Wednesday, 31 August 2016

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: FOR BETTER TO WORSE by LAUREN LAYNE


Enter to Win 1 of 5 print copies of To Have and To Hold
(Book 1 of Ms. Layne's Wedding Belles series) 
 
 
For Better or Worse
The Wedding Belles #2
By: Lauren Layne 
Releasing August 30, 2016 
Pocket Books
In For Better or Worse (The Wedding Belles #2) by Lauren Layne, Heather Fowler followed her dreams by moving to New York City and finding the perfect job as an assistant wedding planner. Now that she's up for a promotion from assistant to being able to handle her own clients without assistance, Heather just has to overcome the big hurdle thrown her way -- a rich, annoying client that wants Heather to plan her wedding without much input from the bride-to-be in what she wants for her special day. However, it's not just planning this particular wedding that's creating stress for her. It seems she has to deal with her too charming and annoying neighbor as well.

Josh Tanner's life was turned upside down by his cancer diagnosis. Now that he's in remission, he's living life doing what he wants instead of returning to his finance job and being bogged down in numbers. When his feisty, workaholic neighbor gives him a verbal lashing for playing his music too loud, Josh finds himself intrigued. Can he convince Heather that there's more to life than work? 

Ms. Layne always has a way of gripping my attention immediately once I start reading any of her books, and this one was no different. Right from the beginning, this book was riveting, fast-paced and one I could not put down for even a second due to the main characters back stories; the well-written dialogue, which was a good combination of intense and light-hearted moments; and everything the hero and heroine go through to be together.  
   
I really liked both the main characters as well as most of the secondary ones. Josh is quite the charmer, which is proven through the way he teases Heather in hopes that she'll lighten up; stop being so uptight and let her hair down once in a while -- so to speak. Moreover, he's been through so much and I could understand why he made the choices he did about his job and relationships. He didn't want to leave anyone in the lurch, and put other people he gets close to through the pain his family went through when he was diagnosed with cancer and then going through treatment. However, in saying that, it was palpable that he needed Heather in his life just as much as she needed him in hers. He was living again with her around, instead of continuing to isolate himself from people.

While Heather, she's strong, brave and I liked how determined she was to achieve her promotion. Even when the bride-to-be was an absolute witch with what she does to the heroine. Furthermore, Heather hasn't always had it easy with her mom; a woman that clearly loves her daughter but doesn't always do right by Heather by expecting the heroine to bend to her will during special holidays. So, I liked how Josh's family welcomed her without making her feel like an outsider. Then there's the close friendships she's formed with her colleagues. They can talk about anything, even topics that could lead to blushing moments.    
   
Overall, Ms. Layne has again penned a really good novel where the teasing banter between the hero and heroine certainly leads to explosive sex scenes, which illustrate this couple's strong chemistry. The way this story ended was perfect, as Josh had the saying 'Go big or go home' down pat when it came to making things right with Heather. What better way to propose than in front of lots of people and then the surprising news he gives her about their apartment building. I did not see that one coming. No wonder he played his music the way he did. 

As for the epilogue, I loved it. It made me laugh that Josh finally got his way with what he kept asking Heather for when it came to food. I would recommend For Better or Worse by Lauren Layne, if you enjoy the TV show Sex and the City or The Wedding Planner movie, as this story combines the two to make a worthwhile read.   

OVERALL RATING:

 
 
 
BLURB:
Will a budding wedding planner and her bad boy neighbor stop banging heads and start hearing wedding bells in the sexy second novel in USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne’s irresistible new series that marries Sex and the City with The Wedding Planner?

 
When small-town girl Heather Fowler finally gets promoted from assistant to actual wedding planner, she’s determined to make it as one of Manhattan’s elite Wedding Belles. Unfortunately, her first client demands an opulent black-tie affair at the Plaza…in five months’ time. Heather’s days quickly become a flurry of cake tastings, dress-fittings, RSVP cards, and bridal tantrums. But what she’s really losing sleep over is the live music blaring from her playboy neighbor’s apartment all night.
 
Five years ago, Josh Tanner was an up-and-comer on Wall Street, complete with the penthouse and the migraines. But a grim cancer diagnosis made him realize there is more to life than the corner office. If only he could convince his pretty, workaholic neighbor to let loose, too. As Heather lets down her guard, Josh is surprised when he starts falling for the sweet, vulnerable woman hiding beneath those power suits. Soon, it’s Heather’s turn to convince Josh to take the biggest risk of all: love.
 
 
Buy Links:      Amazon | B & N | GoogleiTunes | Kobo
 
 

“So this is where the noise happens, huh?” she asked.
Josh’s eyes narrowed as his friend’s hand touched Heather’s back briefly. “Absolutely,” Trevor said. “We’re sorry it keeps you up though.”
“Oh, it’s okay,” she said, waving her hand. “I mean . . . it’s not. But tonight I couldn’t sleep anyway, so you get a free pass. What do you all play?”
“Donny’s bass, Felix is on drums. Josh is lead guitar, and I, as the most important member, have the pipes.”
“Oh! I thought Josh was the singer,” Heather said with a quick glance over her shoulder at him.
Their eyes locked, and Josh felt a flicker of . . . something.
“Ah, is that what he’s telling the women these days,” Trevor joked.
“No, I just . . . I hear him, singing sometimes,” Heather muttered.
“Our boy can carry a tune well enough, but wait until you hear me, love,” Trevor said.
Josh turned away in mild disgust, pulling a beer out of the fridge as Trevor and the other guys coaxed Heather into the practice room, thrilled to have any sort of audience, even a reluctant one.
“Yo, Tanner,” Felix called.
“What,” he called, popping the lid off the bottle and tilting the beer back to his lips as he tried to shake off whatever was bringing down his mood tonight.
“Let’s show Heather here that we’re more than a bit of noise coming through her bedroom wall.”
Josh turned around to see Donny dragging one of his kitchen chairs across the room, disappearing into the practice room.
“All right, love, you just sit down and get comfortable,” Trevor said. “Tanner! Come on, man.”
Josh heard the low strum of Donny’s guitar, heard Felix do a little warm-up rhythm, and knew there was no way of getting out of it. If he refused to play a song now, he’d look like an ass.
Still, his feet didn’t move, and he took another sip of beer.
Feeling eyes on him, he glanced up to see Heather in the doorway, leaning one shoulder against the doorjamb as she studied him.
“Okay, 4A?” she asked.
Her tone was lighthearted, almost slightly reluctant, as though she didn’t want to care about why he was out here alone, feeling oddly itchy with his life.
He appreciated it. He’d spent enough time in the past few years dealing with people who walked on eggshells around him, cooing sweetness. Some of it genuine, some of it not so much.
Heather’s no-nonsense question was refreshing—and exactly what he needed.
He was happy and healthy and living the dream, damn it.
Even if he was no longer sure it was his dream.
“You going soft on me?” he asked, taking one last sip of his beer before setting it aside and strolling toward her.
Heather’s eyes narrowed. “Hardly. I just wanted you to get your shit together so I can see your cute lead singer work his magic.”
He deliberately stepped into the doorway so she couldn’t move in either direction without brushing against him, grinning at her discomfort.
“You’re in a better mood tonight,” he said, his eyes skimming over her crazy curls and relaxed expression. “Why?”
“Believe it or not, I’m not a shrew.”
“Huh.”
Heather shoved his shoulder with a little scowl. “I’m not!”
“Does that mean you’re going to start making banana bread like Mrs. Calvin?”
“Yes, definitely. And coffee cake and sugar cookies and whatever other goodies you might like. All while wearing a frilly, feminine apron.”
“Dare I hope there’s nothing under the apron?” he asked, leaning in slightly.
“Right again!” she said, in mock delight. “I just love to bake naked.”
Josh’s pulse leapt, but Trevor interrupted before the sudden X-rated picture in his mind could turn into a full-fledged fantasy.
“Dude, we doing this or what?”
Josh looked at Heather.
“One song,” she said, holding up a finger. “I may as well see what the music sounds like on this side of the wall.”
 
 
Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart--cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian. 
In 2011, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan, and never looked back.
In her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books. 
For a list of all her works, please be sure to check out her official website!
 
 Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram
 

 

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 fa├žade 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


Enter to Win a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
 
 
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