Tuesday, 23 August 2016

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: WITH EVERY BREATH by MAYA BANKS

 
Enter to Win 1 of 3 Print Bundles of the complete Slow Burn Series, including, 
IN HIS KEEPING, KEEP ME SAFE, SAFE AT LAST & WITH EVERY BREATH.)
 
 
With Every Breath
Slow Burn #4
By: Maya Banks
Releasing August 23, 2016 
Avon


In With Every Breath (Slow Burn #4) by Maya Banks, Eliza Cummings works hard for Devereaux Security Services (DSS), believing she's making up for the wrongs she committed in her past when she allowed herself to be deceived by an older man. However, now her past has come back to haunt her when the monster she's been trying to forget finds a way to be released from prison. Going rogue seems to be her only option to take the man she thought she once loved down for good. Except there's one man that won't let her do it alone, not if he can help it. Can Wade Sterling finally help her move on from her horrible past?

I've read a lot of books by Ms. Banks, yet somehow, this is the first book I've read of this series and I've got to say that this book provided everything I enjoy in a romantic suspense novel. From start to finish, this book was highly entertaining and fast-paced, due to it having a good combination of romance and suspense as well as it being a story that embraces the enemy to lovers trope. 

The dialogue was intense and well-written due to the main characters back stories and everything the couple go through in the heroine's fight to finally right -- what she believes are -- the wrongs of her past. Not that she had anything to feel guilty about when it came to the monster that turned her life upside down. Really, I couldn't help but feel sorry for her the way she blames herself. In the way that she believes she got off lightly when it came to the crimes the monster committed.

Both the main characters were compelling, and I loved that Wade would do anything to prove to Eliza that she didn't have to do what she was attempting to achieve alone. He's quite manipulative with the way he blackmails her, which was actually an endearing quality for the hero because Eliza could be quite stubborn when she wanted to be. Wade is strong, brave, confident and I liked how protective he was of Eliza. Because the heroine needed someone in her corner, so she no longer had to tackle her past alone. I also liked that he helped her overcome her past by getting her to talk about what happened. The reasons for why she feels guilty when she was only a young girl looking for someone to love her.

While Eliza, she's been through so much in her life and come out on top in some ways by finding a great group of friends that she'll do anything to protect from her past. In some ways, I could empathize with her wanting to protect her friends because of the skills of the man she was going after. Yet, at the same time, she needed her friends instead of continuing to allow her worry for those she cared for to get in the way of doing what was right. Also, I liked how independent and stubborn Eliza was. Certainly, she made things interesting for Wade and provided quite a challenge for him. Would the hero finally get through to her that she deserved love?

Overall, Ms. Banks has penned a wonderful, emotionally charged book with a strong romance that illustrated the couple's intense chemistry perfectly and I liked how determined Wade was to prove to Eliza that she can't allow her past to affect her chance at forever love. The way this story ended had me in tears due to what Eliza did for Wade to protect him. Yet, the epilogue quickly dried up the tears with the heroine determined to make an honest man out of the hero. No way was she going to allow anything to stand in her way. I would recommend With Every Breath, if you enjoy romantic suspense, the enemy to lovers trope or have read the other books of this series.

OVERALL RATING:

 
BLURB:
#1 USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Maya Banks continues her suspenseful and sizzling Slow Burn series with this fourth book—a mesmerizingly sexy tale of a strong, brilliant woman who encounters the one man who makes her lose all control.
 
Eliza Cummings fought free of a monster who terrorized her when she was an innocent teenager and helped put him away for good. She took a job with Devereaux Security Services and devoted every hour to taking down the very thing she’d nearly become. No one, not even those closest to her, know her darkest, shameful secrets. But now the killer has been set free on a legal loophole and it’s only a matter of time before he comes for her. Eliza's only choice is to run and lead the monster away from the people she loves.

Wade Sterling has always lived by his own rules, a law unto himself who answers to no one. He’s never professed to be a good man, and he’s definitely not hero material. Wade never allows anyone close enough to see the man behind the impenetrable mask—but one woman threatens his carefully leashed control. He took a bullet for her and the result was more than a piece of metal entrenched in his skin. She was under his skin and nothing he did rid himself of the woman with the courage of a warrior and who thinks nothing of putting her life before others.

But when Wade sees a panicked and haunted Eliza he knows something is very wrong, because the fool woman has never been afraid of anything. And when she tries to run, the primal beast barely lurking beneath his deceptively polished façade erupts in a rage. She may not know it, but she belongs to him. This time, Eliza isn't going to play the protector. She was damn well going to be the protected. And as long as Wade breathes, no one will ever hurt what is his.
 
Buy Links:      Amazon | B & N | Google | iTunes | Kobo
 
 
“Baby,” he whispered, watching as her eyes became cloudy and then shiny with tears when he murmured the endearment. As though she mattered to him. Didn’t she understand she was the most important thing in the world to him? No, she didn’t. Not yet. But she would. “Lay your burden down. It’s time to let someone carry it for you.”
 
He’d said it before but this time it seemed to really register with her and hit home. For a brief moment there was a spark of hope and so much yearning in her eyes that he automatically squeezed her tighter in his arms.
She wanted to lean on him. He’d seen that in her eyes right before defeat registered and with it her loss of hope. She truly believed that no one could help her, even if she wanted it. How to make her believe in him? How to make her believe that there was nothing he wouldn’t do for her, to alleviate the pain and guilt in her eyes, to permanently remove those bruising shadows?
 
 

Maya Banks is a #1 USA Today and New York Times bestselling author whose chart toppers have included erotic romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, Scottish historical romances. She is the author of the Breathless Trilogy, the KGI novels, the Sweet series, and the Colters Legacy novels.
 
She lives in the South with her husband and three children and other assorted babies, such as her two Bengal kitties and a Calico who’s been with her as long as her youngest child. She’s an avid reader of romance and loves to dish books with her fans and anyone else who’ll listen! She very much enjoys interacting with her readers on Facebook and Twitter as well as in her Yahoo! Group.
 
Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

 


 

 

Thursday, 11 August 2016

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: WELCOMING THE BAD BOY by ANNIE RAINS


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Welcoming the Bad Boy
Hero's Welcome #3
By: Annie Rains
Releasing August 2, 2016
Loveswept
 
 
In Welcoming the Bad Boy (Heroes Welcome #3) by Annie Rains, being the daughter of the town preacher doesn't leave Valerie 'Val' Hunt many options when it comes to finding Mr. Right. So, instead, she creates her own happy ever after through her writing. But with a serious case of writer's block, Val is looking for some big inspiration. Luckily, she finds it in military K-9 officer, Griffin Black, the man she almost knocks off his motorcycle. 
Griffin Black has too much to deal with. Worrying about his mom and her illness and trying to train his new K-9 partner should be enough to keep him pre-occupied, however it seems thoughts of Valerie are taking over his brain. Helping the gorgeous woman to train an unruly puppy is no problem at all, especially when it gives Griffin a chance to spend time with her. Can he convince her that happy ever after is possible outside of her stories?
 
Having absolutely loved the first two books of this series, I couldn't wait to read Val's and Griffin's story, and I've got to say that it does not disappoint. Right from the beginning, this story was riveting, fast-paced and I loved how the hero and heroine came face-to-face for the first time. Would Griffin react badly to her recklessness?
 
As for the dialogue it was intense due to the main characters back stories, what's going on with Griffin's mom; what's going on with Val and her writing; and the various situations the hero comes up against in his job. Will Griffin be able to train his dog before the eager pup ends up seriously hurting someone? Will the hero be able to handle the changes his mother is going through? Will Val be able to overcome her writer's block? However, there were some light-hearted moments that made me smile. The old ladies that Val interacts with are delightful, and prove that Val is a good woman that brings joy to their lives.

I really liked both the main characters as well as the secondary ones. I couldn't help feel sorry for both Griffin and Val, and found it was hard not to get emotional with what's happening with Griffin's mother. He has so much guilt about what transpired between him and his mother a while back and I was eager to know whether he'd be able to forgive himself for how he acted. Moreover, Val is a godsend when it comes to his mother. She helps the woman immensely with her kindness.

Val is strong, brave and I liked how she's determined to bring happiness to those that need some in their lives. What she does for the people in the local nursing home and how she helps her father with the various tasks he gives her proves how selfless she is. Furthermore, I felt sorry for her when it came to her father. It seems he's not all that happy with her unless she's doing something that he approves of. While Griffin, he's confident, brave and I liked how determined he was to make things right with his mother by being there for her, no matter how hard it was for him to be around her because of her illness. I also liked how he never gave up on his K-9 partner, even though the dog seemed like a lost cause when it came to its actions against bad guys. 

Overall, this was an incredible book, which I believe is the best in this series so far. The strong romance between Griffin and Val illustrates how right these two are for each other and I loved how this story ended, as the hero isn't above being a little sneaky if it means Val hearing him out when it comes to making things right between them. Also, the final chapters as well as the epilogue wraps up this story perfectly with Val finally getting everything she deserves: a happy ever after with the right man, a better relationship with her father and everyone learning the truth about her writing career. I would recommend Welcoming the Bad Boy by Annie Rains, if you enjoy the opposites attract trope or stories encompassing military heroes. I would also recommend reading the other books of this series, as they're just as good as this one.

OVERALL RATING:
 
 
 

BLURB:
From the bestselling author of Welcome to Forever (“Full of heart and emotion!”—Lori Wilde) comes a sweet, sexy novel about breaking all the rules. In Seaside, North Carolina, the boys on the base are heroes—but that doesn’t mean they’re always well-behaved.
As a preacher’s daughter, Valerie Hunt only dates the very respectable, very boring men who meet her father’s strict standards. In private, however, she leads a double life as a romance writer of steamy stories about the least respectable sorts of men. Valerie has always kept her hottest fantasies separate from her real life, but when she nearly runs a hot-blooded biker off the road, the lines begin to blur.
 
Even though Valerie almost killed him, Griffin Black can’t be angry after he learns the reason for her distracted driving: an unruly puppy belonging to her ailing friend. As a member of the military police K-9 unit, Griffin insists on training the dog himself. But he soon wonders how he’s ever going to stay disciplined around the most alluring, down-to-earth, and totally unattainable woman he’s ever met. Valerie is the ultimate good girl. And Griffin is going to need all his old tricks to unleash her wild side.
 

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

 
 
“Damn.” He tipped her chin up with his index, looking at her with his dark molasses eyes. "I’m serious. I want to go out on a date tomorrow. No sex."
"No sex?" she asked.
“Just flowers and chocolates. And lots of kissing. Say yes to me,” he said, kissing her mouth again, making it impossible for her to tell him no.
“But there is more sex tonight, right?” she asked, moaning as he lowered his mouth to cover one breast.
“Say yes, Val,” he said, as the rough, unshaven edge of his jaw scraped against her skin, feeding her arousal.
“Yes,” she said through shortened breaths. “I say yes.”
He emitted a low laugh that tickled against her skin. Then he thrust himself inside her again, making up for the arrangement they’d just made for tomorrow. Making up for all the lonely nights she’d endured until this one. Making up for all the lonely nights she would endure after he was gone.
 

Annie Rains is a contemporary romance author who writes small town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of America’s largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and 3 children, or reading a book by one of her favorite authors.
Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

 

 
 
 

 
 

Thursday, 4 August 2016

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: TO HAVE AND TO HOLD by LAUREN LAYNE


Enter to Win 1 of 5 Exclusive Print Copies of
FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, A Wedding Belles Novella
 

To Have and to Hold
The Wedding Belles #1
By: Lauren Layne
Releasing July 26, 2016 
Pocket Books

 
In To Have and To Hold (The Wedding Belles #1) by Lauren Layne, after the disaster in learning that the man she was about to marry was a conman, Brooke Burke needed to leave L.A before it all became too much for her to handle. Moving to New York and securing a job with The Wedding Belles is a big change, but she's determined to succeed. However, the brother of her first bridal client is just as determined to stop the wedding from going ahead. Can she convince him that happily ever after does exist?
 
Seth Tyler does not trust the man his sister is engaged to, even though he hasn't met the man. Not wanting his sister to get hurt, Seth needs to find a way to learn more about the man. However, there's just one problem -- the gorgeous wedding planner. Can he convince the Brooke to help him before his sister says 'I do'?
 
Having absolutely loved the novella, From This Day Forward, which introduced readers of this new series by Ms. Layne to the women that work for Wedding Belles, I was really looking forward to this story, and I've got to say that it does not disappoint. Right from the beginning, this story hooked me by the hero's overprotectiveness of his sister. She's the only family he has left and he doesn't want her to get hurt. Indeed, I could understand why he cared so much, especially because they have money and some people like to take advantage of that fact.
 
The dialogue was very entertaining due to the main characters back stories, especially Brooke's. She's been through so much with her own wedding being ruined by her fiancé's arrest, and I could empathize with her need to escape L.A and head for the other side of the country. However, there were also some light-hearted moments throughout this story. Brooke fits in nicely with the rest of the Wedding Belles, and they welcome her into their group like family. The receptionist for The Wedding Belles is very bright and bubbly, and made me smile when she interacted with Brooke. 
 
Both characters were compelling and had my eyes glued to every word, determined to discover how their relationship would progress. Would Brooke give in to temptation, even though her last relationship should make her extra wary of getting involved with another man, as it seems she doesn't have the best judgment in men. Yet, there's something about Seth that she can't deny the attraction, no matter how hard she tries. Indeed, Brooke is strong, brave and I liked how determined she was to pick up the pieces of her life after her fiancé. Because no way could she allow the disaster of her failed nuptials to make her give up on achieving her own happy ever after, even if it took a while to find.
 
Whlle Seth, I was completely charmed by him, even though he had a strong desire to always be in control. Luckily, Brooke provides quite a challenge for him with her belief that happy ever after does exist. Can she convince him that it does? Can she find a way to make him realize that his sister needs to learn from her own mistakes, instead of him stepping in before she makes them? Then again, I could understand why he didn't like the idea of marriage because of his own failed attempt at proposing. 
 
As for the secondary characters, I liked each and everyone of them, except for the fiancé of Seth's sister, Maya. He was a real jerk and it was palpable why he wanted to be with Maya. Then there's the women of Wedding Belles. They're strong, independent women that are very successful at what they do, which is proven through how busy they are. Yet, the two secondary characters I liked most were Maya and Seth's best friend, Grant. The way Grant gets on Seth's nerves about Brooke made me laugh, especially when he decided to make Seth a little jealous by spending time with the heroine.
 
Overall, Ms. Layne has again penned an incredible read where the sex scenes were hot and did justice to this couple's intense chemistry. Neither are looking for anything serious, and yet there's no way that either can remain unaffected. The way this story ended was delightful, as Seth proves his love for Brooke in a very romantic and over-the-top way. Then again, being a man with money he could afford to show her in such a way. I would recommend To Have and To Hold by Lauren Layne, if you like Sex and the City or the movie The Wedding Planner, as this story combines the two in a way that will grip a reader's attention from start to finish.
 
      
OVERALL RATING:  
 
 



BLURB:
Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in The Wedding Belles, her sizzling brand new contemporary romance series about three ambitious wedding planners who can make any bride’s dream come true…but their own.
Discovering her fiancé is an international conman just moments before they exchange vows devastates celebrity wedding planner Brooke Burke’s business—and breaks her heart. Now a pariah in Los Angeles, she seeks a fresh start in New York City and thinks she’s found it with her first bridal client, a sweet, if slightly spoiled, hotel heiress. Then she meets the uptight businessman who’s holding the purse springs.
 
Seth Tyler wishes he could write a blank check and be done with his sister’s fancy-pants wedding. Unfortunately, micromanaging the event is his only chance at proving Maya’s fiancé is a liar. Standing directly in his way is the stunning blonde wedding planner whose practiced smiles and sassy comebacks both irritate and arouse him. He needs Brooke’s help. But can he persuade a wedding planner on a comeback mission to unplan a wedding? And more importantly, how will he convince her that the wedding she should be planning…is theirs?
 
Buy Links:      Amazon | B & N | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo
 
 
         It’s not as though Brooke had meant to start dating a con man. She certainly didn’t intend to get engaged to one.
But that’s the thing about con mans. The good ones were good at, well . . . the con.
And Clay Battaglia had been a good one. The best, actually, if you took the word of the FBI agent who’d debriefed Brooke and her family—while she was still in her wedding dress.
Turns out that while Brooke had been happily building her wedding-planning company, Clay had been quietly and competently been getting away with every white-collar crime in the book. While she’d been planning their wedding, he’d apparently been knee-deep in yet another Ponzi scheme.
Brooke hadn’t even known what a Ponzi scheme was when the FBI had told her.
She did now.
Following Clay’s arrest, she spent weeks researching white-collar crime. Wanting to know what he’d been up to all those times he’d quietly kissed her forehead late at night and told her he needed to make some phone calls for “work.” Wanting to know what her life would have been like if the FBI hadn’t taken him down before they’d exchanged vows.
Still, while Brooke would be ever grateful that she’d learned the truth before she’d become Mrs. Clay Battaglia, she’d be lying if she didn’t admit that the timing of it had stung just a little bit.
If they’d only taken him down a day before. Heck, even an hour before.
But no.
Just moments after Brooke kissed her father’s cheek and prepared to marry the man she loved at the wedding she’d poured her heart into, the FBI stormed—yes, stormed—the church.
Clay was in handcuffs before she even registered what was happening.
Numbly she watched as he listened to his Miranda rights at the precise moment he should have been listening to the vows she’d spent months writing.
And as reality slowly sunk in, Brooke waited. Waited for him to look at her. To look at her and say that it was all a lie. All one big misunderstanding, and that they’d be on their way to Bermuda as planned by tomorrow.
He didn’t.
He didn’t even apologize.
No, the man she’d loved for two years with every fiber of her being merely smiled at her and then shrugged.
There’d been plenty of photos taken that day, but that was the one that made it onto the front page of every major newspaper on the West Coast.
“The Greatest Con of All.” “Arrested by Love.” And her personal favorite, courtesy of her very own LA Times: “White-Collar Bride.”
The stories all read pretty much like you’d expect. About Clay, mostly, and the litany of accusations against him, but also about Brooke.
The papers had stopped short of defamation, but the implications were there. She was clueless and ditzy at best, a potentially overlooked accomplice at worst. Completely oblivious to the fact that she’d been sharing a roof with the most nefarious white-collar criminal in a generation—or pretending to be.
None of that had bothered her. What had bothered her was that she’d been a fool. Self-absorbed, naive, and downright blind.
Brooke had been dodging dumb-blonde jokes for most of her life, but the debacle with Clay was the first time she thought she might really, truly be deserving of the title.
She hadn’t been surprised when new clients had stopped calling. Hadn’t been surprised when current clients canceled. Nobody wanted to hire that wedding planner.
Brooke had even been relieved, at first. In those first weeks after Clay’s arrest, she hadn’t been able to handle any talk of weddings. Not her own, and not other people’s.
But the worst part of all of this, the part that kept her up long into the lonely nights, wasn’t the negative effect on her career. No, the worst part was that sometimes, in the very darkest corner of her soul, she feared that she might still love Clay, at least a little. Sure, her brain knew that all the things she’d loved about Clay had been a lie. Her brain understood that his name wasn’t even Clay.
But her heart? Her heart was having a harder time forgetting the way he always let her be the little spoon and tuck her cold feet against his warm calves. Or the way he’d brought her coffee in bed every morning. Or the way she’d come home after a long day with the worst sort of bridezilla and Clay would make them cocktails and sit on the deck with her, and watch the sunset and laugh.
She’d imagined that all their nights would be like that. All the nights for the rest of her life, with maybe with a couple of kids thrown into the mix eventually.
Brooke swallowed.
There wouldn’t be any more nights on the patio watching the sunset with Clay. Wouldn’t be any patio at all, because Brooke’s real estate broker had made it quite clear that she should be counting herself lucky to get a dishwasher in New York—a patio was out of the question.
So no patio. No Clay, or whatever his real name was.
No man at all, really.
No falling in love.
Not ever again.
 

Lauren lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart--cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian. 
Five years ago, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan. 
She writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush, and in her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books. 
When not bringing The Sexy, she likes to blog about her Instagram addiction, and why mean girls are the worst.
 
Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram