ever was. Which is either a good thing, or a very, very bad one. The verdict’s still out.
As if reading his mind, she turned her face up to him, a soft, suggestive smile tugging at her full mouth. Desire flared through him, and if they were anywhere else he would’ve kissed her without a second’s hesitation. He forced himself to return her smile and simply enjoy the way her body molded his.
It wasn’t until the lead singer announced the name of the next song Christopher even realized the music had stopped. Emmy was the first to recover, and she stepped away, her face flushed and her eyes not quite meeting his.
“Um.” She licked her lips. “I’m not sure that was such a good idea.”
“I hate to disagree with you, but I think it was an excellent idea. And one that should definitely be repeated. You can’t deny that there’s still something between us.” Christopher tried to pull her closer as the next song started, but she folded her arms firmly in front of her. Ironically, it highlighted the soft curves of her body.
At this rate I’m going to need a fire engine to cool me down.
“I’m serious,” she insisted before letting out a soft sigh. “You’re right. There is still something between us, but there’s nowhere it can go. I want to save the farm, and you want to go visit every strange nook and cranny in the universe. Don’t you see? Nothing’s changed.”
“My hair’s longer,” Christopher said, but it was obvious by the way Emmy had pushed her lips into two compact lines, she wasn’t in the joking mood. “I know you like to be organized, and I get that, but aren’t you over thinking this? I mean, shouldn’t we be having the fun first and then move on to the serious conversations about why it would never work?”
“I’m sorry.” The muscles around her jaw tightened. “I think we should just be friends.”
 “Friends that do friendly things together? Like dancing?” he asked in a hopeful voice.
“How about friends that help other friends ensure the groom’s brother doesn’t do anything he might regret?” she countered.
Christopher winced. Ouch. He’d been friend-zoned. Logically, she had a point. She hadn’t changed her mind, and he wouldn’t change his, which meant it was for the best.
If only someone could inform my body of the situation.
 




 

Amanda Ashby was born in Australia but now lives in New Zealand where she writes romance, young adult and middle grade books. She also works in a library, owns far too many vintage tablecloths and likes to delight her family by constantly rearranging the furniture.
She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. Her debut book was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, and her first young adult book was listed in the New York Public Library Stuff for the Teen Age.  Because she’s mysterious she also writes middle grade books under the name, Catherine Holt and hopes that all this writing won’t interfere with her Netflix schedule.
Author Links:   WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, 16 January 2017

SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: THE RULE MAKER by JENNIFER BLACKWOOD


Enter to win a Print copy or
an Audio copy of The Rule Maker (Two winners) 
 
 
The Rule Maker
The Rule Breakers #2
By: Jennifer Blackwood
Releasing January 16, 2016.
Entangled Embrace
 
Blurb
Ten Steps to Surviving a New Job:

1. Don’t sleep with the client. It’ll get you fired. (Sounds easy enough.)

2. Don’t blink when new client turns out to be former one-night stand.

3. Don’t call same client a jerk for never texting you back.

4. Don’t believe client when he says he really, really wanted to call.

5. Remember, the client is always right—so you can’t junk punch him when he demands new design after new design.

6. Ignore accelerated heartbeat every time sexy client walks into room.

7. Definitely ignore client’s large hands. They just mean he wears big gloves.

8. Don’t let client’s charm wear you down. Be strong.

9. Whatever you do, don’t fall for the client. You’ll lose more than your job—maybe even your heart.

10. If all else fails, see rule number one again.

Buy Links: Amazon | B&N | Google | Kobo | iBooks




He scrubbed his palms over his face and rested his elbows on his knees. “This was not how I saw this night going.”

“Big Valentine’s Day plans?”
He lowered his hands and looked at me like I’d just claimed I single-handedly caused the storm raging outside. “I didn’t even know that was today. Does this mean we’re each other’s valentines by default?”
I scoffed. “Not a chance.”
He chuckled. “Always so blunt. I like that about you.” He quickly cleared his throat as if he hadn’t meant to say that. “Well, non-valentine, looks like we’re going to be stuck here a while. Have anything in mind?” he said.
I decided against packing on another insult. He was being nice, and this sure as heck beat staring at the wall the rest of the night. “My form of entertainment is at 6 percent battery, so I’m open to suggestions.”
“Mine is fully charged. Want to watch something?”
“Sure.” What else did I have to do? Before I knew it, I was sitting on the bed next to him, leaning against the ornately carved headboard. Snow gusting against the window was the only sound in the room as he searched for a show for us to watch.
So quiet.
Way too quiet.
I fidgeted with my necklace, moving the small diamond back and forth on the chain. The last time I was in bed with Ryder… I didn’t even want to finish that thought, because it’d do nothing but make this situation worse. I chanced a peek in his direction.
He chewed the inside of his cheek, swiping through our options. “This is awkward, huh?” he said.
“We’ve achieved Urkel status.”
He chuckled and scrolled through the show queue. “Would you rather watch Law and Order: SVU or Criminal Minds?
“That is quite possibly the worst Would You Rather question ever asked.”
His eyes cut to mine. “I didn’t know I was playing a game.”
“You’ve never played it?”
He shook his head.
Lainey and I played this game all the time in college, and when we’d take road trips together. She always came up with the grossest ones. “It’s simple. All you have to do is ask the person which horrible thing they’d rather do. The harder the question, the better. Like would you rather lay in a pit of snakes, or eat questionably dead roadkill?” I pointed to his phone. “Oh, John Tucker Must Die. I like that one.
“Negative, ghost rider.” He scrolled past my suggestion. “And what the hell does questionably dead mean? Is it still twitching, or are we talking suspicious cause of death?”
I shrugged. “The interpretation’s up to you.”
“You’re absolutely no help.” He swiped his thumb across his beard and contemplated. “I guess I’d go with the snakes.”
“Okay, now it’s your turn,” I said.
“Do I really have to play? I thought we were picking a show.”
I shot him a look.
“Fine. Would you rather have me or Chewbacca as your valentine?”
“Too easy. The spider.”
He put his hand to his heart. “You wound me.”
“Stop being such a baby.” I swatted at his chest and immediately pulled my hand back. Nope. Would not go there. “Okay, would you rather not be able to see or talk for a month?”
He answered instantly. “See.”
“Right. You’d probably go nuts if you couldn’t open that big mouth of yours.”
His lips twitched. “You’re one to talk.”
“Excuse me?” Okay, I did have a tough time keeping my thoughts on lockdown outside the office, but that was my own cross to bear.
“Don’t even try to play it off like you’re innocent.”
I’d dated a lot of losers in the past, most who hadn’t even bothered to get to know me, but even after only hanging out a few times, Ryder had me pegged. He was perceptive. I saw the look in his eyes whenever I dealt with Jason. His attention focused solely on me was unnerving. “Jerk,” I sputtered.
“Now I know you’re holding back. You can do way better than that.” He scrolled through his phone again. “How about Die Hard?”
“Are all your show selections about death? I’m starting to worry I made a mistake coming over here.” My lips pulled into a smile and I quickly extinguished it. God, I wanted to hate him.
“Fine.” He continued looking at the Netflix queue. “Would you rather eat sushi from a taco stand, or lick an airplane armrest?”
“Good one. Sushi.” I pointed to his screen. “How about 10 Things I Hate About You?”
He shook his head and chuckled. “Are all of your suggestions going to not-so-subtly tell me you hate me?”
I smiled sweetly. “Maybe.”
“Just think, most people would find this to be a romantic escape. Two people, stuck in the mountains on Valentine’s Day,” he said.
“We’re Hallmark movie material, all right,” I deadpanned.
Okay, fine. How about The Walking Dead?”
“Your show picking powers have been officially revoked.” I grabbed the phone from his hand.
“Hey!” He grabbed for the phone, and I held it out of reach. “You’re going to regret that.” Within seconds he was on top of me, playfully pinning me to the bed, his strong hands circling my wrists. Air evaporated from my lungs as our gazes connected.
I was immediately transported back to that night.
Tell me what you want, Zoey. Tell me what you need from me.
I swallowed hard. That was months ago, and those words still haunted me from time to time. Because he did exactly that, gave me what I wanted and needed. Repeatedly.
 
 

 
 
Jennifer Blackwood is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives in Oregon with her husband, son, and poorly behaved black lab puppy. When not chasing after her toddler, you can find her binging on episodes of Gilmore Girls and Supernatural, and locking herself in her office to write.
 
Author Links:   WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS